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December 30, 2003 - January 06, 2004

1-06-04 Latest News

John Noble Press Confrence Transcript
Xoanon @ 11:43 pm EST

ROTK Premiere: Los Angeles
John Noble at the ROTK Premiere in Los Angeles

Ringer Spy Nazz attended the MANY press confrences during the ROTK media blitz last month.

Special thanks to Rip It Up Magazine in South Australia for this transcript

Here is the transcript from a John Noble roundtable interview!

John Noble plays Denethor, Steward Of Gondor.

The only new cast member in ROTK is Denethor, the grief-stricken and seemingly cruel father of Faramir (David Wenham) and the deceased Boromir (Sean Bean) - and he's played by Adelaide-born John Noble; who was artistic director of the acclaimed Stage Company of South Australia for 10-years, and has worked with most theatre companies in Australia as both a director and an actor. Overseas, he directed Sons Of Cain on London¹s West End, among others.. He has been delighting audiences worldwide with his talents as both an actor and a director for more than 25-years.

Another one of Noble¹s theatrical highlights was touring Australia and giving 240 performances of the one man play The Christian Brothers, and acting in an award winning production of the Australian play Errol Flynn¹s Great Big Adventure Book For Boys. Noble's film credits include The Monkey's Mask, Airtight, The Product, The Nostradamus Kid, A Sting In The Tail, and Call Me Mr Brown. For television Noble has a semi-regular role in All Saints, and has played guest leads in Tales Of The South Pacific, Time Trax, Water Rats, Police Rescue, and Big Sky. Noble currently makes his home in Australia.

John Noble on set as Denethor

An energetic, undeniably talented South Australian-born actor whose theatre work has been acclaimed all around the world. Probably one of the best interviews of the junket and certainly had most of us in tears of laughter at several instances throughout the interview, while lacing every moment with gravity and deep emotion. He's a keenly intelligent gentleman and all of the assembled journalists seemed very impressed with him (especially since he was mostly unknown to them before we started). We heard some reports of rudeness later on, much to our surprise, and together surmised that it had to have been the line of questioning, not the man himself (we caught up several times over a cigarette through the whole NZ premiere experience and I found my impression of him deepened rather than changed, to that of a profoundly emotional man, brimming over with keen feeling and fierce honesty).

For those outside the press, the courtesy of a round table interview is to allow the fellow journalists to gather the info they need (often using the shortest possible questions to allow more room for the answer), whether it be glossy fluff for commercial radio, deep discussion, more intense movie and character questioning or mining for personal material for the women's mags; and to respect why they need to ask these specific questions. Well that's the theory anyway! It more often than not turns into a s**t fight for information (or for you non-Australasians, a shark feeding frenzy) but not on this junket. It was one of the, if not the, most well behaved I've attended, so thanks to all.

He was our first interview of the day (explaining my slowness to get going) and kicked it all of with a wonderfully entertaining bang.
I opened by asking if John had been impressed with the Howard Shore concert the night before (as I'd seen him at the show)?

JN: "I couldn't believe it; it was marvellous. I wanted to bend down and kiss his ring [the room erupts with laughter]! So I turned up there and Howard arrived and started saying things like, 'oh yes but your performance inspired this.' And I was like, 'oh my God!'

John Noble at the ROTK Premiere in Berlin

"Then, understandably - in a sense - he got ill and overwhelmed. You know that sense when you go into a crowded place and start to lose the colour in your face and start thinking, 'I've got to get out of here'? And I had this moment, with me and Howard Shore sitting on the steps over the road from the concert hall. Oh my God just me and him. And I was holding is hand, y'know? Saying, 'you'll be right, mate [laughs]. [to himself] I can't believe this.'

"So it was a really amazing night and I was moved beyond belief."

[A female NZ reporter] Had you met him before?

JN: "Never. Then I looked at the program and there was in the sixth movement, a piece called The Steward Of Gondor which I play, and I like, 'awww [feigns great shock]! He wrote a piece of music about my character!' It was fantastic."

[A male NZ reporter] One thing John, with the concert last night did you see the crowd of people surrounding the small red carpet last night?

JN: "I didn't really. I think there are a few people that are really popular with crowds, like Viggo and Orlando and all that. The rest of us can slip in and get in through the backdoor which I didn't mind, and slip out for a smoke! And no one worries me so to speak."

[Same male NZ reporter] Do you think this will change with the release of The Return Of The King?"

JN: [Matter of factly] Probably not."

So you think you'll still be reasonably invisible?

JN: "I think so."

[Different male NZ reporter] The long hair makes a difference.

JN: "No I think it's also a big difference if you're young and spunky. Because a lot of that fanbase comes from that - so I don't have those problems."

[The first female NZ reporter] Did you take your family along to the first and have to say wait for the second movie, then saw the second and have to say, just wait for the third movie?

JN: "No I didn't. I was fairly hesitant about the whole thing. I've thought of all these smart answers to that question like, 'I was the fourth orc on the left and all that.' But no. It wasn't that. I knew - and knew that those who knew the story - would know that Denethor comes in The Return Of The King. Although if you've seen the Extended DVD of The Two Towers he makes an appearance. We didn't shoot that scene until two years later. Imagine my luck: working with Sean Bean. I was like, 'oh yes I'm coming!' Coz I though he was amazing in the first movie. I looked at this guy and thought, 'he's to die for. What an actor.' And then I got to do those scenes with him."

[A second female NZ reporter] What was he like to work with?

JN: "Beautiful and talented. And just another actor, who cares and stuffs up lines, just like the rest of us do."

[Same NZ reporter] And how long did it take to form that opinion?

JN: "Just about from the first moment."

[First female NZ reporter] It's such a fabulous villain that you play - was it almost orgasmic when you saw what you had to (we all laugh light-heartedly at this together)?

JN: John raises his eyebrows at the terminology and responds with, "Great question! No, he's not a bad character. As an actor, I could never play a bad character; only a human character. Certainly what comes out on the screen - coz you've all seen it now haven't you? - is what appears to be a fairly vile man. But I understand him totally."

[The second female NZ reporter] Even the way he treats his youngest son?"

JN: [almost a whisper] Sure. When I came back to do the ADR this year, I saw it again and it brought tears to my eyes the cruelty, the things we do to one another out of grief as human beings, or the things we do to our loved ones and kids"

[Unidentified female reporter] I must say I found myself wondering if you had sons or not?

JN: "My son lives with me. You might see him wandering around the place."

[A different female reporter, possibly from Woman's Day] What was a stand out moment for you in the whole filming process and what was it like to work with Peter Jackson?

JN: "There really isn't a stand out moment for me because all of my scenes were really hard.

"I think the thing that impressed me about Jackson the most, and I came in rather late into the process, was that he still had prepared a storyboard sketch book and, even though - this was so like the process - he still had the sketches of what he wanted in that scene, it was very flexible and he would be totally respectful of what we brought to it.

"The death scene was pretty hard. I guess I remember that. None of them stand out beyond that. Although working with Ian McKellen is not a bad thing [laughs]!"

[First female NZ reporter] I wanted to ask about that. A lot of Americans don't know who he is.

JN: "They certainly don't know who John Noble is [laughs]!"

[Same NZ reporter] As an antipodean, when you heard you were going to work with Sir Ian McKellen"

JM: "That didn't intimidate me coz I'm a stage actor and, whilst I know who this great man is, I thought it'd be okay. I knew how to cope with that. It was very exciting but that didn't intimidate me at all."

At this point John explodes from regular spoken tones to enormous enthusiasm.

"And it was great! And we met and we went [whomph!] across the floor at each other and said, 'yes! This is gonna be great.' [Resumes regular spoken tones] So that actually was really good, working with Sir Ian. I loved it. And he's a sweetheart. A brilliant actor but there's thing that stage actors have sometimes, this mutual respect: if you're good enough to be there, you're good enough to be there so let's do it. So we went 'crash!' and it that was great.

"There weren't many others I worked with; other than Billy Boyd, who you may meet later and who may be the sweetest man that ever walked the Earth. And we're quite close friends.

"Dave Wenham played my son, Faramir, and that was really strange because we established, almost from the beginning like method actors do, this distance - even though I could see Dave and have a cup of coffee with him in Sydney.

"Then Sean Bean, when we did that pick up. I mean I knew they were going to appear together but I didn't know how much fun it would be."

[Me] Was there more shot to show the great complexities of Denethor's character? In the theatrical cut we did see more of his antagonistic side but there's so much more to him, as written - and I gather from the subtext you left onscreen.

JN: "Look - thank you for the question - I worked my arse off to make him a real person. There's certainly - probably I should say - going to be additional things in there; and whether people see him as a villain or otherwise is going to be - as in any great literature you know and Tolkien wrote great literature - I felt every pain that man felt. Whether audience just assume he's a prick is up to them. Sorry if that's going to radio. But I as a man, a dad and person who's lived for a long time, I felt every emotion he lived through. That's what we do as actors. And even though he's twisted and he's gone the other way, he was an incredibly noble man who just lost it. He's been affected by looking into the Palantir * [see footnote]; which is not really in the movie, but if you read the books, you know it's there.

"He's lost his wife, his son and now it looks like he's going to lose his kingdom. So I understood him so well - I don't know what that says about me [we laugh]."

[First female NZ reporter] Without giving too much away, when he rises from the pyre and runs off, has he had a moment of clarity?

JN: "Yeah, my redeeming two lines: 'Faramir, my son.' [Laughs] S**t, I thought, I've got to try to get it all back in those two lines! Try that for fun. It's true. I'm burning, I say, 'my son,' and that's it. Hardly a speech, but that's the way it goes."

[same reporter] It worked.

[Me] He's heartbroken isn't he?"

JN: [Whispered] Shattered. It could one of those characters where people like me who teach drama and stuff, go back to film and study. And when we teach, we'll say, 'watch and watch carefully.' Because he's actually a great character but, on first appearances, I think a lot of folks are just going to see him as just the villain and that's fine," he sighs with a tinge of regret.

[First male NZ reporter] You didn't wear much make up.

JN: "No. The choice was made not to use make up. I wore a wig and I preferred to use just what I have here," he says pressing his face with both hands.

[First female NZ reporter] If Peter Jackson had come to you and said, 'we're going to recast the film and do it all again' - and you had the pick of the characters except Denethor, who would you choose?

JN: "Okay at my age, I think I'd choose Denethor again because he's just the hardest."

[Same reporter] But if Peter said, 'no sorry you can't have Denethor'

JN: "I'd say, 'well go to h**l. See you later mate! Get someone else.'"

[Second male NZ reporter] Were there a lot of takes for your eating scene?

JN: "Not particularly. Part of what we know, as actors, is how to get our continuity right. I'm really good at that, so it was all worked out in my head ahead of time. There were takes but not excessive; though I did have a vomit bucket next to me in case I needed it! And it was such good food! It was beautiful, so I didn't really have too much occasion to, 'ptuiii [spits]' on the side.

"No it wasn't an excessively long scene to shoot. It was technical in the sense of, I know my technique and so we used that. And it brought tears to my eyes when Billy sang. I felt really sad, and wasn't it a tragic line when Faramir said, 'would you rather I had died,' and I say, 'yeah I wish you had died.' I felt, 'waugh f**k!' Imagine saying that to anyone. But I also understood why Denethor said that."

[Same reporter] That was probably one of the best lines.

JN: "And I had to work out how to do that; and it had to be played flat but inside it was bursting.

"It was an interesting, challenging role. I can only equate it to Lear [Shakespeare's King Lear] because as a stage actor, I've never played Lear but I have played Gloucester and I kept thinking, where the hell did this come from? The demise of a really noble man into this state? And Lear's the only one I could think of."

[Female Woman's Day reporter] If he's a tragic character, what's the flaw which put him in that position?

JN: "Good question awww, I don't know. I think what happens, and I think we all know the cliches about what happens with power and how absolute power corrupts absolutely, with any of us in positions of power, we start to isolate don't we? I think what's happened with Denethor - and you might notice that he doesn't have a friend in the world and so even Gandalf who, in the books, used to be his mate is no longer - is he's been left to live in his own head. So paranoia very much becomes a part of it.

"And the loss of Boromir because I've always thought he saw Boromir as his image; this beautiful big strong warrior. Interestingly enough, Bean and I look alike a bit. He's this wonderful, big gallant man - and he died. Awww! What a loss to Denethor. His wife had died, he's got no kingdom and silly bloody Faramir wants to go off and write poetry or something [laughs]."

[Second female NZ reporter] In The Two Towers, King Theoden says, 'a parent should never lose their child.' Yet this is exactly what's happened to Denethor. While Theoden keeps his grief inside, your character really expresses it doesn't he?

JN: "On a personal level, I've got three children all with me here on this trip and I can't imagine anything worse just can't imagine it."

Last question.

