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September 22, 2001 - October 01, 2001

10-01-01 Latest News

Pre-order now from Games Workshop!
DarthCaeser @ 1:50 pm EST

Pre-order of the Games Workshop range of Lord of the Rings products begins today!

Fellowship of the Ring Boxed Game
Relive the battles of the Fellowship of the Ring with the Lord of the Rings battle game - a tabletop strategy game for two or more players. In the box you'll find a rulebook, dice and 48 highly detailed plastic miniatures - the ideal way to start your collection.

The Fellowship of The Ring
A boxed set of nine superbly detailed models portraying the characters from
the film The Fellowship Of The Ring.
Gandalf The Grey

Also available are more warriors to expand your forces:
The Warriors of Middle-Earth boxed set contains 4 Men of Gondor, 8 Elves and 12 Moria Goblins.

Order all these products from the Games Workshop Online store:

Tolkien Documentary: News from 'The Legacy of The Lord of the Rings'
Tehanu @ 7:41 am EST

Director Dan Timmons updated us on his wide-ranging Tolkien documentary, "The Legacy of 'Lord of the Rings'".

"On Sunday, September 23/01, we returned from a very successful trip to England. On the Friday, we went to Birmingham and started filming key landmarks of Tolkien's childhood: his house on Oliver Road, his grammar school, Kings Edward's, which is now being renovated into an office building (a crying shame, if you ask me). We went to Oxford and started attending Oxonmoot. Patrick Curry came from London and gave us a wonderful interview.

On Saturday, we were permitted to shoot the Dealer's Room which included the most fabulous Tolkien materials: cards, posters, shirts, figurines, steel goblets, exquisite statuques, and on and on. Then we set out and filmed all the key Oxford and Tolkien landmarks: his first college, Exeter, Merton College, Bodleian Library, and, of course, "The Eagle and Child," both outside and inside. (Some visiting New Zealanders allowed us to film them as they sat in one of the rooms where Tolkien, Lewis, Williams, and others would have met.)

Our biggest coup in the afternoon was at Tolkien's long-time Oxford home:20 Northmoor Road. As we were filming the outside, the son of the owners came out and said he would ask his parents if we could go inside. His parents agreed and we had a wonderful impromptu interview. They told us some fascinating "inside information" which I won't reveal until the documentary is finished. Let's just say, I think we got a real "scoop."

Later, we got permission from Tolkien artists to film their work in the Art Exhibt. Ted Nasmith was there, and we also interviewed Anke Eiszmann. We then interviewed John Garth, who is writing a book on Tolkien's World War One experience. As well, we had the pleasure of interviewing some scholars and fans from Sweden and other parts of England. At night, I showed selections from my documentary to the attendees. Everyone seemed to really enjoy what we've done so far. As soon as I receive the necessary permissions, I plan to put some of these selections on my web site and on TORN.

On Sunday, we returned to the outskirts of Birmingham and filmed around Tolkien's childhood home near the Sarehole Mill. It was so wonderful to walk among the fields, trees, river banks, where Tolkien played as child. At times, it was like we were walking in Middle-earth, since it was so obvious from where Tolkien drew his inspiration. Our footage of the tree-lined river seemed as if it was taken right from the Shire or even the Old Forest. We also filmed the Sarehole Mill (the model for theSandyman mill) and the Birmingham Oratory, where Tolkien spent much of hisyouth. We then returned to Oxford and spent time at Tolkien's and his wife's graves. I can't describe how I felt being there.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip. Now, we've completed most of the principal videography. Our only major interview left is Joseph Pearce. Soon, we'll be in post-production. Hopefully, we'll have our broadcast deal soon and the documentary will air before December 19/01.

If anyone has any questions about our documentary, please write to me: dan.timmons@utoronto.ca

Best wishes,


Tolkien Ensemble - Concert Diary and recording news.
Tehanu @ 7:14 am EST

The Tolkien Ensemble is performing 3 concerts in Rundetaarn, Copenhagen.

6th October
11th October
3rd November

All concerts at 8PM

Address: Rundetaarn, Købmagergade 52A, 1150 Copenhagen K

The Tolkien Ensemble will perform both old "hits" and some brand new songs from The Lord of the Rings which will be recorded for Classico Records in the Autumn 2001. The Tolkien Ensemble are looking very much forward to the concerts!

Tickets (100 kr.): Billetnet, phone 70156565

Recording News:

The Danish/Brittish entertainer and singer Tom McEwan has agreed to take the role of Pippin on The Tolkien Ensemble's next CD: "At Dawn in Rivendell."

Tehanu's review of the first two Tolkien Ensemble CDs is here

9-30-01 Latest News

Book Fair in Toronto
Xoanon @ 9:53 pm EST

From: Frodo Lover

Today (September 30th) was the Toronto Book Fair!!! I went down to take a look at the fair, which took up all of Queen Street, to see if there was any Lord of the Rings booths. Hey and what do ya know booth number 214 there was a giant cardboard standup of Gandalf and also one of the four Hobbits, promoted by Harper Collins. I was quite disapointed they oney had the Black versions of the Trilogy and thats all they had.

They also had tattoos, two different kinds, and bookmaks which had Bilbo and Saruman on them promoting the movie. They said I could only have tattos and bookmarks if I bought something, since I already had this set I did not need to buy them. I was glad to see the booth was packed I think this will be really good for sales in Toronto!!!! Hope some others got to go as well.

New Cast Projects
Xoanon @ 9:43 pm EST

Here are a few tidbits on some new things the LOTR cast are up to:

Martyn Sanderson (Bree Gatekeeper) is starring in the English TV series 'Atlantis High'. Sanserson plays 'Gandpa Gordon' in this comedy/drama about a family living in a town where nothing is as it seems. [More]

Craig Parker (Haldir) is starring in the New Zealand based TV series 'Mercy Peak'. Parker plays 'Alistar Kingsley' in this soap opera based around the residence in and around the town of Bassett [More]

Bernard Hill (Theoden) is voted as one of Britian's 'Top 100 Greatest Tv Characters of All Time'. Hill's character 'Yosser Hughes' from "Boys from the Blackstuff" Mini-series comes in at number 57: Yosser Hughes (82) - Bernard Hill, with his bemused brood of kids never let out of his sight, Bernard Hill's powerful depiction of a man crumbling before your eyes brought him a mantlepiece full of awards but, as he later revealed, almost "drove him to the edge of insanity." [More]

Doctor Who came in 6th...awww yeah! -Xo

Thanks to Thain of Westfarthing for the correction!

