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October 16, 2004 - October 23, 2004

10-23-04 Latest News

Hall Of Fire Chats This Weekend
Demosthenes @ 4:43 am EST

"The rule of no realm is mine, neither of Gondor nor any other, great or small." Gandalf refused to use his power to control the free peoples of Middle Earth, but no race or collection of people can long survive without some means of government or authority, to maintain order, uphold justice and protect the weakest and most helpless members of the society.

Although monarchies in various forms seem most common, almost every type of government is represented by Tolkien in his works; the oppressive totalitarian rule of Sauron, the Stewardship of Gondor, the communal collective of Rivendell and the vaguely democratic governing of the Shire, to name just a few.

How do each of these systems function, and which seem the most effective? Does absolute power corrupt whomever wields it? How did the different systems develop? Come to cast your vote for your favourite government when you join us this week in #thehalloffire as we look at "Political Systems in Middle Earth"

Upcoming topics:

10/30/04, 10/31/04: "The Nazgul/Ringwraiths"

Hall of Fire Special Event

Anne Petty to take a seat in The Hall of Fire.

Hall of Fire staff are very pleased to announce that author Anne Petty will be our special guest during our scheduled HoF chat on Sunday, November 7 at 2:00 P.M. EST. Ms. Petty will be sharing her views on Tolkien as a myth-based writer, as well as ideas for those writing their own mythopoeic fiction. She will also be answering our questions on Tolkien, mythology and creative writing, especially creating characters and world-building. All are welcome to join us for this exciting event.

Note: Hall of Fire on Saturday, November 6 will be an open discussion on various authors who write books based on or critiquing J.R.R. Tolkien.


#thehalloffire on theonering.net IRC server. Need instructions? Go here:

Chat Times:

Saturday Chat:
5:30pm EST (17:30)
[also 11:30pm (23:30) CET and 7:30am Sunday morning AEST]

Sunday Chat:
8:00 pm (20:00) CET
[also 2:00pm (14:00) EST and 4:00am Monday morning AEST]

EST = Eastern Time, USA's East Coast
CET = Central European Time, Central Europe
AEST = Australian East Coast

10-22-04 Latest News

Salt Lake City LOTR Gala
Xoanon @ 10:31 am EST

Amka writes: In an historical alliance, Hobbits and Elves, Men and Dwarves, Wizards and even Orcs will be combining forces to help the music department of one Jackson Elementary, an inner city school in Salt Lake City, Utah. Said to be of uncommon merit, this program teaches music and violin to every student, regardless of income.

Our allies include:

*Howard Shore: He has donated a sheet of the score that he has personally signed to the cause.

*Sideshow Weta: They have offered the Smeagol Bust (a sold out Comic-Con exclusive), the Golden Hall, and the Morgul Lord (retired and sold out).

*Badali Jewelry: They provide for us the rings Vilya and Gollum.

*And many, many more.

These items shall be sold at a silent auction to occur at the dinner portion of the Gala.

Tickets include great seats at the Lord of the Rings Symphony, preceded by dinner at one of Salt Lake's premiere restaurants: Bambaras. Because of the gracious discounts given to us by both the Utah Symphony & Opera and Bambaras, you would be hard pressed to find such an evening for the $75 ticket price, but the ticket also includes a generous donation to Jackson Elementary School's music department. Door prizes will be handed out to a special few, and every attendee will receive a special thank you gift.

Tickets for the October 29th event can be bought through the Utah Symphony & Opera by calling (801) 533-NOTE (6683). Ask for the Gala Tickets.

Dress is semi-formal or do feel welcome to wear your costumes! We'll be walking to the Symphony after dinner, and television news crews have been alerted to the invasion.

For more information, visit vcode.com

Into the West is a registered non-profit organization. All donations through purchase of the tickets will be tax deductible.

10-20-04 Latest News

Lord of the Rings Charity Auction
Xoanon @ 9:25 pm EST

Lord of the Rings Charity Auction raising money for World Vision Day with help from the film trilogy cast.

DME Partnership the producers of the 2005 Lord of the Rings wall calendar "Discover England's Two Towers' have teamed up with the charity SeeAbility (the Royal School for the Blind), to raise money for the charity and increase awareness.

Money is being raised through a charity auction of a 'Discover England's Two Tower's' Calendar which was kindly signed by twelve of the films cast including Karl Urban (Eomer) and Bernard Hill (King Theoden) plus the two main conceptual artists Alan Lee and John Howe.

The auction is on now at online and will end on Sunday 24th October with bids starting at just #0.99. All money will be donated to the charity SeeAbility.

The "Discover England's Two Towers" 2005 Wall Calendar is part of a limited run of just 2000, and is one of only two in the world to be signed by the Lord of the Rings cast. The calendar features stunning colour photographs and fascinating descriptions of locations in England that JRR Tolkien used as his inspiration for Middle-Earth in his books such as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

For photographs of the cast and crew whose signatures feature on this calendar, see our webpage at here.

