If you’re a regular reader here at TORn, you know by now about composer and sound engineer Jordan Rannells’ immersive audio soundscape of music and ambient sounds, bringing to life Middle-earth. His soundscape is designed to be listened to whilst reading The Lord of the Rings – and in fact, is timed perfectly to fit with Andy Serkis’ recording of the books.
The Hobbit and The Silmarillion
Following the success of his Long-Expected Soundscape, Rannells is at it again! This time he’s tackling two more of Tolkien’s works, in epic scale. Read on below to find out what Rannells told us about his latest projects.
A new kind of Middle-earth experience for Hobbit Day
Jordan Rannells composed an original score, designed sound FX and recorded nature ambience to match all 60+ hours of Andy Serkis’ The Lord of the Rings audiobooks. Each moment is timed exactly so that when you hear Serkis describe Grond tearing through the gates of Minas Tirith, you hear it happening; when the eucatastrophe happens, we hear its theme; when the water of Wellinghall rains down around us, we hear it come and go. It is so simple to put the Soundscape together with the audiobooks, but you can also listen without them and just escape to Middle-earth any time you need to. Listen to the wind in the grass on your way to Edoras; hear the turmoil in the score as Boromir confronts Frodo; duck as the wings of the fell beast fly over you.
Rannells uses Dolby Atmos to achieve the highest level of 3D immersion possible, using the latest technology and sound design tools used in big franchises like Marvel, Game of Thrones and more.
Now, after spending a year and a half designing his first soundscape experience, An Unexpected Soundscape and A Soundscape of Eä are on the way. The Hobbit and The Silmarillion are next on Rannells’ journey, as he seeks to complete the Legendarium in this new immersive adaptation.
Listeners will be able to hear the dwarves as their barrels crash by; catch whispers of Gollum and the spiders of Mirkwood; witness the Coming of Tuor to Ulmo, and even the creation of Arda itself. New challenges present themselves in bringing the up-close-and-personal world of The Hobbit to your ears, such as recording movement and footsteps for each of the dwarves. Then, in the opposite direction, large scale and epic abstract sound design are required for moments in The Silmarillion.
Find out more about Rannells’ epic undertaking on his website. You can also experience the first chapter of the Long-Expected Soundscape on his YouTube channel. Celebrate those Baggins’ birthdays surrounded by the sounds of Middle-earth!
During San Diego Comic-Con 2023 this year our friends at Diamond Select Toys had several new collectibles for fans to contemplate getting when they are available for order. Two of those pieces were the awesome Gandalf the White Gallery Diorama, and the Aragorn Gallery Diorama. This is a new line of collectibles for the DST The Lord of the Rings line, with them both being around 9″ tall. You can order both right now via the DST site, with Gandalf coming in at $75 and shipping in quarter one of next year, and Aragorn coming in at $59, with him shipping in the back half of this year.
DragonCon begins today – and of course TORn will be there! You’ll find staffers deej and greendragon at TORn’s ‘fan table’, in our usual location: in the Hyatt opposite the entrance to the Art Show. We’ll be there from Friday on, until the very end of the con! This year we have three new shirt designs and a new button, as well as some former designs, and other fun goodies at the table. Drop by and see us!
There are some exciting celebrity guests for Middle-earth lovers this weekend; read on for highlights of events of interest to Tolkien fans during DragonCon this year:
Friday 1st 10am The Wit and Wisdom of Samwise Gamgee
Gardener; friend; husband; potato enthusiast. We all need more Sam in our lives! Marriott room L401-403
Friday 2nd 8.30pm An Evening at Bree
As ever, TORn will be joining the High Fantasy track to host this long standing DragonCon tradition. Party like a Hobbit! Once again, our live acts will be fan favourites The Brobdingnagian Bards, Beth Patterson, and Landloch’d. We’ll also have the Elf Choir, and the costume contest – with a fabulous panel of expert cosplay judges. We’re thrilled that Charles Conley, Joshua Duart and Lacey Santos will be lending us their skill and judgement for the evening! If you’d like to enter the contest, please remember to sign up in advance of the evening, at the TORn fan table or the High Fantasy track room (Marriott room L401-403).
Find us at the inn of the Prancing Pony (aka Hilton Grand West)
Saturday 2nd 1pm The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Retrospective
It’s been 20 years (gasp!) since the final part of Peter Jackson’s trilogy was released. Join TORn staffers to look back and get nostalgic together! Marriott room A601-602
Saturday 2nd 4pm Rings of Power discussion
A look back at Season 1, and speculation as to what may be coming in Season 2 of Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings show. Marriott room A601-602
Saturday 2nd 5.30pm Elijah Wood and Sean Astin in conversation
Marriott Atrium Ballroom
Saturday 2nd 10pm The Tolkien Renaissance
What makes Middle-earth such an enduring favourite with fans? With more shows, movies (and maybe even a theme park) in the works, we’ll explore why Tolkien’s works are evergreen. Marriott room L401-403
Sunday 3rd 10am Hobbits, Harfoots, and More!
Exploring the origins, characteristics, and significance of our favourite hairy-footed folks. Marriott room L401-403
Sunday 3rd 1pm Andy Serkis and Elijah Wood in conversation
Marriott Atrium Ballroom
(There are also photo sessions with Astin, Serkis, and Wood throughout the weekend. Their appearances are fully in line with SAG-AFTRA guidelines, enabling actors to attend conventions but not to promote work.)
Sunday 5pm Hobbit Drinking Songs!
Join The Brobdingnagian Bards and party like a Hobbit! Hilton Grand West
Sunday 10pm Dance Magic Dance
TORn’s own deej shows us how she got her name, as she djs this 1980s themed dance party. Put on your best 80s/fantasy cosplay and come and dance the night away!
There are many more High Fantasy Track events which are Middle-earth related, and other events across the con which will appeal to Tolkien fans. Check out DragonCon’s app for all the details. Hope to see you here for all the fun – come and say hi!
We’ve made it to Episode 10 of this very fun podcast; and for our tenth episode, we have a super special guest. I’ve had the chance to chat with him over the years at Comic-Con, but having the amazing Sir Richard Taylor sit down for almost 90 minutes to talk about collectibles was beyond anything for Jim and me. We had a blast chatting; and in the episode, there is even a tease for a new collectible coming. We hope you have as much fun watching this episode as the two of us had filming it.
August 4-6 saw LeakyCon happening in Chicago, and various cast members from Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings movies were there. (LeakyCon fully supported SAG-AFTRA members appearing at the con, stating, ‘… we have removed direct reference to their projects that fall under TV/Theatrical Contracts so that they can continue to appear without promoting these projects.’) So the fun was able to go ahead – and staffer Entmaiden attended for TORn. Here’s her write up:
ELIJAH WOOD AND SEAN ASTIN AT LEAKYCON
Since 2009, LeakyCon has been a community-focused fan event that provides opportunities to celebrate magical movie franchises with creators, artists and fans. TORn staffer Entmaiden was able to attend this weekend’s event in Chicago. LeakyCon originated with a focus on the Harry Potter movie series, but recently the organizers invited cast members from The Lord of the Rings movies. Sean Astin, Elijah Wood, Miranda Otto and Kiran Shah participated this year.
Entmaiden was delighted to attend the spotlight sessions with Elijah Wood and Sean Astin on Saturday. In support of the on-going strike by members of SAG/AFTRA actors and WGA writers, Elijah and Sean did not speak specifically about their filming experiences. While we might not have been able to explore the behind-the-scenes film stories, the spotlight sessions gave the audience a chance to learn how Elijah and Sean became actors, and uncover a couple secrets about their personalities. Some elements of the journey for both Elijah and Sean are well-known: both started acting very young, and their early acting experience helped prepare them for the enormous success of LOTR films.
It’s been 20+ years since the first film was released, and both Sean and Elijah have seen changes in their lives. Sean’s youngest daughter is about to turn 21 and he is NOT READY! He reflected on his own childhood, where even as the son of famous parents (Patty Duke and John Astin), Sean was able to play Little League like the other kids. His daughters also had to navigate childhood with a famous father, with the complication of social media. Did you know that Sean is a ferocious Monopoly player? He has a thorough understanding of the rules, and applies them rigorously. Sean takes no prisoners when it comes to Monopoly, and some friends and family members avoid playing with him!
While Sean was married with children when filming in New Zealand, Elijah was single. He recently revealed he has two children with long-time partner Mette-Marie Kongsved, a Danish film producer. He didn’t speak much about his children at LeakyCon, but he frequently referenced how his life has changed now he’s a father. But some of the things long-time fans know are the same: Elijah is still a massive music lover, and a big-time foodie. He even gave the fans tips about good frozen pizza, which he confessed to eating as often as he can.
Thanks to LeakyCon for inviting TORn, and for such a fun event!
As you saw at their booth during Comic-Con 2023, our friends at Diamond Select Toys have two new Deluxe Action figures up for pre-order. Fans can now add to their collections the loveable Samwise Gamgee, and Saruman the White. Both figures looked amazing in person! You can snag these individually for $29.99 or $59.98 as a set, with a release date of quarter 1 of next year. Check out our Middle-earth tour from Comic-Con to see all the goodies DST had at the show.