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Trilogy Tuesday

In the world of diehard Tolkienites the mere mention of Trilogy Tuesday invokes feelings of great anticipation and hand wringing glee. In what is sure to become part of Tolkien fandom history, New Line will present the extended editions of the Fellowship of the Ring and the Two Towers on the eve of the debut of Return of the King. This one time, one night only event will happen on December 16th in select theaters.

Never in cinematic history has a movie studio willing gone out of their way for fans. Yet New Line has done exactly that. This special event wasn’t even promoted other than with some internet news and group mail being the extent of what New Line used. The official site of LOTR didn’t carry the locations of the participating theaters until a week before the tickets went on sale. Once the news was out there it was picked up by fans and became a media frenzy. Website after website carried blurbs regarding this “once in a lifetime” fandom event.

On October 8th thousands of tickets went on sale in 99 theaters across the United States. If you blinked you were simply out of luck. There was no time to sit and ponder if this would be something you wanted to attend. Only New Line knows for sure how many tickets actually sold. Estimates found that at least between 25,000 and 60,000 tickets were sold. Many tickets were sold online before theater box offices even opened. The online sites sold out within hours of making them available. Popular online sites were shut down because of the overload of people trying to purchase them. Some theaters had fans that camped out up to 48 hours in order to be first in line and being sure they got their tickets. Whatever theater was available the fans took them. Some would have to drive for hours but for this special event the trip would become their own quest for the One Ring.

New Line went out of their way to bring fans something special. Prints of these movies were minted just for this occasion. This would be the first time ever that the extended editions would be shown on the big screen. It was to give back a little of what fans had given them. Did they have any clue that this event would become so huge? Probably not. Hundreds of people were turned away disappointed that they could not get tickets. LOTR related websites received tons of emails from angry fans asking why New Line didn’t make more theaters or more tickets available, and had they done so would the event still have been a “once in a life time” kind of thing?

There is no telling what New Line will bring us in the future. Perhaps once Return of the King has run its course they will consider running all their extended editions together in another trilogy event, this time making it available for a longer period of time and to more people. Only time will tell.

by LadyCeleborn

Let The Hobbit Happen! Update

Let The Hobbit Happen has announced that the online petition, campaigning for ‘The Hobbit’ to be made into a movie, has reached 10,000 signatures and a copy will soon be sent to all the studios, and possibly one to Peter as well.

On a related note, the site now has over 300 members, including CoE!

The Scouring of . . . Saruman

The disappointing news of Saruman’s removal from the Return of the King has been confirmed by none other than Christopher Lee himself. On his official site he commented that his evil character, Saruman, was taken out of the last part of the trilogy. Mr. Lee was understandably shocked at this event because his character should have been part of the climax of ROTK. My first impression was “wow”. Saruman has been part of the trilogy since Fellowship so why remove him now?

Nonetheless, this event has caused an uproar among the many fans of the movies, books and of Christopher Lee himself. Questions of how it will affect the storyline of the movie have run from one end of the spectrum to the other. How will Peter Jackson explain the missing wizard? The last we saw of Saruman was during the attack of the Ents upon Isengard. The wizard was quite visible standing in the doorway of the door and then slamming the doors shut. Won’t viewers wonder what happen to him? Are we to assume that the Ents were the ones that destroyed him? What happened to Grima? The last shot of him was also in the tower. Common sense tells us that Saruman’s removal will disturb the logic of the storyline. How will it explain how Pippin winds up with the palantir? It’s not something the Fellowship happened to pick up on the way. For those fans that have not read the books they will have no idea how they came to have it.

What it all boils down to is time. Peter Jackson’s thought was that The Two Towers couldn’t handle a 7 minute “wrap” after the scenes in Helm’s Deep so it was set aside for the opening of Return of the King. But because Saruman plays no role in the events that occur in ROTK the decision was made to remove it and save it for the DVD release. It will be assumed that Saruman and Grima were destroyed by the Ents. Now in a movie that is rumored to be more than 3 hours long why is 7 minutes going to make that much of a difference? To me, the time decision is rather weak. The FOTR had a lot of pointless scenes such as that Troll in the caves of Moira. What was the point in that? In TTT it is Aragorn’s supposedly “plunge to his death” scene. Come on, we know he’s not going to die. There wouldn’t be a Return of the King had that happened. So, again…what’s the point? Saruman’s scene is a memorable one. It brings to an end a part of the movie that has kept us spellbound through the first two. It provides a way of forwarding the plot of the movie regarding the aforementioned palantir and how the Fellowship came to have it. Surely the absence of this scene will cause some head scratching and some wide eyed confusion among viewers who will ask themselves, “where did that wizard go?”

