25 Mar 2011

Tolkien Reading Day 2011 Is All About Trees

Today is Tolkien Reading Day so no excuses, grab your favourite Tolkien's book and read. 'Tolkien Reading Day' is a good way to introduce children or young readers to the Tolkien's Legendarium. I was only nine, maybe ten when I first came across a huge book in the house called 'The Lord of the Rings' and the rest is history. Reading Tolkien is not always easy, he uses a lot of words, names, references , but for all its complexity, his style is truly unique and its nice to have one special day dedicated to Tolkien readings and to share thoughts and opinions on his work with others. Tolkien Reading Day is an annual event that The Tolkien Society started in 2003 to encourage people to read works of J.R.R.Tolkien and this day was chosen in celebration of the fall of Sauron.

This year's theme is : Tolkien's Trees which is allied with the "International Year of Forests" and encourages you to enjoy exploring the dark confines of Tolkien's many forests as well as focussing on individual trees. Enter Mirkwood in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, walk into the Old Forest on the borders of the Shire, and the Golden Wood of Lothlorien, or meet the Ents of Fangorn. Or why not read about and discuss the importance of trees and their meanings in “Leaf By Niggle”, or the 'Two Trees' beloved of the Elves in The Silmarillion, where there are more great forests and woods to discover, and if reading time is short, then the malice of Old Man Willow, or the symbolism of White Tree of Gondor offer plenty to think about and discuss.

The 25th of March is a very important day in Middle-earth. On this day the One Ring of Power is destroyed and the Realm of Sauron is ended for ever. Of all days, Tolkien chooses March 25 which is a very significant date also in the Catholic calender . It is , of course, the Feast of the Annunciation, the celebration of the moment when God himself became incarnate as man. In ancient Anglo-Saxon belief, and in European popular tradition March 25 is also the date of the Crucifixion. A very important day indeed and not one chosen at random by Tolkien. Middle-earth finally free from the oppression of Sauron - light replace shadows as hope replace doubts. Today (like any other day) is a good day to read, Happy Tolkien Reading Day Hobbits :)

21 Mar 2011

Hobbit Filming Under Way - " In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit..."

Its been a roller coaster ride, up and down ...one moment filming was about to start, a minute later some all was halted because of this or that problem...but there you are, we have made it and filming for The Hobbit Movie has officially started *does the happy hobbit dance*

After years of wrangling and delays, Peter Jackson finally called "action" on his latest Tolkien epic "The Hobbit" in New Zealand. "Production has commenced in Wellington" Warner Bros. said in a statement. Lately there has been very little to report, not because of my lack of will , but mostly because everything around The Hobbit movie is kept secret. I promised before I would not post any *spoilers* and I shall keep my word, even if sometime one may have this or that little piece of news. New official photographs of Peter Jackson in Bag End have been released yesterday, which see a slimmer but definitely healthier Hobbit Peter.

And so it begins.....

9 Mar 2011

American novelist's use of J.R.R. Tolkien's name ends up in court

To those that think that the Tolkien Estate has no rights in contesting the unfair and unauthorised use of J.R.R. Tolkien's name and trying to protect the integrity on his literary work, just stop and think for a moment. The Tolkien Estate is currently involved in a bitter legal dispute with an American novel which sees Professor J.R.R.Tolkien as the main character.The Estate is requesting the destruction of all copies of Steve Hillard's Mirkwood: A Novel About JRR Tolkien. The 450-page work recounts a young woman's quest to find her grandfather after discovering documents given to him by Tolkien. The estate is demanding an immediate halt to further sales, and threatens legal action to obtain damages. At no point the Tolkien Estate was asked for permission to use the name and personality of JRR Tolkien in the novel....maybe because the person that wrote this book knew he was most unlikely to get such permission? Before belonging to the history of literature and fantasy, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien and his work belongs to his family, and their feelings should be respected. The Tolkien Estate's argument is that this fictional novel about the Professor is taking "unlawful commercial advantage" and that it "trivialises the name, personality and reputation of the late professor".

