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Archive for January, 2017

The Great Hall of Poets

Welcome to The Great Hall of Poets, our regular monthly feature showcasing the talent of Middle-earth fans. Each month we will feature a small selection of the poems submitted, but we hope you will read all of the poems that we have received here in our Great Hall of Poets.

So come and join us by the hearth and enjoy!

If you have a Tolkien/Middle-earth inspired poem you’d like to share, then send it to poetry@theonering.net  One poem per person may be submitted each month. Please make sure to proofread your work before sending it in. TheOneRing.net is not responsible for poems posting with spelling or grammatical errors.

(more…)

Posted in Creations, Fans, Green Books, Headlines, Poetry

Sundance 2017 wrap up: Elijah Wood film wins Grand Jury prize, other Middle-earth showings at festival

Photo: Courtesy Sundance Film Festival

Photo: Courtesy Sundance Film Festival

Elijah Wood’s film “I don’t feel at home in this world anymore,” won the Sundance Grand Jury prize in the U.S. Dramatic competition at the just concluded 2017 festival.

It was one of 16 films in the category that included “Crown Hights” that won the Audience Award.

The film is summarized like this:

Ruth, a depressed nursing assistant, returns from work to find dog shit on her lawn and her house burglarized, the thief having made off with her silverware and laptop. Losing faith in the police (and possibly humanity as a whole), Ruth starts her own investigation, joining forces with her erratic neighbor–and dog shit culprit–Tony. Upon locating the laptop, they trace it back to a consignment store, leading them to a gang of degenerate criminals and a dangerous, bizarre underworld where they’re way out of their depth.

Macon Blair’s outstanding debut feature has an exuberant storytelling style that’s full of personality, visual inventiveness, idiosyncratic characters, and wildly unpredictable turns. Its dark tone, deadpan humor, and increasingly blood-soaked foray into a twisted moral universe evoke the Coen brothers, but most captivating is the deeply unsettling journey it takes Ruth on, through human vulnerability and escalating violence. Once brought to tears by the notion of an infinite universe, her quest isn’t for her laptop, but for a way of processing a world that no longer makes sense to her.Elijah Wood in I don't feel at home in this world anymore

On the same night, last year’s big Middle-earth alumni film of Sundance 2016, “Captain Fantastic” featured Viggo Mortensen and the cast appeared at the screen actor’s guild where it was nominated but didn’t win. For that film TheOneRing was able to talk with Mortensen about the film, but despite repeated efforts, had no luck speaking with Wood for his film.

But, Wood wasn’t the only Middle-earth actor to show up in a film at this year’s Sundance. Actor Stephen Hunter, who played Bombur in the three films based on “The Hobbit,” appeared in Australian thriller “The Killing Ground.” The film received a warm reception and has a good chance to be seen in theaters. I saw it and think it’s a gripping thriller that handles its violence well. It deserves to be seen but will disturb some because of its violence.

KillingGround

Hunter plays a key supporting role that the Sundance festival described like this:

When young couple Sam and Ian escape the confines of urban living for a weekend getaway at a remote campsite, they arrive to find a neighboring tent set up with its inhabitants nowhere in sight. As day turns to night and then to day again, the young couple becomes increasingly concerned about the whereabouts of their unknown fellow campers. When they discover a toddler wandering alone on the campground, things go from bad to worse, thrusting them into a harrowing fight for survival in a place miles from civilization, where no one can hear them scream.

Teeming with dread and unnerving tension, the debut feature of writer/director Damien Power draws heavy inspiration from Michael Haneke’s Funny Games and Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs, utilizing the film’s sparse locations to considerable effect. As jagged pieces of the puzzle are carefully revealed one by one, Killing Ground evolves into a brutally violent thriller that will force you to think twice the next time you dare venture beyond the city’s bright lights

Wood also appears in another film, this one a documentary about the classic Alfred Hitchcock “Psycho.” The film, called “78/52,” breaks down the historic and absolutely groundbreaking shower scene in the film that is credited with launching the horror genre of film in a new way. He is seated with other actors sharing his perspective, especially insightful when examining the performance of Anthony Perkins. Guillermo del Toro also is featured and is a delight.

