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 celebrates its 15-year Anniversary.
  • TheOneRing.net celebrates its 20-year Anniversary.
  • TheOneRing.net celebrates its 25-year Anniversary.
  • [Join us on the Discussion Boards here!]

Continue reading “Today in Middle-earth, April 26”

On March 18 this year we began Middle-earth March Madness 2024: Magical Moments. TORn staffers had been working behind the scenes to choose and then vote on a plethora of happenings from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which could be considered magical events. We whittled that number down to 64, and created seeding based on the staffer votes, and back in March we opened the contest to YOUR votes.

Now, after six rounds and thousands of votes cast, we have a winner. Of all the moments when magical powers are used in Middle-earth, one has been chosen as the ‘most magical’. If you watched TORn Tuesday last night, you saw the winner revealed there. But if you’ve stayed ‘spoiler free’, we can now reveal the Middle-earth March Madness Champion for 2024 is…

Continue reading “Middle-earth March Madness 2024 – Revealing this year’s Champion”

We come to it at last – the great battle of our time… Well, at least of this year’s Middle-earth March Madness 2024: Magical Moments. TORn staffers picked 64 happenings from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which could be considered magical events. (Though what exactly counts as ‘magic’ in Middle-earth is, of course, up for debate!) These moments were seeded based on staffer’s votes, divided into four bracket (one for each book), and so it began. Now, three weeks later and with thousands of votes cast, we are down to the final two. Let’s see how the Semi-finals played out:

The Hobbit Division vs The Two Towers Division

The first time Bilbo experiences the power of the Ring, becoming invisible when seeking to escape Gollum, deep under the Misty Mountains, was the winning moment of The Hobbit bracket. It faced the victor from The Two Towers region, no less a moment than the return from the dead of Mithrandir, coming back to Middle-earth as Gandalf the White. Two absolutely iconic moments – and you might have expected a tight battle. In fact, the power of the Ring was no match for the wizard; The Two Towers contestant took 70% more votes than its opponent. So Gandalf the White strides into the final. Who or what will be his adversary?

The Fellowship of the Ring Division vs The Return of the King Division

This showdown was a much tighter contest then the other Semi-final. Just SIX votes made the difference between the contenders during much of this round – even as the numbers rose, that margin stayed more or less the same. It’s a duel between the defeat of the Witch-king by ‘No Man’ and Gandalf’s overthrowing of the Balrog. Will we have an all Gandalf championship battle?

The answer is … yes! At the last moment, coming in just under the wire, and having been trailing for most of this round, the wizard won by ONE VOTE. Eowyn overcame the Lord of the Nazgul, but could not defeat the Maiar. And so an event which started off seeded all the way down at #6 in its bracket confronts a #1 seeded event in the Final. It’s The Fellowship of the Ring vs The Two Towers, a kind of ‘before and after’ – the battle against the Balrog, and the return thereafter:

  • Gandalf Confronts the Balrog with Glamdring and the Flame of Anor (6)

VS

  • Gandalf the White Returns from the Dead (1)
Staffer Madeye Gamgee was excited by this nail-biting thriller of a Semi-final:

What a magical finish for our penultimate round! I cannot recall ever having such a tight matchup in the history of Middle-earth March Madness. The Witch-king’s Fall to “No Man” had led during the entirety of its Final Four Round, but the lead was always “walking on the edge of a knife”, hardly ever more than 10 votes. And in perhaps the upset of the tournament, the FotR champion, only the number six seed in its own region, pulls off the last second victory, squeaking by the iconic moment on the Pelennor Field by a single vote. Sadly perhaps for Éowyn and Merry fans (and possibly a ‘crushing blow’ for Witch-king fans…), our March Madness tournament officials have yet to figure out instant replay technology. What a Balrog Burner of a match!

The return of Gandalf the White from his journeys beyond thought and time easily handled the contest with Bilbo’s Ring of Invisibility, despite its darker Power lurking in the background. At least for this tournament, the One Ring will not rule them all.

