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September 04, 2004 - September 11, 2004

9-11-04 Latest News

FSF Convention Report from Oz
Xoanon @ 10:26 am EST

Choice of Lzthien

I just got back from the FSF convention in Sydney that had three LOTR guests--John Rhys-Davies, John Noble and Noel Appleby (Proudfoot). It was a great event. Here's a report on their talks:

Noel Appleby was the first to speak--his first talk. He was great. He talked about how he was happy to be here and how it had come about when he went up to Auckland earlier in the year for the Armageddon convention to get John Rhys-Davies' autograph (he paid and stood in line and everything!). On the subject of Peter Jackson, he said "if ever a man knew what he was doing..." then he talked a bit about his role in the Navigator, which I hadn't seen.

Then it was John Noble's turn to speak. He did the entire 45 minute session as Q &A. Overall it was great:very entertaining, informative and him just having a good time. LOTR things of note:

-the EE scene where Denethor falls down was filmed 17 times! He had quite a large bruise by the end.

-in LA when he saw the movie, the audience cheered two times when Denethor got hurt

-ROTK EE will be 50% better than the theatrical--you have the complete storylines

-in response to a question, he talked a lot about the scene where he dismisses Faramir. He said by that point he knew what Denethor was about and it wasn't hard to be so cold to Faramir. He told us to think about it in simple terms. You're having this big domestic argument and suddenly you get that question. What else are you going to say? And to look at Denethor as a human being--the leader of the free world, he's lost everything, he's lost one of his sons, he knows they are going to be overun, etc... the last thing he wants is to have a "petty argument" with his son.

-he hadn't read the books when he auditioned, he read them when he got the callback.

-He also auditioned for Saruman, but wasn't tall enough! Then he read on the internet that Chris Lee got Saruman and thought "well, I can't complain". Then he read that Donald Sutherland got Denethor, and well, that didn't happen.

-the subject of the lack of palantir was brought up. Very interesting response. He says that Denethor doesn't need the palantir to instigate his demise. And in fimmaking terms, it doesn't make sense to introduce Denethor that way. Filming the palantir bit was never even discussed and he's glad it wasn't done. It wouldn't add much at all.

-he related the story about when Billy first sang the song. There were about 200 people on set when Billy sang it as rehearsal and within 5 seconds you could hear a pin drop. By the end John was in tears, he said it was very magical. He called that whole sequence (the song intercut with the charge) one of the finest pieces of cinema.

-his latest project is a film shot in the Czech republic where he plays a big Russian guy-"the most unlikable character ever met". He got to die and do all sorts of stunts and loved it.

After a short break it was John Rhys-Davies' turn to speak. He started out by saying "no, I don't have Orlando's number. But if I did, I would give it to you."

-Indiana Jones info: theoretically they will be making a new IJ movie next year and it will be the best of them

-his favorite character is always the next one, though Gimli is written in pain on his heart

-his next movie is called "One with the King" and is shooting in India next month.

-he related the story about how he remembers standing halfway up a mountain watching people bring up his costume in parts and then having to run with it on.

-a great quote about not being able to film one night in Queenstown (I think) "the lake is under water"

-lots of talk on directing and what makes a good director and a great director (PJ)

-a person asked about the poll on TORN for who was the cutest guy and did he care to comment on Gimli coming in at 0.3%, same as Theoden, Elrond and Wormtongue. Response: "if I had pointy ears and a long blond wig I'd have come out of it better"

-in response to a question about the "canoe incident in FOTR": while training, the boat with him and Orlando capsized. "the ungracious little pointy-eared blond person of no significant stature, I name no names, Orlando, pointed at the dwarf and said 'it wasn't me, it was the dwarf.' the dwarf said nothing due to his magnanimous personality." Several months later the elf was in a canoe with someone else and it capsized. Only this time there was no dwarf to blame!

-he ended by saing that the whole thing was a con. He came because he wanted to meet us. He said it's easy for an actor to get lost and forget who their audience is.

9-10-04 Latest News

Bruce Hopkins visits Long Beach School
Xoanon @ 12:34 pm EST

Bruce Hopkins visits Long Beach School

Robin writes: Attached is the newspaper article in yesterday's Long Beach Press Telegram about Bruce Hopkin's visit and wonderful day at Grant Elementary School in Long Beach, and a few photos. Note the handsigning one, Bruce signed arms and hands of one whole class consisting of 20 students who said they will never wash their arms again! The students loved him and cheered and applauded throughout his talk, especially during his famous juggling routine. Many, many thanks to Bruce for taking the time to do this.

'Rings' star visits L.B.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - Bruce Hopkins, the man who played King Theoden's trusted adviser Gamling in the final two "Lord of the Rings" movies, was greeted with applause Wednesday when he visited about 200 students at Grant Elementary School.

But Hopkins channeled that praise to Joseph Amado, 9, a Grant fourth-grader who enthusiastically read the J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy twice when the movies came out.

Amado, who was a bit embarrassed by the attention, said reading is something he happens to enjoy.

