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August 10, 2002 - August 17, 2002

8-17-02 Latest News

Just what goes on at League?
Flinch @ 6:13 pm EST

People keep wondering just what goes on at the LOTR Gaming Leagues that pop up around the country, and the world. Not to go into long descriptions about long hours rolling dice for the Lord of the Rings Miniature War Game, or frantic episodes of rage throwing Nazgul back and forth in the Lord of the Rings Trading Card game, I figured I'd just take you there!

Click the image bellow to see the rest of the pictures.

Look like fun? Play the LOTR Miniature War Game? Enjoy the LOTR Trading Card Game? Then perhaps you might want to concider joining a LOTR Gaming League near you!

Already joined a league? Got pictures? We'd love to see em! Send em in to flinch@theonering.net

8-15-02 Latest News

Media Watch: The New Yorker
Xoanon @ 9:24 pm EST

From: AC

A brief review of Viggo's recent exhibit at the Robert Mann gallery in NYC appears in the recent issue of "The New Yorker" under Photography:

"After wading through this group of meditative images of dogs running or growling at each other and of children covered in home-drawn tattoos, one shouldn't be faulted for jumping at the sight of a pointy-eared elf in a forest glen. Mortensen, a would-be Renaissance man who writes poems, makes paintings, takes photographs, and plays hunks in movies, is best known for his role of the stern Aragorn, a rare human in the recent film "Lord of the Rings." In fact, his Middle Earthling photos, taken on location in New Zealand, are some of the most affecting in the show -- a little bit creepy and nicely surprising."

The photo in question is Chetwood Forest #3, 2000, and is actually of a Hobbit, not an elf (Dominic's body double to be exact). At least the reviewer liked the photo I bought at the opening.

TTT Running Time and More!
Calisuri @ 6:34 pm EST

Thanks to a heads up for Ringer Spy 'A Fan' we got news today that The Two Towers current cut of the film is 3 hours and 14 minutes. Here's more juicy tidbits:

The current cut of THE TWO TOWERS has it at 3:14. The battle of Helm's Deep is 50 minutes, give or take.

I can say this...there IS an Ent battle filmed. I'm not sure if it's for the film or for some extended version down the road, but we do see the Ents march on Isengard.

Woo hoo! Ents marching on Isengard...I can't wait! We have not yet confirmed the details of this story, but as soon as we get word, we'll let you know.

BoxOfficeMojo Rental Stats Update
Strider @ 4:39 pm EST

Brandon Gray

The rentals stats for LOTR's first week on home video are in: DVD Rentals and VHS Rentals.

People may have been so busy buying LOTR, that it didn't break any rentals records. The epic fantasy minted $6.02 million in DVD rentals and $6.79 million in VHS rentals top both charts for the week ending August 11. By comparison, Harry Potter did $5.34 million on DVD and $7.41 million on VHS in its first week. So LOTR did top Potter in combined rentals, $12.81 million to $12.75 million.

Full rentals charts will be posted later today, including how many times LOTR was rented, not just the money.

Still no word on actual sales, but given the muted rentals numbers, they likely rivaled Harry Potter's if not surpassed it. Potter's first week came to 9.86 million in combined DVD and VHS sales, and it has gone on to sell nearly 7 million copies on DVD. Shrek is still the top DVD seller of all time at over 8 million.

New American Library Association Posters
Tehanu @ 2:21 pm EST

Last year, the American Library Association used The Lord of the Rings for their teen read week with the theme "Make Reading a Hobbit" and nice posters and bookmarks with both Frodo and Arwen holding books and actually reading. A short time later, a new set comes out to include Gandalf, who was holding an absolutely huge volume and encouraging those kids to pick up a book and read. But this summer it looks as though ALA has changed tactics with a new poster featuring the nine Ring Wraiths fleeing from the flood-waters called up by Arwen at the Ford. Wowsers! Are they trying to tell us that if we don't read, the Ring Wraiths will get us? Maybe insinuating that the Ring Wraiths are all wet for not spending quality time at their local library? You decide-- go to ALA then go to the fantasy/science fiction collection.

Actually, many local public libraries carry videos and DVDs now, right along with the print materials they've always carried. So this poster isn't inappropriate but struck me as funny. It's also intersting that Darth Vadar is the only other 'evil' charactor to earn a poster at ALA at this time." Thanks to Asarina for that.

[Well, I can only wonder what would happen if we encouraged teenagers to think that reading was rebellious and bad....Tehanu]

Melbourne News - Dir. of Photography, and TTT Running Time
Tehanu @ 1:54 pm EST

A report from Matt in Melbourne: "I thought I'd write to you about an event that just took place at the Treasury theatre here in Melbourne Australia as part of the Popcorn Taxi program.

"Andrew Lesnie (Oscar winning Lord of the Rings DP) was in attendance and shared stories of Oscar night, film making, his career and its humble beginnings, how technology affected the rings trilogy, the pros and cons of digital film grading and how the effect heavy Babe films prepared him for LOTR among many other topics. Andrew came across as a very funny, likeable and enthusiastic guy who has a genuine love for what he does, very inspiring. It was great to see his early work and refreshing to see that he wasn't ashamed or too hung up to show us some of his very early unpolished material.

