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THERE AND BACK AGAIN: A Geek's Adventures In Middle-Earth!!! CHAPTER SEVEN!!!

Stage O…

Sigh… I’m beginning to be set to miss this place, this set, these people. There is one last day of principal photography. I can’t believe it really. Have I really been down here 7 days already (that Sunday was a day of relaxation) This day and tomorrow. And on Saturday, I will be climbing into a flying cigar tube and journeying off into the ether… headed for Auckland and then Los Angeles and then Austin, Texas.

It is hard to believe that Christmas is so close. I look out my window this morning, and there is the bay of WELLINGTON. From my room I see SHED 45… STAGE O. That’s where Peter is shooting. Amongst a thousand and ten fallen timbers and gigantic ship loading cranes… in a concrete building… a fairly empty shell of a building… stands a beautiful set… and there… quite soon… I will witness the last day, the last hour and the last minute of shooting.

Today on the other hand is the day we all forget… the ‘next to the last day’. The day of most aggravation, as it isn’t tomorrow.

I awoke today to the phone ringing… folks asking me to coffee… people offering me their recommendations on spellings and job titles and such. I was asleep as the phone rang… dreaming dreams of a middle earth I could smell and feel and live in. I’ve been gazing upon the paintings of ALAN LEE’s in this three book boxed set. And the difference between the dreams and the waking dream of my days is the presence of film equipment. That’s it.

Before I took my shower before heading to set, I decided to read the Talk Backs to see what I was doing wrong, right or should be hanged for… and I noticed that people were accusing me of having seen 40 minutes of LORD OF THE RINGS footage. I started pondering this… thinking back… Had I seen 40 minutes of LORD OF THE RINGS footage? I decided to research this matter further… I popped over to THEONERING.NET and saw a report that I had allegedly attended a CHRISTMAS PARTY and that while there, Peter screened 40 Minutes of LORD OF THE RINGS footage.


Fact: I have never seen 40 Minutes of LORD OF THE RINGS footage.

Fact: I have not attended any Christmas Party this year at all.

Fact: There was a Party at Barrie Osborne’s house that I attended. There was no footage screened there, as I didn’t even see a video screen while there. I did see a fireman’s pole that many slid down many times.

Fact: When I asked Peter about me having seen 40 Minutes of LORD OF THE RINGS, he was quite shocked and asked me how it was. I felt it must have been so damn good that it struck me dumb, cause I don’t remember seeing 40 minutes of LORD OF THE RINGS footage.

Fact: Harry wishes he had seen 40 minutes of LORD OF THE RINGS footage. He really does.

Also while in TALK BACK I noticed that many people like these reports and have been saying many wonderful things about me. Well, Thank You. These reports are everybit my Christmas Present to you, as they are for me. I love writing. I love writing for you. But very rarely do I get the opportunity to have a reason to write that gets me so enthusiastic… so in love with the material that I cry as I type because I am recalling the moment to moment of my experience in my mind.

It is a bit of a hypnosis sort of thing. As I sit down to type, I begin to remember every step I took, the words and conversations… The way it all looked, and at the end of it all… when I look back and read it. It brings a bit of a smile to my face and I realize that perhaps someone else might appreciate it for what it is. My experiences.

With that, I’ll paint today for you.

Once I got everything in hand, I set out for STUDIO O.

Once again this meant I would be spending time in TOWER HALL… Minas Tirith. Without a doubt the most beautiful set I have been upon… So I hired my taxi… and I drove out to the set.

The driver turned the wrong way only once… and in so doing, I got to drive by all of those fallen trees destined for Japan I’m told. Upon arrival at this unobtrusive concrete building, I retraced my steps from Monday. Through the Luncheon area… the caterers were bringing in trays of salads and steamed carrots. The sterno cans were lit beneath the stainless steel trays of food. LUNCH…

I continued past the great partition and there was the patchy field of tundra with the solemn grey clouded sky before it…

Yet, different from before, there was a new set… A cave… no… a rocky craggy face… wet and dank looking, as if formed in the nightmare of one’s mind. Lights and track were being laid down, and as I was walking past, one of the crew cried out, "Harry… we’re about to begin shooting here with Elijah."

Sure enough, there was Frodo, ring ‘round that neck of his… a greenish cloak and his ever-loving Hobbit feet. They were in the process of putting these contact lenses in for him…. The lenses achieve a strange tired look in his eye and are rather thick and milky…. Elijah says, "Harry? Is Harry here?"

I respond with an affirmative and he looks straight at me with a confused lost look… "I can’t see you very well."

"Well, I’ve lost over a hundred pounds and look great!"

The crew began laughing.

"Must be those 3 hour workout sessions you do!" Oh hell, he’s been reading the page. Hehehe…

I feel the cloth of his cloak… a really nice loose weave… very soft… My eyes are drawn to the ring. Perhaps because it is the brightest element… the only shiny thing about Frodo. Maybe it is because my mind knows what the ring is… what it represents… and how with it, I could make off with nearly every prop I wants!

This is a little mini-unit today… Peter wanted to shoot one last scene with Elijah… and this is it. A scene of Frodo… facing some rock and turning to look at us. Hidden in shadow. Kinda creepy.

I don’t know where this goes… but it is one of those pieces that he may or may not use… It is up to him and John Gilbert and Jamie Selkirk (the editing team, whom’s torture is set to begin in earnest!).

Peter is shooting the scene at 12 frames per second… then later at 6 frames per second. This isn’t to speed it up, but to add a memory quality to it. For the scene will play at normal speed but with repeated images… on 12 fps… each frame will be printed twice… on 6 fps… each frame will be printed thrice.

The playback tries to emulate this… but not quite.

Elijah takes off to get some additional work done, and I forget to hand him my book… I almost begin beating myself, when I see Peter headed to the TOWER HALL set.

