29 February 2012

Viggo Mortensen’s ‘Hobbit’ Interview

Viggo Mortensen was interviewed by The Boston Phoenix earlier today. Mortensen, who played Aragorn in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, will not be reprising his role in the upcoming Hobbit films.

I understand they’re doing two [Hobbit] movies. Now they may be doing two in order to be able to tell the whole story. I’ve heard the same rumors you probably have that the idea was to do some sort of bridge between “The Hobbit,” and – you know there’s a 60 odd year time span between the end of “The Hobbit” and the beginning of “The Lord of the Rings.” So they could feasibly have done that, since Aragorn lives much longer than humans do, being part Elf and all that. Sure, if it seemed like something they wanted to do, I guess I would have done it, and it would have been fun.
I really enjoyed working with New Zealanders as crew members, as teammates. They’re great, and it’s a beautiful country. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been and I’ve traveled quite a bit. It just has so many things. It’s a good feeling being there. I have fun with  most of the people that work on “Lord of the Rings,” too. Like the ones that did get to go back, some were obviously central to “The Hobbit.” Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Cate Blanchett and I guess Elijah went back for a small part, and Orlando Bloom as well. I know that they had a good time and so forth.
I go back there [New Zealand] occasionally. I have friends there, and go back there when I can. It would have been nice to have work, but apart from going back to New Zealand, I don’t have a strong contact with the filmmakers, but I do see a few of the actors here and there once in a while. It’s something that was an important part of all of our lives, and I have fond memories of it. If it would have been possible I would have returned [for the new movies.] But I don’t really feel – I mean nostalgia, in a sense. I have for many experiences, for many people I’ve known and places I’ve been. But I don’t feel sad. I don’t feel like suddenly it’s over now, or something. It was over when we finished it. I look forward to seeing what they do with it. I’ll be fun to see some the way they’ve adapted that book.

Unfortunately, at this point it’s highly unlikely that Mortensen will return to New Zealand to reprise his role as Aragorn, despite the return of many other Lord of the Rings cast members, such as Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, and even Elijah Wood, who will play only a minor role in the film.

Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Rights to 'West of Memphis'

It was just announced on Peter Jackson’s official Facebook page that worldwide rights to Amy Berg’s documentary West of Memphis have been acquired by Sony Pictures Classics.

The film, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20th, follows the investigation which led to the release of the imprisoned West Memphis Three – Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, Jr. – all of whom were convicted in 1994 of the 1993 murders of three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas.

The controversial case attracted widespread media attention and spawned three HBO documentaries. Additionally, the case caught the attention of several celebrities – notably director Peter Jackson and his partner, Fran Walsh. 

The premiere of West of Memphis, produced by Jackson, Walsh, and Echols and his wife Lorri Davis, attracted a full audience. Jackson, who introduced the film to an audience in which parents of the victims and several other people involved in the case were present, spoke again after the film, tearfully discussing the flaws in the American justice system. “It shows how fragile it is,” he said of the documentary, and “how the justice system can derail.” 

"I hope the film will serve as a platform for a broader discussion about the failures of our criminal justice system nationwide," director Amy Berg noted. "I'm very excited for this powerful story to be making its way to theaters and know that having Sony Pictures Classics as our partner is the surest way to catapult our film to the widest possible audience."

Negotiations between Sony Pictures Classics and Ken Kamins, Jackson and Walsh’s manager and the film’s executive producer, led to Sony acquiring the rights to the documentary, making it the third 2012 Sundance film to be acquired by Sony (the company also bought Celeste and Jesse Forever and Searching for Sugar Man).

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 244: Ohtar

Ohtar (S. ‘Warrior’) was the Esquire of Isildur, and one of the three Dúnedain who survived the Battle of the Gladden Fields. Ohtar at first refused to leave his companions, but at Isildur’s command, he escaped with the remains of Narsil, and eventually managed to cross the Misty Mountains and make it into Rivendell. Here Valandil, Isildur’s heir, had been anxiously awaiting news of his father and brothers. During the War of the Ring, Narsil was reforged into Andúril and used in the war against Sauron.

