Thursday, December 18, 2014

New Zealand 2014: Hobbiton

On Monday December 8, we started the journey of Sam and Frodo from LOTR and traveled from Hobbiton to the toxic slopes of Mt. Doom. Here's my report of the former. 

For the Lord of the Rings films, Hobbiton was built as an extensive set on a picturesque sheep station in Matamata. It was however, just a set made for looking good in the films. Afterward, it was dismantled for the most part. However, then came the fans.
These films inspired such devotion that fans wanted to see where they were made. Many people visited and only saw temporary structures that gave a sense of the set, but were not dressed or painted or anything. For the Hobbit films, the set was remade in permanent, high-quality materials and is permanently installed and dressed to look exactly as it did in the films. It's now a business venture shared by the farmers and Peter Jackson, and tours and an extensive gift shop/cafe are now permanent parts of the day-to-day concerns of the farm. There are more Hobbit holes, and the local pub, The Green Dragon, has been built in all its homely, Hobbity glory. It's really beautiful and maintained with incredible detail. The gardens are real gardens. There are both Hobbit- and Human-sized holes, props and other details, because actors of both sizes were used and the settings had to match. It was a bit surreal as we wandered along between fantasy and reality.

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