Beginning last Saturday and running through to September 4, TheOneRing.net is hosting a Pledge Drive (see the banner at the top) as well as a bunch of auctions for some really cool memorabilia and collectibles.
The day-to-day operation of the website, and the events we host, require a lot more resources than when we first started nearly 15 years ago. We sometimes find it hard to ask our readers for the help we need to keep running, so we began discussing what it is that makes TheOneRing.net worth helping out. It started out as a search for the Top Ten Moments of TORn, but the list got so long because each staff member had their own idea of important moments in TORn history. Here, instead, is something more encompassing: Ten Ways TORn helps serve Tolkien and Lord of the Rings fandom (listed in no specific order).
And, if you enjoy what we do, consider a donation (no amount too small, because every bit does help!) to keep us running!
If you can’t, that’s fine as well — keep reading, commenting and contributing. Because TORn is as much you as it is us!
If you’ve ever sent in an article, submitted a photo or report, posted on our messageboards, visited our chat, or commented on our twitter, facebook or g+, you’re the reason TheOneRing.net is among the largest and most-respected pillars of the Tolkien community on the web.
- Spy reports were a big part of our content when the website first started. From casting announcements to secret location pictures to leaked images of important plot points, spy reports were our bread and butter stories. Some of the reports were from random, anonymous sources, while others were official leaks from cast and crew. In fact, there were many production members who said they used TheOneRing.net to keep track of what some of the other filming units were doing. Other spy reports were just someone stumbling upon a film location and sending in a story or images and then we’d all try and guess what location it actually was. Some of our biggest spy reports were of Arwen at Helm’s Deep (which subsequently didn’t happen), Saruman’s prone body on a spiky wheel (which did happen), and TheOneRing.net was given the honor of introducing Thorin to the world. And very soon, we will be seeing stories from MrCere’s visit to the set from his Production Embed last year.
Hall of Fire Chats and the Message Boards
- Literary discussions on the message boards and Hall of Fire chats – From the very beginning of TheOneRing.net, discussions of the books, chapter by chapter, has been a hallmark. After all, while we waited for news on who would be cast, where filming would take place, and rumors of what might be cut out, we had the books to talk about. Discussions worked by talking about one chapter at a time, and luckily, there are enough books with enough chapters, to keep those discussions going on for a long while. Since the beginning, we’ve looped through the books several times, but luckily, there are always new readers joining the discussion, and new interpretations to be had. And for something a little more dynamic, there are the Hall of Fire chats in Barlimans. Sometimes the talk is about a specific chapter, or a certain character, and sometimes it is about current events, such as new character images or reviews of a recently released trailer. No matter which forum you use, there is always someone to talk to about some aspect of Tolkien, the books or our fandom.
TORns Live Videos
- We began with TORn Live, which consisted of Red Carpet interviews at premieres, awards ceremonies and special events like Cannes 2001 and SDCC. These would be recorded, edited and released online a few days or weeks later. But technology now allows for live streaming interviews and vlogs and the like. Quickbeam hosts a weekly TORn Tuesday event with interviews and discussions, while he interacts with a live chatroom. The Happy Hobbit ladies record and post their vlogs and post them within a day or two of their recordings, for a much quicker turnaround on video content. And right now we have the Road to DragonCon in full swing with live streaming from across the country.
- Convention appearances – Calisuri and Quickbeam hosted a panel at San Diego Comic Con in 2001, before the release of FOTR, and since then barely a year has gone by that TORn hasn’t had a presence at at least one convention. At many of the conventions we appear at we also have a presence on the exhibit hall floor where we have sold some of our classic TORn shirts. We love it when we get up on stage for a panel and half the people in the audience are wearing some of our older shirts.
