This relates to a rather unimpressive bit of journalism by the UK news earlier this week. Ian Collier, the Publicity Officer for the Tolkien Society, wrote to us with the following, which he stresses are his personal views and not necessarily those of the entire Tolkien Society:

Dear Harry & Tehanu
I’m e-mailing you both as I’ve been watching events unfurl on your websites for the last year or two and I gather that Peter Jackson and co.look around the web to keep up with fannish opinion on their efforts; so I’m assuming they’ll look at your sites on a regular basis. As you may or may not know the UK’s Sunday Times ran an article yesterday 25/6 entitled “Hollywood hobbits upset Tolkien fans (here) about the filming of Lord of the Rings. I knew it was coming as I’d been interviewed on the phone for it being the Publicity Officer for The Tolkien Society, what I didn’t see coming (a tad naive of me) was the misquoting that would occur, especially as I had been asked forthe Tolkien Society’s position on the film. I’ve emailed you because I don’t want the society to be understood as being anti-film, an opinion which could be formed if certain pieces of orc-work are taken at face value. Especially with the comments that the Tolkien Society are worried by some developments and “are to discuss Tyler’s role and that of Blanchett, who plays Galadriel, at their annual Oxonmoot, or meeting in Oxford, in September.” as if to say that we are going to sit in some sort of Inquisition-like conclave.

Another example is the following series of misquotes about Liv Tyler:

“Ian Collier, spokesman for the Tolkien Society, said: “We have heard that Arwen is leading an elf army at one point and replacing one of the hobbits in the fellowship. I do hope Liv Tyler is not going to turn it into a sword-and-sorcery type role.”

I didn’t say that, in the interview I gave the society’s position and as the interview went on Arwen’s expanded role came up, my comments were that I
could see some expansion as necessary to explain her marriage to Aragorn,but that I also wondered what effect this would have on Eowyn’s role, silly of me maybe but I know better now. Regarding “and replacing one of the hobbits in the fellowship” I specifically stated that this old rumour had been definitively dealt with on Sir Ian McKellen’s website after someone posted a query based on a ‘spy’ report.

My personal opinion is that the cast & crew are doing a great job and are trying their hardest to stick as closely to Tolkien’s texts as possible,this is based on rumours, interviews and question and answer sessions posted on your sites and on Sir Ian McKellen’s. As I’ve said above I don’t want the idiocies of the press to make the people concerned feel that the Tolkien Society holds a negative opinion about them. They don’t!!


Ian Collier”