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Archive for September, 2014

Hall of Fire Party in Los Angeles

Smaug guards his hoard at the Hall of FireHobbits, and Rangers, and Elves! Not to mention Dwarves, and Easterlings, and Haradrim! All are welcome at Tolkien Forever‘s annual Hall of Fire event on Saturday, October 11. Every year this party seems to grow more elaborate as we take over a massive, multi-tiered yard at a private residence in Glendora, CA, and turn each nook and alcove into a different Middle-earth-themed experience. Share music and poetry in the Rivendell Pavilion, have dinner, supper, and tea in Hobbiton, peruse Smaug’s golden hoard, and raise a pint or three with the crowd in the Flaming Mûmak Tavern. Costumes are highly encouraged (although not required), and like the Hall of Fire in the House of Elrond, everyone is welcome to participate by bringing games, poems, stories, and music to share.

Partygoers at the Flaming Mumak TavernAs the event is held at a private residence, the address will be sent to those who RSVP directly on our Facebook event page, or email saystine@att.net. All ages are welcome, but please be responsible for your children. The party is held in a big backyard with a pool in the middle of it. Some parts of the yard are dimly lit, so please be aware of your surroundings. All party attendees must respect the wishes of the home owners at all times.

For more information and to RSVP, visit the Hall of Fire’s Facebook page. To see pictures from previous events, click here and here! Tolkien Forever is the local Los Angeles Lord of the Rings fan club group and the L.A. Smial of the Tolkien Society.

Hall of Fire MusiciansWhat: Tolkien Forever’s Annual Hall of Fire Party

Where: Glendora, CA (RSVP to receive address)

When: Saturday, October 11, 2014, 6:00 p.m.

Posted in Events, Fans, Meet Ups, Other Events, Uncategorized

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor – Season Pass Trailer

MiddleearthShadowofMordor_TalionFaceoff_ScreenshotToday, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) and Monolith Productions released the Shadow of Mordor – Season Pass Trailer, highlighting the line-up of great content included. Players who purchase Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor’s Season Pass will gain all-new story missions, challenge modes, runes and more for their journey through Mordor. The Season Pass is priced at $24.99.

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Posted in Gaming, Merchandise, Video games

TORn Message Boards Weekly Roundup – September 28, 2014

eventBilbosBirthdayCakeWelcome to our collection of TORn’s hottest topics for the past week.  If you’ve fallen behind on what’s happening on the Message Boards, here’s a great way to catch the highlights.  Or if you’re new to TORn and want to enjoy some great conversations, just follow the links to some of our most active discussions.  Watch this space as every weekend we will spotlight the most popular buzz on TORn’s Message Boards.  Everyone is welcome, so come on in and join the fun!

(more…)

Posted in Uncategorized

TORn Book Now Available For Kindle & Nook

The kindle version of TheOneRing.net’s new book, Middle-earth Madness, has been selling at Amazon for the last week. Now it’s available for Nook!

We’ve previously shared a sample chapter about Lord of the Rings executive producer Mark Ordesky. Now here’s another sample, our interview with Sylvester McCoy.

Behind-the-Scenes with Sylvester McCoy (Radagast)

Let’s be honest. If you were sitting at a pub having a pint, and the fellow next to you was rambling about how he was almost Bilbo Baggins in the movies, you’d wonder if he’d had one too many of the Gaffer’s home brew. But if that fellow happened to be Sylvester McCoy, you should know two things: first, he’s telling you the truth, and second, the craziness has probably just begun.

“I was up for Bilbo Baggins originally,” McCoy says, referring not to The Hobbit but to The Lord of the Rings movies. “And it got down to me and another person. Just two left of the many hundreds that started off on the journey. And I didn’t know Ian Holm was the other person, but if I had known, I would have known I wouldn’t get it, because Ian Holm is a brilliant, wonderful actor. And later I was delighted to be at least in his company. But that was the beginning of the journey toward Radagast.”

Sitting down to chat with TheOneRing.net, McCoy is as eccentric as the wizard he plays, at times pretending to have birds under his hat and at other times playing a pair of spoons for our entertainment. But then his journey from almost-Bilbo to Radagast was anything but conventional itself.

