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Archive for the ‘Tolkien Estate’ Category

Tolkien Exhibition still at the Bodleian, Oxford – until Oct 28

Just a reminder that the incredible Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth exhibition is still on at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. You have until October 28th to see this astonishing collection of manuscripts and artefacts from Tolkien’s work and life. American fans will then have the opportunity to see most of the exhibition, together with some new additions, at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York, from January 2019; and from October 2019 to February 2020, an even bigger collection (which will include some of this current display) will be on show at the Bibliotheque nationale de France. (This will be the first time that the French national library has ever curated an exhibition about a non-French author, and will include items from their own collection, setting Tolkien’s works in the wider context of fantasy literature.)

Earlier this summer, TORn staffer greendragon had the opportunity to sit down with the Bodleian’s Tolkien archivist, Catherine McIlwaine, to find out some more about the behind-the-scenes work which went into creating this exhibition. McIlwaine was already a big fan of Middle-earth herself, so it has been the perfect job for her; as she put it herself, she was in the right place at the right time! Originally hired to create a detailed catalogue of the library’s Tolkien collection – a job which she thought would last for a couple of years – McIlwaine never expected to find herself, fifteen years later, curating such an extensive exposition of the Professor’s life and work.

The Bodleian owns a very large collection of material relating to J.R.R. Tolkien, totaling approximately 500 boxes of manuscript items! Much was donated by the Tolkien family in 1979; though manuscripts for The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and Farmer Giles of Ham had been sold to Marquette University by Tolkien himself in the late 1950s, the rest of his manuscripts, academic and personal papers reside with the Bodleian. The current display features over 200 items, roughly half of which have never been seen by the public before; fascinating doodles on the back of completed crossword puzzles, and scribblings such as the opening lines of Beowulf written in tengwar, are amongst the treasures.

Staffer greendragon with exhibition curator Catherine McIlwaine (left)

Marquette University have been very supportive of the exposition, and have allowed many items from their collection to be included; McIlwaine said that the highlight of planning the exhibition, for her, was the opportunity to travel to Milwaukee twice, and to get to know the staff at Marquette. The ‘Maker of Middle-earth’ show sees some of Tolkien’s manuscripts and original art works being reunited for the first time since the 1950s!

Also featured in the current display are Tolkien’s own writing desk, chair, and some of his pipes, exclusively loaned by the Tolkien family, who have been very supportive of the endeavour. Christopher, Tolkien’s son and the editor of many of his works, was unfortunately not able to travel to visit the show, but his wife attended, and was delighted by it.

This enormous exposition (which still only reveals about three-quarters of the Bodleian’s current Tolkien archive – which is still growing!) was five years in the planning, with 18 months of full-time work in the run up to opening. The release of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit movies was the chief impetus, prompting the Bodleian to think that the time was ripe for such a showing; and the Tolkien Trust were eager to support it, to give something back to the fans. (Tickets to the exhibition are free!) Much of the content on display is usually only available to researchers – and access is closely restricted. Here, fans have the opportunity (in many cases, for the first time) to peer closely at Tolkien’s tengwar scrawl on an academic paper; and to gain an insight, through personal letters, into his family relationships.

For me (greendragon), highlights of the exhibition included Tolkien’s letters from his mother. I had no idea that she had taught him his beautiful calligraphy – I always assumed it was something he dreamed up himself. When you see the letters from his mother, however, it is very clear whence that unique script originated.  Another family touch I loved were the sketches Tolkien created for his son Michael, to help him deal with nightmares. There was a recurring ‘monster’ which tormented Michael, and following his description, his father drew the beast – now named ‘Owlamoo’ – to help Michael confront and defeat his fears. I love the rather cross-looking owl-creature; and this display of fatherly affection is very touching.

Throughout the run of the exhibition, there have been various lectures and events in Oxford. A self-guided walking tour of ‘Tolkien’s Oxford‘ has been very popular, and many of the evening lectures have been sold out. Some exhibition tickets, however, have deliberately been held back for each day, so that there are always some available.

For anyone who can’t make it over to Oxford, I heartily recommend the exhibition catalogue. It is the biggest catalogue the Bodleian has ever produced, and it even includes archival items not seen in the display! As the exhibition website states, the book ‘brings together the largest collection of original Tolkien material ever assembled in a single volume. Drawing on the archives of the Tolkien collections at the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, and Marquette University, Milwaukee, as well as private collections, this exquisitely produced catalogue draws together the worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien – scholarly, literary, creative and domestic – offering a rich and detailed understanding and appreciation of this extraordinary author.’  Worth every penny; visit the exhibition shop to see some of the other goodies on offer.

Posted in Books Publications, Christopher Tolkien, Collectibles, Events, Exhibits, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Languages, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Merchandise, Other Merchandise, Other Tolkien books, Posters Prints, Return of the King, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Family

There is a cornucopia of Tolkien stories coming this year

J.R.R. Tolkien and Edith Bratt, soon to be Tolkien

Tolkien fandom finds itself with an embarrassment of riches in 2018. The Tolkien Biopic has wrapped principal photography and is currently in post-production. There will be a new book out featuring Gondolin, edited by Christopher Tolkien. The most recent update about the Amazon Studios’ TV series is now confirmed to be a 5 season commitment. And then word starts to filter through that there are current negotiations for an actual Middle-earth Theme Park.  (more…)

Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series, Christopher Tolkien, Fans, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, LotR Production, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, New Line Cinema, Other Tolkien books, Peter Jackson, Rumours Spy News, Silmarillion, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Family, Warner Bros.

Is Guillermo Del Toro finally going to bring his Middle-earth to the fans?

When Amazon Studios first announced their big production deal last November for a Lord of the Rings television series, there was just one thing missing, a big name attached to the project. There was no Producer, Showrunner or even a Writer or team of Writers to indicate the direction these stories might take and give confidence to fans that Middle-earth would be in good hands. 

It has been confirmed that the Guillermo Del Toro has signed on with Amazon Studios, in conjunction with his Tequila Gang production company, to Executive Produce and write this iteration of Middle-earth. He brings with him his co-writer, Chuck Hogan from The Strain. Del Toro’s long time manager, Gary Ungar says that they have already begun identifying and sifting through possible stories that exist within the Appendices, separating out those that are more fleshed out in other Tolkien properties. Because the deal with the Tolkien Estate and Trust is still in flux, they are currently only looking at storylines they know won’t be a legal issue so they can get down to writing.  

During that time waiting for The Hobbit project to finally get going, Guillermo Del Toro spent nearly two years breaking down The Hobbit and working with pre-production designs for the story he was helping to craft. His visual style and ability to create wild and very unique looks was one of the reasons fans came to really anticipate Del Toro’s take on Middle-earth. We wanted to see what he would do with the Elves and Dwarves and even Men, and we especially wanted to see what he would have come up with for all the monsters. When he finally had to leave the project because it was dragging on too long waiting for a green light, fans felt a sense of loss and mourned The Hobbit that could have been. 

This is why Del Toro is perfect for this project. He already has a deep knowledge of the source material, including what can and can not be included legally, and he’s got designs that never got the see the light of day. Because Peter Jackson and WETA are not going to be involved in the Amazon Studios production, there is little reason to maintain strict adherence to the design motifs put in place for the various races. The only design features required are within Tolkien’s books, and beyond that, Del Toro will get to finally let loose with his own, distinct look and feel with very little constraint. What will his Numenor look like? Will we see a Northern Kingdom or meet a young Aragorn, as Thorongil, as he journey’s about Middle-earth learning the skills he will later need to become King?  

Amazon has already announced that it will be developing a Lord of the Rings series set before the events of the original films. The company reportedly spent $250 million to acquire the rights alone and, according to that same report, marketing and productions costs for two seasons could raise the investment to $500 million. It is still unclear if these stories will be told in a series of anthology like episodes or story arcs, or if there will be a much wider, more epic scope to the narrative. 

Amazon Studios will produce the series in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, book publishers HarperCollins, and New Line Cinema.

Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series, Creations, Director news, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Fool of a Took, Guillermo Del Toro, Hobbit Movie Rumors, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, New Line Cinema, Return of the King, Rumors Spy News, Studios, Television, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Family

Tolkien Rights and the Amazon Television Deal – some insight

In a fascinating article, TORn staffer and author Kristin Thompson gives us some invaluable insight into some of the legal wranglings which may have led to this new The Lord of the Rings television series deal:

The announcement that Amazon will be producing a multi-season television series based on The Lord of the Rings has caused much speculation and not a little confusion. One common assumption seems to be that the television rights to the two hobbit novels were sold to United Artists in 1969, when it obtained the production and distribution rights to make film adaptations. (more…)

Posted in Amazon TV series, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, New Line Cinema, Return of the King, Studios, Television, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Warner Bros.

LOTR TV series: some background and more information

Fellowship of the RingAs is to be expected, the internet, our discussion forums, and comments to our story from yesterday are abuzz with the news broken by Variety magazine yesterday of talks between Warner Brothers and Amazon to make a series adaptation based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Since there are many outstanding questions, we thought we’d go back over some of the background related to the movie and television rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, as well as relate some additional information also published yesterday at Deadline Hollywood.

(more…)

Posted in Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Return of the King, Television, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Warner Bros.

