Thursday, 22 December 2011

Welly-moot number six was a total success!

It's almost 11:00pm, and I just got back from the Embassy Cinema in Wellington, where the 6th Welly-moot just took place. It was the second meeting in the last month - the previous meeting wasn't quite as well attended as I'd hoped, but this one made up for it. All in all I think there were 14 people there, and a lot of business was discussed.

Clockwise from me in the green shirt - Peter Kenny, Todd Rippon, Astrid, Erica, Kris, Viviane, Sven, Kim, Mervi, and Paul. The others joined later.

Apart from myself and my beautiful wife, we met up with Mervi from Finland, and Kris who is living here in the Wellington region. Mervi represented the two Finnish Tolkien Societies, while Kris and I are halfway through setting up the Wellington one (but more on that later). New Zealander Erica from joined soon afterwards, and then Peter Kenny (Australian's Brisbane Tolkien Appreciate Society) and Astrid (Austria's Tyrol Tolkien Smial) came in as well. Peter and Astrid joined me on a LOTR tour yesterday, in fact they are both interviewed on the TVNZ News segment about our reaction to the new Hobbit Trailer.

Also in attendance were Paul from the UK, Brendon and his partner from Australia, and three lost backpackers I found on the side of the hill during yesterday's tour, Viviane, Sven and Kim.

If that lineup wasn't special enough yet, we had a ANOTHER special guest for the evening - Todd Rippon also joined us, and he spoke about his time as an Oliphaunt rider, and his ultimate demise at the hands of that cruel elf, Legolas (but "that still only counts as one!").

Todd had some exclusive photos from his time on the set, which unfortunately I can't reproduce here but were enjoyed by all present (so attend next time!).

During the evening, Peter Kenny also recited some of his Hobbit poetry, which went down a treat, as did the cake and the ice coffees.

Other business of course included a discussion about the new Hobbit Trailer released yesterday. I "happened" to have it with me - it's downloadable from after all, and my iPad 2 does the job very nicely, thank you! In fact I think we played the trailer 3 or 4 times, in all. Also on hand was our newsclip from yesterday, of course (that's definitely bragging rights), and a small clip from The Hunt For Gollum as well, once the discussion mentioned it. It's a solid piece of Middle-earth film, and if you haven't seen it yet you definitely should!

One final point that was discussed was that Kris and I are definitely setting up the official Tolkien Sciety in some form here in Wellington, and that will be announced properly as things happen in the near future. I'm hoping that by the next meeting we will have the official approval from the UK as well. Exciting times!

  - Jack

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Hobbit Trailer released - and I made it to TV News again

By now I'm sure everyone has seen the brand new Hobbit Trailer - just in case you haven't yet, check it out at Apple's Movie Trailer directory.

I got a call from TVNZ this morning, to see if I would be available to comment on the trailer later, for their evening news. I told them I'd be touring with a group of LOTR fans, so they invited the whole group along, to watch it at 4:00pm (local NZ time) on the satellite feed! Well, we didn't have to think about that too long, that's for sure!

They interviewed us all at length afterwards, although most of that was reduced to some very excited soundbites. We got a few words in towards the end though.

You can watch the whole reaction-interview at TVNZ's website.

Overall a great trailer - I had expected more of a teaser trailer - you know, fade in, one quick image, and fade out, and repeat. Instead we got one full of exciting content, and lots of mystery! Was the elf in white actually Galadriel or not (I don't think it was, personally)? Where were the ruins that Gandalf was walking through?

Also, some revealing moments - we now have a much better idea about how Frodo fits into the Hobbit movie (considering his character hasn't actually been born yet). That will put a few minds at ease, I'd say!

One little detail I loved was that Bilbo shows off his (newly found) sword Sting, and the markings on the blade are correctly incomplete - the elfish lettering which appear on it during LOTR refer to an incident that happens during the last half of the Hobbit book, and the writing doesn't get added to the sword until after he vists the Elves again in Rivendell. Well done, Weta Workshop!

