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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Middle-earth March Madness Round 2 – The “Other” Characters

Round two of Middle-earth March Madness is upon us! Having summarized who the Silmarillion characters were in Round 1, we wanted to follow up with a few details on the characters in the “Other” category. As with the Silmarillion article, this one contains spoilers for those of you who haven’t picked up some of J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings outside of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Although there are some spoilers, there’s much more to most of the stories below. So, hopefully, learning a little more about them will inspire you to go to the library or bookstore and look into the characters more!

The Blue Wizards vs. Eorl

The Blue Wizards - Ted Nasmith

The Blue Wizards – Ted Nasmith

The Blue Wizards (The Istari, Unfinished Tales) – The chapter “The Istari” in Unfinished Tales tells of how the Valar, not wanting to interfere directly with efforts to defeat Sauron in Middle-earth, decided to send emissaries instead. The Blue Wizards, Alatar and Pallando, were two of the five Maiar sent to Middle-earth by the Valar to help defeat Sauron, who was also one of the Maiar. Manwe first asked for volunteers and only Curumo (Saruman) and Alatar stepped forward. Olorin (Gandalf) declined to go, saying he was too weak to take on Sauron directly. However, Manwe, saying that his humility was exactly why he was perfect for the job, ordered him to go. Curumo then took Aiwendil (Radagast) at the insistence of Yavanna, and Alatar took Pallando as a friend.

After arriving in Middle-earth, the two Blue Wizards eventually hooked up with Saruman and went with him ‘into the East,’ never to be heard of again. According to Christopher Tolkien, his father only mentioned them one more time in one of his letters:

“I think they went as emissaries to distant regions, East and South… missionaries to enemy-occupied lands, as it were. What success they had I do not know; but I fear that they failed, as Saruman did, though doubtless in different ways; and I suspect they were founders… of secret cults and “Magic” traditions that outlasted the fall of Sauron.” – Letter 211, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien

So, as with many of Tolkien’s ‘unfinished tales,’ we’re left to speculate on what eventually happened to Allatar and Pallando. As Maiar, essentially the same ‘order’ of being as Sauron, all of the Istari, including the Blue Wizards, were powerful beings in their own right, ‘having many powers of mind and hand.’ Being immortal, perhaps one of them eventually took the name Merlin and helped a young king, or perhaps one or both of them became founders of houses of wizards that later came to fame at a certain university for young wizards and witches. 😉

The oath of  Eorl and Cirion - Firiel

The oath of Eorl and Cirion – Firiel

Eorl the Young (Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan, Unfinished Tales) – Eorl, also known as Eorl the Young, was the leader of the Eothed, a people who lived near the sources of the Anduin. He was so named because he succeeded his father when he was only 21. When an errand rider from Gondor brought a request from Cirion, the Steward of Gondor, for aid in fighting the men of Rhun, Eorl agreed to go, knowing that if Gondor fell, his own people would soon be in danger. The combined forces of Eorl and Cirion defeated Gondor’s enemies in the Battle of the Field of Celebrant in the year 2510 of the Third Age. As a token of gratitude, Cirion presented Eorl with the lands later called Rohan. Eorl accepted the gift and became the first king of Rohan, swearing an oath that the people of Rohan would ever come to the aid of Gondor in times of great need; an oath a later king of Rohan, Theoden, would honor over 500 years later in The Lord of the Rings.

Hurin vs. Chrsophylax

Hurin and Morgoth - Ted Nasmith

Hurin and Morgoth – Ted Nasmith

Hurin (Unfinished Tales/The Silmarillion) – Known as the mightiest of warriors of mortal men, Hurin, Lord of Dor-Lomin, was the husband of Morwen and father to daughter Nienor and son Turin. In the First Age battle of Nirnnaeth Arnoediad, all the warriors of Dor-lomin were slain except Hurin who was buried under a pile of dead orcs. Gothmog, lord of the Balrogs found him there and took him to Morgoth. When Hurin refused to tell Morgoth where to find the lost city of Gondolin, Morgoth chained him to a seat on top of the peaks of his fortress of Thangorodrim. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Morgoth cursed Hurin so he could see, through Morgoth’s own eyes, all the tragedies that befell his children (many of which were brought on by Morgoth himself).

