EDITOR’S NOTE: This opinion piece by 20-year veteran contributor Clifford “Quickbeam” Broadway comes from a personal perspective. TheOneRing.net strives to maintain an open dialogue amongst fans.
Just a week ago, U.K. based The Guardian let loose a ham-fisted distress call to get unsuspecting Ringers to click over to their site. Yahoo News regurgitated the story with even worse distortion. We’re here to tell you – don’t fall for it.
T’was a misleading article about how the Tolkien Estate “have fired a broadside” at the upcoming TOLKIEN biography film which is soon to be released theatrically by Fox Searchlight on May 10th (special advance screenings on May 7th). The movie, though not made under the auspices of the Estate, is an elegant ode to Tolkien’s early years, weaving swaths of memory and time together into a tone-poem portrait of a unique life.
Just one look at that click bait story and you’ll get the wrong idea right away; as if a darkly serious antagonism or threat against the filmmakers was underway when that’s just….. not….. true. Here we get a quick lesson on spin. Let’s get to the simple context of what the Tolkien family REALLY said.
As most may already know, the Tolkien Estate is comprised of direct descendants of J.R.R. Tolkien who have control over the body of works written by him. They are simply doing what they have always done. It is their duty to make a clear position on what is and *what is not* authorized by them. Here is the language of their statement:
“The Family and the Estate do not endorse the film or it’s content in any way. It is our wish to make clear that they did not approve of, authorize, or participate in the making of [the film].”
This is no big deal – we’ve seen this type of thing before. They are simply saying they weren’t involved in the production because people would naturally jump to that conclusion. This is pretty much an expected response for them to say ‘we are not involved.’ No need for the tabloid treatment of it, so come on Guardian, stop with the click bait. This is basically the Estate’s way of saying: “Hey out there! If you’re seeing that film but want the REAL story, get a copy of Humphrey Carpenter’s “J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography.” which we are behind 100%.”
Even Tolkien scholar John Garth who wrote “Tolkien and the Great War” said that the Family’s response to this biopic was “sensible.” We’ve seen the Tolkien Estate’s general disapproval of Peter Jackson’s six Middle-earth films before. They want people to appreciate the books on Professor Tolkien’s terms – a profoundly effecting literary journey we have all loved and appreciated.
The Guardian dug up Christopher Tolkien’s comments out of mothballs from a rare personal interview to further stir the mud – and it just makes me uncomfortable when they use this man’s words in such a way as to create a schism between fans and the author’s legacy.
Christopher has been such an intelligent, cautious caretaker of his father’s works. I also acknowledge his dismay at the sweeping commercial embrace of same. I get it. While writing and filming our documentary Ringers: Lord of the Fans, I learned first-hand how the difficult dance of Art and Commerce was underway within this breathtakingly large fandom. As newer generations of fans join the fold of Tolkien readership, the movies’ viewership also grows (and vice-versa), the community of players enjoying LOTR video and boardgames also grows, attendance at conventions and surprising cosplay also increases, and though Christopher may have been dismayed at such an embrace by popular culture, this has become something of a symbiotic relationship. I foresee very healthy book sales of Tolkien’s works and on the horizon I still see his place never changing among the rarified air of beloved authors (even as Amazon Prime prepares the world for a new embarkation to Arda).
Now Christopher has stepped down from his post. We have younger scions of the family watching over things now; and the grandson of the Professor, Adam Tolkien, is one of several people at the Estate guiding decisions and working out new licensing deals. In 2012 he said: “Normally the Executors of an Estate want to promote a work as much as they can. But we are just the opposite. We want to put the spotlight on anything that is not The Lord of the Rings.” What does this mean? They’re interested in steering your attention to Tolkien’s life, to his many other great works, The Silmarillion and beyond, and to his artworks and scholarship.
This upcoming TOLKIEN movie will do just that. It will bring general viewers to an emotional space of understanding the man himself in a very human way. It’s not a historical documentary. It’s a dramatization. Hardcore Ringers can nitpick at the historical accuracy but still appreciate the breadth of emotion and insights offered by a cinematic take on a scholarly life. And it will make people want to learn more about him and the T.C.B.S., the youthful friends who impacted Tolkien so much.
We talked about this on our livestream show TORn Tuesday just last week. Come join the live chat – every Tuesday at 5pm Pacific Time – we will have special guests from the TOLKIEN movie coming soon to embrace more thoughtful discussion on the life of the man, the linguist, the war veteran, the author.
Welcome to The Great Hall of Poets, our regular monthly feature showcasing the talent of Middle-earth fans. Each month we will feature a small selection of the poems submitted, but we hope you will read all of the poems that we have received here in our Great Hall of Poets.
So come and join us by the hearth and enjoy!
If you have a Tolkien/Middle-earth inspired poem you’d like to share, then send it to firstname.lastname@example.org One poem per person may be submitted each month. Please make sure to proofread your work before sending it in. TheOneRing.net is not responsible for poems posting with spelling or grammatical errors.
‘Radagast the Brown’
by D. McG
I have no time for Elvish folk with their starstruck Elven ways. Their monuments to their ancient lands And fading glory days.
Nor do I care too much for Dwarves
And their love for digging deep.
Seeking treasures far underground
And the secrets that they keep.
Men and Orcs seem much alike With their appetite for destruction. Hunting, farming, grabbing land Causing such a ruction!
Give me the company of the lovers of life.
No conflicts, no agenda to please.
Like the deer cavorting in open fields
Or the birds that sing in the trees.
Natures harvest provides the feast
Fruits so sweet and ripe
Along with the power to connect all things
Smoked within my pipe!
When our friends from within the Tolkien Community heard we’re having a special birthday they sent us these lovely messages as part of our celebrations. So Happy 20th Anniversary TORn! Here’s to many many more!
