Join us on Facebook!
Join us in our 24 Hour Chatroom!
Get your tickets to Tolkien today!
Join us on Instagram

News Alerts

Get emailed with every new post!

Weekly Newsletter

Select a list:

Archive for the ‘Hobbit Book’ Category

A Bitter Tolkien Fan’s take on ‘Tolkien’

Bitter Tolkien Fan

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.

Smaug emerging from Gold

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?)

Montclair Film Festival Screening of Tolkien

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.’

Respectfully re-invigorated,

Calisuri

Gandalf hugging Frodo

Posted in "Tolkien" Movie, Events, Exhibits, Film Screenings, FOX Searchlight Pictures, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies, Other Tolkien books, Premieres, Press Conferences, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Family

TORn’s second breakfast with Dome Karukoski, director of TOLKIEN

It’s an exciting week for fans of the Professor! The biopic TOLKIEN will be released on May 10th, with a Fathom Event live screening followed by a Q&A lead by Stephen Colbert tonight, and a World Premiere Live Stream tomorrow night! We here at TORn are very excited for this movie; those staffers who have already seen it have loved it, as you’ll know from Quickbeam’s review. Last week, two staffers were lucky enough to join director Dome Karukoski in New York. ImladrisRose wrote this fascinating article about the visit; read on to find out more about the inspiration behind TOLKIEN.

Dome Karukoski at Press Screening of 'Tolkien'

On May 3rd, TheOneRing.Net was granted access to an exclusive press event with acclaimed Finnish Director, Dome Karukoski, as a part of the press tour for his upcoming film Tolkien. The press event was covered by TORn Staffer Ashlee Rose Scott (ImladrisRose) and TORn Original Staff Contributor John Tedeschi (Thorongil).

Fox Searchlight has this to say about the film: “TOLKIEN explores the formative years of the renowned author’s life as he finds friendship, courage and inspiration among a fellow group of writers and artists at school. Their brotherhood strengthens as they grow up and weather love and loss together, including Tolkien’s tumultuous courtship of his beloved Edith Bratt, until the outbreak of the First World War which threatens to tear their fellowship apart. All of these experiences would later inspire Tolkien to write his famous Middle-earth novels.”

Our morning with Dome began with a private tour of “Tolkien: Maker of Middle Earth” at the Morgan Library and Museum in Manhattan. The show was originally conceived and created in Oxford, where they hold the majority of the Tolkien archive. The Oxford exhibit had about 230 pieces, while the New York one has 115. There are a few pieces from private collections that were not on display at the Oxford location. As the museum’s Chief Curator, John McQuillen, was giving the tour, Dome was soaking up every aspect of the exhibit, as were we.

McQuillen would explain the back story of each piece on display and Dome would interject tidbits from his journey through Middle-earth and the production of Tolkien.

Floor to ceiling enlargements of some of Tolkien’s watercolors were breathtaking, simply mesmerizing. I could have curled up in a chair and stared at them for hours. Dome explained while standing beneath Tolkien’s illustration ‘Eeriness’, “In the film, our costume designer had the idea to use the color palettes of some of Tolkien’s watercolors to design Edith’s dresses. She would have the idea for the look of the gown, and then pull the colors together based on some of Tolkien’s paintings. For example, Lily wore a colored dress inspired by the rooftops of Hobbiton.”

That type of attention to detail was instrumental for the filmmaker to pull Tolkien’s world and “visions” together. Dome went on to say, “Lord of the Rings came much later into his mind, which is striking because usually that’s the first thing that people read. With our film, we really focused on the elements of how he was forming his writings at that [early] time in his life. At that time, he was building glimpses of The Hobbit and The Silmarillion. The film depicts more of his imagination depicting those works, instead of The Lord of the Rings.”

The charts and timelines written in Tolkien’s handwriting, of where every character in a story was on any given day, were an awe inspiring representation of the enormous care that the Professor placed in getting everything in his world, in his Middleearth, perfect. There was a ledger showing how many hours Tolkien worked and how many kisses he was owed by his love, Edith Bratt. Tolkien was easily distracted in his college years: by rugby, by theatre, by friends, by Edith.

