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January 21, 2007 - February 26, 2007

2-26-07 Latest News

25th March: Tolkien Reading Day
Xoanon @ 5:59 pm EST

Ian Collier from The Tolkien Society writes: Are you a dad, mum, grandparent, uncle, aunt with an interest in Tolkien? Are you a young person with an interest in Tolkien? Then Reading Day is designed for YOU

Tolkien Reading Day encourages the use of Tolkien's works in education and library reading groups, as this year's day falls on a Sunday the emphasis is on families reading together.

A chance for grownups and children to read together and share their thoughts about whatever stories by Tolkien they have read and to discover new ones. J.R.R. Tolkien's books appeal to all ages and readers worldwide find pleasure, entertainment and deep significance in his work.

Information packs are available online and in hard copy

For children and adults reading together is fun, and stimulates good conversation, vocabulary development, an interest in history and for some an interest in linguistics. 25th March has significance to Tolkien's readers, as it is the day of the Downfall of Sauron at the conclusion of the 'War of the Ring' in "The Lord of the Rings." There's more to Tolkien than "The Lord of the Rings" though. Families and reading groups can enjoy the story of the dog "Roverandom" and his adventures on the moon or the mock-medieval rebellion of "Farmer Giles of Ham" complete with giants and dragons.

Members of the public (or libraries and schools wishing to hold an event near to rather than on the 25th) can contact the Society for free posters and help with publicising their event.

Ideas for exploring Tolkien's books together are available online and in hard copy

e-mail us at education@tolkiensociety.org or write to:

The Tolkien Society Education Officer, 18 Magnolia Road, Bitterne,
Southampton, SO 19 7LH

Launched in 2003 the reading day event has sparked interest in reading and reading groups across several nations and ages from Primary schoolchildren to University students and library users of all ages. Hence the circulation of this release to the media, educational press and county library services.

2-16-07 Latest News

TV Watch: Dominic Monaghan on 'Ellen'
Xoanon @ 10:41 am EST

Dominic Monaghan was a guest on 'The Ellen Degeneres Show' Tuesday, February 13th. He was there to promote the second half of the new season of 'LOST' on ABC. They also spoke a bit about English football and Valentine's Day. Take a look at the clip here!

2-13-07 Latest News

'The Last Unicorn' DVD Giveaway!
Xoanon @ 10:12 pm EST

The Last Unicorn: 25th Anniversary Edition

TheOneRing.net and Conlan Press have joined forces to provide you with your own copy of 'The Last Unicorn' signed by Peter S. Beagle.

The Last Unicorn: 25th Anniversary Edition DVD features an all-star cast of voice talent, and songs performed by the band America. Starring Christopher Lee, Mia Farrow, and Academy Award® nominees Alan Arkin, Angela Lansbury, and Jeff Bridges, the movie tells the powerful tale of a unicorn who sets out on a quest to find her lost brothers and sisters. The film’s character design and animation were done by the Japanese artists who went on to become the core of Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli (My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away).


This one is easy! All you have to do is email the answers to the questions below. Send your answers to xoanon@theonering.net

1. What year was 'The Last Unicorn' author, Peter S. Beagle, born?
2. Who provides the voice of 'Schmendrick' in 'The Last Unicorn'?
3. What Lord of the Rings actor also provided a voice for 'The Last Unicorn'?


1. No member of TheOneRing.net or their immediate families my enter. (Darn we hate this rule!!!!)
2. All people submitting answer give permission to TheOneRing.net to post their name and city of residence on the website and use for publicity reasons.
3. As always, don't forget to read the real small fine print at the bottom of the main contest page.
4. Delivery of prizes to winners can take up to 10 weeks.


2-07-07 Latest News

TV Watch: Dominic Monaghan on 'Jimmy' Clip
Xoanon @ 9:57 pm EST

Dominic Monaghan was recently a guest on ABC's 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!' to promote the second half of the new season of LOST. Take a look!

2-05-07 Latest News

Greg Wright Talks 'THE HOBBIT'
Xoanon @ 7:59 pm EST

“Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated,” Mark Twain wrote after the New York Journal erroneously covered news of his demise. “Mistaken publications of obituaries aren’t as rare as you might expect,” observes The Phrase Finder. We might say the same for the frequency with which greenlit film projects never see the light of a projector lamp, or the number of times “dead” film projects are resurrected.

