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November 01, 2004 - November 12, 2004

11-12-04 Latest News

Hall Of Fire Chats This Weekend
Demosthenes @ 6:41 pm EST

"So began a battle that none had expected; and it was called the Battle of Five Armies, and it was very terrible."

Tolkien builds his simple adventure tale to its final climax, and it proves to be a startling one.

Things seem completely hopeless, and war between the elves of Mirkwood, the men of Lake Town and the Dwarves (including Thorin and all his kin) appears unavoidable. Just when the situation couldn't look darker, it gets a whole lot worse. Goblins and Wild Wolves from the Misty Mountains arrive to slaughter and destroy, and make Smaug's famed horde their own. War has begun.

Will the dwarves, elves and men be able to set aside their differences and unite against a common enemy? What part does Gandalf play in the battle? How well does Bard meet this new challenge? And what of Bilbo? Join us this weekend in #thehalloffire as we look at "The Hobbit: Chapter 17 - The Clouds Burst"

Upcoming topics:

11/20 and 11/21:
"If I lived in Middle Earth": Which of Tolkien s characters would you like to be?

11/27 and 11/28:
The Hobbit: Chapter 18: The Return Journey and Chapter 19: The Last Stage

12/4 and 12/5:
Concerning Hobbits Everything you ever wanted to know

#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


Hof-announce mailing list
Hof-announce@theonering.net http://www.theonering.net/mailman/listinfo/hof-announce

Christopher Lee Weekend
Xoanon @ 12:39 pm EST

Tickets are available at the door for 'Christopher Lee - A Celebration in Film' at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel, Heathrow. Tickets are £30 at the door each day.

Of particular interest to TheOneRing.net fans will be the event special offer for the ROTK EE pre-order.

ROTK EE DVD - REGION 2 - Autographed by Christopher Lee together with an unsigned copy of JINNAH posted within the mainland UK for 10th December 2004 release for £39.99 incl shipping.This is a special event only price and attendees can pre-order up to 6 copies each, all details are here.

All European orders have to be made at this weekends event.

11-11-04 Latest News

Sean Astin Book Tour Dates
Xoanon @ 10:16 am EST

Sean Astin will once again be touring the US and one stop in London in the next few months. He is promoting his book "There and Back Again : An Actor's Tale". Follow the links below for more information!

11/22/2004: 7:00 PM Friends Select School Philadelphia, PA
11/23/2004: 5:30 PM Barnes & Noble - Mall of America Bloomington, MN
11/29/2004: 1:00 PM Forbidden Planet Megastore London, England

12/2/2004: 3:30 PM Dark Delicacies Burbank, CA
12/2/2004: 7:00 PM Borders Westwood, CA
12/8/2004: University Bookstore Seattle, WA
12/9/2004: Powell's Portland, OR
12/10/2004: 7:00 PM A Clean Well Lighted Place San Francisco, CA
12/11/2004: 2:00 PM Book Passage San Francisco, CA

1/25/2005: 7:00 PM Kuss Auditorium Springfield, OH

11-10-04 Latest News

LOTR Concert: New Jersey
Xoanon @ 12:10 pm EST

mallorn writes: New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ and NJ Symphony Orchestra join forces to present the NY Metropolitan Area premiere of The Lord of the Rings Symphony: Six Movements for Orchestra and Chorus, a multi-media extravaganza featuring music from the blockbuster big-screen trilogy, whose soundtrack recordings have sold over 4 million copies.

This once-in-a-lifetime concert will feature composer Howard Shore's monumental, Grammy and Academy Award-winning score from all three Lord of the Rings films in a six-movement, two-hour musical journey into the realm of Middle Earth – from the tranquility of the Shire to the horrors of Mordor and explosive Mount Doom.

To enhance the musical experience, storyboard sketches from the movie trilogy and original illustrations for the centenary edition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s books will be projected above the orchestra. This spectacular event will incorporate more than 200 performers, including the full New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and two choruses. The concerts will be held on Friday, Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 4 at 8 p.m. in Prudential Hall.

One hour prior to the December 3rd performance, Howard Shore will be present for a pre-performance Q and A, free to all ticket-holders. [More]

Howard Shore's The Lord of the Rings Symphony with The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

John Mauceri, conductor
Susan Egan, vocalist
Montclair State University Chorale
Heather J. Buchanan, choral conductor
New Jersey Youth Chorus
Patricia Joyce, choral conductor

11-09-04 Latest News

Possible Trilogy Screening in Minneapolis
Xoanon @ 5:43 pm EST

Pat writes: I just received this weekly email from the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis. It's a beautiful Art Deco theater in a nice neighborhood in the southern part of the city. I've already responded, but I think there may be a lot of folks that may be interested that are not on their email list:

'We are considering showing all 3 of the LORD OF THE RINGS films, each in the extended version, in a single day. There would be a short meal break between each film. This may take place during the Christmas-New Year holiday period. We would like to gauge interest in an event like this, so if you think you might be interested in attending, please e-mail us. If you have a suggested date, please include that also.'

'Elijah's Song' for Cancer Research
Xoanon @ 11:29 am EST

JadeValour writes: Last year I was given the wonderful gift of being able to be in New Zealand for the ROTK World Premiere festivities (and at the Return of the Ringers Party).

I am a singer/songwriter, and shortly before I came to NZ I wrote and recorded a demo of a song inspired by Elijah ("Elijah's Song") with my friend and fellow musician Ken Norris. I actually had the magical experience of meeting Elijah at the Los Angeles airport, as he was on the same Air New Zealand flight to Auckland as I was, and I was able to give him the CD personally, along with a film script I had co-written containing a lead role written for him (the script is now with two major film studios in the States and has been passed on to some major people in the film industry). A number of CDs of the song were also auctioned off at the TORn Party.

