8-12-01 Latest News

Observing Tolkien Fandom: "Wired" magazine and "Legacy of LOTR" documentary.
Tehanu @ 4:56 am EST

Geeks or not, the media are finding Tolkien fans worth documenting, and the amount of interest in this year's Mythcon was proof of that. Smart people's magazine 'Wired' sent a photographer to catch Tolkien fans doing weird and wacky things, which they didn't whenever there was a camera around. I talked to the people at 'Wired' when I arrived in San Francisco and got the impression that they were doing a lot of work to produce a well-researched article on Tolkien fandom. Look out for it one of their next issues.

Another person doing a more elaborate project on Tolkien fans is Dan Timmons, who filmed a lot of footage at Mythcon. He's making a documentary on Tolkien and Tolkien fans called "The Legacy of the Lord of the Rings," using original music, narration, selected readings, illustrations, visual images of the author's Oxford home, university, and surrounding landscape, and interviews with the world's foremost Tolkien scholars and experts - some of whom were at MythCon.

Timmons has scored interviews with world-renowned Tolkien scholars like Tom Shippey and Joseph Pearce, who talk about Tolkien's life and career in the first part of the documentary. The second part seeks to "demonstrate the greatness of LOTR through a discussion of the key motifs and themes, such as the mythic quest, conflict between good and evil, and the religious aura." Here he calls on writers such as Peter S. Beagle, Joseph Sawyer, Patrick Curry and LOTR screenplay writer Phillipa Boyens.

The third part will look at the contrasting attitudes of the literary elitists who dislike Tolkien's work, and the Tolkien fans. Quickbeam and I were interviewed for that section while we were at Mythcon, so we're interested to follow the project and see how it all turns out.

The documentary is still in progress, and Dan mentioned that he would welcome input from Tolkien fans, so if you have any ideas for him, email him on dan.timmons@utoronto.ca