"It's educational. You can learn about a lot about things. And it's really fun, too," the student said. "But it's not every day you see a famous person."

For Hopkins, however, reading is something to be celebrated.

"To read the 'Lord of the Rings' twice, at his age, is phenomenal," Hopkins said.

Hopkins, as a favor to Robin Harmon, school volunteer and trilogy fan, stopped by Grant to show movie clips, answer the students' movie questions, give away posters and trading cards and promote literacy.

Vicina Jordan, a third-grade teacher at Grant, said Hopkins' visit helped encourage her 20 students to pick up a book.

"It gets them excited about the literature and reading," she said. "They can visualize the story when they're reading it."

Hopkins has been involved in Operation Read, a literacy program spearheaded in 1999 by Los County Supervisor Don Knabe and developed by a task force of county departments that included library, probation and juvenile courts.

The county teamed up with actors from "Lord of the Rings," including Hopkins, and used the movies as an incentive to read the books.

Children read the books and wrote essays about the texts' underlying themes. As a reward, students got to view a world-premiere screening of the movies at Norwalk Cinemas when they came out. About 1,000 students participated in the program.

By the time the third movie, "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King," came out, more than 12,000 students over a three-day period went to watch the film in Norwalk.

Hall Of Fire Chats This Weekend
Demosthenes @ 9:13 am EST

The question of questions. The question sages have pondered for decades. The question that has overturned book club meetings and caused riots on message boards. The Question of the Ages. No, it's not 'What's the Meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything?'. Nor is it 'Who shot JR?'. It's not even 'Where's the beef?'. Instead, we are going to ponder the imponderable, ask the unanswerable, seek that which has eluded both the wise and the extremely geeky: Who is the greatest Hero of Middle-earth?

Do you have the answer? An opinion? A suggestion? Are you firmly in the camp of the Aragorn-ites or the Frodo-ians? Do you vacillate between the students of Gandalf and the worshippers of Pippin? Do your tastes tend toward the earthy- as in Eowyn, or the sublime- as in Galadriel? (yes, women CAN be heroes too!) Perhaps you look deeper into Middle-earth's long history toward heroes such as Beren, Turin, Hurin or Elendil. Or do you just go for the bizarre and take Gollum or Sauron for you role-model?

Wherever your affections and loyalties lie, you will have the chance to explore, expand, and expound on the merits of each this week in #thehalloffire as we discuss Middle-earth's Greatest Hero. But be prepared to back up your assertions, because this is going to be one heck of a debate!

Upcoming topics:

Sept 18-19: The Hobbit: Chapter 14: Fire and Water
Sept 25-26: The Downfall of Numenor
Oct 2-3: The Hobbit: Chapter 15: The Gathering of the Clouds


#thehalloffire on theonering.net IRC server. Need instructions? Go here:

Chat Times:

Saturday Chat:

5:30pm EST (17:30)
[also 11:30pm (23:30) CET and 7:30am Sunday morning AEST]

Sunday Chat:
8:00 pm (20:00) CET
[also 2:00pm (14:00) EST and 4:00am Monday morning AEST]

EST = Eastern Time, USA's East Coast
CET = Central European Time, Central Europe
AEST = Australian East Coast

Hof-announce mailing list:

9-09-04 Latest News

TORN Regular Takes Blue Ribbon at Dragon Con
Xoanon @ 7:19 pm EST

TORN Regular Takes Blue Ribbon at Dragon Con

Altaira writes: Goldilocks Took, a regular on the TORN message boards, took first place in the amateur division of the Dragon*Con 2004 Art Show this past weekend. Goldilocks’ watercolor “Iorhael (Frodo)” was selected by a panel of judges out of over 200 entries.

Goldilocks found TORN a few years ago while recovering from a severe arm injury. “I was blown away by the talent here… art, poetry, essays, parodies, all this love of Tolkien expressed in so many mediums.” As her arm healed, Goldilocks picked up her brush again and gradually began sharing her drawings on the message boards. She received so much encouragement she entered the Dragon*Con Art Show for the first time in 2003. Her efforts were rewarded this year when a group of friends from TORN attending the Con ceremoniously ushered her to the exhibit where the First Place blue ribbon was gracing the corner of her watercolor.

“I thought I would faint when I saw the ribbon,” said Goldilocks. “All of your support has meant more than you can know. It has given me courage to put my heart out there on the canvas.”

More of Goldilocks’ artwork can be seen here.

'World Without Sundays' on Ringers
Xoanon @ 1:55 pm EST


HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA -- TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2004 -- Los Angeles-based quartet World Without Sundays has breathed new life into the most derided song in the entire cannon of Rankin/Bass animation: "Where There's a Whip, There's a Way." Sung by an army of bellowing Orcs in the 1980 adaptation of The Return of the King, the tune has since achieved cult-status among Ringer enthusiasts as a guilty pleasure. The producers of RINGERS: LORD OF THE FANS asked World Without Sundays to update "Where There's a Whip" with their signature electro-rock sound, and the band soon emerged from the studio with a stunning, dramatic version that is part Radiohead, part Prodigy, and more genuine protest song than ever before.

