Welcome to the latest “Getting to know” – questions that need answering. It’s based on the old Getting to know you threads that I occasionally post on the message boards here on TORn, so those familiar with them will know that the questions can be a little crazy and the answers even crazier.
This month we’re asking questions of self-described Online guy at Weta Workshop and all round top bloke, Magnus Hjert.
Viewers in Australia had to wait a good bit longer than many parts of the world to own “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” on home video but when it is released on May 1, it comes with a free Richard Armitage! You can’t take him home but if you buy a ticket from Popcorn Taxi, you can witness the man behind Thorin Oakenshield answering questions. The 2D 24 fps screening takes place at the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace. We also expect to read some media interviews with Armitage from the event but if any fans attend we would love to read spy reports as well. Drop us a line at SpyMaster@TheOneRing.net. Follow the link above for full details.
Note:A photo gallery follows the text and videos, click for larger versions.
The mill at Hobbiton Movie Set
NEW ZEALAND — During the world premiere of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” New Zealand wisely took the opportunity to show journalists from around the world (and Australia) a lot of the amazing things its island nation has to offer. TheOneRing.net was part of one of the tours and rather than regurgitate all the footage, photos and writing we gathered at once, exactly when all the other journalism outlets of the world did, we thought it would be great to disperse it and share it over the course of 2013 in the lead up to “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”
After all, Tourism New Zealand’s motto is “New Zealand is Middle-earth” and this is true in so many ways and for much longer than just the weeks after the debut of the film. For example, above is the video made for TORn by fellow filmmaker Dan McBride who shot and edited the video tour you probably have already watched. We, and a gaggle of other media, toured the Hobbiton Movie Set and witnessed Prime Minister John Key open the new Green Dragon building accompanied by a bunch of actors who reminded us a whole lot of a company of Dwarves. (Incidentally, we had just talked to him the day before so when he showed up again, we wondered why we were being followed and what we had done wrong.)
The video speaks for itself but this remarkable property is, as far as I know, unique in all the world for its ability to transport visitors inside a book, or a movie for that matter. Being there doesn’t feel like walking on a set, rather it feels like immersion. It looks, smells, sounds and feels like one imagines Hobbiton would if you could take a magic wardrobe to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. The Hobbit holes scattered about are, more or less, as they were for filming of “The Hobbit,” movies. It seems safe to assume we will see more of The Shire in subsequent movies and in the Extended Edition on home video before the end of the year.
At the Green Dragon
Meanwhile, not far from Auckland, sits this unique and amazing tourism experience. The still functioning sheep and cattle farm where the now-permanent movie set is placed, is owned by the Alexander family, as it was when discovered for “The Lord of the Rings,” films. Their television rugby match interrupted by strangers led to parts of the family farm being among the most beloved locations in fantasy film and literature. Now visitors take tours daily, either by booking directly through the farm or through travel agents, tours or cruise ships. There are several options available, including overnight farm stays, private tours and lunch options. Matamata, as authentic a small New Zealand town as you will find, serves as a gateway to the farm, offering transportation daily and had just opened a visitor’s center when we visited.
Hamilton is also near with more accommodations and an airport. Not far from Auckland, 160 kilometers in fact, visitors can easily manage the two hour car ride. It goes without saying that driving through the countryside is spectacular as well. My dream would be to meet with TheOneRing.net staff and friends in The Green Dragon, which can be reserved for private functions. They serve food and drink and I just bet you can guess what size the ale comes in. Weddings have and will happen here. The atmosphere and the finish on the place are just as good as you hope they are. In truth, for movies fans and Tolkien fans, the entire movie set experience is simply magic.
Waitomo Caves Black Water Rafting
Some tourists will hop off the cruise ship or land in Auckland and make the farm their only stop in the region and in my opinion if you made it all the way to New Zealand and don’t see more of the region you are doing it all wrong. The tour also provided us the opportunity to visit the world famous Waitomo caves. They contain the exceptionally cool glow worms and there are different ways to experience it all, including the black water rafting experience that I couldn’t resist. Hamilton serves as a good gateway to both spots and neither is to be missed. In the gallery below I will drop in a few Waitomo photos but it is an entirely different story to be told and if there is any need to explain the importance of caves to Middle-earth, you might be at the wrong website.
The region is full of food and drink, excellent accommodations and plenty more worth-while excursions. We will tackle them all in a future story. But add the farm visit and Waitomo Caves to your bucket lists. They really are wold-class destinations not to be missed but especially not by Tolkienites.
While you are here, please enjoy other videos from the premiere. First, actors talking about rings:
And Red Carpet highlights.
A map of the New Zealand region with Auckland and Matamata.
A detailed map of where The Hobbit Move Set is located near Matamata.
The door of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.
Seems like a good place for a party
An average human male (Dan McBride) stands in front of a small Hobbit door.
The mill at Hobbiton Movie Set
Water at Hobbiton Movie set
They may not like boats but Hobbits have docks.
The visitor’s center in Matamata, New Zealand.
Flower at Hobbiton Movie Set
Actors look on at the opening ceremony of the Green Dragon
Still water, a view of Hobbiton Movie Set
For scale, an average sized adult (MrCere) at a Hobbit door.
A Hobbit window at Hobbiton Movie Set
Flowers and door at Hobbiton Movie Set
The interior of the Green Dragon
At the Green Dragon
By the lake and the mill sits the Green Dragon
The exterior of the Green Dragon
The bar at The Green Dragon
Detail of the carved green dragon in the Green Dragon
Floor plan on the wall of the Green Dragon of the Green Dragon.
Inside the Green Dragon
Door and menu at the Green Dragon
At the Green Dragon
Interior of the Green Dragon
Waitomo Caves black water rafting with glow worms.
Back in the First Age of TheOneRing.net when the interwebs were new and fansites were breaking ground on the way movies were covered, TORn used to consistantly swamp media or website polls that featured any “Lord of the Rings” characters. We would vote for J.R.R. Tolkien as the Author of the Century or something and chat about “what if Sean Connery is cast as Gandalf.” It was fun for a while but it actually got a little tiresome and the practice slowly faded away. There just wasn’t a need for Tolkien fandom to validate its place in the pantheon of fantasy or entertainment or popular culture. It was a nice memory or footnote in our online community’s culture.
Then, a couple of days ago, our staffer Justin, with the least Tolkien TORn handle of them all, started to hit the MTV movie awards category for “best hero,” by promoting the Twitter hashtag #votebilbo. He used our Twitter feed (@TheOneRingNet) to push the tag that tallies a vote for Bilbo as the best hero of 2012 every time somebody uses it on Twitter. Truthfully, I thought it was harmless but pretty useless (sorry Justin!) and a bit silly (sorry everybody!). Why take up the cause for fictional characters to fight it out in a meaningless contest that really only helps MTV? We have our own Middle-earth Madness for that kind of fun already. Plus, Snow White was leading the way and either kids liked that movie a whole lot more than the boxoffice showed or the votes were coming because “Twilight” star Kristen Stewart played the title role. She is big with the MTV market and any attempt to catch her would be futile. But, the community pushed Bilbo past Batman. About then, I gave Justin and his movement a second thought and support.
Joining in the Twitter voice, we redoubled our efforts and next thing you know, Iron Man was in the rear view mirror as well and Bilbo was in second place. A funny thing happened during the process: It became really fun on Twitter to #VoteBilbo! It is now something of a social media game to find clever ways to #VoteBilbo and we at TORn were able to re-tweet some of the better ideas, helping it all go viral. The group experience of the “old days” was back but in a much more interactive way. Fun with the community! Then, the hashtag started to trend in the UK and today in US as well. It has grown well beyond @TheOneRingNet and not long ago now the official Hobbit twitter account @TheHobbitMovie joined the cause. They promote the effort with dignity and restraint, something fans are not compelled to do.
So there are a lot of funny #vote Bilbo tweets out there now, a few shared in this story. It became a thing. Staffer personal twitter accounts like @SlaveBoyFilms, @MrLDC, @Quickbeam2000, @maegwen, @CruisingCathy and probably lots of others I haven’t seen (add them in the story staffers!), have joined the cause. And fellow fans have been funny and brilliant. At one point, #votebilbo took the lead but Stewart has stormed back. Its hard to imagine a Tolkien fanbase, less rooted in Twitter, having the numbers and frankly the passion to carry this to a win when voting ends April 14. I don’t know if we care enough, but it still is fun! As this is being written, less than 100 votes separate the two figures with over 40 thousand tweets cast. But, hey, this is kind of fun! Being clever and supporting a fictional character is pretty good entertainment. And, we have renamed the other character Snow WhiteTreeOfGondor since she carries a LOTR shield in her MTV photo.
Rumor has it that retweets don’t count unless the new tweet is a quote that includes a new one. And, only one tag per Tweet is counted. We don’t really know the rules exactly, but consider this a call to arms. Tweeters have been asking for help from the Sherlock crowd, Potter fans, Game of Thrones viewers (George R.R. Martin praises Tolkien at every opportunity) and anybody else they can think of really. In the meantime, be entertained and remember: #VoteBilbo! If you haven’t joined Twitter, you can follow TORn and its staff members for starters, where we usually tease our best content and even break news. We will Tweet live from the convention circuit including the Comic-Con in San Diego.
LOS ANGELES — We are fully aware of how much we pumped up the One Expected Party and Art Show this past weekend. We poured our website’s resources and our personal resources into the event and then spent days in Los Angeles preparing and pulling off one amazing party (if we don’t say so ourselves) that featured every single “Hobbit” Oscar nominee before the night was over. We didn’t do it alone of course. We had Premiere helping us as a party enabler and we had others managing lights and food and drink for all the guests who showed up. We also relied on some incredible talents like Beecake featuring Billy Boyd, Charles Ross performing a portion of his One Man Lord of the Rings, friends Emerald Rose and Dorian Mirth and others who took the stage to make it all happen.
Opening registration for those attending the One Expected Party in Los Angeles on Oscar night.
In short, the all-volunteer staff of TheOneRing poured lifeblood there. We also broadcast the event live online so many thousands (at least) more could enjoy the event from home. We will be working hard to pay the bills from the show. So that is why it is especially nice when a media outlet notices what we did and shares that with a wider audience. LA Weekly has some nice photos and words to say about our event and since we aren’t the ones saying it, it provides an excellent outside perspective. Thanks again to the many people who helped us make this event happen. Other media outlets have asked for information about the event (PR@TheOneRing.net) so there may be more to share. We have also posted galleries on Facebook and sent out Twitter phones (@TheOneRingNet) all during the event.
Posted in Events, Exhibits, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Line Party, Oscar Parties, The Hobbit, The One Expected Party
Welcome to the latest “Getting to know…” questions that need answering. Based on the old Getting to know you threads that I used to post on the message boards here on TORn, so those familiar with them will know that the questions can be a little crazy and the answers even crazier.
This month we’re asking questions of uber fan from Brisbane Australia, Peter Kenny.
Hi Peter and thank you for joining in
Kelvarhin: What piece of Tolkien ephemera began your collection?
Peter: My very first Tolkien Book was a single volume paperback edition of The Lord of the Rings given to me as a gift in 1976. I still have that original copy in my collection.
Early in October, TORn announced the release of the New Zealand Post’s exclusive commemorative stamps and coins for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Today we’re giving you the chance to win some of the best of these commemorative items for your personal collection.
Simply answer the questions provided in the contest entry form below, fill in your details, and check back here on February 17th to see if your name is among the winners. Entries with correct answers to all questions will be entered into a lucky draw that will result in FOUR LUCKY WINNERS.
Welcome to our collection of TORn’s hottest topics for the past year. We’ve collected together some of 2012′s most popular posts on 10 of our Message Boards. You’ll be surprised at what captured the attention and imagination of our members. Come and have a look back at what has kept us busy, as we impatiently awaited the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. We actually did manage to talk about many fascinating things, besides The Hobbit, so just follow the links to some of our most popular discussions for 2012. Continue to watch this space as every weekend we spotlight the most popular buzz on TORn’s Message Boards. Everyone is welcome, so come on in and join the fun!
Originally half the proceeds of the party were to benefit TORN itself, but after a quick palaver among TORN’s senior staff we decided to give it all to Duffy Books in Homes. The Duffy scheme provides books to New Zealand children in areas where books can not be taken for granted as part of the normal furniture of life. Duffy role models travel the country fostering a love of reading. It’s a great scheme, and one long supported by both TORN and Red Carpet’s founders Vic and Raewyn James, who were schoolteachers and principals before they went into tourism.
Peter Jackson has just uploaded his latest Hobbit production video — #10!
This one delves into the premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in Wellington and reveals that production vids will resume next year as the team ramps up all over again to complete The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. (more…)
Hobbit week continues as we all await the arrival of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey‘ in theaters December 14th! We are both honored and excited to share with you a TheOneRing.net Exclusive clip from the film! The clip features Thorin and company singing ‘Misty Mountains’ at the end of a long evening in Bag End. The song ‘Misty Mountains‘ is now available for individual download or as part of the complete soundtrack worldwide. [iTunes: Special Edition or Standard] [Amazon.com: Special Edition or Standard] Enjoy!
As part of our continuing coverage of Hobbit Week 2012, we’ve got coverage from the New York City premiere of ’The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey!’ Ringer Ashlee took to the red carpet and sends in this report:
This past week, I had the incredible honor of being asked by TORn to film at this exciting event! Interviewing Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, Elijah Wood, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Richard Armitage and almost all of the dwarves made it a thrilling experience I will never forget. I hope that you enjoy this video with words from all of our favorite hobbity friends!
This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law.