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Famous Movie Scenes Recreated Using Cardboard Boxes & a Two-Year Old

I never imagined that parents could have a two-year old AND too much time on their hands. But I was wrong. From Vaiva Vareikaite and the mad geniuses at Bored Panda.

“Sometimes what you need to get creative is just a pile of cardboard boxes and a baby, who needs to be entertained. This is exactly what inspired Leon Mackie and Lilly Lang to recreate their favorite film scenes after moving into their new home.

A young couple with a baby on their hands recently moved from Melbourne to Sydney, Australia, and got left with a lot of spare cardboard boxes. The boxes were a perfect source of inspiration for some astonishing things that were about to happen. Lilly and Leon are passionate cinephiles, so they didn’t take long to come up with an idea to bring most memorable moments from their favorite films back to life, except this time starring their 2-year-old son.

The beautiful initiative to have a quality family time became an inspirational project titled Cardboard Box Office and a source for quite a successful weblog. The adorable couple and the little one have already re-enacted such movie classics as Alien (Bubbalien), Jurassic Park (Goo-Goo Gaa-Gaa-Rassic Park), Castaway (Castababy), and Jaws (“You’re Gonna Need A Bigger Baby…”).”

#1 Game Of Thrones

Game Of Thrones

 #2 Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad

#3 Mad Max

Mad Max

#4 Lord Of The Rings

Lord Of The Rings

#5 Batman

Batman

#6 E.T. : The Extraterrestrial

E.t. : The Extra Terrestrial

#7 Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump

#8 Beetlejuice

Beetlejuice

#9 The Revenant

The Revenant

#10 Home Alone

Home Alone


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The Epic Fantasy Movie Legacy of Orlando Bloom

This one goes out to all the ladies out there. Orlando Bloom has been in some pretty epic fantasy and historical fiction movies. Here’s a sampling:

blackhawk

Black Hawk Down (Blackburn)

HBT2-fs-140141.DNG

The Hobbit trilogy (Legolas)

kingdom-of-heaven

Kingdom of Heaven (Balian de Ibelin)

LOTR

The Lord of the Rings trilogy (Legolas)

pirates

Pirates of the Caribbean series (Will Turner)

romeo

Romeo and Juliet (Romeo)

THE THREE MUSKETEERS

The Three Musketeers (Duke of Buckingham) – love the costume and the facial hair

troy

Troy (Paris)

commercial

Orlando Bloom has two other claims to fame in my book. Here he is in a Gap commercial with Kate Beckingsale.

"Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet" Broadway Opening Night - After Party

And, of course, he was married to Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr. Good news, ladies! They are no longer together.

Click to Tweet: The Epic Fantasy Movie Legacy of Orlando Bloom at http://wp.me/p31Xf4-Dx via @Nimpentoad


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11 Monsters Who Could Totally Take On Godzilla

With the recent Godzilla movie remake in theatres, this is a timely and fun non-scientific analysis is by Janelle Myers from MTV at http://www.mtv.com/news/1825804/11-monsters-who-could-totally-take-on-godzilla/

As Gareth Edwards’ “Godzilla” reboot roars into theaters Friday (May 16), we’re excited for epic action, over-the-top explosions, and of course, the ultimate movie monster in all its magnificent CG glory.For over five decades, Godzilla has terrorized cities and inspired awe in the hearts of movie-goers, but new monsters have been introduced that are stronger, smarter, and faster… making us wonder, does the 60-year-old radioactive giant lizard stand a chance against these newer creatures?We think these monsters could serve up some swift competition against the legendary reptile:
Optimus Prime
The strongest and smartest of the Autobots, Prime also has the advantage of weapons like his energon axe that could do some major damage to the lizard king.


The Incredible Hulk
With unlimited power and strength, a resistance to any weapon and rapid healing powers, it’s clear the president should have Bruce Banner on speed dial in case Godzilla ever attacks.


Basilisk
One look at the giant snake from “Harry Potter” and the lizard king would be turned into an incredibly detailed stone statue you can go see at the Met.


Smaug
The arrogant dragon from “The Hobbit” pitted up against the King of Monsters would result in one ego-filled battle. However, Smaug is also known for being quite indifferent, more likely to taunt Godzilla about his tiny arms and go back to his hoard of gold, calling it a day.


James P. Sullivan
Sulley may look like a giant teddy bear, but don’t forget, he was top scarer at Monster’s Inc for a reason.