“The Bilbo audition was the beginning of it. Then [the filmmakers] saw me as the Fool in King Lear in New Zealand, and they offered me the job of Radagast. And when I went to see them, we were chatting about the fact that I didn’t do Bilbo Baggins. And they said, ‘We think maybe that’s a pretty good thing, because we’ve written you a bigger part.’ I thought, ‘I have to read the book again.’ It had been years. And I read it, and I kept thinking, ‘Where is Radagast? Where is he?’ And I thought ‘Oh dear, what kind of part is this?’”

McCoy, born as Percy Kent-Smith in Dunoon, Scotland in 1943, is a jack of all trades, having been a comedian, a busker and, of course, a character actor. Taking his stage name from a character he played in a comedy act (An Evening with Sylveste McCoy: the Human Bomb), he gained international fame as the seventh Doctor in the long running British television series, Doctor Who. (He still carries his question mark umbrella with him, showing it off to us while we chat.)

“When I took over as Doctor Who from Colin Baker,” he explains, “he had an umbrella in this story, so I ended up with an umbrella, and I actually quite like it. I’m a proppy person. And in my mind I could see an image of the shape of me with an umbrella—the shadow thing—and I said, ‘Let’s make it with a question mark.’ And one of the great designers of the Doctor Who shoot said how wonderful she thought it was. She thought it was very witty and, in a sense, understated. I find the question mark [costume] overstated, and if I had had my way, or if I would have done the fourth season, I would have gotten rid of it. Because it was too many question marks. People should be continuously saying, ‘Why the question marks? What does it mean?’ But no one ever did, because people just ignored it. In real life they wouldn’t, would they?”

As McCoy alluded to before, a few years before joining the cast of The Hobbit, he toured for two years as the Fool in King Lear. Playing the king was Ian McKellen, who was willing to bare it all for the production. “Originally, [director] Trevor Nunn wanted us both to take our clothes off, but luckily I had this harness on, so I didn’t have to. In order to be hung I had to have a harness I could be strung up on. So thank goodness I was hung at the end of the first act, or otherwise I would have had to have been very well hung to compete with Ian. Because my God, who can compete with Ian?”

Stepping away from the “biggest little wizard” competition, we ask McCoy about the beginning of his time in New Zealand as he was preparing to shoot The Hobbit.

“I love doing conventions, and I was doing a convention in Auckland, and the whole thing kind of fitted into my call on The Hobbit. They were going to send a car for me on the Monday night after the convention finished and drive me down to Piopio, which is kind of halfway down the North Island, but then they changed their minds because of the weather. So I was on the stage—trying not to talk about The Hobbit to the conventioneers—when my phone rang! And so I answered the phone, and I said to everyone, ‘Oh my goodness, it’s The Hobbit! The Hobbit [people] are on the phone!’ And they all got very excited. And The Hobbit people wanted to come and pick me up a day earlier. And I said, ‘Well, I’ll have to talk to the organizers of the convention.’ And before I had finished, the organizer of the convention knew as much about it as I did because someone in the audience was texting or twittering, telling everything that was going on. But anyway, they ended up sending a helicopter for me. And so I got to fly all that way at seven in the morning and see half of the island, and it was stunning. You could see Middle-earth, with the mist coming off the rivers and the lakes and another kind of softer mist coming out through the woods. I mean, that was really magical.”

Though Radagast is only mentioned once in passing in Tolkien’s version of The Hobbit, director Peter Jackson assured McCoy there were bigger plans for the “tender of the beasts,” as the wizard’s name translates to. It didn’t take long for McCoy to fall in love with the part.

“It’s great. It’s a nice role to do. When the costume arrived and I looked at myself, suddenly Radagast emerged. I’m not really a method actor. I get an instinct about something. Sometimes it feels quite magical. Suddenly something arrives. Working with Ian in the theatre on the stage, he does that. He stands on the side of the stage, and he knows the lines and the moves and all that, but you can see the mysterious, spiritual part of it only comes when he steps onto the stage, and it’s so exciting. And I started to realize I was doing the same—partly because I didn’t know what he was going to do and what emotion or strength I would require.”

