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September 27, 2003 - October 03, 2003

10-03-03 Latest News

Collectormania 4 Report!
Xoanon @ 8:05 pm EST

Gilgalad70 writes:

Big queues for Kristanna Loken, who is stunning, and seems very fan friendly. Maybe her rating in Autograph mag made her change..

Lawrence Makoare (Lurtz) is getting good queues. He was wearing a LOTR movie fleece today. And shades...... (?) He told me he is 3 parts in ROTK. Witch King of Angmar, a Captain/general of the Orc Army, and a foot soldier character. the capt/Lieutenant is another character creation from PJ, apparently.

News of Collectormania 5 in May has 3 names, Val Kilmer, Brad Dourif (Wormtongue) and some guy from SG-5 or something.

Sala Baker (Sauron) is not seeming to get big queues again, but he does like to circulate and have lots of breaks. He has a few proper character pics this time, one with full name and character credits. He also has most of the screen grabs from C3 and C2. Lawrence has Lurtz, Lurtz and more Lurtz. No Witch King or even a hint of his Bond baddy character.

Everyone, and I mean everyone seems to be looking forward to Sunday/Sat with a large, measure of dread and fear, with the hobbits being posted around the alleyways off the main square, similar to how they posted Billy Boyd (Pippin)/Andy Serkis (Gollum) and Robert Englund last time.

Tons of LOTR merchandise including a few cells from the Bakshi movie, or at least they appear to be cells.

Hall Of Fire Chats This Weekend
maegwen @ 3:20 pm EST

"Leaf by Niggle" was first published in the Dublin Review in January 1945, and is widely regarded as an allegory of Tolkien's own creative process. Many would also claim that it is indeed an allegory of Tolkien's life up to that point. [Despite Tolkien's avowed dislike for 'allegory'] Along with the essay "On Fairy-Stories" the story about Niggle can be found in the book "Tree and Leaf" which offers the underlying philosophy (Sub-Creation) of Tolkiens writings.

Niggle is an artist who works to please himself, living in a society that holds art in little regard. His main project is painting a great Tree in the middle of a forest, taking great care to bring out the beauty of each individual leaf. Niggle takes time off from his work to aid his neighbor, a gardener named Parish who is lame and has a sick wife. On an errand for Parish, Niggle catches a sickness.

Eventually he is forced to take a trip that has been on his mind a good while. He is ill prepared for it (partly due to his illness) and ends up in an institution of sorts where he must labour each day. He is paroled and sent to work as a gardener in the country. He realizes that he is in fact working in the forest of his painting, but the Tree is the true realization of his vision, not the flawed version in his art. Niggle is reunited with Parish, and together they make the forest even more beautiful. Finally Niggle travels to the far reaches of the forest, to places on the fringe of his canvas.

To what extent is "Leaf by Niggle" an allegory? Tolkien made no secret of his dislike of allegory, and in a letter makes specific reference to 'Niggle' not being allegorical. On the other hand he writes in another letter that "I tried to show allegorically how [subcreation] might come to be taken up into Creation in some plane in my 'purgatorial' story Leaf by Niggle."

How does ‘Niggle’ show Tolkien’s ideas about sub-creation? Niggle ends up discarding his other artworks or incorporating them into his ‘Tree painting’. How does this resemble how Tolkien worked with Middle-Earth? What about Niggle’s almost compulsive attention to each single leaf? To what extent is Niggle really Tolkien?

In what way does “Leaf by Niggle” deal with death?

Join us in #thehalloffire as we debate this curious work of literature.

Upcoming Topics:
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

VARIETY: Peter Jackson to Present Rings Trilogy in New York
Xoanon @ 9:52 am EST

The Film Society of Lincoln Center and New Line Cinema in January will present a weekend-long event screening special extended editions of the first two films in Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, plus the upcoming final chapter, "The Return of the King," introduced by the director and cast. Running Jan. 10-11, the event marks the first time all three films will be shown together with the director in attendance.

Jackson, who co-wrote, directed and produced the trilogy, will introduce the Saturday screenings with members of the cast and participate in a Q&A following the night's final screening of "The Return."

On Sunday Film Society program director Richard Pena will host an extended conversation with Jackson, revisiting highlights of his career and exploring the "Rings" trilogy in depth.

Thanks to Mistress Malevolent for the tip!

ROTK Play in Cincinnati
Xoanon @ 9:45 am EST

Roheryn writes: Oh, what to do, what to do in that dreary stretch between the release of the ROTK trailer and the release of the film itself? If you feel the need for an ROTK fix, come to Cincinnati in late October. The Clear Stage Cincinnati theatre company will be presenting the final installment of the three-year-spanning Lord of the Rings production!

As with the previous two installments, the play will be staged at the Jarson-Kaplan Theatre at the Aronoff Center for the Performing Arts in the heart of Downtown Cincinnati, from October 17 through 25. Also as before, this original stage production is a World Premiere, which will hit the boards two months before the Peter Jackson film. Unlike the previous productions, this engagement offers general admission seating rather than reserved, so don't be late! Below is a link to their web site with more detailed information about the production. It even has a cool Flash-animated "trailer" of its own!


(I noticed that if you click around on this site back and forth a lot, different pictures will come up as the background, photos that appear to be from their Two Towers production.)

Tickets are $16 (adults) and $12 (kids & students), and can be ordered through this link.

This link also has more information about ordering tickets.


