Of course Galadriel would be too busy acting all ethereal to lift a finger to save some humans, so obviously, Gandalf is swooping in to save the Hobbit Pub from closing. Sir Ian McKellen (the human part Gandalf plays) and comedian Stephen Fry are going to pay the copyright license fees necessary to keep the pub alive.
The pub had been facing legal action from a Hollywood firm accusing it of infringing on copyright for its use of J.R.R. Tolkien characters and references. The company had later agreed to license those brands to the pub, says BBC News. A Facebook campaign to save The Hobbit has collected around 57,000 members, as Tolkien aficionados banded together in protest.
Of course, when a wizard and a celebrity (Fry is playing The Master of Laketown in The Hobbit save the day, reactions are bound to be a bit shocked. The Hobbit’s landlady is a bit flabbergasted.
“I had a telephone call on Saturday evening, while we were trading, from Stephen Fry’s business partner and manager. That’s when he told me. I was very shocked,” she says, adding, “They’ve said as soon as they finish filming they would like to come down and visit the pub.”
Of course, the landlady isn’t breaking out the Longbottom Leaf and free pints to celebrate just yet.
“They have said to us they will offer us a licence to trade, but we don’t know whether it means trading as The Hobbit, whether we still have to get rid of all our artwork, cocktail names, everything. We just don’t know what’s entailed.”
Fry tweeted about his rescue efforts with Gandalf, writing from the New Zealand set of the movie: “Ian McKellen and I v pleased that The Hobbit pub appears to be safe. Between his FB and my tweet I hope we helped common sense prevail.” McKellen had characterized the Hollywood company’s actions as “unnecessary pettiness.”
The fee should be about $100 a year, says the film company — however, the pub has been operating for over 20 years so it’s unsure as to the total amount they’ll be paying. They also want the pub to “stop selling infringing articles.”