And how long did it take to get into that make-up and wardrobe? “Oh, a couple of hours, really. They gave me a prosthetic nose. It was quite simple, really. They stuck on a nose, and it was slightly bent. And then I had big ears, but you couldn’t see them because of the hair. Then they gave me a funny little tooth; a sweet little snaggletooth. It was alright, except for bird whistling. I had to learn how to whistle again with a tooth. The Dwarves had it worse. I knew some of those actors from Britain before, and I came in and was having lunch; I was sitting next to this dwarf, and I didn’t realize it was an old mate of mine, Ken Stott! I didn’t recognize him until he spoke. I was given an aide-mémoire [a cheat sheet] with the pictures of all the actors playing the dwarves. It was really handy, except it wasn’t the characters. So I was going around with this, and you couldn’t tell who was on this aide and who was there.”

It didn’t take long for McCoy to begin shooting at Rhosgobel. “I’d just arrived a couple of days before, and the scenes I did there were the first scenes. They picked me up at four in the morning, and I didn’t get home until ten at night. And I literally could not walk. I was utterly exhausted. Because I was the only person there; with a stuffed hedgehog. So there was no one else to pass the buck to. It was just me. But when I went into the cottage I just fell in love with it. It was so beautiful. A higgledy-piggledy place. And I loved the idea that he was so in love with nature that he wouldn’t cut down a tree that decided it was going to move in and live with him. You know, he was like, ‘Come live with me, great oak!’ But it was very hot. They had to blow in air to keep me cool. It was so enclosed. There were no false walls or anything like that. You know, sometimes they have a set and they can take a wall away so they can shoot from there. No, they built the actual thing. It’s a shame they’ve taken it away. I’d loved if they had kept it, really. Because people would be delighted to be able to go through it. The detail! I cannot tell you the beautiful detail on the set. And some of it’s not seen, really, on the screen. But those artists that work on The Hobbit are just brilliant and detailed and so enthusiastic. Their love for it is just a joy. New Zealand is so far away, and especially in the old days before the internet, Peter said if they wanted to get anything they’d have to write and wait six months for it to come from Europe or England or America to get there. So they had to invent their own stuff and be creative in that way. And out of it has grown this wondrous, creative industry.”

McCoy, of course, had to learn Elvish to save Sebastian. (Or at least he had to learn a couple lines of it.) But don’t ask him to repeat it! “I did know what it meant when I was saying it at the time. I had to learn it and say it properly again and again. It was a bit of a nightmare trying to get it, you know. The pronunciation had to be so precise because there are some people out there who are so pernickety about things,” he says, looking straight at us. “And you don’t know how much that drives us poor actors mad! But I can’t remember now what the Elvish was. As an actor, as soon I’ve done something it’s gone. Because I’ve only got so much room in my head! I mean, I’ve been an actor now for forty-odd years. And I’ve been one of those very, very lucky actors who’s continuously been employed in something or other. So many lines have gone through my head, they go in my ear, they come out my mouth and that’s it.”

After working with the stuffed hedgehog (used to give him a reference before the computer generated version was added), it was on to rabbits—which were no more real! “For a while I thought they were going to get real rabbits. Because, they’re based on these very large rabbits in northern Belgium, and I thought maybe I was going to have trained real rabbits, which would have been quite cool really. But then they would have all pooed all over the place and made more rabbits while we were watching and all that. But the wizards of Weta are marvelous. There’s a bit in the film where we’re kind of waiting, and one of the rabbits is stamping his foot on the ground, and another one is doing something else, and they’ve all got individual little quirks about them. Astonishing really. Bloody upstaging rabbits!”

They say not to work with children or animals. Didn’t anybody warn McCoy? “They did, but I thought I was going to get away with it on this film because I was working on green screen, so there weren’t any animals there. I had to imagine them. And I didn’t know those wizards at Weta were going to come up with these birds and animals that were going to upstage me like mad. Like Sebastian the upstager. I mean, look at him! No, it’s true. Don’t work with children or animals or Weta animals.”