"He shared stories from his early career (including filming a Mad Max behind the scenes documentary) up to his current role in the LOTR trilogy. He and Peter hit it off immediately when meeting and the amazing attention to detail of the Weta artists was one of the deciding factors to him signing on board as DP. He also mentioned that he and Peter shared a common vision that character acting and storytelling, as well as a solid script be the basis of the film. (a certain un-named fantasy film franchise maker could learn much from this)

"The big news here I guess is that he has seen a work print of The Two Towers which he said runs at 2hrs 15 mins (I do not know if this was before or after this years pick-up shots, which he said mainly consisted of character development scenes previously reported)"

[However we have news from Jack which contradicts this: He said "While attending the San Diego Comic-Con, I had a few opportunities to chat with Richard Taylor. One of the first questions on my list to ask him was: "Are the next two movie going to be as long, or longer than FOTR?" He answered by saying (and I quote):

"Oh definately. THE TWO TOWERS running time is going to be around 3 hours and 20 minutes long."]

Back to Matt's report: "Andrew mentioned that the second film is very different than the first and that it is much bigger in scale and scope. He also seemed genuinely excited about it in a way that seemed like his honest opinion unlike the hype that seems to pour from Rick McCallum's mouth whenever he seems to open it. The Two Towers will also be 100% digitally graded (fellowship was approx 70%) thus bypassing the quality losses associated with anamorphic optical stretch which he seemed to think was a more relevant issue in terms of quality loss than interneg/pos printing/duplication from the original film negatives.

"He was involved with the pick-up shots earlier in the year and expects to be involved in the pick-up shots next year for Return of the King. Also of interest was his involvement in the lighting of the 3d sets and elements, not typically a job of the average DP. During the night some Fellowship footage was screened courtesy of Village Roadshow which was an excellent, pristine quality print. I don't remember it looking this good when seeing it even on opening day at the first screening here in Melbourne.

We were also privvy to a screening of the quite funny behind the scenes doco about the Sean Astin directorial debut 'The Long and the Short of it' which was shot on high definition, making use of many key LOTR cast/crew and facilities. This documentary further illustrated the bond and enthusiasm shared by the cast and crew of these films. All up Andrew was a great pleasure to hear speak, like I said earlier, he was an incredibly likeable, down to earth 'no bullshit' kinda guy. It was easy to understand why he and Peter got along so well. If you live in Melbourne, dig LOTR and the work of Andrew, I cannot imagine a better night out. With so much talk of the pros associated with digital grading I would have liked to hear Andrew's opinion on digital image aquisition via 24p high def but I guess there is only so much you can fit in an evening. The night was put together by Popcorn Taxi and was MC'd by Melbourne's own Head Film Geek Paul Harris"

8-14-02 Latest News

SFX Reader's Awards
Xoanon @ 8:51 pm EST

The SFX Reader's awards are in, and LOTR wins for Best Picture!

Take a look at the other categories at the scans below.

Edinburgh LOTR Event Report
leo @ 6:34 pm EST

Ringer Spy Greenwood Hobbit attended some sort of Lord of the Rings inspired performance during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and here's her report!

Lords of the Ring The Fellowship of the Fringe trooped along to see this ‘epic tale of passions seething below the surface of the Edgbaston Tolkien Society’ on 10th August in Edinburgh. Packed into a hot, dark room wider than it was long, we were treated to a gravelly-voiced introduction, as in the movie. Galadriel this guy wasn’t…! Then ‘Gandalf’ and ‘Saruman’ appeared from behind screens, and a re-enactment of the famous duel commenced. That was hilarious; flowing robes, ‘Santa in a wind-tunnel’ wigs, nifty moves, staffs of a kind available at all good garden centres, and sound effects of the ‘Zap/Pfffzzztt/Zinnng/Fttang school of wizardry. Then – it stopped. Wigs were pulled off, and a petulant cry of ‘Jean – the pyro didn’t go off! You’ve ruined the re-enactment!’ broke the mood. Shrugging off robes and taking up clipboards, the two men - who I will call Bossy and Nerd - began to introduce a lecture on Tolkien (during which the pyro did go off, by the way). The lecture theme underpinned the whole performance. Video footage was played on a central screen, prefaced by capering captions familiar to anyone who’s been subjected to over-enthusiastic Powerpoint presentations. A map of Middle Earth lay on the floor, created by the local young offender’s institution (with lurid graffiti on the reverse!) The murky politics of small specialist organisations were probed, and intrigues of an adulterous nature were hinted at. Some ghastly but very funny footage of a Tom Bombadil lookalike frolicking in the meadows was played, and a Tom-style song sung. This isn’t a blow-by-blow account of the show; there was a lot of material in there, it’s impossible to recall it all after one viewing. I do remember Nerd slapping on a wig, kneeling on his shoes and ‘doing a Frodo’; there was also a very funny LOTR spoof song which sadly I can’t remember (it was a very busy weekend!) Bossy had been sleeping with Nerd’s wife, it turned out; Nerd was suitably crushed by this. However, the tale took an unexpected turn when Bossy announced he’d only done it ‘to be closer to’ Nerd. Hand in hand, they sang the final number ‘We are the Champions - of Middle Earth’ and the audience joined in with much arm-waving. It was a funny show; perhaps funnier to those with a more general awareness of Tolkien, rather than an absorbing interest, as TORnsibs tend to have. I felt the nerdiness thing was a bit overdone, but that’s just a personal opinion. However, it was very creative and witty, the two performers Chris Chilton and Stuart Robb were full of energy, and performed with the minimum of props and scenery, throwing in a couple of energetic musical numbers too. The audience seemed well pleased by the show.

