We are finally going back to Middle-earth and we get to see so many more places than we’ve ever been able to visit before on Tolkien’s map.
Amazon Prime has finally released the full airing schedule, as shown below. Start marking your calendars to remind you when you can watch the show.
The first two episodes will drop together, and these are the episodes directed by J.A. Bayona. Because they drop together, it is important to note that the first episode is entitled “Shadow of the Past” so that you start off with the correct episode. These will become available on Amazon Prime on Thursday, September 1 starting at 6 pm PT, 9 pm ET and 2 am UK time early Friday, September 2. You will want to sync this info up with your own time zone.
The remaining episodes will drop once a week afterward, starting with Episode 3 on Thursday, September 8 at 9 pm PT, Midnight ET, and 5 am UK time on Friday, September 9, and continue on that same schedule. The 8th episode finale will air on Thursday, October 13 at 9 pm PT, Midnight ET and 5 am UK Time on Friday, October 14. The full schedule is posted below!
Global release occurs on either September 1, 2022 or September 2, 2022 depending on your location
The first TWO episodes will debut together on release night.
Release night timing is the following: September 1, 2022 at 6 PM PT which is 2 AM UK Time on September 2, 2022.
Both Episode 1 and 2 will be available immidiately. Amazon Studios suggests you ensure you first choose Episode 1 titled “SHADOW OF THE PAST” for the best viewing experience. Don’t choose the second episode first by accident!
Episodes 3 to 8 will be singular weekly releases. That is, one episode per week. These episodes will air at 9 PM PT each Thursday. This corresponds to 5 AM UK Time Friday.
The week-by-week Rings of Power schedule
Week 1: Episode 1+2
Episode 1+2 will be available at 6 PM PT THURSDAY NIGHT on September 1, 2022. This is equal to 2 AM UK Time on FRIDAY MORNING, September 2, 2022.
With this schedule, you should be able to plan a Viewing Party or two, for Debut night and Finale night, if not all 7 weeks. If you choose to do so, please do share in the fun with our Twitter/Facebook/Discord social channel of choice and let us know your thoughts. There will also be some live posting, especially in our Discord on show nights, so come play along during the show, or directly afterward for a discussion on what you have just seen.
Since ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ area opened at Universal Studios Florida 12 years ago, rumors of a ‘Lord of the Rings’ themed land at either Universal or Walt Disney World have swirled around the internet. In 2010, shortly after the opening of ‘Wizarding World’, a guest survey was apparently sent out by Universal to gauge public interest in other themed lands. The survey went on to inquire about a potential Lord of the Rings themed ride or area:
“Imagine if you will a world unlike any you’ve ever visited before: it’s Middle Earth, the ancient and beautiful land forged by J.R.R. Tolkien as the backdrop for his two most well known creations, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Walk as a human among dwarves, elves, orcs and hobbits — all faithfully recreated and portrayed in the spirit of the original characters as they appeared in both the books and the movies. In this land you’ll experience one-of-a-kind rides and attractions that bring to life some of the most memorable experiences of Tolkien’s world including Bilbo’s hobbit hole, the fortress at Isengard (before it was destroyed) and even the dark world of Mordor — including the terrifying volcanic Mount Doom.”
Many websites (including, of course, TOR.n!) reported on these rumors, but there has been nothing to substantiate them. Some rumored concepts that have been floating around for the past few years included areas themed around Hobbiton and Rivendell, Middle-earth shops and dining, a boat ride, a ‘Fall of Gandalf’ flying ride (similar to the ‘Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey’ ride at Universal Studios), ‘Escape from Moria’, and a Mordor/Eye of Sauron dark ride.
Cut to 2019: Universal Studios Florida announces that they are creating a 4th theme park (along with Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay) called Epic Universe. Universal has not officially confirmed the new themed areas of this park yet, but the first phase opening (sometime in 2025) is heavily rumored to include areas tied to Super Nintendo World, How to Train Your Dragon, Universal Monsters, and another Wizarding World area (possibly a Ministry of Magic dark ride).