Kia Ora TORn,
Happy 20th Anniversary, well done on making this wonderful achievement! We have been involved with TORn through one of your founding members Erica Challis, from New Zealand since 2002. We have enjoyed the fantastic Premier movie parties that Red Carpet Tours has provided and TORn attended, along with the stars from the films. Looking forward to future calibrations and hopefully a great Lotr TV series for all the fans. Congratulations again on 20 years! Best regards, Julie James and the team at Red Carpet Tours.
Happy 20th Birthday to TheOneRing.net from The Brisbane Tolkien Fellowship. We hope you continue to have another successful 20 years at least sharing the news of all things Middle-earth.
Dear Friends at TheOneRing,
Congratulations on reaching the ripe old age of 20 ; ) Thank you for all the support and love you’ve given us all.
When I took the job of playing Ori in The Hobbit, I didn’t think I’d collect so many chums. Like the cast, you too are part of my extended dysfunctional Tolkien family!
Have a great celebration – drink, be merry… and avoid the green food! See you all soon. Adam x
A big happy 20th anniversary to TheOneRing.net ! All this time you have been delivering to us critical and wonderful news regarding the world of JRR Tolkien, from the books to the films to the Collectibles and everything in between. May 20 more years be forthcoming!
Cheers, Jerry Vanderstelt
Our good friend Donato Giancola also has given us a mathom to offer to you all! For the next ten days, you can get 50% (!!) off on all of Donato’s incredible art prints. Just use the coupon code TORN at checkout. Take a look at the wonderful prints on sale, here. Thanks so much, Donato!
I can’t believe it’s been 20 years already – it’s been an amazing community to have been a part of, and all good wishes to everyone involved, from everyone at Welly-moot!
Jack Machiela Welly-moot.com
We will be adding more messages to this post as and when we receive them, so do check back! Thanks to everyone who has sent greetings and anniversary messages!
Waaaayyy back in time in the late 20th Century, four creatives lurked about the wild frontier of the internet, pursuing their disparate interests, unknowingly united by a common passion. The internet was undiscovered country in that time, fertile ground for those with the right ingredients to plow, till and toil. This passion – a love of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien – brought together in an unlikely alliance a visionary, a musician, a server lord and a coder from three nations and two continents who would make history and launch the greatest gathering, collection and expression of Tolkien fandom as yet seen on this Earth.
On April 26, 2009, TheOneRing.net marked its 10th anniversary with a huge celebration. It was quickly agreed that the TORn-born Founders Day holiday would be an annual event. The Discussion Board members wanted a proper logo to mark each year; so being fans of J.R.R. Tolkien, we decided a Party Tree would be perfect! Discussion Board member Ainu Laire gave us this lovely elvish design to build upon. Every year, a unique leaf has been added to mark each TORniversary. So, beginning with our 11th Founders Day/Anniversary/TORniversary (also like Tolkien… there are several names applied ;), we planted our Founders Day Party tree with a leaf for our 10th and 11th TORniversaries (2009 & 2010). We have just added our 20th Anniversary Leaf (2019), which is actually Pine with a very special meaning. Please see below for the description of each year’s leaf. (more…)
In celebration of Earth Day (a day of which hobbits especially would approve), our friends over at WB’s HobbitShop.com are having a special sale TODAY! They are offering six of their most popular Middle-earth shirts for just $12 each! Take a look at the sale here!
They also have a new hoody which will be of interest to Tolkien fans; it commemorates the 15th anniversary of the release of Peter Jackson’s Return of the King. A large ring and ring script logo can be found on the back, with the ring script also on the inside lining of the hood. Check it out here.
Since TORn’s beginning early in 1999, Corvar (William R. Thomas) has been the mystery man behind the scenes working on TheOneRing.net’s server from where he lives in Wisconsin. A computer programming professional who, along with Calisuri (Chris Pirrotta), is the guy responsible for making sure that everything runs smoothly and the lights stay on. Corvar’s vast programming knowledge in the ever-changing computer field ensures that TheOneRing.net keeps clipping along without a hitch. But when we do hitch… he’s the one they call.
June 1st, 6:00 p.m. Gaythorne Bowls and Sporting Club, Brisbane, Queensland.
Hobbits and Friends at Brisbane’s biggest and best Hobbit Party – “An Evening in
Middle-earth” hosted by The Brisbane Tolkien Fellowship.
will be the most memorable night of entertainment, humour, music, dancing and
fine foods for all your family and friends.
arrival at the venue enter into a decorated banquet hall of Middle-earth. Each
table will be decorated as a Middle-earth location. You and your party can
pre-nominate which table to sit at. Choose from one of the realms of Hobbits,
Elves, Dwarves, Men or Orcs.
the Evening have your photo taken at Bag End with Hobbits, Wizards, Dwarves and
Treasure Hoard will be on display, complete with a large Dragon Cake surrounded
by treasures which will later in the Evening be shared with all
our Hobbit Chef will prepare a wonderful buffet meal, including many dishes
especially cooked for a traditional Hobbit Feast. Leanne adds, “all you can
night’s music includes Middle-earth favourites, Hobbit music and dance music
after dinner and formalities.
is a Charity Event in support of The Pyjama Foundation, with donated prizes from
companies and individual donors from here and overseas. There will be raffles,
door prizes, numerous spot prizes, and costume prizes. During the night those in
costumes will be invited to parade before guests and a number of prizes will be
awarded to the finest and best costumes on display.
children 12 and under in attendance will receive a small gift from The Hobbit
This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings and the name and mark ONE RING is used under license from The Saul Zaentz Company, which hold the title thereto. We in no way claim rights in the artwork displayed herein. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, merchandise and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and our limited use of these materials is done by permission or is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Act.