I have just put a new presentation website online with my music, and there is a special page on the site especially for LOTR fans, with "Elijah's Song" that they can listen to for free, dedications, a photo Elijah graciously let me take of him at the airport, and two direct links to the donation pages of Cancer Research UK.

Elijah has so generously been supporting Cancer Research in Britain and elsewhere, and I wanted to support him in this endeavor somehow, so this special page has been included on my site, in the hope that the fans would enjoy the song and possibly even make a small donation.

In this way a contribution could be made to this wonderful cause that I alone would financially not be able to make. The direct link to this page is jade-ov-arcc.com/elijah

So many people have friends and family who have suffered or died of cancer. For me, this page is a special gift to my friend Rosie in London who has suffered from breast cancer twice. She has a wonderful husband and two beautiful teenage daughters who she would like to see grow up and have children of their own. If this page and song helps her, and others, in any way, then I'm honored to do this - for them, and in honor of Elijah's committment to this cause. (I originally wanted to offer a free download, but I could not have afforded it, so the next best alternative was a 'free listen'.)

I'd be most grateful if you could publicize this information through TheOneRing.net, Michael. Thanky you so much.

11-05-04 Latest News

50th Anniversary Map Problem? -SOLVED-
Xoanon @ 7:59 pm EST

erestor writes: I've had this problem with other books in the past. my tip - go to your local bookbinder (I'm sure there is one somewhere) and ask him to remove it. they have the tools and the solvents necessary. it doesn't cost a fortune, either, and especially in this case, it's well worth the effort.


Shelby writes: Hi, I read your paragraph and thought about it, I've not had a real good look at the books myself, but mabye if you take a pocket knife and cut close the inside of the book, it might not hurt the book or map its self. Good Luck!


Tom writes: Concerning FredOs question about the maps in the 50th Anniversary LOTR, the following is a copy of the e-mail I just sent to Fred. He's a well known local Pittsburgh Ringer!


Hi! Just saw your question over at TORn about getting at the maps.

I have opened both maps by gently lifting/separating the pages away from those little drops of glue. The glue is like a heavy duty rubber cement rather than a more permanent type.

As far as trying to remove the maps from the book itself, I really don't think that they were meant to come out, just by the way they're attached (one leaf appears to go into the binding ).

Hope this helps!

Red Carpet Tour Report
Xoanon @ 10:55 am EST

Red Carpet Tour Report

Catriona I wondered if visitors to TORN would be interested in a brief note on my recent visit to New Zealand courtesy of Red Carpet Tours?

The first and unexpected event was at the first night dinner when Tehanu turned up with her husband and regailed us with stories of her 'spying' etc. It was great to finally meet her as I had been reading all about her escapades online for a long time!

The tour was fantastically well organised and our tour guides, Vic James and Anwen Carver were amazing at balancing great facts about New Zealand with juicy details about LOTR and locations etc. The locations were all instantly recognisable which really impressed me and this was combined so well with jaw dropping scenery around New Zealand. It is an amazing land, it really is.

Our accomodation was always terrific and it was exciting to dine out at the cafes and restuarants used by the actors and crew and hear terrific stories from the staff who often had parts as extras in the films. We got to meet the horses used in the films and rider doubles who have just set up the website you featured recently. It brought tears to my eyes to meet them all as they were so generous with their time and the horses were stunningly beautiful and clever too.

As part of the tour we met Daniel Reeve and I cannot get over adequately how fantastic it was to see samples of his work and hear him talk about his time on LOTR. Again he was incredibly generous but I won't give too much away here as you all need to get booked on Red Carpet Tours and experience the journey for yourself. But that meeting holds a very dear place in my heart.

We climbed Edoras. We reinacted scenes all over the North and South Island and many action figures joined us. But don't worry if that is not your thing (and why not I ask?) because there was plently for the adventurous as Vic and Anwen helped us plan helicopter flights across incredible scenery, 4 wheel drives, bungy jumps, horse riding, rafting, handgliding etc etc - there was so much to do. Those wanting to simply admire the scenery were spoiled for choice. I think we were lucky and had access to some if the most incredible land on planet earth.

Lastly, and quite miraculously we got to meet Richard Taylor. This was purely by chance as we had pulled up outside Weta Workshop on our tour of Wellington to take a few photos of the studios from our bus. Amazingly enough Richard was in the carpark (having just come from a meeting with PJ he later told us). Well you can imagine that we all started waving frantically and he took notice (how could he not!) and came onto our bus. Cut a long story very short, we got invited into Weta to the boardroom which is full of Weta models, photos and of course gazillions of awards including the Oscars. Richard had a chat with us about a variety if things Weta are currently involved in and then brought out the Oscars for us to hold and pose with! He truly was an incredible guy, I don't think any of us have got over it yet!

The Red Carpet Tour was astounding from start to finish and we have all stayed friends, keeping in touch via email. There really are no words to describe adequately what a place New Zealand is and what a terrific job Vic and Anwen did. The people of New Zealand are so proud of their country and I can see why, what a friendly, generous bunch they all are.

Get saving and get over to experience it for yourselves and let Red Carpet Tours take you - they really will help you have the time of your life and yes, I am going back.

11-02-04 Latest News

Ring*Con 2004: Can It Get Any Better?
leo @ 6:32 pm EST

Another year down the road and another Ring*Con come and gone. For the third year running, fans and guests from some 30 countries over the world gathered in Bonn, Germany for what is know to be Europe's biggest Lord of the Rings-convention. And like any good 'sequel' it delivered on everything it should have: it was bigger, drew more visitors, got the big-name actors and was (in my humble opinion) better as well.

For the third installment organizers managed to sign an impressive list of actors to attend; experienced conventioneers Lawrence Makoare and Jorn Benzon; first-timers Jarl Benzon, Sandro Kopp, Paul Norell and Thomas Robins; Ring*Con-veterans Mark Ferguson and Craig Parker and topliners Billy Boyd and Bernard Hill, the latter of whom only signed up after the rather late cancellations of Karl Urban and John Noble due to work commitments.

