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Elvish 101 Lesson 5 Transcript
Demosthenes @ 10:23 pm EST

<Gorlab> Wonderful! I suppose I shall begin and those who aren't here soon will be and whoever is going to stop in later can do so then....
<Gorlab> Excellent!
<Demosthenes> hey Annatar
<Gorlab> As you all have probablly surmised our little lessons are actually leading somewhere...
<Gorlab> Soon we will be utilizing past lessons to construct sentences...
<TigerlillyTook> This is my first elvish lesson on here, otherwise I have taught myself what I could. Fyi.
<Gorlab> Well tonight's lesson is all about Verbs...
<Gorlab> We should all understand that from an english point of view...
<Gorlab> (Unless of course you aren't speaking English right now...)
<Gorlab> But of course Verbs denote action....
<Annatar> of various sorts
<Gorlab> Now, we have mentioned in the past some resources for people who really want to learn this kind of thing...
<Gorlab> and one of the most important is Book 5 of "The History of Middle Earth" series...
<Gorlab> because in this book is contained a section entitled "The Etymologies"
<Annatar> also volumes 11 and 12
<Gorlab> and is important because it contains lists of word roots for us to build our parts of speech with...
<Gorlab> The entries for the two Elvish languages Quenya and Sindarin (that we are going over in these lessons)
<Gorlab> are contained within this document...
<Gorlab> The Quenya Verb entries normally follow a consonant-vowel-consonant root/stem formula...
<Gorlab> tul -
<Gorlab> sil -
<Gorlab> etc.
<Gorlab> these verbal root/stems are usually denoted by a hyphen...
<Gorlab> because these words are just begging to have something attatch to them...
<Gorlab> The Verb list comes in two important forms...
<Demosthenes> Okay, i vaguely follow that.
<Gorlab> Non-Derived, or Primary Verbs do NOT end in -ya, -ta, -na, or -a
<Gorlab> Derived, or Secondary Verbs DO end in -ya, -ta, -na, and -a
<Gorlab> for instance
<Gorlab> the root/stem word TUL- is a Primary Verb
<Gorlab> a form of that verb Tulta is a Secondary Verb
<Gorlab> (because it ends in -ta)
<Gorlab> everybody there so far?
<Demosthenes> Example time?
<Four-O-Nine> *nod*
<Gorlab> In the list of Verbs in the document known as "The Etymologies" they appear in these two forms:
<Gorlab> Primary (Not ending in -ta, -ya, na, -a)
<Gorlab> and Secondary (Ending in -ta, -ya, -na, -a)
<Annatar> which means that they are conjugated in different ways
<Gorlab> calya means "to illuminate"
<Gorlab> tulta means "to send for"
<Gorlab> harna means "to wound"
<Gorlab> and "mapa" means "to grasp"
<Gorlab> ALL of these Verbs are Secondary Verbs
<Annatar> let's conjugate one, shall we?
<Gorlab> because they end in -ta, -na, -ya, or -a
<Gorlab> Ok, we'll start with quet-
<Gorlab> quet- means "speak"
<Demosthenes> quendi is derived from it?
<Annatar> same root
<Demosthenes> okay
<Gorlab> (qu kind of stands for a consonant here in our consonant-vowel-consonant form)
<Gorlab> it is a Primary Verb
<Gorlab> because it doesn't end in any of the "a" endings...
<Gorlab> so to conjugate the present tense of the verb...
<Gorlab> we simply add an "a" to it...
<Gorlab> So instead of Quet- "speak"
<Gorlab> We get Queta, "is speaking"
<Gorlab> but we also do one more thing to it...
<Gorlab> We lengthen the pronounciation of the stem-vowel
<Gorlab> so queta becomes quEta...
<Gorlab> (this is shown by an accent mark above the stem-vowel)
<Annatar> lengthening the vowel
<Gorlab> The stem-vowel is the vowel in that consonant-VOWEL-consonant Verb formation we keep mentioning...
<Aredhel> from "e" to "ay"?
<Gorlab> During pronunciation, yes...
<Gorlab> and you'd mark the pronunciation change with the accent mark...
<Annatar> How do you say "I speak"?
<Gorlab> now there is also a form of the verb that doesn't mean doing something, but TO do something....
<Gorlab> I speak?
<Annatar> in Quenya, that is
<Renirk> take the stem of the infinitive and add the first person singular ending
<Annatar> which is...
<Elenath> so we're learning elvish in here?
<Renirk> Queto ?
<Aredhel> yes
<Aredhel> to Elenath
<Aredhel> don't take the time if it's already been covered, but do we have a set of verb endings?
<Annatar> for Quenya grammar got to the old fave http://ardalambion.com/
<Gorlab> I believe "I speak" would be Naquetanye....
<Aredhel> okay thanks
<Catherine> Where does the Na- come form in front of that?
<Gorlab> Sorry...shouldn't have hit enter...
<Gorlab> it should, of course, be Quetanye...
<Catherine> oh, sorry.
<Gorlab> I speak.
<Renirk> Hah
<Annatar> the "o" ending applies to Sindarin
<Annatar> We'll be getting there in a moment
<Annatar> but back to Gorlab...
<Gorlab> now where was I?
<Gorlab> Oh yes...
<Gorlab> The Infinitive!
<Gorlab> add the ending -ie to your verbs...
<Gorlab> to form the infinitive...
<EmeraldSmeagol> all of this is very confusing to me. What is an infinitive?
<Gorlab> If these verbs have final vowels...
<Gorlab> (as all the Secondary ones do)
<Annatar> to be, or not to be
<Renirk> the infinitive is the "to" bit of the verb
<Gorlab> drop them to add this ending....
<Renirk> to eat, to go, etc
<EmeraldSmeagol> ok, got it
<Aeran> to brighten would be kalinie?
<Gorlab> well, what is the root?
<Annatar> Kal-?
<Aredhel> the root, son, the root
<Renirk> don't you form the root from the infinitive, and not vice-versa
<Annatar> exactly
<Annatar> the root is the basic form, not the infinitive
<Gorlab> so if Kal means "brighten"
<Annatar> and the infinitive is derived therefrom
<Demosthenes> Kala?
<Gorlab> then Kalie should be "to brighten"
<Renirk> ok
<Maeglin_Lomion> What about "to speak?"
<Gorlab> except that with our spelling conventions, we turn all "K" s into "C" s..
<Roccovende> :)
<Annatar> and "he/she/it brightens" would be...
<Aredhel> what about you?
<Renirk> kalia ?
<Gorlab> "cala" would be the present tense of this...
<Aredhel> the gerund?
<Renirk> calanye for the 1st person ?
<Gorlab> I brighten...yes...
<Maeglin_Lomion> If quetanye is "I speak," would quetalye be "you speak?" That is, if I remember the noun thing correctly from last week...?
<Gorlab> So there is also Past and Future Tense as well...
<Gorlab> yes
<Gorlab> the Secondary Verbs just get the ending -ne tacked on...
<Gorlab> Tultane...
<Gorlab> summoned
<Renirk> calyanë?
<Catherine> secondary verbs?
<Gorlab> Tulta is summoning
<Gorlab> secondary Verbs end in -ta, -ya, -na, or -a
<Catherine> oh, thank you.
<Annatar> Primary and Secondary verbs are not separated so much by meaning as by an almost arbitrary grammatical difference, think of regular and irregular verbs if that helps
<Elaran> or "Strong" and "weak" for that matter =)
<Gorlab> Primary verbs get the -ne ending IF they end in -r, -m, or -n
<Annatar> ;-)
<Gorlab> but the ending -le if the verb ends in an -l
<Gorlab> and if the ending is -p, -t, or -c....
<Gorlab> we have to add a NASAL INFIXION....
<Gorlab> No, this is not something you stick in your nose...
<Annatar> let's have an example
<Annatar> which would hurt
<Gorlab> the Quenya word Top-
<Gorlab> means "to cover"
<Gorlab> But because it ends in a -p
<Gorlab> We must place an "m" before this consonant...
<Gorlab> and add the "e" to the end...
<Catherine> Isn't that past tense?
<Gorlab> making the Past tense of this word "Tompe"
<Catherine> oh, whoops.
<Gorlab> The FUTURE tense would be Topuva...
<Gorlab> except you drop the -a endings of all Secondary Verbs to form this...
<Gorlab> So Tulta would be Tultuva...will summon
<Annatar> and NOT tultAuva
<Gorlab> The last couple of things about Quenya Verbs is the aorist tense, and the agreement in number with subject...
<Maeglin_Lomion> "I will cover" would be topuvanye?
<Gorlab> an aorist is a verb tense that relates to a general timeless action....
<Gorlab> topuvanye, yes!!!
<Maeglin_Lomion> Thanks. I think I'm getting the hang of this. :)
<Gorlab> To get back to Quet-
<Gorlab> Quet- would be "speak"
<Gorlab> Quetie would be "to speak"
<Gorlab> Queta would be "is speaking"
<Gorlab> but the aorist would be Quete, with the "-e" ending meaning "speaks"
<Annatar> The Aorist would mean "always speaks" or "is always speaking"
<Drogo> hmmm
<Drogo> Bilbo! BIlbo! Bilbo Baggins
<Gorlab> The Quenya present tense always denotes the english "is, -ing" form
<Annatar> I am speaking (now)
<Annatar> vs.
<Gorlab> He speaks
<Annatar> I (always) speak
<blindeye> ash nazg
<Gorlab> The final big thing about Quenya is that all Verbs must agree with their subject in number...
<blindeye> lol
<Gorlab> So if the subject is Plural
<blindeye> all i know is the ring chant anyways
<Gorlab> The Verbs must be too...
<Gorlab> mercifully Professor Tolkien has given us one ending for plural verbs...
<Gorlab> -r
<Gorlab> So that about wraps it up for quenya verbs - how about Sindarin verbs, Annatar?
<Annatar> They got em'...
<Annatar> and next week we'l be covering the intricacies and delights of the Sindarin Verbal sysytem
<Elaran> lol
<Annatar> If you came back next week, many of the concepts that we've covered tonight will help with Sindarin verbs
<Gorlab> Thankyou one and all for showing up - one more lesson and we will begin to speak in sentences to one another...
<Maeglin_Lomion> Thank you Gorlab & Annatar.
<Annatar> in the mean time, here are a couple of URLs to check out
<Demosthenes> thanks Annatar. thanks gorlab
<Gorlab> Then we will have some lessons geared towards writing in Tengwar..
<Aeran> thanks
<Gorlab> Namarie!
<Maeglin_Lomion> Cool!
<Demosthenes> I'm hoping to have the previous lesson up soon btw
<Eowyn_Sister-Daughter> thanks Gorlab!!!
<blindeye> doodeedoo
<blindeye> lala
<Annatar> if you look under "verb" section of "Sindarin: the noble tongue" you will encounter an informing and formidable essay. I'll try to break it down http://ardalambion.com/
<Eowyn_Sister-Daughter> I typed the log as we went if you want it
<Annatar> also, there is a less frightening discussion of Sindarin verbs at http://www.elvish.org/gwaith/movie.htm
<Annatar> This will be the primary document we'll be discussing, so study up, and We'll see y'all next week.

Comic-Con 2003 Webcam Images
Xoanon @ 4:10 pm EST

A precious few images were saved off of our livewebcam feed from Comic-Con 2003. Take a look at some of these beauties! Calisuri and Tookish working hard at our booth, fans stopping by to say 'hi' and Sala Baker making his presence known!

RoTK Trailer Scene by Scene!
Demosthenes @ 1:57 pm EST

In response to the overwhelming demand, I've thrown together a scene-by-scene description of the RoTK Trailer that first appeared online just today. As you'd expect, there's plenty of spoilers. Enjoy

Opening shot looks to be a flashback of Deagol (just his hand) opening on the Ring. The hand is wet and there's mud on it, the Ring looks damp as well. And there's no chain ... I think it's Deagol - or perhaps Smeagol.

Cut to: Frodo and Sam walking through dead bracken. Sam looks behind himself. No gollum in sight. East Ithilien, perhaps?

Cut to: Pippin asking "Is there any hope Gandalf?"
Gandalf: "there never was much hope." *pause* "Just a fool's hope"
They are on the battlements of Minas Tirith looking reflective.

Cut to: Frodo literally dragging himself up a rockface somewhere. It must be Orodruin. He looks absolutely desperate.

Cut to: Merry and Pip. Merry: "We shall see the Shire again" Pip nods, in tears. Could be Meduseld, after Pip has gazed into the Palantir.

Cut to: Gandy, Pip on Shadowfax riding through the (Druadan) Woods.

Cut to: The Eye and then orcs of Mordor.

Cut to: Faramir in the White Tower speaking to an (off screen) Denethor. "My lord, Osgiliath is overrun". His accent sounds slightly odd - or maybe it's emotion colouring his voice. Random hangers on in the background.

Cut to: Gondorian soldiers racing in a block to reinforce the square in front of the Great Gate. It is night. Fires burn, but they look controlled.

Cut to: Theoden voiceover on a shot of Eowyn looking impassive and silent. "I would have you smile again." Cut to: Theoden before Eowyn. Tent in the background. Dunharrow, I suspect. Is she being left behind again?

Theoden continues: "Not grieve for those whose time has come."

Cut to: Scene with a Gondorian soldier cradling a Rohirrim soldier in death agony. The Gondorian looks incredibly young. Is it Pippin cradling Merry? Or Dernhelm and Theoden? There's also a weird white figure in the background but it doesn't look to be Gandalf.

Cut to: Aragorn sinking down onto his hands and knees in obvious despair. Legolas is behind him holding his bow. This lines up with the NL Official picture "Legolas tells Aragorn he has not failed in his mission." Must be waiting for the Dead to show, I guess.

Cut to: Gandalf speaking in a stone-walled room. Can't see anyone else. Last Debate at Minas Tirith? "The board is set."

Voiceover continues across a montage of scenes. Gondorian archers on the walls of Minas Tirith readying and aiming at an unseen enemy out of shot ...

"The pieces are moving."

Cut to: Shot of orcs(?) marching with torches. It is night. Can't tell the location. Could be Mordor.

"We come to it at last".

Cut to: The Captains of the West leading forth the host from Minas Tirith to the Morannon. Minas Tirith is in the background. Aragorn leads in the van.

Cut to: Closeup of kingly!Aragorn in his White Tree and chainmail gear. Most impressive.

"The great battle of our time".

Cut to: Gandalf riding Shadowfax up the walls of Minas Tirith with urgency. Ranks of Gondorian soldiers are standing on the battlements. Dark clouds gather out to the East. Camera zooms up and over - across Gandalf's shoulder we see an approaching army in many columns. There are also huge seige engines - at least six. These ones appear to be seige towers.

Cut to: Horse charge. Is it Faramir, or Imrahil calling the change from trot(?) to gallop? Still can't tell.

Cut to: A ram being thrown against the Great Gate. If this is Grond, they need to upscale it a bit - very disappointing. Maybe it's mini!Grond.

Cut to: The bridge of a seige tower crashing down onto the battlements (of Minas Tirith). Camera angle is from beneath and broken stone falls onto the camera. Seems to be a day shot.

Cut to: Fighting in the square behind the Great Gate. Chaos in the dark as orcs rush into Gondorians. Can tell it's the Gate Square from the staue of the horse on the left of the camera.

Cut to: Fell Beast swooping through smokey air. It dives at a low angle and takes out one of the Gondorian trebuchets, heaving it off the battlements with its momentum. The Fell Beasts are huger than I had previously thought.

Cut to: Sam speaking passionately to Frodo. Frustration mixed with despair. He seems on the verge of tears.

"You don't see it do you?"

Reverse angle: It's night. The background is rocky - the Stairs? Frodo looking ... wary? afraid?

Cut to: Gollum talking to his reflection in a pool.
"Preciouss ... will be ours."

Cut to: Trebuchets unleashing a flaming load against the city of Minas Tirith. Explosions in Minas Tirith, Gondorians duck for cover.

Voiceover from Sam: "He's leading us into a trap!"

Cut to: Frodo looking lost, panicky. His mouth is gaping. Sam seems nowhere to be seen.

Cut to: Racing through tunnels, looking left, right and back. Many cobwebs.

Cut back to Gollum at the pool. He says: "And once the hobbitses die ..." He then drops a rock into the pool with a very final sounding plop.

Cut to: A pair of hands lifting Narsil reforged. This is Anduril, Flame of the West. Has the blade just been tempered? Could this be the reforging scene?

Cut to: A brief glimpse of Aragorn leading Legolas and Gimli through the Paths of the Dead.

Cut to: Theoden leading the Rohirrim onto the Pelennor.

Voiceover from Theoden: "Ride now. Ride to ruin!"

Cut to: Legolas swivelling and aiming his bow, an arrow nocked and ready. Could be Pelennor, could be Morannon. From all the banners behind, it's probably at the Morannon.

Cut to: Confused infantry charge. The ground looks too sandy to be at the Pelennor Fields. Again, it's difficult to tell.

Cut to: Aragorn wearing his kingly armour leading yet another charge. Same one from a different angle?

Cut to shots of the Rohirrim charging.

Theoden's voiceover continues: "And the world's ending!"

Cut to: Gandalf and Merry(?) ride out into part of Minas Tirith as a Fell Beast swoops in and lands on the flagstones. It appears top be high up.

Closing credits bit and pieces.

Evlish 101 Lesson 4 Transcript
Demosthenes @ 10:26 am EST

<Gorlab> Say Annatar, what time do you have?
<jincey> it is about that time
<Annatar> It's time
<Gorlab> Well then...
<Gorlab> Welcome to our fourth installment...
<Gorlab> of Elvish 101...
<jincey> : )
<Annatar> where we wil bee delving yet further into..
<elen_sila_lumennomentilievo> hello
<Gorlab> (hello, hello)
<elen_sila_lumennomentilievo> where am i?
<Annatar> nouns
<Gorlab> The mysteries of the Elvish Tongues...
<elen_sila_lumennomentilievo> cool
<Gorlab> specifically Nouns....
<Gorlab> And for a short review...
<Annatar> and/or
<Gorlab> and/or some pronouns...
<Gorlab> We have been over spelling conventions...
<elen_sila_lumennomentilievo> um
<Gorlab> We have covered pronunciation....
<Annatar> and the Quenya case system
<Gorlab> And now we are able to identify things via Nouns....
<athelas> What if this is your first time in here?
<Annatar> take notes
<Gorlab> and have gone over the main way to modify a Noun using case endings...
<jincey> we have the logs from previous lessons posted
<Gorlab> If this is your first time here, sit back and enjoy...
<athelas> ok thanks
<Gorlab> There are no life threatening tests here...
<elen_sila_lumennomentilievo> this is my first time in hwere
<elen_sila_lumennomentilievo> here
<Guest1> aww no life threatening?
<Annatar> just a little lenition and declension
<Gorlab> So now, we continue with Nouns.
<Gorlab> In Quenya,
<Gorlab> we learned that it is a language pieced together a bit like a jigsaw puzzle...
<Annatar> take a stem, and add some endings
<Gorlab> Tolkien, in his "Etymologies" (found in The Lost Road - Volume 5 of the History of Middle earth)
<Gorlab> has created lists of stems and roots...
<Gorlab> these stems and roots...
<Gorlab> are our base words...
<Annatar> to make new words and phrases
<Gorlab> which are modified with the use of Affixes...
<Gorlab> whether it's prefixes, infixes, or suffixes....
<Gorlab> These endings can be combined with these bases stems and roots...
<Gorlab> to create different meanings...
<Gorlab> Quenya can have long compund word structures...
<Gorlab> That may appear daunting...
<jincey> are thes lists user friendly?
<Gorlab> but is really just a different way of organizing information...
<Gorlab> These lists can be diciphered,
<Gorlab> but that will most likely be a lesson unto itself..
<jincey> ok
<Gorlab> unless Annatar has anything to add?
<Annatar> Helge of Ardalambion fame has made using the charts easier
<Gorlab> with his indexes of the Etymologies...
<Gorlab> Also, the introduction of the Etymologies by Christopher Tolkien...
<Gorlab> "to" the Etymologies, rather
<Gorlab> allows one to understand the basic format with which Tolkien was working...
<Gorlab> as for nouns and Quenya...
<Gorlab> These are a bit different when you approach Sindarin...
<Annatar> Now I'd like to address the tricksy situation of Sindarin sound-change
<Annatar> In Quenya, as we discussed last week, you modify a noun by adding a beginning or ending
<Annatar> that's the affix
<Gorlab> In English, we tend to do this...
<Gorlab> by adding, say, an "s" for plurals...
<Gorlab> Car.
<Gorlab> Cars.
<Annatar> In Sindarin, however, putting word in a new grammatical situation changes its pronunciation and spelling
<Annatar> The plural, that is, changing the "number" a noun has is a good example of this
<jincey> how many endings are there?
<Annatar> In Quenya, one usually adds a suffix such as "i" to make word plural
<Annatar> gorlab?
<Gorlab> In Quenya there are quite a few...
<Gorlab> But when one becomes used to what these affixes (beginnings, middles, and endings) represent...
<Gorlab> It is no different than having to "know" how you modify words in english....
<Aysel> can you suggest some favorite books on Elvis and writing too.?
<Aysel> Elvish!
<Annatar> if you know the word and the case, you just use a noun chart to determine the plural ending
<Aysel> sorry.
<Gorlab> So you modify the Sindarin Noun to make it plural by.....
<Annatar> MUTATION!
<Annatar> that's right, mutation
<Gorlab> (The best Elvish source material is by far on the web...)
<Maeglin_Lomion> So palantir (sing.) & palantiri (pl.) is Quenya?
<Gorlab> Yes!
<Elessar_T> www.ardalambion.com is a good page
<Annatar> essentially, it's a case of changing the vowels, a mechanism called UMLAUT
<Gorlab> "Umlaut"...a Germanic word meaning literally "sound change"
<Annatar> UMLAUT means you modify the vowels a good example in English is goose-geese
<Annatar> or man-men
<Gorlab> We don't say Gooses...
<Gorlab> We say Geese....
<Maeglin_Lomion> Mellon --> mellyn is Sindarin?
<Gorlab> We have mutated the "oo" into "ee"
<Annatar> a good example in Sindarin is Adan (man)--Edain (men)
<Catherine> though Adan and Edain sound similer...
<Annatar> Another good LOTR example would be Amon (hill) Emyn (hills)
<Annatar> Who knows a place name that uses Amon?
<Maeglin_Lomion> Amon Hen
<Annatar> Right
<Annatar> What about Emyn?
<Catherine> Emyn Muil?
<Gorlab> Yes.
<Annatar> Exactly!
<Annatar> Would you like to know how it works?
<Gorlab> Yes! Yes! Tell us!!!
<Maeglin_Lomion> Yes
<Catherine> sure
<Guest1> yup
<Annatar> The basic idea...
<Annatar> is that there was once, in the common ancester language to Quenya and Sindarin,
<Gorlab> (Common Eldarin)
<Annatar> the parctice of adding "I" tp the end of a word to make it plural,
<Annatar> as is still done in some of the cases in Quenya
<Catherine> L or I?
<Annatar> I, like "me"
<Elessar_T> I, or i if you prefer
<Catherine> ok, thanks
<Annatar> or "i"
<Annatar> that "i" is no longer there but we can hear its effects
<Annatar> the vowels change to "become more like i"
<Annatar> so A becomes AI, A becomes E, and O becomes Y
<Annatar> Gnerally, this effect is "stronger
<Annatar> sorry,
<Annatar> "Stronger", in the final syllable, which is closer to the "ghost i"
<Annatar> Gorlab can direct you to a cool chart that lays all of that out, what was that URL?
<Gorlab> So vowel changes in root nouns display the plural...
<Gorlab> There is a chart on a site known as "Mellonath Daeron"
<Annatar> that's it!
<Gorlab> And also some other Sindarin Mutation information on a site called "Gwaith-i-phedain"...
<Aysel> thank you so much! enjoyed this.
<Annatar> we have a link to the site on frodocoita.com, and so does Ardalambion
<Gorlab> both of which can be reached through Helge Fauskanger's "Ardalambion" site links
<Annatar> I do not wish tp monopolize this dicussion with Sindaring sound-change, but it's helpful to understand it if you're trying to learn it
<Gorlab> So the main difference in Quenya and Sindarin Noun structure....
<Maeglin_Lomion> What is the meaning of the -ath suffixed to Mellon?
<Annatar> is affixation vs. umlaut, to be geeky about it
<Annatar> good question Maeglin
<Gorlab> Is that Quenya organizes the information in discrete affixes, and meaningful sentences are put together like a jigsaw puzzle...
<Annatar> that is the Sindarin "Class Plural"
<Gorlab> While Sindarin uses mutation, yes...but not only for Noun Plurals...
<Maeglin_Lomion> Collective?
<Annatar> yes
<Maeglin_Lomion> Thank you.
<Gorlab> Consonants can mutate as well...
<Gorlab> for other parts of speech...
<Catherine> Just when I thought I had vowels down... lol
<Annatar> when one wants to refer to "all tree people" and not just a specific group to calss plural can be used
<Annatar> galadhrim
<Annatar> Haradrin
<Annatar> Pherrianath
<Annatar> periannath, haradrim, actually
<Gorlab> (tree-people, souh-people, halfling-folk)
<Gorlab> (er, south-people)
<Annatar> this is handy, when trying to devise an ordinary plural seems like a bit of a steep undertaking
<Folken-sama> Tolkien and trees?
<Annatar> The best analysis of theses changes is in the Ardalambion essay "Sindarin, the noble tongue"
<Annatar> Mellanath Daeron has the clearest chart laid out
<Gorlab> Now, not all examples of Sindarin (or Quenya) are "attested"
<Annatar> That is, written by Tolkien i that form or uaage
<Gorlab> Some of these systems of affixes and mutation have been carefully analyzed...
<Gorlab> discussed on the old Tolk-lang disscusion group...
<Annatar> and some are simplified for easy , casual use
<Gorlab> written about in the journals "Vinyar Tengwar" and "Parmaeldalamberon"
<Annatar> those are the serious ones
<Gorlab> and ultimately derived into a pattern..
<Gorlab> that makes the most sense...
<Gorlab> Those indeed, are the serious ones and new students should not be swayed by the seeming number of affixes or mutational forms...
<Annatar> how about those Quenya pronouns, hih?
<Gorlab> It IS possible to create simple, easy, and expressive sentences in both languages...
<Gorlab> Ah...to touch upon Quenya pronouns....
<Gorlab> In English, they appear as seperate words...
<Gorlab> "I"
<Gorlab> "You"
<Gorlab> "He"
<Annatar> me?
<Gorlab> "She"
<Annatar> her?
<Gorlab> "It"
<jincey> it
<jincey> them
<Gorlab> "They"
<Annatar> its.............
<Elessar_T> but in quenya...
<Annatar> get on with it
<Gorlab> But in Quenya...
<Elessar_T> they're suffixes
<Gorlab> they appaer as suffixes..
<Annatar> Latin, spanish Russian and other speakers should be familiar with this scheme
<Gorlab> "-nye" is "You", although it can be shortened to "n"
<Gorlab> and words that already end in "n"...
<Gorlab> absorb the "n" into itself.
<Elessar_T> Gorlab, sorry to correct you, but "-nye"/"-n" means "I"
<Annatar> yes, 2nd person uses lye
<Gorlab> pardon me, yes....
<Annatar> 1st sigular uses nye
<Annatar> the principle being that you just tack it on the end of the noun-stem as a suffix
<Gorlab> "he" in English is "-ro" in Quenya
<Annatar> verb-stem, rather,
<Gorlab> "she" is "-re"
<Maeglin_Lomion> What is absorbing the "n" into itself...does that mean the word is spelled the same whether it's singular or plural? (Sorry to backtrack)
<Gorlab> and "they" are "-nte"
<Annatar> yes, it sinks almost without a trace
<Maeglin_Lomion> Thanks.
<Gorlab> It avoids double "n"
<Catherine> I thought -s was for he/she/it
<Gorlab> "-s" is for "it"
<jincey> could you please type out the examples?
<Gorlab> Sure,...
<Catherine> Ah, I see. thank you
<jincey> hoe this appears?
<jincey> how
<Gorlab> "na", is Present tense Verb "to be"
<Gorlab> when we add the suffix "n", (English "I")....
<Gorlab> we get the word "nan"
<Annatar> to quote from Helge, Example: lendë "went", lenden or lendenyë "I went",
<Gorlab> Which means "I am"
<jincey> thanks : )
<Annatar> Bringing us dangerously close to the domain of "The Verb"
<Elessar_T> or to quote Namarië: "hiruvalye" = "thou shall find"
<Gorlab> if we use this formula for the other pronouns using "na", (English "is")
<Gorlab> We get:
<Elessar_T> no, that verb is to unknown
<Gorlab> "nalye" which is "thou art"
<Gorlab> "naro" which is "he is"
<Gorlab> "nare" which is "she is"
<Annatar> I didn't unknow that ;)
<Gorlab> "nas" which is "it is"
<Elessar_T> but in english, present tense of to be has 3 forms
<Elessar_T> we can't be sure wether Tolkien intended this to be the case in Quenya as well
<Annatar> But for these purposes we're try to beliwve it is the case
<Annatar> so as to build a speakable construct
<Gorlab> I believe that about wraps it up...if anyone has any questions feel free to e-mail me at Zorniod@hotmail.com
<Annatar> however, it is not , as you observed, attested
<jincey> thanks gorlab and annatar : ))
<Gorlab> Thankyou so much for coming and showing interest - you people are truly wonderful!!
Gorlab [jirc@adsl-158-77-165.asm.bellsouth.net] has quit IRC (Quit: Leaving)
<jincey> what is next week?
<Maeglin_Lomion> Thank you and Annatar for being here for us.
<Guest1> yeah thanks
<Elessar_T> ok, this was interesting... but I better go to bed now
<Annatar> right now, we're trying to get to "the Verb" so we can start making some Quenya sentences
<jincey> ok : )
<Lastar> kewl
<Elessar_T> Mara lome
<Maeglin_Lomion> Namárië
<Annatar> Namarie
<jincey> namarie : )

