Go back to Special Reports Archives

August 28, 2005 - September 06, 2005

9-06-05 Latest News

Dragon*Con: Catching up with Bruce Hopkins
Xoanon @ 12:00 pm EST

Ringer Celebriel talked with Bruce Hopkins at Dragon*Con about his new projects. In February 2005 Bruce formed indiPact Films, an independent film production company based in Auckland, with partner Amarbir Singh. They aim to produce films with private investment and help further expand the country’s film making base. Their plans also include TV series, commercials, and music videos. Mr. Singh comes from Bombay, India but has lived in New Zealand for eight years.

Their first film, “1 nite,” was released on DVD in New Zealand in late July. It was made in 2003 and first shown at the International Film Festival in Auckland in July 2004. At the 2005 New Zealand screen awards the film won the award for Images and Technical Contribution to a Digital Feature (Cristobal Araus Lobos, cinematographer) and was a finalist for the Sony Best Digital Feature award.

“1 nite” is an 80 minute film that tells four stories, all taking place in and around Karangahape Road (“K’Road”) in Auckland in the course of one night. (K’Road is lively, ethnically diverse area with lots of clubs and restaurants.) The film was produced, Bruce explains, with a budget of $400, a crew of two using a hand-held Canon XL1 digital camera, and some willing actors. The cast worked without a formal script and relied on improvisation based on suggestions given by the director and close interaction among the actors. Bruce commented that he’s very comfortable working this way, as he has a good deal of experience in TheatreSports.

IndiPact hopes to reach several target markets for “1 nite,” Bruce explained. His fans and fans of Lord of the Rings are one obvious segment, but they also want to reach film schools and film libraries around the world, given the film’s innovative filmmaking production and storytelling techniques. A third segment is the Indian independent film market, given Amarbir’s Indian background and the large Indian film market.

IndiPact is working to raise $1.5 million to complete their second film, currently titled “P120,” made in a fusion of film and digital. Like "1 nite," it will be filmed in and around Auckland. This second film traces the story of a character that embarks on a journey to fulfill what he sees as the potential in his life. At his Sunday panel with John Noble, Bruce screened both the trailer for “1 nite” and the teaser for “P120,” giving Ringers a good introduction to indiPact’s work.

Find out more about indiPact Films at indipact.com. You can order the 1 nite DVD, which includes bonus features, online through the website in formats for ALL regions. The price is NZ$29.95, and Bruce and Amarbir will sign it for you if you want!

Bruce is also hosting a New Zealand call-in radio program called “The Dawn Parade” that airs from midnight Saturday to 6 AM Sunday. The show is on a new network called RadioLive and, best of all for Bruce’s worldwide fans, it’s available on the web at radiolive.co.nz. Listeners discuss a different topic each week. Another program feature is called Chance of a Lifetime, in which listeners call in to sing or play music, sharing their talents with the community. One blind singer who phones in regularly so impressed Bruce that he put him in touch with a major New Zealand sports team, with the idea of singing the national anthem at games. Ian Brodie, author of The Lord of the Rings location guide, was also a recent visitor.

As many Ringers know, Bruce is very generous with his time and makes himself available to fans at various gatherings. He explains, “My experience in the films was so wonderful, I don’t mind reflecting on it.” Be sure to also visit Bruce’s official website at bruce-hopkins.com for all the latest news on his work and appearances.

9-05-05 Latest News

Edinburgh Film Festival Report & Images
Xoanon @ 1:11 pm EST

Edinburgh Film Festival Images
Click for more images

Emma writes: My apologies for the delayed report – going Edinburgh straight to Toronto, home for a week, then Hooligans premiere (I’m throwing a line party) followed the next day by leaving for Toronto Film Festival – I’m a bit strapped for time!

Anyway, I had always planned to go to London for the Green Street premiere, but when we heard that it was, in fact, going to premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival, I figured I’d just have to forget going. But with the help of a last-minute airfare drop (from “preposterous” down to merely ridiculous) and the assistance of some friends with a room and travel plans, I was able to go.

I arrived in time to see the second showing of Billy Boyd’s “On a Clear Day” with a few other fellow travelers who were there early (others came in later that night or the next day). After the movie, we were lucky enough to be able to still get tickets to a talk with the writer, Alex Rose. It was fascinating to hear about getting a book from paper to screen, and overall, Mr. Rose’s experience was generally a very positive one since he and the director (Gaby Dellal) had very much the same vision for the movie. He did mention that Billy was very funny and quite good at ad libbing, and originally quite a bit of what Billy added was used in the movie. But when they picked up a distributor after Sundance, it was felt like there was a little TOO much humour, and it changed the balance of the movie. So the version we saw in Edinburgh (and which everyone else will see), has some of the humour (and in particular, some of Billy) excised. Not to worry, though – Billy still plays a huge role in the film. I heartily recommend the movie – it was so much better than I expected, and very engaging.

The majority of the group I was with – we called ourselves the Edinburgh Hooligans, and were 25 women from 10 different countries who met via LiveJournal – decided to meet outside the cinema at noon for the premiere of “Green Street.R21; 3 of the ladies who only arrived that morning decided to forego checking in to their hostel and instead went straight to the cinema – so we had a presence there from 9AM onwards, with the majority arriving at noon, and a few stragglers later in the day. We spent the day getting acquainted, listening to “One Blood” (Terence Jay single from the movie, available on ITunes), and the latest Gogol Bordello album (some of which will be on the “Everything is Illuminated” soundtrack). I had some t-shirts made from the promo poster/postcard for the movie in the US, and also made some laminated badges with the same image, and the location and date. Another of the group designed a button, and we had a supply of those as well – which would prove very popular, well beyond our group!

A couple of hours before the movie, after we had been standing there all day, they finally began setting up the area – and advised us that we had to stand on the other side of the street! Much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth ensured, and eventually, the Powers That Be told us that, indeed, the early arriving fans are normally allowed to stand against the actual barriers – so, those of us who’d been there all day took our proper places, hurrah! I will say that the actual film festival staff couldn’t have been nicer – there were a few security people (not with the festival itself) who seemed ill-informed and occasionally a bit brusque, but the people who mostly worked with us were unfailingly helpful and polite. And most of them went home with our “Stand Your Ground” buttons!

About a half hour before showtime, Lexi Alexander showed up, followed by Leo Gregory, Elijah Wood, and Charlie Hunnam, in rapid succession. (There was one other actor – I think it was Christopher Hehir – there, but I somehow missed his arrival.) I had met Lexi at the Tribeca Film Festival, and she remembered me – which made it really easy to talk to her this time, and to have a better chance at the others. Everyone was very nice and signed for as many as they could get to, at least on our side of the barriers – Elijah also crossed the street and signed for those who hadn’t been there early enough to get to the actual barricades. And of course, he happily stopped for several minutes to sign and chat with a group of women in wheelchairs.

Although Edinburgh has now strictly banned camera phones and cameras from the theatre during the screening, they have a procedure whereby all such items are claimchecked, then brought back into the theatre immediately following the movie so that you can have them for use during the question-and-answer period. Thanks to that, I do have a few photos from the Q&A as well. It was only lit by houselights, so the quality of the photos isn’t quite up to snuff.

Everyone had quite a lot to say and the Q&A was lively; a lot of questions centered on how the film was being received in various quarters – USA vs. UK, by the firms themselves, by West Ham United, and so on. Having seen the film first in the US, I did notice that the British audience did tend to focus on a few different aspects than we had over here, but while I had been worried that they would be turned off by the way the film was pitched at the US market (Matt Buckner serves as our introduction into the world, and things are explained to him so that they are also explained to us), it didn’t seem to bother them much. They seemed also willing to overlook (to an extent) that all the accents weren’t quite accurate, because the dialogue itself seemed to ring true to them.

It was interesting to find out that Charlie Hunnam, who plays Pete (the head of the GSE firm), had no background in football at all – he hadn’t been a fan as a child, despite coming from Newcastle (a hotbed of football fans). Leo Gregory, on the other hand, obviously supported a London team other than West Ham, but he wasn’t saying which. Lexi herself had a brother who was in a firm in her native Manheim (Germany), and she was somewhat of an affiliated member of it for a time (they didn’t allow her to actually fight, since fighting either with or against a girl was felt to be demeaning). Elijah talked a little about how this level of passion for a sport is beyond anything he’d seen in the US.

After the Q&A was over, Lexi stopped by our group again to thank us all for coming and supporting the movie, and posed for a photo with us.

Then, it was time for bed for some, and for the pub for the rest of us. Little did we know that we were only a few bars away from where the director and cast were celebrating a successful premier – oh, well! Then it was off for some to the London screening (the following day) or home, and the rest of us stayed on to see the movie again the following evening, minus the celebrities.

LOTR Concert: Bergen, Norway Report
Xoanon @ 11:38 am EST

Ed writes: Hi, I was at the LOTR symphony in Bergen Saturday Sep 3 at the Festplassen (open-air park stage). I am in Norway for 3 weeks and decided to overlap my stay so I could see this concert. This is my fourth time seeing a LOTR symphony. The first was the very first performance by Howard Shore during the Wellington world premier of ROTK back in Dec 2003. Hard to beat that, honestly. And I saw it in Seattle where I live twice.

So I can say a few things overall: it was a good performance by the symphony, with solid vocals and Sissel soloing.

This was put on by Hydros, a huge natural resources company in Norway (think oil, gas, fertilizer, and thankfully alternative and future energy sources unrelated to fossil fuels). In one of a few videos they displayed on the large viewing screens dotting the park area, they made it clear they are investing a lot in the future sources not necessarily being from carbon fossil fuels, which I liked. Of course, well see if it pans out that way...

Anyhow, this was a daylong concert series of artists celebrating Hydros 100th anniversary as a company. There were some popular Norwegian bands preceding the symphony, more like a Lollapalooza, which suddenly morphed into an 80 to 100-seat orchestra and 40 to 50 vocalists. Oh, and Sissel guest soloed most of the boy soloist parts, the notable exception being the solo immediately after Gandalf falls in FOTR and they emerge on the Lothlorien side of Moria. The boy who did that hit it nicely despite being nervous I'm sure, as the crowd was very large for that park.

A note about the park attendance: it was crammed with people, and they set numerous rows of chairs up in the center for elderly and disabled people, which was a very welcome touch. Of course there's always smart asses who rush in and take seats meant for those challenged people, even in Norway. But only a few thankfully. Everyone was cheerful and you get the sense that Scandinavian places like Bergen are in a sense a homecoming for Tolkiens's work and Shore's music. The crowd was respectful (again, there's always some scattered talking but not bad. Everyone stood the entire concert except the afore-mentioned seats. Norwegians are in better shape, especially the middle aged and older people who probably hike every weekend for fun, since the area around Bergen is full of great day hikes and strolls. So they stood 2-3 hours just fine, and a lot of the elderly who could have taken seats just stood.

There were 6 movements, with each movie's songs roughly split in half to give 6 pauses for applause and to let the orchestra and vocals rest a minute. So here are my musings on what I noticed, and I won’t just repeat the set of songs since everyone knows them by now (and yes, they appeared to follow the set I had seen before without deviation - which I have some comments on at the end).

- Sissel was spot on in all her parts. And she looked really good :) Despite being spot on however, she did print her style on parts like Into The West, which had vibrato in places that Annie Lennox doesn't do that, and a few other minor things that throw you of only if you are looking for details like I was. But she hit all the notes unwaveringly, which as you all know is hard to do in a lot of those pieces.

- The boy soloist was a little nervous who wouldn't be, but did fine in his parts like the post-Moria mourning.

- Sissel did Gollum's Song with somewhat of an attempt at the breathiness of Ms. Torrini (sp?), but although it sounded fine, anyone who knows the sound and characteristic voice would recognize that she was going for that sound but couldn’t quite get it.

- The version of the Beacons was awesome!! Finally an orchestra (that I have seen), which plays the damn thing at the right tempo! Everyone else slows it down so much it plods, imo. They played it at the same tempo as the movie, and the violins were ripping through the crescendo in keeping with the energy inherent in that piece.

- The vocals of the choir were overshadowed somewhat in a few places where both the instruments and voices are supposed to swell, like the Mount Doom and Pelennor Fields sequences. But they did quite well given they only had half or less the number of vocalists that some performances of this symphony have used. Plus the acoustics may have played a part and they stood behind the orchestra on risers but under the same enclosed weather cover.

- My only real annoyance, and it was a big one in places, was the panpipe guy. And to a lesser extent the woman playing that instrument which reminds me of a zither used for the Rohan theme. I wonder if they just don’t know the music in its original intended form and theme, or they just like showing off silly flourishes where there are none written in the score. You know what I mean, twilling triplets and stuff like that when the score calls for (nay begs for in some cases) simple straight tones such as the various places especially the slower less joyous ones (the pan pip guy was just silly in how many flourishes he injected), and the return to Hobbiton where they realize in the green Dragon that they are indeed out of place (the zither lady was trilling like the pan pipe guy always did believe it or not). Sorry, but it took me waaaay out of the mood of those pieces, since some were precisely those moments of greatest emotional simplicity in the movie. For God's sake all you future soloists and instrument lists on this symphony: DON'T NEEDLESSLY EMBELLISH PLEASE, THANKS!

- I really liked the pace and tempo of the score throughout, they kept it up like the movie versions and didn't slow them down to a crawl, which makes many of the pieces almost painfully slow. Very nice conducting throughout.

Okay, just those nits otherwise a beautiful rendition.

Now I cant end this without some general "Why did they do that?" observations about the symphony, in any venue it pops up in...

- Why do they play Treebeard's song at all? It is horrible in a concert setting, especially given so many worthy pieces being left out.

- Why not play more pieces, which aren't even available on the CD? There are numerous ones that would be awesome in concert like when Gandalf falls (beginning of TTT), the actual melting of the Ring, the full intro to Minas Tirith as Gandlaf and Pippin approach.

- Including a few bits from the Extended versions, like Sam and Frodo watching the wood elves on their way to The Grey Havens, and the "Which way Gandalf, right or left" in Rivendell. Great job, now add more of those please :))

It was unique to me to see this concert in the very heart of Scandinavia, and everyone appreciated it immensely. That alone was worth the trip.

9-04-05 Latest News

New Starcon IV Report & Images
Xoanon @ 3:24 pm EST

New Starcon IV Images
Click for more images

Gregory writes: I went to the New Starcon IV in the Netherlands today (newstarcon.com). At this convention celebrities appeared like Erika Eleniak (Baywatch – and her first convention ever!), Robert Englund (Freddy), Adrian Paul (Highlander), Carl Weathers (Predator, Rocky,…), Brian Thompson (X-files, Cobra,…), John Breck (Jeepers Creepers), and quite a few other names from movies and television series. But my main goals of course, were the two LOTR guests attending. Since John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) cancelled at the last minute, only Jed Brophy (Snaga, Sharku, Ringwraith) and Sala Baker (Sauron) were present.

For reasons I don’t know – maybe the nice weather or something like that – there weren’t a lot of visitors attending at all. Therefore there was practically no queue, so I had quite a few moments to chat with Jed and Sala. Especially Jed is a very nice guy to talk to. Since I am a LOTR autograph-collector I was mainly interested in who played the other Ringwraiths, cause I am always on the look out to find out new people to contact. I already am aware of the fact that Paul Shapcott played a burning Ringwraith on Weathertop, that Shane Rangi was on the Felbeast hovering the Dead Marshes, and that Jono Manks played a Wraith used in close-ups.

