In The Lord of The Rings, The Return of the King, March 25, 3019 marked the day the Ring of Power was destroyed and Sauron was defeated. In ‘modern day’ 2017, March 25 marks the day Tolkien fans around the world, in groups or individually, read from their favorite works by author J.R.R. Tolkien.
Tolkien Reading Day is a tradition stared in 2003 by the Tolkien Society. From their Tolkien Reading Day webpage: It has been organised by the Tolkien Society since 2003 to encourage fans to celebrate and promote the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien by reading favourite passages. We particularly encourage schools, museums and libraries to host their own Tolkien Reading Day events.
Each year, the Society selects a theme for the day, and this year’s theme is Poetry and Song. This opens up an amazing number of possibilities for reading for today. One of the most delightful aspects of The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings in particular, was how Tolkien interspersed poems and songs throughout the story. They added a depth of understanding of Tolkien’s characters and cultures that were unique to his works.
Who doesn’t feel Bilbo and Frodo’s sense of adventure when they read: “The road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began”? No less is the thrill of reading “Arise now, arise, Riders of Théoden!”, or the amusement at Sam’s: “Troll sat alone on a seat of stone and munched and mumbled a bare old bone.”
Tolkien’s poems weren’t limited to his novels. If you haven’t read it, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil offers a collection of 16 poems not published elsewhere. In it, we learn that old Farmer Maggot and Tom Bombadil were acquainted, enjoy an alternate version of The Man in the Moon, and learn the haunting story of the traveler in The Sea Bell:
There still afloat waited a boat, in the tide lifting, its prow tossing. Weary I lay, as it bore me away, the waves climbing, the seas crossing
The Mewlips – Pauline Baynes
One of my favorites is The Mewlips:
through the wood of hanging trees and gallows-weed, you go to find the Mewlips – and the Mewlips feed.“
Makes me shiver every time!
So, indulge yourself today! Get one (or more) of those Tolkien books from your bookshelf, crack it open,, and spend a few minutes (or hours), reading! If you’d like to join other fans, check out the Tolkien Society links above for planned gatherings. Which poem or song is your favorite? Which makes you smile? Which makes you sad? Which is your all-time favorite? Let us know!
TORn’s friend Dan Freeman, who wrote ‘audio movie’ The Minister of Chance(which featured the talents of both Sylvester McCoy and Jed Brophy), is penning a new play. A Joke will star actors Richard Oliver (who was in The Minister of Chance), Robert Picardo (perhaps best known to geeks for Star Trek and Stargate), and McCoy, whom we all know as Radagast (not to mention, of course, the seventh Doctor).
The show is in development, so exact dates for performances at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe are not yet confirmed – but there are two performances scheduled in Cheshire (England) on August 11 and 12 this summer. If you’d like to know more, check out the website, here.
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
Geekery can be fun and it can also be educational. In the case of the two-day Wizarding Dayz near Salt Lake City, it hopes to be both while helping with literacy and charity as well.
TheOneRing.net will be join what promises to be a magical event Friday and Saturday Feb. 24 and 25, presenting panels and representing Tolkien in the realm of the wizard-themed gathering. It takes place in the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy, Utah.
“We threw it out to the community to nominate the charities. We came up with these three charities because they are all based on kids, kids’ needs and kids that don’t belong. That is Harry Potter,” she said.
Walker, heading up Wizarding-Dayz with Carrie Rogers-Whitehead, hopes the first-year event brings out those who love Potter, Tolkien and fantasy in general, and especially those who enjoy reading.
“This event is made definitely for book lovers, people who love reading, people who want to go to a place where there are the things they love. It is good for all ages but for adults you are going to get to go and have good discussions,” Walker said.
TheOneRing will be included in those good discussions with three official TORn presentations:
* How To Travel to Middle-earth
* J.R.R. Tolkien vs. George R.R. Martin
* Tolkien and the Great War
There is other Tolkien content as well, including an over-the-internet panel for Tolkienites (or TORnadoes) to ask expert Michael Martinez ANY Tolkien Question. In fact, if there is interest, perhaps TORn will do a Facebook Live for portions of some of these panels.
Wizarding Days has no shortage of educational material, including from sponsors Utah Humanities and the STEM Action Center of Utah.
For those not aware, STEM is a science-based curriculum based on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics taught all together in an applied approach. In the wizarding world that means discussions and interactive panels rather than just lectures.
Water at Hobbiton Movie set
“We are not calling them panels. We want people to come and have discussions about these things they like or dislike. We have great topics that dive deep,” Walker said. “We aren’t skipping a rock across the surface.”
There are also a lot of hands-on items patrons can make and take home including wants, wizard pouches, rune pouches and of course, spell books.
Walker said she took extra care creating a space that isn’t mundane, including the vendor areas, which including roaming performers, but is all planned with a pleasing, welcoming, fantasy theme.
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.”
On this date in 1892, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein Africa. Over his long lifetime, he delighted readers and fans world-wide with his writings including essays, children’s books and his beloved novels, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, that center around a race of short, down-to-earth creatures who live, of all places, in (very nice) holes in the ground.
Today, TORn joins millions of fans worldwide in celebrating Tolkien’s birthday. If you have the time and the inclination, you may want to join other fans gathering at local pubs where members of the Tolkien Society will be raising a glass and toasting: “The Professor!” If you’d like to learn more about the annual January third tradition, or find a local gathering near you, visit the Tolkien Society’s Tolkien Birthday Toast 2017 page here. Or instead, you may just want to curl up with a favorite Tolkien story or poem and toast him quietly with a nice cup of tea.
However you decide to celebrate, join us in wishing a happy birthday to “The Professor,” who’s life’s work has come to mean so much to us. Happy birthday, J.R.R. Tolkien!
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