All of them as well as almost a dozen Tolkien-experts and lecturers and four music bands made their way down to the Maritim Hotel-slash-conventioncentre in Bonn, for the third and probably last time home of Ring*Con. Because next year installment of the convention has already been announced, but will move to a different hotel in the nearby town of Fulda. But more on that later.

Programming has always been the things that made Ring*Con so immensely popular. Combining actor-panels and q&a's with lectures from experts and enthusiastic fans, workshops, and impressive dealer and gaming-area's. And this year was no different from that, with an amazing 10 events going on at the same time at a certain point during the weekend.

And because there was so much going on at any given time the convention floor hardly ever seemed crowded, even though numbers were higher then last year (and obviously the year before). The only times when things looked extremely busy were when guests filled up and left the main hall for key events like the opening and closing ceremony and the Billy Boyd and Bernard Hill-panels.

That this year would have a higher number of attendees compared to last year became obvious of Thursday with more visitors choosing to check in the hotel the day before the convention started, despite an 'easy' afternoon of programming on Friday with a couple of (German) lectures and panels from the Benzon-brothers and Sandro Kopp, the latest actor/extra to have joined the convention-circuit and certainly one to keep an eye on. Of course this early excitement might have had something to do with the pianobar...

Long lines filled the lobby before doors opened on Friday, and when they did visitors did not rush to the main hall to reserve a seat, they did not flock into the dealer area or into some of the lectures; no, they went and did something else. They are a loyal bunch those Ring*Conians; they all rushed towards the pre-registration desk for next year and by the end of the weekend 700 people had booked tickets for next year, most of which did so on Friday. Booked without knowing the venue (which has yet to be build) or any of the starguests or even what exactly they'll get for their money.

Things picked up in the afternoon with the first ever convention appearance on Paul Norell (The King of the Dead). And although he admitted to being very nervous (and it showed, especially in the beginning) he turned out to be a wonderful, charming speaker who had some interesting stories to tell about working with Peter Jackson (and discovering the many, many ways in which someone can turn and look into the camera) and the two years (!) that seperated the filming of both camera-angles in the scenes he shares with Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas. Also, did anyone know Paul Norell is one of the two Easterlings that can't find Frodo and Sam in front of the Black Gates in The Two Towers? Well, now you do.

After his panel came the opening ceremony (a mixture of stage and screen performances) and the introductions of all the guests followed by the highlight of that day: Billy Boyd's first q&a. He couldn't make the opening ceremony (missed it by mere minutes) because his flight was delayed but was rushed into the Maritim right on time for his scheduled 8 p.m. panel. Unfortunately he was at a total loss as far as why he was on stage so it took a few minutes for him to understand what he was supposed to do. After he was briefed and his panel got underway there was a slight scare for those hoping for, well, questions and answers because the first few questions seemed to be along the lines of 'sing us a song' (buy the dvd) or 'I just want to say you look really great and I'm glad you are here'. It all turned out alright though and Billy was as charming and funy and not to mention mischievous as ever.

The first day ended with a q&a with Lawrence Makoare and a part q&a part comedyshow by Mark Ferguson and Craig Parker. Being in attendance for an amazing third time Mark and Craig are Ring*Con-favorites with the downside that we've all heard their stories by now. They found a clever solution for that though; taking questions for the first half of their panel and fooling around for the second. The format is known: they'll tell a story one word at a time followed by an interview with a visitor who answered in German which then had to be translated by Craig (something they apparently made up a few minutes before going on stage) but it is always funny nonetheless.

Saturday was the conventions busiest day; lots of programming and lots of visitors. Fresh out of breakfast visitors were treated to the first Bernard Hill q&a. Much can be written about Bernard but fact remained that his session was funny and interesting and he scored points with remarks as 'they should have made six movies', 'Hobbits are a nasty race of midgets' and 'we couldn't have the Rohirrim singing in battle, it would be like some kind of scene from Monthy Python's Life of Brian wouldn't it?'

The main part of the day was reserved for the first autograph session. Visitors who had bought the three-day package (and they were legion) got most of the autographs for free and only had to pay an amazingly low 10 euros for those of Billy Boyd and Bernard Hill so obviously interest was high. But the autograph session left a gap in programming from noon till 5 and that was hard to fill. Unlike last year there was no real 'high profile' programming like the WETA-demonstration and it was something like that that was missed in those hours and in the second signing session on Sundaymorning. WETA-people are obviously busy and John Howe apparently had to bow out due to other commitments, but perhaps next year...

The evenings programming was some half an hour delayed because close to 1400 people were rushed through in the first autograph session (impressive numbers indeed, though unfortunately it meant no hobnobbing with the stars but there were plenty other occasions for that). The delay also meant Craig Parker and Mark Ferguson had to cut their second panel short as well, but they had plenty on their plates anyway as they also had to host the auction and costume contest (yes there was a costume contest but I avoided it this year so I can't complain about it).

Very unsurprisingly the costume contest went on for longer then expected meaning that Billy Boyd's panel started later and lasted slightly shorter then was planned. The same can be said for the other panels that evening; Thomas Robins (who made his debut and did an excellent job at it) and Paul Norell but that was okay as it prevented the much seen (or heard) embarrising silences you sometimes get when noone has a question. None of that this time around though, as a matter a fact all the q&a's during the weekend were interesting, the questions were good and there was little to none 'does anyone have another question... noone?' coming from the stage. Also, and that was perhaps even more surprising there was very little 'I have a present for you, can I come up and bring it', 'tell us about Orlando/Viggo/someone else' or 'please reenact this or such scene for us (even though you were not in it) and can I join in?' coming from the audience. This of course once again shows that those Ring*Conians are not also very loyal but also genuinly interested in what the actors have to say, and are not so much asking questions for their own pr.

