Friday, December 20, 2013

Dec 29: Welly-moot 2.6 - last moot of 2013

The last Welly-moot of 2013 will be held on the last Sunday of 2013, December the 29th. Unlike most moots, this meeting will NOT be held at the Embassy. Like list year, Alex and I (Jack) are hosting the meeting at our home. As such we're not taking in new members for this moot, but it might be nice to catch up with regulars in our lounge for a shared lunch.

So, if you're currently a member of Welly-moot, and want to come and join us for a friendly get-together, send me an email and I'll reply with the address. If you're not sure if you're a member, email me anyway. :)

My email address is "".

We're aiming for a "bring a plate" lunch, so please bring something to share. Last year we had mostly desserts, (which wasn't a big problem), but mains would be most appreciated as well!

Details of the lunch:

  • Arrive here at around 11:00am
  • Lunch will be served around 12:30pm
  • Finish around 4:00pm

The theme, if there is one at all, will be the obvious one: "what did you think of the second installment in Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy".

Please email me with your intentions!

  - Jack

Friday, December 13, 2013

Welly-moot visits Stansborough

Peter Kenny visited us today from Brisbane, Australia. He was in Wellington for a few Hobbit 2:DOS events, and I had arranged to take him to Stansborough Fabrics, the people who created the fabric for Gandalf's cloak, as well as the Elven cloaks used in LOTR.

To get us there, I managed to convince Wellington Rover Tours to lend a hand, and they provided me with a van for the afternoon. Peter Kenny will be coming on one of the LOTR tours over the weekend as well.

In fact, Stansborough created far more than just a bit of fabric for LOTR. Think: over one kilometer of fabric for LOTR; enormous amounts for The Hobbit movies, more for Avatar, Narnia, The Waterhorse, Thirty Days of Night, and a whole lot of other movies.

A few scarves with different colours weaving patterns.

We arrived as a small group - it was just me (Jack), Peter Kenny, Franziska, and Adam, and Kris joined us as well. When we got to the factory, Cheryl Eldridge met us at the door, and took us into the small shop area. Through the window we could see the enormous looms already.

Cheryl explains some of the finer point of the machinery

Cheryl described how the factory came to be, from breeding these odd looking grey sheep, to finding the old looms, to searching for people who had the almost lost knowledge to use them (and fix them when they break)!
This loom is set up with the LOTR Hobbit pattern, ready to go.

Barry took over the tour, and showed us what he was working on. All items are created by hand, and apart from some mechanical tools, no modern machinery is involved in the process at any stage. It's nice to know that when you see the final product on screen, I think. The looms are over 100 years old at the stage.

Barry making hats for a certain wizard. Note what SECRET ingredient he's using!

After seeing how the hats were made, it was Richard's turn - to show us the looms in operation. Incredibly noisy, I tried to film a bit of it but got too close, and Richard shut them off, as apparently (and only occasionally) the little shuttle can shoot off and kill the closest camera person. I'm not sure if he was kidding but took him at his word!

Richard looks calm, while the loom has become a blur of action. Peter looks on and seems impressed!

All in all, a great afternoon - I think everyone enjoyed seeing the factory in action!

Franziska looks like she had a good time.

Stansborough has an online shop as well, where a lot of products are offered for sale. Check them out, they ship to most countries.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Stansborough Fabrics visit - be quick!

Had a great time at the second Hobbit movie (again) last night, at the Embassy Theatre Midnight Screening. While there, we met up with the lovely people from Stansborough Fabrics, who not only created the cloaks for Gandalf in the Hobbit movie, but were actually wearing them at the cinema last night as well.

Cheryl and Barry Eldrige, who own the fabrics company, have invited us for a visit later this week, to coincide with Welly-moot friend Peter Kenny's visit from the Brisbane Tolkien Association. I spoke to my boss at Wellington Rover Tours, and he's provided a van for Friday afternoon as well, so here's the deal:

Friday the 13th of December, I will take a mini-van with Peter Kenny, and 10 empty seats from Wellington City to the other side of the Wellington Harbour, to the Stansborough factory in Petone, where they will take us for a guided tour around the 100+ year old looms. If you would like to see this, email me as soon as possible at and I will tell you where to be at 2:00pm on Friday afternoon. The first 10 people get in, so be quick. First come, first served.

This is a free event, but there are STRICTLY limited spaces available, so please, do be quick!

