I have a confession to make. I’ve become a relatively bitter Tolkien fan in the past 20+ years. Since founding TheOneRing.net with Corvar, Tehanu and Xoanon, I’ve gone through a devolution of my own personal fandom, that was neither apparent at the time, nor welcomed as a result. You see, when we started, so many ages ago, I had read The Lord of the Rings religiously every year since age 13. Every single year. It was a welcome escape from the challenges of 13-year-old-boy-dom. After all, I was a pretty damn awkward kid. I looked forward to the summer when I’d pore through the pages of Tolkien’s master work, and be whisked away on a journey in which I felt I was passionately participating.
When the idea of TheOneRing.net came to fruition, I was able to get that same satisfaction through simply enjoying the dawning of the internet age with other Tolkien fans online. I consumed everything and anything that was shared, written, argued, engaged, etc. That become my cup of Tolkien consumption for many years, lasting through the end of The Return of the One Party. Yes, through those years, I did not read a word of Tolkien – but the thriving community of TheOneRing.net kept me more than fulfilled.
Then came the in-between years – we can call them the dark times – that time when our personal interests fall to the side as we build up our family and professional lives. (Don’t get me wrong, those are great things on a personal level, but for my Tolkien fandom, that time was pretty dark.) I didn’t read a word of Tolkien, and I didn’t consume the output of the community that had sustained me for so many years. The significance of Tolkien in my life took a back seat.
Along came the excitement and rush of The Hobbit films! A return to the grandeur of the early 2000s, a thriving community engaged with a new vision…or was it really? The reality for many of us old-timers (BTW – I’m not ‘THAT’ old), was that the venture through The Hobbit films felt a bit more like Thorin’s struggles (*cough* gold fever) than true excitement. For me – and maybe not for you – it felt forced … non-organic. The community still thrived, however, and a whole new generation of Tolkien fandom was born.
But for me … I was done. Well, obviously not ‘done’ done. But I had reached my limit. I hadn’t read a word of Tolkien for years … decades … and I saw too much behind the curtain of the ‘business’ of Hollywood gleefully to ignore the obvious truths that evade most. (We won’t go into those here – let’s just say, behind the curtain is pretty ugly.)
Then comes the news of a biopic of Tolkien. *roll eyes* This bitter Tolkien fan immediately thinks, ‘Oh great. How are they going to diminish the legacy of one of the greatest authors and minds of all time? Will they make him out to be a racist? A religious zealot? Pull out some other horrific tidbit of information that could attempt to ruin a legacy?’ Yea, bitter. ‘What modern sensibility will we crucify Tolkien with today?’
Pretty sure that is as bitter as bitter gets. (Was anyone else there with me?)
When I was offered an opportunity to see Tolkien at the Montclair Film Festival in Montclair, NJ last night, I was just as bitter. It was cool that I would get to go see it early, but I was pretty well set for something annoying. Yes, a few other staff had already seen it and set praises upon it, but this bitter old fan chalked that up to youthful enthusiasm for community relevance. (Sorry folks, but that’s the truth!)
What I saw on the screen last night was quite unexpected. It was inspiring, tearful, joyful and engaging. It was exquisitely directed, and skillfully acted.
What I saw on the screen was a story I hadn’t known. It was obviously not just a reporting of Tolkien’s life; no, this was a unique interpretation of a famous life, pieced together from a relatively undocumented time. This is something that engaged this bitter fan from the first scene of WWI hell, to a realistic conclusion well before Tolkien’s published fame.
This is NOT a geek film. This is NOT a greedy attempt to piggy back on the success of LOTR, Hobbit or other fantasy films. This is a wonderful work of cinema that not only fully re-charged my interest in learning more about the one who started it all, but also my interest in re-reading the books.
Today, I made sure that The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit books are front and center on my Kindle app. Guess what I’ll be reading later?
Congratulations to director Dome Karukoski (My new hero?) on an amazing film, worthy of the name of ‘Tolkien.’
Yes, we will be at Wondercon, but with a booth. We do, however, have a panel, and a surprise after the panel. Can’t talk about the surprise just yet, but keep reading for more details.
2019 is our 20th Anniversary, so we are lining up lots of Middle-earth and Tolkien fun throughout the year. Our Wondercon panel will be on Saturday afternoon, March 30 from 3pm to 4pm in room 213CD. The plan is to cover both the upcoming Tolkien biopic film and to discuss the facts and rumors surrounding the Amazon Prime TV series. We will have some other Tolkien news too, so don’t miss our panel or you will miss out on the surprise. Mathom or Moot, we must “Keep it Secret, Keep it Safe”, for now at least.
You can check out more details on our event page on facebook, which is the only place we will be updating with any additional information we are allowed to share. You can find our Wondercon Panel here. Our event page does link back to the Wondercon Schedule, which is important so you can check out the schedule for Friday afternoon at 4:30pm in the Arena for Fox Searchlight’s film Tolkien, with cast and crew members in attendance.
