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June 20, 2004 - June 27, 2004

6-27-04 Latest News

Sean Astin at 'Origins' 2004
Xoanon @ 12:11 pm EST

Astin at 'Origins' 2004

djdeathskiss writes: I just got back from seeing Sean Astin at the Origins Gaming convention in Columbus, Ohio. Forgive any typos or other mistakes; I got up at 4am this morning to make the 4 hour drive from Michigan, and am a 'bit' tired.

Arabesque, Friend of Gandalf, and I got to the convention center at about 9:30 this morning, and Sean was scheduled to speak and do a q & a at 10. I was a little panicked that we wouldn't be able to get in the ballroom, but as it turned out only about 100 people (give or take) were in attendance. He came out right on time, looking very upbeat and happy, despite the fact that he said he didn't get any sleep the night before. He said he'd been so busy with various projects and his family that last night was the first time he'd had to just relax and think, so he took advantage of it. He went on to ask us all our opinions on politics, the media, and voting (someone gave him 'John Kerry in 2004' dogtags, which he was very happy about. . (it was a lot of 'Okay, show of hands...') :) He mentioned his book, which he said would probably be the first of a few he had in mind. I got the feeling that if it had been up to him, he would have talked all day, but as it was, the convention people were keeping him on a tight schedule so he went on to the q & a part of the talk.

The first question was about his loss on 'Celebrity Poker' (he said he knows he's a bad poker player, but he doesn't care). Then I asked him about what his plans were this December since there isn't a new 'LotR' film coming out, and was it going to feel strange not being with the cast. He said, in fact, that there were plans discussed for them all to meet (possibly for New Years) at an 'undisclosed, secret location'. They really were going to make an effort to do it; he said Dom was adamant about them doing it the first year after, or it would be harder to plan in the future. He said it didn't really feel like the end for him, because his book is coming out in October, then the EE dvd in December, so there would still be things to look forward to. I also gave him a TORn badge ('TheOneRing.net is Hobbit forming'); I said I didn't know if it was as cool as the John Kerry tags, but when it was given to him he put it right on and said "Just for a second, forget that this is a TORn button and know that I like this because it's green and im Irish". :)

Some other 'tidbits' from the q & a:

*In response to a question about him being on the MTV Movie Awards, no Elijah hasn't called him yet, but he's sure he will. He said he knew he was in eastern Europe (?) filming a movie and probably hadn't seen it. When a few people told him Elijah was in Prague he got a weird look on his face and said "Ohhhh, creepy!", like how would we know that? :)

* One scene from 'RotK' that he hoped made it into the EE was a scene of him climbing the stars at Cirith Ugol as he's going after Frodo and Gollum. He said it was just a great scene of him psyching himself up, getting stronger and angrier. I hope it's in there too!

*If Sean has his way, there will be a Goonies 2. Although Richard Donner has gone on record saying there won't be one, Sean has spoken to the director about it, offered to direct it, and even has an outline for the script! Donner told him to register his ideas, and the maybe they can talk about it. And when he saw Steven Spielberg at the Oscars this year, after LotR had won their Oscars, he tried talking to him about it, too. He's said Spielberg's response was 'You're making history here; just focus on that!'

Once again, time ran out, and he didn't get to answer everyones questions. They had to set up the room for the autograph session, which proceeded very smoothly. He was gracious enough to sign my 'RotK' poster featuring Sam holding Frodo on Mt. Doom. I mentioned that I worked for an independant bookstore in Michigan, and we had sent in a proposal to his publishers inviting him to do a signing there. He told me he thought working in a bookstore was one of the coolest jobs to have, and his assistant took down some info from me, so Michigan TORn-sibs, keep your fingers crossed!

There is so much more that he talked about, and if I wasn't so tired I would tell you now, but I know there were other TORn-sibs there who, hopefully, can fill in my blanks. All I can add is: what a charming, gracious man! The lack of sleep and getting lost on the way home was totally worth the experience.


EowynDernhelm writes:

Well, I'm back...after an entire weekend full of excitement at Origins. If there are random grammatical errors and typos in this post, blame the lack of sleep after spending two days playing various games and meeting Sean Astin himself.

My brother, hereafter refered to as Bunny Lord, and I originally intended to visit Origins for a Lord of the Rings card tournament, which is our mutual passion [After all, I have to love a game where "Eowyn, Dernhelm" is one of the strongest cards ;)]. Finding out Sean Astin was going to be there was an unexpected surprise that brought us both great joy.