Hillard admits to using a quote from a published Tolkien letter, but says that he has produced a respectful portrait. He also claims that Tolkien, who died in 1973, would have been on his side in the argument....a claim I personally strongly disagree with. The case will be heard in a Texan Court , Hillard's argument is that his book is on of "innumerous fictional works that contain fictional accounts involving real people", and that he has not violated any rights of the estate under UK or American law. The book cover's design is also "strikingly similar" to Professor Tolkien's publications. The novel's title "Mirkwood" is the name of a fictional place within Middle-earth and potential buyers and readers might think the book is actually set there. There is nothing wrong with wanting to use a famous person in a novel, but when at all possible ( and it was possible in this case) , the author of such novel should seek official permission from the person in question, or the family and heirs. What I personally find distasteful is trying to make money out of someone's name or work by claiming they are "celebrities" and somehow belongs to all of us. Professor Tolkien was never a 'celebrity', his wonderful work made him famous, a status he always struggled a bit to come to terms with. I shall be following this case with great interest.

22 Feb 2011

New Zealand 's Darkest Day - many lives lost in massive earthquake in Christchurch

New Zealand suffered one of its worst natural disasters when a 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit again the city of Christchurch. At least 65 people confirmed to have died but many more are still missing feared still trapped in collapsed buildings.This is a truly devastating event, the quake is the second major one to hit Christchurch, a city of 350,000, in five months.Prime Minister John Key has called the scene one of "utter devastation". "This may be New Zealand's darkest day" he said.

Be strong Christchurch, love thoughts to you all from Once Upon A Hobbit.

Sir Ian McKellen - Notes From lmladris

As Gandalf would say....'A wizard is never late...' , well maybe just a little early. Sir Ian McKellen has finally arrived in New Zealand as filming of The Hobbit is due to start next month. Posting on his personal website, Sir Ian gives a little inside and personal thoughts from New Zealand. The road Gandalf took to get back to Middle-earth is not been an easy one, not it was straight. After many delays and unplanned events, The Hobbit is almost 'good to go'. Sir Ian had the chance to meet 13 dwarves but not Peter Jackson as yet as the director is still recovering from surgery at home, which is why (to use Sir Ian's words) ...

'yet again, I'm here early. Waiting for Bilbo.'

14 Feb 2011

'Not on our mountain !' - The Hobbit refused permission to film on sacred mountains

The very characteristic come of Mt Ngauruhoe in the Central Plateau of the North Island of New Zealand, played a very important role in Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings Trilogy, featuring as Mount Doom. With only five weeks left before filming of The Hobbit movie, the local Maori tribes , which are the protectors of the land, have refuse permission to use the central North Island mountains again.

This all area has been entrusted and returned to the Maori as it is their ancestral homeland. legends tells of the high priest, Ngatoroirangi (Nga-toro-i-rangi) that was caught in a blizzard while climbing Mount Ngauruhoe. He prayed to his sisters in Hawaiki to send him fire to save him from freezing. The flames they sent south emerged first at White Island, then Rotorua and Taupo before finally bursting at Ngatoroirangi’s feet. Thus Ngatoroirangi is credited with bringing volcanic activity to Aotearoa, New Zealand - not as a curse upon the land, but as a blessing. Such ancient myths place these sacred mountains at the very centre of life . Having visited this incredible place a few months back, and having witnessed first-hand how much the Maori people care for their land, it does not come a surprise that permission for filming was declined. Without the option of using the central North Island mountains taken away , Peter Jackson could instead opt for Mt Taranaki and the Southern Alps.

11 Feb 2011

The Hobbit cast in New Zealand

The Hobbit cast met at a press conference in Wellington this week with the notable absence of Peter Jackson still recovering at home after surgery. Although Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Cate Blanchett and Elijah Wood were not present, the press had the chance to meet Martin Freeman and and the 13 actors who will play the dwarves . During the last month they all said enjoyed pre-production, practising, training in the gym, and riding horses in preparation for filming. In a statement Peter Jackson said he was 'under a medical form of house arrest' but added he would be ready to start working again very soon. Martin Freeman is excited at being involved and so close to filming

"...there is no denying however I'm in The Hobbit."

Bilbo's 13 Dwarves in the photo :

  • Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield, the leader of the Dwarves
  • Aidan Turner and Rob Kazinsky as Kili and Fili, nephews of Thorin
  • Graham McTavish as Dwalin, a dwarf from the blue mountain
  • James Nesbitt as Bofur
  • Stephen Hunter as Bombur, a foolish, overindulgent dwarf
  • Mark Hadlow as Dori, strongest of the Dwarves
  • Peter Hambleton as Gloin, the father of LOTR’s Gimli
  • John Callen as Oin, the brother of Gloin
  • Ken Stott as Lord Balin
  • Adam Brown as Ori
  • John Callen as Oin
  • Jed Brophy as Nori
  • William Kircher is the dwarf Bifur
Filming of The Hobbit is schedule to start on March 21.

