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March 15, 2004 - March 24, 2004

3-24-04 Latest News

Elvish Is Studied Here
Xoanon @ 2:00 pm EST

Los Angeles Times
Copyright 2004 The Los Angeles Times

COLUMN ONE; Elvish Is Studied Here; For 'Lord of the Rings' pilgrims, the journey to Middle-earth ends in Milwaukee, the home of many of J.R.R. Tolkien's best-loved works.
P.J. Huffstutter

MILWAUKEE To complete the ultimate quest of "The Lord of the Rings," Carl Hostetter has left his home in Maryland to navigate roaring rivers and cross vast plains -- all to stride bravely through looming masoned gates in search of a nearly hidden glass door.

As he seeks to step closer to the mythical world created by J.R.R. Tolkien, Hostetter ends his journey at a place where few expect to find Middle-earth: Milwaukee.

For here, inside Marquette University, rests the world's preeminent collection of J.R.R. Tolkien's best-known literary works.

The original text for "The Hobbit," his first published book, is here. So is the manuscript of "The Lord of the Rings." There are hand-drawn maps. Rejected epilogues. Abandoned chapters. Elvish songs. Mounds of paper scraps. More than 11,500 items written by his hand.

Acquired at a time when fantasy was considered trash by many academics and literary critics, Marquette's collection of the Oxford professor's writings, poetry and drawings now is considered priceless.

"To see these papers is the closest thing you can get to sitting in the same room with him," said Hostetter, 38, head of the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship, an international nonprofit organization that studies a number of Tolkien's invented languages. He has visited the collection twice.

"You can see, examine -- almost feel -- not only his work, but his genius," he said.

Public fascination with the British author and his legacy at Marquette has swelled in recent years because of the incredible popularity of the film trilogy based on "The Lord of the Rings." The final movie, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," won 11 Academy Awards last month.

"It used to be we got academic researchers and the occasional visitor wearing a cloak and Hobbit feet," said Matt Blessing, head archivist for Marquette's special collections. "Since the movies came out, the phone's been ringing constantly. Everyone wants to see where it all began."

For nearly half a century, "The Lord of the Rings" has mesmerized readers with one of the most compelling fantasy stories of the 20th century. Written as a single and massive tome, the book was broken into three for marketing purposes, and published in 1954 and 1955. The tale follows the trials of an unlikely group of hobbits, elves, dwarfs and men as they attempt to destroy the One Ring, the ultimate icon of evil. Virtually every fantasy novel, science-fiction computer game and swash-buckling adventure film of modern times has been inspired by the saga of Middle-earth.

"This isn't someone knocking out the latest fantasy by the pound to make a buck," said Edith Crowe, a research librarian at San Jose State University and a member of the Mythopoeic Society, a nonprofit international literary and educational group that studies fantasy books. "This was a life work."

Millions of people have been consumed by the esoteric world Tolkien created. Researchers across the globe study and speak Tolkien's invented languages, while others bring the trilogy to life through music, painting and live-action role-play -- where fans dress in costume and act as if they live in Middle-earth.

Since the first film's release in 2001, through the end of last year, Americans bought 26 million copies of Tolkien's epic tale. And the number of visitors to Marquette's collection has grown sixfold, averaging about 3,000 people a year.

By scouring the Internet, wading through reference books or simple word of mouth, inspired fans track down the secret at Marquette and come to cherish the Tolkien artifacts tucked away inside the Raynor Memorial Libraries, the university's high-tech research facility.

Nearly everything here speaks of the digital age. Computers are steadily overtaking the dwindling number of books. The floors, raised and covered with carpet tiles, are designed to allow access to data and electrical lines. Elevators with brushed steel doors lead to conference rooms that open only by electronic keycards.

But at the end of a winding staircase, in a back corner of the third floor, one room hearkens to another era, to a time of literary magic. The hallowed, wood-paneled room houses the library's special collections.

Most visitors come to the Jesuit college's reading room for research, and spend hours poring through piles of microfiche and dusty books. Tolkien followers come to gaze raptly at a glass display that takes up one entire wall, floor to ceiling.

"It's atypical to have any sort of exhibits inside a reading room like this, let alone one this prominent," Blessing said. "But so many people are interested in the collection, there's never been any question. We need to show at least some of what we have."

A letter Tolkien wrote to a supporter in 1963 rests near the ornately decorated dust jackets from the first edition of "The Lord of the Rings," in which dragons and dwarfs intertwine with the trees. Handwritten sheets from the opening of Tolkien's 9,250-page "Rings" manuscript are mounted for viewing.