"Quality" ? Paperback Book Club
Tookish @ 5:36 pm EST

From Astaldo 44:

I noticed on the page today the piece about Lord of the Rings editions from the Quality Paperback Book Club.

I own these, and they are of absolutely abominable quality. The covers are abstarct designs and not particularly attractive. The bindings seem solid, but I havn't gotten much use out of them because of their biggest problem - the STAGGERING number of typos. In the first chapter of Fellowship alone there are probably 20 typos that I caught. And I'm sure I didn't catch them all, not having read LotR nearly as many times as many people have.

These volumes are very sloppily put together and I recommend against buying them most heartily.

Just though that perhaps your readers might like to know.

Ok, only one type-o in this letter, so let's give the guy a break... ;)

Media Watch: Empire Magazine
Xoanon @ 3:44 pm EST

From: Nick

A few things from the November Empire magazine in the UK. It has the results of their movies poll. Peter Jackson is #23 in the top 50 directors. The comment reads:

"Kiwi who began his career with DIY horrors, progressing steadily towards the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Must-see movie: Heavenly Creatures."

Cate Blanchett placed 15th in the top 50 actresses:

"A credible monarch in Elizabeth, Blanchett has only had one other film-carrying role (The Gift). Must-see role: Elizabeth I in Elizabeth."

From the editorial about the poll:

"There were votes from all over the world, and the films and actors that featured came from every decade since cinema debuted. Over a hundred of you even voted for Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - a film that is two months away from release. Do you know something we don't?"

From the letters section:

"The big battle: Okay, now that it's been announced that Harry Potter is just over two hours long, and The Fellowship of the Ring is two hours 45 minutes, which do you reckon is gonna be biggest in terms of a) box office and b) enjoyment? I think Fellowship is gonna beat Potter in terms of the latter, but reckon it's gonna be vice versa at the box office. Of course, Rings has an amazing story, but it is a tad dark and complex and has a horror director attached to it, which could see it suffer. Bottom line, I think Potter is gonna take well over $200 million in four weeks; Rings $150 million at the most.

Ed: Place your bets now..."

And finally, there is a short bit about the FOTR hype, showing a small version of the new poster, and saying:

"Frodo fever!

LOTR marketing goes into hyper-drive: With December looming, witness the latest poster (left), the first 30-second, US TV spots, and John Rhys-Davies' wager with Empire: "A bottle of good wine that Lord of the Rings will have the biggest opening weekend ever," he challenged. A '99 Blue Nun is on the way to him now..."

Toy Wraith Pics!
Xoanon @ 3:20 pm EST

Ringer Spy The Morian Miner sends along these great pics of one of the Wraiths. I'm not too sure I like the 'Stabbing Action'...but who knows..

9-29-01 Latest News

LotR Theater Production in Chicagoland!
Tookish @ 1:50 pm EST

Hi folks.

Just thought you might be interested in our upcoming show. I don't know if you have heard or not, but after 7 years of work, we are finally finishing what we now respectfully refer to as The Tolkien Project.

Wednesday, Oct. 10th, the Lifeline Theatre in Rogers Park, Chicago, presents the World Premiere of J. R. R. Tolkien's


The third installment of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

Tickets are on sale now.

Lifeline Theatre
6912 North Glenwood Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60626
Box Office Phone: (773) 761-4477
Fax: (773) 761-4582

Listen to this great Tolkien music!
Tehanu @ 1:28 pm EST

Variations on this email arrive often enough, usually accompanied by a dodgy-sounding Mpeg which on my computer speakers doesn't sound like much. I almost never offer a review, as it would be unfair to pass judgement on 90 seconds of something I can't hear very clearly. Some of them seem to reply heavily on samplers and midi keyboards, which I enjoy about as much as a gourmet likes chewing-gum. That's my bias, take it or leave it.

Both 'Glass Hammer' and 'The Tolkien Ensemble' sent me their latest CDs as a thank-you to TORN for bringing them to the attention of the fans. I've been playing them as an antidote to the horrors of the past week (9.11.01), and it seemed worth sharing my impressions with you as a kind of thank-you to the musicians for taking my mind off things.

First off, these albums are beautifully produced.. The Tolkien Ensemble's 'An Evening in Rivendell' and 'A Night in Rivendell' come as a boxed set; the cover art and the pictures inside the generous sleeve notes are by Queen Margarethe of Denmark. Her style is similar to Tolkien's and is an added pleasure. Glass Hammer's 'The Middle-earth Album' features David Wyatt's lovely painting of the Grey Havens on the cover. I have a gripe about the lyrics printed on sleeve-notes - they're in an almost unreadable font. But since all the singers have very clear diction, that's not such a problem once you're listening to the music.

It's impossible to review any music inspired by Tolkien without thinking about the choices musicians have to make in recreating Tolkien's world musically. Do you decide that Middle-earth's music is like nothing that we have ever known, and invent an entirely new kind of music? Do you draw on past musics of the Western world? Do you ignore 'world music' and rule out Tibetan throat-singing for the dwarves, or something like the Bulgarian traditional choirs for the Rohirrim? (Not as wild as it sounds - their music could be a tradition dating back to the Thracian horsemen of ancient times)
Is Middle-earth music folksy, or is it highly-evolved like Western or Indian classical music? Could the Elves improvise?

It's inevitable to think about this when I listened to The Tolkien Ensemble and Glass Hammer, because they've answered those questions in different ways.

The Tolkien Ensemble: Nightfall in Rivendell; An Evening in Rivendell.
This group had the approval of the the Tolkien family, so they are able to use Tolkien's own poems for their lyrics. Each CD opens with a solo by a classical instrument. 'Evening' begins with an elegaic oboe solo over a tolling pedal chord on vibraphone; this introduces a recital of the Ring inscription.
The "Night' album starts with a gorgeous bassoon solo and the voice of the great Danish bass Ulrik Cold singing of 'Seven ships and seven stars and one white tree.' You're immediately aware of two things: You're in a soundworld of Western classical music, and the recording quality is very high. This is serious music, and delivered for the most part by a group of highly-trained voices and instrumentalists.

