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July 25, 2004 - July 31, 2004

7-31-04 Latest News

Boston LOTR Exhibit Reviews
Xoanon @ 5:19 pm EST

Tigger-ette writes: We have just come back from the Exhibition in Boston. From walking through stone dwarvish doors at the entrance to seeing Sauron towering over human adults and halflings, there is something for any fan of the movie. The layout is spaced so that if one display is crowded one can move around very easily, and visit it again when less crowded.

There are interactive displays which makes the exhibition more engaging for little ones that like to move. You can take home a picture souvenir of your (hobbit)self for $5.00 Do not expect every costume, but there are several of different points of the movies, armour of all middle-earthlings is displayed especially well. There are some great prints on the walls from different stages of the movie making.

On your way out you can pay homage to the Captain of Gondor in final repose. The gift shop is decorated nicely, but doesn't have much in the way of special merchandise for the exhibition. There are some opportunities for special visits (and visitors) coming up at the exhibit. You can find out more information at www.mos.org.

Hope everyone has a great time tonight for the special midnight to dawn showing!



I have just returned from the LOTR Exhibit. Today was the Members Viewing Day, and, as I've been a member for a while, I decided to go. I got there early, though it turned out my tickets were for noon. I'm thanking whoever may be up there that I did because, in an enclosed area of the gift shop, a certain New Zealand prosthetics supervisor we all know and love was setting up to turn someone into an orc. On further inquiry the someone turned out to be Lawrence Makoare!!!!! Got his autograph and watched his transformation, which took four hours (there was, of course, the brief interruption of the actual exhibit, which is bloody good fun). Truly amazing. After he was fully dressed, he went upstairs to the exhibit room to mingle. Luckily, I had tickets to the 3:00 pm showing as well, so was able to follow him. He made a few small friends (no one actually cried, which was good) and goofed around with other viewers. This was quite sweet, as he was obviously dying of heat.

P.S. Apparently, in addition to member nights, editing lectures, and the such, Sean Astin is going to be at the exhibit Oct. 15-16!



At the Museum of Science's Members-only Event for the Boston LotR Exhibit (July 31st, 2004):

I'd been looking forward to this exhibit for more than a year; indeed, ever since I first heard news of its first stop, in Te Papa. Since I'm local this summer, I decided to make it a point to go. Firstly, do be sure to get to the Museum at least fifteen to thirty minutes early. This is so that one may buy and/or pick up tickets and still have time to get to the exhibit proper. Buy tickets ahead of time from the exhibit's official site; lines will be horrendous once the season picks up. Don't bother to bring a camera or a cell phone; one will be asked to leave it outside or leave oneself. The security guards are being very fair about this. Also try to avoid bringing in large bags. Sketchbooks are perfectly acceptable, of course. Once in the exhibit, one will not be allowed to leave and then come back, so do whatever else is necessary ahead of time.

Before one enters the Museum, one can see the New Zealand flag is flying between the U.S. flag and the one for the Museum itself. There are several large posters on the outside walls. There is a huge window netting with the FotR theatrical poster on, on the window bank over the entrance, of the sort that is only visible from the outside. Inside the main lobby, there are long, paired banners hanging from the ceiling: Aragorn and Arwen; Frodo and Gandalf; Saruman and A Random Orc/Uruk-hai; and Gimli and...Elrond? Not that I don't wholly appreciate Elrond, certainly, but still. Hm. Ah, well. Moving on.

Before the entrance to the 'Red Wing' are the Argonath, as described by various other reports from earlier stops. One must walk down the wide corridor to reach the hall where the exhibit is being housed. Just previous to the stairs, however, was a curtained-off area where a staff member was applying Orc facial prosthetics to some poor soul or other (presumably also a staff member). Unfortunately, I couldn't stay to examine the work being done, as the time-slot printed on my ticket was coming up. When in queue, a very nice staff member was giving out mallorn-leaf temporary tattoos: one to each ticket-holder. I believe that this was only for the members-only event, but I could well be wrong. I'll find out tomorrow when I go again.

But back to the exhibit itself! The anteroom was a partial mock-up of Dwarrowdelf Hall, complete with pillar bases. There weren't any Cirth to be found, unfortunately. At the entrance to the roped-off lines was a panelled blurb on the filmmakers. There were lots of said panels in a similar vein scattered about the exhibit, each pertaining to whatever props and/or costumes there displayed. Also all around the hall were framed paintings and pencil drawings by Alan Lee, John Howe, and other concept artists--simply beautiful. Just after entering through the doors was an absolutely huge sculpture of the Cave Troll and a Moria Orc. It had a rather startling effect, to say the least. Music from the multiple video features around the hall was played almost constantly; Howard Shore's gorgeous score was an excellent complement to the physical features displayed (as it was to the film), and made the exhibit even more wonderful. Bravo!

To the left of the entrance was a whole wall of glass cases featuring various and sundry Elven items, including a sceptre with a lovely milk-white stone held by four leaf-shaped prongs, Elrond's circlet, Vilya, and an 'Elven telescope' with a few characters of Tengwar worked into the design (first case). The second case held Haldir's complete weapons kit from Helm's Deep, including a gorgeous double-recurve bow, a quiver full of swan-fletched (of course) arrows, and his sword and scabbard. The last cases contained Gil-galad's shield, as well as a regular Prologue Elven shield, with sword. The latter had no visible insignia on it, but was covered in organic designs somewhat remeniscent of the La Tene Celtic style. On top of these cases was Aiglos in all its (un-bloodied) glory. Both of these shields were of the same size and shape, but Gil-galad's shield was emblazoned with his eponymous star, as befits a king. The design on the central boss was very closely based on the Professor's sigil for the character.

A Gondorian saddle, -cloth, and -horse was on display near these cases. The leather was beautifully tooled, worn and scratched with real wear. The wooden seat had on seven studs for the Seven Stars, the White Tree on the sides, and the seabird's wings on the opposite end. The cloth was a royal blue velvet, with white piping about the edges and the Tree on two of the corners. This, too, was worn, but stained instead with dried mud. The saddle-horse's crosspieces were carved into an interlocking design.

Next was the forced-perspective interactive exhibit, as previously reported by others. Try not to be wearing green if you plan on trying this one out, as you'll have to wear a smock so that the green screen won't project the Shire onto your chest. An interesting experience, I'm sure, but it would be best to avoid it.

There were many 'islands' in the centre of the hall, displaying character costumes and related props. Aragorn and Arwen were on one, with his Ranger outfit, the shards of Narsil, and the reforged Andzril, and her riding and Requiem dresses with fabric swatches of the same, as well as her blood-red mourning dress. Also on this island was Thioden, replete with his battle armour and weaponry, as well as an assortment of Rohirric drinking and decorative horns, a 'Royal Rohan Shield,' Thioden's royal seal with carved box and red wax sticks, and a plentiful amount of Rohirric belt buckles and aglets. All were heavily detailed and very beautiful.

As for the Hobbits, there was only Frodo's costume shown. Props for that island included Thorin's map, the mithril vest, Sting and its scabbard, the Red Book, the Phial, and a mallorn-leaf brooch--all Hobbit-sized.

Legolas and Gimli had their own island, with the former's Mirkwood and Lsrien weapons, as well as his regular, travelling outfit, and the latter's full armour and all five axes. The tooling and braidwork was incredible. There were also other Dwarven axes on display, as well as a curiously shaped Dwarven shield.

As an aside, the Museum of Science had little volunteer-run display of their own: two that I noted were on chainmail and Shelob's ability to sense heat. However, the woman running the chainmail table had the unfortunate tendency to pronounce 'mithril' with two short 'i's. Ah, well. Non c'est la geek (or something like that).

Gandalf shared an island with Saruman (opposites attract) and Galadriel. Gandalf the Grey's robes were magnificent--aged, worn, and definitely used. The Hat was, of course, the Hat. Quite a few scrolls from the Gondorian archives were shown: several were in Tengwar, and one notable page had an excerpt from the Appendices, on the Rohirrim: 'They loved best the plains,...' Narya was there, too, as was Gandalf's pipe, a bottle (?), a shoulder satchel, and the now-infamous toffee bag. How very curious. Glamdring was present, with its scabbard and belt.

Saruman's robes were a much darker white than had been expected. The many different textures used were evident, and told even further of Ngila Dickson and Co.'s talents. And his staff! The Orthanc palantmr was there as well, and looked as if it were made of a sort of piebald crystal agate; in reality, it was glass. Many sundries were cased here, among them bits and bobs of skeletons and preserved specimens, bones, teeth, a mortar and pestle, quills and ink, eggs: the lot. His book was opened to the page on the Balrog.

***(It was around about here that I met, quite by accident, a lovely woman who told me that she reads TOR.n regularly, as do I. If you happen to be reading this right now, please imagine that I'm giving you a great big geeky wave: Hullo! It was wonderful to meet you. I hope to run into you again sometime. You can talk; I will babble.)***

Galadriel's beaded Mirror dress was next, and oh, my goodness, was it beautiful. Her mother-of-pearl brooch was in place, which just topped it all off. The beading and sequined designs are especially exquisite here, with a sort of snowflake-flower blossom design all over the cloth. My goodness. Celeborn's neckpiece and belt were in a nearby case, as were Galadriel's circlet and Nenya. Also in the case was a 'Lothlsrien heraldic horn': a beautiful piece of work, with gold and silver chasing, and a small banner hanging from the botton end. I didn't recognise the insignia on it; I presume that it was one invented for the film. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

Not on an island, but against the wall, was a gigantic bust of Treebeard, accompanied by a miniature maquette. I was in awe. It was more amazing than words may say. Again, my goodness. Next to it was the 'Ring Room'--a not-that-impressive display of the One Ring in a suspended liquid column. Ah, well. I prefer costumes, weaponry, and armour; what can I say?

