129 years ago today, in Bloemfontein Africa, a very special person came into the world: John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. Forty-five years later, in 1937, his book The Hobbit, was published which he had written for his children. Together with its sequel, The Lord of the Rings, it launched generations of readers on adventures through the invented world of Middle-earth; adventure that would impact many of us for the rest of our lives.

One of the greatest ways Tolkien has impacted many of our lives is through the friendships we’ve made from having read Tolkien’s books and/or watched Peter Jackson’s movies of the same. Tolkien himself made lifelong friendships as a result of his writing endeavors, sharing many a pint critiquing yet-unfinished works at the Eagle and Child pub in Oxford with friends C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and others. Today, countless discussion forums, websites, and clubs carry on the tradition of those discussions, sharing ideas about Tolkien and his writings with like-minded fans and, yes, dear friends.

Today, TORn celebrates life of J.R.R. Tolkien and the inspiration and friendships he has given us. To express our thanks, we’re continuing our theme of the day of Tolkien quotes, this time with quotes having to do with friendship from The Lord of the Rings:

“I name you Elf-friend, and may the stars shine upon the end of your road”

– Gildor to Frodo (The Fellowship of the Ring: Three is Company)

“You can trust us to stick to you, through thick and thin – to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours – closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo.”

 – Merry to Frodo (The Fellowship of the Ring: A Conspiracy Unmasked)

“Though all the mighty elf-friends of old, Hador and Hurin, and Turin, and Beren himself were assembled together your seat should be among them.”

– Elrond to Frodo (The Fellowship of the Ring: The Council of Elrond)

“You will meet many foes, some open, and some disguised; and you may find friends along your way when you least look for it.”

– Elrond to the Fellowship (The Fellowship of the Ring: The Ring Goes South)

“Twice blessed is help unlooked for, and never was a meeting of friends so joyful.

 – Eomer to Aragorn (The Return of the King: The Battle of the Pelennor Fields)

“I wish we could have a Stone that we could see all our friends in and that we could speak to them from far away.”

Pippin (The Return of the King: Many Partings)

In a time when we simply cannot physically celebrate together, join TheOneRing.net and fans from around the globe, as we honor the legacy of The Professor with a Tolkien birthday toast on what would have been his 129th birthday. (Tolkien’s Birthday – January 3rd 1892)

Tolkien Birthday Toast January 3rd 2021 - Join use as we Toast The Professor's Birthday!
Join us LIVE for our 2021 Toast to the Professor!

As part of the long-standing tradition amongst the Tolkien community, we will be hosting two LIVE events via Zoom. These two events will take place January 3rd 2021 at 8pm GMT and then again at 8pm PST. The respective Zoom rooms will open at 7:45pm, to give all plenty of time to prepare for the toast.

As we may have a rather large crowd joining in the celebration, you will be initially muted when you join the Toast. We will open the room for discussion, fun and frivolity following the toast at 8pm.

To participate, use the details below!

Continue reading “Tolkien Birthday Toast 2021 – LIVE! January 3rd”
The incredible 'Fantasy Film' section in WETA's 'Unleashed'
This is the Fantasy film section. Photo by Jason Dorday/Stuff

On December 15, 2020, WETA Workshop opened up Unleashed, a hybrid entertainment experience in Auckland that is part film set and part creative workshop. This project started as an idea about 3 years ago, but it was 18 months ago when they landed on the concept that would become Unleashed – A Fantastical Film FX Experience. WETA took over an entire floor at the SkyCity entertainment precinct in Auckland, at the foot of the Sky Tower. This finally gives WETA the space to grow and flesh out what they began with the WETA Cave and the Window on the Workshop experience they have in Wellington. 

The Health and Safety officer named Jeff, who greets visitors to the attraction - an otherworldly looking character.
Jeff, Health and Safety officer Photo by Sylvie Whinray

Upon entering, guests are greeted by Jeff, head of security and health and safety; who happens to be an animatronic character, voiced by Mark Hadlow, with 40 points of articulation. Guests will go on a 90-minute immersive journey, through several rooms that aren’t always what they appear to be. Jeff will get you started on your adventure to learn about the creation of three original films in the Fantasy, Horror and Science Fiction genres. Each room will offer hands-on, interactive activities, such as sculpting, making armor, or tracing creatures. The concept is to show the creative process involved in filmmaking from the beginning through the final stages before release, and leave the guests inspired to take that creativity home with them.

Some sculpture work on display
Photo by Jason Dorday/Stuff

In addition to being a fun day tour experience for movie fans and tourists, this facility is big enough to be an event venue, a themed event venue at that: from small groups of 15 or more for things like Birthday or Anniversary parties, all the way up to large corporate or professional groups. There is room for receptions up to 700 people, or banquets of 300. And to add atmosphere, you can include an SFX make-up demo, hands-on workshops, guest speakers, and Middle-earth themed feasts. Makes one wonder if they will have space for some 20th anniversary partying next December…?

For details on where to find WETA Workshop Unleashed and all of their various tours and venue options, simply head over to WETA Workshop Unleashed

An incredible display at WETA Workshop Unleashed
Photo by Jason Dorday/Stuff