Hurin endured the seat and the visions for twenty eight years before Morgoth finally let him go.  Old, but still hale, Hurin eventually found Morwen, but only moments before she died. Then, heartbroken and angry at being turned away after trying to return to Gondolin, his loud rantings outside the gate accidentally revealed the location of Gondolin to Morgoth. Eventually, Hurin realized that all his deeds had aided Morgoth, and he cast himself into the sea. No happy endings for Hurin and his kin.


Chrysophylax - Pauline Baynes

Chrysophylax – Pauline Baynes

Chrysophylax the dragon (Farmer Giles of Ham) – After Farmer Giles shot a deaf, near-sighted giant who had stumbled onto his land, the giant (whos hides are a thick as Trolls’) thought he’d been stung by an insect. Back at home, he reported that there were no knights guarding the farmlands any more, just stinging insects. In time, word of this came to Chrysophylax the dragon, who decided it was about time to plunder the farmlands (now that the danger of coming to bodily harm was little to none). You see, Chysophylax was “cunning, inquisitive, greedy, well-armoured but not overly bold, ” and he was mortally hungry.

After burning down several neighboring villages and dining on the inhabitants, everyone turned to Farmer Giles to stop the destruction. Farmer Giles had become quite the local hero after driving off the giant, and had been awarded what conveniently turned out to be the magic, dragon-fighting sword Caudimorax by the King. Chrysophylax was soon cowering before them, but being very cunning (as dragons are), he cried great dragon tears and promised the villagers he would bring them all of his wealth if they spared his life. Already counting their non-existent riches, the villagers agreed. Chrysophlax promptly left and did not return on the promised day.

The King, also counting his non-existent wealth, sent all his knights, led by Farmer Giles, to make the dragon honor his promise. Being pretty cunning himself, Farmer Giles made the dragon return and, to add insult to injury, made Chrysophylax carry all the treasure on his back! Knowing the King would be powerless to wrest the treasure away with a dragon at bay, Farmer Giles kept the treasure and used the threat of Caudimorax to keep  Chrysophylax on hand to help guard it. Once the now fabulously wealthy Farmer Giles became a king in his own right, he released Chrysophylax (who was expensive to feed and kept growing and growing as dragons will), who returned to his home to begin rebuilding his hoard and have a few words with a certain giant!

Trotter the Hobbit vs. Roverandom

Hobbit - LordMishkin

Hobbit – LordMishkin

Trotter the Hobbit (Trotter and the Journey to Weathertop, The History of Middle-earth – The Return of the Shadow) – Believe it or not, in earlier drafts of the stories that eventually became The Lord of the Rings, Frodo’s name was Bingo, Sam’s name was Frodo and Strider wasn’t a man at all, but a sturdy Hobbit named Trotter! Trotter and the Journey to Weathertop is the ninth chapter in The Return of the Shadow, one of a series of excerpts of Tolkien’s writings edited by Christopher Tolkien.  Other than the names, the chapter bears a striking resemblance to the chapter, At the Sign of the Prancing Pony in The Lord of the Rings. So, if you’re considering voting for Trotter, think ‘Aragron, but shorter!’


Roverandom - Alan Lee

Roverandom – Alan Lee

Roverandom (Roverandom) – J.R.R. Tolkien wrote Roverandom in 1925 to console his son Michael who had lost his toy dog at the beach. Rover starts out as a young puppy, white with black ears. One day, he was playing in the garden with his yellow ball when the wizard, Artaxerxes, came along and picked it up. When the wizard refused to give the ball back Rover bit his trousers and, in retaliation, the wizard turned Rover into a small toy dog. Rover was soon turned into a real dog again by the sand-sorcerer, Psamathos, but a dog of very small size. The remainder of the story follows Rover’s adventures in his effort to find the wizards to turn him back into a normal dog. Rover’s adventures include being flown to the Moon by a seagull and meeting the Man in the Moon. The Man in the Moon renames Rover “Roverandom” and gives him wings so he can play with his pet Moon-dog (also named Rover). Eventually, Roverandom goes to the bottom of the sea in search of Artaxerxes and (after many more adventures, of course), he gets his wish and is turned back into a normal dog.

Aldarion vs. Legolas of Gondolin

Tar-Aldarion -

Tar-Aldarion –

Aldarion (Aldarion and Erendis; The Mariner’s Wife, Unfinished Tales) – Aldarion was the sixth King of Númenor whose major accomplishments were his expansion of Númenor’s maritime traditions and his Middle-earth explorations. He was married to Erendis, but his first love was the sea. He left for many months at time which eventually caused a rift between the two. A great mariner in his own right, Aldarion was interested in exploring Middle-earth and discovering the riches that could be found there. During his first journeys to Middle-earth he made the friendship of Gil-galad and Círdan, from whom he learned much about both the making and management of ships. As king, Aldarion gave aid to Gil-galad, established new havens and bases on the coasts of Middle-earth, and laid the groundwork in Númenor for the creation of a great naval power.




Flight of the Doomed - Ted Nasmith

Flight of the Doomed – Ted Nasmith

Legolas of Gondolin (The History of Middle-earth – The Book of Lost Tales, Part 2) – No, this is not the Legloas you’re probably thinking of. The first time the name of Legolas appeared in Tolkien’s writings was long before he wrote The Lord of the Rings. In The Book of Lost Tales, Part 2: The Fall of Gondolin, Tolkien tells of Galdor, the Lord of the House of Trees, for whom Legolas of Gondolin was a scout.  Just as with the more famous Legolas in The Lord of the Rings, the name Legolas in The Book of Lost Tales meant ‘greenleaf’ and ’keen sight’. Many of Tolkien’s most famous characters of the First Age were in the city of Gondolin when Morgoth’s armies of orcs, dragons and balrogs attacked, including Ectheleon, Glorfindel, Tuor, his wife Idril, and her young son, Earendil, who would later become Elrond’s father. Many of them fought bravely, but when it became apparent that all was lost, they chose Legolas to lead them to safety:

“[Legolas] led the exiles over Tumladin  [the plain of Gondolin] in the dark, being night-sighted …whose eyes were like cats’ for the dark, yet could they see further.”

Legolas led them over Tumladin (the plain of Gondolin) and over the treacherous Cristhorn (think Caradras). But for his keen sight, bravery and intimate knowledge of the area, they might all have been lost. After the fall of Gondolin, Legolas dwelt in Tol Eressea where he took the name Laiqulasse.

For those of you interested, descriptions of the “Other” characters that were eliminated in Round 1 are below:

Eriol (The History of Middle Earth – The Book of Lost Tales) – If it wasn’t for Eriol, we might not have The Silmarillion today.  In The Book of Lost Tales, Eriol, a man, arrives as a cast away in Eressea where he meets and befriends the Elves who inhabit it. The Elves recount the history of their world to Eriol including the creation of the world, the origins of Elves, Dwarves and Men and their wars against the Enemy. These stories, of course, became the basis for many of the stories in The Book of Lost Tales and, later, The Silmarillion.

In later writings, Tolkien changed Eriol’s name to the more familiar Aelfwine (Elf-friend); the first man to find the straight road and visit Tol Eressea.  Aelfwine was an Anglo-Saxon whos father sailed with Earendil and never returned. After Aelfwine’s journeys and return from Tol Eressea, he translates the stories of the Elves into what is known as The Silmarillion. Thus, Eriol (later Aelfwine) was Tolkien’s link between the tales of the Elves and the history of Great Britain.

The Petty Dwarves - Alan Lee

The Petty Dwarves – Alan Lee

Mim the Petty Dwarf (Narn I Hin Hurin: The Tale of the Children of Hurin, Unfinished Tales)
In the saga of Turin Turambar, there came a time when he took up with a band of outlaws. Turin and the outlaws came across Mim, the Dwarf, and his two sons trying to evade the outlaws. In exchange for his life, Mim was forced to take them to his secret dwelling on the hill of Amon Rudh, which became the outlaws’ hide-out. However, one of Mim’s sons was killed, having been shot by an arrow as they tried to evade the outlaws. That, plus the fact that the outlaws bound Mim (which Dwarves never forget), plus Mim’s hatred of Turin’s Elf-friend Beleg, eventually caused Mim to betray Turin’s location to Morgoth, despite the fact that he had grown to hold a grudging respect for Turin. All of the outlaws except Turin and his friend Beleg were slain by orcs and Turin’s tragic tale continued elsewhere. Mim escaped and made his way to Nargothrond where he laid claim to the treasure there, but Turin’s father Hurin eventually found him there and killed him.

