The battles are underway and the clash of arms echoes around TheOneRing.net – we’re into the thick of it with Middle-earth March Madness! As you know (click here for details), our categories this year are Movies Only, Books Only, Movies and Books, and Wider Mythos – so we’ve got some unusual contestants mixing in with familiar fighters. And that means some unexpected results…
In the Movies Only group, Sebastian the Hedgehog was clearly sufficiently recovered from his brush with dark magic, to see off the Goblin Scribe. Alfrid Lickspittle may have been a sneaky survivor (up to a point) in the films, but he’s already out of this contest, resoundingly conquered by the ever lovely Figwit.
Books Only – we’re glad to see that happy couple Goldberry and Tom Bombadil are both through to Round 2, having seen off Fatty Lumpkin and Celebrian, respectively.
Some of the most epic battles thus far have surely been in the Movies and Books category, where after a mighty struggle, the Balrog was able to see off Beorn (did he have wings to help him?). It will come as no surprise that Sauron and Smaug have both made it through; but who would have expected Merry to manage a narrow defeat over Boromir? His pal Pippin will not be joining him in Round 2, having been vanquished by Aragorn; and I’m afraid hot dwarf Thorin is already down and out, with Faramir showing his quality in a fairly convincing win.
Wider Mythos sees Luthien and Beren both progressing; they are joined in the second round by Earendil, who ‘sailed’ through in an easy victory over Finrod. And in the most fiery of battles, Glaurung overcame Ancalagon; could he go on to face Smaug in the Semi-final?
Here are the full results of the first round match-ups. [Click here]
And so on to Round 2! Voting is open until March 25th 10pm EST; show your support for your favourites, and make sure they survive to Round 3! What lies in store – could there be an all tree battle in Round 4, with Quickbeam facing Old Man Willow? Might we see a final showdown between Goldberry and Luthien? Could Sebastian the Hedgehog go all the way to be crowned champion? YOU decide – vote now!
Movies Only – Round 2 March 23rd – March 25th 2016
Books Only – Round 2 March 23rd – March 25th 2016
Movie & Book – Round 2 March 23rd – March 25th 2016
Wider Mythos – Round 2 March 23rd – March 25th 2016
Yesterday it was announced that Sir Ian McKellen will take to the stage this July, in a fundraiser for Park Theatre in London. His new one man show is called ‘Ian McKellen with Shakespeare, Tolkien, Others & You’, and will run July 3rd to 9th 2017. This extraordinary event gives fans the opportunity to see Sir Ian reprise the roles for which he is best known, including, of course, Gandalf; and with some of the extra ‘perks’ on offer, there are even chances to enjoy a glass of wine with Sir Ian, or to act with him. Park Theatre tell us:
‘Come on a journey with multi-award winning, twice Oscar nominated star of stage and screen Sir Ian McKellen, as he takes you through some of the most exciting pages and stages of his fifty years’ acting. Reprising some of his renowned performances, from Gandalf to Macbeth, he will take requests, answer your questions and invite you to act with him. An intimate and unforgettable one man show with one of the world’s finest actors.’
Full details of this exciting show can be found here. It is, not surprisingly, already sold out; but don’t despair! Park Theatre say they ‘may shortly release more tickets’; and there will be £10 tickets available in strictly limited quantities, on the day of each performance. So you may yet be able to spend an evening in such extraordinary company – good luck!
Middle-earth Madness officially starts today! We’ve split our field of 64 characters into four divisions:
Movies Only – characters who appeared only in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and/or The Hobbit movies Books Only – characters who didn’t make the final cut for the movies Movies and Books – characters who graced both the written page and the silver screen Wider Mythos – Middle-earth characters not in the movies from Tolkien’s works outside of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit
There are some very interesting match-ups in round one this year. In one of the more intense match-ups in the Movies Only division, Tauriel is up against the Warg Matriarch, Azog’s vicious white warg. A perennial TORn fav, FIGWIT (stay-tuned for the story behind the name if you don’t know it already) takes on Alfrid, and it’s anybody’s guess as to who will come out on top in the match-up between Sebastian the Hedgehog and the Goblin Scribe.
The Books Only division is chock-full of interesting matches such as Ghan-buri-Ghan vs. Quickbeam, and The Fox (who wondered at Hobbits traveling through The Shire in FOTR) vs. Prince Imrahil.
It was almost impossible to narrow down the Movies & Books division with so many amazing choices, but there are some gut-wrenchers in the contests as they stand with Beorn going up against the Balrog and Shelob battling Sauron.
Finally, some of Tolkien’s Titans go mano-a-mano in the Wider Mythos division, with two powerful dragons, Ancalagon and Glaurung battling it out, and Beren and Huan facing each other in what is sure to be a close call.
