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June 06, 2001 - June 15, 2001

6-15-01 Latest News

MediaWatch: NEWSWEEK Japan
Calisuri @ 10:35 am EST

Check out the latest Japanese NEWSWEEK for an article titled "A Glimpse of the Ring," written by Naomi Saeki. Some really cool fan, that got to go to Cannes, is mentioned quite a few times! Okay okay, it was me...Hey, i'm just excited to see my name in Katakana.

[ Click for Larger Version ]

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New Glass Hammer CD - "Middle Earth Album"
Tehanu @ 3:18 am EST

Hi folks,

Here's the final news release from Sound Resources regarding Glass Hammer's new disc "The Middle-Earth Album":

The Hobbits of Bree have been working around the clock. Even the grumbling Dwarves of "Ironfist and Company" were called in to assist. There was rumor of a Dragon, but that didn't stop 'em. Three Barrow-wights haunting the studio at Sound Resources? Didn't faze 'em! What about that Troll that was seen lurking about in the shadows of Glass Hammer's rehearsal hall? They barely took time to notice! How could they? For the day of reckoning is upon them!

No more time for tweaking the mix! No more time to run spell check on the text. Don't stop for another ale, and whatever you do - don't stop to pick a fight with the Goblins! Time is up! It is June the 15th and THE FANS WANT THEIR NEW GLASS HAMMER ALBUM!

Guess what? It is here!

Thus, the Hobbits, Dwarves, Wizards, and a few very tired Humans at Sound Resources are pleased and proud to announce the release of "The Middle Earth Album". Songs about Trolls! Songs about Rangers! Songs about Dwarven heroes, Elven princesses! Wizards, Goblins and even Barrow-wights! It's all here, including seven songs recorded live at the Prancing Pony!

Also...if you wish to explore the music of Glass Hammer in depth, and if you are in the mood for a great story set in Middle-earth, make sure to look on the site for details about "The Glass Hammer Adventure Pack". This Special Offer is only available on the Glass Hammer website and includes "The Middle Earth Album", "The Making of a Glass Hammer Adventure" CD, and a free copy of Steve's story, "Rangers, Dwarves, Trolls and Maidens, or, A Halfling's Holiday In Bree".

Visit the band's website for all the details!

LOTR NZ Date Change Press Release
Tehanu @ 12:07 am EST



ALKD, June 14, 2001 - The first instalment in New Line Cinema's movie trilogy THE LORD OF THE RINGS will now release in cinemas around New Zealand on December 19, 2001.

The launch date for THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING in New Zealand was originally set for December 26, Boxing Day, but will now release simultaneously with the U.S. on December 19, 2001.

Roadshow Film Distributors General Manager, Lisa Hubbard, says
"We are delighted to announce that the New Zealand public will now be among the first audiences in the world to experience THE LORD OF THE RINGS on December 19. The date change is an exciting move for New Zealand movie-goers who will now enjoy this epic cinematic event earlier than anticipated."

New images from THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy were released via a second theatrical trailer to cinemas last week. The trailer, which debuted on cinema screens in New Zealand on Thursday 7 June, can also be viewed on New Line's award-winning website www.lordoftherings.net .

6-13-01 Latest News

Goodbye, Middle Earth. Hello, lords of agribusiness
Xoanon @ 5:06 pm EST

By Ray Conlogue
Globe and Mail, Toronto

Twelve years ago, travelling through the remote countryside of New Zealand's south island, I was struck by the sentiment of having been there before. It was autumn, and yellow meadows running over steep hills were stippled here and there by slender, vertical golden trees. Steeple-like mountains dusted with snow rose in the distance. There was little sign of human habitation.

It looked a lot like the fantasy landscape of The Lord of the Rings, a trilogy of books I hadn't looked at for 20 years. I was overcome by surprisingly deep heartache and longing, immediately soured by the certain knowledge that whoever did live here was certainly watching TV game shows and shouting at their kids and not giving a damn that it looked like Lothlorien outside the window.

It was no surprise to learn that the three-part, $270-million (U.S.) film version of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien's trilogy, to be released over three years starting in December, was shot in New Zealand. Though the books were originally inspired by England's West Midlands, whose hedges and mills and domesticated nature imprinted themselves on Tolkien's four-year old mind when his family moved there in 1896, no film of The Lord of the Rings could possibly be shot there today.

Not possibly, because the West Midlands is now a mire of mass animal cremations, mad-cow paranoia, ripped-out hedges and desert-like expanses Of birdless, cricketless pasture land sterilized for the purposes of industrial agriculture. One hundred and fifty thousand miles of hedgerows have been destroyed across Britain since it joined the European Union. The English skylark "at break of day uprising" has lost 58 per cent of its population. Ninety-seven per cent of the meadowlands are gone. A "living tapestry," says British writer Graham Harvey, has become "a landscape of the dead." In a word, Mordor.

Tolkien, who died in 1973, was spared the worst of this. But what he saw in his lifetime upset him plenty. An early fan of the motorcar, he loved tooling around the country lanes until the late 1930s when the first motorways were being laid out. His imagination was a formidable tool, and it didn't take him long to extrapolate what his beloved countryside would look like in a half-century or so. By 1939, if I recall accurately from his biography, he had gotten rid of his car, and never purchased another.

The Lord of the Rings was vividly loved and hated from the moment of publication. Critics of an idealistic persuasion like C. S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia) defended the book; cynics like Edmund Wilson thought its popularity a good argument against teaching the masses to read.

It's often said that Tolkien sprinted over critical disdain because the ecological movement of the 1960s jibed with his instinctive environmentalism. That, and a certain affinity with the stoned imagination, assured the popularity of the book with my college generation.

But Tolkien's imaginings also had a Victorian flavour, and some of his more tremulous creations - consider the earth spirit Tom Bombadil dancing on hilltops and winking from under bushy eyebrows, not to mention his singing consort Goldberry - got up the nose of the Led Zeppelin generation. I can still remember an underground parody of Bombadil as a covert FBI agent: The last line was, "Hie thee hence, thou leafy nark."

Of course, even that implied that flower children were elvish innocents while the forces of the "straight" world - builders of factories and freeways -were orc-like entities that could at best impersonate the wee nature-loving peoples. Usually, I recall, in order to get laid.

It's no secret that the boomer generation betrayed itself. Who else is buying the cheap beef that has despoiled the British countryside? Not to mention tanking up filthy SUVs for a trip to the manicurist? They (we) thoroughly deserve the regular cannonades of moral condescension we receive from younger polemicists.

And just as the rising generation sees the boomer failure as an excuse to load up on its own SUVs, it reserves a special sneer for J. R. R. Tolkien. The legions of critics commenting on the upcoming film trilogy, after the obligatory swipe at Gandalf and Frodo, usually look about in bafflement for the crowds of fools who supposedly like these books. They're nowhere to be seen, having slipped on the Ring in order to avoid embarrassment.

But they do exist. Somebody, after all, has bought 100-million copies of the trilogy. But they can't read it the way Tolkien intended. The physical beauty of the pre-industrial countryside he knew as a child is gone. And if they want it back, they'll have to pay for it. Will Cockbain, a British hill farmer, recently argued that the "farmers who keep the land so photogenic" will have to be offered more money to do so than they could make by selling out to agribusiness.

Keeping it photogenic. Meaning film set, theme park, tourist route. Tolkien-haters will see that as fair turnabout. The books are phony, why shouldn't the landscape that inspired them be phony too?

And they're right, so long as people think they can read Tolkien and vote Big Oil. Tolkien, the simpleton, would have shrugged and said, "Just sell the car."