“What a surprise,” Dome chuckled at McQuillen’s description of Tolkien’s
distractedness. “Tolkien turned distraction into triumph.” The ledger also showed an early version of the Tolkien monogram. “One of the things that inspired me and helped me see how he really used elements of his actual life in his mythologies was that he was bitten by a tarantula as a small boy. He could have died but he was lucky, he went home and the housemaids sucked the poison out of him.

“To me, this shows me Frodo and Shelob. He would use these small elements of his own life, not as direct inspirations, but as a jumping off point in his writing, and it had an overall influence on him.”

McQuillen explained that The Silmarillion really began when Tolkien was a young boy. He and his brother created what they called the “nonsense fairy language”, like most kids who create their own secret language; but for Tolkien, this became something very serious. It was in his undergrad years, and on the battlefields during World War I, that he started having these ideas of Middleearth; bringing that nonsense language that he and his brother created, and turning it into what ultimately became Elvish. Tolkien wanted The Silmarillion to provide a kind of mythology for England, that he felt was lost during the Norman conquest; that’s really where Middleearth began, as a mythological past for England.

“Tolkien’s art was very dark when he was young. In terms of my research, I would look at even the temperament to which the lines were drawn. And those early works were dark. There is a darkness and
almost a lack of control, where in his later works you see there is a light to them and you can see that emotional control. The pain of his youth was apparent in his early pieces, that was my biggest takeaway.” Dome spoke of his extensive time researching the Professor, down to those details of brush or pencil stroke style.

Following the hour long tour of the exhibit, we went to the Langham Hotel, where we had breakfast, followed by a round table discussion. Dome was extremely gracious with his time and was chatting with us before, during and after all of the events of the day. His love of Tolkien’s work and the deep respect he has for the Professor is apparent in the way he speaks about him. He is of course a filmmaker, and so made choices that he believed would do the film the most justice, but always while still being true to the spirit of Tolkien himself.

One of the biggest topics of the group discussion was the representation of a strong female character (“Edith”) in the film, and the other female characters in Tolkien’s works. Karukoski had this to say:

“Almost all of his stories and his letters, he barely talks about his mother, which is understandable with her loss being such a tragic experience for him. He also doesn’t really talk much about Edith other than a very nice letter after her death, to his son, referring to Edith as his Luthien. So we talked a lot about how do we have layers to Edith, when we don’t know that much about her. How do we have this female character layered and not just as a supporting character, since we don’t know those actual layers that made her who she would have been. What was striking about our research was how much of a partner she was; she wasn’t just a housewife. I think that they worked a lot together. I think between their bond as orphans, and her being older than he, she was viewed as having an upper status towards him. which I believe influenced and carried over into his writing of strong female characters.

“If you look at the mythologies, it’s a very patriarchal era. However, you have characters such as Eowyn who kills the Witch King, which no man can do, and you have Galadriel, who is possibly the strongest of all the elven characters. From that, you can see that he viewed her (Edith) as very strong and made his female characters very strong in her likeness. He viewed Edith as the backbone of their life and family, and we took that and built upon it.”

Dome also spoke about having originally wanted to take a very different direction with this film project.

“We had a version of the script which was very historic. In all honesty, it just wasn’t emotional. You didn’t feel anything. It was more documentarylike, and just all the facts of the time. We were seeing that it just didn’t work, it didn’t resonate. So I approached it differently. How can I make it emotional? How can I make it come from him? I decided to do it as a dream. What if he’s lying in South Hampton, dreaming about the war, and having these visions . Focusing on what is the emotional feeling of the war, what is he taking from it, what is he carrying. Losing friends, not being able to save Jeffery Smith, which would have been extremely painful for him. This direction fit better in order to create that real human emotion.”

After the group discussion, we were granted one on one time with Dome to discuss his thought process, and more. Here is what ImladrisRose and Thorongil had to ask the director:

What is your favorite aspect of Tolkien’s writing? Is it the way his characters are drawn out, or the epic quality of his tales?