As I followed, I realized they were already shooting… DAMN! Busy day! On an outside monitor I see Gandalf storming down the Tower Hall… Lord Denethor a dark pimple beside the stairway topped by an empty throne left in the distance. Gandalf is fuming… I miss all the dialogue as I have no ears (the earphones that you listen to on set dialogue with). His robes catching the air, flowing behind him as tiny Pippin scampers to catch up. They exit the doors and CUT…

I find behind me Andrew Lesnie (BABE, BABE: PIG IN THE CITY), the director of photography and quite a nice chap. As soon as the scene is done, I head onto set, and find Ian talking with Peter about the scene… and John Noble was reading something rather intently.

I find a wooden box to place my flabbiness upon, and watch as Ian asks Victoria Sullivan (Script Supervisor and one of the most delightful people on the planet) about which hand he should have his staff in, on account of the impending flip that will take place. Victoria looks down at her notes… tells Ian which hand… and Ian looks at her with one of those…. ARE YOU SURE looks that he does so wonderfully. Ian then looks at me, "I do hope you take note of this moment Harry, because if that staff ends up in the wrong hand…" Peter begins giggling, Victoria giggles, "It won’t be my head the fans will be after!"

Peter chimes in, "Oh yes, alert the fans to a possible gaffe 3 years from now. They’ll lay in wait for that one."

Alright folks… you’ve been warned… write it down. 3 years from today, go to the cinema… when Gandalf and Pippen are storming out of the Tower Hall after an altercation with Lord Denethor… does his staff remain in the same hand? Only you can answer this in 3 years… Me? I’m on pins and needles in anticipation of the results!


This only takes a couple of shots, as the steadicam operator has his moves down. LUNCH!

I sort of hang back, and watch this animatic footage of a different scene of Gandalf riding upon an Eagle on their way for Frodo and Sam… Ah Christ… even in funky blocky pixel vision… I can’t wait. It is gonna be beautiful I know… Randy Cook and Mark Stetson and the crew of Weta Digital will not be letting us down, I know it. After lunch Ian is set to film him riding atop the lord of the eagles! But before that… I hand Ian my book! Hehehehe!

"Harry, We’ve all been blessed by this project. It is so good that you joined us at the end. Ian McKellen" and then he drew him as Gandalf with that old hat of his and the pipe… smoke drifting away in circles upon and off the title page of my FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING book. Is he great or what? Ian tells me that he’ll join me for lunch, as the makeup people remove that Gandalf the White moustache.

Lunch today was a delicious deboned chicken thing… buttered mashed potatoes and a New Zealand vegetable casserole dish that was delish! I fill my plate and pick a seat. About one deboned chicken breast later, Ian arrives with his plate and we begin talking about Politics in the United States… He is still trying to figure us Americans out. I comment upon his tattoo and how I wonder what other great casts of great movies thought about the films as they made them.

He asked me to name the films in question, and I threw out GONE WITH THE WIND, ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, CASABLANCA… and a few others…

Ian then softens his gaze a bit and comments that he imagines there was no thought of greatness on CASABLANCA, to which I agreed since the studio canned the film for months rather than release it. But then he addressed the films based on literary history or existing properties… He feels that those that set out to make a film from a pre-existing great work of some form, aspire for it to be a great film… but that often times there is a realization along the way that it won’t be that great.

Talking with Ian about LORD OF THE RINGS in particular, he states that at no point in the making of this film did the crew begin talking about Oscars or awards… he believes that it is because they are mostly New Zealanders… but that on many of the films he’s been upon… this was always being tossed about. Here, it seems they are simply making the movies as great as they can for themselves.

I concurred with him, as it has been my experience talking with many of the crew these past several days, that they don’t really care about the films being released in America or elsewhere… that they are really excited for the films to open here in New Zealand… so that the locales can see what it is they’ve been up to. Ian instantly begins shaking his head up in down in a conspiratorial manner… agreeing with me.

You see… the pride on set isn’t about the world seeing it, as much as their spouses… their neighbors… the folks they live with. Many of these people just want to show the people of New Zealand how amazing the work of a bunch of fellow New Zealanders is. And that folks is a wonderful thing… at least to my eyes.

The gaffers and the transportation folks… the catering and the like… they are making something for the world to see for sure, but to many of them… the world is New Zealand. When I was talking to Richard at Weta Workshop, he was talking about how he was going to be taking several of the sculptors out to New York for TOY FAIR this year and how many of them have never even left the Wellington area. That’s how home grown some of this is.

Meanwhile a pair of Ian’s friends come and join us at the table… and I begin to strike up a conversation with Ian’s friend and long time pal, Roger. I am painfully awful about hearing names when I’m first introduced to folks, so I steer the conversation into one of those… "root of you name" sort of things… You see, Harry Jay Knowles breaks down as such… Knowles (pronounced ‘nolls’) is derived from it’s English root Knolls… meaning ‘of the hills’. Harry is the pet name for Henry which became synonymous with King in English history… and Jay comes from ‘jolly’ or ‘happy’… so the root meaning of my name is "JOLLY KING OF THE HILL"

Roger is quite delighted by this, and as a result shares the meaning of his name… thus I get the word HAMMOND out of him… AHA! Roger Hammond! He also admits to being an actor on films like THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE and Ian’s brilliant RICHARD III. But as I stared at him, I was trying to recall his earlier work… and it dawned on me that he was Francis Bacon in that damn fine second season episode of DR WHO… and also he was a Doctor himself in that Cybernauts episode of THE AVENGERS! Hehehe…

Quickly though, they had to join Ian in his caravan where Ian was attempting to remove the chocolate sauce from lunch from out of his Gandalf The White beard… You should have seen the look on Ian’s face when he noticed he’d dipped his beard… There was this childlike… "Oops, they caught me" look that was golden.

I march back to set, to find all the statues along the left side of the building removed as the crew had redressed that area as a corridor in Minas Tirith that contains a rather poignant quiet moment between Pippin and Faramir.

The moment comes after Pippin has his chainmail and Gondorian battle outfit… no bigger than that of a child’s. Faramir comes up… amused by the little Pippin and his bravery… They share a laugh, when Pippin asks him, "Your father, Why is he so angry?" there is a pause, "I only ask because I would help if I could…" And Faramir tells him, "There is nothing you can do, Pippin (pause) look after yourself."