McCoy, of course, spends frequent screen time with his old friend from the stage. “Serena McKellen,” he calls him, knowing McKellen would appreciate the mondegreen. “I was working with him in London, and he just got ‘Companion of Honor’, which is another one of those medieval honors that they dish out in modern Britain. And we were going into the stage door, and he said ‘My dear boy, I’ve just become a camp onion of honor.’”

Asked if he was able to meet fellow wizard Christopher Lee, he replies, “No. That’s really sad. I didn’t meet him, because he’s getting on a bit and to travel out to New Zealand from London would be too much for him. So again, the magic of film, they went and filmed him in London. You know that scene [in Rivendell] where they’re all together sitting around the table? He’s not there. He’s in London. But it was so real and so clever. Galadriel walks right behind him. It was just so wonderful. But I —oh, I can’t talk about the next film. I want to! I’m so excited! I want to tell you all about it, but I can’t. I got a letter the other day that said ‘McCoy, keep your mouth shut!’ Or something along those lines, anyway. I’ve been programmed by Weta to cover my mouth whenever I’m going to give a spoiler.”

Overall, McCoy says he enjoyed working in New Zealand. “Yes, it’s funny really, I expected that I would be overawed by it all, but Peter Jackson is so good at making people relaxed. And the people of New Zealand, all of them (there are only four million of them in the country) must have somehow been connected with it. They’re great. They’re laid back, and you feel very relaxed. That was great. I mean, there are some times when you know the epic moments that you’re involved in—you felt the weight of that. But most of the time it’s just great fun. I did a scene that I’m not supposed to talk about with Cate Blanchett, and I would have given my fee back just to do that scene because she’s great. She is absolutely amazing, and she’s so lovely and down to earth. I mean, she’s like Australian royalty. She’s so elegant, so intelligent and beautiful, but she’s also very, very friendly. Her children were there, and it was great getting to know her.”

McCoy was also very impressed with the Dale set, which he had the opportunity to see as a ghost town before it was shot. “I went out with Andy Serkis, who was acting as second unit director. He invited me to come out one Sunday when no one was there. It had been built, and he was just going around kind of walking out some shots for the burning of it. So they spent all these millions building this amazing town, and then they burnt it down. But it was lovely. We had lunch there, and it was like being in some Italian village on top of a mountain. It was glorious.”

So was it a good idea to expand the film series to three parts?

“Yes! My agent thinks it’s a good idea. My bank manager thinks it’s a good idea. I’m not arguing with that one, really. In a way, I was slightly despondent I never got offered anything in Harry Potter. Continuously while it was going on, people kept saying to me, ‘Why aren’t you in Harry Potter?’ And I said, ‘Well, no one asked, or maybe I was busy.’ I don’t know whatever it was, but it would have been quite nice.”

Looking back at his career, McCoy can’t help but think about his clothes and the man who has been collecting them, a genre fan by the name of Peter Jackson. “He is a great collector of things. He’s got warehouses of stuff. He has got my Doctor Who costume. He’s also got my Radagast the Brown costume. I’m hanging on to my street clothes like mad. He’s not getting them. I have to have something to walk about in!”

Speaking of that seventh Doctor, when McCoy was cast as Radagast, many thought he might be given a “question mark” staff and some fans still look for, or think they see, a question mark in his costume. “No, there aren’t any,” he admits. “It’s a different part altogether. The only hint of Doctor Who in it is that I have to talk about rrrrabits, and there is a bit of rolling of r’s.”

And so what’s left for McCoy? Something different, he says. “There are some actors who we love and adore who are the same in everything, and we like that. You know, Sean Connery never changes his accent, but he gets away with it because we love that accent. He got an Oscar for a Scottish Irishman, if you know what I mean. And there are others: Bob Hoskins, who had a great Cockney accent, and John Wayne. And we love actors like that, but I’m not that kind of actor. I’m a character actor. I want to be different.”

