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May 22, 2005 - June 03, 2005

6-03-05 Latest News

Hall Of Fire This Weekend - Star Wars And LoTR!
Demosthenes @ 11:22 pm EST

Fantasy fiction has become a dominant force in modern society.

In a time of 15-second attention spans, the longevity of Lord of the Rings shows little sign of abating. And since bursting onto the silver screen in 1977, Star Wars has grabbed and held the imagination of generations of fans.

This weekend in Hall of Fire, we'll be asking you what it is about these two tales that has created such an enduring passion amongst their devotees to the extent that each appears to have become a world-wide phenomenon.

Is it the themes they encapsulate? Good and evil? Respect for nature? Implicit religious aspects and pseudo-mysticism? Or is just because - at heart - they're quintessential quest tales where you can tune in, watch the good guys beat up the bad guys, and witness the triumph of the little guy against seemingly insurmountable odds?

Do they have fundamentally different audiences, or is there an overlap?

And what sort of effect have they had on their fans and on popular culture in general? Are they truly universal in nature, or do we overestimate their impact on the collective consciousness?

And which will prove more enduring? Indeed, can we expect that in 50 or a hundred years people will still care about LoTR or Star Wars, or will they have faded from consciousness totally?

Join us on the TORn IRC server this Saturday June 4 in #thehalloffire as we discuss whether or not Lord of the Rings is really unfilmable.

Time and date:
Saturday June 4

5.30pm EDT
4.30pm CDT
3.30pm MDT
2.30pm PDT

10.30pm UK
11.30pm Central Europe

7.30am (Sunday) Brisbane
7.30am (Sunday) Sydney
9.30am (Sunday) Wellington

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:

"LoTR and Star Wars"
- Saturday June 4
- Sunday June 12

Special guest - LoTR stunt and body double Kiran Shah
- Saturday June 18

"What if gollum lived?"
- Sunday June 26
- Saturday July 2

"Silmarillion Chapter 10 - Of the Sindar"
- Sunday July 10
- Saturday July 16

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!


6-02-05 Latest News

Howard Shore Interview Transcript
Xoanon @ 9:30 pm EST

Thanks to Robin for the transcript!

Howard Shore Interview, May 30, 2005
CBC Metro Morning with Andy Barrie

Some of you are no doubt electrified by that music, if you’re a Lord of the Rings fan. This Sunday, Roy Thomson Hall will be taken over by an exotic instrument section and accompanying singing in (Cinderin) and Black Speech, just two of the languages created by J.R. Tolkien. They’ll be part of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, a full symphonic orchestra and chorus of more than 200 voices, transporting the audiences into Tolkien’s Middle Earth. The two-hour concert based on the hours and hours of music created for the three Rings films, music that won the composer Howard Shore three Academy Awards. While the symphonies are being performed around the world the Toronto one is something really special because this is where Mr. Shore calls home. In fact he began his musical career here as a member of the rock group, you might remember Lighthouse, joins us this morning. He’s put his baton down and picked up the telephone in New York. Howard Hello.

Howard: Hi Andy good morning how are you?

Andy: Just great thank you.

Howard: Good, good.

Andy: You were the man behind so many hundreds of tunes we walk out of the movie theater humming or if not necessarily humming then emotionally responding to, sometimes almost subliminally. Having had our emotions torqued by that soundtrack while we were watching the screen unfold the story. Can you trace the path from Lighthouse in the seventies to you work scoring films today?

Howard: I worked with Lorne Michaels for years, actually before Lighthouse. We did shows at summer camp in Northern Ontario and then CBC Radio and CBC television and that led to actually the Saturday Night Live. That took me to New York in 1975 and I was the original music director of Saturday Night Live which I did for five years till 1980, and started writing film scores with David Cronenberg, my friend David Cronenberg who lives in Toronto and we’ve had a fantastic collaboration that’s lasted 27 years, working on these films.

Andy: How does it work? You’re scoring something like Silence of the Lambs, there’s Jodie Foster up on the screen. Does the director complete the film and then you know as she walks through a darkened house what sort of music has to accompany it? How does it work?