Cumberbatch: 'The Hobbit' is Going to be 'Amazing'

MTV News recently spoke with Benedict Cumberbatch, who will be taking on two roles in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films. Cumberbatch spoke highly of director Jackson and friend/co-star Martin Freeman.

“I was very lucky [to work] with Pete,” he said. “As far as the experience, what an extraordinary one it was because at the time I was in my work; I was in isolation with him and this incredible tag team. And at the very cool place with that technology doing mo-cap for two characters, Smaug the dragon and another character, which will remain nameless, and it was an awful lot of fun.”

“It’s a sort of wonderful ongoing process,” he said of working on his two roles. “I spent a lot of time recording voice as well as doing movements. So, it was sort of freeing; it was fun. It was like playing a game. It’s going to be an amazing film; it’s going to be a real treat. I watched ‘The Lord of the Rings’ again before I started working, and the way those films grow in depth of craft on every level are extraordinary. Their mark is for that.”

As for working alongside friend and Sherlock co-star Martin Freeman again? The actor notes that when the two were on set together, keeping a straight face was difficult.

“It was great. I got to hang out with him, and I kept a straight face for a bit and then I started giggling because I know Martin, I don’t know Bilbo,” Cumberbatch said with a grin. “For Martin to be sitting there playing Bilbo is amazing. He’s going to be amazing, he’s going to be fantastic in this film.”

Update Adds 7 New Areas to Explore

With its latest update, Turbine will add seven new explorable areas to the Lord of the Rings Online – including Thinglad, Parth Celebrant, Eorlsmead, the Wailing Hills, the Limlight Gorge, the Brown Lands, and the Rushgore.

LOTRO's Mithril Edition

Last Monday, the anticipated Mithril Edition of Turbine’s popular MMORPG, The Lord of the Rings Online, was released exclusively in GameStop stores.

This was part of a big push to satisfy box collectors – who lost out when the previous expansions, Siege of Mirkwood and Rise of Isengard, were released as digital downloads – and to keep the game on the shelves of retailers. The game had previously vanished from most stores after LOTRO became free-to-play; Mithril Edition is the first retail edition of LOTRO in over three years.

So what exactly does this version cover, and is it worth purchasing?

When you purchase the Mithril Edition, you will receive not only a free ‘Steed of the Horse-Lords’ mount, 2000 Turbine Points, and the Path of the Fellowship quest pack (which covers the regions of the Trollshaws, Eregion, the Mines of Moria, and Lothlórien), but the game also comes with a starter guide and keyboard map for new players.

The game itself – valued at $50 – is selling for just $29.99. If you’re new to LOTRO, this is definitely the way to go. This edition does not cover any subscription fees, so you would be starting out in free-play, but with a bit of a leg up on other gamers. (And of course, you can always decide to subscribe later.)

For current gamers (especially subscribers), unless you’re in the habit of collecting mounts and game boxes, then this option may not be for you. However, keep in mind that 2000 Turbine Points will set you back $25 in the LOTRO store; so for an extra $4.99, you’d also have a new mount, disc copies of the game, and a quest pack for those who are not subscribers or who are considering dropping down to free-play.

If you've purchased the Mithril Edition, I'd like to know your thoughts. Please feel free to leave a comment below!

28 February 2012

Wild Things With Dominic Monaghan

Dominic Monaghan has signed on to front a new travel series, titled Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan, which will be co-funded by C5, OLN, and BBC America.

In Wild Things, Monaghan will set out to track down a wide variety of rare and life-threatening insects – among them army ants, venomous centipedes, and scorpions. He will visit such locations as Ecuador, Venezuela, Cameroon, Namibia, Thailand, and Borneo.

"I have been obsessed and interested in nature all my life,” Monaghan said. “This show brings together years of excited preparation by finally creating a series that demonstrates my love for travel, animals, adventure and people.”

“We know Dominic will leave no stone unturned in his quest to unearth the world’s deadliest bugs on this exciting expedition, which should prove irresistible with viewers,” said Andrew O’Connell, head of factual at C5.