Passport to Middle-earth radio show on today
Tehanu @ 12:31 pm EST

Here is what is happening on Passport to Middle-earth, on Wednesday August 14:

Today on Passport to Middle-earth on CJMQ 88.9 we will talk about the Istari (Wizards such as Gandalf and Saruman) and the Ents. We will demystify who are these wizards and explore their history, but we will also say a great deal about Gandalf since he is such an important character in the mythology of Middle-earth.

As for the Ents we will explore the mysteries of their arrival in Middle-earth, how the Elves came to "wake them up" and investigate the matter of the Entwives. So if you would like to know more about the Wizards of Middle-earth and the Ents, remember to tune in between 4pm and 6pm eastern time and listen to us either on the radio; CJMQ 88.9 FM in the Eastern Townships (Quebec, Canada) or via the web here

Check out our website: Passport to Middle-earth

Also we would like to have the contribution of our listeners for our last show, which will be Wednesday August 21. What is it that you like so much about Tolkien's mythology? Who is your favorite character? Your favorite passage? The event that you found the most compelling? This is your chance to express your enthusiasm for Tolkien's work. Let us know (passport_middle_earth@yahoo.com) and we will communicate your comments on the air!

Ring Lore by Lao of Gondor
Flinch @ 1:06 am EST

Welcome to Lao of Gondor's first installment of RING LORE: a new column dedicated to a more intense study and analysis of the characters and minions of Decipher's Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game. RING LORE offers beginning and advanced players alike, a unique understanding of certain key elements of the game, which will lead to stronger and more effective deck designs and strategies for your specific playing needs. So please sit back, relax, read-on and enjoy.

For this premiere installment of RING LORE, I have chosen my namesake and favorite character: BOROMIR - Lord of Gondor, Son of Denethor and Defender of Minas Tirith!

DESIGN STRATEGY: To fully utilize Boromir as part of your Fellowship, the decision you make should consider these following guidelines to realize his full potential as a companion:

A. Which version of Boromir will enhance your overall deck design?
B. Will Boromir be a Starting Companion or a Supporting Companion?
C. Is Boromir tailored to be PROACTIVE or DEFENSIVE?

There are currently 3 versions of Boromir to choose from as either a starting or supporting companion. Equally strong, each version shares the same character specifics of Strength (7) Vitality (3) and Twilight Cost (3). However, the subtle differences within each version will help you decide which best suits your overall deck design.

Let us begin with:
LORD OF GONDOR (LoG) - LoG is a very well balanced support companion. Defensively, he cannot be overwhelmed unless his strength is tripled, which allows him to defend against extremely high-strength minions (ex. The Balrog who is a base strength of 17). As a RANGER, LoG benefits from the versatility of very powerful ranger-based event and condition cards. LoG also benefits from non-sanctuary based healing due to the ARAGORN SIGNET, should he be in the same Fellowship as Aragorn, King In Exile.

ARMOR - Bearer (must be a Man) takes no more than 1 wound during each skirmish phase - essential to any given fighting deck strategy. LoG with Armor increases your Fellowship's chance of survival significantly, as he becomes your foremost defender against the two largest damage +1/FIERCE minions in the game: The Balrog and The Cave Troll.

BANNER OF THE WHITE TREE - coupled with Armor, LoG becomes strength +3, defender +1 and may only take 1 wound during each skirmish phase. Strong enough to survive a combined attack of both a base strength Cave Troll and base strength Witch King!

BLADE OF GONDOR - increasing his base strength +2 and making his attack power damage +1, LoG now becomes a very powerful OFFENSIVE force. The Blade of Gondor also gives him the opportunity to exert and wound an Orc or Uruk-Hai he is skirmishing.

ARAGORN, KING IN EXILE - The Healer. Even past Sanctuary, at the start of your turn, he has the ability to heal another companion who has the Aragorn SIGNET - in this case, LoG - who WILL take severe amounts of damage during the course of the game.

The second version of Boromir to consider as a member of your Fellowship is:
SON OF DENETHOR (SoD) - During SKIRMISH, exert SoD to make a Hobbit Compaion strength +3. This version of Boromir is ESSENTIAL to Hobbit-based run strategies. However, without early defensive support cards, SoD has greater difficulty using his ability to assist the Hobbits. If he suffers multiple wounds or exhaustion, he cannot use his special ability. The skirmish timing for this Boromir is crucial. Therefore, in order to protect his ability to enhance the Hobbits' chance for survival, SoD must employ the use of several key support cards.