Reptar
Two bad-ass mutant reptiles against each other?!… But there’s one thing Godzilla is missing and that’s a chocolate bar that turns your tongue green.


Clover
A fellow Kaiju, the deep-sea monster from “Cloverfield” would put up a good fight (destroying New York City’s famous landmarks in their wake), but probably would easily succumb to Godzilla’s atomic breath.


Big Ass Spider
The super gross looking spider from SyFy channel’s “Big Ass Spider” would have any creature running in the other direction.


Stay Puft
The marshmallow man from “Ghostbusters” was summoned by a Sumerian god of destruction, making him a lot more terrifying than he appears. Ultimately though, one blast of fire breath and we could all make s’mores!


Balrogs
The demons of terror and darkness from “The Lord of The Rings” basically just consume everything with fire and hate- so if Godzilla tried to eat one he’d have some serious indigestion.


Daleks
Don’t let their pepper-shaker shape fool you, these aliens are vicious. The main enemies of “Doctor Who” have been known to wipe out entire planets and civilizations throughout time and space.

Click to Tweet: 11 Monsters Who Could Totally Take On Godzilla at http://wp.me/p31Xf4-Eo via @Nimpentoad


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Eight Diverse Movie & TV Roles by Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch’s (that’s a mouthful!) career is skyrocketing. And with good reason. Here are some diverse roles he’s played in movies and on TV.

12years

12 Years a Slave (Ford)

FifthEstate

The Fifth Estate (Julian Assange)

khan

Star Trek Into Darkness (Khan)

sherlock

Sherlock (Sherlock Holmes)

smaug

The Hobbit (voice of Smaug & Necromancer)

SnapeSimpsons

The Simpsons (voice of Alan Rickman –> art imitating life imitating art)

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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Peter Guillam)

WarHorse

War Horse (Maj. Jamie Stewart)

Click to Tweet: Eight Diverse Movie & TV Roles by Benedict Cumberbatch at http://wp.me/p31Xf4-Dl via @Nimpentoad


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Illustrated Quotes from The Lord of the Rings

Like most card-carrying fantasy geeks, I am a big Lord of the Rings (and Hobbit) fan. Below are some choice book quotes, illustrated by frames from the film versions. Enjoy.

quote01
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

quote02
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

quote03
“Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky, Seven for the Dwarf-lords in halls of stone, Nine for Mortal Men, doomed to die, One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie. One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.”

quote04
“It’s the job that’s never started as takes longest to finish.”

quote05
“I am old, Gandalf. I don’t look it, but I am beginning to feel it in my heart of hearts. Well-preserved indeed! Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can’t be right. I need a change, or something.”

quote06
“I don’t like anything here at all.” said Frodo, “step or stone, breath or bone. Earth, air and water all seem accursed. But so our path is laid.”   “Yes, that’s so,” said Sam, “And we shouldn’t be here at all, if we’d known more about it before we started. But I suppose it’s often that way. The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo, adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say. But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on, and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same; like old Mr Bilbo. But those aren’t always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sort of a tale we’ve fallen into?”   “I wonder,” said Frodo, “But I don’t know. And that’s the way of a real tale. Take any one that you’re fond of. You may know, or guess, what kind of a tale it is, happy-ending or sad-ending, but the people in it don’t know. And you don’t want them to.”

quote07
“Not all those who wander are lost.”

quote08
“I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

quote09
‘I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo. ‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.’

quote10
‘What a pity that Bilbo did not stab that vile creature, when he had a chance!’ ‘Pity? It was Pity that stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy: not to strike without need. And he has been well rewarded, Frodo. Be sure that he took so little hurt from the evil, and escaped in the end, because he began his ownership of the Ring so. With Pity.’

quote11
‘Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.’

quote12
‘They seem a bit above my likes and dislikes, so to speak,’ answered Sam slowly. ‘It don’t seem to matter what I think about them. They are quite different from what I expected — so old and young, and so gay and sad, as it were.’

quote13
‘He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.’

quote14
We must take a hard road, a road unforeseen. There lies our hope, if hope it be. To walk into peril — to Mordor. We must send the Ring to the Fire.’

quote15
‘I will take the Ring,’ he said, ‘though I do not know the way.’

quote16
‘You cannot pass,’ he said. The orcs stood still, and a dead silence fell. ‘I am servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass.’

quote17
‘I thought that Elves were all for moon and stars: but this is more elvish than anything I ever heard tell of. I feel as if I was inside a song, if you take my meaning.’

