foundersdaytornptbwearingringcorvarAs part of our Founders Day Celebrations, and in recognition of our 15th Anniversary, some of our Staff Members share their Top 15 Moments on (in one case just their Top Moment on TORn).

I thought we’d start with Tehanu’s Top 15 Moments on TORn.

1. The first time we got on Aint-It-Cool News with a photo of fog around the Hobbiton set area – we called it Fog on the Barrow Downs. AICN’s comments included gems like “Fake! That fog is so obviously CGI”

2. Early trips to scope out and photograph the Hobbiton area, with various friends, including the time we tried to access the farm via the forested hills behind it.

3. When a LOTR fan with a Cessna emailed to say he’d seen the Hobbiton set from the air, and would we like to take a flight with him for another look? And bring a camera?

4. Going up Mt Ruapehu (Mt Doom) with Thorongil when he visited NZ. We just happened to see the “Jamb” signs that pointed crew to locations, and drove up – and were stopped not by security guards but by a UK film journalist who seemed to know who I was by sight (how was that even possible? I hadn’t been in the media or put my photo online anywhere). He’d been trying to get past the security cordon to photograph some filming – the Battle of the Last Alliance. We couldn’t help him, but went on up to the skifield where we could see some filming from a distance. The film crew broke for lunch, and everyone threw blankets over their costumes so we couldn’t get a good look as they trooped past us for lunch. Hugo Weaving walked right past us but we couldn’t quite figure out the familiar face.

5. Meeting Peter Jackson and the cast and crew on the Hobbiton set.

6. The first Oscars party – and finally meeting Xoanon, Corvar and Calisuri in person

7. Weekly meetings with the other three founders on IRC Chat, where we planned out what we were doing with TORN

8. The ROTK Oscars party, where we all got to celebrate the 13 Oscars with our friends and with the amazing people who had made the film.

9. The LOTR wrap party – with the bloopers reel.

10. Hiking all over NZ to look at and photograph things around the production.

11. Every time we found something quirky and fun that we could put on TORN and give wider circulation – like the Secret Diaries, or Figwit, or Lord of the Peeps, or a score of other brilliant creative things that people all over the world came up with. Some of them went viral.

12. Every time a TORN reader thanked us for making them aware that there was a whole world of people who shared their interests and took them from loneliness and isolation to feeling like part of a community. There were some amazing stories over the years from people who had found, in Tolkien and the TORN community, the strength to live in ways that were more true to themselves, often in a new place or in a new career.

13. Every time I finished a Tehanu’s Notes column and Calisuri turned it into a beautiful page, and it’d go live. Loved reading the responses from readers.

14. When Barliman’s first opened.

15. Every time I got home and checked my email or saw the flashing light on my answerphone, I wondered “what next?”

Senior Staffer greendragon has these moments to share;

First time I posted – back early in 2002, I found the website and just jumped right in, without ever declaring myself a newbie. Thus I avoided being crunched by Karen the Magnificent – which was the standard newbie greeting at the time!

First time I met anyone from the boards – LRon Halfelven and I met up to go and see FotR at the cinema. It was the start of a great friendship, and the first of MANY RL moots with ‘sibs. (As you’ll see, many of my ‘top 15’ involve moots with TORnsibs!)

First time I organized a TORn moot – it was an event in a book store, with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The then head of Tolkien publications for HMH came along and talked to the small gathering of fans, and they unveiled the new Two Towers tie in books. I so enjoyed arranging an occasion for getting TORn folks together, I’ve been doing it ever since…

Saddest moment – when I read that one of our happy band (Widfara) had sailed into the West. It was the first time I experienced the community being touched by grief in that way (sadly, there have been others since then) – we never thought there would be a Grey Havens page in the TORn family album…

The Two Towers Oscar party – I went to both this one and the Return of the King party (and of course our ‘One Expected Party’ last year). The TT party was smaller and more intimate than the RotK one – by the end of the night, I had blagged my way into the VIP section of the event and made several new friends… The hangover the next day was NOT good – but the party was a night to remember…

WootMoot at DragonCon 2007. Many TORnsibs made a special effort to be at DragonCon that year – we wanted to keep the fandom going in the ‘lean’ years between LotR and the Hobbit movies. We even persuaded two of the PTB – Corvar and Calisuri – to come along, and we had a great party. Another night to remember! 🙂

Attending the marriage of Roheryn and NZ Strider, who met through TORn. That was a fabulous weekend; such a happy occasion, and a wonderful gathering of TORnsibs. Any time TORnadoes gather is a time of celebration!