ARMOR - Aside from reducing damage (as seen above), Armor is also incredibly effective against damage "modifier" cards such as Lurtz's Battle Cry, Mordor's Strength or other creatures or effects which effectively strip him of vitality and ultimately his ability.

COAT OF MAIL - Bearer (must be a man) cannot be overwhelmed unless his strength is tripled. With this possession, he becomes as defensively powerful as LoG. Combined with Armor, SoD can effectively protect his ability, thereby reserving his exertions for the Hobbits.

THE SAGA OF ELENDIL - by increasing Boromir's vitality +1, he now has the additional insurance needed in order to protect FRODO or any of the Hobbits from a possible overwhelming situation. And, if SoD loses a skirmish against a damage +1 minion, he is still 2 vitality away from exhaustion and can exert once more before that happens. If necessary, you may discard the "SAGA" during a skirmish to become strength +2, which could help you win that skirmish and protect your vitality for later exertions.

STRENGTH OF SPIRIT - One of GANDALF'S spells which costs 1 twilight, prevents placing a wound token on a companion from an exertion. At the right time, SoD could possibly increase a Hobbit's strength as much as +12 (four exertions - 1 prevented by Strength of Spirit and 1 additional from The Saga of Elendil).

Our final choice is probably the most popular version currently used for obvious reasons:
DEFENDER OF MINAS TIRITH (DoMT) - During the Fellowship phase, add 2 Twilight to heal Boromir. As both a Gondor Man and as a Ranger, DoMT benefits from the resources of powerful and versatile event cards. Perhaps though, the greatest asset of DoMT is his ability to heal THE very "exertion" that triggers a variety of powerful Gondor/Ranger initiated special cards. In conjunction with Aragorn, Heir to the White City - during each Fellowship phase, add 2 twilight to heal DoMT - which is subsequently negated using Aragorn's game text as the Fellowship moves onward. The ability to heal DoMT is paramount to his success as a companion, either starting or supporting. And, if you choose recruit DoMT, The HORN OF BOROMIR strategy is ultimately your best direction for deck design (see below)!

As you can see from what I have outlined above, each version of Boromir benefits from certain interchangeable combination cards. However, due to the special ability of DoMT - this following support card is considered the best (and perhaps strongest) combination yet seen for any companion designed in this game.

HORN OF BOROMIR - The single strongest combination card for DoMT. It's versatility is enormous and hailed by many as BROKEN. It is complimented by exertion prevention cards such as Gandalf's Strength of Spirit, vitality extension cards like The Saga of Elendil and of course DoMT's ability to remove the very exertion inflicted upon himself to use the "Horn", and that's only the beginning. With one blast of the HORN, spot an ally to make that ally strength +3 and active in both archery fire and skirmishes until the regroup phase. Timed correctly at the Lothlorien Woods, strength 3 allies such as Rumil, Orophin, Dinedal and Calaglin not only become +3 at this site, but also can potentially gain +3 from the HORN for a total of possibly 2-3 strength 9 allies. Imagine ELROND fighting a Troop of Uruk-Hai at a newly forged base strength from 8 to 11? This HORN will protect Frodo when all else fails!

You have seen how powerful Boromir can be - acheiving great defensive and offensive potential while fully armed and supported by several key events and possessions. However, his weaknesses - if correctly exploited, can bring him down very quickly efficiently. Here are a few strategies that the SHADOW has to offer:

SUCH A LITTLE THING: Moria's (and the Shadow's) ultimate anti-Boromir card. Spot a Moria minion to wound Boromir up to three times. The Free Peoples Player may discard 2 Free Peoples Possessions to prevent this. This card was created specifically to prevent Boromir from successfully defending the Fellowship against The Balrog or The Cave Troll - with the use of Armor, The Blade of Gondor, Coat of Mail and other such possessions. Very effective against the rest of the Fellowship's possessions as well, if Boromir is to be saved for future use.

ISENGARD SMITH: Isengard's solution to large Fellowships with multiple support possessions. Very effective against weapons and a strong threat against Boromir, whose Blade of Gondor adds +2 to his base strength amongst other things.

BEYOND THE HEIGHT OF MEN: Isengard's maneuver phase effect which can remove up to one armor, shield or helm possession - or all such Free People's possessions if there are 5 companions or more. Effective against one of Boromir's strongest support cards - Armor.

SAURON/ISENGARD DISCARD STRATEGIES - as with all card games, the timing of card support is crucial. Boromir is moderately strong as an unarmed companion, but is a considerable threat when complimented by all of his resources. Deck destruction strategies as seen in the cultures of Sauron and Isengard can force your deck to discard or shuffle past those essential support cards needed to aid Boromir in his defense of the Fellowship.

CONCLUSION: Of course there are a variety of other cards which assist each version of Boromir aside from what I have recommended. From Swordarm of the White Tower to Flaming Brand, all are all excellent choices to further enhance the strategy of this one character. But remember, what role does your choice of Boromir serve in the Fellowship and to what extent does your deck rely on his survival? Each version of Boromir has both incredible strengths balanced with realistic weaknesses. In the final analysis, I would not highly recommend Boromir as a STARTING companion. However, the earlier Boromir is played with his compliment of support cards - the better - especially before you reach SITE 5.