[Me] I wanted to ask a question about Adelaide, since that's where you and I are from. You've done a lot of great, passionate work in Adelaide. Why did you choose to stay and cultivate the arts as long as you did and why did you eventually move away?

JN: "I'm run a bit more by my heart than my head. At the time when I worked in Adelaide, it was the most exciting place to be [funnily enough, much like Wellington was during this visit]. I thought someone was going to tell me to get out before it was too late. At the time, it was a brilliant place to work. The legacy of Don Dunstan and Johnny Bannon and those sort of people - the rest of you might not understand - was amazing. What we were able and given the freedom to do was astonishing. And I'll always love Adelaide for that.

There's an old saying that comes from way beyond my time: 'all great men are born in Adelaide and die in Melbourne.' In other words, what happened out of Adelaide, as always has happened is there's this incredible creative thing that comes outŠ and then we have to leave."

[First female NZ reporter] Will you work with Peter Jackson again?

JN: "Oh no," he jokes tenderly, "I hate him. No Peter Jackson's a genius. Thank you so much for your time. Bless you."

Turning to me directly he says, "let's do that one properly one day. That answer was too glib. Adelaide is pretty special and that's a story needs to be told."

Andy Serkis Book Tour Schedule
Xoanon @ 10:29 pm EST

Andy Serkis will be visiting New York, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Los Angeles next week in support of his new book Gollum: A Behnid the Scenes Guide of the Making of Gollum'. (The Chicago event, originally scheduled for January 13, is off.)

January 12 @ 7:00 p.m.
Barnes & Noble Union Square
33 East 17th Street
New York, NY 10003

January 14 @ 7:00 p.m.
50 S. Main Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84144

January 15 @ 7:00 p.m.
University of Washington
Kane Hall, Room 110
Seattle, WA 98105
Sponsored by the University Bookstore

January 16 @ 4:00 p.m.
695 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91101

Seven Films in Competition for Sound Editing Oscar
Xoanon @ 1:23 pm EST

Kailin writes: I get Academy press releases sent to me regularly, and this one regarding the Sound Editing possible nominations popped into my inbox today.

Seven Films in Competition for Sound Editing Oscar(R)

Beverly Hills, CA - The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced the seven films being considered for Achievement in Sound Editing for the 76th Academy Awards(R).

The films in consideration are listed below in alphabetical order:

"Finding Nemo"
"Kill Bill: Vol. 1"
"The Last Samurai"
"The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"
"Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World"
"Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl"

Ten-minute clip reels from each of the seven films will be screened for the Sound Editing Award Committee on January 20. The members will then vote on these films for Oscar consideration. The outcome of this vote will result in the following options: 1) if two or three productions receive the required votes they will become the nominated films in the Sound Editing category;

2) if only one film receives the required votes it will be recommended to the Academy Board of Governors for a Special Achievement Award; or 3) if no film achieves the required votes, no award for 2003 will be given in the category.

If nominees are selected they will be announced along with nominations in 23 other categories on Tuesday, January 27, at 5:30 a.m. PST. Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2003 will be presented on Sunday, February 29, from the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland(R) and televised live by the ABC Television Network at 5 p.m. PST, beginning with a half-hour arrival segment.

VARIETY: 'King' takes crown from 3 crix' groups
Xoanon @ 1:11 pm EST

NEW YORK -- Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" scored a triple crown Monday, taking picture and director awards in each of three annual film honors lists from the Online Film Critics Society, the Kansas City Film Critics Circle and the Las Vegas Film Critics Society.

The concluding chapter in New Line's phenomenally successful Tolkien trilogy in December was named best picture of 2003 by the New York Film Critics Circle.

In addition to those laurels, Jackson's battle epic earned the Las Vegas critics' supporting actor nod for Sean Astin. Both the Vegas and online groups also lauded the "LOTR" finale for cinematography (Andrew Lesnie), original score (Howard Shore), costume design (Ngila Dickson and Richard Taylor), art direction and visual effects.

The online critics also honored the pic for adapted screenplay (Philippa Boyens, Jackson and Fran Walsh) and sound.

Best actor honors went to Sean Penn from the Kansas pundits for "Mystic River" and from their Vegas counterparts for both the Clint Eastwood drama and "21 Grams," while the online crix chose Bill Murray in "Lost in Translation," awarding Sofia Coppola original screenplay kudos for the same film.

Actress honorees were Naomi Watts in "21 Grams" (online), Jennifer Connelly in "House of Sand and Fog" (Kansas City) and Charlize Theron in "Monster" (Las Vegas).

Both the Onliners and Kansas City critics named Peter Sarsgaard best supporting actor for "Shattered Glass," while all three groups went different directions in the supporting actress slot, with OFCS tapping Shohreh Aghdashloo in "House of Sand and Fog," the K.C. critics opting for Patricia Clarkson in "The Station Agent" and the Vegas org selecting Holly Hunter in "Thirteen."

Latter pic also won the Vegas group's Youth in Film award for Evan Rachel Wood, while the same org honored Tom McCarthy's "The Station Agent" for screenplay.

As with the National Society of Film Critics awards, announced over the weekend, major studio productions took a backseat to specialty division releases with the exception of Warner's "Mystic River," DreamWorks' "House of Sand and Fog" and Disney's "Finding Nemo," which garnered all three orgs' awards for animated feature.

1-05-04 Latest News

LOTR Collectors Models Magazine Launched in UK
leo @ 7:26 pm EST

British Ringers should keep their eyes open for something new in the stands, as Ringer Spy Irascian pointed out:

"Lord of the Rings Collectors Models", a new fortnightly magazine, has launched in the UK this week and the first issue has a special launch price of £2.99 (normal price £5.99).

Each issue of the magazine features a 1/29th scale model of a character featured in New Line’s movie, and is cast in lead. Each figure comes with an accompanying 12-page guide. The first issue features Gandalf the White and the guide includes notes from Weta’s Richard Taylor on the creation of Glamdring.

The first issue not only retails for a special low price but also includes an extra guide giving an overview of the series and a map of Middle-Earth – at £2.99 it’s a steal.

The magazine is available in most good British newsagents or can be subscribed to online at http://www.lotr-models.co.uk/introduction.html

The Noble Steward?
Demosthenes @ 3:25 am EST

The characterisation of Denethor seems to have ignited both controversy and discussion among Tolkien fans the world over. But is John Noble pleased with the result, and with Return of the King?

"I think the film is a very fine piece of theatrical release cinema," he says. "Given that you have to constrict the thing to three hours fifteen max, obviously there are things within it that will be expanded upon as in the other ones. However, I think what they've done is a beautiful piece of work."

