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October 11, 2003 - October 17, 2003

10-17-03 Latest News

Realms of Fantasy Talks ROTK
Xoanon @ 4:59 pm EST

airearan writes: I spotted the Realms of Fantasy December 2003 issue yesterday, it has Viggo on the cover. There's no full article though, except for one on fall season movies. Towards the end are some comments by Elijah Wood. It's a tad spoilerish, especially for non-book readers (well, really very spoilerish for them). But even for us who have read the book and can't wait for the movie.

Here's the entire columnful of information from the mag, it shows us the direction Peter Jackson is taking regarding the ending (i.e., the Mt. Doom-related one).

Excerpt from Movies: The fall season is packed with fantasy films to enchant all moviegoers
By Resa Nelson

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (New Line Cinema) opens December 17. It's been two years since J.R.R. Tolkien fans expressed their outrage over the casting of Elijah Wood as Frodo, and everyone was on tenterhooks, wondering if the gamble made by New Line Cinema and Peter Jackson and company would be one of the greatest failures in movie history.

In this final chapter of Tolkien's trilogy, Aragorn battles the enemy as he struggles to rise to his rightful place on the throne. At the same time, Frodo battles himself as he tries to finish his quest and fulfill his destiny as the Ringbearer. One of the greatest themes in Tolkien's masterpiece is the concept that good and evil aren't always outside forces in the world, but are forces that each of us must face within ourselves.

Which brings us full circle to the choice of casting Elijah Wood as Frodo. Anyone familiar with Wood's work is well aware of his wide emotional range.

"Frodo in the third movie ceases to be Frodo," Wood says. "He reaches a kind of evil center that you don't think is possible. It is quite a wide range of emotions. I think part of what attracted me to Frodo is that I got a chance as an actor to take a character from a very innocent place to the complete opposite. He's sort of innocent and naive at the beginning, and at the end he's lost his innocence. He has these moments of pure evil and hatred.

"Once the ring is destroyed, he's still Frodo, but his innocence is gone, and he can never get that kind of purity of soul back. So there's a real sadness to Frodo at the end."

Although one of the greatest--and possibly the greatest--fantasies ever created, Tolkien's work is also grounded in reality.

"That's also what strikes me about the books--they don't end on a positive note," Wood says. "Ultimately, Middle-Earth is saved and peace is restored, but these characters will never be able to go back to the way that they once were. Some are better for that. It could be argued that Frodo may be better for that. It's still sad when you appreciate them so much for what they are and what they stand for, and then see them stripped of the things that define them and then suddenly they can't regain that feeling anymore. It's a sad end to an amazing story. And even though there are uplifting things, it's sort of bittersweet. I love it."

iTunes goes Tolkien
Calisuri @ 12:44 pm EST

Ringer Krista sends us this info:

I thought fellow Tolkien addicts might find this interesting.

Apple's iTunes music store (newly PC friendly) has just opened an audio books section with 5,000 titles. I thought I'd check to see there were any Tolkien books, and sure enough, there were four:

The Hobbit (abridged)
The Silmarillion Vol. I (unabridged)
The Silmarillion Vol. II (unabridged)
The Silmarillion Vol. III (unabridged)

All of these books are narrated by Martin Shaw and cost $15.95 each to download. When I checked, "The Hobbit" was #5 on today's top sellers list, and "The Silmarillion Vol. I" was at #91.

Computers running Windows XP and Windows 2000 can now access the store, which can be done by downloading iTunes 4.1 at:


To find Tolkien books once you have the iTunes music store running, click on "Power Search." Select the genre "Audiobooks" and type in "JRR Tolkien" under "artist." You can also search the store using other criteria.

10-16-03 Latest News

McKellen Visits London LOTR Exhibit
Xoanon @ 8:46 pm EST

Funky_Grooves writes:

Today I visited the London Science Museum to see the LOTR exhibition, when none other than Sir Ian McKellen turned up to be shown around the exhibits by (who I presume to be) the curator, and in tow was a camera crew and various production people and museum staff. Sir Ian was discussing the exhibits on camera and when he got to the Gandalf display they handed him his staff so he could wave it around for us. He spent some time talking to the museum visitors (many of whom amazingly had failed to realise who he was when he first arrived!), and signed autographs.

