Apr 25 2009, 3:15pm
Message from Kristin Thompson
My Debts to TheOneRing.net
TORN may loom large in my chapter on official and quasi-sanctioned LOTR websites in The Frodo Franchise, but I certainly didn’t discover it when it was founded. Quite the contrary, I was not an early internet user. In addition, as I wrote in the preface in the book, I was one of those Tolkien fans who deliberately ignored the making of the film trilogy, not wanting to get my hopes up about the adaptation.
It was really only after I decided to write about the film that I ventured onto the internet to any real extent. That was in early 2002, and originally my project was to do an article, subsequently published in a film-studies journal called The Velvet Light Trap. By the way, that article has been quoted widely, but it’s out of date and has some errors. Best to avoid it and rely on the book instead.
Anyway, it was impossible to write about the film trilogy without exploring the internet, and it was during 2002 that I discovered TORN.
Once I embarked upon the book project, I knew there would be a chapter on LOTR and the internet. I knew I wanted to deal with New Line’s site, with Ain’t It Cool News, with TORN, with McKellen.com, and with some samples of smaller, fan-originated sites.
From the start, the four TORN co-founders were incredibly generous with their time and recollections. My first interview was with Corvar, on June 12, 2004. He happens to be a fellow Wisconsinite, so we met in a little cafe in Milwaukee. The second was with Tehanu, during my second research trip to New Zealand; she fed me a lovely meal on an incredibly stormy night in Auckland and then answered many questions. (I interviewed her a second time that November, on my third and final research trip to New Zealand.) The third was with Calisuri on August 29, 2004, during one of my three research trips to Los Angeles. A few days later I talked with Quickbeam and Asfaloth in L.A., while they were still editing Ringers.
I’m sure Xoanon would have been willing to let me interview him as well, but I decided it was not to be. With all the traveling I was doing, a separate trip to Canada to talk with him seemed just a bit too much. And speaking of too much, the text I was drafting on TORN was turning out to be way too long. I decided if I had yet another interview, TORN would take over the whole chapter. (I know, what would be the problem with that, right? But I got to interview Ian, too, and his webmaster Keith Stern! As it was, the internet chapter became two internet chapters.) But Xoanon was very helpful, answering questions by email.
Since The Frodo Franchise came out in 2007, TORN has been equally supportive in getting the word out about the book, mentioning it in news items whenever even a small excuse to do so arose. Links to entries on my blog of the same name have sent me a lot of hits. The fact that TORN and The Frodo Franchise blog were chosen as the two sites regularly linked on the recently added Shire page on Del Toro Films felt like a double honor—to be listed there and to be side-by-side with the premiere Tolkien website.
Tehanu paid me the ultimate compliment after reading my book: “Your account of TheOneRing.net’s beginnings and how it functioned gets it absolutely right. More than that, you capture how it felt to us at the time. Nobody else has managed to get enough of an understanding to do that.” As many of your will recognize, that passage became a blurb on the back of the dustjacket.
I quote that not to boost myself or the book, which I hardly think I need to do in this context, but to emphasize how much help I received from those incredibly helpful interviews. There’s no way I could have captured how working on TORN felt to its founders if they hadn’t conveyed their feelings to me. That my prose then synthesized all that interview material well enough to suggest the authentic early history of TORN pleases me more than I can say. Much though I hoped that my book would reach a general audience, the core groups that I hoped to satisfy were the filmmakers and the fans.
If I manage to get a project on the Hobbit and bridge films launched, this time you can be sure that I’ll be monitoring TORN from the beginning!
Kelvarhin's Universe~~~~~~~Laerasea's Travelling TORn Journal
One book to rule them all
One book to find them
One book to bring them all
And in TORn bind them
In the land of TORnadoes...where the brilliant play
(This post was edited by Altaira on Apr 25 2009, 4:26pm)