In his second of many articles for our worldwide community, Tedoras, long-time audience participant on our TORn TUESDAY webcast brings us a fascinating idea: a lost connection to the Beacons of Gondor perhaps… Read on for a short but very interesting look at how an ancient Biblical account may have inspired Tolkien! Take it away, Tedoras….
The (Biblical) Beacons of Gondor
By Tedoras — special to TheOneRing.net
This past April 28th happened to be the Jewish holiday of Lag B’Omer (the 33rd day of the Counting of the Sheaves, to be more precise). Now, you are probably wondering how this little-known holiday relates to The Lord of the Rings(and, if you’re like me, you’d like to know what a “sheaf” is, too). It turns out a sheaf is a bundle for cereal plants—fortunately for us all, though, my story has nothing to do with Biblical agriculture. Rather, it begins with The Return of the King.
If you are like me, you love those amazing fly-by shots from The Lord of the Ringsfilms. One of the most epic sequences of such shots is the lighting of the beacons in ROTK(refresh your memory here). Whether your first encounter with these mountaintop fires was in literature or film, you probably thought it was an ingenious mode of communication. Certainly, they are by far the best means for sending urgent messages across long distances (and I hope the Gondorian who urged their construction was handsomely rewarded). In order to see the connection between these beacons and the aforementioned holiday, it is important to know the story of Lag B’Omer.
In short, Lag B’Omer commemorates a revolt in the year 131 CE. The Israelites, under the leadership of Bar Kochba, rose up against the Romans, who ruled the land at that time. Years before the Romans came, the Israelites had built a series of m’durot, or bonfires, upon the surrounding mountains. So, when the revolt began, (you guessed it) Bar Kochba ordered a beacon lit. A soldier took a torch to the top of a mountain, lit one the beacons, and thus sent word around the land that war had begun.
Certainly, the use of the beacons of Gondor to call for Rohan’s aid is reminiscent of this episode. Yet, was Tolkien inspired by this Biblical tale in his creation of the beacons? On the one hand, we know Tolkien was well-versed in the Bible; his contemporaneous English education saw to that. Furthermore, Tolkien was a lifelong scholar—thus, if not in school, it is likely he would have encountered this story on his own. Assuming Tolkien was acquainted with this tale, the unanswerable question here, of course, is whether or not he consciously recognized the Bible as their source.
However, on the other hand, a case can certainly be made that Tolkien knew not of the story of Bar Kochba’s revolt. For a realm the size of Gondor, it would make sense to have a system for mass-communication in the event of any important occurrence. And, while these beacons also housed fresh horses on stand-by for couriers, it is clear that signal fires would be a much faster means. The independent invention of the beacons is not only possible in terms of the technology available to Gondor at the time, but it is also becoming of the prudence and wisdom of the Gondorian kings of Old.
This is one of many familiar situations to us Tolkien fans: is there a “right” answer here? Personally, I do not think it really matters; I intended only to present a surprising and uncanny resemblance upon which I happened to stumble. But, of course, such a topic is up for interpretation—so I will let you decide for yourself.
The Weta World Tour continues in June with Supernova. Starting June 22nd-23rd in Sydney and June 29th-30 in Perth, fans will get a chance to come together to celebrate what they love about the pop culture. The team from Weta will also be making the trip to both places bringing their magical work creating Middle-earth with them. While at their booth make sure you grab one of their Weta Treasure cards, which is good for discounts or prizes via the Weta website. That’s not all! If you happen to be going to either of these locations you will get to meet cast members of both The Hobbitand The Lord of the Rings. So make sure to get your ticket to the show before it sells out!
What a fun movie! Dominic Monaghan (Meriadoc Brandybuck) came on board to be our wonderful narrator! Actually this film is a time capsule of many decades of pop culture history — giving us the full story on how the world has embraced Tolkien’s masterpiece THE LORD OF THE RINGS over 50 years and more!
Winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Newport Beach Film Festival, RINGERS was produced in association with TheOneRing.net — this remarkable little film was forged BY fans and FOR fans, just like our website, with the production/writing talent of Clifford “Quickbeam” Broadway (who hosts TORn TUESDAY every week), Jeff Marchelletta, and supercool director Carlene Cordova. It was executive produced by X-Men/Transformers guru Tom DeSanto.
