NYCC 2014: Composer Howard Shore talks LOTR

Composer Howard Shore has spun more than seven dozen rich and complex movie scores including Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” (2011) and David Fincher’s “Se7en” (1995).

But unlike working with Scorsese and Fincher, Shore’s work approach on composing the music to Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies is a little different.

Whereas Shore works around the text in other films, the text is vital when composing the layered compositional themes to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth.

“When I’m writing, one of the things I really like to do is read,” Shore told Douglas Adams and attendees of the 2014 New York Comic Con Thursday afternoon. “So this just gave me the opportunity to spread my interests.”


Tolkien laid out a roadmap in his works, says Shore.

“The other thing that Tolkien does is he shows you a compass,” he said. “So I tried to show the orchestration, the colors of it.”

Shore does this by studying Tolkien’s language.

“The idea being when I read the book, so many times, all the beautiful verses and songs were like poetry and I felt like they needed to be in the story,” Shore said. “As you watch the story, you’re hearing Tolkien’s words.”

These words are reflected in the lighthearted, happier tunes of “The Hobbit” or the darker, more Eastern European themes of lands within “The Lord of the Rings.”

“I was trying to show the origins of music with things like the flute or voice because it begins to describe the roots of a culture,” says Shore.

His composition was an evolving process, he says. The first “Lord of the Rings” theme he composed was the themes for the Shire and Fellowship after he visited New Zealand. The compositional theme to the destruction of Mordor took him three years and nine months to write.

“Music is written from a more personal heartfelt,” he says. “If you don’t feel anything, you can’t write.”

Shore’s complete “Lord of the Rings” trilogy will be performed by 250 musicians live from April 8 to 12, 2015, at the Lincoln Center in New York City.

Shore won Academy Awards for his work on “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings” and “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.”


GOT’s Hordor and Podrick Payne at NYCC 2014

“This literally came out of the blue,” says Kristian Nairn, the Northern Irish actor who plays the lovable giant, Hordor, in HBO’s “Game of Thrones” franchise. “I was in some musicals and stuff, but this literally changed my life,” he said at the 2014 New York Comic Con.

Nairn and Daniel Portman (who plays Podrick Payne) were two of the guests featured in Comic Con’s “Game of Thrones” fan forum Thursday afternoon, hosted by Wikia’s Eric Moro, GOT Wikia founder Adam Werthead and Marvel Wikia founder Jamie.

Nairn revealed that he’s never read the books; Portman was a huge fanboy before he was casted for his role.

“When I was first cast, I felt pressure from the fans,” says Nairn about reading the books.

The cast compared the books with the show, including age discrepancies between the different mediums.

“You can’t have an eight or nine year old killing people,” says Portman, “just like you can’t have a 10 year old in a brothel.”

Portman blushed when a fan asked him to comment on the brothel scene. Also when a fan asked him what it’s like to play opposite Gwendoline Christie, who plays Brienne of Tarth. She’s 6″3′ while he’s 5″11′.

So what did they learned from their experiences?

“Carrying children,” says Nairn. That and asking permission for things.

Portman says it takes a lot of practice on horses to look bad at horse riding.


Juan Gonzalez: A minority people’s history of the United States

250px-Juan_GonzálezWinston Churchill may have said history is written by the victors, but Juan Gonzalez urges people to take a closer look at the real writers: the journalists who provide the rough drafts to history.

“The instrument they report inherently serves as material that is mined by scholars who decode our history later,” he said.

Gonazalez — known as an anchor on “Democracy Now!” — spoke about his new book, “News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media” at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Ithaca College’s Emerson Suites. He uses this as an opportunity to give the audience a history lesson — one that historian Howard Zinn would have approved of.

Narrating the legacies of black, Asian, Latino and Native American journalists, Gonzalez works at making influential minority reporters — such as The LA Times’ Ruben Salazar, the Sacramento Bee’s John Rollin, and The Pittsburgh Courier’s Robert L. Vann — to be household names.

“What we do in the book is that all the major change is by the people,” Gonzalez said. “It’s the people who rise up and change it.”

Working as a journalist for the past 35 years, Gonzalez knows how to change history firsthand. He has covered stories ranging from economics and labor to crime and race relation during his tenure at “Democracy Now!” and at the New York Daily News.

“I question myself every day on how much I have censored myself,” he said.

Although Juan Gonzalez is a self-defined “hard news man,” he says journalism is failing because of corporate ownership, which control the media.

“Those who control the pipes are buying the networks,” he said. “The news is no longer The New York Times, ABC, NBC and CBS. It’s Comcast, Verizon and Time Warner.”

He said cable television is a gold mine for media owners who charge customers for their product.

“It’s not that there’s no money in media,” he said. “There’s just not any money in legacy media. But there’s money in cell phones and cable TV.”

Because of the path journalism is taking, Gonzalez said it becomes more important to push change as well as remember the people who did just that.

“One of the things we tried to do in my book was to tell the story of these journalists because they are just as important as the Horace Greenleys and Walter Cronkites,” Gonzalez said.

James Carville tells public to get out and vote

James Carville gives a speech at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 1 at Ithaca College. Photograph taken by Qina Liu.

With bank bailouts, wars and health care on everyone’s mind, political consultant James Carville said people cannot complain about the current political climate without participating in the polls.

Carville, who is a best-selling author and CNN producer, talk-show host and contributor, presented his points at 7:30 p.m. yesterday on the eve of election night in Emerson Suites at Ithaca College. With his background as an influential political pundit, Carville said despite corrupt dealings within government, he values his work in politics, and that the American public should care too.

“I’m 66 years old, and after everything I’ve done, I’m proud to have worked in politics,” Carville said. “Because you can say all you want about politics and it may be true — they may be crooks, they may just say things to get elected, they may run negative ads, they may, in fact, market to interest groups — to some extent, but one thing you can’t say is what they do is unimportant.”

He stressed the importance of involvement, saying that people will not have control over government decisions without first controlling the ballot.

“The ability to communicate is the ability to influence,” he said. “The ability to influence is the ability to have an impact on the direction of the country.”

By impacting the direction of one’s country, one affects whether a country goes to war. One decides whether one will pay for a banking system that ruins the economy. By engaging in politics, he said the American people are making a choice.

“If you want to make the wars that you don’t have any say by people that you don’t know, that is your choice. But I don’t think that that’s the choice that you want to make,” Carville said.

Carville preaches that students should play an active voice in politics.

“I tell my students that there are two ways you can go through life: you can make rain or you can get rained on,” he said. “And I think it’s just an unthrilling way to go through life with an umbrella on your head.”

While the founder of the independent nonprofit polling organization Democracy Corps admitted that the Democrats may be the first to lose the elections tonight, the New Orleans, La., resident said votes are needed to stabilize the left-winged agenda, or to even support the right-winged platform.

“If you’re a Democrat, there’s a hurricane coming tomorrow, and the best you can hope for is somehow it decreases its intensity to a category four — which is bad, but at least you will still have some construction left standing,” Carville said.

Ultimately, Carville leaves the fate of the polls in to the people’s hands.

“Don’t get rained on,” he said. “Make your rain. Be involved. If you don’t like the course, change the course. It’s up to you.”