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February 15, 2006 - February 28, 2006

2-28-06 Latest News

Cynthia Cummens Interview
Xoanon @ 9:09 pm EST

Cynthia Cummens Interview MrCere writes: Cynthia Cummens attended the ORC 2006 show as a guest of TheOneRing.net and participated in several aspects of the show including the 'Iron Artist' contest and she taught a drawing workshop. She was a big hit both on stage and off, bringing enthusiasm to the show and her warmth to those who had a chance to speak with her in person.

She has been working on a line of new Lord of the Rings cards for Topps that will feature her original sketches inserted into packs of cards. Cynthia was kind enough to take some time at ORC and talk to TheOneRing.net about her projects and also included a sneak of her cards scheduled for release on March 1. Not only was TORn pleased to have her at the ORC event but was thrilled to build a relationship with such a talented and kind artist.

TheOneRing.net: Tell me about your artistic roots and training and I am particularly interested how you grew into such a genre (or geek) centric artist?

Cynthia Cummens: Hi Larry. Thanks for talking with me. I started drawing as a kid, about age 3, and knew at a young age it was wanted to do for the rest of my life. It seems my creative influences came from the sci-fi/fantasy TV shows that appealed to me - Wonder Woman, Buck Rogers, Godzilla, among others. Luckily, my mom supported my love for drawing, even though she herself isn’t an artist. When she took me to see Star Wars, which I don’t actually remember seeing (believe it or not), I was immediately obsessed (thanks, Mom!) and it became the subject of almost everything I drew for many years. Later, in high school and college, I went into the fine arts programs, which provided a wonderful foundation for painting and drawing. I had a variety of art jobs during and after college, and explored different subject matters in my paintings, most of which were often about very personal experiences and not at all related to sci-fi or fantasy. Then about 6 years ago, I worked as a portrait artist in a local Renaissance Faire, which empowered me to launch my career as a freelance illustrator.

TORn: And how did you get hooked into the Lucasfilm and Lord of the Rings franchises?

CC: While I worked at the Ren Faire, it was suggested that I should look into exhibiting at conventions, which until then I never knew about. The idea appealed to me, and I took the advice to get to Star Wars Celebration II in 2002 (my first convention). I spoke with some of the artists who were exhibiting there, and the advice was the same - get to San Diego Comic Con, which I attended in 2002, along with Wizard World Chicago. Both conventions provided many opportunities to get my work seen by professionals in the industry. At SDCC in 2004, Star Wars artist Randy Martinez recommended me to Topps, the trading card company, who was hiring artists to work on Star Wars trading cards. Lucas Licensing reviewed and approved my portfolio to work on the cards, and since then I’ve been involved with different projects for them. At the end of 2005, Topps also invited me to work on their LOTR sketch cards which required approval by licensing at New Line Cinema.

TORn: Lets talk about this card project. How was it working on this series?

CC: It was a very exciting project to be involved with being a fan of the books and movies. For those who might not know what sketch cards are, they are one of-a-kind, hand-drawn sketches on trading cards. Fans of the movies and trading card collectors love them because they are original pieces of art, not reproductions. For the LOTR set, I drew 350 cards, which were based on movie likenesses, not an interpretation of Tolkien characters. At times it was grueling, as I tend to work very detailed even though the cards are meant to be sketches, not highly rendered works of art. I used pencil on each card, occasionally adding some white conte for highlighting. That’s just my approach to sketching. Overall, it was a thrill for me. It was actually was kind of sad when I sent the cards back to Topps, knowing they’d never be in my hands again.

TORn: Were you able to pick subjects and scenes and moments from the films to depict or were they assigned?

CC: Since this is a character-based set, I drew portraits of the characters from the films. There were no limits to which characters I could draw, or from which films. So there was no shortage of inspiration!

TORn: Can you tell us about the working process? Did you use visuals
directly from the film?

