In 2003, The Tolkien Society established an annual tradition, designating one day of the year for fans of J.R.R. Tolkien worldwide to celebrate their love of Tolkien’s writings by, well, reading them! March 25 was chosen for the celebration as it is the date in The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, when the ring of power was destroyed and the dark lord Sauron was defeated.
Each year the Society selects a theme for the day, with this year’s theme being Home and Hearth: the many ways of being a Hobbit. This opens up a wide array of things that could be read to explore the ‘inner Hobbit’ in all of us. You might join Bilbo in The Hobbit, as he opens his home to Gandalf and the dwarves, feeding them most of the goodies in his pantry! Another option would be to settle around the dinner table with Frodo, Merry, Sam and Pippin, as they eat the delicious mushrooms offered to them by Farmer Maggot during their journey through The Shire. What favorite Hobbity thing will you pull off of your bookshelves to read today?
Posted in Fans, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, LotR Books, Return of the King, The Two Towers, Tolkien
We are now about halfway through the first Round of our Middle-earth March Madness, and some of the match ups are really close, while others have one contestant running away with the race. Because this year’s bracket has the newly added twist of featuring characters portrayed by the actors who brought our most beloved Middle-earth characters to life, this rundown will include a little about those non-Middle-earth characters.
You can VOTE here!
The traditional match ups first: Boromir is facing off with Gimli in a close race, make sure you vote before the evening of March 22, this one is close enough that your vote will definitely matter. The contest between Samwise and Merry has the acclaimed gardener running away with nearly all the points on this one. Surprisingly, the other match up of Hobbits is unexpectedly close, with Frodo holding a slim lead over Pippin. To cap off the Fellowship match ups, Aragorn is soundly beating Legolas.
With the non-ME characters, there is just as much variety in vote percentages. Sean Bean’s portrayal of Eddard Stark in Game of Thrones has a narrow lead over Orlando Bloom’s Will Turner, from Pirates of the Caribbean. The next race is just as close, between Viggo’s portrayal of real life long distance, endurance horse racer Frank Hopkins with a slim lead over John Rhys Davies’ Sallah from Raiders of the Lost Ark. There is a neck and neck contest going on between Dom’s Charlie Pace, the recovering addict rock star from Lost has a very narrow lead over Billy Boyd’s Barrett Bonden, the coxswain on the HMS Surprise in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. Not close is the fact that Sean Astin’s earnest performance of Rudy is decidedly running away with the race, leaving Elijah Wood’s Ryan Newman from Wilfred.
“You All Everybody” should get out and vote before 10pm et on March 22.
In this division, the ME match ups are as follows: Galadriel has firm control of the contest with Eomer, the Lady of Light is not easily taken out of events. Faramir has a small lead over Old Bilbo, so you may still be able to give a helping hand to the Hobbit that found the One Ring in the first place. Eowyn and Gollum are nearly neck and neck, can the Shieldmaiden of Rohan defeat the sneakiness of Smeagol? Her uncle Theoden, however, is wiping the floor with Denethor, who became tainted by his contact with the Palantir.
The non-ME roles are proving interesting as well: Cate Blanchett’s Hela, the Goddess of Death from Thor: Ragnarok has a decent lead over Andy Serkis’ Caesar, the ape leader from Planet of the Apes. At the same time, Karl Urban’s Dr. ‘Bones’ McCoy is soundly beating Sir Ian Holm’s Ash, the rather inhuman android from the original Alien movie, who admired the xenomorph just a little more than he valued human life. There are two battles that are very close and would benefit from a last fit of voting on your part. Those are between David Wenham’s Carl from Van Helsing just edging out Bernard Hill’s Captain Smith from Titanic, who did his duty and went down with the ship. The other close battle is between Miranda Otto’s Mary Ann from War of the World with a slim margin over John Noble’s brilliant, but crazy Walter Bishop from Fringe.
