Lord Richard Attenborough has sailed into the West at 90. Though mostly known from Jurassic Park (and as older brother of David Attenborough) he holds a dear place for Tolkien fans as the director of Shadowlands, a wonderful film about C.S.Lewis featuring the first cinematic representation of the Inklings group which Tolkien was part of. Lord Attenborough considered Shadowlands his most perfect work, and we can only hope that the two upcoming J.R.R. Tolkien biographical films will be made with as much care and passion as Attenborough put into his films.
There are many tributes and remembrances around the net celebrating his career as actor, director, executive and philanthropist. It is the 1993 film Shadowlands starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger where Attenborough’s talent shines as a storyteller of storytellers. The film is a biographical look at author C.S. Lewis and his relationships both personally and professionally. Importantly it is the first film to include the Inklings – a group of famed authors and writers which J.R.R. Tolkien was part of. Actor John Wood plays a loosely based figure of Tolkien through the character Christopher Riley. Although Riley/Tolkien is the fictional antagonist of the film, his portrayal includes Tolkien’s dialog from what we know of their relationship at the time.
Many biographies detail how John Tolkien helped bring his fellow author, Oxford academic and close friend Jack Lewis to Christianity, but was dismayed when Lewis chose the Anglican Church of England instead of Tolkien’s Catholicism. This would provide the significant break in their friendship; Tolkien’s Catholicism disapproved of divorce and was not supportive of Lewis’ marriage to Joy Gresham. Shadowlands focuses solely on that marriage and uses Tolkien’s own words and writings in the Christopher Riley character, saying ‘any book written faster than his own books couldn’t possibly be good–and Tolkien wrote slowly, very slowly; he never did finish the dictionary of Icelandic he promised for decades to Oxford University Press.’ (LA Times) Lewis’ brother Warren was more supportive, writing “For Jack the attraction was at first undoubtedly intellectual. Joy was the only woman whom he had met … who had a brain which matched his own in suppleness, in width of interest, and in analytical grasp, and above all in humour and a sense of fun.”
Lord Richard Attenborough was one of the very few directors or storytellers who could make an emotionally captivating film of a bunch of Oxford professors. Although Shadowlands deviates significantly from real life in some of the character portrayals, Lord Attenborough provides careful directorial attention in bringing this important literary era of Oxford to life.
Shadowlands is close to a perfect film and Richard Attenborough rightly considers it his most perfect work of his career. It demonstrates a nuanced control of the material – the retelling of C.S. Lewis’ late blooming. Even the antagonist, a Tolkienesque figure, is portrayed respectfully without falling into caricature. Films such as Shadowlands, Chaplin and Gandhi prove that Lord Attenborough is one of the greatest biographical storytellers Hollywood has seen. With TWO distinct biographical films in development on the life of J.R.R. Tolkien, studios and filmmakers would be smart to carefully study Lord Richard Attenborough’s biographical output.
Posted in J.R.R. Tolkien, Lectures & Education, Miscellaneous, Tolkien
Since 2003, fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s work have gathered each March to celebrate and share his writing with each other and the public. Set by the Tolkien Society on March 25 to commemorate the downfall of Sauron in “The Lord of the Rings,” the idea of Tolkien Reading Day was inspired by the annual bloomsday celebration of the works of James Joyce.
In Los Angeles, the local smial of the Tolkien Society, Tolkien Forever, has been observing Reading Day since 2006. Open to all who appreciate Tolkien’s work, volunteers sign up to read selections that may range from favorites like “Riddles in the Dark” to lesser-known pieces like the children’s book “Mr. Bliss.”
This year in Los Angeles, Reading Day will be held on Saturday, March 22, and will return to The Last Bookstore downtown, a venue worth visiting for any book lover. Volunteers who would would like to sign up to read should visit the Facebook event page for more details. Come out and share your favorite Tolkien selection with everyone!