Weekly Cast Watch
Xoanon @ 4:56 pm EST

Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn)

28 Days (2000)
Walk on the Moon, A (1999) UK
Psycho (1998) UK
Thin Red Line, The (1998) UK
Perfect Murder, A (1998) UK
Albino Alligator (1996)
Portrait of a Lady, The (1996) UK
Ruby Cairo (1993)
Young Guns II (1990)
Witness (1985)

Liv Tyler (Arwen)

Cookie's Fortune (1999) UK
Plunkett & Macleane (1999)
Can't Hardly Wait (1998)
Heavy (1995) UK
Silent Fall (1994)

Ian Holm (Bilbo)

eXistenZ (1999)
Alice Through the Looking Glass (1999) (TV) UK
Sweet Hereafter, The (1997) UK
Fifth Element, The (1997) UK
King Lear (1997) (TV) UK
Night Falls on Manhattan (1997)
Blue Ice (1992) UK
Henry V (1989)
Return of the Soldier, The (1982)
All Quiet on the Western Front (1979) (TV) UK
Alien (1979)
S.O.S. Titanic (1979) (TV)
Shout at the Devil (1976)
Severed Head, A (1971) UK
Fixer, The (1968) UK

Sean Bean (Boromir)

How to Get Ahead in Advertising (1989) UK
Stormy Monday (1988)

Marton Csokas (Celeborn)

Broken English (1996)

John Noble (Denethor)

Nostradamus Kid, The (1993) UK

Hugo Weaving (Elrond)

Strange Planet (1999)
Matrix, The (1999) UK
Bedrooms and Hallways (1998)
Babe (1995) UK
Exile (1994) UK
Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, The (1994)
For Love Alone (1986)

Karl Urban (Eomer)

Heaven (1998)

Miranda Otto (Eowyn)

What Lies Beneath (2000)
Jack Bull, The (1999) (TV) UK
Thin Red Line, The (1998) UK
Nostradamus Kid, The (1993) UK

David Wenham (Faramir)

Molokai: The Story of Father Damien (1999)

Elijah Wood (Frodo)

Faculty, The (1998) UK
Good Son, The (1993)
Forever Young (1992) UK
Internal Affairs (1990)
Back to the Future Part II (1989) UK

Cate Blanchett (Galadriel)

Ideal Husband, An (1999) UK
Pushing Tin (1999) UK

Ian McKellen (Gandalf)

Apt Pupil (1998) UK
To Die for (1994) UK
Shadow, The (1994) UK
Keep, The (1983) UK
Alfred the Great (1969) UK

John Rhys-Davies (Gimli)

Sinbad: Beyond the Veil of Mists (2000)
Secret of the Andes (1998) UK
Bloodsport 3 (1996)
Unnamable II: The Statement of Randolph Carter, The (1993)
Perry Mason: The Case of the Fatal Framing (1992) (TV)
Perry Mason: The Case of the Murdered Madam (1987) (TV)
King Solomon's Mines (1985)
Naked Civil Servant, The (1975)

Andy Serkis (Gollum)

Topsy-Turvy (1999)
Among Giants (1998) UK

Stephen Ure (Gorbag) *rumored*

Broken English (1996)

Craig Parker (Haldir)

Tommyknockers, The (1993) (TV) UK

Harry Sinclair (Isildur)

Heavenly Creatures (1994)
Braindead (1992) UK

Orlando Bloom (Legolas)

Wilde (1997)

Dominic Monaghan (Merry)

Hostile Waters (1997) (TV)

Bruce Spence (Mouth of Sauron)

Sweet Talker (1991)
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

Sean Astin (Sam)

Kimberly (1999)
Deterrence (1999)
Icebreaker (1999)
Bulworth (1998) UK
Dish Dogs (1998)
Low Life, The (1994/I)
Encino Man (1992) UK
Where the Day Takes You (1992) UK
Toy Soldiers (1991)
Memphis Belle (1990)
War of the Roses, The (1989)
Staying Together (1989)
White Water Summer (1987) UK
Goonies, The (1985)

Christopher Lee (Saruman)

Jinnah (1998) UK
Tale of the Mummy (1998) UK
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
Safari 3000 (1982)
Massarati and the Brain (1982) (TV)
1941 (1979) UK
Return from Witch Mountain (1978) UK
Nothing But the Night (1972)
One More Time (1970)
Scream and Scream Again (1969)
Brides of Fu Manchu, The (1966) UK
She (1965/I) UK
Face of Fu Manchu, The (1965) UK
City of the Dead, The (1960)

Bian Sergent (Ted Sandyman)

Braindead (1992)

Bernard Hill (Theoden)

Midsummer Night's Dream, A (1999) UK
Loss of Sexual Innocence, The (1999)
True Crime (1999) UK
Bounty, The (1984)
Gandhi (1982) UK

Brad Dourif (Wormtongue)

Ghost, The (2000)
Senseless (1998) UK
Urban Legend (1998) UK
Phoenix (1995)
Death Machine (1995)
Murder in the First (1995)
Escape from Terror: The Teresa Stamper Story (1994) (TV)
Body Parts (1991)
Hidden Agenda (1990)
Child's Play 2 (1990)
Mississippi Burning (1988)
Child's Play (1988)

Jim Rygiel (SFX)

102 Dalmatians (2000)
Anna and the King (1999) UK
Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) UK
Starship Troopers (1997)
Last of the Mohicans, The (1992)
Alien³ (1992) UK
Batman Returns (1992) UK

Howard Shore (Composer)

Cell, The (2000)
Dogma (1999)
Analyze This (1999) UK
eXistenZ (1999)
Crash (1996) UK
Se7en (1995)
Ed Wood (1994)
Sliver (1993) UK
Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
Philadelphia (1993) UK
Prelude to a Kiss (1992)
Silence of the Lambs, The (1991)
Postcards from the Edge (1990)
Dead Ringers (1988) UK
Fire with Fire (1986) UK
Places in the Heart (1984) UK
Videodrome (1983) UK
Silkwood (1983) UK
Scanners (1981)

Peter Jackson (Director)

Heavenly Creatures (1994)
Braindead (1992) UK

To get more information, use the sites I use like:

mydigiguide.com, tv-now.com and IMDB.com

Liv's Ear Story
Xoanon @ 1:43 pm EST

I know we've reported this beofre, but I just love this story. Here it is again, this time from Greek movie magazine 'Cinema'.

"If you are a maniac Tolkien fan and you can't wait for the release of the Lord of the Rings, if you are already looking for memorabilia and gadgets from the upcoming trilogy at e-bay, then it's better that you don't read further on. The star of the movie, Liv Tyler (Arwen), after the end of filming received as a gift the ears that she was wearing during filming, and instead of insuring them as a future collector's item, she left them for a week on the dushboard of her car. When she went to look for them she found in their place a sticky substance..... Disaster, but I am sure that even this sticky substance can be sold at a good price...."

Thanks to Unono for the translation!