If unsuccessful in the auction, you can still help SeeAbility and get your hands on a non-signed calendar. Purchase them from http://www.discovermiddleearth.co.uk and we will donate 50p to SeeAbility for all calendars sold on the website before November 1st 2004.

About SeeAbility

DiscoverMiddleEarth.co.uk has chosen SeeAbility as its 2004 charity of choice and all money raised by this auction will be donated to them.

SeeAbility works with people who are blind or partially sighted and have additional disabilities, such as learning or physical disabilities. They provide residential accommodation, activity and resource centres and support in a person's own home. Their aim is to help individuals discover their potential by encouraging independence and helping them develop new skills. For more information visit www.seeability.org

Full Cast Signature Listing

Karl Urban - Eomer
Bernard Hill - King Theoden
Mark Ferguson - Gil Galad
Sandro Kopp - Gildor
Bruce Hopkins - Gamling
Cameron Rhodes - Farmer Maggot
Sarah McLeod - Rosie Cotton
Craig Parker - Haldir
Jarl Benzon - Glorfindel
Jorn Benzon - Rumil
Jed Brophy - Shark/Sharga
Lawrence Makoare - Lutz/Witchking/Gothmog

10-19-04 Latest News

Seeking So-Cal Ringer!!
Xoanon @ 7:47 pm EST

Liane writes: I'm a journalist (I've written for Entertainment Weekly, the LA Times, etc.) currently writing a book about the influence of pop culture on our lives, and I'm hoping to interview a LOTR fan, preferably one located in or around Los Angeles,

I'm looking for someone who can go beyond simply explaining why the books and/or films are entertaining. I'm hoping to find someone who can articulate why LOTR resonates deeply with them on a personal level, and has a story to tell about it. Has Frodo's fortitude in the face of insurmountable odds ever been an inspiration, for example? Have sites like this one helped you create lasting friendships (or even romantic relationships) that you would have never discovered otherwise? Do you feel the books and/or films have changed the way you view the world in any way?

I should note - I'm only looking for ONE LOTR fan, and that person has an entire chapter devoted to their story, so it requires a little bit of time (most of the interview is conducted via e-mail, with an in-person interview at a later date) and reflection. Also, I am currently working with a professional photographer, though it's undecided as yet how many people will be photographed for the book.

If you're interested, please contact me at journachick@aol.com and tell me a little bit about why LOTR is important to you (and, of course, let me know if you have any questions). Thanks! Liane

RingCon: Seattle
Xoanon @ 11:03 am EST

SEATTLE, WA, – The fifth Northwest RingCon will be held October 29th through 31st at the SeaTac Doubletree Hotel in Seattle. Lord of the Rings enthusiasts and fantasy lovers of all ages can experience a weekend of music, dance, costume-making, and fun, all in the context of the Middle Earth universe.

Guests include Bruce Hopkins, (“Gamling”), authors Peter Beagle (The Last Unicorn) and Greg Wright (Peter Jackson in Perspective), Peter Tait (Shagrat). Royd Tolkien, great-grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien will make a special guest appearance.

Premier Lord of the Rings costume designers, Cat and Judy from Alley Cat Scratch will hold special costume-making workshops throughout the weekend. A Masquerade Ball and Costume Contest, accompanied by the music of Heather Alexander, will top off the convention on Saturday night. Attendees can have their pictures taken with one of the guests of honor before and during the ball in the backdrop of the mysterious Fangorn Forest.

Tickets for RingCon can be purchased either as an entire weekend package deal or according to individual events. For pricing and registration information, go to www.ringcon.com. Contact RingCon staff at 1-800-359-5948, or by snail mail at RingCon, 12016 134th Avenue, Kpn, Gig Harbor, WA 98329.

Film Score Monthly Magazine Forum Report
Xoanon @ 10:58 am EST

Shana: I attended a Film Score Monthly Magazine forum on LOTR music when I was in Chicago for the Howard Shore concert October 9. The guy leading this was Doug Adams, who is writing a book on the music of LOTR. He had a proof copy of the book to pass around, and some great details to share, so I thought ya'll may be interested in this report that I did to post on Main on the message boards.

A few of us (Fantasy Fan, djdeathskiss, Friend of Gandalf, Lttlberr, Earendil'sgirl and me) were lucky enough to attend a forum by Film Score Monthly Magazine, www.filmscoremonthly.com, on the music of LOTR when we were in Chicago for the Howard Shore concert. Leading the discussion was Doug Adams, a writer at FSM who is working on a book titled, The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films. Howard Shore actually contacted him about doing this book, so he obviously has great access to Mr. Shore. And from the Q and A session that Doug and Mr. Shore led, it was quite obvious that Mr. Shore feels quite comfortable with the amount of knowledge Doug has, since there were some points that Mr. Shore just handed over the mic to let him answer a question about his music. In addition to lengthy phone calls and visits to the studio with Mr. Shore, he also flew to New Zealand and saw parts of the pickups and stuff for ROTK. He also spent a week in London and attended parts of the recording of the ROTK soundtrack for the movie (not the cd).

