I have to say that I was pleased to learn that Evangeline Lilly considers herself to be a Tolkien purist. She has, of course, accepted the role of the non-canonical Mirkwood Elf Tauriel (who is NOT a love interest for Legolas, as some people had feared).
Peter Jackson has to make two 2-hour movies out of The Hobbit so fans need to cut him some slack for putting some names and faces to those Elves who dance, sing, and fight as stunt characters in the actual book. Also, I think it makes perfect sense to blend in material about the White Council, since Gandalf does run off in the middle of the book to deal with his “real” business away down south.
Anticipation of the new “Hobbit” feature movies due out next year and in 2013 has, of course, inspired every network with a camera and access to a list of “Tolkien experts” to put together interviews, documentaries, and poor excuses for book reviews just so they can slap the names “Hobbit” and “Middle-earth” and “Tolkien” onto some low-budget productions. Still, who are all these Tolkien experts and scholars coming out of the woodwork? You can browse some of their blogs by following the list of links just published at Tolkien Studies on the Web in “The Much Bemusing Bloggery of Online Tolkien Scholarli”.
Speaking of Middle-earth, the Middle-earth Website at Xenite.Org now features four articles in the new “Middle-earth Unplugged” series. It’s not easy to produce those articles, since they require a lot of work on the pictures, not to mention research for all the little details in the articles. Features published so far include “The Eldar Get Their Game On”, “Gondor Rising – Echoes of Numenor in Middle-earth”, “Thunder from the East”, and “Horror In the Woods – How Men Live in Mirkwood”. These articles are about as unlike anything you’ll read elsewhere, so far as I know. The Website has also been answering fan questions about J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, and Middle-earth at the rate of 2 or 3 per day. Each answer goes into more depth than I have seen on many so-called “question and answer” Websites.
And in case you’ve been living under a rock, this is Tolkien Week for millions of fans around the world. Because many fans mistakenly believe that Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday actually falls on September 22 in our calendar (it falls on September 14), the Tolkien Society has been promoting the week of September 22 each year as “Tolkien Week”. So, don’t worry about raising a toast to Bilbo and Frodo on the 22nd even though you missed their REAL birthday by 8 days. You’ll have plenty of company.