Perry Simon, General Manager at BBC America, added that, “Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan introduces our audience to creatures typically only seen in fantasy or science fiction. We are among the many fans of Dominic's work, and it is his genuine love and knowledge of these creatures and the production team's global ambition that inspired us to make this series an important part of our slate of new originals.”

The series, which is being produced by Cream Productions and Wildfire Television, will be distributed internationally by ITV Studios Global Entertainment and will premiere later this year on BBC America.

CAA Signs Andy Serkis

It was just announced that Andy Serkis has signed with CAA (Creative Artists Agency), a prominent sports and entertainment agency in Los Angeles. The agency, whose A-list clients include such stars as George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, and Julia Roberts, will rep Serkis as an actor, writer, and director. In addition, the agency will rep his performance capture studio, The Imaginarium, which Serkis formed with producer Jonathan Cavendish last year.

Serkis will continue to be managed by Larry Taube of Principal Entertainment and Lou Coulson Associated in the UK.

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 243: the Kin-Strife

From TA 1432 – 1448, Gondor was embroiled in a great civil war, resulting from the belief of some of the Dúnedain that Eldacar was unfit as a ruler because he was not of pure Dúnadan blood. Additionally, Eldacar’s father, Valacar, seemed to show more favour to the Northmen than to members of the royal family, this causing extreme discontent among many of the Dúnedain.

In 1432, a rebellion broke out in South Gondor; the rebels besieged Eldacar in Osgiliath, and in 1437 the king was forced to flee to his mother’s kin in Rhovanion. Osgiliath was burned and the palantír was lost, and Eldacar’s son, Ormendil, was captured and put to death by the most powerful of the rebels, Castamir, who was then made king.

As a king, Castamir was cruel and favoured only Gondor’s navy, thus arousing strong dislike of him in more inland areas of Gondor. In 1447, Eldacar returned from exile with an army of Northmen; and with much support from the Men of Calenardhon, Ithilien, and Anórien, he slew Castamir in the Battle of the Crossings of Erui. The remaining rebels were besieged in Pelargir, and sailed to Umbar in 1448, where they degenerated into Corsairs, troubling Gondor’s coasts for many generations.

Eldacar brought many of the Northmen to Gondor to help repopulate the devastated areas of his kingdom. Eldacar lived to be 235 years old, and in 1490 was succeeded by his second son, Aldamir.

27 February 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 242: the Teiglin River

The River Teiglin was one of the largest in West Beleriand, being about fifty leagues in length from source to confluence. It flowed southwards from sources in the Ered Wethrin for many leagues before it turned east, where it joined the Sirion. The river also formed a boundary between Brethil and Talath Dirnen; it was forded at the Crossings of Teiglin. South of these crossings, the river flowed through Cabed-en-Aras.

26 February 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 241: Fastitocalon

Fastitocalon is the name of a Hobbit-poem which can be found in the Red Book of Westmarch. The poem depicts the story of its titular character, a giant (perhaps mythical) creature: the last of the Turtle-fish, which was mistaken for an island by sailors, all of whom were drowned when the creature submerged. Adding to its deception, vegetation often grew on the creature’s shell when it was not submerged.  

25 February 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 240: Rosie Cotton

Rose Cotton (often called Rosie) was the only daughter of Farmer Tolman ‘Tom’ Cotton and Lily Brown of Bywater, born in TA 2984; she had four brothers: Tom, Jolly, Nick and Nibs.

In 3020, she wed her longtime friend Samwise Gamgee, and throughout the course of their marriage bore him thirteen children (Elanor, Frodo, Rose, Merry, Pippin, Goldilocks, Hamfast, Daisy, Primrose, Bilbo, Ruby, Robin, and Tolman). In FO 62, after leading a long and happy life, she died; and just a few weeks later, Samwise left the Shire and sailed West over Sea.

24 February 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 239: Estelmo

Estelmo was the squire to Isildur’s eldest son Elendur. He accompanied the two men along the slopes of the Misty Mountains, where they were ambushed by Orcs in what became known as the Disaster of the Gladden Fields. He was one of only three Dúnedain to survive the attack, having been left for dead after receiving a blow to the head (from which he later recovered).

23 February 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 238: the Ettenmoors

The Ettenmoors were a wild and untamed land located to the north of Rivendell. At one time, the Ettenmoors had been a peaceful part of the kingdom of Arnor; but after his defeat in the Battle of Fornost, the Witch-King of Angmar fled to this region, which had by then become inhabited by various foul creatures (Hillmen, goblins, Orcs, wargs, white wolves, dragons, and Barrow-wights).

22 February 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 237: Nan Curunír

Nan Curunír (S. ‘Valley of Saruman’), also called the Wizard’s Vale, was a great valley in the southern Misty Mountains which opened into the Gap of Rohan. In the centre was situated the Ring of Isengard (originally called Angrenost before Saruman settled there). At one time a fertile and fruitful land watered by the Isen, only a few acres of land near Isengard had been cultivated by the slaves of Saruman at the time of the War of the Ring, and the rest of the valley had gone to waste.

Miranda Otto: Murder Mysteries and Frankenstein

Lord of the Rings alum Miranda Otto has been keeping busy. Recently, she was cast as the key guest role in a new Australian TV series, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, which premieres this Friday at 8:30 PM on ABC1. The show, which is adapted from Australian author Kerry Greenwood’s novels, follows the 1920s adventures of Phryne Fisher (Essie Davis), a justice-fighting private eye who soon discovers a world of cocaine trading and illegal abortions. Otto will play the character of Lydia Andrews, a woman grieving the mysterious death of her husband.

“It's a show that has a real fun and wit about it,” she says. “The detective genre is not easy because you've got to get to a conclusion that is unexpected. The author has spent a lot of time nutting out these characters and cases.”

Next on her agenda is a role in the film adaptation of Kevin Grevioux’s graphic novel I, Frankenstein, a modern re-telling of the classic Frankenstein story, in which the hero, Adam Frankenstein (played by Aaron Eckhart), finds himself embroiled in a war between two immortal clans.

“I have started rehearsals and been on set (Melbourne's Docklands) and the cathedral sets are amazing,” Otto says.

“It's a whole mythology and world they are creating. The sets, costumes, make-up and hair - everything is non-naturalistic. I am playing the High Queen of the Gargoyles, though I'm not sure what a low queen is.”

Filming for I, Frankenstein is scheduled to be shot in Melbourne over a ten-week period beginning this Monday, February 27 and is expecting a late 2012 release. Other key cast members include Bill Nighy (Underworld), Yvonne Strahovski (Killer Elite), and Socratis Otto (X-Men Origins: Wolverine).

Otto’s career has seen a lot of ups and downs since it began 26 years ago. Now one of Australia’s most prolific actresses, she acknowledges that in order to deal with disappointments within the acting business, one has to have a thick skin.

“Acting is a freelance career ... you never stop having to prove yourself and fight for work. It's a career that's enticing because you go on stage, for example, and people clap. You get that affirmation, but you can't go into acting for that because it's really your own self-belief that's going to get you through. It's (survival) about how you get through the periods when people aren't clapping.”

Of balancing work with her family life (she married actor Peter O’Brien in 2003 and gave birth to daughter Darcey in 2005), Otto admits that it’s a bit of a struggle.

“The job has a real impact on your life (as a wife and mother). Some scripts you read and say, 'I've just got to do this' and you find a way of making it work. Some things you turn down because of the impact on family. Darcey is six now so in some ways that frees you up more, but it's more difficult travelling."

“We think about things (acting jobs) a great deal before we commit to them.”

21 February 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 236: Erkenbrand

A Lord of Rohan and Master of the Westfold Vale at the time of the War of the Ring, Erkenbrand took control of the Westfold’s forces during the Second Battle of the Fords of Isen after Théodred fell during the First; he organized a retreat and brought back the Westfold Riders to the aid of King Théoden at the Battle of the Hornburg. He remained behind and guarded Rohan during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields; after the War of the Ring, he was named Marshal of the West-Mark by King Éomer.

20 February 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 235: the Horn of the Mark

The Horn of the Mark was a small silver horn made in ancient times by the Dwarves. It was engraved with horsemen riding in a line from its tip to its mouth, and it was set with runes which had the ability to strike fear in enemies and joy in friends. It was taken from the hoard of Scatha the worm by the Éothéod and kept as an heirloom of the royal house. Éowyn gave it to Merry as a keepsake following the War of the Ring. He used the horn during the Scouring of the Shire, and it was blown every year thereafter, on the anniversary of its first use in the Shire.

Viggo Mortensen to Receive Coolidge Award on March 5

Actor Viggo Mortensen will be awarded the 9th Annual Coolidge Award in a ceremony which will be held on Monday, March 5 at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, Massachusetts. Following the awards ceremony and the screening of his film Eastern Promises, Mortensen will participate in a Q&A session.

In anticipation of his arrival, the Theatre is showing several of his other films – A History of Violence, A Walk on the Moon, The Road, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Mortensen, who recently portrayed Sigmund Freud in A Dangerous Method, will soon be returning to the big screen in an adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, in which he will be co-starring with Kirsten Dunst and Kristen Stewart.

For tickets and more information, hop on over to the Coolidge Corner Theatre’s website.

19 February 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 234: Háma

Háma, son of Helm Hammerhand, was a Man of Rohan. With his father and many of the King’s followers, he was besieged in the Hornburg in the winter of TA 2758-59. In the new year, he led a group of desperate Men but was lost in the snow. His father died not long afterward.

Háma was also the name of the Captain of King Théoden’s guard and the door ward of Meduseld; he fell defending the Hornburg in TA 3019 and was buried in a separate mound.

18 February 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 233: the Master of Esgaroth

Master of Esgaroth was the title given to the elected leader of the Lake-town.

During the time of Thorin’s Quest of Erebor (TA 2941), the Master of Esgaroth was a greedy and selfish ruler whose real name was unknown; the people called him ‘Moneybags.’ When Smaug attacked the town, he fled, leaving Bard to take control of the situation.  After Smaug was slain, the Master was given a significant amount of gold to repair the town. Instead, he caught ‘dragon-sickness’ and fled with his gold into the Waste, where he eventually starved to death.

The ruler after him was wiser and more popular, and Esgaroth became more prosperous under his rule.  

In Peter Jackson's Hobbit films, the Master of Esgaroth will be played by Stephen Fry.

17 February 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 232: Thorondor

Thorondor (S. ‘King of Eagles’ from Q. Sorontar) was the Lord of Eagles in the First Age, said to be the mightiest of all the Eagles that ever lived. He was a Messenger of Manwë, sent by the King of the Valar to watch over the Noldor upon their arrival in Beleriand. The first of his many deeds was helping Fingon rescue Maedhros from Thangorodrim. Following this, Thorondor settled in the Crissaegrim and became the guardian of the newly built city of Gondolin. He later protected the body of Fingolfin from defilement by Morgoth, in the process leaving a scar on the Dark Lord’s face. With the help of two other eagles, he then rescued Beren and Lúthien from Angband during the Quest of the Silmaril. During the War of Wrath, he and Eärendil led the Eagles in battle against the Dragons; it is possible he may have fought Ancalagon the Black. His eventual fate is not recorded following the War of Wrath, and is therefore unknown. His descendants, however, remained behind.

16 February 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 231: Dwalin

Dwalin (b. TA 2772), second son of Fundin, was one of the companions of Thráin II (2841-2845) in the King’s attempt to reclaim Erebor; when Thráin vanished in Mirkwood, the Dwarves returned to Ered Luin, where the King’s son, Thorin, had taken over reign. Dwalin, along with his brother Balin, joined Thorin in his quest to reclaim Erebor. After their success, Dwalin settled in Erebor, where he lived peacefully until his death (FO 91-92).

15 February 2012

TMG Acquires ‘The Hobbit’

As part of a five-year free TV rights deal with MGM, the Tele-München Group has landed two major films – ‘The Hobbit’ and the newest James Bond film, ‘’Skyfall.’ In addition to these two films, TMG is also granted exclusive, free rights to more than 200 other feature films and TV series for German-speaking Europe.