The music changes according to which race or culture it belongs to. The hobbits' music is more folksy, the songs of Rohan strongly choral - they sound a bit like Benjamin Britten in places - and the Elven music is a kind of classical chamber music or lieder. This is surprising at first - you might not quite expect classically-trained voices for Legolas and Gildor. Aragorn's songs too are basically lieder, with piano accompaniament. But it's not hard to imagine that the Elves studied singing (and Aragorn studied with them) - indeed, it could well be the chief of their arts. The 'Lament for Boromir' with its rippling piano has the alternate verses of Aragorn and Legolas sung by a baritone and a tenor. There's a lot of art in the way they each change their voices to sing the wind's reply "Ask not of me where he doth dwell" etc. I found that piece particularly haunting.

Also haunting are the songs of Galadriel, sung by the pure Renaissance voice of Signe Asmussen, with violin, harp and choir holding bittersweet dissonances beneath her words.

The only singer who doesn't have a highly-trained voice is Peter Hall, one of the composers and founders of the TE. He does the hobbit songs, which suit the more 'everyman' sound of a natural voice and guitar accompaniament. One doesn't imagine Frodo or Sam having singing lessons. So things like Frodo's 'Lament for Gandalf' or Sam's 'Troll' song are done very simply, with a guitar accompaniament. But both Peter Hall and the other founder/composer, Caspar Reiff, are outstanding classical guitarists. Listen also for Peter Hall's piercing, celtic-influenced lament on pennywhistle that introduces 'Sam's Song in the Orc-Tower.'

I could go on and on - the fact is, the songs are so different from each other. The two albums travel from the merry fiddles, accordians and spoons that accompany 'There is an inn' to the sinister comedy of Gollum's song, to the rich melancholy harmonies of string quartets and choirs. There's a third album being planned which I imagine will complete the settings of all of Tolkien's lyrics.

Glass Hammer: The Middle Earth Album

Glass Hammer take a different approach entirely - they are out to create the impression that you yourself are in Middle-earth, perhaps at a pub such as the Prancing Pony, where the popular troubadours are singing songs that are the local favourites. You could almost join in with the rowdy appreciative crowd in the choruses. This is a lighthearted, fun album - designed to make you feel that you're kicking back and relaxing with the Breefolk.

Glass Hammer didn't get to use Tolkien's lyrics, but their songs are about familiar characters and events in Middle-earth that you'll recognise. The album opens with a stirring rhythm on a drum - a bodhran or something like that. From there first few songs rollick along, telling stories about dwarves and orcs and trolls and deeds of valour. The music's very folky, all acoustic instruments - violins, guitars, keyboards in the harpsichord/dulcimer range, mandolins. It reminded me of bands like Jethro Tull and Steeleye Span. There's a lot of those bouncy dotted six/eight rhythms (you know, the ones that go 'Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Amsterdam') which are irrepressably cheerful.

And then, as the album progresses, it experiments with different kinds of Middle-earth music as though you've gone from listening to a pub band in Bree to a serious concert celebrating the magical side of Middle-earth.. The middle part has songs like "As I Walk,' 'The Last Ship' which use very pure folk voices and an 'early music' sound. It gets there via "Mirkwood", where the singer surprises the listener with little sashays and glides with her voice that are straight out Broadway or modern pop. It's funny the little things that place a piece of music in a certain time; for every listener, different things will strike them as absolutely 'right' or slightly 'wrong' for singing about Middle-earth.

The last songs on 'The Middle Earth Album' go somewhere else entirely - past electric folk into the world of intricate, elaborate accompaniaments, electric bass and rock keyboards - that fast yet dreamy rock from the early days of bands like Genesis, or Emerson, Lake and Palmer. (Or it's really late and I'm not remembering those bands too well). Somehow a rock anthem for Mithrandir or Goldberry works for me, don't ask me why.

And then, just to finish things off on a note that drives home the point that this is a fun album above all else, the last song, 'No Crown for Balin,' is a lighthearted romp which sounds like something from 'The Mikado'. It's got a really familiar-sounding chord structure and a really funny harpsichord accompaniament.

9-27-01 Latest News

Hobbit Travel
Xoanon @ 8:50 pm EST

From: Michael & Mary

My wife and I were visiting relatives in St. Paul, MN when we stumbled across this establishment. We wondered if they cater exclusively to Shire-folk, or if they offer special package vacations to Middle-Earth: The ever-popular Two Tower Tour; white-water rafting down the Anduin; exploring Moria with animatronic Orc attacks (Gandalf battles the Balrog at ten and two daily!), and the Dark Lord for a Day option! Sounds good to us!!

Jr vs JK?
Xoanon @ 8:27 pm EST

Ringer Spy thewhiteladyofrohan sends along these scans from 'The Daily Express'.

Tolkien used as political football in Italy
Tehanu @ 6:10 pm EST

This came in from Robert at Italian website Caltanet
"Alleanza Nazionale -the most important right-oriented Italian political party, heir of the ancient fascist party - has taken a picture from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings to promote a speech by his leader, Gianfranco Fini, the vice-president of the Berlusconi’s new government, to the youngest audience of the party. You can see the pic here

This is very important because in Italy, since the date (‘70s) of the first publication of LOTR, Tolkien’s book is considered fascist or nazist or “naziskin”, as the famous journalist Natalia Aspesi called it this May reporting the Lord of the Ring’s day from the Cannes Film Festival. We are the only Italian journalists who denounced these stupid prejudices in the hope of start also in Italy a real cultural debate about Tolkien and his books. Hopefully before the Italian release of Fellowship of the Ring, on 18 January 2002.

If you and your readers want to join our protest, please send us an e-mail with your thoughts to: tolkien@caltanet.it

Casa Loma Press Release
Xoanon @ 12:45 pm EST



Toronto, September 27, 2001 — Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture Distribution announced today that on October 31, 2001, A JOURNEY TO MIDDLE EARTH, an exhibition containing artifacts from the theatrical production of THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING will launch in Toronto for a 12-day period at Casa Loma.

Residents of Toronto, tourists and legions of fans alike will be given a rare opportunity to see remarkably detailed plans, drawings, photographs, props and costumes from New Line Cinema’s epic adventure THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING theatrical production. Pieces of the exhibition being brought in from New Zealand will include swords of Gandalf, Aragorn and Frodo; Elven glassware; hobbit prosthetics and Bilbo Baggins’ collection of furniture to name a few. A special attraction will be exclusive sepia-toned portraits of the cast of the film in character taken by Montreal native Pierre Vinet, the stills photographer of the trilogy. Toronto is the only place in North America that will play host to an exhibit of this magnitude.

