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March 05, 2005 - March 17, 2005

3-17-05 Latest News

Hall of Fire Chats This Weekend
Demosthenes @ 5:51 pm EST

'Then Feanor began a long and secret labour, and he summoned all his lore, and his power, and his subtle skill; and at the end of it all he made the Silmarils.' (The Silmarillion)

The Silmarillion Chapter 7 - Of the Silmarils and the unrest of the Noldor

This weekend, we resume our Silmarillion chapter chats in Hall of Fire with the tale of the making of the Silmarils - Feanor's most wondrous creation. But out of them arose unrest as well as beauty.

Admired by all, desired by all, what was Tolkien's inspiration for these unique jewels? How similar were they to Galadriel's phial?

Mandos said the fate of air, sea and earth lay locked in the jewels. Melkor lusted over them, and their existence drove him all the harder to sow the lies that tore the Noldor apart, and led to Feanor's banishment from Tirion.

But why did the lies of Melkor find fruit among the Noldor? Who listened most and least to his words? And why did not the Valar tell the Quendi about the coming of Men?

Join us this weekend on Sunday March 20 at 2.00pm EST when we'll discuss this and more in The Hall of Fire!

Time and date:
Sunday March 20

2.00pm EST
1.00pm CST
12.00pm MST
11.00am PST

7:00pm UK
8:00pm Central Europe

5.00am (Monday) Brisbane
6.00am (Monday) Sydney
8.00am (Monday) Wellington

Upcoming topics:

"Silmarillion Chapter. 7 - Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor"

- Sunday, March 20

"Pippin Took - bold hard halfling or piece of luggage?"

- Saturday Mar 26
- Sunday April 3

"Silmarillion Chapter 8 - Of the Darkening of Valinor"

- Saturday April 9
- Sunday April 17

"Tell us your LoTR fan experience!'

- Saturday April 23
- Sunday May 1

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!

Join HoF Announce!

Did you know that Hall of Fire has a mailing list? Join today and get topic announcements and news delivered regularly to your inbox!

3-16-05 Latest News

David Salo Lecture in Bloomington, Illinois
Xoanon @ 7:30 pm EST

TaffyCat writes: On Saturday, April 30, at 3:00 pm in the Community Room of the Bloomington, Illinois Public Library, author David Salo will speak on the Elvish languages in the Lord of the Rings and various aspects of his involvement with the movies. David served as a linguistic consultant and wrote dialogue and songs in Elvish for the Lord of the Rings movies. He is the author of the recently released book A Gateway to Sindarin: A Grammar of an Elvish Language from JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.

As a prelude to David's program the three Lord of the Rings films will be shown in the Community Room, free of charge on three consecutive evenings. The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King will be shown on April 27, 28 & 29 (Wednesday, Thursday & Friday) respectively. All three movies will start at 6:30 p.m. [More]

Order 'A Gateway to Sindarin: A Grammar of an Elvish Language from JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings' on Amazon.com Today!

New Boromir Clothing Line
Xoanon @ 7:20 pm EST

New Boromir Clothing Line
Click for more images

Dimenthoniel here. I have been on the site a few times here and there. Anyway, last month, I did a photo shoot for the new Boromir clothing line being released from Museum Replicas. New Line authorized the line of clothing in September, but production of the items did not begin until last month. As a vendor for Museum Replicas, I had the wonderful chance to be Boromir for a day, as I was willing to do the job for free and had a hand in the design process first-hand. It was great to be able to etch my own little place in LOTR history by posing as Boromir for the upcoming catalogues.

The beginnings of this was the DIY Boromir I did a couple of Halloweens ago on One Ring. After months of persistant pursuit and assistance with the final design idea, Museum Replicas finally got authorized by New Line to do this. I worked super-hard to get this ensemble out there, and I am glad my work paid off! There is quite a story about it, as I kept a journal about what happened during the entire process. There is much more than would be expected. LOL.

The outfit was made to WETA Workshop specifications, with the actual design templates being sent to MRL from New Zealand. The garment consists of several layers, just as the original. The embroidered burgundy cotehardie is worn over the steel chainmail and cotton-padded gambeson. The leather surcoat is next, followed by an optional cloak in grey or green. The horn is not available (as it is my personal one), but the sword is. The vambracers are dual-layered, just as the originals. The gauntlets, boots, and belt are also true to form. No word on the buckler being made anywhere currently. I can go into more detail if you would like at some point.

I am attaching a few pictures for you. These are not published anywhere, and will not be until probably the May issue of the MRL catalogue. Since it is me in the pictures, I give you permission to use them on your site if you wish. You'll have them out there before the catlogue does! LOL!

LOTR Musical: A New Legend Is Born
Xoanon @ 1:19 pm EST

For Immediate Release: March 16, 2005

A New Legend Is Born

The Stage Adaptation of
will have its World Premiere in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
at the Princess of Wales Theatre

Performances Begin February 2, 2006

The book trilogy has sold in excess of 200 million copies. The multi award-winning three-film adaptation broke box office records. Now, J.R.R. Tolkien's THE LORD OF THE RINGS arrives on stage.

An acclaimed international creative team has combined all three books into one unmissable theatrical event. With a thrilling score, a spectacular design, and featuring an ensemble of over 65 actors, singers and musicians, THE LORD OF THE RINGS is the biggest and most ambitious theatrical production ever staged.