RINGERS features a bevy of performers reworking songs from the classic cartoon adaptations of Tolkien from the 70's and 80's -- including Australian singer Greta Gertler performing an extraordinary version of "Leave Tomorrow Till It Comes" (also from ROTK); and indie-rock mainstay Arlo updating the classic ballad of The Hobbit, "The Greatest Adventure." Director/producer/writer Carlene Cordova believes these songs have a unique place in the hearts of Ringers everywhere: "Looking back over the past 50 years of this fan phenomenon, our film has so much music and great songs, as does The Lord of the Rings itself. We felt nostalgic for these Rankin/Bass songs, knowing they deserved to be heard again with a fresh ear. I know the fans will be thrilled and surprised at what our musicians have created."

The moving and addictive sounds of World Without Sundays has no doubt beaten the odds through lasting friendships, bi-coastal moves and chance meetings with each member of this unique band. Shoxwaken Hincks (singer/co-songwriter/guitarist) and Guy Harrington (songwriter/bassist) met up with Adam Hurlbut (drummer) in Boston and decided to move to Los Angeles where they met the remaining addition to their band, Grecco Buratto (guitarist). Their style has been heavily influenced by such acts as Queen, Tom Waits and David Bowie; bringing a dynamic mix of rock, experimental sounds, and blues to their sold-out shows. Online music outlet IMPACT Press raves: "WWS build their songs into furious crescendos with front man Shoxwaken Hincks' powerful vocals."

World Without Sundays played a soaring, hellfire set during TheOneRing.net's Oscar bash "The Return of the One Party" in February 2004, where they were joined onstage by Lord of the Rings stars Dominic Monaghan (Merry Brandybuck) and Billy Boyd (Pippin Took). Upcoming performance dates for the band include Seacliff Beach, CA, and the world-famous ROXY on the Sunset Strip. Their newest release is eponymously titled and distributed through the band's official website located here.

RINGERS: LORD OF THE FANS features a dynamic rock-drivenscore with many recording artists who were influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien. Many have come forward to provide a new spin on nostalgic favorites from previous "Rings" adaptations.

About the documentary:

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

RINGERS: LORD OF THE FANS spent 16 months shooting on three continents. Produced in association with the popular Tolkien fan-site TheOneRing.net, Ringers stands as the most comprehensive film document of the ongoing fandom of "The Lord of the Rings."

Current "Ringers" Interviewees include:

Actor - Sir Ian McKellen, Actor - Dominic Monaghan, Actor - Andy Serkis, Actor - Sala Baker, Author/Filmmaker - Clive Barker, Writer/Director/Producer - Cameron Crowe, Actor - David Carradine, Author - Terry Pratchett, Author - Peter S. Beagle, Author - Terry Brooks, Musician - Lemmy Kilmister, Musician - Geddy Lee, Tolkien Scholar - Dr. Jane Chance, Chairperson of the Tolkien Society - Christine Crawshaw, Author - Colin Duriez, Filmmaker/Critic - Chris Gore, Writer/Publisher - Forrest J. Ackerman, Actor - Bill Mumy, Author/Broadcaster - Brian Sibley, Illustrator/Author - Colleen Doran, Illustrator/Author - Jill Thompson, Great-Grandson - Royd Tolkien, and hundreds of Tolkien fans!

9-08-04 Latest News

ROTK:EE Street Date: December 14th
Xoanon @ 1:32 pm EST

Ringer Spy Celebriel reports that this week's Video Store magazine (9/5 -9/11 2004) contains a 2 page spread confirming the street date for the 4-disc extended edition of Return of the King of December 14. Pre-sell date is September 10.

The ad notes the inclusion of the "highly anticipated confrontation with Saruman" and the 50 minutes of extended footage.

Separate from the Extended Edition 4 disc set is the Collector's DVD Gift Set, also with a street date of December 14. This contains the 4-disc Extended DVD edition, Minas Tirth polystone keepsake box, and Bonus DVD, "Creating the Lord of the Rings Symphony" by Howard Shore.

Extensive TV, radio, and print advertising planned during the holiday shopping period.

ROTK Extended Edition: DVD suggested retail is $39.99, VHS suggested retail is $24.99
Collector's DVD Gift Set: Suggested retail is $79.92

Shore Begins work on 'Aviator'
Xoanon @ 1:22 pm EST

aragornwriter writes: This is taken from a Belgian newspaper: Howard Shore prefers Belgian Radio Orchestra for score “The Aviator”

After eight executive days of hard work, the Flemish Radio Orchestra has finished taping the score for “The Aviator”, the new movie of the renowned director Martin Scorsese with Leonardo diCaprio. The music is from multiple Oscar winner Howard Shore, who also composed the music for “The Lord of the Rings”. Shore personally directed the recordings that took place in Leuven, Belgium.