Which leads us to a dream matchup between two versions of possibly the most magical icon of the Third Age: Gandalf. Can Gandalf the Grey keep his momentum going? Slaying a Balrog is no small thing. Or will Gandalf’s resurrection as an Istari more evenly matched against Sauron prove that he has brought more than just a fool’s hope to this magical tournament?

It should be very clear by now that the ultimate tournament outcome lies in the hands of the fans. And even the smallest single vote can change the course of the future.

Place your votes! As with the Semi-final, we just have one bracket to vote. Use the embedded experience below, or click here. Then click the ‘Vote Now’ option that appears at the top left of the page. Let’s get voting!

Which Magical Moment will be the Champion for Middle-earth March Madness 2024? You decide! Would you like to see the wielding of Glamdring and the flame of Anor sweep to victory? Or is Gandalf’s return from the dead unbeatable magic? Rally the troops and place your votes! Voting will be open until the start of TORn Tuesday on Tuesday April 9th; we’ll take a look back over the contest and reveal this year’s Grand Winner during the show. But which moment will it be? That’s up to YOU – vote now!

And then there were four… It is semi-final time in Middle-earth March Madness 2024: Magical Moments – from 64 starters, we’re down to just our bracket winners remaining. Which magical happening has emerged triumphant from each division? Let’s take a look:

The Hobbit Division

Alas! Speaking personally, I (staffer greendragon) was really hoping the Moon Runes would win this bracket. TORn staffers had voted those glowing, secret runes the #1 seed in this group; but the power of the Ring is of course not easily overcome, and the #2 seed took the lead and held on to it. The margin wasn’t huge – this was the closest contest across all the brackets this round, and only a little over 50 votes came between them – but Bilbo’s disappearing act is the winner here.

  • Bilbo’s Ring Turns Him Invisible (2)

The Fellowship of the Ring Division

We saw the widest margin of the Elite Eight in this bracket; no amount of saying ‘Mellon’ could overcome Gandalf’s epic conquest of the Balrog. The last act of Gandalf the Grey (seeded #6) garnered twice as many votes as Durin’s magical doors (which were actually seeded higher, at #5), so the wizard goes through to the Final Four.

  • Gandalf Confronts the Balrog with Glamdring and the Flame of Anor (6)

The Two Towers Division

Gandalf on Gandalf action was the order of the day in this regional final! These moments are two kinds of resurrections – Mithrandir’s own, returning as Gandalf the White; and the rediscovery of his strength by Theoden, as Gandalf releases him from Saruman’s spell. The choice was pretty clear right from the start of voting, with the wizard’s return from the dead taking the lead and keeping it. Gandalf the White goes through to face an invisible Bilbo.

  • Gandalf the White Returns from the Dead (1)

The Return of the King Division

It looked like those Riders of Rohan might sweep all the way to ultimate victory, repeating their 2020 glory, when they were Champions in the battle amongst scenes from Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth movies. But it was not to be. By a larger margin than might have been expected, taking 1.5 times as many votes, the triumph of ‘No man’ over the Witch-king won this regional final.

  • The Witch-king Is Destroyed by “No Man” (1)
Eowyn slays the Witch-king, by Stephen Walsh
Staffer Madeye Gamgee had these thoughts on what we’ve seen so far – and what is to come!
  • Other than the FotR region, the OneRing staff ended up forecasting our final seeds fairly well, with two # 1 seeds (the Resurrection of Gandalf the White and the Death of the Witch King), and one #2 (Bilbo’s Discovery of the One Ring). The lowest seed left in the tournament comes from the FotR Region, the epic battle between the Flame of Udûn and the Flame of Anor wielded by Gandalf.
  • We’re left with some truly epic magic in the Final Four, and it’s really anybody’s tournament to win:
    • The first appearance of the One Ring, its true power still largely veiled
    • One of the most epic Maiar battles in the entire legendarium, as Gandalf and the Balrog face off on the Bridge of Khazad-dûm
    • The return from death by the super-charged Gandalf the White as he replaces Saruman as the true leader of powerful resistance against the reign of Sauron
    • The fulfillment of long prophecy of the fall of the Witch King of Angmar, a combination of a humble hobbit wielding a spell-lace Númenórean blade, and desperate Dernhelm revealed to deliver her final coup de grâce to destroy Sauron’s chief lieutenant
  • Will it be a Gandalf vs. Gandalf finale? Only if his White-robed persona can overcome the Power of the Ring, and his Balrog-battered bridge match can move past the crowd favorite, a climactic contest between Éowyn and the Lord of the Nazgûl.  Could we see Gandalf the White versus Gandalf the Grey in the championship match?
  • Will the One Ring prove its Power at last, with the Black Speech echoing across Middle-earth? Ash nazg durbatulûk indeed!
  • Will we see one of Tolkien’s most beloved scenes and themes, the triumph of the weak over seemingly insurmountable strength, embodied by a Shieldmaiden of Rohan, resound in victory even as her opponent wails and fades, powerless before her?

Only the magical Tolkien fandom can tell.

Place your votes! Now that we are down to the Final Four, we’ll just have one bracket to vote. Use the embedded experience below, or click here. Then click the ‘Vote Now’ option that appears at the top left of the page. Let’s get voting!

You have until the end of the day Saturday April 6th to vote in Round Five; Sunday 7th we’ll open voting for the Championship round. And then join us for TORn Tuesday on April 9th, when we’ll reveal this year’s Grand Winner! But which moment will it be? That’s up to YOU – vote now!

In an unexpected journey that rivals Bilbo’s own, TheOneRing.net is thrilled to announce the launch of its very own food truck, bringing the flavors of Middle-earth to the world – well, a portion of the world! Aptly named ‘Middle-earth on Wheels’, the plan is for the food truck to visit conventions and geeky gatherings across America, serving a delectable array of Tolkien-themed treats. Our truck will first appear at NYCC 2024.

The Menu

Inspired by the diverse experiences and tastes of our staff, the menu will vary, with various themes planned, including the seasons in the Shire, spicy dishes of Mordor, and the sumptuous feasts of Rivendell, offering an Elvish twist on classic flavors. The menu to appear at NYCC will include a chicken dish “Amon Hen”; “Salmon Frodo“; “Isengard Unquiched,” “One-ion Rings” (Of course!); and a variety of artisanal bread, so fans can ‘share the loaf.’

Our very own Happy Hobbits, known for their culinary magic making (Check out their YouTube!), will bake fresh bread for each appearance.

But that’s not all – in a revelation as surprising as Gandalf’s fireworks, we can reveal that TORn co-founder Xoanon is not only a master of Middle-earth lore but also a pastry chef extraordinaire, holding the world record for the tallest croquembouche, eerily resembling Barad-dûr, complete with the Lidless Eye, and almost mirroring the height of Weta’s Minas Tirith bigature.

Special Menus and Events

But what of Second Breakfast, you ask? On select days, Middle-earth on Wheels will honor every crucial Hobbit mealtime—Breakfast, Second Breakfast, Elevenses, Luncheon, Afternoon Tea, Dinner, and Supper—throughout all-day festivals and events. Whether you crave the sweet simplicity of Seedcake for Second Breakfast or the hearty richness of a Minas Tirith Meat Pie for Supper, TORn will have you covered. Dates for these special events will be announced at a later time.

On Tuesdays when Middle-earth on Wheels is on the move, don’t miss Tolkien Taco Tuesday—every purchase of a taco gets you another one on the house!

Why a Food Truck?

Why this culinary quest, you ask? It’s all in an effort to combat the ever-mounting Google Business Apps bill! Yup, they raised their prices…again! As a not-for-profit site powered by volunteer staff, TheOneRing.net relies on the generosity of its community and, perhaps now, the proceeds from its gastronomic ventures.

Don’t miss this chance to feast like a Dwarf, snack like a Hobbit, and dine with the elegance of the Elves. The Middle-earth on Wheels food truck is coming to a location near you. Follow the journey on TheOneRing.net and our social media channels.

Because in the world of Tolkien, even the smallest meal can change the world.