Stansborough created fabrics and clothing for LOTR, Hobbit, Avatar, Narnia, and a host of other Wellywood productions, so this is an exciting opportunity to see where it all happened!

We'd also like to thank Wellington Rover Tours for helping out with transport for this event as well. Rover Tours have been running LOTR tours in the Wellington region for longer than anyone else - so if you're after a great tour, please do check out their website as well. All their guides are crazy about the LOTR movies, so you can't go wrong.

So, email me asap, on !

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Come meet the Welly-moot before the Midnight Session at the Embassy!

If you've got your Embassy Cinema tickets to the Midnight Screening of Hobbit 2: Desolation of Smaug, then we'll see all of you in the cafe at around 10:30pm or so, for a pre-screening buzz-out! Come and join us, before the movie kicks off, it'll be nice to see everyone beforehand.

Alex and I will be in costume, and should be easy to find. Depending on how tired we all afterwards, we should have a quick get-together afterwards as well.

This photo, taken at the Live Fan Event in Wellington on November 5 this year, was printed in the Indian newspaper The Hindu. From left to right, there's Viv, Alex, Jack, and Wayne, pictured in front of a readership of 100 million Indian newspaper readers (thanks to Marcel Aubron-Bülles from the UK Tolkien Society for the tip).

So, to recap, we're meeting in the upstairs cafe in the Embassy Cinema, from about 10:30pm onwards. If you're not yet a member, come meet us as well, we'll be easy to spot!

  - Jack

[NB - As always, if you're missing the picture and the links, you're probably reading this on Facebook. Come to the blog instead, at, and subscribe to us there.]

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Roundup of Wellington "Hobbit 2 Release" events

There are now so many events around the release of the second installment of The Hobbit trilogy that I get to use the word "plethora" in a sentence!

Middle-earth News has a good premiere roundup as well.

In order of date, the following things are planned:

December 2-3 : Official Release (Los Angeles, USA)
  • Livestreamed to Wellington, starting at 3:30pm, December 3rd (NZ Time)
  • URL for the livestream is on the official Hobbit Movie Facebook page.
  • Check time in your own country here.

December 4-5 : Live Google Hangout with Peter Jackson (Online)
  • Livestreamed to Wellington, starting at 7:15am, December 5th (NZ Time)
  • URL for the livestream is on the Hobbit's Google+ page
  • Check time in your own country here.

December 9th : Marine Education Centre Charity Gala (Embassy Cinema)
  • URL for more details at the Embassy Cinema website
  • Doors open at 6:00pm
  • Doors close at 7:00pm
  • Movie starts at 7:15pm
  • As of right now (9:00pm, 28/Nov), there are still tickets available for this.

December 10 : Special (alleged) screening for the crew
  • Heard this one on the grapevine. I don't know anything official about this, but I'm really pleased to see that the actual people who made the movie get to see it nice and early too.
  • As far as I know it's invite only, and crew only as well.
  • Don't bother asking, you won't get in. :)

December 11 : Special Preview (Reading, Courtenay Central)
  •  Competition winners only, I believe
  • Movie starts at 6:15pm

December 11 : (hopefully) Screening of Hobbit 1 ??? (Embassy Cinema)
  • We're still in talks with the Embassy about this one. Hopefully we can watch part one from, say, 8:00pm, ahead of the midnight session at midnight

December 11 : Costume Party at the Roxy Cinema
  • This one is organised by Red Carpet Tours
  • Movie starts at midnight - I assume this is actually 12:01am, so technically the 12th of December
  • Tickets are sold out, but the details are here.

December 12 : Midnight Session (first public screening)
  • Movie starts at one minute past midnight - 12/12/13, at 12:01am
  • This is the first "proper" public screening of The Hobbit, and will mark the start of the Box Office (I think). Due to the fortunate layout of the International Date Line, New Zealand STILL gets to see this before anyone else. 
  • As far as I can tell there's satill tickets available for this one as well.
  • Check the Embassy website for more details.

December 13th : LifeFlight Charity Event (Embassy Cinema)
  • Event starts at 5:15pm
  • Movie starts at 6:05pm
  • Will be attended by William Kircher (Bifur) and Joe Letteri (Weta Digital head FX wizard)
  • UPDATE - Tickets are now sold out
  • More details (if you already have tickets) are available on the LifeFlight website

Apart from this plethora(*) of special screenings, I know there's also a large number of Laketown Extras attending one of the sessions on December the 14th, and will have a communal picnic somewhere the next day (15th). Don't know when, don't know where. I'm not invited (though Alex (my wife) is, but she's not telling me).