This scene really really got me. I don’t believe it is in the books, but there was something truly genuine about the moment. Just so you know… Billy Boyd’s Pippin is a slightly softer version of the voice Filby (as marvelously played by Alan Young) has in George Pal’s TIME MACHINE. There is a soft lightness to his tone… and a cheerful spirit in the eyes… Pippin makes me smile. And David Wenham’s Faramir is noble and tragic at the same time…. The ‘lessor son’ with the ill father. David plays it with a wonderful breadth of emotion… a killer smile, strong and understanding eyes… and it helps that his costume screams… "Coolness"

While we were shooting this scene… Alan Lee appeared on set, MUCH TO MY DELIGHT! Book, Alan… PLEASE!

Alan takes my book and my Marvin the Martian pen and sets about writing something… I get it back and… "To Harry - With Best Wishes – Alan Lee" and beside it he drew an AMAZING BILBO BAGGINS head! Oh blessed be… Wow… A little bit later while shooting the scene I am flipping through my copy of RETURN OF THE KING and I find myself STUNNED. On page 785 of the Alan Lee edition of THE LORD OF THE RINGS, you will find a painting of the exact moment I was staring at. Seriously… it was as if, Alan Lee had sat in my chair… and painted that which lay exactly in front of me. There is a difference though… This in front of me is in a larger scale… the Columns are about double the size in the book… as are the statues and the stairs to the throne…. Also the sides of the throne are carved with images of kings… and the Tree Of Gondor is on the wall directly behind the throne… OTHERWISE… IT IS EXACTLY ACCURATE. Peter tells me, that Alan painted the plate I was looking at 8 years ago and felt that it could be improved upon… what I was looking at was exactly that.

Folks, this was amazing. I mean… right there… in front of me was the painting realized. I’ve never been in a position like this before. I mean… CHRIST… Book… Reality…. Book…. Reality…. Never so clear before.

Peter shows some of the people on set my discovery and we all delight in it…

The shot was nearly over so I handed Peter my book to sign on the ‘Three rings for Elven Kings’ page… you know the one… And Peter wrote: "A Wonderful Book… Beautiful Characters… Vivid Descriptions… Engaging Storyline… I hope the movie doesn’t suck!!!" then beneath the classic verse… "Thanks Harry - You are ‘One Knowles To Rule Them All’ Best Wishes from Peter ‘Derek’ Jackson"

As he called the check the gate for the final time on the next to the last day, he asks me if I have a ride to my hotel… I say no, and Peter and I hope in his mini-van and Peter takes me to the hotel.

I take the moment to Thank Peter profoundly for letting me take all of you on this journey with me. This has been the best writing I have done, I feel. I mean, I can sense the energy in it. I feel my passion for the subject spilling out so effortlessly. And it is because Peter has created something wondrous to behold down here… and my excitement is knot on the backside of my nose that is only cured by writing… and sharing.

Folks, I will leave you with this… Peter is a damn fine driver. Hehehe… Cheers mates… One last day.

Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 21, 2000, 1:18 a.m. CST

    He He

    by Fragar

    Im first! Sorta disappointed now!

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 1:27 a.m. CST

    good one

    by exar_black

    well done Harry, we are very impressed with all this and jealous as hell.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 1:28 a.m. CST

    First!!! Ha.. Harry once again a brilliant chapter!!! :-)

    by Kampbell-Kid

    You still haven't mentioned anything about Hugo Weaving in LOTR's???

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 1:29 a.m. CST

    Harry is the Uber-Geek

    by catbarf

    Congrats Harry. What a deleriously happy experience that sounds like. Sounds more like Snow White than LOTR (your experiences I mean). Hope your plane doesn't turn into a pumpkin in mid-air on the way back! (Oh, and make sure that Alan Lee book is with your carry-on luggage just in case they send the checked bags to Indonesia by mistake). Cheers to the cast and crew. They sound very un-Hollywood and egalitarian. Have fun and Merry Xmas.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 1:29 a.m. CST

    Why Peter Jackson is God

    by Keyser195

    This is it, people...This will finally be the fantasy film worth seeing..I can feel it. I trust the man responsible for "Dead Alive." Good luck, Harry! I'm DYING to be in your shoes.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 1:36 a.m. CST


    by crimsonrage

    ......this has been a great series of articles, thanks Harry.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 1:39 a.m. CST

    Thanks, Harry

    by Mister M

    Thanks, Harry, for your wonderful reports. Your writing is great, for sure, man, and there's a lot of heart in it. We can feel the passion of everyone involved in the project, and yours, of course!!! I think this trilogy is going to be a fucking masterpiece. And thanks to you, we AICNers can be a little part of it...

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 1:48 a.m. CST

    One last day....

    by BennyA

    8 chapters won't be enough! We are so greedy, aren't we? Thanks Harry for teasing us with your vivid accounts. I want to see these films more than any others ever made - AND I don't care for the pedantry of stale Tolkienites. I hope Gandalf's staff does change hand - THAT would make it delightfully REAL! So thank you again. But I do have one problem I wanted to ask about that no one seems to have mentioned. Every film I have seen Viggo in, I can never understand his mumbling. Is this going to be a problem because I love those stories about him camping out in costume etc? And does 'Mother' have a cameo? Christ! We ARE greedy. MORE!

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 2:09 a.m. CST


    by panpil

    Ok, I apologize for what I have said about the 40' footage. Another great report. Keep up the good work. PS: The skeleton up there who throws Harry doesn't look like one of the skeletons in the PC game Grim Fandango?

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 2:18 a.m. CST

    to the Jolly King

    by ol' painless

    Harry, this LOTR series has been absolutely brilliant: I have logged on every morning for the past week with great anticipation, and the writing has been great, the passion evident, and the articles nice and LONG (I love a good read). Also, as a Kiwi living in London, I have also really appreciated the little snippets you have recorded here and there about the land and the people of little old NZ. We are a furtive shy bunch by nature (except when pissed, or watching the All Blacks), and therefore not often noticed, so be assured that your LOTR work is very well-received by THIS expatriate, big fella. Ka pai!!