People will miss this scene. Even those of us that are not big Saruman or Grima fans will notice their absence. Peter Jackson has not led us astray so far. Granted, some of his decisions and actions have been questionable but New Line has done a remarkable job so far. I, for one, will reserve judgment until I have actually seen Return of the King. We might all be in for a surprise or two. It’s happened before.

by LadyCeleborn

Review of The Return of the King

Warning this review is riddled with spoilers. If you haven’t seen The Return of the King yet, shame on you.

Acting: 9/10
As we have come to expect from these films the cast was spectacular. I found there to be no weak performances. Particular mention must go to Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Billy Boyd (Pippin) and John Noble (Denethor) whose acting on the Minas Tirith set was phenomenal. We saw the character of Pippin mature and change before our very eyes and his scenes with Gandalf were heartfelt. In many eyes Sean Astin was the real star of the film and true his performance was both emotive and evocative but at times I felt he was a little overacting.

Editing: 7/10
If anything let the film down it would be the editing. At times this was done shoddily and it showed. The previous films seemed to run seamlessly but in The Return of the King some scenes didn’t link together and was quite obvious to a Tolkien fan like me that there were scenes missing. Often you could see there were scenes cut that probably will appear in the extended edition. Most of it was well executed but there were just those few things that let the side down.

Computer Graphics: 10/10
What can I say other than this film had the most realistic and most stunning special effects I have ever seen in a film. Almost every shot had a computer-enhanced element. Being a techie in my spare time made me pay attention to the details and there were very few scenes I could complain about. The best creations in my view were the evil beasts. The Fell Beasts and Oliphants were incredibly lifelike and interacted with their environments exceptionally well. The only computer graphic I didn’t like was the Legolas vs. the Mûmakil sequence. To me it just looked incredibly fake and with WETA producing so much great work on the film I was very disappointed. And then there is Gollum, yet again a masterpiece of modern technology. How they get those emotions into a digital character’s eyes I will never know.

Sets/Props: 9.5/10
Spectacular once again. New Zealand has so much natural beauty in the first place but with the inclusion of fantastic sets like Edoras and Minas Tirith, it all came together. Particular scenes which show the pure genius of Jackson’s use of landscape and sets include the awe-inspiring beacons scene in which we traveled over the snow-capped mountains of New Zealand and Gandalf and Pippin’s entry into the White City in which we see the Minas Tirith miniature in all its glory. As well as the huge epicness of the films sets and locations, the intricacy of the props and the minutest detail add to the film’s sheer brilliance.

Costumes and Make-up
From the sharpness and harshness of the orcish armour to the elegance and beauty of the elvish gowns, the costume and make-up team have continued their efforts and provided us with both consistency and originality.

Plotline: 8/10
As we have come to expect Peter Jackson has taken some liberties with the plot, but on the whole he has got the feel of the book. We have a somewhat unusual Denethor death scene as well as a huge conflict between Frodo and Sam with Gollum as the instigator. There are some new scenes which adds to the film immensely, one of the most notable being the beacons of Gondor which are only hinted at in the book. The only minus point was the ending. The scenes at the grey havens were dragged out too long to remain interesting…

Music: 9.5/10
Howard Shore did a wonderful job with the music – as usual. The best parts were certainly those in which the music had a function in the storyline; for example the song of Billy Boyd in Gondor, or the lines of Viggo Mortensen at Aragorn’s coronation. The flute of James Galway brought an extra dimension to the soundtrack, from tin whistle to flute, he contributed to the atmosphere of the different tracks.

All in all the movie was a wonderful experience, a worthy ending to the trilogy.

by Vaulrir

The Two Towers Extended Edition: A Review

18 November 2003: Millions of Lord of the Rings fans run to their local store (or wait by the mailbox) for the Extended Edition of The Two Towers. For some, the original three hours of Hobbits, Orcs, Ents and Men is long enough, but others never seem to grow tired of it. No less than 4 DVDs filled with new movie scenes, documentaries and production photos.