The scuttlebutt now, of course, as we all know, is that New Line Cinema has greenlit The Hobbit, but that both Peter Jackson and New Line head Robert Shaye declare that Jackson will not be at the helm of the project. At the heart of the issue, at least publicly, is the lawsuit Jackson and company have filed against New Line over profits from the ancillary rights to The Fellowship of the Ring. Jackson has said he “won’t discuss making the [Hobbit] movies until the lawsuit is resolved,” and Shaye has gone so far as to declare that he doesn’t “want to make a movie with somebody who is suing me… It will never happen during my watch.” Complicating perception of the truth is Saul Zaentz’ assertion that The Hobbit “will definitely be shot by Peter Jackson.”

What’s really being waged is not a fractious legal dispute. The real battle is a tussle over public opinion. No matter how badly all the parties might want The Hobbit to happen, and for Peter Jackson to be at the helm, they all also know that, until a film actually starts shooting, all bets are off. Even at that point, studios have been known to replace directors. So in the meantime, everyone’s jockeying for influence, control, and as big a share of the pie as possible.

And what all the parties involved want to do is avoid pissing off the fans, upon whom all future largesse depends.

In this case, what that means is preparing us all for the worst possible scenario, whether it plays out or not. And my guess is that both Jackson and Shaye are pretty chafed that Zaentz has been the most forthcoming about the truth of the situation. “Next year The Hobbit rights will fall back to my company,” he told the German website Elbenwald in November. “I suppose that Peter will wait because he knows that he will make the best deal with us. And he is fed up with the studios: to get his profit share on the Rings trilogy he had to sue New Line. With us, in contrast, he knows that he will be paid fairly and artistically supported without reservation.”

The anxiety over the fate of Jackon’s association with The Hobbit began, for me, the night that The Return of the King won 11 Oscars. This is not, contrary to what some may think, the kind of event that brings glee to men like Robert Shaye. Yes, they are thrilled that their films win such accolades; but when the director’s fee for a follow-up project is guaranteed to skyrocket in the wake of such success, studio heads start to seethe. So immediately after the 2004 Oscars ceremony, the tough money was on the boxoffice results of King Kong: if that film mimicked The Lord of the Rings’ wild financial success, Shaye and New Line were over a barrel; if it tanked, Jackson would have huge contract concessions to make. Sure, Jackson didn’t get the call from New Line’s honchos about The Hobbit that he hoped for during that period; but he wasn’t exactly knocking at their door, either.

So when it became clear to Jackson that New Line wasn’t only stalling, but that they were also stiffing him to the tune of tens of millions of dollars due to the corporate practice of “self-dealing”—granting no-bid merchandising rights to members of its own broad corporate umbrella—he decided to up the ante, filing a lawsuit against New Line on February 28, 2005, according to The New York Times.

When, in actuality, King Kong proved neither a blockbuster nor a dog during the winter of 2005, the waters just got muddied. The fact that conversations had been stalled so long waiting on the outcome of Kong didn’t help, nor did the fact that both sides knew what the mutual silence was all about. All in all, there was nothing left but discontent on all sides.

The business being what it is, this is a story that is far from being over; and given that there are not just one but two studios involved, the political jockeying is far more complex than in most cases. My guess is that Zaentz is a lot closer to right than either Jackson or Shaye would like to admit—and that Shaye may regret the vitriol of his rhetoric. “There’s a certain piggishness involved here,” an unidentified New Line lawyer told The New York Times back in 1995. “New Line already gave [Jackson] enough money to rebuild Baghdad, but it’s still not enough for him.” When Shaye recently said, “[Jackson] thinks that we owe him something after we’ve paid him over a quarter of a billion dollars,” you know who Shaye has been talking to.

The smart money is on Jackson making both The Hobbit and the other planned film, and making them with New Line. Will that take place “on Shaye’s watch”? Maybe not. But since New Line has got corporate masters who may be even more demanding than Shaye, that may just mean bad news for Shaye—and good news for Tolkien film fans.

As to the wisdom of making two movies out of The Hobbit rather than just one, that’s quite a different matter. Without yet getting into the structure that such films might assume, it’s fair to say that Tolkien wouldn’t have written the same story that he did had he written it subsequent to The Lord of the Rings.