On the other side of the bracket, let’s see who is doing well for the traditional match ups: Believe it or not, Gandalf is stomping all over Young Bilbo, guess that is punishment for not telling the truth about finding the One Ring. Dwalin has a sizable lead over Radagast, but then, he does have a massive War Hammer, this is not surprising. Amongst the Dwarves from The Hobbit, Kili is slaying pick pocket Nori, while Thorin is not really faring well against Saruman. Feel free to give a boost to those you wish to support and share with your friends, it’s all in good fun.
The non-ME side of things has: Sir Ian McKellen’s Magneto soundly thrashing Richard Armitage’s John Thornton from North and South, the clever mutant is probably dismantling all of Thorton’s looms as this is written. Graham MacTavish’s Dougal from Outlander is all but finished at the hands of Martin Freeman’s Dr. Watson, it’s those modern Doctors he can’t handle, clearly. As expected, Christopher Lee’s Count Dooku from Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith is trouncing Jed Brophy’s Dagda More from the Shannara, this writer would love to see this battle realized on screen. A little less expected, but even cooler for that is that Sylvestor McCoy’s Doctor has the upper hand on Aiden Turner’s Ross Poldark, Time Lords really do know how to come out on top when needed.
Last division match ups, for the traditional segment: Elrond has a decent lead over Smaug, which is fascinating to see. The Master of Laketown is no match for Tauriel, she saw his selfishness and is leaving him to his own ruin. There is a relatively close match between Thranduil and Bard, with the Elven King of Mirkwood edging out the Bowman of Laketown. Bard’s son Bain is faring even worse in his match up with Azog. This calls for some voter help, Bain came to his father’s aid while the town was burning under the wrath of an angry dragon, the least we can do is vote for them and see how things play out.
Over on the final division of non-ME characters: Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock is so soundly beating Stephen Fry’s Oscar Wilde, it’s almost as if something very large has been dropped on him. This writer’s favorite match up in this round is Luke Evan’s Gaston from Beauty and the Beast against Hugo Weaving’s Agent Smith from the Matrix. A battle of the bragalicious Gaston up against the master manipulator within the Matrix is just something that should be onscreen. Right now, Agent Smith is defeating Gaston. A match that is all but over is that of Lee Pace’s Ronan from Guardians of the Galaxy wiping the floor with John Bell’s Young Iain from Outland, poor lad never stood a chance. And the very last match up to get coverage tonight see’s a near tie between Evangeline Lilly’s Kate Austen from Lost squaring off with Manu Bennet’s Deathstroke from Arrow, another match up I would love to see on screen.
Last chance to vote in Round 1 is 10pm et on Thursday, March 22. Round 2 will begin on Friday, March 23.
Posted in Aidan Turner, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Bernard Hill, Billy Boyd, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, David Wenham, Dominic Monaghan, Elijah Wood, Evangeline Lilly, Events, Fans, Graham McTavish, Hobbit Movie, Hugo Weaving, Hugo Weaving, Ian Holm, Ian McKellen, J.R.R. Tolkien, Jed Brophy, John Bell, John Noble, John Rhys-Davies, Karl Urban, Lee Pace, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Luke Evans, Manu Bennett, Martin Freeman, Miranda Otto, Miscellaneous, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Orlando Bloom, Richard Armitage, Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Stephen Fry, Sylvester McCoy, The Hobbit, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tolkien, Viggo Mortensen
Spring is about to roll in, bringing with it longer days, milder temperatures, trees in blossom and flowers bursting out in a riot of color, and the ensuing allergies. Spring also brings Tolkien Reading Day on March 25th, and in Anaheim, California it brings Wondercon, the little sister to San Diego International Comic-con.
