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September 18, 2003 - September 26, 2003

9-26-03 Latest News

ROTK Trailer Reports!
Xoanon @ 12:09 pm EST

Trailer reports are flooding in!

Gandalf of Denmark

I was fortunate to see the trailer yesterday evening in a local cinema. It is seeming likely that the trailer will be run in front of the premiere this weekend A league of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Beyond that I would imgaine it would be run in front of Pirates of the Caribean, which premiered 2 weeks ago and is stil going very strong here.

I watched the trailer and my first impression was that although it was good, the trailer/preview on the Two Towers DVD had much more feeling and just seemed better.(Ofcourse this could simply be my mind that makes me wonder this as I did see the DVD first heh) I dot remember too many things of the trailer, however your mention of Shelob being in it, is true. She does a quick 1 second onscren time. It is right in the same scene as we saw Peter Jackson watch in the preview on the DVD. Quite nice actually. Frodo runs down the hall, looks back and sees Shelob, as do we for the 1 second(probly less). Other things to note. Theres a brief scene where we see Gandalf ride out towards a big army/skirmish, his staff lighting up the area. I am asuming this could be where he rides out to help Faramir in the books. Other than that there is a nice view of Merry in battlegear looking up at Eowyn, also in battlegear. And she says to him: "Stay with me." Or something like that. A scene I would imagine where the are about to go into battle. There is also a few shots of a Legolas that looks not as we have seen him before, as far as I could tell. He looked very scary, and in one of these shots, he says: "He has come." (I think) This COULD possibly be where the army is at the gates to Mordor, and Saurons representative comes out. It sure looks very ominous and my impressions was that Legolas had doom written on his otherwise determined face. heh

The score in the trailer is overall very low key, which might be one of the reasons I dont actually think the trailer leads of to something quite big. I have enjoyed the fan-trailer you posted a little while ago, and the music in that as well as the preview on the DVD seems stronger and more fitting somehow.

Anyways, these were a few of the things I recall mostly from the trailer. Its a feast to be sure. :)


Hi guys, i just wanted to point out that in the shot of frodo climbing up the cliff with Minas Morgul in the back, you can actually see the army of the witch king coming out of it, you see troops moving below, coming out of, i guess, the same gate that we saw in FOTR.

I'm delighted that this scene is actually in the film because I loved it so much in the book and I think it is a very iconic scene from the trilogy. Not to mention that it is also a relief to see that Minas Morgul IS in the films, when it wasn't even on Faramir's map!


I Work at a theatre and we loaded up the trailer really quick for a once thru last night. This is what I remember:

Legolas and Aragorn open the trailer. Legolas says something about the Eye of Mordor is looking at them or something like that and he has the hood of his cape up and he is looking toward Aragorn. There is a later shot in the trailer that is similar to this one.

Aragorn and Gandalf talking about Frodo's chances.

There is a shot of Legolas that is very familiar shooting his bow. I've seen it somewhere. .

A great shot of Legolas climbing the trunk or leg of the Oliphant. You are looking down at him while he is climbing up toward you.

It's very powerful when they are reforging the sword and Elrond brings it to Aragorn and tells him to basically buck up and be the king. That part was in the E clip. You can't really tell who is reforging the sword it went by very fast.

A couple more shots of Legolas. A big close up as he turns and looks at something and the one where he is fighting in the midst of all the orcs shouting.

There is a major stunning shot of the ringwraiths flying down to the war fields and just wrecking havoc. Your level on the field looking at the ringwraiths flying down toward the galloping horsemen and they just drop toward them and wham into them and they go flying. It's hard to describe.

The shots from the E clip of Frodo and Sam climbing up and Gollum looking at the ring with major lust going on. Also of Sam yelling at Gollum that he is leading them into a trap and Frodo says no we are taking him with us. Gollum looks back and just gives this evil smile to Sam.

A great shot of Dernhelm with Merry saying whatever happens stay close to me.

The music is different but the same feeling and it was stunning. It was very familiar yet different just like what they did with TTT. It has some same basic themes but seemed more on the dramatic rather than urgent side.

There is a great shot of Shelob and she is freakin scary as all get out chasing them thru the tunnels.

There is also a really quick shot of Sam and Frodo and it just makes you hurt for the pain in their faces and I'm pretty sure the ring is doing something to Frodo's neck it looked raw, burned.

There is not much of Pippin just the one shot with Merry telling him they will see the Shire again.

Lots of Elrond telling Arwyn that he can do no more for her as she gave up her grace to another. Arwyn also states it is time for the sword to be returned to the king.

A quick shot of Eomer sobbing on the battlefield holding someone.

it goes by really really fast but it is simply wonderful.

Betababs writes:

I work at the theaters, in modesto california, i was lucky last night and got to see it early, heres what was in it

is saw the trailer last night, and it was phenomenol. I really cant put it into words, but it's fanatastic. Heres what I remember

Starts of with a shot of minus morgul and mt doom in the background, and there is a huge light shooting up from the tower

Then it goes to legolas with neat hood on, standing with aragorn, saying something about the ememy

Aragorn and Gandalf talking about Frodo, and if he is still alive, Aragorn ask Gandalf "what does your heart tell you"

Some other things that stuck out

Elrond saying the enemy will never let aragorn take the throne of Gondor

Arwen saying it is time....(for aragorn to be king)

Arwen saying give him the sword of the king, and shots of them forging it

Shot of elrond giving Aragorn the sword, aragon takes anduril out of its sheath like lighting and looks at it

Elrond says "BECOME WHAT YOU WERE MEANT TO BE" I almost cried

Then an awesome airial shot of 3 nazgul swooping down like lighting above minas tirith

Shots of the battle of pelenor fields, a nazgul swooping down on a couple horses

Eomer crying, holding theoden

Frodo being chased by shelob

Dernhelm talking to merry, saying to stick with her no matter what

Cool shot of Gandalf and pippin looking at the brewing storm

Shots of Gollum, Frodo, and Sam

Sam hears what gollum says about killing them, but frodo says he will not abandon him

Eomer saying we cant defeat sauron by force, aragorn says we can buy frodo some time

Aragorn gives a speech, possible to the rohirrim? or the army of the west in mordor.

Some shots of the paths of the dead

Legolas on a mumakil

Some battle shots

Thats all I remember but im so stoked to see this movie, i hope this helps

Chris and Dan Hennah Talk LOTR!
Xoanon @ 11:58 am EST

JD sends along some great news from NZ, 3foot6's Chris and Dan Hennah, they were part of an annual arts festival in Nelson. Take a look at the interesting swag of news he picked up!

Hello peoples, I have some news that doesn’t have anything to do with the trailer, but is quite spoilerific. Please note that I haven’t made any of this up, it is entirely true.

I live in Nelson, New Zealand, and part of our annual arts festival, Dan Hennah (Art director for LOTR), was having a question and answer session.

I went along, and himself and his wife (really nice people), had brought a few props and photos with them.

They brought a One Ring (I got to try it on!), and other items. Most I had seen, but among them was a diamond vase thing. I asked Dan what it was, and he took it and took of the top. As he pulled the top off, I saw that a inky rats tale with spikes was hanging off the lid.

He told me that it was Wormtounge’s poison jar, I asked when does he use that, and he said that he uses it to kill Theodred. I was surprised because I thought that that was really clever. It would make his character more evil. He went on to say that it wasn’t in the books, and I asked him if it would appear in the EE of the TT. He said most defiantly.

I then looked around, and on the wall was two pictures of the encampment seen in the DVD trailer and on previous posts. I asked if that is from the third film (obviously fishing for info), and Chris Hennah said yes, it was at Dunharrow.

It had an inside shot of the the Kings tent (Theoden), with skins and shields, and kingly stuff.

Another picture showed Arwyn looking very sick in a bed with Elrond at her side, re-enforcing the whole, sick of grieve theory.