7-29-03 Latest News

The Sean Astin Experience at GenCon 2003
Xoanon @ 10:51 pm EST

Poppy Hilldweller writes:

I had the great fortune to attend gencon along with 12 other wonderful women from bitofearth.net. We were of many different ages and backgrounds, from all over the country and even the world, united by our love for Samwise Gamgee and our admiration for the actor who brought him to life. Needless to say, our primary motivation was not gaming. The consensus by all at the end of the weekend was that it exceeded our expectations, that Sean Astin is one the most, if not THE most generous, considerate, loving, genuine (not to mention GORGEOUS) human beings we have ever met, and that Sam fans are the most delightful fans to be around because we all have a bit of Sam in us (we aren't at all biased, of course).

Smile Sean!
Click here for images

I just want to share a few personal highlights to go along with the reports that will role in. The Hobbitwraiths, as we Samiacs call ourselves, were first in line Sat. morning at Decipher for Sean's first autograph session. Laden with gifts such as books for Sean's girls, an Indy Moot Search for Squee" t-shirt, and a beautiful photo album from Project Elanor (the charity project Sean participated in with bitofearth.net last April), we anxiously waited in line for an hour, hardly containing our excitement. Sean came across as so very genuinely happy to meet us, pleased with his gifts, and without the help of his faithful and funny assistant and the gencon staff, would surely have had a conversation with each and every one of us while hundreds of others waited their chance to meet him.

When I introduced myself to Sean and explained my background involvement in Project Elanor as the travel coordinator (I didn't get to attend the event myself), I was rewarded with a warm hug  and did I mention how gorgeous this man is. I gave him the gifts for his girls, talked a bit about how wonderful it is to have a dad who reads to you, and was, much to my delight and surprise, given another completely unexpected hug  cheek to cheek. I couldn't help myself  I kissed the man on the cheek without even thinking about it. It was simply instinct. Sorry Christine, no harm intended (as I had to explain to my husband when he saw the picture).

The rest of our group had similar experiences and we all melted into a puddle of pathetic fangirl squee on some conveniently placed beanbags where we reviewed the photos and the videos. Many of us stood in other lines to meet Sean again during the day, as well as John Rhys-Davies and Brad Dourif. Because we were limited to autographs on decipher products at the decipher line, I stood in line again at the Guest of Honor booth to have Sean sign my giant Sam & Frodo poster from TTT. I was delighted that he agreed to take a group photo with the hobbitwraiths after the Q&A. Sean also mentioned that there would be a special treat after the Q&A for a couple of fans we all knew from Portland.

Being the outspoken member of our group, I got to spend a bit of time at the mic asking questions on behalf of our group and John's Q&A. I asked him my favorite question for LOTR actors  what do you wish fans would ask you rather than the same questions you always get? He really seemed to enjoy the question because he went on for about 10 minutes about what Tolkien's story means to him in our contemporary world, how he feels our culture is in crisis because we have lost our moral center, and his concern about the rise of radical fundamentalism. I enjoyed hearing about John's values and commitments, and feel that I know much more about him now than I did before. I also told John, since he had joked about people only wanting Orli's phone number from him, that there were some of us who did not fancy elves at all, but thought that dwarves were quite hot. John in his Gimli voice invited me to join him back stage following the session. This did not surprise me at all, considering nearly every woman who gets an autograph from John also receives a hug and a saucy tickle. Watch out, ladies. Finally, I asked John if he had any good stories on Sean Astin that we could tease him about during his Q&A. I think John accused me of being a saucy hobbit, and then couldn't come up with any dirt at all. In fact, he spent the next several minutes praising Sean, his family, and making wonderful predictions that you have all heard by now about Sean's future Oscar award, presidency of SAG, and governorship of California.

When Sean came on stage, he really hammed it up, kissing John's feet. John introduced him to us repeating all the praise he had earlier rendered and adding future candidate for president of the United States." I think Sean blushed at all this, but he also pumped his fist Rudy fashion in the air.

I hope there will be a transcript from Sean's Q&A soon (one of the hobbitwraiths is working on it) because Sean was completely marvelous (no, I'm not biased). When asked which characters in film he was most like and most unlike, he spoke about Rudy as the character who he most identifies with (because of Rudy's single-minded commitment and passion), and his character Greg from Where the Day Takes You (a drug addict and run-away) as the one he was most unlike. He stated that Sam was a better person than he was (hard for me to believe, Sean).

One of the hobbitwraiths asked Sean to elaborate on a recent quote in AICN in which he spoke of the scene on Mt. Doom with Frodo as his most sacred acting experience. Sean did elaborate, at length, and there were many wet eyes in the house by the end of his answer. I'm not going to try to summarize what he said other than it dealt with his struggles over the years crying on cue and controlling those tears once the crying began. He spoke of the scene with Elijah as his graduation from graduate school in acting. He said it was a God" moment. I can't wait for the transcript of this  there will be quotes there that you will want to save.

I was excited to be able to ask the next question, especially because he had spoken of a God" moment. I told him that he has always come across to me as a very spiritually centered person, and could he speak about how he saw himself spiritually. Sean seemed very thoughtful about the question and talked about his experience of God and love in the universe, especially in the birth of his daughters and in his family in general. He also spoke about his parent's religious background, John Astin's embrace of Buddhism later in life, Mackenzie's spiritual journey which involved Eastern mysticism, and the comfort his family had received from a community of Catholic sisters at the death of his sister (I must admit I wasn't aware that Sean had a sister). Sean summarized by saying that he was very open to God and the universe and was committed to always growing.

One thing that really moved me was that as Sean began answering my question, he said, without me even bringing it up, that he remembered a letter I had written him (as part of the bitofearth.net's Red Book project). Can you imagine someone who receives as much fan mail as Sean does remembering a single letter he received? I will treasure that for a very long time. Sean thanked me for my question, but it is he who deserves the thanks for being so warm, personal, and genuine with his fans.

After the Q&A, Sean took a picture with our group back stage. He looks a bit scared in it, but who can blame him, being surrounded by women who adore him, traveled so far to meet him, and generally pestered him all weekend. Sean then treated us to a special scene. A fan whom he had met through Project Elanor had asked Sean to propose on his behalf to another Project Elanor participant, both of whom we knew. Sean gladly obliged, and announced to us all "she said yes!" He then told us "I think she is crying." He then got on the phone with the lucky groom, congratulated him, asked for the date of the wedding, and said that though he couldn't promise to be there, he expected an invitation. I hope that moment tells you more about the kind of human being Sean is than anything else I said in this report.

Thanks to John and Brad for being so warm to all the fans, thanks to the great folks at Decipher for putting up and being so helpful to our flock of squealing fangirls, thanks to Sean for being the best person I could ever imagine being a fan of, and thanks to all the wonderful ladies of bitofearth.net who made the weekend one I will never forget. Fandom can truly be a wonderful thing.