This year, we have our panel scheduled on Sunday, March 25th, coinciding with Tolkien Reading day, so do expect some reading of the Professor’s text during the presentation. This will be a round up of all things Middle-earth, as you can tell from the title: “Dispatches from Middle-earth: What’s new with all things Tolkien” Here are the complete details:
Dispatches from Middle-earth: What’s new with all things Tolkien
Sunday March 25, 2018 – – 10:30am-11:30am, North 200B
TORn’s Wondercon schedule
TheOneRing.net staffers discuss new Tolkien projects coming this year and beyond. They will start off with a discussion about the Tolkien Biopic that recently wrapped filming and then head straight into fact, fiction, and rumors surrounding the new Middle-earth stories coming from Amazon Studios. As in previous years, WonderCon coincides with Tolkien Reading Day, so they will be reading snippets of the Professor’s words to further their discussions. Also celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the release of Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.
North in the room listing refers to the new North building, which is near the Arena, do make sure to have a map or have looked at one to find the new rooms being used this year. While it is expanding, this convention is still so much smaller, more intimate and easier to navigate than SDCC. Our panel is one of the first on Sunday morning, but parking will still be a bit challenging, so give yourself plenty of time to arrive, find parking and get through security and find us in the new building.
We are still researching and finalizing all the little tidbits that will appear in our presentation. But you can expect a little talk about the 15th anniversary of the release of ROTK, info on the Tolkien biopic that has now wrapped principal photography, and the latest info from Amazon Studios regarding the expansion of the Middle-earth universe. 2018 is shaping up to be a marvelous year for fans of Tolkien, with plenty more to come in the years after.
Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series, Conventions, Events, Fans, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, Meet Ups, New Line Cinema, Studios, Television, The Hobbit, Tolkien, WonderCon
The Bodleian Library in Oxford has an exceptional exhibition coming up later this year, which fans will no doubt travel far and wide to see. Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth (June 1 – October 28) will display an extraordinary collection of illustrations, manuscripts, letters, personal belongings and more, giving a unique insight into J.R.R. Tolkien and his works. This ‘once in a lifetime’ exhibition is not to be missed – and thanks to our friends at the Bodleian, TheOneRing.net can reveal exclusively that tickets will be available from 2pm UK time tomorrow, Tuesday 13th February. Here’s what the Bodleian tell us:
The Bodleian Library is pleased to announce that free tickets for the upcoming, once in a lifetime exhibition, Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth, will be available for booking from 2pm UK time on Tuesday 13 February 2018. We know that some visitors will want to travel some distance to this exhibition and want to help them ensure their entry in advance.
To book your tickets, visit the official Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth website at https://tolkien.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/about-the-exhibition where they will be available from 2pm on Tuesday 13 February 2018.
Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth explores Tolkien’s amazing legacy from his genius as an artist, poet, linguist, and author to his academic career and private life. The exhibition takes you on a journey through Tolkien’s famous works, The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings, displaying an array of draft manuscripts, striking illustrations and maps drawn for his publications.
Visitors will discover Tolkien’s early abstract paintings from The Book of Ishness, the touching tales he wrote for his children, rare objects that belonged to Tolkien, exclusive fan mail, and private letters.
The exhibition runs 1 June to 28 October 2018 at the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford.
If you’ve been thinking about making a pilgrimage to Oxford, this summer/autumn is the time to go; and be sure to grab those tickets tomorrow! Check out the exhibition website, here.
Thanks to the Bodleian Library for allowing us to make this announcement.
Posted in Calendar, Events, Exhibits, Headlines, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Other Tolkien books, The Hobbit, Tolkien
Help celebrate and mark J.R.R. Tolkien’s twelfty-sixth (126th) birthday by joining fans all over the world in The Tolkien Society‘s annual Birthday Toast.
Tolkein was born on this day in 1892 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. On this day, you might read a favorite passage or two from Tolkien’s writings or you can raise a glass to our beloved author and creator of Middle-earth at 9pm (your local time). The toast is simply to: “The Professor!”
Share your toast on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #TolkienBirthdayToast. However you celebrate, we hope you join TORn as we wholeheartedly wish a happy birthday to “The Professor,” who’s life’s work has come to mean so much to all of us. Happy birthday, J.R.R. Tolkien!
