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

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.

In historic move, Christopher Tolkien resigns as director of Tolkien Estate

It turns out a “Lord of the Rings” TV series isn’t the biggest Tolkien news of the week or the month or the year.

Christopher Tolkien, son and literary heir of J.R.R. Tolkien, resigned from the Tolkien Estate. And his departure changes everything.

Christopher is 93 and just this year edited and published one of his father’s works “Beren and Luthien,” which as even casual Tolkienites know, refers to his parents with the names of those characters adorning their tombstones.

In the preface of the book he writes, “this is (preemptively) my last book in the long series of editions of my father’s writings.” It seems he was planning to retire already. Personally, learning the greatest Tolkien scholar, and a man who has honored his father in an exemplary way, has left the care of his father’s legacy to others feels like reading the end of LOTR where Galadriel, Elrond and the other great elves leave Middle-earth. There is a keen sadness, but admiration and beauty as well.

But even if you aren’t sentimental, he deserves any Tolkien fan’s deep respect. But it bears repeating, this changes everything.

The news reached me by friend Michael Martinez via Twitter on his blog. Martinez has an exceptional mind for Tolkien.

He understood perfectly that Christopher R. Tolkien’s departure signals the end of an era.

“With Christopher’s departure as an officer of the Tolkien Estate (which was incorporated in 2011), the long-awaited “rights frenzy” for Tolkien properties may soon begin,” he wrote.

Yes, and it seemingly has already happened. This is a definite piece of the puzzle of the recent news of the Amazon Video deal. I had heard through rock solid, but not reportable sources several years ago that other members of the estate were much more willing to negotiate J.R.R. Tolkien’s properties while Christopher was far more interested in preserving legacy than money.

The settlement between Warner Bros. and the Tolkien Estate settled an $80 million lawsuit July 3. Part of the statement the studio released at the time was unusually upbeat for an entity that just paid out big money:

“The parties are pleased that they have amicably resolved this matter and look forward to working together in the future.”

The future mentioned in that statement is this week and beyond, and it was obviously in the works then. According to a U.K. government website, Christopher resigned on Aug. 31. One would expect formal resignations of this nature take time to manage legally, so it also was in the works for some time I suspect. What I wouldn’t give to have been in the room for that passing of the torch.

So in quick fashion, after the seismic change, the estate has sold the television rights for book “The Lord of the Rings.” Warners paid the court dispute so there would be a relationship moving forward and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos rewarded both entities handsomely.

Another important thing to note here, and another piece of the puzzle, is that the television rights to “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” were NOT sold when J.R.R. Tolkien sold the movie rights in 1969. Those rights were for motion pictures. TORn staffer and author Kristin Thompson informed our staff about this. She has first-hand documentation and as author of “The Frodo Franchise,” knows this stuff as well as anybody. And obviously you can and should buy her book on Amazon.com. I believe another TORn news article is expected on just this point.

This explains why the estate was so involved in the Amazon deal; they were selling something. It also explains why Middle-earth Enterprises was absent from the latest news. (Correction: This originally said Tolkien Enterprises, a name previously used that is not correct. The story has been updated.)

But the bigger ramifications of all this are far greater than a multi-season Amazon series. The new leadership of the estate seem much more willing to deal Tolkien properties than Christopher was and this confirms my well placed sources.

This opens up Tolkien and Middle-earth as possible franchises in the same way that Harry Potter’s world is a place you can visit at Universal Studios or that Disney will soon have a Star Wars area. There are few properties in the world that can be talked about in the same way as Middle-earth. Warner Bros. see the value and so does Amazon.

That doesn’t mean the Tolkien Estate will move toward making the rights to “Beren And Luthien” available but it does mean my wish to produce “The Silmarillion” as HBO series is slightly less impossible than it was before. That is what has changed really. Things once impossible are now possible.

The estate may elect to only allow more content based solely on “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.” Or they may carefully cultivate the entire library.

Because of the depth of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium, there is a virtually endless fountain of material. As Martinez points out in his blog, what will be produced is essentially fan fiction. As Disney has expanded the Galaxy far-far away, and HBO is planning its growth of George R.R. Martin’s Westeros world, so too could Amazon and Warner Bros expand Middle-earth.

Much of that possibility rests with the estate but just Appendix A in “The Lord of the Rings” offers a wealth of content. The imagination soars with possibilities.

This will no doubt anger many fans and delight many others, as the Amazon deal already has. Some don’t want to see the compromise of the author’s vision. Funny enough, this also seems to have a whole new batch of fans upset because they don’t want Amazon’s product to compromise Peter Jackson’s vision of Tolkien’s vision.