Hanging from the ceiling above all of these islands were a multitude of banners: Gondorian, Rohirric, and Elven. The Gondorian banners included Boromir's from Osgiliath, the sable and silver, and a beautiful multi-coloured, tasseled sateen wall hanging, with the White Tree in the centre. The Rohirric banners were multitudinous, with motifs of swords, snakes, and, of course, horses. Several looked as if they had been inspired by the White Horse of Uffington in Oxfordshire. The Elven banners were also varied, from Gil-galad's heraldic gonfalon (which would have been bourne by Elrond)

to a pair of rather obscure ones with another, probably also invented, insignia.

Near the exit to the exhibit was the full-body dummy of Boromir in his Elven boat: truly realised were '"His head so proud, his face so fair, his limbs they laid to rest;/ And Rauros, golden Rauros-falls, bore him upon its breast."'

To greet us in the second room of the exhibit was a full set of Sauron's armour and a bigature of Barad-d{r. Incredible detail. On yet another island was displayed a full set of Helm's Deep Elven armour, with weapons. Similar to the fashion in which the Gondorian saddle had been shown, a maquette of a painted M{mak with war pavilion was cased.
Now here was another interactive exhibit, where one could put on a special smock, take up some foam 'weapons,' and be motion-captured into the body of (alternately) a Third-Age Gondorian soldier, a Helm's Deep Elf, or a Helm's Deep Uruk-hai. I tried none of these interactive exhibits today; perhaps on another visit. Near this were 'touchable' displays of PVC chainmail and (blunted) swords. Also here was an actual Rohirric chainmail corselet; fantastic. There was also an interactive facial-scan 'Be an Argonath' feature. Next to this was a truly fantastic Orthanc bigature.

There was a very large island devoted to the 'monsters' of the film: sundry Orcs and Uruk-hai were featured, as well as Lurtz's and a Moria Orc's complete kits. Many different macquettes were here as well, including two pairs of Orc contact lenses (!) in red and yellow. A model of Shelob's head was present, next to a (thankfully) dead tunnel web spider specimen, and a huge maquette of the Cave Troll, 'in the "Leonardo" pose' (this time without the loincloth). On the opposite side of the island were many Nazg{l props, including a full set of black robes, crowns and rings for the Men and Ringwraiths (the regular Men had silver rings, while the Witch-king had his with gold as well), and a mock-up Wraith horsehead with reins and tack. Several swords were present, too, the only one not having a matching sheath being the Morgul blade.

I had saved the Armour Wall for last. From the left to right: a case of six Uruk-hai helmets, a different one for every purpose; an Uruk-hai swordsman with a nasty bladed bow and feather-duster arrows (also a curiously 'T'-ended brutish-looking weapon); a Moria Orc; a regular Orc (as if any Orc were ever regular) with an odd hooked blade; a Warg rider which was, alas, minus its Warg; a Prologue Elven foot-soldier with gorgeous, gorgeous kit (especially the glaive!) and no visible insignia; a Prologue Gondorian with full White Tree and a long spear with the seven-ringed Minas Tirith design split by the wedge Mindolluin; a Rohirric spearsman (with bow and brown-red -fletched arrows); a Rohirric swordsman; a Gondorian Ranger (Faramir?), again with the ringed design all over his weapons and leatherwork; a Rohirric royal guard, with a larger round shield than the other Rohirric soldiers, and with the regal sun motif everywhere; a Third Age Gondorian with brilliant chasing and embossing; and, at last, a Haradric warrior with ragged clothing and small skulls worked into his belts. Nasty looking things, those were. The final item in the row was a case with more heroic helms: those of Elendil, Isildur, Iomer (two for him; the one with the horse's tail is 'regular'; his 'guard's helmet' is much less ornate); a citadel guard, and two everyday Rohan soldiers. I would like to declare my undying love for Richard Taylor and the rest of Weta Workshop just now. My goodness me.

Well. So that was done...for the day. I drifted for a few minutes, then exited soon afterwards. It was a really amazing experience, on the whole. I'm so glad that I went, and I'm definitely going again tomorrow. Hope see you there!


Daniel G

I was at the opening of the Boston Museum of Science LOTR Exhibit at Midnight on August 1st and I send you this short review along with a few pictures:

Find any reason to see this exhibit, it's absolutely amazing. There is so much more detail on these props, costumes, armour, weapons than is possible to photograph except in studio conditions with a high quality camera. There is an original R2-D2 costume that Kenny Baker wore from Return of the Jedi in the same museum (in the computer exhibit) and it looks positively crude next to the LOTR stuff. It really looks more like an archeological exhibit than a movie exhibit. The exhibit items have been described elsewhere numerous times so I'll skip that. I was particularly impressed with the cosutumes and the huge models. Orthanc which had been removed from the London exhibit for pick-ups is back as is a small (compared to the one used for filming!) version of Barad-Dur.

I was there with a group of fans dressed in costume (mine was Frodo). The museum staff was very friendly and allowed us to stay for however long we wished. The no photography rule was strickly enforced but we were at liberty to take notes and sketches. This ws the first time in its history the museum was open overnight and some fans took the opportunity to spend the whole night there. I left at 3:30am to crash out for a few hours but returned at 8:15am. The people visting during the opening - especially those in costume were extremely friendly and there was a feeling of true fellowship during the night. People were extremely polite and respectful of each other compared to other events I've been to.

I'm not sure how many people showed up but all night from midnight on there were lots of people that showed up in costume from the simple and cheesy to the awesome and jaw dropping (several Arwens and a Theoden among others). The actor who played Lurtz, the Witch-King, and Gothmog - Lawrence Makoare was there in full orc makeup and costume for more than two hours and later sat down for autographes and photos.

As it was the opening day the media were out in force. I was interviewed by 2 local TV stations and by 3 newspapers, one of which took 30 picture of me in front of the real Frodo costume! We weren't allowed to take pictures but of course the media had free reign of the entire exhibit.

All in all a wonderful experience which I will repeat several times before it moves on to Australia.

Hall Of Fire Chats This Weekend
Demosthenes @ 5:39 am EST

Beautiful beyond description, mighty, mysterious, secret, enchanting, surreal. Places of power. These terms and others could be used to describe the greatest cities that existed throughout the history of Middle Earth.

Beautiful, but hidden and secretive were the city/kingdoms of the Noldor. Grand and magnificent was the Dwarf kingdom/city of Khazad-dum and other Dwarf cities. Mighty was Minas Tirith, tower-city of Gondor for the descendents of Numenor. Terrifying was the Orc/Nazgul tower-city of Minas Morgul.

What defines their greatness? Is it their beauty and secretiveness, might and long-lasting strength, or was it in those who ruled them? Which ones flourished and why, and which ones fell the quickest?

Come join us this weekend in #thehalloffire as we discuss Middle Earth’s Greatest Cities.

Important notice for next weekend:

Attention all seekers of wisdom, learned debaters and all around obsessed Ringers (in other words, Hall of Fire participants) - Hall of Fire will not meet on the weekend of August 7 and 8, due to the fact that almost all of the moderators will be at BarliBash!

We will be right back the following week with the usually array of insightful comments, witty suppositions and just plain fun.

However, starting that week (August 15) the Sunday Hall of Fire session will meet at a new time, 2:00 PM EST. (One hour later than current time) The HoF staff is looking forward to a great new season of interesting discussions and lots of laughs, so make sure to be there!

Upcoming topics:
August 7-8 -- Hall of Fire takes a break!
August 14-15 -- The Hobbit: Chapter 11: On the Doorstep

#thehalloffire on theonering.net IRC server. Need instructions? Go here: http://www.theonering.net/barlimans/instructions.html

Chat Times:

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

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

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

7-30-04 Latest News

TW's Harry & hobbit show
Xoanon @ 9:52 pm EST

Time Warner rode the small shoulders of a teen magician and a hobbit to double-digit revenue growth in a quarter marked by the strong performance of its film unit.

The theatrical release of "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" and homevideo release of Oscar winner "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"helped Time Warner to a 10% increase in revenue and 17% increase in operating income in the second quarter.

Because of the convergence of "Azkaban," "King" and "Troy" and the fact that "King" had its theatrical release in the third quarter of last year, comparisons will be difficult in the second half of the year. "Nevertheless, our growth will meaningfully exceed last year," chairman Richard Parsons said.

"Azkaban" and "Troy" have returned $1.2 billion in box office receipts so far, with two-thirds coming from outside the U.S.

Time Warner recorded operating income of $2.6 billion in the quarter on revenue of $10.9 billion. Earnings dipped 27% to $777 million from a year ago, when profits were boosted by a $760 million settlement with Microsoft and a gain from the sale of its stake in Comedy CentralComedy Central.

Company expects full-year operating income to increase in the low-teen range from $8.7 billion in 2003.

The quarter marks the continuation of a turnaround for the world's largest media conglom, which saw contributions from every business unit. AOL is still hemorrhaging subscribers but recorded its first quarter of year-over-year advertising growth since late 2001.

In addition to film, the cable networks were particularly strong as growing audiences drove advertising and affiliate fee increases.

In an example of intranetwork synergy, Parsons noted HBO creation "Sex and the City" (despite some recent ratings falloff) is driving audiences to sister net TBS.

Now that Time Warner's businesses appear to be on track, Parsons said the company would focus on ways to expand, looking to acquire businesses in the "content arena."

"We have an interest as a company in expanding our cable footprint," Parsons said, calling cable a "superior" platform for delivering video, telephone and high-speed Internet that "extends the power and advantage of our content businesses."

The two biggest targets in Time Warner's sights have been bankrupt cabler Adelphia Communications and MGM, but Parsons signaled the asking price for both could be too high. "We're not going to do just whatever comes along," he said.

While overall results were good, analysts pointed out that the company suffers from comparisons with its biggest competitors in cable content, Viacom, and in distribution, Comcast.

Advertising at Time Warner's cable networks was up 6%, a disappointing figure compared with an increase of more than 20% at Viacom's MTV networks, noted Paul Kim, analyst at Tradition Asiel Securities.

Other analysts were concerned about continued subscriber losses at the cable unit, the company's largest cash-flow generator. Unit lost 21,000 basic customers in the quarter as satellite operator DirecTV continued to target Time Warner markets.