I can't boast that we drove four hours to get to Origins, like djdeathskiss did; we rode on a two-hour journey from my father's house to Columbus. It was a very interesting journey, though, punctuated by my young niece and nephew making random animal noises for most of the way (well, they're only 3 and 5 :P). When we got there, Bunny Lord and I immediately signed up for our tournament and walked into the card gaming area. While we were waiting for the other 62 people to get ready, Bunny Lord and I decided that if it appeared the tournament was going to go past the time Sean Astin started signing autographs, the person who was doing the worst in the tournament would drop out and try to get Sean Astin to sign something for both of us.

...I've never semi-intentionally tried to lose before. ;) On an amusing note, after my first loss, the judge asked "Who's he?" when I said "He won" while directly pointing to my male opponent, confusing all who overheard the conversation. I didn't realize living up to my namesake was so easy. :P After losing all three of my games, I was the one who got to go. On the way, I stopped at the Decipher booth to purchase the last flag of Rohan they had. Ironically, they were giving out promotional oversized Sam cards to people like me who spend their money on geeky things at the Decipher booth, so I decided to get that signed instead of the smaller version of the same card (I'd imagine it would be easier for him to sign that anyway). As I got in line, the man in front of me realized he had absolutely nothing for Mr. Astin to sign, so I took out all of my random Sam cards from the game and let him pick one, gaining his eternal thanks and an offer of money (which I refused...I have numerous Sam cards, so giving one away is not a huge loss). We chatted for the rest of the way up there about random things, and the line moved fairly quickly. Soon, I was talking to the ticket lady and waiting for my turn to talk to Sean Astin, and then, what seemed like a short time later, I was there talking to him! He was kind enough to sign both the oversized Sam card (he said the picture on that card, which happened to be of Sam in Lothlorien, was one of his favorite pictures of Sam) and another Sam card, which happened to have a picture of Sam looking at the Oliphaunt in "The Two Towers"(he said that that scene was hard to film, since he had to stay low to the ground while straining his neck as he had to be looking happily at the Oliphant). When he noticed my dogtag was backwards, he asked me what it said. Flipping it around proudly, I said, "Frodo Lives". Then, he held up his "John Kerry 2004" dogtag, also backwards, then dramatically flipped it over when I asked what it said. I laughed and said it was great, then sadly said goodbye so the next person could talk to him.

It was a great experience; Sean Astin really seems like a nice guy. And there is a happy ending to the story; he stayed on Sunday, so Bunny Lord got to meet him as well!

In conclusion, I'd like to thank my stepmom, who decided to tolerate our insane gaming habits and take us to Origins. I'd also like to apologize to djdeathskiss and Friend of Gandalf, since I didn't get a chance to meet them there as I originally planned. Thank you for reading my long ramble!

6-25-04 Latest News

Hall Of Fire Chats This Weekend
Demosthenes @ 7:47 pm EST

It is the Fourth Age in Middle Earth and the race of Men have clearly taken the lead in returning ME to peace. The Dwarves had participated in the War of the Ring but what then becomes of this hardy race? What is left of their old kingdoms under the mountains?

Dwarves (and other races) in the Fourth Age

While the Wise and most powerful of the elves return to the West, the lesser elves have remained behind. Which of these individual groups still linger and do they have a purpose any longer? And what of the hobbits? With the accomplishment of the Quest, is their role in ME now dwindling after its shining achievements?

Come join us this weekend in #thehalloffire as we discuss the future of Dwarves (and other races) in the Fourth Age

Suggested reading:
Appendices from LoTR: The Return of the King

Upcoming topics:

July 3-4 -- The Hobbit, Chapter 10: A Warm Welcome
July 10-11 -- Magic in Middle Earth
July 17-18 -- Powerful Objects in Middle Earth’s History
July 24-25 -- Gandalf's Involvement with the Hobbits
August 7-8 -- Middle Earth’s Greatest Cities
August 14-15 -- The Hobbit: Chapter 11: On the Doorstep

Chat Times:

Saturday Chat:
5:30pm ET (17:30)
[also 11:30pm (23:30) CET and 9:30am Sunday (07:30) AET]

Sunday Chat:
7:00 pm (19:00) CET
[also 1:00pm (13:00) ET and 5:00am (03:00) Monday morning AET]

ET = Eastern Time, USA's East Coast
CET = Central European Time, Central Europe
AET = Australian East Coast

Cambridge Charity Reading Report
Xoanon @ 11:12 am EST

LOTR Charity Reading at Borders in Cambridge

Anna Slack On Behalf of the Cambridge Tolkien Society writes:

The morning of June 19th found a motley crew arrayed about the outside of Borders, Cambridge. They wore matching black t-shirts with a fetching design and a slogan that had been raising eyebrows all over the university city of Cambridge for weeks. Burdened with boxes of food, various odd implements for creating sound effects and, of course, the Ring of Power, they set up camp for what was to be a long and extraordinary day.