[Click here for images]

The Rings of Tolkien and Plato: Lessons in Power, Choice, and Morality
Tehanu @ 5:01 pm EST

Lord of the Rings and Philosophy: One Book to Rule Them All, due out next month from Open Court Press.

[Click here to order this book on Amazon.com]

With the permission of the author and publisher, we've been authorized to release a preview essay from the book for Internet circulation. Attached is an essay by Eric Katz that reflects on the moral challenges posed by possession of a Ring of Power.

The Rings of Tolkien and Plato: Lessons in Power, Choice, and Morality

By Eric Katz
New Jersey Institute of Technology

"If a mortal being—a human or a hobbit, for example—possesses a Ring of Power, would he choose a moral life? When we ask this question, we might be concerned about the physical abilities and limitations of the possessor of the Ring. We might wonder whether a mere hobbit, such as Sam Gamgee, could wield the powers of the Ring in the same manner that Aragorn, a human nobleman could. Would the Ring provide different kinds of power to different kinds of beings, so that some strong willed individuals—such as Aragorn—would have the power to control the minds and actions of others, while weaker-willed individuals—Gollum comes to mind—would only use the Ring as a means of escape and evasion?

Although these are interesting questions about the way the Rings of Power are physically used, in this essay I am not primarily concerned with the physical aspects of the use of the Ring; I am rather concerned with the moral aspects. Does the use of a Ring of Power entail any moral or ethical limits? Is there a morally right or morally wrong way to use a Ring? These questions become even more important when we consider not just any Ring of Power, but the One Ring of Sauron, for the possessor of the One Ring can wield almost unlimited power, and a being who possesses such power would seem to have little reason to concern herself with the dictates of morality.

In The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien presents us with several clear examples of the relationship between personal choice, power, and morality. Indeed, the story of the One Ring, and Frodo’s quest to destroy it, can be seen as a modern representation of a problem in ethical thinking originally posed by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato in his classic dialogue, the Republic. Plato was also concerned with the relationship between power and morality. He tells us the story of Gyges, who finds a ring of magical power. The ring causes its wearer to be invisible. Gyges uses the ring to enter the palace, seduce the queen, and kill the king. Plato’s question to us is whether or not one should be a moral person even if one has the power to be immoral with impunity. Does immense power destroy the need to be a moral person?

It is interesting to view Tolkien’s tales of the rings as a variation of this old Platonic moral problem. Sauron’s One Ring is similar to the ring of Gyges in that it gives its possessor the power to act beyond normal limits. The characters who seek to use the One Ring believe that many of their desires can be satisfied, without regard to the interests or needs of any other creature. The story of Sauron’s Ring is a representation of the idea that unlimited power cannot co-exist with morality; the Ring represents the idea that absolute power is in conflict with behavior that respects the wishes and needs of others. But the use of Tolkien’s Ring is a matter of personal choice. One does not have to follow the example of Plato’s villain, Gyges; all beings are capable of rejecting the use of a Ring of Power.

Tolkien’s characters react to the possibility of possessing the vast power of the One Ring in different ways. Gollum is utterly destroyed by his desire for the Ring. Boromir is seduced by the thought of wielding unlimited power for the good of Gondor, but Galadriel rejects the use of the Ring altogether. Sam and Frodo each use the Ring in a limited way and thus avoid its worst effects; but while Frodo succumbs to its power, Sam, like Galadriel, ultimately rejects it. Tom Bombadil appears to transcend the Ring’s power entirely. These characters and their relationship to the use of the One Ring thus reveal to us several different answers to the question posed by Plato. We can make the personal choice to reject unlimited power and to act by the principles of morality.

Let’s examine the arguments and the stories in more detail.

Plato’s Challenge of Immorality

Plato’s long dialogue, the Republic, is concerned with one central issue: the justification of the morally good life. "Why be moral?" is the crucial question that must be answered. The participants in the main section of the dialogue (Books II–X) are Socrates, who defends the importance of the moral life, and Glaucon and Adimantus, who play devil’s advocate and defend the life of immorality. Plato sets himself an imposing task, for Glaucon and Adimantus present the strongest possible case for the life of immorality—can we justify choosing a moral life even when the immoral life is more rewarding? If an immoral life leads to wealth, power, and fame while a morally virtuous life leads to poverty, powerlessness, and abuse, then why be moral?
It is during this argument that Glaucon recounts the story of the shepherd Gyges and his discovery of a magical ring that makes the bearer invisible. As we have seen, Gyges uses the ring for evil purposes—he seduces the queen of the kingdom, slays the king, and becomes himself the ruler of the land. For Glaucon, this is what all men would do. He imagines that there are two such rings of invisibility, one possessed by a just or moral man, and one by an unjust or immoral man. Even the just man would succumb to the power offered by this ring. "No one could be found . . . of such adamantine temper as to persevere in justice and endure to refrain his hands from the possessions of others . . . though he might with impunity take what he wished . . . and in all other things conduct himself among mankind as the equal of a god" (Republic II, 360b–c).

For Glaucon, people are morally good only because they cannot act with impunity—they fear punishment for their evil actions. For any person, the best possible world would be one in which the individual could act without any fear of being punished, acting with unlimited power to satisfy his own desires regardless of the evil effects on others. The worst possible world, in contrast, would be one in which the individual would be abused by others with no power to respond. Morality is thus a compromise between these two possible extremes: the rational people in a community agree to limit their own selfish behavior and not harm others. We agree not to abuse other people and in turn society protects us from potential abusers. Glaucon argues that there is thus nothing really good about the morally good life. If we had the power to act as we choose without fear of punishment we would not be morally good. The question "Why be moral?" is thus answered with the cynical response of the immoralist: the moral life is the life chosen by the weak.

Plato seeks to refute this cynical conclusion and justify the value of the moral life. The argument is long, but the essential point of Plato’s response is simple: the immoral life is a worse life than a morally virtuous life because ultimately the immoral life corrupts the soul of the immoralist. The immoral life leads to a fundamental unhappiness: mental anguish, the loss of friends and loved ones, and emotional bankruptcy. All the power in the world cannot compensate for the psychological emptiness of an immoral life. The moral person, in contrast, lives a life of integrity and personal fulfillment, even if he or she is limited in power, wealth, and fame. The moral person is at peace with herself.

For Plato, then, the moral person rejects the use of a Ring of Power. The moral person prefers to live a life of inner peace and integrity, a life guided by moral principles, not a life of power and the mere satisfaction of self-interest. Using the story of a magical ring that gives its possessor unlimited power, Plato is able to illustrate and answer one of the basic questions of philosophy: how should I live my life?

The Temptation of the One Ring

With this ancient challenge to the moral life as background, we can see how Tolkien’s characters demonstrate various responses to the question posed by Plato: would a just person be corrupted by the possibility of almost unlimited power? Through these different responses, Tolkien shows us—not by philosophical argument, but by the thoughts and actions of "living" characters—why we should be moral beings, why we should live a virtuous life. But Tolkien’s stories about the One Ring actually improve and augment Plato’s argument, for Tolkien’s Ring explicitly corrupts the souls of its possessors. The use of the One Ring corrupts the desires, interests, and beliefs of those who wield it. Plato argues that such corruption will occur, but Tolkien shows us this corruption through the thoughts and actions of his characters. Moreover, Tolkien also shows us the difficulties involved in living a life of virtue: there are burdens to be undertaken and sacrifices that must be made to fulfill the requirements of morality.

The character that most obviously illustrates Plato’s argument that the unjust life leads to nothing but unhappiness is Gollum, who is invariably described as a miserable creature, afraid of everything, friendless, homeless, constantly seeking his "precious" Ring. Gollum is the mortal being who possessed the Ring for the longest period of time and he seems almost completely corrupted by the desire for it—every action he takes in the book, even guiding Frodo and Sam on their journey into Mordor, is designed to regain the Ring. It is during the long journey through the barren lands surrounding Mordor that we see the true disintegration of Gollum’s personality, all caused by the desire of the Ring. Gollum constantly talks to himself, for his soul is split in two: one part is Sméagol, the hobbit he was before the Ring came into his possession, and one half is Gollum, the creature whose only desire is to possess the Ring again. The only reason that Gollum cooperates with Frodo and Sam is that the two halves (what Sam calls "Slinker and Stinker") have made a truce: "neither wanted the Enemy to get the Ring" (TT, p. 274). Frodo recognizes the immense power that the thought of the Ring has on Gollum’s mind. Earlier, he made Gollum swear on the Ring that he would be a faithful guide (TT, p. 250), but soon after, near the Black Gate of Mordor, Gollum was in "great distress" at the thought that Frodo would lose the Ring:

"Don’t take the Precious to Him! . . . Keep it, nice master, and be kind to Sméagol. Don’t let Him have it. Or go away, go to nice places, and give it back to little Sméagol. . . . Sméagol will keep it safe; he will do lots of good, especially to nice hobbits." (TT, p. 273)

This outburst by Gollum prompts Frodo to get to the heart of the matter, to describe to Gollum the peril he faces, the danger of losing his soul. Gollum swore a promise by what he calls the Precious. The Ring will not only hold Gollum to this promise, but will seek a way to twist it to Gollum’s own undoing. "Already you are being twisted," Frodo tells Gollum (TT, p. 276). And then, with a strange prescience of the climax of the story, Frodo states that if the need arises, he would himself put on the Ring and command Gollum to cast himself into the fire.

Gollum is thus a clear example of the corruption of the soul and the loss of a meaningful life caused by the overwhelming desire for the Ring of Power. But Gollum is not a complete example of the problem posed by Plato, for we do not see the moment when he makes the choice to use the Ring. For Plato, as well as for Tolkien, the crucial moment in each character’s story is the moment in which they are tempted to use the Ring. It is that moment of choice that determines a character’s fate, that moment of choice that bears a remarkable similarity to Plato’s story of the shepherd Gyges and his decision to use the ring of invisibility. Gollum’s moment of choice occurred long before the opening pages of The Lord of the Rings—even long before the beginning of The Hobbit. Although Gandalf recounts the story—how Sméagol kills his friend Déagol to gain possession of the Ring (FR, p. 58)—we do not live through Sme_agol’s original moral crisis and decision. In Gollum instead we see merely the final result of the life led in the pursuit of power, a life of misery and corruption.

Boromir is the character who most closely fits the model of Glaucon’s moral argument concerning the shepherd Gyges—the virtuous man corrupted by the temptation of power. Tolkien depicts Boromir as a man of action—noble, good-hearted, and brave—who is bewildered by the complexities of the plan to destroy the One Ring. During the Council of Elrond, Boromir asks why those assembled should not think that the Ring "has come into our hands to serve us in the very hour of need . . . . Wielding it the Free Lords of the Free may surely defeat the Enemy . . . . Let the Ring be your weapon . . . Take it and go forth to victory!" (FR, p. 300) Boromir wants to use the One Ring for good purposes. He sees nothing wrong with using the Ring to satisfy the desires of the free peoples of Middle-earth (and of himself) to defeat the evil of Sauron...."

[Here ends this excerpt; It's a long essay that doesn't fit on this page. We contine to another extract from the conclusion of the essay here:]

"Personal Choice, Power, and Morality

"Why be moral? What kind of life should I choose? What kind of person should I become? These are the fundamental questions of ethics, or moral philosophy. In Tolkien’s tale of the One Ring of Power we find the answer to the challenge to the moral life first proposed by Plato almost 2,400 years ago. Faced with the ability to satisfy one’s desires without limit and without consequences, can a person choose the path of virtue and renounce immense power? For Plato, the answer was yes, for the moral person can realize that a life of immoral power will corrupt the heart and soul. Power without love, friendship, and personal fulfillment will lead to unhappiness, a fundamental unhappiness that is beyond relief.

In Tolkien’s characters we see vindication of this Platonic vision of the importance and meaning of the moral life. All of the characters who encounter the Ring are given a choice; all are tempted to wield the Ring, and some find within themselves the power to reject it. Indeed it is the one character without a choice—Gollum, for his choice was made long before the events of The Lord of the Rings begin—that perhaps most exemplifies the fundamental unhappiness that is the result of the ceaseless quest for power without a moral life. The moment of choice is essential—the moment when a rational being must decide what kind of life he will lead.