The officers of the Tolkien Estate still count among their numbers Tolkien’s youngest child Priscilla Tolkien and other grandchildren in the family.

This is over-long already but a final word on Christopher Tolkien’s departure. Here is a man who is a treasure, and who carries in his heart and mind the voice and essence of his father. The significance of his departure cannot be over stated.

I close with another poignant passage he wrote about his father in the preface of his final contribution to the Tolkien legacy, “Beren and Luthien.”

“In a letter to me on the subject of my mother, written in the year after her death, which was also the year before his own, he wrote of his overwhelming sense of bereavement, and of his wish to have Luthien inscribed beneath her name on the grave. He returned in that letter … to the origin of the tale of Beren and Luthien in a small woodland glade filled with hemlock flowers near Roos in Yorkshire, where she danced; and he said: ‘But the story has gone crooked, and I am left, and I cannot plead before the inexorable Mandos.’

Thank you Christopher Tolkien. We are going to miss you and your strength and determination to contribute to and preserve the legacy of your father.

Posted in Amazon TV series, Christopher Tolkien, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Studios, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Warner Bros.

Tolkien’s The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun – published in America today. WIN a copy!

Fans who are waiting to hear further news about a possible Lord of the Rings television series can keep themselves busy for a while with a new publication of Tolkien’s poem, The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun. Although this work was released by UK publishers Harper Collins last year, it is available today from American publishers Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Here’s what they tell us about the book:

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is proud to announce the publication on November 7, 2017 of THE LAY OF AOTROU AND ITROUN by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Verlyn Flieger. Unavailable for more than 70 years, this early but important work is published for the first time with Tolkien’s ‘Corrigan’ poems and other supporting material, including a prefatory note by Christopher Tolkien.

Set ‘In Britain’s land beyond the seas’ during the Age of Chivalry, THE LAY OF AOTROU AND ITROUN tells of a childless Breton Lord and Lady (the ‘Aotrou’ and ‘Itroun’ of the title) and the tragedy that befalls them when Aotrou seeks to remedy their situation with the aid of a magic potion obtained from a corrigan, or malevolent fairy. When the potion succeeds and Itroun bears twins, the corrigan returns seeking her fee, and Aotrou is forced to choose between betraying his marriage and losing his life.

Coming from the darker side of J.R.R. Tolkien’s imagination, THE LAY OF AOTROU AND ITROUN, together with the two shorter ‘Corrigan’ poems that lead up to it and which are also included, was the outcome of a comparatively short but intense period in Tolkien’s life when he was deeply engaged with Celtic, and particularly Breton, myth and legend.

Originally written in 1930 and long out of print, this early but seminal work is an important addition to the non-Middle-earth portion of his canon and should be set alongside Tolkien’s other retellings of myth and legend, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, The Fall of Arthur and The Story of Kullervo. Like these works, it belongs to a small but important corpus of his ventures into ‘real-world’ mythologies, each of which in its own way would be a formative influence on his own legendarium.

We have FIVE copies to give away to lucky fans in the US! To enter, simply complete the entry form, and answer the following question:

Who is the editor of this new edition of The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun?

Complete the entry form by 5pm EST on Monday 13th November. [Enter Here] Five winners will then be chosen at random, and a copy of the latest Tolkien publication will be mailed to them. Good luck!  (Sorry, this competition is only available to fans living in the United States.)

For those who don’t win, you can buy the book here; and it is also available as an e-book.

Posted in Books, Books Publications, Christopher Tolkien, Contests, Events, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, Merchandise, Other Tolkien books, Shop, Tolkien

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.

TORn panel at Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con next week

Join several staffers from TheOneRing.net next weekend for the last big TORn hosted event of the year. We will have a panel at Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con on Saturday, October 28 at 10am, room 403A at the LA Convention Center. Our panel is titled “80 years in Middle-earth, why Tolkien is still so relevant” and will cover several of the themes Tolkien uses in his stories, and discuss some of the many tangible ways Middle-earth is still being brought to life. We have a sneak peak at the new Shadow of War game and some more casting rumors for the Tolkien Biopic in the works. And best of all, they’ve given us 75 minutes to talk, rather than the regular 50 minutes we normally get, so maybe a little Tolkien singalong is in order.

Tickets and schedule information can be found at the Convention website and you can let us know you are coming at our Facebook Event Page by RSVPing.