In the actual question and Answer part of the afternoon, I asked Dan, what his favourite part in the trilogy was and he said he couldn’t give too much away, but he said when Farimir storms the Orcs out of Osgiliath onto the Pellenor Fields. He said it is quite an important part of the story. I can’t remember if it happened in the book.

Any way, it was an enjoyable morning, and he said that filming will finish in the next week. At the moment they are filming background battle shots and Mumukil etc.

So I hope I have some new news in there, oh and that Wormtounge vase thing, was really foul. I think my friend summed it up by saying “They really do a good job at making things look evil don't they!”

9-23-03 Latest News

Extended Editions UK Cinema Screenings
Xoanon @ 8:48 pm EST

Sambrook writes: Been reading the site for a while - congratulations first of all for putting together such an excellent online resource!

Right, ass-kissing aside... I work for UGC Cinemas in the UK and our site received an email yesterday about screenings of the theatrical editions of Fellowship and Two Towers - FOTR will be shown in some UGC's on Wednesday 3rd December, TTT on Wednesday 10th - and we all know what happens a week later.

All well and good, but the email then went on to mention that some key UGC cinemas were not due to get these screenings. Why? Because "Entertainment are considering releasing 10 prints of the four-hour extended editions of FOTR and TTT" - the key sites not getting the theatrical editions would then get the extended editions.

However, the email did not list dates, nor did it say whether 10 prints means '10 prints in the entire country' or '10 prints for UGC'. If there are only 10 prints being released in the UK that would mean an extremely limited release for the Extended Editions.

So there you have it - not the most conclusive of news but at least it confirms that Entertainment are considering relasing the Extended Editions, albiet on a limited scale. So fingers crossed...

Hope this is of some use! At least we finally know the UK isn't being ignored.

ROTK Trailer Online This Monday!
Xoanon @ 4:07 pm EST

Los Angeles, CA, September 23, 2003 - New Line Cinema will debut the new trailer for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in theaters around the world on Friday, September 26.

In North America, the 2 min., 30 sec. trailer will play exclusively with New Line's Secondhand Lions, now in its second weekend of release. It will be in theaters throughout the weekend and will then debut online at www.lordoftherings.net on Monday, September 29.

On December 17, the Journey ends. Co-writer/director/producer Peter
Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's revered trilogy concludes with the worldwide release of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. With intimate, emotional stories set against an epic backdrop, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King tells the dramatic final story of these men, their relationships and rivalries, and how through courage, commitment, and determination even the least of us can change the world.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King stars (in alphabetical order) Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Brad Dourif, Bernard Hill, Christopher Lee, Ian McKellen, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortensen, John Noble, Miranda Otto, John Rhys-Davies, Andy Serkis, Liv Tyler, Karl Urban, Hugo Weaving, David Wenham, and Elijah Wood. The third film in the highly acclaimed trilogy is produced by Barrie M. Osborne, Fran Walsh and Jackson. The screenplay is by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Jackson based on the book by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Bilbo Birthday Bash 2003 in LA Report
Xoanon @ 11:00 am EST

Bilbo Birthday Bash 2003 in LA

Garfeimao writes:

LA Ringers got together on Sunday, Sept. 21, to celebrate the combined Bilbo and Frodo Baggins' birthday party. The location was set at Griffith Park in the middle of Los Angeles. We moved from the more remote location of last year, to a central spot right next to the Merry-go-Round. The caliope music proved a bit maddening at times, but it did make it easy to find us.


Things started around 11am, with the Rohan tent being set up, including a net to help keep bugs out. In fact, a small BBQ was set up next to the tent with the sole purpose of smoking and keeping the bees from attacking the food. One of the trees was turned into an Ent, complete with Hobbits in the branches. Ice was brought and food laid out, and everything was set for fun.

The first event was at 1pm with Trivia Questions from Two Towers being asked. We had prizes, some were books, pencil tins, SeriousUSA's cool little CD cardz, and Sideshow statues. We had three winners in the Trivia contest, which proved to be much too short. We then got an impromptu serenade by a wandering Mariachi band. I dare any of the other Tolkien celebrations going on this weekend to be able to boast the same thing.


The costume contest was due up next, and since I was entering in it, I needed to get changed at this time. My costume is quite heavy and very warm to wear, so I chose to be relaxed in the beginning and then put it on at the park. Since I wear armor, I actually needed help getting into everything. No wonder Knights had squires, there is no way anyone could do this on their own, even if it was every day wear for them.

There were several really good costumes on display, including a fabulous Arwen with painted silver designs on her dress, an incredible Frodo portrayed by Primmy, a young Ringwraith with a voice distorter, and a really beautiful Eowyn in the white dress. My own costume was that of Dernhelm, and I won't elaborate on the costume any more for those who don't want to be spoiled for ROTK. Suffice it to say that Dernhelm is a Rider of Rohan that you have not really met yet. And guess what, I won, woohoo. It was probably all that armor, it was a very hot day and LOTR costumes can be hot, but armor is heavy as well as hot. I got a Sideshow/WETA bust, the one of the High Elven in armour, the First Alliance armour.

After the costume contest, I started peeling out of the armour, but didn't take it back to the car yet. Too heavy, so it sat next to me and I showed the shield, helmut and sword to all the kids. It was at this time that Calisuri decided it would be cool for all the costumers to ride on the Merry-go-Round. So, I had to get put back into all that armour and climb onto a Carousel horse. At least being a Rider of Rohan, I looked right at home. Gandalf was right behind me, with a Ringwraith on his tail, and Frodo was in front of me. It was a rather surreal moment, to say the least. Giddyup.


I finally got to peel out of all the armour, and change, and then we had our imperonation contest. This was very popular last year, and proved to be so again this year. Basically, you get up on the table in front of everyone and recite a favorite line, or enact a bit of a scene. There were some very creative impersonations, but the trio of Gollum/Smeagol, Frodo and Sam were the obvious winners. They enacted the scene where Gollum first sneaks up on sleeping Frodo and Sam, complete with the fight, then transitioned to Smeagol/Gollum's inner debate with the two hobbits sleeping in the background. We also had Aragorn and Theoden riding out of Helm's Deep together, including coconut horse clip clops. Oh, and not to be outdone, there was a duo performing Merry and Pippin's rendition of the Hobbit Drinking Song. Those were our three winners, but I must say that there were several other fine performances, but only three prizes remained for us to give out.

The end of the day included the eating of the Frodo and Bilbo birthday cake, and giving Sarumann a going away present. He received a Sideshow/WETA Saruman statue, how cool is that? Yes, it's true, our very own Sarumann is driving away to the East. But, never fear, for he will be back out here for the Oscar party. Oh, and he's moving to the Philadelphia area, so those in that area, look for a new Line Party leader soon.

As the sun began to disappear behind the hills, food and supplies were cleaned up and the good folk of LA Tolkien fandom faded into the distance. All in all, a wonderful day in Los Angeles, if a bit surreal at times.

9-22-03 Latest News

Bilbo's Birthday Celebration in Brazil
Xoanon @ 8:06 pm EST

Bilbo's Birthday Celebration in Brazil

Shelob writes: Many brazilian fans have been celebrating Bilbo and Frodo's Birthday this Sunday, September 21st. The Smial Sao Paulo, one of 14 Smials that belong to the Conselho Branco (White Council Tolkien Society), had its Second Hobbit Party as part of the festivities.

In the largest city of Brazil, many Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves, Dúnadan, Rohirrim, Nazgûl, Istari and Valar - even Spiders as myself! - got together to honor the two beloved Hobbits. You can see some of our pictures here...

The Party lasted all day, featuring our tradicional Costumes Contest (won by Nimloth the ElvenMaid and Elda Minyagon the Warrior Elf), the "House of Vairë" Storytelling (our audience heard the "Cuyviényarna" and "The Fall of Gondolin" tales), Role Playing Games set in Middle Earth, a great campaign to collect toys for an orphanage, and, of course, lots of food (it was a Hobbit Party, after all). Well, the party is over and all we can do now is wait until December comes, when we are planning to celebrate PJ's Return of the King... with more hobbit food, I guess!