Meeting up with TORsibs in Edinburgh, going to see Flight of the Conchords in the Edinburgh Festival, and then climbing Arthur’s Seat with Roheryn, Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement.

Making the transition from the old message boards to the new ones; the new ones were such an improvement, but it still felt kind of sad to say goodbye to the boards which had been ‘home’. I remembering lingering there, when the move had been made but the old boards were still accessible, and finding that grammaboodawg was still there too; a dear friend in a special place.

MANY Fiesta Fridays – I don’t make it to the boards for those very often anymore, but it used to be a high point of my week! I’d make sure to drop by each Friday, and catch up with friends. Glass of bubbly please, barkeep!

MapMoot in Chicago, 2007 – joining ‘sibs to see the special ‘Maps – Finding our place in the World’ exhibition at The Field Museum. This exhibition included some of the Professor’s hand drawn maps; it was such a treat to see them, and of course a great weekend with TORnadoes!

Going to New Zealand in 2006, and catching up with TORn friends there. I’ve spent time with TORnsibs in America, in Europe, and in New Zealand – and it’s always far too short a time to spend with such excellent and admirable people.

There have been lots of exciting interview moments – flying to Toronto to meet Richard Armitage; flying to London to cover the AUJ Home Video release press junket; freezing on the red carpet in London for AUJ; helping to coordinate the ‘Fan Event’ in NYC November 2013; have phone conversations with many wonderful cast members… Time spent with LotR/Hobbit cast is always good.

DragonCon is a highlight every year since I first went along (which was I think 2005?) So much fun in one crazy weekend: meeting fellow fans when they come by our table; the Evening at Bree with Emerald Rose always being fabulous; seeing wonderful costumes; spending time with dear friends, whom I only see once a year at the con! Last year’s ‘Middle-earth goes 80s’ dance party deserves a special mention; that was a night to remember indeed! Awesome – can’t wait for the 70s dance party this year!

Becoming TORn staff in 2007 – and Senior Staff a few years after that. It’s an honour to be a part of this community – even if it does eat up more of my time than I should probably allow… Proud to be a small part of the best website out there – Happy Birthday TORn!

Demosthenes said there were far too many to list them all, so decided to go with this one as his all time favourite;

The April Fool where we put it about that New Line had bought us.

Elessar says;

Favorite TORn Con moment: Helping out as a staffer at Comic-Con in 2011.
Favorite Personal Moment: The honor of getting asked to become a part of the staff. Followed closely by meeting Evangeline Lilly and Stephen Fry last year at Comic-Con
Favorite Line Party Moments: Participating in the Trilogy Tuesday line in 03 and helping be in charge of one for AUJ
Most nerve-racking moment as a staffer of TORn: Seeing my first article posted hoping I didn’t sound like a complete idiot.

Charwen (or Calisurwen)
Elessars comment was just too good an opportunity to share this again 😉

Funniest moment: Seeing Chris at ORC as Charwen.
Things I love: Like Cathy I love our readers and their passion for Tolkien. I know my passion and so its amazing seeing that there are so many that feel the way I do. I also love all my fellow staffers. You all have made me feel so welcomed and being around people all the time (virtually) that love sharing everything we can is fantastic.
Favorite shirt: Trilogy Tuesday Line Party
Best thing about TORn: We bring you the news that covers all corners of Middle-earth.
Best News Story: I should say stories of all the behind the scenes stuff from all five Middle-earth movies so far. It all makes you feel as if you were actually on set.
Fan Reaction: I love reading the reactions to my reviews. Even if people don’t agree with me I love reading why they feel like I wasn’t right.



Garfeimao has these special moments as her top 15;

1) That first Oscar party. Others were more successful, but the first one was an unknown for us, 5 sleepless weeks turned into a smashing success.

2) The ROTK Oscar party, cause yeah, 11 Oscar wins and two dozen Oscars on our stage at one time, they didn’t want to leave our party for other more official parties because the energy level was so high. Getting labeled as one of the hottest Oscar parties in the LA Times the next day was icing on the cake.