Irascian and Leo during the costume contest... just kidding folks, we like costume contests ;)

Sunday's autograph session caused the program to be delayed for a bit as well, but no harm done there. In fact the time was well spent talking to New Zealand-native but German-born Sandro Kopp. Sandro (one could argue he has some blink-or-you'll-miss-them scenes in the movies, but at least he had many of them) is a self proclaimed "very, very lucky guy" who not only got some work on the set but who also happens to be a very talented artist who's work has interested Richard Taylor (with a possible job at WETA in the future) and recently got him drawing alongside the likes of John Howe and Alan Lee. And a possible book of his artwork made on set might not be far off, so be sure to check out this website for more on Sandro in the near future!

Bernard Hill's second panel started of the final track schedule of the weekend, followed by Thomas Robins, who really turned out to be the positive surprise of the weekend. And he had stories as well, having worked with PJ before on Heavenly Creatures (although his one scene with Kate Winslet was cut, or so he says) and Forgotten Silver. Lawrence Makoare finished it off with a panel featuring his many wonderful Viggo Mortensen and PJ-imitations and some unexpected disco-dancing! After that it was time for the closing ceremony, once again a great mixture of stageperformances and video's including a swordfighting demonstration with cameo's from Thomas Robins, Paul Norell and Lawrence Makoare and some comedy from the runner-up of Germany's version of Star Search or whatever they call those talent searches nowadays; unexpected fun for those that understood a bit of German!

Much like writing this report the entire weekend flew by and to be honest I've been to conventions where that certainly wasn't the case. And yes maybe this was because sometimes during the weekend I figured it would be better to go for a swim or have a drink in the bar with some friends instead of being on the convention floor. But to be honest that is, perhaps more then other things, what Ring*Con is all about: enjoying yourself, relaxing and drinking beer. Err.. I mean hanging out with friends.

It was hard to find any flaw in last years convention and it was even harder this year. Delays in programming (and the waiting around that came with it) were annoying but also the only glitches in the organisation that I noticed. And that is probably the thing that sets Ring*Con apart from other events: their organisation is top notch. The man behind that is FedCon's Dirk Bartholomae who with his key crew must have done at least 15 conventions and practise makes perfect.

Some doubts as to how smoothly this years Ring*Con would run arose after German Tolkien Society Chairman Marcel Buelles and Herr-der-Ringe-film.de webmaster Stefan Servos announced that they wouldn't be involved this year, but none of that transpired. Of course that might have been because they were still working; doing lectures (on Sunday morning nonetheless, a very difficult time), taking care of lecturers and whatnot. It just shows the devotion these two have to Ring*Con after being the spiritual fathers of the first installment in 2002.

A devotion that can also be found in the visitors, many of whom have attended all three installments of the convention. Like I said; they are a loyal crowd, they are a smart crowd and they are a growing crowd.

And rightly so, because so far the organisation hasn't let them down. They keep prices very reasonable, programming very interested and they keep on lining up the big names. Brad Dourif the first time around, John Rhys-Davies last year and now Billy Boyd and Bernard Hill. Obviously the successes they had in the past have generated some good gossip in the convention-circuit and for next year even bigger names are expected amongst the lineup.

They will no doubt get some good promotion from this years guests, none of whom could find something bad to say about the event and all of whom seemed to have had a good time. It was the first convention for people like Paul Norell and Thomas Robins and it'll be hard for them to find one to top it.

More visitors are also expected and noone will really mind that either. Ring*Con 2002 was a wonderful event which had a small and almost intimate feel to it with the actors roaming the conventionfloor freely and hanging out in the bar at night. That has certainly changed over the years and now we are at a point where it is getting slightly surreal (and this is going for all conventions by the way) to the point where none of them can walk around without being asked for photographs and even the Master of Ceremonies (the ever excellent Marc B. Lee) is signing signatures every other yard. Everyone seems to be a star and thus they are almost forced to distant themselves from the main convention areas. But its a win-win situation; a convention that draws lots of visitors can offer more money to bring in the bigger names.

Competition, for now, need not worry though: according to Bartholomae a copy of Ring*Con cannot easily be put together somewhere else as the German event relies heavily on its volunteers (many of whom have worked together on several conventions). And actually that's a pity. In this world where there's a convention every other weekend we could do with some more quality and some less quantity.

Because lets face it folks; there's some conventions out there that don't compare to Ring*Con. Events that are all about autographs are fine if you enjoy lining up all day for one little scribble, but do they really offer that much more? Conventions like Ring*Con are at least worth every penny you pay for it, keeping you entertained almost 12 hours a day. In fact, its not so much a convention; its more like an experience.

And I'll go out on a limb and say it: it is the best Lord of the Rings-convention experience out there.

Next year the organisation will face a very tempting challenge: a sparkly new location in the form of the Esperanto Hotel in Fulda, Germany. Bigger location, presumably a bigger number of attendees and bigger names... Blimey, that sounds like a successful sequel, wouldn't wanna miss it for the world!


Want more pictures from this event? Well, mine aren't extremely good but you can find the ones above and some others with more little stories from the weekend in this gallery here!

RingCon 2004 Germany Report
Xoanon @ 5:57 pm EST

Tinuvielas writes: RingCon 2004 in Bonn, Germany is once again over and the 3000-odd fans have left Europe’s largest Fanstasy and LotR-convention with the usual feeling of melancholy, discarding their often elaborate robes, ears and wigs and discussing in trams and trains on their way home. Even though this year the RingCon was organised by FedCon only, without the participation of the German JRRT-society and the German website herr-der-ringe-film.de, the mix was about the same as last year:, and as successful: elaborate costumes; the fans putting up three great processions (of Gondorians, wandering Elves, with lights and all, and a funerary march of the Rohirrim, including a dead Theoden on a bier.); workshops, lectures, live music (Schelmish, Battleore, the Irish Folkband Glendalough, Eve & the Breeze); picture- and autograph sessions with the guest-stars; games; and last but not least arts-, video, costume and performance-contests.

