Last September we shared with you the beautiful stamps and pins the good folks at NZ Post released, to celebrate twenty years since Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was released. Now a stunning pair of coins is available, celebrating those towers (or at least one version of what Tolkien may have meant by his ‘Two Towers’ title!) Here’s what NZ Post’s press release tells us:
After 12 long months of eagerly anticipating part two of the trilogy, in late December 2002 fans were rewarded with the release of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. After the unbridled success of The Fellowship of the Ring, which was nominated for 13 Academy Awards, the second instalment had a tough act to follow. Nevertheless, the enthusiastic audiences for the sequel ensured it was not only the highest grossing film of that year but, at the time of its release, the third-highest grossing film of all time.
The principal photography for all three The Lord of the Rings films took place in New Zealand from 11 October 1999 to 22 December 2000. New Zealand’s mountains, rivers, forests, fields and plains all played a part, and vast studio sets stood in for the more fantastical environments required to build the world of Middle-earth. Weta Digital, the creator of visual effects for the trilogy, doubled its staff for the vast post-production requirements presented by The Two Towers, with challenges that included a large-scale battle scene and the digital rendering of a speaking character.
Thousands of everyday New Zealanders played a part in contributing to this film – from a stadium full of cricket spectators recording an Uruk-hai war cry, to local equestrians riding their horses as extras in the plains of Rohan. Most Kiwis will recognise at least one place as their New Zealand, whether it’s a favourite walking spot near their home or a family holiday destination. The Two Towers is part of a larger legacy left by the trilogy, which gave countless New Zealanders unique experiences, memories to cherish and stories to tell for generations to come.
Minted from 0.999 silver, this set of coins features each of the towers alluded to in the film’s title – Orthanc, the stronghold of evil wizard Saruman, and Barad-dur, where the spirit of the Dark Lord Sauron resides. The coins have a black proof finish and selective colour highlights the detail of Sacha Lees’ artwork.
Set of two silver coins Features the two towers alluded to in the film’s title The obverse of each coin acknowledges New Zealand as the home of Middle- earth Designed by New Zealand artist Sacha Lees Each coin is minted from 1oz of 0.999 silver Low worldwide mintage of 499 sets Presented in an elegant display case with a certificate of authenticity.
Set of two brilliant uncirculated coins Features the two towers alluded to in the film’s title The obverse of each coin acknowledges New Zealand as the home of Middle- earth Designed by New Zealand artist Sacha Lees Low worldwide mintage of 1,000 sets Presented in a specially designed display pack.
As ever with NZ Post, these products are beautiful, and very collectible. The coins are available now on NZ Post’s website.
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!
Our friends at Weta Workshop have a couple of really amazing environments up for pre-order. We’re in the last five days of the timed order window for the amazing Helm’s Deep which is part of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers 20th Anniversary. You can snag your pre-order right now for $899 USD, with shipping expected towards the end of 2023. This is going to be one of the must-have environments for any The Lord of the Rings collection.
We also get our first-ever mini-environment from the trilogy, with the new Mini-Orthanc. This version is Orthanc as seen after Saruman’s Orcs have destroyed the area around the tower. You can order this piece for $99.99 USD, with it shipping in quarter 2 of next year. This will be an open-edition piece.
The awesome folks at Ravensburger Puzzles wanted us to let you know that right now, fans can snag two awesome puzzles, representing the first two films in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. These beautiful, 2000-piece puzzles are great pieces of art representing each film; The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers are available now at a variety of retailers.
The Return of the King puzzle is coming in 2023, so you won’t have long to wait to get that one as well. These puzzles would make great gifts for the Ringer in your life! We will also be giving you all a look at these puzzles in the future when we put together ours – so be on the lookout for that review.
Meanwhile, you can enter for a chance to win! One lucky winner, chosen at random, will receive both of these first two puzzles in the trilogy. Simply complete this form to be in with a chance to win. The giveaway runs until 11.59pm PT on Wednesday 7th December, and winner will be contacted after that. Sorry, only open to fans in the United States.
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!
TORn Tuesday’s co-host Justin flew around the world — at his own expense — to experience the first showings of Prime Video’s huge The Lord of the Rings: The Rings Of Power with fellow fans in NYC and London. Now having seen it twice, after years of the most spoileriffic leaks, here is his review of the first two episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power on Prime.
Back in 2002, I sat down in a theater full of fellow Ringers at midnight as an unknown jovial British man with a deep voice walked out to introduce The Two Towers. Andy Serkis had come at the invite of TheOneRing.net to opening night. Nobody knew who he was other than the IMDb credit and 3 seconds of trailer time — and this guy looked & sounded nothing like Gollum. There was also a lot of chatter leading up to the release of The Two Towers that book lovers were terrified of — that the elves had been reassigned from the books to honor the last alliance at Helm’s Deep (ruining Tolkien’s greatest battlefield reunion in The Return of the King). Leaked set pics showed Arwen fighting at Helm’s deep. Jar Jar Binks all-CGI characterization had “ruined” Star Wars, and all-CGI Gollum was ready to ruin Tolkien.
The lights dimmed. The screen showed the familiar landscapes. Then the camera dived INTO the mountain to replay one of the greatest scenes of Fellowship (natch, film history). Oh great, I thought, another film that does “when we last left our heroes” recap. And then the camera follows Gandalf as he falls into battle with Durin’s Bane, as an epic choral music laments their fall into the great chasm. I lept out of my seat! I couldn’t believe a movie had just shown me things I had never seen before, never expected, and a style of storytelling I didn’t think possible. The Two Towers changed my movie going life, and it is still my favorite of the trilogy.
My Rings of Power take after seeing the pilot episodes twice and really diving into the visual details:
Prime Video’s The Rings of Power brings back that feeling of discovery. It changes what television is capable of. It redefines multi-storyline TV. It completely immerses you in Middle-earth from the start, and delivers an incredible storytelling experience that stays true to the tone of Tolkien while necessarily charting a new path.
The Rings of Power finally delivers on Gimli’s promise to the Fellowship that his kin would provide a warm welcome in Moria. We finally see dwarven culture at its pinnacle — a fully realized society that is well-fed, well-worked, and well-machined. These dwarves will feel familiar to Hobbit trilogy fans, with great-looking, practical makeup FX (allegedly supported by Weta Workshop), but it’s the characterizations that really take this culture beyond the comedy of the movies. Fans of deep lore will rewatch the dwarven scenes to spot the many Easter eggs of items lost to time in the books.
All the other lands and races are equally fully realized, even the orc culture. We are all aware of the amount of effort needed to accomplish creative at this level thanks to Peter Jackson’s Appendices. It’s obvious hundreds of top creative talent are collaborating on this show. There is a visible sense of pride in the work from all the details both visual and narratively. This is a billion dollar TV show and it shows. It takes that much support to realize Tolkien’s vast imagination — which is larger in the Second Age than the Third Age seen in the films. The Second Age just has more of everything. More societies. More cities. More arid lands. More areas to explore. More destruction. My biggest fear now is that future seasons of The Rings of Power may not get the same generous budget, knowing what enormous cataclysms are to come.
Writing on the show is peak television at its pinnacle. Prime has assembled an all-star fellowship of writers from the best shows on TV — Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Hannibal, Game of Thrones, and more. Absolutely no characters from the vast collective on this show feel cardboard, short changed, nor one-dimensional. Everyone quickly has motivations created and their place in society established. TV has never seen a character break as bad as Sauron, the lord of all the rings, and the pilot episodes set up the stakes for Middle-earth.
J.A Bayona was absolutely the right director to establish the look and feel of this show. From his water work with The Impossible to the dark tones of Penny Dreadful, Bayona captures the existential dread that Middle-earth may not know is coming. Showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay are living our collective fan dream overseeing this massive project. Their imaginations are reaching for the same great heights that JRR Tolkien famously attempted, yet still under the guardrails and guidelines he established. Tolkien envisioned filmmakers expanding his Legendarium with his “other minds and hands, wielding paint and music & drama” and these guys are up to the task. Having chatted with them many times over the last six months it’s clear that these other and hands are the right ones to continuing shaping the history of Middle-earth.
Fans may forget that Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings was full of no-name actors. It was Orlando Bloom’s first work, Billy Boyd’s first movie, and the biggest job for the hundreds of longtime kiwi actors. Rings of Power continues that tradition of unveiling top talent on the global stage. These folks are future stars. All the recent discourse of how they look and talk — also things fans also complained about in 2001 — is put to rest the minute the show starts. There is no wink at the camera or in-your-face notice me going on. These performances live in Middle-earth, period. Tolkien’s source text allow for a very expansive visual canon which the filmmakers are developing with the highest of standards. All the fears fans have of this “looking like television” are proven invalid. Better than other space and superhero TV shows, this is Middle-earth looking exactly like it should: the proper continuation of a $6 billion franchise and most-awarded film series of all time.
Even if it’s not a continuation. We have covered the rights situation numerous times over the last 4 years on this site and on YouTube. Testament to loyalty to JRR Tolkien is the involvement of Simon Tolkien (the current elder family stateman) in the production of the show, and no less that 11 living Tolkien relatives showing up to the London premiere. It’s a privilege to have Royd Tolkien a longtime friend of TORn, but to have his family there at The Rings of Power premiere unlocked a feeling I didn’t know this franchise needed: full support of the sub-creator’s legacy, and a proper continuation of his life’s work. There’s a trust in the show there, now, that I didn’t know was missing.
I’m looking forward to the many debates fans will have, and we will have at TheOneRing.net, over the choices made by the filmmakers. I’m reminded of the TORn staff that walked out of The Two Towers theatrical opening, disgusted that Frodo and Sam were at Osgiliath with an unrecognizable Faramir. My favorite film of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings has its detractors and I respect their perspectives, and The Rings Of Power will undoubtedly generate similar debates that can only strengthen our love of Middle-earth. Maybe we should bring back RINGER REVIEWS so all us fans can share our assessment of each of the 50 episodes to come.
As I walked out of that first screening, and now a second one in London, my one word review of Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power two-part pilot remains:
PERFECTION. No Notes.
Huge thanks to all the teams at Prime Video that have supported the fans throughout this journey of creation, for inviting hundreds of fans to these free screenings around the world, for all the support at Comic-Con and DragonCon, and for all the friendly (sometimes intense) conversations as we shared the excitement for this show. Fans are happy to be seen, and will be very happy with the finished product.
Tune in every Tuesday at 8pm ET for TORn Tuesday LIVE with Clifford & Justin, and chat anytime on the TORn Discord at https://discord.gg/theonering