10 Feb 2011

Sir Christopher Lee to Receive Bafta Fellowship

On Sunday 13 February the British Academy of Film and Television Arts will present Sir Christopher Lee with the Academy Fellowship at the Orange British Academy Film Awards ceremony at London’s Royal Opera House. Awarded annually by the Academy, the Fellowship is the highest accolade bestowed upon an individual in recognition of an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film. Previously honoured Fellows include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Sean Connery, Elizabeth Taylor, Julie Christie, John Barry, Stanley Kubrick, Anthony Hopkins, Terry Gilliam and Judi Dench. Last year’s recipient was Vanessa Redgrave.

Tim Corrie, Chair of the Academy said: “I am absolutely delighted that the Academy is recognising Sir Christopher Lee. He has entertained me over many years and is a bastion of British filmmaking around the globe”.

Sir Christopher Lee added : “It’s a very unexpected but very great honour to find myself in such distinguished company to receive the fellowship".

A well deserved honour , congratulation to Sir Christopher Lee from Once Upon A Hobbit !

9 Feb 2011

A bright future for Hobbiton Movie Set

When I visited Hobbiton Movie Set last year I left a little piece of my hobbit heart there. The place is truly amazing and I was lucky to be able to see the set in all his glory and ready for filming. For months we heard rumours that the Hobbiton Movie Set in New Zealand was going to be left a a permanent structure and open to the public and now Sir Peter Jackson's Wingnut Films Productions and Rings Scenic Tours have signed a joint venture called Shire Tours to allow movie fans to visit the site. The set, originally designed by the art department of The Lord of the Rings films, has been completely rebuilt at the original location on the Alexander Farm on Buckland Road, Matamata. The set will now be used for The Hobbit and closed to the public during filming. In a statement Peter Jackson said today : "to be able to offer fans of the films the chance to walk around and explore this beautifully crafted set, which is a centrepiece of both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit"

7 Feb 2011

Lights...Camera...Action ! The date is set for filming !

After all these years and countless problems, The Hobbit movie will begin filming in New Zealand in a few weeks time, hopefully ending a series of delays and complications including legal issues, the MGM's saga, a director leaving, a fire at a production facility, the new director’s hospitalization and a labour dispute that threatened the project.

The first day of photography for The Hobbit will be March 21, according to Wellington-based production company 3Foot7 Ltd. Filming will take place in Wellington. "Despite some delays we are fully back on track and very excited to get started" Jackson said in a statement. Ans so it is all about to begin , fingers and hairy toes crossed, all is well in Hobbit Land and filming will now start next month. We have been waiting many years for this moment, wishing Peter Jackson and the whole production the best of luck, it is time to go back to Middle-earth.

27 Jan 2011

Peter Jackson in hospital - filming of The Hobbit delayed again

Filming on The Hobbit will be delayed again after Peter Jackson was admitted to Wellington Hospital yesterday with a perforated ulcer. He had surgery and is now resting comfortably but a spokesman has confirmed that filming will be delayed. The Hobbit movie has survived legal battles, bankruptcy fears,original director leaving, accusations racism, labour disputes, and now Peter Jackson is in hospital recovering from surgery. Although I tend not to believe in such things, to many it does look like The Hobbit is suffering from a strange case of ' incredible bad luck '. Peter Jackson has been looking stressed and tired for a long time, and The Hobbit saga and all its problems have not helped. After been almost forced to take charge last year, the production has encountered one issue after an other and this is now affecting Peter Jackson's health as stress is the major cause of perforated ulcers.

Do you remember Hobbit Peter ? Do you remember the happy, slightly round, pipe-smoking, huge glasses, curly hair hobbit that transformed Professor Tolkien's words into the most amazing vision of Middle-earth ? Dear Peter, please get well soon and take care of yourself, and I know it must be hard to sleep or eat, and even think at times, after all The Hobbit is only one of the most awaited movie of the century , but is it worth loosing your health over it ? Don't let your passion and love for Middle-earth consume you , remember to be a 'hobbit' more often, take your shoes off and go and sit in front of Bag End and watch the sunset, eat like a hobbit, sing and dance like a hobbit and let your worries behind for a while.