quote18
‘I pass the test,’ Galadriel said. ‘I will diminish, and go into the West and remain Galadriel.’

quote19
‘Tell me, Legolas, why did I come on this Quest? Little did I know where the chief peril lay! Truly Elrond spoke, saying that we could not foresee what we might meet upon our road. Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back. But I would have never come, had I known the danger of light and joy.’

quote20
‘Do not be hasty, that is my motto.’

quote21
‘War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, northe arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.’

quote22
‘The rule of no realm is mine, neither of Gondor nor any other, great or small. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail of my task, though Gondor should perish, if anything passes through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I also am a steward. Did you not know?’

quote23
“Where there’s life there’s hope, and need of vittles.”

quote24
“Old fool!” he said. “Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know Death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!” And with that he lifted high his sword and flames ran down the blade.’

quote25
“My body is broken. I go to my fathers. And even in their mighty company I shall not now be ashamed.”

quote26
“Begone, foul dwimmerlaik, lord of carrion! Leave the dead in peace!”   A cold voice answered: ‘Come not between the Nazgûl and his prey! Or he will not slay thee in thy turn. He will bear thee away to the houses of lamentation, beyond all darkness, where thy flesh shall be devoured, and thy shrivelled mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye.”   A sword rang as it was drawn. “Do what you will; but I will hinder it, if I may.”   “Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!”   Then Merry heard of all sounds in that hour the strangest. It seemed that Dernhelm laughed, and the clear voice was like the ring of steel. “But no living man am I!”

quote27
“It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.”

quote28
‘Come, Mr. Frodo!’ he cried. ‘I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you and it as well. So up you get! Come on, Mr. Frodo dear! Sam will give you a ride. Just tell him where to go, and he’ll go.’

quote29
‘But do you remember Gandalf’s words: Even Gollum may have something yet to do? But for him, Sam, I could not have destroyed the Ring. The Quest would have been in vain, even at the bitter end. So let us forgive him! For the Quest is achieved and now all is over. I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.’

quote30
‘I am the daughter of Elrond. I shall not go with him now when he departs to the Havens; for mine is the choice of Lúthien, and as she so have I chosen, both the sweet and the bitter.’

quote31
‘Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-earth. Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.’

quote32
‘But Sam turned to Bywater, and so came back up the Hill, as day was ending once more. And he went on, and there was yellow light, and fire within; and the evening meal was ready, and he was expected. And Rose drew him in, and set him in his chair, and put little Elanor upon his lap. He drew a deep breath. “Well, I’m back,” he said.’

Click to Tweet: Illustrated quotes from The Lord of the Rings http://wp.me/p31Xf4-AN via @Nimpentoad


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Interview with the creators of Six Degrees of Sauron

With the impending release of the movie The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, we thought it would be fun to interview Emil Johansson about his fansite LOTRproject and his recent collaboration with me to create Six Degrees of Sauron.

SixDegreesHomeSmall    emilsmall

Henry: It is no exaggeration to characterize you as a Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fanatic. What is it about those books that so appeals to you?

Emil: I think The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were the first books I read that really stimulated my imagination. There is such a vast world in Tolkien’s book, it almost seems real, but there’s still enough left out to make it mysterious. I also guess I was somewhat a daydreamer when I was a child, and I always imagined being part of some adventure.

Henry: I started reading The Lord of the Rings in fifth grade, and never looked back. You host the LOTRproject Tolkien fansite. Please tell us about that.

EmilLOTRproject is a personal project that allows me to design interactive projects for exploring Middle-earth. I could say it is what I have always wanted to do. The site started out as only a family tree of characters from Tolkien’s work. Since then it has grown to become something much larger. The main mission of the project is to encourage people to explore Middle-earth.

Henry: As Elrond tells Aragorn, “Be who you were born to be!” Emil is being modest when he says “ONLY a family tree of characters from Tolkien’s work.”

Your latest LOTRproject effort is called Six Degrees of Sauron. How did that come about and what is it?

Emil: Trick question: it was you who first suggested the idea. I had just been working on analyzing networks between characters in The Lord of the Rings, and it seemed like a nice challenge to make it work. Six Degrees of Sauron is like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon meets Middle-earth.  You can enter any two characters from The Lord of the RingsThe Hobbit, or The Silmarillion, and the application displays the string of connections showing how they are connected.