Hmm. What’s intriguing to me is, when I was younger it was the adventure. You were able to read his works and escape. Being bullied and feeling alone as a child, having that as an escape helped me a great deal. The older I’ve gotten, I value more the societal aspects of his writing. There is so much about humanity, and there is a lot there that is extremely intellectual about his work. Perhaps not The Hobbit as much, but even that is a tale about the power of corruption and greed if you look at Thorin Oakenshield, Smaug. In many ways it’s the human aspect of it, especially the corruption of the mind. A lot of his characters get corrupted somehow and I love that detail, that character development. They become quite dark, many of his characters and his stories too.

Some publications have reported that the Tolkien Estate has not approved your movie. (We note that they haven’t approved any Tolkien movie in the last forty years!) As an unauthorized biopic, what parts of Tolkien’s life inspired you to make the movie that you did?

“To answer first the authorization of a biopic, no other biopics are done with full authorization from the estates, because very easily you get what is called “Winner’s History”. Kind of a controlled image of the
story you are trying to tell, regardless of your goal in the story and you very easily become their friends and start servicing them. They have the right to say what they want, but they haven’t seen the film, which of course you would want them to see the film and then discuss their opinions about it. But I understand that. I totally understand the emotion behind it. I think my film was done out of respect and out of total admiration and love for him (Tolkien).

That’s the first thing, It’s very liberating and intriguing for some people to see that I’ve chosen to represent his younger years, his more formative years. Just as a society, we have this image of Tolkien, you know, with C.S. Lewis and we kind of see these privileged Oxford kids, these elitist Oxford kids. You think that they come from rich families. I think you will look at Tolkien differently now. I looked at him differently. He’s actually this poor kid, coming out of very, very difficult experiences. Being orphaned at age 12 and then basically fighting to become who he is. That story for me, makes me admire him even more. He had to actually really fight and survive WWI. I think it was a really beautiful, crucial part of his life that is also very cinematic and dramatic.”

So it was Tolkien’s experience in WWI that you used as the particular lens to examine his life with. What drew you to focus particularly on that aspect of his life? In what ways do you think war made Tolkien the man and the creator that he was?

“Screen time wise it’s not actually that big. I think it’s only about fifteen screen minutes of the entire film, the war parts. But the feeling, you get a feeling from it that carries throughout the film. It wasn’t actually intentional to focus as much on the war as we did, but emotionally it’s there throughout. The emotions that he experienced are something he carried with him for quite sometime, and that you see. Emotionally it was such a heavy experience for him and I think as an audience you carry that with you. I think that’s still right. He himself said that war wasn’t an inspiration for Mordor or anything, but I think the emotional element was, even subconsciously. I approached the war scenes as a dream. He would be lying in hospital in South Hampton, in his trench fever. How would he dream the war? What was his emotional takeaway from those moments? I think his emotional take is something that we can see in his mythologies. Those emotions are in those innocent people, those innocent souls being destroyed by evil. That’s something that I can see affected him deeply.”

The explosions that we saw in the film, would you tell us more about your thought process behind those moments?

“This all derives from the same tree of ideas that no fantasy element, no idea is fully finished. It’s not yet Durin’s Bane. It’s not yet. It’s a creature of fire and shadow. And you think ‘where has he seen this before?’ In explosions, in war! So you try to pin point to the audience, where do these ideas perhaps come from? Because there are only a couple of confirmed direct inspirations, for example, the story of Beren and Luthien. To show and open up to the audience how he’s built his stories, you have to pick a few elements here and there to try to explain how his mind works. You have to try to explain how the mind of an artist works. And hopefully it will inspire those who are creating to add something to their own creations. I mean, there are favorite moments of course, like that with Morgoth, but he’s not Morgoth yet. At this point in Tolkien’s story, in his life, Morgoth has not been created. He’s there, but he’s not. The emotion is there, of a battle that is totally in vain. Perhaps somehow that is in his writings.”

Did you feel compelled to echo previous interpretations of Tolkien’s work in your storytelling; were you visually inspired by other interpretations on film, or by artists such as Alan Lee?