Line Parties and Fan Events
- Line Parties and other fan hosted events – TheOneRing.net has always been a grass roots type of fan-site and that is no more apparent then looking at the Line Parties of years past. Whether it is just a few friends, or some hundreds of people signing up on the website to attend, fans like you all over the world hosted Line Parties. A few even took place over several days, and included costume contests and trivia games for prizes. Other fan hosted events over the years have been the Hobbit Day/Baggins Birthday Bash events on Sept. 22, the Tolkien Toast on Jan. 3 and the Tolkien Reading Day on March 25. TORn staff in Los Angeles have been hosting a Baggins Birthday Bash party for 11 years now, but there are fan groups around the world that have hosted similar events. Smaller moots happen around the world all the time, there is a very active group in Wellington and one in Croatia. If you are hosting a fan event in the next year or two, please feel free to tell us about it.
The Oscar Parties
- Originally conceived as a fan event to help raise funds to buy TORn a new server, who could have imagined the Cast and Crew actually showing up to the FOTR oscar party? Even more surprising, who could have imagined the ROTK sweep and all those Oscars on stage at a fan hosted party?
O.R.C and E.L.F.
- TheOneRing.net hosted conventions – The One Ring Celebration on the West Coast (O.R.C.) and the Eastern Lord of the Rings Festival on the East Coast (E.L.F.) were co-productions with a professional convention company, but they definitely had a TORn stamp on them. The conventions allowed us to combine our love of the films by interacting with cast and crew with our love of the books through academic discussions, the art shows and costume displays. We really did break the mold on how a commercial scifi convention is run and hope everyone who attended had a blast.
Academic essays and editorials
- TORn has long standing relationships with many in the academic community who have posted guest essays and editorials. Over the year several staffers have posted in depth analysis to fan questions on the site as well. In fact, we have a whole section on the ‘old TORn’ (pre-crash) called Green Books for academic posts. This section had so much good stuff in it, we published a book called “The People’s Guide to J.R.R. Tolkien” and a sequel book as well.
Driving fan initiatives
- After Return of the King was done and Peter Jackson moved on to do King Kong, the fans waited to see what would happen with The Hobbit afterwards. Months turned to years and still no word while studios went bankrupt, copyrights issues got tangled up and various lawsuits were filed for missing payments. Finally, a few fans decided they had had enough and started a petition to ‘Make the Hobbit Happen’. They brought it to TORn and we got thousands of you to sign so that a big pile of names was delivered to TPTB. A similar thing happened when there was talk that the production would be moved out of New Zealand. The fans could see no where else as Middle-earth, so the ‘Keep the Hobbit in NZ’ campaign was born, but this time on Social Media. And most recently, there was an explosion of Tolkien fan love over the #Votebilbo twitter event prompted by an MTV Audience Award.
- This list compiles many of the things that TheOneRing.net does to keep you informed, entertained and engaged, but there is really just one thing that makes TheOneRing.net so important to keep around. And that is the community of fans that convene on our message boards, in Barliman’s chat, on Facebook and Twitter.
This site was built by fans getting together to discuss what they hoped for from Peter Jackson long before FOTR ever saw the light of day. The fact that a long existing fan-base gathered here meant engaged and informed discussion began from day one, including analyzing all the spy reports about casting and location details. We didn’t have to wait for the release of the films, or for several episodes of a new show to take off before we could discuss the minutia of every detail because our fan base was already well established.
And what is ‘fandom’ if not a community of like minded people passionate about the same thing. Sure, everyone has their own opinions, so every time a new image was released, or a new trailer appeared, the message boards and chatroom erupted into heated discussions. But as the years wore on friendships were made, some turning into marriage, and we all began meeting up at various moots, conventions, concerts, premiere events, trips to New Zealand or just coffee and a movie. How many of you newer fans were galvanized by the #Votebilbo campaign and now have a wider array of Twitter friends because of it? The fact that TORn was able to continue to exist during all those lean years between film productions is due mostly to you, the readers, sticking around to discuss anything and everything to do with Tolkien, and sometimes other bits of pop culture. We know that after the release of The Hobbit: There and Back Again we will see another decline of readership, but we also know that the community is strong, the friendships have been forged and all of you take that fandom with you where ever you go next.
So again, if you are so inclined to help support us and keep the website going, please do make a pledge or bid on one of the many cool auction items we’ve been posting about the past few days. On behalf of the All Volunteer Staff at TheOneRing.net, you have our deepest gratitude for all the support over the years.