Smith of Wooten Major (Smith of Wooten Major) – In the town of Wooten Major, the Feast of the Good Children is celebrated every twenty-four years. At one such feast, the Master Cook hid trinkets in a grand cake and as one of the trinkets, his apprentice, Alf, included a little star. The star was swallowed by the blacksmith’s son who didn’t notice it at the time. However, on his tenth birthday the star fixed itself on his forehead. The boy grew up to be a blacksmith, but the star allowed him to enter the Land of Faery and protected him while he was there. In his free time he had many adventures in the Land of Faery and the folk there called him “Starbrow”. When the next Feast of the Good Children came along Smith, realizing the star was a gift from the King of Faery meant to be passed on, gave the star back to Alf who had become the Master Cook, and Smith went back to a normal life.

Niggle (Leaf by Niggle) – Niggle is a plain, unremarkable man who lives in a society that does not much value art. Nevertheless, Niggle is an artist and spends every spare moment painting a canvas of a great tree with a forest in the distance. He pays loving attention to each and every leaf, making each one uniquely beautiful. In the meantime, Niggle is distracted by real life, including a mysterious trip he must pack for and by taking time out to help his neighbor, Parish.

Niggle becomes ill after he catches a chill doing errands for Parish in the rain. He ends up in a type of institution where he is given the most mundane tasks.  One night, Niggle hears the institution’s Voices discussing his case. Even though he neglected many of his duties in his former life in the pursuit of painting leaves, they give him credit for helping Parish and admit that “a Leaf by Niggle has a charm of its own.’ Niggle moves on from the institution and finds himself in a new country. He’s shocked and pleased to find his Tree there, with all its beautiful leaves, including some he hadn’t fully thought out.

Niggle is reunited with his old neighbour, Parish, who now proves his worth as a gardener, and together they make the Tree and Forest even more beautiful. Finally, Niggle journeys farther and deeper into the Forest, and beyond into the great mountains that he only faintly glimpsed in his painting.

Long after both Niggle and Parish have taken their journeys, the lovely field that they built together becomes a place for many travelers to visit before their final voyage into the Mountains, and it earns the name “Niggle’s Parish.” One perfect leaf from his original painting is framed and preserved in a museum.

Father Christmas and North Polar Bear - J.R.R. Tolkien

Father Christmas and North Polar Bear – J.R.R. Tolkien

Father Christmas & North Polar Bear (The Letters of Father Christmas) – The Father Christmas Letters are a collection of letters written and illustrated by J. R. R. Tolkien between 1920 and 1942 for his children. The stories are told in a series of letters, written in the shaky handwriting of Father Christmas and ‘sent’ from the North Pole to Tolkien’s children each Christmas. It turns out that Father Christmas had many adventures throughout the year between his duties every December 24th. His sidekick, North Polar Bear, had many misadventures which kept Father Christmas especially busy. One year, the accident-prone North Polar Bear climbed the North Pole to rescue Father Christmas’ hood which blew off and was stuck there. Unfortunately, North Polar Bear fell through the roof of Father Christmas’s house into the dining room breaking his leg. North Polar Bear redeemed himself, however, in another adventure where he took on 100 goblins at once when he found out they were living in the caves beneath Father Christmas’ house.


Farmer Giles of Ham (Farmer Giles of Ham) – see Chrysophylax the dragon, above.

Tevildo, Prince of Cats (The Tale of Tinuviel, The History of Middle Earth – Book of Lost Tales Part Two) – Tevildo was the “Lord of Cats” in The Tale of Tinúviel. He appeared in the form of a great black cat with a collar of gold. During the Quest for the Silmaril, Beren was captured by Melko and sent as a servant to Tevildo. However the cat was defeated by Huan and Lúthien when they forced him to reveal the spell which held the stones of his castle together and which held cats under his evil sway. Later Tevildo’s place in the narrative was replaced by that of the Necromancer, Thû (later renamed Sauron).