New Edition of Bestselling 'The Lord of the Rings Location Guide Book'
Xoanon @ 2:09 pm EST

New Edition of Bestselling 'The Lord of the Rings Location Guide Book'


When The Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook by Ian Brodie was released in November 2002, to coincide with the worldwide film release of The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers, it went straight onto the bestseller chart, and sold an astounding 75,000 copies in New Zealand and Australia alone in its first five months. The book enjoyed 18 weeks at No 1 on the New Zealand Bestseller List and by September 2003 has sold a phenomenal 90,000 copies.

Now publishers HarperCollins Publishers (NZ) are delighted to announce that on Friday 7 November the much awaited The Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook New Edition will be launched in New Zealand. The New Edition contains images and details of not only the first two movies, but also the also the third and final movie, The Return of the King. The new edition contains an extra 32 pages and in addition to the new locations there are features written by Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, Alan Lee and Barrie Osborne. The Two Towers locations have also been rewritten to accurately reflect the final film.

In addition to new location information and new interviews with key cast and crew, author Ian Brodie has added new location photographs and movie images from the third movie, along with the touring information, GPS references and local directions which helped make the first edition such a success.

English language rights have been sold for the book, and as well as being sold in Australasia, The Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook New Edition will be available for sale in the UK, Europe, South Africa, Hong Kong and Singapore from December or in some cases, early 2004. Distribution in the US and Canada is currently under discussion, but the New Edition can be ordered on www.lordoftheringslocations.com.

Managing Director of HarperCollins Publishers (NZ), Tony Fisk, says “We are thrilled to be associated with the Lord of the Rings Locations Guidebook which has given a new dimension to the enjoyment of The Lord of the Rings books and films to many thousands of fans and visitors to New Zealand Availability of the first edition was limited to New Zealand and Australia and we are delighted that readers in other parts of the world will now be able to read about the stunning locations which Peter Jackson transformed into Middle Earth”.

About the Author:
Ian Brodie is director of the NZ Fighter Pilots Museum in Wanaka, and a successful aviation writer. He is also a dedicated Tolkien fan, with a passion for and local knowledge of many of the locations used in making the movie trilogy.

Ian met fellow aviation enthusiast Peter Jackson at an air show, and not long after that, the idea was born to write a guide for fans to the locations used in filming Peter’s masterpiece. Ian set out with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the books and movies, a GPS and a ton of enthusiasm and compiled the ultimate fan’s tribute to the moviemakers and the host of locals who contributed to the movie trilogy.

Release Date: 7 November 2003
Launch Location: Glenorchy, New Zealand
Recommended retail price: NZ $24.99

'Into the Ring' Play Review
Xoanon @ 1:34 pm EST

Starfish writes: Some time ago, TORN posted a blurb about a two-man play called "Into the Ring," in which the actors play dozens of characters obsessed with Tolkien's works. I attended the one-night-only performance, and I had to share:

If you love Tolkien, you need to see this play.

It centers around two brothers trying to collaborate on a film about Tolkien. One is a sincere purist--("You make wonderful movies that nobody wants to see...")--and the other, a Hollywood type who, in one scene, talks on no fewer then five cellphones at a time. In the course of making this movie, the actors morph so seamlessly into their characters that one has to struggle to remember that there are only, ever, two people on stage. Add to this a few great gymnastic stunts, inside jokes, dead-on characterizations of every type of LotR-geekdom, and a compelling plot, and what you have is simultaneously a treat, a tease, and a sincere homage.

But you really want to see it for their 9-minute version of Lord of the Rings. That's right: 3 minutes per book. Once they started, I didn't get a chance to catch my breath. It was, simply put, the funniest thing I've ever seen. I would have gone back the next night--if there had been a next night--just to see them do it again.

The co-creators and actors, Rick Miller and Dawson Nichols, have a website (http://intothering.com/) and a show in Fort Worth, TX next weekend. I urge all Tolkien-lovers in the vicinity to get out there and see the show: you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll always kinda think of Merry and Pippin as talking hands.

Middle-earth Ball in Sunnyvale, CA
Xoanon @ 1:12 pm EST

Deborah writes:

Here is some information on a Middle Earth Ball in Sunnyvale on 10/31. We'll be doing design sets, and hope most will appear in LOTR costume (although any costume will be admired, not required). We can send you details shortly.

We do have a website: www.swdance.com where further details would be located.

Some details:

Date: 10/31
What: Middle Earth Ball (or you can dress as your favorite witch, ghoul, whatever)
Time: 8:00 Beginning/intermediate lesson Salsa
9:00 Ballroom dance party begins
Where: Sunnyvale Community Center, Sunnyvale California
Entry fee: $15
Includes: Lesson, dance party, refreshments (drinks & light snacks...may even offer Frodo's scones, Gimli's seed cakes & Smaug's gems), hall decorated as Middle Earth
Further details: see www.swdance.com

Teaching with the LOTR Soundtrack
Tehanu @ 5:17 am EST

Ringer 205 sent in this great email which I wanted to share with all of you out there who teach.

"Today I read the story of the father and his deal with his 7 year old son [in The Deal]. I have a similar story.

"I teach music, and while my kids at school and I love the books and the movies, it is the music that has touched our hearts. I have been using the soundtracks from the LOTR movies in class to teach my kids musical concepts. One day last year one of my 5th grade music students (whom I would least expect this from) figured out how to play the melody, "In Dreams" on his recorder! He was so excited you'd think he had won the lottery. I still tear up when I think about him. So the kids and I put the melody in notation and realized it had to be transposed into a different key for our instrument. I was able to teach an entire lesson using this beautiful song.

"I use the soundtracks from both movies in class to teach lessons on the low brass, percussion, or winds. The boys' choir helps "my guys" see for themselves that singing is cool, and the chanting with the football players in the scenes from moria is inspirational for them, too. My honor choir loves the song, "May It Be" and I have countless listening examples to teach any musical concept. My kids and I just love them.

" As an educator I make it my mission to take a child from where he/she is and send him/her soaring. The classics are still being taught in my music room and the walls are saturated with a world of sounds, but the music from Middle-earth will always have a special place in my heart. "

Thank you, Ringer 205, for this story.

9-21-03 Latest News

Bilbo's Birthday in New York City
maegwen @ 8:00 pm EST

Hullo my hearties! Time to join me, Pippin Skywalker Jedi Hobbit for another tale of wonder and adventure!

I had the most wonderful of chances to go to the New York Tolkien Society Birthday Celebration for Bilbo and Frodo's late summer birthday and let me tell you it was awesome, awesome , AWESOME! :)

I arrived at a few minutes to 11:00 am and was disappointed at seeing only couple people there. My concerns soon dissipated after I briefly left to pick up a little cake for my two best friends Bilbo and Frodo and also a present to drop in the "Giftses" basket. I returned with the goodies and behold! MORE Tolkien fans! The whole Shire had been set loose!

The event was divided up into three rooms each with different activities and purposes. The first was a classroom (the event took place at a Marymount college). This is where the Trivia, Costume Contest, and announcements were to take place. A second room was a Internet center with about 20 Macs around where could surf for all things Tolkien (yes TORN included).

This room also featured a TTT strategy game being exhibited by Vinnie Tobia of Workshop. They also were running the Ralph Bakshi versions of the Hobbit and ROTK. :) Anyway! Now for the events!

First...the place crowd was 40% under 12...so it made for a cute hobbit element. :) We gathered a little after 11:00 in the main room and they had some opening comments and announcements about "The Gathering" in December.

Expected attendees include Mark Ferguson (Gil-Galad), Craig Parker
(Haldir) and Bruce Hopkins (Gamling). More stars have been invited and might attend but they don't want to get everyone's hopes up so they won't tell us who else MAY come. It should be a great event with panels,seminars and workshops,and a triple feature showing of ALL THREE LOTR films (first two are EE)as well as many special guests including Jane Chance and Ted Nasmith.