“The two hour lasting tape with recordings has been sent to Scorsese who was thrilled. Every night there was a video conference with the director to discuss what was happening. Then changes were executed at his request. From the many details he had in mind and the way he worked with them, we discovered and recognized him for his great talent,” said Flemish Radio Orchestra responsible Gunther Broucke.

The taping took place in Leuven, Belgium in a hall where rehearsals for the VRO (Vlaams Radio Orkest) usually take place. Especially for this movie, technical people of the London Abbey Road Studios have built in some new high technology equipment to get optimal quality for the recordings.

The Flemish Radio Orchestra earned this honor thanks to composer Howard Shore. He worked together with the orchestra in April of this year, when they performed the music of “The Lord of the Rings” in the Antwerp Sportpaleis. The concert was a huge hit. Shore said in several interviews afterwards that he was thrilled with the quality of the orchestra.

More Info on Shore 2005 Ontario Concerts
Xoanon @ 1:03 pm EST

Lúthien Rising gives us more on the Lord of the Rings Symphony in Toronto and Kitchener, Ontario:

The event will feature the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and the Kitchener-Waterloo Philharmonic Choir. It now appears on the KW Philharmonic's website -- including that Howard Shore will be conducting! The rest of the performing groups aren't listed yet.

The concerts are scheduled for Saturday, June 4, 7:30 p.m., at Kitchener's Centre in the Square (a hall widely regarded for its excellent acoustics, and for Sunday, June 5, at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall (a hall that's better than it used to be at least - http://www.roythomson.com/home.cfm). Neither event has been announced by the halls themselves.

Boyd to Host 'Free Preview Weekend'
Xoanon @ 12:58 pm EST

'The Lord of the Rings'(TM) Star Billy Boyd to Host Starz Free Preview Weekend on DIRECTV September 17-19

Sweepstakes Awards Grand Prize Winner an RCA Home Entertainment System, DIRECTV Customers Receive a $15.00 Visa(R) Gift Card with STARZ! Subscription

ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Sept. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Starz Encore Group LLC (Starz) and DIRECTV, Inc. are offering an exclusive free movie weekend to all DIRECTV customers from 9:00 p.m. ET on September 17 to midnight ET September 19. Actor Billy Boyd, who starred as Pippin in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, will be hosting the event. Starz is the exclusive pay television home of all three "The Lord of the Rings" movies.

Additionally, one grand-prize winner will receive an RCA Home Entertainment System that includes a 61" DLP HDTV with integrated tuner, a 600-watt surround sound Home Theatre Package with DVD player and a 40GB digital video recorder. DIRECTV customers who sign up for STARZ! during the free preview weekend will receive a $15 Visa gift card, powered by Ecount(TM), and good at millions of Visa locations worldwide with proof of the first month's billing statement.

The free preview will consist of 12 channels of the Starz Super Pak. The free preview weekend presents DIRECTV customers with Hollywood's biggest blockbusters on the Starz Super Pak including Julia Roberts in "Mona Lisa Smile," Johnny Depp in "The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," Ang Lee's "Hulk" and "Cold Creek Manor."

In honor of host Billy Boyd, who was filmed in his hometo wn in Scotland for the free preview event, STARZ! will be airing "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" on Saturday, September 18. The 2004 Academy Award(R) winner for Best Picture, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," will premiere on STARZ! in November.

"The Starz Super Pak offers our customers quality movie choice and convenience," said Neal Tiles, executive vice president, marketing for DIRECTV. "Starz consistently delivers first-rate programming, and we are happy to give our customers this opportunity to enjoy their hit movies with the added incentive of a $15 Visa gift card and the chance to win the RCA HD Home Theater."

DIRECTV customers who sign up for STARZ! during the free preview will be awarded a $15 Visa gift card and the opportunity to win an RCA Entertainment System grand prize (service and installation not included).

"The free weekend preview is consistent with our ultimate goal of adding value to DIRECTV households," added Bill Giorgio, senior vice president, affiliate sales with Starz. "Starz provides an unparalleled library of movies, and each channel delivers something new and unique to movie lovers." Starz provides a steady supply of blockbuster titles including "Lost In Translation," "Under the Tuscan Sun," "Mona Lisa Smile," "Spy Kids 3: Game Over," "Kill Bill Vol. 1," "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers," "Hulk," "Chicago," "Anger Management," "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," "Finding Nemo" and "Freaky Friday." Coming to STARZ! later in 2004: "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" and "Miracle." Hollywood studios supplying films to Starz include Disney, Universal, Sony, MGM, Paramount, New Line, Revolution Studios and Miramax.

About DIRECTV, Inc.

DIRECTV is the nation's leading digital mu ltichannel television service provider with more than 13 million customers. DIRECTV and the Cyclone Design logo are registered trademarks of DIRECTV, Inc., a unit of The DIRECTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV). The DIRECTV Group is a world-leading provider of digital multichannel television entertainment and broadband satellite networks and services. The DIRECTV Group is 34 percent owned by Fox Entertainment Group, which is approximately 82 percent owned by News Corporation Ltd. For more information visit www.directv.com.