 Get well soon Hobbit Peter!

20 Jan 2011

One does not simply walk back to Middle-earth - No Boromir in The Hobbit

As Boromir would put it : " One does not simply walk back to Middle-earth " Sean Bean as revealed to the Belfast Telegraph that he is not expecting a call from Peter Jackson for a reprise of Boromir in The Hobbit movie. With filming starting in few weeks time and some of the original Lord of the Rings cast returning to reprise their roles in Middle-earth, many fans were maybe expecting to see all The Lord of the Rings cast back, but this is of course not possible and would probably not make much sense as The Hobbit is supposed to be Bilbo's adventure taking place many years before the events in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Boromir is one of those characters we will not see again, when directly asked this is what Sean Bean said...

"I don't think so. I played Boromir and I got knocked off in the end so I don't think it would be... I mean I could come back as a different character but I think he's looking for a new kind of style and maybe a new look.I know a few people who are in it and should be very exciting." (Belfast Telegraph)

Fear not if you are (like me) a Boromir's fan....Sean Bean is starring in a new fantasy TV series called Game Of Thrones on HBO which looks really fantastic , and is currently appearing in a new TV ad with the Quaker Oats So Simple Team rewarding the people who make a real difference to communities.

16 Jan 2011

If only they had emails...now they do - Gandalf's inbox

Thanks to a friend I found this excellent site called Famous Inboxes which is dedicated to email inboxes of various famous people. Amongst them here we have Gandalf's inbox ...who need the palantir when you have emails and wireless broadband in Middle-earth. Also very funny and worth s look is Sauron's inbox.

(Source : Famous Inboxes)

12 Jan 2011

Happy to be Frodo - Elijah Wood excited to be back

Elijah Wood is happy and excited at the prospect to be Frodo again and to be back in Middle-earth. IGN managed to have a few words with Elijah yesterday about his return as Frodo Baggins in The Hobbit movie that has been announced in the past few days. As Frodo is not a character in The Hobbit novel written by Professor Tolkien, Elijah thought he would never be back to Middle-earth , but as we know now Frodo ( and many more of the original Lord of the Rings main characters) , will be brought back to Middle-earth by Peter Jackson.

"we thought we were finished and the character doesn't even exist in [the book of] The Hobbit, so it was not even a pipe dream to imagine the possibility would be there for me to reprise the role of Frodo. But they've come up with something that I think is kind of interesting and I think very fitting that doesn't necessarily infringe upon the integrity of the original novel. It's great. I'm really excited. Those films marked a huge, massive experience in my life. It's been 11 years, basically, since I went to New Zealand, so it'll be a beautiful reunion and I'm just excited to go back and see everybody again" ( Elijah Wood speaking to IGN)

Sir Christopher Lee be back as Saruman in The Hobbit ?

Casting news just keep coming. Here is the latest from Middle-earth ...Sir Christopher Lee has been in talks with the studios to reprise his role as Saruman and now it appears almost certain that he will be back to Middle-earth as long as his health is good. Sir Christopher is 88 years old and one of the main obstacles for him to return was the long distance travel to New Zealand for filming but this problem could be easily solved by filming his contributions here in the U.K. with a green screen. Sir. Christopher Lee looks almost certain to reprise Saruman , providing that he is in good health, he will be appearing in the movie. He is a great fan of Professor Tolkien's work and I know how much the role of Saruman meant to Sir Christopher...can't wait to see him back in Middle-earth :)

11 Jan 2011

His Majesty , King Thranduil - David Tennant to join The Hobbit's cast ?

According to several sources, this evening I am learning that David Tennant could be on his way to Middle-earth to take the role of the Elven King Thranduil. Tennant was originally linked to the role of Bilbo Baggins that eventually went to Martin Freeman. King of the Elves of Mirkwood and father of Legolas, Thranduil is a very important character in The Hobbit which would suit David Tennant perfectly. No official words from the Studios or David about a role for him in The Hobbit.