Plato returns to the idea of choice at the conclusion of the Republic. There he calls the selection of one’s fundamental character "the supreme hazard for a man" and one that must be guided "with his eyes fixed on the nature of his soul" (Republic X, 618b–e). Tolkien also has his characters fix their gaze on the nature of their souls. For Galadriel, Bombadil, and Sam, the characters who most clearly reject the Ring, who remain uncorrupted by its seduction of unlimited power, their strength comes from their awareness of their own being, who they are and what they can accomplish. These characters know their own limits. Why be moral? Plato asks. And Tolkien answers, "to be yourself." What kind of life should I choose? A life that is in accord with my abilities. If you need a Ring of Power to live your life, you have chosen the wrong life."

Note: This essay is forthcoming in Gregory Bassham and Eric Bronson, eds., The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy: One Book to Rule Them All (Open Court Press, 2003). Released for Internet circulation with the permission of the author, editors, and publishers.

[Click here to order this book on Amazon.com]

7-28-03 Latest News

GenCon Reports Flooding In
Xoanon @ 2:23 pm EST

True-Hearted Easterling

I noticed you posted a link to the Gen Con site but haven’t posted any reports yet. It was a great con. The crowds were generally friendly and well-mannered, the con volunteers were generally helpful and knowledgeable, and we had multiple opportunities to interact with the stars if we were patient. Personal highlights for me:

I hoped to meet each of the LOTR stars and tell him something personal, and I was able to. The first thing that struck me at the Oscar Party when Sean Astin came out was how incredibly good looking he is in person. When my turn came to get something autographed from him (a copy of LOTR at one of my favorite Sam passages) at the guest of honor booth, I told him that he is incredibly good looking in real life (he seemed boyishly pleased to hear that – “Really?” he said while gazing deep into my eyes – eeep!) and that it’s a credit to his acting that I never think of that while viewing FOTR or TTT. First he teased me about not finding his good looks distracting during the movies, but then he said he understood what I meant and thanked me very sincerely.

I also had John Rhys-Davies sign a favorite Gimli passage in my book and had the incredible experience of having him read the closest Gimli dialog outloud to me in Gimli’s voice! I told him that Legolas and Gimli were always my favorite characters from the book, that I knew making the movie was a bit of an ordeal for him, and that I was so happy that they cast a real actor and the right actor for Gimli when they could have easily compromised on Gimli in particular to make the filming with Legolas and Aragorn easier. He honestly seemed to appreciate hearing that. And he tickled me when we got our picture taken!

At the Decipher booth, I told Brad Dourif that I’m a huge Star Trek fan, that the only thing I’d seen him in before TTT was the Voyager episodes where he played Lon Suder, and that I knew he’d be perfect when he was cast as Grima because I knew he could play the bad guy while showing the bit of humanity still left in him. He thanked me politely. Brad Dourif was very quiet and very polite, and he has absolutely beautiful eyes in real life.

Crysolas, a member of the Chicago Fellowship, won second prize in the Fantasy category of the costume contest as Legolas. She looked fantastic and we were able to get into the ballroom and cheer loudly for her as they announced the winners and voted on the best costume overall. When they called her name she came forward and did the little Legolas bow with her hand over her heart that was just perfect. Although we cheered loudest for her, we also cheered for a guy in a great Sauron costume – I must say it was a little weird cheering for the Dark Lord.

There were two Weta seminars, both very interesting, conducted by Daniel Falconer. It was delightful to hear him talk about how exciting it was to see the final films and recognize when his own drawings had made it all the way in. The fat ent who bashes two orcs together was one of his and he was thrilled to see what was done with him in the attack on Isengard. I commented that the Easterlings are the coolest looking bad guys in Middle-earth and was thrilled to hear him say that Peter agrees and we’ll be seeing more Easterlings in ROTK because of it.

The first thing John said at his Q&A session was “No, I do not have Orlando Bloom’s phone number.” I got in line to ask a question almost immediately and started out by saying, “Speaking of Orlando Bloom” which made him roll his eyes. I told him I thought it would be fabulous if they make The Hobbit if he would play Gloin to Orlando Bloom’s Thranduil and asked whether he’d be willing to play Gloin. He emphatically said he would never, ever take a part that involved so many prosthetics again, but that he’d love to play Legolas’s father with the long blond wig. Isn’t that a delightful image! Then he said he’d even play Legolas’s mother and pranced about the stage!

And finally, the highlight of Sean’s fabulous and incredibly personal Q&A. Someone asked him about one of the scenes in ROTK where he and Elijah Wood are at the top of the volcano. He told us that crying on cue was always very difficult for him as an actor up until he filmed Rudy. He had a breakthrough in Rudy during that wonderful scene where he reads the letter that lets him know whether he has made it into Notre Dame on his very last chance to apply, but said at that point he could not control himself. In fact, he said that what you see on screen is him trying not to cry until he was supposed to! So he described filming this scene in New Zealand in which he felt he’d finally graduated – he could cry when he needed to but in a controlled fashion. He said they were given new lines right before the filming and then said something like, “I was cradling Elijah in my arms and saying this incredible poetry” and it all just clicked. He described it as a sacred moment and said he couldn’t believe it when Peter Jackson came over after a take and Peter was crying! We were all basket cases just hearing Sean tell this story! To me it was especially poignant that Sean didn’t describe himself as “Sam cradling Frodo” but referred instead to himself “cradling Elijah,” using his friend’s name instead of the character’s.

And this report comes to us from The Billified One:

This was my first con and I really did not know what to expect. Since others will probably do a much better job describing everything that happened, I will not go into all of that here. But I do want to say it was an enjoyable experience all around.

I was able to meet Sean Astin, John Rhys-Davies, and Brad Dourif during the weekend I was at GenCon. I have met other celebrities through the years, and I can honestly say that no one I have met could hold a candle to these guys. They are so kind, enthusiastic, funny, genuine, and sincere. They had to have been very tired after dealing with hundreds of fans all wanting autographs, photos, etc. But you could never tell by the way they treated each and every one. They always had a smile and a kind word for everyone. After the first time I met John, they were trying to get him to his Q & A, but he would not leave! They had had to cut some people out of the line, and those people went and got in the line for Sean who was up next. John found out and came over and spent a good 10 minutes more signing, talking, hugging, and laughing with several fans. No matter how many times the volunteers insisted he go, he refused them.

I was able to make it for the last bit of John's Q & A, and I really enjoyed it. He talked about Treebeard, vintage cars, and politics in the UK. Very interesting man, I have to say. Then came Sean's Q & A. I really felt like I learned more about who Sean is during that hour. He spoke openly about everything that was asked, which ranged from the usual questions about his family, to a question about his spirituality. He is really a fascinating man, very intelligent and very funny.

At one point as I was looking through the exhibit hall, I came across a huge screen with a demo of the ROTK going on. There was a crowd of about 20 of us standing their with our jaws on the floor! It looks AMAZING! If the movie is anything close to what we saw on there, it will indeed be better than the other 2!

The folks at Decipher were talking about the Tom Bombadil card coming out, along with 3 other characters from the books that were not in the movies. And they said it will actually be somebody portraying Tom on the card as opposed to artwork. He would not tell us who, or what other 3 characters were coming up. But it sounds exciting!

All in all, I would have to say my first con experience was amazing! I want to thank Brad, John, and Sean for their amazing patience in dealing with so many fans, and for their incredible kindness. As much love and respect as was shown to them by fans was returned, and I would say maybe even to a greater degree. Thank you all for making this a wonderful and unforgettable experience for me!

P.S. As I was talking to Sean, his assisstant got a call on the cell. He then told Sean that an autograph he donated raised $762 for Reading Is Fundamental!

Xoanon @ 1:00 pm EST

Anthony writes: I was at Gencon on Saturday and attended the Q&A's with John Rhys-Davies and Sean Astin. My wife was elsewhere with our camera so I did not take any pictures. However as I understand it video of the Q&A's is supposed to be up on the website for Virtual GenCon http://virtual.gencon.com.

Both of them were very fun. No real surpirses or spoilers of any kind.

JRD seemed to like to tell stories and side track from questions a lot. He also hyped up Sean for an Oscar, Governorship of California and Presidency of the US several times.

Sean showed his tattoo and talked at length about his "sacred" experience on the volcano, among his other film experiences.

Anyway, just a bit of info. Hopefully the Virtual GenCon footage is decent quality. I really enjoyed the Q&A's and hope everyone else can too!

GenCon Report
SauronsWrath @ 5:18 am EST

        GenCon. The Big-Kahuna. The Grandpappy of all gaming conventions. So what do three gaming geeks do on a Saturday with zero sleep and nothing but time and money to burn? They hop in their car and go to see the big show in all of its' glory. And what a show it was! Right from the start, I was immediately impressed with the sheer magnitude of this mecca of gaming. The arena was more than adequate to hold the convention unlike Milwaukee, which was crowded and claustrophobic. Indianapolis was certainly a trade up for accessibility in my opinion.

        So what's a geek to do first, you say? Well, the first thing we had to do was check in. Probably the most tiresome aspect of the whole affair. However, in fairness to the convention folks, this was their first year in a new city and they seemed terribly understaffed. Not to mention the sheer mass of humanity that was being herded through the entryway was astounding. After this leg breaking experience though, you are propelled into a world of gaming glitz and glamour.

        To start off, major companies like Upper Deck had truly stadium sized chambers which blew us away from the start. The big companies were definitely making their mid-year push before the year starts winding down into the Christmas season. The amount of money they pumped into this convention just boggles the mind. Wizkids and our good friends at Games-Workshop were certainly making their push as well, but I'll talk about that in a little bit.

        So you say you want media guests, eh? Ha! Have fun standing in line for the next 10 years. Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Babylon 5, you name it, they were there. Another testament to the power this convention draws. The list of artists and guests was incredible. It's almost surreal for this geek to know that Gimli (John Rhys Davies) is in the same room. Then again, I was born to be a dwarf warrior.

        One of the things that impressed me as well as depressed me was the sheer space given to the vendors. I say impressed because there were certainly more vendors here than at last years GenCon. Primarily because Milwaukee simply had no room, even with the size of the convention center they had.  I say depressed because you simply could not take in the vendors all in one day. When people tell you that you need at least three days to take it all in, they're not lying. You just can't do it in a day. Unfortunately, one day is all we had.

        One of my most memorable moments was visiting the Games Workshop hall. They had a preview of the Beastmen codex, which was drawing a hoard of little Ungors. The Beastmen will be a truly impressive army. Of course my favorite part was eying the new Shadow and Flame figures that were on display. Sorry to the folks at Games Workshop for having to watch me drool on them! This product line will most certainly push Lord of the Rings into most wanted status this summer. The Dwarves, the Uruk-Hai Shaman, the Khazad Guard, they are all enough to keep the summer sizzling for every Tolkien fanatic.

         To wrap it all up in a nutshell, GenCon is so big and so impressive that I highly recommend you schedule at least 3 days if you plan on attending next year. I just couldn't take it all in with only one day. Nor could I possibly do it justice by giving a full critique. Suffice to say that the parking was reasonable, the entrance fee moderate but not overpriced, the space was more than adequate, and the glamour overwhelming. They had their problems, but they certainly weren't to be blamed for any lack of enthusiasm or effort. Give this convention another year under its' belt and you'll see a well oiled machine ready to rouse the imagination and keep the gamers returning for many years to come.

7-27-03 Latest News

SF Ringer's Picnic Report
Xoanon @ 11:44 am EST

San Fran Ringer's Picnic Photos

Celefinniel writes:

The LOTR Annual Potluck Picnic was a big success, despite the lack of sunshine in Stern Grove Park, San Francisco. Hoards of hobbits, a few men and even some Ringwraiths showed up for the fun in a Rivendell like glen. In typical hobbit fashion, there was plenty of food for all. We ate not until we were full, but until we were tired!

There were fabulous decorations in the form of giant movie banners brought by one fan, and fun was provided by a combination of games, boffer swords, and great conversation.

A highlight of the event was the Apple Cooking Contest, with over a dozen entries. The three cook-off winners received prizes donated by Sideshow Weta, Houghton Mifflin, and Arms of Valor. It was a tough decision, with everyone present voting for the winners. Of course, that meant everyone had to eat even more, in order to choose only the very best!

Following the cooking event, there was a drawing for door prizes, donated by the sponsors mentioned above and additional ones from several TORn fans. The hot item was a T-shirt signed by Quickbeam and Sean Astin. The winner said he did not feel worthy of such a marvelous prize.