About Starz

Starz is the largest provider of premium movie services in the United States with approximately 164 million pay units. Starz offerings include the Starz Super Pak(R), with up to 13 digital movie channels and more than 750 movies per month, Starz On Demand(R), the only on-demand pay TV subscription service available on the cable and satellite platforms, and its broadband equivalent, STARZ! Ticket(SM). Starz also offers a suite of advanced video offerings, including STARZ! HD(SM), Encore HD(SM), and Starz On Demand HD(SM). Starz is a wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation (NYSE: L, LMCb), www.starz.com.

9-06-04 Latest News

LOTR Behind the Scenes
Tehanu @ 4:58 pm EST


Part 1: The Fellowship of the Rings

Imagine if you, a fan, had been allowed to wander about the filmset - all the filmsets - as "The Lord of the Rings" was being filmed. For several years, you were able to watch people working on any task related to the films, ask them any questions about what they were doing, even to linger in doorways and listen to Peter Jackson or Richard Taylor plan what kind of movies they intended to make and discuss the best way to achieve that.

Well, none of us is ever going to have that opportunity. But Costa Botes did, and he distilled the best of his five years of observation (That's 21 hours of footage) into three 90-minute documentaries.

These are a fly-on-the-wall view of what it was like to make those movies. They give a sense of the grinding, endless, enormous work that it was for everyone, and how it must have seemed at times like a terrifying, insurmountable task. At the same time, they capture the incredible spirit that drove people forward with a mixture of joy, courage and determination. Like the Fellowship themselves, the people making the film slogged forward with a kind of blind faith that even though they couldn’t see the overall plan or imagine how it fitted in to the whole, somehow if they gave of their best, the effort would be rewarded with success. Or maybe just that if they gave their all, that in itself would be its own reward. How incredibly rare that is in film making!

At the centre of the maelstrom is Peter Jackson, often captured on the fly as he directs the cast, makes a decision or explains something to the crew. The documentary shows him more often working with crew, cast, and management than talking directly to the camera, and so you get a sense of how much everything depends on him. You also realise how tightly-knit and interdependent are his crew.

A little has already been written about the scene where Peter Jackson Loses His Temper. The extraordinary thing about it is that he is so restrained, so reasonable, that if it were anyone else you’d probably only say he was a little tetchy. Some people can get angrier than that six times before breakfast, and have a whole door-slamming, crockery-smashing fit while under far less pressure. Costa Botes’ documentary shows you both why Peter Jackson doesn’t do that, and why he doesn’t need to.

Having said that, nothing in this documentary is explicit. It doesn’t announce its conclusions or channel your thoughts with mood-setting music. It moves quietly into different spaces and allows people to talk about what they do. You’ll meet or observe the language coaches, the armourers, the stuntmen,the actors, the horse-wranglers, the costume department, the special effects technicians, the artists, and the extras. There is charming footage of the hobbits’ small-scale doubles, who are characters in their own right. Unforgettable moments such as Viggo Mortensen in full Aragorn kit troutfishing at Mavora Lakes between takes. There is an astonishingly frank exchange between PJ and Barrie Osborne about the films’ escalating budget (in relation to the CGI required for Gollum). The ball is left in Barrie’s court to either allow PJ to make the films how PJ wants, or end up with “Lost in Space production values.” The documentary can’t follow up what happens next, but it’s obvious from the finished films that Barrie succeeded in championing Peter’s cause.

The documentary shows how some things are done - some of the visual and aural tricks that are used. If that takes away some of the magic of the films, it replaces it with a sense of delight and wonder at the startling, clever, and sometimes funny solutions the crews come up with. It’s an eye-opener to see how claustrobphobic the Bag End sets are when they’re in use - it’s incredible that the actors could appear to be moving so freely inside a set that was crammed with other people operating lights, cameras, microphones, wind machines and whatnot.

The documentary flips between people that are happy in their work, and the moments when people are overwhelmed by it. There’s the recurring nightmare of the missing radio transmitters which the film units absolutely need, and the person responsible for locating them absolutely can’t get in time. It’s a potential disaster and people are at the point of tears over what was probably only the latest of a hundred problems. Ngila Dickson is interviewed at a point where the costume people are being driven insane by the logistics of multiple locations, schedule changes, and the endless copies and doubles of every single costume item. She looks exhausted.

There was footage of the appalling flooding in Queenstown that washed away sets and screwed up the outdoors film schedule. There was the day when it started to snow on location, and the cast and crew gamely tried to keep going until it was impossible. There were the team of chainmail makers, slowly going mad as they clipped together chainmail rings all day every day for 2 years. Through it all people seemed to find a sense of humour to keep them going no matter what.

For contrast there were the hobbit boys improvising a capella jazz scat on Weathertop, or laughing and carrying on their jokes between takes. We see Gandalf riding into Hobbiton one of umpteen times - this time his hat blows off; riding in again on that cart, only this time he’s giving Frodo a quick lesson in Sindarin. “The Lonely Mountain.....so that’s the singular?” asks Frodo. There are a few such tantalising scenes that never made it into the finshed films.