Posted in Fans, J.R.R. Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien Toast
The recent, completely Unexpected news of new Middle-earth stories coming from Amazon Studios has left Tolkien fandom in a bit of a Party mood. There haven’t been many details about which stories will be told, what the format will be, and who will actually be designing and managing this whole process. Do these Middle-earth stories need a Showrunner, or has Amazon Studios just not announced that they already have someone on the team?
Amazon is purported to have paid between $200 to $250 million just for the rights to the story before any costs for development, talent and production are taken into account. This is considered somewhat risky since there is no concept and no creative leader at the helm, and no characters or story to build upon. The only news to come out since the announcement is that Sir Ian McKellen has said he would be happy to don the Grey, pointy hat again.
We humbly submit our Top Ten list, in alphabetical order, of genre writers and Showrunners for consideration by Amazon Studios, and you, the fans. Do you agree or disagree? Did we miss anyone? Sound off in the discussion section below. (more…)
Posted in Amazon Studios, Amazon TV series, Characters, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Other Tolkien books, Return of the King, Studios, Television, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Tolkien
Our friend, TheHutt, from the TORn discussion forums recently shared some interesting information from German site IGN.com: Amazon has revealed to them that shooting on the new Middle-earth series will begin in 2019, with the goal to begin airing the first episodes in 2020. The 2020 goal is designed to fill the void Game of Thrones will leave after the final season airs, likely now to be in 2019.
Posted in J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, Studios, Television, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Warner Bros.
In a fascinating article, TORn staffer and author Kristin Thompson gives us some invaluable insight into some of the legal wranglings which may have led to this new The Lord of the Rings television series deal:
The announcement that Amazon will be producing a multi-season television series based on The Lord of the Rings has caused much speculation and not a little confusion. One common assumption seems to be that the television rights to the two hobbit novels were sold to United Artists in 1969, when it obtained the production and distribution rights to make film adaptations. (more…)
Posted in Amazon TV series, Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, New Line Cinema, Return of the King, Studios, Television, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Warner Bros.
It turns out a “Lord of the Rings” TV series isn’t the biggest Tolkien news of the week or the month or the year.
Christopher Tolkien, son and literary heir of J.R.R. Tolkien, resigned from the Tolkien Estate. And his departure changes everything.
Christopher is 93 and just this year edited and published one of his father’s works “Beren and Luthien,” which as even casual Tolkienites know, refers to his parents with the names of those characters adorning their tombstones.
In the preface of the book he writes, “this is (preemptively) my last book in the long series of editions of my father’s writings.” It seems he was planning to retire already. Personally, learning the greatest Tolkien scholar, and a man who has honored his father in an exemplary way, has left the care of his father’s legacy to others feels like reading the end of LOTR where Galadriel, Elrond and the other great elves leave Middle-earth. There is a keen sadness, but admiration and beauty as well.
But even if you aren’t sentimental, he deserves any Tolkien fan’s deep respect. But it bears repeating, this changes everything.
The news reached me by friend Michael Martinez via Twitter on his blog. Martinez has an exceptional mind for Tolkien.
He understood perfectly that Christopher R. Tolkien’s departure signals the end of an era.
“With Christopher’s departure as an officer of the Tolkien Estate (which was incorporated in 2011), the long-awaited “rights frenzy” for Tolkien properties may soon begin,” he wrote.
Yes, and it seemingly has already happened. This is a definite piece of the puzzle of the recent news of the Amazon Video deal. I had heard through rock solid, but not reportable sources several years ago that other members of the estate were much more willing to negotiate J.R.R. Tolkien’s properties while Christopher was far more interested in preserving legacy than money.
The settlement between Warner Bros. and the Tolkien Estate settled an $80 million lawsuit July 3. Part of the statement the studio released at the time was unusually upbeat for an entity that just paid out big money:
“The parties are pleased that they have amicably resolved this matter and look forward to working together in the future.”