A Kevin Wallace Limited Production, presented by Kevin Wallace and Saul Zaentz, in association with David and Ed Mirvish and Michael Cohl, THE LORD OF THE RINGS $27,000,000 stage production will have its World Premiere in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

"THE LORD OF THE RINGS has captured the imagination of the City and Provincial governments of Toronto and Ontario which have - with our Canadian partners - created the ideal platform from which to launch our Premiere production to the world," says producer Kevin Wallace. "From February 2006, visit Toronto and you will find Middle-earth"

Performances will begin February 2, 2006 at the 2,000-seat, Princess of Wales Theatre. The gala opening performance will be on March 23, 2006.

Background to the Stage Production

J.R.R. Tolkien began writing THE LORD OF THE RINGS in 1936. By the autumn of 1948, he wrote to a friend, "I succeeded at last in bringing THE LORD OF THE RINGS to a successful conclusion Š I think there is a chance of it being published, though it will be a massive book, far too large to make any money for the publisher (let alone the author)."

The publishers Allen & Unwin accepted the manuscript and worked with Tolkien to divide the work into a more manageable three volumes, with the final installment published in 1955. Despite Tolkien's original doubt of the popular and commercial appeal of the work, today the publisher HarperCollins estimates there are more than 200 million copies of Tolkien's books in print.

Further proof of the universality of the work is the international popularity of the New Line Cinema/Peter Jackson film trilogy released between December 2001 and December 2003.

In November 2001, an early draft of a stage adaptation of THE LORD OF THE RINGS by Shaun McKenna was brought to the attention of producer Kevin Wallace.

"It demonstrated you could deliver Tolkien's trilogy on stage in one epic and eventful evening," says producer Wallace.

Kevin Wallace Limited (KWL) acquired the rights to Shaun's draft and commenced negotiations with The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Tolkien Enterprises (SZC) to secure the underlying rights. Those negotiations concluded in April 2003 when SZC (the same company that licensed New Line Cinema to produce the Jackson films) granted KWL an exclusive worldwide licence to commission and produce the first major stage adaptation of THE LORD OF THE RINGS.

At the same time Kevin Wallace confirmed Matthew Warchus Director), Rob Howell (Designer), Christopher Nightingale (Musical Supervisor), Peter Darling (Choreographer), Simon Baker (Sound Designer) and Paul Kieve (Illusions Director) were joining the project.

The Creative Process

In May 2003 Matthew Warchus set out the approach he wished to take in bringing the story to the stage. Music was to be an integral part of the storytelling, and a search began for the composer. Ultimately, the producers and creative team chose two distinct collaborators for this purpose: the Indian composer A.R. Rahman, a star of Indian cinema, stage and popular music; and Värttinä, a contemporary Finnish group comprised of three female singers and six acoustic musicians, that has built an international reputation in the contemporary world music arena.

The music of each of these collaborators is rooted in the integrity and antiquity of their respective cultures. Additionally, one of the original points of inspiration for Tolkien's story of Middle-earth was The Kalevala, Finland's national epic of mythological songs, poems and stories. Värttinä shares the same inspiration for its music and lyrics.

In the summer of 2003, Shaun McKenna and Matthew Warchus set about redrafting Shaun's original text; set and costume designer, Rob Howell, began the design process; and A.R. Rahman and Värttinä began to compose the score with Christopher Nightingale.

The epic nature of Tolkien's story demands that traditional stage and scenic techniques be rethought and expanded. Having completed several workshops of the text, music and scenic elements through 2003 and 2004, THE LORD OF THE RINGS is now ready to go into rehearsals in Toronto in October 2005.

"What we have is a beautiful and spectacular adaptation of Tolkien's epic that in word, music, design and performance honours the original trilogy in its imagination, scale and insight. THE LORD OF THE RINGS is one of the great stories of the last century, and not surprisingly it will take us three hours of stage time to perform our version of all three books - three unforgettable extraordinary hours in Middle-earth for audiences of all ages," says producer Kevin Wallace.


Combining classical drama, physical theatre, music and spectacle, the production cannot be described in conventional terms. For instance, although the production will be filled with music and, like Tolkien's books, have numerous songs, it is unlike any traditional musical.

"Our respect for Tolkien's book means that every step of this adaptation to the stage has been rigorously thought through to avoid all possibility of trivialising the material," says director Matthew Warchus.

"We have not attempted to pull the novel towards the standard conventions of Musical Theatre, but rather to expand those conventions so that they will accommodate Tolkien's material. As a result, we will be presenting a hybrid of Text, Physical Theatre, Music and Spectacle never previously seen on this scale.

"Following in the tradition of many great quest stories told on the world's stages over the millennia, I believe Tolkien's story of the One Ring will blossom and flourish in its adaptation. Great theatre has a boundless capacity to thrill, delight, touch and amaze an audience and this piece, with its extraordinary flights of imagination and powerful emotional core, will, I think, thrive on the stage.

"To read the novel is to experience the events of Middle-earth in the mind's eye; to watch the films is to view Middle-earth as though through a giant window. Only in the theatre are we actually plunged into the events as they happen. The environment surrounds us. We participate. We are in Middle-earth."

The World Premiere Production

Casting for the premiere production will begin immediately across Canada. Rehearsals start in Toronto on October 24.

THE LORD OF THE RINGS will be the cornerstone show of Toronto's Mirvish Theatre 2005-06 Subscription Season. Mirvish season subscribers will have exclusive access to tickets until May 15.

