19 August 2014

Win a Signed Gandalf Drawing from Artist Darrel Morris

Darrel Morris is scrimshaw artist whose work features many characters and logos from Middle-earth. One of his most recent works-in-progress is a drawing of Gandalf, the first in a series of drawings exploring the inner essences of Tolkien's characters. He will give away one free signed print (valued at $50) to whomever can come up with the best title for this piece:

How to enter:
  • You can enter on Facebook by commenting on this post with your title suggestion.
  • Reply to this Tweet with your title suggestion.
  • Leave a comment on this Instagram picture.
  • You may enter via all three sites if you wish; however, please note that multiple entries will not increase your chances of winning. (Similarly, any comments deemed to be "spam" will not be accepted.)
How the winner will be chosen:
  • Darrel and I will pick our top three suggestions (one from Facebook, one from Twitter, and one from Instagram) and then ask everyone to vote for their favourite.
  • Please make sure we can contact you on any of those sites if you are a winner.
  • Darrel is willing to ship overseas, so this contest is open to everyone.

The deadline will be 11:59 PM ET Saturday, August 30.

To view more of Darrel's work, visit: His website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

13 August 2014

Conference on Middle-earth 2015

While at Boston Comic Con, a woman dressed in a beautiful Elven gown handed me a flyer for an upcoming Tolkien conference, which just so happens to fall on my birthday weekend (so I'm hoping to be able to attend)!

The conference, which is being held in Albany, NY on the weekend of March 28-29, 2015, is seeking papers on "J.R.R. Tolkien, his works, works based on Tolkien and his works, criticism, teaching Tolkien in the classroom, the books’ impact on oneself and/or the world, the films and the film industry, the music, the art, the fannish side of this universe and its impact, and anything you can imagine on topic".

Examples of welcome topics include:
  • Flora and fauna of Middle-earth
  • Clothing in Middle-earth (from both the books and films)
  • Astronomy of Middle-earth
  • Food of Middle-earth 
  • The impact of The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings on 1960s/1970s popular music

Anyone interested in submitting a paper should e-mail a 250 word abstract (including the author's name, presentation title, mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address) to programming@3rdcome.org by December 31, 2014.

For more information about the conference, please visit http://3rdcome.org/COME_2015/.

11 August 2014

Boston Comic Con 2014

This past Sunday was my second time attending Boston Comic Con (you can read about my experience last year over at the Middle-earth News). I regretted not cosplaying the last time I went, so this year I decided to brave the heat and wear my Arwen gown.

While I didn't see very many Tolkien-themed cosplays this year (I passed a Galadriel and a Tauriel but didn't have a chance to ask for a photo with either of them), I was lucky enough to run into a man who made his own Gandalf costume and who kindly agreed to take some photos with me.

The highlight of this trip (and my main reason for going) was finally meeting Sean Astin. I had gone to see him in Boston back in 2004 when he was promoting his autobiography, There and Back Again: An Actor's Tale, and again in 2006 at TheOneRing.net's ELF convention in New Jersey; but I'd never had a chance to meet him at either event.

05 August 2014

'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' Extended Cut Adds 25 Minutes of Footage

Burbank, Calif., August 5, 2014 – The Quest through Middle-earth continues in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, from Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson, when the epic fantasy adventure is released as an Extended Edition on Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray on November 4th from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE). A production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, this extended cut of the second film in The Hobbit Trilogy includes 25 minutes of extra film footage that extends individual scenes, making this the must-see, definitive version for fans. Both versions of the Extended Edition include more than nine hours of new bonus features that will enrich the experience of the Trilogy as fans gear up for the December 17 theatrical release of the third and final film, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, with Martin Freeman in the central role of Bilbo Baggins, and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. The international ensemble cast is led by Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt and Orlando Bloom as Legolas. The film also stars Mikael Persbrandt, Sylvester McCoy, Aidan Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Graham McTavish, Adam Brown, Peter Hambleton, John Callen, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, William Kircher, Stephen Hunter, Ryan Gage, John Bell, Manu Bennett and Lawrence Makoare.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition will be available as a 5-disc Blu-ray 3D set ($54.98 SRP) that features the Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray versions of the Extended Edition; and a 3-disc Blu-ray ($35.99). Both the Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray include a digital version of the movie on Digital HD with UltraViolet.

The nine-plus hours of new special features boasts audio commentary with Peter Jackson, the film's director/producer/screenwriter, and Philippa Boyens, co-producer/screenwriter, as well as “The Appendices,” a multi-part documentary focusing on various aspects of the film and the Trilogy. Complete special feature details are provided below the cut.