"They were growing subscribers at 1%-2% until DirecTV targeted them last year," said John Hill of Schwab SoundView Capital Markets.

Some questioned the wisdom of adding to cable when the business is under intense competition from both satellite and the Baby Bells. "The fear is that competition is going to get more intense over the next four quarters," Kim said.

Time Warner media and communications group chairman Don Logan argued that telephone service, which should be available to all Time Warner cable customers at the end of the year, would be "a strong driver of growth over the next few years."

Cable programming expenses jumped 15%, compared with 5% at Comcast, which renegotiated most of its agreements besides that with ESPN at the beginning of the year. Kim saw an upside in this comparison, as Time Warner also will renegotiate its programming deals in the coming year, making it a potential area of future savings.

The company said an investigation into accounting practices at AOL by the Securities and Exchange Commission is ongoing, with the company opening its own review of accounting recently at AOL Europe.

Project Monaghan At Tree Care Event
Xoanon @ 9:02 pm EST

Project Monaghan At Tree Care Event

Garfeimao writes: Project Monaghan just participated in their first Tree Care event with Tree People of Los Angeles. 9 Project Monaghan participants and 3 Tree People employees met up at Salvin Special Education Center in Downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday, July 28. The small size was actually more than adequate for getting the job done. It was a rather smallish school, with only about 20-25 young trees needing our help.

We learned how to properly oxygenate the soil, remove competitive grasses, weeds and other interfering plants, and how to lay mulch so that it wouldn't harm the tree (mulch too close to the trunk can cause fungus and tree rot). We spent about 2 hours working on the trees and giving many of them water, and even got one or two classes to agree to continue the care. I know I definitely learned a lot about how people have to help trees along when they are isolated in an urban setting. These trees do not have access to the Forest Eco-system and many can not survive the first 5-7 years without human assistance.

As you may know, Project Monaghan's main theme is to follow Dominic Monaghan's example in helping to plant and care for more trees. You can read about it on their website at http://www.project-monaghan.gratified.net/ and learn how to get involved. They are closely tied with BBloonsCharities, who also participated in this event. BBloonscharities is in support of charitable contributions in Billy Boyd's name, with recent donations made to The Surfrider's Foundation, Help the Aged, The John Muir Trust and most recently Operation Iraqi Children. More info can be found at http://www.bbloonscharities.net/index.php.

Tree People is a Los Angeles based organization that plants trees in urban areas, and continues to care for those trees until they reach a reasonable maturity level. They also work to teach the residents and students in the areas they plant how to take personal responsibility for these trees. You can learn more about this Los Angeles organization at http://www.treepeople.org/. For those interested in getting involved in programs like this outside of the LA area, here is a National group http://www.nationaltreetrust.org. For International groups, I haven't done the research yet so just look around on these websites for any hints, or google it.

Many of us locals will probably end up working with Tree People again the rest of this summer, while I know there is going to be another big project planned for December, to coincide with Dom's birthday. Feel free to visit either Project Monaghan or BBloonscharities for more information on upcoming events and fundraising efforts. And if you simply want to get involved in bringing the forest to the urban setting, visit Tree People or the National Tree Trust sites.

Oxonmoot Press Release
Xoanon @ 11:54 am EST

Ian Collier, Publicity Officer for The Tolkien Society sends this in

Oxonmoot 17th - 19th September 2004,

St Hilda’s College, Oxford
Registration (GBP) £25.50 members, £30.50 non-members each rate rising by £5 around mid August.

This year’s highlights include:

Welcome Dinner on Friday night.

Register Online at www.tolkiensociety.org

Registration and Accommodation Information:

The Bookings Officer (Oxonmoot), 85 Woad Lane, Great Coates, GRIMSBY, DN37 9NB, United Kingdom or e-mail bookings@tolkiensociety.org

Media Contact

Oxonmoot Publicity, 26 Loverock Crescent, Rugby, CV21 4AR, United Kingdom or e-mail osc.publicity@tolkiensociety.org

What is Oxonmoot?

Oxonmoot is the Tolkien Society’s major social event, providing both our members and the public with the opportunity to gather together and celebrate Tolkien’s life. Originating as an informal gathering of friends to pay their respects at the grave of the late Professor Tolkien, it is now one of the country’s longest established events of its kind. Held annually on the weekend closest to the fictional birthday of Bilbo & Frodo Baggins, the event traditionally takes place in central Oxford because Tolkien spent much of his professional life here and his grave is nearby.

What happens at an oxonmoot?

People arrive at the college on the Friday afternoon to settle in, greet old friends or make some new ones, and if time allows fit in some sightseeing. In the evening, there’s an informal meal at the college, where those new to Oxonmoot can get to know the regulars, and of course chat in the bar. Events, papers and talks begin on Saturday morning. Many of the events and papers are listed above, but in addition to these there will be an art show open displaying the works of both amateur and professional artists. As well as a sales room with several dealers offering a wide variety of Tolkien related items, ranging from collectors’ editions of Tolkien’s works to merchandise from Peter Jackson’s film adaptation, plus our own Tolkien Society products. On Sunday there is Enyalië, a ceremony of remembrance at Tolkien’s graveside.

Who are we?

The Tolkien Society is an independent educational charity devoted to furthering interest in the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Founded in 1969 membership is 1,200 spread over 40 countries. The majority of our members are based in the UK, but many can be found as far afield as Australia and Latin America, and we enjoy close ties with other Tolkien Societies around the globe.

If you like Oxonmoot try this too:

Tolkien 2005: The Ring Goes Ever On

Aston University, Birmingham UK,
11 – 15 August 2005


The Battle for Middle-earth will begin at The Fellowship Festival
Xoanon @ 11:46 am EST

‘The Lord of the Rings™, The Battle for Middle-earth™’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings, The Third Age™’ interactive games to be exclusively showcased at the upcoming event.

Access All Areas Events Ltd is pleased to announce that EA Games will be attending the upcoming Fellowship Festival event in August at Alexandra Palace in London, and exclusively unveiling its two latest interactive games based on The Lord of the Rings trilogy. EA Games will be joined by New Line Cinema and The Tolkien Society, who are main event sponsors.

Showcasing the magnificent works of Professor J.R.R Tolkien and Peter Jackson, The Fellowship Festival is expected to see 4,000-5,000 fans per day. Attendees will be treated to theatrical presentations hosted by two of the actors from the films, Craig Parker (Haldir) and Mark Ferguson (Gil-Galad). Presentations will include question and answer sessions with selected members of the cast and crew as well as panel discussions with Tolkien experts. The latest guest to sign up is Bernard Hill (King Theoden) who will be attending his very first fan event. For the latest comprehensive information on the Fellowship Festival, including a full 3-day programme listing, visit www.aaaevents.co.uk.

‘The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earthR17; is the first The Lord of the Rings game for PC that puts you in command of a real-time, open world. You can control massive armies and interactive battlefields across the vast world of Middle-earth, leading the forces of good or evil by controlling one of four unique groups, from the Riders of Rohan to the forces of Sauron. Each has its own playing style, resource management, and base-building techniques. Take command of strategic territories across a highly detailed, 3D map of Middle-earth and turn the tide in the battle to control The One Ring.

‘The Lord of the Rings, The Third Age’ videogame allows players to adventure through Middle-earth, building a party of heroes as they journey. Players battle on the side of the Fellowship, but can unlock additional encounters where they fight on the side of Sauron as they progress. In the game, players will interact with the characters of the Fellowship in a unique structure, taking on individual quests while intersecting the major events of the film trilogy that drive the story forward. Parties will traverse through both familiar and seldom-glimpsed locations, using an innovative turn-based battle system as they fight, encountering the demonic Balrog in the Mines of Moria, defending the fallen city of Osgiliath, or trying to destroy Helm's Deep.

Louise Henry, CEO of Access All Areas Events Ltd, said: “We’re very excited about having EA Games present as part of our event. The Lord of the Rings games have attracted a lot of interest with fans of Tolkien’s work, and we believe that attendees will enjoy the opportunity to exclusively play the very latest games before anybody else alongside the other exciting activity that we have at the festival.”

Rachael Reitman, UK Brand Manager for EA Games, added: “We are pleased to be attending the Fellowship Festival and see this event as a great opportunity for fans of the Lord of the Rings world to experience our latest interactive gaming titles and become truly immersed inside Middle-earth.”

Pittsburgh LOTR Concert Reviews
Xoanon @ 11:40 am EST

FredO writes:

I attended last night’s concert in Pittsburgh of the Lord Of The Rings Symphony. I wanted to write and tell you what a triumphant performance The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) staged. I had been granted permission to attend the two rehearsals on Tuesday so I had a frame of reference for the concert last night. I should also mention that I was interviewed for the Tribune Review newspaper’s article, which you linked to, called “Tolkien On Tour.” I will describe the concert itself first and follow that with some reporting about the pre-concert Q&A and the post-concert reception.

I was stunned on Tuesday when I heard the orchestra perform with Howard Shore for the first time. I know that this work can be demanding and especially so on percussionists. As a drummer I focus on those elements when I listen to live performances. They were clearly more than ready for the challenges of the score. I was surprised at how quickly they had interpreted the energy of the stronger pieces such as the moments in Moria. I saw Howard stop the orchestra just a couple of times to correct some stylistic issues with the percussionists and that was it for the most part.

As to last night’s first performance it seemed to me that the orchestra had really internalized the score. They were dead-on from beginning to end. The subtleties of the ending themes were matched by the strength of the majestic moments such as Isengard Unleashed. The most breathtaking moments were not only evocative but heart-wrenching. I was in tears a good bit of the time but I nearly doubled over when I heard the orchestra play The Great River culminating with Boromir’s death. All in all the PSO was incredible and they handled this score with command and power. What a ride!