6-12-01 Latest News

The Beleg Aderthad! Spanish Fans: Ven aqui!
Tehanu @ 1:57 am EST

Typically, the Spanish Tolkien community is organising fun, fun fun!
We're sending you this message in order to make you aware that the big reunion of Tolkien fans is already underway. Since it became known that The Lord of the Rings was going to be filmed, all of the Tolkien fans in the world got to work. The result of that work is the Beleg Aderthad, the purpose of which is to join all of the Spanish-speaking community together in one of the most ambitious Tolkien events of previous times: the Beleg Aderthad, the massive reunion of lovers of Tolkien, with the purpose of getting together for the premier of The Fellowship of the Ring!
For this, we will unite efforts in order to enjoy the universe created by Tolkien and with the dream, likewise, of enjoying a day of partying on the day the trilogy premiers, the 21st of December. In all the cities of the world, a big challenge awaits us called Beleg Aderthad, and in order to accomplish the challenge, we send you the following internet address: terramedia.net, where you will be able to receive more in-depth information about the project that we're carrying out.
We send you our greetings and give our thanks,
Tenna i vinya yomentië !!
The organisation of the Beleg Aderthad
Thanks to Renirk (TheOneRing.Net ChatRoom) for this translation.

"My Two Cents' Worth
Tehanu @ 1:40 am EST

Paul found this article by Joseph Bartley about Tolkien. It's from the Brisbane Courier Mail.

"Today on my way to work, as I do everyday I listened to the local radiostation taking in its below par humour and repetitive nature. I sat and felt alone in my car as the radio relayed news of an eighteen-year-old girl auctioning her virginity over the Internet. Time seemed to slide until I heard a question, a question asked to a caller who had six hundred and forty dollars on the line. "Who wrote the Lord of the Rings Trilogy?" the radio jockey asked, and the caller remained silent. The outcome of this small event was irrelevant but the implications are far reaching. What was a radio station doing with a "geek"- like question of this sort? Did they not stick to superficial irrelevant social questions? As I contemplated this oddity I began to realise the social implication of Tolkien, which I try to relay to you, the reader, today.

A good forty to fifty years ago a professor known today as J.R.R. Tolkien published the final book in his epic trilogy (which in reality was really six books) The Lord of the Rings. I don't think anyone at the time would of even considered the possibility of how much effect these books would have on the modern world, as we know it today.

Without naming names or getting bogged down in politics and causing the possibility of a counter-argument to anything I am to write here,Tolkien was not overly loved and probably is not still today by critics world wide. Not long after the original release before any form of paperback, critics thought they had seen the end of the Tolkien epic and rejoiced. Little did they know they were dancing in a fool's paradise. Today the tally of books sold is somewhere in the halfway mark to a
massive one billion. [nope, more like 100 million -Tehanu] At this rate it will be so in perhaps another forty years.

A recent survey of British readers confirmed the worst fears of these critics when it was named the most popular book of the Twentieth Century. This punched the final nail cleanly into the coffin of any
criticism of Tolkien the man and Tolkien the book.

So how is it so that this book of fantasy is the most popular around? Surely there is something more worthwhile to read or spend your time doing? The answer is obviously no!

Years ago on university walls you could read slogans such as "Tolkien is Hobbit-Forming" or "Frodo Lives", but what did this all mean. The key is in the second slogan, which in essence was a public outcry for the Tolkien's mythological world and beings to be reality. And in essence this is what it is all about, reality and how disappointed most of us are with it. Tolkien's world is one of beautiful landscapes, wonderful creatures, magic, ghouls, goblins, swords, quests, battles and of course powerful rings. Some would call these people who long to live in these world "geeks", but there is something they miss here! The "geek" as they so eloquently put it is in fact responsible for most modern marvels. The people who have devoted fascinations to anything that deals with this kind of mythology are generally hard-working, devoted, intelligent, moral individuals who have a very good handle on life. So why are they like this? Because they can escape and immerse themselves in an alternate reality and forget the worries of society today and return to it wholly fulfilled and ready to take on anything. And they do, they are responsible for many achievements, most notably the wonderful computer-generated images we see in modern films today. The "geek" is most certainly a more superior species to the normal human being. And of course who invented the worlds these "geeks" feed off? Tolkien!

There is a new wave sweeping over society today and the critics would do anything to stop it, throwing the label of "geek" everywhere they possibly can. It is the return of Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings in the form of three enormous movies. Suddenly now all of these "geeks" are coming out of the wood work in anticipation of this marvel and no matter how much we fire at them they will win out on top. Why? You may rightfully ask. Because today "geeks" outnumber the rest of us. With the surge of technology in all aspects of life, with our increasing need for entertainment we need these "geeks" to provide it to us. And what is the reason for a "geek"? These fantastical worlds which can all be traced right back to one man - Tolkien!

"How could one story inspire so much in us?" is a question I would like to answer but unfortunately it would make this article so long no one would read it. Therefore I will say only this. Some of the most significant events in the past from Star Wars to the hippy revolution to the birth of the Internet there was a "geek" or more appropriately a dreamer behind it. And these dreamers would escape and dream of a world a man invented so many years ago. A world that inspires them to manufacture valuable tools and movements in our modern society. This world is Middle Earth and the man is Tolkien.

Which brings me back to the radio and that question and my puzzlement at hearing it. Now I realise that behind the competition, behind the radio station inside some office somewhere is a "geek", a dreamer coming up with new ways to attract our attention to his radio station. Now with the resurgence of Tolkien and the birth of these movies he feels more accepted in modern society for being a "geek". And as he logs onto www.lordoftherings.net he writes into his latest question list for the competition, that question I heard this morning. The "geek" is a far-reaching phenomenon and sooner rather than later, we, the rest of us will find ourselves alone, outnumbered and perhaps considering reading Tolkien for ourselves."

6-10-01 Latest News

Fun at the Mill - Again! - and the Oxonmoot.
Tehanu @ 11:12 pm EST

Better than ever!

Fun at Mill … Again!

This year’s "Fun At Mill...Again!" (19th-20th May) saw over 2,200 people visit Sarehole Mill, Birmingham and the Craft Fair on the green behind it, a rise of over 1/3 on last year’s "Fun At Mill". "Fun At Mill…Again!" was made up of displays from the Tolkien Country Park Partners about their activities, plus a host of other activities including story-telling, guided walks through the area including the history and wildlife of Moseley Bog and the River Cole, exhibitions, crafts, and a dramatisation of Tolkien’s "Farmer Giles of Ham". The weekend was fun day out for locals, Tolkien fans and interested members of the media, bringing them to the mill, an often overlooked historical site, Moseley Bog and to publicise the concept of the country park which will protect these locations.

The Tolkien Society were successful in applying for a grant of £4,900 from the National Lottery’s Awards for All programme to stage this second Tolkien Weekend event at Sarehole Mill. This meant that funds were available to keep the museum at the mill open for extra hours, with a miller demonstrating his craft. The Lottery fund money was also used to meet the production costs of a dramatic presentation of Tolkien’s story Farmer Giles of Ham in the mill courtyard and to cover the costs of craft demonstrators.

Last year’s Fun at Mill weekend (13-14th May 2000) saw 1,600 people visiting Sarehole Mill, about 1,000 more than the usual number attracted on open days; and that is not including those who only looked at the exhibitions and craft displays on the green behind the mill. So Fun At Mill…Again! saw a bumper number of people coming to see Sarehole Mill, the "original" of the Mill at Bywater in The Lord of the Rings.

A Tolkien Country Park?

The Fun at Mill weekends have been organised to provide a free good day out, and to publicise the concept of a new park centred around Sarehole Mill. Contrary to several articles in the press in 1998, this is not a Tolkien Theme Park, but a country park based around Sarehole Mill and Moseley Bog. Since 1998 a group of charitable organisations, the Moseley LNR Conservation Group, the River Cole and Chinn Book Conservation Group, The Tolkien Society and The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country, otherwise known as the Tolkien Country Park Partners, have been working towards the creation of this park in Birmingham. It was decided that this park should be known as The Tolkien Country Park because of the importance of the area to world-famous author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The plan is to create a linear park along the course of the River Cole past Sarehole Mill, which is believed to be the last functioning water mill in Birmingham. The suggestions came initially from local residents, some of whom were aware of Tolkien’s links with the area. The Tolkien Country Park Partners are:

The Tolkien Society

30 Span Meadow, Shawbirch, Telford, TF5 0NE.

The Moseley Bog LNR Conservation Group

c/o Mrs Joy Fifer MBE, Wake Green Road, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 9UZ.