Herbert Kloiber, TMG’s chief executive, stated that, “This agreement with MGM is a great start into 2012 for us.”

Adds Roma Khanna, president of MGM: “Our five-year deal with TMG marks a significant growth for MGM's business in Europe.”

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 230: Bombur

Stephen Hunter as Bombur
Bombur, descended from the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm, accompanied Thorin Oakenshield on the Quest of Erebor with his brother Bofur and cousin Bifur. He is usually the last in the company to do everything, which causes him to make many foolish errors (he even sleeps during many key moments).

Following the success of the Quest, Bombur lived in Erebor and as a result of the prosperity he had garnered, became even larger than before, requiring six Dwarves to carry him back and forth between couch and table.

14 February 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 229: Ori

Adam Brown as Ori 
Ori, of the House of Durin, was one of the twelve companions of Thorin Oakenshield on the Quest of Erebor (TA 2941). Following the expedition, Ori lived peacefully in the Lonely Mountain until 2989, when he joined Balin’s expedition into Moria.

When the Dwarves woke the Balrog and came under attack from it as well as Orcs, it was Ori who recorded in the Book of Mazarbul the final days of the colony. One of the last to die, he fell defending the Chamber of Mazarbul and the Tomb of Balin (d. TA 2994).

13 February 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 228: the Iron Crown

The Iron Crown belonged to Morgoth, which he had forged in Angband upon his return to Middle-earth; the Crown symbolised his claim as King of the World. The Silmarils, which he had stolen from the High-Elves of Eldamar, were set in the crown and fastened by iron claws.

Beren and Lúthien recovered one of the Silmarils from Morgoth’s Crown, and the other two were removed after the Great Battle, and the Crown was beaten into a collar for Morgoth.

12 February 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 227: the Rohirrim

The Rohirrim (S. ‘horse-lord people’ or ‘Masters of horses’) were the Riders of Rohan, descended from the Éothéod. As a result of their nobility and the Oath of Eorl, they were friendly to Gondor and aided her against her enemies.

The Rohirrim, who referred to themselves as the Eorlingas (Rohirric: ‘sons of Eorl’) were tall, blond, and fair-faced. They generally lived to about eighty, and even in old age their strength was great. Known for being the best horsemen in all of Middle-earth, the Rohirrim valued their horses above everything else. Their official language, which many of them spoke even into the Fourth Age, was Rohirric, a language which was possibly descended from Adûnaic and thus closely related to Westron. 

The Rohirrim were also known as the Horse-Lords, the Horse-men, the Sons of Eorl, the Horsemen of the North, Forgoil (by the Dunlendings), the Whiteskins (by Orcs), the Riders, and the North-men.

11 February 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 226: the Oath of Eorl

In TA 2510, Eorl the Young swore an Oath to Cirion, the Steward of Gondor, stating that he and his heirs would aid the Stewards in times of need, in exchange for the province of Calenardhon being a part of Rohan. The signal of aid was the Red Arrow, and sometimes the beacons of Gondor were used for faster communication.

Rohan fulfilled the Oath many times throughout the Third Age, particularly during the time of King Folcwine and Steward Túrin II and during the War of the Ring. Éomer renewed the Oath with King Elessar following the War of the Ring.

Rumoured Hobbit Expansion for LOTRO

Earlier this week, rumour slipped out about a potential Hobbit expansion for Turbine’s popular MMORPG, The Lord of the Rings Online.

The buzz originated on February 6 from Supererogatory’s Twitter feed, Superannuation, whose gaming reports have been deemed highly accurate by fans of the gaming industry. The initial Tweet, in reference to an upcoming Hobbit game, stated: “Unsuccessfully tried to ascertain the developer of The Hobbit game yesterday. Although rumors point to either TT Games or WB Games Seattle.”

 “And my understanding is that the first The Hobbit game coming out this holiday has been in development for a good time,” added one follow-up Tweet, with another suggesting that “If TT Games had a Hobbit game, presumably it would be LEGO Hobbit. Only have heard a rumor of a reverent, traditional Hobbit game though.”