First, we know that, when Tolkien began writing The Hobbit, he had no intention of it becoming a part of the history of Middle-earth. Second, we know that Tolkien had to later revise The Hobbit to make it consistent with his masterwork, retooling Bilbo’s riddle game with Gollum. Third, we know that Tolkien had to temporarily suspend work on Rings in order to work out exactly how characters like Elrond, Gandalf, Aragorn, and the Hobbits themselves fit into his broader mythology. Fourth, we know that Tolkien gave up writing a Rings sequel because the material simply became “too dark.”

Complicating matters is the general perception amongst many fans—a sentimental, romanticized, and unexamined perception—that The Hobbit is a light, whimsical fantasy. It is not. It is, in fact, an allegorical bildungsroman, a coming-of-age tale, a story of loss of innocence. It’s about children no longer covering their eyes in terror and imagining giants and bogies, but rather coming to see the world with eyes wide open and finding out that the most dangerous monsters may be some of their fellow adventurers. The conventions of fantasy may dispose of Smaug quite neatly; dealing with Thorin—or Bilbo’s own complicity in a Great Wrong—is another matter entirely, but one which is at the heart of The Hobbit.

Given that The Lord of the Rings has already come to the screen, though (and stupendously so), we have already seen how blithe young Hobbits such as Pippin must learn to become grave warriors; we have already witnessed the darkness of battles like that at the Pelennor; through Théoden, we have already witnessed sleepers waking to the harsh reality of betrayal and self-deception; we have, in short, already lost the innocence of Middle-earth. Trying to recapture it—on a scale that would duplicate the boxoffice success of Rings—would be a bit like returning to fifth-grade summer camp after a stint in college.

So two choices present themselves: first, scale back the design of The Hobbit as Lord of the Rings Lite for the younger set, and hope that Peter Jackson’s fans have all spawned their own sets of Hobbit-sized kindergarteners who will be thrilled with a Curious George version of Middle-earth; or second, embrace the tone of the last third of The Hobbit and integrate the tale seamlessly with Peter Jackson’s other films. Boxoffice potential almost dictates the wisdom of the latter choice, regardless of the “violence” it does to Tolkien’s original tale.

If the first approach is taken, however, it would allow—perhaps even necessitate—all of the major roles to be recast. In order to see Gandalf in an entirely different light, for instance, a new Gandalf might be required. When pursuing this line of thinking, the financial wheels start turning, and we can pretty easily envision a project of this flavor if New Line somehow manages to go ahead without Peter Jackson (and the wallets of Jackson’s dedicated and thoroughly adult fanbase), especially considering that Jackson would never make such a film.

The second approach, though, begs for McKellan to return as Gandalf, Serkis as Gollum, and Holm as Bilbo—who, we must remember, convincingly played the younger Bilbo in Jackon’s “flashback” scenes as well as the opening sequences of Fellowship.

It also opens up intriguing possibilities for the proposed second Hobbit film—which, by the way, I think is a brilliant concept. Fans of The Lord of the Rings, the book, know that there’s a wealth of historical detail that’s left entirely out of Peter Jackson’ films. In particular, the length of time between Bilbo’s departure from Hobbiton and Frodo’s is collapsed to mere weeks rather than years. This presents a fantastic opportunity to create a narrative—once again temporally collapsed, as with Jackson’s trilogy—that tells both the tale of Sauron’s abandonment of Dol Guldur and the long search for Gollum.

The added bonus? Added roles for Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn, Liv Tyler as Arwen, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, and Orlando Bloom as Legolas—maybe even John Rhys-Davies as Gimli. All of these characters were alive during the period of The Hobbit, and were certainly active during the period between the two tales. Heck, we might even get a major role for Craig Parker again as Haldir, which would make his subsequent death in The Two Towers all that more poignant.

And these are two films that Jackson should be the one to make, and ones that I would look forward to seeing.

Yet it behooves the fan base, I think, not to become too territorial with the intellectual rights to The Hobbit. The film production business is as wild and wooly as the American West (or the Far East of Middle-earth) once was. When on the frontier, wizards and artists will do what artists and wizards must; the best that we, the fans, can hope for is to voice our concerns—and then, for lightning to strike twice.