The camera crew were filming a program called The South Bank Show; no-one seemed sure of the dates that it would be aired but it is presumably being made for the run up to ROTK. [More]

10-15-03 Latest News

EXCLUSIVE: An Interview With Craig Parker
Demosthenes @ 4:52 am EST

While I was at the fabulous Best of Both Worlds convention in Canberra just a couple of weeks ago (expect a full report later this week!), I had the privilege of being able to chat with Craig Parker (Haldir of Lorien). The feature has been much delayed by the fact that I'm currently moving house, but I hope you'll agree that it's worth the wait!

NB: For anyone who might be wondering - I do not have Craig's e-mail, telephone or postal address. So I can't pass messages along, sorry.

An Interview with Craig Parker

Even after a weekend of fandom at the Best of Both Worlds convention, Craig Parker is still very relaxed when I catch up with him on the final evening.

He has a glass of white wine in one hand. In the background, his portable MP3 player fills the room with soothing music. It's a more thoughtful Craig than the one I've just seen entertaining 100-odd people with amusing anecdotes and his razor-sharp wit. Even now - as I write - I find the contrast intriguing.

How do you play an elf?

He tells me that auditioning for Rings felt very strange at one level. "I think I was filming a series at the time," he says. "I had been working in the morning."

And then he had to go audition as an elf. He looks up and voices the surrealness of the switch from the real to the unreal: "How do you play an elf?"

"Some of us are still asking that question." he adds, self deprecatingly. Obviously the joker is not far beneath the surface.

He says that Haldir was used as the generic audition for the elves. "It was a scene that was never filmed - or never made it - up in the flet once the fellowship had been rescued."

"Auditions universally are usually in some terrible soulless room with a camera on a tripod - so it was literally that. So you turn up, say your words, say goodbye and disappear again."

He confesses he thought he'd done a terrible job. "You tend to do that. I often find that the auditions I walk away from [thinking]: 'Yeah, I was great in that.' you don't get. And it's the ones where you go: 'Oh, I don't know about that.' - you often end up with those ones."

It's the stuff you dream of as a kid

"I wouldn't say it [Rings] was the most challenging acting work I've had in my life - it [his moment in the film] is very brief. But it was great fun, you know? The stuff you dream of when you're a kid - being able to swordfight and beat up big guys."

I mention the axe in his back at Helm's Deep.

"Or getting beaten up by them and killed." He laughs. "You don't dream about that so much."

"But the thrill was being part of such a huge event. The excitement. It's your perfect kids' adventure - suddenly you're in the middle of this huge fantasy world. And I loved it for that."

Like many of the principal actresses and actors, he did his much of own stuntwork. "The actors would do the whole thing," he says. "And they would do it a number of times. But you'd also shoot the scene with a double. So your wide shots - sometimes they come in with the double. In this film I can't tell where it's me and where it's [my double]. And that's fantastic."

He would float and turn and fly

His own double was "an amazing guy called Morgan. He's just an artist really - like a dancer. Amazing martial skills."

He and Morgan would work together, Morgan drilling him through the moves. "So I'd get up and feel quite flash - 'Yeah, I'm pretty cool at this!' And then he would get up and do it, and it'd be the same moves but suddenly watching an artist."

There's something like awe in his voice. "He would just float and turn and fly. He's an incredible actor - an incredible acrobat." [Listen]

He emphasises the safety aspect and is full of praise for the stunt team when I ask about the Uruk-hai fighters at Helm's Deep. "By the time we got to film anything, we were reasonably confident and sure of what we were doing. And you had to be for safety. There was so many people on set - if you don't know what you're doing, someone is going to be hurt."

"The stunt team were incredible," he says. "Not only were they in these incredibly uncomfortable, incredibly hot costumes, they're constantly rehearsing their stuntwork or doing it."

"They're being hit with swords and bashed and thrown to the ground. They're constantly working through all the day in incredibly difficult conditions. And they're still incredibly generous and supportive of us [the actors]."

"I know I was constantly asking: 'Sala, Sala can we work through this move? Can we go through this? Can we go over this?' just so I was sure of it. And they would always be there. So I have huge respect for the guys."

Lives were lived during this project

Support, encouragement and passion for the project seems to have been a defining trait of the entire cast and crew.

"Peter and Richard - and the various other people who gathered people to work on this film - are remarkably passionate people," Craig says. "And they also tend to be people who don't buy into the ego hierarchy. Richard Taylor runs WETA in the most beautiful, elegant way where it's about support and encouragement. Clear leadership, but not dictatorial control. So he gets passionate people around him and he encourages them to be more passionate than they thought they could be."

"And Peter does the same thing. I think across all areas, people were chosen because of those qualities. And it was such a long process. My involvement was in and out - it wasn't so extreme for me - but there were people who spent 10 years of their life involved in this project. People who met, married, had kids, broke up, remarried - whatever - over this period of time. Lives were lived during this project. And the only way people would get to the end was if they really cared about it."

Having heard so many horror stories of the wet, cold nights that everyone spent filming at Helm's Deep, I ask whether he ever fell ill during the shooting as a result of exposure to the elements. Craig says he found he tended to be fine while filming. "It's when you stop and you've got a week off that your body collapses and you get the cold and the flu."

He adds that he was fortunate in that he only spent short bursts of time on the set. "I was the lucky one who would come down for a week, spend a week in these conditions but then go back home for a week or two weeks while all the other poor suckers had to stay there for the three months."

But it was worth all the pain and suffering, he says. He recalls the cast and crew screening for the first film. "A lot of people had been working that day, and they were tired. And then [after seeing Fellowship] there was a sense of 'Aaah, we have made something magnificent. It was worth it. The pain and the suffering was actually worth of it.'"

The passing of an age

He interprets the death of Haldir (with all his brethren scattered like fallen leaves around him) as a metaphor for the passing of the elves. "To me - and anyone can read anything they want into it - it was quite a visceral representation of the passing of an age. The death of a way of life and a culture. And the change."

"It may have had some totally different purpose, but I think it was just to lift the stakes a bit and say everything could be lost, this is a point where it may not be a happy ending."

"And good versus evil is only interesting is only interesting when we can understand it on a personal level. And I think it's been the success of this book, this story - especially in film three - our heart is bleeding for Frodo. He has this incredibly tragic journey he goes through."

It's not about Schwangor of Planet Kwang

"And I haven't read a huge amount of fantasy - I'm a sci-fi reader, I guess - but the books I love aren't about Schwangor of Planet Kwang who defeats a million Thwangors, they're the stories about the personal relationships."

"The future technology or the fantasy world is really just a world to set these creatures in who have a personal experience. And I think that for any of us - a film is only interesting if we care about the people involved." [Listen]

I ask if he feels a sense of ownership of Rings.

"I do, actually," he says. "I feel a slight sense of ownership. I think all of New Zealand feels a sense of ownership. In a sense that we all know someone who worked on it. New Zealand is such a small place - and we - New Zealand feels a sense that this is our film. And that's quite lovely, I think."

10-13-03 Latest News

20 Minutes of ROTK
Calisuri @ 12:15 am EST

While being a part of TORn means I am a volunteer in a non-paid position, this gig does have its perks. One of those would be, something along the lines of, seeing 20 minutes of 'The Return of the King.'

Before I go further, please take this into account. I can say no more than what you read in this report. So sending me an email to elaborate on something, or asking a question will more than likely get a response of 'don't know.' You might as well not even try...:P

I had the distinct pleasure of sitting with two fellow Tolkien fans in the audience: Ted and Jon from TolkienOnline.com. We've been together at other screenings and I was pleasantly surprised when I saw them in the room, because I knew post-viewing we could have a great conversation. They were extremely kind to buy me a hot chocolate afterwards. Thanks guys!

Let me be clear up front. What I witnessed tonight makes me completely confident that 'Return of the King' will live up to the intense expectations that the two previous films endured, and more than likely surpass them.

The footage began with the recently released ROTK trailer. Being the poor webmaster I am, I had not seen this trailer in the theater, and it was nice to finally see it on a screen larger than my monitor.

Directly after the trailer, we plunged into a series of scenes from ROTK. The scenes were approximately 3-5 minutes in length and showcased the diversity of the upcoming film. Unfortunately, I cannot go into detail or give you a shot by shot relay of the happenings. What I can do, is give you some insight and answer a few long standing questions.

1. Gollum speaking to Smeagol in a pool near Mordor. - We saw the ending of the sequence in the trailer, in which Gollum lusts for the Ring. This is another great Smeagol/Gollum 'discussion' but this time both are in agreement. Andy Serkis' flexible acting skills lend themselves perfectly to the scene, and trust me, if the Academy doesn't reward him with a best suppor actor nom after this one, you'lll be wondering why.

2. Denthor, Pippin and Faramir - I absolutely REFUSE to explain this scene at all. All I can say is I was blown away. For me to discuss it in any kind of detail would immediately detract from your first impression on screen.

3. Aragorn Receiving Narsil - Guess what? Elrond brings it! There is a brief second in which you think its Arwen sitting there, but whew...what a relief when that hood goes back.

4. Eowyn and Theoden - A small scene in which Theoden and Eowyn discuss the future. We also saw a little bit of this in the preview.

5. Theoden and the Ride of the Rohirrim - Self explanatory. Torture to watch on screen and not being able to see the end.

6. Shelob and Frodo - Um...horrific. Disgusting and horrific. The few seconds I saw was the lead up to the scene in the trailer.

I'm sorry I can't go into more detail, but I'm sure more information will be coming online in the next few weeks as this footage is shown to more and more press. I for one am going to keep my mouth shut. I don't want to ruin this, even for you spoiler maniacs, for anyone.

Trust me folks, you don't want to see this footage. Its much worse having a taste of that freshly baked Thanksgiving turkey, and then having to wait a few hours for your grandparents to arrive. Now I'm left to drool for a month and a half. I envy all of you for not knowing what is to come!

10-13-03 Latest News

Belgium's Facts Con Reports and Images!
Xoanon @ 12:54 pm EST

John Rhys-Davies at FACTS Con in Belgium
Click here for more images


I was at FACTS (Ghent, Belgium) over the w/e, where I got a chance to meet John Rhys-Davies. John is truly a warm, cordial gentleman, who took ample time to chat with the fans who were queing up for an autograph. He also freely had his picture taken with most of the fans present and gratiously participated in a Q & A session organised by the Belgian Star Trek fanclub BVC (yes, John played "Leonardo Da Vinci" in Star Trek Voyager) and LOTR fan club Elanor. He even offered a bout of Treebeard on the spot and, when asked about the famous Fellowship tattoo, he pointedly answered that he sent his stuntman to get tattooed!


After meeting Elijah, Dom and Sean last week at collectormania 4 in England Milton Keynes, today we met John-Reese Davies in our home country of Belgium.

We met him at FACTS in Gent, which comes very close to what Collectormania is in the UK, but over here there were more stands, while C4 had the best actors around. But hey we had John this year and it was swell!

He is a very nice person! Funny as well. We went for his autograph and he was very friendly. I let him sign my English version of LOTR, the same one that I let Elijah sign last week, John saw his autograph and went Ohhhhh Elijah he he. I told him that we met him the week before and he was very impressed. When he gave my book back, he said: “Here you go darling”. My friend Mieke got him to sign a pic for her brother, who couldn’t join us because he is ill, and John wrote to him. “Peter – Get well soon or the Orcq’s will come and have ya! – Gimli. Now I thought that that was really cool and sweet!

He also got on stage so we could ask him some questions! I did ask him two. When he got on stage he said. Okay I know that a lot of girls would like to know if I have the phone number of Orlando Bloom, but I don’t…..But IF I did I WOULD give it to you…haha.

Hilarious! I asked him two questions. I wanted to start by asking if he had the phone number of Elijah..but I forgot héhé. I asked what his favourite quote out of LOTR was. He answered. “The elf did it”. I also asked him if he would be very disappointed if ROTK wouldn’t win an oscar this year. He said that he would. Just because these movies are great and that they have made history with these movies and that they, everybody whom has worked on them have done a great job and had a lot of work. But yeah..you never know with the Academy he said. Lot’s of other questions were asked. Like if he had a tattoo like the rest of the fellowship. He said that he wouldn’t come near a drunken maouri whit a dirty needle héhé, just because some drunken wee Hobbits decided that they all should have a tattoo, so he sent his sunt double like every good actor does.

So now his stunt double is running around with a tattoo on his lower part of the atonomy. Somebody also asked about him hanging around with the elf..if it was similar in real life. He said that he hasn’t seen Orli since the last premiere. He also performed some threebeard for us. Somebody asked what his favourite character was and he said the wee little hobbitses. Various questions were asked, but those are the ones I can remember really. There were also a lot of people dressed up like characters from LOTR. I was wearing The One Ring and at some point a Ringwrite started chasing me for it. Really cool; he looked really alike, so it was kinda scary…He did the right posses and everything, he even had the right sword!

LotR Trivial Pursuit
Luthien @ 12:53 pm EST

Torn Staffer Ostadan had the opportunity to speak with Rob Daviau of Hasbro last month about Hasbro's forthcoming LotR Edition of Trivial Pursuit. Below are Ostadan's questions, along with Mr. DAviau's answers.

Q: Who wrote the questions and answers [for this edition]?