With a wonderful rock-driven score and detailing all the outpouring of love bestowed on Tolkien over many generations, this film is a must-have for your digital collection! Get it on iTunes now for only $9.99!
From the original Sony Press Release:
“RINGERS is comprehensive, entertaining and informative pop culture history.” – The Toronto Star
“…Will always be a salient part of ‘LORD OF THE RINGS’ history…
See it, absorb it, love it.” – FilmThreat
Winner of “Outstanding Achievement” Award at the
Newport Beach Film Festival
FASCINATING DOCUMENTARY CAPTURES THE HISTORY, INFLUENCE AND PHENOMENON THAT IS LORD OF THE RINGS
CULVER CITY, Calif. (September 12, 2005) – Sony invites you to return to the Shirewith the release of the feature-length documentary RINGERS: LORD OF THE FANS,direct to DVD.In association with the popular fan-site TheOneRing.net, Carlene Cordova produced, directed and wrote this award-winning film with executive producer Tom DeSanto(X-Men, X2: X-Men United and Transformers), which charts the incredible influence and ripple-effect that Lord of the Rings has had on worldwide pop culture over the past five decades.Whether you are a fan or first timer, critics agree, RINGERS, stands as the most comprehensive film documenting the ongoing impact of J.R.R. Tolkien’s literary achievement.
Dominic Monaghan (star of ABC’s Lost and the Academy Award® winning Lord of the Rings trilogy) narrates the documentary as it looks behind the curtain between Lord of the Rings andhow it inspired so many artists of different mediums.The film moves beyond “cult classic” and through different generations unearthing the way legendary rock musicians, filmmakers, professors, actors and authors all unite under the banner of ‘Ringer.’Interviewees included in the film are Lord of the Rings trilogy filmmaker Peter Jackson as well as Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Sean Astin and David Carradine.Infused with a dynamic rock-driven score, irreverent cut-out animation (á la Terry Gilliam), and a centerpiece audience sing-a-long, RINGERS is a genre-busting documentary that shows how a single literary work continues to spark the minds and hearts of millions.
RINGERS continues the momentum of the motion picture trilogy Lord of the Rings, a winner of 17 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director for Peter Jackson, who made history as the first person to direct three major feature films simultaneously.
From the official synopsis:
Ringers: Lord of the Fans is a feature-length documentary that reveals the ongoing cultural phenomenon created by The Lord of the Rings. Very funny and often moving, Ringers shows the hidden power behind Tolkien’s books — and how after 50 years a single literary work continues to spark the minds and hearts of millions, across cultures and across time.
Shot with groundbreaking new digital technology in 24P, Ringers explores the real foundations of Middle-earth; a community of true fans who share a common bond. Moving beyond “cult classic” and over several different generations, the film unearths academics, musicians, authors, filmmakers, and a plethora of pop junkies — the people gathered under the banner of ‘Ringer.’ From the hippie counter-culture to the electronic age; from the Bakshi animated film to Jackson’s epic trilogy; this documentary brings together extensive footage from across the globe. With units in Los Angeles, San Diego, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Bonn, Germany, Wellington, New Zealand, and Oxford, England, our cameras capture the most fascinating “Ringers” and Lord of the Rings events.
What began as the private amusement of a tweedy Oxford professor has now become a new mythology for the 21st century. Ringers: Lord of the Fans shows how an adventure story published in 1954 has had dynamic ripple-effects through Western pop-culture. Ringers carefully pulls away the veil between Tolkien’s book and the creations of art, music, and community that have been inspired by it.
General Manager of Weta Limited Tim Launder teased what’s to come from Weta Workshop over the next few months with a post at The Shadow and Flame message board. From his post there are some big things to come via The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit including something totally new for The Hobbit collectibles. If you love the work Weta does as much as I do this announcement has you super excited!
We had a wonderful time in April, attending 3 shows in Melbourne and the Gold Coast of Australia, and our first visit to CalgaryExpo in Canada. It was exciting to meet some new and old Flamers in person for the first time. We were especially grateful for the kind donations of chocolate for the crew !