The following link is hosted by the main puppet and mask designer for the production, and includes a number of photographs from the previous productions! The Balrog and Shelob both won top prizes at local awards programs. The masks are here, too, as well as a look at the innovative ways that horses have been portrayed on stage. Even fans of Asfaloth, Bill, Hasufel, and Arod will find their favorite steeds represented! [More]


I was one of a lucky few theatre-goers who was fortunate enough to experience the world premiere production of "The Fellowship of the Ring," staged by the Ovation Theatre Company of Cincinnati in September 2001. It's a shame their marketing efforts didn't measure up to the quality of the show, because a lot of people missed out on an outstanding theatre experience. Though far too many seats were empty, our cheers and applause rang to the rafters.

Not unlike a little Hobbit being asked to carry the fate of Middle-earth on his shoulders, there is something very appropriate about such a small theatre company bringing Tolkien's awesome epic to the stage. London, keep your multi-million-pound musical extravaganza -- all that's required for the Cincinnati version is creativity, imagination, and heart! And, YES, the Ovation Theatre Company version of The Fellowship of the RIng was indeed a musical -- using the songs just as Tolkien wrote them! And that includes the Lorien Elves singing "Namarie" in Quenya! This production also managed to include Tom Bombadil and Goldberry, Old Man Willow, Ted Sandyman, Farmer Maggot and his dogs, and Bill Ferny (no Barrow-wights, though). There were many unexpected surprises with the casting -- women played the roles of Gandalf, Merry, Pippin, Gollum, many of the orcs, and even Gimli! And they were FANTASTIC! I also thought it was interesting that in the pre-Jackson production, Arwen also replaced Glorfindel, arriving on Asfaloth, though in this version, as in the book, Frodo rode on alone as the Black Riders pursued him to the Ford of Bruinen. The whole production was clearly a labor of love by true Tolkien devotees. One of the scenes at Rivendell even depicted Elrond saying a private farewell to Aragorn before the Fellowship sets out, reminding Aragorn that he must win the throne of Gondor and Arnor before Elrond will allow Arwen to be his bride -- you know, all those Appendix goodies!

In October 2002, larger audiences (no doubt fueled by interest from the Jackson films) turned out to see the staging of The Two Towers. Several of the cast members had changed, but many of the best had returned, including Sam, Gimli, and the unbelievably wonderful Gollum. (Personal note: I actually preferred the performance of the woman who played Gandalf in the first play, with her flowing scarves arrayed as a beard, than the older white-bearded man who portrayed him in The Two Towers. But, hey, it's all good!) I must admit that I noticed with some discomfort that the costuming of the The Two Towers play had become somewhat derivative of the Fellowship of the Ring film, which had since been released. Saruman and Legolas in particular were more than a little patterned after the costumes, props, and hairstyles we'd all seen on the big screen. One of the things I had really enjoyed about the first play was that it was completely original, not yet having the films for a reference. But all was forgiven when I saw Treebeard, who completely stole the show! A fantastic melding of costume, stilts, mask, and "Edward Scissorhands"-type appendages, coupled with a wonderful booming delivery made true magic happen before our eyes! And Shelob was completely creepy, first appearing as glowing red eyes, closer, closer, before her full horror was revealed. The Battle of Helm's Deep was more on the scale and focus given to it in the book, not the main set piece as was depicted in the film. And I would be remiss if I failed to mention that the original score that accompanied the production was truly wonderful, very moving and stirring.

In the past year, there have been some changes with the Ovation Theatre Company, and the third Tolkien play will now be staged by a new theatre company here, "Clear Stage Cincinnati." Many of the creative team that brought the first two installments to the stage have relocated to Clear Stage, so we can expect the same enchanting and thrilling and heart-breaking experience as those lucky few of us have enjoyed over the past two years!

10-02-03 Latest News

Lights! Camera! Rescue!
Xoanon @ 10:01 pm EST

Media Watch:  Best Friends Magazine Talks Bloom and Bean
Sean Bean in Malta with a little buddy

On location in Malta, the movie director calls in the animal care director who by now understands that I am not Maltese and has switched to perfect, if accented, English, explains that she has been lowering food and water to the kitty for two days.

OK. So if I'm not dreaming, what am I doing here?

The latest chapter in thousands of years of Maltese history includes being a production location for Hollywood blockbuster films. A good chunk of Gladiator was shot there, as was the WWII thriller U-751.

When director Wolfgang Petersen began filming Troy (due out in May 2004) at an old fort on Malta's coast, the production crew was greeted by a pack of friendly stray dogs. The dogs weren't looking for a scoop – just some food and attention.

Stray dogs at location shoots are a pretty common sight even in

By Francis Battista

I'm trotting up a flight of stairs behind some beefy guys in yellow Nomex trousers and blue t-shirts with “Fire and Rescue” in bold yellow print on the back. I've got a video camera on my shoulder and a woman in her 60s is speaking to me rapidly in a foreign language.

Wakey, wakey Francis!

Too late for that. I really am in Malta, riding along with the SPCA Malta animal control van. We are answering a call from the Fire Brigade for help in rescuing a cat trapped in an airshaft between buildings. Olaf, the SPCA driver, lowers a ladder out of a second-floor window onto a small roof about 10 feet down. From there, he will climb down to the bottom of the shaft where a pretty tabby cat, probably feral, has been trapped for days. The woman, the States, but this pack was just the tip of an iceberg of stray and semi-feral dogs and cats that populate the island.

As soon as Wolfgang's wife, Maria, visited the set and saw the situation, it was “Lights, camera, action for the animals!” She called the SPCA Malta to see what she could do to help, and learned that they are underfunded and understaffed, but also under the management of a new board of directors. The board wants to rebuild the 100-year-old organization, which had turned into the animal control agency for a government that allocates six cents (the price of a bullet!) to put an impounded animal down. Hopes for a new start were high, but options were limited.