>From my box, my wife and I sat in the first two seats of the Grand Box Right (right above the stage). I could see Howard’s expression and his subtle hand movements. What I enjoyed watching was how he drew out each of the orchestra’s sections. His style is more demonstrative than I had been able to see when I saw him conduct the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. He has a way of pulling his left hand close to his left clavicle, and sometimes his throat, as he expresses trills. I saw him smile a couple of times at particular soloists. It was a knowing smile and, in one case, I knew why he was smiling. At Tuesday’s rehearsal he had spent some extra time with the acoustic guitar player in explaining the dynamics of Into The West. I saw them spend a little extra time after the main rehearsal ended as well. I could certainly hear the difference in last night’s performance. The quietness and subtly were all there and it was clear that Howard got what he wanted and communicated that back to the guitar player with that knowing smile.

I can also say that, from my vantage point, I could see several members of the orchestra sneaking a peak at the video screen. Watching the musicians is a treat but to see them act a bit like fans during the performance made me smile.

I would also like to say something about the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and the Children’s Festival Chorus of Pittsburgh. They were both wonderful. I know two women in the choir. One is Sally our Line Party president and the other is Bonnie who has submitted a journal of her experiences during rehearsals to TORN. They confided to me, at rehearsal on Tuesday, that the choir was struggling with Lothlorien. Not so last night. The nailed it! The choir soloists were terrific. An interesting note of change from the sound track was the use of a bass voice for Aragorn’s coronation song. There was a moment or two where it was difficult to hear some of the bass voice parts, such as the Moria sequence, but overall the amplification of the choir was done very well. I know this has been an issue in other cities and it continues to be a struggle but I think they managed to get a good balance with it last night.

As for Sissel, the soloist traveling with Howard, what can I say. She was fantastic! Her phrasing, her emotive dynamics are all rich and moving. I fully admit to not liking Gollum’s Song on the sound track. Of all the music for the sound track it’s the only one that I never much cared for. When I heard Sissel perform it in Columbus I had a complete reversal of attitude. I had been dreading it but instead wound up loving it and falling to tears. The same thing happened last night. She has a fantastic stage presence, owing some of it to her Elf-like appearance (that’s a Tolkien Elf not your Keebler elf) and her statuesque physique. She handles Into The West with a grace that turns it into a lullaby. Frankly I can’t get enough of her.

As for the social moments of the evenging there were many for me. I had the great fortune of sitting with some Ringers from the area. They were sisters. Barb, who lives near Pittsburgh, and Suzie who came in from Erie, PA. They will be coming again tomorrow night. Between the 3 of us we were sobbing so much that I started to get concerned about how loud we might be! My wife commented to me later that she wasn’t too distracted by the 3 of us. But what a joy it is to meet other Ringer fans.

I also met David Koran of Soundtrack.net. He was in our box with a press pass, though he had to pay his way in like everyone else. We talked about the coverage Howard is getting and how this is opening a lot people up to the enjoyment of film music.

The crowd last night was a good mix of people of all ages. It was great to see so many young people. I hope they become symphonic music fans through the appeal of Howard Shore’s wonderful symphony.

There was a Q&A beforehand and they ran out of time long before they ran out of questions. Howard was casual and relaxed as he sat on stage. I got to ask him how the PSO compared with other symphonies and he was gracious in his reply while not actually offering a direct comparison. I also got to invite him to the Middle Earth dinner I helped organize for Saturday afternoon. Stephanie Simmons, a friend of mine, had put together a menu from her Middle Earth Cookbook and her daughter had suggested that the dinner be done as a fund-raiser for the PSO.

The post-concert event was a great time. I had met Howard at an autograph signing in Columbus and I was looking forward to thanking him for coming to Pittsburgh. When Howard appeared he was again showered with applause and expressions of gratitude. He stood at the top of the stairs at the entrance and took more questions before finally consenting to enter the reception area where, of course, he was mobbed for autographs. I even saw a local TV personality get in line with her entourage. I guess celebrities can be fans as well. ;-)

I was afforded the opportunity or bringing my video camera and I recorded Howard’s entrance and one other special moment. Sissel was busy signing autographs at the rear end of the bar. When I saw a lull in the line I went over and asked if I could videotape a moment speaking with her. She was kind and agreed and immediately introduced me to the video technician who is handling the video screens. Once I handed him the camera I started to tell Sissel how much I enjoy her singing. I then explained my feelings about Gollum’s Song and how her rendition had changed my opinion so dramatically. She was very nice in accepting my praise so I went another step and mentioned that I was going to be at all 3 performances and that I was looking forward to hearing her again and again. She said to me “then I guess I have the pressure of having to perform this as well each night.” So it was then that I revealed that I would be sitting front row and center, right at her feet, for Friday night’s show. I actually saw her blush with embarrassment. What a fun and exciting little interchange this was for me and it was all captured on video.

I then got to meet Howard again. I thanked him for coming and I asked if he’d sign my program. I explained that I was going to be there all 3 nights and wanted to collect one from each night with his autograph. This will go nicely with the copies of each of the sound tracks that he graciously signed for me in Columbus. I got a chance to explain about Saturday night’s dinner and he said he might actually make an appearance. I also started to tell him that I had been interviewed for the local newspaper article that day when his eyes brightened. He’d read the article! He mentioned how nice he thought the article was and then Carl Mancuso, the manager of Heinz Hall, leaned in and said “Fred is the person who wrote us the letter that caused us to book the symphony.” Howard was in the middle of signing my program and he looked up at me and kindly thanked me and then turned back to my program and added “Thank You” above his signature! Now that’s an extra special Ringer moment.

I will be taking a copy of the article that was in yesterday’s paper with me tonight. Howard offered to sign a copy. It’s been an incredible week for me and I’m having the most “excellentest” of times.



Wonderful. Brilliant. Magical. Absolutely fantastic. There are simply not enough words of praise to describe the amazing feeling one has after going to a great concert and hearing awesome music. And after seeing/hearing the Lord of the Rings Symphony live last night at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I find myself tongue-tied as such - maybe even more so than usual.

I don't think I've ever been as excited to attend a concert as I was yesterday afternoon as I was getting ready to leave. It was real; it was happening - I was actually going to take part in something big and LotR-related. Howard Shore was going to be in the same concert hall, conducting the same music that I've been listening to and falling in love with since day one, and I was going to be there.

We (my friends Kasey and Joe, and myself) left early, so as to take advantage of the 6:30 Q&A session with Mr. Shore that was to be held an hour before the concert started. We arrived just before the lecture was to begin, bought some posters (yeah.. $15 is a big steep for a shiny piece of paper but hey, it's not gonna happen again anytime soon!), and then were told we could sit anywhere we liked for the interview session. This was good news, as our purchased seats were waaaay up in the back of the hall.

We filed in a few rows from the front, and within minutes Howard Shore stepped out onto the stage to a tumult of applause (despite the small audience), dressed casually and looking thoroughly relaxed. He received our welcome graciously, and after a quick introduction, began taking questions. He was asked everything from the process of selecting solo artists to the instrumental choices he made to what the last CD he bought was. The mood was very friendly and relaxed, and it was all over far too soon (with many a question left unanswered).

At 7:00, we made our way up to our seats, positively glowing with anticipation. When Howard Shore stepped back onto the stage half an hour later, Kasey and I were already willing to offer him a standing ovation; we were so excited. We'd scoped out the program, and couldn't wait to see how the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Mendelssohn Choir, and the Children's Festival Chorus of Pittsburgh
would perform. We were not disappointed.

The first two movements (FotR) were simply breathtaking. I had goosebumps a good portion of the time, and was tugged emotionally from laughter to tears and back again throughout. The PSO was simply amazing! Then came a quick intermission, followed by the rest of the movements. The remaining half of the concert was just as amazing as the first, and just as emotionally provoking. The music from tTT was wonderful (I only wish there had been more of the Rohan theme played!), and the soloist, Sissel, was brilliant; such a gorgeous and captivating voice! Whether she was covering Ben del Maestro, or Emiliana Torrini, she nailed every note she sang. The (short) RotK movements could not have been better. The selection of songs to play was absolutely perfect, and I found myself wanting it to go on forever.

I must also commend the two choirs - they could not have performed any better! Each song they were featured in was absolutely lovely, each language seemingly mastered, every syllable together, and even the smallest hum was heard throughout the Hall. The soloists were also great, capturing beautifully the piece they each sang ('In Dreams' was especially amazing). Sissel added to this, of course, but the choirs themselves were marvelous!

The conceptional art projected onto the screen was wonderful, as well. It not only was something more to look at (when I could take my eyes off Mr. Shore's expressive conducting and the goings-on of the musicians, that is), but also helped to tell the story. I imagine it would have been very helpful for those attending who didn't know the music like the back of their hand to tell what part of the movie the piece they were hearing coincided with. The lighting of the hall was also neat - red, yellow, green and blue lighting was tweaked constantly to match the mood of each song. Gandalf's battle with the Balrog bathed the Orchestra in red and yellow, like flame, while during our visit to Lothlorien, the stage took on a ethereal green hue.

After the concert, the audience offered an immediate standing ovation that lasted well over five minutes. I myself would have been content to carry on forever… But soon we made our way slowly out of the Hall, in absolute awe of the concert we'd just heard. It was beyond elation. I wanted nothing more than to shake Howard Shore's hand and thank him profusely. This, however, didn't happen. Oh well - one can't have everything!

While we made our way through the thinning crowd toward the lobby, we found ourselves followed by a man in a white shirt and black pants - clearly a musician. He was inquiring to one of the ushers where he could get a program, and we decided to first congratulate him on the performance, and then offer him one of our programs. He took it once he realized it was probably the only way he was going to get one, and thanked us. He introduced himself to Joe, and his name was either Andre or Adrian.. I didn't catch it clearly enough! But I then asked him what he'd played, and he said the pan flute, along with some other things. The pan flute in itself was very cool, and I told him so. We were about to turn to go when a woman accompanying him suggested he show us some of his instruments. He pulled out a little wooden pan flute, handed it to me, and told me to try it! A strange command, to be sure, but I obliged - I played the 'hobbit flute'! True, it was only one note, but it was still quite cool. So, thanks to you, if you're reading this - you made my night!

