Lard of the Rings

Denny’s invites you to stuff yourself as often as Hobbits with selections from its Middle-Earth-themed menu, coming November 6 as a tie-in with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. And being a fan I’m sure you’ll give the idea some thought.

Items on the menu include Radagast’s Red Velvet Pancake Puppies, Bilbo’s Berry Smoothie, Gandalf’s Gobble Melt, “The Ring” Burger, Hobbit Hole Breakfast, Frodo’s Pot Roast Skillet, and the “Build Your Own Hobbit Slam” with optional items such as “Shire Sausage.”

The advertising campaign has already kicked off in Los Angeles. Around town are unbranded billboards displaying a message written in runes. Translation: “Middle Earth is coming to America’s diner.” English text will replace the runes on October 24.


TV spots promoting the menu will air beginning November 12.

Trading cards are part of the tie-in campaign, too, reports Advertising Age:

Denny’s customers will also receive a trading card pack with select “Hobbit”-inspired entrees that include collectible cards — there are 12 in total to collect — and Denny’s coupons. The chain will also put QR codes on placemats that will provide customers with additional “Hobbit”-related content such as videos, online games and a behind-the-scenes look at the national TV spot.

Hobbits eat seven meals a day – breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, and supper. Once Denny’s publicity takes hold Taco Bell’s “Fourthmeal” will sound like nothing more than a healthy snack.

[Thanks to Janice Gelb for the story.]

Colbert in Hobbit

Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report will appear in a cameo in Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit” trilogy according to the Hollywood Reporter. Not in the first film, which arrives in theaters in December, but one of the remaining two.

So what does he play? It’d be hard to keep him from being typecast as a troll…

[Thanks to Janice Gelb for the story. But she’s not to blame for the punchline.]

Your change, sir: two gandalfs and a gollum

New Zealand Post is issuing official legal tender commemorative coins celebrating the trilogy of films based on The Hobbit. Bilbo Baggins will appear on the $10 gold coin, and in a set of six $1 silver coins along with Gandalf, Thorin Oakenshield, Gollum, Radagast and Elrond. The rim of each of these coins is inscribed in both English and Dwarvish with the words ‘Middle-earth – New Zealand’

There also an ambitious US$900,000 plan to mark the first Hobbit movie’s premiere in Wellington, NZ as part of the country’s larger tourism campaign to rebrand the country under the tagline “100% Middle-earth.”

Every DVD and download of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” will feature a Jackson-directed video promoting New Zealand as a tourist and filmmaking destination.

From the release of the first Lord of the Rings movie until 2006, New Zealand tourism increased 40%. They’re determined to capitalize on a similar opportunity with The Hobbit trilogy.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

How Rich Was Smaug?

After his first attempt was pilloried by fantasy fans and bean-counters alike, Forbes writer Michael Noer has vastly increased his estimate of the value of Smaug’s horde. See “How Much is a Dragon Worth, Revisited”

Citing errors in everything from the value of the “Arkenstone of Thrain” to the price of mithril armor, Fictional 15 fans critiqued nearly every aspect of my calculation, usually concluding that I had vastly underestimated the old flamethrower’s net worth. One reader, gvbezoff, pegged Smaug’s wealth to be $870 billion, calling it a “conservative estimate.” For context, that’s about 12.5 times richer than Carlos Slim Helu, the planet’s richest non-fictional being.

[Thanks to Janice Gelb for the story.]

Celebrating The Hobbit

The Tolkien Society will hold “The Return of the Ring” conference at Loughborough University from August 16-20, 2012 right after next year’s London Olympics.

The theme is “Celebrating 75 Years of The Hobbit. Tolkien’s first adventure in Middle Earth was published on September 21, 1937. By now it has sold more than 100 million copies and been translated into at least 50 languages.

Scholars and researchers coming to the conference include Tom Shippey, Martin Barker, Dimitra Fimi, John Garth, and Corey Olsen.

Papers will be presented and there will also be entertainments. Plans call for a “ceilidh,” banquet, costume masquerade, and performances from talented guests. A troupe of medieval re-enactors from France will set up a camp that recreates Middle-earth.

Organizers chose Loughborough for its central location, near the M1 motorway, connected by rail to all parts of the UK, including an Intercity link direct to London and the international East Midlands Airport.