Single tickets for the initial booking period go on sale via www.lotr.com at 9:00am (EST) on May 15. Phone sales and in-person sales at the theatre box office will begin at 9:00am (EST) on May 16.

The official website - www.lotr.com - will broadcast all casting and ticketing news about the production. Audience members are advised to join the email list for timely news of the production.


In association with DAVID & ED MIRVISH, and MICHAEL COHL


Book and Lyrics by

Music by

Set and Costume Design by ROB HOWELL

Moving Image Design by THE GRAY CIRCLE
Illusions Direction by PAUL KIEVE
Tolkien Creative Consultation by LAURIE BATTLE

Choreographed by PETER DARLING


Based on the Lord of the Rings trilogy of books by J.R.R. Tolkien. Written and produced under license from The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Tolkien Enterprises (SZC). THE LORD OF THE RINGS and the names of the characters, events, items & places therein are trademarks or registered trademarks of SZC and are used under license. All rights reserved. © Kevin Wallace Limited 2005.

Peter Thompson Associates

Mirvish Productions
John Karasatamatis, Director of Communications
Sue Toth, Communications Manager

3-12-05 Latest News

An Evening with Peter Jackson Reports
Xoanon @ 6:34 pm EST

Aussie and Maria Layne were two of the very lucky folks to spend an 'evening with Peter Jackson' last night in Sydney. Peter was very candid about his work on LOTR..and more importantly...he showed a BLOOPER REEL!!! Take a look!

Aussie writes: I've just come back from a night with Peter Jackson in the State theatre in Sydney. Since people on the message board were bugging for a repot I thought I'd write one up.

The three leveled elaborately carved ancient theatre was absolutely packed with very excited people. Just when the looping footage on the big screen, of Frodo falling over, got at its most tedious we were welcomed by the boss of the powerhouse museum. Then the host, David Stratton from "at the movies" arrived. He told us he hoped today would reveal something new about the lotr since "you all know everything about the lord of the rings films don't you?" >>insert laugh track<<

We were then treated to the lotr supertrailer which, being my third viewing was quite tiresome but exciting enough knowing what was to come.

Then Peter himself entered to much applause, wearing a dorky but very cool late 80's shirt, commenting that the 6 minute supertrailer was much easier to get through than the films themselves. The audience reacted uproariously which pretty much set up the tone for the night.

Peter talked of his early days with bad taste. And boy could he talk. The whole night took about two hours including about 15 minutes of footage.

He left school at 16 since he found it pointless to stay what with his filmmaking aspirations and made bad taste over 2 years on sundays.

The conversation then turned to the famous story of how the film started. Peter mentioned that it seemed fate had a huge part. Most of the story wasn't anything new to people who have watched the dvd's and read about it. He talked of his original call to Harvey Weinstein. He mentioned to Harvey that Saul Zaentz had the rights. Harvey was excited at this as he had saved Saul Zaentz's production of "the english patient". Saul Zaentz owed harvey a favour, and so he gave the rights away where previous directors had failed (george lucas...thank god). It was great as Peter didn't have to try not to offend New line and was able to impersonate Harvey and reveal his anger at the films.

He recounted the feeling of dread when production was pulled and ten million dollars had already been spent, and miniatures made. The rest of course is movie history.

Now to the bloopers. We've been told about them for years and I finally got to see them. They revealed a very rude but funny aspect to the filming. Peter apologized about the excess use of f*** but said they decided not to bleep it because it was funnier. Most of it was Viggo and Bernard with quite a bit of Dominic and Billy making dirty jokes or gestures and crawling into bed together. There was also lots of disturbing footage of Liv Tyler acting all prancy and annoyed at her hair going in her face and some seemingly abandoned footage of her in front of a greenscreen acting like a wraith of some sorts and making scary facial expressions. There was an edited sequence of Aragorn shooting down Sauron with a machine gun and footage of the snow machine going haywire and spurting snow all over the surrounding city area.

Peter put together the clips in his spare time and they are all he has of any bloopers since newline has taken all the footage to the U.S.

Apparently there were many more bloopers and other reels but they never had time!! Silly supertrailer!

Anyway what else? He has lost ALOT of weight wow. He never mentioned Kongisking or theonering unfortunately.

My dream never came true as he didn't announce there was a special key under one person's seat and they would go to new zealand to the set of King Kong. Oh well.

Anyway sorry i have to go now. thanks for reading, I hope this gave an idea of the night.


Maria Layne writes: At the State Theatre in Sydney, at "An evening with Peter Jackson" He showed some of the bloopers from the Set.

Here are some of them:

Merry is in bed at the Golden Hall, and has this HUGE erection under the blanket - about two feet long. He says "I was just having this dream about Gimli" and then Pippin said something like "can I help?" or "Can I look" - people were laughing too much around me to hear properly. Anyway, Pippin lifts up the sheets and slides in beside Merry, and Merry turns over and cuddles him, then waves to the camera and says "nighty night", then rolls half onto Pippin and waves the cameras away.

In another one, Dom and Billy were in their trailer, half-turned away from the camera, and were comparing their sizes. "Mine's longer than yours" "Mine's a bit thicker" etc. Then they pretend to see the camera for the first time and pull up their pants, saying that they were just practising for a scene, and Dom throws a sheet over a blow-up doll...

In another one, at the coronation scene, Gandalf has a blonde curly wig (very tall, like a wizard's hat) with little flowers on it and says, "Now is the time of the Queen."