In the interest of getting to the good info, about Doug's book, I'll skip all the stuff about the forum, except for a few nuggets that Doug told us about:

Sissel will be singing in the EE. According to Sissel herself, she's singing in Elvish, but she doesn't know what part of the movie it's in. Doug said he thought it was near Pelennor, though, perhaps (SPOILER) part of the extended scene with Pippin looking for Merry.

The nine-disc cd set will be similar to the ROTK special edition soundtrack, in that it will most likely also have a documentary part with the cds. The cds will have every bit of music recorded for the EE editions of the three movies. It also will include some out takes, such as the first version of the fellowship theme, and music from an Arwen scene that was cut from the movie.

The book is scheduled to be released about the same time as the nine-disc set, in early 2005, most likely. The release dates are deliberately tied together, and holding up release is making sure they won't be competing with another LOTR release.

Mr. Shore himself was "THISCLOSE" to attending the dinner, which I probably would have died and not been able to write this if he had. But, apparently he does read TORn occasionally, to keep up with what his fans are saying.

I shamelessly hogged Doug's book--I was actually downing Twizzlers during the intermission of the symphony, because I spent so much time drooling over this book, I didn't even really eat dinner---which New Line, he said, had put together for him recently with a lot of photos from the movies. Fantasy Fan was sitting next to me and she will verify that I wouldn't let go of this book.) The book looks awesome. I think it's important to note that it starts with a brief note from Mr. Shore, saying that Doug has his express permission to do this and his help.

The first thing I noticed was that it had ALL of the songs, in English and Elvish, Dwarvish or whatever language was being used with the English translation, from the movies, every line. That in itself was incredible to read. Then, there are chapters that have each race, and broken down how Mr. Shore came up with the music for each race, the first place it appears, the foreshadowing for it (like how in FOTR when the trumpets sound when Boromir is talking foreshadow to the Gondor theme in ROTK) and some reflections on that piece. And for the musicians out there, there iswritten music when talking about the different themes. It's not the entire score, but just about a line or so for each theme.

During the Q&A, Doug said that they had identified and written at least 75 different musical themes in the book, and this is the largest section of the book. The book is very comprehensive and even for people like me who love the music, yet don't really read music or understand all the complicated details of it, it's very easy to read.

Oh, and I was able to actually manage a coherent thought when I was talking to Mr. Shore at the reception (don't know where it came from) and he did say that there were plans for a CD to be released of his symphony.

Sorry this is so overdue, I was worried about leaving something out, and wanted to have time to do this justice. I totally recommend this book, it is awesome, and thanks to Fantasy Fan for making sure that I didn't leave out any good details.

10-18-04 Latest News

Sean Astin Book Tour Images & Reports
Xoanon @ 10:28 am EST

Sean Astin Book Tour Images
Click for more images

Emma writes:

Arrived there before store opening (in my case, 8:30AM) for the 2PM session. We'd been told that we couldn't get in line before 12:30PM, but these poor people did NOT know they would have RINGERS to deal with.

At 9AM, they opened the doors, and we all trooped upstairs to where the signing would be. At this point, there weren't more than about 25-30 of us, so (having years of experience working autograph sessions), I figured out the best place for us to place a line while staying out of everyone's way, and harrassed a few of the younger folk into paying attention to me (it helped that a large number of people in the line were from the Chicago Fellowship and figured I knew what I was doing--so other people followed along). One young lady came upstairs to tell us we couldn't line up yet; I replied that it would cause pandemonium if all of us, plus the hundreds to follow, pretended to wander aimlessly around the store only to converge all at once at 12:30PM. I asked if maybe we could take numbers, or work out some other system. She went away. She didn't return...

About half an hour later, "Marc" appeared. He began setting up ropes and moving chairs--they had only about 40 seats originally set up for Sean's Q&A. He moved us a tiny bit, but didn't say anything about us leaving, so we asked if we were OK as we were. He said he thought we'd actually set up the line quite well, and he had no problem with us just staying there until we could be moved into the seating area. Woo hoo!

A little after 11:30, Marc moved us into the seats. Since there were only 5 people ahead of me, it was front row center all the way. I was a little worried about 1) being too close, and 2) the floor-to-ceiling windows letting in bright sunlight, but what the heck--it was a great seat and I was keeping it! Once we got seated, the line moved forward, and the several hundred people who were already waiting *mostly* got close enough to hear, if not see.

We spent the next hour or so playing the movie trivia game--Marc proved a quite funny and versatile host, if I had to explain to him that it was "phial" and not "file" of Galadriel... I managed to embarrass myself hugely by answering a question incorrectly that I *knew* the answer to--I swear, I was thinking "London" and said "Wellington" and I have a new appreciation of how this sort of thing happens to game show contestants. (I got a later one correct, and so redeemed myself.)