Maria immediately saw an opportunity to team up the SPCA with her husband's A-list cast, and she got the ball rolling for a Hollywood-style benefit at the American Embassy. (The ambassador's wife was delighted to help.) Everyone – from Petersen, Brad Pitt, and Orlando Bloom to production assistants and crew members – supported the event.

The next thing was to recruit some help from Best Friends, so before you could say “The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Rhodes and Malta,” Maria had sent me a ticket, and I was winging my way to the Mediterranean and getting the cook's tour of back alleys, industrial sites, and public gardens at the crack of dawn…not something you find in the guide books.

“Your mission, should you choose to accept it . . .”

My mission is to help fashion a trap/neuter/return program for the dogs and cats that roam the island and cannot be placed in new homes, and to help the SPCA transition from the old to the new.

My first stop is the SPCA Home, what used to be called the Dogs' Home until the early 1960s when the RSPCA held the reins and Malta was a British colony. The building is old and the cages, though clean, are stone and concrete chambers with low ceilings. The blue paint on the heavy iron bar doors is chipping, but the dogs are healthy and energetic.

My guide is Christel Selis, a Belgian national who is filling in as home manager until an appropriate Maltese can be trained and qualified for the position. Christel is tall and slim, with a deep voice and a generically European accent. She has a wonderfully dry sense of humor, and sometimes I imagine myself listening to a Garbo or Dietrich tossing off subtle one-liners followed by a silent chuckle. Christel's hands-on skill with animals lends an atmosphere of confidence and care to the operation, but the lack of suitable admission and nursing areas makes it difficult to give the animals the care they need, and the lack of funding means that many of the things that we take for granted in even our most depressing shelters, such as vaccinations, are a luxury for the animals here.

The dogs and cats are beautiful and eager, but most of them are unlikely to find a good home any time soon. So the expectations Brad Pitt with Pupa, who came home with the movie crew. of the staff are reduced to giving the creatures in their care some brief respite from the hardship of the streets, re-homing some, and swallowing tears and bile about the fate of the rest. The conversations about thoughtless people who dump old loyal pets and the Sisyphean task of changing the way people relate to animals is all too familiar. But for the language and some local variations, I could be talking to rescuers in Los Angeles or Atlanta.

Most of these date from the rule of the Knights of Malta, and were once associated with grand palaces. Now they are oases of green and calm in the midst of the crush of one of the densest human populations on earth. We are looking for cats and their human caregivers.

We begin at the Romeo Romano, one of the old walled gardens, where a small group of young women tend a colony of about 50 cats. They are distressed because a kitten was found drowned in one of the park's fountains the day before. It is impossible to tell whether it was malicious or accidental.

Most of the cats look healthy; a few are obviously not well. The young women struggle to spay and neuter them, but several kittens and young cats indicate that there is some way to go. Adoption opportunities are slim, so it's best to let the kittens grow up in the garden colony where they are relatively safe.

The next morning, we are at another garden bright and early, before Malta heats up to steam-bath conditions (115 degrees in the shade and ultra-humid). We meet the lady who tends the public toilets – Our Lady of the Toilets, as I affectionately dub her. She also feeds the cats, with help from a young attorney.

Again, decent care is provided, but there are plenty of kittens – always a giveaway on the status of spay/neuter. One kitten is on the edge and will probably die in a day or two without special attention, so we take her back to the SPCA, where she rallies and is doing very well, but will need eye surgery. The story is repeated at gardens all over the island.

A dog’s life

The dog story mirrors that of the cats. There are small feral packs dotted all over the island, and many neighborhood strays. Most of them scavenge food from garbage and handouts or the kindness of feeders who give them bread soaked in water mixed with pasta and a little kibble or some canned dog food. The nutrition level is poor, and injuries from cars or intentional abuse is common. Where feeders do spay/neuter, it is only the females that are fixed. When I examined a couple of very old-looking dogs, it was clear that they were much younger than they looked. Parasites and the

Note: In Homer’s story, when Odysseus returns home after 19 years at war, nobody even recognizes him. But nearby, lying close to death on a pile of dung, an old abandoned dog hears his voice, looks up, and wags his tail. It is Argos, Odysseus’s old buddy, who has hung on all these years, waiting for his person. Now, unable even to get up, but finally content, Argos wags his tail once more, and gives up the ghost. Ambassador to the animals dreaded fly-borne disease leishmaniasis had taken a serious toll. One dog I encountered on the docks was too weak to move. He was covered in ticks, and had wasted away to skin and bones within a few feet of food and water placed by an optimistic, kind soul. We returned with a vet the following day and after a conclusive exam, humanely euthanized him – probably a few feet from where he was born. Most street dogs probably meet a similar end, but without the benefit of a humane intervention.

Islands of hope

As difficult as life is for the stray and feral populations on Malta, there are some bright spots. Island Sanctuary, a local rescue group, takes dogs off the street and offers lifetime care. All dogs are spayed or neutered, and new homes are actively sought. They also do what they can with a modest trap/neuter/return program for street dogs that are being fed by people who won't take them in but are concerned about their welfare.

And Thomasina Cat Sanctuary looks after about 300 stray cats in their main facility and through foster homes. All cats are fixed and given adequate health care. But neither Thomasina nor Island Sanctuary has a handle on the larger problem of strays. In fact, no one is dealing with the big picture. That's the mission the SPCA is struggling to fulfill while extracting itself from the legacy of the past.

Building a future for the animals

In many ways, Malta is not that different from, and in some ways not as bad off as, some American cities. That means a significant improvement can be made with a modest but systematically applied spay/neuter program. The caregivers are in place, and proven models are available. What's lacking now is enough funding. Back on the movie set, the crew had become quite attached to three of the dogs that were hanging out there. They had nursed one back to health, but couldn't find him a good home, and started the other two on the road to recovery. And they felt they couldn't leave any of the three behind.