The River Cole & Chinn Brook Conservation Group:

The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country.

c/o Peter Bennett, 68 Smirrcus Road, Hall Green, Birmingham, B28 0LB.

Any queries regarding this Press Release should be addressed to:

Ian Collier, Publicity Officer, 18 Howard Street, Oxford, OX4 3BE e-mail publicity@tolkiensociety.org


21st-23rd September 2001, St Antony’s College, Oxford

Oxonmoot is The Tolkien Society’s annual convention-like event arranged for the weekend closest to the 22nd of September (the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins as given in The Lord of the Rings). This year we return to St Antony’s College on the northern edge of central Oxford. The average attendance is around 150 people and while mostly TS members the general public are welcome to attend and can sign up for the whole weekend or obtain day tickets on the Saturday.

Registration is £22 for members and £27 for non-members up to 31 July,

and £26 & £32 respectively thereafter.

What is an Oxonmoot?

Oxonmoot is a weekend event for the Tolkien Society, which grew out of early more informal arrangements to meet socially in Oxford prior to a wreath laying at Tolkien’s grave. The weekend is made up of formal and informal talks, seminars, workshops†, an art show, a dealers’ room, a party and a wreath laying and service of remembrance at Tolkien’s grave.

Want to Present a Paper?

†Those who wish to offer a paper, host a seminar or run a workshop are invited to contact the Day Time Events Co-Ordinator (e-mail dte.osc@tolkiensociety.org). Please note that the Tolkien Society and Oxonmoot are organised solely by people volunteering to work the spare time they have from their day jobs.

What Happens at an Oxonmoot?

The weekend itself begins with attendees arriving at the college during the Friday afternoon, the sub-committee/Booking Officer will (in co-operation with the college official responsible) have prepared a list of rooms for the porters, so that those attendees requiring a quiet room, or one they can hold a party in will be accommodated appropriately. After dropping off their bags they can wander the town investigating bookshops, tourist attractions and maybe meeting old friends. Oxonmoot officially starts with ‘Registration’, newcomers and old hands turn up around 6pm to obtain Registration Packs which will contain Oxonmoot (OI) Information (the sheet detailing the weekend programme and local information), their name badge and any special vouchers or tickets that they may be eligible for (first-timers get a drinks voucher for the bar — to help break the ice, the choice of beverage is up to them). Recent years have seen the introduction of an organised meal at a nearby restaurant or pub, being pre-booked with attendance this allows new attendees a chance to meet and eat without having to wander around Oxford. Others can find somewhere to eat either from memory, solid acquaintance or the OI in the company of friends; Oxonmoot has become a byword for friendship and fellowship to many attendees, and is often used as a form of farewell between members from different countries or parts of Britain "Oxonmoot", in other words ‘see you next at…’, according to their ability to get to other meetings. Other than the meal the only other organisation for the evening is arrangements for the college bar where Oxonmooters gather to catch up on old times over drinks, gossip, make new friends and meet old ones. After the bar closes some members may host room-parties, or a Telerin Circle may be arranged for someone’s room, the latter is an informal gathering to read, or hear others reading aloud, from Tolkien’s works, and occasionally there may be some singing. Behind the scenes in the afternoon and evening the Art Show and Dealers’ rooms will have been set up by sub-committee members and volunteers.

On Saturday there is breakfast in the college dining hall. The day starts around 9am with the opening of the art show, dealers room (these will be open most of the day) and the first of the talks, there may also be a quiz. A Hospitality Room is provided with tea, coffee and biscuits so that those who wish to, can just sit and chat with old friends. Saturday lunch is a buffet reception often with an address from a special guest where attendees can meet them amongst the throng. All other activities are suspended, the Dealers’ and Art Show rooms are closed so that everyone can attend. After lunch the programme resumes until around 6pm. Then members in the company of friends old and new seek somewhere to eat, either in college or town, prior to the evening party. The Party has in recent years been held in college bars or Dining Halls according to the space required and ease of access to the bar, entertainment is provided by musically or dramatically inclined members, professional musicians performing works inspired by Tolkien or dramatic readings and there may also be a mini-masquerade for those who like to make and wear costumes based on characters, creatures or peoples from Tolkien’s stories; many of these are works of art in themselves and some appear in the Art Show.

Sunday starts with another college breakfast and packing, around 10.30 the attendees are bussed to Wolvercote Cemetery where at 11:00, is the ceremony of Enyali?I> (Remembrance), where Oxonmooters gather at the grave of Professor Tolkien to remember the man whose work has inspired all of us. After a short reading and a minute’s silences wreaths are laid. Members can then arrange to meet for lunch at a pub (such as the Eagle & Child otherwise known as the "Bird & Baby", where Tolkien and CS Lewis met regularly) or attend a Dead Orcs’ lunch in the college.

Past Oxonmoots have seen Shakespearean actor, and the voice for the audio books of The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings, Rob Inglis run a workshop for those members interested in performing or reading Tolkien’s works in public settings (at schools or the Oxonmoot Party). There have also been displays of artwork by renowned Tolkien illustrator Ted Nasmith and concerts by the Danish Tolkien Ensemble of their settings for songs from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, in addition to the usual events.

The Tolkien Society has a web-site, which provides members and non-members with general information about the society and the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien.

For membership and general enquiries please write to:

The Secretary, 210 Prestbury Road, CHELTENHAM, United Kingdom. GL52 3ER.

Any queries regarding this Press Release should be addressed to:

Ian Collier, Publicity Officer, 18 Howard Street, Oxford, OX4 3BE e-mail publicity@tolkiensociety.org

6-08-01 Latest News

Top 8 Tolkien List
Xoanon @ 6:31 pm EST

From: Idril Celebrindal

Got this on the Top 5 sci-fi mailing list. (See address at the bottom of this message.) Thought you all might get a kick out of it.

The Top 8 Surprises in the "Lord of the Rings" Movie Trailer

8> Hobbit full frontal nudity barely rates a PG, if you know what I mean.

7> In a surprise bit of casting, "Meesa like Ring, gollum, gollum..."

6> "I am Strider, son of Aragorn, known to the hobbits as 'Big Horsie.'"

5> "Hey, Tom, Merry Tom, Tom Bombadillo! Gotta fire his agent's ass, 'cause his screen time's nil-oh!"

4> Mary-Kate and Ashley as Hobbettes!

3> Tom Green has a cameo as Dildo, the least tasteful Hobbit.

2> Sure enough, there he is: Al Gore as Ent #5

and the Number 1 Surprise in the "Lord of the Rings" Movie Trailer...

1> The part of Bilbo Baggins? Played by Emmanuel Lewis.

LOTR Fan Gathering in Spain!
Xoanon @ 5:59 pm EST

From: The folks at tierramedia.net

Since it became known that The Lord of the Rings was going to be filmed, all of the Tolkien fans in the world got to work. The result of that work is the Beleg Aderthad, the purpose of which is to join all of the Spanish-speaking community together in one of the most ambitious Tolkien events of previous times: the Beleg Aderthad, the massive reunion of lovers of Tolkien, with the purpose of getting together for the premier of The Fellowship of the Ring!

For this, we will unite efforts in order to enjoy the universe created by Tolkien and with the dream, likewise, of enjoying a day of partying on the day the trilogy premiers, the 21st of December. In all the cities of the world, a big challenge awaits us called Beleg Aderthad, and in order to accomplish the challenge, we send you the following internet address: www.tierramedia.net, where you will be able to receive more in-depth information about the project that we're carrying out.

We send you our greetings and give our thanks,
Tenna i vinya yomentië !! The organisation of the Beleg Aderthad

Knizia's LOTR Game Now in Wide Release!
Quickbeam @ 3:04 pm EST

Greetings -- Quickbeam here:

Excellent news! The brilliant new boardgame from Reiner Knizia, which I reviewed in February (please see my previous "Out on a Limb" for an in-depth look), [Out on a Limb 02/01/01] has been re-launched with a slew of major retailers across the U.S.! At last this superior game can be easily purchased by fans.

It was previously hard to find but now -- with the building wave of marketing for PJ's first film -- the selling strategy has been expanded greatly. Before now, you could only buy Lord of the Rings from the British publisher (with a hefty shipping cost) and at specialty stores that catered to gamers/hobbyists. I recall the Wizards of the Coast chain had copies to sell.

But what I found at Target yesterday surprised me. There it was, just as beautiful a green box as you ever saw.

Even though the official release is set for June 15th, if you run -- and I mean run FAST -- to Target stores you will find Lord of the Rings all over the shelves for $34.95. Please look in the Toy Deptartment first. It's also up on Amazon.com [here] but they will probably delay shipping until the 15th. In a matter of days the game will be all over K-Mart, Toys R Us, and other large retailers.

Happy day!!!

There is just not enough praise for this wonderful boardgame, for many reasons. It is stunningly illustrated by John Howe. It is the most thematically pure representation of Tolkien's books ever put to paperboard. And it's damn fun to play, too! The publishers have been whispering in my ear about a future 'deluxe edition' and a fun new 'expansion set' so stay tuned for more updates!

Much too hasty,


Comic-Con Report
Xoanon @ 11:26 am EST

THE Fanboy even of the year is not too far off, Comic-con will bring together some amazing talent and some very cool events. Here's what they have as far as LOTR coverage:

The Lord of the Rings

The movie is coming. The onslaught of toys, books, and tie-ins will begin soon. We hope to offer a major sneak peek at the most eagerly awaited fantasy film series in movie history.

In addition to the above themes, we'll feature panels with the major comic book publishers, (DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Image Comics, Dark Horse, etc.), plus spotlights on our SPECIAL GUESTS. And look for a wide assortment of workshops, seminars, slide shows and special panels with some of the top creators in the comics world. It's all coming together for Comic-Con 2001! [More]

More responses to the Village Voice article
Tehanu @ 4:34 am EST

Thoughtful debate continues; today we heard from more people that thought Dibbell had some valid points, but focussed on a few areas of disagreement.

Michael read the Dibbell article more carefully than most, and perhaps figured out what was actually being said better than I did, for one. If he's right, then this article wasn't as offensively meant as most of us took it to be:

"I was kind of surprised at the reaction to the articles from the Village Voice.

I don't see anything remotely offensive in the one called "Hobbit Forming". It pretty much just said that there is going to be a trilogy of movies based on The Lord of the Rings and that they are likely to be very popular. No argument here on that point.

The other, "Lord of the Geeks", had some critical remarks, but it didn't strike me as particularly snobbish. It simply acknowledged the fact that Tolkien has some very opinionated critics in the literary world. Like it or not, everyone has critics, we're just going to have live with it.

Dibbell catches a good bit of flack for using the "G" word. It seems that the word "geek" is becoming one of those touchy words which may or may not be offensive depending on who says it and how it is used. The word is often used, not as an insult, but as a label for a particular subculture. I for one am not ashamed to be part of that culture and its as good a label as any, I guess. Sadly, however, labels lead to stereotyping and, let's face it, nobody likes to be pidgeon-holed.

None of us wants to hear someone say "Oh, their opinion doesn't matter; they're just geeks." But, I don't think that's what this article is saying. Check out this quote: "If you feel that's no particularly meaningful achievement, I understand. But maybe you could indulge me and imagine, just for a moment, that the fact that we live in a world increasingly made by geeks actually makes their collective imagination worth understanding." Okay, so it's still a stereotype, but it's saying that our opinion counts. It's saying that Tolkien's work is important precisely because the people who love it are important.

Dibbell then goes on to quote from literary critics both for and against Tolkien, before giving her own opinion. She emphasizes the fact that critics have given Tolkien a hard time over the years, but she never says those critics were right.

Finally, she gets into her own opinion which I found very insightful. Her argument is that the greatness of the work does not lie in some "hidden message" or meaning in the text. With this I heartily agree. Too often, I think, we feel the need to "justify" a work of fantasy by saying that it contains some hidden meaning. It is true that, as Tolkien has written, a reader can find applicability in a well-written story and The Lord of the Rings is full of it. But, then again so were many stories before and after it. Dibbell contends that the true greatness here lies in the creation of Middle Earth itself. I think Tolkien would agree. He wrote Lord of the Rings to satisfy demands for a sequel to The Hobbit, and because he thought it would help him to get The Silmarillion published. His real passion was Middle Earth: its history, its people, and its languages. The stories are merely the windows through which Tolkien shows us his world. That's not to say that there are not many wonderful things to say about the stories themselves, but the fact is that Tolkien introduced an entirely new approach to literature. The critics, Dibbell points out, are slow to realize the value of this.

Okay, there is one thing I do have to take issue with. In making her point that the "issues" are not the real point she goes overboard and seems to miss some of the real depth of the novel. Others have pointed out the innaccuracy of the implication that Tolkien had a childish view of good and evil and the silliness of the "cultural relevance" issue so I'll take the other one. Here's the quote that gets me: "Tolkien's take on 'human existence'? A hard gig, certainly, full of danger and tough decisions, but fortunately not enough to threaten the wise Gandalf, the noble Aragorn, the sly Saruman, or any of Tolkien's other characters with more than the occasional moment of psychological complexity."

Are you kidding?! This is the only statement which forced me to wonder if Dibbell had read past the first few chapters. When I read the trilogy one of the aspects that struck me the most about it was the overwhleming sense of despair. It caught my attention because it is rare in adventure stories. Usually, quests and wars are presented as more or less fun outings with a few nasty bits thrown in to make them exciting. Not so with Lord of the Rings. None of the heroes ever seems to have much hope of success. The world teeters on the verge of destruction through most of the tale. Gandalf and Frodo are both believed to be dead for a while. Denethor is so overwhelmed by despair that he burns himself alive. And "the sly Saruman" goes insane and is murdered by his assistant on whom he has heaped severe psychological abuse. That seems like more than an "occassional moment of psychological complexity" to me.

That part aside the real reason I'm surprised by the response to this article is because, whether you agree with every point she makes or not, Dibbell's overall point is that The Lord of the Rings is a great and important work despite the lashing it sometimes gets from critics. How did we miss that?

Eric wrote from a highly literate perspective, and this is a copy of his reply to the Village Voice:

"Julian Dibbell's piece on Tolkien was very interesting and, on its own terms, mostly hard to argue with. But he got the broad perspective all wrong.

Dibbell reiterates and expands a fairly cogent argument against the worth of Tolkien as literature. Essentially, however, these are straw man arguments. Of course Tolkien has little value by the standards of 19th and 20th-century mimetic literature, which mandate psychological depth, a distinctive rather than a transparent prose style, etc. However, from any perspective (especially historical) such standards represent a narrow and suffocating concept of what literature might be.