Marc had previously explained to us that Sean had been moved to an earlier flight (to New Zealand, where he's shooting a TV series), and his people had wanted to move up the signing, but it was so late, and had been advertised so widely, that the store didn't want to change the time. Now, however, since it was well early and SO many people were already there, they figured that people arriving just at 2 wouldn't have much of a chance anyway, so... when Sean's people called a little before 1, they were told he could come on over anytime. Which he did.

I don't have notes from the talk--too busy photographing. I know he was more relaxed than I'd ever seen him. He talked a bit about the process of choosing a cowriter. He talked about watching a bit of the Bears game. He sang about half of Elton John's "Your Song" and told a funny story about meeting Elton. And then he sat down to sign and sign and sign...

I understand the theory was that he'd sign the first couple hundred or something, then give another little talk for the people who'd been too far back to hear the first one. Maybe someone else can tell you if that happened--I can't. However, I did give him a book of photos from Wellington and Lincoln Center, and the Chicago Fellowship gave him a couple of presents including an adorable personalized bear, and he couldn't have been more gracious to any of us. So, having had a remarkable day, I didn't want to push my luck by trying to hang around the fringes taking more photos, and our group left for a long-awaited lunch.



Hello! Just reporting back from the Sean Astin book signing at the Borders in Chicago. It was pretty crowded when I arrived this afternoon at Borders on Michigan Ave. The line was already snaking from one side of the third floor of the bookstore to the other side, weaving through and around the shelves of music and books to accomodate the large number of people who arrived to get their copy of the book signed.

They notified us that due to time limits and the amount of people Sean would ONLY sign the book and no other materials. There were so many people that the management had to cap the line, so some people were just plain out of luck. Sean Astin is definitely a trooper when it comes to signing books for all those fans that came out today to see him. I managed to read well into the fouth chapter of the book while waiting in line. As I got closer to the table where Sean was sitting signing the book (or books if you bought multiple copies) they mentioned that Sean couldn't take a picture WITH you, you could only take a picture of him. So no other books/pics/things would be signed nor would I get a picture with Sean Astin--Ah well, the fans will be content with meeting him and getting a photo. Said photos are attached to this message.

Overall that I saw Sean Astin was very courteous to all the fans who came to get the book signed by him. The girl infront of me asked him if he was staying in the city -- he said no, matter of fact I've got to fly out to New Zealand straight from here, I've got to leave at 3:30. This probably explains the hurried pace of the line since Sean seems to be one of those kind of people that wouldn't mind chatting it up and taking photos in normal circumstances. The only question I have is what's he going to New Zealand for? Maybe a King Kong Cameo? Only time will give us the answer to that! As for me I've got a signed book to read!



Hello, friends of TORn! I attended Sean Astin's Chicago book-signing at Borders bookstore today. I saw Sean last year at WizardWorld and I'd have to say it was a better experience then. My time with Sean couldn't have been more than 30 seconds this time around, so it was very rushed. I think this is because he was leaving for New Zealand tonight.

My friend and I arrived in Chicago around noon, but decided to grab a bite to eat before standing in line at Borders. We could see from outside the store that the line was pretty long, way up on the top level. By the time I purchased Mr. Astin's book and we got up to the line it was a little after 1 pm. Later I heard the people behind me talking about Sean's "discussion" period. Apparently that had already been done, even though the signs in the store and internet said 2 pm. Disappointed that I missed Sean's talk, I anxiously waited in line, making random comments about where Sean might be this very moment or what he was doing to my friend. He accused me of having "obsessive compulsive disorder".

I thought of what I wanted to say to Sean. I thought I'd ask him if he could tell me anything about the extended edition, ask how his family was, tell him he *totally* deserved an Oscar for Samwise (which the people behind me in line were also very sure of), and tell him I thought he was great in 50 First Dates! I also wanted to tell him everyone from theonering.net loves him and ask him to sign my custom-made Hobbit purse (he's on it!) Okay, so, I had several ideas bouncing through my head so I wouldn't make a fool of myself, getting up there and staring giddily.

The line was moving much faster than I anticipated. We were only 20 minutes ahead of the "capping off" of the line, so I expected to be standing in the rock 'n' roll CDs for quite a while. It was less than hour, however, before an employee of Borders began telling us the rules for seeing Sean today. The only thing he would sign was the book, and he would not personalize it. He would only sign a specific page and we couldn't even give him the book; we gave it to an assistant who handed it to another guy who handed it to Sean. We could not pose for a picture with Sean. It was quite sad! Based on the other reports I've read and meeting Sean before, I find it hard to believe Sean was the one to lay out all these rules. The friend I was with said Borders is probably to blame.

I scrambled to get a couple pictures between the people greeting Sean ahead of me. Then, finally, it was my turn: Sean looked up with a smile and a very nice, "Hi! How are you?" I smiled and said, "Hi! I'm great, how are you?" I think he said good. I had heard him mention flying to New Zealand tonight to the person ahead of me, so as he signed my book I asked what he was going for. Some part of me hoped it was for more pick-ups for the RotK extended edition. But he said, "Oh I'm filming a new Hercules mini-series..." and I can't really remember what he said after that. By then he was already signing someone else's book and my time seemed to be up. "I'll have to look out for that; thank you!" I concluded, and he sent an acknowledging nod my direction. A tall man standing to the right of Sean handed me my book and thanked me. I felt really rushed, but still grateful for the opportunity of seeing Sean again. I didn't get to tell him any of the things I had wanted to, but my friend was able to snap a picture of my moment with Sean!