Howard: I write to the ideas of the film. I like words, I like to read and a lot of what I’m doing is based on what I’m gathering from the words, what I’m really feeling emotionally when I’m reading and then also visually what I’m looking at and how I feel as a viewer. I want to, I want, you know as a composer I want to feel that I’m sitting in the theater now for the first time.

Andy: But as the music quickens or deepens as the hero of the film turns a corner into what’s about to become a peril, the film hasn’t been edited yet as you’re sitting down to score it. How do you tie the music so intimately to the action?

Howard: Well it’s an intuitive feeling as a composer, as I’m reading the text from which it’s written or seeing the film for, or even parts of the film for the first time I’m feeling something as a writer and what I’m doing is translating it into music.

Andy: And frequently you’re the last person to have at it aren’t you? I’ve heard about the openings of films being delayed because the last scoring was being done in a sound stage.

Howard: Well what you’re referring to has more to do with the technique of it which actually is something that comes a little later. Most of the music for the films that I work on was created as the film – I mean a lot of music I’m writing you know it’s to the words it’s written well before the film is edited and while it’s being shot even I’m writing. So there’s a certain technique at the end of applying what I’ve written, the music that I’ve written to the film.

Andy: We interviewed once Tim Blake Nelson, you might know he’s an actor and also a director, he directed the Gray Zone, which was unusual among other reasons, a holocaust film, for it’s complete absence of the score. And he said as a director frequently he feels that when music appears in the soundtrack it’s because the director doesn’t trust the actors to create the emotion that the music is trying to goose. Do you see any, do you ever feel music is inappropriate when you go to the movies?

Howard: Well again this part of the process you’re talking about, this part of the scoring process, this is a collaboration between a director and a composer. You know but you know really I’ve worked with some fantastic directors and my work only excels because of a great collaboration. Collaborations with David Cronenberg as I mentioned, or Peter Jackson, Martin Scorsese. I mean it’s only through a really great collaboration between these two artists, these writers, you create something like Lord of the Rings.

Andy: Let’s talk Tolkien if we could for a moment.

Howard: Okay great.

Andy: Many Tolkien scholars have found parallels with Wagner’s work, although Tolkien himself refused to admit his Rings had anything to do with Wagner. Was Wagner hanging over you as you composed the Rings music? Tell me the truth.

Howard: No, no, um and I did a lot of research before I started working on the piece and obviously taught us about leit motifs and taught us also that you could feel something when you heard music in the mid nineteenth century. I mean those are important things and I’m sure they’re part of every composer’s work as he’s writing music today. I mean that has to do with emotions and feelings and the use of leit motifs is that wonderful technique of story telling. Now Tolkien’s book is about destroying the Ring and Wagner is about gathering the Ring, gaining the power of the Ring so they’re actually quite at opposites to each other. But however, Ring mythology has been around for a long time, since Plato talked about ring mythology. So the fact that they’re both steeped in this mythology of the rings is the similarity.

Andy: Kissing off your music as you shorten 12 hours of score to a 2 hour concert could not have been easy. Was it a hard editing job?

Howard: It was, it was very difficult to try to bring it down to this size. But what I did was I had a good editor who helped me, John (Mowcheery) is very good and understood the story very well. The music is steeped in the story so by using the six books of Tolkien, I framed the symphony around the six books so that became the six movements of the symphony. There’s two for Fellowship of the Rings, two for Two Towers and two for the Return of the King. And that really helped to really create the structure and the form of the rather large work, much larger than you would really imagine a symphonic piece would be but it was the only way that I could really bring the 12 hours down to a two-hour concert experience.

Andy: What about the return of the composer? Are you going to come home for the concert on this weekend?

Howard: You know unfortunately my composing schedule is so incredible right now. I’m working on an opera commission and I have a King Kong which I’m preparing, so I’ve just completely limited my travel at this point. I did a lot of conducting last year, this is very much a composing year and I’m very focused on my work right now.

Andy: I’m going to just think of you bent over a piece of empty sheet music trying to express King Kong on that staff.

Howard: Well hopefully it’s not empty, notes are going down everyday (chuckle).