Filming of The Hobbit movie will start February 14, 2011 so I am expecting many more casting announcements in the next few days, stay tuned for more soon :)

Back to Middle-earth ! McKellen and Serkis in The Hobbit movie

Finally the news we have been waiting for weeks, months...well maybe years. The official announcement came a few hours ago, Sit Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis will reprise their roles as Gandalf and Gollum in the movie adaptation of one of J.R.R.Tolkien best-loved novel. According to Deadline.com , Andy Serkis has finally closed the deal that will see him back as Gollum in Middle-earth. Sources are also indicating that others original members of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy are in discussion to reprise their original roles , these include Christopher Lee as Saruman and Ian Holm in the older version of Bilbo Baggins.

I am rejoicing at the news that Sir Ian McKellen will be Gandalf again, his silence on his insolvent in The Hobbit in the last few weeks was much worrying as without him as Gandalf it would been a big disaster. In his usual informal style, Sir Ian has updated his website with a statement during the night :

All I had to decide was what to do with the time that is given me. I’m 71 and fit: though at my age who knows what accident is 'round the next corner? For a year or more, I have been arranging my professional commitments around the possibility of The Hobbit films starting at almost anytime. We brought the Waiting for Godot tour of Australia to New Zealand early 2010, assuming I would stay on to start shooting soon after. Then there was yet another delay: but in Wellington I met with Guillermo del Toro and later read his script for Part One, written with the LOTR writing team. It was true to the style, the fun and the romance of the trilogy.

When Peter Jackson, already producing, resumed the director’s chair, he kept me in touch with developments. A second screenplay was sent over, on the understanding that I would not talk about what I read in it.

After the ruckus over trade union expectations and unlikely rumours of filming outside New Zealand, suddenly crucial casting was announced, plus a start date in February 2011. Martin Freeman as Bilbo sounds perfect. As my agent continued to negotiate with Warner Brothers, I kept wondering was Gandalf what I most wanted to do, more than a new play for instance or indeed a new part? Sequels aren’t necessarily as rewarding to act in as their originals.

Could I let Gandalf go? Would anyone else care if I did? Elsewhere, does anyone care that Michael Gambon was not the first to play Dumbledore?

The deciding negotiation was not about money but about dates. Gandalf is needed on set over the next 18 months but with sizeable breaks when I can work on other projects. My worry that I could not easily escape from Middle Earth was lifted.

I am happy to say I start filming in Wellington on February 21 2011.

--Ian McKellen, London, January 2011

7 Jan 2011

If The Hobbit was a painting...- Elijah Wood as Frodo in The Hobbit movie

Let me start this by saying I absolutely and utterly adore Elijah Wood . He was the 'perfect Frodo' in The Lord of the Rings movie Trilogy. According to TheOneRing.net Elijah Wood will be cast to appear in The Hobbit as Frodo. This is not an official casting announcement by The Hobbit production or the Studios so lets remember to take this news with a pinch of salt, nevertheless, if true, it would send shock waves among most Tolkin's fans.

The Hobbit is Bilbo's adventure, Frodo is not even born but apparently Peter Jackson feels necessary to bring into the movie adaptation of one of Professor Tolkien's greatest novels a other character (the other is apparently Legolas) that were not written in by the author. Although The Hobbit is the 'prequel' of The Lord of the Rings ( in book as in movie), it is a story in its own right, was written years before The Lord of the Rings and deserves to be adapted in a true-to-written word fashion. Tolkien has filled the book with wonderful material, places, action, songs, and many characters that deserve to be developed and seen, yet here we are talking again of the need to bring back the original cast of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy , like if the cast of The Hobbit was almost 'not good enough' to bring in the dollar.

Confusing as it is the way Frodo ( Elijah Wood) is allegedly going to be used in The Hobbit movie can be read on TheOneRing.net but be warned, it is a MAJOR THE HOBBIT MOVIE SPOILER so I will not re-post on Once Upon A Hobbit. Only a few weeks away from filming and still no official announcement of Sir Ian McKellen , Andy Serkis, and Hugo Weaving for the roles of Gandalf, Gollum and Elrond...wich is rather strange considering all these rumours about the original cast of The Lord of the Rings appearing in The Hobbit even though the characters (Frodo and Legolas) were not written in by Tolkien.

The Hobbit has so many interesting characters , it is a rich novel in that sense, there is so much to do , for me making this movie should be a tribute to Professor Tolkien's work and imagination, a respectful adaptation with a modern twist. I keep asking myself :" If Tolkien was still alive, how would he feel about his work been changed and modified so suit modern movie audiences? . As a comparison, I really like that painting by that famous artist on the wall...but you know what I think it could be better , so here is my paintbrush and new colours...a bit here...a bit there....oops, the new paint is dripping and look a bit odd, it is no more as beautiful as it was....mmmh, maybe it was not a good idea to change the original work of art after all....but maybe is just me :)

3 Jan 2011

A toast to The Professor

Happy Birthday

May the hair on your toes never fall out !


HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHN ! Celebrating Tolkien's 119th Birthday

3 January 1892 - Bloemfontein (South Africa) Arthur and Mabel Tolkien welcome to the world their first son, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien in the lodgings above the bank in Maitland Street where Arthur works as a manager. In the treeless, dusty and dry plains on Africa, a tiny 'hobbit' is born on the third day of 1892. When his father died on 15 February 1896, Tolkien's mother, Mabel, took the family back to Britain to settle in the rural hamlet of Sarehole.

Tolkien claimed to have few memories of South Africa, except for a vivid and scary encounter with a large spider - an experience he will never forget and that was put to good use later on in his writing about Middle-earth. Throughout his long academic life as a scholar, Professor Tolkien had made valuable contributions to his profession and had given new meanings to medieval literature. He is however best remembered today as the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, adventures that takes place in the fantasy world of Middle-earth, which he profoundly created and filled it with enchanting legends, peoples and cultures, languages and histories. The magnitude of his successful achievement as a sub-creator thus earned him the title, The Master of Fantasy.

To celebrate on this day each year Tolkien fans around the world are invited by the Tolkien Society to raise a glass and toast the birthday of our much loved author at 21:00 (9 pm) your local time. To make the Birthday Toast, you stand, raise a glass of your choice of drink (not necessarily alcoholic), and say the words : 'TheProfessor'  and then enjoy your drink, just like a true hobbit would do.


30 Dec 2010

Pippin Took gets the Ring - Billy Boyd's wedding reunites hobbits

Nothing better then a 'hobbit' wedding to end the year with a happy smile. Billy Boyd, best known for his role as Pippin Took in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy movies, married long-term partner Ali McKinnon in an intimate but beautiful ceremony in Glasgow. Dominic Monaghan (Merry) and Elijah Wood (Frodo) looked smart and very happy on the steps of Oran Mor converted church after the wedding.

Billy's acting career has been quiet since The Lord of the Rings Trilogy but this does not make him less talented. He is ( and always will be) my favourite hobbit. I know Billy sometimes miss Middle-earth, ...don't we all ? He was never just an actor 'playing' a hobbit , he is Peregrin Took, and this is why his performance in the movies is so outstanding and credible. I want to wish Billy and Ali all the happiness in the world on the news of their wedding.

(photo courtesy of Mick McGurk via dailymail.co.uk )

17 Dec 2010

Merry Yule from Middle-Earth

Yule is fast approaching in the Shire and the hobbits are getting ready to celebrate this very special time of the year. We call this time of the year 'Christmas' but it is known as 'Yule' in Middle-earth. The most important thing for hobbits at this time is food- their pantries are well stoked for the long winter with a great supply of cheese, beacon, mushrooms, wine and ale, and of course, the very best pipe-weed they can afford. Yule is a time for families and friends, a time to share not only music, food and stories, but also gifts or mathoms, as the hobbits call them. I've been doing a bit of searching and I did find a Middle-earth inspired little house would look just nice in any Yule stoking

Ancient Yule Lore
Yule or Yule-tide is a winter festival that was initially celebrated by the historical Germanic peoples as a pagan religious festival, though it was later absorbed into the Christian festival of Christmas.Yule, is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day. Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, much celebration was to be had as the ancestors awaited the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth and made her to bear forth from seeds protected through the fall and winter in her womb. Bonfires were lit in the fields, and crops and trees were "wassailed" with toasts of spiced cider

Yule in Middle-earth
Yule time is one of the two main holidays in the Shire (the other being the midsummer holiday called Lithe.) The Yule celebrations are incredibly important for the hobbits, they last six days in total, including the two days before and the two days after the Yuledays. This time is called Yuletide, and its dedicated to feasting, big parties, food, music, stories and merriment. Hobbits come together, young and old, and celebrate in style. the word Yule comes from the word yoole which developed from the Old English term geōl which does probably mean 'renewal' or 'rebirth'. After the War of the Ring, there were a considerable shortages of food before Yule in the Shire . But hobbit are clever and they discovered a large quantity of provisions and beer in the tunnels of Michel Delving and in the quarries at Scary and in other places around the Four Farthings, so they did manage to have a jolly good time at Yuletide.