In another one, Sir Ian parts the front his Gandalf the grey robes and has only tighty whities under them - and proceeds to do a little dance.

David Wenham does this thing when standing next to Eowyn at the coronation, behind her back, where he grins at the camera and points at Eowyn in a lacivious way, as if to say "guess what I'm getting later" then, when she looks at him, he is all innocence again, just applauding Aragorn like in the film.

They showed Orlando Bloom, over and over and over again, NOT being able to shoot the arrows - they fell down, they got caught in his hair, in his cloak, in his fingers, in his quiver - they even came out back to front, and he put them into the bow feathers first... I was crying with laughter.

They showed Viggo making faces a lot, and fooling around with Bernard Hill. there were lots of mistakes made by actors where they said "F##k" and a version of the "Green Dragon" drinking song which was just the word "c##t" over and over for several lines...

Sean Bean wasn't in the bloopers, but he was mentioned.

Gandalf was speaking to Faramir, and said "Well Boromir... (then he realised he had said the wrong name)... is dead. Your brother is dead. This is the third film, and you just have to accept it, I'm sorry."

Aragorn was on horseback in the middle of the riders of Rohan, answering his cell phone...

There were more, including two versions of Aragorn talking to Theoden in the Golden Hall about how they will make tens of thousands of plastic toys from scans of Theoden's skell - which has already been seen on the internet.



"Aussie:, who wrote a review on PJ's Sydney interview, seems a bit hard to please. He may have seen the 6 minute preview before but the rest of us hadn't and it reminded us all of how powerful the films are when shown on the big screen. He also forgot to mention Peter and Fran Walsh's integrity when presented with an ultimation from Mirimax that they make the book into one film or else it would be handed over to another director and writer, all ready waiting in the wings. They took a long walk together and decided that despite the huge amount of time and money that had poured into the project up to that time, and despite the damage that withdrawing from it could do to their careers, they could not be involved. As PJ himself put it, people who loved the book would flock to the film because of its title and go away very disappointed, and he and Fran simply could not be a part of that. He took a terrible risk. Thank heaven (and New Line) it paid off.

Also not mentioned in other reviews were:

* Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli riding up to Fanghorn Forest and Aragorn saying, "Fangorn Forest. Now what they f**k are they doing in there?"

* Faramir politely applauding Aragorn's coronation and clearly mouthing at the camera "This is b*llsh*t" before continuing politely applauding again, then turning to Eowyn with a lascivious wink and a nod and then assuming a polite expression as he continued clapping.

* Bernard Hill making a stirring speech and then happily skipping away.

* Pippin and Merry giving mouth-to-mouth to a dismembered orc head.

* Four uruk-hai crowding their faces into a camera and singing "You make me feel like a natural woman".



Sydneysiders were privileged to be the first to see excerpts from Peter Jackson’s private Gag & Blooper reel cut while editing The Lord of the Rings. While all the shot footage of Lord of the Ring has been turned over to New Line and stored in their vaults, Peter Jackson cut himself a private DVD of some gags and bloopers of the cast and crew.

Sydney’s ornate State Theatre was a venue of a rare one-off “An Evening with Peter Jackson” on March 12. About 2,000 people from all age-groups paid $65.00 to see David Stratton interview the director. Exactly why he took time out, with just three weeks of principal photography left on King Kong, to fly across the Tasman Sea, was never explained.

Peter Jackson looked exhausted, although a little better than the shocking Day 100 Production Diary from KongisKing.Net that had fans worried.

The event began with a plug for Powerhouse Museum by its director, followed by David Stratton (from the Movie Show) introducing the Trilogy Trailer, and then Peter Jackson himself, who walked out casually attired.

The questions weren’t particularly inspired, and despite being advertised as an interview about the making of Lord of the Rings, didn’t actually get to that topic. Most of the time was spent on Peter Jackson’s previous films and the fascinating story of securing the rights leading up to the famous “But isn’t it three books” by Bob Shay.

The highlight of the evening was the clips of gags and bloopers. Some of the best were:

Due to a lack of time, some of the bloopers & gags were not seen.

What wasn’t said

There were no hints about what’s going to be included on any future DVD HD box sets of Lord of the Rings, or what’s distinct about Peter Jackson’s particular version of King Kong, or whether the succesful 35 minute pitch video that Peter Jackson prepared with Fran on the 18 months of pre-preproduction up to August 1997 will ever be put on a DVD.

Securing the rights

There were many highly improbable events detailed in the 30-minute recount of securing the rights and, as interviewer David Stratton suggested, it’s almost movie-worthy in its own right.

Weta had acquired its first computer at the time of Heavenly Creatures. By the time they finished The Frighteners, they had 30 computers. Peter Jackson wondered what a fantasy movie would be like using CG. He and Fran tossed around ideas using Lord of the Rings as a reference, but never at first, actually contemplating the Lord of Rings as it was “too big”. But gradually they asked their agent to make some tentative enquires as to who had the rights.

The agent discovered it was Saul Zaentz who was notoriously reluctant about giving them away. However, due to Saul Zaentz-produced The English Patient, which was funded by Harvey Weinstein (working for Miramax which was owned by Disney). As Harvey funding the English Patient when its original funding was cancelled, Saul Zaentz (Producer) owed Harvey a favour, and Harvey called in this favour to get Peter Jackson the rights, after the plug was pulled for King Kong (because Godzilla and Mighty Joe Young had both underperformed). Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh developed the scripts for two films, one ending at Helms Deep, effectively condensing the first two books into one film. They were budgeted at about $140 million each. However, Harvey could only greenlight films of $75 million and suggested they do it as one film. He said, in a meeting in New York in July 1997, they even had a scriptwriter and director standing by if Peter didn’t want to do it. (Peter suggested this could have been a bluff).