The film has been purchased and will likely get a new or extended title and will be released in major film markets. The festival title refers to the number of set ups and film cuts the master of suspense used in the scene. For anybody interested in film, I absolutely recommend it. Actually, I recommend it for anybody who has ever watched a film.

Film 78/52 features Elijah Wood

The festival describes it:

“In 78 setups and 52 cuts, the deliriously choreographed two-minute shower sequence in Psycho ripped apart cinema’s definition of horror. With a shocking combination of exploitation and high art, Alfred Hitchcock upended his own acclaimed narrative structure by violently killing off a heroine a third of the way through his film, without explanation, justification, or higher purpose. Psycho played out like a horrific prank, forcing audiences to recognize that even the most banal domestic spaces were now fair game for unspeakable mayhem.

With black-and-white film-geek reverence, director Alexandre O. Philippe breaks down this most notorious and essential scene shot for shot, enlisting the help of film buffs and filmmakers alike—including Guillermo del Toro, Bret Easton Ellis, Karyn Kusama, Eli Roth, and Peter Bogdanovich. 78/52 examines Janet Leigh’s terrified facial expressions and the blink-and-you-miss-it camera work, not just within the context of the film but also with an eye toward America’s changing social mores—revealing how one bloody, chaotic on-screen death killed off chaste cinema and eerily predicted a decade of unprecedented violence and upheaval.”

Posted in Elijah Wood, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Lord of the Rings, LotR Cast News, LotR Movies, Stephen Hunter

Veteran actor John Hurt, the voice of Aragorn in animated LOTR, has died

bakshi-strider

John Hurt, famous for a number of roles but unforgettable as the voice of Aragorn in Ralph Bakshi’s “The Lord of the Rings,” has died. He was 77.

For many who love Tolkien’s works, the animated LOTR was the serious animated treatment of the masterpiece of J.R.R. Tolkien that was also frustrating because it was meant to have a sequel and was never properly finished. Hurt played Strider turned Aragorn as perhaps the most recognizable voice in the cast. Director Ralph Bakshi was left telling only part of the story but Hurt’s Aragorn, was majestic and powerful.

Hurt shines in the voice role, playing a confident Aragorn, that before the live action LOTR films were announced, was for a generation, the embodiment of the hero who would return as King.

Hurt’s career was long and plentiful with over 200 film credits to his name. He is best known for his outstanding turn as John Merrick, the title character in “The Elephant Man.” Audiences not familiar with that Oscar-nominated performance as well as his also nominated work in “Midnight Express,” will remember him for his work in the first two Harry Potter films as wandsman Garrick Ollivander. He also has an all-time iconic performance in “Alien,” where he was the first to have his chest burst, unleashing space horror on popular culture. He later did a parody of himself in “Spaceballs.”

He was essential as Trevor “Broom” Bruttenholm in the “Hellboy” films and was likewise great in his first major role in 1962’s “A Man For All Seasons.” Many will remember him for “V For Vendetta.”

But for Tolkien fans from before Peter Jackson took over movie screens, the voice of Hurt as Aragorn will always be a part of his legacy.

CNN put together this tribute, embedded in his honor.

Posted in Lord of the Rings, LotR Cast News, LotR Movies

Tolkien’s word ‘mathom’ is one many of us can relate to

bag endThe word ‘mathom,’ invented by J.R.R. Tolkien, was used by Hobbits to describe anything they ‘had no use for but were unwilling to throw away.’  If that sounds familiar as you look around at your collection of Tolkien books and other collectibles, it did to Andrew Whalen at iDigitalTimes too. In Andrew’s opinion, the word mathom is so perfect for describing the clutter many of us love, it should become part of our regular vocabulary.

According to the article, “Hobbits love clutter. Many humans do too. The thought of purging a bookshelf, for example, might give you angry shivers. Everyone should have several different copies of the same book with different paperback covers!” Of course, to many Tolkien geeks that goes without saying. Further to making his case, Andrew really hits the nail on the head with his observation: “..it’s just fun to say: mathom.” We here at TORn wholeheartedly agree. Read the full article here.