Andy: Howard, good talking to you.

Howard: Great thanks.

Andy: Bye, bye. Howard Shore the composer of the Lord of the Rings Symphony as well as the film scores for 60 other films, the symphony performance at Roy Thomson Hall will take place this Sunday at 2:00 and 7:00. What a great gift for someone who’s a Lord of the Rings fan at your place. Tickets are available at the box office, or at 416-872-4255 as well as online. I’m off the line right now. We are Metro Morning we’ll be back for you after the news…

6-01-05 Latest News

“Fellowship!” The Musical Hits San Diego
Xoanon @ 1:33 pm EST

Garfeimao writes: The fine folks from the parody musical called "Fellowship" just sent me this press release. They will be performing in San Diego during comic con, and the tickets go on sale on June 1. If you will be in San Diego for comic con, do yourself a favor and go see this performance. You'll laugh so hard, and for so long, you just might bust a gut, so be prepared. Read more to find out the details.


“Fellowship!” LA’s hit musical parody of “the Fellowship of the Ring” will be presented at the Lyceum Theatre, 79 Horton Plaza in San Diego Thursday July 14th – Sunday July 17th at 8:00 pm nightly, coinciding with Comic-con International. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased through the theatre’s box office starting June 1, 2005. For more information, phone 619-544-1000 or go to www.fellowshipthemusical.com.

In this Broadway style musical, Tolkien fans will see all their favorite characters from the movies with one big change – they’re funny. This hilarious send-up features twelve original songs, from the over-the-top opening number with barefooted tap-dancing Hobbits, to an elf-on-human 80’s power ballad (with a live guitar solo performed by the rightful heir of Gondor). In another song, the Balrog (a terrifying creature of shadow and flame) performs a sequin-studded New York style cabaret number.

“Fellowship!” played to sold-out crowds in Los Angeles for its four-month run, garnering praise from fans and critics alike. The LA Times raved “Inspired silliness… this cast cooks!” Backstage West proclaimed the show “a hilarious musical parody… laden with wit.” Fans of “the Lord of the Rings” films and books, lovers of sci-fi and fantasy, and folks who just want to laugh will all be sure to enjoy “Fellowship!” Comic-con patrons and San Diegans alike will be given a truly funny, brand-new look at the mythology they love.

The cast is made up of nine of the world’s best improvisers who take on multiple roles to play all the characters and creatures in the story. Director Joel McCrary has used the improv skills of each actor to develop their characters, giving the show a spontaneous feel. The actors also had a hand in writing their own songs, working with composer/music director Allen Simpson and writers McCrary and Kelly Holden.

5-31-05 Latest News

Trialog on the Trilogy: The Music of LOTR Seminar in T.O.!
Xoanon @ 9:14 pm EST

PLEASE NOTE: All Kitchener dates are sold-out

The Guild of Canadian Film Composers will present a fascinating discussion on Howard Shore’s Academy Award winning music with three distinguished panelists: Genie award-winning composer and President of the Guild of Canadian Film Composers, Christopher Dedrick; Howard Dyck, CBC host of Choral Concert, Saturday Afternoon at the Opera, and Artistic Director of the Kitchener Waterloo Philharmonic Choir’s presentation of The Lord of the Rings Symphony and Doug Adams, author of The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films. The “trialogue” will take place at 5:30 p.m. prior to the evening performance of The Lord of the Rings Symphony in the South Lobby of Roy Thomson Hall, Sunday, June 5, Toronto.

“Music is responsible for over 30% of an audience’s response to a film. There is no more exciting example of the profound support music gives to film than Howard Shore's score for The Lord of the Rings films,” said Christopher Dedrick. “This will be a rare opportunity to look beneath the surface and see how such a score is created and performed.”

The Lord of the Rings Symphony is Howard Shore’s compilation in six movements of his two-time Academy-award winning score for the popular and epic movie trilogy based on Tolkien’s internationally beloved fantasy novels.