At the beginning of each page, the calligraphy is meticulous and magnificent. As the tale unfolds, the words begin to shrink. The writing becomes tiny ants marching across the sheet. Letters smash into one another, and the ink bleeds into an indecipherable mess.

"He was notorious for writing late at night. Two o'clock, three o'clock in the morning," archivist Blessing said. "You can tell when Tolkien got tired, or was in such a rush to get the words down on paper that it spills out. At that point, you just can't read what he's writing. We have to bring in people who have studied his penmanship and medieval literature to figure out what he's saying."

Fans and academics alike come here because they want to know how Tolkien did it -- and maybe, if they dig deep enough, find an intimate connection to a world that has long lived in their imagination.

"If you're a fan, you go to Marquette. If you're a serious literary researcher, you go to Marquette," said Richard West, 59, a librarian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

West, a fan and scholar, makes the trek to Marquette a couple of times each year. "If you have any free time, you go," he said. "You sit. And you absorb."

For the most devout, Marquette is one of three stops on the path to Middle-earth. Another is Wheaton College in Illinois, which owns an extensive collection of books written about the Oxford don and the dark-wood writing desk where Tolkien penned "The Hobbit."

The third is the Bodleian Library at Oxford, which holds most of Tolkien's original artwork and several manuscripts -- most notably "The Silmarillion," which details much of the back-history of Middle-earth. Oxford also has many of Tolkien's academic works, including his research on literary classics such as "Beowulf."

"The average fan can't go in there, because you need a letter of recommendation to get into the collection at Bodleian," said John D. Rateliff, who is editing "The Hobbit" manuscript for the author's estate for a new book. "If you're interested in 'Lord of the Rings,' and most people are, Marquette is it."

The collection dates to 1957, about the time Marquette hired a librarian named William Ready.

Ready, who had earned a reputation as a manuscript hound while at Stanford University, was handed the keys to a new and then-empty library, and told to build up the collection. While buying books for the stacks and reference room, Ready began exploring ways to collect original works by authors both well-known and obscure. Tolkien was on that list; Ready and his family had enjoyed "The Hobbit" and had been drawn to the complex world the author created with his follow-up books.

"The only thing I remember Dad reading to us was Tolkien," said Patrick Ready, 56, the eldest of William's six children.

William Ready recognized that Tolkien's work was "a classic waiting for time to pass," Blessing said. With the help of a British rare-books dealer, Ready contacted Tolkien and asked if he would be willing to sell his original manuscripts.

To Tolkien, a family man living on an educator's modest salary, extra money was always welcome. He had picked up side jobs through the years, such as grading college placement exams of high school students.

At the time Marquette approached Tolkien, and offered to pay for the author's manuscripts, his windfall from the trilogy was just trickling in.

For 1,500 British pounds, or about $4,900, the school got the original manuscripts for "The Hobbit," "Rings" and two other works, including a children's book called "Mr. Bliss," which Tolkien wrote and illustrated.

Other gems arrived over the years, sometimes from fans donating their own collections. Christopher Tolkien, the author's son, sent several parcels free to the school in the 1980s and '90s, adding never before seen drafts of "The Lord of the Rings." Books, magazines and newspaper clippings about the author -- even Tolkien's letters to his admirers -- are carefully stored on bookcases in a temperature-controlled vault near the special collections library.

J.R.R. Tolkien -- whose initials stood for John Ronald Reuel -- came from a genteel but poor family. Born in South Africa in 1892, Tolkien was an orphan by age 12. He was raised in England's West Midlands by a Catholic priest who was a friend of the family. Living in a land surrounded by medieval architecture, he very quickly embraced ancient tongues and old tales.

By his late teens, Tolkien had mastered Greek and Latin, and had moved on to learning languages ranging from Gothic to Finnish. Fascination with language and the classics led him to the academic world, where he taught at Oxford and elsewhere for 39 years.

Throughout it all, he wrote. Research. Lectures. Short stories. Long poems. Over time, Middle-earth crept its way onto paper.

"The Hobbit," born out of a bedtime story Tolkien made up for his four children, had a small first printing in 1937. Children and adults alike were drawn to these chubby little people with leather and furry feet, stout heart and good nature.

By Christmas break in 1937, Tolkien had begun work on what was supposed to be a short sequel to the children's book. Seventeen years later, the first book of the trilogy was released in Europe. "Tolkien's passion for precision and fastidiousness meant that he wouldn't stop writing and editing until every little thing in this world [Middle-earth] was perfect," Blessing said.