7-26-03 Latest News

MEO - Black Huorns?
Demosthenes @ 9:08 pm EST

This morning, I was leafing through the new screenshots and artwork for Middle Earth Online, and a couple of images struck me in particular. I must confess - I've never been able to visualise Huorns. Trees that walk? They must look a little like Ents, but much much more treeish and wild.

Which is where my thoughts started ticking when I spotted these two images:

MEO Huorn Screenshot?
MEO Huorn Screenshot?

As Flinch tells me, they could just be Warg Totem poles, but equally I think they could be Huorns. And wouldn't it be fantastic to have a Tolkien MMPORG with Black Huorns that you could meet in Fangorn, the Old Forest or elsewhere? Now, that would be realism in a Tolkien universe ...

Hall Of Fire Chats This Weekend
Demosthenes @ 6:43 am EST

I dare claim that no work of litterature has inspired such a large and devoted following of readers as The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien societies abound around the world, people learn the invented languages of Middle Earth, and it has inspired some of the greatest movies ever made.

The Lord of the Rings has even become one of the key books which teachers and librarians recommend to young adults to lead them towards adult literature.

What is it about this book that inspires all of this? This weekend in the Hall of Fire you get a chance to explain just what it is about this book and Middle Earth in general that fascinates you the most. Hobbits or elves? Maybe the epic battle between good and evil? Perhaps you are something of a philologist?

Or maybe John Ronald Reuel Tolkien knew something about the nature of stories and storytelling that few others truly have grasped?

Join us this weekend in #thehallofire and tell us what it is that fascinates you so in Middle Earth.

Upcoming Topics:
July 26-27: What fascinates you most about LoTR and Middle-earth?
August 2-3: RoTK, Book 6, Chapter 1: The Tower of Cirith Ungol.
August 9-10: Tolkien and Canon
August 16-17: Colours in Tolkien's World
August 23-24: RoTK, Book 6, Chapter 2: The Land of Shadow.


Saturday Chat:
5:30pm ET (17:30)
[also 11:30pm (23:30) CET and 7:30am Sunday (07:30) AET]

Sunday Chat:
7:00 pm (19:00) CET
[also 1:00pm (13:00) ET and 3:00am (03:00) Monday morning AET]

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

Having trouble working out a time zone near you? Try this.

Do you have a possible topic for Hall of Fire? Drop us a line at halloffire@theonering.net. And don't forget that you can check out previous chats here.

7-25-03 Latest News

Radio Watch: 'Ringers' Producers Radio Interview
Xoanon @ 9:48 pm EST

Carlene Cordova writes: Cliff “Quickbeam” Broadway and “Ringers: Lord of the Fans” Director Carlene Cordova will be interviewed live on the radio from Auckland, New Zealand this weekend!

The word is getting out about “Ringers” and we were contacted by Wallace Chapman from 95bFM in New Zealand to be featured on their Sunday morning Arts radio show to talk about the film. The great thing about this is that they have a live streaming feed so you may listen to broadcast wherever you are in the world.

Here are the details: The interview will be broadcast on Auckland’s 95bFM at 11:30am on Sunday, July 27. Here’s where it get’s tricky. For North Americans that’s 4:30PM Pacific Standard Time (7:30PM Eastern Standard Ttime) on SATURDAY, July 26th. In London that’s 12:30AM on Sunday, July 27th.

Hear it streaming live: http://www.95bfm.com. Click the little radio tower icon to get the live feed. Hope you can tune in!

For more info on “Ringers: Lord of the Fans” check out the website at: http://www.theonering.net/ringers

Portland Tentmoot Happens Today!
Demosthenes @ 9:08 pm EST

BitofEarth.net, the people behind Project Elanor and the Rocky Horror Ringer Show, has advised that technical difficulties has forced last-minute major rescheduling to their Hall of Fire Summer Music Festival. Held at Holiday Park, on the Trimet Max line across from Lloyd Center Mall from 12:00-9:00, this event will feature a wide variety of the Northwest's best independant local artists.

Note: Just to avoid possible confusion, this event is not affiliated with TORn's own Hall of Fire chats.

Press Release:

They said we couldn't. We did. They said we shouldn't...should we?

Well, yesterday was an unparallelled example of how Murphy's law is alive and well for BitofEarth and the Hall of Fire, but we have regrouped, re-formed, and re-emerged stronger and better than ever! We won't bore you with the long story here, but yesterday, we pulled off 6 months of governmental process in 6 hours. They said it was impossible. They said there was no way anyone could make this show work. But we did. We pulled off a miracle.

Now we need your help.

BitofEarth.net is in the hole badly for this one, and we lost yesterday. The Hall of Fire is today-only now, and if we don't get people there, then quite honestly, BitofEarth is going under.

That means no Billy at Lost Palantir, no worlds-Largest-Rings-Convention at TentMoot, no Dom at Project Fangorn, no Lija at Project Troubador.

But we trust the fans.

We don't need much, really. If we get 200 in attendence over the course of the festival from noon to 9:00pm, we'll break even. Anything over that, we'll actually...*gasp* RAISE FUNDS at this fundraiser!

We know there were 700 of you with 36 hours notice and horrendous ticket problems at the special screening of TTT in April.

We know there were 3,000 of you at the TTT premiere last December...at
that theatre alone. We know that we have received interest from over 4,000 people all over the world for TentMoot.

You're out there. We've given you events. We've given you our time and
energy until we've literally dropped from exhaustion. We've helped you.
We've helped the fandom.

Now we're begging it to help us.


DJs! Celtic, folk, and alt-rock music! Family-friendly! Stand-up comedy!
All attendees receive $10 off admission to TentMoot 2003!

The Hall of Fire Summer Music Festival 12:00am-9:00pm
Holliday Park, Portland, Oregon (across the street from Lloyd Center Mall on 1100 Multnomah for those of you mapquesters)
Contact 503-804-7005 for information
$20 donation requested at door

TORn's Comic-Con 2003 blowout
Xoanon @ 11:05 am EST

MrCere writes:

SAN DIEGO - TORn friends, there is yet so much of Comic-Con 2003 that many of you would be interested in that I feel almost powerless to deliver it all. I lack a laptop of my own and so each and every report I filled from there was on a borrowed machine, which made it difficult for both borrower and computer owner. Excuse #2 is that since returning, I have been catching up on the rest of my life which goes on without me when I am gone and demands attention.

So, Con 2003 was an amazing experience, both Tolkien related and not. If you haven't been to CC, you simply must make plans now for next year. (http://www.comic-con.org/Pages/CCIWhatsNew.html) I receive no financial remuneration from the Con (which is non-profit) but I am a big supporter of the event because it shines a brighter light on popular culture, including fantasy of all kinds, and the still undiscovered medium of comic books. It is a pop-culture holy land that every geek and true fan must visit at least once. The five-day event is gigantic but to me it always feels intimate because while many there do not share your most specific passions - others do. These people, TORnados for instance, are a joy to meet with and get to know. I have made friends each and every year and deepened those relationships each subsequent year. In behalf of all the TORn staffers in attendance, thank you all for your support and interest, both at Con and on the live web cam and even for reading our reports. But on to the all important details!

Sunday, Day Five of the con, is a bit of a slowdown after the massive Hollywood Day Four. It was a perfect time to host a TORn panel because it allowed us time to sit down and open warm discussions with fans again. We followed the ever-popular Neil Gaimen (book and comic book author), and the CC staff who understood that our core audience would want to sit and chat a spell, told us to carry on as long as needed. Ian Smith had already returned to England or the amazing man might have a complete transcript of every spoken word, assuming he found the panel of interest. I will simply bring you some highlights.

The gregarious and gracious Quickbeam joined TORn founder, designer and workhorse Calisuri and the wise and thoughtful Tookish at the podium to start the discussion. Tookish stalled for a few pre-panel minutes with some groan inducing jokes including some about Uruk-Hai and crossing roads and top ten lists. (If you haven't delved into the Tookish's Ticklers section of TORn, what are you waiting for?)

Calisuri, with his ever-ready laptop projecting to the big screen, marched through some TORn statistics including its approximately 95,000 unique visitors per day, ranking it among the top 2,000 most popular web sites in existence - and all without porn!. The stats drew "oohs" and "ahhs" from the audience but it was the audience itself and anybody reading this sentence that deserves the accolades for those impressive numbers. The devotion and contributions of the fans - including the TORn staff - is what drives what has become a powerful internet machine.

Yours truly, MrCere, was then invited onto the podium to speak briefly about line parties which are a true passion of mine and give me an outlet where I can direct my Tolkien energy. I wondered if the wiley old vets of TORn were worried about what I might say in my first public words in TORn's behalf. I can't quote myself exactly but I hope I conveyed a desire to help make all the line parties everywhere a way for fans to celebrate this final film in the Tolkien movie trilogy. As somebody who would have loved to be involved in the film in any way, the line parties provide me, a fan, an way to be involved. I hope each fan takes that same opportunity.

I also stated, and deliberately mention here again, that we collectively have made The Lord of the Rings films a great success. The film-makers understand that their core audience, both on and off TORn (but mostly on), fueled the cultural phenomenon by publicly loving these films, by seeing them over and over and over (many of you so many times that it scares me frankly!) and verbally advertised them in a way that media marketing can never match.

With this in mind, New Line does have a very good as yet unveiled idea regarding these Rings movies and its December monster-movie Return Of The King, but alas I must keep it secret and keep it safe so as not to endanger it.

In my line-party dreamland I wish they would ship enough ROTK mini-posters for every line party participant to receive one at their respective line. Keep your eyes peeled at TORn for a potentially amazing announcement from New Line and TORn...eventually. 8) (That was fun but the announcement IS big enough to warrant that type of tease. Stay tuned.)

We then watched about three minutes of the Salt Lake City 2002 Towers video which away from CC seems amazing but in the midst of 80,000 geeks a nine-foot Ent seems like business as usual.

Calisuri then trotted out a presentation about the many and fun potential spoilers in ROTK. I couldn't write fast enough to keep up with the speculation and I think most or all of it has crossed TORn many times, but to see it all presented together was really a treat. To be perfectly honest I tried not to let too much of it sink in because I want to enjoy ROTK as much as possible. The highlight of the presentation however wasn't pictures or text on screen but the commentary from the panel that went along with it. Quickbeam, having stood for the full measure of a day atop the ramparts of Minis Tirith during actual filming, was able to lend some flavor to certain set-pictures and speculations. Between the three experts, a lot of theories were presented, all fascinating and maybe some of the true! Weeks of re-shoots has made everything we know about the film suspect.

One big cat that somebody let out of the bag, that should many a TORnado's broken heart are some Faramir details. Our spy reported that among the 42-minutes of footage to be released on The Two Towers Extended Edition disc will be a lovely section that features Faramir watching his brother glide past in a boat, cloven horn and all.

Then, the very man who is the focus for much of TORn's fandom freak-out will flashback to a scene with Faramir, Boromir and Denathor which will put the memorable line about Faramir's quality into a deeper, more meaningful context. Much of the anguish over characterization will be gone as we become privy to his deepest motivations. David Wenham's, will I suspect, be powerfully enriched as it becomes clearly understood. This is all just a rumor but I think you can absolutely bank on it being true. Imagine if New Line someday decides to release the Extended Editions of these films back to theaters! Were I King of anything, I would plan a simultaneous release of the EE and a shorter theatrical version of ROTK this December. It would be a logistical nightmare, but a fanboy is allowed to dream isn't he? While we are at it, anybody have Liv Tyler's phone number? 8)

The spiky wheel came out again, a long mainstay of spoiler debate. One poor woman in the audience, obviously not familiar with TORn, wailed when it was mentioned that "obviously there will not be a scouring of the Shire." In short, there was basically a spoiler parade with TORn serving as the grandmaster, all the floats, a few marching bands, a police motorcycle brigade and television commentators all at the same time. Good, clean geeky fun.

Have I mentioned that TORn also whipped out LOTR footage that was shown at a gaming trade show a few weeks back? I didn't? Well, it was poor quality, it was smallish and it was RETURN OF THE FREAKING KING FOOTAGE! In short, it was awesome - I bet. It was a montage of images that somebody filmed (no, NOT us - no really) of gaming footage. Not a bad way to spend Sunday afternoon. You want every detail? I am afraid I mostly didn't watch, trying to keep myself virginal for ROTK in December. I will only see the film for the first time once. I do recall a regal looking king fellow, a fighting-mad Elf and a whitish tinted wizard standing on ramparts looking off into the distance with great emotion playing across his face. I can only guess at what he was looking, but that Sir Ian can emote without a single syllable of sound. Just so you don't mail everybody at TORn begging, we are not allowed to post this footage. The handcuffs of copyright have been used and honestly, I strongly advise ya'll to wait as impatiently as I am waiting and let the movie wash over you unspoiled and filled with surprise.