Panelist Christopher Dedrick received a 2004 Genie Award for his score for Guy Maddin’s film The Saddest Music In The World starring Isabella Rossellini. He received critical acclaim for the score for the CBC Television miniseries, Shattered City: The Halifax Explosion; and a new Rhombus Media feature, Childstar, directed by Don McKellar. He is the arranger and composer for the world-renowned Canadian Brass. Howard Dyck, CBC host of Choral Concert is the conductor of the Kitchener Waterloo Philharmonic Choir and has prepared the Choir for these performances of Howard Shore’s music. Author Doug Adams is a Chicago-based musician and writer. His new book, The Music of The Lord of the Rings Films will be published in the fall of 2005. He has regularly appeared on panels with Howard Shore.

Admission to A Trialogue On The Trilogy – The Music of The Lord of the Rings films is free with tickets to either concerts at Centre in the Square or Roy Thomson Hall and for GCFC members.

The Guild of Canadian Film Composers is a national association of professional composers and music producers for film, television, and new media. The Guild's purpose is to further the interests of its members with respect to Canada's cultural industries and agencies, film producers and music publishers.

Toronto: Roy Thomson Hall
Sunday, June 5, 2005
2 pm and 7 pm
Ticket prices: $45 - $85
Roy Thomson Hall Box office: 416-872-4255
or through Ticketmaster 416-870-8000
http://www.ticketmaster.ca or at all Ticketmaster outlets

Trialogue on the Trilogy -- The Music of The Lord of the Rings Films
Sunday, June 5 – 5:30 Roy Thomson Hall Admission free with tickets to either Toronto/Kitchener performances

Principal Sponsor Kitchener: DALSA Corporation
With support from Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund and Ontario Trillium Foundation.

The Lord of the Rings Symphony concerts in Kitchener and Toronto are produced by John Cripton and Linda Sword, Great World Artists.

5-26-05 Latest News

Hall Of Fire This Weekend - LoTR Unfilmable?
Demosthenes @ 8:00 pm EST

It's been branded 'unfilmable' -- even by the author himself. Indeed, Tolkien described Lord of the Rings as "a book very unsuitable for dramatic or semi-dramatic representation" (Letter #194). Even, his biographer, Humphrey Carpenter felt that, although Tolkien sold the film rights to LoTR, he had no real expectation that it could be successfully filmed.

Yet it exists in film form, filmed to completion.

Was JRR Tolkien then, wrong, in his estimation?

What, indeed, do we mean by unfilmable, unadaptable and untranslatable? Even, today, and in spite of the efforts of Peter Jackson and his film crew, does Lord of the Rings remain unsuitable for dramatic representation?

If so, why, do you believe so?

Or has technology -- combined with extended screentime -- put paid to the concerns that made Tolkien automatically write of the chances of a successful film?

Join us on the TORn IRC server this Sunday May 29 in #thehalloffire as we discuss whether or not Lord of the Rings is really unfilmable.

Time and date:
Sunday May 29

2.00pm EDT
1.00pm CDT
12.00pm MDT
11.00am PDT

7:00pm UK
8:00pm Central Europe

4.00am (Monday) Brisbane
4.00am (Monday) Sydney
6.00am (Monday) Wellington

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:

LoTR v Star Wars
- Saturday June 4
- Sunday June 11
Special guest chat - TBA

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!


TORn IRC To Host Star Wars Trilogy Viewing -- All Welcome!
Demosthenes @ 6:17 am EST

Some of the TORn IRC regulars - in conjunction with TORn Barlistaff - will be hosting a Star Wars original trilogy viewing party across this weekend - on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night (US time).

How does it work? Well, if you have a DVD copy of any of the Star Wars original trilogy films, wander along, copy in hand onto the server. Everyone will start the film at the same time, and we'll all chat away. Simple!

And even if you don't own the DVDs, you can still join in the madness - particularly if you know the films well.


On the TORn IRC server (irc.theonering.net port 6667) in #moviechat.



If you've never used IRC before, and need help to join, I suggest having a first crack at dropping in using our Jaca IRC Client. It's dead simple.

Alternatively, 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.