Peter told Harvey, rightly, that all the fans would be disappointed with a 2-hour condensed version. Peter Jackson has a document that has never been seen by the public – the 3 page outline prepared by Harvey’s people, condensing the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy down to 2 hours – Moria was to deleted altogether and only referred to in conversation, while Theoden and Denothor were going to be merged as one character, just as Rohan and Gondor were to merged as one realm.

At this stage, pre-production on the two movie version was well advanced, with Weta, John Howe and Alan Lee. The Helm’s Deep and Rivendell miniatures (bigatures) had been done as well as various maquettes.

Peter and Fran told Harvey they would think about it, then flew back to New Zealand, and immediately by chopper to a remote location for Fran’s birthday. Peter called his agent to tell him to tell Harvey they would NOT be doing it.

However, unknown to them, Peter’s agent used initiative and secured Peter 4 weeks to pitch it the two-movie version elsewhere, so that another studio could repay Harvey the $10 million they’d already spent on it.

Given the 4 week deadline, Peter and Fran set to work immediately preparing a 35 minute making of documentary, interviewing themselves, Alan Lee, and showing lit models of some of the miniatures. They then lined up just two meetings, with Polygram and New Line – all other studios turned them down without even granting a meeting or seeing the video.

Polygram, who being a British company, were interested, but as they were being sold in the next 5-6 months, could not commit to something so expensive in the few weeks remaining to close this deal.

The second and final meeting, their last chance, to pitch the idea was with New Line. Peter Jackson, disarmingly jovial, but obviously shrewd underneath, was playing poker with them, cancelling on the meeting several times, pretending he was “hot property”. The “mercurial” Bob Shay saw the video, and the rest is history.



Just wanted to add my bit to the reviews of 'An Evening With Peter Jackson', which I saw along with the exhibition the day before (my cup runneth over!)

Peter recounted how at a horribly tense meeting with Harvey Weinstein (during which time the 2 film version was already well underway), he tried to make Fran and Pete agree to doing LOTR as one film ("not a Gone with the Wind or a Lawrence of Arabia-type epic - he was talking a 2 hour film.") When they asked how could they possibly write such a script, Harvey produced a 3 page 'I-had-one-prepared-earlier' type outline. It was of course a ridiculously condensed version of the books which P & F knew anyone who had EVER read the books would HATE. It included such travesties as...ignoring the Mines of Moria altogther (it had Frodo merely emerging from the gates and saying something like 'wasn't that exciting then?'/ Gondor and Rohan being lumped into one people/ Denethor and Theodon being amalgamated into one character (!!) Harvey also told them he had lined up an alternative writer and director willing to do the one film, should they refuse.

When first on stage and facing a hushed expectant crowd of 2000 - all focused on him under a bright spotlight - Peter said that during the 6 minute trailer he had managed to forget everything he knew about LOTR!

The bloopers (which were from Peter's personal DVD collection - the sound wasn't great) conveyed the renowned spirit on the set. Stand out for me was David Wenhamn - hysterical in the coronation scene, applauding and smiling politely and mouthing "this is BULLSH*T!" before ogling Eowyn in a most unstewardly manner! Sir Ian was gorgeous as the Queen. With all the gravity of the occasion he lifts the crown he's about to set on Aragorn's head to reveal his own bouffant blonde wig. His mincing-in-underwear scene was a fave too. Go Ian!

Peter no longer 'looks' like Peter - he was so much thinner, no glasses, shorter hair and beard. But the voice and lovely manner was still Pete's (and I should confess my bias here of being a Kiwi!) Walking to the train station afterwards, I noticed a small crowd gathered and realised it was the back entrance to the theatre - Peter was there signing autographs for people.

Author Karen Wynn Fonstad: 1945 - 2005
Xoanon @ 6:16 pm EST

Mark Fonstad writes: I thought the readers of theonering.net should be aware of the passing of my mother, Karen Wynn Fonstad. Karen was a big reader of the website and was greatly pleased by fans' reactions to her work on the Atlas and other things. Thanks.


Karen Lea Wynn Fonstad, age 59, of Oshkosh, Wisconsin died March 11, 2005 of complications from breast cancer. She was born April 18, 1945 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the daughter of James and Estis Wynn. She graduated from Norman High School, Norman, Oklahoma. She earned a B.S. degree in Physical Therapy and an M.A. in Geography, specializing in cartography, from The University of Oklahoma. While attending OU she met and married Todd A. Fonstad of Oshkosh on March 21, 1970. They have two children: Dr. Mark A. Fonstad, San Marcos, Texas and Kristina Stingle, Sussex, Wisconsin.

Karen was a freelance cartographer, part-time lecturer at The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, and an invited speaker for many events. She was the author and illustrator of The Atlas of Middle-earth, The Atlas of Pern, The Atlas of the Land, The Atlas of the Dragonlance World and The Forgotten Realms Atlas. Karen helped develop Eowyn Challenge-Worldwide Walk to Rivendell and Beyond where over 800 people have logged 200,000 miles in the past two years.