CC: Yes, I used the DVD’s as reference, spending many hours glued to the tv, remote control in one hand, pencil and cards in the other (not a bad way to spend the day)! I also have a steadily growing stockpile of internet references and books that I used intermittently.

TORn: How much time did you allow yourself to spend on each card?

CC: At the minimum, I spent 20 minutes on a card, depending on the character. Ring Wraiths were the quickest to draw, while human likenesses require a bit more time, sometimes as much as an hour depending on how detailed I wanted the piece to be.

TORn: As an artist and/or as a fan, how did you view the films from your creative perspective?

Cynthia Cummens Interview CC: These movies re-ignited my creativity when I saw them, and even as I continue to watch them I find myself in awe, studying the lighting and composition of scenes, the color schemes and the moods they create. I really enjoy costuming (even though I can barely sew a hole in my sock!) and am inspired by the level of craftsmanship in the costumes, the attention to the smallest detail in a gown or sword, the colors and textures in the flesh of creatures like Gollum and Lurtz, not to mention the landscapes, the environments. It’s just amazing how it all connects so seamlessly. I try to borrow from that energy and creativity and bring it back into my work, whether it’s a sketch card or some painting, unrelated to the books/movies that I may for do just for myself.

TORn: Do you have a favorite illustration from the cards?

CC: I don’t necessarily have a favorite illustration, though I enjoyed drawing the hobbits, particularly Frodo, whose expressions are so amazing and challenging to capture.

TORn: How about something you wish you could have illustrated?

CC: I would have liked to have illustrated interior scenes and landscapes, or perhaps have drawn characters from the books that weren’t in the films.

TORn: What are some other projects you would like to work on?

CC: I’ve got a bunch of exciting projects lined up for 2006. Unfortunately, the way it works is that I often can’t reveal anything them until some official announcement is made about the project or product. I have a couple possible book projects in the works, one about a well-known UFO incident, which I’m looking forward to illustrating. I plan to continue working on sketch cards – anything sci-fi or fantasy related is always enjoyable! Since I do a lot of conventions, I hope to continue adding more to the line-up this year, and teach more drawing workshops like the one I taught at ORC and maybe even do another Iron Artist event if the opportunity comes up. I’ll be updating my site with news about upcoming projects and additional convention appearances.

TORn: Any artists you particularly admire?

CC: I love the work of Norwegian figurative painter Odd Nerdrum. I also enjoy the work of Roger Dean who is known for his album cover art for Yes, a prog rock band from the 70’s. Of course I think Alan Lee’s work is so elegant and delicate. There are a lot of children’s book illustrators that I enjoy, such as Patricia Polacco. The list, like the road, goes ever on...

TORn: Will you be attending any other TheOnering.net events?

CC: Absolutely!

TORn: Anything else?

CC: Lord of the Rings: Evolution from Topps will be released March 1st. If you don’t pull one of my cards from the hobby boxes, and are still interested in owning one, you can check that well known-auction site. Or you can commission me for custom artwork through my site: cynthiacummensart.com

2-27-06 Latest News

Ziegfeld Theater Trilogy Report
Xoanon @ 10:32 pm EST

Laithaine writes: For all of New York’s previous Theater Glory, there are very few one-screen movie theaters left to remind us of the majesty that used to exist before the institutional multiplex mega movie houses. The Ziegfeld is one of them! All weekend, this hidden treasure has been running a Lord of the Rings Movie Marathon and if it ever happens again, I urge everyone who can to get there and see the spectacle!

Although the movies didn’t begin until 1:00, fans began lining up outside the doors by 12:00. A sharp cold wind was diving in between the building to assail us with biting frost, but nobody minded (although some did compare it to the gusts on mighty Caradhras). People who felt an instant community with one another were chatting amiably with expressive recounts of their favorite scenes and vigorous discussions on the points of the films that diverge from the book. One thing was for sure, we were all so happy to be there.