"The Lord of the Rings" didn't take off in America until the 1960s, when Ace Books, a science-fiction publisher, put out bootleg versions. A fierce debate over copyright issues drew media attention to the 75-cent paperbacks, and it helped readers discover the trilogy.

Radio stations broadcast readings of the tale. John Lennon talked about making "The Lord of the Rings" into a film after the Beatles finished the movie "Help!" Lennon had cast himself as Gollum, the foil of the books who was warped by the evil One Ring -- which he called "my precious."

By the mid-1960s, a subsidiary of Houghton Mifflin had distributed its own paperbacks and had begun selling hundreds of thousands of copies each month.

The success brought wealth and unwanted attention. Fans traveled to Tolkien's home in Oxford to stand and stare in hopes of catching a glimpse of him. Americans, forgetting about the time change, called in the middle of the night to talk about the failures of Frodo and the plight of the fellowship.

Tired of the fuss, Tolkien and his family moved to England's south-central coast and made sure their phone number was unlisted. Tolkien died in 1973.

Marquette doesn't charge admittance to the display. Anyone can access the documents from the vault by setting up an appointment and paying $5 a day. The school expects to be inundated with fans and academics in October, when it will sponsor a three-day conference on Tolkien.

On a recent evening, four aficionados -- all men -- gather inside the reading room to worship. All are from a local engineering school.

Blessing gathers up a modest stack of letters, drawings and manuscript pages.

Sitting ramrod still in a straight-back chair, Nick Seidler stares as, sheet by sheet, Blessing unfolds the mystery behind the creation of Middle-earth. In the mountain of Tolkien papers that the library holds, this was merely a taste.

On average, Tolkien overhauled each chapter of "The Lord of the Rings" four or five different ways. Some chapters have as many as 18 versions. With each change came detailed timelines, creative notes, mathematical equations, elaborate sketches and tiny paintings -- all on any sheet or scrap of paper the professor could find.

Blessing pulls out an Oxford faculty menu, places it on a table in front of Seidler and turns it over. On the back, Tolkien had carefully mapped out a list of Hobbit measurements. "1 nail = 1/2 in. 3 nails = 1 toe. 6 toes = 1 foot. 3 feet = 1 step."

Seidler, 35, leans forward to gaze at the small rectangular sheet. He sees erase marks and little scribbles where Tolkien changed his mind. Seidler clenches his hands to stop himself from touching the artifact.

Then Blessing brings out a letter to an admirer. In it, Tolkien writes of grieving over Gollum failing to seek redemption. The black India ink is slightly smeared by Tolkien's hand.

It's him. Tolkien. On the paper. Seidler reaches out and, with a feather-light touch, slides the letter an inch closer.

It's precious. And for this one moment, the precious is all Seidler's.

3-23-04 Latest News

Astin at Starland Con in Denver
Xoanon @ 6:07 pm EST

Daffodil Baggins writes: Sean Astin will be speaking at the annual Starland convention here in Denver, Colorado on April 18th! The convention will cover the entire weekend, April 16-18, but Sean will speak only on Sunday, the 18th.

This is an annual convention covering both Fantasy and Science Fiction genres, and is attended by thousands of people. KathE and Stephen Walker, who run the convention, asked me to tell as many people as possible about Sean's coming to speak, which was only confirmed just today; they now have him under contract to attend, barring any last-minute professional committment, or an emergency.

They would love for as many people to attend as possible, to show support and appreciation for Sean and his work. If you would include this bit in your news section, it would be greatly appreciated! If you would like to talk to KathE or Stephen about the convention, their organization is Starland, and their phone number is: 303-777-6800; their website is: www.starland.com

MrCere @ 10:42 am EST

TheOneRing.net is pleased to announce it has two new t-shirts styles on sale starting today in several colors. The much requested "Don't Make Me Get My Ring" shirt is finally on sale and due to demand, we have also made available a new printing of "The Return of the One Party" shirts. But, that isn't all, there are still a few more surprises.

Click for Larger VersionTORn has made available the much discussed (at least in emails to staff) "DON'T MAKE ME GET MY RING" shirts in popular convention color navy blue. We are also excited about our new design color "natural" which comes with bronze lettering and features two color printing, front and back. We love these shirts and we hope you do as well. They are $20 including shipping, $25 for XXL.