Dan and Chris Hennah, acclaimed artists of the theatrical trilogy and their team of visionaries have created pieces with extraordinary attention to detail that originated from the fantastical writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. "After seeing photography of the individual pieces from the exhibition, it is clear that they have fully captured the essence of the trilogy", comments Frank Mendicino, VP of Marketing for Alliance Atlantis Motion Pictures. "We are thrilled that Dan and Chris have embraced this exhibit and honoured by Director Peter Jackson’s willingness to participate by bringing this extraordinary exhibit to the people of Toronto".

Dan Hennah comments, "On my journey through Middle-earth, I found a few things to share with you. They will be exhibited in Toronto at Casa Loma from October 31st to November 11th. While the film will bring Middle Earth to a whole new audience, the exhibition will help to explain how far the film makers have gone in trying to be true to the original story. This exhibition is a small selection of the many thousands of props, sets and costumes that were created for the film. I hope they help to show how "even the smallest person can change the course of the future"."

The Hennah’s have returned to their home in New Zealand with the Casa Loma floor plans in hand and are currently designing the exhibit. They will return to Toronto in late October to oversee the installation.

The exhibit is being sponsored in part by Harper Collins Books Canada, The Toronto Star, Burger King Restaurants of Canada, Air Canada, and HMV.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at all Ticketmaster locations, by calling 416-870-8000 or by visiting http://www.ticketmaster.ca, and will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday September 28th. The prices for advance tickets are as follows (included taxes and service charges)

Adults (18-59 years) $14.00
Seniors (60+years) $10.50
Youths (14-17 years) $10.50
Children (4-13 years) $10.00

DAY OF SALES tickets through CASA LOMA ONLY (taxes included):
Adults (18-59 years) $10.00
Seniors (60+years) $6.50
Youths (14-17 years) $6.50
Children (4-13 years) $6.00

Please note: Any existing Casa Loma incentive coupons can only be redeemed at the Casa Loma box office and will not be accepted by Ticketmaster.

9:30 to 5:00 PM with the last admittance at 4:00 pm
Hours will be extended on November 6 & 7 from 9:30 am to 9:00 pm, with the last admittance at 8:00 pm.

New Line Cinema is producing the Trilogy of films based on the much-loved novel. The first instalment of the trilogy, THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING will be released across Canada by Alliance Atlantis Motion Pictures on December 19.

Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. is a leading vertically integrated broadcaster, creator and distributor of filmed entertainment with ownership interests in 18 specialty channels, including five Operating Channels: Showcase, Life Network, History Television, HGTV Canada, and Food Network Canada; nine Developing Channels: Series+, Historia, Showcase Action, Showcase Diva, The Independent Film Channel Canada (subject to CRTC approval), Discovery Health Channel Canada, National Geographic Channel, BBC Canada, and BBC Kids; and four channels in which the Company has minority interests: Scream, The Score, Pride Vision and One: the Body, Mind and Spirit Channel.

The Company's principal business activities are conducted through three operating groups: Broadcast, Motion Picture and Television. Headquartered in Toronto, Alliance Atlantis operates offices in Los Angeles, Edmonton, Montreal, Halifax, Shannon, London and Sydney. The Company's common shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange - trading symbols AAC.A, AAC.B and on NASDAQ - trading symbol AACB. The Company's Web site is www.allianceatlantis.com

9-26-01 Latest News

Hobbit Movie in full swing
Xoanon @ 6:16 pm EST

those intrepid folks making an indie Hobbit film are hard at work. Take a look at some screenshots from the film, a little blurry..or maybe it's my eyes..

Lurtz Action Figure Pics!
Xoanon @ 6:05 pm EST

Ringer Spy Ed strikes gold again and shows us some more additions to his LOTR collection, take a look at Lurtz!

Ian McKellen talks LOTR
Xoanon @ 8:33 am EST

“Ringleader” by Christopher Lawrence and the IQ Gamer Staff

Sir Ian McKellen reveals what it’s like to play the ultimate wizard - from “Lord of the Rings” combat training to keeping Gandalf’s pesky beard out of harm’s way.

The tip of the gnarled staff rhythmically taps upon the rocky terrain as the old wizard makes his way up the mountainous path. Behind him follows a literal fellowship of some of the most beloved heroes ever sprung from the well of imagination: hobbits Frodo Baggins, Pippin Took, Sam Gamgee and Merry Brandybuck; Legolas the elf; the dwarf Gimli; Boromir of Gondor; and the ranger Aragorn. Of course the wizard - the powerful mage known as Gandalf - isn’t exactly a slouch himself. A central figure in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth mythos, Gandalf is perhaps the most important character in modern fantasy and easilly the greatest wizard since Merlin. As he reaches the summit of the mountain slope, Gandalf touches a hand to the wide brim of his pointed hat and solemnly continues his trek. He’s marching toward dramatic history … a place Sir Ian McKellen knows well. McKellen, the acclaimed British actor who’s enjoyed more than three decades of success as a performer, is most familiar to American audiences as Magneto, the villainous star of last year’s summer blockbuster “X-Men.” Come this Christmas, that’ll no longer be so. On December 19, McKellen explodes onto the big screen as the personification of Tolkien’s classic wizard in director Peter Jackson’s long-awaited, live-action adaptation of “The Fellowship of the Ring.” McKellen graciously agreed to take a few minutes away from his busy shooting schedule and active web chatting atwww.mckellen.com to answer a few questions for INQUEST about all things Gandalf

INQUEST: There has been a lot of debate about how “Fellowship of the Ring” opens. Will it start at Bilbo’s birthday party or detail the history of the War of the Ring?

MCKELLEN: Its original prologue has been abandoned and the backstories of Isildur and of Smeagol, who both found and lost the Ring, are now to be told once Bilbo, the adventurer from Tolkien’s The Hobbit, has been introduced. In Bag End, we will see Bilbo starting to write his memoirs. Gandalf’s arrival in Hobbiton for Bilbo’s 111th birthday party of magnificence now opens the movie just as it opens the first book but it has been expanded to help with the exposition. A Prologue, with its stash of names and facts, can unnerve audiences, and I am relieved that ours has gone.

INQUEST: When Sir Alec Guinness played Obi-Wan Kenobi, he hated the role. What do you think of your Gandalf part?

MCKELLEN: Sir Alec didn’t like the sparse dialogue in “Star Wars.” By contrast, Gandalf gets some of Tolkien’s best writing.