The Slaying of Glaurung, by Ted Nasmith
A note on how the bracket combatants were determined. TheOneRing.net created a document containing all combatants, sub-divided into divisions. We asked staff to cast sixteen votes per division, with the votes having a weight of 1-4. Each staffer cast four 4 votes, four 3 votes, four 2 votes and four 1 votes in each division. We then totaled all the votes from each division to determine their rank, and ultimately placed the top 16 into each bracket for seeding.
As you can imagine, our staff is diverse and the results were very interesting! Not only are there some great match-ups in this first round, the final four will pose some amazing choices between the various literary and film sources.
Voting in Round 1 will remain open until March 22nd at 10:00 p.m. EST. At that point, we’ll calculate the winners and post the next round on March 23rd. Follow after the break for a complete bracket image [download it], and to vote on all of our Round 1 match-ups! [Round 1 Bracket] (more…)
The schedule for Wondercon went public yesterday, so we are finally able to confirm that we are indeed hosting a panel on Sunday at 10:30am. Below you will find the posting from the Wondercon schedule website, but since the panel was presented, we have added one more panelist.
Mike Urban, also known as Ostadan, will be joining us. He is one of the author’s of TORn’s book “The People’s guide to J.R.R. Tolkien” and will help flesh out the discussion on the upcoming release of a standalone “Beren and Luthien” book. (more…)
Spring is in the air, and it’s finally that time of year when fans get to vote on their favorite Tolkien characters. Yes, Middle-earth March Madness is back for 2017! If you are new to TheOneRing.net, Middle-earth March Madness is our adaptation on the popular NCAA Basketball tournament that takes place every March/April in the United States. It’s our chance to have some fun matching up middle-earth power players against each other. Past winners include Samwise Gamgee, Gandalf, who won in both 2013 and 2015, Thranduil, and last year’s winner Galadriel, who defeated the mighty Morgoth in the final round.
To mix things up a bit and give some other, very deserving characters a chance, the past winners mentioned above will sit this year out in the esteemed ‘Champion’s Hall of Fame.’ As for this year’s brackets, the four divisions will pit characters against each other based on the following criteria:
Movies Only – characters who appeared only in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and/or The Hobbit movies
Books Only – characters who didn’t make the final cut for the movies
Movies and Books – characters who graced both the written page and the silver screen
Wider Mythos – Middle-earth characters not in the movies from Tolkien’s works outside of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
Our staff are sorting out the field of 64 initial combatants now, and we’ll be posting the first bracket and polls this Monday, March 20. Stay tuned to the front-page of TORn for the announcement to start voting, and follow along on Twitter and FB with #middleearthmarchmadness @theoneringnet
Daniel has just announced the exciting news on his official Facebook page, that his first solo exhibition is on at the Kapiti Gallery from 15 February until March 19, 2017. The exhibition will showcase his current work and work from The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Sunday 12th February the British Academy of Film and Television Arts held their annual film awards. Our favourite citizen of Lake-town Luke Evans was there as a presenter; and even more excitingly for Middle-earth fans, Viggo Mortensen was nominated in the Leading Actor category, for Captain Fantastic. (The award went to Casey Affleck, for Manchester by the Sea.)
Mortensen was of course on the red carpet, where he was interviewed by Zoe Ball. Many of you will have seen the fabulous picture (right) of Mortensen hanging out with an elf and some hobbits, the day after the Screen Actors Guild awards. In the Bafta interview, he explained how that came about. Take a look:
It’s heartwarming to know that the bonds forged amongst the cast of The Lord of the Rings are still as strong today – just as the friendships and connections we fans have made are unbreakable. I’m told that in Finland they celebrate friendships on Valentine’s Day – seems a good time to raise a glass to Fellowship! Cheers!
Elijah Wood’s film “I don’t feel at home in this world anymore,” won the Sundance Grand Jury prize in the U.S. Dramatic competition at the just concluded 2017 festival.
It was one of 16 films in the category that included “Crown Hights” that won the Audience Award.
The film is summarized like this:
Ruth, a depressed nursing assistant, returns from work to find dog shit on her lawn and her house burglarized, the thief having made off with her silverware and laptop. Losing faith in the police (and possibly humanity as a whole), Ruth starts her own investigation, joining forces with her erratic neighbor–and dog shit culprit–Tony. Upon locating the laptop, they trace it back to a consignment store, leading them to a gang of degenerate criminals and a dangerous, bizarre underworld where they’re way out of their depth.
Macon Blair’s outstanding debut feature has an exuberant storytelling style that’s full of personality, visual inventiveness, idiosyncratic characters, and wildly unpredictable turns. Its dark tone, deadpan humor, and increasingly blood-soaked foray into a twisted moral universe evoke the Coen brothers, but most captivating is the deeply unsettling journey it takes Ruth on, through human vulnerability and escalating violence. Once brought to tears by the notion of an infinite universe, her quest isn’t for her laptop, but for a way of processing a world that no longer makes sense to her.
On the same night, last year’s big Middle-earth alumni film of Sundance 2016, “Captain Fantastic” featured Viggo Mortensen and the cast appeared at the screen actor’s guild where it was nominated but didn’t win. For that film TheOneRing was able to talk with Mortensen about the film, but despite repeated efforts, had no luck speaking with Wood for his film.
But, Wood wasn’t the only Middle-earth actor to show up in a film at this year’s Sundance. Actor Stephen Hunter, who played Bombur in the three films based on “The Hobbit,” appeared in Australian thriller “The Killing Ground.” The film received a warm reception and has a good chance to be seen in theaters. I saw it and think it’s a gripping thriller that handles its violence well. It deserves to be seen but will disturb some because of its violence.
Hunter plays a key supporting role that the Sundance festival described like this:
When young couple Sam and Ian escape the confines of urban living for a weekend getaway at a remote campsite, they arrive to find a neighboring tent set up with its inhabitants nowhere in sight. As day turns to night and then to day again, the young couple becomes increasingly concerned about the whereabouts of their unknown fellow campers. When they discover a toddler wandering alone on the campground, things go from bad to worse, thrusting them into a harrowing fight for survival in a place miles from civilization, where no one can hear them scream.
Teeming with dread and unnerving tension, the debut feature of writer/director Damien Power draws heavy inspiration from Michael Haneke’s Funny Games and Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs, utilizing the film’s sparse locations to considerable effect. As jagged pieces of the puzzle are carefully revealed one by one, Killing Ground evolves into a brutally violent thriller that will force you to think twice the next time you dare venture beyond the city’s bright lights
Wood also appears in another film, this one a documentary about the classic Alfred Hitchcock “Psycho.” The film, called “78/52,” breaks down the historic and absolutely groundbreaking shower scene in the film that is credited with launching the horror genre of film in a new way. He is seated with other actors sharing his perspective, especially insightful when examining the performance of Anthony Perkins. Guillermo del Toro also is featured and is a delight.
The film has been purchased and will likely get a new or extended title and will be released in major film markets. The festival title refers to the number of set ups and film cuts the master of suspense used in the scene. For anybody interested in film, I absolutely recommend it. Actually, I recommend it for anybody who has ever watched a film.
The festival describes it:
“In 78 setups and 52 cuts, the deliriously choreographed two-minute shower sequence in Psycho ripped apart cinema’s definition of horror. With a shocking combination of exploitation and high art, Alfred Hitchcock upended his own acclaimed narrative structure by violently killing off a heroine a third of the way through his film, without explanation, justification, or higher purpose. Psycho played out like a horrific prank, forcing audiences to recognize that even the most banal domestic spaces were now fair game for unspeakable mayhem.
With black-and-white film-geek reverence, director Alexandre O. Philippe breaks down this most notorious and essential scene shot for shot, enlisting the help of film buffs and filmmakers alike—including Guillermo del Toro, Bret Easton Ellis, Karyn Kusama, Eli Roth, and Peter Bogdanovich. 78/52 examines Janet Leigh’s terrified facial expressions and the blink-and-you-miss-it camera work, not just within the context of the film but also with an eye toward America’s changing social mores—revealing how one bloody, chaotic on-screen death killed off chaste cinema and eerily predicted a decade of unprecedented violence and upheaval.”
John Hurt, famous for a number of roles but unforgettable as the voice of Aragorn in Ralph Bakshi’s “The Lord of the Rings,” has died. He was 77.
For many who love Tolkien’s works, the animated LOTR was the serious animated treatment of the masterpiece of J.R.R. Tolkien that was also frustrating because it was meant to have a sequel and was never properly finished. Hurt played Strider turned Aragorn as perhaps the most recognizable voice in the cast. Director Ralph Bakshi was left telling only part of the story but Hurt’s Aragorn, was majestic and powerful.
Hurt shines in the voice role, playing a confident Aragorn, that before the live action LOTR films were announced, was for a generation, the embodiment of the hero who would return as King.
Hurt’s career was long and plentiful with over 200 film credits to his name. He is best known for his outstanding turn as John Merrick, the title character in “The Elephant Man.” Audiences not familiar with that Oscar-nominated performance as well as his also nominated work in “Midnight Express,” will remember him for his work in the first two Harry Potter films as wandsman Garrick Ollivander. He also has an all-time iconic performance in “Alien,” where he was the first to have his chest burst, unleashing space horror on popular culture. He later did a parody of himself in “Spaceballs.”
Very sad to hear of John Hurt's passing. It was such an honor to have watched you work, sir.