For Tolkien, for instance, the creation of an imagined world ("subcreation") is inherently worthwhile; it requires no justification in modern literary terms -- a view he defended at some length in essay, and a view that the popularity of _The Lord of the Rings_ seems to have supported. And, of course, for Tolkien and his readers, a goddamn great *story* has inherent worth -- a notion, as old as literature, that modernism and post-modernism
have been in danger of forgetting. Tolkien was not trying to write a 20th-century novel; he was (by his own testimony) trying to write a myth for modern times. Isn't it obvious that he succeeded?

Furthermore -- the fears of Germaine Greer et al to the contrary -- the qualities one finds in Tolkien are not antithetical to those of mimetic literature. They are separate but equal. I've read _The Lord of the Rings_ 16 times, and I have an A.B. in English from Harvard, where I was one of the late Elizabeth Bishop's poetry students. (Bishop herself understood that "high" art had no hegemony over "low" -- the two poets she insisted we read were Hopkins and Lewis Carroll.)

That Tolkien has special appeal to geeks is undeniable. However, the notion that it's some *adolescent* quality that connects the two is facile and just plain wrong (although understandable coming from a non-geek). If you want to correlate pop-culture popularity with an adolescent mind-set, you'll probably have better luck with _Baywatch_ than Tolkien. The correlation you *will* find is between a specific type of high intelligence and love of Tolkien -- the same type of intelligence, of course, that makes one a good computer programmer. That's a highly interesting phenomenon that has probably been under-explored.

Finally, a correction: the computer game Adventure predated (and probably inspired) D&D. But Dibbell is right to infer that it was hugely influenced by Tolkien: in fact, its author had an adolescent pact with his two best friends (one of them myself) to produce a film version of Tolkien should any one of us become sufficiently wealthy!"

Chris summed up the point of a lot of other letters:

"It seems that these two self-absorbed writers are members of the ever growing clique that has forgotten the value of a good story. Some of the best stories were written merely out of a desire to do just that - tell a good story. The writers weren't working from a motivation to communicate some message, or convey a truth. However, a good story necessarily conveys deep truths, and for a story to be gripping and compelling, it must be able to reach deep down inside of you. In order to reach deeply, an author must have a deep understanding of what it is to be human, and must be able to put those basic elements into his or her characters.

If a character in a book gets mad at someone for killing his family, and then is bent on revenge the rest of his life, yes I can identify with it, but it's such a shallow and obvious thing that it doesn't compel me to read on. I'm much more drawn in by a scene like that in FOTR which occurs just before the Fellowship finally reaches Lothlorien. The Fellowship is caught up in the timeless beauty of the place they find themselves in. The hobbits are walking or running about like children. The grass, the trees, the flowers, the very air is full of youthful, yet eternal energy. Then we see Aragorn, who is caught up in some old, at once painful and happy memory. We read that one of the hobbits comes up to him, stirs him out of his reverie, and says that it is time to go. Tolkien tells us that Aragorn leaves, and then throws us the curve ball "and he came there never again as a living man." There is insight that speaks to me on a much deeper level - the insight that things change and fade away, and somehow in the fading become more beautiful than they were.

When you stop reading the story just for the sake of the story, when you "grow up" and become "intelligent" and begin looking in all stories for the author's secret message, you lose something. Certainly there are many great stories that were written with the purpose of communicating a message. However, to adopt the idea that a story should have no other purpose is to greatly limit yourself. In adopting that mindset, I think one loses a little bit of the child inside. Instead of taking joy in the beauty of the spoken word, you wind up arguing over what the author is *really* saying, and miss the entire point. "

Thanks to all our correspondents in the last few days.

Aragorn, Narsil and Lurtz.
Tehanu @ 3:14 am EST

Whenever there's changes to the story we know, thousands of sharp minds get involved in the speculation game. Why did they change that? Here's some of the best answers that have come in.
Tengwar wondered who we saw battling Lurtz in the trailer - Aragorn or Boromir? He makes a strong case for the former:

"This is just a guess, but I would bet my bottom dollar I'm right. Lurtz is going to kill Boromir and then Aragorn is going to kill Lurtz -- a' la Qui-Gon being killed by Darth Maul who is in turn killed by Obi Wan. Not that I'm suggesting that's where they got the idea, but think about it: They have to end this movie on some sort of victory. They can't make it all the way to Helm's Deep [in the first movie] like Bakshi did so they created a character Lurtz who could be a villain Aragorn could kill. They couldn't use Ugluk because they need him for the The Two Towers. This would be the only reason to make up a new character (ie to kill him as a climax to this film). I'll bet you a hundred bucsk I'm right about this. It makes perfect sense. When I thought about it, it soothed my anger about Jackson creating a new character for this movie. It's necessary because Fellowship ends so anti-climatctically. "

As for the Sword that Wasn't Broken that Strider wields on Weathertop, Nick Friend agreed that Strider would need to carry a usable weapon for normal foes (why a sword, though?) but he also said something else very interesting:

"It occurs to me that Aragorn's decision to carry no sword but broken Narsil is symbolic more than anything else. He is an incomplete man, as it is an incomplete weapon. When he is revealed as the heir toIsildur and is prepared to make open war against the East, he knows it's time to reforge the sword and carry it whole for the first time. It's a bit of chivalric posturing, much like the English knights of the 14th century who would put on an eyepatch before leaving on campaign (even though they had two very good eyes), while taking a vow not to remove it until they had done some deed of valour dedicated to their lady. Or something like that."

6-07-01 Latest News

Wood, Mortensen and Hill: Three Amigos
Xoanon @ 6:33 pm EST

Ringer Spy Ryan sends along word of his encounter with some LOTR Cast members!

My girlfriend is working on a movie that Bernard Hill (Theoden) is currently in, and he told her that he was bringing "some hobbits" to the set last night. So she had me come up to visit on the off chance that I could get an autograph or two. Sure enough, I was lucky enough to meet Bernard, Elijah Wood (Frodo) and Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn)!

Now, much has been said about how nice Elijah Wood is, but I've got to tell you that he is probably the nicest, coolest person I've ever met, especially considering the whirlwind that is already starting to spiral around him. He was particularly impressed with my 1973 Ballantine FOTR paperback, which was cool. All three of them were gracious enough to sign my book. (I was thinking about scanning the page for you to post, but I decided against it out of respect for the three of them.) I really liked what Elijah wrote: "Enjoy the journey." Elijah still has a definite accent from the role. I mentioned it to him and he was shocked, but my girlfriend and I both thought it was pretty obvious.

They were also more than happy to show off their tattoos, which were beautiful (Elijah!! Send me a pic of that tatoo!! -Xo). Bernard also has a tattoo, of Theoden's stamp, which is a lovely, intricate square. Unfortunately, I was too excited to make any sort of decent conversation, so I really don't have anything newsworthy to report, just that all three of them were incredibly nice and positively enamored with the project.

Check out the story of just WHICH film Bernard Hill is working on now!

New Line Make Another Merchandising Agreement
Strider @ 2:53 pm EST

[ Click for Larger Version ]

Just one week after announcing their suprise agreement with the Burger King chain, New Line have made their second big deal for merchandising the Lord Of The Rings as December approaches. This time, it's not burgers but chocolate eggs.