Thanks for reading and please stay tuned to the GAMING HAVENS at THEONERING.NET for the next installment of Lao of Gondor's RING LORE!

Drop me an e-mail! Let me know what you think about these deck building ideas, and share a few of your own! Drop me a line at Lao_Of_Gondor@theonering.net!

8-12-02 Latest News

TORN Exclusive! Green Books' Quickbeam cast as the voice of Samwise!
Quickbeam @ 12:40 am EST

UPDATED: See link below!

Greetings -- Quickbeam here.

You heard it here first. Later this year when Universal Interactive releases their first "Lord of the Rings" video game for X-Box and PlayStation 2, you will hear the character voice work of yours truly, Quickbeam, doing his best to bring Sam to life.

Any of you that went down to San Diego for Comic-Con could have visited the Universal display and experienced the new version of the game with me as Samwise all mixed in. What a hoot!

It was a terrific thrill having the chance to work on this project.

* Update! *
Click here for the FULL, detailed report in Green Books under my regular column "Out on a Limb":
[Full story]

Much too hasty,


8-12-02 Latest News

New Cast Projects
Xoanon @ 11:43 pm EST

Sean Bean (Boromir) has joined the cast of 'The Big Empty' with Rachael Leigh Cook (Get Carter), Jon Favreau (Swingers, Made) and Kelsey Grammer (TV's Fraiser). The official site touts the film as an 'offbeat ensemble dark comedy' (aren't they all). Look for that later this year.

Marton Csokas (Celeborn), fresh from duking it out with Vin Diesel in 'XXX" is set to join the cast of the action comedy 'Kangaroo Jack'. Jerry O'Connell, Estella Warren and Christopher Walken also star.

Brad Dourif (Wormtounge) has added his talent to the film 'El Padrino', an action thriller from 'The Calling' director Damian Chapa. Look for that later this year or early next.

Both Hugo Weaving (Elrond) and David Wenham (Faramir) have joined the cast of the mini series 'After the Deluge'. The Aussie film is directed by popular TV director Brendan Maher ("BeastMaster", "Halifax f.p: Swimming with Sharks", "Farscape", "SeaChange")

Weekly Cast Watch
Xoanon @ 11:25 pm EST

To get more information, use the sites I use like the ones below. Simply find a movie or actor you want to see, go to one of the sites below and see if a film is playing in your area. Follow the links to head over to a list of movies playing this week. mydigiguide.com, tv-now.com and IMDB.com

Viggo Mortensen

Liv Tyler (Arwen)

Ian Holm (Bilbo)

Sean Bean (Boromir)

Ian Mune (Bounder)

Martyn Sanderson (Bree Gatekeeper Harry Goatleaf)

David Weatherly (Barliman Butterbur)

Marton Csokas (Celeborn)

Thea Hartwell (Child Hobbit)


John Noble

Noel Appleby (Everard Proudfoot)

Alexandra Astin (Elanor Gamgee)

Peter Mckenzie (Elendil)


Karl Urban

Hugo Weaving

Miranda Otto

David Wenham

Cameron Rhodes (Farmer Maggot)

Elijah Wood

Cate Blanchett (Galadriel)

Bruce Hopkins (Gamling)

Ian McKellen

Mark Ferguson (Gil Galad)

Rhys-Davies (Gimli)

Andy Serkis

Stephen Ure (Gorbag)

Craig Parker (Haldir)

John Leigh

Timothy Bartlett (Hobbit)

Harry Sinclair


Orlando Bloom

Lawrence Makoare (Lurtz)

Robbie Magasiva (Mahur)

Ray Henwood (Man at

Dominic Monaghan (Merry)

Robyn Malcolm (Morwen)

Bruce Spence (Mouth of

Megan Edwards (Mrs. Proudfoot)

Billy Boyd (Pippin)

Sarah McLeod (Rosie Cotton)

Sean Astin (Sam)

Christopher Lee

Sala Baker (Sauron)

Brian Sergent (Ted Sandyman)

Bernard Hill

Nathaniel Lees (Ugluk)

Brad Dourif

Jim Rygiel (SFX)

Howard Shore (Composer)

Peter Jackson (Director)

Sean Astin At Bat
Xoanon @ 9:25 am EST

From: Elenwen

Yesterday before the Dodgers game (at Dodgers Stadium in LA) there was an Holywood Star game. I missed the beginning of the introductions of the people there (the likes of Billy Crystal, Kevin James, James van der Beek, Clea Duvall, Scott Bakula), so I was very surprised to later hear the announcer say that Sean Astin was up next to bat! "Number 22, Sean Astin from "The Lord of the Rings!" Unfortunately I was pretty far back so I couldn't get a good picture, but it was quite cool to watch him playing baseball. After several failed attempts of sweet-talking my way down to the seats by the field I resigned to watching him through binoculars.

Hopefully someone out there has pictures of this, but I just wanted to let you all know that he was there! And he's a not that bad of a baseball player too!