Most of us just got back to work on Monday, a bit tired, but ready to get going again. And of course, we are only 2 months away from the Big Show; San Diego Comic Con. Time flies, we can’t wait ! We will be in the same booth space (3513B) as last year. This has now become our own Weta booth, we are no longer sharing someone else’s space. We will have our largest ever team of Weta crew at Comic Con this year. We’ll be announcing names soon. Please come and say Hi We are shipping out a container full of goodies to San Diego at the end of May, full of confidential, new stuff. We still have lots of work to do, as there are always a handful of items packed in at the last minute.
The Hobbit – 1/6th scale polystone range
We have now launched the first seven pieces in the 1/6th scale range: Thorin, Gandalf, Bilbo, Dwalin, Balin, Bombur and Gollum. Thanks so much to all of you who have supported this range, we consider these to be the best quality sculptures we have created. This will be our signature line for The Hobbit trilogy of movies and we have several more outstanding pieces in production. A lot of thought has gone into the poses, and how the various characters could be displayed together. We expect this will become clearer over time. We will most likely unveil the next sculpture in the range in July.
Some of you have asked why there are no creatures launched yet ? The reason is that most of the creatures are created in digital form for the films, and the digital work is normally finalized very late in the film making process. So therefore we could not start work on these creatures until very late last year. But never fear, they are coming !
The Hobbit – Environments
We had hoped to have launched an environment by now. We were actually building a few pieces last year. But once the decision was made to change from 2 to 3 movies, we had to put them on hold until the second movie is released.
The good news is that we do have 2 new environments in production now, so you will be seeing them at some stage soon.
The Hobbit – New Polystone Product Ranges !
Over the next few months, we will be launching some new smaller scale pieces, priced under US$100, including a few special pre-releases from the upcoming movie The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Look out for these at Comic Con!
The Hobbit – Prop Replicas
Our Staves have been extremely popular. The first production of both the Staff of Radagast the Brown and the Staff of Gandalf the Grey, sold out even before they arrived in our warehouses. The second and final production run will take place over the next few months and we hope to release these final pieces before the end of 2013. We strongly suggest pre-ordering to ensure you don’t miss out.
The Key to Erebor is our highest selling item. We have sold out our stocks twice and are struggling to keep up with production
Daniel Reeve has had a great time creating hand made Contracts and Maps.
Jewelry from Middle-earth
Our new range of Jewelry from Middle-earth has been a huge hit, especially The One Ring in gold plated tungsten carbide, created by Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith. We continue to struggle to keep up with supply for this item, the Evenstar and the Elven Leaf Brooch
We have a new Stone Pendant launching in the next week. Keep an eye out for it
The Hobbit – Maps and Art Prints
We now have a room in our office dedicated to storing tubes with all the Maps and art prints created by the artists who worked on the movies. We will continue to expand this range and would be grateful for a poll to vote on the scenes you’d like to see from LOTR and The Hobbit.
If you are coming to Comic Con in July, this would be a great opportunity to get some of these art prints signed.
You can also expect to see something new from Daniel Reeve soon too
The Lord of the Rings
There are a couple of items in production from LOTR.
The Fellowship of the Ring – Set 2 starts arriving in our warehouses over the next month, and will be followed up by Set 3 in a few months time. All three sets look fantastic displayed together, with a mirror set behind them, as we have done in the Weta Cave
We will also be releasing a new sculpture of Arwen soon, as part of the range of smaller scale pieces; Gollum, Gandalf and Strider
Our next shipments arrive in our 3 warehouses in the US, UK and NZ over the next month, including new pieces such as:
The Fellowship of the Ring – Set 2
The Pipe of Fili the Dwarf
The Staff of Gandalf the Grey (already sold out)
Changing Warehouses in the US
In late May / early June, we will be changing our warehouse in the US. So if you are planning to make any orders in the near future, we recommend making your order in the next 2 weeks.
And for customers in North America, we will be announcing a range of special offers early next week, to help us reduce our inventory before we move to the new warehouse. Watch out for this in our next newsletter !
As we announced the other day Asmus Toys has announced they will be making 1:6th figures based on The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Well, last night via their Facebook page they gave a preview of the character chosen to lead off their line of figures and that character is none other than the Morgul Lord himself. When will we see this figure? According to the preview on May 20th the Morgul Lord will show himself and fans can begin ordering. This is just the tip of the iceberg for Asmus Toys as they’ve announced via their website that their plan is for five years worth of figures with 20 figures already in production. These figures will be broken down into four different categories: Heroes of Middle-earth, Man of West, Army of Mordor, Armors in the battlefields.
Heroes of the Middle-earth will be the premier line of important characters. Presented by well know heroes such as Aragorn, Gandalf…etc, who will be built in top quality head sculpt, realistically accurate clothing, and mixed media accessories. Each hero will have its own custom base, and together they will be puzzled into a huge battle field diorama. Also, heroes don’t necessarily have to be the good guys.
Man of West and Army of Mordor will feature the soldiers from both side of the force. Some of the familiar faces we see in the movies but not as important as the heroes. Examples like Uruk-hai, Orcs and even Merry and Pippin.
Armors in the Battlefields is a series of products that will contain only the armors, weapons and clothing. Collectors can use whatever figure body you have at hand to custom a figure in a relatively cheaper price, in this way, collectors can put together an army in affordable budget. Examples such as Gondorian soilders, Orc armors..etc
The Eighth Sort-of-Annual Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Trilogy Marathon takes place today, staring 9am Eastern. Feel free to join us any time during the day – we’re happy to tell you what part of the movies we’re at.
People from around the world are online with one common goal: to virtually gather with other fans to watch all three films straight through. Geeky? Yes. Fun? Absolutely.
Please browse through our FAQ below, you’ll find the answers to many of your questions.
TV3 reports that Park Road Post’s film laboratory is closing, after more than 70 years of processing New Zealand made films and playing a part in many of the country’s most successful movies. The lab, which processes stock 35mm film, was purchased by Sir Peter Jackson and partner Fran Walsh in 1999 from the government-owned national film unit, and became part of Park Road’s Post Production facilities. The Lord of The Rings trilogy was processed for a total of $7 million, at the expensive rate of a dollar per foot of 35mm film stock – a price which few filmmakers nowadays can afford.
“If you’re shooting digitally…once you’ve got your camera, once you’ve got your memory card or memory stick then really there’s no cost, or very little, and that’s one thing that’s driving people away from film and more toward digital,” says laboratory employee Brian Scadden.
The article goes on to say, ‘Kodak and Fuji are the world’s largest producers of film stock, but because filmmakers are using digital more and more, Fuji’s already stopped and Kodak’s future is in doubt.’ [Read More]
Middle-earth March Madness round 2 ends at 10pmET tonight, so get your votes in. [Vote] [Round 2 Bracket]
Here is how Round 2 is shaping up right now…
The Shire Division
(8) Huan is being handed his walking papers by (1) Galadriel, while the most powerful of the Ainur (4) Morgoth has a solid lead over the eldest ent (5) Treebeard. (6) Luthien seems poised to take down (3) Bilbo Baggins. But the closest story in this round appears to be the match between the Mirkwood Elvenking (7) Thranduil with a slim lead over the head of the White Council (2) Saruman.
The Erebor Division
The current Cinderella seed (16) Pippin is soundly beating ‘Hot Dwarf’ (9) Fili, can the Heir of Durin put in a late push? Last year’s champ (12) Samwise Gamgee is facing an uphill battle with (4) Beren. The owner of the Last Homely Home, (6) Elrond, is currently leading against (14) Eowyn, unless she can get some support from other Warrior Women. Can she make to the Sweet 16, possibly against Aragorn!? Speaking of (7) Aragorn, he is soundly trouncing the windlord (2) Gwaihir.
The Mordor Division
(9) Gil-galad, the high kind of Noldor, seems destined to lose to the number one seed (1) Smaug. The Dark Lord (4) Sauron is handily beating his dwarven opponent (5) Dain Ironfoot. (11) Fingolfin has a slim lead over (3) Thorin Oakenshield, where is his ARmy? (2) Beorn seems ready to send (7) Shelob packing. If things keep going this way, we could have Smaug and Sauron in the Sweet 16.