Here is the complete table of contents for Middle-earth Madness, a book that covers the first two Hobbit movies and looks back at The Lord of the Rings:

Introduction
The History of The Hobbit Films
Behind-the-Scenes with Richard Taylor

An Unexpected Journey (AUJ)

AUJ: A Long Expected Success
AUJ: An Unexpected Failure

I: Prologue
II: An Unexpected Party
III: The World is Ahead
IV: Roast Mutton
V: On the Run

Behind-the-Scenes with Sylvester McCoy
AUJ Soundtrack Review
Inside Information with Richard Armitage

VI: A Short Rest
VII: Over Hill and Under Hill
VIII: Riddles in the Dark
IX: Out of the Frying-Pan, Into the Fire

Getting to Know Kiran Shah
A Look Back at TheOneRing.net News
Inside Information with Graham McTavish
Hobbitception

The Desolation of Smaug (DOS)

DOS: A Deep Disappointment
DOS: A Dazzling Success
X: Queer Beginnings
XI: Lost in Mirkwood & Attacked by Spiders
XII: The Elves & the Woodland Realm
XIII: Barrels out of Bond

Behind-the-Scenes with William Kircher
DOS Soundtrack Review
Inside Information with Peter Hambleton

XIV: Bard the Smuggler
XV: Lake-town
XVI: To the Doorstep
XVII: Inside the Mountain
XVIII: The Wrath of Smaug

Inside Information with Jed Brophy
A Letter to the Cast and Crew
Nine Mind-Blowing Reasons

Looking Back at The Lord of the Rings

Worldbuilding (From The Frodo Franchise)
Q&A with Design Artist Daniel Falconer
Hobbiton (From The Lord of the Films)
The Legacy of The Lord of the Rings Films
Getting to Know Mark Ordesky
Middle-earth Fans: Dressing the Part

Looking Back at the Animated Hobbit

MailBaggins
Epilogue

Posted in Hobbit Movie, Sylvester McCoy, The Hobbit, TheOneRing.net Announcements

Listen to legendary British actor Nicol Williamson’s 1974 abridgement of The Hobbit

ARGOTheHobbit500 In 1974, Argo Records released a dramatised four-record LP audio abridgement of The Hobbit.

In an interesting quirk of history, the narrator and performer of this abridgement was the legendary Scottish-born actor Nicol Williamson — who would later go on to play the role of Merlin the wizard in John Boorman’s remarkable 1981 film Excalibur.

The circular part, of course, is that in the late 70s, Boorman was involved in a collaborative attempt with United Artists to produce a film of The Lord of the Rings. The script, notorious within fan circles for the liberties it intended to take with Tolkien’s work (which you can read about here) was never produced. However, Boorman re-purposed much of his imagery and concepts in Excalibur. (more…)

Posted in Green Books, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate

Hall of Fire this Saturday: the nature of Hobbit resistance to the Rings of Power

Barliman's Chat Throughout its history, the One Ring comes to different people of many races. It tempts them all, preying on their individual weaknesses and ambitions. Some fall to its lure, some fear even to touch it. Yet two small Hobbits carry the Ring all the way to the heart of Mordor.

Thus, an interesting question arises: were Hobbits in general more resistant to the One Ring? And, if so, why?

More, does this extend to all the rings of power that the Noldor of Eregion forged in the Second Age? (more…)

Posted in Barliman News, Barlimans, Hall of Fire

New York ComicCon – party with TheOneRing.net and WETA!

NYCC - New York Comic-ConAs convention season draws to a close, there’s still time for one last hurrah in the Big Apple! New York ComicCon will be here in two weeks’ time, and TORn will be there with bells on. (Maybe literally – you’ll have to come and see us to find out…)

If you’re coming to the convention, you can find us at Booth 3040, where we’ll have t-shirts, buttons, lanyards and more for sale, as well as lots of cool giveaways and fun stuff. We’ll also be giving a panel on Saturday night, 9pm, in room 1A21: ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – An Unofficial Look’. Find out inside scoop on the third and final film – be ready for spoilers!

