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Archive for the ‘Tolkien Estate’ Category

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 to read more.

Posted in Collectibles, J.R.R. Tolkien, Merchandise, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate to unplug, sail into The West (Not really…April Fools 2015!)

*Please Note: This was one of’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 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, Announcements, 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.


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

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.

Listen to legendary British actor Nicol Williamson’s 1974 abridgement of The Hobbit

ARGOTheHobbit500 In 1974, Argo Records released a dramatised four-record LP audio abridgement of The Hobbit.

In an interesting quirk of history, the narrator and performer of this abridgement was the legendary Scottish-born actor Nicol Williamson — who would later go on to play the role of Merlin the wizard in John Boorman’s remarkable 1981 film Excalibur.

The circular part, of course, is that in the late 70s, Boorman was involved in a collaborative attempt with United Artists to produce a film of The Lord of the Rings. The script, notorious within fan circles for the liberties it intended to take with Tolkien’s work (which you can read about here) was never produced. However, Boorman re-purposed much of his imagery and concepts in Excalibur. (more…)

Posted in Green Books, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate

Jackson muses on his Middle-earth exit

HobbitFreemanJacksonAW-620x349 Fairly wide-ranging interview from Deadline with Peter Jackon conducted around the time of the San Diego Comic-Con.

It actually contains little that’s new: the fact that The Dam Busters film is still on the cards will be of interest to war-buffs who remember the 1955 original. And apparently Jackson and Mortensen have chatted about those 3D comments that Viggo made to press a couple of months back, too. Something something misquote. Supposedly.

Anyway, here’s the meatiest bit of the entire interview about The Hobbit: (more…)

Posted in Christopher Tolkien, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, MGM, New Line Cinema, Peter Jackson, PJ's Other Films, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Warner Bros.

Michael Drout talks about J.R.R Tolkien’s soon-to-be-published Beowulf translation

Beowulf Apparently there is some confusion floating around about Michael Drout’s involvement in the forthcoming publication of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Beowulf translation by Chris Tolkien.

(Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary will be published on May 22. You can pre-order your hardcover copy now from Amazon by going here.) (more…)

Posted in Christopher Tolkien, Green Books, J.R.R. Tolkien, Other Tolkien books, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate

JRR Tolkien’s Beowulf translation: bring on the monsters

Beowulf Tolkien scholar John Garth previews the forthcoming publication of J.R.R. Tolkien’s translation of Beowulf and outlines why the Professor’s expertise with the Anglo-Saxon epic means this new book is to be highly anticipated. Click through the read more link at the bottom to access the complete essay.


Posted in Christopher Tolkien, Green Books, Headlines, J.R.R. Tolkien, Languages, Other Tolkien books, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate

A field trip to the Marquette University Tolkien archives

Raynor Memorial Library at Marquette University. Credit: Marquette University. Creative Commons.

Raynor Memorial Library at Marquette University. Credit: Marquette University. Creative Commons.

The Raynor Memorial Library at Marquette University in Milwaukee is home to original manuscripts and working drafts for three of the J.R.R. Tolkien’s most celebrated works: The Hobbit, Farmer Giles of Ham, and The Lord of the Rings. It also holds the original copy of the children’s book Mr. Bliss and has, over the years, grown to become one of the largest repositories of secondary works on Tolkien and his writing.

If you’ve never visited the Tolkien Collection or are unaware of the contents of the archive, this two-part report from Tolkienist and Norse mythologist Dr Karl Seigfried documents just some of the literary treasures it holds. (more…)

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

How would ‘The Silmarillion’ fare as a film trilogy?

The SilmarillionIt’s the film project that many of us fear we may never see. Yet surely, with time, all may be possible. In this article, Rud the Spud takes a look at how a trilogy based on Professor Tolkien’s The Silmarillion might be constructed – should such a project ever come to fruition – and discusses whether or not it could possibily live up to the Professor’s massive collection of stories. (more…)

Posted in Christopher Tolkien, Fans, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Miscellaneous, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Family

Middle-earth — 100 years old and counting

Tolkien_2692769b Tolkien scholar and researcher John Garth writes about how the roots of Tolkien’s Middle-earth made their first public appearance exactly 100 years ago (plus a few days). It’s not in the form you might expect — but it is quite fascinating.

One hundred years of Middle-earth

by John Garth

Tolkien’s Middle-earth began in 1914. That may come as a surprise, considering The Lord of the Rings was published in 1954–5 and even The Hobbit appeared no further back than 1937. But the fact is that before and beneath those two books there already existed a huge foundation of creative work: the vastly ambitious cycle of stories that became The Silmarillion, as well as annals, cosmographical description, poetry, illustrations, maps and, of course, several invented languages and writing systems.

The first identifiable fragment of Middle-earth emerged on 24 September 1914, when Tolkien (pictured here in June) was staying as a guest at his aunt’s Nottinghamshire farm. War had just broken out in Europe, the whole world seemed in ferment, and Tolkien set foot on the path he would follow for the rest of his life. But we’ll come to that in due course.

Today, 26 January 2014, is the 100th anniversary of the first known public reading of Tolkien’s epic prose. It’s not what you might expect: there are no cavalry charges here, nor mythological monsters, nor swordplay. These are the official minutes of a college meeting – a session of Stapeldon Society, the body of undergraduates attending Exeter College, Oxford.

[Read More]

Posted in Green Books, J.R.R. Tolkien, Today in Middle-earth, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate