It's one of the great literary tragedies of our age that Lord of the Rings, not its sprightlier prequel, served as the blueprint for modern fantasy. Returning to The Hobbit is like visiting a lost world, one which 20th century fantasy left behind. It’s almost surprising in how much fun it is compared to the exhausting trudges that followed. So with the third and final Hobbit film now upon us, it’s worth asking: why was it Lord of the Rings, not this sprightlier prequel, which served as the blueprint for modern high fantasy?
Stephen Colbert, dressed as Legolas. (note: animated GIFs)
How I Defeated the Tolkien Estate. [The Toast]
The long and tangled history of video game adaptations of the worlds of JRR Tolkien.
Artist William Puck creates a set of LOTR-inspired notices for the New York Subway. [more inside]
So, you want to eat like a hobbit do you? The big old dragon of Middle-Earth recipes is the charmingly retro 'Middle-Earth Recipes' (now with a more modern and photo-friendly blog version ) from which NPR's Beth Accomando has complied an all-day feasting menu suitable for marathon watching (or reading) assorted Lord Of The Rings media while Recipewise sticks to foods served by Bilbo in The Hobbit itself and explains the Victorian convention of high vs. low tea. (Author Diane Duane's own Hobbit-inspired recipe, Took Family Seed Cake can be made with poppy rather than caraway seed if that's your thing) Need something to do while digesting? Why not read about the history and meaning of the rural comfort food in Tolkien at Strange Horizons " Well Stocked Larders: Food And Diet Of Hobbits" by Stephanie Green.
To define the world of The Hobbit is, of course, impossible, because it is new. - C.S. Lewis reviews The Hobbit. Why Smaug Sill Matters. Tolkien, Alignment, Non-Violence, and Why Hobbits are Required for Middle-earth to Survive. "‘Smaug’ is about almost absolutely nothing". Scientist maps climate of Lord of the Rings.
John Boorman's Lord Of The Rings "Perhaps the most provocative change occurs in Lothlorien where, before gazing into Galadriel’s mirror, Frodo must become intimate with her."
Explaining the languages of Middle-Earth. Ever wonder how Peter Jackson and the Lord of the Rings writers developed lines of dialogue for the elves or dwarves when they weren't quoting directly from Tolkien? They asked David Salo, a linguist who specializes in Sindarin and the other languages of Middle Earth. [more inside]
For the release of the Hobbit, Lindsay Ellis of the Nostalgia Chick (previously) has decided to look back at all the LOTR films in order to analyze how they changed genre film-making, expected movie length, extended cuts, the problems of adaptation, and why Eowyn and Merry are made for each other. (Fellowship Of The Ring, Two Towers, Return Of The King Part 1, Part 2) Still need more? Then why not watch Kerry Shawcross and Chris Demarais of Rooster Teeth (previously) try to walk the 120+ mile journey across New Zealand from the filming location of Hobbiton in Matamata to the filming location of Mount Doom, Mount Ngauruhoe in A Simple Walk Into Mordor.
Lord Of The Rings... Re-enacted by Ponies. The Bronies bring forth what may be their greatest creation.
Emil Johansson is attempting to build a Family Tree that holds all of the characters in Middle Earth. As of today, there are 646 entries.
Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo! I WILL EAT YOUR SOULS! Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal the willow! I WILL EAT YOUR SOULS! Tom Bom, jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo! I WILL EAT YOUR SOULS!
Mordor’s going about it all wrong, incidentally. Harness all that geothermal energy, sell it to the humans, LIVE LIKE KINGS.
SF author and Mefi's Own Jscalzi was alone one night during a LOTR marathon and decided to live-tweet a running commentary.
An astonishing feat of archival reconstruction has turned up the original 1944 Lord of the Rings motion picture
The Lord of the Rings wasn't the only movie featuring The Beatles that never happened. Very early in their career, the group signed a three-movie deal with United Artists as a way to get increased publicity, with A Hard Day's Night (1964) and Help! (1965) being completed in short time. An early contender for their third film was a western comedy. Going quite a different direction was a "morbid and dull" work called Up Against It, seen by others as dated satire that read "like a rather mediocre early [Monty] Python movie." Continue on in for more ephemera from other rejected film projects by The Beatles. [more inside]
The Beatles' Lord of the Rings. Yes, that CNN article dates back to 2002, but Superpunch has recently had a contest to design posters for the film-that-never-happened (including a fake Wikipedia page for the film) and someone has written a fictional account of a fan discussing the film-that-never-happened with Paul McCartney, as if it had actually been made.
"...I heard animators critique the animation in my films as being 'too ruff'. Well, we didn't like it all either - but we LOVED what we were making..." [more inside]
Director Guillermo Del Toro has announced that he will no longer be directing The Hobbit, and has made a follow up statement today. Speculation is rife as to what he might work on next, having given up that massive commitment. Some are speculating, based on this AICN interview promoting the movie Splice, that going forwards with his adaptation of HP Lovecraft's At The Mountains of Madness may be on his mind again.