  • yep, harry great writing, real energy and a supreme christmas present to all the fans but still so long to wait... but this time the waiting is real fun

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 2:24 a.m. CST


    by Y282

    On the off-chance that the cast & crew read this, I'd like to thank them as an enormous fan of Tolkiens writings for putting the heart into this work which I now believe they have done. As with all leaps of faith, if done for the right reasons it produces the best results. Once again, thanks to all, especially Harry.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 2:26 a.m. CST


    by PrivateerLunatic

    Pippin was always my favorite Hobbit. Except for, well, all of the Elves (I like Elves, especially Sindarin Elves. I can't wait to hear the Sindarin langauge spoken. I've read so many books about it, it sounds so poetic and musical, far too much so for me to pronounce it correctly. That's going to be so frickin' cool. I'm getting carried away. I'll go back to my original topic now), he was just about my favorite character. I'm very excited about Pippin's character. You know, this is gonna be awesome. The hobbits are all just beautifully cast. Sean Astin? Wow. Didn't I hear that err, gawsh, what's his name. Fifth Element...priest guy...Hollow Man, guy that drowned in the pool. Gah. The guy that's playing Bilbo. He rules too. And Elijah Wood. *Gasp* I remember when I was following this film, I had my own little idea on who should play who. I had Christopher Loyd for Gandalf (don't laugh yet...think about it. I know McKellen is awesome, but at the time, really...), and I had all these ideas. But I just couldn't figure out who could play Frodo. Then I heard Elijah Wood and it clicked. I went, "HOOOOOOOOOOOLYYYY CRRRRRRRAAAAAAP! THAT'S PERFECT!" This is gonna ruuuuuuuule. I don't care if this movie flunks in the box office (like it will. And actually I do care. But you know what I mean...), I'm gonna love it anyway. I'm such a fantasy nut I loved Dragonheart for crying out loud. But anyway, this is very exciting. Too bad these reports are almost over.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 2:34 a.m. CST

    Am officially so excited I could wet myself at any moment.

    by Cracker Jim

    Harry, your grammar may be atrocious, but you've got heart, kid. Tons of it. First time TB'er, been following the production since the rumor stages (years ago- how strange!) I've read the sacred texts probably 5 times now, which in the greater order of fanboydom puts me at about a 6.5 on a scale of 1 to 10. Just wanted to say that this is hands down the best reporting on the production that we, the slavering horde have received, and definitely some of the best AICN ever. I look forward to some sort of longer, more detailed retrospective when you get back to the good ol' U.S. of A. And if I don't get to see scans of those yearbook dedications, I'll gnaw my toes off.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 2:54 a.m. CST

    A special note to New Line's Marketing department...

    by Cracker Jim

    I know you're reading this. You're playing it brilliantly to the fan sector. Shipping Harry out to goosh about the final week of production is a freakin stroke of publicity genius. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing...

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 2:55 a.m. CST

    Alan Lee picture...

    by sjmaatta

    ... does anyone know if it is online? Somwhere? Anyone? Bueller?

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 3:02 a.m. CST

    Thanks to both Harry (for reporting) & all the crew (in case the

    by _Ioreth_

    not usually posting here (but on the LOTRTT Messageboard at *** ***) - but I must say a great THANK YOU to all involved in this ... I've been sceptical at times, but these news have taken away some of my fears ... LOTR has been my favorite since I was 10 years old ... //Ioreth

  • (blows nose) Thank you very, very much, oh Jolly King Of The Hills - You rule.... Now if only i can get my damn FFWD-1YR-TIMEMACHINE (TM) to work properly! NUXX OUT...

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 3:38 a.m. CST

    Harry, you are the man.

    by Nordling

    Yes. This is some of the best writing you've ever done. It's poetry. I cannot wait to see LOTR now. I have read the books for 20 years annually. And Jackson fucking NAILED it. You deserve some sort of award for this. This is beautiful. Thank you, Harry, a better Christmas gift could not have been given. Well, maybe the Green Destiny sword from CTHD... :)

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 4:54 a.m. CST


    by DozenedDirty

    Just about everything that could have been said about all of this has already been said. I just hope this film becomes popular to the masses . . .not just scifi and fanatasy followers, that it gets the credit I think it will surely deserve!

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 4:55 a.m. CST

    Alan Lee painting

    by jhurshman

    I believe it's this one:

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 5:18 a.m. CST


    by Balrogette

    I shall have to get me one of those books. They've all signed it, eh? BLAST! Hmmmm, a plan is forming. . . Harry! Are you, just by chance, you know, looking for a good time with a BIG girl and a FIERY personality? Offers there, big guy - Chiefy's let me down. Oh yeah - and when your tour of the movie-Middle-Earth comes to an end, why don't you save up and come to Britain? Give me a call and I'll show you what gave Tolkien those big ideas!!! Well done, oh mortal one. . ..

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 5:21 a.m. CST

    Another great report (man, I write this every day)

    by EmperorCaligula

    Harry, you lucky bastard :=) I hope all of you (_all_ because Harry reads the talkback, but I bet some people from cast/crew may read it as well), all of you will have a wonderfuly party. My dear Mr. Knowles (aka king of the Hill), I bet you've probably seen worth 40min of footage when you were on set seeing what they were shooting :) Congratulations for your brilliant reports. And I have the definitive impression you write better and better every day. must be the pressure of knowing that LOTR people will read them as soon as they're posted >=) For the LOTR people, well what i saw so far is simply amazingly great. I was a bit dubious with some rumored changes, but so far they're just rumors, some being recently debunked in Harry's reports. The only _credible_ stuff that was released (preview, pics, etc...) are totally wonderful. Excellent work. I cannot wait to see the end result. * Alan lee's pic: you're right, it's this one, it fits exactly the description. Good, it doesn't look like blatant fantasy stuff, rather like some medieval/venitian/byzantine stuff, which correspond well with how I could picture Gondor. * Hugo Weaving: He plays Elrond, and did most of his scene. I think he should be there for the coronation and wedding, but perhaps did he made his scenes months ago ebfore leaving... Or he just came for 1 or 2 days and left as soon, so that Harry didn't really see him. Elrond is in parts 1 and 3; dependng on how PJ and co developed the script, he could perhaps appear in part 2; will see. Based on the book, his main part would be the first movie (with perhaps a _fighting_ Elrond in the Last Alliance sequence <droolings>). * OK, time to go, so too all of you who'll read this, well done, and have a good party :) * P.S: the talkbackers are becoming far more civilised than i ever saw in AICN. Is it because they're stunned and in awe due to Harry' reports, or because they know Ian mcKellen, Elijah Wood, Liv Tyler and mny others will read their rants ;=)

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 5:40 a.m. CST

    Harry, you ARE Treebeard, you wise old Ent! Great series!!

    by Roguewriter

    Only sorry it's over. Please do us all a favor and archive these reports in your "Harry's World" section; it contains some of the most enjoyable writing you've done, and this series definitely deserves a place at the top. Kudos, Big Guy!!!

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 6:09 a.m. CST

    Trailer Idea. . .

    by RenoNevada2000

    Hey Harry, while you still have Peter's ear, you might want to run this thought past him. At the end of Fellowship and Two Towers, let's have a quick 90 second to 2 minute preview of the next installment, a la the end of Back to the Future 2. Come on Peter!

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 6:18 a.m. CST

    Where is that negativity now?

    by anothervoice

    Has anyone noticed that there are fewer and fewer comments that try to knock these films? Well, we can be asured that Harry's comments have given us an insight that no movies have ever done (at least that I can remember). And a Christmass gift for eight days in a row! Please, Harry, make that last chapter...last!

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 6:29 a.m. CST

    Try this, Harry . . .

    by moviet00l

    WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! Harry, on your last day, as you're saying your goodbyes and shaking Peter's hand, do a Matrix-style Kung-Fu arm-lock and demand to know if that wizard-on-a-spike thing is really how they plan on killing off Saruman. Who knows, it might work! Okay, okay, I'll wait until it comes out. (P.S. Waiting sucks!)

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 6:31 a.m. CST

    The true Father of all Geeks

    by Airafin

    Harry, not only are you one lucky webmaster, and, as all the TBers on the whole internet in the whole world, I envy you like nobody

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 6:34 a.m. CST


    by ame_no_heisei

    While you're there and if you remember (I'd have a damn hard time keeping my head about me if I were in New Zealand at the moment) could you ask some of, or even one of, the cast and crew what they would like to communicate to the fans? Something like what Dominic Monaghan did. It may seem a silly question but these people are living a dream that is, for me, very personal and it's hard not to be able to get more intimate with their experience. Thank you so much for doing these reports, they keep me feeling happy at work :)

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 6:38 a.m. CST

    The man behind the grassy Knowles...

    by Seepgood

    Er, sorry. Couldn't resist it.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 7:01 a.m. CST

    round spikey wheely deely!

    by scatha

    Harry, please get to the bottom of the Saruman-on-a-spike picture! You lucky blankety blank. :-)

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 7:02 a.m. CST


    by jolielouise

    Thank you so much to Harry and to all the cast and crew of this amazing project. I'll be thinking of y'all today on the last day of filming. Everybody send good chi to New Zealand! Happy Holidays!

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 7:25 a.m. CST

    Harry, these stories have been the most interesing things I've r

    by geekzapoppin

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 8 a.m. CST



    Unbelieveable!!! Wow, what a treat. I cannot wait to see your Alan Lee book with all the autographs and artwork. I'm going out and getting my tattoo right now!! Need somemore news about Aragorn/Viggo!

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 8:01 a.m. CST


    by Reverendz

    ASK! Please Harry, get at least a tidbit on this subject. I know that most of the work will be done in post, but at least find out SOME details. PLEASE?

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 8:16 a.m. CST

    Sarumans death

    by sundown

    I just want to say I LOVE everything about the way this film is coming together. It will rock and I anticipate it like no other film that has come out in my lifetime. Now one question. Saruman dies at the end of the books in a short story unto itself where the returning now battlehardened hobbits kick the crap out of a bunch of evil humans that would have scared them silly before. Now this scnee I thought wasintegral to the whole trilogy and really hammered homw the ay the Hobbits changed and to me was the punchline to the books. You have these formerly meek being who went through hell facing a challeneg that would have terrified them but PALES to what they have seen. And they demolish it in front of all their friends they left so long ago. I thought that whole sequence was amazing and it really made the story great. Does anyone know if they are planning on excising that and killing Saruman in a more Hollywood fashion during an earlier battle with the hordes of Sauron? I hope that isn't the case as I liked the way things turned out. But I understand the need to rewrite some stuff to give the desired impact. I wonder if they'll change the ending to give a payoff with Sauron in the battle as well. I ain't universally against change but I hope it is as close as possible. But I understand the people who haven't read the books will want a more movie-like conclusion as sometimes things work better on paper than on film... But what do you guys think? Oh and Harry great stuff really I get more excited by the day...move into Jacksons place when he isn't looking and stay until they call the police to remove you!

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 8:22 a.m. CST

    Way to go Harry

    by ADA

    It has been brilliant to get the low down on the last days of filming. This is going to be a landmark film, no doubt about it!

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 8:25 a.m. CST

    Get Your Paws Off My Peter!

    by SwanEater

    A few short years ago, when Peter Jackson was but an imaginative Kiwi on the map of riotous bloody movies, I believed him the best kept secret on the globe. Absolutely hilarious sequences and great/gory moments that kept me hoping that the cinematic world would never get her greedy paws on my Peter. Now then, when he decided to unleash those balls of brass and tackle THE great book, I thought that perhaps our man Jackson had a Bad Taste sized slit in his cranium, leaking brain and obvious common sense along the way. The man has quite literally unveiled himself to the world of film in only two

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 8:34 a.m. CST



    I've found myself dripping with anticipation for this film, more that any other. Harry, you've successfully put all other resources to shame with these wondeful reports. Screw John Fordes' (EOnline...what's up with that title anyway? "Force of Hobbit" sounds like the last minute, I don't care just get it posted, version....HA) reports from New Zealand, YOURS ARE ABOVE AND BEYOND GREATNESS, MUCH MORE INFORMATIVE. I only regret that poor Ian's "Grey Book" report won't be met with as much anticipation each month. Don't leave just move in with PJ, we need these reports. DON'T FORGET ELIJAH'S AUTOGRAPH!!!