I had the good pleasure of meeting Burdge Anthony, head chairmen of the NY Tolkien Society and all round jolly, nice guy. I told him I was with TORN (reporting anyway)and my nickname here was Pippin Skywalker. He suddenly became (jokingly) nervous saying "Your going to tell all the bad things we say about TORN in your report right." LOL.

Anyway when things got underway even though this gentleman had my real name right in front of him for those signed up a trivia contest he STILL persisted (obstinate fellow) in calling me by my nickname at TORN (Well I RSVP's with that lol). First he announced in front of all that PippinSkywalker from TORN was there and had everyone clap (thankfully I'm not the nervous type lol), and later during Trivia he addressed me as Miss Pippin Skywalker, LOL! The insanity never stops. :)

We had a very funny Trivia contest where the goal was to stump the staff to win prizes. There were many hilarious incidents and questions such as German fan who was living in NY and knew an entire Dwarf poem by heart; cute little children attempting to stump the Geek Panel (this was Stump The Geek Trivia Contest), and many more funny little things you just had to be there to hear and see. There was a nice little table full or various LOTR goodies including Sting, Art of the Two Towers, Bilbo and Frodo busts, Games, and a talking Sauron figure (ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY NOT FOR SALE! LOL).

After this I meandered over a few times to the Internet Room where Vinnie Tobia of Game Workshop was demonstrating a TTT strategy game. This was a truly marvelous piece of work. It was a miniature set of Helms Deep with hand painted action figures which you role the dice to move. You can be Aragorn and the elven warriors or the Uruk Hai army.

There were several people playing the game at one time and they had several rounds of play (I just watched). Vinnie was really nice and courteous and aside from extensively explaining and showing people the game, he answered all my questions for this report. Apparently there is ANOTHER strategy game coming out in 3-4 months for ROTK which is a set of the last major conflict in ROTK (probably Gondor/Pellenor Fields)and will include Easterling Warrior figures. For info on this and other games go to: www.gameworkshop.com/lotr. All figures you have to hand paint...the game can be assembled in a few hours.

Also during the course of the day there was a "Book Toss" where everyone takes their old, unwanted and even downright despised books to slam them on the floor and then pick them up to be sent to a library.

Later on there was a magnificent costume contest where people of all ages showed off their costumes representing all the peoples of Middle Earth (save dwarves lol). There was a 12 year old dressed as Aragorn, several dressed as elves (including a 6 year old dressed as Legolas), a couple of hobbits, and a delightful as well as hilarious boy dressed as a Nazgul with his head totally covered in a black shirt (poor feller probably couldn't tell night and day apart lol).

Among the winners was a young boy dressed up in the best fan Frodo Baggins costume I've ever seen complete with brown vest and matching velvet cape, elven leaf brooch, Sting, and even hairy hobbit feet!

After this we filed in for the birthday celebration complete with a charming birthday cake for Bilbo and Frodo with candles lit after the familiar chant of "Speech, speech!" We sang to happy birthday to our dear hobbits and then blew out the candles.

While everyone still had their mouths filled with the hobbit goodness, the raffles began (all of which I was entered into lol);one was for a replica of Sting,another for a signed Brothers Hildebrandt signed painting of Gandalf the White, and lastly to tickets to the Gathering, a big event happening in December in Toronto.

This overall was a marvelous, MARVELOUS event, not only for the activities but most importantly for the wonderful people there who created such a wonderful ambiance and camaraderie that can only be found among fans of JRR Tolkien. It was a wonderful celebration and I believe Tolkien's spirit was there wandering among the halls of Mandos smiling down on his beloved fans below.

I'll never forget the ecstatic lady who walked up to me when I was online in the Internet and room and asked merrily "Are you Pippin?" and hugged me like I was family because I was with TORN. :) Another funny story was on the elevator down to the ground floor a girl exclaimed, "Is anyone thinking of going to the TORN LA Oscar Party?" to which I replied I was interested. They were trying to gather people from NY to go to LA. :) (Watch out guys! More flow of fans this year lol!)

Thanks to all the staff of the New York Tolkien Society Heren Istarion: Burdge Anthony, Anne (aka Lightwards for the NY Line Party), Jessica and Stephanie. You all were great!

Well that is all my sweet hobbits! May you all have wonderful dreams of elves, and far away lands free of nasty orcses.

A Very Happy Birthday to Mr. Frodo and the honorable Mr. Bilbo. Happy 111th year dear Tolkien.

Cheers! your Roving Jedi Hobbit Reporter,
PippinSkywalker :)

The Hobbit Movie: Been There, Coming Back Again?
Tookish @ 7:58 pm EST

The Hobbit Movie: Been There, Coming Back Again?

The multibillion-dollar question and a burning thought in so many minds of the fans of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy is, “Will there be a movie made of JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings prequel, The Hobbit?”

My answer, pure speculation: how can there not be?

It seems inevitable that Tolkien’s Hobbit will be turned into a movie, or if not a feature length film, then some similar incarnation. Personally I’m holding out for a television series, at least two seasons in length: I’d love nothing better than to come home after a long day at work and settle in to an hour of my favorite children’s story each week (as if I really have time for that, but you get the picture). If not a film feature, or TV series, then perhaps a cable television miniseries is in the offing.

Please note that I have no factual information indicating that such a project is underway. Over the years I have had the great fortune of meeting many individuals involved in the LotR films and not a one of them has breathed so much as a whisper that The Hobbit is in the works. Oh, I’ve asked, but the answer is always in the negative.

The number one reason I feel pretty sure that this 300 +/- (depending on the publication) page adventure will travel from page to screen is simple. It has the potential to make money. Lots of money. Piles of money. If Balin and company returned to Moria for mithril, you better believe that the profit minded suits of New Line or another such corporation will go back to Tolkien text for its weight many times over in gold.

For readers who ask, “What’s The Hobbit?” a brief background is in order. First published in England by George Allen & Unwin, Ltd. in 1937, the text of The Hobbit has undergone alterations, illustrations, translations and transformations from the first; although in text it is nearly the same as the original. It is the story of Bilbo Baggins’ first adventures with wizards, dwarves, elves, goblins, eagles, and other beings inhabbiting Middle-earth. Here we meet Bilbo, Gandalf, Gollum, Elrond and other characters for the “first” time (readers of The Silmarillion might argue against this assertion for some characters) as Bilbo and his 13 dwarf companions’ quest for the destruction of the dragon Smaug and the liberation of the dwarves’ kingdom in Lonely Mountain.

In true prequel fashion, foundations are laid for a future story, and histories connecting many Middle-earth tales percolate to the surface of The Hobbit. Frodo’s sword Sting and his mithril shirt originate in this story, as does Bilbo’s possession of the Ring. The Lord of the Rings itself started out as a sequel to build on the success of The Hobbit and (not only in my own opinion) reads much like it in tone at the beginning. While it was being written and in the decades following its publication, The Lord of the Rings grew to overshadow its predecessor in many ways and rightly claims the chief position in rank of popularity, publication, and yes… profit.

Just how popular is The Lord of the Rings? It’s been translated into over fifty languages, is second in sales only to The Bible, and has enthralled nearly 4 decades of readers. Peter Jackson’s film trilogy has raked in over $640,000,000.00 US and as of this writing the third movie has not yet been released! The mind boggles at a movie franchise pulling in a trillion dollars… but whoop, there it is – or will be.

Which brings me back to my prime assertion: How can they not make a movie of The Hobbit?!

Fans of JRR Tolkien can claim credit for proving that his works are a lucrative investment. The genius of Jackson in creating and successfully pitching a risk-worthy Lord of the Rings film script and the vision of New Line to gamble on the investment during the late 1990’s (not the most favorable economic times to sink over $300,000,000 into one product) have seemed to many a pairing that will not be repeated. On the flip side, however, to continue the success of a movie trilogy that will likely realize a better than 300% return doesn’t just make financial sense, it literally screams and wails from the bean counters’ domain.