Well, there were definitely more than nine Wraiths! For the scenes that were filmed with the Wraiths mounted on horses, they trained a team of 14 horsemen during a period of 3 months. After some time, a few stuntmen even quit the job, because the physical part was just too demanding, Jed told me. They all had to wear boots that were locked in the horses’ stirrups, so it was quite dangerous too. Well, Jed continued the training and filming and can now be seen in FOTR when chasing Arwen and Frodo. Afterwards Jed even bought one of the Rohirrim horses used for close-up scenes at the Battle of the Pelennor in ROTK. He has been riding since he was eleven years old, so you could say they did the right thing by hiring Jed to play one of the Wraiths…

9-03-05 Latest News

DragonCon 2005 Images & Report
Xoanon @ 11:31 am EST

DragonCon 2005 Images
Click for more images

Ringer spy Celebriel is in Atlanta this weekend for Dragon*Con. Here's her report and photo gallery covering Friday's events.

An Evening in Bree, with its costume contest and two incredible sets by Emerald Rose, was the highlight of the day. During the day a lot of Ringers congregated near the Ringers, Lord of the Fans table, where they could chat with Cliff Broadway (Quickbeam), Carlene Cordova, and others involved in the film Sony is releasing in November, and get some new Ringers merchandise. Right across the way was the table for Arms of Middle Earth, which was coordinating the Dragon*Con Parade registration for the Lord of the Rings contingent. There was also a chance to see John Noble (Denethor) interviewed in the opening ceremonies, and to chat with John and Bruce Hopkins (Gamling) in the Walk of Fame area.

Cliff Broadway was our Master of Ceremonies for An Evening in Bree. The costume contest took place between Emerald Rose's two sets, with awards presentations, made by Bruce Hopkins, made at the end of the band's second set. During the second set, Smeagol joined the band on stage to perform his unique rendition of the Macarena in a performance applauded by all the races of Middle Earth. As usual, the costume contest was highly competitive with entrants displaying wonderful workmanship, presentation, and creativity. There was even a marriage proposal (and acceptance) on stage!

Among the award winners were Kathleen Hanover, whose Entwife costume was judged most creative. Kathleen's costume was made from inexpensive materials, including drapery fabric and silk flowers, recently purchased at WalMart. Judges' choice awards went to Lee, for his King Theoden costume, and Janet, for her costume of a Prologue/Second Age elf. Marcia Banach of Connecticut won Best in Show for her exquisitely detailed Haradrim costume, receiving a poster signed by Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, and John Rhys-Davies.

Other very interesting costumes included a Radagast complete with birds and bird droppings on his costume, Varda from the Silmarillion, and a Mount Doom Frodo.

In addition to the Dragon*Con parade, Saturday's highlights include talks by Bruce Hopkins and John Noble, a discussion with Carlene Cordova, Cliff Broadway, and Jeff Marchelletta on the themes of The Lord of the Rings.

Dragon-Con is breathing fire
Xoanon @ 10:59 am EST

MrCere writes: ATLANTA - TheOneRing.net and KongIsKing.net is right in the middle of the action of a typical hot and heavy opening day of Dragon-Con. KiKn (appropriately) kicked off the show's opening at 1 p.m. with an advanced look at Peter Jackson's King Kong.

Despite drawing one of the worst time slots for the convention – while scads of people are still arriving and cabs and limos are blocking the enterance two the two principal hotels of the convention - KiKn played to a packed house with a montage of produciton diaries, a trailer dissection and casting of the film.

Ringers: Lord of the Fans shared the website booth helping to promote TORn and satisfy the still hungry LOTR fans. Ringers aced a presentation of its own, discussing the Rock & Roll aspects of Tolkien fandom.

In the evening Tolkien fandom gathered for a Night in Bree celebrating the release of the new Emerald Rose CD with the band playing live to celebrate the release. The event also featured a costume contest with the best of Tolkien costume fandom on display with a contest. (Pictures coming soon!)

Sleep and rest are a luxury with festivities of gaming, costume exhibitions and all sorts going on late into the evening. TheOneRing and KongIsKing.net promise to report in as often and in as much detail as possible.

On a happy note, Pirate Jack Sparrow was discovered to have pirated away TheOneRing.net banner from last year (and we thought it was lost!) but after promises of gold dublins in exchange for his hostage of one year, the banner will be back in the hands of the site. We do wish you were all here and hope to see many more next time!

One Event Three Extended Versions & A Hobbit's Memories
Xoanon @ 10:31 am EST

Alamo Drafthouse Trilogy Screening Images
Click for more images

THINGO BAGGINS writes: Things just have not been the same lately. No Lord of the Rings movies to look forward to, no DVD release dates, no extended versions, no new sound tracks, no new TOPPS collector cards sets, no exciting Hobbit announcement. Then, Side Show Toys announced it’s last LotR piece…Jackson as a Corsair. It was like a huge, heavy door shut with a deep thud.

Comforting myself with Howard Shore’s enchanting music and the knowledge that I could enter Middle-Earth by rereading the books anytime I wanted to, I tried to persevere. Of course, the DVD’s are always close at hand. Anyway, I was deep into the 12 volumes of the Lost Tales, gifts from my beloved and understanding family for Christmas and my birthday.

Then one day in early July of 2005, (July 6th to be exact) while perusing my favorite web site...theonering.net…my heart leapt and the excitement was not unlike the Fellowship’s as they raced from the Balrog in Moria!

The article read, “Light of Earendil writes: I want to let you know that there is going to be a showing of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy in Austin, Texas at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar August 21, 2005. Chef John Bullington is preparing a menu of all 7 hobbit eating times. The link to buy tickets is not up yet, but when it goes up it will be at drafthouse.com at the South Lamar location. I hope you can get the word out.”

There had been a show on TV about this movie house/restaurant and it seemed like a really cool place. You can order food right from your seat and have it delivered without missing one moment of the movie…and not just popcorn and candy…real yummy food and beverages. I checked out the web site and began to familiarize myself with all the links. This was just too wonderful! It was about 700 miles from where I live, but way too close to write off. I just knew I had to try and make this adventure happen!

On July ninth I called the location to see if I could get any information. A very cheerful young lady named Julie told me she would inquire about the event and call me back. I really didn’t expect a call, but true to her word, she called back the next day with what information was available. Some of the tickets would go on sale online on July 22, 2005 at 5 P. M. Austin time, (4 P. M. my time). The rest would be reserved for sale at the door.

Checking the site daily became a habit to see if anything new was posted. Over the next two weeks I was tantalized and rewarded every few days! First came the news that it would actually be held at the Drafthouse Downtown (there is more than one location in Austin and even one in San Antonio).

Then came the glorious day when the menu was posted! It read:


Theater: Alamo Downtown



First Breakfast:
Fresh Hens eggs, nice crispy bacon, grilled mushrooms and orange slice

Second Breakfast
Strawberries and Cream

Pan Seared Sausage and tomatoes with cheeses, cabbage and pickles

Braised spareribs with mashed potatoes, roast carrots

Afternoon Tea
Baby greens with garlic black berry vinaigrette, cheese herb galette, served with tea cookies

Stewed Coney (rabbit) with taters, carrot, and leek, fresh garden herbs with crusty bread

Swirl of tomato and spinach soups wild mushroom crouton, apple pie”
Soon the “Event pricing” was posted. It was not cheap, but far less than expected. This was how I wanted to spend some money that was safely tucked away! What a vacation this would be.

Next came the news that, “Extended vs. Regular edition: The polls are in, by unanimous consent, everyone wants extended edition on all three films….”

I had been lucky enough to get in on the special Trilogy Tuesday event when Return of the King came out. Now there was a real chance at this new event. I could barely contain myself! My family and coworkers were cheering me on, backing me all the way. Our youngest son offered to drive me to the event (he lives nearby) and would even let ‘ole Mom crash at his place. My husband and I formed our own ‘fellowship’ and began some tentative planning.

