Note: My apologies for posting this late on TORn! Sometimes real life gets in the way of being a volunteer at TheOneRing. If you would like to make sure you get our videos and posts as soon as they’re up, please like our Facebook page and subscribe on YouTube. Hannon le! ~Kili
Our friends at Tolkien Italia have info that the release date of “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” Extended Edition, for the folks in the United Kingdom, is November 16. They don’t cite a source but the good people there don’t make these things up. There are no further details available but it gives us all a target date and it sounds about right. We do know the Extended Edition team is working hard to put the finished product together and like all the excellent home video extras, they will deliver top-notch quality, completing the six-part documentary of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth films.
Incidentally, TheOneRing.net will be talking about this very thing at some event people call the San Diego Comic-Con, happening in San Diego. (Apparently a bunch of stars go there and it is like, the biggest popular culture celebration in the world or something.) Also, ice cream.
As many of you already know, there is sad news in our community of fans today: Sir Christopher Lee passed away Sunday morning at the age of 93 due to respiratory problems and heart failure. Of course, we all came to know and love him for his role as the evil wizard, Saruman, in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, a role that came at the end of a long, and very distinguished career as an actor in horror movies and other dramas. For many of us, it’s difficult to picture a better Count Dracula than Christopher Lee. But, for many more of us, it’s impossible to think of anyone else playing the role of Saruman. All of the professionalism, passion and dedication of his long career shone out in that role, making it perfection.
From the U.K. telegraph website, here is a nice obituary, and a short video of his career highlights. Námarië, Sir Christopher. You are dearly loved and will be dearly missed!
Discussion Forum member Ethel Duath recently posted a link to an article on slate.com regarding a simple answer to a simple question: why is The Lord of the Rings considered such a classic? Did I say a simple? Ernest W. Adams, who answered the question on Quora, considered it to be J.R.R. Tolkien’s development of languages and back-story for Middle-earth and each of its races. A great answer! But, is it that simple? No doubt we each have our opinions on the best answer, or answers, to that question. Why do you think The Lord of the Rings is such a classic? Let us know in the article comments and/or weigh in on our poll. While you’re thinking about it, check out Mr. Adams’ reasoning in the slate.com article here.
When Fili decides to bake a surprise to celebrate the release of Kili’s latest book, her sister catches wind and tries to spy while wearing a certain hoodie…
Kili’s (K.M. Rice) books can be found here, and check out LOTH Hoodies here! Recipe below.
SARUMAN’S SECRET SURPRISE CAKE
For the cake:
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter (plus more to grease with pans with or you can use a baking spray!)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for the pans
1 cup of milk
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or a little more!)
For the frosting:
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped, plus shaved chocolate for topping
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
A small amount of cocoa powder for dusting!
Make the cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Butter two 8-inch-round cake pans and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out the excess.
3. Combine the butter, milk and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
4. Transfer to a large bowl, add the cocoa powder and granulated sugar and whisk until smooth. Let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
5. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
6. Whisk the eggs and vanilla into the cocoa mixture then stir in the flour mixture until just combined (it’s ok if there are a few small lumps in this Saruman pool!).
7. Divide the batter between the prepared pans.
8. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out with a few moist crumbs, about 35 minutes.
9. Let cool 10 or more minutes in the pans then run a knife around the edges and invert onto a rack to cool completely.
Make the frosting:
1. Put the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring, until smooth; let cool.
2. Beat the butter and salt in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Beat in the melted white chocolate until combined. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth and fluffy; beat in the vanilla. (If the frosting is too soft to spread, chill 15 minutes or more! This makes a LOT of frosting so you may not end up using it all!)
4. Place one cake layer on a platter and spread with one-third of the frosting. Top with the second cake layer; cover the whole cake with the remaining frosting.
5. Top with dust of cocoa powder and enjoy a bit of Saruman’s surprise!
There’s always a great deal of amusement and comic humour to be derived from the Eagle-sized problem in The Lord of the Rings.
But as even newbie Tolkien readers understand: Eagles — they’re not a taxi service.