The reading finally got underway at 09.30am, begining with Gollum's capture and imprisonment in Barad-dur. The cast, over the course of twelve hours, travelled once again the long road from the Shire to Mordor, and back again, wending to a conclusion at 21:00.

Highlights of the day were too many to mention here, but, nonetheless, here are a few of them: Gandalf and the Balrog, Gimli and Eomer stabbing at each other across the microphone as the Lady of the Golden Wood's honour was called into question, the male members of the cast singing 'To Isengard', the spiky interaction of Gollum and Sam over the thorny question of potatoes, the battle of the Pelennor fields, the eerie bubbling noises made for Shelob, the dephalangement of Frodo at Mt Doom and, of course, the appearance of Brian Sibley, who stepped in to play Elrond, Halbarad and Eothain at varying times. The attached photos (sadly only a few at present!), show Samwise and Gandalf sharing a mic in Moria just before that unfortunate incident with the Balrog, and Frodo and Gollum at Mt Doom.

Of course, in a performance as long as this there were bound to be mistakes - the best perhaps being a slip up on sound, meaning that orcs appeared briefly at the Grey Havens... Although this was rectified swiftly!

The day was a huge success, and enjoyed immensly by all. Some people stayed for the whole thing! The sponsorship money is yet to be tallied, so we have no final figure raised as yet; but at least £255 will be going to the National Trust.

The absolute icing on the cake was the suggestion that we take the performance to Tolkien 2005 - the organisers have been contacted, and we shall keep you posted!

At the end of the day the cast repaired most appropriately to the Eagle pub and sang songs until they were ejected at closing time.

Then came the moment for many partings; and the fellowship was sundered for a little while. Many tears were shed, but they were not evil.

Our thanks must go to Brian Sibley, Michael Bakewell, the BBC Archives, BBC Worldwide Music, New Line Cinema, TOR.N, Elly Metcalfe, Borders and Starbucks for all their help - and to the people who supported us on the day.

As for the cast and crew, our closing toast was to Scene 81, and to 2005!

6-24-04 Latest News

Houston Symphony LOTR Concert News
Xoanon @ 3:23 pm EST


Tickets are still available for Howard Shore's monumental composition The Lord of the Rings Symphony in Six Movements. This performance will feature the Houston Symphony, four singers, the Houston Symphony Chorus, the Houston Children's Chorus, and will be conducted by Alexander Mickelthwate. The two-hour journey into the magical world of J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle Earth will be held on July 1 and 2.

Concert ticket prices are $20 - $55 and are available at the Jones Hall box office, by phone at 713-224-7575 ($2.75 per ticket handling fee applies) and online at www.houstonsymphony.org. Tickets can also be purchased online through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com.

The choruses will sing in "Elvish," and musicians will play such instruments as Norwegian fiddles, Japanese drums, African flutes and Tibetan gongs. More than 250 musical performers, enhanced by enormous Lord of the Rings images, will make for a truly breathtaking musical experience.

The performances will feature original concept and storyboard artwork from the films by artists Alan Lee and John Howe. The images will be projected on a gigantic screen hung above the orchestra and will chronologically align with the music as the story of the hobbits' journey from the peaceful Shire to the dreaded land of Mordor unfolds.

Shore has based this two-hour symphonic adventure on selections from his multi-Oscar and Grammy-award winning scores from the recent Lord of the Rings films. "This Lord of the Rings Symphony is a two-hour piece based on the 12 hours of music I wrote for the three films," says Howard Shore. "Each film was a four-hour composition. And this new symphony takes a concert audience through the story of the Lord of the Rings in a narrative way, using the choirs, using the singing."

Howard Shore is one of Hollywood's most prolific composers. With more than 60 movie scores, including The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, Ed Wood, The Fly, and Naked Lunch, Shore's compositions are well recognized. His work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy earned "Best Score" and "Best Song" at this year's Academy Awards Ceremony.

Thursday, July 1, 2004, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 2, 2004, 7:30 p.m.
Alexander Mickelthwate, Conductor
Houston Symphony Chorus
Charles Hausmann, Director
Houston Children's Chorus
Stephen Roddy, Founder and Director

Jan LaRocque
Manager, Patron Database
Houston Symphony

6-23-04 Latest News

The Fellowship Festival Press Release
Xoanon @ 3:57 pm EST

The Fellowship Festival
Alexandra Palace, London
Running from August 28th - 30th 2004

The Fellowship Festival signs exclusive agreement with New Line Cinema New Line Cinema joins The Tolkien Society as official supporters of The Fellowship Festival, UK’s premier The Lord of the Rings convention of the year!