After that, we stopped by to have Sissel sign our programs, and tell her how beautiful her voice was, and how we absolutely loved all her solos. She was very kind, graciously accepting all our praise, and taking plenty of time to chat with the other Ringers around, personalize her autographs, and even take some pictures.

It was a lovely end to an amazing evening, and I'm ready to go again. This is definitely an event that I will not soon forget. So thanks to anyone and everyone who helped bring Howard Shore to Pittsburgh and make the night magical!

(A picture is attached from the Q&A session - it was technically an 'illegal' picture, but I didn't know that when I took it!)


FredO's Second Night Concert Review

I attended last night’s second performance of the LOTR Symphony here in Pittsburgh and wanted to share some of my observations and stories with TORN readers.

My seats for the concert last night were in the front row center. This is not an ideal place to view the entire orchestra but it affords an intimacy you cannot possibly get anywhere else in the concert hall. I found that the sound of the orchestra is skewed a bit there owing to the proximity to the strings. Not that you can’t hear everything else it’s just that the strings become a focus of attention.

The PSO was once again magnificent. The power they have to move from the soft passages to the strong ones is amazing. Being able to watch the string section handle all these dynamics from such a close vantage point was simply a grand treat. Once again the percussion section was prominent and masterful. Though I could not see them from where I sat I certainly could hear, and feel, them at work. I know that this piece requires a great amount of percussion work and I think the PSO percussionists have been more than adequate to the challenge. Consider that they have to watch their volume because the choir needs to be heard in conjunction with the entire orchestra through passages such as The Destruction Of The Ring and you’ll get a sense for how hard a balancing act it can be to maintain the force of a piece like that without overwhelming the vocalists.
As for the choirs, they were again wonderful and strong. Dr. Robert Page, who conducts the choir, is legendary for his work and has had a stellar career. I think he prepared them very well for this challenge.

Because I was watching the string section last night so much I want to say something about getting to see how they handle themselves on stage. First of all I was surprised to see that some of them do look at the audience. I thought this was unusual but I did manage to catch the eye of a couple of violin players from time to time. As I said before, the seats I had afforded a wonderful intimacy. I was also able to watch their faces and see the different looks and expressions they make. None of them seemed to be working hard, if you know what I mean. Some of them had stern countenances which belied the subtlety of what they were doing. Some were very relaxed and simply playing effortlessly. I love being able to sit so close that the right string section and the left string section occasionally caused a stereo effect due to the differences in when they were playing. It was all just a feast for ears and eyes.

Howard Shore was again something to behold. From where I sat I had no view of his face or the front of him but I did have a view of how hard he works. On Thursday night I was able to watch his face, his arms and his hands. Last night I was able to watch his body and there was a story to be seen. Howard throws himself into his work. He was on the balls of his feet many times to get his points across. This is quite a workout and I was really impressed, again, at how well he got the musicians to follow him. He is a quiet, reserved man when you meet him in person. All his passion, all his artistry flow from him when he conducts the symphony. I felt a great honor to be so close as to see this great composer take the PSO through this epic work. It was stunning to watch.

When Sissel entered the stage after the intermission I was conscious of our little chat from Thursday night. I didn’t expect she’d acknowledge me sitting there but much to my chagrin she had a good bit to say about this at the post concert event (more on this later). As much as I have enjoyed her singing I was not prepared for how enchanting she is to watch when you sit so close. I could see all the expressions on her face, and watch her dramatic hand gestures, very clearly. She has a very patient, very paced style and seeing her handle the aria solos as well as the songs was very moving. I was sobbing, again, during Gollum’s Song and I was knocked over when she sang the aria, forgive me I’m unsure of the name of the piece, when Gandalf rides out to save Faramir and his retreating men as they ride to Minas Tirith. It was just beautiful.
I was also able to observe how Sissel stays involved during the moments when she is not singing. I could see her gently tapping her heel along with the orchestra during some of the really powerful moments like Isengard Unleashed. It was, again, one of those little things you really can’t see anywhere else in the auditorium. In a chat with her at the post-concert event she revealed to me that she had only 2 rehearsals before performing the Columbus show. She had a copy of the Wellington concert and spent a great deal of time listening to it and working on it to prepare. Given how well she did in Columbus I was very impressed.

The night was again triumphant. There were 3 curtain calls, again, and the crowd roared its approval. I know that Howard was sweating from the activity but I think I actually saw tears of gratitude on his face as he took his bows. It brought tears to my eyes to see him so moved. Again, I don’t think you could see this from anywhere else in the hall and it was a very, very special moment. My wife and I brought flowers and I laid them on the stage for him and Sissel. They both smiled and I heard the crowd roar again as they picked them up and thank us. What a magical end to the evening’s performance!

I do have something to report from the Q&A last night. First of all I got to see a whole bunch of Ringers down front before the Q&A started. It was great to stand there and talk about the night before and how much we were all anticipating a wonderful evening.
Howard took a lot of the same kinds of questions but one question stuck out:
“When do you start working on the extended, extended editions?” This, of course, drew a lot of laughs from all of us and from Howard. But his answer was most surprising. He proceeded to make light of the fact that P.J. had told him to start thinking about the 25th anniversary version (again more laughs). He did speak to the upcoming CD release of all the LOTR movie music. It was then that he said something most interesting. He said that he and the scriptwriters all felt that the extended editions are “THE” film. It’s the fuller expression of Tolkien’s work. Wow! I’ve heard P.J. defend the theatrical releases as the “THE” film owing to his work in editing them for pacing and such but I know I, and a lot of Ringers, really believe the extended editions are much better – much fuller. It was great to hear Howard comment about his talks with P.J. and company about this and express what I know a lot of us feel.

The post concert event was again great. This night was special for me personally as I was there with close friends and family. They were all having a terrific time which really added to my enjoyment of the night. Howard was again phenomenally gracious as he sat down and signed autographs for every last one of us. He posed for pictures and answered questions and was just kind beyond words.

I spent time talking with Sissel and the staff of Heinz Hall. When I approached her Sissel looked at me and said “I saw you in the front row but I wasn’t going to look at you. I even arranged my music stand so that I couldn’t see you.” I laughed and asked her what she had been afraid of. She told me that she knew if she saw me crying it would have upset her concentration. Again, I was able to film this little interchange as I had the night before. She thanked me for the flowers and signed a copy of her CD.

Later on I was speaking with Robbie, Howard’s assistant, and he told me that he and Shelly, the Assistant Artistic Administrator for Heinz Hall, had taken Sissel out to a Karaoke bar. She wound up singing “Dancing Queen.!” Boy am I sorry I missed that.
Speaking of Shelly, she is the person who wrote me back last September thanking me for bringing the LOTR Concert to their attention. I had not kept a copy of the letter I sent her because, honestly, I never, ever expected to hear back from them. To my wonderful surprise Shelly had kept it and photocopied it for me and gave it to me last night. That was a very nice gesture on her part. I cannot say enough good things about the staff of Heinz Hall and how well they have treated me and how hard they have worked in making this such a successful event.

I finally got sit with Howard towards the end of the evening. What stunned me is that when he saw me coming he said “Thank you for the flowers Fred.” It’s awfully nice to be recognized by someone you revere so much. Howard graciously autographed my program and a copy of the article I was interviewed for in the paper from Thursday. I had printed a copy of the review I had written up that appeared on TORN yesterday to show him and he said he’d already seen it. It turns out that Howard checks TORN regularly. Something tells me this is not news to the staff of TORN but I thought it was a plumb bit of information to pass along to all of you.
I was also able to show him the copy of the letter I’d written to the PSO that Shelly had just given me. He took a moment to read it over and thanked me once again for my involvement. Again, a gracious moment from a truly kind person. It was very special indeed.

One more concert tonight. We are having a special dinner from 4-6 before the show and Robbie said that Howard would be able to drop by for a few minutes towards the end. I’m sure tonight will be another magical evening.

7-29-04 Latest News

FELLOWSHIP AT 50: A Celebration
Xoanon @ 1:42 pm EST

From: Mrcere

Fifty years: Governments fall in less time. Young men grow old and old men die. Not only did we get to the moon in the last 50 years, we became bored and stopped going. Species have disappeared, Al Gore invented the internet and communication is virtually instant. The world has shrunk and our view into the universe has grown exponentially. During that time an Oxford professor and a New Zealand filmmaker with a zombie fetish have changed all of pop-culture.

Fifty years is an anniversary celebrated almost universally no matter what the occasion. A person turning 50 or a couple celebrating its 50th anniversary are both landmark occasions as are the memories of sports milestones, inventions, wars and just about everything else one can think of. Fifty is golden and there is nothing like it. Fifty is fifty.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s first part of The Lord of the Rings was published 50 years ago today in the United Kingdom by publisher George Allen & Unwin. The publisher felt that the book was a big risk but that the work was brilliant and in either case it was considered a sequel to the its successful 1937 children’s book The Hobbit. The gamble was great enough that instead of a standard fee for the finished work, a profit sharing plan was arranged. Tolkien would not receive money for the book until the printing costs were paid for and then he would receive a much bigger percentage of the profits than if he took the money upfront. It was a way to mitigate costs for the publisher in case sales were slow.

The author was apprehensive about what critics might say, a full 16 years after he started the ‘Hobbit sequel’ and he told Stanley Unwin, “It is written in my life-blood, such as that is, thick or thin; and I can do no other.” Critics, including friend C.S. Lewis, gave the book enough positive reviews that it began to sell; well enough in fact to clear out the 3,500 copies printed in the first run. Six weeks after publication a second printing was ordered. Today, if you can find an owner willing to part with those books, they cost hundreds or thousands of times more than the original price.