It has been a very rewarding collaboration between the two of us and the result is far better than I imagined. I think collaborative projects are something I will do a lot more of in the future.

Henry: Emil’s right – I am awesome. Seriously though, aside from Six Degrees of Sauron, what are some other features of LOTRproject?

Emil: There is the core of the site, the family tree. There is also a interactive map of Middle-earth, geospatial timelines of the history of Middle-earth, and some statistics. The statistics were derived from the family tree and gave some fascinating numbers on average lifespan of Hobbits, Dwarves and Men. Average lifespan of a Hobbit is 96.8 士 2.4 years with a confidence level of 95% and a standard deviation of 10.6 years. I also created a page which allows you to see the frequency of character mentions in The HobbitThe Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion.

Henry: LOTRproject also features fun infographics, such as a flowchart for figuring out which dwarf in The Hobbit you are viewing based on his facial hair.

By movie-making necessity, the cinematic versions of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit differ in some ways from the written works. How do you feel about that?

Emil: My opinion is that they have the freedom to make an adaption the way he wants, to a certain extent. I should say there are a lot of things I really like about the movies, and I certainly enjoy watching them. However, the rearranged timeline in The Hobbit movies compared to the book is something I am not too happy about. Also, I can’t understand why they came up with the idea that the Witch-king had been buried. After the fall of Angmar, he fled, and when Eärnur wanted to pursue him, Glorfindel made his famous prophecy, “He will not return to this land. Far off yet is his doom, and not by the hand of man will he fall.” That prophecy is quite important, even in the movies.

Henry: “I am no man!” Lady Eowyn declares as she kicks Witch-king butt.

By virtue of your LOTRproject activities, you’ve met like-minded people from all over the world. Can you tell us about some of them?

Emil: I have been very fortunate to meet a lot excellent people from the Tolkien community. There really are all kinds of people and that is the beauty of it. Henry is one great example, of course, and getting to know him opened the door to the Six Degrees of Sauron project. I’ve also been able to meet the wonderful artist Ted Naismith, who I have been a huge fan of for many years.

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to present my project at HobbitCon in Germany where I also got to meet some of the actors from The Hobbit movie. LOTRproject has in many ways opened a whole new world to me.

Henry: I’ve attended several San Diego Comic-Con’s, so I’ve been lucky enough to see Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee), Evangeline Lilly (Tauriel), and Sir Richard Taylor (head of Weta) in person. Goblin art from my book Nimpentoad was a finalist in a Warner Bros. online art contest judged by Sir Richard Taylor, Alan Lee, and John Howe.

What are some of your favorite quotes from the books and scenes from the movie?

Emil: I have one I quite like, which is present in both The Lord of the Rings films and, of course, the books. It is of Gandalf and Frodo talking about Sméagol:

“Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. I have not much hope that Gollum can be cured before he dies, but there is a chance of it. And he is bound up with the fate of the Ring. My heart tells me that he has some part to play yet, for good or ill, before the end; and when that comes, the pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many – yours not least.” ― Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring


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Six Degrees of Sauron – applying Six Degrees of Separation to The Lord of the Rings

It is with great pleasure that Emil Johansson and I announce the release of the Six Degrees of Sauron web application.

SixDegreesHomeSmall

WHAT IS SIX DEGREES OF SAURON?

Many people are familiar with the theory Six Degrees of Separation or the related game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. The theory is that each person is separated from any other person in the world by no more than 6 hops*. Sauron is the main villain in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. He also appears in The Hobbit and The Silmarillion. Since we are Tolkien fanatics, and since his writings feature an enormous cast of characters, we thought it would be fun to apply Six Degrees to Middle Earth. The Six Degrees of Sauron database includes characters from The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion. The Dark Lord is closer than you think!

*Here’s a real-life example. We know Cliff Broadway, who knows Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movie director Peter Jackson, who knows his movie cast. So we are both only three hops from Ian McKellan, Orlando Bloom, Elijah Wood, Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch, and all the other talented actors from those movies! Another example of Six Degrees of Separation showing how many of the most popular fantasy, sci-fi, and horror movies are connected by a relatively small number of actors can be seen on this amusing infographic.

HOW DO I USE SIX DEGREES OF SAURON?