The wonderful thing about about this documentary is that clearly people trusted Costa Botes and became so used to him that they almost forgot he was there - he and his crew seemed to be part of the furniture of the set, able to candidly observe åwhat went on around them. The result is that you see people laughing, swearing, and working through disasters and triumphs. The whole thing leaves you in awe at the achievement of every last one of them.

There is talk that the documentaries will be included in a special edition of LOTR in 2006, but given the vagaries of Hollywood it's not certain that they'd appear as we saw them here in NZ these past few weeks.

We can only hope that the diehard LOTR fan community will have many more opportunities to see these documentaries on the big screen, exactly as they are. They were not made to be a promotional tool; they are a testament to a unique work which needs to be recorded for posterity. So far they have only been shown at the Film Festival here in New Zealand, and they deserve a far wider audience which will appreciate and honour the determination which drove the film makers to achieve what seemed impossible.

9-05-04 Latest News

DragonCon Repart: Day 2
Xoanon @ 1:24 pm EST

DragonCon Repart: Day 2

Celebriel writes: Saturday began with a DragonCon favorite, the annual parade from Woodruff Park back to the hotels. Ringers were very well represented, with a large and well organized contingent. Star Wars Storm Troopers led off the parade, a DragonCon tradition, and other popular contingents included Pirates of the Carribbean, Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Anne McCaffrey's Pern. The streets were lined with DragonCon attendees and locals, still and video cameras in hand, cheering the parade participants.

Appropriately enough, the first session after the parade was Magic Unraveled: Discovering The Wonder of Costuming in Middle Earth. This workshop featured a panel of five LOTR experts sharing inside information on creating the perfect costume. A few tips:

Jules Kelly of the popular costuming website Alley Cat Scratch showed how to make an Elvish cloak. "Swirlability is everything about cloaks," she explained, adding that the half-circle Elvish cloak was designed to reveal the costume underneath. Tips: Be sure to place the clasp low enough so the weight of the cloak doesn't strangle you, and try adding fishing weights to the hood to achieve the right look.

Suzanne Daley, a big Legolas fan, explained how working in suede and leather is different from working in fabric. She advises using a three-sided leather needle that pierces the leather, and selecting the needle size based on the thickness of the leather. Try to avoid re-sewing leather as it weakens the material. Tips: Use long (basting) stitches in sewing and patch holes in leather with contact cement or rubber cement.

Laura Bradway talked about children's costumes. She stressed that children cannot endure the discomfort of too many layers of costumes, so simple is better. To get the maximum life out of children's costumes, use stretch fabric, elastic waists, and big hems that can be let down.

Jessica Duncan reviewed various types of elf ears, from simple and convenient ones applied with spirit gum and blended in with foundation makeup to hand molded gelatin ears made from individual ear casts (the type used in the films). While gelatin ears look great, they melt from body heat and lights. And while making the ear molds is the hardest part, a good set of molds will last indefinitely.

WeeTanya has already summarized Anne Petty's wonderful talk on Tolkien's dragons and how he created unique characters out of these rich symbols rooted in myth. Later in the afternoon, TORn staffers including Balin presented The Road Goes Ever On, featuring a detailed look (SPOILERS!) at the extended edition of Return of the King, due out in time for the Christmas market. (Exact date not yet confirmed by New Line Cinema.) Every additional sequence planned for the four hour and ten minute film, most confirmed and some speculated, was reviewed, including its place in the film and how it deepened our understanding of character and action. Without revealing too much here, as a general comment it can be stressed that the extended edition presents a film that moves ever closer to the book.

Mindy Singer spoke on the in's and out's of developing your own unique costume using books or movie characters to inspire you. One of the things she suggested to profile and observe the common themes of the race you are portraying and work that into your own costume.

Quimbie Olmstead who headed up the panel. Beyond keeping things running smoothly, she offered attendees a list of sites to get them started on the path to making their own costumes. She also gave them ideas on do's and don'ts for in costume behavior.

New images from the programing track and of outstanding Ringer costumes!

Sunday kicks off with a session on LOTR weaponry followed by Anne Petty on Tolkien's Finnish Connection. Stay tuned!

9-04-04 Latest News

Anne Petty at DragonCon: “Tolkien’s Dragons”
weetanya @ 10:25 pm EST

By WeeTanya

“Welcome to Sakuracon!” Tolkien scholar Anne Petty joked at the beginning of today's panel on Tolkien’s Dragons. “I say that because I feel like I’ve been abducted by the anime track. Anime dragons and Tolkien’s dragons are a lot alike, of course. And I am a fan of both anime and Tolkien…”

In his latest Green Books column, Turgon introduced Anne Petty thus:

Anne C. Petty received her Ph.D. in English Literature from Florida State University. Her dissertation was published as One Ring to Bind Them All: Tolkien's Mythology (1979; reprinted with a new introduction and expanded bibliography 2002, $18.95 trade paperback, ISBN 0817312056). Another book, Tolkien in the Land of Heroes: Discovering the Human Spirit ($16.95 trade paperback, ISBN 1892975998), came out in August 2003. And just published is a book that includes a chapter on Tolkien, Dragons of Fantasy ($14.94 trade paperback, ISBN 1593600100). Check out her website at www.annepetty.com [Here]

This meant that Anne was eminently well suited to deliver her 1 PM panel.