Well, reading all this so far may have taken longer than real-life events and finally TORn turned its time over to the fans. There were scads and scads of prizes to be given out for appropriate questions and the question came in great doses. I must credit the askers because they were intelligent and appropriate. Sometimes, the panel would have a whole lot to say. The passionate Quickbeam for example responded to an honest query about Tolkien and racism (check the greenbooks if you haven't already) with an honest and informative answer. After a bit it became obvious that there would not be time for what could have been a fascinating panel on its own and the asker and the answerer decided to chat afterwords for an even better exchange. I am sure boat-loads of prizes didn't hurt the motivations for prizes, but folks seemed awfully sincere for the most part.

One young lad who had the great misfortune of losing his backpack, or rather of having it lifted, hauled in a lovely and completely sold out Aragorn statue from Sideshow/WETA that elicited gasps and squeals from those attending. Hopefully the statue will leave him with some good memories to go along with the grim wish for revenge that comes with being robbed. Eventually the CC officials came forward to cut us off, despite their earlier invitation, and break down the chairs in the room. I watched the faces of those bucking to ask final questions before the curtain fell on the panel, and for most, on the whole weekend. There was some real angst as the last few folks were squeezed in. TORn and some of the dedicated Tolkien fans could have gone on all day.

There is yet more to tell regarding *TORN'S CLEAN-UP* and my *OVERVIEW* of the entire CC.

Comic-Con CLEAN UP
Xoanon @ 10:52 am EST

SAN DIEGO - The little booth that TORn called home for a week became an edearing little feature of our life at Comic-Con 2003. Calisuri put the thing together with some help of course and the idea was that it should look like a Gondorian tent, which it did.

Our humble, low-budget booth with less than comfortable camping chairs had its own charm.

When CC finally came to a close on Sunday, the mysterious voice asked everybody without an exhibitor badge to leave immediately. Unlike most days, people split willingly.

The days have blurred together now but one evening when the main convention floor was shutting down, Andy Serkis stopped by our booth for a moment. He was a BUSY guy during the convention and despite being willing to accomodate fans, he was looking a bit tired. (This might have had something to do with the rumours from very reliable sources that he danced the night away with the WETA guys until 4 a.m. and made a 7 a.m. television appearance with Richard Taylor the next day but who knows for sure.) Anyway, he was a guest of CC and doesn't wear an "exhibitor" badge around the floor so the good-intentioned security folks pestered him to leave.

Our own Saruman passed him a badge as I tried to explain to the security person that she ought to be a bit more careful about who she is kicking out. It was honestly embarassing for CC. Anyway, she pretty much got in my face and tried to blame me somehow which really started to tick me off and then she thought he was "Wolverine or somebody?"

Serkis then went and posed with the Sideshow/WETA Gollum which was a great photo op (brought to you by yours truely for TORn and also on Serkis' own website, liked by TORn). When the camera were not on him, just moments after a group snapped the friendly pose, he started french kissing Gollum and probably deliberately managed to stop doing it everytime I almost got a picture.

Anyway, to make a long story short (too late I know) Sunday finally came and it was time to tear down the TORn booth. Strangely, there was a bit of meloncholy in the air as our tented haven and hell folded up nicely for its trip back to TORn storage. We found various items like carefully stowed garbage, peanut shells, a few items staff had scored from the CC dealer's floor and even an extra "Don't Make Me Get My Ring" t-shirt.

The CC folks were busy tearing down sponsor banners (including the sweet new TheOneRing.net two-sided red one), "street" signs inside the giant cavern, rolling up carpet and driving forklifts all over the joint.

Our humble tent suddenly looked pretty inviting compared with Sideshow's elaborate ringwraith, Uruk-Hai, cave troll and Gollum, not to mention hundreds of pieces of sculpted art. Worse was New Lines Mount Movie which may have been the most elaborate set on the floor, although that could be argued.

While helping Calisuri load up his car I witnessed Lou Ferigno signing an autograph for the worlds oldest living security guard and two gothic looking youngsters (late teens maybe?) with full sized beheaded army soldiers on their backs.

We sat again in our wildly uncomfortable fold-up camping chairs, chatted and eventually said our goodbyes. Chances are good the tent will be making an appearance at a TORn event near you, still saturated with the spirit of Comic-Con 2003.


ASTIN'S LEGACY: Quickbeam sat in on a round table discussion with LOTR actors and took great notes that I never found the idea place for in a story and actually can't find now at all! (So sorry Quickbeam!). Sean Astin spoke with Quickbeam about his own legacy in movies and talked specificly about his wife's thought that when Astin is gone these Lord Of The RIngs films will be watched by his kids and grandkids. Astin was emotionally moved while relating the tale and was close to tears in the interview room. A rare and precious moment.

MORE ASTIN: During a busy signing day in which fans showered him with gifts: "It has been awesome. Sometimes you forget how passionate the fans are. In the last half hour I find myself marveling at them. They have reminded me."

SALA BAKER ON RETURNING TO CON: "This is crazy! It absolutely rocks. Fans are amazing and fans are the reason (he was at Con.) We have these little cults of fans and it is just amazing."

ANDY SERKIS ON CON: "This is my first Con and it is an absolute blast. No time for sleep. No sleep...no sleep."

RICHARD TAYLOR ON CON: "The fans coming to Comic-Con have the same passion and enthusiasm that we tried to put into the films."

There is yet more to tell regarding my *OVERVIEW* of the entire CC.

Xoanon @ 10:46 am EST

SAN DIEGO - We at TORn would be remiss if we didn't report on a few of the amazing events at the con. It is no secret that I, MrCere, am a serious comic book geek. Even if TORn and Tolkien didn't exist, I would be here walking the floor, waiting in lines, attending geek-intensive panels and ogling $5,000 issues of "Daredevil." I even thought about doing the credit card thing for all of about...15 seconds.

Still, the noise of Saturday is created by movies and with today's marriage of Hollywood's budgets and comic's characters, the excitement reaches fever pitch early in the day and never lets up. Literally minutes into Saturday thousands of fans were disappointed while thousands of others were seated and waiting for Halle Berry. We at TORn, while big...uh...supports of Berry's work were a bit too busy to even think of attending her "Gothika" preview. (Aintitcoolnews.com had a decent report which indicates she will not be doing an X3 and at another story there is even some great Tolkien related stuff as well - but watch the language.)

We did have some help bringing you some images and words of the New Line presentation (thanks New Line!) and while I planned to stay to watch "Hellboy" and "Van Helsing" there were reports to be typed and just plain stuff to do. I did linger long enough to watch the nervous Kate Beckinsale talk briefly about "Underworld." I need to report that yes, she IS the world's most beautiful woman. Berry finishes a close second. The panel moderator didn't like my question and wouldn't let me ask it so I left with better things to worry about.

So, all this "Hollywood South" as San Diego becomes on Saturday, while real fun, has a real dark side as well. This year in particular, there was a lot of chaos and a lot of unhappy folks. I had a brief chat with two of CC's higher-ups and they commented on the amazing growth of the Con. Last year about 65,000 people showed up and attendance was up more than 30 percent through Saturday. Con unofficially anticipated needing a new ballroom every two years. Suddenly they are needing two new ballrooms every one year. Despite the unbelievably big convention center, this Con has outgrown it. They must do something different with ticketing or line-waiting because people were furious this year amid all the disappointment and bad information. Some folks traveled from across great oceans to see a star and then are crushed when they cannot. Tales of folks crying at the TORn booth because they couldn't get into something are not fables.

Lost in the glitz are some of the very best things CC can offer. Ray Bradbury was on hand with friends and co-workers Forrest J. Ackerman and Julius Schwartz. I heard Bradbury and Schwartz last year talk about the early days of comics and sci-fi and it was warm, funny and captivating. This year I missed out but so did a lot of folks who were busy waiting in a foolish line. Too bad. Bradbury is a treasure that will not be around for ever but whose works will live long beyond "Laura Croft: Tomb Raider."

I did attend two after-hours events that I really want to mention for two reasons. One, they were amazing. Two, most readers who want to find these non-LOTR items have a decent chance to do so.

The first was a Thursday night event that might be of interest to TORnados: "The Star Wars Fan Film Awards." As the title suggests, these are fan-made films that take place in or mostly spoof the world that George Lucas created. Despite a TORn staffer's warning that they would all suck, I went anyway, alone (a geek among geeks) and had a hell of a time. These films were funny, sometimes looked professionally polished and were really better than I expected. Somewhere, someday they will be on line or in a DVD store. One of the winners, the 25-year-old "Hardware Wars" was available on its own on video in the '80s.

I can't wait for the day when our own fandom will produce similar bits of humor and cleverness in a film format. I do believe our fandom will stand the test of time and produce, approved or not, short bits of brilliance. Get to it fan boys and girls.

Anyway for those who wish to pursue this Star Wars thing further.

We were told before and after the program of films that we should stick around and watch a 30-minute stage production of all three of the original Star Wars trilogy. I couldn't think of anything less appealing but since I was alone anyway with no computer to type a TORn report on, just what else was I going to do? I could always walk out...right?

Brilliance. This show, three movies in 30 minutes, was brilliant! The cast of less than a dozen delivered the lines, physically played the parts and used minimalist props to deliver a show that I am convinced must tour around the country. Stormtroopers wore white bike helmets while Chewbacca switched to Darth Vader by pulling his black cape over his brown chest carpet and slipping on a pair of sunglasses. Main characters like Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Leia Skywalker mostly were one-character actors but there supporting cast switched roles lighting fast for lighting fast delivery of movie dialog. The plot moved briskly, the props use was fantastic and hilarious and all the classic lines and events were there including space battles.

Luke hanging from the bottom of Cloud City, the death of Vader and Yoda, Luke training on Dagobah and the death of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru were so funny I couldn't stop laughing. Jabba the Hut and Admiral Akbar and Han jumping on top of an actor-played Taun Tuan literally forced tears to jump and roll down my cheeks and I was far from alone. This troupe played in Los Angeles for several months and I am unsure of their future but if they tour or if you visit L.A. this is absolutely a cannot miss production. One supporting actor is a big TORn supporter. I hope she gets in touch with me and provides updates!

The second event that literally caused me to laugh tears was during "Spike & Mike's Sick And Twisted Animation Festival." The con enforced a no-under-18 rule but this was more tame than South Park to be sure.

Anyway, some of these short cartoons are funny while others are not. The audience is free to boo or applaud as they see fit and Spike and Mike take the show out on the road and tour around the country. I would recommend it most years for those who like such things but because of one little feature called "The Return Of Dr. Tran," the 2003 show is also a cannot miss.

The cartoon is actually a trailer for a non-existent movie and it starts out with a little chuckle. The humor builds gradually, joke after joke, but eventually, when it climaxed with some things I wouldn't dare spoil and of an adult nature, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. The rest of the festival's cartoons were ruined because Dr. Tran set a standard that cannot be approached. Overall, production values were much higher than usual and let me state again in case it wasn't clear: DO NOT MISS A CHANCE TO VIEW THE DR. TRAN CARTOON.

Okay, so the beauty of CC is that I missed a whole bunch of things I wanted to go to. While that is too bad for me, the wealth of available stuff is too good to miss. In addition to all of that, you get free TORn buttons. Has anybody spotted them on Ebay yet?

LOTR Board Game News
Xoanon @ 10:30 am EST

Ostadan writes: Rob Daviau from Hasbro, who is involved in the design of several Hasbro games including their Trivial Pursuit line, slipped the following interesting tidbit in the USENET rec.games.board newsgroup:

... Many TP games require hiring writers and acting in an editorial aspect. Some require that plus some industrial design (the card show in Trivial Pursuit 20th, both thinking of the idea and executing it). Or pewter pieces. Some have some rules twists (upcoming Trivial Pursuit: Lord of the Rings edition). Some have signficant work (something I can discuss later). But it is odd to call myself the "designer" of a game that has existed for 20+ years. Developer, perhaps...In ways that I can, I use the feedback. For example, I'm revamping Risk Lord of the Rings for this year (now includes Return of the King!) and so I'm trying to catch the FAQ's and rules questions so I can correct them for this version.

So, expect an expansion for LotR Risk by the end of the year!

