Last weekend we sat down again with our friend Daniel Falconer, to catch up on what he’s been doing, and all things Weta Workshop. We were able to steal two hours of Daniel’s time – and this conversation is a classic. I believe you all are going to love the topics we touch on. As always, thank you for the support!

(You can check out our first conversation with Daniel Falconer here.)

Continue reading “Collecting The Precious Podcast Ep6: more from Daniel Falconer”

Stansborough is a name which will be familiar to many fans of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth. Their amazing wool made those magical Elven cloaks, gifted to the Fellowship in the first Lord of the Rings movie. Spun through with silver thread, the Stansborough weave appeared again as Gandalf’s scarf in The Hobbit trilogy; and their fabrics have even been used recently in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power!

Tolkien lovers who have made pilgrimages to New Zealand may have visited their mill, to see their sustainable fabrics being created; and many of us have purchased items from them over the years. We’re delighted that this family run business is still going, still making magic – and they have generously sent us some goodies to giveaway!

Staffers Madeye Gamgee and greendragon had the pleasure of opening the exciting package which travelled across the ocean to arrive in the US; take a look to see what was in the box:

Your chance to win

If YOU would like to be in with a chance to be one of the lucky winners who will receive one of the goodies from Stansborough, all you need to do is complete and submit this form. The contest is open within the USA only (sorry, folks elsewhere in the world!); you have until 11.59pm PT Monday 28th November to enter. On Tuesday 29th we’ll pick three winners at random, and send each one of those lucky folks one of the three items.

If you’re not in the US, or if you aren’t a winner, you can still treat yourself to something wonderful from Stansborough; just visit their website to see all the goodies available. I’ve got my eye on one of their mini Gandalf hats (as seen above) – the perfect tree topper…! (Hmm, perhaps for a tree decorated with flaming pine cones…?)

Big thanks to our good friends at Stansborough for their generosity.

Complete this form to be in with a chance to win!

It seems impossible that this coming December, it will be twenty years since Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was released. But here we are, twenty years on – and as they did for the anniversary of The Fellowship of the Ring, NZ Post is celebrating with some very special stamps and pins. Here’s what their press release tells us:

NZ Post releases The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers stamps

NZ Post is proud to release special edition stamps and lapel pins to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. This is the second of three 20th anniversary collections to be released by NZ Post – with The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring stamps and coins issued last September.

NZ Post Head of Stamps and Collectables Antony Harris says The Two Towers stamps and pins will be very popular among Kiwis and international collectors. “There will be a lot of interest from around Aotearoa New Zealand and the world as this collection marks another milestone in the history of such an iconic series of films,” Harris said.

The special edition stamps and pins are being released in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products.

Harris also said the majority of last year’s The Fellowship of the Ring stamp and coin collections were snapped up by new customers from overseas. “These sold across the globe like nothing we had ever seen before.”

For the first time this year, NZ Post has also released enamel lapel pins with designs featuring Gollum, the Eye of Sauron and Mount Doom.

The artist behind the stamps and pins is New Zealander Sacha Lees, who began her career at Wētā Workshop working on The Lord of the Rings trilogy as an illustrator, creature designer and airbrush and concept artist.

This year’s stamps not only feature hand-painted scenes from the film, but special text hidden within the illustrations. As a special treat for the most ardent fans, this year Lees has also created a unique The Lord of the Rings trilogy poster that stands apart from the stamp designs and includes various images and
messaged hidden in UV ink.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers 20th Anniversary stamps will be released on Wednesday 7 September 2022, with additional products to come later in the year. To order and read about the collection visit www.collectables.nzpost.co.nz

As ever with NZ Post, these products are beautiful – and the hidden messages are such an amazing feature! You can snap up these fabulous collectibles by visiting NZ Post’s website now – don’t miss out!

Become a Numenorean and sail to Middle-earth with us

After a successful Cruise to Middle-earth in November of 2008, and a sequel cruise in December 2012, it is time to complete the Trilogy. This Journey to Middle earth starts on January 2, 2023, in Sydney, Australia as you board the Celebrity Eclipse, and runs 12 nights long, ending in Auckland, New Zealand on January 14, 2023.  This is not a LOTR convention at Sea, but more of a Mobile Middle-earth Moot where we get to see the real-world Middle-earth while enjoying the benefits of a luxurious cruise ship.

The Celebrity Eclipse comes with a 1/2 acre of live grass called the Lawn Club

This 12-night cruise will take you to such filming locations as Hobbiton and Edoras, with the option to visit the WETA Workshop in Wellington on a private tour. Other ports visited will be Melbourne, Dunedin, and the Bay of Islands. And for those choosing to arrive in Sydney a few days early, you will be able to celebrate the New Year’s Celebration near the Sydney Opera House and the Harbor Bridge for fireworks (not included, but I can assist in securing a hotel and flights).

Departs Sydney on January 2, 2023 and ends in Auckland on January 14, 2023

Once the cruise is finished, there will be an optional 2-night post-cruise stay in Auckland so that we can experience WETA Unleashed, and have a farewell dinner in the restaurant at the top of the Sky Tower in Auckland, and have a private tour and dinner in Hobbiton. This allows folks to choose a Cultural or Geological tour option in the port of Tauranga (Rotorua) rather than Hobbiton from the ship, which will be rather short and bunched together with other cruise passengers that might not be as geeky as those in our group. If you choose this post-cruise tour, there will be an additional cost, and you will need to remain in New Zealand at least until January 16, 2023.

Garfeimao and Bella in front of Bagend in 2018

If you choose to arrive on the morning of the cruise, you will have to depart North America on December 31, 2022, to arrive by January 2, 2023, or you can depart earlier and spend a couple of days in Sydney. If you wish to be in Sydney for the actual New Year’s celebration, you will want to depart North America no later than December 29 for a December 31 arrival. For those interested parties in Europe or Down Under, the time difference will affect you differently.

I am arranging an exclusive day tour to visit with WETA in Wellington for us when the ship is in port, which will include a private workshop. There will be a motorcoach to pick us up just outside the port area in the morning and take us over to Miramar to tour the facility, taking in not just LOTR projects, but some of the many other film projects WETA has worked on over the years. This will be topped off with a hands-on workshop on crafting leather and chain maille armor before the motorcoach will take us back to the city center for a self-guided tour inside the Te Papa Museum. You will not want to miss Te Papa, besides it being a world-class museum, there is a Gallipoli exhibit created by WETA that must be seen to believe, and the museum is free. We will then make our own way back to the ship before it departs.  This tour can be purchased as a customized package not included in the cruise fare. A quote will be available shortly.  

The original 2008 Cruise to Middle-earth group, the 5-year-old in the center just finished his first year of college.

On the ship, there will be a few days at sea, with no port stops, so I’ll be planning a few group activities that you can choose to join or not, depending on whether you would prefer to go to the spa or partake in other Ship Hosted activities. There will be a Tolkien Toast on January 3, 2023, to commemorate the Professor’s birthday, and then there will be a few games and group discussions, and maybe singing along to some of Tolkien’s songs found in the books. And this cruise takes place just a couple of months after the Rings of Power airs, so lots to discuss and maybe an additional location or two to be seen. For those of you with Middle-earth costumes, feel free to bring them, especially if they are on the lighter side, for packing purposes. There will be a Costumed Cocktail reception, and for those without costumes, a geeky t-shirt will suffice. The bonus is that you can also wear the costume either in Edoras or Hobbiton or bring two costumes and do both.

Other cruises thought our group were performers and wanted to follow us to our show

The nitty-gritty information for this group is that it has been on sale for several months, so some room types are no longer available. The Cruise pricing fluctuates regularly, based on available discounts for persons who qualify (past passenger, Senior or military rate, etc.) and just what rooms are still open for booking. An interior room right now is starting at $2179 per person, a Balcony room starts at $2429 per person and a Concierge Balcony (more perks) starts at $2869 per person. The private tour to WETA during the ship’s port stop in Wellington will have its own price, to be finalized very soon, and the customized 2-night post-cruise tour in Auckland to Hobbiton and other activities is currently priced at $1170 per person, but that will go down with a few more people booked into the group. There is a small planning fee of $50 per person if booked by May 31, and then it goes up to $100 per person on June 1.

To make an inquiry, please contact me at Garfeimao@TheOneRing.net

 

Last month we had the awesome privilege of sitting down with Daniel Falconer of Weta Workshop. We talked about the last 20 years of collecting Middle-earth, and how things have changed over those years. We also chatted about current stuff like the new Strider Statue; the things to come; and the hopes for items we may see in the next 20 years. You all are going to love this lengthy conversation, as we pick Daniel’s brain and get into all the stuff he’s seen over the last 20 years at Weta Workshop. We at TORn thank Daniel for his time, and Weta Workshop for lending him to us for a couple of hours!

Continue reading “Collecting The Precious: Exclusive Interview with Daniel Falconer of Weta Workshop”

Theo, played by Tyroe Muhafidin, has joined the list of characters now confirmed as denizens of the Second Age of Middle-earth in Prime Video’s upcoming Rings of Power series. Living with his mother, Bronwyn, in the village of Tirharad, we still know little about Theo’s story or character. We do know, though, that whatever is to come will be entwined with one of the more menacing weapons that Amazon has also revealed: a broken sword and possible family heirloom.

Tyroe Muhafidin as Theo. Credit: Ben Rothstein, Amazon Prime Video

We have seen this sword before, revealed in a series of hands-centric posters that Prime Video released in February. We are still left to speculate about the origin and nature of this broken heirloom – possibly marked by Black Speech – and how Theo and his mother come to possess it. Could this have been crafted by Sauron/Annatar during his seductive stay on Númenor? A remnant of a past migration of Black Númenoreans as they colonized Haradwaith to the south of Gondor? A family heirloom from an absent father, now consumed by a piece of jewelry more powerful than he bargained for?

Credit: Amazon Prime Video

With Theo’s arrival, we are beginning to see some facets of a fuller family in this branch of the storyline that the Rings of Power writers have been crafting. Bronwyn, played by Nazanin Boniadi, is a single mother and village healer, living in apparently rustic conditions with her son well to the south of more familiar Lord of the Rings landscapes. But we know there must be more, even without that broken sword. Bronwyn has a romantic connection with the Sylvan Elf Arondir, played by Ismael Cruz Córdova. (How does Theo feel about that?) And now we also know that Nazanin Boniadi can strike a classic “New Zealand is Middle-earth” pose with the best of our Second Age heroines.

Nazanin Boniadi as Bronwyn. Credit: Ben Rothstein, Amazon Prime Video

And again, we’re left with more questions than answers. Where is Bronwyn headed? Does her regal robe reveal that “village healer” is only a part of her story? Can we get some GPS coordinates for this shooting location? How many cosplay homages will this photo inspire?

Tyroe Muhafidin is a 16-year old Australian actor who has appeared in an array of short films and television series, including Dusk (2018) and Caravan (2019). This will be his first appearance in a major role.

Tyroe Muhafidin

Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power brings to screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. The series will launch on September 2, 2022.