All things considered, it was a great trailer. It gave lots of hints that The Hobbit would be part of LOTR's story line, but different as well. Get the old audience back onside, and add new ones as well.

By the way, if you want to keep the trailer, it's actually downloadable from the Apple site.

Monday, 12 December 2011

TORn's MrCere on tour with Rover Tours

I had the pleasure of showing Larry Curtis (TheOneRing's MrCere) around Wellington's LOTR locations last week. We had planned to meet in the evening but unfortunately he was unavoidably detained elsewhere and couldn't make it.

He did manage to write up the tour on's blog, and it looks like he had a good time!

So, instead of meeting with MrCere and Tehanu (also from TORn), I met up with Kristi, who has attended earlier Welly-moots, and we discussed setting up as an official Tolkien Society spinoff - a "Smial". The official plans are now underway, so watch this space!

Meanwhile though - in a week and a half there will be another chance for Wellington's Hobbit friends to get together, again at the Embassy Theatre.

Peter Kenny, from the Australian Tolkien Society will be in Wellington, and he's keen to get together with like-minded people here. Also with him will be Astrid from the Austrian Tolkien Society, so a good get together is promised!

The details of the meeting again - it will take place at the Embassy Theatre on Thursday the 22nd of December at 7:30pm.

Hopefully we'll see you there!

  - Jack

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Two Wgtn gatherings in the next two weeks!

Heads up for all Wellington Hobbit friends - your presence is requested! I'm meeting up with some international guests this month, and would like you to come as well!

The first gathering will be in honour of Larry "Mr Cere"Curtis, from, who is gracing NZ with his presence right now. He's Hobbit-chasing his way across the country, and will be in Wellington this week. On Thursday he will be going to the Weta Cave, but I probably won't be making it to that one. Knowing the Weta Cave, it'll be a seriously geeky affair, and probably very noisy and crowded - no doubt fun, but I've got a better idea!

Instead, I've arranged to meet him and Wellington's own TORn representative (read: TORn founder) Erica "Tehanu" Challis. The meeting will take place at 7:30pm, upstairs at the Embassy Theatre. The big differences between Weta Cave and the Embassy is that the Embassy has (a) seats, (b) coffee, and (c) cake. It'll be a better place to catch up, and have a good old-fashioned chat with everyone.

Meeting two will be a few weeks later - on the 22st of December, just before Christmas, the Australian Tolkien Appreciation Society's Peter "Proudfoot" Kenny will be visiting Wellington, together with Astrid from the Tyrol Tolkien Society (Austria). I'll be taking them on a LOTR tour the day before, and just before they leave Wellington, we're going to meet up once more time.

And of course, we'd like to show the Aussies (and the other Aussies - the Austrians) that we do things properly here in NZ, so we need a good turnout for an evening of Hobbit-loving madness. It will be at the same venue, the Embassy, and will start at the same time, 7:30pm.

So, those details again:

  • To meet TORn's Mr Cere, come meet us this coming Friday the 9th of December at the Embassy at 7:30pm.
  • To meet Peter Kenny, be at the Embassy Theatre on Thursday the 22nd of December at 7:30pm.

They'll both be fun evenings, and you're all more than welcome to come to both, of course! Bring friends!

Can you please drop me a line if you plan to attend, so I can put a few extra tables together on the night?

More fame (but still no fortune...)

Update - the iTunes link has now been posted... also, a direct link to Council of Westmarch's own streaming media server.

I was interviewed a few weeks ago by Danbo Brandybuck from the Council of Westmarch, a Montana (USA) based Tolkien community group. It looks like the interview has been edited for release, and has made it onto Middle-earth Radio, and has just finished streaming for the first time.

My bit is in the section The Golden Perch (complete shownotes here). During the interview, one of the things I talk about is a particularly cool visit to the Park Road Post Production facilities - Sir Peter Jackson's studios.

Hopefully it will be available as a PodCast soon as well, so it can be downloaded via iTunes. I'll post a link to it as soon as I know it.

In the meantime, the schedules for a reply are found here. Look for "The Council of Westmarch - The Wardens of Westmarch Ep1".

  - Jack