The theater showed us incredible compassion by swinging the doors open by 12:20 and we all quickly piled in to escape the cold. There were 2 authentic black bordered ticket pick up and purchase windows with real live people behind them to greet and help you. I thanked the cashier for the three precious tickets that would let me into the films and practically dragged my friend down the luscious red carpet to the ticket taker. A couple of rippity rips and we were in! A mad dash up more carpeted steps and we stumbled into a marvelous rotunda with mirrors, circular high back couches and two old style concession stands. All of it the same deep Art Deco red. Contrary to the usual indifferent movie house staff that us constant moviegoers have grown accustomed to, remarkably friendly ushers herded us in the direction we were to go with smiles and greetings.

Enormous black doors were swung wide for us and we wandered through with wide-eyed amazement. Nothing can compare to the utter grandness of the theater itself. In my mind, it was even more elegant than Radio City. The magnificent size of the room itself was overpowering. Not to mention that every wall was covered in Red Velvet from base to the 50-foot ceiling and the entire floor was wall-to-wall carpet giving you the feeling of incredible elegance combined with the comfort of a well provided living room.

Contrary to what I read, the seats were well padded and comfortable with a bit more legroom that was expected. The orchestra was gently but deeply tiered so that a head in front of you didn’t block the screen and the mezzanine in the back ramped straight up to provide excellent distance viewing, if you’re into that sort of thing. There was even an honest to God heavy brocade curtain covering the unbelievably wide screen with yellow sheers as a compliment.

Before we knew it, the curtains pulled back and the lights darkened. The first thing you notice after the thrill of hearing the projector begin is the absolutely incredible sound system. It engulfs you with its quality and power. I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed
Such a richness of sound! It could easily have been the best I have heard in many years.

The previews came and went, and so did the 70’s movie manners reminder cartoon.


The beginning music, those mournful violins with deep mysterious cellos…and Galadriel’s ghostly voice:

I amar prestar aen.
Han mathon ne nen.
Han mathon ne chae.
A han noston ned 'wilith.

We were RAPT with awe; it sounded like she was whispering right in our ears and as the film unfolded, it’s breath and scope drew us into Middle-earth utterly and completely.

The fireworks display was staggering and with the expansive woofers slung on the wall, each explosion rattled the room. We were there. We were really there!

The cry of the Ringwraiths literally hurt your ears (I swear to Manwe, I had to cover my ears more than a few times in earmuff fashion just to handle it) and Asfaloth’s hoof beats forced your heart to drum in time. We were pulled in so deeply that most people let go of their normal self-restraint to weep openly during the tragic slaying of Boromir and gasp out load as the great wall of Helm’s Deep exploded into the sky. We chuckled at Gimli’s refusal to be tossed and then his request to be tossed later. And I’m convinced that those who didn’t laugh when Sam proclaimed himself not the bodyguard but the gardener are missing some humor gene. Personally, I lost my self-control when the Eagles arrived at the Black Gate to open a world of hurt on the Fell Beasts. I just love that scene; Gwaihir in action is not only powerful, but also comprised of nearly perfect grace and dignity. And, no matter how many times we’ve all seen it, the tears just pour out when Frodo tells Sam, “I’m glad you’re with me, Samwise Gamgee. Here at the end of all things.”

And all of us were glad, too, to be with each other. There was a strong sense of community between us all even though it was the first time we laid eyes on one another. We took food orders when we stepped out to grab dinner from kindly strangers who were staying behind to watch over everyone’s stuff. Extra Snacks were passed around while in between movie debates carried on wildly. There are few opportunities for Tolkien fans to get together without having to pilgrimage to a large and costly convention and so it was wonderful that for under $20 you could sit in the comforting presence of like-minded company. If a viewing like this ever comes around again in NY, I enthusiastically encourage fans to go. It was a wonderful day, or rather, escape from the real world and a much-needed fix for all of us who are despondently missing Middle-earth.