The future mentioned in that statement is this week and beyond, and it was obviously in the works then. According to a U.K. government website, Christopher resigned on Aug. 31. One would expect formal resignations of this nature take time to manage legally, so it also was in the works for some time I suspect. What I wouldn’t give to have been in the room for that passing of the torch.
So in quick fashion, after the seismic change, the estate has sold the television rights for book “The Lord of the Rings.” Warners paid the court dispute so there would be a relationship moving forward and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos rewarded both entities handsomely.
Another important thing to note here, and another piece of the puzzle, is that the television rights to “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” were NOT sold when J.R.R. Tolkien sold the movie rights in 1969. Those rights were for motion pictures. TORn staffer and author Kristin Thompson informed our staff about this. She has first-hand documentation and as author of “The Frodo Franchise,” knows this stuff as well as anybody. And obviously you can and should buy her book on Amazon.com. I believe another TORn news article is expected on just this point.
This explains why the estate was so involved in the Amazon deal; they were selling something. It also explains why Middle-earth Enterprises was absent from the latest news. (Correction: This originally said Tolkien Enterprises, a name previously used that is not correct. The story has been updated.)
But the bigger ramifications of all this are far greater than a multi-season Amazon series. The new leadership of the estate seem much more willing to deal Tolkien properties than Christopher was and this confirms my well placed sources.
This opens up Tolkien and Middle-earth as possible franchises in the same way that Harry Potter’s world is a place you can visit at Universal Studios or that Disney will soon have a Star Wars area. There are few properties in the world that can be talked about in the same way as Middle-earth. Warner Bros. see the value and so does Amazon.
That doesn’t mean the Tolkien Estate will move toward making the rights to “Beren And Luthien” available but it does mean my wish to produce “The Silmarillion” as HBO series is slightly less impossible than it was before. That is what has changed really. Things once impossible are now possible.
The estate may elect to only allow more content based solely on “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.” Or they may carefully cultivate the entire library.
Because of the depth of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium, there is a virtually endless fountain of material. As Martinez points out in his blog, what will be produced is essentially fan fiction. As Disney has expanded the Galaxy far-far away, and HBO is planning its growth of George R.R. Martin’s Westeros world, so too could Amazon and Warner Bros expand Middle-earth.
Much of that possibility rests with the estate but just Appendix A in “The Lord of the Rings” offers a wealth of content. The imagination soars with possibilities.
This will no doubt anger many fans and delight many others, as the Amazon deal already has. Some don’t want to see the compromise of the author’s vision. Funny enough, this also seems to have a whole new batch of fans upset because they don’t want Amazon’s product to compromise Peter Jackson’s vision of Tolkien’s vision.
The officers of the Tolkien Estate still count among their numbers Tolkien’s youngest child Priscilla Tolkien and other grandchildren in the family.
This is over-long already but a final word on Christopher Tolkien’s departure. Here is a man who is a treasure, and who carries in his heart and mind the voice and essence of his father. The significance of his departure cannot be over stated.
I close with another poignant passage he wrote about his father in the preface of his final contribution to the Tolkien legacy, “Beren and Luthien.”
“In a letter to me on the subject of my mother, written in the year after her death, which was also the year before his own, he wrote of his overwhelming sense of bereavement, and of his wish to have Luthien inscribed beneath her name on the grave. He returned in that letter … to the origin of the tale of Beren and Luthien in a small woodland glade filled with hemlock flowers near Roos in Yorkshire, where she danced; and he said: ‘But the story has gone crooked, and I am left, and I cannot plead before the inexorable Mandos.’
Thank you Christopher Tolkien. We are going to miss you and your strength and determination to contribute to and preserve the legacy of your father.
Posted in Amazon TV series, Christopher Tolkien, Hobbit Movie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Studios, The Hobbit, Tolkien, Warner Bros.