The film is fresh in his mind, he's just seen it the day before this interview - a roundtable session in Wellington with Australian and New Zealand press the day before the World Premiere.

"When I saw it yesterday afternoon for the first time," he tell us. "It didn't feel like a long film. This is part of the genius of Jackson."

Still true

Naturally, he's aware his part is "diminished" from what was filmed.

"When you go and see something and you see some stuff is missing - stuff that you worked your butt off on - you think 'disappointing'. But then when I went and saw the film, I understood every choice that he'd made. And I thought well, in the greater scheme of things, he's made the right choices for cinema release."

And to him, the part still feels true.

"It does [feel true] to me, but subtextually obviously there are things in there that the average viewer ... the average viewer is going to need baddies. And Denethor will be seen as a baddie," he admits.

"Because he does come across as pretty horrible."

My mind flashes back to something he said in an interview just a few months before in Canberra, which goes to the core of Noble's work on Rings.

"Obviously the kids are gonna says he's a shit. But other people might go 'Oh my god.' They'll be moved but they don't know why because they want to hate him because he's so cruel. But if they get inside his head and they see what's going on. It's horrible stuff. And his relationship with David Wenham and what's going on there - and [with] Billy."

But being likeable was never important.

"I don't really care whether people like Denethor or not. But I do want them to think he's a very truthful character. And I do want students of film to look at that character and say that is a character of enormous depth."

"If we can leave a legacy like that, then we've done something really good. We spend so much of our time doing crap. Well, not crap, but you go on make a living doing bits and pieces of television and all that. And that's fine. But it's a cakewalk compared to this sort of stuff.

"The hardest thing I've done in a long time"

"It's the hardest thing I've done for a long time. I did some very hard stageplays when I was back doing stage a lot. Really hard stuff. The trouble with film of course is that it's done over such a long period of time. On stage you can go there, do it and you're out of it. Whereas with Denethor particularly, it was all shot out of sequence. They like you to do your death scene first. And what I then had to do was trace back and do a timeline.

"'That's how I was in that scene. And so I've got to go back, back, back ... So how am I here?'

"Even things like ... how many days it's spread over. What are the catalysts that click in? ... But going backwards was really strange ... And that's your job. Even though the audience only sees the snippets of your life, your life has been a continuum of descent or ascent, or whatever. And you need to be able to pick that up so it's almost like a seamless thing. It doesn't matter how far these things are apart.

"But it is a challenging profession. I made the comment ... about when the bar gets lifted - and the bar was lifted [on this production]. And I'm very proud of Denethor. Very proud of what happened. He ... upsets me. Here. He really upsets me. But I'm proud of it.

"If ... in your life you do one thing that's some of your best work ... we're lucky people to have done that. And I've got no doubt that I'll do many more, but that to me - because it was so hard - will be the defining one, I think."

"Don't you talk nastily about Denethor ..."

Back on the day before the premiere in Wellington, John defends the honour of Denethor against one radio reporter
who jokes about the bizzareness of him burning his son while "his castle's being attacked."

John chuckles as he replies: "Don't you talk nastily about Denethor, I love him."

He then continues more seriously. "He's an amazing character. He's probably the closest thing to King Lear, which is my one remaining dream to play. I've played Gloucester, but I haven't done Lear yet. And I understand totally what happens when you 'click'. You just start to make the wrong choices. The paranoia sets in."

MP3 clip - 360KB.

"I guess he's going to come off as a villian, but I think in time as these films are studied more - and they will be - I think people will have a slightly different perception of him.

"People will see a little bit more of the humanity within him."

Yet people may at first find it difficult to find humanity within a character in such a state of despair; who - right from the moment we meet him - seems totally wrapped up in his internal pain. John says he doesn't snap out of it, even when his son returns from Osgiliath riddled with arrows.

"I don't think he realises he's being an idiot at all until that last defining moment when he looks down and sees his beautiful son. Up until that time he's just self obsessed.

"Two lines to redeem yourself"

"And isn't that the hardest thing in the world?" John asks. "You've got two lines to redeem yourself: 'Faramir, my son'.

"And I used to think about that. And that's it - that's the redeeming moment. And it's a real challenge just to find - while burning - to find this redeeming moment: "Faramir, my son." But again, for the discerning viewers, eventually that may work.

"[It's a] terribly emotional scene - and just before that I think he gets up and he's been hit off the pyre by Gandalf and he gets up and he has this look: 'No, do not take my son from me.' It's agonising."

MP3 clip - 660KB.

I wonder if whether he means agonising to watch, agonising for the character or agonising to portray this sort of emotional and physical extremity. Again, my mind flashes to a comment he made in Canberra.

"There's a gorgeous line at the funeral pyre - he says something like ... he looks down and he says: Why do the fools fly?" I think is the line he says. "Let it burn, for burn we must."

"It's an incredibly desolate line he comes out with. Desolate stuff. Bottom of his soul stuff. And yeah, it is demanding. Really demanding to find the truth in that."

"When Billy sang that song ..."

One of the most affecting parts of the Return of the King for many is when Billy Boyd sings for Denethor. Back in Wellington, John mentions that even he found it difficult to keep his composure for that scene.

"When Billy sang that song, you went: 'Oh my god, that's so beautiful'. But when I was doing it [the filming], ... I started to cry ... it was so beautiful."

"And it was just so poignant to have the counterpointing of those three images of Denethor, Faramir and little Pippin."

He's full of praise for the entire sequence.

"I think I'd mentioned to you before that that was in my mind when we did it that that was going to be a great film scene. And I think they've done it."

And if you're curious about what he was eating - it wasn't chicken.

"It was quail or something," John says. "It was very exotic."

John's time is up, but he has a few parting words before he moves on.

"It's an amazing story," he says. "An amazing story of hope. And I think the reason it's successful not so much to do with what we've done, but with whatever was bloody channelled to Tolkien ... to create this enormous metaphor.

MP3 clip - 470KB.

"To create this piece of literature is astounding. And that's why I miss certain lines that aren't in the film - because they can't be. Profound. Profound wisdom that JRR had."