Six Degrees of Sauron  was designed to be very easy to use. Simply enter the names of Tolkien characters in the “FROM” and “TO” fields, and click “SUBMIT”. Some of Tolkien’s character names are hard to spell. So, you only have to type a few letters, and then a drop-down menu of matching names appears. The results show the corresponding chain(s) of characters and how they know each other. The relationship types listed are:

Fellowship – the two characters were members of the fellowship to destroy Sauron’s ring

Erebor Quest – the two characters participated in the quest to defeat Smaug and reclaim Erebor

Spouse – the two characters were married

Kin – the two characters met and were related

Ally – the two characters met and were friendly, countrymen, or otherwise favorably disposed

Foe – the two characters met on a battlefield or were otherwise antagonistic

Master of/Servant of – one character was the servant of the other

Palantir – the two characters communicated with each other via a Palantir (a magical scrying sphere)

Great Music – the two characters were divine beings who participated in the Great Music via which Middle Earth was formed. Read more about The Ainulindalë, Tolkien’s moving creation myth, in The Silmarillion.

WHO CREATED SIX DEGREES OF SAURON?

emilsmall

Emil Johansson lives in Gothenburg, Sweden, and is a Chemical Engineering student. He is passionate about photography, the web, chemistry, and of course, the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. He maintains the popular Tolkien fan site lotrproject.com. Emil is @LOTRproject on Twitter.

henrysmall

Henry Herz lives in San Diego, and writes (with the help of his two sons) fantasy and science fiction (SFF) books for kids. He also interviews SFF & children’s book authors on his  blog. Henry is @Nimpentoad on Twitter.

ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD KNOW?

Six Degrees of Sauron  is not associated with Middle-earth Enterprises, the Tolkien Estates, or Warner Bros. It is driven by love of Tolkien’s works.

Six Degrees of Sauron is based on the characters and plots of Tolkien’s writings. Characters and relationships that only appear in the movie versions are not included.

The Six Degrees of Sauron database is not claimed to be exhaustive, although creating it was exhausting. We don’t doubt that there may be mistakes or omissions. Six Degrees of Sauron is free to use, and therefore comes with a double-your-money-back guarantee.

If you enjoy Six Degrees of Sauron, kindly share the site with friends who’d appreciate it (or send it to foes who would not, but who you wish to annoy).


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Eight reasons why Karl Urban is bad-ass

I just watched the movie Dredd, and I have to say that Karl Urban is bad-ass. Beyond being a wonderful actor for action roles, he has managed to outdo his Lord of the Rings co-star Orlando Bloom in terms of appearing in a range of fantasy, sci-fi, and other big movie franchises. Let’s take a look, shall we? Here are eight reasons why Karl Urban is bad-ass:

vaako

Lord Vaako in Riddick (2013) and Chronicles of Riddick (2004). He’s got a necro-mullet, black armor, and a triple-headed halbard. Plus Thandie Newton and Alexa Davalos.

Star Trek (2008) Directed by: J.J. Abrams

Dr. McCoy in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) and Star Trek (2009). OK, so he’s not the fighter that Kirk and Spock are. But he’s still got that wry wit. Plus Zoe Saldana

dredd

Judge Dredd in Dredd (2012). His unrelenting Sly Stallone imitation, a voice-activated gun that fires bullets, high explosives, incendiary, and armor piercing rounds. Plus Olivia Thirlby.

blackhat

Black Hat in Priest (2011). No, that’s not a typo. He’s a vampire – a rare evil role for an actor who typically plays good guys. And, no surprise, he wears a beat-up black hat.

grimm

John Grimm in Doom (2005). Plus the BFG 9000. The most powerful weapon in the Doom video game, it fires giant balls of green plasma. It can clear entire rooms of foes, and is often an instant kill if a target takes a direct hit from the projectile.

kirill

Kirill in The Bourne Supremacy (2004). CIA officers are paying $3 million for the “Neski files,” documents about the theft of $20 million seven years earlier. Kirill originally frames Jason Bourne by planting his fingerprints and proceeds to kill the agent and the source, stealing the files and money.

eomer

Eomer in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) and The Two Towers (2002). He becomes King of Rohan upon Theoden dying in battle. “I would cut off your head, dwarf, if it stood but a little higher from the ground.”

caeser

Julius Caesar in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (1996-1998) and Xena: Warrior Princess (1996-2001). I suspect it is to his everlasting embarrassment that he also played a blond, winged Cupid. Oh the horror!

This post can also be viewed at the San Diego Children’s Book Examiner.