Mortensen in Sydney Report
Xoanon @ 9:41 am EST

LeafOfHumanTree writes: Viggo Mortensen was at the Sydney premiere of A History of Violence tonight at the George St cinemas. Viggo was an absolute gentleman and generous with his time. He signed everything for everyone, posing for photos, chatting to fans in different languages and shaking hands.

Before the film started, Viggo slowly worked his way down the red carpet, signing books, film postcards, DVD covers, calendars, etc for the fans. After the invitees had entered the cinema, cinema staff allowed fans to take down the posters and poster boards promoting A History of Violence, so I took one. Viggo then disappeared briefly to introduce the film to those VIPs invited to the screening and returned to sign more paraphernalia.

On his first trip down the carpet, Viggo was kind enough to sign a LOTR CD cover for me. When he returned from introducing the film, he was kind enough to sign my A History of Violence poster.

Here is a link to one of the few photos I took before my camera batteries died. I wish I could have taken a photo when he was smiling and turned my way, but the batteries were dead. [More]

Here is a link to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald about Viggo's appearance at the premiere. [More]

Viggo is even more gorgeous in person than on film. Softly spoken, polite, patient and kind. He was a little serious, but smiled readily for photos and conversation.

I wish I could say that I said or asked something incredibly clever or gracious but I was dumbstruck and he had to say 'And this is for...?' when he came to sign my LOTR picture. 'Is this how you spell it?', he asked, as he wrote my name. I didn't care - he could have signed it 'To Rumpelstiltskin' for all I cared!

2-24-06 Latest News

Tolkien Reading Day
Xoanon @ 9:43 pm EST

25th March is Tolkien Reading Day

Tolkien Reading Day is an event to encourage the use of Tolkien's works in education and library reading groups. Launched in 2003 the reading day event has sparked interest in reading and reading groups across several nations and ages from Primary schoolchildren to University students and library users of all ages. Hence the circulation of this release to the media, educational press and county library services.

Tolkien's works encompass many themes, and can be used to illustrate or provide assessment subjects for study areas in current school curricula. 25th March has significance to Tolkien's readers, as it is the day of the Downfall of Sauron at the conclusion of the 'War of the Ring' in "The Lord of the Rings." For children and adults reading together is fun, and stimulates good conversation, vocabulary development, an interest in history and for some an interest in linguistics.

There's more to Tolkien than "The Lord of the Rings", schools and reading groups can enjoy the mock-medieval rebellion of "Farmer Giles of Ham" complete with giants and dragons or the radio play "The Homecoming of Beohrtnoth" that looks at the aftermath of a Viking raid.

Have a Tolkien Reading Party or Dinner

Why not have a group of people gather to read aloud? As this year's Reading Day is a Saturday schools may be closed but libraries, pubs, cafes, youth clubs, restaurants and other places won't be. Members of the public (and schools wishing to hold an event near to rather than on the 25th) can contact the Society for free posters, bookmarks and help with publicising their event.

Tolkien Reading Day Fun in the East Riding of Yorkshire

East Riding Libraries will be running several events to tie in with Tolkien Reading Day. A county wide art competition is being held throughout March with a theme of "The Magic of Middle Earth." At Hessle library Games Workshop will be holding a games demonstration and running a diorama model competition "Middle Earth in Miniature," Beverley Library will be hosting a Games Workshop tournament themed around Lord of the Rings while art and modelling workshops will be running at Bridlington and North Bridlington library. There will also be wordsearches, quizzes and displays at several libraries across the region, for more information about events being held by the library service please contact Gemma Williams on 01482-392747 or email her at Gemma.Williams AT eastriding.gov.uk

Celeborn @ 10:43 am EST

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 13, 2006--Electronic Arts (Nasdaq:ERTS) today announced that the highly anticipated PC game, The Lord of the Rings(TM), The Battle for Middle-earth(TM) II will make its exclusive console debut when it ships in Summer 2006 on the Xbox 360(TM). Players can now command epic Middle-earth battles presented in spectacular high-definition from the comfort of their very own couch. To add to the intensity of the experience, The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II for the Xbox 360 is the first game in The Lord of the Rings(TM) series that will be playable over Xbox LIVE(TM)(1). Players will be able to challenge friends online and engage in intense, action-packed real-time battles.