1-03-04 Latest News

National Geographic Goes Beyond the Movie
Xoanon @ 10:51 pm EST

National Geographic Goes Beyond the Movie


WASHINGTON — In anticipation of the December 17 release of the third installment of New Line Cinema’s “The Lord of the Rings” film trilogy, National Geographic is releasing its latest “Beyond the Movie” DVD, “Beyond the Movie – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” in retail stores Tuesday, December 16—one day prior to the release of the feature film. Retailers can pre-order the DVD through Warner Home Video Tuesday, November 18. Consumers can order the film in DVD or VHS directly by calling 1-800-627-5162. The DVD, available for the suggested retail price of $24.98, will be packaged with movie coupons good for up to $5 off admission to see “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” in theaters for a limited time.
Narrated by acclaimed actor John Rhys-Davies (who portrays Gimli in the film trilogy), “Beyond the Movie – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” features commentary from leading historians, field experts and the cast members themselves, who explore the real-life counterparts to the epic events and characters brought to life in the highly anticipated third installment of “The Lord of the Rings” film trilogy.

Intercut with footage from the three “The Lord of the Rings” films, the DVD offers compelling insight into the timeless human themes that resonate throughout “The Lord of the Rings” and real-life history - from what motivates reluctant heroes to accomplish great deeds for their country to the roles that counselors have played in determining the course of their nation’s future.

From the incorrigible William Wallace, who fought for the freedom of his country, to the brave Theodore Roosevelt, who rose from self-imposed exile to become one of the foremost leaders of his country, “Beyond the Movie – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” illuminates the parallel personality traits and personal experiences that motivate Aragorn and the other heroes of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Similarly, the DVD analyzes Aragorn’s reluctance to assume the role of king to Queen Elizabeth I’s similar struggle between her personal interests and her duty.

Among other compelling analyses, the DVD traces parallels from the fictional world of “The Lord of the Rings” to historic people and events such as Benjamin Franklin as wise counsel to the United States and Rasputin’s ill-fated influence over the dynastic Romanov family. Supplemented by the cast’s own insight into their characters, “Beyond the Movie -- The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” offers an intuitive, riveting perspective on the rich and diverse characters that populate Middle Earth.

Additional DVD features include:

· Photo Gallery
· Lord of the Rings Quiz
· And exclusive bonus footage not included in the broadcast version of the show “Beyond the Movie – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” that premiered on the National Geographic Channel Friday, Dec. 19th.

Fans of the film trilogy can explore the world of Middle Earth even further with “Beyond the Movie – The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” which was released in December 2001. Also available in VHS and DVD, the video examines Tolkien’s extraordinary world by delving into the fascinating parallels between real-life myths, events and languages and the fictional world of Middle Earth.

“Beyond the Movie” is an innovative television documentary series from National Geographic Television & Film (NGT&F) created to complement and help audiences explore the most compelling real-life questions inspired by today’s feature films.

Designed as a multi-media initiative to provide rich resources for movie-going audiences, “Beyond the Movie” draws upon the vast resources of the National Geographic Society, including the heralded photo archives, print publications, www.nationalgeographic.com, maps, posters, home video, DVD and classroom materials, to offer greater insight into history, science and natural events for those who love movies and want to know more about the real stories that inspire them.
National Geographic Home Video titles are distributed by Warner Home Video (WHV), a Time Warner Company, operating in 57 countries including the United States and Canada. WHV is one of the world’s leading suppliers of pre-recorded videocassettes and videodiscs and is a market leader in family entertainment.

Building on its global reputation for remarkable visuals and compelling stories, NGT&F augments its award-winning documentary productions (122 Emmy Awards and more than 800 other industry awards) with feature films, large-format films and long-form television drama programming. Worldwide, National Geographic’s television programming can be seen on the National Geographic Channel, MSNBC and PBS, home video and DVD, and through international broadcast syndication. The National Geographic Channel is received by more than 200 million households in 25 languages in 146 countries, including the United States. For more information about NGT&F, log on to nationalgeographic.com, AOL Keyword: NatGeo.

Ted Nasmith Exhibition in Santa Fe
Xoanon @ 7:55 pm EST

archimeaties writes: I just wanted to tell TORn and fans about a very neat gallery I went to today. It's called Chalk Farm Gallery and is featuring art by Tolkien artsist Ted Nasmith. I was surprised by the sheer amount of his paintings on display; one can spend a decent amount of time looking at them all. The paintings range from small studies to immense landscapes and cover events & people from all three LOTR books and the Silmarillion. There are many original paintings shown, and many are even for sale (one was about $12,000, though!). Framed/unframed prints are also available. I highly recommend the exhibit; some of those paintings absolutely took my breath away! It was very cool to see renowned Toliken art in lil' old New Mexico.

Contact Info:
Chalk Farm Gallery
330 Old Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Phone: 505-983-7125

1-02-04 Latest News

Hall Of Fire Chats This Weekend
Frode @ 11:58 pm EST

Having seen 'The Return of the King' we must of course take a closer look at Viggo Mortensens Aragorn. Does the King really return for this movie? Is Strider the Ranger cast aside and Aragorn, King of the Re-United Kingdom, revealed?

We shall also take a closer look at Frodo. How is Frodo of 'The Return of the King' compared to the Frodo seen in the first two movies? How is his relationship with Sam changed compared to their relationship in the books?

Upcoming topics:

weekend 100104-110104
Peter Jacksons 'The Lord of the Rings'; the trilogy as a whole

Saturday Chat:
5:30pm ET (17:30)
[also 11:30pm (23:30) CET and 9:30am Sunday (09:30) AET]

Sunday Chat:
7:00 pm (19:00) CET
[also 1:00pm (13:00) ET and 5:00am (05:00) Monday morning AET]

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

Do you have a possible topic for Hall of Fire? Drop us a line at

Another Quality LotR Module for Neverwinter Nights
Luthien @ 1:36 pm EST

Arhaic, author of "The Dunedain" module for Neverwinter Nights, has recently created another quality LotR module for NWN: LotR: Sons of the Steward. "This module is quite a bit deeper than the original," Archaic writes, "but it pays the same degree of homage and respect to Tolkien's source material."

It is less than a year until the War of the Ring.

The Stewards rule the kingdom of Gondor from their fortress city of Minas Tirith. It is their charge to safeguard all that they can until the return of the king, but that charge is proving more difficult with each passing day.

From the Dark Lands of the East encroach the armies of Sauron, Enemy of all Free Peoples of Middle-Earth. In recent months they have drawn heavily from Gondor, stealing the forests of Ithilien and putting to the lance all of the Steward’s old allies. The people look past their Steward now to his sons: Boromir and Faramir, Captains of Gondor; the former, a heroic and brazen soldier; the latter a reluctant and thoughtful young lordling.

It will fall to these two brothers to stave off the Enemy’s invasion, salvage what they can, and, in time, be shuffled off the field to make room for the greater players of Middle-Earth -and their greater games.

