Six rounds, with well over 5,000 votes in each round; much impassioned discussion in chat rooms and on Facebook threads; multiple live results shows; and now it’s done. Middle-earth March Madness 2020 drew to a close last night; if you missed the live results show, you can catch it here. (Last night the panelists looked back on the past nine years of Middle-earth March Madness, and also discussed some of our least favourite scenes in Peter Jackson’s movies, before the big reveal of this year’s winner!) Or simply read on, to find out which scene was declared Grand Champion 2020.
This year’s theme was ‘Film Scenes’, and we started off with a selection of 64 favourite moments from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, chosen and voted on for seeding by TORn staffers. These were divided into four categroies: Scenic, Laughter, Tearjerkers and Drama/Action. Staff chose considerably more Lord of the Rings moments than Hobbit moments as favourites, and only one Hobbit scene (Bilbo saying farewell to the dwarves) made it out of Round One. (It was defeated in Round Two by Boromir’s death.) Perhaps the most notable upset in Round One was the defeat in the Tearjerker group of the number one seed, the Grey Havens, by the number 16 seed, ‘You bow to no one’. This latter scene went all the way to the Semi Final, suggesting that it should perhaps have started with a higher seed; but clearly it wasn’t a high favourite amongst the staff who voted on seeding. (What do TORn staff know…?! I’m still shocked that the ‘Dare we risk a little more light’ moment in the great hall of Moria didn’t make it past the first round!)
Our two eventual finalists were the winner of the Scenic bracket, ‘Lighting the Beacons’, vs the Drama/Action champion, ‘The Charge of the Rohirrim’. Feelings ran high for this one, with many fans expressing their love for one side of the other. As more and more comments appeared on Facebook, however, it seemed pretty clearly that voting was going more to one side – and in the end, it wasn’t a particularly close battle. The victorious scene took 68% of the vote.
And so, we can reveal the Grand Champion of Middle-earth March Madness 2020:
The stirring speech by King Theoden, and the heroic plunge into battle, defeated the call for aid which lead directly to that moment, as Rohan comes to help Gondor – making the Charge of the Rohirrim this year’s overall winner.
Here is the final bracket for 2020:
We also announced last night the winner of the fabulous Balrog statue, from our friends at Sideshow. Congratulations to A. Fuentes; look out for an email coming your way! Thanks again to Sideshow for letting us do such a great giveaway.
And thanks to all of YOU, for having some March Madness fun with us over these last couple of weeks. Don’t forget, you can still catch last night’s live results show, here. We’re already thinking about what our theme next year might be… Meanwhile, stay tuned for more fun and live events from TORn, as we get through these strange, locked-down days together. Your friends are with you! Fear no darkness!
And then there were two… Middle-earth March Madness 2020 began just over two weeks ago, and here we are, arrived at the FINAL. We started out with 64 scenes from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, divided into four categories: Tearjerkers, Scenic, Laughter, and Drama/Action. Five rounds later, and just two scenes remain, to battle for the title of Grand Champion 2020.
Once again we had almost 5,500 people vote in the last round; if you missed last night’s live results show, you can watch it here. (Panelists on last night’s show also discussed what they would choose for their own personal top four scenes from PJ’s movies; see if your choices coincide with theirs!)
In Round Five, we saw the Laughter division winner take on the champion from the Drama/Action category: ‘Would you like me to find you a box?’ vs The Charge of the Rohirrim. Comedy, it turned out, was no match for an epic battle sequence; the Rohirrim took almost three quarters of the vote to secure their place in the final.
But Theoden shouldn’t be cheering too soon; the Rohirrim face a very tough opponent in the Final. The other Semi Final was between the Scenic and Tearjerker brackets, and this was a really closely fought contest. It went right down to the wire, with strong feelings on both sides; the final vote split was 51% to 49%! By this narrowest of margins, Lighting the Beacons defeated ‘You bow to no one’; so it is Gondor’s call for aid which goes through to this year’s final.