Along with these potential areas, as well as a hotel, shopping and dining areas, are 2 large plots of land set aside for expansion of the park. One area, which is over 20 acres, is next to the proposed Wizarding World land, and it is thought that Universal is holding onto this area should they acquire another large IP (Intellectual Property), which The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit most definitely are!
The theme park fansite ScreamScape recently reported that their sources indicated the first planned expansion for Epic Universe will be to bring the world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth to the park. Whether that would include The Hobbit and the upcoming Amazon tv show is not known. Since the park isn’t scheduled to open for another 3 years, an expansion is most likely 5-10 years away (at least).
At this time, Universal Studios does not have the rights to any Tolkien property. It is worth noting, however, that although the Tolkien Estate holds the rights to Professor Tolkien’s literary works, the movie, merchandise, and theme park rights belong to Middle-earth Enterprises. So it’s not impossible that Universal could buy the rights to design a land, as they did for the Harry Potter franchise. Again, we want to stress that this is all speculation and rumor – as of this writing there are no official plans for The Wizarding World of Middle-earth!
What do you think about a Middle-earth theme park area: “Yay!” or “No Way!”
It’s the discovery of a lifetime: a handwritten manuscript by JRR Tolkien, penned and signed in 1964, has surfaced. This nine-page text, which Christopher Tolkien painstakingly recreated from memory, tells a mostly familiar story for readers of The Silmarillion in chapter 22. Yet, as the ‘original’ manuscript for this part of the story, it contains new treasures to delight the serious Tolkien reader.
This treasure goes under the auction gavel in two weeks with a starting bid of $15,000! Looking over the offerings for this lot is impressive, as The Professor keeps company with the likes of Poe, Dickens, Doyel, Washington, Jefferson, Einstein, Beethoven, and some other incredible artifacts and memorabilia. The manuscript includes a rare genealogy chart titled “Kinship of the Half-Elven,” a signed letter to Mrs. Eileen Elgar in transmission of the manuscript, and “Concerning… The Hoard,” the manuscript itself.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
Why do some Nazgûl thrive when commanded to hunt down their master’s stolen Ring while others falter under pressure? Why do some revel in the responsibility of throwing down their enemy when others wither like fog in strong sunlight?
You might not know it, but nine (count them!) keenly honed success habits keep them hot on the trail. Nazgûl apprentices, here are those nine instinctive habits that the most successful Ringwraiths draw on in their daily unlife to keep the Dark Lord number one. Read and learn.
1) Let your powers combine.
Captain Planet does it. Voltron does it. The Power Rangers too. So take heed: when it matters, ensure you gather under your fell leader so that even the Wise might fear to face you.
2) Wear black. Lots and lots of black.
Black never goes out of style. And the effect is scary as the Dickens when when you loom menacingly into view of your prey just as the light fades.
3) Embrace your hydrophobia!
Never forget that you and water do not get along. At all. In that sense, you might as well be the Wicked Witch-king of the West. Next time you consider fording that tiny creek? Think twice.
4) Don’t put a Ring on it, stick a Morgul Blade in it.
They say if you love it, put a ring on it. But only the Dark Lord may do that. Use a Morgul Blade to express your affection instead. It’s the smart way to ensure your new BFF will stay by your side always and forever!
5) Maintain a ready supply of remounts and robes.
There are few worse humiliations for a Ringwraith than having to crawl back naked and unclothed to your Dark Lord because you went for an impromptu dip and it all went pear-shaped. So for the love of Morgoth, pack extra robes (black, of course) and take a spare horse or an enormous flying raptor thing (or both!) just in case.
6) Let your minions do the dying for you.
Need to destroy the gates of the enemy fortress? Compel your horde of minions to do it for you! Drive them before you like cattle until they fear you more than the enemy’s darts and arrows. Don’t forget to ride to your glorious victory over the crushed, mutilated corpses of friend and foe for additional intimidation.
