With a little over four months until the film’s release, we’ve begun to see the Lord of the Rings merchandising-machine in full flow, with images of soon to be released ToyBiz action figures, the growing catalogue of WETA-Sideshow models and busts, and the beautiful trailer of the upcoming Sierra computer game for the XBox. And for this week’s Hall of Fire, we want your opinion on these things and more, as we discuss an often-argued debate:

Lord of the Rings Merchandising : The Good and The Bad

For some people, the image of a little Lord of the Rings toy free with your flame-grilled Whopper in Burger King seems like a fantastic promotional idea. For others however, the idea seems horrific. Little wind-up toys of Frodo and Sam available in fast food restraunts: J.R.R must be rolling around in his grave!

Though a certain amount of bad merchanding is inevitable with every film, a lot of people seem to agree that New Line haven’t put a foot wrong so far. Though the Burger King and JVC deals are obviously strategical, the more traditional things that accompany a movie, such as action figures and computer games, seem to be in good hands.

With the WETA Sideshow busts and models impressing all who see them, and the Toy Biz action figures looking to have all the minute details, a lot of Tolkien fans seem satisfied with what they’ve seen. But what do you think? Do you feel that the deal with Burger King was just a crude commercial act, that seems to be a far cry from bidding for books and memorabilia on E-Bay. And doesn’t the image of a book on the Screenplay of the films themselves seem well….pushing it?

These are the opinions and decisions we hope to make this weekend, in what proves to be one very fiery debate! And the only thing that’s going to make it any better is if you join us on one of the three sessions.

Place: #thehalloffire on theonering.net server; come to theonering.net’s chat room Barliman’s and then type /join #thehalloffire .

Saturday Chat: 7:00 pm ET (19:00) [also 12:00 am Sunday (0:00) BST and 9:00 am Sunday (09:00) AET]

Sunday Chat: 8:00 pm (20:00) AET [also 11:00 am (11:00) BST and 6:00 am (06:00) ET]

Sunday Chat: 6:00 pm (18:00) BST [also 1:00 pm (13:00) ET and 3:00 am (03:00) Monday morning AET]

ET = Eastern Time, USA’s East Coast
BST = British Summer Time, GMT +1 hour
AET = Australian Eastern Time, Australia’s East Coast

Questions? Topics? Send ‘em here.