INQUEST: Gandalf has a fair amount of action sequences in the movie. Did you play the action scenes or did your stunt double?

MCKELLEN: You will appreciate that the camera doesn’t always record the truth and that when, for instance, Gandalf falls after the Balrog, it may be neither me nor my stunt double who is dragged off the Bridge of Khazad-dum. But generally, if some action is potentially dangerous, I am happy to let others take over, knowing that in the completed film, no one will be the wiser. When I realized on “Last Action Hero” that even so fit a gent as Arnold Schwarzenegger has a double, I lost any worries about being thought weedy. Doubles have a double advantage: It means that two “Gandalf” scenes can be shot simultaneously, and so the schedule progresses.

INQUEST: Does Gandalf’s beard ever get in the way?

MCKELLEN: After five months, I am reconciled to having my face disguised by false hair all day and even finding some comforting security in the wig. Moustache and flowing beard. After all, without them, I wouldn’t look or feel much like Gandalf. At lunchtime, my wig is pinned back and the beard I bundled into a hair-net which snoods it out of the way of salad and dessert.

INQUEST: Would you liken the character of Gandalf to any of your other roles?

MCKELLEN: early on, I found Gandalf’s character comfortably familiar, making me wonder if I had met him elsewhere disguised as some other character who I had played. Prospero, Shakespeare’s wizard, who I played just before Gandalf? Or Shakespeare’s angelically down-to-earth Kent who tends to King Lear and his successor Edgar on their journeys? But no, Gandalf is unique and I have relished getting to know him well over the last 10 months.

INQUEST: did you receive and combat training to play Gandalf?

MCKELLEN: I have never had any general fight training, so each time I have to wield a weapon, I start from scratch. In “Lord of the Rings” I have trained a little with Gandalf’s staff and Glamdring, which he carries once the Fellowship is en route to Mordor. Fighting is easier on screen than on stage. The camera rarely sees the full figure, whose silhouette is crucial to convince a theater audience. Hence the use of doubles who save the actors’ time and bloodied knuckles. You can be pretty sure that when you can’t see the characters’ faces during a film fight, that doubles are being used. That leaves the actor with his close-ups, wielding an off-camera weapon, sometimes minus its blade to avoid slicing the operator!

INQUEST: Will Gandalf’s powerful elf ring Narya be seen in the films?

MCKELLEN: By the end of the third film, Narya will be in evidence. The ring was made in the WETA workshops, which supply all the other props. Once, I forgot to take it off at the end of the day’s work, which gave the props department a sleepless night.

INQUEST: Now that filming has wrapped, do you ever find yourself impersonating Gandalf, or taking on his habits and mannerisms?

MCKELLEN: It may surprise you, but I seem to have left Gandalf’s persona behind in New Zealand. Perhaps I am unconsciously like a painter clearing the canvas for the next character I have to portray.

INQUEST: Gandalf aside, is there any one Tolkien character that intrigues you more than others?

MCKELLEN: Treebeard is a favorite of mine. Anyone lost in a wood like in the “Blair Witch Project” can believe that trees walk and talk.

INQUEST: Any other role you would have liked to play?

MCKELLEN: Where I the right age4, I should like to have tackled Frodo; I have always been attracted to characters who go on journeys and mature as a result.

INQUEST: Excluding yourself, who would you have picked to play Gandalf?

MCKELLEN: Fans have expressed enthusiasm for Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins and Christopher Lee as likely Gandalfs. I would have picked Paul Scofield. He won the Oscar for “A Man of All Seasons” and was so wonderfully unworldly as Mel Gibson’s dead father in Zeffirelli’s film of “Hamlet.”

INQUEST: What other actors do you admire?

MCKELLEN: Those who dare to be different part by part. Those who like hard work and challenges. Those who put money and status low on the list of priorities. Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Robert Downey Jr., Michael Gambon, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Lindsay, Sean Penn, Meryl Streep and many other who are not yet well-known.

INQUEST: is filmaking as grueling as everyone says it is?

MCKELLEN: “Long and tedious fun” about sums it up. Actors get driven to and from work mainly so they don’t disrupt the shooting schedule by having accidents. We get up before dawn and get home maybe 15 hours later. At work, we are fed for free and relax in our personal trailers. All this attention is to prepare for the vital moment when the camera turns and we actually earn our salaries by acting.

INQUEST: How do you prepare personally?

MCKELLEN: Nothing too distracting: a daily crossword, if I can find The (London) Times newspaper, or a book - currently Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling - or snoozing or even answering e-mail. And I read and reread whatever scene is being shot next.

INQUEST: Is it difficult to separate your roles from your personal life?

MCKELLEN: During the weeks of rehearsing a play, I tend to become absorbed by the character as I look for him during private study and with the other actors. I try out walks and accents and gestures of face and body. I sometimes learn my lines on public transport muttering them out loud to myself. This must look odd to fellow passengers.

INQUEST: What was your most difficult scene while filming the “Lord of the Rings”?

MCKELLEN: Confronting the Balrog was hard because, whatever you eventually see in “The Fellowship of the Ring,” all I saw aloft in the studio was a yellow tennis ball, Gandalf’s eyeline for the monstrous fiery creature.

INQUEST: What would you change about the story if you could?

MCKELLEN: I would want to reinstate some of the episodes from the novel which didn’t make it into the three movies. But that’s entirely hypothetical and only possible if we had made five or maybe six movies.

INQUEST: Did the success of “Star Wars” influence new Line’s decision to do the story in trilogy format?

MCKELLEN: All filmakers admire the “Star Wars” trilogy, and it certainly set a sort of precedent. But you can tell, it was a storytelling imperative that made [director] Peter Jackson stick out for at least two films. He was very happy when new Line Cinema offered money enough for three, They are dealing with a classic whose following is worldwide - 6.6million downloaded the online snippet of “Lord of the Rings” in its first week. That would be some opening weekend if they all bought a ticket!

INQUEST: It’s been argued that Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” is an allegory for World War II. Do you think this has any weight?

MCKELLEN: Tolkien composed “Lord of the Rings” during the years 1936 to 1949 and tellingly refers to it as “a history of the Great War of the Ring.” World War II was fought by conscripted civilians and volunteers including Tolkien’s own son, Michael. Adolf Hitler’s dominance over Europe must have impinged on the father’s life and writing. The basic plot of ordinary peace-loving hobbits drafted by Gandalf into the fight against Sauron mirrors contemporary events. The wizard warns Frodo about spies being everywhere, just as there were posters in wartime Oxford saying the same thing. Having been born in 1939 and remembering sleeping in an Anderson Shelter against the Nazi bombers, I found it easy to identify Hitler with Sauron.