7) Remember, fear is your chief weapon.
And surprise. And fanatical devotion to The Po… err … Sauron. Anyway, the key point is intimidate your opponents (or your minions) until they give you what you want, or flee in terror.
8) Always stop to smell the roses.
Your sense of smell is even better than a labrador’s or a beagle’s. Only the foolish Nazgûl rush heedlessly ahead. Savour the scents and let your nose guide you to that which the Dark Lord desires.
9) Never reveal your name. Don’t encourage familiarity.
You are one of the Nazgûl, the chief and most-feared servants of the Dark Lord, not a camp counsellor. Be the Nameless Fear. Names are for lesser minions — and, seemingly, Khamûl. Because he just has to be different from everyone else.
Throwback to a post from some years ago, by the very excellent Staffer Demosthenes with help from LurkingLaurie.
Images from PJ’s LOTR via the very excellent FrameCapLib LOTR screecap project; and one from Ralph Bakshi’s LOTR (1978).
If you have a Tolkien/Middle-earth inspired poem you’d like to share, then send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. One poem per person may be submitted each month. Please make sure to proofread your work before sending it in. TheOneRing.net is not responsible for poems posting with spelling or grammatical errors.
Greetings Ringers – Today TheOneRing.net is proud to share a Tolkienian analysis from esteemed Y.A. author/editor Henry Herz who takes us closer to the Irish myths mined by Guillermo del Toro for Hellboy II and the remarkable connections to Fëanor himself.
Astute observers of the film Hellboy II: The Golden Army will note multiple references to Irish mythology. The full name of Hellboy’s antagonist is Nuada Silverlance. The first king of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the gods of Irish mythology, was Nuada Airgetlám (silver hand/arm). The Irish Nuada lost his limb fighting against the Fir Bolg at the first Battle of Mag Tuired. It was subsequently replaced with a silver one made by Dian Cecht, the god of healing, and a smithing god, either Creidhne or Goibniu (sources vary). Balor of the Evil Eye, a giant one-eyed Formorian leader kills the silver-handed Nuada twenty years later at the second Battle of Mag Tuired. In Hellboy II, Nuada’s Gaelic-speaking father is King Balor of Bethmoora in Northern Ireland.
On the one hand…
A lost hand like Nuada Airgetlám’s occurs more than once in myths, ancient and modern. The Professor himself was no stranger to tales of the Irish gods…nor the Norse. After all, the ferocious fettered Fenris Wolf takes off the god Tyr’s hand. Tolkien’s giant wolf Carcharoth similarly bites off Beren’s hand, and with it one of Fëanor’s treasured Silmarils.
Hellboy II features three characters with missing hands. The main character, Hellboy, possesses an oversized, red stone Right Hand of Doom, grafted in place by his demon father, Duke Azzael. Although the movie does not emphasize the matter, King Balor’s left arm appears to be made of wood, ending in a silver hand—a clear wink at Irish mythology. Speaking of wink, the cave troll Wink wields a mechanical right hand that can be launched like a projectile and retrieved via a heavy chain—quite a handy feature.
But is there a more subtle linkage in play here? Did movie writer Mike Mignola and/or director Guillermo Del Toro derive inspiration from a more contemporary model for Nuada than Irish mythology? Was their fierce and tragic elf inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s character from The Silmarillion, Fëanor? The parallels are numerous and striking.
Fëanor is a prince of the Noldor (deep elves), eldest son of King Finwë. His mother, Míriel, passes away after delivering so powerful a progeny, “consumed in spirit and body.” Finwë remarries and fathers two more sons, Fingolfin and Finarfin. Their father is murdered by Morgoth, the spark that will eventually set all Middle-earth aflame.
Like Fëanor, Nuada is an elven prince, the only son of King Balor of Bethmoora. Hellboy II makes no references to Nuada’s mother in either the action or its expository prologue. Her absence is as notable as Míriel’s. Nuada’s father is slain by his son’s own hand. Thus, both princes begin the tragic arc of their lives without mothers and later violently robbed of their immortal fathers.