So when filming in Malta was finished, and the crew's plane was headed to Mexico, the three dogs were dropped off in Los Angeles, where two went into new homes. The third, little Melita, who needs special care, came to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, where she's getting stronger and wondering what happened to the Mediterranean Sea!

And, oh yes, I almost forgot: the Fire Brigade and the cat stuck in the airshaft. Olaf climbed down to the bottom of the shaft and the cat began to leap and claw up the wall toward elusive freedom, but needed another five or six feet of bounce to make it. Olaf positioned the ladder in the right spot and stepped back. The tabby shot up the ladder to cheers from the Fire Brigade, the lady of the house, Olaf and me, and scampered along an adjacent wall and into the shade of a huge fig tree. He stopped and, looking back, sat down to groom himself in confident self-approval of his getaway.

You can help the Malta animals in their spay/neuter campaign for
street dogs and cats by sending a donation to: Malta Animals,
c/o Best Friends Animal Society, Kanab, UT 84741.

10-01-03 Latest News

Xoanon @ 12:36 pm EST


Jeremy writes: I was feeling bored and annoyed with all of the comments about Shelobs size. So I decided to do a ROUGH composite of her size according to the trailer.

By using two images from the trailer, a pic I found on the net of a spider (ehhhh, I swear I felt a dozen spiders crawling up my leg when I was creating this image) and a picture of a Frodo action figure, I put together this image.

I took the pic in the trailer, of when we first see Frodo being chased and the pic of when we see Shelob. By resizing the Frodo image's cavern perportions too the Shelob cavern preportions, I got a size ratio between Frodo and Shelobs head.

This is a very rough relationship, and Shelobs body shape is probably very different to this spider, but at least it isn't as small as some people think, and how it looks on the trailer.

Man, December 17th couldn't come any slower!

9-30-03 Latest News

Legolas and Gandalf a hit with Danish parents
leo @ 1:22 pm EST

Ringer Spy Thorbjørn was kind enough to translate and email an article that appeared in the Danish newspaper Urban a while ago about the popularity of the movies over there!

The following article from Copenhagen “free-newspaper” Urban is a bit old, but I laid it aside this summer, for future translation, since I believe the users of TORn really ought to see it. The text bears witness to just how massive the cultural impact of both movies and book really is. And, none the least, just how perfect the casting of Orlando Bloom as Legolas was – amazing!

Legolas and Gandalf a hit with Danish parents

J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” is making people name their children after hobbits and wizards. And that really isn’t that terrible, 21-year-old Gandalf Martinus Reid says.


DENMARK * First the trilogy became among the best-selling books ever. Then the cinema editions of the fairy-tales created new, grotesque records for ticket-sales.

The most recent proof of the quality of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy is now being seen on the desks of parish clerks all over the country.

From the Institute of Name Science, Michael Lerche Nielsen tells that three boys – two of these since the first movie in 2001 – have been named after the handsome Elven warrior Legolas, who alongside the hobbits kills as many orcs as he can manage during an all-night movie.

Norse mythology
“We were a bit hesitant to approve the name, since it is close to a known toy-brand. But because the name has the ending “las”, which we use in other names, and because “The Lord of the Rings” stems from, among other things, the Norse mythology, we have chosen to approve the name Legolas on special occasions,” says Michael Lerche Nielsen, who is among the evaluators when someone wants to call their children something strange.

The good wizard Gandalf also has a couple of Danish social security cards on his conscience. Two years ago, two parents let their son suffer their love of adventure, and named him after the leader of the Fellowship. The little Gandalf needn’t fear teasing when he begins in kindergarten, though.

“Of course it can be a bit annoying, but most of the time it’s quite funny when people don’t believe your name and want to see ID. Neither have I ever been teased with it,” says 21-year-old Gandalf Martinus Reid from Stege on Møn, who got the name because his father ”was mental about” the books.

In spite of the good hobbit Frodo shining brightly in the films, success is more difficult to obtain on the birth certificates.

“It’s probably because it’s much like “Frode”, and that’s not exciting enough,” says Michael Lerche Nielsen, who has only registered a single little Frodo in our country.

Celeb Charades Reports!
Xoanon @ 12:45 pm EST


I just came from the Celebrity Charades benefit at the Daryl Roth Theater in New York, and just had one of the best nights ever! ;) I met Elijah Wood, Dominic Monaghan, and Billy Boyd (or, for those of you less familiar: the actors who played Frodo, Merry, and Pippin in Lord of the Rings). I also shook hands with Robin Williams and saw, on a mock boxing ring stage 30 feet away, Madonna, Edward Norton, Sam Rockwell, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, among other, lesser known, celebs. So what was the deal, you ask??!?!? ;) WELL, let me tell you!