INQUEST: Assuming the movie is the mega-hit we think it will be, does the idea that you may be forever remembered in most people’s eyes as Gandalf worry you?

MCKELLEN: I have always admired myself on being a protean actor, capable of successful disguise as I deliberately look for variety in my work. What critics or audiences think of me doesn’t worry me overmuch, as long as I am still offered new challenges in the theater as well as cinema. There are worse fates than to be permanently associated with a great literary icon, should that come about.

9-23-01 Latest News

Weekly Cast Watch
Xoanon @ 11:31 pm EST

Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn)

28 Days (2000)
Walk on the Moon, A (1999) UK
Psycho (1998) UK
Thin Red Line, The (1998) UK
Albino Alligator (1996)
Passion of Darkly Noon, The (1995)
Prophecy, The (1995)
American Yakuza (1994)
Crew, The (1994)
Ruby Cairo (1993)
Young Guns II (1990)
Fresh Horses (1988) UK

Liv Tyler (Arwen)

Plunkett & Macleane (1999) UK
Onegin (1999) UK
Inventing the Abbotts (1997)
Heavy (1995)
Silent Fall (1994)

Ian Holm (Bilbo)

Joe Gould's Secret (2000)
Last of the Blonde Bombshells, The (2000) (TV)
eXistenZ (1999)
Alice Through the Looking Glass (1999) (TV)
King Lear (1997) (TV) UK
Fifth Element, The (1997) UK
Hamlet (1990) UK
Henry V (1989)
Dance with a Stranger (1985)
Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984) UK
Alien (1979) UK
All Quiet on the Western Front (1979) (TV)
Shout at the Devil (1976)
Oh! What a Lovely War (1969) UK
Fixer, The (1968) UK

Sean Bean (Boromir)

When Saturday Comes (1996) UK
Black Beauty (1994) UK
Stormy Monday (1988)

Martyn Sanderson (Bree Gatekeeper)

Ned Kelly (1970)

David Weatherley (Barliman Butterbur)

"Potato Factory, The" (2000) (mini) UK

John Noble (Denethor)

Airtight (1999) (TV) UK

Peter Mackenzie (Elendil)

Chill Factor (1999)
Major League: Back to the Minors (1998) UK
Nick of Time (1995)
Off Limits (1988)

Hugo Weaving (Elrond)

Matrix, The (1999) UK
Strange Planet (1999)
Bedrooms and Hallways (1998)
Interview, The (1998)
Babe (1995) UK
Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, The (1994)

Miranda Otto (Eowyn)

What Lies Beneath (2000)
Jack Bull, The (1999) (TV)
Thin Red Line, The (1998) UK
Love Serenade (1996)
Emma's War (1986)

David Wenham (Faramir)

Molokai: The Story of Father Damien (1999)

Ian Mune (unknown)

Piano, The (1993) UK

Elijah Wood (Frodo)

Bumblebee Flies Anyway, The (2000)
Faculty, The (1998) UK
Ice Storm, The (1997)
North (1994)
Good Son, The (1993)
Forever Young (1992) UK
Paradise (1991)
Internal Affairs (1990)

Cate Blanchett (Galadriel)

Gift, The (2000)
Talented Mr. Ripley, The (1999) UK
Ideal Husband, An (1999) UK
Pushing Tin (1999) UK
Paradise Road (1997)

Ian McKellen (Gandalf)

X-Men (2000) UK
Apt Pupil (1998) UK
Gods and Monsters (1998) UK
Cold Comfort Farm (1995) (TV)
Jack and Sarah (1995)
To Die for (1994) UK
Six Degrees of Separation (1993)
Scandal (1989) UK
Keep, The (1983) UK
Alfred the Great (1969) UK
Touch of Love, A (1969) UK

John Rhys-Davies (Gimli)

Au Pair (1999) (TV)
Cats Don't Dance (1997)
Bloodsport 3 (1996)
Cyborg Cop (1994)
Unnamable II: The Statement of Randolph Carter, The (1993)
Sunset Grill (1993)
Journey of Honor (1992) UK
Tusks (1990)
Gifted One, The (1989) (TV)
Waxwork (1988)
Firewalker (1986) UK
King Solomon's Mines (1985)
Nairobi Affair (1984) (TV) UK
Naked Civil Servant, The (1975) (TV)

Andy Serkis (Gollum)

Topsy-Turvy (1999) UK
Among Giants (1998) UK
Tale of Sweety Barrett, The (1998) UK
Stella Does Tricks (1997)

Harry Sinclair (Isildur)

Braindead (1992) UK

Orlando Bloom (Legolas)

Wilde (1997) UK

Lawrence Makoare (Lurtz)

Rapa Nui (1994) UK

Bruce Spence (Mouth of Sauron)

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
Cars That Ate Paris, The (1974) UK

Sean Astin (Sam)

Sky Is Falling, The (2000)
Kimberly (1999)
Dish Dogs (1998)
Bulworth (1998) UK
Low Life, The (1994/I)
Teresa's Tattoo (1994)
Encino Man (1992) UK
Where the Day Takes You (1992) UK
Toy Soldiers (1991)
Memphis Belle (1990) UK
War of the Roses, The (1989) UK
White Water Summer (1987) UK
Goonies, The (1985)

Christopher Lee (Saruman)

Sleepy Hollow (1999) UK
Jinnah (1998) UK
Journey of Honor (1992) UK
Safari 3000 (1982)
Serial (1980)
1941 (1979) UK
Three Musketeers, The (1973) UK
Nothing But the Night (1972)
Brides of Fu Manchu, The (1966)
Psycho-Circus (1966)
Gorgon, The (1964) UK
Longest Day, The (1962) UK
City of the Dead, The (1960)
Truth About Women, The (1958)
Traitor, The (1957) UK
Amère victoire (1957)
Battle of the River Plate, The (1956) UK
Moulin Rouge (1952)
Captain Horatio Hornblower (1951)
My Brother's Keeper (1948) UK

Brian Sergent (Ted Sandyman)

Braindead (1992) UK

Bernard Hill (Theoden)

Midsummer Night's Dream, A (1999) UK
Loss of Sexual Innocence, The (1999) UK
True Crime (1999) UK
Bounty, The (1984)
Gandhi (1982) UK