Posted in Uncategorized

Middle-earth March Madness – Round 2! Vote Now!

2015-middleearthmadness-bracket-rd2Round 1 is in the history books, as Middle-earth March Madness continues to capture the attention of Tolkien fans worldwide! In our first round, we had over 190,000 total votes cast, with the most contentious match-ups recieving nearly 10,000 votes! Voting for Round 2 starts now! (Vote below).

Round 1 didn’t have many close match-ups, but there were definitely a few surprises.

The most contraversial seems to be (11) Thranduil taking down (6) Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit division. As the 2014 Middle-earth March Madness champion, Thranduil seems to have a dedicated and loyal following that should help him through his next match-up with (3) Beorn. (Or will fan backlash against those Thranduites push Beorn through?!)

In The Lord of the RIngs division, (8) Arwen was able to take down The Dark Lord himself, (9) Sauron. Will she make it past (1) Galadriel to possible match-up against (4) Aragorn?!

In The Others division, (2) Father Christmas was knocked off by (15) Legolas of Gondolin, obviously taking advantage of the name recognition of another famous Elf.

There are a lot of intriguing match-ups in round 2, which I’m sure some TORn staffer will highlight in an article this week. Maybe you want to highlight your favorite match-ups in this round? Submit an article to with your display name and a small bio, and we’ll see if we can post it!

Voting in this round will remain open until March 26th at 10pm ET. Vote Now and tell your friends! [Round 2 Download] [Round 1 Results] [Round 1 Download]


Posted in Characters, Events, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Other Events, Other Tolkien books, Return of the King, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, The Two Towers, Uncategorized

Middle-earth March Madness – Round 1 Bracket – Vote Now!

2015-middleearthmadness-bracket-rd1The 2015 edition of Middle-earth Madness officially starts today! We’ve split our field of 64 characters and objects into four divisions: The Silmarillion,The Hobbit,The Lord of the Rings and The Others.

This is a brand new format for the competition this year – implemented to encourage interesting match-ups, intriquging final four and ultimately education on the breadth of works from our favorite author, J.R.R. Tolkien.

A note on how the bracket combatants were determined. created a document containing all combatants, sub divided into divisions. We asked staff to cast sixteen votes per division, with the votes having a weight of 1-4. Each staffer cast four 4 votes, four 3 votes, four 2 votes and four 1 votes in each division. We then totalled all the votes from each division to determine their rank, and ultimately placed those into our bracket for seeding.

As you can imagine, our staff is diverse and the results were very interesting! What was very exciting when creating the bracket was the realization that we have some amazing and story related match-ups in this first round.

Voting in Round 1 will remain open until March 21st at 10pm ET. At that point, we’ll calculate the winners and post the next round on March 22nd. Follow after the break for a complete bracket image (download it), and to vote on all of our Round 1 match-ups! [Round 1 Bracket]

Posted in Characters, Events, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Other Events, Other Tolkien books, Return of the King, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, The Two Towers, Uncategorized

Oh yes – Middle-earth March Madness is Coming!


Yes folks, Middle-earth March Madness is back for 2015! If you are new to, Middle-earth March Madness is our adaptation on the popular NCAA Basketball tournament that takes place every March/April in the United State. It is our chance to have some fun matching up middle-earth power players against each other. Past winners include Samwise Gamgee, Gandalf, Thranduil.

Based on feedback from our past years, we are switching things up a bit to include the entirety of J.R.R. Tolkien’s works. So in reality, this could be called J.R.R. Tolkien March Madness!

This year, our four divisions will be representative of a book (or series of books):

The Hobbit
The Lord of the Rings
The Silmarillion
Other Works (Lost Tales, Father Christmas, Children of Hurin, etc)

This allows each division to crown a champion for each book, and then they all face off against each other in the final four!