In the packed room, Anne comfortably shuffling papers like a born professor. "I looked over my notes while flying here," she said, "and I realized that this would be a two-hour lecture instead of one!"

Anne began the panel by relating the story about how she got up the nerve to study Tolkien, who was at the time considered a pulp fantasy writer. But then Anne met Joseph Campbell.

“I spoke to Joseph Campbell about my interest in Tolkien, and he inspired me to develop the theme of ‘Tolkien as mythmaker’,” she said. “Today many scholars of Tolkien are interested in studying his sources, but not me. I am interested in studying the themes that make his work universal.”

About dragons, Anne had many things to say.

“Dragons are powerful images,” she said. “They symbolize evil, a barrier. Their colors represent greed and passion… they have been part of rites of passage, and in medieval literature they were part of the test to attain kingship.” Tolkien’s dragons, Anne said, were inspired by such diverse sources as Beowulf, the Eddas, Greek mythos, medieval legends of Chretien de Troyes, E. Nesbit, The Red Fairy Book, and even Kenneth Graham’s The Reluctant Dragon.

Anne told us that her book involved a careful examination of Tolkien’s five dragons (the five being Smaug, Scatha the Worm, Glaurung, Ancalagon the Black and Chrysophylax) according to certain questions:

When do you first encounter the dragon in the book? How does it happen?
What do other people say about the dragon? Rumors, sightings, etc.
What is the dragon’s physical description?
What are their attributes?
How do they speak? Formally or informally? In English or some other language?
What is the dragon’s point of view like?
Does the dragon behave as a friend or foe?
Is the dragon written somewhat humorously?

Tolkien decided that because dragons were magical, everyone could understand their speech. “They even speak in normal dialog instead of italics,” Anne said. “Tolkien had a sharp ear for dialect. Glaurong spoke in a ‘high saga’ dialect… while Smaug was informal… and Chrysophylax was both sly and groveling.”

“Tolkien was wonderful at delaying the entrance of these foes,” Anne said. “Before we see Glaurung, we hear a vast amount of folklore related to him.” Smaug is also long-anticipated. “We hear the dwarves’ songs of Smaug, Gandalf’s story of the map, Thorin’s history…”

Anne said that she considered Smaug one of Tolkien’s most memorable characters. Patterned after the Norse dragon Fafnir, Smaug is both dangerous and humorous. “He’s a snarky worm,” Anne said. “Bilbo and Smaug’s interaction is almost like a game. It’s as though each of them scores points in the conversation. Bilbo gets carried away by his own riddles and reveals that he isn’t alone, so Smaug sort of scores a point. But then Bilbo’s clever flattery reveals Smaug’s weakness.”

Tolkien’s language related to Smaug is especially vivid. “Tolkien described Smaug with phrases like ‘pot galloping on a fire’ and ‘old volcano’ – which immediately brings up images of heat and flame…”

And as for the death of Smaug, “it’s one of the greatest action sequences Tolkien ever wrote!” said Anne.

The panel ended in record time (it seemed), but for those that missed the panel (or for those interested in exploring Anne’s points further), Dragons of Fantasy is available via Amazon.com.

More DragonCon 2004 Images
Xoanon @ 12:10 pm EST

Dragon*Con 2004 Images

Celebriel writes:

Here at DragonCon 18 i Atlanta, the mood is good, the energy is high, and even the orcs are polite. It's not possible to generate enough air conditioning to keep over 17,000 costumed enthusiasts cool, especially those in velvet, leather, or armor. Day One got off to a great start with Jincy is our TORn MC giving an overview of the Tolkien-related conference events, which include a screening of the trilogy.

The afternoon sessions included a class in Elvish led by Jeff Sherrill. Did you know that Quenya, the language of The Silmarillion, is modelled on and sounds like Finnish, while Sindarin, the language of Lord of the Rings, is modelled on and sounds like Welsh? Like Finnish, Quenya uses case endings (like Latin) in its grammar, while Sindarin uses word modulations (which can be very difficult to remember!).

Jeff explained that Tolkien's runic Tengwar writing system can be used to write any language from English to Russian and beyond. Not only did "The Professor" create several languages, but he created their writing system as well. The structures of the Tengwar runes have a precise logic related to their phonetics, that is, to the sound that they represent. Each rune also has a name, which is also the meaning of a word in Elvish.

At the end of the class we learned how to count from one to twelve, and how to ask for a refill in our glass, in Elvish, which would prove useful later in Bree.