Toy Madness!
Flinch @ 5:43 am EST

With the release of Peter Jackson's epic Trilogy fans of the Lord of the Rings have never had an easier time finding a collectible to suit their needs, but in this new found abundance of options it also becomes extremely confusing figuring out just what is available, when each item comes out, and what exclusive pieces will be available for each series. So, to help ease the confusion, we've written out this guide to let you know what is on the way, and what is already here!


Among the first of the Lord of the Rings movie tie-ins, ToyBiz' line of action figures will soon be releasing Sam in Orc Armor, and Frodo in Orc Armor as the first wave from their Return of the King line. Luckily our lives will soon be complete as the last of the Two Towers releases will include the much anticipated Shield Surfing Legolas figure.

Play Along Toys

Easily one of the most exciting of the new toy lines has to be Play Along Toys' Armies of Middle-earth series. The first wave of these multi packed figures include Frodo, Sam & Ringwraith, Eowyn, Eomer & Rohan Soldier, Two Ringwraiths and Twilight Ringwraith, and a Moria Goblin 3-pack. The line also includes a mounted line with Aragorn on Horseback, Gandalf on Shadowfax, Ringwraith on Steed, and Sharku on a Warg. What makes this even cooler is KB Toy Stores are now running a special promotion giving away a Free Gollum figure [shown here] and a Free Moria Goblin 3-Pack for all orders of $40 or more of Armies of Middle-earth Product. I got a chance to see the Gollum figure up close at ComicCon, and it simply rocks. Fans attending the Conventions this summer will also have a chance to get their hands on a special Convention Edition Twilight Frodo with Ringwraiths 3-pack from the Play Along booth. You can order the first wave of 3-packs by clicking here and the first wave of Riders by clicking here.

Releases for Armies of Middle-earth

3-packs Wave 1 pre-order now
Frodo, Sam and Ringwraith
Ringwraith, Ringwraith, and Twilight Ringwraith
Eomer, Rohan Foot Solider, Eowyn
Goblin Bowman, Goblin Sneak, and Goblin Runner

3-packs Wave 2 pre-order now
Ugluk, Mauhur, and Uruk-Hai Warrior
Pippin, Merry, and Boromir
Haldir, Elven Soldier, and Elven Warrior
Grishnak, Snaga, and Orc Scout

Riders Wave 1 pre-order now
Dark Rider (Ring Wraith) #1 on Steed
Aragorn on Horseback
Sharku on a Warg
Gandalf the White on Shadowfax

Lord of the Rings Deluxe Helm's Deep Environment
Coming Soon - pre-order now

Bridge at Khazad-Dum with Balrog, including Gandalf the Grey and Goblin marksman
Saruman's Chambers and Balcony, including Saruman and Wormtongue
Coming Soon - pre-order now

7-24-03 Latest News

Tolkien Lectures Victoria University
Xoanon @ 11:50 am EST

Emily writes: I thought you might like a heads up on this incase you hadn't heard about it. I got given tickets for my birthday and thought you might like to know.

Tolkien: Fiction and Films
In partnership with the Victoria University Alumni Association

We are pleased to offer this sequel to The Lord of the Rings and Medieval Literature run in November 2001. This series focuses further on Tolkien's influences and inspirations in The Lord of the Rings.

03352A 1 October
Tolkien: scholar and author with Robert Easting and Christine Franzen
How Tolkien's career as a philologist affects his fiction.
(Repeat of November 2001 lecture.)

03352B 8 October
The language and the songs of The Lord of the Rings with Robert Easting
Tolkien's attention to choices of language and style in The Lord of the Rings, and an examination of the range of verses incorporated in the story.

03352C 15 October
The Silmarillion: pre-history of The Lord of the Rings with Christine Franzen
An introduction to the larger history of Middle Earth during the First and Second Ages as depicted in The Silmarillion.

03352D 22 October
Reaching the Grey Havens with Richard Taylor
The long journey to the completion of the film trilogy.

When enrolling, please indicate which lecture(s) you wish to attend.

Robert Easting is a Reader and Christine Franzen a Senior Lecturer in English Language and Literature at Victoria University.

Richard Taylor is Director of Weta Workshop, responsible for the special effects, costumes, make-up, miniature sets, props, etc, for The Lord of the Rings, and has been working on the filming for the last six years.

Wednesdays 1, 8, 15 and 22 October
Lecture Theatre 105, Hugh Mackenzie Building, VUW - Kelburn
Fee per lecture: $25 ($22)
Fee per series: $88 ($79)
NB $16 per lecture, $58 for series to current Victoria University
Alumni Association members
Course 03352

Comic-Con Report
Xoanon @ 11:26 am EST

TimeWarrior writes:

Well, I made it there yet again. My best highlight of San Diego Con I am compelled to share. This experience made it one of the best San Diego Cons ever. I must add that I’ve posted nothing at all in recent months because I’ve been in school and now am finished with it. After all, this is a graduation treat to myself. I’m so glad to have seen most of all of the ‘Ringers’ at the 2 moots. Much thanks to Donna ‘Eridana’ H. and is as aver such a pleasure to see everyone again. My apologies to those I may have missed in passing by.

Unfortunately I could not camp out early on line outside of the big meeting Room 20 due to Art Show and networking. The line was so long that I didn’t get into Rm. 20 till about 2:35 and Sala Baker made up as an oc was up on stage doing the Saruman’s orc army stomp fest that was done at Helm’s Deep. I was there not 5 minutes, when a friend of mine found me in there and said, "Make a decision to either stay or come right now to be first on line, because the LOTR actors are signing after this panel - say nothing just follow me." I went with her - a good call. Through the hard work of this friend (Helen) who’s a real good autograph hound, I was able to personally meet Sean, Andy, Dominic and Elijah that afternoon. Needless to say I took a trip from Horton Plaza Mall on foot and back, bringing her a veggie burrito dinner afterward. She had not left the 3rd floor ‘sails’ open area all day. Andy is a truly sweet and I should say a helpful fellow. He’d earlier clued in my friend Helen about the as yet unannounced signing after the panel. She went and told the Con staff overseeing the autograph signing area, who knew nothing. Because they were grateful for the ‘heads up’, they arranged for us to be first in line after disabled fans and some exhibitor volunteers going first.

As we wait for our turn, I watch through people’s shoulders - I can’t help but be fascinated by the candid exchange between Elijah and Dominic. Very animated and close. One thing that had me amused in particular is Elijah seeming to consult with Dominic about the state of his breath. Then he tests this by exhaling into his hand near his nose to check it - funny! Priceless. I tell my friend what I saw and wished I caught it on the camera. She says, "Nah, better that you didn’t - it would look bad and be uncool like ‘paparazzi’ did it". Still, I was disappointed because it would’ve looked great in TheOneRing.net scrapbook.

I get there. Sean remembered me from the Brentano’s signing and Dominic remembered me from the special breakfast at last years con. Even Sala remembered me again when he was signing at the New Line booth earlier on Fri. I didn’t think they would since they’re very busy and see hundreds of fans over time.

Back to Sean - he is so genuinely happy to see me and I say to him that I’m amazed that he remembers me after all that time. Then I remembered what I forgot to tell him at Brentano’s. My Mom’s been dogging me about it ever since. She wanted me to convey to him for her that she absolutely adores him and his Mom and that his performance in "Rudy" is her most favorite. Well that really tickled Sean and he thanked me most graciously. Then (and I still don’t believe this) he took my hand and kissed it! What a sweet fellow. I don’t do well in heat with high humidity. Here I am hot, tired, dank and sweating - not at all looking my best, feeling as ugly as an old toad and without hesitation he kissed my hand all the same. Still smiling over it and I’ll always cherish that moment.

Andy - also so nice and gracious man. He also remembered me from doing signing on Fri. at another booth (not at the New Line one). I don’t quite remember what I said to him (divided brain trouble), nice cordial small talk I think, because I was still dazed from Sean’s kiss. Oh I know - divided 3 ways because I was taking pictures of my autograph friend ahead of me with Dominic and Elijah and she was turning back and taking pics of me after her with Sean and Andy.

Then I move on to Dominic. He says, " Hey you , how’ve you been?" I said I’d just finished school and had art in the Art Show, elaborated a little on it, saying I was selling some and also displaying some book illustration I did - that hopefully he could make it over there to see it while at the Con. "That’s great and I’ll try" (or something like it), he said and signed a ‘Merry’ picture for me. Well I tried, but I greatly doubt he could’ve made it since it is known that it would not be without some difficulty.

While at the same time as my friend ahead was finished and leaving, Elijah turns back and picks up on our conversation and looking at my Con badge sees my name says, "Ah, ‘Ann’, oh - Anne with an "e"! Actually, both Elijah and Dominic are making a big thing about seeing the name ‘Anne’ with an "e" on the end like they encountered it as a rarity. How excited they get! - so cute! Then Dominic leaves off as the next person comes up behind me - a small petite lady who’d qualify as a real hobbit in size and very nice. I took a picture of her with Dominic and Andy and Sean in the background - I hope I can contact her to send her the picture eventually.

Now this is my first time meeting with Elijah. 'Frodo' has always been my favorite, so Elijah is now special to me for his performance as 'Frodo'. I think he's amazing as himself as well, as I do of all the other actors and crew. I'm so totally honored to finally meet him and I admit I've found myself quite taken with him - and suddenly very nervous in his presence. He finishes with signing his ‘Frodo’ picture for me. We shake hands - his is strong and warm like the others, yet there’s a gentle softness about it. I can’t help but to look at him quite closely. I look at him like I scan for black heads on my brother’s back. It’s true. His skin is flawless - a 22 year old man with the skin of a 2 year old - with more thickening in his short beard along his jaw. He’s looks back at me. Such a sweet nature. I, I try to glean what he is behind those eyes and fall in. I go, "Yep - they are that blue". …. Lame and unoriginal. His eyes seem to glaze over - a sense of emptiness. At which point I (think I say "bye") back off and he turns back to Dominic and the next one in line. Totally blew it. I so truly regret that slip and am currently beating myself up over it. Gawd! If I was going to comment about his exterior perfection, maybe I should’ve said he was a "freak of nature". Too late.

An apology: Elijah, if you happen to get some report of this, please accept my apology. I’m mature enough and better than that. Should we meet in person again, I’ll strive to say something interesting. If my mind draws a blank, I’ll wave or nod and keep going. I need to get around that. There is more to you than your appearance. And I assure you, I really do have a life.

It was great to see Richard Taylor and get another picture with him and the scale size Gollum statue at the LOTR Pavillion. This guy is so great, so accessible and appreciative of the fans most of all. He showed us pictures of his baby. A cute blonde baby boy. I don’t recall him giving us the baby’s name. One of the other fans surrounding him asked if the baby was used to seeing all the creatures at the WETA Workshop. Richard T. said he once introduced the baby to one of the extras in the process of costuming or in full finished orc costume. The orc said "boo" and Richard said the baby (a toddler on foot by then I think) fell on his behind and messed himself.

Other stuff: Thursday was my day for taking in panel discussions, networking and meeting some long time friends - going back to 1980 Comic-Con. Some of Friday and all of Saturday were my big LOTR days - the crown jewel of the entire run. Sunday was quiet discussion with another fan artist friend in the Art Show, getting the scoop on my display. I didn’t sell much of my earlier art works, but got good response on the other recent book illustration art. It seems people were asking if it’s pieces were for sale, which would be of interest to my collaborators on it. After getting it out of the Art Show, I took it to show Colleen Doran, another professional illustrator who’s work I’ve admired for years. She had given me advice on doing the book illustration and I wanted her to see the result of my labor. She liked it. If there were something wrong or off with it, she would have said so. Me and my friends left and the dealers hall closed soon after.

I admire all the cast and crew for delivering on the near impossible job of bringing Tolkein’s work to life, which other studios or directors who had so far balked at to even attempt. Any thing less than what New Line, Peter Jackson and WETA have done, would have been a mockery. So, I love you all and like many of you I have loved and wept over the Tolkein books for a long time. Now if only I can meet Billy B., Ian M., Christopher Lee, Cate, Miranda, Liv - someday.

I look forward to seeing all of you at the next Oscar Party for the Return of the King. I got a feeling that this will be our victory year. The year of Peter Jackson for Best Director and ROTK for Best Picture. At the next San Diego Comic-Con, I’ll do my best to be able to see you all again and we will all join in a victory dance.

I have pictures to share, but they will follow later - they still have to be developed.

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