The long-awaited second installment of the article about Tolkien’s special hidden realms has arrived! In Part One, which you can read here, C.E High explored the hidden realms of the First Age. In Part Two, he continues on to consider hidden realms of the Second and Third Ages. Enjoy!
In the second and third ages the devices that Tolkien uses with his realms blossom into more complex symbolism with a diversity of outcomes. As men grow and diversify, this creates new problems for the other races of Middle-earth leading to a variety of realms that grow out of need and out of want. There is also that pesky Sauron, Morgoth’s second in command in the elder days, and in the absence of his master he arguably surpasses him in malice and evil deeds in the land of Mordor.
No longer do we have three hidden elven kingdoms of a similar making, we now have a variety. Eregion and Lothlorien are, at first, settlements of the displaced Noldor, which quickly become refuges against the evil now located in the east of Middle-earth. Rivendell, and the Woodland Realm to the north of Eregion and Lothlorien, round out the retreats of elves from battles with Sauron. Last, but not least, we have the newest and most intriguing hidden realm of them all: The Shire, a realm founded in the third age.
For fans who have been waiting to get their hands on actual disks before watching The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five ArmiesExtended Edition, today is the day when releases begin! The Blu-ray and DVD sets are available today in America, Nov 18th in New Zealand (so almost today already in NZ!), and across Europe and the rest of the world in the coming days. (Read our International Shopping Guide for further details.)
This is the Home Entertainment release which completes the set for all fans of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth movies. Many have written how the extra footage in the extended cut makes this the version of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies that they wanted to see. (You can read some staffers’ thoughts here.) Others have commented that they had hoped for the full extra 30 minutes Peter Jackson had said would be in this cut, not just the 20 minutes we got. There are certainly more scenes I had hoped to see – but that is where the Appendices come in…
At last we have parts Eleven and Twelve of The Appendices; parts One and Two came out with the Extended Edition of The Fellowship of the Ring, so this has been a long time coming! It’s great – if sad – to see the end of this journey. The tales from the set, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and memories from cast and crew are wonderful, and give us some insight into moments we perhaps wish had made it into a cut of the movie. Have tissues ready for the filmmakers’ ’emotional farewell to Middle-earth’!
There are over NINE hours of bonus features included in this Home Entertainment release, so it really is an essential part of your The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie collection. In the 2D version, the disc with the film also includes Part 3 of ‘New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth’; Disc 2 contains The Appendices Part 11: The Gathering Storm, The Chronicles of The Hobbit – Part 3; and Disc 3 is The Appendices Part 12: Here at Journey’s End. There is also audio commentary on the film, with Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens; I haven’t had a chance to watch with the commentary yet, but I’m sure it’s fascinating. I’d still like, at some point, to have some commentary from the cast – maybe that will come with the ‘super mega all-six-films’ box set….? (For the completists amongst us, you can already purchase the Extended Edition Box Set, also available today.)
Whether you prefer the Theatrical or Extended cuts of these films (and I think most of us come down on the side of the Extended Editions), it is really the bonus features which make this Home Entertainment release a ‘must have’. If you are patient enough to wait, maybe it’s one for your Holiday Gift wish list? (Look out for TORn’s Holiday Gift Guide, coming soon!)
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to watching those nine hours of extras….
For those of you who have been lucky enough to visit the Hobbiton set (like me!), you know how magical it is to wander among the well-tended gardens and Hobbit-home facades, to rest in the shade of the magnificent party tree, and to enjoy a pint at the Green Dragon Inn. However, as most of us are aware, the Hobbiton set is surrounded by a 560 hectare (approximately 1,400 acre) working sheep and cattle farm owned and operated by the Alexander family.
Stuff.co.nz recently recounted a bit of the history of the Hobbiton and how Hobbit holes and sheep continue to coexist nicely in a quiet corner of the New Zealand countryside:
“Right alongside the tourism business is their sheep and beef operation, on probably the country’s most-visited farm. While not many of the tourists see the whole farm, the stock is still very much in the public eye, meaning Craig [Alexander] has to be strategic in where he farms stock because of the occasional gate left open by an unsuspecting tourist. Hobbiton is also ring-fenced with paddocks for stock on either side. “If we’re driving a mob of 1500-2000 ewes down the main track and there is a [tourist] bus going through that can be pretty frustrating.”
While the farm is family-owned and operated, Hobbiton is a 50/50 partnership between the family and Peter Jackson. “Today, the tourism venture has about 70 permanent staff and twice that number over the busy summer season. It’s given the Matamata district a huge boost in earnings and the region is now thriving.”
Peter Jackson delivered the images and Howard Shore’s delivered the unforgettable musical score for “The Lord of the Rings.” Music and film lovers haven’t forgotten, voting in the favorite film score fro the sixth consecutive year at Classic FM.
The site, that calls itself the world’s biggest classical music radio station in the world, plays such music including film and video game scores. It is said to be the UK’s only 100 percent classical music radio station that includes radio on all platforms including streaming world wide on the web.
After thousands of votes, Shore’s score edged John Williams’ effort for Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List,” and Hans Zimmer’s music for Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator.”
Those who have been with TORn from the early days will remember that a Burger King tie-in commercial was the first time Shore’s score was heard by the masses, as the “Fellowship” theme showed off flame-broiled goodness along with the miracle of in-scale Men, Hobbits, with a pony, a Dwarf and Wizard.
The score carried themes from “Fellowship” into the following movies, earning an Academy Award for “Return of the King,” after a snub of even an nomination for “The Two Towers.”
There are many highlights, and different fans would have different favorite moments.
You can read Classic FM’s story here and find more links to more of the top 100.
Doug Adams’ book, “The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films,” stands as the definitive word on the score but is also one of the finest books written on musical scores anywhere. You can read our review of it here.
Shaun Gunner, Chairman of the Tolkien Society has let us know that they’re currently offering this must have addition to our Tolkien bookshelves for the wonderful price of just £10. So, if you’re looking for something extra special for the Tolkien fan in your life, or for yourself, grab yourself a copy of “Celebrating 50 years of The Lord of the Rings“.
Today, Sir Peter Jackson turned 54 years old! We here at TORN hope he had a most wonderful day and wish him many happy returns. (May the hair on his toes never fall out!)
Thank you, Peter, for all you’ve gifted us with – from the very first online preview for The Lord of the Rings to the Extended Cut of The Battle of the Five Armies. May the coming year, and those after, be most prosperous for you. (more…)
Those of you lucky enough to live in the L.A. area can catch an appearance by Sir Ian McKellen at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica on Tuesday, November 17th at 7:30 p.m. He will be appearing before a special showing of Mr Holmes, in which he portrays an aging Sherlock Holmes struggling to put closure on his last case from thirty years earlier. As we all know, our favorite wizard from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies is always entertaining and gracious to his fans, and may even discuss or take questions on his role as Gandalf, so get thee to the Aero on November 17th if you can! Tickets can be purchased here.
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