8-11-02 Latest News

Weekend Round Up
Xoanon @ 11:37 pm EST

I Bought My Salmon At Music Circle

Gen-Com Pics

Hollywood Bowl Report

LA Times Talk Comic-Con

LA Tolkien Weekend Report from Sauron's Truss

Congratulations Sean & Christine Astin!

Take The Tolkien Tour!

Howard Shore Hollywood Bowl Concert Report #2

Free TTT Trading Card In Previews Catalogue

Howard Shore Hollywood Bowl Concert Report

EW Give Wood's Tom Thumb C+

FOTR Track In New Shoe Commercial

LOTR In New KIA Commercial

Bruce Spence In Farscape

250,000 New Zealanders Buy FOTR On DVD/VHS

The One Ring Bookmarks

Doing Justice To The Hobbit

Party Time in LA

Sideshow Toy Comic Con 2002 Report

ISENGARD - The Winds of Change PART 2

LA Fellowship Pub Moot

Hollywood Bowl Report
Xoanon @ 9:54 pm EST

From: Meg

Last night some friends and I attended the world premiere of the playing of the Fellowship of the Ring movie score at the Hollywood Bowl, performed by the LA Phil Harmonic in a show called Musical Mythology. The conductor (whose name I cannot remember at the moment) discussed briefly on the historical significance of ring mythology, which had its start in the iron age and is found in every nation that developed smelting and metal-working. The first act of the show consisted of a small selection of classical music, such as Ride of the Valkyrie by Wagner and the movement Jupiter from The Planets, as well as four movements from the Harry Potter score by John Williams.

After intermission, the real fun started.

The score was not played to the letter; certain tracks were shortened or removed entirely, while others were extended slightly to make the entire performance flow better. Naturally, Enya's songs were skipped. They had the Pacific Chorale performing the chants found in such tracks as The Prophecy, The Black Rider, and The Bridge of Khazad Dum. Lothlorien was one that was particularly excellent. But I must admit I felt bad for the young boy who was performing the solo in In Dreams, since you could tell he was nervous. I mean, I would be too, singing in front of thousands of people!

But the best part of the evening was the fact that Howard Shore himself attended the premiere! He got a standing ovation when he appeared onstage; my friends and I even think we saw Enya'smo parked in the lot...

Tolkien Weekend Report from Sauron's Truss
Calisuri @ 5:14 pm EST

This report comes from our good friend Bill (aka Sauron's Truss on the Fan Club boards):

An excellent weekend spent with excellent people. Sort of redundant when speaking about Fan Club and TORn peeps, non? Goes without saying.

Beach Moot
Last minute Pub Moot preps kept me from getting to the Venice Beach Moot on time, but get there I did and found everyone at the Muscle Beach outdoor gym. While this place is usually chock full of "Arnold" types, all I spotted upon my entrance was a 550 pound man without an ounce of muscle about him and a 130 guy who was muscled up like a sparrow's kneecap. Just our luck to get a couple of dudes on their first day of working out! At any rate the ladies in our party DID get to see some eye candy there a little later.

irascian's report on Venice Beach is essentially correct. A very seedy component to it that can take away enjoyment from an otherwise VERY nice stretch of beach and parkland. Though, on sunnier days during the weekends and holidays the place takes on a more festive, brighter atmosphere and tourists come out by the thousands. The street performers alone are worth the price of admission (free). We walked down to the beach so that a few of our non-So Cal friends from out of town could dip their tootsies into the Pacific. Cold!

The Pub Moot, at the Westwood Brewing Company, that evening was very nice and I was gratified to see everyone having a good time. Decipher, TORn, Sideshow/Weta, Eurobubblies (beer!), and some of the guests themselves donated some excellent items for the drawing resulting in lots of people getting STUFF! Very cool.

Pub Moot Awards: This, perhaps, was the highlight of the evening for some of us and as I reflect on each of the awards given out from the Fan Club I'm hard pressed to say which one was more poignant. Let me list them here in no particular order: 1. A terrific plaque given to Icarus (graciously made by sierra). On the beautiful plaque was a very cool LADLE with the following inscription, "Icarus- Prancing Pony OneStalker". (An inside, Fan Club joke) 2.A mounted and framed display given to Primula (Amy). Lithilien's idea. Within the display was a pic of Prim and Howard Shore... and a handwriten note, SIGNED by Howard Shore, thanking her for the poem she wrote for him and which now holds a place of honor in his study. Things don't get much better than this... 3. A six pack of genuine Grape Nehi given to Rosie and myself by Lith. Lith had heard of our "affinity" for the beverage... 3. Sting, by United Cutlery, was presented to Dan Madsen, our Fan Club President, along with a card. It was great to finally meet Dan and he was clearly touched by the gift. Good job everyone! 4. To Rosie (Fan club moderator): A gold-like metal, 14", Oscar-like statue with Oscar holding a large star over his head. The inscription on the plate read, "Rosie, you're our star. -Official LOTR Fan Club". Rosie gets something at EVERY party. She's THAT loved! 5. To irascian (Fan Club moderator): the same Oscar-like statue. Inscription on the plate read, "irascian, Our beloved O.B.P. -Official LOTR Fan Club".

