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Author Archive

Tolkien Biographer Humphrey Carpenter Dead at 58

This sad news about Humphrey Carpenter was submitted by Ringer Thranduil Elvenking. From “Humphrey Carpenter, who died yesterday in Oxford aged 58, was an accomplished and often controversial biographer…” [More]

From The Scotsman: “Children’s author and broadcaster Humphrey Carpenter has died after suffering heart failure, it emerged today. Mr Carpenter, 58, wrote the successful Mr Majeika series of books as well as biographies of JRR Tolkien and Benjamin Britten.” [More]

From BBC News: “The writer and broadcaster Humphrey Carpenter has died aged 58. Carpenter created the Mr Majeika children’s books, turned into a TV series starring Stanley Baxter.” [More]

Posted in Old Main News

Give the Poor Kid His EE DVD!

Happy “official” release date for ROTK EE! I, for one, am about to go stake out my local Best Buy. Many early rising ringers have pointed out that Foxtrot once again nails our mood today… [More]

Posted in Old Main News

Smial of Tolkien Society Founded in Atlanta, GA

Jef writes: I’m starting a new smial in Atlanta. Affiliated with the British Tolkien Society, we’ll meet on a regular basis to discuss all things related to JRRT’s writings. Tentatively named “Andúnië” (the haven of the Faithful in Númenor), this one will (hopefully!) be oriented toward fellow artists and writers interested in the philosophy and especially the theology of Tolkien’s work. I’d like for us to meet monthly at a location to be determined.

Contact Jef for more information: [More]

Posted in Fans, Meet Ups, Old Main News

Transcript of 6 Minute ROTK Trailer

Ringer Spy WhiteLadyEowyn writes: Here’s a mathom from me to all of you, as one of my early birthday presents. Enclosed in the link to my LiveJournal is the transcript from the Return of the King Extended Edition preview (the preview is available from the Official Site). [Read the transcript]

Posted in Fans, LotR Movies, Movie Return of the King, Old Main News

Bigger Version of Trailer; Trailer Viewing Hints

For those who can’t see the trailer at, try disabling your pop-up blockers first. The site automatically pops up the trailer. If you can’t see it then, there’s a blurb for it among the row of pictures below the headline, on the far left. Click there, it’ll pop up the window again.

Ringer Spies Owen and Captain_Typho were kind enough to extract a link for the bigger version of the 6 minute preview! Right click and save the following: [More]

Posted in Old Main News

New from Green Books: Ostadan Visits Wolvercote

TORn Staffer Ostadan has updated the Legends and Lore section of Green Books with a story about his recent pilgrimage to Tolkien’s grave: “It seemed to me the very distillation of what being a ‘Tolkien fan’ represents…” You can find it here in TORn’s [Green Books]

Posted in Old Main News

The One Ring Circus needs your video

Attention kindly Ringers: The One Ring Circus (the fabulous cabaret group that took the stage at The Return of the One Party last year) is desperately searching for photos, video, or digital files of their performances at the party or anywhere else. Did anybody capture their performances in photos, video, or video clips on their cameras? The One Ring Circus would be grateful if you would be willing to share them! Please email their Frodo (and archivist) at: []

Posted in Old Main News

TORn Announces the More People’s Guide

[click for larger image]

TORn staffer Anwyn writes: and Cold Spring Press are pleased to announce the release of More People’s Guide to J.R.R. Tolkien. Following last year’s successful The People’s Guide to J.R.R. Tolkien, this volume continues in the best tradition of Green Books and Tehanu’s Notes to explore the words and worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien through essays, Q&A from readers, and interviews with special guests. [Available at]

Posted in Old Main News

West of the Moon Interviews Craig, Bruce & More

Shadow at West of the Moon sends along her Dragon Con interviews with Craig Parker, Bruce Hopkins, and the Brobdingnagian Bards, as well as fan reports from the Supanova Pop Culture Expo and Sean Astin’s book signing tour. They all can be found [Here]

Posted in Old Main News

Cold Spring Press Releases

David Brin, one of sci-fi’s most popular authors, calls The Science of Middle-earth “one of the most clever and insightful explorations of its kind…one of the delights of this book is the chance to see yet another layer in the subtlety of Tolkien’s rich mind.” [More] [Order now from]

Posted in Old Main News

Cold Spring Press Announces

Click for larger image

Author: Henry Gee
ISBN: 1-59360-023-2
256 pages
Price: $14.00
Publisher: Cold Spring Press
Release Date: October 12, 2004
[Now Available! ]

Henry Gee, Senior Editor for the most prestigious magazine in science today –
Nature – has written a spellbinding, fun, and accessible book explaining the scientific basis for how all that wizardry, sorcery, and magic really works in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy epic, The Lord of the Rings, and his other fictional books featuring Middle-earth.