 

 

Posted in J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Tolkien

Today in Middle-earth, January 15

Gandalf challenges Balrog w Glamdring

Today in Middle-earth, January 15

  • The Bridge of Khazad-dûm, and the fall of Gandalf (1419)
  • The Company reaches Nimrodel late at night (1419)

(more…)

Posted in Calendar, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Today in Middle-earth

DragonCon to Dissolve Tolkien’s Middle-earth Track

DragonCon, the annual pop culture convention held on Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, Georgia has announced that there will no longer be a Tolkien’s Middle-earth programming track.  Instead, any Tolkien-related content will be absorbed into other programming tracks, such as Fantasy Literature, Costuming, and Main Programming.

This is a huge blow to the thousands of Tolkien fans that have attended DragonCon over the years.  The Tolkien track has been a staple of DragonCon’s programming, long before Peter Jackson’s films were released.  Over the years the track has presented quality panels on the books, films, music, and costuming.  They’ve hosted actors from ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ trilogies, as well as Tolkien artists and scholars.  Bonds of friendship and love have been forged from time spent in the track room and for many friends it is the one time each year they get to see each other.

For the last 9 years, TOR.n staffer MrCere has been Tolkien’s Middle-earth track director.  Yesterday he announced the end on the Tolkien Track’s Facebook page:

 

In my personal opinion, this is a terrible decision. In brief I told DragonCon:
* I think Tolkien shouldn’t be lumped into fantasy, for his sake and for dominating the rest of the fantasy content
* There is scholarship about Tolkien that differentiates him & his works from every single other Fantasy creator
* Tolkien content is still coming out new, at a solid rate, including a new book in 2017
* 80 years of fandom and counting, not a fad or trend
*Tolkien brings mainstream respectability to the whole convention and transcends just fantasy / just generally geekery
* Guest potential (Weta Digital & Weta Workshop & actors)
* Because good things are worth fighting for
* It harms Dragon Con by removing it

I hope WE can be united as a fandom, of which I am a member. It would be nice to form something of a Fellowship to Vote Bilbo — if some of you know that reference.

The Tolkien track would love to continue as long as DragonCon does, but at the very least they’d like one last year to hold a proper goodbye.  If you would like to voice your support for the Tolkien track, PLEASE contact DragonCon and let them know (politely)!  Click HERE, and select DragonCon Office under the list of departments.   As Tolkien fans have proven time and time again, even the smallest person can change the course of the future.

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Below are a very small selection of photos taken at Tolkien track panels and events throughout the year; photo credit has been listed, but if any are missing, please let us know!

 

Posted in Conventions, DragonCon, Events

The death of Beleg. Is Túrin culpable?

children of hurin The usual Christmas and New Year shenanigans mean that in The Hall of Fire we’ve only just arrived at the ninth chapter of The Children of Húrin. It’s short, but crucial — climaxing with the death of Beleg.

That’s not really a spoiler; the chapter is literally named “The Death of Beleg”.

It’s a — possibly the — key turning point in Túrin’s life. Until his death, Beleg is a strong stabilising influence on Túrin’s action. The absence of that support, combined with the manner of Beleg’s death, profoundly affect Túrin’s subsequent behaviour. (more…)

Posted in Barliman News, Barlimans, Hall of Fire

Happy birthday, Professor Tolkien!

_65047774_tolkien3On this date in 1892, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein Africa. Over his long lifetime, he delighted readers and fans world-wide with his writings including essays, children’s books and his beloved novels, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, that center around a race of short, down-to-earth creatures who live, of all places, in (very nice) holes in the ground.

Today, TORn joins millions of fans worldwide in celebrating Tolkien’s birthday. If you have the time and the inclination, you may want to join other fans gathering at local pubs where members of the Tolkien Society will be raising a glass and toasting: “The Professor!” If you’d like to learn more about the annual January third tradition, or find a local gathering near you, visit the Tolkien Society’s Tolkien Birthday Toast 2017 page here. Or instead, you may just want to curl up with a favorite Tolkien story or poem and toast him quietly with a nice cup of tea.

However you decide to celebrate, join us in wishing a happy birthday to “The Professor,” who’s life’s work has come to mean so much to us. Happy birthday, J.R.R. Tolkien!