For those who haven’t been able to participate, I’d like to give a short (or not so short, lol) account of some of the things that were going on, including a transcript (from memory, so there may be minor errors in phrasing) of the major points of the panels held by Billy Boyd and Bernard Hill and a summary of some of the more interesting talks held by German JRRT-experts.

1. Videos

First, there were three hilariouis video-productions to be seen, which hopefully will appear somewhere (???) on the net soon.

For one, there was a video to the music of “we will rock you”, sung by a children’s choir (!) and showing lots of orc-fighting sequences. Below and above the film ran a blood-red banner, which halfway through suddenly read (in German and English, and pretty ugly letters:) “The orc children’s choir “Dead Earth” greets the troops and wishes them success for their campaign against the evil human hordes! – pause – kill them all, daddy!” (this last to a pic of Gothmog...)

Then we had some wonderful parody-commercials. Outstanding: “Elrond’s fashion studio”... can’t really remember the other ones, but I’m sure others will!?

Finally, the best of all: A video to the German song “Männer” by Herbert Grönemeyer, the text of which basically plays with all the prejudices people have about men, illustrated by scenes from the Trilogy: “Men run against walls” (Helm’s deep!); “they smoke pipe” (Gandalf and Bilbo sending the pipe weed ships into the air), “they are constantly ‚electrified‘ (meaning: under current, active; Pip holding the palantir); “they always hang on to the telephone” (Saruman and the palantir); “they are very thorough” (Gimli jerking his axe lodged in the head of the dead orc...); “men can do anything” (Aragorn listening, his ear close to the ground); men are solitary warriors (Aragorn on his horse alone, riding towards Edoras”); “men are being ‚made men‘ early in childhood” (Pippin taking his arms; Aragorn and the kid at Helm’s deep); “men build rockets” (Saruman filling his bomb). This all ending in the refrain-question: “When exactly is a man a man???” – to the pic of Eowyn taking off her helmet! J

2. The panels

Secondly, the above mentioned panels – for some (P) the main reason to come to RingCon.

Apart from the major stars Billy Boyd (“We have a hobbit in the house”, as moderator Marc B. Lee put it...) and Bernard Hill (both were confirmed rather late, after Karl Urban and John Noble had cancelled... not a bad substitute, if I may say), there was the by-now famous Craig Parker (“Haldir”) / Mark Ferguson (“Gil Galad”)-duet, hilarious as usual. Any who have seen them on stage know they are as gifted a pair of stand-up comedians as any, and they were greeted with roaring applause at their third appearance at RingCon. In fact, they‘re now so much of an institution that many fans wondered why it was Marc B. Lee that moderated the whole thing instead of them....

To give an idea of the level of intimacy reached between them and the audience, I’ll refer a slightly, ahem, slashy joke they made in their usual word-by-word story (they always tell a story starting from a chance word from the audience, the two of them talking together, each uttering a single word in turn... this year, it was about “Frodo going on a quest for... a “Reibekuchen”, which is a German potatoe-food, fried, sweet, fat and with lots of applesauce...). Pretty much at the beginning, they went: “Frodo – jumped – out – of – Sam! (roaring laughter in the audience) – ahem, the cushions”. Don’t remember which of the two actually made the slash-joke and tried to look contrite...

Other panels were held by Jarl and Jorn Benzon (Glorfindel / the much admired Rumil), Lawrence Makoare (Lurtz, Gothmog, Witchking, now almost as much an instituion at RingCon as Craig and Mark), Paul Norell (King of the Ghosts, who was VERY sympathetic and moved to be part of the Con), Thomas Robbins (Deagol, who started his panel with a hilarious pantomime of his one and only scene in RotK) and Sandro Kopp, to his knowledge the only German who acted in the films. He’s a very refreshing, natural and sympathetic guy (not to mention the fact that he’s pretty attractive...) who‘s had nine different roles in the pickups. On his second panel, he was even appearing barefoot and in costume, wearing a beautiful grey elven robe (tied with a pin above the knee, which kept slipping, rofl). Besides, he’s an artist and on request gave a powerpoint illustration of the wonderful drawings of principal and minor actors he did during the shooting (and which can also be admired on his website). One of the funnier things he told and which I hadn’t heard before was the distinction used on set of the “Tunten”- (i.e. “effeminate, gay”) Elves, the “Jaws Elves” (at Helm’s deep) and the “Floating Elves” (the robed ones, who kept stumbling over their costumes).

Other panels were held by Jarl and Jorn Benzon (Glorfindel / the much admired Rumil), Lawrence Makoare (Lurtz, Gothmog, Witchking, now almost as much an instituion at RingCon as Craig and Mark), Paul Norell (King of the Ghosts, who was VERY sympathetic and moved to be part of the Con), Thomas Robbins (Deagol, who started his panel with a hilarious pantomime of his one and only scene in RotK) and Sandro Kopp, to his knowledge the only German who acted in the films. He’s a very refreshing, natural and sympathetic guy (not to mention the fact that he’s pretty attractive...) who‘s had nine different roles in the pickups. On his second panel, he was even appearing barefoot and in costume, a beautiful grey elven robe. Besides, he’s an artist and on request gave a powerpoint illustration of the drawings of principal and minor actors he did during the shooting. Those can also be admired on his website. One of the funnier things he told and which I hadn’t heard before was the distinction used on set of the “Tunten”- (i.e. “effeminate, gay”) Elves, the “Jaws-elves” (at Helm’s deep) and the “Floating Elves” (the robed ones, who kept stumbling over their costumes).