Growing out of a series of columns under the pseudonym ‘Olog-hai’ for the premier Tolkien fan website — — the author explores just how elves might be able to see much further than humans, why Frodo’s sword turns blue at the sight of evil orcs, how the rings of power do their thing, and just about every other conundrum or piece of ‘elvish magic’ that has puzzled and delighted Tolkien fans for years. Gee tells us that science, fantasy, and nature are really more similar than one might think. Gee writes in a popular tone and style, fully explaining all science concepts and convincingly demonstrating how Tolkien’s world of fantasy makes sense in a very real – a very scientific – way.

In the Foreword to this book David Brin, one of sci-fi’s most popular authors, calls The Science of Middle-earth “one of the most clever and insightful explorations of its kind…one of the delights of this book is the chance to see yet another layer in the subtlety of Tolkien’s rich mind. For though he was suspicious of progress and the future, he nevertheless clearly reveled in the intellectual excitement that surrounded him. The new discoveries of science were not alien things. With fascination, he seems to have taken a real effort to weave them into The Lord of the Rings…”

And Paul Levinson, author of The Pixel Eye, says “If Charles Darwin were J.R.R. Tolkien, who would be his Aldous Huxley? If The Science of Middle-earth is any indication, the answer would be Henry Gee…a delightfully written primer.”

Henry Gee received his doctorate in zoology at the University of Cambridge in 1991. In 1987 he joined the staff of Nature, the leading international journal of science, where he is now Senior Editor, Biological Sciences. In 1996 he was awarded a Regents’ Professorship of the University of California. He is the author of several books including Jacob’s Ladder: The History of the Human Genome (Norton, 2004), In Search of Deep Time (Free Press, 1999), and (with Luis V. Rey) A Field Guide to Dinosaurs (Barrons, 2003). As Olog-Hai he is the occasional science correspondent for, the leading Tolkien fan website. He lives in Ilford, Essex, England.

The Science of Middle-earth is published by Cold Spring Press and distributed by Simon & Schuster, and is now available in bookstores nationwide and in Canada, and on the Internet through online booksellers.

[Order now from!]

Posted in Old Special Reports

More Sets Around Town: Narnia (yes really) and Hercules

by TORn Staffer Tehanu

Well, I’m being a bit more cautious naming the sets that are springing up around town here in West Auckland, New Zealand. The first one HAD to be a Narnia set– it was sticking out above the fence around the Lion, Witch &Wardrobe lot where the soundstages are. And to make doubly certain, I asked their publicist Ernie Malik about what you see in these first two pictures, and he confirmed that it’s the London house that the Pevensie children lived in before going to their uncle’s house in the country where their adventure started. In one photo it looks like a very ordinary house with a few roses peeking over the fence. In the other photo it’s a bit clearer that only the front half of the house exists, and in the background are the warehouses that house the soundstages for the production. It looks grey and drab and wartime-y.

As for the other mysterious and exciting set that’s out in the country a few miles away, it’s developed a lot in the past week. I was doubtful that it was a Hercules set because it looked like generic medieval European architecture. But suddenly this week it’s sprouted some vaguely classical and pre-classical Greek features — pillars and pediments and so on, and so it does look very likely to be a Hercules set for the new mini-series that Sean Astin is involved with. Also there’s a set-locator sign with a big “H” on it pointing towards it.

The wall with the tower is the right-hand wall of the courtyard, the steps form the centre, and the pillared wall with the upper gallery is the left-hand wall. The tower wall, with its different colour and its arched windows, actually looks like a different building from a different period of history entirely, but maybe when it’s finished it’ll be clearer what’s intended. History buffs can help us all out here — was Hercules a legend from before Homer? Are those Doric columns from after that period? Did the classical Greeks even invent arches? Who cares? I do, but then I care about stuff like the correct use of apostrophes as well.

Posted in Old Special Reports