This module includes the following features:

1. Relates the story of Boromir, Faramir, Denethor, and Mithrandir
(Gandalf) about a year before the events in Fellowship of the Ring.

2. Makes thorough (sorry about the hak size!) use of original community content, including Uruk-hai and LotR weaponry.

3. Contains elements appropriate to the Lord of the Rings world. You won't see magic missle here! However, you will see: a working Horn of Gondor, a many-tiered Minas Tirith, banners of the White Tree and Lidless Eye, Henneth Anun, siege weaponry, etc. All of this is used in contextually appropriate ways. For instance, you won't find Frodo or Sam anywhere near this module, as Tolkien's timeline would not have permitted it.

4. Dialogue written with love by an English teacher.

5. Depth and scope beyond that of my decently-rated first module,
"LotR: The Dunedain".

For more information and the module download, go here, and be sure to read the instructions in the ReadMe text file! Enjoy, and let us know what you thought of this module by e-mailing Havens@TheOneRing.net

1-01-04 Latest News

Translating Tolkien
Xoanon @ 4:16 pm EST

Ringer Spy Perheniel writes: In Sweden right now there is an ongoing debate of the new translation of Lord of the Rings. The old translation by Åke Ohlmarks from 1959 was heavily criticised by Tolien, and hence two experienced translators, neither of whom has read the book in beforehand, are finally making a new version. Here are some translated parts of an article concerning this in today’s Swedish Daily.

In 2004 we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the publication of a huge literary undertaking: J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”, or “Sagan om Ringen” (“The Tale of the Ring” /P.) as it has been called in Swedish bookstores until now. The new title will be a direct translation from the original (“Ringarnas Härskare”) when Norstedts (a Swedish publishing company /P.) celebrates the jubilee by publishing a completely new Swedish translation of the book.

On the publisher Stephen Farran-Lee´s desk lies a big volume of 976607 letters. It is to be called “Ringens Brödraskap” (the title is a direct translation of “the Fellowship of the Ring” /P.) and each one of this letters will be examined, scrutinised and questioned more than any others since the new Swedish translation of the Bible arrived in 2000.

Why would anyone start such a project? Even if the films have led to an increased interest in Tolkien, had it not been enough just to issue a re-print of the old books?

– No, says Stephen Farran-Lee, you will have to take four deep breaths and just get into it.

The first Swedish translation by Åke Ohlmarks is characterised by arriving very early, in 1959, five years after the original. No one, least of all Ohlmarks himself, realised by then that Tolkien’s fantasy world with its made-up linguistics would be such a success. The thick paperbacks issued by Gebers recognised by most Swedish Tolkien-readers, arrived in 1967. Now the publishing company is planning a sober edition bound with good paper and a protective cover.

– I suppose dragons (on the cover? /P.) would be more attractive to the general public, but we have to show that we are making something new. It is after all a pre-fantasy book, written long before the fantasy genre was formed, and since then our conception of Tolkien has changed through all these images of spiky armour and slanted eyes, says Stephen Farran-Lee.

And just like the great Hollywood production companies hire in stars from each other when they are making a blockbuster, Norstedts has engaged authors Erik Andersson And Lotta Olsson from the Bonnier publishing house. They are to give the new, sober edition a sense of Swedish linguistics – and that will presumably give a more sober feel to the reader than the imaginative, fierce and very free composition by Ohlmarks.

Lotta Olsson is known for her abilities in writing metrics and will translate the volume’s songs and poems. The man responsible for the remaining three million or so letters will be Erik Andersson, an experienced translator who has made 35 interpretations of English literary works. He is also a writer, previously an editor of a Swedish paper, and has plenty of revision experience. The publishing company claims he has feeling for the humour and tweed-drenched tone in the sub-twists of Tolkien’s writing.

He seems to take it easy, anyway, in his home of Västra Bodarne. That is the name of Erik Andersson’s own Hobbinge, for that is the name he plans to give to the hometown of the hobbits (Hobsala in Ohlmarks’ translation).

In contrast to the Bible translators, Erik Andersson has the author’s own instructions to follow. Ohlmarks, however, did not, as the Dutch and the Swedish translations were the first ones to arrive. When the volume was to be translated into German, Tolkien himself wrote a lengthy translation guide where he among other things rejected several of the linguistic solutions of the Swedish edition.

Erik Andersson is well aware of the difficulties in being compared to Ohlmarks.

– As a creation in its own right it is excellent, even if it does not always follow Tolkien; you have to be modest when you criticise careless mistakes and such. And many people will probably be disappointed in my version. It is like the Bible: you’ve got used to older editions and even if the translation is wrong you don’t care.

Issues of style are something that occupies both authors. Lotta Olsson is careful about keeping the metre and tries to preserve differences between the heroic poems and the more casual, home-styled songs. To do one after the other, however, becomes slightly monotonous, and some poems verge on pastiches.

– There are lots of mirror-like lakes and glimmering stars.

The style also changes as you get further into the book, Erik Andersson points out.

– It starts out as a children’s book, as a continuation of “Bilbo”, with a Birthday party. Then the story progresses into a more sinister mode.

And the characters can use different types of style as well.

– Take the Vidstige (Strider/ P.) character, for instance, he changes all the time. Sometimes the language he uses gives a glimpse of his identity as the great king Aragorn.

Names of people and places are something that demands a lot of thought, but there the author has supplied plenty of guidance. One example is Rivendell, translated by Ohlmarks as Vattnadal (“water-valley” /P.). Tolkien rejects this, as the name should contain the element riven, meaning “cleft”, not river.

– It is a pity, for it’s a great name. And it will be hard to compete with using klevor (old swedish, of cleft /P.) etc. Right now I call Rivendell Klovedal, and people might find that hard to get used to.

The names might change – the big list of names has just been finished, so now it can be circulated for comments, says Erik Andersson, sounding like a representative for some authority responsible for place-names. The list will in this case be sent to the Tokien experts Anders Stenström and Leif Jacobsen. Stenström is the publisher of the Tolkien paper Arda.

Other possible name-changes mentioned in this article:

Frodo Bagger becomes Frodo Secker, as bagger (ancient norse for sack) is in modern Swedish more related to rams (“bagge”) than sacks. Mörkmården (Mirkwood) becomes Mörkveden, reminding the reader that this is indeed a wood (“ved” = wood), not anything else (“mård” = fur).

The full story (in Swedish) can be found at svd.se, where also old articles on the same theme can be found by using the SvD search engine.