Here is the bracket as it currently stands:
Feelings are likely to run high for this face off. Which epic sequence gets YOUR vote? You have until 10pm TOMORROW night (Wednesday 15th) to make your voice heard, so don’t delay! We’re also still taking entries for our GIVEAWAY of an awesome Balrog statue, from our friends at Sideshow. Vote again, submit your details again, and be in with a second chance to win!
We’ll have our final LIVE RESULTS SHOW tomorrow night at 10pm ET; you can find that, as ever, on our facebook page. Hope to see you there; or check back here on Thursday morning to find out who is Middle-earth March Madness Grand Champion 2020. VOTE NOW!
THE BEACONS ARE LIT, and Gondor calls for aid – but the aid is needed for the ‘You bow to no one’ scene! We know that many of you want to see ‘You bow to no one’ go through to the Final of Middle-earth March Madness 2020. Right now, however, it’s being beaten by the Lighting the Beacons scene; but there is only 10% in it!
Muster the Rohirrim! (Whose charge, by the way, is currently easily beating the ‘Would you like me to find you a box?’ scene; but that could all change, if there is a final day surge in voting as there was in the previous round. No scene is safe!)
Rally the troops! Get your fellow fans to VOTE before 10pm ET TONIGHT!
And don’t forget, everyone who votes can enter to win an amazing Balrog statue, thanks to our good friends and sponsors Sideshow. So check out the Final Four scenes, make your choices, and vote! VOTE NOW!
Then tune in to our facebook page at 10pm ET tonight to watch our live results show!
It’s time for the Semi Final! The champions of each of our four brackets have been decided, and now just four entries remain in Middle-earth March Madness 2020. Which scene will go on to be our Grand Champion this year?
Thanks to everyone who voted in the Elite Eight round, and who tuned in to our Live Results show last night; strong feelings were shared on Facebook threads and in the chat room, and we had almost 5,500 votes placed! Let’s take a look at our bracket winners:
The easiest win this round was in the Scenic category, where in spite of many finding this to be a tough choice, the Lighting the Beacons scene took 69% of the vote against the Sailing past the Argonath scene. It’s hard to see the Kings of Old go out of the contest, but the beacons are continuing to look like a very strong contender for overall Champion.
The contest was only a tiny bit closer in the Drama/Action group, where Gandalf and the Balrog fell to the Charge of the Rohirrim. The wizard and his foe could only muster one third of the vote, so the horsemen charge on, into the Semi Final.
In the Tearjerker category, feelings not surprisingly ran high, and there was much discussion. Boromir’s death had many fans, who posted how this scene always makes them weep; but in the end, it was ‘You bow to no one’ which came out victorious, by a margin of 10%. Could the four humble hobbits at Minas Tirith be our future Grand Champion?
The closest battle was in the Laughter bracket, and I know many will be upset by this result: Pippin is out! His Second Breakfast, though it secured 48% of the vote, just could not overcome the Artoo and Threepio of Middle–earth; Gimli and Legolas’s ‘Would you like me to find you a box?’ scene goes on to the Semi Final.
So here’s how our Final Four pair up in the Semi Final:
‘Bow to no one’ vs Lighting the Beacons will surely be the closer of these two battles; how to choose between those two?! At the same time, how does one pick between a scene of humour and a sweeping, majestic battle scene? Tough calls indeed. But if you’re thinking, ‘I wish the decision had never come to me!’ and considering not voting in this round, let me urge you to reconsider… Because our good friends and sponsors Sideshow have given us an awesome prize to giveaway!
Every person who votes in the Semi Final will have the chance to enter to win a Balrog statue! He may not have made it to the Semi Final, but he could be making his way to your home; and he even comes complete with a mini Gandalf, so you can reenact their face-off to your heart’s content. Simply complete the voting survey and then, if you wish, fill in your details in the form at the end, and you’ll be in with a chance to win. And if you vote again in the Final, you can enter again! But let’s get through the Final Four first… Big thanks to Sideshow for such an amazing giveaway!
