In a TORn exclusive, we’ve learned Amazon Prime intends to not just break new ground in its new Middle-earth TV show, but blow fantasy apart with a bold move in the offing.Viewers will be able to interact with the show and decide what choices key characters will make. The choose-your-own-adventure approach could provide up to five hours of viewing per episode in the 10-episode first season.
I’m sure it comes as no surprise that on Sunday morning, April 1st you woke up to a bunch of internet websites doing their best to fool you into thinking their words were true, and TORn is no different. We did post two separate stories that were lacking in the veracity department. One post claimed we were moving to a paid subscription business model, which on it’s own is intriguing, but because some message board members were involved, there were links to supporting messages. In fact, the bulk of the story sounded quite reasonable, until you got to the highest subscription level, ‘Mithril’ and one perk is the ability rent a Nazgul, for no more than 2 hours a year, and the reminder to book early for the Halloween timeframe and that TORn is not responsible for terror or destruction. OK, that last bit had me cackling, anyone else? No? Just me then.
The other story, believe it or not, actually fooled our own, beloved Webmaster Calisuri. He can be forgiven, it was clear a lot of people wanted the story about Guillermo Del Toro working on the Amazon Middle-earth stories to be true, which is what made this story so much more believable. There was nothing outlandish in the story, it was about a current subject that TORn had just covered the week before at Wondercon, and it fed into the deep fan desire to see the Middle-earth that could have been. And while we want to come clean with you, the readers of our little website, we especially want to reach out to Guillermo Del Toro to assure him there was no malice intended with this April Fools joke. We knew fans would fall for it, or want to fall for it, because GDT is so beloved as a storyteller and creator of amazingly detailed creative worlds, and in the end, the reach of this story just says how much GDT is appreciated in this fandom. This guy wasn’t fooled.
In a big shake-up for the largest fansite of the author J. R. R. Tolkien, TheOneRing.net (TORn) founders have announced they are about to begin beta-testing a subscription service to better align with the business model of Amazon.com for the upcoming Lord of the Rings TV series: a “TORn-Prime,” if you will.
“It’s something we’ve been working toward for a while because we want to continue to deliver a top-class website that services the fans of Tolkien,” says TORn’s new spokesperson, Sarah Mcleod. “We will roll out a beta test with our message boards, then evaluate a model for the entire site.” While the timeline is still under discussion, preliminary plans are for Barliman’s chat and the Home Page to begin offering premium subscriptions during the June-August, 2018 time-frame. The once-popular Green Books will also be revived for premium subscribers.
Adding to the list of rich foreigners who are buying land in New Zealand is singing sensation Justin Bieber. Fresh off a tour of NZ, during which he tweeted his love for the place, the ultimate Bielieber has entered negotiations to buy a substantial tract of land at Glenorchy, near Queenstown. The property includes various film sites from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies, and is where many Lothlorien scenes were shot.
“What the world doesn’t know is that Justin is a massive Lord of the Rings fan – but the movies only, not really the books which he’s never read,” says a source close to the singer. “Although he knows about Tom Bombadil, he thinks he’s hilarious. He’s seen some Bombadil fan videos online and he wants to create his own, but using these woods that appeared in the films.
“His plans are to build a replica of the horse-people hall and hold big Middle-earth parties exclusively for his friends – but he’ll likely want some local ring-ins as character props, so anyone who looks really hobbity will have a good shot at being invited.”
Bieber spent a few days in Queenstown after his concert in Auckland before jetting off to South America to continue his Purpose World Tour. The source added: “I can say for a fact that he was overheard having several phone conversations with a “PJ.” Whether that was ‘the’ Peter Jackson, I can’t really say. I just know the conversations definitely mentioned Bombadil, something called the Sil-merryland, and roles of interest to JayBee.”
Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien will recognize that the ‘Sil-merryland’ almost certainly refers to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, an epic compilation of stories recounting, in part, the struggle of the peoples of Middle-earth against the dark lord Morgoth. “Getting the film rights was apparently going to be a major hurdle” said the source. “‘Impossible’ and ‘a real long shot’ were overheard quite often.” But apparently Justin hopes to use his considerable influence to sweet-talk some of the members of the Tolkien family and Tolkien Estate who are huge fans, and devoted Bieliebers, to release at least limited rights to some of the Silmarillion stories.
Regarding possible roles for Bieber, one can only guess. Given that his physique doesn’t lend itself to playing the rotund Tom Bombadil, and Bombadil doesn’t appear in The Silmarillion anyway, fans can only speculate that it would have to refer to some other major role. Given Justin’s rather elfin features, the roles of the heroic Fingolfin, or even the proud Feanor come to mind. The mention of “growing acceptance of gender neutrality trends” was reportedly also overheard by our source, so the roles of Luthien or Melian can’t be ruled out completely.
Meanwhile, if the Queenstown land purchase goes ahead, the Mayor of Queenstown Lakes District has promised to name Bieber as an official inhabitant of Middle-earth. “I’m sure I can get Peter Jackson down here to dub him with a replica of Anduril – the guy owes me a favour for having to muck up all the horse poo he left behind after filming the charge of the Rohirrim,” says the Mayor.
*Please Note: This was one of TheOneRing.net’s annual April Fools Jokes – We are not really being sued…yet?*
TheOneRing.net, the largest Tolkien-related fan-site on the internet, and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), professional wrestling entertainment powerhouse, have been unable to resolve recent legal disputes over TheOneRing.net name. TheOneRing.net’s desires to keep the communications private were dashed this week, with WWE breaking off discussions and proceeding with a copyright infringement claim in court.
“Clearly the ‘one ring’ refers to our wrestling ring,” said WWE Majority Owner and CEO Vince McMahon in a prepared statement, “and we are confident that any jury will recognize that. When someone is searching online for the ‘one ring,’ they want to find out more about WWE.”
Chris Pirrotta, one of the foundera of TheOneRing.net, disagrees. “While I respect the integrity and success of the world of professional wrestling and the WWE, I believe there are many different uses of the word ‘ring’ and reject WWE’s assertion of a monopoly over the term.”
WWE is no stranger to the courtroom, having lost their previous initials (WWF) in 2002 after the World Wildlife Fund sued the wrestling company over a broken agreement. Pirotta is quick to point out that he has no issue with WWE’s terminology. “They’re welcome to use the word ‘ring’. They’re welcome to call their ring the ‘one ring’. We just ask that we be allowed to keep our name. There’s never been any confusion in the past.”
McMahon disagrees, however, saying “our market research tells us that approximately 90% of first-time visitors to TheOneRing.net are looking for information about WWE superstars such as Roman Reigns or John Cena. Quite frankly, I doubt that many people have actually read Mr. Tolstoy’s books and even fewer know about the films.”
Cliff Broadway, who contributes to TheOneRing.net under the pseudonym “Quickbeam”, believes there is only one way to solve the dispute. “I am issuing a challenge to WWE Champion Seth Rollins for a match at Summerslam,” he says, referring to the upcoming wrestling event. “It will be the WWE Title versus TheOneRing.net name where winner takes all. And I think WWE will find Hell hath no fury like an Ent scorned.”
As of yet, WWE has not responded to the challenge, and TheOneRing.net continues to post news related to The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and the associated personalities.
*Please Note: This was one of TheOneRing.net’s annual April Fools Jokes – We are not going anywhere…at least we don’t think we are!*
KENOSHA, WISCONSIN — An official press release is scheduled for tomorrow, but we, the TORn founders and staff, want to notify all those who have supported us for the past 15 years that TheOneRing.net is shutting down.
The final decision was communicated in an all-staff conference call over the weekend, but it has been discussed for months, speculated about for years, and we’ve cracked jokes about it from podiums at conventions (that nobody took seriously at the time), but now the long-dreaded hour is finally upon us.
The four TORn Founders (Erica Challis, Chris Pirrotta, Mike Regina and William Thomas) reached a tentative decision last week, discussed it with Senior Staff (identities top secret), then included world-wide staff, active and inactive, on the weekend conference call.
“We have a real sense of accomplishment that the purpose of the website has been fulfilled,” said Regina on the call. “Erica and I were interested in “some guy” in New Zealand adapting “The Lord of the Rings” into movies, and when Chris and Bill found us it really elevated the effort. The next thing you know it became far more than the hobby we envisioned.”
“It’s the perfect time to go out on a high note, fresh off the recent success of the Hobbit movies and The One Last Party,” said Challis. “It is still our collective baby, but the four of us just feel content that it has run its course. We don’t want to be like a “Transformers” sequel.”
Pirrotta agreed with her, pointing out how much of a commitment 15 years is: “I was in college when this started with time to sit in a computer lab. All of us have jobs and kids and responsibilities now. We stayed true to our vision, didn’t sell the website for millions when offered, and we can all feel good about that.”
Thomas offered more practical reasons: “We made a commitment to not make a profit and to give the money away to charity if we did. We accomplished that and I’m proud that we kept the site pure. Plus, Star Wars is back, so we can all follow our true love again. Remember, TORn was just an ode to The Force dot net anyway.”
Not all staff agreed with the decision and there was a period of open discussion about different ways the site might change hands. While we will not tell the media or general public, we can share with true fans, there were audible sobs during the conference call. Continue reading “TheOneRing.net to unplug, sail into The West (Not really…April Fools 2015!)”