From the moment movie goers first experienced Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring, they couldn’t stop talking about every little detail no matter how small or obscure. In December 2001, one of TORn’s very brave Discussion Board members began collecting these observations on the LotR Movie Discussion Boardand put them into a list. Very soon after, our brave collector disappeared leaving all of these wonderful observations floating loose in Wilderland!
Early in 2002, and being a chronic hoarder, I adopted the abandoned list and put out the word to the Movie Discussion Board that the collection was on again and to bring forth whatever they saw or heard that they took special note of and it would be added to the list. Here are some examples of observations:
-At the beginning of the Battle of the Last Alliance, Elendil is carrying Narsil upright before him (a theme repeated throughout the film).
-Gil-galad is wearing armour with the insignia of the House of Gil-galad on his chest!
-Merry tosses his apple to Aragorn when ready to swordplay with Boromir.
The floodgates opened and the list quickly grew to over 700 observations that stood out to us as poignant, book-related, or so incredibly trivial it will make your eyes roll in disbelief. Well, we’re geeks… what’d you expect? Every few weeks during the film’s run, I put out a call for more or collect observations from Members’ posts! The challenging part was sorting out duplications (or similar observation), putting everything in chronological order and in filmic chapters. I also did a little editing when needed 😉 Then… with the release of the extended dvd…I added those observations and marked each one with double asterisks to highlight them. Believe it or not, we’re always finding more!! Here’s an example of the results:
1. When the New Line logo appears, you can hear the same ringing sound the One Ring makes throughout the film!
2. In the film and soundtrack there are chapter titles from The Fellowship of the Ring and The Hobbit are worked into story – From the soundtrack: “The Shadow of the Past”; “The Treason of Isengard”; “The Black Rider”; “A Knife in the Dark”; “Flight to the Ford”; “Many Meetings”; “The Council of Elrond”; “The Ring Goes South”; “A Journey in the Dark”; “The Great River”; “Amon Hen”; “The Breaking of the Fellowship”–From the film: “A Long-Expected Party”; “Shortcut to Mushrooms”; “The Bridge of Khazad-dûm”; “Lothlórien”; “Mount Doom”; “Strider”; shows the “Sign of the Prancing Pony”–and From The Hobbit; “Riddles in the Dark”; “Not at Home”; “Concerning Hobbits.”
3. The three Ring-bearers at the beginning of the film are the ORIGINAL three (i.e. Galadriel, Gil-galad and Cirdan)
4. When Galadriel holds up her hand wearing Nenya in the prologue, the faint wrinkles on her hands disappear, and they become younger.
5. Only the Elves wear their Rings, and these Rings are not taken by Sauron [ref: The Silmarillion]; all the Elves wear their rings on the middle finger while Sauron wears his Ring on the Finger of Ego, the Index Finger; The Dwarves inspect their rings then hold their Rings away from them; the Men keep their rings close to them. They are the only group which stares straight ahead like Zombies.
One of the changes I made to the original list was that nothing of a nit-picky or negative sort would be added. Thinking of everything Peter Jackson and the hundreds of people who made these films had gone through to create three movies at one time, I just didn’t think it was right. Those observations were for others’ lists.
Because these lists are still active and growing all the time, feel free to share your own observations. Find me on the Boards where you can also find all of these links and more in the footer of my posts on The One Ring Forums Message Boards.
It really was the best of times. Not just the opening night of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (or whenever you saw the film for the first time). What about when you first found out that Lord of the Rings films were being made? Maybe, like staffer Garfeimao, it prompted you to start searching the internet and you found TORn. Perhaps, like staffer Magpie, you had been longing for something different and/or better than the animated movies (no matter how sentimental and quaint they seem now). Perhaps you were a lifelong fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, and had misgivings like deej and JPB. For me, it was all of the above!
Please enjoy reading the memories and impressions of some of our core staff, and share your own memories of how you learned of the LOTR movie, how you found TheOneRing.net and/or what your first impressions of FOTR were, either in the comments section, or on our Lord of the Rings Movie discussion forum.
Due to the holidays, we’ll be continuing our stories related to the 15-year anniversary of the release of FOTR into this week. No series about The Fellowship of the Ring would be complete without mentioning the amazing music of Howard Shore and some of the talented people who brought it to life.
From the minute the screen lit up to the end of the credits, Shore’s Oscar-winning score held us spellbound. As the music accompanied the action of the movie, unique themes for the cultures of Middle-earth, even The One Ring itself, wove themselves through the movie seamlessly. Haunting solos and full-voiced choirs added both poignancy and excitement to the film. If you’re like me, you literally wore out your first CD of the score! Fortunately, there were a number of opportunities to acquire other editions such as The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring Complete Recordings.
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