Don’t take too long over your choices; this round only goes until 10pm ET TOMORROW, Monday 13th April. Tune in to our facebook page at 10pm ET tomorrow night to watch our live results show! Which two scenes do you want to see facing off in the Final? YOU decide: VOTE NOW!
The Quarter Final of Middle-earth March Madness 2020 is now on; but it closes this evening! If you want your voice to be heard, don’t delay – vote now!
In the Elite Eight round, each of the four brackets has its final contest, before the victors go on to meet the winners of other categories. So there are four fights currently ongoing; two are very close, and two have fairly wide margins…
If you’re a lover of the Argonath, you should know that right now, the scene where the Fellowship sail past those mighty kings of old has only 30% against the Lighting of the Beacons scene. Likewise (and this one really surprises me!) the charge of the Rohirrim is currently trouncing Gandalf vs the Balrog, two thirds to one third. But a lot can change in a day! If you want to see the Argonath or Gandalf and the Balrog go through to the Semi Final, rally your troups and get them to VOTE!
Will it be Pippin or Gimli who comes out on top from the Laughter bracket? ‘Second Breakfast’ is in the lead just now, over ‘Would you like me to find you a box’ – but there are only 100 votes in it! The same margin stands between Boromir’s death and ‘You bow to no one’ – which of these two will turn the tide and sail on through to the Final Four?
A reminder of our Elite Eight pairings:
Tune in to our facebook page at 10pm ET TONIGHT to watch our live results show! But meanwhile, push for the result YOU want by sharing, tweeting, getting your friends involved, and voting!
Then come back here tomorrow morning to vote for the Final Four; and to find out about a very EXCITING GIVEAWAY we’ll be doing, for those who are joining in with March Madness this year! Love the Balrog? You’ll definitely want to stay tuned….
Thanks to all the thousands of folks who voted in Round Three of Middle-earth March Madness 2020; we’re now down to the Elite Eight, ie the Quarter Finals! Some of you were able to tune in for our LIVE results show last night; if you want to catch up, you can watch that show here. Let’s take a look at some of those results…
The choices are, for many voters, getting harder as the contest goes on; and that was shown in the outcomes, with most match ups being closely fought. The widest margin was in the Scenic bracket, with Lighting of the Beacons beating the Fellowship’s first glimpse of Rivendell by taking 79% of the vote. This isn’t as big a majority as it had in the previous round (87% against the Witch King and his army leaving Minas Morgul), but it’s still a pretty decisive win; and I’m still backing the Beacons to go all the way to be this year’s Champion! Its Quarter Final contest, however, is a VERY tough one: it goes up against the Fellowship sailing past the Argonath, which beat out Legolas, Aragorn and Gimli running through Rohan by 72% to 28%. Beacons vs Argonath; how to choose between those two epic scenes? Which one will get YOUR vote?
Only one of the other duels in Round Three had a resulting margin of more than 15%: in the Drama/Action category, where once again we had two charges facing off. The Charge of the Rohirrim (on Pelennor Fields) was able to overcome Gandalf and Eomer’s dawn charge at Helm’s Deep by almost 1,000 votes, or by 62% to 38%. It goes on to meet a demon from the ancient world in the Elite Eight, Gandalf’s fight with the Balrog in Moria having defeated Eowyn’s vanquishing of the Witch King. Our panel last night had a long discussion of the varied merits of these two scenes; most in the chat room agreed that Eowyn’s victory is more powerful in the book (where her identity is unknown right to the last moment), whilst many thought that the rendering of the Balrog in PJ’s movie actually enhances what we read in Tolkien’s work. Whatever your opinion, it was the fiery foe who won in Round Three; though there were fewer than 300 votes in it.