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How SFF characters made their way to the mountains of Titan

We all have our favorite children’s books. And many of them feature imagined worlds with their own languages, cultures, and geography. Did you know that some character and place names from science fiction and fantasy children’s literature have made their way into astronomy?

Titan

One of Saturn’s moons is Titan. And those wacky, kidlit-lovin’ astronomers have named some of the features of Titan after fictitious places created by fantasy and science fiction literature titans J.R.R. Tolkien and Frank Herbert. The full list can be viewed at the USGS website, but here are some tasty samples:

Angmar Montes (Mountain)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Named after an evil kingdom in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy “The Silmarillion”

From wikipedia.org:
“Angmar was founded in T.A. 1300 in the far north of the Misty Mountains by the evil Lord of the Ringwraiths, who became known as the “Witch-king of Angmar”. Since the Witch-king was a servant of the Dark Lord Sauron, it is presumed that Angmar’s wars against the successor kingdoms of Arnor were done at Sauron’s bidding to destroy an important ally of Gondor. It may also be presumed that wars against Arnor were an attempt to find the One Ring, as Isildur was going to Arnor to make the Ring an heirloom of the kingdom when he was killed.”

Arrakis Planitia (Impact basin)

Dune
Named after the planet Arrakis in Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic “Dune”

From wikipedia.org:
“Arrakis — informally known as Dune — is a fictional desert planet featured in the Dune series of novels by Frank Herbert. Herbert’s first novel in the series, 1965’s Dune, is popularly considered one of the greatest science fiction novels of all time. In Dune, the planet is the home of the Fremen, and subsequently is the Imperial Capital of the Atreides Empire.”

“Arrakis … Dune … wasteland of the Empire, and the most valuable planet in the universe. Because it is here — and only here — where spice is found. The spice. Without it there is no commerce in the Empire, there is no civilization. Arrakis … Dune … home of the spice, greatest of treasure in the universe. And he who controls it, controls our destiny.”

Arwen Colles (Hill)

Arwen
Named after the elf princess Arwen, daughter of Elrond in J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy “The Lord of the Rings”

From wikipedia.org:
“Arwen was the youngest child of Elrond and Celebrían. Her name Ar-wen means ‘noble maiden’. She bore the sobriquet “Evenstar” (or Evening Star), as the most beautiful of the last generation of High Elves in Middle-earth.

As told in “The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen”, Aragorn in his twentieth year met Arwen for the first time in Rivendell, where he lived under Elrond’s protection. Arwen, then over 2700 years old, had recently returned to her father’s home after living for a while with her grandmother Lady Galadriel in Lórien. Aragorn fell in love with Arwen at first sight. Some thirty years later, the two were reunited in Lórien. Arwen reciprocated Aragorn’s love, and on the mound of Cerin Amroth they committed themselves to marry one another.”

Bilbo Colles (Hill)

bilbo
Named after Bilbo Baggins, the hobbit protagonist in J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”.

From wikipedia.org:
“In The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit in comfortable middle age at 50 years old, was hired in spite of himself as a “burglar” by the wizard Gandalf and 13 dwarves led by their king Thorin Oakenshield on a quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain and its treasure from the dragon Smaug. The adventure took Bilbo and the companions through the wilderness, to the elf haven of Rivendell, across the Misty Mountains and the black forest of Mirkwood, to Lake-town in the middle of Long Lake, and eventually to the Mountain itself. Here, after the dragon was killed and the Mountain reclaimed, the Battle of Five Armies took place.

In his journey, Bilbo encountered other fantastic creatures, including trolls, elves, giant spiders, a man who can change shape into a bear, goblins, eagles, wolves and a slimy, murderous creature named Gollum. Underground, near Gollum’s lair, Bilbo accidentally found a magic ring of invisibility, which he used to escape from Gollum.”

Chusuk Planitia (Impact basin)

chusuk
Named after the planet Chusuk in Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic “Dune”

From wikipedia.org:
“In Dune, Chusuk is the “fourth planet of Theta Shalish; the so-called ‘Music Planet’ noted for the quality of its musical instruments.” The Appendix of Dune mentions “the Navachristianity of Chusuk.”

Doom Mons (Mountain)

mtdoom
Named after a volcanic mountain in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasies “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Silmarillion”.