The Two Towers was printed by November of 1954 and those waiting for the third volume might have felt the suspense difficult to endure. Readers of these words will know very well that the story leaves Frodo alive but taken by Orcs while Sam is barred from his master behind a door. The Return of the King was waiting on Tolkien to submit the finished appendices before publication and the wait turned out to be long - for publisher and audience. Such pangs of impatience are hard for today’s reader to imagine as nearly everyone has the three volumes either collected together or published in a single edition. Despite urging from the publisher, and letters from readers the final copy for the appendices wasn’t ready until late May of 1955. Due to a variety of challenged the book didn’t reach store shelves in the UK until October, almost a full year after The Two Towers. Readers ‘across the pond’ had to wait until January of 1956 for Houghton-Mifflin to get the final volume to the public.

Fans today on message boards, at fan conventions and even in their own homes often don’t realize that not every critic despised the work. It seems a widely held myth that all critics dismissed LOTR. But on the contrary, several embraced it and gave it the highest praise. It wasn’t free from its detractors, but there were definitely strong supporters of the work as soon as it was published. In today’s world there are probably more supporters and more fanatics than ever before but there are still those who classify it as ‘just escapism’ and cultish fantasy for adolescents and adolescent boys at that; often without having read it. There are also literary snobs who cannot tolerate anything that is audacious enough to be popular. In some eyes that alone condemns it to the trash heap. There are still others who just don't find it to their taste.

But the book has moved far beyond being subject to any critic. It has sewn itself into the fabric of numerous cultures and in far more societies than those who speak the English it was written in. Soon after its initial publication, translations started to appear, the first being the Dutch edition in 1956 followed by many others. It is practically impossible to gauge and more difficult to express the influence the book has had on so many all over the world since that time. Its penetration into so many languages (including Esperanto, an invented language) illustrates at the very least its popularity, while the imitations and influences have shown up in nearly every conceivable art form and many of those influenced have produced remarkable works of their own.

TheOneRing.net’s own Greenbooks has a section of tributes to J.R.R. Tolkien from a number of authors. As today is a birthday of sorts I suggest reading them as they are moving and fitting but I quote here from author Terry Pratchet directly from our site:

. . . I can't remember where I was when JFK was shot, but I can remember exactly where and when I was when I first read JRRT. It was New Year's Eve, 1961. I was babysitting for friends of my parents while they all went out to a party. I didn't mind. I'd got this three-volume yacht anchor of a book from the library that day. Boys at school had told me about it. It'd got maps in it, they said. This struck me at the time as a pretty good indicator of quality . . .

Other authors like the best-selling and highly esteemed George R.R. Martin, who shares the double middle initials (Raymond Richard), list Tolkien as a master writer rather matter-of-factly. In a 2001 interview posted on his own website he said the following after being asked if high fantasy has peaked:

“…I can't speak for other writers. I definitely don't think it's peaked. If it peaked artistically, it was in the 1940s with Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings still remains the great exemplar of the form. I don't think anything has been done since that's close to it. But that's plenty of motivation for the rest of us to climb that Mount Everest and see what we can do…But even so, very few of these people have ever approached Tolkien. So I think the best of epic fantasy is yet to come.”

Pratchet, Martin and scores of others are examples of those feeling thee effects of Tolkien’s handiwork. Without a doubt professor Tolkien changed the world he lived in through his words, one person at a time. That isn’t to say he caused world peace to breakout or that cases of domestic violence are dramatically lower among those who read his books, but his ideas and vision and values and his very ‘life-blood’ that he told Unwin he had written his work in, were spread to a vast audience. He planted, with no intention of doing so, a bit of himself in a significant portion of the population. His idea of giving the U.K. a mythology of its own has instead become a mythology shared by much of the world. While Britain may lay a special claim to it, it surely extends far beyond its boarders.

Like Martin, Pratchet, Robert Plant, Christopher Lee, Geddy Lee, George Lucas, J.K. Rowling, Ursula Le Guin, and a host of others that found inspiration by reading Tolkien’s words, a whole new generation is discovering the books now. Peter Jackson’s films continue to drive the masses to book retailers where they are eager to find the source of the wonderful films. Their literary experience may be skewed by having watched the story unfold first, but there is little doubt that among the millions of new readers new Le Guins, Lees, Lucases and Rowlings will emerge. The shockwave of Tolkien’s writing feat will not diminish after 50 amazing years but will amplify.

This new rush to the bookstore did a favor for the Tolkien estate as well as Tolkien’s publishers: it poured in new money. Demand for the books never stopped after the 1960s but in the midst of the mania over the films not only did The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit enter prominent spots on bestseller’s lists, so did The Silmarillion edited by Christopher Tolkien.

The Silmarillion is most often viewed as Tolkien’s “other” book, which is only part of the truth. Work on the grand history started long before there was a book about hobbits but publication didn’t come until after the author’s death in 1973. When son and literary heir Christopher did manage to organize and edit it for publication in 1977 it sold over 1 million copies in the U.S. alone. But it has not been the last we have heard from the Tolkiens, far from it in fact.

As anybody familiar with The Silmarillion knows, it is a dense text that freezes some readers in their literary tracks. Today, 50 years after The Lord of the Rings was unleashed, no reader need feel that the sometimes cold path (but rewarding and beautiful for those who stick it out) is the only choice available. There are plenty more directions a reader of LOTR can go than just into the mythologically complex story of the creation of Middle-earth and the origin of the Elves in the world’s primordial ages. We live in a time, thanks to the popularizing film and the widespread dissemination of information, when more and better reading material is available by and about Tolkien than ever before.

Today, and all year, as we celebrate the Golden Anniversary of this most remarkable of texts, let us find new Tolkien material to explore. If we truly appreciate the author and his gift of myth and literature, let us celebrate with words. Many readers are still unaware of the vast material available for discovery, looking no further than for a sequel to his magnum opus.

A friend at TheOneRing.net, Balin as he is known among the staff, listed 10 of his most memorable Tolkien moments in no particular order. One was the death of J.R.R. Tolkien. “I felt like I had lost a mentor,” he said. “I also thought I would never see any more of his writings.” Another of the moments was ordering a copy of The Silmarillion before it was published. This account is remarkable because things are so different now when there is so much of his writing and The Silmarillion and so many other gems in most every passable bookstore. Indulge me in an exploration of the offerings and forgive me for stepping slightly into territory that belongs to TORn's own Turgon's bookshelf.

While we are still deprived the insights of the living writer, there is a wealth of material from and about Tolkien available and more is published constantly. The Silmarillion isn’t the author’s last word nor the last edited volume from his son while more and more about the author is being produced all the time. Much of the basic biographical information presented in this essay can be read about in interesting detail in Humphrey Carpenter's J.R.R. Tolkien: a Biography. There are a number of readers of The Lord of the Rings who blanch at the prospect of reading a biography, but they should overcome their suspicions and indulge in the quiet pleasure of discovery. The portrait of a philologist, a professor, a writer, frien and a husband and father is far more interesting than it appears 'on paper' and is in fact good reading. It ought to be required reading for those wanting a seat on the very populated Tolkien bandwagon. A companion piece of sorts is Carpenter's The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. The topics the professor addresses are wide-ranging and curiously contemporary and of course, the reader is free to browse.

A recent addition to the collection of biographical works is John Garth's Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth. While delving into the horrors of trench warfare the book has memorable warmth as it takes the reader into the close friendships of Tolkien's school-boy days. In breaks new ground in the record of Tolkien's early life and earliest writing. Other memorable choices include J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century where Tom Shippey, prominent medievalist and scholar of fantasy, makes the case that Tolkien is what the title claims and refutes those who criticize his works. Also available is Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator which looks into the visual side of his creative life with lavish illustrations.

If readers are hungering for Middle-earth more than Tolkien, one easy place to start is The Annotated Hobbit by Douglas Anderson. The full text of the book is present but in the margins and footnotes are heaps of information that pertain to the book and the writer. This is a light introduction to Tolkien scholarship featuring over 150 illustrations from Tolkien editions from all over the world. Beyond that, the volume contains additional Tolkien writing, specifically the full text of The Quest of Erebor which is Gandalf's explanation of how he came to send Bilbo Baggins on his journey with the dwarves. This is another must read and presents the big question: Where is the much needed The Annotated Lord of the Rings?

Unfinished Tales is every bit as good of a starting point for post LOTR reading as The Silmarillion. It has tales from the ancient of days, presents the most complete tale of the lost city of Men (Numenor) and has some startling stories from the perspective of the Hobbits from LOTR. It is easy going and since it presents bits from all the ages of Middle-earth and not a chronological narrative, readers can skip here and there to find what most interests them. This wonderful book is far too often ignored.

Another figure too often under-appreciated by those with a familiarity of only Tolkien's most famous works is Christopher Tolkien. Not only did he organize the content for The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales he completed the massive twelve volume History of Middle-earth, a feat of true scholarship all on its own. Too dense for many, it is a work worthy of great admiration. Few know that J.R.R. wrote much of LOTR with Christopher in mind and sent chapters to his son during service in WWII. At the insistence of C.S. Lewis, Christopher attended meetings of the Inklings to read his father's chapters (a much better reader than his father according to Lewis) and was considered a full member of the group. For those less inclined to wade into the massive history of his father's writing, a four volume collection has been pulled from the larger series to present The History of The Lord of the Rings which focuses on the content of the most interest to the most people.

There are many more works by Tolkien in the form or short stories or translations that are wonderful and worth a reader's time. Finding them is easy enough, so enjoy the search but whatever you choose to read, please do read. Celebrate the first fifty years of The Lord of the Rings with a book or books of your choosing. Take advantage of the wide-ranging choices and learn. Devour the delectable selections of the Tolkien library in celebration of the man and the myth he created that will continue to ring in the hearts and heads of generations of readers world-wide for far longer than the next 50 years.

Lords of the Rhymes Show Dates & More
Xoanon @ 1:23 pm EST



Hobbit rap mega-stars Quickbeam and Bombadil, known throughout the lands as Lords of the Rhymes, will release 'Lords of the Rhymes: Ye untolde tale' next month, and will offer concertgoers a sneak preview of the film at their upcoming show at Lit on August 6.