Access All Areas Events Ltd, who are staging The Fellowship Festival running from August 28th-30th 2004 at Alexandra Palace, has received a major boost for the event following the completion of an exclusive agreement with New Line Cinema, the studio behind the critically-acclaimed The Lord of The Rings trilogy “New Line’s support makes us the only official organiser of a Lord of The Rings related event in the UK,” said Louise Henry, CEO of event organisers Access All Areas Events Ltd.

Designed to celebrate the tremendously successful trilogy, the festival will give visitors a chance to partake in an in-depth exploration into Tolkien’s amazing world. The New Line deal follows a previous agreement between Access All Areas Ltd and The Tolkien Society, who have also pledged their support for The Fellowship Festival. “With both New Line and The Tolkien Society working closely with us, we can ensure that The Fellowship Festival provides an unrivalled experience,” comments Louise Henry. “ We’d like to give fans the opportunity to recreate the experience of how these movies were actually made and the chance to meet first hand those who made it possible. Fans of the books and the films, plus those that helped to make the movies, will together immerse themselves in the rich level of detail behind Tolkien’s work, thereby offering everyone an unforgettable bank holiday experience.”

Showcasing the magnificent works of Professor J.R.R Tolkien and Peter Jackson, The Fellowship Festival is expected to see 4,000-5,000 fans per day. Attendees will be treated to theatrical presentations hosted by two of the actors from the films, Craig Parker (Haldir) and Mark Ferguson (Gil-Galad). Presentations will include question and answer sessions with selected members of the cast and crew as well as panel discussions with Tolkien experts.

Further details can also be found on the event website www.aaaevents.co.uk

For more information about the trilogy, please visit www.thelordoftherings.net

For further press information, interviews or for a selection of images pertaining to the event please contact Alex Shaida, PR Manager, on 00 44 (0) 7800 822 805 or email: alex.shaida@aaaevents.co.uk or Louise Henry, CEO, on 00 44 (0) 870 224 2511 or email louise.henry@aaaevents.co.uk

6-22-04 Latest News

Sala Baker To Appear in 'Ringers'
Xoanon @ 1:53 pm EST

Lord of the Rings star Sala Baker appearing in the new documentary feature, Ringers: Lord of the Fans

Hollywood, CA -- June 21, 2004 Actor Sala Baker has signed on to appear in the upcoming feature documentary, Ringers: Lord of the Fans. Mr. Baker gained worldwide fame for playing the Dark Lord Sauron in The Fellowship of the Ring and the Man Flesh Uruk in The Two Towers as well as doing stunt work for all three movies. Mr. Baker has also assisted in the production of fellow "Rings" Trilogy cast member Sean Astin's film, The Long and Short of It. As a native New Zealander, Mr. Baker joined in behind the camera work as the production manager on The Last Samurai. For more information on the up-and-coming actor, you can view his site here.

The "Ringers" documentary filmmakers have secured interviews with many actors and entertainers, exploring how the works of J.R.R. Tolkien influenced them at the dawn of their careers. After 16 months of location shooting on three continents, and speaking with dozens of actors, filmmakers, rock musicians, authors, and academics, "Ringers" stands as the most comprehensive film document of the ongoing Tolkien phenomenon.

Ringers: Lord of the Fans features a dynamic rock-driven score with many recording artists who were influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien. Many have come forward to provide a new spin on nostalgic favorites from previous "Rings" adaptations. After 16 months of location shooting on three continents, and speaking with dozens of actors, filmmakers, rock musicians, authors, and academics, "Ringers" stands as the most comprehensive film document of the ongoing Tolkien phenomenon.

About the Documentary:

Very funny and often moving, Ringers: Lord of the Fans shows the hidden power behind Tolkien's books -- and how after 50 years a single literary work continues to spark the minds and hearts of millions, across cultures and across time. Ringers explores the real foundations of Middle-earth; a community of true fans who share a common bond. Moving beyond "cult classic" and over several different generations, the film unearths academics, musicians, authors, filmmakers, and a plethora of pop junkies -- the people gathered under the banner of 'Ringer.'

