We’re heading to Los Angeles ComicCon, and so should you! Join TheOneRing.net for our panel “Dispatches from Middle-earth: The Return to Middle-earth” on December 3rd, 2022 from 5:00-6:30pm in Room 303AB.

Join TheOneRing.net, the largest online Tolkien community, as we celebrate the anniversary of Peter Jackson’s The Two Towers and discuss the ever expanding list of new Lord of the Rings projects including TV, film, and games. We have updated details about the War of the Rohirrim animated movie to share with you. We’ll also take a deep-dive into breaking down season one of The Rings of Power and discuss what might be expected in the second season. Follow us on Discord Discord.gg/theonering or Twitter @theoneringnet for updates.

There’s always a surprise or two when we gather in Middle-earth, and now Númenor, too! Costumes are always welcome. We hope to see you there! December 3rd, 2022 from 5:00-6:30pm in Room 303AB. Elen síla lúmenn’ omentielvo.*

*A star shines on the hour of our meeting.

As the co-owner of this website, having been here from the very beginning, I’ve seen my share of online Tolkien community related collective anxiety. Our massive community is not dissimilar to that of Star Wars – we have our whacko fringe segment and we have the numbers to attract a matrix style army of Russian bots. 

Weeding through all … of … that … noise (if that sounds exhaustive, that’s intentional) is so hard to accomplish in 2022. Apparently with age, comes wisdom, and apparently with wisdom comes the ability to dissect myself from most of the drama in the lead up to ‘The Rings of Power.’ 

Sure, did I occasionally get caught up in the tasty morsels of ‘Tolkien with nudity’ or the ‘Gam(of Thrones)ification’ of Tolkien? I admit – it caught me every few months. But all in all, through most of this journey to September 2nd, I found myself more concerned about aggressively protecting the ‘good’ in our community. Protecting those of us who don’t tell you how to enjoy your Tolkien. Aggressively pursuing the bad actors, trolls and goblins of the online space. Yup, I’m looking squarely at you Twitter. Your cesspool of existence had me pretty close to closing down our official account a few times! 

Calisuri & Xoanan get One Rings

Just a Casual Fan…

All that said, I decided to write my thoughts on ‘The Rings of Power’ today because I feel I may represent a segment of our community that simply is Tolkien adjacent these days. Sure, we were avid fans and very active 20 years ago, but work, families, and simply time have calmed that passion down…just a tad.

I should also mention, for the umpteenth time, that I am a ‘Hobbit’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ reader. I tried to read the Silmarillion ages ago…not again. Nope, I didn’t read the Histories of Middle-earth or the new books that mystically appear every few years. I’m just a fan of Tolkien’s most popular works – judge me if you will. 

With the multiple premiere’s happening around the globe, TORn staff were attending and reporting through the generosity of Amazon. Last week, I had actually scored a pass to the NYC Premiere, but after an enjoyable vacation I came back with a cold worthy of Sauron’s envy. I had even bought a sweet outfit for the occasion, but alas, it was not to be. (Nope, it wasn’t COVID, oddly enough.)

So like everyone else, I waited patiently until the show premiered last night on my Amazon Prime account. I should also note, that I’m such a casual fan these days, that I ended up watching the first half of the Penn State vs. Purdue American football game (PS – Penn State is where this website found its genesis), before deciding to check to see if ‘The Rings of Power’ was out a bit early. And yay…it was!

So it begins. Lights off, Apple AirPods Pro Max activated, and let’s do this!

My first thought… my first reaction… Welp… this is exactly what I wanted to see. They got me. I’m in. 

I’m going to share a minor-spoiler stream of thoughts. I’m doing this for those of you who are like me – casual, Tolkien adjacent fans. Folks who may not be the most educated Tolkien scholars of the bunch – nor – *gasp* – really want to be. Folks who don’t want to participate in the drama of the community and just want to watch a good show and celebrate with the community. 

So my quick review: this show nails it.

I wanted – no, needed – a thread – a connection to the films I so loved 20 years ago. ‘The Rings of Power’ delivers big time. 