The film -- which details the rise to stardom, the music, the hype, the fans, and the secret lives of MCs Quickbeam and Bombadil -- was originally slated for release in December of 2003 but hit numerous production snags along the way, including (but not limited to) earthquakes, fires, lightning, floods, plagues, toads, fleas, acts of god, and an unusually small rabbit. The epic 475-day shoot spanned 12 continents, involved thousands of unpaid migrant extras, and boasted a budget of at least 350 dollars. The shoot also had its effect on local economies -- at one point the Lords had exhausted supplies of duct tape and cardboard within a 75 mile radius.

Director Curufin the Crafty - who, in editing the film, was driven to the brink of madness on at least seven occasions -- was quoted as saying: "Its a larger than life film about two smaller than life hobbits. As a film, it is my life work, and into it I have poured my will, my spirit, and my very blood." Mr. Crafty went on to say that he would consider doing a prequel if asked.

The Lords will celebrate the film's release with a rollicking release party at Lit in New York City and a performance at Turbine Nation in Providence. The diminutive duo are known for their high energy live shows, which draw throngs of screaming fans and send elf-girls to their knees in fits of ecstatic weeping. When asked if this show will bring any new twists, gold-toothed rapper Bombadil replied:

'Yeah, this time evil's bringing a posse -- and there's gonna be a battle. A battle, in fact, to end all battles.'

Friday August 6th
Lords of the Rhymes
plus special rock n' roll guests
9:00 PM
Downstairs at Lit
2nd Avenue btw 5th and 6th

Saturday August 7, 2004
Lords of the Rhymes
Turbine Nation 2004 - Representin' Middle-earth Online
Rhode Island Convention Center
Providence, Rhode Island


7-28-04 Latest News

Reminder: LOTR Exhibit in Boston Opens Soon!
Xoanon @ 10:03 pm EST

On Sunday, August 1, "The Lord of the Ring Motion Picture Trilogy—The Exhibition" will make its U.S. Premiere at the Museum of Science, Boston!

Now that The Democratic National Convention (being held only two blocks away) is winding down, tickets are going fast for the opening weekend. The Members' Only Preview Day on Saturday July 31st is over 90% sold.

You can still be one of the first to see the exhibit in North America! On opening day, August 1st, the Museum will open very early 12:01 a.m. and visitors are encouraged to come in costume. Additionally, on the first day, from 12:01 - 8:45 a.m. tickets will be $5 only! (Regular adult tickets for the rest of the run are $19. Big savings!) Plenty of tickets available from 1:15 AM to 8:00 AM. (For those who want to view the exhibit with few distractions or crowds, the best times to attend are between 2:30 AM and 6:30 AM.)

Also on August 1, Lawrence Makoare (the actor who played “Lurtz” – the chief Orc the first film and "Gothmog" and "The Witch King" in the third movie) will be at the Museum of Science from 7 – 9 a.m. Get an autograph on a FREE Lord of the Rings poster or get your photo taken with the big Orc!

To order Tickets go to www.mos.org/lotr On the exhibition home page, click on "Tickets" at the top of the screen. On the tickets screen, click on "MOS Tix" to see available time and to order tickets online. Tickets may also be purchased at the door.

Astin Set To Teach 'Hercules'
Xoanon @ 10:15 am EST

Nellie Andreeva writes: Sean Astin, Leelee Sobieski and Timothy Dalton are set and Angie Harmon is in negotiations to star in NBC's four-hour miniseries "Hercules," from Hallmark Entertainment.

British newcomer Paul Tefter has been selected from more than 200 candidates to play the title role in the project, which chronicles the life of the Greek hero who, after killing his two sons and two of his brother's sons, performs 12 labors to repent.

Astin will play Linus, Hercules' music teacher. Sobieski will play Hercules' second wife, Deianeira. Harmon will play Hercules' mother, Alcmene, and Dalton will play the hero's stepfather, Amphitryon.

Roger Young is directing the mini, budgeted at more than $20 million, from a script by Charles Pogue.

"Hercules," executive produced by Robert Halmi Sr., is scheduled to begin production Aug. 23 in New Zealand with the premiere eyed for May 2005.

While Tefler has an imposing physique, at 6-foot-2, the project will not follow the Hollywood formula of portraying Hercules as a Schwarzenegger-type muscle man with incredible physical strength.

"His strength comes within," Halmi said. "He grows strong emotionally, mentally and spiritually as he tries to redeem himself."

Astin, who played Frodo's best friend Sam Gamgee in "The Lord of Rings" trilogy, recently wrapped the feature "Caught in the Act" and will next be seen in "Elvis Has Left the Building" and "Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing and Charm School."

He is repped by Writers & Artists Group International, manager Joel Stevens and attorney David Feldman.

Sobieski, whose credits include starring roles in the miniseries "Joan of Arc" for CBS and "Uprising" for NBC, is repped by ICM and manager Joan Hyler.

Harmon, a "Law & Order" veteran, most recently co-starred in the feature "Agent Cody Banks." She is repped by UTA.

Dalton, who has a long relationship with Halmi, most recently starred as Julius Caesar in Hallmark's 1999 telefilm for ABC "Cleopatra."

Dalton, best known for his role as James Bond in "The Living Daylights" and "License to Kill," was most recently seen in the features "Looney Tunes: Back in Action" and "American Outlaws."

Telfer is not a stranger to ancient times. He had roles on TNT's miniseries "Spartacus" and the upcoming indie "Alexander the Great From Macedonia."

In addition to "Hercules," Halmi is shepherding two other high-profile longform projects to air on broadcast networks next season, "A Christmas Carol" for NBC and "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" for CBS.

LOTR Concert at Royal Albert Hall Announcement
Xoanon @ 10:11 am EST

The Lord of the Rings Returns!


22 September 2004 Royal Albert Hall selling out (very limited number of seats still available; Gallery standing now on sale @ £12)


Columbia Artists Management ANNOUNCES A SECOND DATE AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL 23 SEPTEMBER at 7.30pm in six movements for soloists, chorus and orchestra London Philharmonic Orchestra & London Voices Sissel, vocals. Howard Shore, composer & conductor


Tickets: £15; £25; £35; £40; £45 (plus booking fee)
Box Office: 020 7589 8212 Website: www.royalalberthall.com

Howard Shore’s evocative music for Peter Jackson’s multi-award winning film, already greeted with a unanimous standing ovation by a sell-out Royal Festival Hall audience in May, returns to London, not once - but now twice - to meet public demand. Columbia Artists Management announces today a second Royal Albert Hall concert to join 22 September (Bilbo and Frodo’s joint birthdays). The party is now set to continue the very next day, Thursday 23 September.

The Royal Albert Hall will resound with the folk-inspired music of the Shire, the nostalgically melancholic music of the elves, Arwen and Galadriel, the rousing music of the Helm’s Deep, Gondor and Minis Tirith, and the demonic music of the Balrog, Nazgul, Mordor and the Dark Lord, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra once again joined by composer/conductor Howard Shore to recreate the epic story of the battle for the heart and soul of Middle Earth.

One of the most eagerly-awaited, stupendously-acclaimed and, now, richly-awarded cinematic events of all time (both in middle-earth and this earth), The Lord of the Rings lives on in the powerful score composed by Howard Shore. Among the extraordinary 33 Oscars, Baftas and Golden Globes, Shore has five to his name - Academy Awards for Best Score for Fellowship of the Ring and both Academy Awards and Golden Globes for not only Best Score but also Best Song for The Return of the King. In addition Shore won two Grammy Awards (Best Original Soundtrack for The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers).

Having composed twelve hours of music for the trilogy (in both its theatrical release and extended DVD versions), Howard Shore returns to London to conduct the London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Voices and Norwegian vocalist Sissel in The Lord of the Rings Symphony. The performance will be held in the recently refurbished Victorian majesty of the Royal Albert Hall. Shore’s Symphony was premièred in Wellington, New Zealand as part of the celebrations for the opening of The Return of the King in December 2003. Subsequently performed in United States, Canada, Europe, Taiwan, and Australia, its Royal Festival Hall performance on Sunday 23 May sold out immediately and now the Royal Albert Hall concerts will be its only UK performances next season. 22 September, serendipitously, coincides with Bilbo’s and Frodo’s birthdays.

Follow, once again, the intrepid fellowship of nine as they collectively, and individually, battle against the evil of Sauron and try to protect the ring-bearer, the hobbit Frodo, as he carries the burden of “the one ring to rule them all” to Mordor’s Mount Doom. Shore’s score was an integral part of Peter Jackson’s overall design, and the beauty of Rivendell and the elves is as evocatively caught in sound as it is in images; the battle scenes are as memorable for their pounding ferocity as the sight of thousands of orcs, oliphants or the Nazgul.

The performance will be accompanied by projected images from artists Alan Lee and John Howe, whose drawings inspired Peter Jackson and his team. Together with Shore’s soaring music, they bring a touch of Middle Earth to the Royal Albert Hall, from the mystery of the mines of Moria to the grandeur of Minis Tirith; from the beauty of Rivendell to the horror of Helm’s Deep; and the two towers themselves, Saruman’s Isengard and Sauron’s Barad-dûr in Mordor. Remind yourselves of the host of wonderful characters evoked by the stunning score - Gollum, Treebeard, Merry, Pippin, Arwen, Eowyn, Gandalf, Legolas, Gimli, Aragorn, Boromir and Faramir.

The promoters regret that there are no concessions for hobbits, elves, orcs, goblins, dwarves, ring wraiths or, indeed, any wannabe Lords of the Ring!

Extended Extended Editions?
Xoanon @ 10:00 am EST

manicjaguar writes: Wonderful site as usual....Just thought I'd let you know about an article in the September 2004 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly. It has the rpg game LOTR: The Third Age on the cover, and inside is a good article about the game. What's of note is several quotes from the games Executive Producer, Steve Gray. Here's some excerpts.

(EGM)But even when the final product hits the shelves in November, only New Line and EA will know which plot elements were created from scratch and which are based on actual footage Peter Jackson shot but still hasn't seen the light of day. "They're really protective of that footage," Gray says, "because obviously, they want to make the extended (italics EGM) extended versions someday--in a trilogy box set or whatever. They want to keep the franchise alive for years to come."...........Thousands of movie production photos line the walls, and hours of footage from the films--some of it not even included in the special extended editions--fill artists' hard drives.