Posted in Events, Fans, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Meet Ups, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Tolkien Toast

Fellowship of the Rings 15th Anniversary Redux – TORn’s FotR Geeky Observations List

From the moment movie goers first experienced Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring, they couldn’t stop talking about every little detail no matter how small or obscure.  In December 2001, one of TORn’s very brave Discussion Board members began collecting these observations on the LotR Movie Discussion Board and put them into a list.  Very soon after, our brave collector disappeared leaving all of these wonderful observations floating loose in Wilderland!

Early in 2002, and being a chronic hoarder, I adopted the abandoned list and put out the word to the Movie Discussion Board that the collection was on again and to bring forth whatever they saw or heard that they took special note of and it would be added to the list.  Here are some examples of observations:

elendil-with-narsil-edited-At the beginning of the Battle of the Last Alliance, Elendil is carrying Narsil upright before him (a theme repeated throughout the film).

 

-Gil-galad is wearing armour with the insignia of the House of Gil-galad on his chest!gil-galad-emblem

 

-Merry tosses his apple to Aragorn when ready to merry-tosses-his-applie-to-aragorn-editedswordplay with Boromir.

 

 

The floodgates opened and the list quickly grew to over 700 observations that stood out to us as poignant, book-related, or so incredibly trivial it will make your eyes roll in disbelief.  Well, we’re geeks… what’d you expect?  Every few weeks during the film’s run, I put out a call for more or collect observations from Members’ posts!  The challenging part was sorting out duplications (or similar observation), putting everything in chronological order and in filmic chapters.  I also did a little editing when needed 😉  Then… with the release of the extended dvd…I added those observations and marked each one with double asterisks to highlight them.  Believe it or not, we’re always finding more!!  Here’s an example of the results:

 THE PROPHECY

1. When the New Line logo appears, you can hear the same ringing sound the One Ring makes throughout the film!

2.  In the film and soundtrack there are chapter titles from The Fellowship of the Ring and The Hobbit are worked into story – From the soundtrack: “The Shadow of the Past”; “The Treason of Isengard”; “The Black Rider”; “A Knife in the Dark”; “Flight to the Ford”; “Many Meetings”; “The Council of Elrond”; “The Ring Goes South”; “A Journey in the Dark”; “The Great River”; “Amon Hen”; “The Breaking of the Fellowship”–From the film: “A Long-Expected Party”; “Shortcut to Mushrooms”; “The Bridge of Khazad-dûm”; “Lothlórien”; “Mount Doom”; “Strider”; shows the “Sign of the Prancing Pony”–and From The Hobbit; “Riddles in the Dark”; “Not at Home”; “Concerning Hobbits.”

3. The three Ring-bearers at the beginning of the film are the ORIGINAL three (i.e. Galadriel, Gil-galad and Cirdan)

4. When Galadriel holds up her hand wearing Nenya in the prologue, the faint wrinkles on her hands disappear, and they become younger.

5. Only the Elves wear their Rings, and these Rings are not taken by Sauron [ref: The Silmarillion]; all the Elves wear their rings on the middle finger while Sauron wears his Ring on the Finger of Ego, the Index Finger; The Dwarves inspect their rings then hold their Rings away from them; the Men keep their rings close to them. They are the only group which stares straight ahead like Zombies.

[read more]

One of the changes I made to the original list was that nothing of a nit-picky or negative sort would be added.  Thinking of everything Peter Jackson and the hundreds of people who made these films had gone through to create three movies at one time, I just didn’t think it was right.  Those observations were for others’ lists.

As each of the LotR films was released, I started TheOneRing.net’s The Lord of the Rings Geeky Observations Lists which ultimately grew to TheOneRing.net’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Geeky Observations Lists. Naturally, with the release of the 3 Hobbit films, we got busy on The Hobbit Discussion Board!  All of the lists will be updated and very soon, so keep an eye out for announcements on the Geeky Observations Homepage New From Bree.

Because these lists are still active and growing all the time, feel free to share your own observations.  Find me on the Boards where you can also find all of these links and more in the footer of my posts on The One Ring Forums Message Boards.

 

Posted in Creations, Fans, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, The Hobbit, TheOneRing.net Community