Fans who are waiting to hear further news about a possible Lord of the Rings television series can keep themselves busy for a while with a new publication of Tolkien’s poem, The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun. Although this work was released by UK publishers Harper Collins last year, it is available today from American publishers Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Here’s what they tell us about the book:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is proud to announce the publication on November 7, 2017 of THE LAY OF AOTROU AND ITROUN by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Verlyn Flieger. Unavailable for more than 70 years, this early but important work is published for the first time with Tolkien’s ‘Corrigan’ poems and other supporting material, including a prefatory note by Christopher Tolkien.
Set ‘In Britain’s land beyond the seas’ during the Age of Chivalry, THE LAY OF AOTROU AND ITROUN tells of a childless Breton Lord and Lady (the ‘Aotrou’ and ‘Itroun’ of the title) and the tragedy that befalls them when Aotrou seeks to remedy their situation with the aid of a magic potion obtained from a corrigan, or malevolent fairy. When the potion succeeds and Itroun bears twins, the corrigan returns seeking her fee, and Aotrou is forced to choose between betraying his marriage and losing his life.
Coming from the darker side of J.R.R. Tolkien’s imagination, THE LAY OF AOTROU AND ITROUN, together with the two shorter ‘Corrigan’ poems that lead up to it and which are also included, was the outcome of a comparatively short but intense period in Tolkien’s life when he was deeply engaged with Celtic, and particularly Breton, myth and legend.
Originally written in 1930 and long out of print, this early but seminal work is an important addition to the non-Middle-earth portion of his canon and should be set alongside Tolkien’s other retellings of myth and legend, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, The Fall of Arthur and The Story of Kullervo. Like these works, it belongs to a small but important corpus of his ventures into ‘real-world’ mythologies, each of which in its own way would be a formative influence on his own legendarium.
We have FIVE copies to give away to lucky fans in the US! To enter, simply complete the entry form, and answer the following question:
Who is the editor of this new edition of The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun?
Complete the entry form by 5pm EST on Monday 13th November. [Enter Here] Five winners will then be chosen at random, and a copy of the latest Tolkien publication will be mailed to them. Good luck! (Sorry, this competition is only available to fans living in the United States.)
For those who don’t win, you can buy the book here; and it is also available as an e-book.
UPDATE: Many thanks to all who entered our competition. The winners have been notified by email, and their books are on the way to them!
Posted in Books, Books Publications, Christopher Tolkien, Contests, Events, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, Merchandise, Other Tolkien books, Shop, Tolkien
As is to be expected, the internet, our discussion forums, and comments to our story from yesterday are abuzz with the news broken by Variety magazine yesterday of talks between Warner Brothers and Amazon to make a series adaptation based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Since there are many outstanding questions, we thought we’d go back over some of the background related to the movie and television rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, as well as relate some additional information also published yesterday at Deadline Hollywood.
Posted in Fellowship of the Ring, Hobbit Book, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, LotR Books, Return of the King, Television, The Hobbit, The Two Towers, Tolkien, Tolkien Estate, Warner Bros.
Join several staffers from TheOneRing.net next weekend for the last big TORn hosted event of the year. We will have a panel at Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con on Saturday, October 28 at 10am, room 403A at the LA Convention Center. Our panel is titled “80 years in Middle-earth, why Tolkien is still so relevant” and will cover several of the themes Tolkien uses in his stories, and discuss some of the many tangible ways Middle-earth is still being brought to life. We have a sneak peak at the new Shadow of War game and some more casting rumors for the Tolkien Biopic in the works. And best of all, they’ve given us 75 minutes to talk, rather than the regular 50 minutes we normally get, so maybe a little Tolkien singalong is in order.
Tickets and schedule information can be found at the Convention website and you can let us know you are coming at our Facebook Event Page by RSVPing.
Posted in ComicCon, Conventions, Events, Fans, Gaming, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, Meet Ups, Other Tolkien books, The Hobbit, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, Tolkien