There's more, but I thought you'd enjoy that, didn't know if its been submitted or not though.

7-27-04 Latest News

Comic-Con Footage Transcript
Xoanon @ 2:16 pm EST

Aegis of Pyros writes: I've done the best I can and will be the 1st on the net to bring this to you.


GANDALF: "Come down Saruman and your life will be spared!"

SARUMAN: "Save your pity and your mercy, I have no use for it!"

PJ: "You, we always thought Return of thhe king was short, so it depends on what you want in it. So naturally we had to cut some things, but we put 50 minutes back in. The 50 minutes of extra footage basically equaits to how...[SCREAMS]...because in those 50 exra minutes, there's something like 350 extra visual effects shots. Along side the movie itself is obviously our apendecies; our documenteries on the making of the film, and they to come to a conclusion, and they chat about the ending."

RP: "Just like in Return of the King, there is a conclusion to what happens in the fellowship, and in this extended copy is basically the conclusion to our work and progress with these films."

PJ: "The documenteries and apendecies of these extended cuts, theres a struggle with maintaining the qualtiy with what we've done in the previous films. We want our movies to be good, we want our documenteries to be good, and to just be able to share with you what we went through making these films."

(Sorry the part with Billy was completely screamed out. Something about either Casts or Cats, and New Zeland)

EW: "It was an amazing experience we had, and its so close to my heart, so the fans, you know, and all of us can allow the films and the experience to live on in these DVD's."

SAM: "Mr Frodo, there's light, beauty up there that shadow can't toutch."

MERRY: "I know it's too late to do anything. I know there was not much point in coming, too. I'm a hobbit, and I know I cant save Middle Earth. I just want to help my friends, more than anything. I wish I could it, the end."




GANDALF: "Go back to the Abyss! Fall into the nothingness that awaits you and your Master!"
WITCHKING: "This is my hour!"


7-26-04 Latest News

Location Guidebook Extended Edition Coming Soon!
Xoanon @ 7:16 pm EST

Order Your Copy of the original 'The Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook' today!

Severine800 received this interesting bit of news in his/her email today:

The Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook celebrates selling over 200,000 copies with the August 6th publication of the Extended Edition by Ian Brodie

As you have purchased previous editions of the guide from us we are giving you the opportunity to purchase a personally author-signed copy of the extended edition now before it reaches overseas bookstores this November.

This definitive full-colour The Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook, by Ian Brodie, showcases the principal movie set locations around New Zealand as seen in all three films.

This new book contains all of the features of the popular first and second editions, but has been revised into a larger coffee table size to accommodate the many requests from readers of the first two books.

With the increased image size the book is now a beautifully presented collection of images of New Zealand and the movie images and locations, ideal for tourists and as a gift for overseas friends and family.

The popularity of the first two editions has turned Wanaka author Ian Brodie's brainchild into a publishing phenomenon, with more than 200,000 copies of the book sold since the first edition was published in November 2002.

Ian's life has also undergone a dramatic change; he has become Air New Zealand's Ambassador to Middle-earth, and a key spokesperson for Tourism New Zealand, who have flown him to major international tourism conferences to speak about New Zealand as Middle-earth. He featured as a red carpet presenter for TV3 during the premiere of the final movie, and has been interviewed by print, radio and television media from all around the world since the book's international release at the end of last year. He has also been nominated for a premiere tourism award and a Booksellers' Choice award, both to be announced in July 2004. Six of his location images are being released as stamps by NZ Post to coincide with the new book, and Ian and his son have featured as extras in the final movie, The Return of the King.

Background on the book

Since the first screening of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in 2001, New Zealand has become the embodiment of Middle-earth to millions of moviegoers and Tolkien readers the world over. The Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook Extended Edition is the perfect reference book for everyone enchanted by the beauty of the locations in the movie trilogy. It contains valuable background information and exclusive anecdotes about the filming, with sections written specially by Peter Jackson, Alan Lee, Richard Taylor and Barrie Osborne, plus contributions from the cast and crew. In addition, the book includes:

Exclusive movie and location photographs, maps and location directions, GPS references to location sites, touring information for travellers, and useful internet addresses.

About the author

Ian Brodie, Director of the NZ Fighter Pilots Museum in Wanaka, was already a published author before he came to HarperCollins, with eight titles on aviation related topics to his credit. He first read The Lord of the Rings when he was 14 and since then have been totally entranced with the works of JRR Tolkien. A keen traveller and photographer since the age of seventeen, Ian now lives and works in Wanaka with his wife and two teenaged children.

The Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook Extended Edition
Launch Date: Friday 6 August
Recommended Retail Price: $39.99

Order Your Copy of the original 'The Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook' today!

Fellowship Festival Update: Bernard Hill Attends and More!
leo @ 5:50 pm EST

Lots of exciting news over at the Fellowship Festival-front. Today a new guest was added to the already impressive line-up: none other than Bernard Hill (Theoden)! This will his first ever fan convention!

Bernard Hill will be attending all three days, an hourly question and answer session in the 'Hall of Fire' every day, meeting fans in the one2one sessions as well as attending 'The Fellowship Feast', an exclusive dinner for the attending cast & crew and 90 fans.

So far the Fellowship Festival has signed 14 guests for their event, with more interesting announcements to come soon!

In the meantime, TheOneRing.net is proud to team up with the Fellowship Festival to be one of the judges for the 'New Film Makers Competition'. This is an amazing opportunity to show us what budding filmmakers you all are. Your Quest: produce a film no more than 2 minutes long parodying a scene from The Lord of The Rings films. Guidelines and more can be read here!

And last but not least: stay tuned for your chance to win a pair of Silver 3-day passes for the event (worth £150 each)!

Head over to the Fellowship Festival's official website for more information or purchase your tickets for the event here!

See ya there!

7-25-04 Latest News

More Comic-Con Reports & Photos!
Xoanon @ 6:48 pm EST

Comic-Con 2004 Images
Click here for more images

Melowyn writes: Here's little more news and few pictures from Comic-Con 2004:


A few more scenes on the EE revealed at the panel on Friday were the drinking contest between Legolas and Gimli (looks very funny!), Theoden accepting Merry’s services into the Rohan army, and Gandalf’s battle with the Witch King (wow!). Billy also mentioned that the scene where he finds Merry on the fields of Pelennor will be different in the EE. It will show him searching throughout the day for his Hobbit pal, and finally finding him after the sun has set. I guess the digital guys were able change the same scene from day to night. They also showed us a hilarious bit taken from interviews of Dom and Viggo about Oscar night. It won’t be on the EE, but maybe we’ll see it again some other time???

On Saturday, while Dom signed autographs for Lost a few booths away, Billy and David signed at the New Line booth. There was quite a lot of anxiety in the crowd before the signing. New Line announced the signing would begin at 12:00 with the line forming at 11:30. Many of us arrived about 9:30 and spent two hours walking the perimeter of the booth and studying the ROTK costumes displayed there, waiting for the moment that the line would form. By 11:30 there was a HUGE crowd around the New Line booth hoping to get tickets for the signing. Unfortunately many of those waiting were not able to get a ticket.

When things finally began, Billy and David were very gracious and took the time to speak to the fans and personalize their autographs. Both were extraordinarily patient and friendly. They did are quick interview, took a short lunch break for pizza, and then returned to continue signing for several more hours. Dom showed up, too, to say hello to Billy and David, making the day even more exciting. To top it off, I believe that New Line passed out more tickets, and David and Billy stayed longer than expected to make sure that everyone was able to get an autograph. Very classy gentlemen.

In the meantime, Dom walked around the exhibit hall and checked out some of the great deals. He smiled at fans, signed a few autographs and posed for some pictures. What a nice guy!

At the far end of the exhibit hall, Sala was at the Ringers booth also signing autographs and talking with the crowd. Quickbeam and his crew were there with some clips from the Ringers film, which looks fantastic.

It was really an incredible day!

As an aside, apparently there’s a rumor going around that the ROTK Extended DVD will be released on December 10. Laura from New Line who MC’d the panel on Friday night said she doesn’t even know the date yet and it definitely won’t be the 10th because that’s a Friday. New Line DVD’s are not released on Fridays.

Weekly World News Finds Hobbit Skeleton
Xoanon @ 11:32 am EST

A 'tabloid' newspaper in the US called Weekly World News makes it a habit to write fake articles and print them in the newspaper. They've written about Elvis being alive, Saddam and Osama being lovers, Aliens found on Mars, and a Bat-Boy, half bat, half boy, living among us. It's no surprise then that the latest issue features this article.

Hobbit Skeleton Found in New Zealand

New Zealand might really be the "Home of Middle Earth" after all!

While that advertising slogan has been reeling in tourists curious to visit the sites of the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, Kiwi archeologists have uncovered an historical link to the film's events: The world's first complete hobbit skeleton.

Ironically, parts of the skeleton were discovered last month during road construction near Matamata, the rural area that filmmaker Peter Jackson chose to stand in as the hobbit village of Hobbiton.

Members of the NEw Zealand Archeological Society were immediately called in to investigate the remains, which they expected to be Maori in origin.

"You can just imagine our exitement when we saw that elongated foot poking out of the ground - unmistakably hobbit!" says excavation leader Dr. Harold Cavendish. "We quickly knew we had something rare."

In fact, the assembled bones made up a complete hobbit skeleton: A young male in his early 60s, still clutching a stein commonly used to drink ale.

Even more remarkable, forensic scientists have deturmined the hobbit's cause of death.

"The impact fracture on the back of his skull is consistent with the shape of an orc weapon know as the 'orc gasher,' a crude axe," says New Zealand pathologist Eric Oxenburger.

"Our chap may have been just minding his own buisiness when a sudden orc attack quickly ended his life."

Archeologists hope this discovery will lead to further understanding of the mythshrouded era that provided inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien's "myth-based" novels.

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