The Angmar Division
Not quite a fair battle, but (1) The One Ring seems ready to abandon (8) Frodo Baggins. The Eldar King (12) Manwe, has a very solid lead over a descendant of Girion in (4) Bard the Bowman. Some call him ‘creepy’ and ‘sneaky’ (3) Gollum, but he’s got a lead over the imposing dwarf (6) Dwalin. And last but not least, (10) Merry seems rather outranked and outclassed by (2) Gandalf the Grey.
Voting continues until tonight at 10pm ET. [Vote Now!]
**RESCHEDULED FOR 3/30** –The Eighth Sort-of-Annual Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Trilogy Marathon takes place in TORn’s chat room on Saturday, March 16 (Now March 30) , beginning at 9 a.m. Eastern. Read on for more details!
That morning people from around the world will sit down at their computers with one common goal: to virtually gather with other fans to watch all three films straight through. Geeky? Yes. Fun? Absolutely. (more…)
Tolkien fans in Southern California will have an embarrassment of events to attend to share their love of all things Tolkien. From conventions and film screenings to enjoying the source material, here is a little rundown of events to attend and enjoy in the month of March.
First up is a Literary based Science Fiction convention in San Diego called Condor, taking place this weekend. TheOneRing.net will be hosting several discussions on Saturday and Sunday about The Hobbit, TheOneRing.net and Middle-earth. This weekend will be full of lots of interactive programming, so come on down and join in the fun.
On the following weekend, the American Cinematheque will be hosting a screening of The Hobbit and the LOTR Trilogy in a full day and night Middle-earth Marathon. This will be on Saturday, March 16 at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica. TheOneRing.net will be there to talk Tolkien, run trivia contests and play a game or two. And to help some lucky Tolkien fan to OD on Middle-earth, we have a pair of tickets to give away. Go to our Event Page on Facebook, RSVP to attend the screening and leave a message stating how you plan to survive the 15 hours or so that this marathon will take, and we’ll randomly award a pair of tickets to one lucky person. Hurry, this contest will close on Saturday at Midnight.
Just a week later, on March 23, Tolkien Forever will be hosting their annual Tolkien Reading Day event. This event is typically held on March 25, the Middle-earth New Year after the Destruction of the Ring. But March 25 is a Monday, so the event in Los Angeles was moved to the Saturday before, and is going to be at what looks to be a wicked cool used bookstore in Downtown LA called The Last Bookstore. Selections of Tolkien’s wide range of works will be read to any and all who show up, spreading the love for his written word. Visit the Facebook Event Page to see more details.
The final event for So Cal Tolkien fans to attend and enjoy will be Wondercon in Anaheim at the end of the month. This convention is typically held in San Francisco, but moved to Anaheim last year and this year because Moscone Center in San Fran has been undergoing renovations. Wondercon is a spin off from San Diego Comic Con and is run in a similar manner, but on a much smaller scale, making it more accessible for fans to enjoy all that the con has to offer. TheOneRing.net will have a panel at Wondercon, but the schedule is still pending, we will announce when and where you can find as soon as we know.
And there you have it, 4 weekends of Tolkien fandom, fun and friendship. What more could wee little Hobbits hope for?
He’s a little guy with a HUGE resume: actor and stunt double Kiran Shah has starred in every one of the biggest fantasy / science-fiction films you can remember for the past 30 years! Ringer fans know him as the scale double for all 5 Hobbits (Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, Bilbo) in the LOTR Trilogy, and he currently appears in THE HOBBIT: AUJ as scale double for Bilbo and also the memorable Goblin Scribe in the basket, capping off a terrific career working with Peter Jackson in Middle-earth. Kiran joins host Clifford “Quickbeam” Broadway for an exclusive live chat on our innovative weekly webcast TORn TUESDAY! We talk with Kiran about his stunning list of film credits and the biggest names in Cinema Fantastique that he has worked with — James Cameron (ALIENS), Ridley Scott (LEGEND), Jim Henson (THE DARK CRYSTAL), Steven Spielberg & George Lucas (RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and STAR WARS), and he shares wonderful memories of working on the NARNIA and LOTR films in New Zealand with Richard Taylor, P.J., et al. Come join the chat on our Live Event Page here at 5:00pm today Pacific Time! You can join the Barliman’s chat room and enjoy a unique show experience with your fellow fans! Follow Kiran Shah on Twitter @LittleKiranShah and your host Clifford @Quickbeam2000. See you on today’s show!