“No, no. I was really lucky. I read the books before the films. At the time, I was living in a rural village of about 2000 people and there was only one VHS rental! And if it wasn’t at that rental, then it didn’t exist in my life yet. Like the animated version, it took me fifteen years to see that, and that was when it came out on Finnish TV. The ideas and the visions that I had and that I showed in this movie are from what I felt, and my initial reactions to the books. How I saw Middleearth. There are some things that I saw differently when I read the books compared to seeing the movies. For example, Mordor I saw completely differently. The Shire was similar, but that’s a pretty standard British landscape like that which Tolkien was used to. There are other places, like Mirkwood, I saw totally differently than it was shown in The Hobbit movies. But that’s the great thing about a time before the internet. You would read a book and have your own idea of what things look like. Now you can google “Elven Princess” and the internet shows you. I can’t imagine 13 year old me with the internet and an elven princess being my first crush. Before I could imagine my first crush however I wanted her to be, now the internet tells me how she is! Basically, with the film, the idea was to go back to my childhood interpretations of these worlds and these stories. And since at the time of the film, he hasn’t written anything yet, you have to take a step back and think ‘what was his first thought? what sparked this character? or this place?’ That’s what we are seeing in the film, ideas that he is still fleshing out, his drafts before there was a first draft.

One example is the Black Knight. He’s not yet the Nazgul. It’s decades before he’s going to write that. Maybe he has an idea of Riders, but it isn’t fully developed. And where did that come from? How do I show how Tolkien’s mind works? This is what we tried to do with this film.”

One of the most beautiful scenes in the film seems to be a nod to Tolkien’s early stories in The Silmarillion. How did you visually come about depicting the two trees?

“I think the love of trees is very instrumental to him. We’ve read stories and even in some of the biographies. He felt a real pain when some of the trees from his own Shire of his childhood were cut down. And he would later see that the tree was just still lying there, so it was cut down for no reason. He felt trees had a spirit of their own. We thought, how would he use the idea of trees having their own spirits and how would he form those ideas for his mythologies? Ents being shepherds in the later stories. We see in the scene at the Grand Cafe, we get a glimpse of the first ideas of the Trees of Valinor. It shows that there’s something here, there’s that spark, but he’s not finished yet. It’s the start of that idea.”

How did you get into Directing?

“I was a very poor kid. I was an outsider. I was growing without a father, who I later knew. The theme of poverty was prominent in Tolkien’s work. There were a lot of Tolkien experts who told us that he loved to work but he worked so hard and so much to avoid being poor again. He didn’t want to be a poor person again. I recognize and can relate to that. When I was young I was trying to think of jobs that would keep me from being poor. At one point we didn’t have running water so I thought I’d be a lawyer or something. Then I met my dad in my late teens and he was an actor. I began to know myself a bit better so I said I would be an actor. My mother was a journalist so that was an option too. I applied to acting school but I didn’t get in. I applied to film school and here we are.”

Are there any other writers or historical figures that you would want
to make a film about?

“Perhaps not. I think it’s always difficult. As you know, there has been a little bit of Catholic backlash and it’s always a problem because it’s impossible to satisfy everyone. And people will say “Oh, but Lord of
the Rings
has clear religious elements”. Well okay, but he’s not writing Lord of the Rings at the time of this movie. He’s not writing it yet. This is thirty years before Lord of the Rings, and we do show the Catholic inspirations and influences in his life, like with Father Francis. But he’s not yet writing those books so we can’t have him in the church, and getting knighted for that when it hasn’t happened yet. People passionately go against everything when it’s a real life character, so I think I’m doing fiction next, and for a while! People have the rights to their opinions, but at the same time you’ve made choices to try to present the best possible film while still trying to be authentic to the person and their history by bringing forward the best emotion from that era of their life. It’s so difficult to explain to people when it’s based on a real life person because you’re trying to make the best film that you can while upholding the legacy of the individual.”

Which of Tolkien’s works is your favorite?