"Living these cinematic battles in high-definition with stunning surround sound, all from the comfort of your living room couch on the Xbox 360, is an extraordinary experience," said Louis Castle, VP of Creative Development at EALA. "Adding the ability to battle it out with friends via Xbox LIVE is also really exciting."

Based on the PC version of the same name, The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II for the Xbox 360 will bring players into the heart of Middle-earth to live the battles seen in the blockbuster New Line Cinema films and classic J.R.R. Tolkien literary fiction. The game boasts a new and intuitive console-specific control scheme that will allow novice players to enjoy the game's signature strategy gameplay while giving expert players the flexibility needed to engage in a deeply complex strategy experience. Players will directly control hundreds of units in an attempt to defeat enemy armies, conquer new lands, and seal the fate of Middle-earth.

Developed at EA's Los Angeles studio, The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II for the Xbox 360 offers players a new depth of The Lord of the Rings fiction never before explored in an EA console game. The game makers at EALA have brought The Lord of the Rings world to life in accordance with an agreement with The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Tolkien Enterprises that grants EA the rights to develop games based on the books, in addition to a separate agreement that allows for games based on the New Line Cinema films.

The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II for the Xbox 360 has not yet been rated by the ESRB and the PC version is rated "T" for Teen by the ESRB. For more information about either game, please visit: www.bfme2.ea.com. For information about all of EA's games, please visit EA's press site at www.info.ea.com.

(1) Online play requires Internet Connection. Xbox Live online play also requires subscription to the Xbox Live service.

About Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), headquartered in Redwood City, California, is the world's leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, the company develops, publishes, and distributes interactive software worldwide for videogame systems, personal computers and the Internet. Electronic Arts markets its products under four brand names: EA SPORTS(TM), EA(TM), EA SPORTS BIG(TM) and POGO(TM). In fiscal 2005, EA posted revenues of $3.1 billion and had 31 titles that sold more than one million copies. EA's homepage and online game site is www.ea.com. More information about EA's products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at http://info.ea.com.

About Tolkien Enterprises

The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Tolkien Enterprises is the holder of worldwide motion picture, legitimate stage, merchandising, and other rights in J.R.R. Tolkien's literary works The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Tolkien Enterprises has been producing and licensing films, stage productions and merchandise based on Tolkien's works for almost 30 years. Its headquarters are in Berkeley, California, and its website may be found at www.tolkien-ent.com.

About New Line Cinema Corporation

Founded almost 40 years ago, New Line Cinema is the most successful independent film company in the world. Its mission is to produce innovative, popular and profitable entertainment in the best creative environment. In addition to the production, marketing and distribution of theatrical motion pictures, the fully-integrated studio has divisions devoted to home entertainment, television, music, theater, merchandising and an international unit. In 2005, New Line partnered with HBO to form Picturehouse, a new theatrical distribution company to release independent films. A pioneer in franchise filmmaking, New Line's Oscar-winning The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of the most successful film franchises in history. New Line is a division of Time Warner, Inc. (TWX).

Electronic Arts, EA, EA SPORTS, EA SPORTS BIG and POGO are trademarks or registered trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. All The Lord of the Rings content other than content from the New Line trilogy of The Lord of The Rings films (C) 2006 The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Tolkien Enterprises ("SZC"). All Rights Reserved. The Lord of the Rings, and the names of the characters, events, items, and places therein are trademarks or registered trademarks of SZC under license. All content from The Lord of the Rings film trilogy (C) MMVI New Line Productions Inc. All Rights Reserved. Xbox and Xbox LIVE are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

