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Can fantasy films escape Lord of the Ring’ shadow?

aragorn on horsebackWe spotted an interesting read over at posing the question as to whether any fantasy film will ever be able to outshine Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.

“Legend, Krull, The Neverending Story, Dune, all have their fans but none captured the zeitgeist anywhere close to how Lord Of The Rings did from late 2001, along with Harry Potter. We finally had fantasy films faithful to the genre’s most rock-solid source material, made by a relatively independent director in a country mostly neglected for big-budget filmmaking, and brave enough to commit to a fantasy world with both digitally-aided grandeur and a practical, lived-in feel.”

Of course, it depends on what one’s definition of ‘outshine’ is: Box office success? The ability to support sequels? Motivating people to seek out more of the particular fantasy world? Read the article, then let us know. Read more…

Posted in Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, New Line Cinema, New Zealand, Peter Jackson, Warner Bros.

Czech Republic fans reenact battle from The Hobbit

czech republic reinactment 2016

Courtesy of

A long-standing Spring tradition was repeated this weekend in the Czech Republic. Hundreds of fans recreated a battle from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth literature. This year it was The Battle of the Five Armies from The Hobbit. Fans choose sides, join together, then march until they meet the enemy. Armed with plastic and/or foam-tipped weapons, the worst of the injuries from the battle that ensues are bumps and bruises. However, where costumes are concerned, the competition gets serious, producing some very impressive and intimating-looking warriors on both sides.  Check out this story, and great video footage, from the U.K. Telegraph, and let us know in our comment section, or on our Forums, which side you’d be on if you could join the battle. Would your choice be based on which side you’d like to fight on, which would be the best cosplay opportunity, or both? Read more…

Posted in Events, Fans, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Meet Ups, Other Events, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Hand-written annotations by Tolkien adorn map acquired by Bodleian Libraries

Courtesy of

      Photo courtesy of

The Bodleian Libraries, home to the largest collection of Tolkien manuscripts and drawings in the world, has acquired a recently discovered map of Middle-earth annotated by J.R.R. Tolkien and artist Pauline Baynes during her early preparations to produce a poster map of Middle-earth that was later published in 1970. The fold-out map was pulled from one of Baynes’ copies of The Lord of the Rings. In order to help her represent Middle-earth as accurately as possible, Tolkien made notes on the map (those in green ink and pencil) regarding the climate of various areas, often equating them to real places in England and Europe, in order to give Baynes an accurate idea of the area’s flora and fauna.

The map was kept by Baynes, who passed away in 2008. It resurfaced in 2015 and was acquired by the Libraries. According to the Libraries:

“The annotated map went unseen for decades until October 2015 when Blackwell’s Rare Books in Oxford put the map on display and offered it for sale. The purchase of the map was funded with assistance from the Victoria & Albert Purchase Grant Fund and the Friends of the Bodleian.

This working document reveals that the creatures which enliven the final poster map – wolves, horses, cattle, elephants and camels – were all suggested by Tolkien and that Baynes drew the animals in the exact locations he specified. ‘Elephants appear in the Great battle outside Minas Tirith (as they did in Italy under Pyrrhus) but they would be in place in the blank squares of Harad – also Camels,’ wrote Tolkien.”

The Bodleian Libraries hopes to put the map on display to the public in the near future – a great reason to plan a special trip! In the meantime, read the fascinating full article here.

Posted in Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Return of the King, The Two Towers, Tolkien

Peter Jackson steps down as WETA Workshop director

Image from Startraks/Rex Shutterstock

From Peter Jackson along with fellow Oscar winner Jamie Selkirk stepped down from Sir Richard Taylor’s Miramar workshop on December 31, Companies Office documents show. The change comes ahead of new legislation which would make directors personally liable for health and safety, which the Institute of Directors said demonstrated that directors needed to be across all aspects of the business. Jackson and Selkirk both still own about one third of Weta Workshop.

Weta Workshop senior communications manager Erik Hay confirmed the law change was behind the move for Jackson and Selkirk. “The reason was centred around the law change, which will require them to be more involved on a daily basis. As a manufacturing business, it’s important they are. Peter felt he was not and decided to step out of the piece. They will still retain shares in the company.” Read more…

Posted in Director news, New Zealand, Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, WETA Workshop

Washington D.C. NFL pros embrace Tolkien

Lord of the Rings CoverTORn’s staff and our readers know from experience that Tolkien fans can sometimes be found in surprising places. So, imagine our delight when we learned through this Washington Post story that there aren’t just Tolkien fans on the Washington D.C NFL team, quotes from The Lord of the Rings are regularly heard in the locker room and even on the playing field!

The board was set, the pieces were moving, and victory was in hand, but Kirk Cousins needed a little help with his lines.