Time zone conversions:

8.00pm EDT
7.00pm CDT
6.00pm MDT
5.00pm PDT

1.00am UK (next day)
2.00am Central Europe (next day)

10.00am (Sunday) Brisbane
10.00am (Sunday) Sydney
12 midday (Sunday) Wellington

5-23-05 Latest News

Houston Museum of Natural Science LOTR Exhibit
Xoanon @ 12:43 pm EST

The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy—The Exhibition at the Houston Museum of Natural Science

HOUSTON— The Houston Museum of Natural Science welcomes visitors to the world of Frodo, Sam and the rest of the Fellowship to Houston at 12:01 a.m. on June 4, 2005 with The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy—The Exhibition. This exhibit takes visitors behind-the-scenes of the Academy Award-winning films and opens up the world of Middle-earth for exploration.

This groundbreaking exhibition brings the fascinating world of movie making to life through hundreds of pieces of memorabilia from the epic film trilogy, including original costumes and jewelry, as well the central icon of all three films—The One Ring. A variety of hands-on interactive activities provide the opportunity to explore new technology, creating a completely unique experience.

“The Lord of the Rings films combine science and engineering with creativity and imagination,” said Joel A. Bartsch, president of the Houston Museum of Natural Science. “The films have so many fans, but even those that are unfamiliar with the trilogy will be fascinated by how such a rich fantasy world was created with real-world science.”

Through the props actually used in the trilogy, visitors can explore innovative techniques used in the films, such as computer-generated special effects and animatronics. Exclusive interviews with cast, crew and the director are shown in videos playing throughout the exhibit.

“The films in the trilogy were award-winning blockbusters,” said Carolyn Sumners, Ed.D., spokesperson for the exhibit and director of astronomy and the physical sciences at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. “With such a fabulous story, The Lord of the Rings entertains, but it also has the ability to engage the imagination and educate the mind. The exhibit is fascinating and the science is sensational.”

An interactive scaling activity reveals how filmmakers can make the actors appear to be Hobbit-sized or wizard-sized using an ingenious mix of trick photography, forced perspectives and props of different scales. Visitors can even see themselves transformed as Hobbit- or Wizard-sized in their own photo that will be available for purchase.

Witness special effects demonstrations, including the combination of real and digital action, and computer-generated-image technology (CGI). Examine film props up close, including a display of Hobbit hands and feet; other prosthetics that transformed the actors; and weapons belonging to Arwen, Gandalf, Frodo and Aragorn. Marvel at the amazing artistry of costumes like Arwen's riding attire, Galadriel's stunning dress and Gandalf's robes, all one-of-a-kind.

Additional interactive components, developed by the Museum of Science in Boston, enhance the experience of every visitor. A motion capture exhibit allows film enthusiasts to step in front of a camera and watch as a computer translates their movement with a foam sword and shield into digital action on a nearby screen. A scaling line-up uses an ultrasonic sensor to detect whether visitors would be a diminutive Hobbit or a towering Dwarf, based on height. A 3-D scanner records the contours of participants’ faces and displays the resulting wireframe animation instantly on a screen in front of them. Outside the scanning booth, they can manipulate the image using special effects technology to discover how they would look as a giant stone colossus.

Houston Museum of Natural Science interpreters will be available throughout The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy—The Exhibition to answer questions, engage visitors in hands-on activities and offer additional insight into the trilogy’s behind-the-scenes science and technology.

Developed and presented by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in partnership with New Line Cinema. This exhibition was made possible through the support of the New Zealand Government.

© 2005 New Line Productions, Inc.; The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, The Return of the King and the characters, events, items and places therein, are the Trademarks of The Saul Zaentz Company, d/b/a Tolkien Enterprises, under license to New Line Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Local support for the exhibit is provided by Time Warner Cable and The Examiner Newspapers.

Tickets for the special exhibition are $17.50 for adults; $14.50 for children (3 – 11) and seniors (62+); $9.50 Museum Members; and $13.50 for groups of 20 or more. For tickets, or more information, visit www.hmns.org or call 713-639-4629. Information in Spanish is available at 713-639-4603.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science—one of the nation’s most-heavily attended museums—is a centerpiece of the Houston Museum District. With four floors of permanent exhibit halls, including the Wortham IMAX® Theatre, Cockrell Butterfly Center, Burke Baker Planetarium and George Observatory and as host to world-class and ever-changing touring exhibitions, the Houston Museum has something to delight every age group. With such diverse and extraordinary offerings, a trip to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, located at One Hermann Circle Drive in the heart of the Museum District, is always an adventure.