It was great to see everyone there. A few admin-type glitches, but nothing insurmountable and, ultimately, worth it in the face of the fun and esprit de corp that was had (and felt) by all.

DVD Viewing Party at the American Film Institute: Lady 'O' Bloom and Moochelas did an excellent job of obtaining this professional viewing room at the storied AFI compound in Hollywood. Apparently New Line Cinema partially sponsored this event (due in no small part, I'm sure, to the dilligent efforts of the two ladies already mentioned.), resulting in everyone getting a partial refund of their admission cost AND some posters the like of which I'd not seen anywhere else.

Fine screen, great sound system, surrounded by LOTR fanatics (some of them sobbing), and Jen and Bernadette sitting next to me. How much luckier could a guy get? The fact that the Decipher Fan Club comprises about 85% women is certainly not lost on me...

Orthanc_Ent/aka Saruman/aka Josh put on a great picnic for all the concert goers before the Howard Shore music experience that evening. Hanah was a co-founder of this event as well and let me say right here and now what a tremendous sucess it was. LOTS of people at a wonderful, private mini-park no more than a block away from the Hollywood Bowl. A little oasis. The food was tasty and plentiful. There were picnic tables aplenty and people spread their blankets out everywhere. A small wind and harp quintet (sorry, didn't get their name) wafted their ethereal melodies on the breeze and the tone for the picnic was set very nicely. Drawings, prizes (natch!) and all-out giveaways were provided for our enjoyment. I saw Official Fan Club magazines and fan letters from Peter Jackson. Amazingly, there were author-signed, advanced reading copies of the fantasy book, The Fifth Soceress, by Robert Newcomb for everyone in attendance. I believe Catherine (Arwen2) was responsible for that little gem. This Bowl Moot had everything except the kitchen sink... even PINATAS that spilled out candy and Decipher TCG packs (garf, yer crazy!)!!! (I discovered Smirnoff Ice at this picnic. A new addiction is born.)

Musical Mythologies at the Hollywood Bowl TORn has already put up a few reports. Let me just add that we LOTR fans occupied an entire section at the Bowl and we were well represented (once again, as organized by the indominible Josh). The eloquent conductor even mentioned us at one point. Yes, we were quite vocal (at appropriate times) in our appreciation of the proceedings. The first half of the concert was taken up by various selections of "musical mythologies" such as Wagner's Flight of the Valkeries, selections from John William's score from Harry Potter, and more. The second half was entirely the LOTR composition created by Howard Shore and performed for the first time this weekend. Most compelling for me was The Lament for Gandalf and the piece performed (in the movie) during the Fellowship's emergence from the Mines of Moria. You know, the part where the solo of the testicularly-challenged boy provides a poignant overlay to the fact that Gandalf has just fallen into the chasm after the Balrog. Magical stuff and I saw tears springing around me.

R&R day for everyone. Some of us had to go home, while the rest soaked up the fun and theme parks that abound in So Cal.

Lastly, the sense of community amongst us LOTR fans never fails to amaze me. You can throw all the star appearances, giveaways, and things like that out the window and what we're left with is each other and the friendships that begin, and continue, through it all.

The TORn staff, TORn fans, Official Fan Club peeps, Decipher, Sideshow/Weta, and everyone in between are the BOMB! They "get it". Thanks to everyone who had a hand in this weekend's events and see you at the next one. The Truss don't lie!

Bill (Sauron's Truss)

Howard Shore Hollywood Bowl Concert Report #2
Strider @ 8:48 am EST

L.S-B, BtW and Orcress send in another report from Howard Shore's concert in Los Angeles last night.

I've just gotten back from the Hollywood Bowl concert of Howard Shore's LotR:FotR and I can only say one word: STAGGERING!

This was the event of the year for the Bowl. John Mauceri (conductor) handled the orchestra and chorus with impeccable skill. The depth and emotion of Shore's work was simply unbelievable. The audience was spellbound by this truly amazing performance. I am not exaggerating when I tell you I had tears in my eyes and I was definitely not alone.

Professor Tolkien, who urged others to take up paint and music to interpret his works, would have been proud to see what his writings have inspired. Those of us in Los Angeles that were able to attend tonight or last night's performance should feel privileged. It will eventually be part of a larger work once the other two films in the series are complete. I look forward to seeing the complete result hopefully in 2004.

Here's to creativity, vitality, and genius...

Howard Shore Hollywood Bowl Concert Report
Strider @ 8:37 am EST

Jeff sent in this report from Howard Shore's concert at the Hollywood Bowl.

Last night I attended an amazing concert at the Hollywood Bowl featuring the world premiere performance of the music from the Fellowship of the Ring by Howard Shore. Mr. Shore, who was in attendance at last night's performance, made a special 45 minute arrangement of highlights from the 150 minute score. The music was performed by the Hollywood Bowl orchestra with the Pacific Chorale and Paulist Choristers. It gave me chills to hear the first few notes of "The Prophecy", and I was deeply moved to hear "The Lament for Gandalf" performed live by this very talented orchestra and chorus. All in all it was an evening I will remember for the rest of my life.

The conductor, John Mauceri, said that when all three films are complete Mr. Shore intends to arrange them all into a 2-hour suite that will be performed in two years.