Great stores of goods and food, and beer, were found that had been hidden away from the ruffians in sheds and barns and deserted holes, and especially in tunnels at Michel Delving and in the old quarries at Scary; so that there was a great deal better cheer that Yule than anyone had hoped for.
(J.R.R.Tolkien -The Return of the King)

While the whole world is getting ready to celebrate Christmas, hobbits are busy getting ready for the celebrations of Yule which will take place tomorrow. Yule is a time of hope across Middle-earth, from me on Once Upon A Hobbit, warm wishes to you all of a joyous and happy Yuletide.

14 Dec 2010

Remembering Tolkien - 2011 Birthday Toast

In a few weeks time hobbits from all around the world will be celebrating J.R.R. Tolkien's birthday. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on 3 January 1892. To celebrate this event, on this day each year Tolkien fans around the world are invited by the Tolkien Society to raise a glass and toast the birthday of our much loved author at 21:00 (9 pm) your local time. To make the Birthday Toast, you stand, raise a glass of your choice of drink (not necessarily alcoholic), and say the words : 'The Professor' and then enjoy your drink, just like a true hobbit would do. Of course it would be fantastic if you could all come to The Green Dragon for the Birthday Toast but I know you will be there in spirit. 3 January 2011, remembering Tolkien, creator of Middle-earth :)

9 Dec 2010

Tinkering Tolkien ? Orlando Bloom in talks to join The Hobbit

Tinker, Tinker little Peter...what is going on ? Have I miss the part of The Hobbit book where Legolas appears or something ? So why is Orlando Bloom (apparently) close to sign up to go back to Middle-earth ? Here we go again....first we had sexy Dwarves, then we bring back Galadriel (because there are no female roles in The Hobbit ) , now it's the turn or the most famous surfing elf in Middle-earth. In The Hobbit Legolas's father Thranduil is an important character...but (according to Professor Tolkien ) we do not meet Legolas until the Council of Elrond in The Fellowship of the Ring...he is simply not there because Tolkien did not write him in. Tinkering with the 'original' work on which the movie should be based in never a good idea, why would we need Legolas ? If we consider Elves are immortal , then the argument from The Hobbit movie's writers is probably that he could be there and look handsome ( so million of girls around the world can go 'awwww...' again ). Sorry, I am really torn on hearing this news. Here is an attempt to 'transform' a beautiful Tolkien's story into an other...The Hobbit is not The Lord of the Rings...although The Hobbit movie is starting to look like it more and more. With only few weeks to go before filming begins, still no Gandalf, Gollum , or Elrond. Sir Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, and Hugo Weaving are still in negotiation, kind of strange if you consider all three actors did express their willingness to return in the past year.

7 Dec 2010

Casting Updates - Cate Blanchett confirmed for The Hobbit ( and a few more names)

It is with great joy this evening that I can announce Cate Blanchett has been confirmed in the reprise of Lady Galadriel for The Hobbit movies. Also confirmed by New Line Cinema/Warner Bros. on the casting list are Scottish actor Ken Stott as Balin, Sylvester McCoy as Radagast the Brown, Swedish actor Mikael Persbrandt as Beorn, British actor Ryan Gage as Drogo Baggins, and New Zealand actors Jed Brophy and William Kircher respectively as Dwarves Nori and Bifur.

'Cate is one of my favorite actors to work with and I couldn't be more thrilled to have her reprise the role she so beautifully brought to life in the earlier films' Peter Jackson commented on the news of Cate Blanchett reprise of Galadriel. Jackson also welcomed the addition to the cast of Swedish actor, Mikael Persbrandt 'The role of Beorn is an iconic one and Mikael was our first choice for the part. Since seeing him read for the role we can't imagine anyone else playing this character.' And on the casting of Scottish actor Ken Stott 'Fran and I have long been fans of Ken's work and are excited he will be joining us on this journey.'

The cast is growing and things are definitely looking up for The Hobbit with filming starting early next year. We still miss the wizard ( hoping to ear some good news from Sir Ian McKellen soon) , an *official* announcement of the casting of Andy Serkis as Gollum , and Hugo Weaving in the reprise of Elrond...keeping my little hobbit ears open and I shall report back to you as soon as I get more casting news :)