CONTACT: Electronic Arts
Abby Topolsky, 310-754-7005 (Public Relations)
Brooke Cahalane, 310-754-7312 (Senior Publicist)

SOURCE: Electronic Arts

2-23-06 Latest News

Trilogy Screening at Ziegfeld Theatre in NYC
Xoanon @ 8:51 pm EST

Lightsteward writes: I've recently taken over maintaining the NYC Line Party list for Lightwards, who was our Line Party organizer over the years here in NYC. I was hoping you could list this news item on the site a.s.a.p.. The historic Ziegfeld in NYC is showing the LotR Trilogy as part of their Hollywood Classics series this coming week. The Ziegfeld is the largest and most magnificent single screen venue left in NYC and is the location of most major film premieres in NYC. This is the first time that the LotR films will play there, as none of them ran there. Previously only the first two films had premieres there. So this is a real first for fans of the films who want to see the movies under prime conditions.

Many of us from the NY Line Party will be reuniting for our Second Annual Trilogy Day as a part of this run on Saturday 2/25. We have also arranged a group discount with the theater, lowering the ticket price from $7.50 per film, to $4.50 per film. People just need to print out and present this flyer at the box office.

The discount is also good for the entire week, so anyone who cannot make it on Saturday, or wants to go more than once can take advantage of the break. So, please help us get the word out a.s.a.p.. I'm sure there may be some people out there outside NYC who'd even want to come in for the day.

Join us this Saturday for 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets'
maegwen @ 6:30 pm EST

As part of our popular Movie Watch chats, this weekend TORn's IRC gang will be settling in to watch the second of the four Harry Potter films, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets." We will follow up with "Prisoner of Azkaban" on March 11th, and "Goblet of Fire" on March 25th.

Join us Saturday on our IRC server at 5:30 pm EST when we pop our copies of the film into the DVD player. After the usual confusion, at around 5.30pm EST we'll all press play on our individual players and proceed to cheer and jeer (or discuss and argue, if you like!) the finer points of the film.

We plan to take a break midway through the film, to allow for stretching of fingers and backs. Barliman will be on hand to serve drinks and snacks (and to enforce the house rules).

* * *


Saturday February 25

Time zone conversions:

Not sure what time the chat will be where you are? Check this little conversion table out for some help.

5.30pm EST (New York)
4.30pm CST (Chicago)
3.30pm MST (Salt Lake City)
2.30pm PST (Los Angeles)

10.30pm GMT (London)
11.30pm CET (Paris)

6.30am AWST (Sunday 26th) Perth
8.30am AEST (Sunday 26th) Brisbane
9.30am AEDT (Sunday 26th) Sydney
11.30am NZDT (Sunday 26th) Wellington


On TORn's IRC server, in the #moviechat channel. After joining the server, type /join #moviechat to get there.

If you've never been to TORn's IRC server before, you can join through our java applet and type /join #moviechat once you're signed in. We recommend you visit our FAQ for some guidelines on using our IRC service. Barliman’s is a place for good conversation about JRR Tolkien’s works. We welcome you to our community and ask that you, and all guests, abide by some simple guidelines.


Once everyone is in #moviechat and has their DVD ready to go, the ops will moderate the room and have a countdown to "Play." I expect that we will be able to give minute-markers throughout the evening for latecomers. A break will be taken midway through -- the exact point will be announced in the topic.

* * *

That's all, folks! See you this weekend!

2-18-06 Latest News

Exclusive Behind-the-Scenes Tour for Lord of the Rings Fans
Xoanon @ 8:14 pm EST

The Genre Traveler and Beyond Boundaries Travel Team Up for Special Weekend Package to See the Lord of the Rings Musical in Toronto

For Immediate Release: On Memorial Day Weekend, some fortunate Lord of the Rings fans not only will get to see the World Premiere musical in Toronto – already receiving rave reviews from theatre goers – but will also get the chance to meet the producer and cast in a private Q&A session.