ATTENTION: HERE BE RotK-EE SPOILERS (which I have marked in the text, so you can skip these paragraphs)

1. Billy Boyd

Supposedly, Billy’s plane was late, so that at first he wasn’t present at the opening ceremony. However, just when the crown had voiced their disappointed “ooh..”, Marc B. Lee announced that “we have a hobbit in the house!” and positively thrust BB on stage, where he stood alone, somewhat stiff and apparently at a loss at what exactly he was supposed to do. After putting this question to the equally confused audience, he retreated backstage, telling everyone to “wait a minute”. When he came back, he seemed better informed and told abt. the plane, and his luggage being lost, etc.

Now I’m not quite sure if this was intended to be a joke, referring to last year’s troubles with John Rhys Davies arriving late, but I AM sure that it wasn’t true, because I’ve heard backstage people say that Billy’d been waiting behind the curtains all along. So if it was a joke, it didn’t go off very well... it also made for a somewhat weird beginning of the first panel, which was not bettered by the first questions, which revolved around “Ohhhh, Billy, we’re so happy to have you here!”, “Billy, your scottish accent is so cute!!!” and “Could you sing for us???” (which he flatly denied – understandably so, given the rather cool atmosphere of the panel at that point. A good question, but not a good time to ask it). A lot of people were surprised that, unlike the “secondary” actors, and quite unlike what you’d have expected from this actor from his DVD specials appearances etc, he really seemed quite tense and reserved at first.

The first “serious” question was about Dom supposedly being sick after smoking a pipe of pipeweed. In answer, BB talked about how the actors got to choose their own pipe shortly before shooting began, which was a special moment for him; about how Dom really got sick once after smoking that pipe; and about himself trying to get used to it and even liking it (though he is a non-smoker), so as to be able to portray the hobbit enjoying his pipe. In the end, he said, he found he really did enjoy it, so much so that he became wary: “you don’t want to become addicted to that...”


Asked about new Pippin-scenes in RotK-EE, he told about Pippin having a scene where he has to pee, and mentioned the confrontation between Gandalf and Pippin and the Witchking, which we’ve known about for a while.

Somewhere along, he told the story where John Rhys Davies “ordererd everything on the menu for everyone – and ate it!”

A very nice question went sort of: How come that, unlike the other hobbits, Pippin has a scottish accent? In answer, BB said that the Tooks lived in a different part of the Shire, had a clan-like social structure and that the word “took” in fact has the meaning of “club” in Scottish, which fitted, since the Scots invented golf.


Later on, BB told how they had “in fact filmed Pippin inside the palantir”, i.e. standing in a circular room on fire, confronted by Sauron. Which was very cool, but looked too Sci-Fi, so it was decided to drop the scene.

2. Bernard Hill

BH was very relaxed on stage, sitting on a chair, wearing a black leather jacket (if I remember right) and munching an apple during both panels, which sometimes made for mumbling answers. Quite sympathetic! He also has a very nice voice, allthough I’ve heard people say that unlike John Rhys Davies, he doesn’t totally “fill the stage”.

Asked abt. his first scene, he said that it was Theoden arriving at Helm’s Deep; his second scene was “Theoden striding around with – what’s the guy’s name – Aragorn – on the battlements.” This forgetting of the other LotR-character’s names became a running gag.

What he liked abt. Helm’s Deep: “Everything”. It was night shots, cold, dark, wet, miserable, he got several scars etc etc., and that’s exactly why he liked it. “We got bashed arond a lot, which was fun.”

Asked abt. his recent experience of filming in Africa and the difference to New Zealand: “Africa was hot and full of bugs – New Zealand was not.” He then went on to describe the giant insects and cockroaches the size of his hand (!) found in Africa, doing an hilarious turn of giant beetles the size of his hand hitting a window behind him, and lying winded on their back.

His favorite battle speech: “Ride now, ride now, ride through ruin and the world’s ending – death!: Can’t get better lines than that. Really special stuff” (applause, of course...)

His favorite actor: Marlon Brando, the first screen actor who acted “real” on the screen. Also, different performances that impressed him, for example John Malkovich in the West End play “Burn This”.

Asked to tell some anecdote about Viggo, whom he shared a trailer with, he says the trailer was “their world”, they had parties, they had a wine cellar... there are lots of storys; I should write a book.” But he doesn’t tell one.

He then launches into half telling, half enacting the anecdote about the most difficult scene he had to do in RotK (which he’ll tell again in his second panel, in almost the same words, so it would seem he’s told this story before): It‘s the scene with Theoden cluttering the spears of his Rohirrim before the attack of the orcs on the Pelennor fields. This was his idea, “which pissed Peter Jackson off, but he had to admit it was a good idea in the end”. However, BH being lefthanded, he made Theoden lefthanded, which created major problems in the scene because PJ made the king ride from right to left over the screen. BH therefore had to hold his sword with his right (the wrong) hand. BH is used to holding the reigns in that hand, and to pulling the sword from the scabbard on his right hip with his left (at this point he explains why one mounts a horse from the left: “the only ones who ride horses are the people with a sword who kill other people”, and they usually have a long and cumbersome scabbard on their left hip, while they can swing their right leg over the horse easily”).

Anyway, in the scene in question he now has to get his sword out of the scabbard (“the heavey hero-sword, because the light-weight-aluminium sword was no good”: it would bend when hitting the spears, and “that would not be a good sign for the king riding to the enemy with a limp sword”) in front of 250 crew and 250 extras (“many of them women; if you’ve ever seen a woman with a beard, your in the middle of New Zealand and far from your wife, which is sort of exciting”), with a skittery horse called Percy beneath him (“I already got rid of one horse because he wouldn’t do it, and this one wants to go, this is fun!”), holding the reigns with a heavy, unwieldy glove (acts this with the microphone), with a helmet that keeps coming down his nose and impairing his sight (claps hand over his face to show”) and a “tortoise shell of mail” and “all kind of crap all around me” AND with a live microphone, so he knew PJ would hear him mutter: “f***ing director – stupid scene”. He finally get’s his sword out (he mimes all this, which is hilarious): “It’s in the wrong hand!!!”. So he has to change the sword from one hand to the other, which he eventually manages and then “let’s go – Percy’s off!”. However, there’s no chance to change the sword back again, which explains (all of the above) why in some scenes Theoden wields his sword with the left, and in others with the right hand.