All in all, the event was less satisfying than I expected, and I feel bad for those people behind me who said they had traveled some distance to be there today. For me, though, any chance to see one of my favorite actors was worth the day in Chicago! Sean handled himself well and continued to be very friendly even through the rush. Thanks for continuing to keep Chicago a stop on the map, Sean!


AZ ‘Telcontar’

Several LOTR Chicago Fellowship members [some of whom were meeting a LOTR celebrity for the first time, my own daughter included] made their way to Borders Bookstore in downtown Chicago early Sunday morning to await the arrival of Sean Astin for a short talk and book signing of his new book, “There and Back Again”. The store opened at 9:00 am, and Sean was scheduled for a 2:00 pm appearance. The line had already started before the store even opened. [I heard later that the earliest arrival had been 5 am.! ] I’m not entirely sure the staff had been prepared for what lengths fans will go for a good seat, but we duefully headed up to the event area to wait out the time in line. It was orderly and friendly, everyone talking and meeting old friends and making new ones.

Closer to time they moved us into the seating area and had a bit of a trivia contest, which was very funny. Many of us proved our LOTR geekdom time and time again with each question. The overflow of people was massive; it was more than standing room only, and I was really happy that I had decided to get there as early as possible.

Sean arrived for his [far too short] discussion time nearly an hour early, due to the fact that his flight had to leave earlier than previously scheduled. He was on his way back to New Zealand to continue filming ‘Hercules’. The fangirly squeeing that greeted him was deafening, and Sean started out the talk by saying how gratifying it was to have such a huge turnout for the book signing. Part of what resulted from writing the book, he remarked, was that it reminded him how much people really care about LOTR: the cast, the crew and the fans. In the moment, during filming, it was easy to lose that perspective. After the filming, he felt rather disconnected and withdrawn—part of the drawback of working on a project where his work wouldn’t be seen for years after he’d filmed it, but he was now able to see just how much was involved. In addition, the demands of his profession and his need to stay in touch with his family had began forcing him to really take care of himself first, and how important doing that was for him to accomplish the things he wanted to do.

Briefly he mentioned the RotK Extended DVD also drove home how utterly captivating the experience of working in New Zealand with the whole LOTR crew had been. He mentioned that he had remarked to the cast that it could be compared to building the pyramids [which, he said, was a source of some amusement.] but his point was that the communal effort of each of the team members given it their all was astounding.

Several of the more enthusiastic fans in the audience jokingly asked to join him on the trip to New Zealand this time around as his personal entourage, which Sean good-humoredly declined.

Turning the discussion to the process of writing “There and Back Again” Sean mentioned that he had always wanted to write a book ‘since....well, since birth!’ The trouble was, he wasn’t sure how to go about it, exactly. After researching it, he realized he needed to have a literary agent. His manager contacted one; he got a hold of Joe Layden, who seemed to fit the bill for the type of book Sean wanted.

Sean began saying “It’s little bit funny....” which set him singing the whole song by Elton John. The crowd quickly joined him. Amid a great deal of laughter, Sean told a tale about how he had met Elton John at a party. Getting back on the subject, he told us that because of other commitments, he wasn’t able to read the book by Joe Layden sent to him for nearly a year, but the opportunity arose and he arranged to have several interviews with Joe, mostly on the phone. Using those conversations, Joe would write up transcripts and send them to Sean for approval. Once they had fine-tuned it into a book manuscript, the literary agent began to go around seeking a publisher.

Sean was quick to caution everyone that the book was not a comprehensive record of even his personal feelings, let alone the massive, complex journey he undertook in making LOTR. It was about several aspects of both his inner workings and the experience of it. He wanted to be sure to thank everyone involved in LOTR, from the cast and crew and down to us fans for our involvement, and how that had really changed his life, both personally and professionally.

Because Sean’s time was so limited, the book signing had to go very fast. The bookstore staff explained to us that Sean couldn’t personalize the books or sign other merchandise, couldn’t get up to do celeberity photo shots, and couldn’t give out hugs or talk to each of us for long. We could have someone behind us take photos of Sean signing our books for us, and we could give him gifts, but it had to be done with a great deal of haste. [well, it is a book signing, after all, not a convention.] And then the line began to move.