Toward the middle of July a new posting came on the site. The event would start at 10:30 a.m. on August 21, 2005. It also read, “click on a show time to buy tickets”. This link brought up a page that would soon allow purchase of the glorious tickets! I could feel the ‘ring’ in my hand!

Before long I found myself checking the site several times a day in the hope of a chance, however slim, that something new would be there. As the thrilling ‘day of purchase’ approached I timed myself on how many seconds it took to refresh the needed page. Since I was on vacation from work and at home, my plan was to get online at least an hour early and sit there refreshing the page at regular intervals until the as yet withheld link was posted.

Friday July 22, 2005 dawned hot and humid. After turning on my computer, I laid out my credit card, opened The Visual Dictionary of Star Wars I had been enjoying for the last several days, and donned my glasses. The plan was to read a bit and refresh the page until the link was activated and I could purchase the tickets…hopefully before they ran out!

Clicking on my Internet icon, I waited with anticipation. It was still quite early…about 10 a.m., but I needed to have everything up and running. My heart stood still when my Internet connection gave me an error message! Argh! I tried again. And again. AND AGAIN! I tried to calm myself. After all, there were several hours before ‘crunch time’. I tried to read. I puttered around the house. I tried the Internet connection…..NOTHING! I called my daughter to alert her that I might need for her to get on her computer for me, but alas, she wasn’t home! Panic! I called my husband at work hoping he might be able to connect at the right time…he was out of the office on business! I called a friend to see if I could have her standing in the wings…she wasn’t home! Now what?!

A call to my Internet service provider connected me to a nice young man with a heavy accent. He talked me through a few diagnostic steps. Then had me try to connect. The error message gave him the information he needed. My local server was down. It was being worked on, but they couldn’t say when it would be available…but hopefully soon. But would it be soon enough?!
Off and on all morning I tried to connect. I attempted to eat a little lunch, but was drawn back into my computer room. (My daughter calls it the LotR ‘shrine’! Could it be the life size standees of the Fellowship members or the special hand made ‘hope chest’ built by a cherished friend that is filled with books, collector cards, scrapbooks etc. and topped with ‘environments’, miniature swords and collector buttons? Or maybe the closet filled with LotR toys, games and figures—sometimes-called ‘dolls’?)

Again I tried the connection…nothing. Then suddenly about 1:30 it connected! Barely breathing I vowed to stay online to avoid losing the connection. I read email, checked the site, read the news on theonering.net, checked the site, read my Star Wars book a little, checked the site, played some ‘Minesweeper’ in a window over the site and so on for the next few hours.

When 3:00 p.m. came around I started checking and refreshing the page that would have the needed link starting with fifteen-minute intervals, then ten, five and so on. At 3:50 I began refreshing every minute, then every few seconds. My heart was pounding. My chest felt tight…each breath was a struggle. The tension was so thick it felt like the cold breath of a Wraith on my neck. Four o’clock, 4:01, 4:02….come on you guys…activate the link before I pass out! 4:04 --- BINGO! I typed as fast as I could accurately then checked the info quickly….I had to have those tickets…how many other Ringers were out there frantically trying to reach the prize?! I clicked ‘submit’. THERE IT WAS!!! “Receipt Your credit card has been charged. You are on the will call list at the theater.”


The ‘precious’ tickets were secured! I felt like dancing about my computer room with the same obsessive delight that Gollum showed when he stole the ring back from Frodo. (But fortunately, unlike Gollum, there was no volcano looming below me.)

That night the other member of my ‘fellowship’...my husband…and I sat down to make all the needed reservations: airline tickets, motels, plans for a rental car and so on. We would leave on Friday August 19 after work, fly to San Antonio, visit my son and his fiancée at their new house on Saturday, then drive to Austin Saturday evening to try and rest in preparation for the event early Sunday morning. The anticipation was mounting!

The next morning I prepared a folder to hold all the needed documentation for the trip. Into it went the printouts with the airline and motel reservations and event information. On the cover was glued a copy of the advertisement showing Frodo holding a ring filled with strawberries. It would be carried proudly on each step of our adventure.

Having checked the Alamo Drafthouse site on Saturday (the 23rd) to see if they still had the link up to buy tickets I noted that they did. Then it was a couple of days before I had a chance to get online again. On Tuesday, the 26th I checked the site and was delighted to see the note that read, “THIS SHOW IS SOLD OUT”. I wondered how many tickets were sold and when they had sold out.

I spent a little time online to print some maps for our trip. They weren’t as old or as significant as the map Bilbo had from his adventure to the Lonely Mountain, but they would surely get us “there and back again”.

Each day seemed to bring some new little ‘gem’. When I checked the site on July 27, this little note had been added: “THIS SHOW HAS COMPLETELY SOLD OUT! BUT DON’T DISMAY! WE’RE GOING TO TRY AND REPEAT THIS EVENT SOMETIME IN THE NEXT SIX MONTHS. WATCH THIS WEBSITE FOR THE GOOD NEWS IN THE FUTURE!!”. It seemed I was not the only Ringer who needed a ‘Tolkien fix’!

In early August I spotted a posting that read: “A FEW TICKETS JUST BECAME AVAILABLE 8/1 DESPITE THE EARLIER SOLD OUT POSTING! GOOD LUCK AS THEY WILL GO FAST”. My first reaction was shock! I thought maybe some faithful Ringer had dropped dead or something! I couldn’t imagine anyone giving up their ticket voluntarily! Soon however the event was “COMPLETELY SOLD OUT!” again.

A little more time browsing through the web site revealed some delightful information. It told the history of the Drafthouse, the types of special events held there and a bit on how to start your very own Drafthouse. There was also an article on, “How things work at the Alamo”, how and where to park, (Austin is a bustling city), and their complete menu! Yummmmmmmmmm! Even a non-Ringer (and a shutter to think that they actually exist) could have a wonderful time there and walk away a few pounds heavier!

There was an email link for questions and comments. I emailed to ask about how early to arrive at the Will Call and how difficult parking would be. It couldn’t have been more than a couple of hours later that a very helpful and cordial General Manager named Karen wrote me back with all the info I needed. This Drafthouse was turning out to be all I hoped and more. The site even had a map of downtown Austin, showing ALL of the parking facilities color-coded by Private, Public, State, etc. etc. How cool is that?!

Then on a hot, humid August day (it was the10th), I found the following in my email inbox from Henri:

“Hello Hobbit Feasters,

This is just a quick note to say that we realized some hobbits are more vegetarian than others and so we wanted to give you all a chance to specify if you’d like to choose our veggie option instead of the menu listed on the website. Our fabulous chef, Mr. John Bullington, has put together this as an option for any non-meat eaters:

course one
no bacon more of the other non bacon stuff

course two

course three
It will be a vegetarian type sausage

course four
instead of spareribs it will be a ragout of wild mushrooms, tomatoes, roast peppers, roast garlic and shallots

course five

course six
instead of rabbit it will be a root vegetable stew (parsnips, turnips, celery root, carrots, rutabaga, potato)

course seven

It continued with instructions on how to email the manager if you wanted to choose this alternate menu. How Hobbitish is that! Just like Bilbo working so hard to be sure that each dwarf was served just what he wanted when they came unannounced to Bag End.

Later that same day I also heard from Tim. His email also detailed the alternate menu but included two interesting additional bits of news. The first said:

“Encore show. You early ticket buyers are the lucky crowd, because demand has been incredible since the event sold out. Because of this, we have added an encore show. On November 13. Tickets for this show go on sale on Friday, August 26th at 5:00 PM. Tell your friends who missed out, because we expect this show to sell out quickly as well.”

Wow-wow!!! It only goes to prove—show it and they will come---. Ringers rock!!!!

The next newsy bit sent me rushing for my credit card. They had created a limited-run

T-shirt for the show. It would have a “hobbitized” Bob’s Big Boy on the front. (The picture showed a red shirt.) The back would read “THE LORD OF THE RINGS” (looking just like the title on the movies). Under that it would say, “7 MEALS TO RULE THEM ALL” and under that, “the alamo drafthouse hobbit feast”. The link took me to www.mondotees.com where I order two shirts, one for me and one for my hubby. The article also told me that I wouldn’t be charged shipping and that the shirts would be “waiting for you on the day of the event.” Awesome! Anyway, I had already talked myself out of showing up in my Hobbit costume.

The finals days were coming up so I submitted my request for time off from work. I knew there would be no problem…even my boss knows I’m a die-hard Ringer. When Towers (which I saw four times the first day in full Hobbit attire) and Return of the King came out, it was understood weeks before that I would not be at work…comp time, sick leave, non-duty days (the term they use for our vacation days that are not actual holidays)…or AWOL! It didn’t matter…I’d be gone.

In the past I have been invited a few times to do a ‘Visit from a Hobbit’ at the school where I work. On August 18, I again had the pleasure to share Tolkien with the seventh grade Gifted and Talented students who read The Hobbit as one of their projects. Since I am considered the resident ‘Tolkien Authority’ (or Geek!) on campus, it is quite an honor and a lot of fun. Assuming my identity as Thingo Baggins, distant relative of Bilbo and Frodo, I take along the inventory list and pictures of the many things I have collected over the years. At one time I took my collection with me, but it has now grown too large to transport easily. This year I did take the binder that holds my TOPPS card collection, an Elvish dictionary, my copy of The Atlas of Middle-Earth and my frayed and well-used copy of The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth. I tell them a little about how Tolkien developed the languages before he wrote the books, then encourage questions. It never seems to fail to get their attention when I quote the inscription on the One Ring in Black Speech. I am always delighted to hear that my visits have encouraged even just one student to get deeper into Tolkien’s writings.

After work that day I packed everything I could except the last minute items. I planned on going ‘comfortable’ to the event. Not only would we be sitting for most of the 12 hours we would be there, but also we would be eating all day, so no tight waistlines! I also made sure all my paperwork was on hand and in order.

The day of departure finally arrived. I was going to work a half day, then go home to finish packing and print boarding passes, as well as get the house ready for our four-day absence. Looking at the clock over and over, it seemed to be standing still—not moving at all. I wondered if the morning would ever come to an end. But eventually time to leave rolled around. I bid everyone a hearty “Namarie” and headed home. Later that afternoon my husband arrived and we scurried off to the airport to begin our adventure.

It was a quiet and uneventful flight fortunately. When we touched down in San Antonio I commented to my husband, “We’ve made it to Bree. Now to the Prancing Pony” (aka La Quinta). We picked up the rental car that turned out to be a dark blue PT Cruiser, and headed for our motel. After making plans to meet our youngest son for breakfast the next morning, we went to sleep.

Breakfast turned out to be quite a treat. Our son had seen a neat little restaurant, Gini’s, that is on his way to work. It was very quaint and had tea sets everywhere one looked. Bilbo would have loved it! I was instantly drawn to the menu item that stated, “Gingerbread Pancakes”. My husband and son both had the pecan pancakes and were delighted with them.

After we ate, we went to see the lovely new house our son and his fiancée had just moved in to. Later they took us to a little nearby historic town called Gruene (pronounced ‘grēēn’), where we met my son’s future in-laws for a late lunch. It was a delightful day and brought the big event closer as the minutes ticked past.

In the evening my husband and I drove about an hour to Austin. After settling in at our second motel, we decided to take a drive to the drafthouse to get our bearings for the next day. Then back to the motel to try and sleep. Now there were just a few hours to go!

7 a.m. Sunday August 21 came quickly, and I got ready to leave just as quickly! We left the motel around 8:30 and took the short drive to downtown Austin. There were already about 15 people in line and within a few minutes the line was all the way down the block and around the corner. As we waited for the doors to open, we saw a ‘Ranger’ and a lovely ‘elf’ in a dark blue costume with silver ribbon woven among her long braids. There were also various Lord of the Rings themed T-shirts and several pieces of Elvish jewelry.

Finally 9:45 arrived and after a few announcements, we began the long anticipated walk into the drafthouse. A flight of stairs took us to the second floor that houses the theater/restaurant. There, we were met by a nice woman who checked my name off a list and showed us where to pick up our nifty T-shirts. Apple juice was already set out for us to enjoy. We had entered our own Barliman’s.

As we entered the theater auditorium, I noticed a sign that said, “Welcome Hobbits”. Inside a documentary about Tolkien was playing on screen as the many “excellent and admirable Hobbits” settled into the seats each would occupy for the next 12 or so hours.

Hurrying about was a woman who was a remarkable replica of Samwise Gamgee. Not only was she dressed appropriately; she had a pack on her back, and carried Sting and the Phial of Galadriel. Later we learned that she was part of a Tolkien group that meets in Austin. They were gathering canned goods for a charity project. Each canned good brought the reward of a ticket to be used in drawings that would be held between movies. Anyone who had not brought canned goods could purchase tickets. Several nice Tolkien themed items had been donated by businesses in Austin, along with a gorgeous mirror made by a local artist. Her dog had torn pages from one of her books, so she used them on the mounting surrounding the mirror.

It wasn’t long before the lights began to dim. The audience quieted down and began settling in. Then “the long-expected party” began!!! As the first hauntingly beautiful strains of Howard Shore’s music floated on the air and we were drawn again into Middle-Earth, a cheer of delight and applause thundered through the theater. I sighed with relief and joy…we were there! It was a reality!

Within just a few minutes the aroma of delicious food began to waft ever closer accompanied by the gentle clatter of dishes. First Breakfast was on its way! We were to be graced with a new course about every hour and a half to two hours. Three courses were served during Fellowship, two during Towers, and two during Return of the King. First breakfast was not just “Hens eggs”. It was some of the best scrambled eggs I’ve ever eaten. Light, fluffy and cooked in a generous amount of butter. There was also “nice crispy bacon”, a juicy wedge of orange and mushrooms. Yes mushrooms…thick slices of grilled Porto Bella mushrooms! These people truly understood Hobbits and their love of mushrooms.

For the next twelve hours, the excellent staff at the Alamo Drafthouse scurried about tending to our every desire, bringing coffee and other beverages, napkins, silverware and anything else we might want. I was quite impressed with their expertise in waiting on such a large crowd so quiet and unobtrusively. They are to be commended.

Second Breakfast was a large bowl filled with cold, juicy sliced strawberries and sweet, thick cream! Interestingly, we were just finishing them when Pippin made his comment to Strider about second breakfast. A spontaneous, widespread laugh and cheer went up from the audience.

Next came Elevensies which was a tender, juicy braised sausage, grilled tomato slices, three different squares of delectable cheeses, and some sautéed cabbage with a bit of tasty pickle relish. After indulging in this third meal, I realized I’d better start pacing myself better or I’d never make it through four more! But it was impossible to just taste a little of this or that. The food was astonishing! Fortunately, the portions were not huge but they were definitely not skimpy either.

It wasn’t long after the dishes were cleared that the lights in the theater came up and the credits from the Fellowship rolled by on screen. While people stretched, made visits to the restrooms and chatted, the first raffle began. On screen the animated version of The Hobbit played. It was now about two o’clock. There were a few announcements, including the fact that they would be making some fresh popcorn available and that we could order from the dessert menu. Like we would have room! The break lasted about 30 minutes.

As The Two Towers began with Gandalf’s commands to the Balrog, my husband and I made a silly decision. Being popcorn lovers who always enjoy some at every movie we attend, we ordered some and began cheerfully crunching away. It was delicious! And after all, it was afternoon, it is a wonderful movie and we like popcorn. Our error was made clear, however, when Luncheon was served only minutes after we’d made all the popcorn disappear.