Just a few clear reasons why…

  • We get Galadriel, one of the best characters in all of Tolkien’s works, as the lead, the main focus of the series. I’m pretty sure I had not seen Morfydd Clark in any other show/movie before this show, and she is simply a gem. The strength she exudes with just a stare is mesmerizing, and her acting prowess is top notch. This series is in great hands with her in the lead role. The decision to focus on Galadriel from the very start is genius. I truly want to know her story, and I can’t wait to learn more. 
  • We get breathtaking action and visuals. How cool is it to see battle sequences of Middle-earth in such gigantic scale. Did I really just watch a Fell Beast take out a giant eagle?!
  • We get amazing music from the talents of Bear McCreary. Throughout both episodes, it is clear Bear understands the musical ethos that is required for this world. So amazing. (Yes – already listening on loop while working!)
  • We get a taste of the innocence and simplicity of Hobbits with the whole Eleanor Brandyfoot plot. Markella Kavenagh is wonderfully cast in this role as a bright eyed mischievous Hobbit…err…Harfoot. In fact, when I look at her, I think of those quick takeaway shots of those cute Hobbits watching fireworks. (Pretty sure those were PJs kids?) And I’m pretty sure, by the end of this series, we are going to get the clear implication that Bilbo and Frodo are descendants of Eleanor. (Oh wait, my lack of Tolkien knowledge might be coming through…is that already spelled out in a genealogical chart somewhere?)
  • We get an Elf military that is stationed throughout areas of Middle-earth to protect her ungrateful residents? Noice! Wait – a Legolas 2.0 with Ismael Cruz Córdova’s Arondir? YES. If you aren’t excited to see him kick some major arse in this series, check your pulse. BTW – he’s okay right? I mean…we did get a bit of a cliffhanger with him in Episode 2. (Obviously we do)
  • We get to see a whole thriving Dwarven culture. Am I really under the mountain and watching the genesis of semi-familiar names and their eventual (spoiler!) downfall? After all, I did see that Balrog in the trailer…you all are going to delve too deep…aren’t you…?
  • We get some REALLY impressively designed baddies. That orc/goblin that shows up in Bronwyn and Theo’s house…nightmare fuel. The ‘worm’ of the ocean – can I can get a fine art print of that in someway? That brief look right before taking out the raft…yikes! 
  • Who the heck is this Meteor Man? How cool would that be if that’s Gandalf? Probably won’t be – but I’m game for having no clue, and finding out as the show unfolds. I do get a baddie vibe, but obviously they are trying to lead the viewer in that direction.
  • Hold up. I was worried this show might not be something I could watch with the family. Sure, the baddies are a bit scary, but as of right now, this is a family (10+) show. Well done, Amazon!

Two episodes in, and there is so much to love about this series. 

You know you got it right when…

The biggest compliments I can give this series are twofold:

  1. I did not look at my phone the entire time. This is pretty impressive, considering the Penn State game was very close at halftime and I had relatives and friends dinging my phone and watch. The ‘tap’ of the watch was going mad at some points during the show, but I was so engaged in the show, I didn’t bother. And also…I ALWAYS look at my phone during shows.
  2. I usually will make myself some popcorn during shows. I’ll get up, walk away from the TV with my headphones on and watch from the kitchen. Nope – not in this case. Popcorn was only made when the first episode ended.

In summary, I’m fully in. Well done to the entire team involved in this production. Sure, it was insanely expensive, but for this Tolkien adjacent fan, you’re nailing it. 

If you are a casual fan of Tolkien and Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings, you are going to absolutely love ‘Rings of Power.’

DragonCon is upon us! For the first time since 2019, the full Dragon (almost – numbers are slightly limited again this year) is being awakened. And TORn staffers are there to share the fun.