It’s been a while since we’ve had this much Tolkien to talk about, come have some Hobbity fun with us.
Principle photography was completed on this film a little over a year ago and the first test audience screenings began in June, so we’ve been waiting quite a while for this release date to be announced. This film will open on May 10, 2019 in a limited release, as is usual for indie films. This is good news if you live in big cities that typically get art films, but others may have to make a little more effort to get out and see it. Once we get word on just how many theaters it will open in and whether it will go into a wider release, we will share that news here. Also, there are those among us who have seen the film, and once permission has been given you can expect a review or two. But first, just what is this film about and when is it set? (more…)
If you are still looking for something to do this Labor Day weekend, you might check out Regal Cinemas’ screenings of the Lord of the Rings trilogy of films in their extended editions on RPX screens, in select theaters. The screenings run from Friday, August 31 through Thursday, September 6, and each day they change the order of the films. This will allow people with limited time off to find a time that works best for them in order to get to see each of the films, if they are not able to do a 12 hour marathon. And the best part? Each film is only $5 in most cinemas, but the screenings are on the RPX screen, which is one of the large format theaters, meaning you get a huge discount over the current blockbusters sharing time in the theaters this weekend.
For more details on which theaters will be showing the trilogy and to buy tickets, please go to the
Updated 11/3/17 – From time-to-time you, the fans, email TORn about events of interest to other fans of J.R.R. Tolkien and/or Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. As a service to our readers, we decided to created this new feature: a listing of upcoming events to keep everyone apprised of where they can hook-up and commiserate with other fans, learn a thing or two, or just plain enjoy the fandom that we’ve all come to know and love. From Howard Shore concerts in Paris, to fan get-togethers in Kentucky and South Carolina, to exhibitions in Staffordshire, U.K., it’s all listed here! The list will be updated periodically as past events drop off and future events are added. If you know of an upcoming event, please let us know either in the comments section of this story, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. – TORn, ‘Together in Tolkien’
Yes we’re all about Middle-earth here at TheOneRing.net – but we know that many of our fellow fans (and staffers!) are also big fans of a certain galaxy far, far away! So in honour of Star Wars Day, we thought you might like to know about some very exciting performances coming up at Lincoln Center:
In September and October this year, the New York Philharmonic will be presenting the World Premiere Star Wars Film Concert series. There will be nine concerts, led by acclaimed conductor David Newman: two screenings each of Episodes 4, 6 and 7, and three screenings (because it’s the best – discuss!) of Episode 5. The New York Philharmonic tell us:
Since the release of the first Star Wars movie nearly 40 years ago, the Star Wars saga has had a seismic impact on both cinema and culture, inspiring audiences around the world with its mythic storytelling, captivating characters, groundbreaking special effects, and iconic musical scores composed by Williams. Fans will be able to experience the scope and grandeur of these beloved Star Wars films in a live symphonic concert experience, as the Star Wars Film Concert Series premieres from September 15 through October 7 at David Geffen Hall in New York City. Legendary composer Williams is well known for scoring all seven of the Star Wars saga films, beginning with 1977’s A New Hope, for which he earned an Academy Award for Best Original Score. His scores for The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens each were nominated for Oscars for Best Original Score.
Don’t miss this is your chance to watch A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens on the big screen, accompanied by live orchestra; those of us lucky enough to have seen The Lord of the Rings film concerts know how special such occasions are. Tickets are on sale to the general public TODAY – you can purchase them online here or by calling (212) 875-5656! Follow @NewYorkPhilharmonic on twitter.
Bombur speaks! Fans of The Hobbit’s Stephen Hunter who are in London this weekend can catch him – and his new film – at Sci-Fi-London 17 (The London International Festival of Science Fiction and Fantastic Film) this Friday, 5th May. The film, ‘Blue World Order‘ will screen at the Stratford Picture House at 6.45pm – and Stephen will be there, with other cast and crew.
Stephen, in typical self-deprecating style, says: ‘The film looks great, and this time instead of being a fat ginger mute, I actually … get to say word and everything.’ You can book tickets here; and you can check out the trailer here.
In addition to the many fans that posted their reviews on TORn (see yesterday’s article: 15,084 Reviews and Counting), many of our core staff chimed in with reviews soon after FOTR opened. In this article, we bring you reviews by such well-known names as Xoanon, Tehanu, Quickbeam and Ostadan. All of them capture the magic and excitement that we all experienced 15 years ago.
To begin, one lucky staffer, Tehanu, the envy of all of us, was lucky enough to attend the film’s premier in Wellington, New Zealand. Of course, Tehanu (a.k.a. Erica Challis) is one of TORn’s founders and served as our ‘feet on the ground’ and number one Ringer Spy during filming. Here are some of her impressions from the day:
“I’ve been in Wellington for a day or two and I have to tell you, the town is in a Rings uproar. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now. The streets are hung with LOTR banners, everything from the Town Hall to the Evening Post’s headquarters is renamed ‘Middle Earth’ (as is the airport, I believe, though I haven’t seen that myself.) The Rings is on every newspaper, every phone bill, every electricity company billboard, on the ads for Mastercard. There are funny billboards harping on LOTR themes everywhere (“Wellington: Full of orcs, hobbits and elves. …But enough about Parliament…..”). The monster cave troll dominates Courtenay Place from its perch on the awning of the Embassy Theatre, where the plasterers are working round the clock to finish the theatre in time for the Premiere.”
Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” turns 15 years old this year and the Newport Beach Film Festival in Southern California is planning a fun little celebration next week. In fact, I’m quite sure TheOneRing.net will be celebrating this fact all year long at various events. Anyhow, if the FOTR Anniversary screening goes well, the Festival will host one for The Two Towers next year, and again in 2018 for The Return of the King.
On Sunday, April 24 there will be a full afternoon of Tolkien fun, starting first with a lunchtime Moot at the Corner Bakery Cafe at 1621 W. Sunflower Ave in Santa Ana. This is in a little shopping center across the street from the theater and very near to the South Coast Plaza. There will be some opportunity for fun and games at 2pm over at the theater where we plan on having our Barrel and backdrop for photo ops, some trivia and most importantly, a costume contest. Below is a little timeline to help you organize your day.
*Moot – Noontime till 2pm at the Corner Bakery Cafe
*Line Party fun – 2pm till 3pm – Regency South Coast Village theater
*Film – 3pm start, should finish around 6:30pm or so
Normally, a retrospective film like this only costs $5 per person and tickets can be purchased at the Film Festival website, but TheOneRing.net has secured a Barrel full of Tickets to share with local fans, especially those in costume.
All you have to do to secure a pair of tickets is email me at garfeimao@TheOneRing.net and tell me what costume you plan to wear. It can be a full on fancy costume with prosthetics, or a costume lite variation, or even a mash-up or gender bender, anything even remotely Tolkien related, including Tolkien himself. After all, not only will there will be a costume contest, but really, who needs an excuse like a free ticket or prize to wear a costume, don’t we all live for this?
One note, for those of you with costumes that have weaponry or large accessories, you can wear that for the contest, and then it must be returned to your car before entering the theater for the film.
Costumed attendees, or those with a companion in costume should RSVP to me by Monday at noon. If we still have tickets left after that, I will open it up to those who do not wish to wear a costume. All updates and announcements will be made on our Facebook Event page.
So come join TheOneRing.net and a load of local Tolkien fans at what should be a lovely day at the theater.
Wellington’s Tolkien Society, Welly-moot, have been in touch to let us know that they are hosting the ULTIMATE Middle-earth Marathon at the Roxy in ‘Wellywood’ over 24 hours, Thursday 24th to Friday 25th March. That’s all SIX of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth movies, Extended Editions, over one day!
Calling all Ringers in New Zealand and those planning on heading to New Zealand in March 2016. The team over at Welly-moot are arranging an event of special magnificence, assisted by the lovely crew at Roxy Theatre Wellington.
You know what Bilbo had to say about adventures: ‘Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!’ But Professor Tolkien’s own great-grandson, Royd Tolkien, is ignoring all that Bilbo had to say and taking the plunge into a significant adventure of his own!
Royd very sadly lost his younger brother, Mike, earlier this year. Mike had ALS, also known as Motor Neurone Disease, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Royd had to watch his active, thrill-seeking brother succumb to a terrible disease, for which there is currently no cure.
But Mike left Royd a legacy – a ‘bucket list’ of fifty challenges for the much more Bilbo-like (ie less thrill-seeking, more cake-and-tea-enjoying!) older brother Royd to undertake. And Royd is going to fulfil that list, with the help of none other than actor Jed Brophy, surrounded by the beautiful scenery of Middle-earth – by which I mean, of course, New Zealand.
This is a remarkable quest, and one which you will be able to see – because Royd is going to make a film of his adventures! Read more about the amazing journey the Professor’s great-grandson has ahead of him at Royd’s website, here. You can also get involved, support Royd on his odyssey, and maybe grab yourself a pretty amazing perk with some Middle-earth cast or crew (including Richard Taylor and folks at Weta!) – learn more here.
It’s a dangerous business, going out your front door – especially when you have no idea what challenges your little brother has left, to test, stretch and possibly humiliate you! Here at TORn we wish Royd every success, and joyful travels; and we honour the memory of Mike, of TORn’s friend Mel, who also sailed into the West far too early, and to all who battle ALS.
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