On March 28, 2015 TheOneRing.net livestreamed an interview with animation pioneer Ralph Bakshi to discuss the first-ever “The Lord of the Rings” film (1978), and to parse the differences between homage and rip-off (and the not-so-nebulous chains of inspiration from one artist to another).
Bakshi revealed to us that his Studio’s “LOTR” character designs and artwork were sent down to Three Foot Six in New Zealand; elevating the conversation of his impact on the live-action epic.
The subversive director has lived through numerous controversies, yet remains undervalued by Ringer fans and feels personally slighted by Jackson. He carries on vigorously at 77 years old with a new crowdfunded animated work, “The Last Days of Coney Island” and his intent to direct a “Wizards 2″ follow-up to his 1977 cult hit.(more…)
We know that many fans are in New York this week, enjoying the fabulous Lord of the Rings in Concert performances at Lincoln Center. For those of you who can’t be there, here’s a short video to enjoy, which captures the excitement of seeing these great films with live orchestra:
We hope that everyone who is there is having a great time in the Big Apple!
While fans of basketball were enjoying a Duke victory in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament, Middle-earth fans were preparing for the epic final of Middle-earth March Madness: Gandalf vs. Bilbo Baggins! This year we decided to keep the poll results hidden to heighten the suspense. I must admit, I took full advantage of my special access to watch the results intently. When we first opened the battle, Bilbo took an early (hobbit-sized) lead of only 1%. Over the next 48 hours, the combatants exchanged that lead nearly every hour. It was a neck and neck competition that only revealed a clear winner in the last 12 hours.
We closely watched for voter fraud and we are pleased to report that no over-voting was recorded. Each vote had a unique IP. So without further delay, we are pleased to announce that the 2015 Middle-earth March Madness Champion is….
This is it! The Finals are set! An epic battle of historic proporations! In one corner we have Gandalf, the Istar responsible for helping save the fate of all Middle-earth. In the other, Bilbo Baggins, the Hobbit who would successfully weild and then, more importantly, pass on the most powerful object in Middle-earth, The One Ring.
Since this is the finals, we are not going to share the results until the contest is complete. So you will NOT see a percentage of votes when you cast your own vote. Don’t fret, the committee will be monitoring the competition behind the scenes.
Middle-earth March Madness has been touched by scandal! When we tallied the votes in our Elite Eight round-up last night, we noticed the votes in The Hobbit division were suspciously more than those of the other divisions. While yes, certain match-ups spur passionate participation, the numbers on this particular match-up were significantly different. So we dug a little bit deeper. As it turns out, one person managed to bypass the system and vote 2300 times!
As the commissioner of Middle-earth March Madness, I took it upon myself to resolve the issue. I converted those 2300 votes to 1 vote. I also reviewed any other multiple votes and converted those to a single vote. As a result, the winner of The Hobbit division for 2015 is…. Bilbo!
So we have our Final Four!
The Silmarillion division winner is, not too surprisingly, the creator of all existence, Eru Ilúvatar. Eru will face off against Bilbo Baggins, fresh off an attempt to wipe him out of this entire tournament!
Coming out of The Lord of the Rings, non other than Gandalf! Can he easy sweep past The Others division winner, Hurin? Or will Hurin pull off the biggest upset of the year!
Stay tuned and vote!
Voting in this round will remain open until April 6th at 10pm ET. And oh yes, you can count us keeping a close eye on any potential cheaters out there!
No April Fools here folks! We’ve reached the Elite Eight in our 2015 Middle-earth March Madness! This round will determine who will represent each division!
Because today is April 1st, and there are a slew of April Fool’s jokes out there, we’re going to just get right too it! Can (4) Bilbo take out the tournament Cinderella, (11) Thranduil? Can (14) Elrond really take out (5) Gandalf?
*Please Note: This was one of TheOneRing.net’s annual April Fools Jokes – We are not really being sued…yet?*
TheOneRing.net, the largest Tolkien-related fan-site on the internet, and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), professional wrestling entertainment powerhouse, have been unable to resolve recent legal disputes over TheOneRing.net name. TheOneRing.net’s desires to keep the communications private were dashed this week, with WWE breaking off discussions and proceeding with a copyright infringement claim in court.