12-31-03 Latest News

Neiman Marcus Display Photos
Xoanon @ 5:05 pm EST

Neiman Marcus Display Photos
Click for more images

Serinde writes: My partner took these digital photos of the Neiman Marcus display windows, and we tweaked and cleaned them up a bit.

We were really hampered by reflections of office towers and passing traffic on the windows, which made wide shots almost impossible. For reference, the displays are lit with both colored spots and flourescents, and most of these shots also have fill illumination from daylight bouncing off the glass-walled buildings across the street.

We particularly set out to capture fabrics, metalwork, and embroidery details. Some notes for costume geeks that aren't obvious in the photos: Arwen's mourning dress is deep midnight blue, though it photographs as black. Eowyn's brown bodice is embossed (or possibly quilted?) in a diamond pattern on the lower part and a spiral pattern on the top; the fabric for the cream (silk?) underdress is alternating bands of crinkly pleated texture and a scrolling floral jacquard with scattered paisleys. (I can't determine whether the crinkled bands are the same jacquard pattern). Pippin's shirt is almost certainly linen, and the buttons appear to be covered in linen as well. White Tree motifs pop up everywhere on the Gondorian clothes - see the clasps on Boromir's surcoat, and Denethor's tiny shirt buttons.

12-30-03 Latest News

Peter Jackson Conversation Tix available now!
Xoanon @ 8:03 pm EST

Liz sends along word she heard from the Lincoln Center:

We've got great New Year's news for you -- Tickets have just become available for the Sunday January 11, 2 pm CONVERSATION WITH PETER JACKSON.

Tickets are available NOW! Only two ways to buy them:

- IN PERSON at the Alice Tully Hall Box Office, Broadway at 65th Street, NYC

(Hours: Monday - Saturday 11am - 6pm; Sunday 12 noon - 6 pm. Info: 212-875-5050)

- BY PHONE at Centercharge: (212) 721-6500 (Mon - Sat 10 - 8; Sun
12 noon - 8).

There is a $5.50 handling charge per ticket when ordering from Centercharge.

Currently all screenings of the films on Saturday January 10 are still sold out. If and when tickets become available, we will notify you immediately.

There will be a standby line at Alice Tully Hall (Broadway & 65th St.) on the day of the event for the limited number of tickets that are turned back or not picked up. Arrive early, dress warmly, and we wish you the best of luck! Details on all the weekend's events are below, including an updated list of cast members attending:


On Saturday, January 10:

All three films shown as one event, with Peter Jackson and cast in attendance, including Elijah Wood, Sean Bean, Viggo Mortenson and Andy Serkis.

THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (extended edition), introduced by cast members

Time: 10:00 am
Tickets: $15 / $20

THE TWO TOWERS (extended edition), introduced by cast members

Time: 3:00 pm
Tickets: $15 / $20

THE RETURN OF THE KING, followed by a Q&A session with Peter
Jackson and cast

Time: 8:30 pm
Tickets: $25 / $30

On Sunday, January 11:

Revisiting the highlights of his career and exploring The Lord of the Rings Trilogy in depth, hosted by Richard Peña, Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center

Time: 2:00 pm
Tickets: $50 / $100

All events at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center Broadway and 65th Street, NYC

Film Society of Lincoln Center The Best in World Cinema

MakeUp News RoundUp
Xoanon @ 7:31 pm EST

MakeUp Artist Magazine

Centaurzee writes: I just wanted to send a few updates from the latest issue of MakeUp Artist Magazine (Issue #46).

Richard Taylor and Gino Acevedo (prosthetics supervisor) will be keynote speakers at the International MakeUp Artist Trade Show in London, England, January 24th and 25th, 2004. Here is the blurb from the website:

"We have had some of the finest make-up artists in the world speak at our shows. This year's speakers include the make-up team responsible for the brilliant work in Lord of the Rings. Artists Gino Acevedo and Richard Taylor will perform a live demonstration of one of the movie make-ups on a guest cast member from the movie!"

Also, I am attaching the following article from this issue. It was part of Joe Nazzaro's Year End Movie Round-up. Nice piece on RoTK.

Arwen's Standard of Gondor
maegwen @ 6:30 pm EST

And then wonder took him, and a great joy; and he cast his sword up in the sunlight and sang as he caught it. And all eyes followed his gaze, and behold! upon the foremost ship a great standard broke, and the wind displayed it as she turned towards the Harlond. There flowered a White Tree, and that was for Gondor; but Seven Stars were about it, and a high crown above it, the signs of Elendil that no lord had borne for years beyond count. And the stars flamed in the sunlight, for they were wrought of gems by Arwen daughter of Elrond; and the crown was bright in the morning, for it was wrought of mithril and gold.

Eomer spotting the Arwen's Standard of Gondor from the battlefield of Pelennor. (Return of the King, Chapter 6: The Battle of the Pelennor Fields)

* * *

I have long been struck by this passage, since first reading it as a child. The influence of Tolkien's descriptions sparked a life-long interest in embroidery and decorative arts. So, as odd as it seems, one of the things I was *most* looking forward to seeing in ROTK was WETA Workshop's interpretation of the Standard of Gondor.

In the months leading up to ROTK there was a bit of confusion about the banner. As we know, the Dunedain do not come to Aragorn at Dunharrow to deliver Arwen's gift (or advice about the Paths of the Dead), nor in the filmed version does Elrond seemingly hand it over along with Narsil. I had spent a lot of time wondering how and where it would be delivered... not really allowing myself to contemplate the question of "Would" it be delivered at all!

Aragorn With Anduril Faramir and Boromir Statue Of Gondor

During the course of the films we see many variations of the white tree of Gondor: Boromir's vambraces, on the leather vests of the Rangers of Ithilien, and on the metal breastplates of the Gondor soldiers. On marble plinths within Gondor itself. It is seen on the white banner of the steward, and on the sable and silver livery of the Citadel Guards. There are varying styles: Art Nouveau and Art Deco, trees with William Morris' Arts and Craft simplicity.... But none are *the* standard, featuring the very exclusive crown, reserved for the kings of Gondor.

During my first viewing of the movie, I spent a good portion of it waiting for the stunning moment when the combatants on Pelennor Field realize they are not overrun by Corsairs, but instead witnessing the actual Return of the King. And then mourning that it didn't come. Sitting in the theater, eyes darting about... Taking in the story while inventorying the props -- very stressful!

And then... there it is. Flying above Aragorn and the forces of the West as they march upon the Black Gate. Just as described: white tree on a sable field, seven stars, and a king's crown. But.. WAIT! How did it get there??

Could that be.... the Standard of Gondor?

But... wait some more. It's not 'precisely' as described. The stars are not mithril, nor is the crown. It's just a regular issue king's banner, unearthed from some dusty closet out back of the Citadel.

But, just as 'hope unlooked for' is a constant thread throughout LOTR, I gave up a bit too quickly. Like the cinematic Aragorn, I endured through the coronation scene wondering where the heck Arwen was (as a side comment, why on earth would she skulk in the back when she could/should be enjoying the coronation at Aragorn's side, given that she had given up so much to be with him and Elrond's insistence that he be the king he was born to be... but, I digress).

Arwen's Banner

And then suddenly, while the camera's attention is fixed on Legolas, a slight shift of the frame reveals a glimpse of a tree and then Arwen appears, bearing an obviously hand-crafted banner.

Unlike the description offered by Tolkien, we are given quite a different (both in arrival and appearance) 'Standard' of Gondor. Not argent on sable, but instead a sumptuous white-on-cream/white quilted banner.

The banner itself is NOT precisely a "standard." Shaped as an elongated shield, with an exaggerated tail, it is properly known as a "Gonfalon." [OED definition] The interlacing pattern that borders the piece appears to be hand-painted. The material itself is most likely hand-washed silk.

Unlike the stylized trees appearing on Gondorian armor and signage, Arwen's tree is more organic and fluid -- in keeping with the style of Rivendell, and similar to the trees featured on her bedroom wall hangings. The embroidered branches twine and expand into a crown. This tree is in full flower, symbolizing the rebirth of the kingdom of Gondor. The flowers themselves are of lovely silk ribbon embroidery. These flowers, while not mentioned in the description of the banner, echo a drawing of the tree made by the professor for a proposed "Return of the King" dust jacket.

ROTK dust jacket

The stars are irridescent white/silver thread in a laid-stitch, giving them a three-dimensional appearance. They are 8-pointed, which conforms to Tolkien's guidelines for heraldry, with 6-8 "points" in a heraldric device being reserved for Kings. [Emblems and Heraldry in Tolkien]

Over the years, much discussion has taken place concerning the arrangement of the stars. Should the stars encircle the tree, or be placed in a flat row ("in chief") above the tree. Tolkien, oddly enough, does not say outright. The dustjacket drawing shows the stars "strewn" upon the field. In Gondor, we see several examples of what is known in heraldry as "in annulo," which means arranged in a curve as if drawn on a ring, or "chevron," in an upended point. Arwen's banner features the "arched" style, where the stars mantle the primary device of the tree. [Heraldic Atlas]

The crown of Gondor appears to be crafted from metalwork embroidery. It is difficult to tell from the pictures, but could also possibly be embroidery over fabric applique. The crown, while not matching the descriptions of the physical crown, does correlate to Tolkien's description of the standard image. Depicted is a silvery band with intricate designs, and three "wings" of golden feathers, centered by the likeness of a jewel. "The crown was bright in the morning, for it was wrought of mithril and gold."

Arwen And Aragorn - Queen And King Of Gondor

While substantially different from the banner we (I?) expected, the end result is lovely and impressive.

Tehanu's ROTK Review: Updates and Corrections
Tehanu @ 4:38 am EST

As always, I got a lot of enjoyable mail in response to my review which appeared yesterday as Tehanu's 21st Note yesterday. I'll be away for the next week so I won't be able to respond to any more, but here are some important points other people brought up.

Most important, because a lot of people mentioned it: Frodo didn’t push Gollum, they both fell together. Many people have written to correct me on this, having watched that scene carefully. As Erather puts it: "Frodo does *not* push Gollum into the fire. They're fighting and both fall. Frodo at that moment is still totally under the Ring's influence, and must have it back (not destroy it)."

Nimrodel adds, "You can see on his face that he's very seriously considering just letting go and ending it all (though some have said he *still* wants the Ring at that point), but it's Sam's love that pulls him back."

DM disagrees with me that the film makes Aragorn do all his heroics out of his love for Arwen: "Aragorn seems to deny that he’s doing it all for the sake of love –the little two-line conversation in Elvish that Elrond & Aragorn share seems to point AWAY from Aragorn doing this "to save his love." It went something like this:

Elrond: "I bring hope to mankind." Aragorn: "I save none for myself."

Doesn't this seem like Aragorn has acknowledged that Arwen will die... he saves no hope for himself...especially since this all plays out only minutes after Aragorn has awoken from his dream/premonition that Arwen is on her death bed?"

Julie wrote: "How DARE they cheapen Aragorn's heroic motivation by making it personal in the end. What a Cheat! But, on the other hand, it's a wonderful motivation for making Elrond finally bow to the need to reforge the sword, deliver it to Aragorn, and help him with the Paths of the Dead advice. A very necessary plot point and I can't think of any other motivation that would have worked on him, based on the character as developed in the film.

She adds, "When he says "I'll keep no... [hope] for myself" I read that as trying to remove that cheapening motifivation from his character - that he's not going to hope for success for personal gain - but to continue on the way he has been. Sort of trying to negate the cheapening motivation that they needed for other reasons. Didn't quite work for me - but that's how I interpreted things.

"Which brings me to the whole Arwen dying thing. The only way I was able to interpret that (and again, I wasn't using the written word as a baseline reference) is that when she clutches Frodo on the banks of the river in FOTR and says "whatever grace is given me, let it pass to him" - she's linking her life into FRODO's. [This is something I thought also at the time - Tehanu] His fate therefore also becomes hers. Thus as his lifeforce fades in ROTK, so does hers. If he fails, she too will die. Therefore the time frame for her dying is imminent - and explains Elrond's sudden sense of urgency."

Megan writes about Denethor's suicide, which is a controversial scene:

"In the movie, it is aided by Gandalf who now becomes a murderer, especially terrible because it seems Denethor is depicted as though he may have snapped out of his madness, but it was too late, Shadowfax had already pushed him into the fire. The book uses this scene to describe the destruction of pure unbridled despair as opposed to the accomplishments of courage and hope. But the movie only uses it to show how crazy Denethor was... and there was no use of the Palatir to hint that Sauron was using despair and fear as a weapon to insure his victories in Middle Earth." We’re still hunting for great artworks of the past that are reflected in the film. Miguel thought the pose and look of Frodo as he is borne by the Eagle is suggested by Reubens’ The Entombment

Keep looking, everyone. A lot of you know far more about art than me.

Go back to Special Reports Archives