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 8:56 a.m. CST

    By Eru! (and Saruman Wizard-on-a-Wheel Questions [*please])

    by DrLocrian

    Amazing. Thank you again, Harry, for your superb, sometimes even moving, reporting. I have been a harsh critic of the movies, but I must say I am more excited and impressed with the work they've done than I ever have been. It'll be a loooong year. *** <SPOILER WARNING> Like many others, I long to know the definitive answers to these questions: does Saruman indeed die on the wheel-o-death? Is he in Isengard or the Shire upon death? (by evidence, I know the answers to these questions, but I'm hoping for a hoax or change of mind) If Isengard, who is the Sharkey of the Shire? If he bites it in Isengard, I think the only viable solution is to make Saruman the villain of the Shire even after his demise (e.g. the machinations Saruman has set in motion are perpetuated by his lackeys). *** Harry, your imminent "passing" from New Zealand reminds me of Gimli's departure from Lothl

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 9:11 a.m. CST

    I've been on this site nearly daily for over three years and...

    by PoopyPantsFanBoy

    This is the most exciting and best shit that I've read from you Harry! I mean to be in your place Mr. Knowles, you're where every PoopyPantsFanBoy wishes he was..... Asshole!

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 9:19 a.m. CST


    by Lil_Timmy

    I mean really... instead of going to watch Lord of Rings, how about going on a diet you bloated monkey!

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 9:22 a.m. CST

    Harry, please ask Peter Jackson:

    by S. Bisley

    If additional realistic gore during the battles will be included in a future LOTR DVD release? Has Braveheart-type gore been filmed? By all means, let the theatrical release be censored so New Line can have their precious dollars, but just once in my life I'd like to see realistic fantasy battles instead of the Dragonheart-type bullshit. A directors gory cut of LOTR. Please PJ. PLEASE.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 9:36 a.m. CST

    Cast and Crew

    by Elendil55

    Hey everyone. I just want to thank all of the cast and crew for putting so much effort into making these movies as wonderful as the books that inspired them. I am sure that these movies are going to be huge, and I truly believe from what Harry has told us that there is something very special about this production...I only wish that I could have been there to be a part of it. Thank you so much, and thank you Harry for some of the best articles that I have ever read. They are incredible.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 9:54 a.m. CST

    nothing more to add

    by MercilessMing

    Well, I've got nothing more to add to the talkback that hasn't been said already, but I'll give it a shot in case these reports are archived into movie history someday. Harry, you rock, the site rocks, these reports rock, and the LOTR movies are going to rock. I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to handle this next year of extreme anticipation. I've already started dreaming about seeing the movies. Last week I dreamed that Fellowship was great, but on the way out I saw a poster advertising The Two Towers with the date saying December 19, 2018. AAAAGHH! 363 days to go!

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 10:06 a.m. CST

    Re: Harry being used?

    by catbarf

    Perhaps. I'm sure no one would be anything less than charming to visiting press to begin with. Interesting that the most thorough coverage that we should get so far comes via this doubt because they know Harry understands the subject matter. Other media outlets would probably screw everything up. But for that very reason (Harry actually understanding the subject matter) I think the crew geniunely *likes* the guy and his bubbling enthusiasm, even if he's a bit of a goof sometimes. This project MUST have deeply connected everyone working on it. In this context, Harry being treated like "one of the family" is a bit more plausible and the "bribery" seems more like the perks of actually being appreciated. Sure, it's in their interest to spoil him rotten, but the people on the set do seem to be enjoying it *for it's own sake* while they're at it. Harry is FUN to spoil! His enthusiasm is contagious. I don't think it's quite as bad as it may look to the cynical. As for his objectivity, Harry is obviosly "drunk" on the experience of being there, but I can't say I blame the guy. He'll sober up a bit when he gets back.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 10:17 a.m. CST

    Great Stuff

    by Ibsen

    Harry, Your posts have been quite a prelude to next year's best Christmas time movie extravaganza to hit the silver screen in quite some time. I believe that no gift will compare to the wonderful movies Peter Jackson and the people of Wellington are making for the next few holiday seasons. Thanks for taking us along for the ride!

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 10:18 a.m. CST

    saurman on a stick

    by wookiehunter

    where can I find that pic of the loley wizzard on a stick???????????

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 10:35 a.m. CST

    Oh, please say you saw my message

    by Solstice007

    Harry, if you read the talk-backs, please tell me you saw my request and gave my message to Frodo (AKA Elijah Wood). But even if you missed that, I LUV YOU TOO, HARRY! Reading these chapters has been one of the best experience in my LOTR-centered life! Merry Christmas!

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 10:38 a.m. CST

    Thanks! :)

    by Golasgil

    Ignore the cynics! I want to say a big Thank You to the cast and crew and the wonderful fan base. I am a Purist; I am bowled over by the enthusiam shown by everyone associated with the project. I think your excitement shows that you "get it" in the best sense. I no longer fear, I will enjoy every moment of your journey. Thanks. PS. I can't believe you people got tats! I want one now!

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 11:18 a.m. CST

    "whom's torture it is"?

    by Tulkas

    That cracks me up. Harry, don't ever proof-read your reports - the flaws are part of the charm, and show the passion behind it all. It's hard to imagine how the cast and crew seem so low key and friendly when the pressure on this project must be huge. Hats off to the Kiwi mindset!