You can find staffers deej and greendragon at TORn’s ‘fan table’ (which we believe will be in our usual spot, in the Hyatt opposite the entrance to the Art Show) throughout the con. We’ll have new button and shirt designs on sale, and all kinds of fun things for fans to look at. You can also sign up at the table for the Evening at Bree costume contest! (Sign up is also available in the High Fantasy Track Room, Marriott L401-403).

Events of interest to Tolkien fans during DragonCon are as follows:

Thursday 1st 7pm TORn’s Rings of Power preview

A last chance to speculate what’s coming in Prime Video’s highly anticipated show, before it becomes available to watch at 9pm ET. Spoiler-free speculation! Marriott room A601-602

Friday 2nd 5.30pm Behind the Scenes of The Rings of Power

TORn staffer greendragon hosts a panel with very special guests artist John Howe and dialect coach Leith McPherson, talking about their work on The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power – and beyond. Hilton Grand West

Friday 2nd 8.30pm An Evening at Bree

TORn is delighted to join the High Fantasy track again to host a long standing DragonCon tradition. Party like a Hobbit! We have three live bands this year, to get toes (hairy and otherwise) tapping – The Brobdingnagian Bards, Beth Patterson, and Landloch’d. We’ll also have the Elf Choir, and of course the costume contest. If you’d like to enter, please sign up in advance of the evening, at the TORn fan table or the High Fantasy track room. Our panel of judges this year will be cosplayer Joshua Duart, together with very special guests John Howe and Leith McPherson.

Saturday 3rd 1pm War of the Rohirrim

Find out more about this exciting anime film, telling the tale of Helm Hammerhand – coming April 2024. Marriott room L401-403

Monday 5th 10am Rings of Power After Hour

Discuss and reflect on the first two episodes, and what may or may not be to come this season and beyond!

Let the games begin! Please come and say hi if you’re in Atlanta; see you in the belly of the beast!

Here’s a somewhat overlooked piece of news from a little while back! On June 15, voice actor Alex Jordan announced that he had a part in the Warner Bros Animation/New Line Cinema feature The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim.

However, it seems that his name was inadvertently omitted from the orginal English voice cast list given to Deadline at the same time. As a result, knowledge of Jordan’s involvement pretty much slipped under the radar.

More interestingly, Jordan has provided the name of the character he will be voicing — an completely original character by the name of Lord Frygt.

Seemingly a strange name, but Scandanavian friends on TORn’s IRC channel tell me that Frygt is a Danish word that means “fear”. One could interpret it as Lord Fear or Lord Fright.

Helm Hammerhand concept art for The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim

At first I wondered, if the use of Danish could be related to the use of Anglo-Saxon to name the other original character we’ve heard of so far — Helm’s daughter, Héra.

Is it meant to be a Dunlending word? Unfortunately, the only Dunlending word we know of is “forgoil”. It seems to impossible to judge by extrapolating our knowledge of Tolkien. But Dunlending is supposedly related to the language of the Haladin, so it seems more likely it might be Rohirric? I’m no language expert so if anyone knows better, let me know!

A name like Lord Fear seems a little ominous as a name for someone of the Rohirrim. Could it be a Dunlending person instead? That seems a little unlikely since the leaders of the Dunlending faction are the Rohirrim lords (and outlaws), Freca and Wulf.

Instead, perhaps it’s meant to be an appellation give by either the Rohirrim or the Dunlendings to something else. Because I’m reminded of something that Philippa Boyens said when I interviewed her in June just after the casting announcement:

I can give you a little tease and let you know that, although we said this isn’t about The Ring and this isn’t about the Dark Lord … there are the White Mountains and there are creatures [out there]. We know that there were orcs around this area.

Exclusive: Philippa Boyens talks The War of The Rohirrim with TheOneRing.net

She also confirmed that these creatures she’s referring to are definitely not the dead men of Erech.

I think Lord Frygt will emerge as some non-human being feared by either the Dunlendings, or by the Rohirrim. Or both.

The War of the Rohirrim will be released in theatres worldwide on April 12, 2024.