Having been in line since the store opened, my group was toward the front. We had our books all ready and open, and we presented Sean with a special teddy bear from Build-A-Bear that was designed for him. It’s part of a program that makes a donation to support early childhood literacy with each bear purchase, and being that Sean is a strong supporter of literacy programs, we thought he’d appreciate it. [He appreciated it a bit more than I expected: he in fact wanted to give me a hug, which I tried to turn down, not wanting to be unfair to all the fans behind me. Ever try to refuse a Sean Astin hug? You can’t, trust me, and I, red-faced, apologized to the squealing crowd and told everyone that I honestly didn’t ask for it, it was Sean’s idea.] My daughter was with me, and Sean gave her a special handshake and smile, which made her day. She was thrilled to have finally met him.

It went very quick, and someone not used to book signings might have felt very rushed, but I was prepared for it. All and all, the fans were great: it felt like a big, friendly get-together, with a lot of familiar and some unfamiliar faces mixed in. Sean, although a bit jet-lagged [he had been in Boston the day before, and had arrived at the signing from the airport, I believe...] was all smiles and more relaxed than I’ve ever seen him. Writing ‘There and Back Again’ really seemed to have given Sean a sense of calm and enjoyment, a renewal of his positive energy. I hope that he’ll make another appearance in Chicago soon, one where we’ll get to have even more time with this remarkable man.

10-17-04 Latest News

Boston Sean Astin Signing Report
Xoanon @ 9:29 pm EST

HobbitHearted writes: Back from the Boston LoTR Exhibit and Sean Astin book signing! What fun! What hysteria! What fatigue!! Got to the museum shortly after the 9am opening time and the line for the Sean’s signing was already out the door and down the sidewalk, running the entire length of the museum. Our timed entry into the exhibit wasn’t until 11:15am, so we toured the Museum of BostonR17;s other amazing exhibits until then. The LoTR Exhibit reviews have already been shared by others, so I won’t go into that except to add that it was totally incredible to see up close the detail of the costumes and weaponry! Did you know there are tiny skulls on the Haradrim’s costume??! Amazing detail! I thought maybe it could’ve been bigger and shown more of the props like Bilbo’s desk or Theoden’s chair or a variety of Aragorn’s costumes (they had only one). Overall, it was quite enjoyable. My unexpected favorites were the sketches by Alan Lee and others. Makes you appreciate the genius involved in this undertaking.

After visiting the Exhibit, my husband took the kids to the planetarium and I went downstairs to take my place on line, only to find out that they had stopped allowing people to line up at 10:30am. My best efforts to convince the security guard to let me wait were met with a smile and an “I’m sorry…he simply won’t be able to sign this many.” *sigh*

I spoke with a few fans in line who said that people were offering money for them to carry their book to Sean for signing. Many brought their artwork to either give or have signed and Sean met each one with a smile and a handshake or a photo and a hug. His handlers were patient and didn’t seem to rush anyone through. At one point, a museum representative came over to a group of young fans camped on the floor (going on their fifth hour of waiting!) and were instructed on “How to greet Sean.” I laughed when I heard her and listened in!

What we found in the AM session was that many people were so awestruck when they got close that they couldn’t talk (sounds oddly familiar). So what we’re suggesting is that you practice what you want to say to each other so when you get there, you have it! The handlers will take the book from you so all you have to do is talk to him and shake his hand if you want. Don’t rush, look him in the eye and enjoy it!” Kudos to all the Boston MoS staff for being so personable and professional in the face of what must have been a very stressful two days. I talked with a volunteer assigned to crowd control how she scored this gig and she said, “Much begging, but it was worth it and crowd has been great!”

The fans were amazingly wonderful! Some played cards, some read Sean’s book or their LoTR books. Some even brought their LoTR Trivial Pursuit game to play while waiting (I so wanted to join, but there were laser shows to be seen! Did I mention I love the Boston MoS??) You could easily spot the fans who had just met Sean, their broad smiles and the bounce in their step gave it away. I even spotted one Flat Stanley (not Frodo) who got signed and had a picture taken with Sean. Oh, that I were cardboard! I met some “Eowyn Challenge” walkers (they said to say “Hi” to ToRN’s Walk to Rivendell leader, Miradan) and a few random hobbits and elves.

In an attempt to distract myself from my disappointment at not having the opportunity to greet Sean, I decided to conduct a quick crowd study. (Rough estimates here) I counted approximately two fangirl screams from the balcony per five minutes…over six hours of signing…that’s a lot of screaming! They shouted “Rudy” and “Sam” but the majority of cheers raining down were of the “Sean, we love you” type. He was kind and animated and waved back every time someone shouted. Mothers and daughters, young and old swooned and shouted to him to get his attention and take a picture from only place the Museum would let you linger, in the 2nd floor kid’s hands-on science exhibit. That was terrific planning, I thought. It kept the crowd out of the main hallways and it let the big people become kids again, playing with their kids, other people’s kids and with all the toys they had up there! “A great day to be a geek,” the young exhibit volunteer said to me.

I spoke with one of the men helping with the signing while he took a break (I think he was from the publishing house). I asked how many books he signed today and was it a record day for the museum. He said that by 3:30pm (Sean was leaving promptly at 5pm to make the Red Sox/Yankee game), Sean had signed over 1300 books! He said that the only other signing he’d seen with more participation was the Al Franken book signing. He admired the crowds and their enthusiasm and had great things to say about Sean.