Skills and Crafts
Fëanor is the most gifted smith in all Middle-earth and Valinor. He devises the Tengwar script used to write the Elven tongues Quenya, Telerin, and Sindarin. He crafts the palantíri, crystal spheres used for communicating over long distances. Fëanor’s greatest accomplishment was creating the three Silmarils, imperishable sacred jewels that captured the light of the Two Trees that illuminated the world. He is also credited with forging fell swords and tall helms with plumes of red. It is probably a safe assumption, then, that his sword would be of the highest quality and likely magical in nature. His prodigious fighting skills can be deduced from the fact that he battles multiple Balrogs without being pounded into elf-paste.
Like Fëanor, Nuada is a fierce fighter. His superb sword play and athleticism is on full display in Hellboy II, thanks to actor Luke Goss. He demonstrates great skill with both swords and spear. The latter is magical, capable of lengthening at Nuada’s command, and if the tip of it is broken off in an enemy, it works its way toward the victim’s heart. He also evidences skill as a smith. We see him constructing a device to hold the seed of a forest elemental. And as one might expect of an elven smith, he seems impervious to heat when he recovers a metal cylinder from flames with his bare hand.
Strife and Exile
His heart poisoned by Morgoth’s deceptions, Fëanor accuses his half-brother Fingolfin of plotting to usurp him as Finwë’s heir. The Valar (the gods) exile Fëanor to Formenos as punishment for threatening his brother’s life. There he stores the Silmarils with other treasure, and there Finwë joins him.
In the Hellboy II backstory, greedy humans wage war against the elves, goblins, trolls, and other magical creatures. A goblin master blacksmith offers to build King Balor an unstoppable mechanical army that can be controlled with a magical Golden Crown. Nuada persuades his father to accept the weapon and unleash the Golden Army against humanity. After widespread slaughter, a truce is reached. The horrified King Balor breaks the crown into three pieces so this ultimate weapon will not be used again. Enraged by his father’s decision not to finish off humanity, Nuada goes into self-imposed exile.
Rage and Kinslaying
With the giant spider Ungoliant’s aid, Morgoth mortally wounds the Two Trees that illumine the world. When the Valar ask to use the light trapped within the Silmarils to restore the stricken Trees, Fëanor refuses. “It may be that I can unlock my jewels, but never again shall I make their like; and if I must break them, I shall break my heart.” (Tolkien, 1977)
Morgoth murders Fëanor’s father at Formenos, steals the three priceless Silmarils, and flees to Middle-earth. Fëanor vows revenge, tinged with a racial element that Nuada echoes in Hellboy. “After Morgoth to the ends of the Earth! War shall he have and hatred undying. But when we have conquered and have regained the Silmarils that he stole, then behold! We, we alone, shall be the lords of the unsullied Light, and masters of the bliss and the beauty of Arda! No other race shall oust us!” (Tolkien, 1977)
Mad with grief and anger, Fëanor and his sons swear a terrible oath, leading many Noldor into exile from Valinor to pursue Morgoth and recover the Silmarils.
“They swore an oath which none shall break, and none should take, by the name even of Ilúvatar, calling the Everlasting Dark upon them if they kept it not…vowing to pursue with vengeance and hatred to the ends of the World Vala, Demon, Elf or Man as yet unborn or any creature, great or small, good or evil, that time should bring forth unto the end of days, whoso should hold or take or keep a Silmaril from their possession.”(Tolkien, 1977)
When the seafaring Teleri refuse to lend the Noldor their ships for the journey to Middle-earth, Fëanor orders the vessels taken by force. Many Elven lives are lost in what came to be called the Kinslaying at Alqualondë.