In addition, we have a batch of "Ring" shirts that were printed on the wrong color with the wrong ink - stonewashed blue with gold/yellow lettering. These shirts are being made available at $15 each, including shipping until our current stock is gone. They will never be re-printed so any orders taken after they sell out will be promptly refunded. No other refunds will be given.

Click for Larger VersionWe also are happy to offer fans "Return Of The One Party" shirts from our One Party printer. Previously only available on the night of the event, these shirts are $22 including shipping and come in sizes up to 4X for the same cost. They are available in red and sapphire blue. If you missed it, the TORn sponsored party was praised in media the world over as THE party on the night of the Oscars. Many of you joined us on the live webcast of the event and all of you made it possible for a web site forged by and for fans to throw a world-class party which has since been mentioned on talk shows and in international magazines. We hope you will wear our official party gear with pride.

Finally, we appreciate all the support you have given our shirt effort in the last couple of months. We have enjoyed hearing from fans excited to receive their gear. We use 100% cotton 6.1 oz. high-quality shirts that we hope you love. We try to keep our prices low and the money raised from shirt sales goes to keep the website on-line. We think our best shirts are still to come including a special 'Thank You' shirt sometime this summer. We also will have hats and a few other TORn items available. Thanks for your support. If you have questions e-mail them to Tshirts@TheOneRing.net.

Click here to visit our Shirt Store. [Shirt Store]

Games Workshop's Latest:
Luthien @ 5:06 am EST

The entire supplement hit stores March 20th. To quote Games Workshop's release:

"The Siege of Gondor is the second of Games Workshop's supplements for The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game (the first being the recent Shadow & Flame) and continues the ongoing support for tabletop battles in Middle-earth. This 64 full color page book will augment the rules with sieges, war machines, and more reflecting the kind of large-scale battles seen in The Return of the King. Players will also get rules for new war machines for Gondor and Mordor to augment their armies, plus new characters and key locations of combats. The Siege of Gondor is an invaluable supplement for gamers looking to expand their armies beyond small skirmishes and into larger scale battles. Future supplements are already in work to provide even more for players as well, drawing also on the literary works as well as the motion pictures.

This supplement is an invaluable guide to collecting, modelling and gaming with Games Workshop’s detailed The Lord of The Rings miniatures. Within its colorfully illustrated pages you will find essential rules, information, and inspiration to bring the battles of Middle-earth to your own tabletop.

The complete gaming rules for fighting sieges around Middle-earth, together with new warriors for the forces of Good and Evil – including the noble Citadel Guard of Minas Tirith, the brutal Morannon Orcs, destructive Siege Engines and many more.

Six linked scenarios recreate the desperate battle for Gondor as Sauron sends forth his legions, from the struggle for Osgiliath to the battle in the streets of Minas Tirith. In the appendix, two additional scenarios allow players to re-enact the tense and dramatic siege of Helm’s Deep.

Detailed advice on how to prepare your fortifications and siege towers, together with inspiring photographs of all the new models and scenery that have been designed for this book."

3-22-04 Latest News

Astin At Genesis Awards Show
Xoanon @ 9:40 pm EST

Lhunsarniel writes: Saturday night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, I was volunteering for the 18th annual Genesis Awards show wherein Sean Astin and his wife were guests and presenters. I got to escort them both to their table (they arrived late). The Genesis Awards will air on the Animal Planet channel early to mid-month April.

As I was walking them to their table, they were intercepted by someone from the Born Free Foundation who chatted with Sean about big cats in captivity and their plight as well as the fact that Virgina McKenna was an honorary at our awards program. Sean seemed genuinely interested in this issue so I'd say we may see him and his wife both more active in animal rights issues which is a big plus for us animal lovers and the Humane Society of the US! I wanted to chat a wee bit with him myself, but with him being a late arrival, I had to get him to his table.

Then, when Sean was up on stage doing the intro for his segment, he said he this was his first Genesis awards show and we certainly hope it's not his last.

If you're interested in knowing more about the Genesis Awards, check out www.genesisawards.com

Or, www.animalplanet.com for the actual show time when it's ready to be aired.

UK TV Watch
Xoanon @ 9:30 pm EST

Farmer Barley Jones writes:

Here are some Lord of the Rings related programs on tv in the UK this week:

2DTV (Animation) Starting: 01:00 on Saturday 27th March on ITV1: Topical animated comedy show. Featuring a look at the secrets of the Victorian Sex and the City, a look at a royal corgi funeral, a magical battle between Lord of the Rings magician Saruman and David Blaine, and what has happened to the Friends now the final series has ended.