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 11:30 a.m. CST

    here's a thought...

    by ic24

    Harry, Yous should totally ask PJ to add your reports tot he DVDs, as and when they come about.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 11:40 a.m. CST

    In response to 'Harry being used' or 'Harry being to positive'

    by Dragonfire

    First of all, the cast and crew of the lord of the rings trilogy DO NOT NEED TO USE ANYONE. They don't need to worry about money. They're going to make money of this movie no matter what. this is LORD OF THE RINGS for gods sake. Its is destined to be a success. Failure and lord of the rings is a fucking oxymoron. There are millions of lord of the rings fans world wide going to see this. there were 1.7 million downloads of the preview in the first fucking 24 hours for gods sake! THIS MOVIE IS GOING TO BE THE BIGGEST BLOCK BUSTER EVER. Its going to sink titanic. You understand me! titanic is going to positively BLOW UP after this movie comes out. Its going to burst into flame and sink like the flaming pile of crap that it is. Lord of the rings is going to slay every movie in history. They do not need to go so low as to USE anyone. They're above that. This isn't one of those 'normal movies' where they have to win people over. Its the most anticipated movie event of 2001. No fuck that, its the most anticipated EVENT of 2001, and 2002 and 2003. On to the next thing about Harry being to positive. Someone said that Harry's being overly positive because there had to be something there that didn't fit Harry's vision of the lord of the rings, because even if Tolkein made the movie people would still find that it didn't fit their vision. Thats true. Obviously its not going to fit every ones vision. Thats impossible. So just accept that there's a chance its not going to fit your vision. Instead of seing it as a bad thing, see it as a fact. There's no way it could possibly fit every one's vision. What matters is that it's a GOOD vision, that it does the lord of the rings justice. What Harry was seeing was brilliant. Whether it fit HIS vision or not doesn't matter. What he was seeing pleased him as a lord of the rings fan. and anyway from what I've seen it pretty much fits my vision of the lord of the rings, because my vision of the lord of the rings is that its pure brilliance, and so far, in all the pictures, the reports and the internet preview, thats all I've seen, is pure brilliance.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 11:54 a.m. CST

    Yeah, tell it like it is Dragonfire!

    by brokentusk

    These films will be greater than anything anyone has ever done. 'Titanic' is pure Wookie shit compared to even the title 'The Lord of the Rings'. When even the trailer for 'The Lord of the Rings' comes out. Every other film in the world will bow down and admit defeat. All the prints of the film 'Titanic' will explode (causing many a death of stupid people actually watching the film). Leanardo DiCaprio will explode because he won't be able to handle the fact that he is an idiot. Elijah Wood is the new king (not that Leanardo was ever king - what kind of stupid name is Leanardo anyway?) These films will not dissapoint. The ONLY thing that worries me is the music (soundtrack) cause that's the only thing we have not seen or heard about. I am not thay worried though as nothing that touches these films can be bad. I mean, look at the pictures of the Hobbits (from yesterday) and the picture of Bilbo from today and you can already see magic. I pity anyone who is not looking forward to these films...what boring lives you must have...

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 12:40 p.m. CST

    *grits teeth* Must...not...envy...

    by SoaringPhoenix

    Another loyal fangirl who has been skulking in the shadows reading for many months. I've been reading your reports of Middle Earth and drooling all over my keyboard. *smiles quietly* I'd give my eyeteeth to be in your shoes. Tolkien has long been a favorite author and Hobbit/LOTR among my favorite books. I'm encouraged to see Peter Jackson appears to be staying true to the books, by and large. I've had to dig out my massive three-in-one edition of the books again just so I can sate my hunger for this movie. Screw Christmas2k; I want Christmas 2001!

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 12:41 p.m. CST

    Spiderman Teaser

    by willblake

    The announcer states assuredly in his most announcerly voice, "As the most anticipated motion picture event of 2001 takes you on the ultimate spin". Spider-Man will most likely be a hit, but by no means will it have the heart and timelessness the 'Lord of the Rings' will have. Yes, Harry, I feel the positive vibes your articles are generating, and there's a reason for that! Thanks again for the best writing yet on your site.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 12:48 p.m. CST

    Ian Holm as Bilbo Pic

    by DrLocrian

    Eat this, naysayers. If this isn't a photo that will make any LOTR reader smile, I don't know what is: *** Just to clarify: I'm sure that any true fan of the LOTR would be every bit as enthusiastic and uncritical as Harry is right now in the presence of so *much* material to be enthusiastic about. I don't know if these movies will be the "biggest ever"; I hope they are. Will they be successful? I'm sure--very. Will they have problems, some of which may piss me and others off? Probably. But I sure the hell like what I've seen and heard about the movies so far. So, in short, if you simply dislike Harry (which I'm sure that anyone who uses a HARRYISFAT aka does), please don't insult anyone's intelligence by pretending to be the voice of sanity. I have my doubts about the films, but that doesn't mean that Harry isn't doing a fantastic (and very thorough) job of reporting.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 1:19 p.m. CST

    Nothing spoiled

    by scudd

    I am very thankful for Harry's posts about his trip to see the final days of the LOTR. Finally we are getting some solid information from a fellow geek about the sets, actors, costumes, etc. without getting any spoilers. Nothing, save a brief mention in Chapter 7, was a description of a scene that was not part of the book itself, so I dont feel there are any spoilers here. The one thing that he could have spoiled, which is the scouring of the shire, was only alluded to and not fully described. By the way, nice answer to that PJ. :) Anyway, this has been a nice refreshing view of the upcoming trilogy, and though it wont sufficiently hold me over until next year, I am even more confident that our friends in New Zealand are doing Professor Tolkien's literary works right.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 1:25 p.m. CST

    LOTR tattoo

    by semuta

    I may have jumped the gun here, but I've had this since June already. I doubt it matches up to Alan Lee's new drawing, but hey, you never know. :) re: saruman's wheel> any chance that it could be the waterwheel at the Hobbiton mill? ;|

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 2:10 p.m. CST

    Awesome Reports

    by LegolasGreenleaf

    Hey Mr. Knowles, thank you SO MUCH for the previews over the last week! I am so excited; all doubts are being drownd in the gush of anticipation! Thanks! PS. I am gratified to see that somebody shares my opinions of Leonardo De-whatever! You go ManOwaR!