“Then at last his gaze was held: wall upon wall, battlement upon battlement, black tower of adamant, he saw it: Barad-Dûr, Fortress of Sauron. All hope left him.”
—The Fellowship of the Ring
How do you follow-up one of the coolest environments you’ve ever produced? Well, you go ahead and produce one of the next most coolest environments of course! Shortly after Comic-Con 2011 senior model maker David Tremont began the momentous task of transforming the original model of Barad-Dûr for The Lord of the Rings into a collectible we could all own. Finally, after a year of slaving, fans of Middle-earth got to see the result at Comic-Con 2012 when Barad-Dûr was unveiled to the world.
Sauron began work on Barad-Dûr during Middle-earth’s Second Age, when he chose Mordor as the place his dominion over Middle-earth would begin. Barad-Dûr was finished in the year 1600 of the Second Age and during that period Sauron would go on to create The One Ring, which would only help to make the fortress even stronger. During the War of the Last Alliance fortress was destroyed with the exception of the foundations as they could not be destroyed as long as The Ring was around. In 2951 of the Third Age Barad-Dûr’s reconstruction was started, but it would not last when Gollum fell into the lava of Mt. Doom destroying the Ring and the fortress.
The graphics on the front of the box for Barad-Dûr have kept virtually the same design we’ve seen with previous environments from Weta. On the front of the box a screencap of Mordor with an image of Barad-Dûr completes the scene. Of course, you also have the beautiful The Lord of the Rings logo in the upper right-hand corner with the name of the environment under the picture of Barad-Dûr. One side of the box contains images of Barad-Dûr while the other side features images of other Weta Workshop products. The back of the box contains a great picture of the environment along with a background story about the collectible.
Over 1,500 hours were put into Barad-Dûr to ensure the collectible on your shelf matches what you saw during The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I believe fans, once they have a chance to see the detail in this piece, will agree all of those hours paid off in spades. David Tremont and his team made very sure every window, spike, tower, ledge, bridge, and rock is included on this piece. Gazing upon this collectible, you can almost imagine Sauron or any number of his minions looking out upon Mordor from any of the many ledges and balconies. It truly is a great representation of the model we saw on film. What’s even more amazing is because of the material used it allowed these details to be captured and safely arrive to our homes. Rivendell had its beautiful river running through it and Barad-Dûr has something similar with its lava river flowing from Mt. Doom into the cavern surrounding the fortress. Even the rock areas of Barad-Dûr are exceptionally realized with the plains of Gorgoth looking like a place you don’t ever want to visit. Like Rivendell, this collectible is an achievement for Weta in showing off the amazing talent of their artists.
The paintwork on Barad-Dûr is fairly simple compared to say Rivendell, and much more in-line with that of Orthanc. It’s all black and the shading for the different levels in different places are all really well done. The color of the tower does not match the color of the rock within the piece. That was going to be the toughest part of the paint I think and they were able to create the proper level of separation. The lava looks really good and stands out like lava would with an all-black world of Mordor.
Barad-Dûr costs $700 but the level of detail you get and the size of this piece allows you to truly get value for money. This piece is a limited edition piece with only 1,000 of the fortress being produced. Barad-Dûr does not come with a flaming eye but if that is a potential issue for you all you have to do is download the iPhone or iPad app. Then you will have the eye of Sauron. Finally, I cannot implore you enough if you are a The Lord of the Rings collector to find a way to get this piece into your collection.
Also, if you’re truly interested in what it took to bring this collectible to life check out the three articles by David Tremont. In these articles he explains the ups and downs of making sure we got one of the best environments ever created.
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.