She has been listed in: Who's Who of American Women, Who's Who in the Midwest, and World Who's Who of Women.

Karen was active in the Oshkosh community. She served on the Oshkosh City Plan Commission for twenty-four years and as a member of the Oshkosh Common Council. Some of her other civic participation included: Grand Opera House Board of Directors, Hotel/Convention Center and Mass Transportation Center Development Committees, Oshkosh Commercial Development Corporation, Business Improvement Council Board of Directors, and the Downtown Oshkosh Committee.

At various times Karen had served in the Oshkosh Symphony League, Camp Fire and Cub Scout programs, and in the UW-Oshkosh Faculty Dames where she held the offices of president and secretary.

Karen had been an active member of Algoma Boulevard United Methodist Church since 1974. She was the unofficial curator of The Nativity Collection housed at the church. She was largely responsible for designing and coordinating the cabinet construction, displaying, promoting, and maintaining the 1000 sets of the collection. She helped plan the Centennial Center Building Addition, was Director of Program Ministries for two years and webmaster for seven years. She served on many committees, participated in church mission projects and was a Certified Lay Speaker.

Karen is survived by her husband, Todd; her son, Mark; her daughter, Kristina (Chad) Stingle; two sisters, Peggy (Jerry) Rhoton and Marsa (Derald) Crissup of Norman, Oklahoma; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers.

A memorial service will be held at Algoma Boulevard United Methodist Church* on Tuesday, March 15 at 6:00 p.m. with Reverend Barry Yarbro officiating. Visitations will be held on Monday, March 14 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the church and on Tuesday from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. prior to the service. Burial will be at Forest Cemetery in Stevens Point at a later date.

Karen loved flowers but contributions may also be made to the ABUMC Centennial Center debt retirement or to a memorial in Karen's name for breast cancer research.

130 Church Avenue
Oshkosh, WI 54902

*A map of ABUMC (created by Karen) is located here.

3-10-05 Latest News

Hall Of Fire This Weekend - Discuss The Silmarils!
Demosthenes @ 6:44 pm EST

'Then Feanor began a long and secret labour, and he summoned all his lore, and his power, and his subtle skill; and at the end of it all he made the Silmarils.' (The Silmarillion)

The Silmarillion Chapter 7 - Of the Silmarils and the unrest of the Noldor

This weekend, we resume our Silmarillion chapter chats in Hall of Fire with the tale of the making of the Silmarils - Feanor's most wondrous creation. But out of them arose unrest as well as beauty.

Admired by all, desired by all, what was Tolkien's inspiration for these unique jewels? How similar were they to Galadriel's phial?

Mandos said the fate of air, sea and earth lay locked in the jewels. Melkor lusted over them, and their existence drove him all the harder to sow the lies that tore the Noldor apart, and led to Feanor's banishment from Tirion.

But why did the lies of Melkor find fruit among the Noldor? Who listened most and least to his words? And why did not the Valar tell the Quendi about the coming of Men?

Join us this weekend on Saturday March 12 at 5.30pm EST when we'll discuss this and more in The Hall of Fire!

Time and date:
Saturday March 12

5.30pm EST
4.30pm CST
3.30pm MST
2.30pm PST

11.30pm UK
12.30am (Sunday) Central Europe

8.30am (Sunday) Brisbane
9.30am (Sunday) Sydney
11.30am (Sunday) Wellington

Upcoming topics:

"Silmarillion Chapter. 7 - Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor"

- Saturday March 12
- Sunday, March 20

"Pippin Took - bold hard halfling or piece of luggage?"

- Saturday Mar 26
- Sunday April 3

"Silmarillion Chapter 8 - Of the Darkening of Valinor"

- Saturday April 9
- Sunday April 17

"Tell us your LoTR fan experience!'

- Saturday April 23
- Sunday May 1

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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3-07-05 Latest News

LOTR Trilogy Overnight Screening in London
Xoanon @ 1:01 pm EST

Sue Bamford, Duty Manager for bfi London IMAX® Cinema writes: The BFI London IMAX cinema are doing another overnight screening of all three films on the 18th and 19th of March.

Screenings start at 8pm on the Friday and 8.30pm on Saturday going on until the wee small hours of the morning. Free teas and coffees to keep everyone going through the night, and Ulrukai warriors in attendance to enforce Sauron's will (otherwise know as the duty manager)...

...last time was so much fun we wanted to do it again. Tickets and more details available from the BFI's website.

Many thanks...I'm a huge fan of the films and have been whinging to my boss to be allowed to do another night as the last ones were so good. We have the biggest screen in Britain, so even though these are only 35mm prints it looks marvellous. Just as important we have a truly powerful sound system, with 12,000 watts to help you real feel the battle scenes.

I'll be running about dressed as an elf, so hope to see other suitably attired fans!

Lecture on Tolkien Fan Fiction
Xoanon @ 12:55 pm EST

Thanks to Amy for the info!

Belmont University Lecture on Tolkien Fan Fiction:

“Reimagining Rosie: Portrayals of Tolkien’s Rosie Cotton in 21st-Century Fan Fiction”
10am, Belmont University Nashville, TN, USA
March 30, 2005 at the Leu Center for the Visual Arts, Room 117
Academic Convocation Credit Given to Students - Lecture Open to the Public

Brought to you by SAGE (Students for the Advancement of Gender Equality) for Women's History Month:

Dr. Amy H. Sturgiswill discuss the imaginative and expressive potential for fan fiction through an examination of fan-authored stories about the long-ignored Lord of the Rings character Rosie Cotton. Dr. Sturgis will demonstrate how fan writers use Rosie as a voice for their own identities and interests (making her in turn a domestic paragon, a sexual iconoclast, and a supernatural changeling), and how they strive to make Rosie an equal to the male characters in Tolkien’s works. This academic lecture is based on Dr. Sturgis's forthcoming article in the scholarly journal Mythlore.