Posted in ComicCon, Conventions, Events, Fans, Gaming, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, Meet Ups, Other Tolkien books, The Hobbit, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, Tolkien

Fall/winter Tolkien/LOTR events: your ‘go-to’ list

Updated 11/3/17 – From time-to-time you, the fans, email TORn about events of interest to other fans of J.R.R. Tolkien and/or Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. As a service to our readers, we decided to created this new feature: a listing of upcoming events to keep everyone apprised of where they can hook-up and commiserate with other fans, learn a thing or two, or just plain enjoy the fandom that we’ve all come to know and love.  From Howard Shore concerts in Paris, to fan get-togethers in Kentucky and South Carolina, to exhibitions in Staffordshire, U.K., it’s all listed here! The list will be updated periodically as past events drop off and future events are added. If you know of an upcoming event, please let us know either in the comments section of this story, or by emailing spymaster@theonering.net. – TORn, ‘Together in Tolkien’

(more…)

Posted in Concerts, Conventions, Director news, Events, Exhibits, Film Screenings, Hobbit Movie, Howard Shore, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lectures & Education, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Meet Ups, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Other Events, Peter Jackson, Stage Productions, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tolkien, Tolkien Toast, Uncategorized

Save the Date: Baggins Birthday Bash Sept. 23, 2017 in LA

Come One, Come All, the Baggins Birthday Bash is coming in just 3 weeks, time to party like Hobbits, Dwarves, Elves and Men, and maybe the more well behaved Orcs.

We are moving back to Griffith Park, huzzah, and to the Mineral Wells location we’ve used the past 5 or 6 years before last year’s jaunt to Long Beach. Directions can be found on our Facebook event page in the party description. The picnic will start at Noon, with activities wrapping up around 5pm so we can clean up and clear out before it gets too dark. Here are a few of the things to note:

Costumes welcome, but not required. There will be a contest, with all pomp and circumstance.

The Cake and Cupcake contest is back as well, Tolkien themed designs only, please.

Quotes contest – The Hobbit is 80 years old on September 21, so let’s keep quotes to just The Hobbit, film or book in honor of the book that introduced Middle-earth to the World.

There may be a few games as well, such as Golfimbul, depending on how much yummy food and fellowship there is, or the temperatures. Actually, the weather may also impact the number of costumes or the viability of the Cakes. I’m sure some of you remember the great Cake meltdown a few years back.

Survival, on hot days, an umbrella or pop up tent work really well, so bring them, and chairs because the park benches don’t move. On not so hot days, still bring the pop ups or at least the chairs.

Food, yes, this is a Potluck party, so bring food, at least 6 servings worth, but let’s not forget cups, plates, napkins and flatware. If you have an ice chest, bring it. Whether it is personal sized, for your own beverages, or super big to help keep lots of water, soda or juice cold. Bottles are preferred because yellowjackets do seem to like picnics too.

Please check out the Facebook event page (linked above) to RSVP your attendance and what you plan to bring, or you can RSVP to me at Garfeimao@TheOneRing.net just so we have an idea of what is being brought and where we need to fill in the gaps.

And yes, children are very welcome, bring the whole family.

 

 

 

Posted in Baggins Birthday Bash, Characters, Collectibles, Events, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies, Meet Ups, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Other Events, Return of the King, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Two Towers, Tolkien, WETA Cave, Weta Collectibles, WETA Workshop

In Remembrance of J.R.R. Tolkien

It was 44 years ago on September 2, 1973 when we heard the sad news that J.R.R. Tolkien passed away.

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Posted in Fans, Green Books, J.R.R. Tolkien, TheOneRing.net Community, Tolkien, Tolkien Remembrance

TORn panel and moot at SDCC on Friday, July 21

TORn will be doing a panel at San Diego Comic Con on Friday, July 21 at 5pm at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina Hotel in the Grand Ballrooms 1 & 2. The Grand Ballroom is located to the right of the main Lobby as you enter from outside, we are in sections 1 & 2.

Our panel is titled “Still Tolkien about it: 80 years of Middle-earth” and will include discussion about how Professor Tolkien is still influencing pop culture, especially in Art, Literature, music, cosplay, gaming and collectibles. And as always, there will be singing.

The panel will end just before 6pm, and then everyone who wants to gather together can do so at the Marina Kitchen restaurant, also on the Lobby level but down left, at the far end of the Southern building, closest to the Convention Center.

The Hotel has not replied to us about trying to pre-book space, so like I said, we are just going to flash mob it, Middle-earth style.

For anyone showing up in Tolkien cosplay, we will grab a group photo in the Hotel lobby area by the restaurant, before heading inside, or maybe just as we hang out waiting to get into the restaurant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like with the Ice Cream social a few years back, this will be an informal gathering, stealth Ranger style. We are going to descend upon the restaurant and see if they will just seat everyone near each other, hopefully. There is a bar/lounge area just before entering the restaurant, so that may be where the bulk of everyone ends up. But those who want food, I highly recommend this place, even if it’s just to share some appetizers.

Our panel ends before the main hall closes next door at the Convention Center, so there should be fewer people to compete with than after 7pm. Anyhow, looking to arrive at the Marina Kitchen restaurant between 6:15pm and 6:30pm or so and staying until 8pm or beyond, allowing people to then hit up any of the other parties, screenings, and late night activities you want.

You can find more details on the Facebook event page

Please only RSVP attending if you will be at either the panel (which requires an SDCC badge) or at the Moot at the Marina Kitchen restaurant within the Marriott Marquis (no badge required for this one).

 

Posted in Books Publications, Christopher Tolkien, Collectibles, ComicCon, Conventions, Events, Fans, J.R.R. Tolkien, Meet Ups, Merchandise, Other Events, Other Tolkien books, Sideshow Collectibles, Tolkien, Weta Collectibles

‘Beren and Luthien’ published after 100 years

Yesterday saw the publication of a new book – but not a new story – by J. R. R. Tolkien. Almost a century after the Professor first conceived his tale of immortal love, Beren and Luthien has been edited by his son Christopher, and illustrated by Alan Lee. It is published in the UK by Harper Collins, in the US by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and in multiple languages by different publishers across the world. Harper Collins tell us:

The tale of Beren and Lúthien was, or became, an essential element in the evolution of The Silmarillion, the myths and legends of the First Age of the World conceived by J.R.R. Tolkien. Returning from France and the battle of the Somme at the end of 1916, he wrote the tale in the following year.

Essential to the story, and never changed, is the fate that shadowed the love of Beren and Lúthien: for Beren was a mortal man, but Lúthien was an immortal Elf. Her father, a great Elvish lord, in deep opposition to Beren, imposed on him an impossible task that he must perform before he might wed Lúthien. This is the kernel of the legend; and it leads to the supremely heroic attempt of Beren and Lúthien together to rob the greatest of all evil beings, Melkor, called Morgoth, the Black Enemy, of a Silmaril.

Alan Lee’s beautiful back cover illustration

In this book Christopher Tolkien has attempted to extract the story of Beren and Lúthien from the comprehensive work in which it was embedded; but that story was itself changing as it developed new associations within the larger history. To show something of the process whereby this legend of Middle-earth evolved over the years, he has told the story in his father’s own words by giving, first, its original form, and then passages in prose and verse from later texts that illustrate the narrative as it changed. Presented together for the first time, they reveal aspects of the story, both in event and in narrative immediacy, that were afterwards lost.

The publication comes ten years after the last Middle-earth work of Tolkien’s to come to press, Children of Hurin. You can read more about this new release here. We’d love to read your reviews – share your thoughts in the comments below!

Posted in Alan Lee, Books, Books Publications, Christopher Tolkien, Headlines, J.R.R. Tolkien, Merchandise, Other Tolkien books, Shop, Silmarillion, Tolkien

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

March Madness Round 2- be sure to vote!

If you haven’t yet voted in Round 2 of TheOneRing.net’s March Madness competition, now is the time to do so! This round is producing some VERY interesting results among the 32 remaining contestants. Neck-and-neck battles currently include:

In the Movies Only division, the lovely Tauriel has a narrow lead over Sebastian the Hedgehog. Can elvish archery prowess win out over sheet unadulterated cuteness?

In the Movies and Books division there are currently two contests that are too close to call: Smaug vs. Sauron and Bilbo vs. Faramir. Fire is sure to be involved in the  battle between the two Middle-earth arch-villains: the wily dragon Smaug and the Dark Lord Sauron. Could the fact that today is March 25, the day of Sauron’s defeat in The Return of the King give Smaug a slight edge, or might Sauron’s victory be guaranteed by knowledge of the bare spot on Smaug’s breast? How does one chose between two of Middle-earth’s most virtuous heroes: Bilbo and Faramir? Can Faramir’s Gondorian armour withstand a blow from Sting?

Fingolfin Challenges Morgoth – John Howe

The Wider Mythos division has another close contest in the works between evil incarnate, Morgoth, and the mighty Varda, queen of the Valar. In The Silmarillion, it took all of the might of the Valar to defeat Morgoth. Can Varda do it on her own? Can the light defeat the darkness one more time? It’s up to you to decide! Round 2 voting is open until 10:00 p.m. EST tonight. Go here to vote, and join us in deciding these, and other great battles going on right now.

 

Posted in Events, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Other Tolkien books, Return of the King, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Tolkien