Our staff are sorting out the field of 64 combatants now, and we’ll be posting the first bracket and polls very soon. Stay tuned to the front-page of TORn for the announcement to start voting, and follow along on Twitter and FB with #middleearthmarchmadness @theoneringnet


Posted in Characters, Events, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Other Events, Other Tolkien books, Return of the King, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, The Two Towers, Uncategorized

Happy Hobbit: Dodo’s Donuts – Episode 58

kili and dodo

Kili and Dodo Brushwater, a shady hobbit from Frogmorton, want some donuts but neither know how to make the delicious treats. How will they convince Fili to make them… or will they?

Dodo’s Donuts Recipe:


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups milk (preferably whole but can be any)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the sugar coating:
1/4-1/2 a stick of unsalted butter (can use up to a stick but just eyeball it)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (Can adjust the amounts of sugar and cinnamon to taste or color!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 doughnut pans well.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

In a small bowl, stir together the egg, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. (Stirring with a spatula or large spoon works best!) Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the baking pans, filling each one a little more than three-quarters full. Bake for 17 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then tap the doughnuts out onto a sheet pan. You may need to carefully cut around their edges to get them out!

For the topping, melt the butter in the microwave then combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Dip each doughnut first in the butter, (if you’re using a wide enough bowl, or else paint the butter on with a brush), and then in the cinnamon sugar, either on one side or both sides.

And pig out like Dodo would!

Posted in Fans, Happy Hobbit, Uncategorized

Now showing – 3 new TV spots


Here are 3 new TV spots showcasing “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” in theaters now. Today, December 17 is the official release date for this film in North America and several other countries around the world. This brings with it the knowledge that this will be our last foray into Middle-earth on the big screen for a very long time, so go out and enjoy it, go with a bunch of friends, make new friends at the theaters, and leave your comments about the film on our message boards or within the Disqus comments (but do remember this is a family friendly website, so be civil).

Video number 1:

Video number 2:

Video number 3:


Join us in Los Angeles in February at The One Last Party

one last party logo We’re hosting a Party of Special Magnificence next February — a final toast to all SIX movies, both The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy.

We’re inviting you to join us and make it happen through our Indiegogo campaign — so we can all celebrate Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth movies together!

Visit our campaign page and find out how you can get involved!


Posted in Uncategorized

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.

Line Parties and forming your own Fellowship

Members of the Los Angeles Tolkien Forever groupLot of folks gathered for Marathon Monday screenings of the Hobbit Trilogy today, but there are still a ton of Line Party events happening tomorrow (or later, in some locations). So find your Fellowship, because an epic journey is always better in good company. Use this as an opportunity to connect with other Ringers in your local area – because you know you’re going to need company when you go back for a second, third, or thirty-third viewing.

It’s local events like these that lead to the formation of lasting groups, events, and friendships. The Tolkien Forever group has been gathering in Los Angeles for more than 13 years for viewings, Hall of Fire parties, and the annual Tolkien Birthday toast.

Gyűrűk Ura Cosplay ClubOn the other side of the globe, Gyűrűk Ura Cosplay Club has been sharing their amazing costuming talents in Budapest, Hungary. For the opening of The Battle of the Five Armies, with the Hungarian Tolkien Society, they are staging a week-long costume exhibition and immersive Middle-earth experience at the Corvin cinema. All week, they’ll be sharing their costumes, teaching Dwarvish language lessons, fencing, hosting trivia contests, and more. These are fans that know how to get their Fellowship on! started with a small group of fans banding together, and thanks to the internet, we can all get our Tolkien geek on together. But sharing our stories online is only the beginning. If you can, be a part of the One Last Party in February, and celebrate the journey we’ve all been on together. But don’t let the end of these films be the end of the line for your fandom!


Posted in Uncategorized

Things to do While Waiting for BOTFA – 5

Get musical with the soundtrack and some Elven bird calls while you wait!

Posted in Fans, Happy Hobbit, Uncategorized

Line Party Roundup! Where to see the Final Chapter with your fellow fans

Hobbit cast poster

Reposting because we’ve been adding lots of new Line Parties and want you all to be able to find them. Please submit a form of your own if you wish to be included.

The only thing better than watching a movie about Hobbits is watching it side by side with a friend. If you’re trying to find a place to watch “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” with a crowd of equally enthusiastic Ringers, scroll down to see if there’s a Line Party happening in your city. Events are being planned for both opening night on Tuesday, December 16, as well as for the special “Marathon Monday” screenings of all three Hobbit films on December 15.