This one-of-a-kind tour, offered only by Beyond Boundaries Travel in cooperation with The Genre Traveler, features three nights accommodations at the Delta Chelsea Hotel, a luxury hotel in the heart of downtown Toronto; a private Q&A session with producer Kevin Wallace and the cast, exclusively arranged for travelers on this tour; an intensive, behind-the-scenes workshop with actors and crew; a Gala Lord of the Rings Costume Party; and, of course, tickets to see the musical.

"We strive to make our tours as fun and interactive as possible," says Jeannie Barresi, co-founder of Beyond Boundaries Travel. "That's why we worked so hard to arrange the Q&A session with the producer and cast, as well as the intensive, hands-on workshop."

"What's so special about these kinds of tours," says Carma Spence-Pothitt, editor of The Genre Traveler, "is the opportunity to meet interesting, intelligent people who share an interest with you, in this case, an appreciation for J.R.R. Tolkien's classic work."

All this – 4 days and 3 nights, May 26-29, 2006 – is only $799 double occupancy. This price also includes three breakfast meals, all taxes, meal gratuities and baggage handling. A deposit of $250 is due upon reservation, with the balance due by March 28. Reservations need to be made by April 1 to ensure space.

Previews of Lord of the Rings, directed by Matthew Warchus, opened on February 4 at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto and will run until March 22. Fans who have seen the preview said it was worth the wait. One even said, "It was unlike reading or watching Middle Earth, it was like being there!" The official Gala opening is scheduled for March 23. Toronto will be the only place to see this production for at least nine months, when it is scheduled to open in London.

For more information about, or to make reservations for, this once-in-a-lifetime tour, contact Beyond Boundaries travel at (800) 487-1136 or (719) 471-0222, or visit lotrfantrips.com. Information can also be found at The Genre Traveler's website, www.thegenretraveler.com, and blog, thegenretraveler.braveblog.com.

About The Genre Traveler:

The Genre Traveler, which debuted in October 2005, is a quarterly online travel magazine for science fiction, fantasy and horror enthusiasts. Topics covered include genre-themed attractions, events and vacation packages, as well as ideas for creating your own genre-themed getaways. Also included are websites, gadgets and other items that support genre-themed travel and seeing the world through genre-colored glasses.

About Beyond Boundaries Travel:

Beyond Boundaries Travel, established in 1991, designs themed tours for fans sharing common interests such as Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean and others. Tour designers always include a good dose of historical and educational information, film locations and lots of fun. Beyond Boundaries' Fan Trips have been featured in Frommer's and Fodor's, as well as several newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times and The Chicago Tribune. A recent book about Harry Potter devoted more than 18 pages to Beyond Boundaries' trips, which were described as the "tour of choice" for fans.

2-16-06 Latest News

Xoanon @ 8:26 pm EST

Vacaville, CA - Hear ye! Hear ye! On April 21-23, 2006, the second annual Middle Earth Festival will come to life in historic Downtown Vacaville to celebrate author J. R. R. Tolkien and “The Lord of the Rings”.

This fun-filled family event includes a fun run and forums on the themes of Tolkien. Saturday and Sunday activities include craft and merchandise vendors, entertainment, and games for the kids, demonstrations of old time skills, music, dance, fantasy and abundant food. Take part in one of many trivia contests or enjoy the antics of the Gollum impersonation contest, and seek the best costumed elf, dwarf, hobbit and other dwellers of Middle Earth! Admission and most festival activities are free.

New to the Middle Earth Festival is the green, eco-friendly area of booths and information. These vendors do not look like they stepped out of Middle Earth, but there you may hear echoes of voices of ancient Ents caring for all that was good and green. This is a special way to celebrate Earth Day which falls on this weekend!

Volunteers are being sought to join the “fellowship” of those who bring the festival to life. Potential vendors, entertainers, and demonstrators of old time skills may download applications directly from the Middle Earth website at www.middleearthfestival.com.

For more information on this unique and exciting event, contact event organizer Betty Lucke at 707.448.1021 or the Downtown Vacaville Business Improvement District at 707.451.2100.

2-15-06 Latest News

Hall Of Fire This Weekend -- Of Maeglin
Demosthenes @ 5:23 pm EST

This weekend, Hall of Fire finally resumes its Silmarillion chats with chapter 16 -- Of Maeglin. We'll explore the tragic tale of Aredhel and Eol, exploring what spurred the White Lady of Gondolin to leave the hidden city and how it set in train a trail of events that leads right up the sacking of Gondolin itself.

'So you forsake your father and his kin, ill-gotten son! Here shall you fail of all your hopes, and here may you yet die the same death as I.' Eol at Gondolin.

Was Aredhel strong or rebellious, and how does her restlessness compare with that of her Noldorin half-sister, Galadriel? What does it say about her character that she chose to visit her Feanorean cousins, rather than Fingon? What of Turgon, who allowed her to leave Gondolin reluctantly? Was he foolish or realistic? What else could he have done, if anything? On the other hand, why does every other elf of Gondolin seem content to remain in the vale of Tumladen? Or should we interpret this in a more mythical sense?

Do we see the doom of Mandos at work with Aredhel's inability to enter Doriath and subsequently losinmg her companions travelling through Esgalduin? Is it the inexorable hand of Mandos' curse that draws Aredhel to Eol -- and is it right that Fate should so interfere? Or is her restlesness and apparent wilfullness her own responsibility?

What should we make of Eol, the dark elf of the Teleri with the huge chip on his shoulder? Is he a Teleri prince? In his own way, he seems as restless as Aredhel. He uses enchantments to lure her in, yet it is said she was 'not unwilling'. And where does his intense and abiding hatred of the Noldor come from? For although he calls them kinslayers, he does not associate with the Teleri, instead preferring the company of the Dwarves. Is it solely enforced isolation that spurs Aredhel to flee? How much is Maeglin's apparent lust for knowledge -- and perhaps the throne of Gondolin -- responsible?

Neither Curufin nor Turgon move to slay Eol, despite the former's wish to do so? It seems almost the kinslaying has horrified the Noldor to the point where to kill another elf has become virtually forbidden by custom and law. Do you agree?

Nevertheless, In Gondolin, events run inevitably to a dreadful conclusion? Does everyone get wehat they deserve, or does Turgon condemn everyone with his stubbornness?

Above all, what is this story telling us?

These are just a few of the things we'll discuss this weekend on Saturday February 18 at 5.30pm EST in The Hall of Fire.

Time zone conversions

Not sure what time the chat will be where you are? Check this little conversion table out for some help.

5.30pm EST (New York)
4.30pm CST (Chicago)
3.30pm MST (Salt Lake City)
2.30pm PST (Los Angeles)

10.30pm GMT (London)
11.30pm CET (Paris)

6.30am AWST (Sunday) Perth
8.30am AEST (Sunday) Brisbane
9.30am AEDT (Sunday) Sydney
11.30am NZDT (Sunday) Wellington

Our chats usually last 45 mins to an hour, and are very newbie friendly. Simply drop in and join the conversation!


Chat happens on #thehalloffire on irc.theonering.net - the TORn IRC server. You can connect instantly via our java chat client that works inside your web browser (find it here! ) or choose to install a dedicated chat program such as mIRC on your computer.

To find out more about using mIRC to connect to TORn IRC server, check out these instructions.

Upcoming topics:

Sat Feb 18 -- Silmarillion Chapter 16
Sun Feb 26 -- Middle-earth's greatest hero
Sat Mar 4 -- Middle-earth's greatest hero

Got a topic? Let us know your idea!

If you have a burning desire to discuss something in Hall of Fire, drop us a line with your topic at halloffire@theonering.net. If we like it, we'll probably give it a run in the coming weeks - you might even get to guest moderate the session!

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