The Silmarillion now as an adult has become my favorite. Unfinished Tales also. It’s changed over the years though. As a child and young adult it was Lord of the Rings. As a young boy, I was bullied a lot, and those characters became my friends. That world had a profound effect on me. I really wanted to make the books into a film but I was in film school at the time that Peter Jackson was working on it. Have a bit of envy of him towards that. I think he did a really great adaptation of the books, but I probably would have found a way to have Tom Bombadil in it! During my art school years my favorite was Leaf by Niggle. It’s basically about artistic anxiety which everyone has in art school, so it really resonated with me at that time. And then there was a fun time where I just really enjoyed The Adventures of Tom Bombadil.”

Well, who is Tom Bombadil?

“In my mind, he can’t be Arda himself. Tolkien himself said that in every mythology there has to be some mystery. For him, Tom Bombadil was that mystery. I think he’s the spirit of the forest. You could think that he’s a Bard because of the singing. For me, he’s the spirit of the forest. And who does he marry? The daughter of the river. I don’t think he’s one of the Valar because he’d have to be a different form of them. I don’t know. Perhaps the Professor deliberately left it that way so that no one could figure it out. He’d probably be amused by this conversation.”

He would probably love hearing peoples theories!

“Definitely. He’s probably laughing at us right now!”

That is an encouraging thought…

===============================================

Meet-up with fellow fans to celebrate the releases of this film! Get the full details on tickets and an exclusive giveaway! [Click here]

Posted in "Tolkien" Movie, Events, Exhibits, FOX Searchlight Pictures, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, LotR Movies, Other Tolkien books, Premieres, Press Conferences, Silmarillion, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Family

Today in Middle-earth, May 1

The Crowning of ElessarThe following event(s) took place in Middle-earth on May 1st:

  • Gandalf and Bilbo reach Rivendell (1342)
  • Sarn Ford where Gandalf and Aragorn met (1418)
  • Crowning of King Elessar (1419)
  • Elrond and Arwen set out from Rivendell (1419)
  • Samwise marries Rose (1420)

(more…)

Posted in Calendar, Creations, Fans, Hobbit Book, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, The Hobbit, Today in Middle-earth

Today in Middle-earth, April 26

The following event(s) took place in Middle-earth on April 26th:

  • The unexpected party (1341)
  • TheOneRing.net is officially registered (1999)
  • TheOneRing.net celebrates its 10-year Anniversary.
  • TheOneRing.net members unveil the TORn Mathom-house (2010) 
  • TheOneRing.net celebrates its 15-year Anniversary.
  • TheOneRing.net celebrates its 20-year Anniversary.

(more…)

Posted in Calendar, Creations, Fans, Hobbit Book, The Hobbit, TheOneRing.net Community, Today in Middle-earth

A [Middle-] Earth Day Tribute

Tolkien sitting under his favourite tree Pinus nigraIn celebration of Earth Day, here is a collection of Middle-earth moments in a special BS (Book Spoiler) post in the Main Discussion Board… for a moment of Tolkien-zen.

(more…)

Posted in Calendar, Creations, Earth Day, Fans, Hobbit Book, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, The Hobbit, TheOneRing.net Community, Today in Middle-earth

Middle-earth Map March Madness – CHAMPION 2019

And like that, it was over. March Madness is put to bed for another year; all that remains for us to do is announce our Grand Champion 2019.

We started back on March 19, with 64 locations facing off in four brackets: The Shire, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. Each round saw some fairly close fights, and some strange pairings (Lonely Mountain vs Misty Mountains! Bag End taking on Hobbiton!). In the very first round, what some say are Tolkien’s ‘two towers’ (Barad-dur and Isengard) faced off. The only battle which matched one found in the Professor’s books was in Round 2, when Fangorn Forest marched to Isengard. Alas, my personal favourite (the Green Dragon, naturally!) fell in Round 3.

Of our two finalists, both started off with pretty easy journeys through the rounds. Early on, Numenor gave Gondolin the biggest challenge, but even they could only take 40% against the elvish city. In the fourth round, however, Gondolin faced tougher competition, and just narrowly defeated the other very strong contender from the Silmarillion bracket, Valinor. And in the Final Four, Gondolin again had a hard time of it, securing victory by just 3% over the Lonely Mountain!

Rivendell, on the other hand, pretty much cruised through; even against Lothlorien, Elrond’s home in the valley was still able to take two thirds of the vote. Did that make Rivendell the favourite in the epic final?

The votes have been counted, and the margin between the two locations was just about 15%. Without further ado, we can reveal this year’s Middle-earth Map March Madness Grand Champion:

Yes, as the early rounds would seem to indicate, Rivendell was the firm favourite. They will be singing tra-la-la-lally there down in the valley to celebrate, no doubt!

Many thanks to all of you who played along, voted, and commented. We always enjoy seeing folks taking part in our version of March Madness, and reading what you have to say. Let us know what you thought of this year’s theme in the comments below, or on Facebook. We hope you’ll join the fun again next year!

Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Return of the King, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, TheOneRing.net Community, Tolkien

Middle-earth Map March Madness – GRAND FINAL

And then there were two… After two weeks of battles between some of the key locations of Middle-earth, we’re down to the two places which will fight it out to see who will be Grand Champion 2019.

Two tough duels made up the semi-final. On one side, Bag End took on Rivendell; and as hard as that hole in the ground tried, it just could not overcome the power of Lord Elrond. In the end, Rivendell took almost two thirds of the vote in this contest.

On the other side, Gondolin faced off against the Lonely Mountain; and this was an epic fight indeed! The difference came down to less than 3%! But once again, the magic of the elves won through, and Gondolin just defeated Erebor. The dwarves will not be pleased!

So now the hidden city takes on the hidden valley! Two elvish realms face off in the final: Rivendell vs Gondolin. Which location will be the ultimate victor? YOU DECIDE! Voting in the Final is open now, and only goes for TWO days, until 10pm EST on Friday 5 April. So don’t delay! Rally the troops and VOTE NOW on this post! The Grand Champion will be crowned on Saturday!

(more…)

Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Return of the King, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, TheOneRing.net Community, Tolkien

Middle-earth Map March Madness – Final Four

The end is nigh; just two rounds of Middle-earth Map March Madness 2019 remain! We’re down to 4 locations; which are still in with a chance for the title of Grand Champion 2019?

Three of our four categories in this round ended up with roughly two thirds to one third results. In The Shire this saw Bag End conquer its home, Hobbiton. In the Hobbit section, the one overcame the many, as The Lonely Mountain defeated the Misty Mountains. And in the Lord of the Rings bracket, the power of the elves remained strong: Minas Tirith could not overthrow Rivendell.

In the Silmarillion group, however, the battle was much closer; and this time, elvish magic did not win the day. Valinor took an early lead, but in the end it was Gondolin which came out victorious, in a narrow victory with 52% of the vote.

Now the brackets mix, for our final two rounds! Bilbo will have to choose between his own home in The Shire, and the home he loves to visit down in the valley, as Bag End takes on Rivendell. Gondolin marches for the Lonely Mountain; can men overthrow the dwarvish kingdom of Erebor? Will it be elvish stronghold vs dwarvish realm in the final, or will a simple hole in the ground (but not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, mind you) be facing off against a mountain?  YOU DECIDE! Voting in the Semi Finals is open now, until 10pm EST on Wednesday 3 April. Tell your friends; get your supporters lined up; and VOTE NOW on this post!

(more…)

Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Return of the King, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, TheOneRing.net Community, Tolkien

Middle-earth Map March Madness ROUND 4

It’s Quarter Final time in Middle-earth Map March Madness 2019! 64 locations began this epic battle; now only 8 remain. Which are still with us?

News from The Shire which I personally find tragic: the Green Dragon Inn is out! Alas, the pub could only muster just over a quarter of the vote; Bag End looks like a hot favourite to go all the way in this contest. The Shire’s other pub, the Prancing Pony, is also out, beaten by Hobbiton.

In the Lord of the Rings section Minas Tirith easily conquered Fangorn Forest, once again securing a victory with almost three quarters of the vote. The other duel in this bracket was a tough one: Lothlorien vs Rivendell! How did YOU choose between those two elvish strongholds? In the end, it was Elrond who conquered Galadriel, with two thirds of the poll.

For the second round running, the closest face off in this round was to be found in the Hobbit bracket; this time Elrond was not victorious, as the Misty Mountains defeated the Last Homely House, but with only just over 1% in it! The Lonely Mountain had a more convincing win over Mirkwood, claiming almost 70% of the vote.

Finally, in the Silmarillion group Gondolin and Valinor are still cruising through, taking 86% and 85% respectively. Could one of these locations go on to be the overall winner?

Just one more round within brackets remains, and there are some tough choices to be made! Hobbiton takes on Bag End; Minas Tirith throws down with Rivendell;  the mountains face off as Erebor challenges the Misty Mountains; and in perhaps the most epics of duels, Gondolin confront Valinor. Which locations will be triumphant, and move on to the semi finals? YOU DECIDE! Voting in Round 4 is open now, until 10pm EST on Sunday 31 March. Rally the troops for your favourites, and VOTE NOW on this post!

(more…)

Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Return of the King, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, TheOneRing.net Community, Tolkien

Middle-earth Map March Madness ROUND 3

Here we go – Middle-earth Map March Madness 2019 Round 3! We’re down to just 16 locations; let’s see which have made the cut:

Starting in The Shire, the closest contest was between the Party Tree and the Prancing Pony, with the pub taking two thirds of the vote. All of the other winning locations had over 80% in the polls; Hobbiton easily defeated Bree, and Bag End and the Green Dragon Inn are also going through. Now for some tough pairings! Can the Green Dragon beat Bag End? I’m keeping my fingers crossed…

The Lord of the Rings bracket saw Minas Tirith take three quarters of the vote to see off Helm’s Deep; clearly Rohan is no match for Gondor! The power of the elves was in evidence, as Lothlorien and Rivendell easily defeated Mount Doom and Moria respectively. And as one would expect, Fangorn Forest overthrew Isengard; the filth of Saruman is washing away… Now the ents must march to the white city; and we have an elvish smackdown! Who will be victorious when Rivendell takes on the heart of Elvendom on earth? YOU decide! Vote now!

The closest battle of Round 2 was in the Hobbit locations; the Misty Mountains ultimately vanquished Beorn’s House, but with only just over half the vote. Smaug’s Lair was conquered by its host, the Lonely Mountain; now Erebor faces Mirkwood, as that ‘tree infested’ area overcame Lake-town. Elves were winning in this bracket too, with the Last Homely House taking over 60% against Dale.

In the Silmarillion category the men of Numenor have been conquered by Gondolin, after putting up a brave fight but only being able to take 40% of the vote. The good guys are dominant in the rest of this category, with Doriath, the Halls of Mandos, and Valinor all cruising to victory, over Angband, Thangorodrim and Nargothrond. Valinor is definitely the location to beat in this bracket; can the Halls of Mandos put up a good fight in Round 3?

The biggest victor in this entire round was Bag End, so that seems to be the odds on favourite now. (Come on Green Dragon!!) The power is in YOUR hands, and voting in Round 3 closes at 10pm EST on Thursday 28 March: VOTE NOW! In this round you will be able to check the results as the polls unfold; so check back often to see how your favourites are doing, and to rally support around them if need be! [View Full Round 3 Bracket]

Vote Below!

(more…)

Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Return of the King, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, TheOneRing.net Community, Tolkien

Middle-earth Map March Madness Round 2 update!

Middle Earth March Madness 2019 - Round 2 Match-ups Graphic

Middle-earth Map March Round 2 is underway – and here’s how this round is unfolding thus far.

No location has a lead in the 90% zone; the biggest leaders are all in the 80s. They are Bag End, leading against the Brandywine Bridge by 88% to 12%; Lothlorien thrashing Mount Doom with a lead of 84%; and Bree is proving to be no match against Hobbiton, only managing to secure 14% of the vote. Valinor is also cruising to another easy victory, currently leading by 83% to 17% against Nargothrond.

