Earwen writes: I just wanted to give a quick report on the Houghton Mifflin sneak preview event. I was surprised and excited to learn one of the screenings was being held in my town of Colorado Springs, so there was no way I was going to miss it. Including myself and my mom (who gets credit for not only giving birth to me but to my Tolkien obsession as well since it was she who read the books to me all the time when I was growing up until I was old enough to do it myself…THANKS MOM!!!) whew, sorry about that digression. Anyway, my original point was, including myself and my mom there were a total of only 5 or 6 people who showed up for the event. I think the fact that the weather turned very cold and it was the middle of the week kept some people away. That is alright though since it made for a nice cozy atmosphere.
The screening was held in a corner of the Media Play store that had been all decked out in posters and displays for the purpose of this event. There was a tv with several comfortable chairs set in front for us to sit in. We were each given a newsletter of sorts that contained information about the various editions of the book that are available through Houghtin Mifflin, and two bookmarks. The documentary itself was contained on a cassette tape in a plain black box that was not likely to give away what was inside. It was about half an hour long, and I noticed that the employee who put in the tape ended up staying to watch the whole thing, even though he was obviously not a huge fan of the trilogy. When I looked behind me I also saw that several other employees had stopped what they were doing to watch the documentary.
As for the documentary itself, it was all about the origins of various aspects of Tolkien’s world. For example, the battlefields of WWI with their dead bodied strewn about was the inspiration for the Dead Marshes, and his friend C.S. Lewis’s booming, harooming voice was thought to be what Tolkien imagined Treebeard sounded like. It was a very well put together and interesting documentary, with some things I already knew and some I did not. It’s quality is exactly of the high level one would expect after the appendices material of the Extended Edition of FOTR.
I can remember only three brief clips from the upcoming Extended Edition of TTT being included in this documentary. One occurred when they were explaining the origins of Eowyn’s name (Eoh = old english word for horse, Eowyn = “horse joy” or “one who takes joy in horses”). It showed Eowyn walking through the horse stables at Edoras and coming up to a brown horse (Brego?) who nuzzles her face. The second occurred when they were talking about Tolkien’s portrayals of evil. It showed what appeared to be Uruk Hai or wildmen punching someone in the stomach and throwing them to the ground, and then killing someone else with a sword or spear of some sort. This looked like an extension or addition to the “wildmen destroying Rohan villages” scene. The third clip I remember was the longest and was the Merry and Pippin being swallowed by Old Man Willow scene, which I must say had me grinning from ear to ear, and almost laughing out loud. There may have been more clips, but I did not notice any.
After it was over, the employee who seemed less than enthusiastic at the beginning, was asking when the next movie came out, and how big a fans did we consider ourselves to be? December 17th, and obsessive we replied, smiling and giggling 🙂 Everyone left pretty soon afterwards since it was cold and dark, with the ominous presence of work looming in the morning. I did notice and inquire about two cardboard cutouts of Gandalf the Grey and Aragorn which the employee gave to me (Eeeeeexcellent!). This made me most ecstatic since I have been trying to get a hold of some of these for ages. Also, he had heard me talking about the awesome time I had at the Two Towers: One Party last year, and asked how he could get tickets. I happily explained about TORn and wrote down the address for him. He thanked me, and so ended a lovely evening of Tolkien fandom, as well as this overlong (see second sentence) report.
P.S. Thanks to Houghton Mifflin and to Media Play for hosting this and taking the time to decorate and make it nice.