3) The first ORC, Again, treading unfamiliar waters with hosting a convention, especially one as ambitious as this one. With the actors on one stage, an Art Show, Screening room, two Academic tracks, a costuming track and programming for children. Another smashing success, but it didn’t have to be. ChrisArwen was the highlight though.

4) The Bagginses Birthday Bash at Griffith Park, all of them actually. I do love this event, it is just good geeky fun. Who says geeks never go out of doors?

5) Late night gatherings afterhours at the Conventions and Oscar parties with both staff and TORnsibs. Always fun to see what happens at 3am after a full day.

6) Line Party fun, especially during the first trilogy. Hosting and posting images from parties all over the world really helped bring the community together.

7) The #VoteBilbo campaign, something very unexpected, but I still tweet with many of the folks I bumped into on Twitter then, really helped galvanize the newer generation of Tolkien fans.

8) Hall of Fire Chats, don’t get to many, but they are always so much fun.

9) TORn Tuesdays, again, I don’t get to many, but they are always a lot of fun.

10) The TORn/Red Carpet Tours’ Premiere party in Wellington just before the World Premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. It was fun hanging with some of the Kiwi staff, and the party had a really great vibe to it.

11) Some of our April Fool’s posts have been outstanding, both in terms of how well they fooled the readers and in how they fooled other press outlets who reposted our stories. Yes, they can be frustrating to some readers when they realize they were duped, but it is a long internet tradition we take part in alongside some heavyweights online.

12) Our readers, I really love their passion and joy and even their fiercely held opinions, and I love meeting them at parties, conventions, at the movies, and sometimes behind the counter at a fast food restaurant. We use the phrase TORnsib for a reason, we are all family.

13) The Radio City Music Hall concerts for FOTR and TTT, we had a pub moot beforehand, we included a trip to see Fellowship! The Musical and then we got to experience the joy of the soundtrack music performed live to the film screening.

14) Seeing Ringers: Lord of the Fans on the big screen at the Newport Beach Film Festival, with Billy Boyd sitting right behind me. We had a line party and costume contest before the film, which was full of cast and crew of the films, special guest fans, and then all of us regular fans.

15) My fellow Staffers, so many good friendships that will last a lifetime, so many memories, including that last convention we had with Balin as his health faded.

Our irrepressible grammaboodawg lists these as her top moments;

Favorite TORn Convention moment: Leading the “PETER” chant at the 2004 Oscars Party.
Favorite TORn first-time omg moment: When Quickbeam knew who I was when I asked for his autograph in 2003 at the GOTF Convention *spasm*
Favorite TORn sibbie moment: Roheryn & NZStrider Wedding Weekend
Favorite TORn Board Moments: Pants Threads (or others like them)
Most surreal moment: Meeting and being filmed with Richard Taylor and Jamie Selkirk after Oscars and holding Taylor’s Oscar Statue
Most surreal moment 2: Meeting and getting autographs from LotR cast & crew.
Favorite Tolkien-related time: Travelling to Wellington and going on the LotR movie tour
Favorite community moment: Every chance I had to meet up with sibbies
Favorite TORn t-shirt: Thanks PJ DragonCon 03 w/numbers of everything
Most terrifying moment: The first time I travelled to a TORn convention by myself
Most grateful moment: Finding TORn and realizing how many people loved Tolkien as much (and more) than I do… and that I was accepted as I am 🙂
Most challenging TORn moment: When we changed over from the Old Boards to the New Boards in 2007
Most heartwarming TORn moment: When wonderful sibbies’ generosity made my trip to NZ grander than I ever dreamed it could be

And finally Justin has this to say;

That time a bunch of Fangirls and fanboys wanted to make for Tolkien, and became much much more. – Pop quiz for anyone! 😉

Favorite TORN shirt: Falconer’s Smaug
Favorite news scoop: It’s a trilogy!
Favorite convention moment: Voice of Gollum contest
Favorite area of TORN: Twitter (Barlimans second)
Favorite personal moment: Holding Jim Rygiel’s Oscar at TTOP
Favorite community moment: #VoteBilbo (packing every panel room for 10 years a close second)

Do you have a Favourite 15 Moments of TORn? Share them with us on our Message boards, Facebook Page, Twitter or via disqus, we’d love to hear what they are.

Thank you to everyone who visits here, whether you’ve been a regular from the beginning back in 1999 or more recently, you all make this such a fun job to do.  Here’s to another 15 fun years of TORn!  And many, many more!