“Clearly the ‘one ring’ refers to our wrestling ring,” said WWE Majority Owner and CEO Vince McMahon in a prepared statement, “and we are confident that any jury will recognize that. When someone is searching online for the ‘one ring,’ they want to find out more about WWE.”
Chris Pirrotta, one of the foundera of TheOneRing.net, disagrees. “While I respect the integrity and success of the world of professional wrestling and the WWE, I believe there are many different uses of the word ‘ring’ and reject WWE’s assertion of a monopoly over the term.”
WWE is no stranger to the courtroom, having lost their previous initials (WWF) in 2002 after the World Wildlife Fund sued the wrestling company over a broken agreement. Pirotta is quick to point out that he has no issue with WWE’s terminology. “They’re welcome to use the word ‘ring’. They’re welcome to call their ring the ‘one ring’. We just ask that we be allowed to keep our name. There’s never been any confusion in the past.”
McMahon disagrees, however, saying “our market research tells us that approximately 90% of first-time visitors to TheOneRing.net are looking for information about WWE superstars such as Roman Reigns or John Cena. Quite frankly, I doubt that many people have actually read Mr. Tolstoy’s books and even fewer know about the films.”
Cliff Broadway, who contributes to TheOneRing.net under the pseudonym “Quickbeam”, believes there is only one way to solve the dispute. “I am issuing a challenge to WWE Champion Seth Rollins for a match at Summerslam,” he says, referring to the upcoming wrestling event. “It will be the WWE Title versus TheOneRing.net name where winner takes all. And I think WWE will find Hell hath no fury like an Ent scorned.”
As of yet, WWE has not responded to the challenge, and TheOneRing.net continues to post news related to The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and the associated personalities.
*Please Note: This was one of TheOneRing.net’s annual April Fools Jokes – We are not going anywhere…at least we don’t think we are!* KENOSHA, WISCONSIN — An official press release is scheduled for tomorrow, but we, the TORn founders and staff, want to notify all those who have supported us for the past 15 years that TheOneRing.net is shutting down.
The final decision was communicated in an all-staff conference call over the weekend, but it has been discussed for months, speculated about for years, and we’ve cracked jokes about it from podiums at conventions (that nobody took seriously at the time), but now the long-dreaded hour is finally upon us.
The four TORn Founders (Erica Challis, Chris Pirrotta, Mike Regina and William Thomas) reached a tentative decision last week, discussed it with Senior Staff (identities top secret), then included world-wide staff, active and inactive, on the weekend conference call.
“We have a real sense of accomplishment that the purpose of the website has been fulfilled,” said Regina on the call. “Erica and I were interested in “some guy” in New Zealand adapting “The Lord of the Rings” into movies, and when Chris and Bill found us it really elevated the effort. The next thing you know it became far more than the hobby we envisioned.”
“It’s the perfect time to go out on a high note, fresh off the recent success of the Hobbit movies and The One Last Party,” said Challis. “It is still our collective baby, but the four of us just feel content that it has run its course. We don’t want to be like a “Transformers” sequel.”
Pirrotta agreed with her, pointing out how much of a commitment 15 years is: “I was in college when this started with time to sit in a computer lab. All of us have jobs and kids and responsibilities now. We stayed true to our vision, didn’t sell the website for millions when offered, and we can all feel good about that.”
Thomas offered more practical reasons: “We made a commitment to not make a profit and to give the money away to charity if we did. We accomplished that and I’m proud that we kept the site pure. Plus, Star Wars is back, so we can all follow our true love again. Remember, TORn was just an ode to The Force dot net anyway.”
Not all staff agreed with the decision and there was a period of open discussion about different ways the site might change hands. While we will not tell the media or general public, we can share with true fans, there were audible sobs during the conference call. (more…)
Forum member Otaku-sempai has submitted an informative, in-depth analysis of how the time-line of Aragorn’s life was changed and condensed as presented in The Lord of the Rings movies, and alluded to in “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” Enjoy this well-researched article!