Thanks to theonering.net, I heard about the Labyrinth celebrity charades benefit being held at the Daryl Roth theatre at Union Square, which is, conveniently enough, practically part of the NYU campus. So three pals and I headed up there around 6 PM this evening, and hung out just behind the public barriers, just off to the side from camera and news crews, etc. Hehe, since we were penned in like cattle, I suggested we all call out, "Baa-aa-aa!" to get the celebs' attention (which, in the end, we did not, lol). Anyway, after a bit of waiting, the people we were waiting for showed up around... must've been 7 PM or so. After the press niceties (got a couple pictures of 'em from afar), they came over to the barrier for just a minute, and signed autographs and whatnot. Well, I had brought along the premiere issue of my Lord of the Rings fan club magazine just in case of such a chance, but had dropped the darn binder it was in on the ground. Since I was at the front of the barrier and being squashed by chaos on all sides, I found it difficult to retrieve! Needless to say, I don't remember much of that 30 seconds, except scuffling awkwardly between the ground and barrier, and some vague recollection of half-upside-down shaking Dom Monaghan's hand. But then the actors were wisked inside. "Agh, what just happened???" we all wondered! And then, overcome by giddiness and temporary insanity, my pal Tobi and I decided to check and see if any tickets were left to get inside. Now, we had decided beforehand not to buy them because they were on the expensive side ($250), but our emotions got the better of us this time... the two of us made a dash for the box office, and sure enough, there were still tickets available! We gave in, and then we were in. We checked in our bags, and although in the midst of that we got seperated, we both eventually found our ways up to the main room, where the charades match was being held. As I was searching for Tobi in the crowd, one of the first people I saw was Elijah, and then just off to the right were Dom (talking to Tobi!) and Billy farther on. So I went over to Tobi and Dom first, where we discovered Dom to be one of the nicest guys ever. He chatted with us for a couple of minutes, and then even said hello and chatted on my cell phone to my 15-year-old brother down in Virginia, who's also a huge LOTR fan. I was quite impressed by that (and I think my brother was too! ;) I just called him and surprised him, "Here, I've got someone to talk to you" Heheheheh). Anyway, after that Tobi and I went over to Elijah for a minute, but barely had time to say a word and to quick squeeze in getting my magazine signed before the celebs all had to go, as the event was starting.

So, as for the event itself, it was awesome! First they gave an award to the guest of honor, Madonna, who came on stage and said a few words, and then they had a short auction (nothing we poor college students could afford, of course, especially after admission!), and then the charades. The celebs were divided into four teams (two rounds of one vs. one and then a final round to determine the winners), and everyone just had a great time with goofball mock-boxing antics and outlandish charades tactics; Dom and Robin Williams were especially hilarious, the former just because I don't think he stopped hopping up and down for one second the entire time; hamming it up to the crowd, you know! ;) When the whole thing was over (some team of girl celebs, none of whom I had heard of, won), Tobi and I found our way to Robin Williams, said hello, shook his hand, and then, on our way out, ran into Dom again, who said they (i.e. the hobbits) would all also be at the after-party, which was being held at a lounge down the street. Then I turned around to go back the other way to retrieve my backpack from check-in, and Elijah and I almost ran right into each other. Darn, one more half-second of non-realization on either of our parts and it would have been a headon collision. ;) But no, we both stopped in time, said "sorry!" and moved on. Doh! Also picked up a couple goodie bags on the way out, which had a couple DVDs, a professional-looking self-tanning kit, a keychain, a Gotham magazine, etc, in it. Not too bad!

Now, the lounge scene wasn't too thrilling in itself. I'm not a big fan of bars to begin with, and that's basically all it was. No real dance floor or anything, not a club, so if you're like me and don't drink, there's not much to do. Elijah was there for a little while, but we didn't really go near him until he was about to leave (or so we thought). We did try our best not to look like stalkers, after all! But Tobi managed to get his attention for a minute to say goodbye, and he hugged her, but apparently didn't even notice me. :P The fact that I was just standing there like an idiot probably didn't help. So he vanished, and Tobi and I were left wondering what had happened to Dom and Billy, since Dom had said they would be there. After we had been there maybe a half hour or so in total, we reluctantly decided to call it a night before we wasted more time waiting around. Got free Charades t-shirts tho. Hehe.

So we headed outside, and we about to leave, when we saw this usher-type guy who had kind of helped us out a bit earlier on with getting tickets, etc. Well, he stopped us and let us know that all three LOTR actors were right next door in another bar/pool hall. Thank you, new Best Friend! Sooo, we dropped in there instead! We twiddled away another ten or fifteen minutes there, and I finally built up the courage to say something to Billy Boyd, who I still hadn't really met yet. So I did, and babbled something incoherent about how they played a good charades game, and that was that. He seemed a bit preoccupied, so I didn't want to bother him much. Again, Tobi and I milled around, and since we felt like dorks, we finally thought maybe it was time to leave. But then something amazing happened, involving a chance encounter with an old acquaintance of Tobi's, and it ended the evening nicely.

When Tobi and I finally did leave, I made a point of finally trying to say _something_ remotely intelligent to Elijah, but it failed miserably: just ended up with "wanted to say a proper hello, and now that I've done that, um... bye!" Argh, mind fart, yet again. I should have mentioned Inside the Actor's Studio (which I was subscribed to attend, and which should have been taped this on very same night, until it was cancelled). But, in the end, I think this was probably better! ;) Or I could have mentioned his hair. He had shaved it into a little mohawk. Ooooookay. Lol.

But, anyway, like I said, it's been quite a night. :) It is now 3:26 AM, and I still need to shower before going to bed. It's a good thing I don't have any classes tomorrow... poor Tobi, she has one at 9:30 AM!

Take care, Hobbitses, Elvses, and all!


First off, I want to compliment you on your website. It is the most amazing LotR site I have ever visited. I go on everytime I am online to check out the updates and news and it is because of your site that I got to meet the incredibly awesome trio of hobbits, Billy Boyd, Elijah Wood & Dominic Monaghan. I read about their "possible" appearance at the benefit for the Labyrinth Theatre Company in NYC only three days ago and I immediately checked out the infor and got a ticket. If it weren't for your incredible "spies" and news updates, I would have never known. Needless to say, I just got back from the occassion and am still glowing. Overall, the evening was beautiful, hilarious and just incredible. Everyone their had so much support for the cause and raised about $40,000 dollars.