The evening's event was An Evening in Bree, hosted by TORn, Sideshow-Weta Collectibles, and Badali jewelry. A costume contest with more than fifty entries began the evening. Winners represented Gimli, Legolas, Eomer, the Balrog, and Arwen, among others. The contest was followed by the music of Emerald Rose. Barliman's Inn had more than a few visitors not from Middle Earth but residents of other fantasy and sci fi worlds. Outside of Bree, guests mingled freely and exchanged tips on costume construction or practiced role play.

Although there was no conference track on Pirates of the Caribbean, a good many guests were in POTC costumes as Will Turner, Captain Jack Sparrow, and Captain Barbossa. and Celebriel predicts that next year there will be a track on this much-beloved film, especially as two sequels will be going into production next year.

Another observation is the popularity of the costuming programming track, new this year. The room could not accommodate all those who turned up, even with the standing room in the back.

Saturday's program has a full schedule of Lord of the Rings programming, plus the DragonCon parade in the morning and the awards banquet in the evening.

Dragon*Con Report:
maegwen @ 5:56 am EST

TORn Staffer WeeTanya checks in with this first report from Dragon*Con 2004.

* * *

Dragon*Con began yesterday, I hear, but for MrCere and I it began today. I ran into the infamous staffer as I was attempting to talk my way into the convention as a pale substitute for Calisuri. "Did they buy it?" He called out as I rushed past him all flustered, looking for an ATM. I wondered who the strange person was shouting after me, because I knew with certainty that MrCere was already at the Con!

Well, turns out he wasn't already at the Con. Yes, the intrepid Man In Charge of the Fan Table ran into mechanical error -- flight delay, to be precise. And on top of that, the poor fella was at Dragon*Con sans luggage!

But he made it back to the fan table, and more about that in a moment.

After I'd successfully convinced Dragon*Con that I was simply a Wee version of Calisuri, I ran off to the First Panel, which was a rundown of the day's schedule.

Jincey ran this panel, and I was glad to see Balin there, and SamGamgee, and Anne Petty, and the two fine Elvish 101 instructors, Jeff and Paul.

Jincey's got a very laconic, welcoming southern style about her. The room was packed, standing room only, and Jincey made sure everyone knew changes to the schedule.

Books and playing cards and a medalion were raffled off, and then everyone settled in for the day's events.

High points for me? Meeting everyone! The hardcore Tolkien-track folk were attentive and smiling, eager for each and every panel. "Some people never leave the room," Jincey whispered to me. "They're there more than I am!" Costumes were also especially fine, but more about those later.

I left everyone to enjoy the Hall of Fire, and went off to see if MrCere had made it to the fan table.

He had. He and friend were all set up with banners, tshirts and pins by the time I figured out how to find the fan table area. Tshirts abounded, and I scored one in red. "If only my luggage were here," lamented MrCere, "I had some cool stuff for the table in my luggage."

The new tshirt offerings were especially cool. I scored one in red, and I note that they can be purchased at the TORn online store as well.


Eventually, I made my way back to the Tolkien Track programming for Elvish 101 with Jeff and Paul.

The room was packed yet again!

I admit that I am no linguist, but Jeff and Paul did a solid job of pointing out the basics of Tengwar, and gave many hints about where to hunt online for good lessons/manuals for learning the alphabet.

Paul read a few lines from Galadriel's poem Namarie, and then taught us a portion that he claimed would get us drinks at a bar. "Fill my cup yet again," he taught us. And after that, he taught counting to twelve (because elves obviously count in base twelve).


After the language lesson, everyone dispersed and attempted to russle up food before the night's event -- An Evening in Bree.

When Jincey, Balin, SamGamgee and I arrived at the ballroom, it was already packed full of elven maidens in their finest attire, many rangers and soldiers of Gondor, several dark people (including one amazing Balrog -- yes, with wings), and not a few Hobbits.

Everyone's costume was wonderful, to my lasting jealousy. (Pictures of the costume contest, including winners, will be posted Monday!)

Emerald Rose began to play, and in short order several Springle Rings and folk-dancey chains wound around the room... The energy was intense and vibrant, which is exactly what Craig Parker said to me as soon as he entered.

Yes! Our three Con guests came to see the festivities! Sala Baker, Craig Parker & Bruce Hopkins all came to chat with fans at Bree.

"I'm exhausted and wasn't going to go out again," Craig admitted, "but Sala and Bruce convinced me that the event would be amazing -- such great energy. And they were so right!"

The three amigos stayed and chatted and hugged people and took photos with people up until the costume contest began.

Of the costume contest, more shall be written in a later post (with pictures!). But for now, suffice to say that everyone looked amazing, and the three judges wanted to hand out at least twelve prizes. As it was, there were three runners-up and three winners, the best being... but I'll save that for my next story.

And the final positive event of the night: "My luggage finally arrived!" said MrCere.


After that, Emerald Rose continued to play to a lively crowd, but my steam was fast running out. I decided to call it a night.

So cheers to my friends who are still dancing away at the Con! Here's hoping to see you tomorrow, and hoping also that Jincey, Balin and SamGamgee got to eat their long delayed breakfast lunch dinner!



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