Why Middle-earth Matters

Posted October 1, 2009 by kpitv
Categories: history, series

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GandalfIf you’re a history and military buff like me, The Lord of the Rings is a story tailor made for you: two massive armies facing each other on the battlefield about to be locked in combat. Now…just substitute Patton for a wizard in flowing white robes, the Nazis for a hideous race of creatures called Orcs, and Europe for Middle-earth.

Okay, that’s a wee bit simplistic (and not actually accurate…although written in spurts between 1937 and 1952, Tolkien always said that Lord of the Rings should never be read as an allegory for World War II.)

But what is it that has caused The Lord of the Rings to have sold over 150 million copies and to be translated into almost 40 languages? For me, it’s that feeling of real history, which gives Lord of the Rings its life. JRR Tolkien was obsessive about documenting his universe with dates, family trees, maps and indexes….hell, he even threw in a creation story. If it wasn’t for the fact that the characters are elves, dwarves, hobbits and wizards you’d think you were submersed in a history textbook.

So in Clash of the Gods, the goal was to figure out where all this inspiration came from. Much of The Lord of the Rings is about good overcoming evil, and Tolkien’s devout Catholicism provides the backbone. Comparisons of Frodo’s quest to Christ are plainly seen, but I think the most interesting tidbits are the ones found in Beowulf and other Norse myths. Tolkien doesn’t really hide in lifting almost exactly scenes from classic tales. The transformation of Smeagol into the creature Gollum almost exactly mirrors a tale in the Norse Volsunga Saga; and scenes like Bilbo stealing a cup in The Hobbit are directly lifted from Beowulf.
GollumRing
But more than any gods or monsters from ancient myth, I think it’s the personal pain that Tolkien suffered which gives The Lord of the Rings its foothold in reality. As a soldier in World War I, Tolkien was right in the middle of the action, watching friends killed and mutilated right in front of his eyes. When Tolkien writes about the same kind of suffering for Frodo there is a ring of truth that isn’t found in any other kind of fantasy writing.
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Ultimately, it doesn’t matter to me that Tolkien stole stuff from tales of the past…that’s pretty what all writers do. But what he did was to make it his own and transform it into something new. A feat which many writers attempt, but few do successfully.

So I’m off to re-read The Lord of the Rings…150 million people can’t be wrong.

– Ted Poole, KPI Writer and Producer

CLASH OF THE GODS: TOLKIEN’S MONSTERS airs Monday, October 5 10PM/9c on HISTORY.

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DNA Casts Doubt on Hitler Suicide

Posted September 29, 2009 by kpitv
Categories: history, science, series

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Hitler skullKPI photo
From AOL News September 29
New DNA tests show that a skull long thought to be Adolf Hitler’s is not his after all. Scientists at the University of Connecticut conducted tests on the bullet-pierced skull — which had been secretly preserved for decades by Soviet intelligence — and discovered that it belonged to an unidentified woman under 40, the British newspaper The Guardian reported Sunday.
The results cast doubt on the long-held account that the Nazi dictator swallowed a cyanide pill and then committed suicide in his Berlin bunker as Allied forces were closing in on him in 1945. The story of the testing was also reported in a History Channel documentary, Hitler’s Escape.

[Note: the DNA testing was initiated by the KPI producing team and History Channel]

Click here to read the full story at AOL News

THE MOTHER OF A MONSTER

Posted September 28, 2009 by kpitv
Categories: history, science, series

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Beneath the surface of a frozen lake, armed with a magic sword, Beowulf fights past a supernatural serpent to reach the lair of his most seductive and deadly nemesis of all.

CLASH OF THE GODS: BEOWULF airs Monday September 28 10PM/9c on HISTORY

MYSTERYQUEST – Our New Series

Posted September 22, 2009 by kpitv
Categories: history, science, series

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SEEKING ANSWERS TO THE UNEXPLAINED….

MysteryQuest, KPI’s new series for the History Channel, dispatches teams of experts throughout the world to solve some of mankind’s strangest and most persistent mysteries. In each episode, a science team conducts a forensic examination of the evidence using the latest technologies. By the end, the team reveals results that in some cases just may re-write history.

HITLER’S ESCAPE
Airs Wednesday September 16, 10PM/9C
According the official public record, Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his underground bunker as allied troops stormed Berlin at the end of World War II. But no one actually saw him die. No body was ever produced. No photographs were ever taken. Some believe Hitler managed to escape, and for years there were sightings of the former dictator in many parts of the world. Hitler skull
Then, in the 1990s the Russians revealed secret evidence taken from Hitler’s bunker decades earlier that they said proved he had died there. Among the evidence is a piece of skull. MysteryQuest obtained access to this evidence for testing. The results are startling.

THE DEVIL’S TRIANGLE
Airs Wednesday September 23, 10PM/9C
The Bermuda Triangle, a 500,000 square mile area in the Atlantic is the world’s greatest unexplained mystery. Ships and planes simply disappear without a trace.
Divers
The MysteryQuest team takes one of the few survivors of a Triangle encounter on a flight through it to try to determine what could be disorienting pilots. The expedition team dives in the waters of the Bahamas to try to locate the first wreckage of an aircraft lost in a Triangle disappearance.

SAN FRANCISCO SLAUGHTER
Airs Wednesday September 30, 10PM/9C
A series of unsolved murders. A cryptic set of clues. A dead end at every corner. The serial killer known as “the Zodiac” long terrorized the residents of the San Francisco Bay area while taunting police. He was never caught.
MQ Zodiac Killer car
MysteryQuest’s team of investigators have identified a new suspect and with the aid of a groundbreaking new DNA technology have the chance to come one step closer to finally solving the mystery of the this murderous crime spree.

THE LOST CITY OF ATLANTIS
Airs Wednesday October 7, 10PM/9c
The lost city of Atlantis was said to be an incredibly advanced civilization that lived almost 12,000 years ago. Some believe they may have been capable of space travel or that it was they who showed the Egyptians how to build pyramids.
Atlantis Maps

But according to the writings of Plato, the city was swallowed by the ocean in a single day. Ever since, people have been trying to find it. Mysteryquest’s expedition team has new sonar evidence of underwater structures in the Atlantic off the Bahamas. The team will dive to these sites to retrieve samples and send them for carbon dating with the latest technology to try to confirm whether they could be part of the lost city.

DEVIL’S ISLAND
Airdate TBD
This island in the middle of San Francisco Bay has a forbidding reputation. Native Americans believed it to be a place of evil spirits. When it became a federal prison in 1934, only the most violent and difficult prisoners in the U.S. were sent there.
Alcatraz off kilterIt was reputed to be escape proof; only three men have ever managed to get off the island. They left in 1962 and have never been found. MysteryQuest investigates to determine whether they could have survived the icy waters of San Francisco Bay.

UPCOMING MYSTERYQUEST EPISODES WILL INVESTIGATE
AREA 51, STONEHENGE and THE AMITYVILLE GHOSTS.

ODYSSEUS PART 2

Posted September 15, 2009 by kpitv
Categories: history, science, series, video

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History’s toughest journey….just got tougher. Threatened by a demonic monster (Scylla) and a deadly whirlpool (Charybdis), the greatest hero of all time continues his journey home to his wife and child.

ODYSSEUS: WARRIOR’S REVENGE airs on Monday, September 21 at 10PM/9c on HISTORY.

BUG GIRL

Posted September 10, 2009 by kpitv
Categories: casting, development, science

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Bug Girl walking

TURNING FEAR INTO FASCINATION, KPI SIGNS “SPIDERWOMAN” KRISTIE REDDICK

She’s drop-dead gorgeous and loves furry creatures with lots of legs. She’s got a whimsical personality and a huge determination to convince us that bugs are not SO icky. She’s dedicated to saving insects from death, destruction, and humans. A real-life Spider Woman? She’s Kristie Reddick, self-proclaimed “Bug Girl” and Texas A&M trained entomologist.

Set to pursue acting (with a BFA in theatre), Kristie’s fascination with Africa took her on a college trip to Kenya. One night, she heard a scream coming from the choos (bathrooms). She ran with her net and red-light to investigate (it was a guy who screamed). Kristie watched as a very large, spider-like creature climbed up to her eye level, reared back, opened its jaws and hissed at her. That’s when it happened. This wild thing was speaking to her, and Kristie instantly fell in love.

Bug Girl + student

She ditched her show-biz plans, volunteered in a lab studying wasps in Florida and then took a job teaching inner-city kids in California. Strapped for cash, she bought a lotto ticket, won $250 and drove cross-country to her next adventure: Texas A&M’s graduate program in entomology (where she’s now a lecturer).

Kristie is one of the few people in the world to have studied solifuges (arachnids that are not spiders…) in Africa, and she has discovered five new species so far.

How many teachers do you know who will go into the wilds of Kenya (or Texas) in shorts and a tight tank top, surround themselves with hissing cockroaches, allow beetles to crawl up their arm, and describe hot spider sex?

Bug Girl+cam crew

Kristie, we look forward to working with you!

The Versace logo: Connecting Modern Fashion and Myth

Posted August 31, 2009 by kpitv
Categories: history, science, series

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by Phedre de Feullide

117px-Medusa_by_Carvaggio

Greek Mythology is a topic which almost everyone studies in school, and which oddly enough, can be found influencing us in our daily modern lives. Everyone knows that Greece was the birthplace of democracy; basically it is where the American idea of government comes from, and has even influenced our ideas of heroes and villains. Not everyone however, is aware of how prolific Greek mythology is in today’s media. Many companies have taken names or logos which take their meaning from Greek mythology; companies like NIKE, named after the goddess of victory, or the product Ajax, named for a hero of the Trojan war. Gianni Versace’s clothing line has also taken its cue from the past.

The Versace logo shows a representation of the head of Medusa: a woman who was transformed into a monster after offending the gods. She was punished for allowing the god Poseidon to seduce her in the temple of the goddess Aphrodite. Her hair, which had once been her most glorified attribute, was turned into snakes. As the story goes, anyone who looked at her would be turned into stone. Perhaps this is not something which one would usually associate with a major fashion house; something being so ugly that it can turn you into stone. However, Gianni Versace had a fascination with classical art and architecture, and it is with the later, beautiful representations of Medusa that the logo is associated with. During the Roman period, especially, Medusa was depicted as a beautiful woman with wild hair, and a few snakes twined here and there.

Copyright 2005, Phedre de Feuillide. College grad with an Art History/archeology degree with a minor in religion. My other interests are classical lit, old movies, and extreme sports. Reprinted from AssociatedContent.com