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Archive for the ‘Silmarillion’ Category

Middle-earth March Madness – The Sweet Sixteen! Vote in Round 3 Right Now!

2015-middleearthmadness-bracket-rd3We 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! Email with your display name and a small bio, and article.

Voting in this round will remain open until March 31st at 10pm ET. As always, tell your friends and vote for your favorites to make it to our final four! [Round 3 Download] [Round 2 Results] [Round 2 Download] [Round 1 Results] [Round 1 Download]


Posted in Characters, Events, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Other Events, Other Tolkien books, Return of the King, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, The Two Towers, Uncategorized

Tolkien Reading Day (Never too late!)

TORn Staffer Mithril, Reading Day 2014Yesterday, March 25, was officially Tolkien Reading Day. Celebrated annually by the Tolkien Society since 2003, Reading Day is exactly what it sounds like: a day “to encourage fans to celebrate and promote the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien by reading favourite passages.” March 25th was chosen to commemorate the day in Middle-earth history of the destruction of the One Ring and the downfall of Sauron, but events are often held throughout the week surrounding the official date.

Fans worldwide celebrate Reading Day with a variety of events. Wheaton College’s Tolkien Society in Illinois and the University of New Mexico Hobbit Society in Albuquerque hosted gatherings this year to share their favorite Tolkien pieces. And tomorrow (3/27), the Israeli Tolkien Society will host a picnic in Tel-Aviv. In Los Angeles, the local smial of the Tolkien Society, Tolkien Forever, will host a Reading Day event this Saturday, 3/28, at the famous Last Bookstore.

Tolkien Books Box SetThe theme for this year’s Reading Day is Friendship, chosen not only to commemorate how Frodo and Sam’s friendship triumphed in Mordor, but also to “celebrate the deep friendships that Tolkien developed in his own life and in his work.” By extension, a shared love of Tolkien’s work has inspired countless friendships, traversing continents and oceans. So share your love of Tolkien by joining a Reading Day event, or simply sharing your favorite passage with a friend!

Posted in Events, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Other Events, Other Tolkien books, Return of the King, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Tolkien, Tolkien Reading Day, TORn Book Club, Uncategorized

Middle-earth March Madness – Round 2! Vote Now!

2015-middleearthmadness-bracket-rd2Round 1 is in the history books, as Middle-earth March Madness continues to capture the attention of Tolkien fans worldwide! In our first round, we had over 190,000 total votes cast, with the most contentious match-ups recieving nearly 10,000 votes! Voting for Round 2 starts now! (Vote below).

Round 1 didn’t have many close match-ups, but there were definitely a few surprises.

The most contraversial seems to be (11) Thranduil taking down (6) Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit division. As the 2014 Middle-earth March Madness champion, Thranduil seems to have a dedicated and loyal following that should help him through his next match-up with (3) Beorn. (Or will fan backlash against those Thranduites push Beorn through?!)

In The Lord of the RIngs division, (8) Arwen was able to take down The Dark Lord himself, (9) Sauron. Will she make it past (1) Galadriel to possible match-up against (4) Aragorn?!

In The Others division, (2) Father Christmas was knocked off by (15) Legolas of Gondolin, obviously taking advantage of the name recognition of another famous Elf.

There are a lot of intriguing match-ups in round 2, which I’m sure some TORn staffer will highlight in an article this week. Maybe you want to highlight your favorite match-ups in this round? Submit an article to with your display name and a small bio, and we’ll see if we can post it!

Voting in this round will remain open until March 26th at 10pm ET. Vote Now and tell your friends! [Round 2 Download] [Round 1 Results] [Round 1 Download]


Posted in Characters, Events, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Other Events, Other Tolkien books, Return of the King, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, The Two Towers, Uncategorized

Middle-earth March Madness – The Silmarillion Characters

2015-middleearthmadness-bracket-rd1Middle-earth March Madness is on! As we come to the end of Round 1, we realize that there may be some names in these brackets that you don’t recognize. It’s okay. In the entire pantheon of Middle-earth, there are a lot of names. We can’t expect all of them to stick – especially those from such dense sources as The Silmarillion. Our live Sunday show, TORn Book Club (hosted by yours truly), is currently going through the book chapter-by-chapter as a primer for those who want to read it but may be intimidated by the huge scope of the story. With that in mind, I’m here to go through the Silmarillion characters listed in our March Madness and give you a little glimpse into who they are so that you can cast your vote with more confidence.

Just as a warning, this will go into some spoilers for The Silmarillion, but I’ll do my best to keep them to a minimum. It should also be noted that these are just summaries, and they may skip over various details to get to the heart of the subject. I will also do my best to keep my opinions to myself and not play favorites.

Beren vs. Túrin

Túrin Turambar by Alan Lee

Beren – Beren son of Barahir is best known as one of the two main characters from the tale of Beren and Lúthien, an action-packed romance. Beren, one of the few survivors of a terrible battle with the Dark Lord, Morgoth, lived as an outlaw until he was driven by Sauron through dark and terrible lands until he finally reached the protected Elf forest of Doriath.  There he met and fell in love with Lúthien, daughter of the Elven king Thingol. Thingol, unwilling to give his daughter’s hand in marriage to a lowly Man, told Beren that he could wed Lúthien if – and only if – he could steal a Silmaril, one of the most prized jewels in all of Middle-earth, from the crown of Morgoth himself. Thingol’s presumption was that Beren would either fail or die in the attempt. Either way, Lúthien would not be able to marry him. But Beren was undaunted, and he undertook a great adventure with Lúthien to reach Morgoth’s stronghold of Angband (an adventure so huge, it could probably be its own film trilogy). In the end, Beren was able to fulfill his task and steal a Silmaril, but he ended up receiving a mortal wound and succumbing. What did Lúthien do about that? Well, I’ll get to her later on.

Túrin – (WARNING: This summary contains larger-than-average spoilers) Túrin Turambar is probably one of the most tragic characters ever written by Tolkien. Just like Beren and Lúthien, Túrin’s story is a huge one – so big, in fact, that it is its own separate novel: The Children of Húrin. Just like Beren, Túrin’s family was involved in a great battle with Morgoth. They were defeated, and Túrin’s father, Húrin, was captured by Morgoth, who then cursed him and his family. Túrin fled to the forest of Doriath. King Thingol, his heart softened by the deeds of Beren, was much more welcoming this time around. Túrin lived for years in Doriath, until he got into an argument with an Elf named Saeros who didn’t care too much for Men. In the heat of the argument Saeros was killed, and fearing for his own life, Túrin fled Doriath and took up with outlaws. He developed a great reputation as a feared warrior, and eventually came to another secret Elven kingdom called Nargothrond. Eventually, he was able to convince Orodreth, the king of Nargothrond, to open up his gates and fight Morgoth openly. This decision was so bad, the Valar Ulmo, lord of the waters, tried to convince Túrin not to go through with it. But go through with it, he did. And, just as Ulmo predicted, Nargothrond was besieged by Morgoth’s forces, led by Glaurung, the father of Dragons. One by one, all of his friends were killed. Túrin, wracked with guilt, went back to life as a vagabond and outlaw. Meanwhile, Túrin’s mother Morwen and long-lost sister Nienor left their safe home in order to find him. Eventually, they came upon the ruined Nargothrond and Glaurung, who had taken up residence there. Glaurung killed everybody, but left Nienor alive, opting instead to cast a spell on her, removing her memory. Túrin found her and named her Níniel. Eventually, they fell in love and were married, neither one of them aware of who the other truly was. Believing that he had finally found happiness, Túrin gave up his life as a warrior to live out his days with his new wife. Glaurung, however, was not done with Túrin, and eventually left Nargothrond to take the fight to him. Reluctantly, Túrin took up his sword one last time to fight the great dragon. He dealt Glauring a fatal wound, but was knocked unconscious in the process. While Túrin was out cold, Nienor approached the dying dragon. With his last breath, Glaurung removed the spell, and she regained her memory. Horrified at what she had done, she killed herself. Túrin, upon waking, learned of her death and who she truly was, and fell on his sword in grief.


Ungoliant vs. Huan

Ungoliant and Melkor by rubendelva

Ungoliant – Simply put, Ungoliant is a being of pure malice. She took up the form of a giant spider, but she was much more than just that. Her origins are something of a mystery, but she is most basically identified as a primeval spirit of the night. She first appeared on the island of Valinor, and was convinced by Melkor (also known as Morgoth) to help him in overthrowing the Valar and tearing down the Trees of Valinor, the source of all light in the world. He promised her anything, but she wanted the Silmarils, which he coveted too much. Unable to control Ungoliant and her insatiable hunger, Morgoth had his Balrogs drive her away. But she left a trail of darkness behind her, and eventually took up residence in a mountain range where she spawned so much evil that the mountains were named Ered Gorgoroth, “The Mountains of Terror”. Eventually, unable to satisfy her own hunger, she finally devoured herself. Think about that. Ungoliant was so evil and malicious, the literal Lord of Darkness thought she went too far.

Huan – This is another character from the tale of Beren and Lúthien. Huan was a great hound from the land of Valinor, who served the two Elf princes Celegorm and Curufin. After Beren left Doriath on his quest for a Silmaril, Lúthien went after him and was intercepted by Celegorm and Curufin, who hoped to wed her and forge an alliance with her father. Huan betrayed his masters and helped Lúthien escape, and also accompanied her in her quest to find Beren, who at that point was imprisoned by Sauron. The two of them took on Sauron’s army of orcs and werewolves, and eventually rescued Beren when Huan defeated Sauron himself (in werewolf form) in single combat. Huan also helped Beren and Lúthien enter Morgoth’s fortress Angband, and eventually was killed fighting Morgoth’s guardian wolf, Carcharoth, who was driven mad after biting off Beren’s hand and swallowing the Silmaril he had just stolen.


Gil-galad vs. Elendil

Gil-galad from The Fellowship of the Ring

Gil-galad – He was the last of the great Elven kings. After the final defeat of Morgoth, and the reshaping of the world, he established a new Elven kingdom. He is best known for being the only Elf who saw through the ruse of a stranger named Annatar, who taught the Elven smiths how to forge rings of power. Yes, Annatar was Sauron. He helped to disperse and hide the rings of power from Sauron, and joined forces with Elendil, the king of Men, in the Last Alliance. Taking the fight to Mordor, he fought in single combat with Sauron and was killed.

Elendil – He was one of the few survivors of the destruction of the great kingdom of Númenor. Traveling with his sons Isildur and Anárion, they established a new kingdom in Middle-earth, forsaking the dark and ultimately destructive history of their ancestors. When Gil-galad gathered armies to march on Sauron in Mordor, Elendil joined the fight. Just like Gil-galad, Elendil was killed in single combat with Sauron. It was his son, Isildur, who would eventually defeat him.


Glaurung vs. Thingol

Glaurung and Túrin

Glaurung – The Father of Dragons, Glaurung was the first and arguably one of the greatest. He’s also the most insidious of them. His appearance in the story of Túrin above is his most well-known appearance, and his actions are arguably quite despicable. Not happy with only killing his foes, he felt the need to toy with them.

Thingol – He has been mentioned in a few entries above, but Thingol is an important character in his own right. He is one of the High Elven Kings, who established his domain in the forest of Doriath. Fighting in one of the early battles against Morgoth, he realized that he could not hope to defeat him openly, and opted instead for a more defensive stance. In Doriath, he established his underground stronghold of Menegroth. He also wed a Maia named Melian, and their daughter, Lúthien, was considered the fairest of all of the Elves. After gaining a Silmaril from Beren, Thingol fell victim to its corrupting power, and it eventually led to his downfall.


Morgoth vs. Melian

Fingolfin versus Morgoth by Ted Nasmith

Morgoth –  This is the original Dark Lord. He began his existence as a spirit – or Ainur – named Melkor. He was the wisest and most powerful of the Ainur, but he was also the most ambitious. As the Ainur created a great symphony that would become the universe and the world, Melkor endeavored to disrupt it and make it his own. After the creation of Arda, the Kingdom of Earth, the Ainur descended to it and became the Valar, the powerful lords of the Earth. Because of his disrupting nature, Melkor was not made a Valar, but still descended to Arda in order to corrupt and destroy the Valar’s work. As he continued to corrupt and destroy, he gave in to hatred and malice. His dark intentions and corrupting powers eventually led to him being named “Morgoth” or “Black Foe of the World” by Fëanor, the creator of the Silmarils, after his theft of them. The First Age of Middle-earth is all about the wars against Morgoth waged by Elves, Men and Valar alike.

Melian – Melian is a Maia, one of the Ainur who descended to Arda but did not play as large a part in the shaping of the world as the Valar. She loved the woods, and King Thingol found her and fell in love with her there. They wed and had a daughter, Lúthien. She was Thingol’s closest and most trusted counsellor. When Thingol chose to hide his kingdom in Doriath, she aided him by creating the Girdle of Melian, a boundary in the forest designed to thwart and frighten away anybody who would attempt to cross it. She is the only Ainu to ever wed an Elf or Man or have children with one. When Thingol was killed, she finally left Middle-earth and returned to Valinor where she mourned him for the rest of time.


Manwë vs. Finrod

Manwë Sulimo by GustavoMalek

Manwë – He is the greatest of all of the Valar, and is named King of Arda. In the creation of Arda, his main focus was on the air and the heavens, and he commands the Eagles. He also keeps a watchful eye over all of Middle-earth from his hall in the top of the tower of Taniquetil in Valinor. He is the only Valar who has a direct connection to Eru Ilúvatar, the supreme being who created everything, and who is most privy to his plans.

Finrod – Finrod was the Elven King who established the kingdom of Nargothrond. He was also the Elf who first discovered Men when they were first awakened by Eru Ilúvatar. He taught them of the world, and became very fond of them. In one of the great battles against Morgoth, Barahir, father to Beren saved Finrod’s life. Finrod swore an oath to repay that debt to Barahir, and gave him his ring as a symbol of that oath (you may remember that as the Ring of Barahir that Aragorn wears). When Beren began his quest to retrieve a Silmaril for Thingol, he called upon Finrod to fulfill his oath and join him in his quest. Finrod did so, and eventually repaid the oath by defending Beren against Sauron and sacrificing his life.


Ancalagon vs. Eru Ilúvatar

Dragon of the First Age by Rubendevela

Ancalagon – Ancalagon the Black was Morgoth’s greatest weapon against the Elves and the Valar in the War of Wrath, the final battle of the First Age. Ancalagon was the largest of all of the dragons, and he led a fleet of dragons against the Eagles, led by their great chief Thorondor, and the great Halfelven lord Eärendil. In the battle, eventually defeated and threw down Ancalagon, and the impact was so fierce that it destroyed Morgoth’s fortress of Thangorodrim.

Eru Ilúvatar – Also known as the One, Eru Ilúvatar is the supreme being who created the world. Residing in the Void, he was the keeper of the Light Imperishable, the source of all life in the universe. He used it to create the Ainur, who he commanded to perform a great symphony. He gave them two themes, and the music the made from it created Arda, the Kingdom of Earth, and the Ainur descended to it to become Valar and Maiar. But he also created a third theme that was solely for his use, and that theme led to the creation of the Children of Ilúvatar: Elves and Men. They are solely his creation, and the Valar and Maiar have no direct power over them – though they can influence them. Eru Ilúvatar tends to let things play out as they will, as the events in Arda and Middle-earth are all part of a plan according to the themes he created. He only ever directly intervenes in the events of the world in the direst of circumstances.


Lúthien vs. Eärendil

Lúthien Tinúviel by Alan Lee

Lúthien – The daughter of Thingol and Melian, Lúthien Tinúviel is regarded as the most beautiful of all the Elves who ever walked in Middle-earth. She fell in love with Beren, who wandered into her land through great terrors. When he saw her dancing among the trees, he forgot all of the horrors he had seen and fought and named her Tinúviel which means “nightingale.” They spent a great deal of time in the woods of Doriath before Thingol finally discovered them. He commanded Beren to steal a Silmaril from the crown of Morgoth in order to win her hand in marriage. When Beren left on his quest, Lúthien secretly left Doriath to follow him and aid him. She met the Great Hound Huan when she was captured by the brothers Celegorm and Curufin, and he aided her in finding Beren. By then, Beren and his company had been captured by Sauron. Lúthien and Huan, disguised as aids to Sauron, infiltrated his fortress and defeated his orcs and werewolves. When Huan defeated and humiliated Sauron, Lúthien commanded him to leave the fortress and pass lordship of it to her. Once Sauron was gone, Lúthien found Beren grief-stricken because his entire company had been killed by Sauron’s werewolves. She convinced him to return with her to Doriath, but Beren had to fulfill the quest to win her hand. Using disguises again, Beren, Lúthien and Huan were able to sneak into Morgoth’s fortress, Angband – something never before accomplished by Elves or Men. In Morgoth’s great hall, Lúthien used the power of her song to put Morgoth and everybody within the sound of her voice into a deep sleep. Beren was able to pry a Silmaril from Morgoth’s crown, but his blade snapped in his attempt to take all three. The shard pierced Morgoth and woke him, prompting Beren and Lúthien to flee with the Silmaril. They were waylaid at the entrance to Angband by Carcharoth, the greatest of the werewolves. Beren attempted to fend him off with the light of the Silmaril, but Carcharoth bit off his hand and swallowed the jewel. Beren and Lúthien were then spirited back to Doriath by the Eagles before they were overtaken by Morgoth’s forces. Beren told Thingol of what happened, and he agreed to allow Lúthien to marry him, but there was still the matter of the wild Carcharoth and the Silmaril. Beren and Huan joined the hunting party, and both received mortal wounds before killing the wolf and retrieving the Silmaril. Beren was taken back to Doriath and died. Since Men leave the world when they die, Lúthien pleaded with him to meet her in Valinor before succumbing to her own grief at his loss and dying. In Valinor, Lúthien pleaded with the Valar to give them both a mortal life and to live out their days in peace. The Valar, moved by her song and heartfelt plea, agreed to her request. Beren and Lúthien returned to Doriath, and lived a long second life and had a son, Dior, who would become Thingol’s heir.

Eärendil the Mariner by Jenny Dolfen

Eärendil – Raised in the secret Elven kingdom of Gondolin, Eärendil is actually a Half-Elf. He was only a child when Morgoth learned of the location of Gondolin and sacked it. He and his surviving family escaped to the mouth of the great river Sirion, where Eärendil learned the art of being a shipbuilder and a mariner from Cirdan, the Elven Shipwright. He eventually married Elwing, the granddaughter of Beren and Lúthien, who also possessed the stolen Silmaril. The other Elven Kings learned of Elwing’s Silmaril, and sent raiding parties after her in their kingdom of Arvernien when Eärendil was out to sea. But rather than let it fall into their hands, Elwing cast herself and the Silmaril into the sea. Because she had the Silmaril, the Valar Ulmo, Lord of the Seas, lifted her up and delivered her to Eärendil. Learning of what happened, Eärendil determined that the Elves were falling under the corrupting power of Morgoth, and that it was finally time for the Valar to intervene. He sailed his ship to Valinor, and was the first mortal to ever set foot on it alive. He begged the Valar to take up arms and aid Men and Elves in their fight against Morgoth, and they agreed. Since Eärendil had traveled to Valinor for Men and Elves and not for himself, he and Elwing were given a choice to live their lives either fully as Elf or as Mortal. Elwing chose to be an Elf, and Eärendil chose the same to be with her. Their children, Elrond and Elros were also given the same choice in their time. Once the choice was made, the Valar joined Eärendil’s host and lay siege to Morgoth’s fortress in the War of Wrath, the final battle of the First Age. Eärendil battled Ancalagon the Black, the mightiest of all dragons, and tore down the fortress Thangorodrim. When Morgoth was defeated, the Valar expelled him to the Void outside of existence. After the battle, Eärendil sailed his ship into the heavens where he sits as the brightest and most beloved star. It is prophecied that one day Morgoth will return to destroy Arda utterly, and Eärendil will also return to join the Valar in the final battle that will unmake the world and remake it in a brand new vision.

Posted in Other Tolkien books, Silmarillion

Middle-earth March Madness – Round 1 Bracket – Vote Now!

2015-middleearthmadness-bracket-rd1The 2015 edition of Middle-earth Madness officially starts today! We’ve split our field of 64 characters and objects into four divisions: The Silmarillion,The Hobbit,The Lord of the Rings and The Others.

This is a brand new format for the competition this year – implemented to encourage interesting match-ups, intriquging final four and ultimately education on the breadth of works from our favorite author, J.R.R. Tolkien.

A note on how the bracket combatants were determined. 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 totalled all the votes from each division to determine their rank, and ultimately placed those into our bracket for seeding.

As you can imagine, our staff is diverse and the results were very interesting! What was very exciting when creating the bracket was the realization that we have some amazing and story related match-ups in this first round.

Voting in Round 1 will remain open until March 21st at 10pm ET. At that point, we’ll calculate the winners and post the next round on March 22nd. 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]

Posted in Characters, Events, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Other Events, Other Tolkien books, Return of the King, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, The Two Towers, Uncategorized

Oh yes – Middle-earth March Madness is Coming!


Yes folks, Middle-earth March Madness is back for 2015! If you are new to, Middle-earth March Madness is our adaptation on the popular NCAA Basketball tournament that takes place every March/April in the United State. It is our chance to have some fun matching up middle-earth power players against each other. Past winners include Samwise Gamgee, Gandalf, Thranduil.

Based on feedback from our past years, we are switching things up a bit to include the entirety of J.R.R. Tolkien’s works. So in reality, this could be called J.R.R. Tolkien March Madness!

This year, our four divisions will be representative of a book (or series of books):

The Hobbit
The Lord of the Rings
The Silmarillion
Other Works (Lost Tales, Father Christmas, Children of Hurin, etc)

This allows each division to crown a champion for each book, and then they all face off against each other in the final four!

Our staff are sorting out the field of 64 combatants now, and we’ll be posting the first bracket and polls very soon. Stay tuned to the front-page of TORn for the announcement to start voting, and follow along on Twitter and FB with #middleearthmarchmadness @theoneringnet


Posted in Characters, Events, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Other Events, Other Tolkien books, Return of the King, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, The Two Towers, Uncategorized

Test your Middle-earth knowledge with this quiz!

Tuor Reaches the Hidden City of Gondolin, by Ted Nasmith I think it’s a given that 90% of all online quizzes are just rubbish. Which is why I was really surprised to stumble upon this great Buzzfeed Middle-earth quiz that will may actually stretch your Middle-earth knowledge. (more…)

Posted in Characters, Fellowship of the Ring, Green Books, Hobbit Book, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Other Tolkien books, Return of the King, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Tolkien

The mythology of Middle-earth explained in four short minutes

Making the complex simple and easy to digest has great value. A fellow on YouTube has been doing this for a while and now he has picked the mythology of Middle-earth to break down in a four-minute video. (And yes, we immediately wondered why we didn’t do this!) He uses spoken words, simple illustrations and iconic figures to blow through J.R.R. Tolkien’s mythology. The big overview ads value to the movie-going experience — like if you went to see “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” for example — or any of the various Middle-earth movies and gives viewers some idea of what all the ruins sitting around might be from. Finally, it might encourage somebody to go pick up a book!

Here it is, the broad view of old Middle-earth in four minutes:

Join us in Los Angeles in February at The One Last Party

one last party logo We’re hosting a Party of Special Magnificence next February — a final toast to all SIX movies, both The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy.

We’re inviting you to join us and make it happen through our Indiegogo campaign — so we can all celebrate Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth movies together!

Visit our campaign page and find out how you can help!

Posted in Hobbit Book, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Other Tolkien books, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tolkien

Peter Jackson talks ‘Hobbit: BotFA’ and all Middle-earth with



MIRAMAR, New Zealand — The director’s tent.

Inside a sound stage or outside on location, it is a constant and central fixture on a movie shoot. It is home base for Peter Jackson and his team.

It is sacred ground – more or less.

The decisions made inside it, by the team, under Jackson’s direction, are crucial to the project where it is determined what will later happen in front of the camera.

So every day, whatever happens to a set or a soundstage overnight, the tent is there set up and waiting for the core of the shooting unit.

Editor Jabez Olssen, Script Supervisor Victoria Sullivan and First Assistant Director Carolynne Cunningham call it home during the shoot. Cunningham is out a lot, Olssen and Sullivan less so and Producer Zane Weiner is always near. Jackson’s assistant Sebastian Meek is in and out at all times, bringing badly needed tea and watching the door from outside to eliminate distractions inside.

Jackson lives on tea and Meek has a talent for having it handy at the perfect moment.


In April, 2012, as a representative of fandom via, I was invited to be on set during five weeks of the filming of the Hobbit films. At the time, it was still scheduled to be two movies and the production had just settled in to shoot in studio instead of on location. Much was unknown then, that now is completely familiar to fans.

When I first arrived at Stone Street Studios, the publicity team took me to set, showed me the ropes and left me to my own devices during the rest of my stay to meet folks and get interviews, which was great. No time and no need for babysitting.

I was there to be a good guest and to observe. Two weeks later I was definitely convinced I had no chance of talking to Peter Jackson, except for an occasional, “Hello, how are you getting on?” from him during my time there.

Fans world-wide know from production diaries, how exhausted Jackson gets during the shooting phase of filmmaking. It is important to really understand why.

Peter Jackson is a busy guy. Particularly when he is shooting, there is a lot to do in a day and a lot of people that need to understand his vision in order to do their jobs well; he is the hub of the great spinning wheel.

Peter JacksonHe is the director, a writer and a producer — each a big job on its own. Many films have one of each of those, or several of some, all working together. But Jackson was all of them at once and combining titles didn’t mean there was less work to be done. Just because he was reviewing shots didn’t mean the script didn’t need his touch or that the art department didn’t need his input as a director or the next day’s schedule didn’t need approval. Others were partners on all of these fronts but they also required Jackson.

In a day he might need to meet with the effects supervisor, set designers, concept designers, costume designers, the composer or see actual costumes for approval or changes to name just a few of the many things that require his time. He will confirm the schedule with his Assistant Director, producers and spend time with the Second Unit Director Andy Serkis to make sure all is to his liking. They need sets built, greens grown, sets decorated, concept guys working ahead, materials guys building everything, maximizing actors’ time, feeding all of those people, screening extras, bringing in the right number of prosthetic artists and on and on. In short, there is never a shortage of people who need Jackson’s input to work on his vision and it takes the logistics of, dare I say, planning a battle with five armies.

In short, he has to sign off on pretty much everything.

Those are the reasons “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” and his other Hobbit movies are genuinely Peter Jackson movies. It also means he is booked.



And so it was, the last day of my time on The Hobbit set, after several assurances that it would happen — it did.

Lunch happened and on the location set of Dale, up on a hill, I was invited to that director’s tent to sit and talk with PJ, just the two of us alone. (One editor asked me if we ate together in the tent but I don’t think so, but why many memories are crystal clear of that meeting, I just have no idea.)

I had been inside before, but not often. The day I shadowed him, I spent several hours, trying to melt into the background. This was his sanctuary and office.

Posted in Alan Lee, Andy Serkis, Characters, Crew News, Director news, Director Rumors, Evangeline Lilly, Fans, Fran Walsh, Headlines, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Cast News, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Locations Sets, LotR Movies, MrCere in New Zealand, New Zealand, Orlando Bloom, Other Tolkien books, Peter Jackson, Production, Silmarillion, Studios, Terry Notary, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Uncategorized, Warner Bros.

This hand-illuminated Silmarillion is an astonishing work of art

The Illuminated Silmarillion

The Illuminated Silmarillion

We’ve posted about this before, but I was reminded of it today, and it’s such an astonishing hand-made work of art in an age of mass production that I truly don’t think anyone will mind seeing it again.

Several years ago, German art student Benjaminn Harff set himself the task of hand-illuminating and binding a copy of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion. More than six months later he was still at it. He explained the process to Tolkien Library’s Pieter Collier: (more…)

Posted in Creations, Fans, J.R.R. Tolkien, Other Tolkien books, Silmarillion, Tolkien

Majesty and simplicity: on Tolkien and allegory

J  R  R TolkienIn our latest Library feature, Tedoras takes up the vexed issue of Tolkien and allegory.


Majesty and simplicity: on Tolkien and allegory

by Tedoras

Tolkien’s disdain, and avowed desuetude, of allegory is widely known by most familiar with his writings. Snippets from essays, letters, and remarks all show the Professor rejecting the notion that allegory is employed in his mythology; instead, Tolkien directs readers to the difference between allegory and applicability. (more…)

Posted in Fellowship of the Ring, Green Books, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Other Tolkien books, Return of the King, Silmarillion, The Two Towers, Tolkien

When exactly did Saruman fall?

Christopher Lee has precisely one line in the recent trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, but his little cameo was an unsurprising winner with fans. And, apart from reinforcing that stuff is always better with Chris Lee (maybe Chris can do all the voices for BOTFA — that would be ace!), it also sparked a surprising amount of speculation about Saruman’s intentions in desiring to confront Sauron alone.

Now, we can’t say how the confrontation occurred in canon: we know little more than that the White Council put forth its strength, that Saruman played an important role, and that Sauron deliberately withdrew as he had anticipated and planned for the actions of the Wise. Had Sauron, in fact, already fled? It’s a legitimate interpretation of the texts. However, Tolkien’s writings are a lot more informative about when Saruman “left the path of wisdom”. In this feature, Tedoras examines what The Lord of the Rings, Unfinished Tales, and The Silmarillion have to tell us about Saruman’s fall.



Posted in Christopher Lee, Fellowship of the Ring, Green Books, Headlines, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Other Tolkien books, Return of the King, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Two Towers, Trailer