From wikipedia.org:
“Mount Doom is a fictional volcano in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth legendarium. It is located in the heart of the black land of Mordor and close to Barad-dûr. Alternative names, in Tolkien’s invented language of Sindarin, include Orodruin (“fiery mountain”) and Amon Amarth (“mountain of fate”). The Sammath Naur (“Chambers of Fire”), made by Sauron in the Second Age, is a structure located deep within the mountain’s molten core. It was here Sauron forged the One Ring during the Second Age.

The mountain represents the endpoint of Frodo Baggins’ quest to destroy the Ring which is recounted in The Lord of the Rings. The chasm is the site where the One Ring was originally forged by the Dark Lord Sauron and the only place it can be destroyed.”

Echoriath Montes (Mountain)

echoriath
Named after the Encircling Mountains mountain range in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy “The Silmarillion”

From wikipedia.org:
“A mountain range in the north of Beleriand, also called the Encircling Mountains. The Echoriath formed a natural circle of rock, enclosing the valley later called Tumladen, within which lay the Elven city of Gondolin. A hidden ravine provided the only access through the Echoriath — a way guarded by seven gates. Fingolfin, a High King of the Noldor, was buried in the Echoriath north of Gondolin, having been taken there by the eagle Thorondor after he was slain in his duel with Morgoth. Glorfindel was also buried in this place.”

Erebor Mons (Mountain)

Erebor
Named after a mountain and Dwarf kingdom in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy “The Hobbit”. 

From wikipedia.org:
“In J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth legendarium, the Lonely Mountain (Sindarin Erebor) is a mountain in the north of Rhovanion. It is the source of the Celduin River, and the location of the Kingdom Under the Mountain. The town of Dale lies in a vale on its southern slopes.

Erebor became the home of the Folk of Durin, a clan of Dwarves known as the Longbeards, after they were driven from their ancestral home of Khazad-dûm. In the latter days of the Third Age, this Kingdom Under the Mountain held one of the largest dwarvish treasure hoards in Middle-earth.”

Faramir Colles (Hill)

faramir
Named after the son of the steward of Gondor in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy “The Lord of the Rings”

From wikipedia.org:
“Faramir is the younger brother of Boromir of the Fellowship of the Ring and second son of Denethor II, the Steward of the realm of Gondor. The relationships between the three men are revealed over the course of the book and are elaborated in the appendices.

Faramir first enters the narrative in person in The Two Towers, where, upon meeting Frodo Baggins, he is presented with a temptation to take possession of the One Ring. In The Return of the King, he led the forces of Gondor during the War of the Ring, coming near to death, and eventually succeeded his father as the Steward and won the love of Éowyn of Rohan.”

Misty Montes (Mountain)

Misty_mountains
Named after the Misty Mountains mountain range in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”.

From wikipedia.org:
“In J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy world of Middle-earth, the Misty Mountains (also known by its Sindarin name of Hithaeglir—misspelled as Hithaiglin on the original Lord of the Rings map—and as the Mountains of Mist) is a mountain range, running for 795 miles from north to south, between Eriador and the valley of the Great River, Anduin, and from Mount Gundabad in the far north to Methedras in the south.

The northernmost peak of the Misty Mountains was Mount Gundabad, where according to legend Durin awoke, though it was later an abode of Orcs. The greatest Dwarven realm in Middle-earth, Khazad-dûm, was located at the midpoint of the Misty Mountains. The three peaks that were part of Khazad-dûm were Caradhras (Redhorn), Celebdil (Silvertine) and Fanuidhol (Cloudyhead). Inside Celebdil, the Dwarves built the Endless Stair, from the foundations of the mountain to the top of it. The southernmost peak of the Misty Mountains was Methedras (Last Peak).”

This article is also posted to the San Diego Children’s Books Examiner.


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Interview with TheOneRing.net senior staffer Larry Curtis

Larry Curtis is a Senior Staff member at TheOneRing.net (TORn). TORn is well known to fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s books ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’. Larry specializes in live events, news and social media. He was part of a set visit to ‘The Hobbit’ movie filming in 2012, gathering material primarily for the second film which has yet to be published. Although swamped with San Diego Comic-Con preparations, Larry has graciously agreed to answer some questions.

CurtisLarry

What is TORn all about?

TheOneRing.net is and always has been an all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization made by fans, for fans, of J.R.R. Tolkien. It is an online community that serves many needs and kind of fan and bridges the gap between the filmmakers who worked on ‘The Lord of the Rings’ films and now ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy of films. They are a world wide group of staff and fans that does all it can to bring what it can to fans with the resources of fans. They are best known in the mainstream for their Oscar Parties in Hollywood but they have been reporting book and movie news since 1999. They are passionate people collectively serving a passionate community.