Of course, Tolkien himself was well-aware of the potential of Eagles to derail suspension of disbelief. Here, Benita J. Prins outlines just a few reasons why “one does not simply fly into Mordor”. (For a slightly different, but related, “you must earn your happy ending” perspective, I also recommend this feature by Gibbelins over on io9.)
It’s hard to believe it’s almost two weeks since staffers deej, Thorongil and greendragon gathered at LI Geek Con (Islip, May 2nd and 3rd). A new convention, taking place for the first time, LI Geek was small but lots of fun, with a great atmosphere.
Perhaps the biggest draw at the convention was actor Graham McTavish, there both for his role as Dwalin and for his lead role in the popular television show Outlander. He spoke at four Q&A sessions – two focusing on Outlander and two, lead by greendragon, centering on The Hobbit. Many fans had made the trip to Long Island just to see McTavish, and even at such a small convention, there were some fabulous Hobbit costumes to be seen! McTavish himself commented on the quality of many of the costumes, remarking that one particular Dwalin costume was up there amongst the very best he had seen.
For fans who hope to meet an idol, such small conventions are the best opportunity; McTavish’s supporters were able to spend a little time actually chatting with him, rather than just being rushed through the autograph line. He was as charming, erudite and amusing as ever, sharing in his panels tales from the sets of The Hobbit, Rambo and Outlander, as well as from his start acting and the journey which led him to Middle-earth. (He mentioned that he read The Hobbit to his older daughter, and each time Dwalin was mentioned in the book, she cheered; her classmates all know him not as ‘Mr. McTavish’ or ‘Honor’s Dad’ but as Dwalin!)
The convention was also attended by celebrities such as David Warner (Star Trek, Doctor Who, Tron and more), actor Finn Jones (Loras Tyrell in Game of Thrones) and actor Nina Toussaint-White (Doctor Who). Panels and discussion groups were held, covering many topics. TORn presented a look forward to what we might see in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition, what’s next for fans of Middle-earth, and a discussion group entitled ‘Kick the Hobbit!’ – chatting (with much affection) about the things which we loved and some we didn’t love so much in Peter Jackson’s second trilogy.
Staffer greendragon finds a BB-8 on duty at Islip airport…
LI Geek Con had the unusual distinction of being the only convention any of us had ever attended which was actually held in an airport! Our table, where we met with convention goers, sold shirts, buttons and lanyards, and gave out prizes, was directly opposite the baggage claim! Some folks arriving on flights into Islip airport seemed bemused to see all the costumes and displays, but the experience turned out to be rather charming. One gentleman, arriving at the airport to catch a flight, caught sight of our table as he entered. His face lit up. He hurried over, and eagerly purchased a ‘Keep Calm and Read Tolkien’ t-shirt. He told us he has read The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion seventy-five times each! He had read that a convention was taking place on Long Island, and was disappointed that he didn’t have time to attend – and yet, here we were, in the airport! We asked where he was flying to, and he revealed that he was returning home after flying up for his mother’s funeral. We all of course offered our condolences – and he said that seeing the convention and getting his TORn t-shirt had cheered him up no end! Serendipity bringing a smile all round at MacArthur airport…
An intimate, fledgling convention, LI Geek Con was warm, friendly, and lively – and TORn was delighted to play a part in it. Now we’re looking forward to seeing fans at more conventions through the summer and into the Fall – San Diego ComicCon, DragonCon or New York Comic Con, anyone?
TORn is looking to host another Laketown Luau during San Diego Comic Con in July. In fact, we may well make this an annual event so that Tolkien fans can stay connected at one of the biggest Pop Culture events in the world. But we’d like to ask you, the readers, if this is something that would really interest you.
The Laketown Luau is a mashup event with both a Tolkien theme and a Luau theme mixed together, resulting in costumed hula contests, Pin the Black Arrow on the Dragon games and lots of fun and fellowship. The advantage of holding the event during San Diego Comic Con is that Tolkien fans attending the convention from all over the world will be in town that week and can attend. Even better, holding the event off-site means that non-attendee fans from So Cal can also attend the party.