On the plate in front of me was the biggest sparerib I have ever seen. It was beautifully braised and the aroma was incredible. The menu that had been posted on the Internet said, “mashed potatoes” and I love “Po – ta – toes”. “Boil ‘em. Mash ‘em. Stick ‘em in a stew”, I’m not particular. But what lay next to the sparerib was not some lowly smashed spud. These were among the royalty of Spuddom! And to complete this course—sweet roasted carrots. But I kept the promise to myself and only had about half of the rib. However, I succumbed to the temptation of the potatoes and carrots and did not leave even a dirty spot on the plate where they had lain so regally.

About half way through The Two Towers, a gentle fragrance wrapped itself around me. It whispered, “peaches”. I knew it was about time for afternoon tea, but the menu had shown a salad of baby greens, tea cookies and a cheese herb galette. I was unsure as to what a galette was but was soon to find out. No mention had been made of anything “peachy” though.

The salad was lovely! Sweet crunchy yet tender greens with the garlic blackberry dressing. (I seem to recall that there were mushrooms too.) The galette turned out to be something like a small warm biscuit filled with soft melted cheese flavored with herbs. The fragrance I had detected was a nice hot cup of peach tea! Of course it was afternoon tea, but I hadn’t really expected a cup of tea. I tasted it and downed the cookies…yummmm. I’m sure even Gandalf would have approved…this was not “just tea”.

Soon Gollum’s song played as the lights came up and Towers came to an end. During this second break we got a really neat surprise. The Sam look-alike apparently knows a lady in England. This brilliant, talented, English lady had taken wonderful scenes from the movies and used them as a visual background to three songs. One was a love song with all the tender or heartfelt moments between Aragorn, Arwen and even Eowyn. The men in the crowd seemed to like this one best! Another was all about Gollum. But it was the third one I enjoyed the most. It was Holding Out for a Hero (sometimes known as I Need a Hero). This included all the scenes we ladies love of the heroes, especially Aragorn. The timing was incredible. Even the Argonath were there to accompany the line that goes, “he’s gotta be larger then life”! Too bad it is not for sale.

For a brief moment, I felt almost sad when The Return of the King began. This incredible experience was two-thirds over. And sadly, since the extended version is not available in a format for theaters, we watched the regular, theatrical version. But I felt no disappointment; I was having a WONDERFUL time.

It was during this last film that we were treated, yet again, to a surprise treat. The hardworking staff was going about quietly and quickly placing a small packet in front of each participant. On closer inspection, I discovered that something had been thoughtfully and decoratively wrapped in a soft banana leaf. My husband opened his…it was the chef’s own version of Lembas! A few lovely, lemon flavored cookies graced each packet. How cool is that! There must be some Elvish blood cursing through Mr. Bullington’s veins.

At one point during the movie I noticed someone standing near where I was seated. I glanced over, then elbowed my husband. There, not two feet away, stood the chef that had brought this special evening to life. He watched the movie for a moment or two and then returned to make preparations for the upcoming sixth course.

The stew was served in a very appealing square bowl. I thought my sense of smell had experienced every aroma available in the preceding hours, but I was wrong. This smelled like comfort-food heaven! And the flavor…wow! The meat was incredibly tender, the vegetables and mushrooms soft and tasty, but what accompanied it was equally awesome. There standing in the broth was a gigantic piece of chewy, crusty bread. Every mouthful of this stew and bread was like being hugged in a warm, cozy, fire lit Hobbit hole. The wine that we had ordered accompanied the meal splendidly.

Return of the King was in the second hour when our attendants began serving the last course. The soup was thick and rich, and the mushroom crouton was no tiny cube of crispy bread. This was a generous slice of toasted bread spread with a wild mushroom ‘pâté’. We had enjoyed mushrooms in one form or another all day! And anyone who is anyone knows that Hobbits love mushrooms. No sooner were the bowls cleared than a generous wedge of apple pie was place before me. It had a yummy crumbled topping with a flavorful filling and flaky crust.

When the movie ended the very satisfied and very full audience rang out with applause and cheers. As Bilbo had put it, “This will be a night to remember!” After we gathered up our belongings (which included a few extra packets of Lembas) and left the auditorium, I noticed three people seated at a little table. I soon realized that one of this company was Chef Bullington! I stopped for a moment and asked the lady seated there if they were responsible for our wonderful evening. She said that she was the chef’s assistant and verified that one of the gentlemen was indeed the chef. I complimented him on the food and got to shake his hand! Wow! He seemed delighted when I told him we had come all the way from El Paso and told me that he had always wanted to do ‘this’ at his home but got to do it “here”.

The next day my husband and I drove back to San Antonio to catch the flight home. The following day there was a neat article by Anton on theonering.net about the event. It included this wonderful bit of information: “Over all the experience was very good, and for any die hard LOTR fan, something like this is a must. I would advise anyone who [lives] near Austin or can make the venture to Austin, the Alamo Drafthouse will be holding another showing in November and tickets go on sale this Friday, August 26th.” I checked the drafthouse’s site and indeed there will be a repeat on November 13. They have ‘tweaked’ the menu a little but I know for sure that the next bunch of Hobbits will have “…a yellow light, and a fire within; and the evening meal [will be] ready, and [they] will be expected.”

Hall Of Fire This Weekend -- What Were They Thinking?
Demosthenes @ 2:47 am EST

Why on (Middle-)earth was Isildur allowed to keep the One Ring?

Long ago, Sauron wreaked havoc upon Middle-earth. After Celebrimbor first created his rings of power, Sauron forged his own - intent on domination. He took Celebrimbor's rings and used them to seduce nine kings of men to his side and to attempt to corrupt seven dwarven lords. Laying waste to Eregion, he pursued Elrond, who established Rivendell as a stronghold and shelter.

His war of domination was only thwarted by the power of Numenor.

Unable to defeat Numenor, he seduced it, stirring up war between the Dunedain of Numenor and the Valar. The breaking of the world and the downfall of Numenor was the result. Only Elendil and some of his people survived, establishing Arnor and Gondor.

Enraged by the survival of Elendil and his sons, Sauron assaulted Gondor, destroying Minas Ithil and setting off the war of the Last Alliance. It was a battle he proved unable to win. Elendil and Gil-galad formed the Last Alliance of elves and men. They lay siege for seven long years outside Barad-dur's black gates. Both Elendil and Gil-galad perished in the final battle; Isildur cut the ring from Sauron's black hand. Victory was nigh.

But what happened? Having defeated Sauron, and being right at the Ring of Doom, why did they ultimately fail and not destroy the One Ring?

Why did Isildur choose to keep the ring? Was weregild simply an excuse? A rationalisation? Was a more insidious influence already at work?

History shows that the elves were less susceptible to Sauron's influence. Was it an accident that the ring went to a man rather than an elf?

And why did the elves give in so easily to Isildur's desire to keep the ring? Does this validate or provide the cause of the division between men and elves? What would have happened if Elrond and Cirdan had tried to force the ring from Isildur? And would they have been justified in doing so?

Join us in the Hall of Fire on Sunday September 4 at 2:00pm EDT as we discuss the decisions made by Elrond and Cirdan at the end of the Last Alliance of men and elves, and the beginning of the Third Age.

Time and date:
Sunday September 4

2.00pm EDT
1.00pm CDT
12.00pm MDT
11.00am PDT

7:00pm UK
8:00pm Central Europe

4.00am (Monday) Brisbane
4.00am (Monday) Sydney
6.00am (Monday) Wellington

Chats usually last 45 mins to an hour, and are very newbie friendly. Simply drop in and join the conversation!


Chat happens on #thehalloffire on irc.theonering.net - the TORn IRC server. You can connect instantly via our java chat client that works inside your web browser (find it here! ) or choose to install a dedicated chat program such as mIRC on your computer.

To find out more about using mIRC to connect to TORn IRC server, check out these instructions.

Upcoming topics:

Sun September 4 - Elrond, Cirdan and Isildur at the Ring of Doom
Sat September 10 - Silmarillion Ch 12
Sun September 18 - Silmarillion Ch 12

Got a topic? Let us know your idea!

If you have a burning desire to discuss something in Hall of Fire, drop us a line with your topic at halloffire@theonering.net. If we like it, we'll probably give it a run in the coming weeks - you might even get to guest moderate the session!

Join HoF Announce!

Did you know that Hall of Fire has a mailing list? Join today and get topic announcements and news delivered regularly to your inbox!


8-30-05 Latest News

More ELF Orlando: 2005 Images and Report!
Xoanon @ 10:13 pm EST

ELF Orlando: 2005
Click for more photos

Mrcere writes: ORLANDO – Once again TheOneRing.net and Creation Entertainment joined forces to bring Lord of the Rings fans a fantastic Lord of the Rings convention.

Calling the event the “ELF Weekend of Wonder”, it featured actors Elijah Wood, Sean Astin and John Rhys-Davies. (A little-known fact ELF stands for Eastern LOTR Fan gathering). Creation and TORn hosted the event on the East Coast to help fans who found travel to California for many past TORn events difficult. The weekend was a festival of stars, experts and fellow-fans.

The setting was the Hyatt hotel in Orlando, spread over many acres, giving it the feel of a resort. Besides several pools, restaurants and many buildings hosting guests, it included a separate convention center containing several ballrooms which hosted the main stage, the dealer’s room, the secondary programming, the art show and the various on-site dinners or parties. Fans flocked from all over, many new to TheOneRing and many long veterans of the site.

TORn’s own Quickbeam opened the event with director Carlene Cordova who recently sold their collaborative film “Ringers: Lord of the Fans” to the DVD arm of movie studio Sony. They promoted the film by exuding the same enthusiasm for their work that helped take them from the dream stage of making a film about fans to the final stage of promoting it to a world-wide audience. They are hoping for a November release. The audience was presented a new trailer for the work and some behind-the-scenes footage.

Gary Hunnewell arrived a good hour before he was to speak, leaving TORn’s guest coordinator Balin (of TORn chat fame) and me (MrCere) a bit worried. Luckily for the audience, he arrived in time. Hunnewell is the premier historian of Tolkienien publishing, which means he has collected well over 90 percent of all fan magazines (or fanzines) published about Tolkien in the world.

He talked to the gathered audience about his experiences in Birmingham England, having just returned. He talked about how fandom has changed with the coming of the Peter Jackson films but also with decades of growth and the publication of new translations of LOTR around the world. He was able to offer differences in fans and fan publications from Greece, Sweeden, Brazil, Finland, Japan the USA and many other parts of the world. He also drew chuckles with his account of sneaking off to the bathroom at night and bringing Tolkien along since there was no reading light in his room.

Laura Cooper, an expert on writing Tengwar used an overhead projector to begin her three-part series on how to write in Tolkien’s Elvish language. She assured everybody assembled that if they simply work at it, anybody can write the language. Her flock was both enthusiastic and numerous.

Friday night featured long-time friends “Emerald Rose” playing a full two-hour set much to the delight of the assembled fans. Many danced and frolicked as the Atlanta natives led listeners on a fantastic musical journey. The band will premier its newest CD at the “Night of Bree” event at DragonCon next weekend. They also tossed out rubber emerald rose rings that light up in a fantastic triad of colors. A TORn event just wouldn’t seem right and would be much less fun without our musically inspiring friends!

Saturday featured the always magnificent gentleman John Rhys-Davies who slipped into voices of Gimli and Treebeard from time-to-time. He talked about a variety of subjects from either prompts from the audience in the form of questions or just speaking from his own soul.

He teased the audience with broad outlines of films that he knows of being made. He laughed at the Hollywood machine that rushed out to make epics after Lord of the Rings only to see them fail at the box-office.

“If your big scene features battles with big elephants and war machines in it (Alexander), well, you are in real trouble after Lord of the Rings,” he said.

He talked about some days on the set of many of his movies, the meaning of art, what started him acting and how to be successful at it. Here are a few quotes from his overwhelmingly rich discussion:

On art: “All great art is moral.”

On J.R.R. Tolkien:“Tolkien’s life goes well and his is remarkable. He is a good teacher, a good father, a respected professor, his colleagues like him. Even his children like him! The only ripple, was this great battle (of the Somme in World War I).”

Putting LOTR in proper perspective: “Lord of the Rings is probably the great imaginative fantasy of the 20th Century”

On acting for a living: “It always surprises me that I haven’t got a job!”

On acting: “What I found I was doing wrong, was most of the time I was making excuses for myself”

On getting acting jobs: “The only enemy I’ve ever had, well I wear his shoes everyday.”

On the TV series “Sliders”. “It’s no secret that I had creative problems with the show. Basically, I was creative!”

More on Sliders: “The average American child watches 14 hours of television a week. We must be a little responsible about what we put on.”

On Gimli’s humor in the film: “It (the LOTR story) is an arc of dissention into darkness so you need a character who can break up the tension (for the audience)”

On Sean Bean: He is big and bold and handsome – (laughing) and frightened of helicopters! We would be flying into a location and we would see a figure (below) who left base camp three hours earlier” He also called Bean ‘a golden man’ who was porting a lot of luggage for an older couple. When Rhys-Davies asked for an introduction Bean explained he couldn’t provide one, he didn’t know their names.

On secrets of acting: “Get the right part! Someone will say, ‘Oh he is a major star’ and you are doomed if you believe it.”

He also took the time, when asked, to promote two pet passions. One is joining and supporting the planetary society. The other is to support the further exploration of possible sub-layers in Pompeii. According to Rhys-Davies those two frontiers of science are as important as things get.

He is famous for the care and kindness he gives to his autograph sessions and I must attest that every bit of praise heaped upon him is completely deserved. He is careful to make each person receives his full attention and is sensitive to those who maybe need extra minutes from him. He was gracious and generous.

Alas my report regarding Sean Astin cannot be as full. He did exchange a warm greeting with Rhys-Davies backstage and kissed his feet on stage. I had other pressing duties during Astin’s time with the audience but he delivered wonderfully to the crowd and was happy to comment extensively and answer all kinds of questions. Fans attending ELF almost always asked good questions and there was very little silly or selfish questioners.

I was able to hear Astin stress the importance of literacy and his value of getting a formal education. He wasn’t afraid to mention politics and does seem to have both an interest and an aptitude for such things. He was pleased to have a “pompous” answer ready when somebody asked what he was reading. During his years at UCLA he managed to graduate without reading any Russian literature but was pleased to report he is doing so on his own. He was happy to talk about his new daughter and how tiny she was being born a month early. She is apparently eating well and is now healthy and a “real porker”. He even said he wasn’t as beautiful as Vanna White and then insisted it was so but still expressed contentment with his own form of beauty.

Astin also signed and because of smaller crowds had more time to do so leisurely.

Further presentations that I can report on was a wonderful hour with writer (Film Score magazine) Doug Adams. He was in Howard Shore’s pocket much of the time and has written a book that will likely be released with a boxed-set edition of the full (or nearly) soundtrack of the Lord of the Rings movies. I was lucky enough to spend three minutes with a prototype of the book and I can say that I am absolutely sold!

Despite not having everything technically perfect for Adams, he was easy going and presented a panel on “Themes of the Lord of the Rings Score”. Astin and Rhy-Davies were both signing autographs at that point in the same hall that the musical presentation was in. Naturally this was a little disruptive but Adams won over the crowd who really seemed to appreciate vivid and specific details about various musical themes in the music. Even those who seem to have memorized the score found new insights that also appealed to those who didn’t know music as well.