PJ, it seems, didn’t think these incongruencies mattered. BH: “I’m leaving Edoras on a white horse, and I arrive at Helm’s Deep on a brown one. But PJ said, ah well, no one will notice...” (huge laughter from the audience...”).

In his second panel, BH is asked (first question) to perform “The horse and the rider”, but declines: “this is not what I was asked to do” (possible, but John Rhys Davies DID do Treebeard’s voice on stage).

Asked abt. his feelings about Theoden grieving over Theodred, he says in his opinion, the relationship between Theoden and Theodred was too little elaborated on, which made it difficult (as an example, he quoted PJ who’d seen and disliked R. Scotts “Gladiator” because “it was a film without a heart” since the relationship between the Gladiator and his family is never elaborated on).

Asked about outtakes, he tells about a scene which didn’t make it in the film, in which he was delivering a heroic speech in blue slippers (it took 20 minutes to put on the boots of his costume, and he had just taken them off when he was informed that this scene was added... it was a scene after the dialoge between Legolas, Aragorn and Gimli at Helm’s Deep when they discover there are only a few able men there, and the rest too old or too young. In that context, Theoden was talking abt. “only a hundred in whom the blood of Rohan flows”, and about the history of Helm Hammerhand.

Asked abt. how they filmed the aging process, BH tells that they asked him to do it backwards initially, which he couldn’t do: “how do you act backwards?”

And about his conception of Theoden: “All human beings are the same, they all go to the toilet, they all have their insecurieties... so beneath all this royalty, Theoden is insecure... these dynamics are very important.”

The most challenging scene: “Every scene with Viggo. Working with Viggo is a pain.” Why? “Because Viggo is a pain to work with. He has an opinion about everything. He never shuts up, and as far as I know, noone has ever convinced him he’s wrong.”

Fitting Final Quote for tonight – hope you have enjoyed!

11-01-04 Latest News

Boyd Charity Auction for Billy's Loons
Xoanon @ 8:13 pm EST

Billy's Loons Charities is auctioning off one of our specially-designed plush Billy's Loons Charities Bears, that was autographed by Billy Boyd, David Wenham, and Dominic Monaghan. The bear was signed by Billy and David at Comic Con 2004 in San Diego, California this past summer. Dom also autographed the bear on May 24, 2004 at his ROTK release/Best Buy signing in West Hollywood. Billy's Loon Charities consists of a group of fans of Billy Boyd, who want to recognize and honor him by contributing to charitable causes in his name. All the proceeds from the bear will be donated to Help the Aged, an international charity that Billy has supported in the past.

If you would like to participate in this very special auction, please click here.

*A huge thank you goes out to Billy, David, and Dominic for their awesome signatures and to Elisa for the photos.

Viggo Mortensen Attends Rally
Xoanon @ 8:03 pm EST

Mortensen Attends Rally

Lilybird writes: I've been a long time follower of the website and I'm a huge fan of LOTR. Thanks to you guys and the news and links you report I was one of the lucky ones to go to Trilogy Tuesday nearly a year ago.

I'm writing now because I got a chance to hear Viggo Mortensen speak last night at the Michael Moore MoveONPAC Rally in Columbus Ohio last night. I'm a huge fan of Mr. Mortensen and sent an account of the evening to one of his fansites and thought you guys might also be interested in it.

I also have some pictures I took at the event. I'm not sure if you'd like to post them or not. If you'll let me know how to post, or who I should send them to, I'd be happy to share them with the TORN community:

Let me start by saying I, my hubby and several friends had all gotten tickets to go to Michael Moore's MoveOn rally on October 30th in Columbus Ohio and it was literally only two hours before we were going to leave that I found out that Viggo might possibly be a guest.

I couldn't believe it, I seriously sat there dumbfounded thinking this can not possibly be happening. But on the off chance it was true, after all Viggo has been promoting Fahrenheit 911 on his Perceval Press site for months, and Ohio is considered the biggest swing state in the country, that maybe, just maybe Viggo actually would hook up with Michael Moore for the rally.

So I made sure I had extra film, informed my husband, since he is fully aware of my Viggo fandom, and is a huge fan himself, and off we went. And as luck would have it, my political activism finally paid off. I actually got to hear Viggo speak. Here are my thoughts on the evening, before they vanish from me head.

Here's what I can remember. We got there about five to stand in line early which meant when they opened the doors we ended up in the FOURTH row center. The podium couldn't have been more than about twenty feet away.

The rally started about 7:30 with Laura one of the head organizers at MoveOnPAC. She announced right away that Michael Moore had several special guests. The Goo Goo Dolls and Viggo Mortensen who had flown down from Toronto especially for this. My husband looked at me as well as my friend Sarah, who I also told about the rumor and the two of them laughed with me.

Before Moore came out they showed scenes from F911, as well as outtakes of Jon Stewart on Cross Fire. The stage had the Goo Goo Doll drums, a podium, a big screen for videos and a big overstuffed red reading chair with a big blow up version of the book "My Pet Goat." The book Bush read to the school children the morning of the 911 attacks.

Once Michael Moore came out he talked for probably 45 minutes before Viggo came out. Moore's speech included making fun of the fact that the Pharmaceutical companies are now sending out memos to field office workers warning them that Moore is doing a documentary about HMOs and Pharmaceutical companies. He read from the memo that people should be on the lookout for a bearded heavy set man in rumpled clothes with a microphone and they have a Michael Moore hotline number in case he's spotted. He gave us all the number. He also read from Bill O'Reilly's new book for children. Hilarious chapter about O'Reilly's advice for sex.

After he finished his first speech he then paused to introduce Viggo. He informed us that there was a special guest who had starred in the top grossing trilogy of all time. Moore actually spent a long minute or more talking about Peter Jackson and the films. He told the audience that Viggo had called him about a week ago and asked if there was anything he could do to help in Columbus, since Ohio is such a swing state. Moore commented how impressed he was that Viggo wanted to come and that he flew down on his own from Toronto where he has been filming a movie.

Viggo joined Moore on stage to a standing ovation from the audience with the applause going on and on. Viggo came out with a bag and in it was his speech. It was written on about three handwritten pages that I could see had writing all over including on the back. He said hello and thanked everyone for the warm reception trying to explain why he was here. He pretty much opened with "I'm here because I give a crap, and I know you're all here because you give a crap." He started by saying that he was just going to read some thoughts he jotted down on the plane on the flight down so he would make sure he didn't just ramble and mumble. Then said something about "Yes, I'm just another movie star spouting off my political opinions."

He probably spoke for about ten minutes. He spoke about his experiences with friends and family that live outside the US and what other people's perceptions are about what America does in the world. He mentioned in particular Europe, Argentina, New Zealand, Canada. He spoke about his new friends in Toronto and about how the Canadians can't believe we have an outdated electoral system, and no unified health care. They were shocked that we are one of the richest countries in the world and have the health care system that we do. He mentioned how important this election was around the world and that everyone was watching and paying attention to what the outcome would be. More than once he mentioned, "they're watching."

He talked about building a wall of ignorance one brick at a time and how we've alienated the world. He talked about "it's not about being LIKED in the world, it's about BEING in the world." He got a huge round of applause for that one.

At one point he was trying to make points to the audience and the audience started answering with "NO" and "YES" to what I think he meant to be rhetorical questions. The audience response seemed to surprise him a little bit.

He ended encouraging everyone to get out and get people to the polls. He commented that Columbus, and Ohio may be the most important place to be on Tuesday in the world.

Those were the main points I can remember about what he said. He did not do any poetry and I so hoped he might read Back to Babylon. But after he read his pages he thanked the audience and headed off the stage.

My general perceptions about his personality on stage. He came out wearing his green jacket with the UN patch and his VOTE shirt. When Moore introduced him he took off his jacket and turned to show the crowd the back of his shirt which is a page of a calendar with November 2nd on it. He shrugged his jacket back on and approached the microphone. He spoke clearly, occasionally laughing and giggling at his own comments. He pulled on his ear A LOT, he touched his face a lot, he reached up behind with his right hand and scratched the back of his neck a lot.

At one point he got hot and shrugged his jacket off and just let it lay on the floor behind him where it fell. I noticed he's wearing a knotted bracelet on his left arm. Some sort of blue geometric design with yellow in it. It was made of tied threads, and the threads were loose at the end. It's dark but you can see it in the picture that's been posted of him giving the peace sign.

I was impressed by his physical presence. He's not a huge person, but I thought he looked really content, confident, comfortable. Not sure of the right word. I know some have speculated from pictures in Toronto that he looks thin. I thought he looked really healthy actually.

After he finished he hugged Michael Moore, grabbed his jacket off the floor and that is when he gave the peace sign as he left the stage.

He stayed in the right stage wing for the rest of the night. Bobbing along with the Goo Goo Dolls, actually singing along with part of one song, unless I misinterpreted what he was doing. He's got a great whistle.

After the Goo Goo Dolls, Michael Moore came back out and talked, then introduced two US diplomats, Princeton Levy? and John Brown. The first person served as a diplomat to South Africa under Reagan, the first Bush and Clinton and spoke as part of the group of military and foreign officials who believe a change needs to be made.

The second diplomat to speak was John Brown. He was a US diplomat that quit while serving under George W Bush because he so disagreed with his policies. He specifically identified four reasons for why he couldn't work for Bush. What was interested was to watch Viggo's reaction as he watched from the wings. Brown commented on Bush's propaganda about Iraq, and that he 1. over simplified things, 2. used repetitive phrases over and over to impact opinion, 3. Demonized anyone who spoke out against the President or the War and 4. Did not tell the Truth.

Viggo started nodding vehemently when Brown talked about people being Demonized for opposing the President and all I could think about was Viggo's comment at the beginning when he self effacingly said that he was just another movie star spouting political opinion, and also about the response he got from Medved in the articles that came out about Viggo a while ago. He clearly seemed to respond to feeling demonized.

What also struck me was how humble and shy he really is. At the end Michael wanted everyone to come out on stage at the end of the last Goo Goo Dolls song, since they did one more after Moore and the US diplomats spoke. But Viggo didn't come back out, just watched from the wings. He really seemed to not want to take any of the spotlight away from Moore.

And then after the Rally ended my friends and I headed around to the parking garage and saw people waiting by the stage door. We waited and eventually Viggo came out and got into a car with Moore after waving to those of us on the sidewalk. He didn't sign any autographs, which really disappointed me, but again just seemed to confirm again that he wasn't there for the spotlight.

We waited a while longer and the Goo Goo Dolls came out. Michael Moore had given out copies of his Fahrenheit 911 DVD after his speech and I got one, and had the Goo Goo Dolls sign it. Johnny Reznick hugged nearly every woman on the sidewalk , which included me. (Now why couldn't Viggo have done that)

So...I didn't get to meet Viggo in person, or get his autograph, but what I did get to experience was absolutely incredible. The entire rally was so inspiring. I know some of us have different opinions and clearly this rally was to support John Kerry and that was why Viggo was there, and it was why I was there as well. It was the coolest thing I think I've ever been too. The energy in the theater was incredible.

And I couldn't believe I was in the fourth row, and even better the tickets were FREE! I got to laugh with Michael Moore, I got a free concert from the Goo Goo Dolls and I got to hear Viggo speak with passion and intensity about issues that are so important to him. The only way it could have been better would have been a hug from Viggo instead of Johnny, but I'm not complaining regardless. Johnny is pretty darn cool too.

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