Don’t see an event listed for your city? Plan one, and make it a night to remember! Contact your local theater, set up a Facebook event, and let us know to add it to our list. Need ideas? Check out these tips for hosting a Line Party from our experts! To have your event added to the list, use the form below or send an email to Please note that I am updating these listings manually, so I apologize if there’s a delay – please be patient!

Find your Line Party:
Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | D.C. | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming | INTERNATIONAL



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Gilbert: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, Superstition Springs 25 (Time and link coming soon!)

Glendale: Marathon Monday, 12/15, Arrowhead Towne Center (Time and link coming soon!)

Tucson: Marathon Monday, 12/15, Century Park Place 20, 1:00pm

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Cupertino: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, AMC Cupertino Square, 9:00pm

Irvine: Marathon Monday, 12/15, Edwards Irvine Spectrum 21, 12:00pm

Irvine: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, Edwards Irvine Spectrum 21, 5:00pm

Los Angeles – Hollywood: Marathon Monday, 12/15, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, 12:00pm

Los Angeles – Hollywood: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre: 7:00pm

San Diego: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, Edwards Mira Mesa 18, 7:00pm

San Jose: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, Oakridge Cinemark, 7:00pm

Scotts Valley: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, Cinelux, 5:00pm

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Altamonte Springs: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, Altamonte Springs Mall AMC 18, 7:00pm

Fort Myers: Marathon Monday, 12/16, Regal Gulf Coast Town Center Stadium 16 & IMAX, 11:00am

Lake Buena Vista: Marathon Monday, 12/15, AMC Downtown Disney, 12:00pm

Miami: Marathon Monday, 12/15, AMC Sunset Place 24, 12:30pm

Tampa: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, AMC Veterans 24, 8:00pm

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Atlanta: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, Regal Atlantic Station Stadium 16, 5:00pm

Augusta: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, Regal Augusta Exchange 20 & IMAX, 7:00pm

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Chicago: Marathon Monday, 12/15, Navy Pier IMAX, 1:00pm

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Fort Wayne: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, Carmike Jefferson Point, Midnight

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Cedar Rapids: Marathon Monday, 12/15, Wehrenberg (3D), 1:30pm

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Ashland: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, Cinemark Movies 10, 7:00pm

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Boston: Marathon Monday, 12/15, AMC Boston Common 19, 10:00am

Boston: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, AMC Loews Boston Common 19, 7:00pm

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Brighton: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, MJR Brighton Cinema, 10:00pm

Lapeer: Marathon Monday, 12/15, NCG Lapeer Cinemas, 12:00pm

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St. Paul: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, Oakdale Marcus, Midnight

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Omaha: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, Marcus Majestic Cinema, 7:00, 8:00, or 10:30pm

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New Hampshire

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New Jersey

Hamilton: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, AMC 24 Hamilton, Midnight

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New Mexico

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New York

New York: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, AMC Loews 34th Street, 7:00pm

West Nyack: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, Palisades Center IMAX 7:00pm

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North Carolina

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North Dakota

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Cleveland: Marathon Monday, 12/15, Cinemark Valley View, 1:00pm

Cleveland: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, Cinemark Valley View Ohio, 7:30pm

Columbus: Marathon Monday, 12/15, AMC Easton

Mentor: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, Atlas Cinemas 16, 7:00pm

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State College: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, UEC Theatres, 6:00pm

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Rhode Island

Lincoln: Marathon Monday, 12/15, Cinemaworld Theaters, 12:00pm

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South Carolina

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South Dakota

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Garland: Marathon Monday, 12/15, AMC Firewheel, 12:30pm

Laredo: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, Cinemark Del Norte, 12:00

Plano: Marathon Monday, 12/15, Cinemark West Plano & XD, 1:00pm

Temple: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, Temple Mall Premiere IMAX, 7:00pm

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Sandy: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, Jordan Commons, 8:00pm

South Jordan: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, Megaplex, The District, 8:50pm

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Puyallup: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, IMAX