(more…)

Posted in Clothing, Collectibles, Conventions, Events, Fans, Hobbit Movie, Howard Shore, Karl Urban, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Manu Bennett, Merchandise, NYCC, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, TheOneRing.net Community, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop

Tolkien’s 100-year-old poem that marked the beginning of Middle-earth

JRR Tolkien It’s the centenary of Middle-earth.

In a piece in The Guardian, Tolkien scholar John Garth analyses Tolkien’s 1914 creative breakthrough — and the poem The Voyage of Éarendel the Evening Star from 24 September 1914 — that ultimately leads to Middle-earth as we know it today. (more…)

Posted in Green Books, J.R.R. Tolkien, Languages, Tolkien

Continuing the birthday mathoms – 40% off at the Hobbit Shop

DoS DVD coverOur friends at the Hobbit Shop have let us know that they’re celebrating Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday this week with a mathom for you all – 40% off selected items in their store! They say:

It’s a sale of special magnificence at Warner Bros.’ official HobbitShop.com as they celebrate Bilbo’s and Frodo’s birthday! Save up to 40% on Blu-ray and DVDs of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and the first two Hobbit movies, and on their newest collectibles like The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug Gandalf Illuminating Staff, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Phone Cases, Hoodies, T-Shirts and more. It’s all here!

Click here to visit the shop and take advantage of the special offers.

 

Posted in Blu-Ray, Clothing, Clothing, Collectibles, Collectibles, DVD/Blu-Ray, DVDs, Merchandise, Other Merchandise, Shop

Beyond birthdays: examining Tolkien’s Letter #214

Letters of JRR Tolkien Another September 22 — the birthdays of Bilbo and Frodo — has just passed. In our latest Library piece, TORn feature writer Tedoras reflects on Letter #214 from The Letters of J.R.R Tolkien and examines Tolkien’s thoughts on birthday customs in hobbit society and culture.


Beyond birthdays: examining Tolkien’s Letter #214

by Tedoras

The epistolary nature of Tolkien’s literary existence is more than prodigious. If any book so illuminates the man, his deepest thoughts and truest character, it is The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.
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Posted in Green Books, Headlines, J.R.R. Tolkien, LotR Books, Other Tolkien books, Tolkien

The New TORn Book – Middle-earth Madness

TORNMMTheOneRing.net is pleased to announce that to celebrate the birthdays of Frodo and Bilbo, we are releasing a digital book called Middle-earth Madness. Join Quickbeam, Happy Hobbit, greendragon, MrCere, Kristin Thompson, J.W. Braun and the gang, along with Richard Armitage (Thorin), Sylvester McCoy (Radagast), Richard Taylor (Weta Workshop), Mark Ordesky (LOTR Exec) and many more of your favorites for an in-depth look at the first two Peter Jackson Hobbit movies as well as a look back at his Lord of the Rings.

With it’s scene-by-scene analysis and behind-the-scenes stories, Middle-earth Madness is your tour guide and backstage pass all rolled into one. Best yet, with no spoilers for the third Hobbit film, it’s a great way to look back and reflect before enjoying The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

You can get yours for Kindle here. Or, check out a free sample chapter here.

(The book is available at Amazon websites worldwide. We will have the it available for Nook very shortly.)

Posted in Books, Books Publications, Fans, Green Books, Headlines, Hobbit Cast News, Merchandise, Richard Armitage, Richard Taylor, Shop, Sylvester McCoy, TheOneRing.net Announcements, TheOneRing.net Community

Collecting The Precious – Weta Workshop’s The Balrog – Demon of Shadow and Flame

LOTRBalrog2

Today, one of the coolest items unveiled at Comic-con by our friends at Weta Workshop, The Balrog statue,  has finally been put up for order.

This mammoth statue, standing 20.5″ tall, 17.5″ wide, with a depth of 11.8″ has an edition size of 1500 pieces world wide. If you Pre-Order this guy right now you can save $50 off the retail price of $650 to get him for $599. He is set to ship during the fourth quarter of this year, which is not too far off for those of you who, like me, hate waiting. So get those orders in now to save some money and a place in line before he sells out!

Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, ComicCon, Conventions, Events, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie The Two Towers, Shop, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop