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Archive for the ‘J.R.R. Tolkien’ Category

Exclusive teaser video from ‘Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ Extended Edition

We know many of our readers consider the Extended Edition of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth movies the definitive editions, but what many of our staff really love are the extras on the home editions. Filmmaker Michael Pellerin is the architect and creative force behind the features that give us insight into the movie-making team and experience. In fact his team’s work is absolutely essential viewing.

So, TheOneRing.net is pleased to share with viewers, courtesy of Warner Bros., an exclusive teaser from the edition. This short clip (and please watch it in full screen in HD) is from The Appendices Part IX, from a featurette called “Barrels Out of Bond: The Elven Sluice”. (more…)

Posted in Adam Brown, Aidan Turner, Crew News, Dean O'Gorman, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Mark Hadlow, Martin Freeman, Production, Richard Armitage, Simon Bright, Studios, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien, Warner Bros., William Kircher

George R.R. Martin says Daenerys’ dragons wouldn’t beat Smaug

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES It’s the stuff that fuels never-ending internet arguments: would X beat Y?

In a long interview with 92 Y, George R.R. Martin revealed that a reader had asked him that exact question about Daenerys’ dragon, Drogon, versus Smaug. And, refreshingly, Martin conceded that Smaug would win… (more…)

Posted in Characters, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, Tolkien

Sauron: literature’s baddest of all baddies?

theeyeofsauron Over at The Guardian, Sarah Crown discusses why she rates Sauron in The Lord of the Rings as the most frightening and enduring villain of all literature.

I think there could be something to this. I recall vividly just how much Sauron’s unseen — yet uncannily tangible — menace frightened me as a teenager reading The Fellowship of the Ring late into the night, especially whenever I reached the following passage from The Mirror of Galadriel.

But suddenly the Mirror went altogether dark, as dark as if a hole had opened in the world of sight, and Frodo looked into emptiness. In the black abyss there appeared a single Eye that slowly grew. until it filled nearly all the Mirror. So terrible was it that Frodo stood rooted, unable to cry out or to withdraw his gaze. The Eye was rimmed with fire, but was itself glazed, yellow as a cat’s, watchful and intent, and the black slit of its pupil opened on a pit, a window into nothing.

Then the Eye began to rove, searching this way and that; and Frodo knew with certainty and horror that among the many things that it sought he himself was one.

(more…)

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

A giant falls: Tolkien’s tree

pinus-nigra Tolkien scholar and writer John Garth writes to tell us of a video documenting the sad end of a giant Black Pine (Pinus nigra) at the University of Oxford Botanic Gardens that J.R.R. Tolkien was known to have loved. (more…)

Posted in J.R.R. Tolkien, Tolkien

The many faces of Thranduil

Elvenking Thranduil In our latest Library piece, TORn feature writer Tedoras delves deep into J.R.R. Tolkien’s Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth to examine what we really know about Thranduil, the Sindarin lord of Mirkwood — a realm largely populated by Silvan elves. How does this make him different? What were the big influences in his political vision for his people? What, in essence, makes him tick?

It’s good stuff, and inadvertently, it’s almost a companion piece to my own musings on Thranduil’s strongest character traits from earlier this year.

Enjoy! (more…)

Posted in Christopher Tolkien, Green Books, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, Tolkien

Peter Jackson’s Battle Plans – SPOILERS!

battle-dwarvesEntertainment 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?

Lonely-Mountain_990x385Also 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

Kili’s Review of Tolkien’s Beowulf

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!

dead languages

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.

(more…)

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

Our final trip to Middle-earth to finish with ‘The Last Goodbye’ sung by Billy Boyd

Billy nbffWe 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.

TheOneRing.net will be at Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo in LA over Halloween weekend

comickaze-2013-11This 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

A complete history of Tolkien and video games

jrr-tolkiens-the-lord-of-the-rings-vol-ii-the-two-towers_3.0In 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

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s beautiful new box set

Hobbit LOTR boxed setNew 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

Tolkien’s 100-year-old poem that marked the beginning of Middle-earth

JRR Tolkien 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