It is of course the close battles which are most interesting. Right now the Misty Mountains are only 2% ahead of Beorn’s House, so that duel could go either way! Mirkwood is ahead of Lake-town, but by only 58% to 42% – so get over there and vote if you want to see Esgaroth turn that fight around. The margin between the Halls of Mandos and Angband is similar; Morgoth’s fortress is giving the home of elvish souls a run for its money, so far managing to claim 41% in the poll. Numenor likewise has 41% against Gondolin; if you’d like to see the men of the West pull out a victory against Turgon’s city, you’d better vote now!

In the match-up which actually replicates an event from the books, Fangorn Forest has business with Isengard… And so far, the result is as you would expect: Fangorn leading with two thirds of the vote.

Round 2 closes at 10pm EST tomorrow, Monday 25th. So don’t delay – only you can decide which locations go through to Round 3 of Middle-earth Map March Madness! VOTE NOW!

 

Click here to Vote Now

Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Return of the King, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, TheOneRing.net Community, Tolkien

Middle-earth Map March Madness ROUND 2

Middle Earth March Madness 2019 - Round 2 Match-ups GraphicMiddle-earth Map March Madness 2019 Round 2 is up! 64 locations went into battle in Round 1; now only 32 remain. Let’s take a look at some of the Round 1 results:

No surprises in The Shire location bracket. Bag End, Hobbiton and the Prancing Pony all won their bouts with 80% or more of the vote. Bree and Buckland were in the 70s for their victories (over Bywater and Crickhollow respectively). This staffer is especially pleased to report that the Green Dragon Inn is safely through; I am of course pulling for it to go all the way to ultimate victory!

Bucklebury Ferry is out, conquered by the Party Tree, with the voting split two thirds to one third; and Samwise will be sad to know that Bagshot Row is also gone, as it was unable to stand up to the Brandywine Bridge.

The Lord of the Rings bracket results were also largely as one might expect. Moria, Rivendell, Lothlorien, Fangorn Forest and Minas Tirith all sailed through with no problems. Isengard and Mount Doom had to fight a little harder, but in the end they conquered their opponents, Barad-dur and the Barrow Downs. (Alas, still no barrow wights making an appearance. Maybe we’ll get to see them in the Amazon series…?)

Perhaps the toughest fight in Round 1 of this bracket was Helm’s Deep vs Edoras. How to choose between those two?? In the end, it was Rohan’s stronghold which won the day, knocking out the Golden Hall, but with a margin of only 10%.

On to Hobbit locations, where the Lonely Mountain, Lake-town, Mirkwood, Dale, Beorn’s House, the Last Homely House and the Misty Mountains were all triumphant without really being put to the test. The only close battle in this category was between Smaug’s Lair and the Elvenking’s Halls. Thranduil is going home after just one round; the fire drake conquered in the end, though the margin was in single digits. And now Smaug’s Lair has to take on Erebor in Round 2; a conflict of interest, surely?!

Finally, the Silmarillion bracket saw some closer engagements than in the other groups. Nargothrond eventually overcame Menegroth, and Angband beat Vinyamar, but both contests were tight. Doriath, Thangorodrim, and the Halls of Mandos all won their duels with about two thirds of the vote. Wider margins were seen in the battle between Numenor and Tol Eressea; the island which caused so much excitement with its appearance on the Amazon series’ map is through, with almost 80% of the poll. The biggest victories in the entire first round were those of Valinor over Falas and Gondolin over Hithlum, with the winners both taking over 90%.  (Remember, if you want to know more about any of the Silmarillion locations, you can read more here.)

So on to the second round! Will Hobbiton beat Bree? What will happen when Minas Tirith takes on Helm’s Deep? Can Gondolin defeat Numenor? And most importantly, is the Green Dragon on the way to the final prize? (Fingers crossed; no journalistic impartiality here!) YOU decide!

Voting in Round 2 closes at 10pm EST on Monday 25 March, so don’t delay: VOTE NOW!

Click here to Vote Now

Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series, Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Return of the King, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, TheOneRing.net Community, Tolkien