Nathaniel Lees (Ugluk)

Rapa Nui (1994) UK
Hercules and the Lost Kingdom (1994) (TV) UK

Brad Dourif (Wormtongue)

Ghost, The (2000)
Storytellers, The (1999) UK
Urban Legend (1998) UK
Best Men (1997)
Death Machine (1995)
Amos & Andrew (1993)
Body Parts (1991) UK
Hidden Agenda (1990)
Mississippi Burning (1988)
Dune (1984) UK

Jim Rygiel (SFX)

Anna and the King (1999)
Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)
Alien³ (1992)
Last of the Mohicans, The (1992)
Batman Returns (1992)
2010 (1984)

Howard Shore (Composer)

High Fidelity (2000)
Analyze This (1999)
Dogma (1999)
eXistenZ (1999)
Cop Land (1997)
Looking for Richard (1996)
Striptease (1996)
Se7en (1995)
White Man's Burden (1995)
Moonlight and Valentino (1995)
Client, The (1994)
Philadelphia (1993)
Single White Female (1992)
Prelude to a Kiss (1992)
She-Devil (1989)
Moving (1988)
Dead Ringers (1988)
Fly, The (1986)
Fire with Fire (1986)
After Hours (1985)

Peter Jackson (Director)

Hercules and the Lost Kingdom (1994) (TV) UK
Braindead (1992) UK

To get more information, use the sites I use like:

mydigiguide.com, tv-now.com and IMDB.com

9-22-01 Latest News

Gaming Havens - Decipher Special Report #3
Strider @ 4:36 pm EST

The party at Decipher.com is in full swing, and though I haven’t seen quite as many questions and answers as I would have expected, it seems the atmosphere is staying true to the theme; a party.

The Decipher team has been sociable, conversational and fun loving from everything I’ve observed. They’ve loosened their ties and gone at it, trivia, jokes and general conversation over this massive, constantly expanding message board. At times it can get a bit hectic, having to refresh every ten seconds and noticing five new posts at the top of the page, and twenty more added to previous threads.

The trivia has been the biggest hit, engaging the party goer’s minds with true Middle-Earth trivia. The questions have been geared towards everyone, from simple facts, “Where did Frodo meet Aragorn?” to brain benders such as, “What road is the Ivy Bush on?”

Everyone’s a winner, whether your there to ask a question, let your thoughts be known, or even to conquer the trivia challenges and find yourself the recipient of prize merchandize.

Kyle Heuer (Marketing) has been around for the long haul today, delivering trivia and answers to sporadically up and down the numerous message threads.

There are many ways to heal a Companion:

1) play a copy of that companion from hand during Fellowship phase
2) game text on a card that removes a wound from a Companion
3) starting your Fellowship phase at a Sanctuary

I'm sure there are more, but that is the quick and dirty.

Tim Ellington (Taskmaster and Design) stepped in to deliver his services to the fans questions, and participate in the trivia mayhem.

How much contact have you had with the Tolkien Estate?

We did not have design interaction with the estate. I (and others) have worked with New Line Cinema in New York and Los Angeles, Tolkien Enterprises in Berkeley, and we have had some contact with Mr. Jackson's group in New Zealand.

It has all been wonderful!

When doing the design and fields of the cards do you consider artistic rules concerning the proportions?

I'm not in the art department, which does all of the template designs... but I would guess they do. One element I know that was very important on some of the cards was to retain as much of the aspect ratio to the movie frames as possible to keep the "cinematic feel."

Are there multiples of each character, and is there a variation in their rarity?

There are two versions of each Fellowship member from the story. One rare of each, and the others are uncommon, common and/or fixed.

Chuck, among others among the Decipher team, has been busy on the boards as well.

For example, there's a version of Frodo with the Gandalf signet, and a version of Frodo with the Aragorn signet. I think.

Anyway, you'll find game text (like the Gandalf we showed) that lets them work together.

Like in JK, each companion card will only have one signet (if any...many don't have any at all).

UNLIKE in JK, the signets are not any kind of deckbuilding restriction. You can mix and match your companions with signets however you like.

It's just another "layer of texture," like cultures, which you can use when you're building your deck. It's also a readily identifiable icon that helps players new to TCG's build decks.

And they look pretty cool, too. Like wax seals. Very nice.

I don’t claim to know everything their talking about, not being an avid RPG card slinger myself, but to those who are well versed in this medium of entertainment, I hope you’ve learned something.

Remember, the party lasts till 9 PM Eastern time, so if you haven’t participated, go Here and procrastinate no longer!

Gaming Havens - Decipher Special Report #2
Strider @ 4:25 pm EST

The all day event at Decipher continues with Sandy Wible, Monica Jones, and Tom Lischke, who stuck around beyond the call of duty.

Unfortunately Monica Jones had computer trouble, by Kyle from Decipher held contact with her on the phone and did his best to entertain the masses with trivia, and short answers for the avid fan’s questions.

So what did we learn? Well, to start a fan asked the question, “Are there any Tolkien games being made by EA or Sierra?” and our very own Ostadan came to our aid, putting this complicated question into an understandable perspective.

EA has the license for LotR games based on the _movies_. Sierra (actually Vivendi/Universal) has the license for games based on the _books_. Several games are planned -- I know that Vivendi will have a "Fellowship" game for the X-Box planned for early next year, and have revived the online roleplay project. I do not know what EA's plans are.

Tolkien sold the movie/media rights (and derived rights) years ago, and they are held by Tolkien Enterprises. The book copyrights and derived copyrights are held by the Estate, and of course the publishers.

And of course, it's more awesomely complicated, since the rights for the Silmarillion and other posthumous works are separate. It took about half a page of tiny print in the rulebook for the Iron Crown CCG to explain the whole mess.

Sandy Wible (Production) then came on the scene:

For those who don't know, I handle a lot of the production details, as well as helping the Art and TCG people with all kinds of odds and ends.

Lately, I've been working hard getting the press sheets ready to go to the printer, and also finalizing the foil templates for the cards.

She was asked:

What does most of the art consist of. Still, publicity shots?

We have always desired to use images that are _not_ publicity shots in our games. You see the publicity shots all over the place... which is great for their purpose, but we like to show you something unique and different.

Also, film images tend to have more "real life" in them. You know what I mean... you can look at a publicity shot and tell right away that it was staged.

In some of our other games, we have resorted to using stills and other things only where the film images turned out blurry or too far away or something.