Matt Appleton from Weta delivered a slideshow of personal moments both on the screen and behind the scenes of Lord of the Rings. It is still wonderful to hear from people who were there working day after day with all the passion that the fans hoped for. Again, I can’t make a full report, but it was great fun to have somebody visit form New Zealand.

Author Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn), artist Colleen Doran and jewelry maker Paul Badalli were on hand to discuss their interest in Tolkien and how it translated to their own artistic lives. Sadly I was again occupied with behind-the-scenes work and cannot give a full report except to say that these individuals were treasures and added significantly to ELF.

A personal highlight for me was the Saturday night desert party. Ice cream and cake and a cash bar awaited party-goers who finally had a chance to socialize with each other without a star in sight. Our own Garfeimao presented a traditional TORn game where audience members are asked to recreate portions of the movie or book. In what amounted to Tolkien karaoke, those attending the party made the most of the moment with prize winners getting great satisfaction and also some TheOneRing.net shirts.

Few who were there will forget the accidental panty flash, the death of the Witch King, the Badalli sisters putting on their prize t-shirt together at the same time, the slaying of a mumuk, Quickbeam’s robotic “Where is Gandalf?”, the pre-teen Gollum impression, flubbed lines and various drunken and sober moments. Trivia and more music rounded out the evening and then hearty souls continued talking into the wee hours of the night. Appleton from Weta fueled my already hot-burning passion to see King Kong! I am convinced LOTR fans have yet to grasp how great this film will be for everybody and not just Kong fans.

I also had to leave the convention on Sunday before Elijah Wood made his appearance. I leave it to others to finish the tale but TheOneRing.net warmly thanks all those who made ELF happen including actors, scholars, artists, volunteers and most especially, FANS!

The next partnership between Creation and TORn is the ORC (One Ring Celebration) in Pasadena in January. See Creationent.com for details!

8-29-05 Latest News

The Long Expected Festival: A Party in the Shire
Xoanon @ 8:45 pm EST

Asphodel the PR Hobbit writes:

The Long Expected Festival: A Party in the Shire

Members of the Ohio Ring Council Lord of the Rings fan club invite Tolkien fans everywhere to join us for The Long Expected Festival: A Party in the Shire. Scheduled from noon to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 24, the Party in the Shire will give fans a chance to celebrate all things Middle-earth in a truly breathtaking natural setting: Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark in Dayton, Ohio. The event is presented free of charge thanks to the generous support of Five Rivers MetroParks. Visit partyintheshire.com for details and directions.

Hobbity fun for all ages!

Explore the formal gardens and woodland paths of Wegerzyn Gardens, transformed for the day into the best-loved locales of Middle-earth.

During the Hobbit Quest scavenger hunt, you’ll be challenged by costumed characters who may—or may not—help you find your way. You can also relax and enjoy live Celtic music, or take a Renaissance dance lesson and learn how to “Toss the Dwarf.” Share a reading of your favorite Tolkien passage, or show off your costuming expertise in our Lord of the Rings costume contest. Enter the raffle for autographed Lord of the Rings merchandise. Visit the Gaming Hall to participate in Lord of the Rings role-playing and card games. Stroll among local artisans to find unique and handmade items, and enjoy tasty treats from a variety of food vendors.

The Party in the Shire is a “rain or shine” event, so please plan for the weather—which can change rapidly in Ohio in September.

Dress the part

Lord of the Rings-inspired costumes are welcome and encouraged! Weapons—including replicas and toys—are prohibited.

Volunteers welcome

Are you a Tolkien fan with a professional-quality Lord of the Rings costume and an outgoing personality? We could use your help in welcoming fans to the Festival and guiding them through “Middle-earth.” Pointy ears and hairy feet are not required, but are encouraged! If you’d like to be a part of the Long Expected Festival: A Party in the Shire, please visit partyintheshire.com and click on Volunteers.

About ORC

Founded to celebrate Trilogy Tuesday in 2003, in just two years we’ve grown to become Ohio’s largest Lord of the Rings fan club. We have over 270 registered members, an extensive website (ohioringcouncil.com) and a host of organized excursions to Tolkien-related events and conventions. Look for us in the Dragon*Con parade!

KiKn, TORn schedule for DragonCon 2005
Xoanon @ 8:27 pm EST

MrCere writes: Sister sites TheOneRing.net and KongIsKing.net are serving up a full plate for fans of science-fiction and fantasy at DragonCon 2005. Even with 27 tracks of programming, the enduring love of all things Tolkien and the building excitement over Peter Jackson's King Kong puts the fan-run and fan-owned websites right into the spotlight.

The weekend will feature full-blown presentations about Kong and guests from the realm of LOTR including actors (John Noble, Bruce Hopkins) scholars (Anne Petty) and experts on make-up, armor, the Silmarillion and also featuring Children's programming.

A full slate of Tolkien programming is set for the Copenhagen room with the most crowd-pleasing events set for breakouts in the bigger auditoriums. Check the full schedule here:

Friday at 1 p.m. staffers from TORn/KiKn kick off the convention in its biggest ballroom (International North in the Hyatt) with a full-media presentation of the still in post-production King Kong. We will present a big-picture look at the film with stills, video and breakdown of the information released so far about the film that experts are predicting will be an 800 pound gorilla at the box office.

TORn and KiKn will also have a fan table display in the downstairs lobby of the Marriott with t-shirts available, daily giveaways and staffers available for discussions about films, books and anything else! Be sure to drop by for a visit!

8-28-05 Latest News

Dork of the Rings at Gen Con
Xoanon @ 9:38 pm EST

Dork of the Rings at Gen Con
Click for more images

Tim Richardson, Director "The Dork of the Rings" writes: We recently made a splash at Gen Con in Indianapolis this past weekend. Attached is a story from our co-director Jack Peterson. I've also included a few snaps.


Jack Peterson writes: Well, I think I've finally got my heart back to a normal pace after attending Gen Con in Indianapolis this past weekend. It was a four-day event but I could only make the last hour of the last day since I ended up parking in Kokomo on account of there being around 30,000 people in attendance. I spent several hellish days hoofing it down to the city, which is why I look a bit thinner in my photos taken at the con since I sweated off half my body weight. Thankfully Dairy Queen, White Castle and about 30 other restaurants gave me sustenance along the way.

Meanwhile, according to the other cast and crew members, some old mangy actor who plays the wizard in our film won the Staff Choice Award in the costume contest which is quite surprising since his outfit was constructed from Goodwill clothes and scraps of cloth swept out from behind the sofa in my den. Apparently our two seminars went well, although they blamed me for the crappy audio on Saturday night since I was in charge of reserving the equipment. How was I to know a Sponge Bob ghetto blaster wouldn't be compatible with our laptop?

Fortunately, I was able to cover a lot of ground in the short time I was there (and not just with my shadow). I checked out our crafty competitors The Bed Rental Men (or something like) that since they're releasing a film with the word =93dork=94 in it next year as well. I ingeniously disguised myself as a slobbering fan and waited in line to have them sign my bag of peanuts during which I picked their brains to uncover their marketing plans so now we'll be ready for =91em, the poor unsuspecting bastards.

The highlight of my day was interviewing the comedy genius The Great Luke Ski while he drew a fantastic caricature of yours truly, though I think I ending up looking some like someone else I've seen somewhere before. Luke has also had a bunch of #1 parody songs on The Dr. Demento Show, which is about as impressive as being the longest worm in a New England bait shop.

All in all I'd have to say it was a very productive event and next year I look forward to having more time to check out the exciting food courts. This coming weekend I'll be flying down to Elf: A Weekend of Wonder in Orlando where I hope to work my charm and shmooze with some big wig actors from some film called "The Lord of the Rings," though I've never heard of it.

Coming soon will be a video of me presenting our antics at Gen Con so stay tuned to www.dorkoftherings.com for all your exclusive Dork info.

Go back to Special Reports Archives