Greg Wright is the author of Tolkien in Perspective: Sifting the Gold from the Glitter, and is Writer in Residence at Puget Sound Christian College in Everett, Washington. Formerly Contributing Editor at Hollywood Jesus, Greg’s collected essays on Tolkien and Jackson have just been republished in a new archive at the site. Greg is now Managing Editor of Gospelcom’s movie review site Past the Popcorn.

1-23-07 Latest News

Peter S. Beagle Interview
Xoanon @ 11:27 am EST

Chris Meadows writes: I am delighted to announce that on Wednesday, January 24th at 12 noon Eastern/9 a.m. Pacific., I will be conducting a live call-in talk radio interview with Hugo-winning fantasy author Peter S. Beagle on my book-related talk show, The Biblio File (http://terrania.us/biblio/). The topic of the interview will be Beagle's career, including The Last Unicorn novel and movie, the Lord of the Rings animated movie, the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Sarek," and more. After I finish my prepared questions, Beagle will take questions from the audience.

Anyone who wishes to call in to the show to listen or participate will be welcome to do so.

I've written a comprehensive page on the various methods of connecting to TalkShoe at http://terrania.us/talkshoe/ that covers in detail all the ways to listen or participate but I will summarize:

If you just want to listen, you can do that via streaming audio from the TalkShoe page itself, while the show is airing: http://terrania.us/biblio/ Also, the complete show will be downloadable as an MP3 file (you can also use RSS to syndicate it to your podcast-sync software of choice if you like) starting about half an hour after the show ends. No registration of any kind is necessary to listen.

If you would like to listen and have the opportunity to converse with other listeners and submit questions via text chat, you can register at talkshoe.com (it's free) and download their Java-based text chat client, which includes the ability to listen via streaming audio at the same time.

If you would like to phone in and listen that way, as well as having the opportunity to ask a question on the air, you can register at talkshoe.com and phone in to (724) 444-7444. (It is a Pittsburgh number, so it will be a long-distance call for most people.) You will be asked for the show's ID number, which is 7022, and your PIN number, which you set when you register. You can phone in with or without also using the chat client, though you should use the chat client if you wish to be able to signal that you would like to be unmuted to ask a question. (You can also phone in via Voice Over IP applications, for free, which I cover in detail on the tutorial page mentioned above.)

Finally, if you will not be able to participate live but would still like to submit questions, email me via the address on this message, or the contact form at http://terrania.us/emailme.htm. I can't promise I'll ask all questions that are submitted but I will try to ask any good ones.

1-21-07 Latest News

Tolkien/Rowling Lecture in Broken Arrow, OK
Xoanon @ 12:04 pm EST

Amy H. Sturgis sends this along: Tolkien/Rowling Lecture Free and Open to the Public ("Evening with the Author" Series)

Where: Broken Arrow, Oklahoma (just outside Tulsa)
Broken Arrow Senior High School
1901 East Albany
Broken Arrow, OK

What: Broken Arrow's "Evening with the Author" Series
Tolkien scholar Amy H. Sturgis, Ph.D.: http://www.amyhsturgis.com

Lecture: "Harry Potter is a Hobbit: The Tolkien Solution to the Rowling Problem"

J.K. Rowling draws fire from cultural critics and laypersons alike: her works rank among the most challenged books of the last decade due to their supposedly mature content, and yet highly visible reviewers consistently poke fun at their allegedly juvenile nature. A question emerges from these disparate but repeated lines of attack: if children cannot handle dark and serious issues such as death, and adults should not enjoy such childish and light pleasures as fantasy stories, who if anyone is the proper audience for the Harry Potter series? According to J.R.R. Tolkien, the solution to this dilemma lies not in discovering a new category of readers, but rather in dismissing the false assumptions about childhood, adulthood, and the nature of fantasy that inform the question. Join Dr. Amy H. Sturgis as she uses Tolkien's insights to propose a solution to Rowling’s problem of readership and a lasting answer to her critics.

Book Signing by Dr. Sturgis Before/After Presentation

When: January 29, 2007, 6:30pm

For Further Information, Contact: Nancy Remus at Broken Arrow Senior High School: 918-259-4310 x249

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