Are there problems and challenges facing a second transformation of The Hobbit from book to film? Certainly. Some may argue that the target audience will differ greatly in age from the demographics of LotR movie fans. Others may say that the market for Tolkien films is saturated; the plot too lengthy and unwieldy for a decent script; or perhaps the rights too expensive. Each of these – and in my mind, any – arguments can be defeated with undeniable counterpoints: heard of the Harry Potter films? Asked the fans if they’re tired of Tolkien films, and if so, how they will feel in a couple years without one? Perhaps the greatest obstacle at the moment is ownership over the movie rights – rumor has it that PJ would love to make the film but New Line and the owner of the movie rights to The Hobbit (which was made into an animated feature by Rankin Bass in 1977, as was a rather scary LotR) are wrangling over the deal. These desktop rebuttals don’t pack an ounce of research either: something the real debate will include.

Recently I asked a friend of mine who was heavily involved in the New Zealand end of making LotR how they felt about making The Hobbit into film. The reply:

"I would jump at the chance to be involved in a film of The Hobbit, though if there are plans for PJ or New Line to do it, I haven't heard anything. The opportunity to go back to Middle-earth and expand and improve upon what we did last time would be a dream come true for me. And let's not forget that there's a dragon in The Hobbit! That would be a great assignment!"

Another indicator of the popularity of this concept is a rogue internet trailer for a potential Hobbit movie. Here at TheOneRing®.net we continually receive emails from excited fans who are convinced that this trailer is legitimate and that the film is due out in December of 2006. TORn website founder Xoanon included it in his article LOTR Urban Legends just this month due to the high volume of interest this ‘trailer’ generates. You can download the trailer from its source Latha Film, which indicates that over 26,000 people have downloaded this creation.

The same person I quoted above was able to respond to a question about the trailer as well:

"Yeah, I've seen it. I thought it was awesome. My reaction was, when do I get to see the movie?! Whomever did it, did a fantastic job. It looked incredible, and had a great atmosphere- perfect for a film version of The Hobbit. The fantastic Phil
Tippett-designed dragon that appeared in it is probably the best dragon design in any film so far too, so kudos to the guy who cut the trailer together for his great taste in movies too!"

Finances aside, the prospects for a Hobbit film are exciting to say the least. If PJ’s company Three Foot Six teamed up again with Weta and Weta Digital… well, I think the world would be full of some happy campers waiting for the dawn of another Tolkien movie day. If a movie is too big of an enterprise, Weta and the New Zealand television industry demonstrate with series like Xena and Hercules that such sustained efforts are well worth the gamble.

My mother likes to say I’m often wrong but never in doubt. She’s often right about that too… but this time around, logic dictates the outcome: How can they not make a movie of The Hobbit?!


Anderson, Douglas (2002). The Annotated Hobbit, Revised and Expanded Edition. USA: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Gray, Brandon (2003). Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 21, 2003 from http://boxofficemojo.com

Latham, Steve (2003). Latha Film Digital Video and Audio. Retrieved September 21, 2003 from http://www.lathamfilm.com

Oorshot, Leo (TORn staffer and editor in chief of TheFellowship.nl)

Regina, Michael (2003). TheOneRing®.net. Retrieved September 21, 2003 from http://www.theonering.net

Thanks to TheOneRing®.net’s Leo, Jincey, and Pippin Skywalker for their input, and of course, to the late great JRR Tolkien for his many literary gifts to the world.

Armageddon 2003 Report from NZ!
Xoanon @ 2:10 pm EST

Armageddon 2003 In New Zealand - LOTR Panel
Click here for more photos!

NZBoy writes: Arrived at Armageddon early yesterday in the morning and greeted by a HUGE crowd waiting to get in.

The expo has famous people there like David Prowse (Darth Vadar) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbucca). Dymocks has a display of a lot of the Weta Workshop props, like Gimlis axes, Different face expressions of Gollum, Cave Troll, Lurtz, Goblin Archer etc.

At 1pm they had a Weta Workshop panel, of Gino Acevedo, Bay Raitt and also Lawrence Makaoare. There were mainly showing us how Gollum was developed from a pencil drawing to what we see on the screen, very interesting!! The life-like Gollum in the pics was a model that was made by Gino, was made from silicon and we were allowed to touch it after their tallk. The skin was so life like and felt like the real Gollum. Was amazing to touch.

After there session they were signing autographs and posing for photos. There will be the same again today.

Viggo Mortensen's 'Miyelo' Exhibit Report
Xoanon @ 11:52 am EST

Yesterday I went to Los Angeles to visit the Stephen Cohen Gallery, where actor/artist/jack-of-all-trades Viggo Mortensen has on display a series of photographs titled "Miyelo". According to the gallery info, "'Miyelo' is comprised of a series of large-scale, panoramic photographs of a Lakota Ghost Dance. They record a re-creation of the dance that was originally performed by members of Chief Big Foot's band on December 29, 1890 near Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota. These long exposures represent what was intended as a hallucination by a veteran of the Wounded Knee Massacre, as shot in the California Desert in March 2003 for the movie 'Hidalgo.'"

It took me about 45 minutes to get there (to the gallery, not Death Valley) from my humble home in Long Beach, and traffic on La Brea was terrible due to road construction, but it was well worth the trip. Street parking cost me 25¢, and I got there early enough to get a spot right in front of the gallery. The exhibit was free. I took a journal with me, and here's what I wrote:

It is a very small gallery, and there are not many people here. "Miyelo" is on display from September 13 – November 1st.

When you walk in, you immediately see the first photograph. It is large, about 3'x7', and is titled "Miyelo 9". There are four figures that could be people (dancers) and a bright white light on the far left.

There are quotes on the walls from Natives. Some are from Lakota, some Paiute. They are legend. They are rituals. They are traditions.

The photo titled "Miyelo 12" is beautiful. Of course they all are – but this one is more so. There are two Natives in the lower right, and they have their hands raised toward a flash of light on the left, as if they are watching fireworks. To my untrained eyes, it looks like a volcano. The white light is bold and rather squiggly, looking almost like a simplistic Kanji character. It makes me wonder if the gods shared a hand in developing Viggo's photos.

The pictures on either side of this one are of the dance. All of the pictures were developed in such a way that light and reflections make the dancers seem to move. They are all ghosts.

The pictures are all hung with black wire, four for the large ones and two for the smaller ones. It doesn't take me long to see that most of the "Miyelo" collection are the large 3x7 prints. They are all framed in light-colored wood with off-white mats.

"Miyelo 15" shows one Native on the right side. He is cut off at the shoulders. His hands look strong, grandfatherly, and his bright ceremonial feathers contrast starkly with the rest of the image, which is all desert. You can see the Sierra in the distance. But my attention is drawn to the desert terrain, the dry, caked, very nakedness of the dirt floor, like a Native Father's ancient skin. The picture behind me reflects in the glass of "Miyelo 15", showing eight distinct figures seemingly walking away, fading with the desert dust.

"We came to kill the dead alongside new waters that whispered and winked as they playfully skirted our efforts at perfectly envisioning past misunderstandings. After one of the driest summers in memory, nearly all green had bled from the landscape, leaving cottonwood bark tatter and twig tip as grey as reflected dawn on the creek; pale as wrist scar, frost glass, clay cut bank, and barely there clouds running for cover to the Black Hills.

We also came to the California desert, hoping some of those who'd died hidden in frozen draws might come a little closer to warming fire and find ground giving enough upon which to finally lay their heads. As much as any careworn ghost shirt, torn voice, trance-footed delirious reincarnation, it was the false thunder of fighter jets on their way back to Babylon, mercilessly cracking the bleached sky above our best intentions, that made it feel like a morning in December 1890.

Viggo Mortensen
11 September 2003"

[Upon re-reading this, I realized it could cast a significant shadow over my own writing skills. But what the hell. It is beautiful.] The image accompanying this writing was of just that – a lone fighter jet, black against the crisp blue sky, with Viggo in his cowboy hat standing with two horses, who no doubt knew full well how privileged they were to be in the company of someone who seems, to us mortals, untouchable.