There is another performance tonight, but Mr. Shore is not expected to be in attendance. I highly recommend anyone in the Los Angeles area make their way to this awesome experience. I think tickets are still available at www.ticketmaster.com.

8-10-02 Latest News

Part Two: Fuel on the Fire!
Flinch @ 4:54 am EST

In Part One, I discussed that ISENGARD was the culture which will significantly impact the dynamic of the LOTR TCG in such a way that many believe as a culture it is too powerful, broken and unbalanced.

After testing many of the key strategies and essential elements concerning ISENGARD's Orc subculture, I have concluded that these new ORCS are quite indeed powerful, surprisingly effective, however not as potentially abusive as many assume they are. In fact, they just as powerful as "splashes"; subtle elements of secondary support strategies within the contexts of different cultures and their respective strategies.

To successfully construct an Isengard Orc deck to maximize the full potential of the Orc subculture, you must understand and realize your design on the basis of how and why this culture was created: to reduce the potential of powerful Fellowships. Isengard Orcs have two very powerful, inherent characteristics: (1) They can exert themselves multiple times for a variety of different purposes and (2) They are incredibly strong which gives them the advantage in skirmishes - protecting their ability to exert.

Shadow cultures as a whole are incredibly weak against ARCHERY (total and directed as utilized in Legolas, Gondor Bowmen, Double Shot, Splendor of their Banners, Calaglin, Elven Bowes, Hand Axe, etc.). However, in the case of the Isengard Orcs, their vulnerability against direct damage effects such as Orc-Bane, Frying Pan, Power According To His Stature, Bow of the Galadhrim, Blade of Gondor, Pursuit Just Behind and any damage +1 weapon capabilities just to name a few - limits their potential for multiple exertions which weakens their overall strategic possibilities.

Remember, their power is in the ability to "exert for" a specific effect. Even if they win the skirmish, if their exertion potential is removed due to wounds or exhaustion, then their stopping power is completely ineffective. Which is why I feel that this culture is NOT broken nor unbeatable.

So how exactly are the Isengard Orcs effective? Why is everyone concerned with the abusiveness of this specific culture? Where lies the real threat?

Let's look more closely at a few KEY cards which make these Orcs such a breed to be feared. Remember, the strategic success of using these Orcs not only relies just on the ROTEL expansion, but also in cards from the previous two releases.

SPIES OF SARUMAN - This is the one card which is a MUST in every Isengard Orc Deck. For all intents and purposes it cancels the archery phase which gives your high strength/high vitality Orcs the protection to exert multiple times for multiple effects. "Spies" works by spotting and Isengard "minion" and not just an Uruk-Hai. Even though it costs 2 twilight and an exertion from one of your Isengard minions - at the right time, this card is devastating especially at the sites where rivers and forests are concerned (re:Legolas).

TRAPPED AND ALONE: Another exertion protection card. On occasion throughout the course of the game - your orcs will take damage from archery fire. However, prevent further vitality loss by preventing additional damage from Ranger's Sword, Glamdring, Gwemegil and other such additional damage possessions if your Orc loses the skirmish.

WASTES OF EMYN MUIL - By the time your opponent has reached Site 9 against your deck, one of two situations has already shaped the endgame: (1) Your opponent has more than 4 companions in play (hopefully stripped of their possessions by the Isengard Smith) or (2) The smaller Fellowship has been weakened severely by your Isengard Orc exertion abilities. WASTES will punish the Fellowship with over 4 companions during the Manuever phase, as you exert to wound as many times as possible. Since this action takes effect before archery - your exertions are intact. For smaller fellowships, the high twilight alone (9) will give you the necessary pool you need to launch an assault force capable of overwhelming Frodo and ending the quest at this site.

ISENGARD SMITH - Another MUST in and Isengard Orc deck. If you want to force your opponent to reduce the potential of the Fellowship, this is the card you need to play early at first and in reserve for later. The Isengard Smith, has the ability to exert to discard a weapon (or such free peoples possessions if you can spot 5 companions). The best quality about this card is that it is not proprietary to the Isengard Orc strategy. Rather this minion can be "splashed" into every culture and perform the same effect against the Fellowship's multiple possessions.

THE TREES ARE STRONG: Remember, if your Orcs are exhausted - they are essentially powerless...essentially. By using THE TREES ARE STRONG - you have the ability to inflict more direct damage to your opponent than originally intended. This card will allow you to basically "squeeze" your Orcs' for the last drop of their potential as you discard them to wound companions. Using this is best reserved after the Fellowship has sustained heavy damage or has exhausted several companions.

So as you can see - the Isengard Orcs are indeed a true force with incredible, but not limitless, potential. They are not broken, nor are they unbeatable. However, they are incredibly versatile which is a factor always problematic to contend with. Their resources are difficult to counter because they are proprietary from one Orc to the next. And, most importantly, they - like Moria - no longer roam past Site 3 so by Site 4, the ability to launch a very effective fighting force (with capabilites to exhaust, disarm or wound companions) is by all means no longer a strategy limited only to Moria.

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for Part 3: The Melting Pot of Isengard

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