On the lunch break, some teenage fans and I staked out the elevator where Sean was expected to return from shortly. I encouraged them to visit ToRN and join in the fun and we shared emails to share the photos we were about to take. I had scribbled down a limerick I wrote on Friday for ToRN message board’s “Friday Fiesta” about Sean’s Boston visit. I said that ToRN loved him and thanks, etc. As he walked by I placed it in his hand and he smiled and said, “What’s this?” I said, “It’s for you, thanks!” And he walked on and read it! The teenagers with me let out a scream, “You TOUCHED him!!” And we did that jumping up and down thing that you do when you’ve lost your mind. [Images]

Sean Astin Book Signing: Huntington, NY Report
Xoanon @ 11:27 am EST

Sean Astin Book Signing: Huntington, NY

Thorongil writes: About 400-500 fans packed the Book Revue on Long Island last night to meet Sean Astin and get a signed copy of his new book "There and Back Again". What the people received was more then they could of hoped for. After some of the crowd had been for waiting hours, Sean showed up fresh from a taping of the Bill O'Reilly show. The crowd of people cheered and went wild as Sean made his way through the crowd and he met up with one of his former professors who obviously had a positive influence on Sean as they embraced like old friends. Even though tired from an exhausting day of TV appearances that started early in the morning, Sean showed no signs of fatigue as he warmly greeted each person in line. He flashed his great smile and gave a hearty handshake to each and every person even giving out a few hugs to the overly excited young girls. I had met Sean before on three other occasions and was just thoroughly impressed by his friendly actions this evening. He would attentively listen to what the people would have to say and would spend however long it took to respond to their questions. He posed for pictures and even talked on a few of the fan's cell phones to eagerly awaiting people who couldn’t be there. But what impressed me the most was the way he interacted with all the small children who came up to the table. His face just lit up when they said hello to him and he would ask them if they had seen the movies or read the books and remarked to them countless times, "oh, you must read The Hobbit". As people walked away and passed me, I can not tell you how many nice things people had to say about Sean. The highlight of the evening was when he asked one little girl her name and as she answered Sean became animated as he told her that was his daughters name too and then he proceeded to tell her what the Maori word for their name was, although don’t ask me to spell it as I don’t have a clue but it was cute sounding. The girl and her family walked by and the little girl squealed with delight and her brother remarked, "that was cool".

After about 2 hours the line was finally done and I got to talk to Sean for a few minutes after he did a brief interview with his former professor for Five Towns College and before he raced back to New York City. I asked Sean to tell us about his book and in relation to Andy Serkis' "Gollum" book, was it just about his role as Samwise Gamgee or did it expand upon that and involve more of his personal life. This is what he had to say, " Well, I read Andy's book too and thought it was wonderful, it was lovely and honest and heartfelt and I wanted to read more. I would love to say on TheOneRing.net, from my perspective my book isn't authoritative, it isn't definitive or comprehensive, it's just my opportunity to express a lot of the things that might have been inappropriate to go into greater detail about sooner and taken in the context of the whole panoply of interviews and all the millions of things said by me and others. It is just a chance by me to share a particular sort of strand of my thinking and my feelings. Some of the more painful kind of introspective stuff that Elijah (Wood) or my wife would be aware of, who knew that I was given to torture myself throughout the process in my own head. I would say simply that the book is kind of a helicopter ride through the ten years of my professional life leading up to Lord of the Rings and relating to how I experienced the Lord of the Rings. Basically what I try to do with the book is place myself in Hollywood history and whether I deserve to do that or not is for others to decide. It is a presumptuous thing to do, but I had applied to the Graduate School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA, I was rejected and I was sort of smarting from that when I was hired to play Sam. I took with me to New Zealand about 35-40 books about the history of Hollywood, History, Methodology, Criticism, Director's Biographies, those kind of things, so that was the frame of mind I was in when I was having the experiences of The Lord of the Rings. So, the book is to satisfy that audience, actors and people or kids if they are interested in getting into the acting profession.

I read on TheOneRing.net or one of the other sites, why I didn't write more about Sean Bean. I have nothing but love and affection for all the actors and all the cast and crew from the movie. The book, because it is in ink, it might seem to be authoritative or definitive about my feelings of some people, it is not. It is just some thoughts that occurred to me while I was writing them down, I hold them in the highest esteem and have great affection, particularly Ian McKellen and Peter Jackson. I hope people are not put off by the fact that I took the bold gesture of putting this out there. I am proud of it, it is honest, but it also is a little more abrasive then I probably would of liked it for it to be, so I want to apologize to the fans for this.

10-16-04 Latest News

Noble & JRD Re-Team for Another 'King'
Xoanon @ 11:05 am EST

Oct 15 (Los Angeles)------- 8X Entertainment, the Hollywood-based production company which produced the 1999 hit film, “The Omega Code,” has begun a three week film shoot in northwestern India. The historical epic, “One Night With the King,” is based on the best selling novel, “Hadassah: One Night With The King” by author Tommy Tenney.