But what do these 4 DVDs have to offer us? And can they actually enhance the already fantastic second part of Tolkien’s trilogy?

“I think that the extra minutes added to the film will make other happenings seem a whole lot clearer. I finished reading the books before I even saw the original version of The Two Towers, but when I saw the movie, I was a still a bit confused on some things.”

Most of the extra scenes are background information on the characters or further explanations of little things. A perfect example of the latter is the scene in which Aragorn tames the late Théodred’s unruly horse Brego by whispering soothing words in Elvish. “The scene in which Aragorn tamed Brego is a very good addition, as it explains why Brego returns for him after he is (supposedly) killed by the Warg-riders. That was always one of these things that made me think ‘how on Earth did that horse get there?’.”

All around the internet there were spoilers to be found, from blurry pictures to complete transcripts. On top of that, many fans have already read the books, so they basically know what to expect. Aren’t there any surprises left? Of course, Peter Jackson makes sure there are always surprises…

“I was shocked at Éowyn’s little confession of love to Aragorn. That completely floored me! I thought ‘How brazen can you get?’ considering that is not in the book at all. It seemed a bit overboard on the love tension between Éowyn and Aragorn.”

The character who has benefited the most from the extra scenes, however, would probably be the Steward’s youngest son, Faramir. We see a scene in which Denethor completely turns Faramir down, bluntly telling him he is not good for anything. Boromir refuses to go to Rivendell for the Council, Faramir volunteers to go in his place, but Denethor refuses to send his youngest. “After seeing Boromir chosen over Faramir, it made sense why Faramir would want the Ring. That may not happen in the book, but at least it was explained to us why in the world Faramir runs off with Frodo and Sam to Osgiliath.”

“I think the enhancements to TTT were better than those to FotR, if that is possible.”
“I think it’s a very wise decision to extend these movies.”
“The extra scenes just make it all more complete.”
“You can tell that a lot of hard work and love went into these movies.”

— Thanks go to Charis, Malifur14 and a person who wishes to remain anonymous for sharing their thoughts on the Extended Edition!

by LadyRanger

The Council of Entwives

On April 5th, the Council of Elrond officially launched it ‘sister-site’ – The Council of Entwives.

You can visit The Council of Entwives here

This site sprang from an idea within the CoE Realms for something those members could participate in as a group. An intra-realm tree planting was decided upon but other questions arose. “What if members don’t have the time/space to plant? Where to put the pictures of our work? What about charities? Stories and folk lore?” These ideas blossomed into the CoeW, a web site devoted to Tolkien’s vision of conserving the ‘green spaces’ of our world.

Each participating Realm chose an area to cover and include the following:

-Planting guides and tips
-National/International news
-Folklore and quotes

The Realms currently participating are: Aulë, Estë, Lorien, Manwë, Nienna, Ulmo and Yavanna.

Stop by and take a look at this wonderful site won’t you? Let it inspire you to share in Tolkien’s and CoE’s vision to preserve our fragile planet!

by Naurlas

Rivka’s Report

CoE recently had its two year anniversary, and it’s amazing to see how much the site has grown since its initial beginnings. I want to take a moment to thank all of you for visiting the site, and helping to build it with your ideas, your comments, and your content. Additionally, I want to send a heartfelt thanks to the staff, who all do an incredible job in their areas, and help to keep me sane 🙂

The site has been kept busy for the past few months, despite the movies being done and over with, and it would seem from the number of visitors to the site, you all agree that CoE is still a pretty fun place to be! If you’ve been paying attention to changes around the site, you’ve likely noticed new features such as the Gallery Slideshow, spellchecker in the Forums and Journals, and lots of other new features in the Forums and My Account areas.

Our goal from this point forward is to continue to expand our Books section, and add more fun and useful community features, while filling out any gaps in our movie content. Towards that end, you can look forward to the following features being added soon:

– Pick Your Own Path (Choose-your-own-adventure type stories)
– Extended Edition Movie Scripts
– Books vs. Movies (a comparison of the books versus the movies)
– Guestmap (where in the world is everyone coming from)
– Fan Creations Forum (for discussion of Fan Art, Fanfiction, and Last Homely House crafts)
– Several new games to be added over the coming months

We invite all of you to read the Suggestions thread in the Announcements Forum, and add any ideas you might have to improve the site. We really do care about what you want and think — the site isn’t much without its members, and we want to do what we can to make your visits fun and enjoyable. Here’s to another two years of Lord of the Rings news, discussion, and friends!


Recent Additions to CoE

As you already know there is always something soothing being added to the site. Here are some that you might find interesting.

Elrond’s Library:
An article on Gondolin, the great hidden city of the Elves
An section on the Maiar containing articles on Sauron, Olórin (Gandalf), and Curomo (Saruman)
The Stars of Middle Earth
A History of the Rohirrim
Articles on The First, Second and Third Houses of the Edain
Helm Hammerhand, the ninth king of Rohan
Beren son of Barahir, Mortal hero of the first age
Boromir of Gondor – a personal view
Húrin son of Galdor, the last lord of the Dor-Lómin
Eärendil the Mariner, father of Elrond
An article on the influence the Finnish masterpiece, The Kalevala, had on Tolkien

Gaming Section:
An article on the ROTK game
A review of the ROTK game of Xbox by Olorin the White

Movies Section:
Merry & Pippin: Comic Relief or Independent Characters
Shot by shot discussion of the RotK trailer

General Additions:
The Weaponry Section
The Green Dragon Inn forum

by tsproffitt

*editor’s note: there have been more additions to the site since this article was written so while you check out these articles take a look through their sections to see what else is new

Casting Forum: To Drool or not to Drool

Need a place to voice your thoughts and feelings over a cast member in Lord of the Rings? Have you found yourself with a crush on a certain Elf or Ranger? Perhaps there is a character in one of the movies that you just adore, or maybe the actor or actress that portrays that character. Then I have a solution for you. Enter the world of the casting forum! Here you will find others that also have a thing or two to say about the cast of LOTR.

When the Fellowship of the Ring was released we were introduced to actors and actresses that we have seen before and some that we have not. Their characters included rangers, elves and hobbits. Websites, such as fan clubs and fan sites, sprang up overnight dedicated to these people and their characters. One particular actor’s portrayal of an Elf wrought thousands of sites dedicated to his “bloomin” personality. Girls from the age of 5 and up into their 50’s and beyond found themselves with crushes on these characters. I’ll even admit I’m guilty of that. My crush started many years ago with the introduction of Éomer in the Two Towers book. It’s never failed me. The movies only made my fascination with him more intense.

So where do you go when you need to vent all those “crush” feelings that these wonderful characters have influenced? Why, the casting forum, of course. Here you will find threads that run from “Comfort and confess your crush” to “What actor would you recast”. Feel like you need to drool a little over Aragorn? How about professing your undying admiration for Legolas? Then the casting forum will suit your needs. Spend a little time there. Get to know the other members of CoE who think and feel along the lines that you do when it comes to these cast members. Have you ever thought that you might like to write a fan letter? Then the casting forum will help you with that as well. You can find addresses and FAQ there for a lot of the cast members. Hey, send them a letter and a self-addressed stamped envelope. You might just get a signed photograph back. Actors and actresses know their jobs depend on fans. If we didn’t go to the movies they wouldn’t have a job. Besides, who wouldn’t like a lovely picture of Orlando to hang above their computer.

Come visit the casting forum! What cast member is your favorite? Voice your thoughts on what actor or actress makes you happy. Let others know which character has brought a smile to your face. Or just simply come and do a little drooling. Race you there!

by LadyCeleborn

A Short Word on the Green Dragon Inn

The Green Dragon Inn is the newest forum here at Council of Elrond, and one of the most diverse. Ranging in topics from Middle Earth decorating to Weaponry, the Green Dragon is one of the most enjoyable forums here at COE. Moderated by Happy_Hobbit and Goldsand, the Green Dragon first appeared back in November of 2003 to great popularity. Here you can find things related to Tolkien that just do not fit into the books, or movies forum. You can post about weaponry, plays, art, exhibitions, Middle earth decorating, and Tolkien himself. So whether your question is about Orcrist, or finding the right fabric for your Arwen costume, come over and visit the Green Dragon Inn, there’s always someone there to help you out. See you there!

by tsproffitt