For more information, visit the Belmont University Events Calendar.

3-06-05 Latest News

Oxford Literary Festival News
Xoanon @ 10:28 am EST

Turgon writes: The schedule for the Oxford Literary Festival, which runs from Sunday April 10th through Sunday April 17th in Oxford, has been posted on their website: sundaytimes-oxfordliteraryfestival.co.uk. Tolkien fans might be interested in a few events, one by Green Books contributor Olog-Hai (Henry Gee), another on Tolkien's biographer, Humphrey Carpenter, who passed away earlier this year.

Tuesday 12 April 2.30 pm Oxford Union (5.50 GBP)
Henry Gee - The Science of Middle-earth

Henry Gee ingeniously reveals how contemporary science can explain some of the wonders of Middle Earth, where Tolkien's marvellous fantasy creates a world with an insistent sense of reality. In The Science of Middle Earth, he delights in explaining such scientific conundrums as how Frodo's coat of mithril armour can deflect deadly blows and how Legolas can count the Riders of Rohan across five leagues. Just because The Lord of the Rings is fantasy, he argues, this doesn't prevent scientific explanations for its wonders. Henry Gee is one of the editors of Nature.

Sunday 17 April 8 - 9.30 pm Oxford Union (10.00 GBP)
Remembering Humphrey

An evening recalling the many sides of the multi-talented, multi-faceted Humphrey Carpenter. Presented by Libby Purves and including contributions from people who worked with him in radio and books, as well as a taste of the one-man musical on which he was working at the time of his death: Shake It All About. More details on this event will be posted on the Festival website as they become available. All profits from this event will go to a charity in Humphrey's name: see website for further information.

3-05-05 Latest News

Syndey WETA Lecture Report
Xoanon @ 10:52 am EST

Jess writes: Hello hello! I’ve already told you guys about The Hobbit news from the Sydney Weta Workshop Lecture on Sunday February 27th, and I thought you’d like to hear about the rest of the lecture. Forgive the length, but there is much to tell!

After an introduction from Powerhouse Museum staffer and LotR exhibition curator Kerrie Dougherty (fully decked out in Elvish garb), Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger, enjoying a sneaky weekend away from the King Kong set, walked onto the stage amid tumultuous applause from the few hundred Lord of the Rings fans gathered in the Coles Theatre.

Richard started the lecture by apologising for his lack of public speaking skills, which after a few minutes seemed rather unnecessary, as the man could obviously talk under water for hours at a time. He added that unfortunately, he didn’t have Elijah Wood’s phone number on him, so it was probably best not to ask. The pair’s first topic was their history as both life and work partners, and Richard shared a very funny story about, as a 13-year-old boy, riding for hours on his bike give Tania two pet rats as a token of his affection for her. “And”, he said, “We’ve been together ever since.” They then spoke about their early days working together “making cool stuff” for New Zealand television shows and commercials, before hooking up with a young Peter Jackson to make movies like “Braindead” and “Meet the Feebles”.

Richard then related the story of how the 1996 project of “King Kong” fell over after six months of work, and the hope born out of despair at Peters’ news that they were about to embark on a screen adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. Tania spoke about their utter devastation when Miramax decided not to go ahead with the project, and the subsequent painstaking task of packing up, and sometimes having to destroy, 700 days worth of design-work that had already been completed for the films, “just waiting for the phone call from Peter”, who was jet-setting around the globe searching for another studio to finance the project.

Richard spoke with great affection about the cast, particularly Elijah Wood and Cate Blanchett, both of whom he believes to be “other worldly”, and also described Elijah as being “like a university professor" and "wise beyond his years”. He related his utter delight at Liv Tyler’s enthusiasm and passion for her role, spending hours at a time in the Weta Workshop just watching the team work. He then told a funny story about Liv asking him to fetch her a cup of tea while she was having her head cast, and his absolute horror upon the realisation that he had accidentally put salt in the cup instead of sugar! He talked about his particular affection for Andy Serkis, and spoke about the challenge that always ensued whenever he had a conversation with Viggo Mortensen – Richard’s industrial deafness coupled with Viggo’s very soft voice meant that Richard could rarely hear what Viggo was saying, “Which” said Richard chuckling, “ Viggo knew quite well.”

Between topics Richard and Tania played excerpts of their favourite Weta-created footage from thir previous films, as well as each LotR film, during which Tania hilariously whispered to Richard, “The Two Tower is second!” They also played footage of the creation of some of the Sideshow Weta Collectables, which included the reactions of Elijah, Sean, Dom, Billy and Orlando to seeing themselves in miniature collectable form.

Richard then talked about the hundred’s extras used on the films, including the females with fake beards, “which is just a little bit wrong” used for the riders of Rohan, and one woman in particular whose horse went lame the day before filming the “Ride of the Rohirrim” scene. So desperate was she to be in the scene that she caught her own horse, broke it in, and rode though the night to get to the set in time for the shoot!

Richard related his excitement about working with renowned sword master Bob Anderson, and a particular day when Bob, upon examining some of the swords made by Weta, told Richard they’d need to at least double the amount of the thousands of swords that they’d already made, because of the breakages that would inevitably occur during the battle sequences. “But we didn’t have the budget or the time”, says Richard, so he had the unenviable task of standing his ground against the legendary swordsman. It al paid off though, as Weta had come with such a solid sword design that there was only one breakage throughout the entire shoot. In a display of great sportsmanship, Bob stood up in front of the entire crew, admitted his error and praised Weta on their sword-making – the best he had ever come across.

Richard then spoke about their exhilaration at having Alan Lee and John Howe as conceptual artists on the trilogy, and Richard related the amusing story of sending them messages prior to their flight to New Zealand, asking them to each list all the tools and such they’d like to have in their office upon their arrival. Says Richard, “Alan Lee had two things on his list – a large dinner plate and some watercolour paper.” John’s list on the other hand, “was several pages long” and full of every artistry tool one could possibly imagine, as well as many obscure items that had to be ordered from overseas. One of Richard’s favourite memories was watching Alan create a watercolour painting of Rivendell – he started in the bottom corner of the page and painted in every minute detail: leaves, bushes, twigs and all, “Then”, says Richard, “He went into a kind of trance”, and seven hours later had created the now-famous, breathtaking painting.

Tania compared walking into the workshop to “unlocking the doors to Middle-earth”, and told how walls inside were always only loosely screwed in place so that they could hastily be taken down if a miniature outgrew its’ space. The pair spoke about the dedication of their team, and their desire to install in each one of them a sense of self-confidence and a belief that they can accomplish anything they put their minds to. Richard fondly recalled how the crew in charge of inscribing the lettering on the weapons became fluent in Elvish. They explained that, when hiring staff, they look first at the person’s enthusiasm and character before their talent. As Richard aptly put it, “There’s no point having talent if you’re a complete a**hole”. He also spoke of the trust that exists between he and Tania and their team, and related a story about handing off the couples’ then two-year-old son Sam to a member of staff while he went off to approve some designs, knowing with complete certainty that Sam would be looked after.

They then spoke about life beyond LotR, including King Kong and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. When asked if Weta would try to top LotR, Richard explained that, although LotR was a huge once-in-a-lifetime experience, they wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they didn’t attempt to aim higher.

A Question and Answer section followed, with Richard and Tania armed with Weta caps, LotR medallions, key rings and an original handmade Rohan belt for askers of the most intelligent questions. They answered queries about their favourite pieces from the films, their setbacks, RotK’s Oscar night, a potential Hobbit movie (the rights are an extremely complicate business, but of course they would be thrilled to be involved), their currant work on King Kong, and even gave advice to an aspiring young fantasy novelist. The question of whether they miss the “vomit and muppets” of the “Meet the Feebles” days was met with a firm “No!” from Tania.

An interesting question was from a young woman who asked what the inside reaction was to Gollum’s MTV Award’s acceptance speech. Richard laughed and said, “Varied”, and went on to say that some were quite aghast and felt that it was rather disrespectful to Tolkien’s work. He explained that Peter was actually doing a risky but very clever thing, because he was taking Gollum out of the context of the films and putting him on the world stage as a “real” character, thus cementing him in Pop Culture history. “Just like Puff Daddy”, said Richard, which was quite hilarious at the time. He went on to say that, despite the fact the Jar Jar Binks is a generally despised creation, he is part of the continuing evolution of CGI characters that made Gollum possible. Just for the record, he expressed his extreme disappointment in the Star Wars prequels, saying that they were void of intimacy and relationships between characters.

Another interesting one was whether the couple are able to watch films for pure enjoyment. It was a definite “Yes” from Richard with an “On the other hand…” aimed at Tania. Apparently Tania nitpicks the special effects and continuity of films, much to the amusement of Richard.

The most amusing moment during the Q & A’s occurred when someone asked Richard what his favourite scene was that never made it into the films. Richard replied that there wasn’t particular scene, but rather a beautifully ornate weapon that he wished had got some more screen time. It was Gil-galad’s spear, and when Richard said that he couldn’t for the life of him remember the name of it, half the audience yelled out, “Aiglos!” “Ah! It should be thrust through my heart for not remembering it!” he joked. The backdrop to the Q & A’s was a slideshow of behind the scenes images from LotR, which included a curious picture of Richard with his head sticking out of a fake, life-sized cow’s behind, which he did go onto explain.

Two hours later, with dozens of hands still raised and no-one in the audience showing any desire to stop listening, Richard said that they’d love to stay overtime and listen to the rest of the questions, much to the delight of all. After over three hours, and still many questions to ask, Richard declared that they really should wrap it up. He and Tania thanked us all for coming to see them and expressed their gratitude for our enthusiasm for their work. After an emotional thankyou from Kerrie, who said in reference to the dedication of LotR fans, “I’ve never seen anything quite like it”, it was time to form an orderly line outside the theatre for autographs.

Richard and Tania were an absolute pleasure to listen to, delightfully down-to-earth and extremely funny. Richard is a lively and animated speaker and so enthusiastic about The Lord of the Rings, that watching him is incredibly entertaining. Tania, though more softly spoken, is positively lovely and a very inspirational woman for others working in this field. I urge anyone who hasn’t had the Richard and Tania experience to get out there and see them the next chance you have. Go forth, I say!

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