I had met Billy, Elijah and Dom in that order before the show and they were so kind in signing autographs and giving hugs to all their fans (i had not the guts to ask for one) They arethe nicest celebs I have ever met and I will treasure the meetings I had with them. I was also graced to hear Billy Boyd utter the words "Where are we going?" and my heart just smiled, in my opinion no one could have ever been a better Pippin.

The rest of the evening was awesome and alot of amazing people were there like Madonna, Robin Williams & Ed Norton; but above all those celebs I will treasure most my meeting with the hobbits. I hope every fan of LotR gets a chance to meet these guys, because they are incredible. Thanks again and keep up the amazing work....

Chickenorb and BellaMichalina

Didn't know if you were interested, but we wanted to let you know that we stopped by the Philip Seymour Hoffman Celebrity Charades event to see Dom, Billy, and Elijah. We didn't know what to expect, and being students arrived there later than we had wanted (at about 9:45pm).

There were actually only about 20 people waiting, so it was nice not being part of a mob. According to other Ringers, the 3 showed up around 6:30pm. People from the audience came out earlier than the stars, and we heard only positive comments about how good the show was--there was even a couple joking presumably about something from the show, laughing about "the ring of power." Around 10:15pm, Billy came out first and very nicely signed autographs and took pictures with us.

Around 10:30pm, Dom and Elijah came out together--Dom gave us autographs and shook our hands, remarking that our hands were really cold. Elijah was rushed away before we could get an autograph but we got pics! We wanted to thank you for alerting us to this wonderful but brief opportunity--now, we officially join the ranks of Ringers with autographs!

Andy Serkis directing The Double Bass
Xoanon @ 12:12 pm EST

PippinRulesOK1 writes:

I arrived over an hour early, very excited, and was conspicuously the only audience member wearing a Frodo t-shirt and The One Ring... I got my ticket and sat outside as the bar had not yet opened.

Kath Serkis is the producer and is Andy's sister. She was busy organising but still had time to ask kindly if I had got a ticket as there had been a sudden demand.

When Andy Serkis arrived, carrying a plastic bag with a sandwich and a couple of cans, he was accosted by press wanting to email him questions later, which he agreed to. After that, he was free and I wished him good luck. He touched me on the arm and thanked me warmly. What a nice guy he is.

The Press got free tickets and there were other tickets that had been booked in advance. There had been a sudden rush of interest.

Before the performance, Andy Serkis was in and out of a room marked Private, greeting and hugging people. He is very fit and looks slimmer than he does on the DVD.

We were let into the venue. It only holds about 70 people, it is very intimate. In the front row I could easily have reached out and touched the sole actor, Bev Willis. It is a one and a half hour monologue, him speaking in his flat to his double bass with which he has a love-hate relationship, as with his job in a national orchestra.

There was a lot about the actor's performance that reminded me of Andy Serkis as Gollum. Very physical, at times very funny, and with a wide range of expression, from passion, anger, sexy, tender, and at one point, meditative as he did Tai Chi (this was the only bit that did not convince me, he did not look particularly relaxed - I think he was struggling with first night nerves).

Andy sat in the audience three rows back. Soon after the start the actor was roaming about the set, he is a man in his 50s, very fit and was at that point dressed only in black briefs. An elderly lady in the front row fainted. I wonder if it was excitement? Andy Serkis instantly rushed forward, knelt down, picked her up in his arms and carried her out. This really impressed me and I hope the Press mention it. He came back in and sat and watched the rest, without further incident. Sometimes he laughed.

Afterwards the Press descended and as a few people gave me funny looks I suspected other Ringers were present.

It was a very good play indeed and left me thinking into the night afterwards. I don't want to say too much about it as I hope it will get wider coverage and I would hate to ruin it. It covered how you feel in a dead end job you are treading water in, your dreams which you are taking no real steps to fulfil, wanting someone who you think is out of your league and other things a lot of people could relate to, I think!

Best wishes and thank you for all your hard work on the website!

PippinRulesOK1, London, England

Who Are Those Strange Smiths?
Demosthenes @ 8:55 am EST

In the Return of the King theatrical trailer, we witness scenes where Anduril is being reforged. It's obvious that there are at least two people involved - one elf wielding a hammer, and another holding the sword and later quenching it in liquid.

If you haven't noticed, you can see this by checking out out spoiler-filled frame-by-frame trailer analysis. Head to the third-last frame on Page 04 and the very first frame on Page 05.

It becomes even more apparent when you put them side by side for comparison.

The Reforgers of Narsil

But who are they? Some are saying Arwen, others Figwit ... others are hoping for the Sons of Elrond.

Sadly, The sons of Elrond (Elladan and Ellrohir) were identical twins. Those two figures are very different.

We suspect that Figwit (played by Kiwi actor Bret McKenzie) may have done some pickups for RoTK - his name was on a RoTK Topps collector card. Perhaps he could be one of our smiths? But I don't believe that "Figwit" is the figure on the left - the face is too lined, the ears not prominent enough. Check out some snaps Figwit pictures here for comparison.

The figure on the right - the one who quenches sword in the vat of liquid is also a puzzle. It could be either Figwit or Arwen - there are patches of resemblance to each. To summarise:

Arwen has dark hair; the lips and the nose match particularly well. The general facially resemblance is not too bad - you'll note that that elven smith has tucked down its chin. This could account for some of the squarishness of the face (as could water distortion). The ears are dimunitive as well. Set against this though, the eyebrows are too strong and the length of the hair is dubious. It seems to me that it could be too short.

Figwit is less easy to establish - there's not many "decent" pics of Figwit. The hair looks right, and the eyebrows are okay. But the nose is not chiselled enough and the cheekbones are too high. Additionally the ears are too big and they sit too low near the jawline.

I don't think it's possible to say conclusively that it is either of them, but I'm not totally convinced it is not.

9-29-03 Latest News

Tehanu @ 2:16 am EST

Wellingtonians will have a chance to bid for rare drawings donated by Lord of the Rings animators in Pablos Annual Art Auction next month.

The three Rings drawings depict Treebeard, the tree-like Ent featured in the second film of the trilogy, with one also containing sketches of Gimli the Dwarf and director Peter Jackson himself. These drawings have been carefully stored in the studio for a year, held back from last year’s auction due to the secrecy surrounding Treebeard’s physical appearance.

Pablos Art Studio provides creative opportunities and development for people who have experienced a mental illness. All money raised through the auction is put towards maintaining a free service where art is used to develop awareness of a person’s ability and worth in the broader community.

The auction will feature around 100 art works in total, a combination of donated pieces by prominent New Zealand artists, and pieces created in the studio by Pablos own artists. Last year’s auction raised $34,500, helping to support over 100 artists during the year.

Pablos Annual Art Auction takes place on October 16 in Shed 11, Customhouse Quay with tickets going on sale this week at ROAR! gallery. For further information or bookings phone (04) 382 8885.

9-28-03 Latest News

Glenorchy Air Photo Essay
Xoanon @ 11:06 pm EST

Glenorchy Air Photo Essay
Click here for more images!

Robert Rutherford writes: You may be interested in a photo essay we took on our three ring tour of the locations of Lord of the Rings.

The star of this production is our brand new aeroplane that we have registered LOR in honor of our time working on the LOR films here in New Zealand. This was the first time that we have been able to use the new aircraft on our long tour. The photos depict as follows

"Rohan 1" LOR and our company at the Poolburn Rohan location. From where we parked the aeroplane is a five minute walk to what we now call the Uruk-Hai gorge where Pippin drops the lothlorien clasp and Aragorn finds it. We then followed the "Orc trail" to the "Rohan village" This set is about the only one left in New Zealand of which some remains. It was here that the Rohan mother puts her children on the horse and tells them to ride to Edoras. We then flew to the Edoras location at MT Potts where we had lunch with "Marie Clair Desbough", she and her husband Mark own the station on which Edoras was constructed After lunch we took to the air again and flew past

"Edoras/Mt Sunday" The backdrop of this photo is the Two Thumb range into which was inserted Helms Deep as a CGI. We then flew onto the"Pelennor Fields" location where we landed smack bang in the middle of the location that will I am sure be the most monumental cinema battle ever filmed. We then walked across to the grip road from which the cavalry charges were filmed. I still remember well first visiting this site with Barry Osbourne back in 2000 when it was decided exactly where to build this road.

The cast and extras must have had a pretty rough time filming these scenes as the ground is still scattered here and there with the bits of the plastic scales torn from the armour they wore. The last photo of the set is " Pelennor Fields battle field" taken from the air you can see quite clearly the straight lines of the grip road and airstrip.

We are all looking forward to the release of the film in Dec.

ROTK Play in Ohio
Xoanon @ 10:08 pm EST

New Theatre Company’s Debut Part of Cincinnati’s “Arts Renaissance:”
Making History with J.R.R. Tolkien’s THE RETURN OF THE KING

A hobbit-sized theatre company in Cincinnati, Ohio is about to embark on a huge adventure! For the opening of their inaugural 2003-2004 season, they will present an original staged adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s, The Return of the King – book three of his fantasy masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings. CLEAR STAGE CINCINNATI is proud to quietly make theatrical history – as this production marks the first time that all three installments of the trilogy has ever been written and produced by a single adaptor in three subsequent years. [Lifeline Theatre in Chicago recently produced the trilogy over 6 years, with 4 different authors.] The production itself is a world debut – and the culmination of three years of production efforts at the Aronoff Center.

The production runs October 17-25, 2003 at the Jarson-Kaplan Theater in the Aronoff Center for the Arts – just weeks before the international release of the live-action movie of the same name. The first two installments, The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, were produced by Ovation Theatre Company (also in Cincinnati) to critical acclaim and box office success! (Several staff members left Ovation Theatre Company to continue their pursuit of the “Tolkien Quest!”)

Cincinnati is experiencing an “Arts Renaissance!” The opening of the Rosenthal Contemporary Arts Center (directly across the street from the Aronoff Center) has caused an international “buzz” in the world of modern art and architecture! Cincinnati boasts a host of theatres, professional sports teams, and TallStacks steamboats glittering along the Ohio River. This fall promises to be the most exciting Cincinnati has seen in years!

Ohio-native, Blake Bowden, is pleased to be completing this quest with his production colleagues – a journey that has lasted for more than 10 years. “When I saw Mary Zimmerman’s theatre-workshop of The Odyssey, I knew that Tolkien should be on the stage as well,” he said. More than just a playwright and actor, Dr. Bowden is also a child psychologist who found the power of myth healing in his work with terminally ill children during his residency in Boston. “My bag-of-tricks didn’t work with kids who were dying. But spending the time to read a compelling story of a hero’s journey seemed to help them come to terms with their lives and where they were going.” Dr. Bowden was recently recognized by Cincinnati Magazine as a member of the “Creative Class,” one of 70 young professionals who are vital to the creativity and vibrancy of the city.

