Barliman's Chat Today, Hall of Fire will be playing compare and contrast as we take a look at the CGI of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Join us at 5pm EST for what should be a lively debate.

Whether it’s the Balrog of Moria, Gollum, Azog, The Eye of Sauron of the Great Goblin, what is it about these creations that makes them work? When are they less than convincing, and why?

And given the technological advances in the past ten years, how do the computer-generated characters of The Hobbit compare to those of the Lord of the Rings?

What’s the dividing line between a “real” CGI character, and one that is a mere monster? Is it even possible to find one? Do some, like Azog, straddle both sides of the equation?

And if Smaug offers arguably be the hardest challenge for a CGI character, what are your hopes and fears for his look and portrayal?

Join us in Hall of Fire at 5pm EST as we talk Middle-earth CGI: the good, the bad, and the ugly!

NB: Your truly is away this weekend — and the three after that — on holidays. TORn chat moderators Miriel and Xanaseb have graciously offered to host HOF in my absence. Here’s a very rough outline of topics:

Feb 9: CGI in LoTR and The Hobbit
Feb 16: Gandalf and Hobbits
Feb 23: HOF takes a break for the Oscars!
Mar 2: LoTR character chat TBA
Mar 9: The Two Towers: Bk 1, Ch 1
Mar 16: Beren and Luthien

Time zone conversions

Not sure what time the chat will be where you are? Check this little conversion table out for some help. Alternatively, head to our event announcer on Time and Date.

5.00pm EST (New York)
4.00pm CST (Chicago)
2.00pm MST (Denver)
2.00pm PST (Los Angeles)

10.00pm GMT (London)
11.00pm CET (Paris)
Midnight EET (Helsinki)

8.00am AEST (Sunday) Brisbane
9.00am AEDT (Sunday) Sydney, Melbourne
11.00am NZDT (Sunday) Wellington

How long do your topic chats go for?

Our chats usually last an hour to two hours, and are very newbie friendly. Simply drop in and join the conversation! However, our main room, is open 24 hours a day. We don’t always talk Tolkien there, but if you have a burning question, you’ll usually find one or two of “the regulars” up for a chat!

Where — connection details

Chat happens on #thehalloffire on — the TORn IRC server. You can connect instantly via our embedded Mibbit client that works inside your web browser.

Alternatively, you can install a dedicated chat program such as mIRC on your computer and just plug in the following connection details.

Port: 6667
Channel: #thehalloffire