A Speculative History Of Aragorn II In Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth – by Otaku-sempai
The words of the Elvenking Thranduil to his son Legolas at the end of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies concerning the young Dúnadan Ranger called Strider confirms the long-held assertion that Peter Jackson substantially altered the timeline of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings in his film adaptation by all but eliminating the seventeen-year gap between Bilbo Baggins’ one hundred eleventh birthday and Frodo’s departure from the Shire. Rather than a young boy being fostered secretly in Rivendell by Lord Elrond, Aragorn son of Arathorn is a young adult abroad in the world. How old is he at this time? How far along is he on his journey of exploration and self-discovery? Where does Aragorn go from here? We can answer these questions, but we have to make some assumptions in the process.
Can we determine Aragorn’s age? First we must determine the years of the War of the Ring within Jackson’s film trilogy. In the extended edition of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” we are given the exact date of Bilbo’s eleventy-first birthday: The twenty-second of September in the year three thousand of the Third Age. According to Professor Tolkien, Bilbo chose this date to leave the Shire because it was also the thirty-third birthday and coming-of-age of his nephew (really cousin) and heir Frodo Baggins.
In the commentary track with Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, the director and writers discuss the shortened time-frame of the film, suggesting that as little as a few months pass before Frodo and Sam leave Bag End for Rivendell rather than the seventeen years indicated by Tolkien. We see in the film that Gandalf the Wizard leaves Bag End to investigate Bilbo’s Ring, traveling to Minas Tirith in Gondor and (presumably) tracking down and questioning the creature Gollum in his investigation before returning to Hobbiton and advising Frodo to go to Rivendell. All this must have taken a significant amount of time, at least one year as Frodo is able to leave home and awaken in the house of Elrond on the date of 24 October (as told to him by Gandalf).
We know that not very much more than a year or so passes before Frodo leaves the Shire because of the ages of his companions Sam, Merry and Pippin. In Appendix D of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien provides the birth-years of Frodo (9268), his cousins Meriadoc Brandybuck (2982) and Peregrin Took (2990), and Samwise Gamgee (2980), showing that the latter three were all either children or adolescents by Hobbit standards at the time of Bilbo’s birthday party (the year 3001 in Tolkien’s legendarium). Peter Jackson ages them up so that all three are now Frodo’s contemporaries in age. This gives us a likely year of 3001 for Frodo’s arrival in Rivendell and the Council of Elrond. If the films roughly follow the same chronology as the books in terms of months and days then the Company of the Ring should leave Rivendell on or near 25 December, 3001.
So, when was Aragorn born?
In the extended edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Aragorn reveals to Éowyn, niece of King Théoden of Rohan, that he is eighty-seven years old; she realizes that he appears much younger because he must be one of the Dúnedain descended from the Men of Númenor. This should be (again if the dates in the books and films are congruent) a day or so after Aragorn’s birthday (1 March) which, according to Tolkien, is when Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli met Gandalf the White.
If Aragorn turned eighty-seven years old in 3002, his day of birth would have been 1 March, 2915 (or no earlier than 2914 if the scene between Aragorn and Éowyn took place prior to 1 March). His true name and heritage would have been revealed to him by Elrond in 2935 (or 2934), just before his first encounter with Elrond’s daughter Arwen. At the time of the Quest of Erebor (the year 2940 in the film-continuity) Aragorn’s age would have been twenty-five (or possibly twenty-six). To simplify things, let us assume that the months and days during the War of the Ring (although not the years) match up between the books and the films, and that Aragorn turned twenty-five in the year of Bilbo’s great adventure.
What happens, and when?
So, how does this affect the rest of Aragorn’s story? It changes the timelines of other characters: Arathorn II and Gilraen, Aragorn’s parents; King Thengel of Rohan and his descendants; Éowyn and her brother; Ecthelion II the twenty-fifth Ruling Steward of Gondor; Ecthelion’s son Denethor; and Denethor’s sons Boromir and Faramir; among others.
Aragorn acquires his nickname of Strider sometime soon after he goes into the wild, possibly in Bree. At some point before the Battle of Five Armies, he comes to the notice of Thranduil of the Woodland Realm who also learns of his true identity. Either Aragorn does not meet Gandalf until after the Quest of Erebor and the Battle of Five Armies or the Wizard does not wish to risk the heir of Isildur against the dragon Smaug nor against the Necromancer.