Justin Bieber plans to buy into New Zealand – and Middle-earth

courtesy of Us Weekly

Adding to the list of rich foreigners who are buying land in New Zealand is singing sensation Justin Bieber. Fresh off a tour of NZ, during which he tweeted his love for the place, the ultimate Bielieber has entered negotiations to buy a substantial tract of land at Glenorchy, near Queenstown. The property includes various film sites from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies, and is where many Lothlorien scenes were shot.

“What the world doesn’t know is that Justin is a massive Lord of the Rings fan – but the movies only, not really the books which he’s never read,” says a source close to the singer. “Although he knows about Tom Bombadil, he thinks he’s hilarious. He’s seen some Bombadil fan videos online and he wants to create his own, but using these woods that appeared in the films.

“His plans are to build a replica of the horse-people hall and hold big Middle-earth parties exclusively for his friends – but he’ll likely want some local ring-ins as character props, so anyone who looks really hobbity will have a good shot at being invited.”

Bieber spent a few days in Queenstown after his concert in Auckland before jetting off to South America to continue his Purpose World Tour. The source added: “I can say for a fact that he was overheard having several phone conversations with a “PJ.” Whether that was ‘the’ Peter Jackson, I can’t really say. I just know the conversations definitely mentioned Bombadil, something called the Sil-merryland, and roles of interest to JayBee.”

Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien will recognize that the ‘Sil-merryland’ almost certainly refers to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, an epic compilation of stories recounting, in part, the struggle of the peoples of Middle-earth against the dark lord Morgoth. “Getting the film rights was apparently going to be a major hurdle” said the source. “‘Impossible’ and ‘a real long shot’ were overheard quite often.” But apparently Justin hopes to use his considerable influence to sweet-talk some of the members of the Tolkien family and Tolkien Estate who are huge fans, and devoted Bieliebers, to release at least limited rights to some of the Silmarillion stories.

Regarding possible roles for Bieber, one can only guess. Given that his physique doesn’t lend itself to playing the rotund Tom Bombadil, and Bombadil doesn’t appear in The Silmarillion anyway, fans can only speculate that it would have to refer to some other major role. Given Justin’s rather elfin features, the roles of the heroic Fingolfin, or even the proud Feanor come to mind. The mention of “growing acceptance of gender neutrality trends” was reportedly also overheard by our source, so the roles of Luthien or Melian can’t be ruled out completely.

Meanwhile, if the Queenstown land purchase goes ahead, the Mayor of Queenstown Lakes District has promised to name Bieber as an official inhabitant of Middle-earth. “I’m sure I can get Peter Jackson down here to dub him with a replica of Anduril – the guy owes me a favour for having to muck up all the horse poo he left behind after filming the charge of the Rohirrim,” says the Mayor.

Posted in Calendars, Casting Rumors, Director news, Director Rumors, Fool, J.R.R. Tolkien, New Zealand, Other Tolkien books, Peter Jackson, Silmarillion, Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Family, Uncategorized

Hollywood Reporter: James Strong to Direct J.R.R. Tolkien Biopic ‘Middle Earth’

J  R  R TolkienExciting news for Tolkien fans today as we get further details on the upcoming Tolkien biopic from the Hollywood Reporter. Based on the HR headline, the title is ‘Middle Earth.’ Is that a bit of Hollywood contextual word play, or do they not realize the proper spelling would be Middle-earth? Time will tell.

The film will be directed by James Strong (Hey, he’s directed some Doctor Who episodes) and produced by LOTR trilogy alumni Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne. The script will be written by Angus Fletcher.

Are you excited for this new film? Scared as to what Hollywood might ‘change’ in an already extraordinary life story? Sound off in the comments below!

From the Hollywood Reporter:

Penned by Angus Fletcher, the film will chart the tumultuous events that inspired him to pen ‘Hobbit’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogies.

James Strong is heading to Middle Earth.

The British director of Broadchurch, Gracepoint and Downton Abbey will helm the biopic about author J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

The film — featuring a script by Angus Fletcher, based on six years of interviews and archival research — will chart the tumultuous events that inspired him to pen Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies: when war broke out in 1914, disrupting his Oxford life with his wife Edith Bratt, Tolkien embarked on four years of battle, hardship, and new friendships, which served to shape his imagination and start him on the path to Middle Earth.

[Read More]

Posted in J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, Miscellaneous, The Hobbit, Tolkien Estate

‘J.R.R. Tolkien – Soldier and Myth Maker’ exhibition in the UK

Tolkien-Exhibition-image-for-social-media2The Haywood Society’s touring exhibition, ‘J.R.R. Tolkien – Soldier recruitment and Myth Maker’ launches at the Museum of Cannock Chase in Staffordshire, UK, March 7th to April 24th.

This fascinating exhibition focuses on Tolkien’s time in Staffordshire during the First World War. It will include ‘Original artwork, of domestic scenes and landscapes, which has not returned to Staffordshire since it left with Tolkien in 1918 … [as well as] photographs specially loaned by The Tolkien Estate and Bodleian Library.’

The website ‘The Great War Staffordshire’ tells us:

‘During the Great War Second Lieutenant J. R. R. Tolkien of the Lancashire Fusiliers was stationed in Staffordshire, first at Whittington Heath, near Lichfield, next at a musketry camp at Newcastle-under-Lyme, then at Rugeley and Brocton Camps on Cannock Chase. After his marriage in March 1916 Tolkien’s wife came to live in Great Haywood so that she could be close to him.  Tolkien regularly visited Edith in the village until he was posted to France in June 1916.

staffordshire exhibitionTolkien returned to Great Haywood in early December 1916 to recover from his traumatic experiences at the Somme. He lived with Edith in a cottage there until late February 1917 and during this time created his first mythological stories, in part inspired by Staffordshire landscapes and experiences.

After a brief posting to East Yorkshire, Tolkien returned to Staffordshire in 1918 and lived in a cottage at Gipsy Green, Teddesley Park, near Penkridge, where other important work was undertaken.’

Find out more about the exhibition here. Be sure to let us know if you’re able to go along – we’d love to hear more about the exhibition!

 

 

Posted in Events, Exhibits, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, Other Tolkien books, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Family

Crowd funded Minas Tirith pricetag: £1.8 billion

Minas TirithA group, that displays one man with 500+ Facebook friends, has started a GoFundMe page to build a 1 to 1 scale replica “of Peter Jackson’s depiction of Minas Tirith, as seen in his Lord of the Rings films.”

For American readers, if my pounds to dollars calculator is working right, that is about $2.8 billion, an ambitious amount to raise on IndieGoGo, or really any crowd funding site, or really, by any method. Still, the project would be a dream to visit and would create an economy all its own and would provide years of good media material as the world watched its progress.

“We aim to create both residential and commercial properties, allowing for sustainable growth and a high quality of life,” Jonathan Wilson says on his intro page. He also breaks down the cost, a little bit, to say, “The vast majority of this expense will cover building costs – £15m for land, £188m for labour and £1.4bn for material.”

He hopes to raise £1.8 billion. (more…)

Posted in Fans, J.R.R. Tolkien, Locations Sets, Locations Sets, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Merchandise, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, New Zealand, Studios, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, WETA Workshop

Tolkien letter worth $8,000 to $12,000 says Antiques Roadshow expert

tolkien_letter_close4Are you among the lucky few who possibly wrote to J.R.R. Tolkien when he was alive and received an answer, or somehow otherwise obtained an original letter by him? According to a U.S. Antiques Roadshow appraiser, it could be worth thousands of dollars today. At the Charleston, West Virginia, ANTIQUES ROADSHOW event in 2014, books and manuscripts expert Francis Wahlgren appraised a letter from Tolkien to William B. Ready, Director of libraries at Marquette University in Milwaukee. The owner of the letter inherited it some years ago and had it appraised in 1995 for $700. Wahlgren described Tolkien’s recent growth in popularity and determined that an appropriate auction value for the letter would be from $8,000 to $12,000, with an insurance estimate of $15,000. Visit pbs.org to read more.

Posted in Collectibles, J.R.R. Tolkien, Merchandise, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate

TheOneRing.net to unplug, sail into The West (Not really…April Fools 2015!)

*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!*
TORn_SadKENOSHA, 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.

foundersdaytornptbwearingringcorvar“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…)

Posted in Fans, Fool, Happy Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Other Events, Peter Jackson, Press Conferences, Rumours Spy News, TheOneRing.net Announcements, TheOneRing.net Community, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, TORn Book Club, TORn TUESDAYS Live!, Warner Bros.

Copyright concerns dog Spanish Middle-earth theme park

thedoor Less than two weeks after its unveiling, the Middle-earth theme-park mooted for the Spanish province of Rincon de la Victoria is running into copyright concerns. Both Warner Bros. and Tolkien Estate are reported to be casting a close eye over the La Comarca (The Shire) project that was unveiled at the international tourism fair FITUR on February 1.

Rincon de la Victoria officials insist that they have their legal bases covered so that nothing will be considered a copy, and that the park would “not belong to any [single] author”. If that’s the case though, it’s starting to sound mroe like a generic fantasy theme-park and less like a Middle-earth one.

(more…)

Posted in J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate