Archive for the ‘J.R.R. Tolkien’ Category
Entertainment Weekly posted this fascinating article, giving some insight into Peter Jackson’s plans for what must surely be the epic battle to end all epic battles. Just how do you stage the fight which is the title of your final movie in Middle-earth?
“There’s a lot of logistics that have to be thought through,” says Jackson. “We have dwarves and men and elves and orcs, all with different cultures, with different weapons, and different shields and patterns and tactics.”
The EW article contains a particularly interesting ‘map’, showing the different groups and their positioning in the battle at the gate of Erebor. Exactly what/who those five armies will be in Jackson’s movie has been a subject of speculation – and if you’re avoiding spoilers, now would be a good time to stop reading!
Tolkien wrote, ‘Upon one side were the Goblins and the Wild Wolves, and upon the other were Elves and Men and Dwarves.’ Readers have often wondered, however, why the Eagles don’t count as an army; Douglas A Anderson notes, in The Annotated Hobbit, that ‘in the 1977 Rankin/Bass animated television program of The Hobbit, the Five Armies specifically include the Eagles instead of the Wolves.’
Some TORn staffers have suggested that, having experienced battle in the First World War, when flight was still in its infancy and the idea of an air force was new, Tolkien perhaps didn’t consider battles as taking place in the air. It could, however, be a simple question of semantics: the word ‘army’ actually means ‘the military land forces of a nation’ (according to Collins English Dictionary). The Professor, being a stickler for precise meaning, perhaps dismissed as too clumsy ‘The Battle of Five Armies and Two Air Forces’ (if we include the ‘bat-cloud’) – so his ‘five armies’ would only refer to the land forces involved.
None of this necessarily means anything when it comes to Peter Jackson’s movie! He’s already strayed from Tolkien’s outline of the battle participants; the official synopsis for The Battle of the Five Armies states, ‘Sauron, the Dark Lord, has sent forth legions of Orcs in a stealth attack upon the Lonely Mountain’. In the book it is the goblins from the Misty Mountains who instigate the war, gathering forces with their kin at Gundabad, and coming down from the North led by Bolg (Azog, his father, having been slain at the Battle of Azanulbizar) – Sauron isn’t involved at all.
The map in EW’s article shows six different colour-coded groups – goblins and wargs are one colour, with eagles, elves, men and dwarves each having a different colour. This would seem to confirm what we at TORn have speculated in our panel presentations at various conventions – that Jackson’s five armies will in fact be men, dwarves, elves, orcs and eagles, with the wolves/wargs being a part of the orc army. The sixth colour on the diagram is for Beorn and Thorin – perhaps to highlight the key players of the battle (although Bard, though having his own spot on the schematic, does not share this orange colour – and it’s interesting to note that Dain, surely a key player, is not mentioned by name on this map; nor is Azog).
There’s much food for thought in this simple diagram. It appears that Bard leads men attacking from the East (from Dale, whither Lake-town refugees have fled after Smaug’s attack?). Elves come in from the West – presumably direct from Mirkwood. Beorn is coming up from the South, and the Eagles down from the North. There are also numbers on the chart – and Jackson is quoted as saying, ‘We could then start drawing the arrows on the schematics’, suggesting this is just one of several. Perhaps these numbers indicate a sequence of events? Beorn is the highest number on this image – meaning he arrives late in the battle, as in the book?
Also in the article is a wonderful piece of artwork, showing a mighty battle outside Erebor – if you click on the image (at EW’s site), it links to a bigger version. This picture seems to include cave trolls and other strange, giant creatures – and siege towers? Is this just an artist’s vision of the battle, or does it offer more insight into what we will see on the big screen?
Questions still to be answered include: when/how does Dain arrive from the North? Will Tauriel fight with the dwarves or with her Mirkwood kin? We’ve seen, in the trailer, Legolas in Dale with Bard; will he fight alongside men? The newly released Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition contains dialogue between Thrain and Gandalf, emphasizing an alliance between Smaug and the Necromancer – is it even possible that Smaug’s death will be delayed until the start of the battle, so we see him helping the attacking orcs??
And a final question – is it December yet….?
[Read the Entertainment Weekly article here]
Posted in Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Peter Jackson, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tolkien
Back at the start of the summer, staffer GreenDragon generously asked the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to send me a copy of Tolkien’s translation of Beowulf to review. While I started the book right away, this review has been delayed by producing Happy Hobbit and attending four conventions, along with writing two books and a script on top of daily life and work, which is a long-winded way to say that I apologize for my tardiness!
While still an undergrad, I took a course in Old English which was an introduction to the language, followed by a semester of translating Beowulf. A year isn’t enough time to master a dead language, and I was attempting to master two at once, for I was also taking Latin at the time (an alternate nickname for me could be Hermione), so I won’t be able to go into the nitty gritty mechanics of the language like Tolkien does in his notes, but I will offer what insight my education allows!
This is what studying two dead languages looks like.
To offer some context, I will say that Old English is the name we have given to the Anglo Saxon language, for after a strong French influence after the Norman Conquest of 1066, Old English morphed into Modern English. It is important to note, as well, that Anglo Saxon is the language of our (even if you aren’t of English descent, you’re reading this in English) conquerors, for the Nordic tribes of the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes invaded England after the withdrawal of the Roman Empire around 410 CE. They renamed the island Angle-Land. England. So while Beowulf is attributed as being the first great epic in English, it is significant that it is a story from the culture that conquered the island and that its setting is in the conquering nation’s homeland in the north, not England, even though the manuscript was recorded and found in an English monastery, hidden beneath pages of religious text. All of this would have been known to J.R.R. Tolkien at the time of his translation in the 1920s.
Firstly, I will say that my reason for taking Old English was driven by my obsession with Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings. I was first exposed to Beowulf in seventh grade when I read a version of the poem for one of my classes. Enamored with the culture and the exciting, heroic tale, it lingered in my mind in a way that few stories read for school had. In the Humanities Honors Program in college, we were exposed to the literature that laid the foundations for Western civilization and I once again read a translation of Beowulf (picturing Aragorn as Beowulf this time around, of course) and while in my proceeding English courses I avoided the works I had already read, Beowulf was the one text I would read every time I was asked. As such, I have been exposed to three or four translations, including my own.
Posted in J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Uncategorized
We finally know Billy Boyd (Pippin from The Lord of the Rings trilogy) will be performing the end credits song for the final film set in Peter Jackson’s cinematic Middle-earth. Warner Bros. have posted their ‘For Your Consideration’ list for “The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies” listing all the people and categories they want Hollywood to pay attention to come Awards Season. On that list for ‘Best Original Song’ is “The Last Goodbye” written by Billy Boyd, Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh, and performed by Billy Boyd. It now seems that the use of Pippin’s song “The Edge of Night” in the recently released teaser for the film was a bit of foreshadowing. That song, with the lyrics coming from the last stanza of Tolkien’s ‘A Walking Song’ and the melody written by Billy Boyd himself, demonstrates a great level of empathy on the part of Billy for the melancholic feeling at that point of “The Return of the King”. It seems almost too perfect that Billy should be called upon again to deliver what promises to be a very emotional and fitting ending to all things Middle-earth. And because it’s fun to speculate, you will notice 15 other categories listed ‘For Your Consideration’ on that list, many names familiar to us all. Who do you think might get a nomination this Awards Season?
Posted in Billy Boyd, Fran Walsh, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit Movie FAQ, Hobbit Movie Rumors, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, LotR Production, Movie Return of the King, Music, Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, soundtrack, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tolkien, Warner Bros.
This will be your last chance to see TORn live at a con this year before “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” is released in December. In fact, this will be the weekend before the Extended Edition of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” drops, so you can expect a lot of discussion of what will be seen in both releases. We will also be talking about the entire Middle-earth saga on film from the past 15 years, as well as things to come for Tolkien fans. So join us on Saturday, November 1 at 4pm in room 304ABC for one last ‘Unofficial’ look at The Hobbit. After the convention ends at 7pm the fun continues as we head over to the Glance Lobby Bar at the JW Marriott at LA Live (other side of Staples Center) to hang out and chill. This is not a formal gathering, no fee required and no space is being reserved, but with all 3 home sports teams on the road, we will have less competition than usual. You can pick up tickets and see details for the con at Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo.
Posted in Conventions, Events, Fans, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Meet Ups, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien
In 1982, Beam Software and publisher Melbourne House brought Tolkien’s world to computers with a text adventure based on The Hobbit. (An emulator of the ZX Spectrum version is available to play online.)
Back then, the original licensor — in this case the Tolkien Estate itself, or Tolkien Enterprises (now Middle-earth Enterprises) — would allow licensees to sometimes resell the license. It appears that at this time the animated films shared a license with the first round of video games.
Enthusiasm for Tolkien adaptations ramped up in the wake of the 1980 animated film The Return of the King, based on the final book in Tolkien’s trilogy. Following Beam’s text adventure, developer Interplay Productions turned over an in-production fantasy role-playing game, changing the theme to a Lord of the Rings adaptation. Writer Jennell Jaquays, now the owner of Dragongirl Studios, said she was hired by Interplay to write background and some “adventuring” for the RPG.
All of this is according to author Alexa Ray Corriea for Polygon.com. You can read the entire article right here. (more…)
Posted in Christopher Tolkien, Collectibles, Gaming, J.R.R. Tolkien, Merchandise, Other Merchandise, The Hobbit, Tolkien
New York ComicCon is almost upon us, and as you know, TheOneRing.net will be there, at booth 3040, at our panel Saturday at 9pm, and at our party with Weta Workshop on Thursday evening. (More details here - two more tickets just became available for the party, so snap ‘em up before they’re gone!)
One of our generous sponsors for New York ComicCon is Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - publishers of Tolkien in the United States. They have given us some wonderful items for the party goody bags, as well as some lovely prizes for giveaways. One such item is a SNEAK PREVIEW - this beautiful ‘pocket boxed set’ of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings will not be available to buy until October 21st, but we have two sets to give away to some lucky folks at ComicCon!
Here’s what Houghton Mifflin Harcourt say about this new set:
‘This four-volume, deluxe pocket boxed set contains J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic masterworks The Hobbit and the three volumes of The Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King). Each book features a leatherette cover with stamped title and all four books are held in a leatherette bound box with gold foil stamping.’
The books are roughly 7 inches tall, and are therefore an ideal size to take with you whenever you want to have the Professor’s words to hand! If you aren’t lucky enough to win a set from us at New York ComicCon, you can order from HMH here. Our thanks to them for their continued support of TheOneRing.net!
Posted in Books, Books Publications, Conventions, Events, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Merchandise, NYCC, Return of the King, Shop, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Tolkien, WETA Workshop
It’s the centenary of Middle-earth.
In a piece in The Guardian, Tolkien scholar John Garth analyses Tolkien’s 1914 creative breakthrough — and the poem The Voyage of Éarendel the Evening Star from 24 September 1914 — that ultimately leads to Middle-earth as we know it today. (more…)
Posted in Green Books, J.R.R. Tolkien, Languages, Tolkien
Another September 22 — the birthdays of Bilbo and Frodo — has just passed. In our latest Library piece, TORn feature writer Tedoras reflects on Letter #214 from The Letters of J.R.R Tolkien and examines Tolkien’s thoughts on birthday customs in hobbit society and culture.
Beyond birthdays: examining Tolkien’s Letter #214
The epistolary nature of Tolkien’s literary existence is more than prodigious. If any book so illuminates the man, his deepest thoughts and truest character, it is The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.
Posted in Green Books, Headlines, J.R.R. Tolkien, LotR Books, Other Tolkien books, Tolkien
This is just a final reminder that TORn’s big Baggins Birthday Bash will be kicking off on Sunday at noon in Griffith Park. Luckily, the triple digit heat we’ve been having for the past week has finally broken, so it will only by in the low 80′s on Sunday, woohoo. Come celebrate with your fellow Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits and Wizards as we salute our favorite Halfling Heroes, Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. This is a Potluck, so bring some munchies and/or beverages of choice and get ready for one fine party to remember. We’ve set up an Event page on Facebook with all the details, such as maps, directions and a list of items being brought already. So check it out at Baggins Birthday Bash Please RSVP on either the Facebook Event page, listing what you are bringing, or send me an email at Garfeimao@TheOneRing.net. Oh, and remember, there will be a special contest for creating the most creative and/or delicious Middle-earth themed Cake or Cupcakes, so bring it ON!
Posted in Baggins Birthday Bash, Characters, Events, Fans, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Meet Ups, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien
Previously only seen decorating the screens of The Hobbit panel at this year’s San Diego Comic Con (and in lower quality snapshots we were able to post shortly after), the full scroll for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has now been released, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly.
This latest tapestry takes us through the final chapter of Peter Jackson’s epic Hobbit trilogy, beginning with Smaug’s attack on Laketown and finishing with the titular Battle of Five Armies.
Visit Entertainment Weekly’s site to take a close look at the scroll with a magnifier, or click on the preview below to see the full image.
Posted in Headlines, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, MGM, Miscellaneous, New Line Cinema, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Warner Bros.
Ranks of skilled archers cleverly readying their bows. Organized groups of infantrymen waiting for the signal to attack. One word and any intruders will find themselves facing serious consequences.
It is hard to conjure up the imagery of an army within the Shire, based on the rather rustic and easy-going characteristics.
Posted in Green Books, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Tolkien
Lord Richard Attenborough has sailed into the West at 90. Though mostly known from Jurassic Park (and as older brother of David Attenborough) he holds a dear place for Tolkien fans as the director of Shadowlands, a wonderful film about C.S.Lewis featuring the first cinematic representation of the Inklings group which Tolkien was part of. Lord Attenborough considered Shadowlands his most perfect work, and we can only hope that the two upcoming J.R.R. Tolkien biographical films will be made with as much care and passion as Attenborough put into his films.
There are many tributes and remembrances around the net celebrating his career as actor, director, executive and philanthropist. It is the 1993 film Shadowlands starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger where Attenborough’s talent shines as a storyteller of storytellers. The film is a biographical look at author C.S. Lewis and his relationships both personally and professionally. Importantly it is the first film to include the Inklings – a group of famed authors and writers which J.R.R. Tolkien was part of. Actor John Wood plays a loosely based figure of Tolkien through the character Christopher Riley. Although Riley/Tolkien is the fictional antagonist of the film, his portrayal includes Tolkien’s dialog from what we know of their relationship at the time.
Many biographies detail how John Tolkien helped bring his fellow author, Oxford academic and close friend Jack Lewis to Christianity, but was dismayed when Lewis chose the Anglican Church of England instead of Tolkien’s Catholicism. This would provide the significant break in their friendship; Tolkien’s Catholicism disapproved of divorce and was not supportive of Lewis’ marriage to Joy Gresham. Shadowlands focuses solely on that marriage and uses Tolkien’s own words and writings in the Christopher Riley character, saying ‘any book written faster than his own books couldn’t possibly be good–and Tolkien wrote slowly, very slowly; he never did finish the dictionary of Icelandic he promised for decades to Oxford University Press.’ (LA Times) Lewis’ brother Warren was more supportive, writing “For Jack the attraction was at first undoubtedly intellectual. Joy was the only woman whom he had met … who had a brain which matched his own in suppleness, in width of interest, and in analytical grasp, and above all in humour and a sense of fun.”
Lord Richard Attenborough was one of the very few directors or storytellers who could make an emotionally captivating film of a bunch of Oxford professors. Although Shadowlands deviates significantly from real life in some of the character portrayals, Lord Attenborough provides careful directorial attention in bringing this important literary era of Oxford to life.
Shadowlands is close to a perfect film and Richard Attenborough rightly considers it his most perfect work of his career. It demonstrates a nuanced control of the material – the retelling of C.S. Lewis’ late blooming. Even the antagonist, a Tolkienesque figure, is portrayed respectfully without falling into caricature. Films such as Shadowlands, Chaplin and Gandhi prove that Lord Attenborough is one of the greatest biographical storytellers Hollywood has seen. With TWO distinct biographical films in development on the life of J.R.R. Tolkien, studios and filmmakers would be smart to carefully study Lord Richard Attenborough’s biographical output.
Posted in J.R.R. Tolkien, Lectures & Education, Miscellaneous, Tolkien