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 2:22 p.m. CST

    Post Script

    by LegolasGreenleaf

    Hey, if the cast and folks from the movie read this (cool!) then hey you guys! Y'all are doing, or have done, an awesome movie here I can't wait to see it! Take care.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 2:30 p.m. CST

    Another great report Harry

    by Elros20

    Its funny, I usually come to this site scan quickley for new peices of news, check them out and leave. This week however, I've come here for the sole purpose of reading the daily reports from new zealand, then leaving the site. I'm sure I'll get over this, but its like no other movie news really matters.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 3:29 p.m. CST

    ***Harry, please look HERE*** Now, ask PJ about Saruman.

    by $crooge McDuck

    I think it's going to be really sad if this wizard-kebab-thing is going to be in the film, espescially if it happens in the second film. Miami Mofo: The elvish letters on the pictures look like the letters inside the ring: 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. So who will have the role as Sauron? Leonardo DiCaprio of course!

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 3:35 p.m. CST

    And another question

    by $crooge McDuck

    Is Boromir going to have dark hair or not? I've always thought he had dark hair. (I'm not sure if it's in the book, and don't have time to check now, but I'm totally sure Boromir has dark hair!) I have seen the internet preview, and I know the picture with Boromir holding the ring doesn't look promising, but I just wanted to know for sure.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 4:17 p.m. CST

    It has just ocurred to me that the reason they may...

    by Skyway Moaters

    ...Kill Saruman off in T2T is that ROTK will be realeased a whole year later and 'non read' movie goers won't remember who the hell he is! Prompting questions like "Sharky? Who the hell is this Sharky guy?" "Where did this guy come from?" Ehhhh... it's a possibility(?).

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 4:50 p.m. CST

    s. moaters

    by wilko185

    If that is the case, there are a lot of other things to forget ("who's this Bilbo/Elrond guy from 2 years ago?"). They should definitely put in some kind of synopsis at the start of the second 2 films (afer all, it isnt a trilogy you know

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 4:50 p.m. CST

    s. moaters

    by wilko185

    If that is the case, there are a lot of other things to forget ("who's this Bilbo/Elrond guy from 2 years ago?"). They should definitely put in some kind of synopsis at the start of the second 2 films (afer all, it isnt a trilogy you know

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 5:01 p.m. CST

    Peter Jackson ought to do Bored of the Rings next.

    by vroom socko

    Does anyone else know this book? Damn funniest thing you'll read. The scene with Frito, Spam, Pepsi, and Moxie at Tim Benzedrine's house, dropping acid. Fucking funny, man! (Before you ask, SDG, I'm not drunk this time.) Also, Harry, great story about the picture/set comparison. I can't wait for your final installment.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 5:07 p.m. CST

    Damn, Harry. You make me feel like crying.

    by Lenny Nero

    This is such a goddamn wonderful series of reports, and I don't think I can last another friggin' year before PART I...argh...dammit...time to take someone hostage just for footage of the first.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 5:21 p.m. CST

    Hehe... how cool can it get?

    by Dan42

    The "Jolly King of the Hill" actually answered my question about the pronunciation of His name. Unless it was a HUUUGE coincidence, but that would be cool too. Harry, I feel so much pity for you. How are you ever going to come down from such an incredible high? This is going to be worse than 10,000 simultaneous hangovers.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 5:50 p.m. CST


    by MrCere

    So, in all seriousness, I decided many months ago that I would sell all my earthly possessions to go to New Zeland, if only I could get inside the set and be a part of this 'miracle of rare device'. Since I couldn't get in, I didn't do it. Further, my wife of four months - who gave me a golden replica of 'The One Ring' as my wedding band - would have taken quite a loooonnng time to get over me leaving the country. Plus, she is hot and I like living with her. The Harrinater is living a once-in-a-lifetime for all of us and DAMN it, I almost can't stand it. I also can't stand NOT to read it. Being a geek sucks. Is there a genuinely good tatoo geek-artist out there? I think I have dreamed up a brand spanking new money making scheme...

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 7:03 p.m. CST

    Thanks to all!

    by Brangwen

    Hey Harry! Thanks for your fantastic reports! I have looked forward to your posts each day! It's a shame they didn't have you covering the filming from day one! And, incase the cast/crew, read this: thanks for all your hard work (looking forward to seeing the results in 2001). Cheers!

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 7:58 p.m. CST


    by Elifan

    I am big Elijah fan. I am looking foward to hearing more about him. Keep up the good work Harry.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 8:54 p.m. CST

    this is great

    by Elian Ranel

    the best christmas present i'll get this year, no doubt. and i can't wait for next year...but at least it is only one more year, rather than two or three...oh wait, it is until the end...crap! i'm doomed to for Harry being positive, he's always positive, even on the rare occasion when he says he doesn't like something. any fan who got to be on the set would be incredibly positive, i'm sure. so harry is the luckiest guy in the world and we're all very very envious. lucky harry.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 8:54 p.m. CST

    Vroom Socko Is Right About BORED OF THE RINGS.

    by Buzz Maverik

    I love LORD OF THE RINGS, but I've only read it one time, while I've worn out three copies of BORED by The Havard Lampoon. The thing is, the guys that wrote the satire are real Tolkien fans themselves so nobody's laughing AT anything. I am particuarily fond of Goodgulf's encounter with the Ballhog.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 9:33 p.m. CST


    by critical_theory

    The Two Towers and Return of the King each start with a brief synopsis of the past events. Kind of cool, if a little archaic in lit. terms. I wonder if Jackson is going to keep those in? With the movies hitting every year there shouldn't be a need to reintroduce characters, even minor ones. (SW hit every three years and those characters weren't forgoten by Joe Public) But if New Line's wise the video of the preceding film needs to be released before the next hits theaters. Good job Harry. Nice reports.

  • Dec. 21, 2000, 11:49 p.m. CST

    LOTR Radio dramatization

    by i-train

    Has anyone heard the 12-hour, 13-part radio dramatization of LOTR done by the BBC (i think)? It is AMAZING. Of course, it is nothing compared to reading the books themselves, but it is definitely worth checking out for a change of pace. I know that they can be purchased off of one of the main LOTR sites (or downloaded off of napster).