“One Night With The King” chronicles the life of the young Jewish girl, Hadassah, played by Hollywood newcomer, Tiffany Dupont. Dupont portrays the rags-to-riches heroine who goes on to become the Biblical Esther, the Queen of Persia (400–322 B.C.), who saves the Jewish nation from annihilation at the hands of its arch enemy Haman (played by James Callis; “Helen of Troy,” 2003) while winning the heart of the fiercely handsome King Xerxes, played by Luke Goss, 36 (“Blade II,” 2002; “ZigZag,” 1999).

“‘One Night With The King’ is a multi-million dollar epic teeming with romance and imagery and complete with suspense, political war conspiracies, and religious intrigue,” says the films publicist, Susan Zahn of WDC Media.

“Having motion picture legends Peter O’Toole (the Prophet Samuel) and Omar Sharif (Prince Memucan) starring on the same bill only adds to the film’s overall mystique,” says Zahn. “Who could forget the stunning epic, ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ (1962) and its incredible visuals!” exclaims Zahn. “Or the mirage scene in which Omar Sharif appears from the desert mist or the scene where Peter O’Toole returns in Arab garb to be cheered as a hero by his army colleagues?”

The “One Night With The King” cast includes such notable talent as John Rhys-Davies as Mordecai and John Noble as Prince Admantha. Both actors starred in the blockbuster trilogy “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Two Towers,” and “Return of the King.” The film also features veteran actor Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister Jr. in the lead role of Hegai. Lister has appeared in over 80 films.

“The account of Esther is a passionate story,” relates Tommy Tenney. “It’s full of reversals of fortune as the tension of the story builds. It’s rooted deeply in two basic human emotions—love and hate,” says the best-selling author.

With the film’s historical background and its majestic sets, the actors cast in “One Night With The King” provide the movie with a rich landscape of ethnic diversity. “This project naturally lends itself to being multicultural,” states Tenney. “It stretches across huge cultural divides from religion to ethnicity. Esther, as an historical figure, appeals to both the Christian and Jewish communities worldwide. The fact that the storyline unfolds in ancient Iraq and Iran is of interest to Muslims as well,” explains Tenney.

Adapted for film by screenwriter Stephan Blinn, directed by Michael Sajbel and Produced by TBN Films, 8X Entertainment and Tommy Tenney. “One Night With The King” is scheduled for theatrical release on March 25, a date that coincides with the Christian Good Friday and Esther’s Jewish Feast of Purim.

A Long Expected Party in Ohio
Xoanon @ 10:50 am EST

A Long Expected Party 2004

Asphodel the PR Hobbit writes: A small farm southeast of Columbus Ohio was recently transformed into the Party Field to celebrate Bilbo Baggins’ birthday. The Ohio Ring Council fan club’s version of the Long Expected Party, held Sept. 18th, drew over 75 revelers from throughout the Shire and as far away as Ontario, and West Virginia. Hobbits, Elves, Men, Wizards, and even an Orc spent the day eating, dancing to live Celtic music by FinTan, eating, re-enacting scenes from the Lord of the Rings books, eating, flying kites, eating, taking pictures, getting rides on “Bill” the pony, eating, giving dramatic readings, eating, and watching fireworks.

Planning began in April, and all told, over 30 volunteers participated in one way or another—making decorations at a “BannerMoot,” “PennantMoot” and “LanternMoot,” and building a stage for the band. Gandalf’s cart—full of prop fireworks—was parked in the center of the field. Members brought Hobbit-inspired food to share, and, true to form, most Hobbits never stopped eating.

“Lass,” a young Hobbit who built the Bilbo costume worn by her father, said “It's funny, because ORC is intended as a 'local' fanclub…yet a good many of our members travel great distances to participate. A fantastic fellowship? I'd say so.”

“Lady Of Lorien” agreed. “I feel like the ORCs are part of my family. So many really kind, down to earth people in one club. It's just beautiful that this group exists where all different kinds of people can share their love of LOTR…I'm proud to be a part of it.”

A highlight of the event turned out to be dramatic readings from Tolkien’s works, including Sam's thoughts about Frodo from LOTR, "The Lay of Luthien" from The Silmarillion, and Èowyn and Faramir’s scene atop the walls of Minas Tirith.

Most attendees arrived in Hobbit costume. Notable celebrity appearances included Bilbo, Gandalf the Gray, Eowyn, and Faramir. The party was later crashed by Sauruman, Grima Wormtongue and an Orc.

The Long Expected Party was ORC’s largest and most ambitious event to date, and the party’s success has already inspired members to start planning for LEP 2005, which will be open to the public.

As “Arwen’s Hubby” said, “I have become so much more of an enthusiast of Tolkien's rich tapestries, in no small part due to the joyful madness you can find at any ORC event. My Lords and Ladies…I raise my mug of ale to ye!!!”

Ohio Ring Council

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