There are also some photos titled "Hindsight". They are from 2002 and are all black and white. Number 18 depicts a solitary Native, standing on a hilltop and looking rather small (but certainly not inferior) against the mighty wind and sky.

Miyelo 13 is the one with the most transparent dancers. The top half is blue, the lower half a dusty tan. I imagine the spirits are going home.


Tunkasila heya ca
Cewakiya ca namahun yelo

It is I
It is I
It is I

Grandfather says so
I pray to him and he hears me

This is written on one of the partitions. There is no credit as to who spoke these words, where they came from, even what language the former verse is in. I can only assume it is Lakota. I am glad they posted this – the flowing tongue of unfamiliar but gentle words is fitting to this exhibit.

Miyelo 3 is much different from the rest. It has a lot of black, and at first glance it looks as if the picture was taken on a stage, or on steps or in some naturally formed cavernous amphitheatre. But as my eyes adjust, I realize that Viggo was probably kneeling or sitting, and now I can see at least seven figures standing solemnly. It's hard to see how I missed that in the first place.

[Click here for more information]

9-19-03 Latest News

Media Watch: Germany's Cinema Magazine Goes Behind the Scenes
Xoanon @ 12:13 am EST

A BIG Thank you to Owl Lover for transcribing and scanning in these images from Germany's Cinema Magazine. Take a look!

Germany's Cinema Magazine Goes Behind the Scenes

Heroes stink. At least Viggo Mortensen is spreading an odour as if he has spent the night at the pigsty. The actor playing Aragron in the LOTR triology, however, does no longer perceive his perspirations. The costume of leather and linen has never been washed, and it has conserved the dirt and sweat of four stenuous years. Jus now, Mortensen had again scrabbled over the battle fields of Pellenor and crawled through wet grass and horse droppings.

Even though the shooting have officially been finished on 22 December 2000, Mortensen and most other LOTR actors have returned to New Zealand to shoot additional scenes, so-called “Pick-ups” for the third part “The return of the King”: “When we had finished editing part 3 at the beginning of this year, we wondered how we could improve what we had”, director Peter Jackson explains the efforts. “There is for instance one scene where Gandalf waves at men while driving his cart. That is a wide angle shot showing a person in white, but you do not explicitly recognise Gandalf. So today, we are shooting a Close-up that we will add to the sequence.”

Not always, blunders can be straightened out with such easy tricks. “In parts, we have to shoot additional dialogues or completely new scenes in order to increase the dramatic art”, Jackson says. “After we realized that some characters had bewildered the audience in the second part ‘The Two Towers’ because we had personated them differently from the book, we currently work mainly on the characters – our goal is to make them more coherent and plausible.”

We are at the Stone Street Studios, Peter Jackson’s very own kingdom. Shielded by numerous security people, this has been the command centre of the operation LOTR since 1999. Specially for this purpose, the 41-year old director bought the former colours factory in Wellington’s district Miramar, absurdly in direct neighbourhood to the international airport.

An approx. 40 metres high hill separates the Studios from the end of the runway. That every ten minutes the work is disrupted by the rumbling of a jet, is hardly upsetting anyone here. Least of all Peter Jackson who already knows the crafts by their engine sounds. “We have to edit the sound at post production, anyway, so the noise is irrelevant”, Jackson says, Kiwi-typically cool. For the case that it is relevant still, he has posted an overseer on the hill who warns the crew by Walkie-Talkie if an aircraft rolls to start.

Jackson can now afford such extravaganzas. After FOTR has grossed 860 million $ worldwide, and TTT almost 950 million, the director needs not to be stingy. And he isn’t. That there is enough money for these Pick-up shoots, one can feel anywhere on the set. For instance, there are no more studio monitors. Even crew members can follow the shooting in cinema format directly on expensive flatscreens and plasma screens.

“This shoot alone is more expensive than the most expensive film from New Zealand”, producer Barrie Osbourne exclaims, not without pride. His colleague, Executive Producer Mark Ordesky who secured the financing of the overall project, is not troubled by the investment, either. “Allowedly,” he claims, “hadn’t been the first two parts been that successful, we would’nt be here today. Then we had released the three movies which were shot back-to-back like they were. Now, however, we are in the lucky position to improve our product and we are able to release it in increased quality.”

These days, production is done with almost all of the male cast – even though some of the most important actors are not on the set: “There’s an extremely high demand on you as an actor here”, Viggor Mortensen tells us. “It often happens that we shoot with six or seven teams at the same time what can cause me to talk to a tennis ball instead of ‘GimliJohn Rhys-Davies who is just shooting somewhere completely else.”

There actually is an intense activity as Stone Street Studios. On Stage 1, Co-Author Fran Walsh works as Second Unit Director at a sequence with Gollum, Sam and Frodo. On Stage 2, where Meduseld the Golden Hall of Edoras has been set up, Lord Jackson himself is working. Here, Aragorn and Gandalf are the main characters.

Both scenes do not seem to claim much from the actors. On Stage 2 there is an air of holiday mood, some men drink and laugh while Viggo moves between them towards Gandalf Ian McKellen and exchanges some words.

Peter Jackson sits in a dark corner of the stage, very unimposing, in a soft armchair, the much-too-large-ever-smudgy round glasses on his nose. He steers at the monitor fully concentrates and conducts the actors with quite commandoes. Ian McKellen is quite nervous at the start and foozles. But already seven takes later, the director is satisfied.

On Stage 1, the stage designers have created an astoundingly authentic ledge and placed two artificial trees on it. Fran Walsh directs a short scene where Sean Astin and Elijah Wood sleep in the background while Gollum crawles mumbling out of the picture. For this, Gollum-performer Andy Serkis wears a flesh-coloured overall that covers his whole body except for the face. That costume is necessary so the digital department can give Gollum his gnome-like looks.

The firs take seems to be well done, but Fran Walsh shakes her had. The assistant director has the scene repeated. And then again and again. In incredible 21 times, the scene is shot by Fran Walsh. Elijah Wood who the day before had worked for more than 13 hours, has really fallen asleep in the meantime. “Fran will not make any allowances to the actors,” Peter Jackson gins. And Elijah Wood laughs: “Her perfectionism has earned her the nickname Franley Kubrick.”

After four years of working together the mood on the set is friendly, familiar and bright. These days, however, there is a certain melancholy. Soon the shootings will be finished, and the actors have to say their definite good-bye. “I’m sad it’s over”, Elijah Wood says. “But all of us will be bonded forever in our memory of this adventure.”

9-19-03 Latest News

Hall Of Fire Chats This Weekend
Frode @ 10:39 pm EST

When pondering the relevancy of Tolkien to the 21st century, some things immediately come to mind, such as the lure of power and industry vs. nature. But I wonder if it's not even more interesting to look at our collective memory. For Tolkien anchored his stories firmly in the traditions and legends of Europe. Myths speak to us about who we are and where we come from, and surely that is the greatest and most fundamental relevance any story can have, no matter what age the reader lives in?

The Ring represents the temptation of exercising absolute power. And the leaders of the West have to face an old question: 'if the good man uses the bad man’s weapon, does he then not become the bad man?' Surely the events of the past 2 years have showed us that The Lord of the Ring lacks no relevance to today’s geopolitical conflicts.

Neither have the conflict between nature and industry lost any relevance since Tolkien’s days. Saruman cuts down the woods to feed the forges of Orthanc. We are told he has a 'mind of wheels and metal.' Likewise Mordor is a blasted wasteland void of living growth. The symbol of Gondor on the other hand is a white Tree, and in Middle Earth the forests themselves may go to war!

Of course there are many other issues that can be discussed as well; Solidarity between different peoples, loyalty as a virtue, how the small can overcome the mighty. Join us in #thehalloffire and share your views on Tolkiens relevance to the 21st century.

Upcoming Topics:
September 27-28: RoTK Book 6, Ch 4: The Field of Cormallen
October 4-5: Leaf by Niggle

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

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

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

Do you have a possible topic for Hall of Fire? Drop us a line at halloffire@theonering.net.