DVD Clinic (Entertainment) Starting: 23:30 on Friday 26th March. Duration: 30 minutes: Showing on ITV1 London.

Neil McLachlan presents a round-up of the week's DVD releases including the Oscar-winning animation from Miyazaki Hayao, Spirited Away; Lucy Liu in the sci-fi thriller Cypher; the US documentary about kids hoping to win a spelling contest in Spellbound; and an interview with Lord of the Rings star Billy Boyd.

Viggo Mortensen in Munich
Tehanu @ 7:42 pm EST

Barbara is a reviewer who got the opportunity to interview Viggo Mortensen recently. She sent in this report:

"Okay. I admit that I was beginning to get a bit tired of all those stories that describe Viggo Mortensen as the proverbial Mr. Goody-Two-Shoes. But the thing is -- he _is_. He did a day of interviews to promote HIDALGO in Munich yesterday, and when I arrived at the Hotel Mandarin Oriental, right next to the Hofbr>=uhaus (after spending a blissful hour sipping coffee and reading a book in the first real spring sun at the Viktualienmarkt), they were hopelessly behind schedule. One reason for that was that Viggo, who had a terrible cold, returned twenty minutes late from his probably much-needed lunch break. The other was that the guy lugged a carton of books with his photographies from interview room to interview room all day, in order to sign and personalize one for every journalist. Which wasn't only tremendously nice, it was also time-consuming. (I'm told he does that in every city -- he's making the rounds in Europe, Scandinavia and Spain last week, Rome today, London on Wednesday, then home. He _does_ have the books pre-sent to the hotels, though. )

"So the six of us (a terribly incongruous group that kept getting into each other's way during the interview) sat there, grouped around the proverbial round table, when in came Viggo, wearing socks, beige slacks, a plaid shirt and a United Nations fleece jacket, lugging his carton and a bottle of mineral water. He asked how everybody was, made sure our recording devices were all set, and set to work. Questions ranged from what he's going to do next (relax, get back in shape, spend some time with his family and T.J., his horse, and then consider what's on offer -- no concrete next project yet), how and why he chose HIDALGO (because he liked it enough to make it fit in even though he was still pretty much tied up with LOTR), what it was like to shoot in Morocco and to work with Omar Sharif (great because of the different, real cultural dimension; Sharif's one of the greatest living actors -- "for me, good acting is good re-acting" -- able to do the subtle stuff that awards are made of, and that he added the film-historical connection with LAWRENCE OF ARABIA), the Long Riders Guild's claims that Hopkins' story is a tall tale (Bullshit! ), about the revival of the Cowboy movie (for him, despite the efforts of certain American presidents to use the cowboy image to as a bully image, cowboys are movie archetypes like knights, so he welcomes it, also as a chance for folks like legendary wrangler Rex Peterson to stay in work), commonplace stuff like that.

"Of course his answers were much longer than my summaries -- four to six minutes each -- so it was frustrating when 18 minutes into my mp3 recording the publicist came in and said "last question". Interesting tidbit: One of the Natives he worked with during the shoot is offering him a mustang mare that is supposed to be a descendant of the historical Hidalgo. While he said that he isn't sure if he can handle another horse in his life, he finds the offer tempting because it would give him the opportunity to breed her to T.J., one of the film's Hidalgos that he also bought (by the way, Uraeus and Kenny, his two LOTR horses, are not "on his ranch in Idaho", as the APHA press release states, but they're still in New Zealand, because Viggo thinks of maybe moving there permanently.)

"Disarming moment: When he wanted to show the group a photo of Uraeus and realized that he had no more copies of his horse book in his carton, so I handed him mine, which I'd ordered and got in the nick of time, and he asked where I got it, so I said I bought it, and he said: THANKS! So, yeah, he is everything the articles say: Decent, soft-spoken, but also outspoken, with a quiet sense of humor and, well, just good to talk to. I wish we'd had about an hour longer, but I knew what I was in for, and I wanted a general impression, and that, I got."

The Tolkien Fan's Medieval Reader
Xoanon @ 10:35 am EST

The Tolkien Fan's Medieval Reader : Versions in Modern Prose

by Turgon of TheOneRing.net
400 pages, $14.95
ISBN 1-59360-011-9
Published by Cold Spring Press
Publication date: March 25th

Click here to pre-order 'The Tolkien Fan's Medieval Reader : Versions in Modern Prose'

Brought together in one volume for the first time, The Tolkien Fan’s Medieval Reader presents many of the medieval texts that were important to Tolkien’s professional work and to his fiction. Selected and edited by TheOneRing.net's own Turgon, who also wrote the introductions to each section, this is a unique resource that Tolkien fans will want on their bookshelf!