The Return of the King features the talents of actors and artists from the tri-state region including:

A cast of 25 actors will present the world of Middle Earth and the “War of the Rings” in the intimate Jarson-Kaplan theatre at the Aronoff Center for the Arts. Audience members will see Orcs and Ents come to life, Wizards battle, Elves and Dwarves bickering, and Hobbits striving to fulfill their quest to destroy the One Ring of Power. An enormous battle scene is featured in the production that includes an army of Orcs, a stable of horses, a forest of Ents, an angry wizard, and the henchman for the Dark Lord, Sauron, himself. Grammy nominee, Steve Goers, has composed a score to accompany the production – furnishing a lush musical soundscape to Middle Earth. Huge Puppets and intricate mask-work rounds out the show – providing a unique scare for the Halloween season! The Return of the King is directed by award-winning actor, educator, and Fight Choreographer, Gina Cerimele-Mechley.

Performance Schedule:

Friday, October 17th @ 8:00p
Saturday, October 18th @ 2:00p
Saturday, October 18th @ 8:00p
Sunday, October 19th @ 2:00p
Friday, October 24th @ 8:00p
Saturday, October 25th @ 2:00p
Saturday, October 25th @ 8:00p

Thursday, October 16th @ 8:00p – Pay-what-you-can Night. This final dress rehearsal/preview is open to the public.

Tickets for The Return of the King can be purchased at the Aronoff Center Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com, or by phone at 513.241-7469. Visit www.clearstagecincinnati for more information about CLEAR STAGE CINCINNATI, The Return of the King, or the Cincinnati arts scene!

Tickets are $16 (General Admission); $14 (Seniors); and $12 (Students).

CLEAR STAGE CINCINNATI is a professional theatre company that strives to develop and showcase fresh theatrical talent by providing a “Clear Stage” for the advancement of artistic professionals. Note: All artists associated with CLEAR STAGE CINCINNATI are paid. Please list under “Professional Theatre” section.

Gimli (Elizabeth Harris), Aragorn (Dave Early), Legolas (Adam McLean) mount their horses for battle.

Gollum (Aretta Baumgartner) leads the way to Mordor... Sam (above, Blake Bowden) bids farewell to Frodo (Joe Sofranko)… Orcs on the prowl!

Please credit all photos to RICH SOFRANKO PHOTOGRAPHY with thanks to Ovation Theatre Company. (Image quality reduced for this press release. High Quality digital photographs for the production are available for reprint.)

Actors available for news spots/appearances – in costume, with huge puppets, magic, and music from a Grammy-nominated composer! This is a Cincinnati-original project – at the Aronoff Center Oct 17-25!

A 'Baggins Birthday' Report!
Xoanon @ 6:57 pm EST

The Baggins Birthday - DISTRICT OF DARK WHISPERS Report
Click here for more images!

Kyra-LoTRchild from: THE DISTRICT OF DARK WHISPERS writes: I thought you might be interested in the District of Dark Whispers Baggins Birthday report. One of the reasons the party went over so well was because you posted the notice about it on TORN........we had a lot of newbie Rings show up, so thanks so much!

THE DISTRICT OF DARK WHISPERS 2ND ANNUAL BAGGINS BIRTHDAY PARTY - September 21st - Bilbo Baggins Cafe in Alexandria Virginia

30 people showed up for the largest DoDW gathering yet! The party lasted three hours at the Green Dragon-like pub/cafe, Bilbo Baggins Global Cafe in the lovely Old Town Alexandria (recently hit by tropical storm Isabel). The cafe gave us the ENTIRE downstairs area for the party and two fantastic (and very patient) waiters.

We began the party by doing introductions all round, since about half the people that came to this gathering were newbies. Then, in order to kind of break the ice, we got everyone to sing a round of the Tookish pub song (Hey Ho to the bottle I go.....). I swear, we should become the 'Shire Choir' (to quote DoDWer Rachel).

Then after everyone had settled, we raised our glasses (pints!) to 'The Baggins.' Following that we pulled four names to compeat in a game of LoTR PASSWORD. Rachel and Neil won the first two rounds (recieving TTT draft packs as prizes)........but everyone agreed to go on to a third just for fun. After that we went ahead and did our Secret Hobbit gift exchange...........this year having some very interesting Hobbit gifts. Some people brought baskets of Hobbit favorites like potatos, carrots, green beans and other veggie delights.......then others brought LoTR items like LoTR TCG starter packs, gollum action figures, ancient scrolls, etc. EVERYONE ended up with great stuff! It was great. Then we ended the party with one last round of the Tookish pub song.

It was great fun..........looking forward to next year's party!

9-27-03 Latest News

Hall Of Fire Chats This Weekend
Frode @ 6:24 am EST

Gandalf is the first to see the Eagles coming out of the North upon the field of battle. Soon all the hosts of Mordor tremble when the will of Sauron is removed from them, and the armies of the West watch in awe as Barad Dur crumble and the spirit of Sauron makes one last hateful threat against Middle-Earth. But Gandalf bids Gwaihir the Windlord bear him to Mt. Doom. There Frodo and Sam wait for the end in the fires.

Our heroes awaken in fair Ithilien in the keeping of the King. There they receive the praise of the armies of the West, and after long ordeals are finally reunited with their friends.

How is Sauron’s fall described, and what does it tell us about the Dark Lord? Sam’s indomitable spirit once again makes a difference between life and death on Mt. Doom, but I cannot help at times feeling that Tolkien chose an 'easy way out' to save his heroes from the fire. What do you think?

What do you think about Frodo's reluctance to carry a sword?
Tolkien wanted to create a feeling of Eucatastrophe in this chapter. His definition of Eucatastrophe being "sudden joyous ‘turn’…it denies (in the face of much evidence, if you will) universal defeat and in so far is evangelium [good news], giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy, Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief".
How do you think he succeeded in this undertaking?

Join us in #thehalloffire as we discuss this chapter that poses so many interesting questions.

Upcoming Topics:
October 4-5: Leaf by Niggle

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