And the final Tweet on the matter: “And a rumor of a Hobbit expansion/massive content update for Turbine's LOTRO.”

While this rumour has been neither confirmed nor denied – when asked, Turbine said they could not comment on rumours – and lacks any links or factual evidence to back the claim, one has to take this story with a grain of salt for the time being.

I’ll be following this rumour as best I can to keep my fellow gamers updated! In the meantime, leave a comment and let me know what you think about a Hobbit expansion!

Billy Connolly Joins 'Hobbit' Cast

The final character to be cast in Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Hobbit is Dain Ironfoot, who will be played by actor Billy Connolly. Connolly's late casting comes as a result of Dain having a minor role in the film, likely appearing only in the second Hobbit film.

In a statement to Deadline, who first reported on the story, Jackson said:

"We could not think of a more fitting actor to play Dain Ironfoot, the staunchest and toughest of Dwarves, than Billy Connolly, the Big Yin himself. With Billy stepping into this role, the cast of 'The Hobbit' is now complete. We can’t wait to see him on the Battlefield!"

You can catch Billy Connolly in the second Hobbit film, which will be in theatres December 13, 2013.

10 February 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 225: Henneth Annûn

Henneth Annûn (S. ‘sunset window,’ ‘west window’), also called the Window of the Sunset and the Window of the West, was the hidden refuge of the Rangers of Ithilien which had been built in TA 2901 by Túrin II of Gondor. Located behind a waterfall in Northern Ithilien, the outpost consisted of natural caves and passages, as well as a secret passage which led up to the caves from the forest below. It was well-stocked with provisions and continuously guarded until Faramir’s retreat to Minas Tirith prior to the Siege of Gondor during the War of the Ring.

09 February 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 224: Dáin II Ironfoot

Dáin II (b. TA 2767), son of Náin, was the King of Durin’s Folk from 2941-3019. He first gained renown in 2799 when he killed Azog in the Battle of Azanulbizar. He became lord of the Dwarves of the Iron Hills in 2805, and in 2941 led an army to the aid of Thorin II Oakenshield in the Battle of the Five Armies. When Thorin died in battle, Dáin became King of Durin’s Folk and King under the Mountain. He ruled wisely and justly, was friend to the Men of Dale and Esgaroth, and also gained the respect of the Elves of Mirkwood. During the War of the Ring, a group of Easterlings invaded Dale and Erebor, and Dáin was killed defending the body of his friend, King Brand.  
In the upcoming Hobbit films, Dáin II Ironfoot will be played by Billy Connolly.

08 February 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 223: the Moriquendi

The Moriquendi (Q. ‘Dark-Elves’) were those Elves who never undertook the Great Journey over the Sea and who therefore never beheld the light of the Two Trees of Valinor. Counted among the Moriquendi are two branches of the Teleri – the Nandor and Sindar* Elves – and all of the Avari (‘Unwilling’). Those who did initially begin the journey but did not finish were known as the Úmanyar (‘not of Aman’).

*It should be noted that while Thingol was a Sindarin King, he had traveled to Valinor prior to returning to Middle-earth; therefore, he is not counted among the Moriquendi.

07 February 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 222: the Laiquendi

The Laiquendi (Q. ‘Green Elves’) were an offshoot of the Nandor (a branch of the Teleri) who remained in Ossiriand following the death of Denethor in the first battle of the Wars of Beleriand. Woodsmen who lived under the protection of Ulmo, the Laiquendi lived in secret throughout the First Age. As their name suggests, they wore green, especially in the spring and summer seasons. Compared to the other Elves – particularly the Noldor and Sindar Elves – they were primitive. They were, along with the rest of the Nandor, accounted among the Moriquendi  (meaning they did not complete the Great Journey into the West).

06 February 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 221: the Olog-hai

The Olog-hai (Black Speech: ‘troll-race’ or ‘troll people’) were a race of trolls that inhabited southern Mirkwood and northern Mordor. They had been bred by Sauron near the end of the Third Age and were, unlike other trolls, cunning and able to endure the sun. The differences between the Olog-hai and other Trolls often led their enemies to erroneously assume that they were simply large Orcs. They were likely destroyed after Sauron was overthrown at the end of the Third Age.