We have gone to great trouble and expense to wheedle (and yes we wheedled big time) images from the film that NOBODY else has access to. When you get your cards, you're going to see images from the film that aren't available anywhere else!!!

What’s in a deluxe starter set?

We plan to have the special precon deck made just for the Deluxe Starters (based on hobbits and Ringwraiths), glass damage markers, glass Fellowship tokens, a booster pack, a collector's card list, and more. Now, some of this might be eliminated (such as the card list) since we're still finalizing the contents, but this is the basic idea.

Tom Lischke (Design) stuck around to answer more questions:

Adventure Path: a line of up to nine sites. When the game starts, only a site 1 is in play (a Hobbiton or Bree site, most likely). As fellowships move, sites are added to the path as necessary until at the end, there will be nine (site 9s are stuff like Amon Hen, Falls of Rauros, etc.). Rivendell is at 3, Lorien is at 6.

Adventure Deck: each player has an Adventure Deck with nine sites in it (one of each number).

The player who goes first puts out their site 1, and both players put their fellowship marker on it. When a fellowship moves, if the site they are moving to hasn't been revealed yet, one of their opponents plays that site from their adventure deck (for instance, if the furthest advanced fellowship was at site 5, and choose to move, one of their opponents would play their copy of site 6).

What will Decipher be using for advertisement and giveaways? Monica Jones (Vice President of Marketing) gives us a peak:

We'll be producing posters, static window cling, etc. for retailers and posters for giveaway to guys like you. Have you seen any of the oversized LOTR TCG cards? I think they're pretty cool.

Well folks, this will be going on all day, so if you have any questions, or just want to hang around and answer the ongoing trivia in hopes if winning prizes, go Here and tell ‘em Berendir sent yah.

Gaming Havens-Decipher special report #1
Xoanon @ 12:35 pm EST

The Cool folks at Decipher are celebrating in a very special way today! They're getting the talent behind their LOTR goodies and doing Q&A sessions with them! check out Berendir's first report! More coming soon!

TITLE: Tom Lischke (Design)

From 10-11 AM Eastern time Tom Lischke fielded questions and posed challenging trivia. Missed the action? No problem, I've collected all the information your hungering minds can devour - at least as much information as was there to collect!

Interested in magic, or how big a fireball Gandalf can spout forth from his nostrils?

There will definitely be spells in the game. Typically, they will be event cards (I guess we could eventually do a condition that is a spell). Both Gandalf and Saruman have spells for now. Although, rumor has it that the Nazgul (at least some of them) are Sorcerors, but we have to look into that.

A fan inquired about the Bilbo card; asking about the characters strength and role in the game.

I remember his strength being 2. He cost either 1 or 2.

He is an ally (doesn't travel with the fellowship), and not a young one, but he has some sweet text.

What about archers?

During the Archer phase, both sides count up the number of archers they have at the fellowships site (I have to say it that way because typically ally archers don't count) and the opposing side takes that number of wounds, which they must assign to their own characters.

That is the systemic implementation. Of course, there are other game texts that interact with that.

How does corruption work?

I'll tell you about the systemic implementation on the Ring-bearer, although other cards that represent the concept will exist.

In addition to wound tokens, the Ring-bearer will take burdens (we suggest using the same black tokens that are used for the twilight pool).

When the Ring-bearer has burdens equal to his resistance (10 for Frodo, 5 for Sam), he is corrupted.

Shadow cards will add burdens typically, but there is even a Free Peoples card in the base set that adds burdens to do something fat.

Also, when bidding to go first in the game, players bid burdens for their Ring-bearer

How many card types are there?

The One Ring Companion

Thanks Tom for your time in answering our questions! Now, for the trivia he challenged us with.

Q. What road is the Ivy Bush on?

Answer: Bywater Road

Q. What would you use asea ananion for?

Answer: Healing wounds.

Q. What are otters for?

Answer: Swimming -I don't get it either-

LOTR footage in The Netherlands
Xoanon @ 12:26 pm EST

From: Sean

Hi, I just wanted to let you know I just came from The Dutch Comic book Convention "De Stripdagen" (now THATS a name for a convention! -Xo) in Den Bosch, The Netherlands. The big news is that one of the stands was selling the Sideshow/Weta busts, Statues and Helmets (all of Wave I). They weren't in finished pacakaging yet, but in plain white boxes (the packaging material did have a "Sideshow-Weta Collectibles logo on it though). I bought the Gandalf bust, didn't have any more money or I would have bought the statue :( The convention is on today (till 1700) and tomorrow from 1000 till 1700, I think.

The guy running the stand (it was a company called PMB Express, who said they are the official Dutch distributors of the Weta Sideshow merchandise) also told me that they are going to see the 30 minute preview somewhere in The Netherlands tomorrow! they've been told not to bring any mobile phones, camera's or other electronics. but damn, I wish I knew where it was!

Another Story Change?
Xoanon @ 11:46 am EST

From: Angelwise Gamgee

I just noticed somethin' small on the web. At the Sideshow Weta site there was the bust of Merry with a small description next to it:

A relative and loyal companion of Frodo Baggins in his journey, Merry was a young hobbit from the Shire. Insisting he join Frodo, Merry's quick thinking would save them from the pursuit of the Ringwraiths at Buckle Berry Ferry and eventually make him one of the fellowship.

Didn't know if you already knew this....but it was a small spoiler to me that Merry's responsible for saving the hobbits on the border of Buckland...I wonder what "quick thinking" plan they were talking about.

WETA Sideshow Models Available In Netherlands
Strider @ 11:37 am EST

From Sean VDM

Hi, I just wanted to let you know I just came from The Dutch Comic book Convention "De Stripdagen" in Den Bosch, The Netherlands. The big news is that one of the stands was selling the Sideshow/Weta busts, Statues and Helmets (all of Wave I). They weren't in finished pacakaging yet, but in plain white boxes (the packaging material did have a "Sideshow-Weta Collectibles logo on it though). I bought the Gandalf bust, didn't have any more money or I would have bought the statue :( .The convention is on today (till 1700) and tomorrow from 1000 till 1700, I think.
The guy running the stand (it was a company called PMB Express, who said they are the official Dutch distributors of the Weta Sideshow merchandise) also told me that they are going to see the 30 minute preview somewhere in The Netherlands tomorrow! they've been told not to bring any mobile phones, camera's or other electronics, but I wish I knew where it was!

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