English Russia presents Lord of the Rings character illustrations from the USSR. [more inside]
Need some good music for a lazy Sunday? Bo Hansson, Swedish prog-rock organist recently passed away and he may have just what you need. So sit back and listen to some tracks off his most well known album Music Inspired By The Lord Of The Rings: Leaving Shire/The Old Forest & Tom Bombadil/Fog on the Barrow-Downs Black Riders/Flight to the Ford At the House of Elrond & The Ring Goes South Journey in the Dark Lothlorien Shadowfax Horns of Rohan and the Battle of the Pelennor Fields Dreams in the House of Healing Homeward Bound/The Scouring of the Shire The Grey Heavens [more inside]
Born Of Hope is a 71 minute fan-made prequel film available for online viewing. In the spirit of The Hunt For Gollum (previously), it fleshes out the Lord Of The Rings universe written about by J.R.R. Tolkien and depicted in the Peter Jackson films. The story here is that of the meeting of Aragorn's parents and his birth and early childhood, many decades before the events involving Frodo and the Fellowship.
It’s only natural that if you wish to present yourself as a well-read person, a certain degree of complete bullshit is required. There’s no shame in lying about what you’ve read. There’s only shame in getting caught. Then you look like a doofus, and an illiterate one at that... How to lie about books.
Middle Earth Filter: Peter Jackson and New Line to produce The Hobbit and a sequel. After a lengthy legal dispute between the director and the production company behind the epic Lord of the Rings trilogy, the two parties have come to a resolution - and Middle Earth will be back in cinemas in 2010 and 2011.
DM of the Rings (comic). The Lord of the Rings if it were a Dungeons and Dragons game. [more inside]
You've probably seen the video of Kirk and Spock set to "Closer." You might not be familiar with the wider world of fanvids, however. It might be "Lost" set to Warren Zevon or "Heroes" set to Jonathan Coulton. Some are slashy, others are just hilarious. And some are really awesome.
Star Wars in 5 Seconds. The Empire Strikes Back. Return of the Jedi. Dozens more from this YouTube user, including Batman; The Lord of the Rings I, II, and III; Amadeus; The Passion; The Princess Bride; Titanic; The Big Lebowski; and my personal favorite, The Lion King.
"In 5 seconds" not to be taken literally. Some audio may be NSFW.
"In 5 seconds" not to be taken literally. Some audio may be NSFW.
The Destruction of that Horrible, Annoying, Egotistical, Asinine, Off-Key and Exceedingly STUPID Ring, and the Return of Whatshisname
The Stupid Ring is 'Earth's largest Tolkien parody.' Given a taste of The Lord of the Rings on the big screen [warning: sound], some wacky Tolkien fans craved more. So they rewrote the entire book as a movie script. All sixty-plus chapters. Every scene, every song. And then some. Possibly while drunk.
The LoTR musical needs Hobbits of a certain stature. What stature is that, budding thespians might ask? Well, smoot-height, of course! (Actually, 5'7" — or 170 cm — is the maximum height a would-be Frodo or Bilbo could be.) Another requirement is the ability to sing two songs ... and hairy appendages wouldn't hurt. So start knitting those foot-merkins! Auditions: 18 September, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Catherine St (tube stop: Covent Garden).
Write your name in Tengwar, the Elvish language/alphabet created by JRR Tolkien. You can work with Tengwar fonts based on Middle Earth languages and runes and see many examples of the script via a Google Image search. According to Tolkien, "there is quite a bit of linguistic wisdom in it." There are certainly websites devoted to his languages and thier history. And It took some thought and work to make the speech sound right in the movies.
The (Mostly Improbable) Materials Science and Engineering of the Star Wars Universe; The Reel Thing: One Editor’s List of Great Material Moments in the Movies; Toy Story: Materials Engineering at Play, featuring an MPEG of Fluffy the three headed dog from Harry Potter barking thanks to Nanomuscle; Things that Go Boom in the Night: The Art and Science of Fireworks; Built to Battle, Robots Test Designers’ Mettle; Fabricating the Weapons and Armor of The Lord of the Rings; and, finally, Why Did the World Trade Center Collapse? Science, Engineering, and Speculation. All articles from the surprisingly interesting JOM: The Member Journal of The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society.
Lord of Rings Flatulence Mashup. [NSF mature people] [wmv 53 seconds]
Tricksy those hobbitses What happens when two girls bilk LotR fans, trick the celebrities, and leave a volunteer holding the bag? Continued fan outrage and careful tracking.
Once more, with hobbits... A Lord of the Rings / Buffy the Vampire Slayer adventure, heralded by the folks at the Z+Partners blog as "rip, mix culture" incarnate... offered here for your delectation.
New Zealand critic blasts LOTR. Big budget movie special effects have overshadowed the timeless are of storytelling and character development. "..The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy is, as a work of cinematic art, ham-fisted, shallow, bombastic and laughably overrated.." [More Quotes inside]
Why Gollum shouldn't win an Oscar. Many Lord of the Rings fans think Andy Serkis should be nominated for an Academy Award for his work in the films, but as Roger Ebert writes, the actor shouldn't benefit because animators kept Gollum from falling into the Uncanny Valley.
The Encyclopedia of Arda A reference guide to Tolkien-can't tell an orc from a Uruk-hai? Stumped at what the three kinds of hobbits are? This website has the answers. Nicely laid out site, too.
Once More With Hobbits - the Lord of the Rings meets Once More With Feeling, the Buffy the Vampire musical episode. There are only lyrics at the moment, but mp3s are promised soon. Until then, you'll have to sing along yourselves!
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