The closest pairing in the Sweet Sixteen round was found in the Tearjerkers group; I suspect some people may have had to toss a coin to decide this one! We are indeed all looking for ‘some good in this world’ right now; but nonetheless, ‘You bow to no one’ snuck through, with only just over 100 votes between those two amazing scenes. Boromir is still hanging in there; or rather, he’s not, but his death is! The mighty warrior’s death scene took 54% of the vote, and thus defeated the Fellowship’s reaction to Gandalf’s fall in Moria. So in the Elite Eight of Tearjerkers we have to choose between Aragorn being moved by his comrade’s death, and Aragorn being moved by four hobbits who changed Middle-earth. Will you need to toss that coin again…?
Talking of tossing things – the Laughter bracket continues to be Pippin vs Gimli. Pippin’s ‘What about second breakfast?’ was victorious over Gimli’s ‘Toss me!’, but to our panel’s (and my!) surprise, Legolas’s ‘Would you like me to find you a box?’, beat Pippin’s ‘Where are we going?’ There were only about 600 votes between the contestants in both these match ups; and so our final in this category is Pippin’s second breakfast vs Gimli’s box.
Here’s how the Elite Eight shapes up – the final duels within each of our four categories:
Get those votes in! Voting in the Elite Eight round will close at 10pm ET Saturday 11th April. Click here to go to the survey – open now! We’ll have another LIVE results show starting at 10pm ET on Saturday evening, which you’ll find on our facebook page. The Semi Final will then kick off with a post here on the morning of Sunday 12th April, when we’ll be down to the last four…
Are any of your favourites still in with a chance? Are these some of the toughest choices you’ve ever faced?! Join in the fun and let us know your thoughts!
Round Two is closed, with around 5,000 votes placed, and it’s almost time to launch the Sweet Sixteen round in Middle-earth March Madness 2020; but before we do that, we need to take a look at the results in Round Two! As at the end of Round One, we hosted a LIVE results show, with a great panel of folks discussing the various battles and their outcomes. If you missed it, you can still watch that show here. Take a moment to check it out; and be sure to tune in for another results show when this current round ends on Wednesday 8th April. If you don’t have time to watch, then read on for a look back at Round Two now…
As ever, we start with the Tearjerkers bracket. In Round One this category contained the closest battle overall (Theoden’s death vs Pippin finding Merry on Pelennor Fields); but here in Round Two, there were fairly hefty wins in all four fights. The closest one was Sam’s ‘There’s some good in this world’ speech against the previously mentioned Theoden death scene; Sam was triumphant, with just over two thirds of the vote. The widest margin here was the Fellowship’s reaction to Gandalf’s fall in Moria vs Sam saying farewell to Frodo after Shelob’s sting (80% to 20%). Our panelists on the live show last night were all pointing out how it is the superb acting of Elijah Wood, Sean Astin et al in the scene of Gandalf’s fall, as they weep or sit in stunned disbelief, which really makes it. A possible contender to go all the way to become Champion? Maybe; but first it faces very tough competition, as it goes up against Boromir’s death scene. Round Three of this bracket surely contains some of the hardest choices; the other pairing is ‘You bow to no one’ against ‘There’s some good in this world’. As our panelists remarked, we’re all looking for good in this world right now; that scene for sure will be getting my vote!
Let’s look next at the Scenic bracket. The first pairing here was the lighting of the beacons vs the Witch King and his army leaving Minas Morgul. Lighting the beacons won by the biggest margin in any match up, taking 87% of the vote. This scene is surely a strong contender for overall Champion 2020? It gets my vote for certain (well, given that my favourite great hall of Moria scene went out in Round One. Still grieving; grumble grumble…)
The closest duel in this category was Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli running through Rohan against Eowyn at Meduseld, gazing out across the land. Our live panel almost unanimously wanted Eowyn to win; but the running ‘boys’ took 700 more votes than the Shieldmaiden, so they go through to Round Three – where they face surely VERY tough competition from the sailing past the Argonath scene?