New Line seem to have made an agreement with Nestlé to market the Lord Of The Rings with the incredibly popular chocolate egg chain for children, Kinder Eggs. Though not available in the United States, this chocolate candy for kids can be found in most countries in Europe. Usually found with a little toy inside it that you assemble together from little parts, the Lord Of The Ring Kinder Eggs will have some sort of figure or character from the film that can be assembled together. These chocolate eggs will be slightly more expensive than the usual ones.

The first country to have confirmed this will happen in their country is Germany, where the German Kinder Site has announced the series which will be released on November 5th, 2001. Hopefully, more countries will follow suit soon enough. The announcement for this series (in German) can be found by following the link. [More]

The website has also produced a little mock up of what the packaging the eggs will have, with the image of six members of the fellowship walking across Middle-Earth, a starlit sky above them and the German name for Lord Of The Rings above them. [More]

Five Philologists Talk Tolkien
Tehanu @ 1:28 am EST

Pippin Skywalker had a wonderful idea, and we're really pleased that she sent this in to us:

"I found this site where you can ask philologists your questions...so I helped myself to one large Tolkien portion...and got a five course meal! Here inclosed are my questions and THEIR answers. Enjoy! :) "

"What are your thoughts on Tolkien's linguistic skills? Also...what is the secret of the art of mixing two languages to make a new one? Tolkien used Finnish and Welsh to create Elvish."

ANSWER # 1: By Suzette Hadin Elgin

Tolkien was a scholarly philologist long before he began constructing Elvish, and his skills were impressive. However, there is no "secret of the art" that we could identify for you, no specific and systematic method for "mixing two languages to make a new one." When you construct a new language you have to meet the specifications _for_ a language, as human beings understand them; there's no way to do that except to select things you find desirable in existing human languages. Even when writers think they've invented some linguistic feature from scratch for their fiction, we can be 99 99/100% certain that it is already a feature of some existing Terran language. What's satisfying is that in writing science fiction and fantasy the constraints on language-creation are so relaxed.

I'm not at all certain that Tolkien relied only on Finnish and Welsh, but let's suppose that he did, for the sake of discussion. He would have selected from each of those languages the features that he felt best suited his purposes, and he would have combined them into a new language using the principles of Terran phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. Because he was both a skilled philologist and a skilled writer, his choices were based on both linguistic science and esthetic judgment. As I'm sure you are aware, his purpose in writing the fantasies was to provide a showcase for his constructed languages.

ANSWER # 2: By Robert A. Papen, Ph.D. Professor

I'm not an expert on the artificial mixing of two languages (as Tolkien did) but I can tell you that quite a few social groups (or peoples if you wish) have created new languages by mixing two languages. There are more than 30 of these mixed languages spoken around the world. The most "common" ones are the mixed languages of the Roms or Gypsies. For example, in Great Britain, the Gypsies use a Romani (an original Indian - from India - language) grammar but English vocabulary. In the Basque country, they use a Romani grammar but with Basque vocabulary, and so on.

Other mixed languages that have been "discovered" by linguists during the past few years is a language called "media lengua" (middle language) which is a mixture of Quechua (native amerindian language of Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador) grammar and Spanish vocabulary;michif, spoken in WesternCanada and North Dakota, a mixture of Cree grammar and French vocabulary (actually, the noun
phrases are in French and the verbs are in Cree) and Copper Island Aleut, which is a mixture of Aleut and Russian. In all cases, the mixture is always the grammar of one language and the vocabulary of another. How (and why!) these languages were created remains a relative mystery but one thing is for sure....the inventiveness of the human mind is more than amazing when it comes to language!

ANSWER # 3: By Carl Mills

J.R.R. Tolkien was a linguist, philologist, folklorist, editor, and student of medieval English literature. I still treasure his edition of Sir Gawain and the Grene Knight that I was required to read in graduate school. I understand that he also produced some minor fictional works of some interest.

Carl Mills
Linguistics Program
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Department of English and Comparative Literature
University of Cincinnati

ANSWER # 4: By Larry Trask

Not quite. Tolkien incorporated *elements* of Welsh and of Finnish into his Elvish languages, but the larger part of these constructed languages derives neither from Welsh nor from Finnish. (In fact, there were at least three Elvish languages: Quenya, Sindarin, and the solely reconstructed Proto-Eldarin.) As a linguist, Tolkien knew how to construct a natural-looking language while incorporating any features he took a fancy to. His invented languages are far more plausible than are most such creations. Perhaps only Marc Okrand's Klingon comes close, but Okrand was somewhat handicapped by being obliged to incorporate into his language various Klingon noises produced arbitrarily in the early films and given English translations.

You can find some useful information about Tolkien's use of Finnish and Welsh in this book, if you can get hold of it:

Jim Allan (ed.). 1978. An Introduction to Elvish.
Hayes, Middlesex:
Head. ISBN 0-905220-10-2.

Larry Trask
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QH

ANSWER # 5: By Geoffrey Sampson
When you say that Tolkien mixed Finnish and Welsh t0 create Elvish, it seems to me that this cannot mean more than that the overall appearance of the words was vaguely reminiscent of these two languages. It can't mean that the individual vocabulary items were directly borrowed from either "real" language, surely. I have read the Tolkien books and while I don't know more than three or four words of Finnish I do know quite a lot of Welsh, and if Tolkien had based his Elvish language to any substantial extent on Welsh I feel sure I would have spotted that.

I can't comment on Tolkien's prowess as a scholar of philology, but he was evidently regarded as up to the mark by Oxford University which is a better reference than any I could give! His "hobby" with his Inkling friends of inventing languages and mythologies, and writing novels in order to exemplify them, is something I feel more negative about. When there are so many fascinating real languages to study and increase our knowledge about, the idea of spending large amounts of time making up a hypothetical language (not for purposes of international communication, like Esperanto, but just as a hobby) strikes me as a colossal waste of human ingenuity, like building a model of Chartres Cathedral out of used matchsticks.

And although I don't think the languages themselves were as closely related to actual languages as you suggest, the mythology -- the dwarves and hobbits in Middle-Earth and all that -- was quite obviously a close pastiche of the Norse myths, with even many of the names being taken over directly. To my mind it is far more worthwhile to study and make accessible the real body of myths which played a central role in the intellectual life of real societies for many centuries, than to make up a sort of private modified and tidied-up version, eliminating all the elements of "love interest", etc. To me i t all smacks of the kind of false priorities which lead some people these days to become so fascinated by the workings of computers that they don't get round to engaging with real life.

G.R. Sampson, Professor of Natural Language Computing

School of Cognitive & Computing Sciences
University of Sussex
Falmer, Brighton BN1 9QH, GB

Japan LOTR movie release: More info.
Tehanu @ 12:27 am EST

Ringer Huw did some research and got the rest of the story for Japanese Tolkien fans:

"It looks like LOTR fans in Japan will have a lot longer to wait for the first movie than in other countries.

The first teaser trailer is only now making an appearance in Japanese movie theaters ahead of current releases such as "Fifteen Minutes", and a senior source within the local distributor says that FOTR will NOT be released in Japan until next year around 2002 March, if not even later.

The delayed release schedule is totally contrary to New Line's stated goal of a worldwide simultaneous release on December 19th with the minimum necessary number of countries slipping into the New Year. The exception is particularly striking considering Japan's status as the world's second-largest economy and one of Hollywood's biggest and most lucrative overseas markets.