“Is it the third day or the fifth day you’ve got to look to the East?” Cousins asked teammate Tom Compton on the FedEx Field sidelines, as the clock counted down Washington’s triumph over the Bills.

Compton grimaced at the memory, still aghast that his quarterback would need to ask.

“I was like, ‘It’s the fifth day, bro,” Compton recalled. “Like, c’mon.”

Information secured, Cousins delivered the lines that welcomed the world into his team’s growing “Lord of the Rings” fascination.

“Today, the gray became the white,” Cousins announced, as they closed in on a division championship. “We look to the East.”  Read more…

Note: out of respect for our Native American readers (and non-readers) a word that is viewed by many as a racial slur has been removed from the headline and body of this article. We overlooked that in our attempt to reword the headline of the source article. We’d like to apologize to any of our readers who might have been offended, and encourage everyone to focus on the true intent of linking to the story which was to highlight how Tolkien fandom helps us all transcend labels and brings us together as a community, sometimes in the most unlooked for ways.



Posted in Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies, Return of the King, The Hobbit, The Two Towers

Black Friday Savings at!

HobbitShop Black Friday 2015Black Friday comes to Middle-earth today at, the official online shop of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies! The shop is offering savings of up to 60% on officially licensed  jewelry, phone cases, chess sets, collectibles, and more, plus Buy One, Get One 50% Off all shirts! Check it out at !

Posted in Calendars, Clothing, Collectibles, Hobbit Movie, Jewelry, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Other Events, Other Merchandise, The Hobbit

A reminder: The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey EE showing nationwide in the U.S. tonight

Hobbit Unexpected Journey Movie PosterA reminder that the extended edition of The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey, will be airing tonight across the U.S.. As we reported back in early August, this is the first in a series of live showings of all three extended editions of The Hobbit movies sponsored by Fathom Events and Warner Bros. AUJ will air tonight at 7:30 local time. Many local theaters are carrying it, so if you don’t have tickets, and feel like having a last minute visit with some of your favorite characters such as Bilbo, Gandalf, Thorin, Saruman, etc., check your local theater!

Also remember that the EE of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will air at the same time and same theaters this Wednesday, October 7th, with the big wrap-up occurring a week from tomorrow, Tuesday, October 13th with the first public showing of the EE of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, with a special introductory message from Peter Jackson.

Those of you lucky enough to see one, or all three, be sure to leave comments below letting us all know how it was!

Posted in Director news, Events, Fans, Film Screenings, Hobbit Movie, Meet Ups, New Line Cinema, Peter Jackson, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Uncategorized, Warner Bros.

Tolkien’s Hidden Realms and their Meaning: Part One

Our friend, C.E. High, has penned another interesting article about Tolkien’s special hidden realms. From Gondolin to Doriath, Part One explores the hidden realms of the First Age. Enjoy!

J.R.R. Tolkien had a fascination with hidden kingdoms and cities. As one reads through his works they can be seen everywhere, throughout the ages and in a variety of forms. Many things these hidden realms have in common and all have their own symbolism; many are bastions of hope against an ever present dark foe, others are places that are ignorant of any darkness and simply exist in bliss and wonder and are overlooked. Some are tucked away in a valley or at the base of a mountain range; while others are deep in dense and impenetrable forests either with natural or supernatural defenses. Some are carved straight out of the stone or delved deep into the earth, and others…well a few even existed right out in the open.

Tolkien’s love of things being tucked away and only talked about in rumor or in private circles is fascinating. He wove it into almost all of his stories and made the reader feel like they were in on a secret that no one else was. Almost everything that was hidden for Tolkien was noble and good; by contrast everything that was evil was right out in the open. Tolkien made a situation where evil was ever present and out in plain sight, things that were good needed to be kept hid and held onto tightly; and many of his stories involved characters whose actions were motivated by wanting to save or destroy these precious hidden things.


Posted in Creations, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Other Tolkien books, Return of the King, Silmarillion, The Two Towers, Tolkien

Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh buy church for Wellington suburb



Here’s a nice story from Sir Peter Jackson has come to the rescue of a historic Wellington church. Jackson and wife Fran Walsh have bought St Christopher’s Church in the suburb of Seatoun for $1.06 million in a move that saves the earthquake-prone church and neighbouring hall from potential demolition. The couple made their latest purchase to ensure the buildings would not be lost from the peninsula, trust chairman Richard Stubbs said. According to Stubbs, the community would have faced a huge fundraising effort were it not for Jackson and Walsh stepping in.

“They’ve rescued it. They’ve totally relieved us of that obligation, and that means we can get on and run the facilities … their involvement here is absolutely pivotal. They’ve done this for the people of the peninsula, and indeed for Wellington.”

Read the rest of the article on the website here.

Posted in Director news, Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson Celebrating Mother’s Day with $50 OFF the Arwen Evenstar Pendant

hob_FBpost_arwenOur friends at are celebrating Mother’s Day with a big sale, including $50 off the Noble Collection’s Arwen Pendant replica. A perfect gift for any Tolkien Mom out there. If you act fast, you can take advantage of discounted two-day shipping as well. []

Posted in Blu-Ray, Hobbit Movie, Merchandise, Posters Prints, The Hobbit sued by World Wrestling Entertainment (Yes, this was April Fools!)

*Please Note: This was one of’s annual April Fools Jokes – We are not really being sued…yet?*, the largest Tolkien-related fan-site on the internet, and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), professional wrestling entertainment powerhouse, have been unable to resolve recent legal disputes over name.’s desires to keep the communications private were dashed this week, with WWE breaking off discussions and proceeding with a copyright infringement claim in court.

“Clearly the ‘one ring’ refers to our wrestling ring,” said WWE Majority Owner and CEO Vince McMahon in a prepared statement, “and we are confident that any jury will recognize that. When someone is searching online for the ‘one ring,’ they want to find out more about WWE.”

Chris Pirrotta, one of the foundera of, disagrees. “While I respect the integrity and success of the world of professional wrestling and the WWE, I believe there are many different uses of the word ‘ring’ and reject WWE’s assertion of a monopoly over the term.”

WWE is no stranger to the courtroom, having lost their previous initials (WWF) in 2002 after the World Wildlife Fund sued the wrestling company over a broken agreement. Pirotta is quick to point out that he has no issue with WWE’s terminology. “They’re welcome to use the word ‘ring’. They’re welcome to call their ring the ‘one ring’. We just ask that we be allowed to keep our name. There’s never been any confusion in the past.”

McMahon disagrees, however, saying “our market research tells us that approximately 90% of first-time visitors to are looking for information about WWE superstars such as Roman Reigns or John Cena. Quite frankly, I doubt that many people have actually read Mr. Tolstoy’s books and even fewer know about the films.”

Cliff Broadway, who contributes to under the pseudonym “Quickbeam”, believes there is only one way to solve the dispute. “I am issuing a challenge to WWE Champion Seth Rollins for a match at Summerslam,” he says, referring to the upcoming wrestling event. “It will be the WWE Title versus name where winner takes all. And I think WWE will find Hell hath no fury like an Ent scorned.”

As of yet, WWE has not responded to the challenge, and continues to post news related to The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and the associated personalities.

Posted in Fool, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, The Hobbit, Tolkien to unplug, sail into The West (Not really…April Fools 2015!)

*Please Note: This was one of’s annual April Fools Jokes – We are not going anywhere…at least we don’t think we are!*
TORn_SadKENOSHA, WISCONSIN — An official press release is scheduled for tomorrow, but we, the TORn founders and staff, want to notify all those who have supported us for the past 15 years that is shutting down.

The final decision was communicated in an all-staff conference call over the weekend, but it has been discussed for months, speculated about for years, and we’ve cracked jokes about it from podiums at conventions (that nobody took seriously at the time), but now the long-dreaded hour is finally upon us.

The four TORn Founders (Erica Challis, Chris Pirrotta, Mike Regina and William Thomas) reached a tentative decision last week, discussed it with Senior Staff (identities top secret), then included world-wide staff, active and inactive, on the weekend conference call.

foundersdaytornptbwearingringcorvar“We have a real sense of accomplishment that the purpose of the website has been fulfilled,” said Regina on the call. “Erica and I were interested in “some guy” in New Zealand adapting “The Lord of the Rings” into movies, and when Chris and Bill found us it really elevated the effort. The next thing you know it became far more than the hobby we envisioned.”

“It’s the perfect time to go out on a high note, fresh off the recent success of the Hobbit movies and The One Last Party,” said Challis. “It is still our collective baby, but the four of us just feel content that it has run its course. We don’t want to be like a “Transformers” sequel.”

Pirrotta agreed with her, pointing out how much of a commitment 15 years is: “I was in college when this started with time to sit in a computer lab. All of us have jobs and kids and responsibilities now. We stayed true to our vision, didn’t sell the website for millions when offered, and we can all feel good about that.”

Thomas offered more practical reasons: “We made a commitment to not make a profit and to give the money away to charity if we did. We accomplished that and I’m proud that we kept the site pure. Plus, Star Wars is back, so we can all follow our true love again. Remember, TORn was just an ode to The Force dot net anyway.”

Not all staff agreed with the decision and there was a period of open discussion about different ways the site might change hands. While we will not tell the media or general public, we can share with true fans, there were audible sobs during the conference call. (more…)

Posted in Fans, Fool, Happy Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Other Events, Peter Jackson, Press Conferences, Rumours Spy News, Announcements, Community, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, TORn Book Club, TORn TUESDAYS Live!, Warner Bros.