Laughter next: something we all need right now! As was remarked last night, this has now come down to a Pippin vs Gimli bracket. Pippin’s ‘What about second breakfast?’ defeated the scene where he and Merry welcome Aragorn, Gandalf and Gimli to Isengard; though it wasn’t the landslide I would have predicted, with second breakfast taking less than two thirds of the vote. The closest fight in the entire second round was between two Legolas/Gimli moments: ‘That still only counts as one!’ vs ‘Would you like me to find you a box?’ To our panel’s surprise, ‘find you a box’ was victorious; but there were only just over 100 votes in it!
Last but by no means least, let’s consider the Drama/Action bracket. Having beaten Gandalf escaping on an eagle in Round One, Eowyn taking on the Witch King had another fairly easy victory this round, taking 80% of the vote against Gollum falling into the Cracks of Doom. Now she faces Gandalf and the Balrog in Round Three; will she have another easy win, or will that scene be stiffer competition?
Two charges faced off in this group: Gandalf and Eomer’s dawn charge beat Faramir’s charge, with almost three quarters of the vote. And alas, another of my personal favourites has fallen, to another charge: the Ents going to war was beaten easily (69% to 31%) by the charge of the Rohirrim.
Here’s the entire Round Three bracket:
So now comes the Sweet Sixteen round! You have until 10pm ET Wednesday 8th April, to vote in this Round. Every vote counts; and the choices get harder as we move through the rounds. Click here to go to the survey and place your votes. Don’t forget to tune in to our LIVE results show starting at 10pm ET on Wednesday evening; as ever, you’ll be able to find that on our facebook page (and you can watch last night’s show here). As usual, results will also be posted here around 10am ET, on Thursday 9th in the morning; and then on to Round Four!
What are your predictions now for 2020’s Champion? Which pairings are the hardest choices? Share your thoughts on facebook, in the chat room or on the message boards. Onwards!
What a contest Middle-earth March Madness 2020 is shaping up to be! Almost 5,500 people voted in Round One, and there were some very close contests. Last night, for the first time in Middle-earth March Madness history, we had a LIVE results show, and we’ll be continuing that whenever we can, throughout the contest. For those who weren’t able to tune in, let’s take a look at some of the Round One results.
Starting with the Tearjerkers bracket, the closest battle played out on Pelennor Fields. There were fewer than 200 votes between Theoden’s death, and Pippin finding Merry; but the death of the King ultimately won through to Round Two. The second tightest contest in this bracket was between Bilbo’s farewell to the dwarves in The Battle of Five Armies, and Sam finding Frodo in Cirith Ungol in The Return of the King. In the end, it was The Hobbit scene which won the duel, by 230 votes. The surprise (for me, anyway) in this category was the significant margin (almost 800 votes) by which The Return of the King‘s ‘You bow to no one’ moment beat the Grey Havens scene at the end of that movie.
Moving on to the Laughter gathering, we find the biggest victory of Round One: Pippin’s ‘What about second breakfast?’ took 90% of the vote, with only 500 voters expressing a preference for PJ’s Corsair cameo. Most of the pairings in this bracket were fairly easy wins, the only close(ish) call being between Gandalf’s ‘Fool of a Took!’ remark in the mines of Moria, with 59%, to 41% for Bilbo’s faint after reading the contract in An Unexpected Journey. Another personal comment from me: the one part in all six movies which is guaranteed always to make me laugh is Gandalf’s ‘In fact, it’s better if you don’t speak at all’ to Pippin outside Meduseld; but more than two thirds of voters disagree with me, and preferred Gimli’s ‘Toss me’ aside to Aragorn.
In the Scenic group, as beautiful as the Shire is, Frodo and Sam’s journey through it in The Fellowship of the Ring was no match for the lighting of the beacons; the Return of the King scene took 85% of the vote in that match up. The Shire was defeated again, but this time only by 52% to 48%, with Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn’s run through Rohan in The Two Towers vanquishing Gandalf’s first arrival in Hobbiton in The Fellowship of the Ring. I’m taking a moment to lament one of my own very favourite scenes, the ‘Dare we risk a little more light?’ moment in the great hall of Moria; it has fallen in Round One, conquered by the Fellowship’s first glimpse of Rivendell.
And finally those dramatic moments… It is perhaps not surprising that the widest margin in the Drama/Action bracket was between the first seed and the bottom seed; Eowyn vs the Witch King beat Gandalf escaping Orthanc on an eagle by 4,415 votes to 917. The closest fight in this category was (also perhaps not surprisingly) between seeds 8 and 9; Gollum’s fall into the Cracks of Doom beat Bilbo’s first sighting of Smaug by 55% to 45%.
Here’s how things look as we go into Round Two:
So Round Two begins! You have until 10pm ET Sunday 5th April, to vote in this Round. Don’t delay! Click here to go to the survey. We’ll have a LIVE results show starting at 9.50pm ET on Sunday evening; as ever, you’ll be able to find that on our facebook page. Results will also be posted here on Monday 6th in the morning; and then on to Round Three!
What do you think of the results so far? Any of your favourites already defeated? Which scene are you hoping will go all the way to become 2020’s Champion? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Let battle resume!
It seems that the theme of ‘Scenes from Peter Jackson’s movies’ is a popular one; over 4200 people have voted in Middle-earth March Madness 2020 so far! And Round One still has a day to go! Let’s have a look at how things are playing out…
There are several close fights underway in the Tearjerkers bracket. How to choose between Theoden’s death, and the moment when Pippin finds Merry on Pelennor Fields? Or between Sam’s heroic scenes: when he carries Frodo on Mount Doom, or when he tells us all, ‘There’s some good in this world…’? It’s a tough decision for sure, and right now they are neck and neck.
In the Scenic group, it’s a close call between Gandalf’s first arrival in the Shire in The Fellowship of the Ring, and the sweeping vista as Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn run through Rohan in The Two Towers. I know which one gets my personal vote (I’m a sucker for the humble beauty of the Shire), but which way will YOU vote?
Finally, which dramatic moment do you prefer: when Gollum, clutching his Precious, falls into the Cracks of Doom, or when Bilbo first sees Smaug in the second Hobbit movie? This pairing is running very close just now; make sure your vote is included!
Here’s a reminder of the Round One bracket:
(Don’t worry if some of those seem a little unclear; when you go to the actual survey to vote, you’ll see a longer description to help you place the scene. We just had to fit succinct summaries on the bracket image!)
You have until 10pm ET tomorrow, Thursday 2nd April, to cast your Round One votes. Simply click here to go to the survey. We’ll then have a LIVE results show starting at 9.50pm ET on Thursday evening; you’ll be able to find that on our facebook page. Results will also be posted here on Friday 3rd in the morning, and then voting on Round Two will begin.
How many folks are rewatching the movies, to help you make your choices? Anyone fallen out with friends yet, over differences of opinion? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Take part, share liberally, and let’s make this a contest to remember!
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 email@example.com 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.
The Lord of Water
I move through the world via many paths. Each pathway leads to me and I cover this Middle Earth. Nowhere is beyond my reach. For if I am hinderedI may take to the sky to fall again anew, Where each raindrop may carry a message from me, Each teardrop you shed a tale from you. Through the scars of the land I move unassailed. In my depths I hold memories and great tales never told. For the memories and tales are as the Great River’s roar. Each crash is a cry out. Each trickle a whispered sigh. The thunder of Rauros echoes of a thousand battles, Whilst the screens of a waterfall have hidden the events that began them!
Not for me the grand halls and graces of Valinor, Nor the rugged beauty of the lands of Arda. It is Ulmonan holds my heart. The depths of my oceans and the calm of my seas offer seclusion enough. But beware my wrath and cherish my pity For I am ever present to protect. To guide. To avenge. For I offer both mercy and punishment to the Children of Illúvatar I will speak with Nàmo and Manwë if need, within the Máhanaxar And forestall the works of Melkor For I am of the Eight, The Aratar The Holy Ones of Arda And I remain.
~~ * ~~
The Dawn of the Fourth Age
By Mary E.
He who was the younger now must take charge. The one who his father loved the least has now become the first. What has happened to the world? That which was fair is now corrupt He who was less now is more. Those who loved peace now must fight. The land which was green is now a blight. The kingdom of elves is fading fast It is men that must take up the banner of good. The king will return The halfling will save. All that must be will be Much that is old must leave the earth. For a new age has come, Never seen under this sun. All things must come to an end But many others have just begun. That which was beautiful but deadly Has at last been destroyed. The power of evil no more can stand All peoples will join the final fight And bring down that which blocked the light. A star in heaven will join her lord And a new race of kings will be born. The last of the wise will pass over the sea, But leave in their wake the ones who have tales still meant to be told. What has happened to the world? Is the dark gone for good The light here to stay? Prophesies fulfilled and wars won and passed? The earth is beautiful, fair and bright, The King loves his people And all is right.
~~ * ~~
Elf of the wand
By: Theo van de Pol
And so it was told that both were Maiar,
but the light was in Olórin and the
darkness with Valaraukar.
One walked Middle Earth and Gandalf became his
the other dwelt deep in darkness and would become
Many years later Durin Doors would sway open again,
and the Grey Pilgrim led a brave fellowship into
the Balrogs den.
In the grim cold of the mine there are no lights or
there he would face his greatest test as outlined
by the wise Valar.
At the bridge of Khazad-Dum he stood firm but fell
in the abyss,
fighting the demon for days, leaving his friends
alone and amiss.
The darkness took him and he strayed out of thought
but was send back naked as it was still his task to
guide and shine.
He became Gandalf once again to help those who opposed Sauron to fight, this time not as the Grey, but purely as the White.
Here we go! Middle-earth March Madness 2020 begins today!
This year we’re pitting against one another various scenes from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, in the categories of Tearjerkers, Scenic, Laughter, and Drama/Action. (Those listed are the moments as they appear in Peter Jackson’s movies; though you can of course feel free to reread the appropriate sections in the book and use your imagination, when making your choices!) Do you love the part when the Ents stride out to war? Or do you prefer Theoden’s stirring speech to the Riders of Rohan on the edge of Pelennor Fields? Which makes you laugh more: Pippin’s, ‘Great, where are we going?’ or Gandalf’s command to him that ‘it’s better if you don’t speak at all’? Take a look at all the magical moments vying to be 2020’s Champion:
(Don’t worry if some of those seem a little unclear; when you go to the actual survey to vote, you’ll see a longer description to help you place the scene. We just had to fit succinct summaries on the bracket image!)
So, how do you play along, I hear you ask? Simple! Click here to go to a survey, where you can vote in each of the battles in this first round. You only get to vote once, so choose wisely! Round One runs until 10pm ET on Thursday 2nd April; on Friday 3rd in the morning we will post results, with an updated bracket, and voting on Round Two will begin. So it continues until only two remain, with the Grand Final happening on April 14-15. Which scene will be declared the overall winner? YOU decide!
Maybe you need to revisit PJ’s films to weigh up all these stirring scenes – a perfect excuse for a marathon viewing! Maybe you want to lift your copies of the books down from the shelf, and read aloud certain moments, in the Professor’s own words. Discuss online with friends, have a remote viewing party, and make the case for your preferences. HOW you decide on your vote is up to you! We’ve given you four days for this first round, so you have plenty of time to ponder, and to savour all these magical moments in the realms of Middle-earth.
We hope you’ll share your opinions with us too: here in the comments, on the message boards, in the Facebook group, via Twitter (#memarchmadness), etc. Are there incidents you think should be on there, which we’ve omitted? Finding it hard to choose? Share your thoughts and dilemmas! Let’s virtually gather together in this time of social distancing, to enjoy these stories we love; and to engage in a bit of friendly dueling!
It’s a tradition going back some years: TheOneRing.net’s own version of March Madness! Each Spring, staffers at TORn draw up a table of characters (or something else – see more below) from Tolkien’s realms, and we ask you all to vote in each round, until we have an overall winner. This year is no exception! We all need things to do, and to think about, to keep us distracted in these days of social distancing; so we hope you’ll join us and play along for this year’s Middle-earth March Madness!
The fun begins on Monday, when we’ll post this year’s brackets, together with a link to a poll where you can place your votes. We’ll be posting articles about the various ‘battles’, and we hope you’ll join in and discuss on facebook and the message boards. Meanwhile, here’s a look back on some of the earlier contests.
We first created our own March Madness fun back in 2012, making this the 9th year of the contest. (What shall we do for our tenth, next year?) That year our four brackets consisted of various characters from Middle-earth, with the brackets named for Ralph Bakshi, Rankin Bass, the Tolkien family, and Peter Jackson. The final was between Aragorn and Samwise, with Sam coming out on top.
In 2013 and 2014 the brackets were simply named for different places, with a mix of characters in each bracket. 2013 saw The Shire, Erebor, Mordor and Angmar brackets, with a final showdown between Thorin (from the Mordor bracket) and Gandalf (from Angmar). It was a close contest, but the wizard ultimately came out on top. 2014’s brackets were named for Bag End, the Lonely Mountain, Erebor (yes the Lonely Mountain going by another name) and Mirkwood. The finalists came from the Bag End and Mirkwood categories, and were father and son: Thranduil took on Legolas. The fans were out in force for both these pretty elves, but Thranduil won in the end.
2015 saw the first year that combatants were divided by specific categories, with brackets being Lord of the Rings characters, Hobbit characters, Silmarillion characters, and ‘Others’ from the Professor’s writing. It also saw a first in a combatant being ‘disqualified’: Thranduil’s fans were so desperate to see him victorious again, they were bucking the system and voting multiple times. With Mirkwood’s ruler thrown out, the final saw Bilbo and Gandalf face off; and Gandalf was champion for the second time.
In 2016 we drew up brackets according to attributes: Beauty, Brains, Brawn, and Baddies. Ultimate Baddie Morgoth took on Galadriel in the final, where the elf maiden was triumphant, taking two thirds of the vote! 2017’s groupings divided characters into ‘Book Only’, ‘Movie Only’, ‘Wider Mythos’, and ‘Movie and Book’. A first this year was that we deliberately did not include past champions Gandalf, Galadriel, Samwise or Thranduil; also the divisions allowed many first time entrants, such as ‘Sebastian the Hedgehog’ and ‘The Fox’. The champion in 2017, appearing in his second final, was Aragorn.
2018 mixed things up by including characters from outside of Tolkien’s writings. This year, we had roles from the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies, AND roles from other films, played by the same actors. This meant that was saw Lee Pace’s Ronan take on his Thranduil, as well as a show down between Count Dooku and Saruman. Middle-earth characters, however, were the ones who made it to the final, where Gollum beat Elrond.
And just last year, our contest became Middle-earth MAP March Madness, with all the entrants being locations: from The Shire, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. Gondolin faced, but could not defeat, Rivendell in that final.
What will the categories be this year? All will be revealed on Monday! Or head on over to join TheOneRing.net’s Facebook group, The Worlds and Works of J.R.R. Tolkien, where you can get an early preview tomorrow. Let’s get ready to rumble!
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