About the author: Staffer Demosthenes has been involved with TheOneRing.net since 2001, serving first as an Associate News Editor, then as Chief News Editor during the making of the Hobbit films. Now he focuses on features and analysis. The opinions in this article are his own and do not necessarily represent those of TheOneRing.net and other staff.

In a spy report for the ages, we’re excited to reveal Amazon is already planning an animated spin off from their Rings of Power series.

THE LORD OF THE RINGS (1978)

Anticipating the success of the show, premiering September 2nd on Prime Video, the creative team at Amazon are working on a children’s cartoon series. Here’s what our inside source told us:

The inspiration for the show came from the opening of The Hobbit, when Bilbo first encounters Gandalf. He remarks that the wizard ‘was responsible for so many quiet lads and lasses going off into the Blue for mad adventures. Anything from climbing trees to visiting Elves ­ or sailing in ships, sailing to other shores!’ We thought it would be great to hear the stories of the other Hobbits, who had been on adventures with Gandalf in the past.

With this new series, we’re hoping to make ‘Saturday Morning Cartoons’ exciting, educational and fun again, with wholesome entertainment that is both silly, yet meaningful for the whole family. We’re delighted that Sir Lenny Henry, an actor with a well-known pedigree in comedy and family entertainment, has agreed to voice one of the main characters of the show. With such a distinguished performer already on board, we’re hoping to persuade Sir Ian McKellen to voice Gandalf for us. You really can’t have Gandalf without Sir Ian.

There hasn’t been a final title decision yet. ‘Adventure Hobbits’ was our first thought, but because The Rings of Power is set in the Second Age of Middle-earth, we’re featuring Harfoots in that series. So then we wanted to go with ‘Adventure Harfoots’; but of course the Istari didn’t arrive in Middle-earth until early in the Third Age – so can we blur the lines and have Gandalf and Harfoots together? Then of course there is the additional dilemma about whether it should be ‘Adventure Harfoots’ or ‘Adventure Harfeet’… It’s still a work in progress.

Here at TORn we’re speculating that Amazon may also have wanted to create something to go up against Warner Bros.’ animated Middle-earth tale, The War of the Rohirrim, which is slated for release in April 2024. Now Amazon will have their own animated adventure from Arda. There hasn’t been a cartoon Hobbit since the days of the Rankin/Bass movies; we can’t wait to see the first images from this upcoming show.

Bilbo as he appeared in the Rankin/Bass ‘The Hobbit’ animated film (1977)

Staff from TheOneRing.net will be at Wondercon this weekend in Anaheim and this project is one of many we will be discussing in our Middle-earth! Coming to your TV this Fall presentation. Look for us tonight in room North 200A at 4:30 pm, tickets are still available online and at the door. 

One of the continual questions that has come up since the first announcement of The War of the Rohirrim is whether the Kenji Kamiyama-directed effort will be 2D or 3D.

(To say that many anime aficionados have mixed feelings about the use of full 3D would be somewhat of an understatement.)

Last year, WOTR producer (and now Senior Vice President of Anime and Action Series at Warner Bros.) Jason DeMarco answered on his personal twitter that the film would be in 2D. Yesterday he re-confirmed that the feature-length animation would be 2D — there has been no change of direction.

Some of the confusion (and concern) seems to arise from the involvement of Sola Entertainment. Sola Ent. is the parent company of Sola Digital Arts. It was Sola Digital Arts that animated full-3D works such as Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045, Ultraman, and Bladerunner: Black Lotus.

But as one of the editors of longtime anime news source Anime News Network points out on their forums: The War of the Rohirrim “may be being made by a different division of Sola Entertainment, or by a studio outsourced from it. Notably, [the] production studio is listed on Sola’s own website as ‘Sola Entertainment/TBC.'”

DeMarco also reinforced that several alumni from the Peter Jackson films are involved in the production:

Do we have Weta on board? YUP
Do we have Philippa Boyens on board? YUP
Do we have John Howe on board? YUP
DO WE HAVE ALAN FUCKING LEE ON BOARD?? HELL YEAH WE DO

The War of the Rohirrim concept art.