A: The questions were generated, in part, by some of the people in New Zealand who worked on the film. They weren't writers so we had local writers add/polish/edit them so that they were clearer and written in US-English.

Q: What special rules, unique to the LotR Edition, have been added to the game?

A: The "Fan Rules" allow people who know LOTR well to still play without having a short game. Bascially, there is a ringwraith and The Ring. The most recent person to get a 'pie wedge' is the ringbearer. Having the ring lets you skip a question once per turn. But, at the end of EVERY PERSON'S turn, the ringwraith moves 1-6 spaces to the ringbearer. If the wraith lands on the same space as the ringbearer, it takes a pie wedge away. If you have no wedges and it lands on your space (on its way to the ringbearer) then
you are out of the game.

At the end of the game, you must have the ring and make it to the
middle of the board in order to win.

I think that's it. Essentially, these rules are for groups who can
probably answer 4-8 questions in a row. Gives some downside and risk to the game.

Ostadan writes:
"I suppose it should also be mentioned that Hasbro will be republishing the Risk: Lord of the Rings with a larger board, some new cards, and much better-written rules. This is not quite the same game as the 'expansion set' published in Europe, which is a bit confusing. Rob has mentioned the possibility that owners of the previous edition will be able to purchase an add-on kit from Hasbro, rather than having to buy an entirely new game, but I do not believe that this has been officially announced. The Risk game will hit shelves in December."

Musical Hobbits
Xoanon @ 11:56 am EST

Ever since it was announced in London that "The Lord of the Rings" would be turned into a musical budgeted at $13 million, fans have feared the worst: Gandalf singing a rock ballad, Orcs doing jazz hands, high-kicking hobbits. Well, the first workshop is finished, and early reports are in. Purists, prepare yourselves. First off the director, Matthew Warchus, promises that the show will "avoid embarrassments." Well, that's certainly a good start.

Mr. Warchus also compares the music of the show, scheduled in the West End in the spring of 2005, to the folk tunes of "The Lion King." Nice. But what about the book? Mr. Warchus won't go into specifics, but he says literary license was taken. The novelist J. R. R. Tolkien "wrote the story like it was history, and that is how we are treating it," Mr. Warchus said by phone.

"This will be a different account of events. It's sort of like different versions of the Gospels." And if this incurs the wrath of armies of fans of the original Middle Earth, Mr. Warchus is ready for them. "It's impossible to please everyone," he said.

Baker, Dourif & JRD at Dallas Comic-Con
Xoanon @ 11:41 am EST

Ben from the Dallas Comic Con writes: Our next big show (October 25 & 26 at the Plano Convention Center) has an incredible growing guest lineup of celebrities and comic artists. Shop more than 150 exhibit tables of old and new collectibles, movie memorabilia, toys, comics, cards and more!

John Ryhs Davies - Lord of the Rings (Gimli the dwarf), Indiana Jones (Sallah) Saturday only,
Brad Dourif - Lord of the Rings (Wormtongue), Alien 4, Voice of Chucky
Sala Baker: Lord of the Rings - Sauron

Other media guests attending:

Mercedes McNab - Buffy / Angel (Harmony) Saturday only,
Anthony Daniels: Star Wars Saga - C-3PO (In a very rare autograph appearance),
Warwick Davis: Episode 1 - Wald, Episode VI - Wicket,
Dave Prowse: Episode IV, V, VI - Darth Vader,
Rena Owen: Episode II - Tuan We, Episode III - Senator
Michonne Bourriague: Episode I - Aurra Sing,
Amy Allen: Episode II - Aayla Secura
Sala Baker: Lord of the Rings - Sauron
David Hedison: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
And many others...

Meet these great Comic Artists!
Phil Noto - Danger Girl, Birds of Prey,
Adam Hughes - Wonder Woman, Tomb Raider,
Tim Bradstreet - Punisher artist,
Scott Kurtz - creator and artist of PvP,
John Lucas - Superman Man of Steel,
Ben Dunn - creator of MARVEL MANGAVERSE, Image Comics' THE AGENTS,
Jaime Mendoza - writer of MOON RUSH, inker of BATMAN and SUPERMAN,
Erik Reeves - artist for MOON RUSH
And many others...

Make plans to attend now and join us in all the fun! Free movie promos and posters while supplies last!

October 25-26: Plano, TX
2000 E. Spring Creek Parkway
Plano, TX (corner of Spring Creek Parkway and Jupiter Road)

Saturday 11-6, Sunday 11am-4pm.
General admission: $10.00, Kids ages 6-10: $5.00.

Get all the details online at www.dallascomiccon.com

10-12-03 Latest News

Tolkien Author at Marywood University
Xoanon @ 10:37 pm EST

Cara writes: I live near Scranton, Pa and saw this advertisment for a Tolkien Lecturer who will speak at Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania on November 12th at 7PM.

Tolkien: Man and Myth
Author and Lecturer
November 12, 2003, 7 p.m.
Crystal Room, Nazareth Student Center
Free and open to the public

J.R.R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings took first place in a recent national poll to find the greatest book of the 20th century. While popular, Tolkien is often misunderstood. Mr Pearce's study of Tolkien's life, his character, and his work reveals the facts and confronts the myths, while exploring the backround of the man and the culture in which he wrote. Mr. Pearce enters the world created by Tolkien in the seven books published during his lifetime. He explores the significance of Middle Earth and what it represented in Tolkien's thinking. Myth, to him, was not a leap from reality but a leap into reality. Other aspects of his fascinating life troubled Tolkien greatly. The impact of his great notoriety, his relationship with material possessions, and his traditional religious faith are all explored, making it possible to understand both the man and the myth he created.

Mr. Pearce is the author of numerous acclaimed biographies of major Catholic literary figures. A fulltime writer from Norfolk, England, he is currently the Writer in Residence and Professor of Literature at Ave Maria College, Ypsilanti, Michigan. Mr. Pearce also serves as Editor-in-Cheif of Ave Maria University Communications and Sapientia Press, as well as Co-Editor of the St. Austin Review (or StAR), an international review of Christian culture, literture, and ideas published in England by the Saint Austin Press. Mr. Pearce regularly speaks at a wide variety of religious, cultural, and literary events.

Feast of Tolkien Fun in Cleveland
Tehanu @ 5:44 pm EST


November 20-22, 2003 at Cleveland State University's historic MATHER MANSION, 2605 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, Ohio.

This event is a cooperative effort between The EDGE: Lutheran Campus Ministry & Art Gallery, the Cleveland State University English Department and New Line Cinema. All events are FREE and open to the public.

This year's Marathon Reading will be "The Return of the King" this year, and in addition to the marathon there will be four workshops, a keynote lecture, the DVD movie version of "The Two Towers," a Reception, several drawings in which we give away over $2,000 worth of books and related "Lord of the Rings" merchandise (donated graciously from Houghton Mifflin and New Line Cinema).

Speakers include Prof Tom Shippey & Joseph Pearce


1) "The Lord of the Rings" on the Screen: Does it Work? (Prof Bruce Beatie, CSU)

2) Tolkien and Wagner: The Two Rings (Prof Ed Haymes, CSU)

3) Tolkien: Truth & Myth (Prof Joseph Pearce, Ave Maria College)

4) Trees, Chainsaws, and Visions of Paradise in Tolkien (Prof Tom Shippey, Saint Louis Univ) ________________________________________________________


A Special Edition DVD extended version of "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers"


Free Food, Refreshments, Live Music, Mt. Doom Cupcakes, Raffle for GREAT PRIZES, as we gather for the Keynote Speaker & Marathon Reading of "The Return of the King"


J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century (Prof Tom Shippey, Saint Louis Univ)

9 PM: The MARATHON READING of "The Return of the King" will begin and conclude 1 PM on Saturday 22nd.

FREE ADMISSION FOR ALL EVENTS: (Registration required for workshops and to read). Lots of FREE Prizes! Call 216-241-7120 to register, or click here.

10-11-03 Latest News

DIY Boromir Costume!
Xoanon @ 8:02 pm EST

Dimenthoniel writes:

So, you want to be BOROMIR for Halloween, the Renaissance Faire, or the Premier of Return of the King – but do not have a clue to start, access to a sewing machine, or any creative talent whatsoever? I can help you. This costume calls for very little SEWING. Actually, you could not do sewing at all and get the affect, but it will look better if you use a needle and thread here and there.

This is why I did Boromir. One, I liked the character. Two, I worked months on an Aragorn costume, but it seemed that no one recognized the outfit at all. This is most likely because Aragorn has to be worn, dirty, and covered with accessories to get the proper effect. Create an Aragorn outfit improperly, and you will look like Adrian Paul from the Highlander series (That is who people thought I was trying to emulate for the most part).

This new costume is definitely a head turner. My first weekend out as Boromir, and EVERYONE knew who I was. The Boromir outfit is both eye-catching and recognizable because it is flashier, more complex, and of a unique design. Though mine is not an exact replica – as you can tell, at a distance it is Johnny on the Spot.

This instructional will render you these primary costume components:

Now, if you need leather boots, a sword belt, a blowing horn, a shield or a sword – I can get them for you as I am a distributor in medieval replicas and weaponry. But – act fast, because time is defiantly not on your side. You would have time before the Premier of ROTK – but not for Halloween. I will detail what I can get for you at the end of this tutorial.



Boromir’s most obvious costume component is the surcoat. In the FOTR movie, it is actually made from navy blue leather, but because of post-production digital film grading appears to be black. We are going on what things appear to be for a visual effect.

Now, I used a relatively cheap black cotton Catholic Priest Cassock from catholicsupply.com to create this item. You could also use a black trench or raincoat, a black graduation gown, or inexpensive Neo (The Matrix) coat from any costume store. The important thing is that it is long, black, and has a mandarin (squared off) collar. If the coat has any buttons, carefully cut them off – as they are not needed.

Carefully remove the sleeves from the coat. I suggest cutting them to about three inches from the shoulder, folding an inch under, and hemming it. You can use the fabric glue to make the hem. This way the shoulders will flair out slightly.

Now, find a 1/4 inch wide metallic gold trim you like at Wal-Mart or a crafts store. This trim should be mostly fabric and should cost about .70 cents a yard. Get 6 yards of it, you will have a little left over, but better safe than sorry. I used a neat metallic gold and burgundy trim that was on clearance for .49 cents a yard.

Using the fabric glue, draw a very thin line about 1” from the collar opening on front to the bottom of the cloak lengthwise. Press the trim onto the bead as you draw the line. When you get to the bottom, cut off the rest of the trim with scissors.

Now, you want to trim the collar, front of the coat, and the sleeves in the same manner. Look at my picture for reference. The glue takes a little while to dry, but when it does, it is very strudy. I suggest laying to coat on the floor once you are done for an hour or so.

For the latches on the front of the coat, I once again went to Wal-Mart. I purchased three matching clasps from the button rack. These clasps had an elvish floral design I found interesting. Using the gold leafing pen, I painted the clasps gold. I then used a needle and thread to attach the clasps to the coat as illustrated below.

Make sure that the last clasp is ABOVE where your sword belt with hang. On my item, the last hasp is about 4” above my navel.

That’s it. You are done with the surcoat portion of the outfit.


For this part, I purchased a mandarin (squared) collar women’s top at Wal-Mart for about $16.00. It was a slightly quilted cotton jacket that had a slightly padded effect to it. I chose a burgundy paisley print, but you could use just burgundy or dark red. Remember that we are going for the visual effect here.

There were many other tops I could have used at Wal-Mart or the Salvation Army. You will see that this collar is a very popular style right now among women. I discovered that a women’s size 18/20 fit me just fine. Of course, trying it on in the store was an enlightening experience for me. Don’t worry about getting stared at, these people don’t know if you are really a cross-dresser or not.

Ok....cut the sleeves off about 2” below your elbow and hem them with the fabric glue. Paint the buttons with your gold leafing pen if they need it. Sit the top aside to dry for an hour or so.

Now, for the chain mail part. I used a black and silver sequined material again from Wal-Mart. You can see some of this material in the upper right corner of the TOOLS YOU WILL NEED photo. Cut two 12” x 18” rectangles of the fabric. Turn the fabric over to it backside (non shiny side) and fold it in half. Run a bead of the fabric glue approximately 1” inside of where the fabric meets and press the fabric together to create a tube. Let the glue dry for about an hour.

Use the fabric glue to attach the sleeves to the inside of the jerkin like below.

Wait until the sleeves have dried firmly to the jerkin, carefully turn it to correct side out. Using the rest of your gold trim, circle the outside sleeves of the jerkin. Use the same method for applying the trim to the surcoat.

When finished, hang the jerkin to complete drying while you work on the Lorthlorian Cloak. You are almost there!


Ok....I did not go all out for this portion of the costume. I wanted the visual effect of a cloak, but I did not want a heavy, bulky, sweaty, cumbersome item to wear around. The jerkin is hot enough with the surcoat over it. If you want to go all out for the cloak, you can find directions at alleycatscratch.com

This is more of a cape concept, just for the visual flair.

I took a rectangular piece of shiny and thin green fabric (Wal-Mart - $2.00 a yard), approximately 3’ x 5’. Folding it over at the neck, I stitched it together at the top leaving a hole large enough for my head to get through. The cape should come about the bottom of your calf when worn.

For the final touch, I used a cheap version of the Fellowship pin I purchased at a local costume store. It looks good, and runs around $10.00.


These can run up to $400 a pair, so you definitely want to look at the alternative. The cheapest retail ones I found were at bladesbybrown.com, but still run around $100 and can take a month to get to your door.

I went to a local leather shop that made saddles, and bought a large piece of thick leather scrap for $5.00. This piece was about 12” x 18”. Using an Exacto knife, I carefully cut the leather in half. I then cut the leather into the basic hexagonal shape for each arm.

I used a drill to put three holes even spaced on each side of the bracer. Using a sturdy writing pen, I first drew my design on each bracer so that it was slight scratched into the surface of the leather. I went back over the completed design and bore down REALLY HARD with the pen to create an embossed effect. I then traced over the design with the gold leaf pen.

After letting the gold leaf dry, I took a piece of steel wool and buffed off the excess leaving the cervices filled with gold leaf. I then polished the bracer with Kiwi shoe polish and a brush to add an aging effect.

I dampened the bracers with a sponge and using rubber bands, folded them around spray paint cans to add the curve needed. To get the end to bend up, I simply worked the bend in with my hand and placed it against something sturdy to hold the bend overnight while the leather dried.

You are finished for the most part at this point. There are several other items that you might need to complete the outfit, but the hardest parts are done.


You can use any belt brown/black leather belt you wish to place about your waist. I can make you a double wrapped sword belt with a built in scabbard mount (frog) like the one I am wearing if you need me to, but it would take about two weeks.


Since United Cutlery does not have a Boromir sword out yet, I am using a UC1299 Strider’s Ranger sword in a black custom-made scabbard. I would suggest going to eBay and finding a generic one that comes with a scabbard for $50.

Since I am an antiquities dealer by trade, I did some research on Boromir’s sword. He carries what is known to historians as an Oakeshott Type XVIII. These blades are fairly broad (2"-3") at the hilt, and taper gracefully to a sharp point. The hilt is short, intended for one-handed use. The blades are of flattened diamond cross-section, often with a pronounced mid-rib for rigidity. This style is very well adapted for both cutting and thrusting. It was most popular in the early to mid 1300s in Germany.

I can get Type XVIII swords and they look almost identical what Boromir is carrying, but you would be better off using a replica unless you are willing to pay $200.00 for myself to import one from Germany for you.


I used tall black leather moccasins that I purchased from one of my distributing companies. The movie boots are actually standard biker or engineer boots that you can get anywhere.

Now, you want to keep this as cost-effective as possible so don’t go around buying $500 of stuff to get this right, it should only cost around $100 using my method above.


Hall Of Fire Chats This Weekend
Frode @ 7:44 am EST

Finally, the first official trailer for The Return of the King arrived on September 27th. Most ringers seem to agree that it is simply the best trailer even shown in a theater, and it's quite hard to disagree with them. First glimpse of Shelob, Minas Tirith under siege, the rohirrim massing before the charge on the Pelennor. Let's make the wait for this Christmas a bit more bearable by having a closer look at the trailer in #thehalloffire this weekend.

First and foremost; does the trailer meet with your expectations of The Return of the King? What kind of 'feel' do you think this last instalment of the trilogy has compared to the two prior movies?

Minas Tirith, Cirith Ungol, the Pelennor, Minas Morgul, Frodo with the phial of Galadriel, Aragorn on the paths of the dead; are these places and situations how you imagined them to be?

We will of course also discuss that famous first glimpse of Shelob, and debate more detailed matters like whos voiceover we are hearing, and what Aragorn and Legolas are talking about in Edoras. Join us in #thehalloffire as we take a look at the trailer that has brought ringers all around the world to a frenzy.

Saturday Chat:
5:30pm ET (17:30)
[also 11:30pm (23:30) CET and 7:30am Sunday (07:30) AET]

Sunday Chat:
7:00 pm (19:00) CET
[also 1:00pm (13:00) ET and 3:00am (03:00) Monday morning AET]

ET = Eastern Time, USA's East Coast
CET = Central European Time, Central Europe
AET = Australian East Coast

Do you have a possible topic for Hall of Fire? Drop us a line at halloffire@theonering.net

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