Prose versions of such marvel-filled works as Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and the Prose Edda of Snorri Sturluson—three classics that every fantasy fan will enjoy on their own merits. Many will also appreciate seeing firsthand how these works, and others in this book—from Old English, Middle English, Old Norse, the Celtic languages and Finnish—served as inspiration for elements in Tolkien’s great imaginary world of Middle-earth: dragons, elves, dwarves, monsters, magical swords and heroes.

“These are texts that Tolkien knew intimately, that he lived with, studied, taught, edited, translated, and absorbed into his magination as a sponge absorbs water. . . .This book is a feast of medieval narrative from all over the Northern European and British worlds, cooked up by authors known and unknown out of the plentiful ingredients of myth and legend and folktale, and beautifully served for the pleasure and enlightenment of the contemporary reader.”

From the “Foreword” by Verlyn Flieger, author of Splintered Light: Language and Logos in Tolkien’s World and A Question of Time: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Road to Faërie.

Click here to pre-order 'The Tolkien Fan's Medieval Reader : Versions in Modern Prose'

3-20-04 Latest News

Radio Watch: Shore on WNYC This Sunday
Xoanon @ 7:47 pm EST

Sandicomm writes: Howard Shore will be on a radio programme tomorrow the 21st on WNYC-FM (93.9 FM) from 3-4 PM. This radio show will be about why people love Wagner's Rings cycle so much. Here's the discription from Time Out New York:

The Ring and I: The Passion, the Myth, the Mania

The Metropolitan Opera is getting set to mount its ambitious production of Wagner's 17-hour Ring cycke, which has inspired rabid devotion from generations of classical-music fans. In this special from the folks behind Radio Lab, The Lord of the Rings composer Howard Shore, playwright Tony Kushner, Met[ropolitan Opera] technical director Joe Clark, psychologist Laurie Layton Schapira, Seattle Opera director Speight Jenkins, guitarist Gary Lucas and others will ofer insight into what makes this Ring so special. Jad Abumrad hosts.

Also, strangely enough, while LOTR hasn't been nominated for Best Movie of the Year, the books have been nominated for Best Book of the Year (I guess they nominated the one-volume edition). I think that LOTR deserves to win, especially over Captain Underpants. The people at Nick were extremely crafty (anticipating Ringers, I guess?), and they made it so that you have to vote in every category. Since this is the Kids Choice Awards, I would ask all Ringers under 18 to vote. [More]

Hall Of Fire Chats This Weekend
Frode @ 5:35 am EST

The Company set off into the Mountains and Bilbo Baggins finds that the storms and the cold are something quite different from anything he's ever experienced in his safe little Shire. Seeking shelter in a cave from the storm and the rock throwing Stone Giants, they discover that there are even worse dangers lurking in the Misty Mountains.

What does this chapter tell us about the state of the Misty Mountains and Middle Earth in general? What are Stone Giants exactly? What do we learn about Orcrist and Glamdring and what are their effect on the Goblins? Join us in #thehalloffire as we take a look at Chapter 4 of 'The Hobbit' - Over hill and under hill.

Upcoming topics:

Weekend 26/27 of March: Tolkien and technology
Weekend 2/3 of April: Chapter 5 - Riddles in the dark

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

3-19-04 Latest News

Viggo Article from Iltalehti.fi
weetanya @ 7:25 pm EST

Ringer Spy Kaartinin sent in this Finnish article about Viggo From Iltalehti.fi (Note: the article will only be on the site on 3/19/04, there is no archive.)

Taru sormusten herrasta - tähden paljastus

Viggo Mortensen etsii suomalaista tyttöystäväänsä

Nelosen 4Pop-ohjelma haastatteli näyttelijä Viggo Mortensenia viime viikolla Tukholmassa. Sunnuntaina Taru sormusten herrasta -tähti kertoo television välityksellä etsivänsä suomalaista ex-tyttöystäväänsä.

Tässä jutussa myös:

Taiteellinen monilahjakkuus

- Viggo Mortensen puhui Lena- tai Lina-nimisestä naisesta, jonka kanssa hän oli nuorempana seurustellut, eli ilmeisesti suomalaisittain Leenasta tai Liinasta, kertoo 4Pop-ohjelman tuottaja Laura Asuntila. Asuntilan mukaan Taru sormusten herrasta -elokuvatrilogian Aragornina tunnettu tähti oli tosissaan "hakuilmoituksen" kanssa.
- Toimittajamme Eriikka Käyhkö pääsi tähden kanssa samalle aaltopituudelle. Jos oikea tyttö löytyy, häntä pyydetään ottamaan yhteys Viggoon Eriikan kautta, tuottaja etsintäkuuluttaa. New Yorkissa syntyneen ja nuoruudessaan Venezuelassa, Argentiinassa ja
Tanskassa asuneen Viggo Mortensenin äiti on amerikkalainen, isä puolestaan tanskalainen. Mortensen nousi tähdeksi vasta Taru sormusten herrasta - elokuvatrilogian myötä, mutta miehellä on takanaan pitkä näyttelijäura. 45-vuotiaalla Mortensenilla on tärkeä rooli muun muassa elokuvissa Todistaja, The Indian Runner, Carlito's Way ja Purppuravyöhyke. Hän näytteli myös Renny Harlinin Hollywood-esikoisessa Vankila.

Taiteellinen monilahjakkuus

Viggo Mortensen on taiteellinen monilahjakkuus, joka näyttelemisen ohella harrastaa valokuvausta, runoja ja maalausta. Hän soittaa myös pianoa ja on julkaissut kolme jazz-albumia.
- Pidän yksin olemisesta, kun maalaan, kirjoitan, matkustan tai vaellan metsässä. Mutta elokuvia tehdessä on pakko olla toisten kanssa koko ajan, Mortensen on pahoitellut Aftonbladetin haastattelussa. Miehellä on teini-ikäinen Henry-poika purkautuneesta avioliitosta punk-laulaja Exene Cervenkan kanssa.
- Olemme Henryn kanssa hyviä ystäviä. Teini-ikäisenä nuorena miehenä hän ei juurikaan välitä saamastani julkisuudesta, mikä on mielestäni vain hyvä asia. Hänen täytyy saada olla oma itsensä eikä vain kuuluisan isänsä poika - ja onneksi hän onkin, Mortensen on kiitellyt. Tanskalaistähden seuraava elokuva on tositarinaan pohjautuva Hidalgo. Saudiarabialaiseen hevoskilpailuun lähtevästä ratsulähetistä kertova draama saa Suomen ensi-iltansa 2. huhtikuuta.
Myös 11 Oscaria voittanut Kuninkaan paluu pyörii edelleen elokuvateattereissa.


c. 2004 Iltalehti.fi

3-18-04 Latest News

Craig Parker At Sci-Fi Collector Con & Master of the Rings Con
Xoanon @ 9:37 pm EST

Craig Parker - Haldir will be making a personal appearance at the Basildon Scifi - Movie & Collectors show on Sunday 28th March 04, in the UK. More information can be found by going to www.scifishows.com

London Expo, London's 2 day Scifi - Movie & Multimedia show will be Lord Of The Rings crazy over the weekend of the 15th & 16th of May 04 in London UK with:

Jed Brophy - SHARKU, SNAGA

Already attending and more guests to be announced shortly joining the top guest list already gathered, more info can be found at www.londonexpo.com

Craig Parker - Haldir will be attending the an event called 'Dinner With The Stars' on the 29th May 04 in London UK, tickets are limited to only 50, your chance to go to dinner with Craig, question and answer session, autographs and themed photographs, more info at www.autographmania.co.uk

Master Of The Rings, a Lord Of The Rings convention will be held at the Jarvis Piccadilly Hotel in Manchester UK over the weekend of the 22nd - 24th October 04, guests already announced with loads more to come, Craig Parker and Mark Ferguson, a great hotel experience, with talks, parties, competitions and a whole load more! More info at www.autographmania.co.uk

Sean Astin - Olympic Torchbearer Nominee
leo @ 6:39 am EST

Sean Astin had better start working on his condition, because Ringer Spy Donna has nominated him to be one of the torchbearers for the Olympic Games in Athens this year!

Dear OneRing.Net,

Just wanted to let you know that I had nominated Sean Astin to potentially be a torchbearer for the upcoming Athens Olympic Summer Games. The torch will be passing through Los Angeles, Ca. Torchbearers will be announced in April, so keep your fingers crossed for him, he could be wearing the olympic rings instead of "the ring" this time!

Whether he is chosen or not. I think he is a real winner! I nominated Sean because of outstanding contributions to AIDS, Wildlife, Literacy and especially his work with volunteerism.



3-15-04 Latest News

Patty Duke Redio Interview
Xoanon @ 9:27 pm EST

Jennie writes:

Patty Duke was on a D.C. radio station about 9:30 Eastern today (Mix 107.3 fm) and first was asked about her upcoming films, but then about Sean and his career. She said how wonderful it was that he was in these films, and told him that she'd also phoned him up and told him that she'd just seen 50 First Dates. He said, "You went out to the movies? Do I have to be in a movie for you to actually go out to the movies?" and she said, "Well, if I want to see a good one . . ." lol

Someone suggested that she must have had lots of advice for him over the years, and she said, "I've given Sean some really bad advice." She said he phoned her up at one point and asked if she wanted to invest in a short film he was making about a cop in the projects that is put on a mock trial in a laundry room in the Projects. She said, "Sean! You were brought up in (fill in name of upscale wherever it was here). What do you know about the Projects? What do you know about cops? What do you know about laundry rooms!?" But a year later, here was Kangaroo Court being nominated for an Oscar.

She also said that when he was young she used to put a lot of pressure on him as a child actor, so he was given some sort of agent or minder or other (I can't remember the name.) with whom he's still close. She also noted that Mackenzie is currently going through "those acting trials", which presumably means he's looking for good roles. She went on to note that John Astin was currently a professor here at John's Hopkins University in Baltimore (about an hour from Washington, D.C.), and said lots of great things about him. Always nice to hear ex-es having good relationships.

In any event, she sounded fully recovered from her accident a while back with the horse, and was cheerful and perky sounding. She's a Mother Superior in The Christine Bennett Mystery which is in Post-production, and she's going to be on ABC in a couple of days on something else.

NZ LOTR Goodies
Xoanon @ 9:09 pm EST

Hi folks, ringer spy Taniwha here again - I have to include myself in this, but clearly our Wellington spies are SLIPPING!

There was surprisingly average attendance at two events on Sunday - first the New Zealand Festival's Writers & Readers session with Philippa Boyens and Christine Jeffs (director of Sylvia and Rain), then the concert last night by Grada, featuring Alan Doherty who is of course famous for that haunting 'Concerning Hobbits' flute line on the LOTR soundtrack. For shame, Ringers! The band was amazing as always - extremely tight musicians who clearly enjoy playing together (not as common as it sounds!), and their new album 'The Landing Step' is just out. Check gradamusic.com for more about them, or nzacoustic.net for a couple of song samples.

But there's still hope - they're finishing up their New Zealand tour over the next couple of days, with gigs at Marlborough Centre (Blenheim) and the Aurora Centre (Christchurch), so if you're in either of those two places, get out an enjoy them! They're on to Tokyo and Nagoya after that, then home to Ireland - check the Tour page on their site to see what's next...

It's Armageddon in NZ!
Xoanon @ 8:55 pm EST

Linuxelf writes: The time of Armageddon is upon is again!; this time there are three LOTR guests; John Rhys-Davies; Lawrence Makoare; John Noble.

John Rhys Davies is set to be there for all three days; with Lawrenece Makoare appearing on Sunday 18th only, and John Noble Saturday 17th only.

Here is more info, from the website I complied together, go to the links above for the latest news and confirmations that the guests will be there.

Middle of the April School Holidays

Aotea Centre and Town Hall Auckland

Armageddon Pulp Culture Expo
April 16-18th

Lord Of the Rings - John Rhys Davies
Witch King himself & Lurtz - Laurence Makoare (Appearing Sunday 18th April only)
The Steward of Gondor Himself, John Noble (Appearing Saturday 17th April only)

Opening Times / Days:
Friday 16th 9am-6pm,
Saturday 17th 9am-6pm
Sunday 18th 9am-5pm April 2004

Entry Prices:
Entry cost - Adult one day $14
Child (12 and Under) - one day pass $10
Family pass (2 Adults & 2 Children) - one day only $40
Three Day Pass - $40

There will be two enterances to the expo, with twice as many tils operating to keep ques short. I would also recommend bringing abit of money because the guests hopefully will be signing autographs, from previous experience you need to buy the photos to be signed on the Day. This helps paying the airfare & costs back to the guests. If anyone can confirm this.

This show moves to Wellington September 25-26th; keep checking site for updates as to who the guests will be etc.

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