LOTR Fan-Film Festival
maegwen @ 9:01 pm EST

Turimel writes: On Saturday, Sept 20 at 7 PM, there will be a film festival at Lloyd Cinema in Portland, Oregon, featuring LOTR Fan films. (A sample title: "The Blair Nazgul Project.") Films have been submitted from all over the country, in categories like Original Drama, Parody, Music Video, and more. It promises to be a fun filled evening of Tolkien geekiness for everyone. Tickets are availalbe at ticketweb.com -- look under Oregon, then "Lost Palantir."

Turimel adds, Up until yesterday Viggo, Dom, and Sean were going to ATTEND the event "if their schedule permitted." Unfortunately, they have been called in to do ROTK promos and are unable to make it. However, they have promised a video "hello" to fans at the festival, and Sean is scheduled to announce the winners live by phone!

* * *

Last chance for the Lost Palantir Fan Film Festival!

What: A celebration of the creativity of Ringers behind the lens, with over 30 submissions containing everything from Steve Latham's Hobbit Teaser Trailer and an original film of Riddles In The Dark to a music video of kung-fu Elrond in drag.

Where: Regal Cinemas Lloyd Center 10, Portland, Oregon

By Whom: BitofEarth.net, the people who brought you Project Elanor, Sean Astin's charity screening of The Two Towers, and the Rocky Horror Ringer Show

With Whom: Video and live-by-phone appearances by Sean Astin, Dominic Monaghan, and Viggo Mortensen

How to Get There: Purchase your tickets at www.ticketweb.com or buy at the door. We know this is short notice, but there has been a lot of insanity in getting this event together, and we know that we packed that same theatre with Ringers with the same short notice for the TTT screening, and are crossing our fingers - and staking our future events - that we can do it again.

How Much: $15

Why you want to go: In addition to the fun, fandom, and movie stars, the proceeds all go to support TentMoot 2003, the largest Rings convention in fandom history, which in turn will be benefitting children's literacy and reforestation charities. In addition, if we can pack this theatre tomorrow night, we are guaranteed the special triple screening of the two extended editions and RotK at 11:00pm in December. Bring your friends and help bring Rings uber-geekness to Portland!

Middle Earth Online Soundtrack Samples Released
Jando @ 8:41 pm EST

The Middle Earth Online website has now been updated to include sample mp3s of the game's soundtrack. And while nothing can quite top the awesomeness of Howard Shore's score it's still quite cool.

Middle Earth Online Soundtrack Samples Released
Jando @ 8:40 pm EST

The Middle Earth Online website has now been updated to include sample mp3s of the game's soundtrack. And while nothing can quite top the awesomeness of Howard Shore's score it's still quite cool.

Middle Earth Online Soundtrack Samples Released
Jando @ 8:39 pm EST

The Middle Earth Online website has now been updated to include sample mp3s of the game's soundtrack. And while nothing can quite top the awesomeness of Howard Shore's score it's still quite cool.

TV: LOTR Inside the Actors Studio CANCELLED
Xoanon @ 1:03 pm EST

Xoanon here, my source sends along the sad news regarding the LOTR cast appearing on the PBS show 'Inside the Actors Studio'.

The Lord of the Rings Inside the Actor's Studio taping is off and is not likely to happen soon. My source is a producer for Bravo TV. He stated to me that the studio tried to make it happen, however getting everyone's schedule together was daunting. Just did not work out.

To further confirm, I just called the New School and they too confirmed that it is not happening. They sounded disappointed.

The Christopher Lee Experience
Xoanon @ 12:50 pm EST

Trinity the Purple writes: Last November, I was fortunate enough to attend a signing by Christopher Lee in London. If you've met the man, you'll know he is a Gentleman in every sense of the word. Not just a first class actor but a first class human being too.

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed his autobiography 'Tall, dark and gruesome' I asked if he was going to update it, it was published about '95 and obviously it missed out on his renewed popularity with SW and LotR.

He replied that yes, he had just finished the updating and that it was with the publishers.

Move forward to this lunchtime. Was browsing my local bookshop and saw a poster about books being published next month. Was reading the list when I saw 'Lord of Misrule - Christopher Lee'

'Christopher Lee? The actor or the historian?' thinks I. So I asked a very nice member of staff to check for me and she discovered that yes, it was the actor!

More details can be found here.

I cannot stress this enough - this is well worth your time and money to invest in. Christopher Lee is a fasinating gentleman, with a life that surpasses the most fantastic fiction. Christmas is coming, so after the TTT EE, put this on your Christmas list.

Just checked Amazon.com and I can't find anything, so this might be British only so far.

9-18-03 Latest News

REVIEW: Ambush at Weathertop ShopAFX.com Exclusive
PlasticEnt @ 3:32 am EST

Plastic Ent Reviews
'Ambush at Weathertop'
  Packaging 9
  Sculpt 10
  Articulation 7
  Accessories 9
  Paint 10
  Value 8
  Addiction Factor 10
  Overall 9
Purchase at: ShopAFX.com

AOME — Ambush at Weathertop Collection — Exclusive Set

PlayAlongToys and Action Figure Express have combined forces to bring us an exclusive boxed set of the figures from the Ambush at Weathertop scene in Fellowship.

This set combines figures from two of the three-packs: Frodo, Sam and the Witch-king from Ambush at Weathertop, and the two black-robed Ringwraiths from the Ringwraith set. You get two extra Ringwraiths (duplicates of the two from the Ringwraith set) and an exclusive, available nowhere else, Strider figure. In total: 5 Ringwraiths, two hobbits, and one pissed-off looking ranger.

A look at the FiguresPackaging: 9 out 10

Attractive — more so than Toy Biz figures or any other LOTR items I’ve seen. PlayAlong has used a light-blue themed box featuring an image of the Uruk-Hai marching on Helm’s Deep. There is a large window displaying the figures nicely, with a printed map of Middle Earth on the insert behind the figures. The back of the package features a nice cross-sell, showing all of the figures currently available and some upcoming three-packs and deluxe figures. Simple, elegant, and well-done. Some poor fellow has mixed up the Mordor Orcs with the Moria Orcs — but we’ll forgive him.

The figures are held securely (overly so) in the blister with twist ties. Get your clippers ready — you’re going to need to snip two or three twist-ties for each figure, and another one for each base. Then you’ll need to battle the scotch tape holding the weapons in the blister. It took me nearly 10 minutes just to open it — nothing is coming loose until you break out the heavy weaponry — this is a well-packed set.

PackagingPackaging - Back
Sculpt: 10 out of 10

Aside from Eowyn, this set includes all of my favorite basic figures released to date.

Frodo — Fantastic figure, as close to Elijah Wood as can be captured in this size. Cape is billowing behind him as he scrambles for safety… 9 out of 10

Samwise — One of the best figures in the line. Cape, backpack, shoulder-slung pouches and canteen — everything is here. 10 out of 10

Witch-King — the best of the Ringwraiths because of the fantastic pose, and the leg armor on the forward leg. Robes look fantastic. 10 out of 10

Ringwraith #1 and #2 — Lumping them together, because they’re similar in pose and sculpt. Both good, with nice detail on the gauntlets and frayed robes. 9 out of 10.

Strider — the best reason to buy this set. My favorite basic figure version of Aragorn. He’s challenging the Nazgul with a screaming expression, hair blown back and angry. He’s wearing his bed roll, quiver, bow, pack, and scabbard. Every stitch of the clothing is sculpted to give him the dynamic pose as though he’s blocking a swing from a Nazgul blade while preparing to deliver a devastating blow with the torch. Awesome fig. 10 out ot 10.

The Hobbits are SurroundedArticulation: 7 out of 10

Were these figures in a larger scale, this score would be much lower. To be fair, I don’t see how PlayAlong could have included any more articulation than they have.

Frodo, Sam and Strider have movement at the neck, shoulders, and waist. 8 out of 10.

The Ringwraiths have articulation at the shoulders, but the robes block any real movement. 6 out of 10.

Accessories: 9 out of 10

You get six unique weapons with this set, and 9 total. The Witch-King and one of the Ringwraiths use the same sword, and they’ve included two of the same sword for the other duplicate Ringwraith.

The Witch-King sword is well done — with the notched blade and jagged handle. Frodo and Sam’s short swords are what you’d expect, but Strider is the real winner here. He comes with both sword and torch — dealing out two-handed destruction.

Bases: this is a mixed bag. The Ringwraith bases all work well — but they all stand up just fine with or without the bases. Frodo and Sam don’t fair quite as well — they can’t stand up without the bases, but even with them, Frodo is not always very cooperative (I suppose he’s entitled to be a bit tired after the big fight and being stabbed…). Strider is posed so that he must use the stand — and he will lean heavily on the outward foot — balancing him so he looks good takes a little bit of patience.

Paint: 10 out of 10

The set in ActionThe paint work is where this line really excels. I am incredibly picky about paint, especially on faces. For the three figures with faces — they have lips, eyes, and hair where it should be, and Strider even has the dirty faced beard stubble — just enough and not too much. My favorite detail — the hairs on the hobbit feet. Nicely done, PlayAlong.

The Ringwraiths all have silver amor with a dark wash, covered by the robes. They aren’t simple black — they have pale blue highlights dry brushed over to bring out the detail in the folds and frayed edges. The Robes are also dirty around the edges — all looking very natural and not overdone.

Value: 8 out of 10

At $24.99 plus shipping, this set is going to cost you a little over $3 per figure when all is said and done. A fair price for what the set, but not the best value I’ve ever seen. But compare this to $20 for three Star Wars figures (Sage scene three-packs), and you’ll appreciate the price a bit more.

Overall: 9 out of 10

I’m extremely happy with this set. This is a great introduction to the line, and gives me three members of the Fellowship plus five of the Ringwraiths in one fell swoop. It’s a nice looking package, decent value, and a lot of fun to display.

Purchase this ShopAFX.com exclusive set today! [Purchase]

Addiction factor: 10 out of 10

Yes, after opening this, I need more… more AOME now!

You’ll need three more three-packs to complete your Weathertop collection:

  1. The Comic-Con exclusive three pack including the clear Frodo variant — Twilight Frodo, plus two more Ringwraiths — bringing your Black Rider total to seven.
  2. The Ringwraith three pack — including the Twilight Witch-King figure. Yup, now your Twilight Frodo has somebody to be afraid of. Plus two more Ringwraiths — now you have all nine.
  3. The upcoming Merry/Pippin/Boromir three pack. The two missing hobbits can help Sam defend Frodo.

And if you really like Ringwraiths, and you now have the five from this set, you might want to pick up two of each deluxe Black Rider on horseback — completing your Ringwraith force. See, many ways for you to get all nine.

That’s all for now, folks.

- PlasticEnt (plasticent@theonering.net)

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REVIEW: Armies of Middle-Earth - Part 1
PlasticEnt @ 3:30 am EST

Ambush at Weathertop Review
[Click Here]
Fellow Tolkien-philes, if you have any addictions please read no further. Even if they are as innocent as coffee, books, or … the onering.net … or as vile as cigarettes, Rings of Power, or barenjager… I have found something far worse, far more troubling indeed. Something few amongst us has the power to resist, and I claim no responsibility for luring you down the slippery slopes into the realm of collecting…

Armies of Middle Earth is an apt title for the new Lord of the Rings figure line from PlayAlong Toys. There are enough figures in the first wave alone to build an army. There are so many cool figures planned for this line, it will cost you more than it takes to feed an army in order to buy them all. In the end, it will take an army to stand between you and buying yet another Uruk-Hai set to flesh out your Helm’s Deep playset.

It is my pleasure and privilege to bring you a series of reviews of these dynamic little fellows.

There are several different formats for the AOME figures. The basic figures are sold in sets of three, the figures on horseback are packaged individually, and there are boxed sets including a catapult or battering ram with Uruk-Hai. There are medium size playsets featuring The Bridge of Khazad-Dum (with the first plastic Balrog figure anywhere), and Saruman’s lair in Orthanc. There is a super deluxe playset of Helm’s Deep at the top of the line, and I’m told there are many more figures, accessories, playsets, and add-ons for your playsets to come.

Super action-figure collector extraordinaire that I am, I still had to admit that I’ve never quite seen an action figure like this before. These guys are small. Really small. Most stand less than 3" tall, smaller than a Star Wars figure. It’s unfair to judge them the way you would any larger action figure, because the scale does not allow for the same level of articulation — especially when you pack in as much detail as PlayAlong has. Each figure is fully outfitted exactly as you saw them in the films — with sculpted belts, quivers, and all. Each includes a weapon accessory and a small base to keep them upright. The paint detail is fantastic for such small figures — take a look at the hairs on the hobbit feet, or Eowyn’s face, and tell me you’re not impressed.

The AOME line is totally innovative for its scale — traditionally dominated by static PVC slugs. Most figures are articulated at the shoulders, and some, like Frodo have, neck and waist articulation. The Ringwraiths for instance have no movement at all due to the heavy robes — but they make up for the lack with excellent poses and detail. The accessories are tiny — and Play Along must have spent a fair amount of time figuring the best way to get each to attach to the figure. Some are simply held in the hands, but some items like the bows and arrows have male plugs that fit into matching female holes hidden inside the grasping hands. Some figures will stand alone, others will not. The hobbits and Eowyn have male plugs on the bottom of their feet, so they must be attached to their base in order to stand. Some bases work better than others — my Rohirrim Soldier doesn’t want to stand at all, while Gandalf (from the Balrog set) won’t fall down (You… Shall Not Fall!).

I think we all owe Play Along a huge shout of appreciation for taking on this scale, allowing us to recreate our favorite scenes without buying tons of $8 per figure 6" Toy Biz figs, and then finding the space to store it all. But I’ll be honest, there are some disappointments mixed in with the joys — some figures are decidedly better than other. No matter, the AOME figures offer exactly what they promise, for the right price at the right size. As a kid, this toy line would have easily beat out my Star Wars, Battle Beast, and M.U.S.C.L.E. men collections. As a full-grown adult, AOME is still a dream come true.

Review of 'Ambush at Weathertop' Exclusive pack from ShopAFX.com. [Click Here]

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Infamous TORn mention in 'Field Guide'
Calisuri @ 2:06 am EST

"I'm almost done, just want to read a few more chapters," says my significant other last night at Barnes and Noble.

I nod vaguely and continue my quest to understand MySQL databases within a 3 inch thick reference guide.

"Oh my Gosh! You're website is in here!"

"What?" I dig my nose out of the reference manual and finally pay attention to what my significant other is reading: A Field Guide to the Urban Hipster by Josh Aiello.

"You're kidding, right?" This is another joke on her part, I'm sure.

"No, look, TheOneRIng.net, right below AintitCool.com and above TheForce.net."

Instantly intrigued by a mention of TORn in anything, I ask to take a look and read the following:

Book Excerpt:
THEONERING.NET (www.theonering.net) -- Select a "dwarvish name" and apply your "pointy ears" before logging on to discuss the "feeblemindedness of Tooks" while waiting "Gandalf's return." Whether pondering literature in the "Tolkien room" or pitting "Billy the Pony" against "Aslan the Lion" in the "arena," a lack of humor is essential, as questions pertaining to the "physical composition of Elrond's sword" must be addressed with the seriousness of "Bilbo Baggins."

LOLOL! I don't know about you, but that is pretty darn funny. In fact, this whole book is a great read and worth picking up. The entire 'Guide' walks you through the stereotypes and generalizations that we all make in society and keeps you on the floor rolling with hysterics.

A word of warning to parents however. This book essentially PG-13.

I've scanned in a few of the pages for your viewing pleasure.

The Front CoverPage 192 - Internet Geeks IllustrationPage 195 - TheOneRing.net Mentioned

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