For those in other parts of the country and the world, the Tolkien Society is cataloging events around the globe as they are scheduled. Don’t see your town on the list? Start your own Tolkien Reading Day! All you need is a few friends and a copy of “The Hobbit” to get started…
Reading Day Event Information
Los Angeles, USA
Date: Saturday, March 22
Location: The Last Bookstore
Time: 2pm to 5pm
Find out more
Date: Saturday March 22
Location: Logan North Library
Time: 11am to 1pm
Find out more
Tolkien Society Event Index
Do you have information about another Reading Day event that you’d like us to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org!
Posted in Events, Fans, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lectures & Education, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Other Events, Other Tolkien books, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Tolkien Reading Day, Uncategorized
For Tolkien fans, 2013 was the year of anticipating the dragon, as fans worldwide grew ever more enthusiastic between the final shot of the billion-dollar “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and the opening of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” in December. The staff of TheOneRing.net has been privileged to participate in many related events, by fans and for fans, and this ‘year of the dragon’ was more exciting than anyone expected! Take a walk down memory lane with us and peruse chapter 2013 of the “fan book of Westmarch” below:
Tolkien Forever “Toast To Tolkien.”
Fans in Los Angeles met at the Cat & Fiddle pub to share a drink and stories of all things Tolkien. The Tolkien Toast is a tradition started by the Tolkien Society to celebrate professor Tolkiens birthday on January 3rd. On that day, fans around the world lift a glass to “The Professor” at 9:00 p.m. local time wherever they may be.
Billy & Dom live fan chat – Merry & Pip reunion special
Our weekly webcast TORn Tuesdays had an exciting January as host Clifford “Quickbeam” Broadway snagged an exclusive “reunion” chat with Billy Boyd and Dominic Monahan. Dom discussed the launch of his new series on BBC America: Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan, and Billy filled us in on the new album, new album, Blue Sky Paradise, released by his band Beecake.
Dylan Sprouse on TORn Tuesday
Another great TORn Tuesday in January included an interview with guest Dylan Sprouse, star of the hit Disney Channel series “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.” A Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Award-winner and T.V. star, Dylan chatted about his own, personal love of Tolkien and how generational love of J.R.R. Tolkien is handed down to kids , inspiring them to great things! We hear you, Dylan!
Sylvester McCoy live fan chat
TORn Tuesdays spent a full hour with Sylvester McCoy and he even played the spoons! Of course, he also touched on his role as Radagast, the wizard, in The Hobbit movies. Have a look (or another look) at this great interview.
Kiran Shah live fan chat a week later! (Archive not available)
In early February actor and stunt man Kiran Shah joined us for an exclusive live chat on . Kiran shared his experiences as a scale scale double for all 5 Hobbits (Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, Bilbo) in the LOTR Trilogy and his return to Middle-earth in The Hobbit movies.
Unexpected Art Show – Los Angeles
To kick off TORn’s Oscar Party weekend, TORn held ‘An Unexpected Art Show’ at Lot 613, a blank-canvas special events space in the Historic Arts District of downtown Los Angeles. The show was a unique celebration of artwork from over 30 artists around the world inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. Attending in person, and exhibiting their art, were Tim Kirk, who illustrated the 1975 Tolkien Calendar — the first by an illustrator other than Professor Tolkien, and Jerry VanderStelt, an artist producing licensed reproductions for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings films. Additional artists include Donato Giancola, Stephen Hickman, and Jay Johnstone.
One Expected Party w/ Dom & Billy and Beecake
Once again, TORn returned to the American Legion in Hollywooed to host the party of all parties on the night of the Academy Awards. Attendees were treated to a live broadcast of the Academy Awards, a photo booth, fabulous food an drink, an amazing auction of LOTR and Hobbit collectibles and the company of Tolkien fans and friends from around the world. Sponsored by Houghton Mifflin, Air New Zealand., Sideshow Toys, The Tolkien Shop, The Noble Collection and Empire Magazine. World-class entertainment at the party included music ensemble Dorian Mirth, Celtic band Emerald Rose, Sir Ian McKellen impersonator Hunter Davis and a grand finale by Billy Boyd’s band, Beecake. Needless to say, a fabulous time was had by all!
AUJ released on DVD
We knew the Extended Edition was coming but fans still bought AUJ on DVD… because we just couldn’t wait to invite Bilbo, Gandalf and the dwarves into our homes!
DVD press junket (Andy Serkis, Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt and Martin Freeman)
While we were all waiting for the release of the AUJ DVD, TORn staffers were able to get exclusive interviews with Andy Serkis, Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt and Martin Freeman. In these great interviews, the four talented actors shared their experiences preparing for their roles and filming The Hobbit movies If you listened to them before, they’re well worth another listen. If not, what are you waiting for?!
WonderCon – Anaheim – Panel
On March 31st, at the 2013 Wondercon convention, staffers Garfeimao, Josh and Clifford “Quickbeam” Broadway presented a panel
titled: “TheOneRing.net’s Unauthorized Sneak Peek: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” Upwards of 600 people attended as our staff showed excerpts from the WB DOS sneak peak gave their insights to the latest Hobbit news and rumors. Feedback from the attendees was mega-positive.
Tolkien Reading Day
On the 25th of March, the same day of the destruction of the Ring of Power in The Return of the King, fans gather worldwide to celebrate the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and read favorite passages to each other. Tolkien Reading Day was started by the Tolkien Society and celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. TORn coverage here and here.
MTV Movie Awards hosted a fan-voting contest for “BEST HERO” and when we first discovered it, Kirsten Stewart, of Twilight and Snow White fame, was so far ahead of Bilbo it seemed hopeless. Beginning in last place, #VoteBilbo captured the hearts of twitter users around the world and, one by one, Bilbo overtook The Hulk, Batman, Catwoman and Ironman and finally led a heated battle with Snow White herself. An alliance was formed with LOTRProject to track voting in real time and while the battle was epic, and Bilbo came out ahead, the biggest reward was the many new friendships forged over twitter.
C2E2 – Chicago – Panel
TORn staffers were crowd-pleasers once again at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) in late April. Staffers entmaiden and Corvar offered a presentation and discussion of all things Hobbit and were a big hit!
Adam Brown live fan chat
TORn Tuesday did it again with an exclusive interview with actor Adam Brown who plays dward Ori in The Hobbit movies.
The Fall of Arthur published – New Tolkien book
A rare and exciting thin happened in April of 2013: a previously unpublished work of J.R.R. Tolkien was released: The Fall of Arthur. Like too many of his works, the narrative poem, edited by his son Christopher, was never finished. Still, as it is, it covers much of the Arthurian legend including Arthur’s expedition overseas into distant heathen lands, Guinevere’s flight from Camelot, the sea battle on Arthur’s return to Britain, Mordred and the tormented Lancelot.
Phoenix Comic Con – Panel
Hitting the con circuit again, staffer Garfeimao brought ‘The Desolation of Smaug: Sneak Peek’ panel to Phoenix.
Trailer 2 released
#Hobbitception Elves reaction video
All the Happy Hobbits, Fili and Kili, set out to do was quickly record their reactions to the 2nd trailer for “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” So, still in their pajamas, they set up their camera and started recording their sheer, geeky delight over what they saw. Little did they know that their little recording would be picked up by mainstream news outlets like Entertainment Weekly and Stuff.co.nz. The production and actors also got a kick out of their enthusiasm. From Stuff: “Jackson saw the video and posted it to his Facebook page saying it was “pretty cute”. He then filmed Hobbit cast members Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, and Lee Pace watching their reaction, saying “here’s what I guess you’d call a sequel to that fan video”. More than 20,000 people liked his video of the video, with many applauding Jackson for satisfying The Hobbit’s avid fans. Way to go, Hobbits!
Emporium of Goods launched
Fans worldwide submitted t-shirt designs for TheOneRing.net Emporium, and we had a tough time keeping up with demand!
SDCC – San Diego – Panel & Booth
San Diego Comic Con was just as epic as TheOneRing.net shared booth space with the fine folks at WETA Workshop and Badali Jewelry. Cosplay was out in full force, impression the likes of Evangeline Lilly, Manu Bennett, and Richard Taylor.
#ThankYouPJ fan video project
The final day of filming on The Hobbit trilogy inspired fans worldwide to say “Thank You Peter Jackson” for creating films we love.
Tauriel “It IS out Fight!” poster
Evangeline Lilly supported our efforts for a 5 Army Solution with an amazing poster designed by Badali Jewelry artist David Powell.
Road To DragonCon
New adventurers Doug, Ryan and Katalena joined the 3rd annual Road To DragonCon, meeting Tolkien fans across the country.
The blurriest pic to ever fire up Tolkien fandom.
S.H.I.R.E Project (Sharing The Hobbit to Improve REading) is a new charitable effort started by TheOneRing.net to provide needy schools with copies of Tolkien’s literature. The inaugural drive exceeded all our expectations so look forward to more book-giving efforts in the future.
Dragon Con – Atlanta – Four days of programming, celeb panels, a booth and an Epic 80’s Dance Party
DragonCon 2013 was yet again, the most Tolkien-centric event in the nation with four days of wall-to-wall programming from the track “Tolkien’s Middle-earth.” With TORn staffers MrCere, deej, greendragon, and Thorongil running the track, running the fan table to sell shirts and to see folks face-to-face and hosting big stars, this year’s edition also drew new attendees from Twitter and social media. The presence of stars was bigger than ever with Sylvester McCoy, Graham McTavish, William Kircher and Manu Bennett delighting fans at multiple panels. In fact, the two dwarf actors appeared on a large-room panel every single day of the convention. But one of the highlights of the week was the first annual Middle-earth Dance Party that created a big stir at a convention with endless entertainment possibilities.
Dragon Con video dance night highlights
Dragon Con ‘Tolkien’s Middle-earth’ track highlights
Baggins Birthday Bash – Los Angeles
TORn’s LA staffers hosted their 11th annual Baggins Birthday Bash in Griffith Park where close to 150 fans ate like Hobbits, drank like Dwarves and generally celebrated Bilbo and Frodo’s September 22 birthdays.
Exclusive set visit reports published
Our exclusive set-visit reports and photos from a lengthy stay with much more to come in 2014
NYCC – New York – Panel & Booth
TheOneRing.net was once again the only Hobbit content at the New York Comic Con and we’re always proud to represent Tolkien fandom! Our booth (complete with a ‘ring’ of dwarves mounted on the top), staffed by Calisuri, deej, Earl, greendragon, ImladrisRose, Justin, and Thorongil drew many folks eager for some Middle-earth goodies, and we were able to satisfy their craving with our own t-shirts and buttons, as well as Weta collectibles.
Sean Astin live fan chat
Sean Astin recalled his time on LOTR and updated us on his life and his projects since.
November brought the long-expected “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” fan event hosted by Anderson Cooper in New York. The event was held live in major cities around the world and also online. Per Anderson: “this global fan event is for fans around the world to ask questions of their favorite Hobbit actors and also to see some never before seen footage from the upcoming film. Go here for the video and a full transcript of this exciting event!
AUJ DVD Extended Edition Bluray release
The release of the extended edition of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” in Blu Ray format had fans around the world scratching their heads in confusion: “So, what version is available where and what is included on how many discs?” TORn to the rescue! Our staff put together this comprehensive, easy-to-follow guide to help fans zero in on exactly what they wanted.
TORN Book Club – Show launch
November brought about the debut of a new weekly live streaming video chat show for Tolkien Fundamentalists and all book lovers. Sundays 3pm PT at http://theonering.net/live
Premiere – Hollywood – pinch seen ’round the Tumblrs
Although Berlin got the bigger premiere, fans watching Hollywood were most delighted to see a fun moment between Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Only TheOneRing.net cameras caught this, inspiring legions of tumblr gifs and validating shippers worldwide.
Plane unveiling – LAX
As part of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’s premiere festivities, Air New Zealand graciously invited TheOneRing.net to the red carpet reveal of their new Smaug plane! Joining the Happy Hobbits at the event were TORn staffers Quickbeam & Sarumann, who shared a brief moment with director Peter Jackson and actors Aidan Turner (Kili) and Dean O’Gorman (Fili). Check out the pics and video here!
Press Junket – Beverly Hills
Check out our exclusive “Playlist of Desolation.”
William Kircher live fan chat
Bifur himself stops by and gives the scoop on our favorite Dwarf with an axe in his head.
FORTH EORLINGAS INTO 2014!
“Tolkien Fandom is the most generous, thoughtful and kind fandom I’ve ever seen.”
- Doug Brochu
Posted in Adam Brown, Aidan Turner, Cate Blanchett, ComicCon, Conventions, Crew News, Dan Hennah, Dean O'Gorman, Director news, DragonCon, Evangeline Lilly, Events, Exhibits, Fans, Film Screenings, Graham McTavish, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, J.R.R. Tolkien, James Nesbitt, Jed Brophy, John Bell, John Callen, Lectures & Education, Locations Sets, Mary Nesbit, NYCC, Oscar Parties, Peggy Nesbit, Peter Jackson, Premieres, Production, Richard Armitage, Ryan Gage, Stephen Fry, Sylvester McCoy, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The One Expected Party, TheOneRing.net Announcements, TheOneRing.net Community, Tolkien, William Kircher, WonderCon
For those of you who aren’t aware, TORn friend and award-winning author and screenwriter, Peter S. Beagle, has been on tour for a few months offering a Q&A and screening of the movie: The Last Unicorn based on his best-selling novel of the same name. I was lucky enough to attend a screening a few months ago and it was well worth it! This month, the tour goes to Bakersfield, CA, Fort Collins, CO and a number of cities in New Mexico. Check below for the full January schedule courtesy of Peter’s publicist, Connor Cochran, and check out the tour’s website for future screenings near you.
The first screening is this Saturday, at noon, at the Southside Works Cinema in Pittsburgh, PA. (Less than 48 hours away!) Any fan who wants to buy a ticket should go to https://southsideworks.ticketsclevelandcinemas.com/, select Saturday from the dropdown date menu, scroll down until you see THE LAST UNICORN showing listed, and then click on the time.
AS FOR THE REST OF JANUARY…
• Friday January 17, 7 PM: the Reading Cinemas Valley Plaza 16 in Bakersfield, CA
• Sunday January 19, 1 PM: the Harkins Flagstaff 11 Luxury, with the signing session afterwards at the local Barnes & Noble store. (This one is also different than usual because all ticket sales have to be directly through us, instead of the theatre. People wanting to buy tickets in advance should call 650-728-8098 or email email@example.com.)
• Wednesday, January 22, 7:30 PM: the Loft Cinema in Tucson, AZ
• Saturday, January 25, 11 AM & 6:30 PM & 9 PM: the Jean Cocteau Theatre in Santa Fe, NM. (And at 5 PM, as a separate ticket, there will be a special live-on-stage “fantasy summit” as Peter and George R.R. Martin interview each other!)
• Sunday, January 26, times to be announced, at the Lyric Cinema Café in Fort Collins, CO. (They may be showing the Bakshi LORD OF THE RINGS as well — still waiting to hear.)
In the gaps we’re still trying to set up shows in Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Las Cruxes/El Paso. Still in January, but after Fort Collins, we are working on possible shows in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Salt Lake City.
Posted in Blu-Ray, DVDs, Events, Film Screenings, Lectures & Education, Merchandise, Miscellaneous