The great journeys and errantries of Aragorn probably begin in the year 2941, his twenty-sixth year, and likely culminate in 2964, this becoming the year of his victorious raid as Thorongil upon the Corsairs of Umbar and his reunion with Arwen in Lothlórien where the couple plighted their troth upon Cerin Amroth. This would be the period in which Aragorn as Thorongil distinguishes himself in service to both King Thengel of Rohan and Ecthelion II in Gondor. He likely had several other adventures, both alone and with Gandalf the Grey.
The years after this, leading up to the Great Years of the War of the Ring, might be when Aragorn journeyed to the distant regions of the East and South, “exploring the hearts of Men, both good and evil,” as Tolkien wrote, “and uncovering the plots and devices of the servants of Sauron.” Gilraen, Aragorn’s mother, would return to her own people during this time and pass away sometime around the year 2990. The Hunt for Gollum must have been much shorter, having quickly come to a successful conclusion, or did not take place at all as it written by Tolkien; there is nothing in the films to indicate that a captured Gollum was ever taken to the Woodland Realm, much less that he escaped from there–only that Gandalf somehow located and interviewed him with or without the help of Aragorn.
Great journeys and errantries
The period of what Tolkien called Aragorn’s “great journeys and errantries” might be greatly affected by the Peter Jackson film series. In the legendarium it lasted from 2957 to 2980 and Aragorn as Thorongil might have spent most or all of that period in Rohan and Gondor. Saruman the White did not turn against Rohan until after he was given permanent possession of Isengard in 2953. This probably does not change in the film-continuity since Saruman is still considered to be good at the time of the Quest of Erebor when the White Council drives the Necromancer and his servants from Dol Guldur.
It is possible that Aragorn began his explorations of the East and or South before the beginning of his service to Rohan. Alternately, he might have remained in the regions of Eriador and Rhovanion both as a companion of Gandalf and on his own during that time. In film-terms, the journeys and errantries of Aragorn could have begun at any time between 2941 and 2957 and might have ended as early as 2964 or as late as 2980. However, I am inclined towards the earlier dates.
Aragorn most likely came to Rohan after 2953 when Orcs and Dunlendings began harassing the Rohirrim and making trouble along the borders of Fangorn. Saruman was then pretending to still be a friend to Rohan even while secretly supporting its enemies. Tolkien wrote little of this period except to say that, as Thorongil, Aragorn rode with the host of the Rohirrim in defense of their lands.
After taking his leave of King Thengel, Aragorn (still as Thorongil) traveled to Gondor and gave his services to Ectheilion II, the twenty-fifth Ruling Steward. He accrued great renown in Gondor and became seen as a great leader of men. He also became Ecthelion’s most loved and trusted advisor, supporting the counsels of Gandalf and warning the Steward against accepting the aid of Saruman. In this a foresight might have been upon him as the treachery of Saruman was as yet unknown. Denethor II, the son of Ecthelion, considered Thorongil to be a rival for his father’s attention and might have guessed at his true identity, fearing that Gandalf was plotting with the Dúnadan to supplant him.
In Aragorn’s last year of service to Ecthelion he led a successful raid on the Corsairs of Umbar, destroying a large part of their fleet. Then, setting his eyes on the Mountains of Shadow, he took leave of the Steward of Gondor and traveled east. After spending some weeks or months within the borders of Mordor, Arargorn was allowed to enter Lothlórien and was reunited with Arwen.
After the War of the Ring
The events of the War of the Ring are known and accounted for in the films, with the new elements of Aragorn’s self-doubt, and initial reluctance to seek after the Kingship of Gondor. After the Fall of Sauron, events presumably proceeded much as they did in Tolkien’s legendarium with Aragorn having been crowned as King Elessar of the Reunited Kingdom, wedding Arwen who has given up her immortality for her love, siring with her several children including their son Eldarion and at least two daughters, and ruling over Gondor and Arnor until his passing in the one hundred twentieth year of the Fourth Age.
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We are down to the Sweet Sixteen as the chase to crown the 2015 Middle-earth March Madness champion continues!
Look for special analysis of the match-ups in this round coming soon!
But what about you? Have any strong opinions about this round? Send us a report and it just may make it to the homepage of TheOneRing.net! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your display name and a small bio, and article.
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