Seattle: Marathon Monday, 12/15, Cinerama, 11:00am

Spokane: Marathon Monday, 12/16, AMC River Park Square 20, 12:30pm

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West Virginia

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AUSTRALIA – Sydney: Opening FRIDAY, 12/26, Cremorne Orpheum Cinema, 9:30am

BELGIUM – Antwerp: Opening WEDNESDAY, 12/10, Metropolis, Time TBD

CANADA – Ontario, Ottowa: Marathon Monday, 12/15, SilverCity Gloucester, 4:00pm

CANADA – Ontario, WaterlooRegion: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, Landmark Cinemas 12 Kitchener, Time TBD

HUNGARY – Budapest: Opening Night WEDNESDAY, 12/17, Corvin Cinema, 10:30pm

HUNGARY  – Budapest: Ongoing activities and costume display, 12/18-21, Corvin Cinema

JAPAN – Tokyo: Opening SATURDAY, 12/13, Marunouchi Picaderi Cinema, 11:00am

LEBANON – Beirut: WEDNESDAY, 12/10, Grand Cinemas ABC Achrafieh, 8:00pm

NETHERLANDS – Utrecht: Opening SATURDAY, 12/13, Pathé Rembrandt Theater, 1:00pm

SPAIN – Barcelona: Opening Tuesday, 12/16, Cinemes Full HD, 16:00

SWITZERLAND – Lausanne: Opening WEDNESDAY, 12/10, Cinétoile Malley Lumière, Midnight

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Posted in Calendar, Events, Fans, Hobbit Movie, Line Party, Meet Ups, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Uncategorized

Royd Tolkien Holds ALS Fundraiser: Advance Screening of BOTFA Wows In Wales

Studio_20141207_154915Tonight in the heart of Wales a very special event happened that brought together the family scions of Tolkien while also raising money for ALS; which by way of the viral Ice Bucket Challenge became one of the notable internet phenomena of 2014.  Motor Neurone Disease touches closely on the family, as Royd Tolkien’s brother Mike struggles with its effects.  (more…)

Posted in Events, Film Screenings, Hobbit Movie, Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, Miscellaneous, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Tolkien, Tolkien Family, Uncategorized, Warner Bros.

Cumberbatch is Strange? New rumor about our favorite dragon!

Benedict CumberbatchThe internet was broken today when Mike Fleming announced on Deadline that Marvel had named Benedict Cumberbatch their top choice to play Doctor Strange in a feature slated for 2016, and that they were beginning negotiations. This is still an unconfirmed rumor, and the Strange casting rumors have been brewing for quite some time. Joaquin Phoenix was a confirmed choice up until the beginning of this month, but then they were back to the drawing board.

Over the past months, everyone from Hugh Laurie to Tom Hardy, Keanu Reeves, Johnny Depp, and Daniel Radcliffe have been mentioned in connection with the project. Keen Ringers have tapped Cumberbatch for the role since at least July. It looks like this might be an accurate prophesy. Marvel has been cagey, neither confirming nor denying the report, with Executive Editorial Director Ryan Penagos tweeting about #seeeekrits all afternoon.

We may not have long to wait for confirmation of this particular rumor. Marvel is holding a special press event in Los Angeles tomorrow (which you can follow on their live blog) to make some undisclosed #seeeekrit announcements. will be on hand at the event to get the scoop!

Dr_Strange_by_Steve_DitkoSo far Middle-earth fans have embraced Benedict Cumberbatch as a villain supreme “The Hobbit” films, in his roles as both Smaug and the Necromancer (aka Sauron). He’s twisted our minds as a cunning genius in the wildly popular BBC “Sherlock” series, and he rolled villainy and genius into one as Khan in “Star Trek Return of the Lens Flare Into Darkness”. Now it looks like he may have the chance to conquer comics as he has science fiction and fantasy.

The “Sorceror Supreme” of the Marvel universe, Doctor Strange is described as “brilliant, but arrogant,” which certainly seems to be a trend in all the characters mentioned above! And who better than the Necromancer to serve as what Marvel President Kevin Feige describes as the “doorway into Marvel’s supernatural side”?

Tell us in the comments what you think about Benedict Cumberbatch taking on the role of the mightiest magician in the cosmos. Who would win in a fight? The Necromancer or Doctor Strange?

Posted in Uncategorized