05 February 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 220: the Lockholes

The Lockholes, located in Michel Delving, were storage-smials that had been converted into prisons when Lotho Sackville-Baggins and his Chief’s Men took control of the Shire in TA 3019; any Hobbits who stood up to them – including Mayor Will Whitfoot and Fatty Bolger – were imprisoned in the Lockholes. When Saruman took over control, Lotho’s mother, Lobelia Sackville-Baggis was also imprisoned. The prisoners, who were poorly fed and sometimes beaten, were later released by Frodo.

04 February 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 219: Marach

Marach, the forefather of Hador, Húrin, and Huor, was an early chieftain of the Edain of the First Age and the leader of the Third House during their great journey into Beleriand. He and his people settled at Estolad, near the encampment of the People of Bëor; he never left the region, which he ruled until his death. But the people of the House of Marach desired to journey further into the west; Marach’s son, Malach Aradan, led them into the north and west of Beleriand following the death of his father.

03 February 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 218: Fingon

Fingon, son of Fingolfin, was one of the most valiant of all the High-Elves in Middle-earth.  

At the beginning of the First Age, Fingon went with his father and people from Aman to Middle-earth; here, Fingon attempted to repair the breach between the House of Fëanor and the rest of the Noldor. He achieved this when, aided by Thorondor, he freed Maedhros on the face of Thangorodrim. He later settled in Dor-lómin and fought in the Wars of Beleriand; in FA 260 he defeated Glaurung. 

When his father was slain in the Dagor Bragollach, Fingon became the High King of the Noldor; but just fifteen years into his reign, he was slain by Gothmog, the Lord of the Balrogs, in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad. He was succeeded by his younger brother, Turgon, King of Gondolin. 

Though he did not wed, in the published Silmarillion, Fingon is the father of Gil-galad.

02 February 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 217: Gimli

Gimli as portrayed by John Rhys-Davies in Peter Jackson's film adaptation

Gimli (b. TA 2879) was the son of Glóin (brother of Óin) and a descendant of Borin (of Durin’s Line). In 3018, he went to Imladris, where he was chosen to represent the Dwarves in the Company of the Ring.

Among the many notable deeds of Gimli, he was most famed for his relationship with the Elves, with whom Dwarves did not generally get along. He was the first Dwarf to enter Lórien since Durin’s Day; upon laying eyes on Galadriel, he devoted himself to her, and throughout the course of his journey, befriended the Elf Legolas, earning him the title of Elf-friend.

When the Fellowship was broken at Parth Galen, Gimli traveled with Aragorn and Legolas to Rohan and fought with them in the Battle of the Hornburg. The trio later traveled the Paths of the Dead and arrived in Minas Tirith to fight in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.

Following the War of the Ring, Gimli brought a group of Dwarves from Erebor to Rohan and became the Lord of the Glittering Caves. He forged new gates of mithril and steel for Minas Tirith and remained friendly with the other members of the Fellowship. After King Elessar’s passing in FO 120, Gimli sailed with Legolas over the Sea (the only Dwarf to ever do so).

01 February 2012

New 'Warriors of the Westfold' Radio Show!

Mark your calendars! Friday, February 3rd, at 9 PM EST, is the premiere of the Middle-earth Network's newest radio show, 'Warriors of the Westfold,' hosted by the ladies of the Middle-earth News.

Join Arwen, Lily, Jessica, Evie, and myself as we discuss the latest Hobbit, Tolkien, and Narnia news.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter and tune in to My Middle-earth Radio Friday at 9 PM EST!

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 216: Galvorn

The Dark-Elf Eöl, who had spent much time with the Dwarves of the Blue Mountains, had acquired many skills in the area of metalwork. All of the metals he created were black – including galvorn (S. ‘shining-black’), a hard alloy which was hard as Dwarf-steel but still malleable. Eöl reportedly crafted his own body armour out of galvorn. It is likely that the secret of its design died with Eöl.