More Information:
(713) 639-4629

5-22-05 Latest News

Lord of the Rings MMOG Article & Images
Xoanon @ 12:08 pm EST

Lord of the Rings MMOG Article & Images
Click for more images

BlueJeans07 writes: After seeing reports on TORn, I HAD to try to track down the new Lord of the Rings MMOG (Massively Multiplayer Online Game) at E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) and give it a whirl to see if it's something I'll eventually invest in.  However, since I didn't know what company was creating the game, I had an interesting time finding, only to discover it on pure chance when I was walking to join the three hour line for the new Legend of Zelda game.  After three hours had passed and I had the Zelda experience, I hurried back to the Turbine booth to try out a demo of the MMOG.

The booth was sectioned off like a cubical and a large poster advertising the game was stuck on a clear window.  There were sections of the booth divided for information or for a demonstration of the different games including LOTR, and the new Dungeons and Dragons MMOG.  Turbine is company that is completely devoted to producing MMOGs and that's how they got the recognition to create the LOTR MMOG based on the movies.

When I asked if there was a playable trial, a worker of the booth informed me there wasn't but he could show me a demo.  He created a new character and named him after myself, choosing to play as a human although the player could choose to play as an elf, a dwarf, or as a hobbit.  Humans are supposed to be the 'noob' characters who someone chooses if they had never played an MMOG before.

The first thing to begin is a trial mission where player learns how to use the controls before setting off into the rest of the world.  The trial mission for the human begins when he wakes up inside a cell but is soon set free by a ranger named Andlum.  Andlum asks you to find Celadine Brandybuck who was captured by brigands but is supposed to be in the general area. After the human finds Celadine, he had to escape with her with her creating a distraction by lighting a building on fire.  After they discover the death of Andlum, Celadine returns the Buckland and the human goes into a town.

The human had overheard the brigands' plans to sack the town so he immediately tells the captain of the soldiers and is given a mission to help protect it from the brigands' attack.  The player is given a full suit of chain mail, sword, shield and a few other things that will prove useful. The scene changes and it becomes sunset as the human discovers he is too late to save the town.  Giant spiders are killing the soldiers, the town is on fire, the brigands are running around rampant and the player must try to restore peace.  At that point, the player is supposed to team up with other players to form a plan and put the different fires out.  A few players are supposed to try to grab buckets and drag it to the fire to put it out but it's an incredibly vulnerable position since they can't defend themselves.

The demo unfortunately had to end there since the Expo was being closed down and the floor was being cleared but I got some great information on the game.  At first, the entire game is set in Eriador which includes the Shire, Rivendell, Bree, Fornost and more.  Gondor, Arnor, Rohan and other parts of Middle Earth will be available to play later in expansion packs.  The entire game takes place during the quest and the player will occasionally see the members of the Fellowship during the quest but will not be allowed to join in or create any kind of difference.  The player will also be allowed to take part in the battles such as Helms' Deep and Pelennor Fields, but basically the player has to form a fellowship with other players and search for missions such as saving a hobbit village or purifying an Elven settlement.  The game is also mostly based on the movies, but other characters from the books will be wandering around such as Tom Bombadill.

The interface and the graphics looked great as well.  It is a very beautiful game to watch especially in terms of environment.  The sunset animation was very well done in rich colors that don't overwhelm the screen.  Interface design was very well thought out, mostly taking up the bottom left hand corner and expanding across the bottom of the screen when the player chooses different options.

The only argument I would really have against this game is that it's only available for PC!  Being a Mac user prevents me from being able to actually play the game when it comes out in 2006.  But I would definitely recommend trying out the game especially for Tolkien fans because Turbine is working directly with Tolkien Enterprises to make the game accurate and expand Middle Earth to make the world more interactive and more available to explore.

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