Art and Literature News / Movie News

An Eagle’s View of Middle-earth


Meet Pickles! Not only does she live at the Hobbiton Movie Set, but she was present during the filming of The Hobbit last year. Time to re-watch the Shire scenes to see if she shows up! Pickles often makes appearances in visitors’ Hobbiton photo albums (the picture above was taken in December 2012 by fotografdracula), and after comic book author Gail Simone recently visited Hobbiton, she shared many a tweet about Pickles. She said, “Once a day, Pickles goes down to the Green Dragon Inn to get delicious scraps from the kitchen. It’s the most adorable thing ever,” adding, “They are taking pictures of the cat to make a children’s book, ‘Pickles Goes to Hobbiton.’ Happiest cat ever.” (Lily Milos)

“To the Men Women, to the Women Men.” Even in the 17th century, when Aphra Behn wrote those words, people understood the concept of gender-swapping. Over at Livejournal, Annis created this gender-swapped cast for The Lord of the Rings that has everyone buzzing. What do you think of her choices? Would you suggest any changes or additions? (Britta)

Marton Csokas, who played Celeborn in The Lord of the Rings, is currently filming The Amazing Spiderman 2, opposite Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jaime Foxx, and Paul Giamatti. IMDb has Csokas listed as Dr. Kafka, but in Marvel Comics lore, Dr. Kafka is a woman who heads the Ravencroft Institute. Continuing the theme of gender-swapping, it could be true, but it’s also possible that someone on IMDb is merely guessing at his role. (Lily Milos)


For the second year in a row, photographer Michal Cizek documented the annual springtime reenactment of a battle from J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, in a forest near the village of Doksy, Czech Republic. “The goal is not only to play ‘theater’ for the audience,” Cizek explains. “For the 800 or so Tolkien fans who came to Doksy last weekend, it above all is a game—a game where each participant has a place and a task and spends two days fighting for the side of good or evil. Needless to say, most fans typically side with the ‘good’ team.” Fascinated by the enthusiasm he witnessed this week, Cizek plans to return next year with a 4×5 view camera in hopes of shooting even more intimate portraits. (Evie Bowman)

Etsy shop Deep Midnight Perfumes offers a sample of Hobbit-inspired perfumes that are meant to evoke the imagery from the story through sense of smell. Each race of the free people of Middle-earth is represented–Halflings, Humans, Dwarves, and Elves, and also the dragon Smaug and the stone he guards. The Hobbit Perfume Sampler includes The Halfling’s Party, Black Arrow, Dungeons Deep, House of Healing, and Dragon’s Orb. All five scents are unique and listed as “unisex.” (Britta)

Saoirse Ronan said she felt “really disappointed” when she had to turn down the chance to feature in The Hobbit to concentrate on other projects. Speaking to the Daily Mirror newspaper, Ronan said, ”There were talks about me playing the wood elf Itaril, but I had to turn it down. I was really disappointed, but there were other projects I had to consider, and to spend a year doing The Hobbit wouldn’t have left me time for anything else.” (Evie Bowman)


This map of Saturn’s moon Titan identifies the locations of mountains that have been named by the International Astronomical Union. By convention (and proving there are some awesome Tolkien nerds at NASA), mountains on Titan are named for mountains from Middle-earth. (via @MiddleEarthNews Twitter follower @AnneGelfing)

ChinaDaily has an informative piece on the differences between the dragons found in western and eastern folklore. Whereas Smaug from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is a cruel, avaricious, and bloodthirsty creature whose lair under the Lonely Mountain identifies him as a creature of the earth, the Chinese dragon is an auspicious creature, symbolizing strength, wisdom, good luck, and power over the elements of wind and water. Tolkien drew much of his inspiration for Smaug from the dragon in the old English epic of Beowulf, penned more than a thousand years earlier, which gives some indication of the depth of the European tradition of portraying dragons as bad news. (Evie Bowman)

Brenda McKay had a storage locker next to one belonging to a property manager for The Hobbit that was filled with movie props, including chalices, parchment maps, and keys. Allegedly, McKay took advantage of a hole in the wall connecting the two lockers to get at the movie booty and was caught when New York State Police investigators set up a sting operation after they were alerted that McKay had sold a sword for $150,000 on eBay. The eBay customer who bought the sword checked its authenticity and upon learning it did, indeed, come from the movie, alerted authorities. (Lily Milos)

Angry Nerd says what’s on everyone’s mind. The problem with Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is its length. That’s right. It’s far, far too short. He takes issue with the fact that “Peter Jackson totally skipped the scene where Bilbo meets the dwarves at the Green Dragon Inn in Bywater. And the party’s sojourn in Rivendell? Drastically shortened!” (Arwen Kester)

Every week, our Middle-earth News reporters seek out Tolkien/Hobbit/LOTR goodness and tag their finds with their names. If you have something to contribute, please submit it using the Got News Precious link at the bottom of the page.

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  1. “Pickles Goes to Hobbiton.” Well that just made me extremely happy!

  2. That cat is sooo cute!!