Current "Ringers" Interviewees include:

Actor - Dominic Monaghan, Author/Filmmaker - Clive Barker, Writer/Director/Producer - Cameron Crowe, Actor - David Carradine, Actor - Sala Baker, Comics Illustrator - Colleen Doran, Author - Terry Pratchett, Author - Peter S. Beagle, Author - Terry Brooks, Tolkien Scholar - Dr. Jane Chance, Chairperson of the Tolkien Society - Christine Crawshaw, Author - Colin Duriez, Filmmaker/Critic - Chris Gore, Screenwriter/Publisher - Forrest J. Ackerman, Actor - Bill Mumy, Author/Tolkien Scholar - Dr. Tom Shippey, Author/Broadcaster - Brian Sibley, Great-Grandson - Royd Tolkien, and hundreds of Tolkien fans!

For additional information, contact:

Melanie Marquez, Publicist
9220 Sunset Blvd Suite 220
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Office: +1 323-669-1173

Ringers: Lord of the Fans
Visit our website!

6-21-04 Latest News

Tolkien fans win nationwide IQ test
Xoanon @ 9:51 am EST

Ataahua writes:

Tonight Channel One in New Zealand broadcast a televised IQ test, and the guest audience comprised seven groups: models, cricket supporters, people aged 60 and older, taxi drivers, real estate agents, celebrities, and Tolkien fans (including our own Delyth!). One Tolkien fan had his torso body-painted as an Elf warrior of the First Age, which took him four hours to prepare, while another had worked on all three films as an extra and stand-in.

Last year's studio winner of the IQ test was a chap named Joel Bryan, who this year was seated in the Tolkien section. When asked what his strategy this year would be, he said: "Same as last year - flirt with the models and guess all the answers."

There were five sections that comprised the IQ test: vocabulary (and when the correct answer to one question was revealed to be 'pudency', the host remarked, "There are some very happy Tolkien fans over there"), reasoning, memory, numbers and spatial. And let me say right now that the Tolkien fans kicked some serious intellectual heinie. At the end of the night the final scores were:

Models - an average of 85 IQ points.
Real estate agents and taxi drivers - 93 points
60+ and cricket supporters - 98 points
Celebrities - 99 points
Tolkien fans - 107 points!!!

Some highlights of the night:

* The host asked Tolkien fan Yvonne what the secret to their success was, and she said, "Enthusiasm".

* When results of four of the five test sections had been announced and the Tolkien fans had been leading all the way, the cricket fans held up a sign that said, 'We're number one out of the humans'.

* About half way through the show one of the Tolkien fans took out her lap harp and started to play a Rohirric folk song - and a cricket fan called out, "How about Ten Guitars!"

* A member of another group said his party trick was being able to wiggle his ears - to which the host replied that his talent was making the Tolkien fans jealous. ;)

* Celebrity Rawiri Paratene (who played the grandfather in the movie Whale Rider) commented on how difficult it was in the studio. "It's really hot in here and I can't wait to get one of those Tolkien fans they're advertising over there..."

* Of the hundreds of people who participated in the test online, the one with the highest IQ (of 135) was a chap in Dunedin. During a telephone interview on air he said: "I think there's one other factor that helped me - I'm a total Tolkien fan as well."

* They found that the more books there are in the home, the smarter the people in the home are. (That shouldn't surprise anyone.)
* And when it was announced that the Tolkien fans had won the studio competition, the cheers from that side of the room were amazing, which prompted the host to say: "I believe there's proof of the fine line between genius and madness."

Sadly Tolkien geek Joel Bryan had to give up his crown of the smartest individual in the studio audience - this year it went to a former Mastermind semi-finalist.

So the Tolkien fans did us proud on the nationwide IQ test! Well done guys!! :)

6-20-04 Latest News

Cultural Influences of Tolkien Lecture Series
Xoanon @ 10:40 am EST

Amka writes: I am the secretary of a new organization in Utah called Into the West. We are excited to present a series of lectures on The Cultural Influences of Tolkien. Our first lecture will be on Thursday, June 24th and is entitled Tolkien Influenced. It will be presented by Dr. Don Chapman, an associate professor of Linguistics at Brigham Young University. Up and coming lectures include “How Hobbits Beat Harry Potter and Just About Everybody Else, as well as Tolkien Illustrated. These will be held at the Borders Books and Music in Murray. Below is the address.

Borders Books and Music

132 E. Winchester
Murray, UT 84107

As well as lectures we hold monthly reading discussions coupled with humanitarian projects, as well as other BBQs and parties. We have some very exciting events planned for fall including the Hall of Fire: a music, art and writing contest with prizes being awarded by Borders. You can find out more about us at www.vcode.com/intothewest.

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