HobbitCon 3 took place just a couple weeks ago in Germany and our friends at Henneth-Annun were on-hand to get the low-down.
They’ve compiled an extensive English-language report on the three-day convention, as well as many quotes from Q&A panels featuring Luke Evans, Graham McTavish, Sylvester McCoy, Lawrence Makaore, John Bell and more.
Don’t forget to click the link at the bottom to read the complete report.
HobbitCon 3: third time’s a charm!
by Peter “TheHutt” Klassen
I do remember the very first HobbitCon. When FedCon GmbH, the organizing company, announced a new convention during the RingCon 2012 dedicated exclusively to “The Hobbit”, with the participation of 11 dwarves from Thorin’s Company (although two of them cancelled later), I didn’t know what to think about it. That was even before the first movie from PJ’s second trilogy was released, and the dwarf actors were only known to us from the director’s video blogs. And in fact, the first HobbitCon proved to be a commercial failure, though it had a very pleasant and homely atmosphere.
Luckily, the organizers didn’t give up, and the second HobbitCon fared much better than the first one. And now, after the third HobbitCon (christened by Mark Ferguson “HobbitCon DREI”, which is German for “three”) has passed, you can really tell that there was barely room to swing a cat. If the first HobbitCon had just 800 visitors during the weekend, the third one had 5500 guests from over 27 countries! The Maritim hotel in Bonn was bursting, and the amount of Fili & Kili cosplay couples was staggering.
Speaking objectively, the HobbitCon is a unique event in the whole world. International conventions usually work with several mixed genres, there are many different fandoms present at a convention, with each fandom represented by just one or two actors. These are giant commercial vehicles, with an airplane hangar-like atmosphere. The HobbitCon is very different. You do not need to stay in a line overnight to get into a Q&A panel hall. You can be partying in a bar and suddenly find yourself on the dance floor together with Graham McTavish, Jed Brophy or even Luke Evans. Of course it is not for free – but still, three days of positive emotions, homely atmosphere and the feeling that the movie actors have become your friends, are worth it.
We’ve just heard the sad news that Andrew Lesnie has died of a heart attack at the age of 59.
The filmmaker from Sydney, Australia, won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for his work on Peter Jackson‘s “The Fellowship Of The Ring” in 2002. He is most associated for his work with Peter Jackson on the adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings,” trilogy and on “The Hobbit.” But his film catalog is much larger, including the just released Russell Crow-directed film, “The Water Diviner.”
He also served as director of photography for the Australian “Babe,” movies which led Jackson to him. In an interview with DigitalProducer.com, Jackson talked about the series of events, including Lesnie leaving “Mission Impossible 2,” to come to the Tolkien films. Said Jackson:
“I’d never worked with him or even met him before, but he’d shot the Babe films and I thought they looked amazing, the way he’d used backlight and the sun and natural light to create a very magical effect. And Babe had that larger-than-life feel about it that I wanted. So when we began looking for DPs in early 1999, I first decided to get either an Australian or New Zealand DP as they’d be used to the way we make films. Every country is slightly different in that way, and I immediately thought of Andrew. But he was shooting MI2 in Sydney, so I was a bit stuck then. But then after three weeks he left MI2 — apparently there was a lot of friction on the set, and we called him the next day and persuaded him to fly over to meet. Then we showed him all the designs and sets and he got very excited, and I liked him a lot.”
Jackson and Lesnie made the six Tolkien films together but they also collaborated on “King Kong,” and “The Lovely Bones.” Other notable films he worked on:
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” and “I Am Legend,” among others.
He can be seen as a painter acting in the Sean Astin-directed short film, “The Long and Short of It.” He made a cameo in “Return of the King,” as a Corsair of Umbar sailing to battle. By all accounts and from personal observations, Lesnie was excellent to work with. He is immortalized through his work.
All of us here at TheOneRing.net send our best wishes and condolences to his family and friends.
Below is the video of Lesnie winning his Academy Award for “Fellowship,” where he is graceful, humorous and thanks many people person-to-person before walking on stage to accept the award. It is a fine example of his professionalism and good nature.
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