The Sydney Morning Herald
August 27, 2000

Force of Hobbit
Staff Reporter

Do you know what became of the city called Minas Ithil, and what caused the spread of giant spiders and black squirrels in Mirkwood? Can you discuss why ordinary people should not use a palantír or offer an opinion about whether the Balrog has wings?

If you answered yes to any of the above you don't need me to tell you that heaven is less than 500 days away. If, on the other hand, you have no idea what I'm talking about and studiously avoided those kids who hung around the computer lab after school, I can only advise you to brace yourself.

On or about December 14, 2001 (that's right, 16 months from now) the world will experience what may be the most anticipated motion-picture opening in history. That's when The Fellowship of the Ring, the first instalment in the first full film-feature adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, is scheduled to reach cinemas. If it were possible to line up for tickets now some people would.

Insofar as it can be condensed into one sentence, The Lord of the Rings is the tale of a Hobbit named Frodo Baggins and his quest -- aided by many friends and impeded by many enemies -- to destroy the One Ring of Power and defeat Sauron, the Dark Lord, who forged it and wants it back.