As an independent New Line historically used a number of distribution companies in Japan including Gaga and Shochiku-Fuji. Despite now being part of AOL Time Warner, New Line continues to use different distributors for each picture rather than Warner Japan, and FOTR is being distributed by Herald Japan

A Japanese LOTR movie site has recently been set up to promote the movie here

A potential reason for the delayed release in Japan is the relative lack of popularity and awareness of LOTR. New Line may get better results if LOTR becomes a phenomenon elsewhere then arrives in Japan as the "next big thing from the West" (an old marketing ploy which continues to work well). Although the delay may make sense commercially, it is a kick in the face for fans who have been waiting in the expectation that FOTR will be shown here on December 19th or shortly thereafter, when it will open in every other market worth mentioning."

6-06-01 Latest News

Geek Wars - Responses to the 'Village Voice' article
Tehanu @ 9:06 pm EST

Village Voice Rebuttal.

Not surprisingly, the link to the Village Voice articles yesterday here and here heated up our email somewhat. Here are some responses - first from Grond:

"Just a quick note. I tend to agree about the point of the articles that you've referenced. They really sound alot like people feeling the overwhelming need to say *something* without really having any sense of why they are saying it beyond perhaps an unscratchable *itch* engendered by a phenonemon in which they cannot participate. Some part of their sense of wonder, perhaps their innocence has atrophied to a point that they've got a downright pathological need to belittle it.

The first article says nothing louder than *smarm*. It seems so obvious that the writer is talking to a small self important clique of fashionably jaded dorks that an outside reader can't help but wonder what exactly he's on about. It's interesting to note that while at the same time as he brands the Tolkien fan community as *geeks* he then also (twice) equates them with *everyone* thus reducing them to the great herd of humanity who are unlike his audience the great unwashed masses. A laughable double standard.

The second article similarly seems to exist largely so that the reader might admire her own cleverness while missing the point entirely. She appears to fire around in the dark without actually touching on the simple fact that the Professor's work is first rate *mythology*. That despite the critics and the self absorbed naval gazing of recent (read 20th century) *literati* Tolkien remains relevant as something that speaks to a usually sleeping part of our selves that sees the truth, if you will, in the proceedings of the tale."

Next up is Karl Proctor:

We need some sort of rallying cry or slogan to herald the movement. "Tolkienism" or some such is too vague sounds like so many other "isms" that have gone before. "Ringers" is clever and sounds clandestine. We must think of something, for...

To Geek Or Not To Geek? That is the question. And if we be Geeks, then is it Ill or Well? If to be Geek is
an Ill thing, and we have Geeked, then what are we to do? And if we have not yet Geeked, But Should, do we begin, and if so, How?

I had written briefly to Turgon on this topic of literary snobbery on the East Coast. This seems to me to be more of the same sort of thing. The grand "Journalist" trying vainly to explain away the immense popularity of the works of the Good Professor and succeeding only to vilify those of us who read and enjoy those works, referring to us as "geeks". The Journalist can not, or will not, see the forest for the trees. Neither will the Journalist understand that the Good Professor was interested in topics that span all peoples, times and places: good and evil, life and death, love, honor and betrayal, the corruption that power brings with it, and the transience of life. The Journalist is concerned with their personal popularity with their Journalistic peers, writing "cleverly" (many times with disregard for fact or accuracy) and with whatever the tawdry issues of the moment may be.

If this is what it is to be Geek, then Geek I am. Geeks unite! Spit in eye of the Journalist. Thumb one's nose at the Snob. And remember, how can they possibly be having as much fun as we are?"

The second is from Michael Lubin; he sent this to the editors of Village Voice:

"Thank you for two utterly pretentious articles about Tolkien. "Hobbit Forming" takes three paragraphs to say absolutely nothing. It reads like People Magazine with a larger vocabulary. "Lord of the Geeks" takes ten paragraphs to say slightly more. The only sustained idea in it seems to be author Julian Dibbell's peculiar definition of what a geek is. Dibbell may well believe that "the 20th-century cultural mainstream" consists of those naive enough to take seriously literary critics' self-proclaimed status as the guardians of literature. But when I was a child and the Star Wars
movies came out, their fans were the in-crowd and anyone interested in
literary criticism (which at that time included me) was a geek. I doubt this has changed. Perhaps a less grossly unbalanced picture of society might also lead to an analysis that would replace snobbish dithering with substance. This would, unfortunately, require Dibbell to actually read Tolkien, rather than merely repeating what others have said about him."

Thomas Kelly also wrote to the editor of Village Voice:

"I enjoyed your two pieces on Tolkien mania for the most part. Although I found them a bit reductive and misguided at times, there was enough substance to them. Still, concerning Biddell's piece, I think he was rather incorrect about Tolkien's treatment of evil. Why is it that critics and journalists when writing about the "Lord of the Rings" always seem to throw the character of Gollum right out the door, before they go on to claim Tolkien's concept of evil is childish? Gollum is only the key character to understanding the whole emotional complexity of the book. It is in his character that Tolkien not only argues that most of us are not innately evil but corrupted, and that there is a grey area influenced by the tides of personal need, but that "evil" itself has a crucial role in the interplay of nature itself, and even in the outcome of "good." Obviously, Gollum is a foil of Frodo, and if you don't get Gollum, then you don't get Frodo, and therefore you don't get the books whatsoever. Moreover, often Tolkien's idealized forms and characters are simplistic, but they are more archetypal than anything if we remember he is writing in the spirit of myth. For every simple theme or character, there is a wine-dark deep and complex counterpoint. I wholeheartedly believe that Tolkien's world is a varied and rich landscape, that is a dialectical mythos often lost on the conventional and prejudiced reader. And being half-Japanese, I'm growing tired of the allegations that Tolkien was some kind of racist-in-the-closet just because his orcs are described as swarthy and slant-eyed. Ask any Asian-American who has read and enjoyed the books and he'll tell you, really, he finds the need of so-called "enlightened" white critics not at all welcome. It's not that I don't want to be reminded of it, it's just I'm an adult and I can see when someone is hijacking an important social evil to make some lame point about a book that is in no way intentionally out to make me feel like I'm less than human. There are enough sensitive treatments of this grey area and a solid moral system in the book to assuage the more reasonable leftist. And if I have to read one more article that characterizes Tolkien's books and his readership as juvenile idiots I'm going to kill someone! People love his books, who cares, big deal, get over yourself! Why are taste-nazis so threatened by that? And why must journalists who obviously read and enjoyed the books at one time feel the need to be apologetic about it? Are we all ten-year olds, embarassed about what our Harvard peers will think of us if we like certain "geeky" things? Come on! What is truly childish is the maintenance of an attitude that sanctifies snickering at another's choice of creative mode and truth, and that reads the fantastical forms of myth as mere child's play. How wrong can an unadventurous mind be!? But don't get me wrong, I think the two pieces you posted are for the most part good, and I thank you for running them. Even though O'Hehir's recent essay on Tolkien and the "Lord of the Rings" at Salon.com has it's own faults, I recommend it as a good starting point when calibrating your next pieces on the subject. Sorry for my displeasure--I did enjoy your two pieces--but I am interested in thorough, reasonable and good criticism on the subject. Thank you for hearing me out."

And this last from John Sutton:

"It amazes me how these mentally limited people start coming out of the woodwork when some big project comes about. Why do they feel the need to rub their two cents together and come up with some kind of "constructive criticism"? They go about looking down their noses and labeling everyone geeks and nerds.....and for what reason? Maybe they do this to take away from the pain of knowing they will never accomplish anything as meaningful in their lives. That their best in life will only amount to something.......average! Maybe they're just mad at the world because at one point in their lives they were labeled a geek or a nerd. I think most of it stems from plain old jealousy. Jealousy that someone can have an effect on so many people and not even really mean to. When you take away all the fancy words they used, what was left...............they called millions of people geeks! ????????? "

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