What will be TORn’s presence at SDCC?

We have been a presence at San Diego Comic-Con for well over a decade, presenting panels about either ‘The Lord of the Rings’ or ‘The Hobbit’ for most of those years. This year we have a Thursday 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. look at ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ (the second of three Hobbit films). We aren’t part of the production or the studio so we speculate and discuss leaks and rumors as well as collect the public knowledge in a lively one-hour format. We are also selling shirts at the Weta Workshop booth and the Badali Jewelry booth to help us stay online. Currently our expenses are bigger than our income so a chance like this to sell shirts and make up some financial group is a great for us. We also relish the chance to meet fellow fans face-to-face and bring our online staff (or a small part of it) together in a physical place. It is self-paid vacation for many of us.

Henry: We’ll be at SDCC on July 21, so we will swing by the TORn booth to say hi.

What is it about Tolkien’s children’s book ‘The Hobbit’ that you find so intriguing?

I enjoy the book because of its introduction to Middle-earth, its deft use of an anti-hero and how grand and epic it all gets at the end. A very personable tale of a single Hobbit eventually involves all the key races in Middle-earth and despite the author’s modest and homey beginnings. He manages to leave such an impression of untold grand stories and weaves wonder with mundane world building in a way that leaves me appreciating the book long after I put it down.

What is a powerful lesson you’ve learned from your involvement with TORn?

Simply that contributing to the greater good, as an unselfish team, brings me more pleasure and deeper satisfaction than almost anything I can do.

Henry: I will point out that you have a very Hobbit-like attitude in that regard. 🙂

What has been a memorable experience that you never would have had if you had not been involved with TORn?

There are many, many such experiences. It is almost impossible to overstate how being part of the TORn family has enriched my life with choice experiences. Most important of all are the life long friends I have made with fellow staffers. Those folks are as dear as the friends I have from the other portions of my life. I don’t know for sure what they think of me but I surely love them. The other big answer is my personal exposure to New Zealand, including many people there, has also enriched my life.

Do you have any favorite Tolkien quotes?

The one I think about most often is, “In a hole in the ground, there lived a Hobbit” and the bits that come after. It is a sentence and opening of such promise and I am shocked to think how he met that promise and then did so much more. It is very famous of course but not a quote as you mean exactly but it is what I think of first. I feel some need to read LOTR again so I have a better answer to this question.

Henry: For the handful of people who have yet to read ‘The Lord of the Rings’, some other quotes include:

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

“I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

“Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”

“War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”

If you could have one superpower, what would it be, and why?

Reading minds would be a useful skill. Flight would be the most fun power I can imagine but in real life it would be hot and cold and dangerous. I think I would take mind reading as a much more subtle but useful ability. Although, it would bring its own problems to be sure.

Henry: I would’ve bet money you would have chosen invisibility. 🙂

If you could have three authors over for dinner, who would it be?

I would have Tolkien to be sure, although I suspect he would be intimidating with his knowledge and difficult for me to engage. George R.R. Martin would be my next choice because he understands what Tolkien contributed and I think I need a modern man. Finally, sifting through all the classic authors, it is tempting to bring Shakespeare or Mark Twain or Charles Dickens but I choose Edgar Allen Poe. He might not be amazing in person but picking that brain would surely be something.

Henry: It would be interesting indeed to see what Tolkien would think of Martin’s practice of killing off his characters with wild abandon.

What is your favorite creature that exists only in literature?

The dragon. It is so universal and so amazing and frightening. I like it best when used lightly, but they seem to be at the very top of the mythical food chain. If not that that Sharktopus.

Henry: LOL. For those of you who haven’t seen the 2010 film Sharktopus (and that would be almost everyone), IMDB tells us, “A half-shark, half-octopus creature created for the military, creates a whole lot of terror in Mexico while a scientist who helped created it tries to capture/kill it.”

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I read or experience other stories through film. I like video games too, particularly ones with a story to tell.

What would you like it to say on your tombstone?

He drank life to the lees.

Henry: Ah, a little Tennyson. He may be drinking so much because you didn’t invite him to dinner.

Where can people find out more about TORn?

TheOneRing.net but also our Facebook page and on Twitter. The best way is to dive into the community! And of course, at San Diego Comic-Con.

This article is also posted to the San Diego Children’s Books Examiner