Raging at human greed and the destruction they bring to the earth, Nuada vows to annihilate his enemy. He breaks his father’s treaty, murdering some humans to take possession of one of the three pieces of the Golden Crown. Nuada appears at his father’s court, demanding the other crown pieces from his sister and his father so he can order the Golden Army to wipe out humanity, saving the earth thereby. “I have returned from exile to wage war and reclaim our land, our birthright! And for that I will call upon the help of all my people and they will answer.”
But King Balor refuses, and when Nuada will not be dissuaded from his violent plans, Balor reluctantly orders his son killed. Instead, Nuada slays the royal guard and his father in the greatest sword fight scene in cinematic history. His sister flees with the final piece of the Golden Crown.
Tragedy leads to more tragedy. The Valar lay a horrible curse, the Doom of Mandos, upon Fëanor and his followers for the Kinslaying. The Noldor must have shuddered to hear it.
“Tears unnumbered ye shall shed; and the Valar will fence Valinor against you, and shut you out, so that not even the echo of your lamentation shall pass over the mountains. On the House of Fëanor the wrath of the Valar lieth from the West unto the uttermost East, and upon all that will follow them it shall be laid also. Their Oath shall drive them, and yet betray them, and ever snatch away the very treasures that they have sworn to pursue. To evil end shall all things turn that they begin well; and by treason of kin unto kin, and the fear of treason, shall this come to pass. The Dispossessed shall they be for ever.”
“Ye have spilled the blood of your kindred unrighteously and have stained the land of Aman. For blood ye shall render blood, and beyond Aman ye shall dwell in Death’s shadow. For though Eru appointed to you to die not in Eä, and no sickness may assail you, yet slain ye may be, and slain ye shall be: by weapon and by torment and by grief; and your houseless spirits shall come then to Mandos. There long shall ye abide and yearn for your bodies, and find little pity though all whom ye have slain should entreat for you. And those that endure in Middle-earth and come not to Mandos shall grow weary of the world as with a great burden, and shall wane, and become as shadows of regret before the younger race that cometh after. The Valar have spoken.” (Tolkien, 1977)
Shortly after arriving on the shores of Middle-earth, Fëanor’s army is assaulted by Morgoth’s. The Elves are triumphant, and still enraged, Fëanor presses on toward Morgoth’s fortress at Angbad. Ambushed by a force of Balrogs, Fëanor is mortally wounded. He is denied his vengeance and instead Elves, Humans, and Dwarves must endure centuries of death and destruction inflicted by Morgoth until he is finally overthrown by the Valar.
Like Fëanor, Nuada will stop at nothing to see his plan complete. In the end, even he recognizes the depths of his own madness. When Hellboy defeats Nuada for control of the Golden Army, Nuada responds, “Kill me. You must. For I will not stop. I cannot.” Hellboy will not murder the elf. When Nuada moves to strike Hellboy from behind, Nuada is slain by his selfless sister’s suicide, the twins being magically linked. Hellboy has Liz destroy the crown with fire, reminiscent of when another potent talisman, the One Ring, melts in the fires of Mt. Doom.
Fading and Melancholy
In The Fellowship of the Ring: Extended Edition, Samwise Gamgee observes Elves departing Middle-earth for Valinor, never to return. “It makes me sad. I don’t know why.” The Bethmooran elves are fading as well, as symbolized by the incongruously falling leaves inside Balor’s throne room. Nuada proclaims in the end, “We die, and the world will be poorer for it.” Whether or not Mignola and Del Toro modeled their Nuada on Tolkien’s Fëanor, they forged an entertaining and poignant movie in which, just as in The Silmarillion, we lament the passing of magic.
Ah! like gold fall the leaves in the wind,
long years numberless as the wings of trees!
From Namárië (Galadriel's Lament)
*Learn much more about Henry Herz’ Y.A. and Children’s books (and also the delightful works co-authored with his two sons) here at www.henryherz.com
References: Tolkien, J.R.R., 1977. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, “Of the Flight of the Noldor”
Notes: The John Bauer and Celtic knot images are public domain from Wikimedia Commons.