If anything changes I'll keep this page updated, so keep checking back for more info!

This page is published on the welly-moot blog, and if you're reading this on facebook, google+, RSS, or twitter, or even via email, you may be missing the links. Check www.welly-moot for more details. That's always the source.

(*) you thought I'd forgotten.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

PRESS RELEASE - Hobbit 2 Gala Tickets on sale TODAY.

The second Hobbit movie premiere may be in L.A. this year, but that doesn't mean Wellington will be left behind. It looks like we're having a party after all!

We have just received a press release from Roadshow, the NZ distributors of the Hobbit movies, about a charity event with a preview of the second movie, the Desolation of Smaug.

In short, on the evening of December the 9th, there will be a Gala event hosted at the Embassy Cinema in Wellington. The movie itself will start at 7:15pm, but the doors will be open earlier, and it sounds like a grand event is planned, with six of the dwarves in attendance.

Tickets will be $100, with all proceeds going to the Island Bay Marine Education Centre. 

Book your tickets through the Embassy's website - they go on sale at 3:00pm TODAY.

See you all there!
Update: Better link here.

The full press-release follows:


Charity Gala Premiere Set For Monday, December 9, in Wellington
This year, the general public and avid Hobbit fans alike will have the opportunity to purchase tickets to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug at the New Zealand Charity Gala Premiere on December 9 at The Embassy Theatre, Wellington.

The film, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro Goldwyn-Meyer Pictures (MGM), opens across New Zealand cinemas on December 12.

Tickets to the prestigious event will be available for purchase from Thursday, November 21 at 3pm on the Event Cinemas website (, Roadshow Film Distributors announced today.

Cost per ticket will be $100 with all proceeds raised at the event to go to the Island Bay Marine Education Centre.

“We are proud to support The Marine Education Centre, they give so much to this city, we are very happy to be able to give something back," said filmmaker Peter Jackson.
"We are delighted to be involved with this event and the money raised will help us to reach more people of all ages to inspire them to want to learn about our oceans,” said Judy Hutt of The Island Bay Marine Education Centre.  “We think education is the key to caring for our environment and the younger you start learning the better. We also think that the best way to learn about marine life is to have close encounters with it.  That's what the Island Bay Marine Education Centre is all about."

Actors from the film, including Jed Brophy (Nori), Stephen Hunter (Bombur), Mark Hadlow (Dori), John Callen (Oin), Peter Hambleton (Gloin) and William Kircher (Bifur), will also be in attendance.

Along with being among the first in the world to see the next film in Peter Jackson's epic Trilogy, guests will also be treated to light refreshments and canapés prior to the 7.15pm film start time, have the opportunity to walk away with some exclusive merchandise from the film and a few other surprises.

New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Present a WingNut Films Production, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.  The screenplay for the film is by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro, based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien.  Jackson also produced the film, together with Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner and Fran Walsh.  The executive producers are Alan Horn, Toby Emmerich, Ken Kamins and Carolyn Blackwood, with Philippa Boyens and Eileen Moran serving as co-producers.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), with New Line managing production.  Warner Bros. Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television distribution being handled by MGM.

IMPORTANT !!! Special Announcement this afternoon around 2:00pm!

I've just had word from above that there will be a special announcement for the Wellington Hobbit fans this afternoon - I will be able to reveal more around 2:00pm today, Thursday 21st of November (NZ time).

Please check this blog today - time will be of the essence!

As an aside - I'd like to get people's opinion about whether we should set up an "urgent announcements" mailing list. Good idea?

Please send me some feedback, on "".

  - Jack

Friday, November 8, 2013

First Midnight Session of Hobbit 2: DoS

I've just been alerted to the fact that Wellington's Embassy Cinema has put tickets on for sale as of lunchtime today (30 minutes ago!), for the first public screening of the new Hobbit Movie.

I'm currently on the road (well, parked beside the road), so I don't have all the details here, but call the Embassy right now if you want tickets to this screening!

Don't delay!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Roundup of Live Hobbit Event's news items

What a great day it was here in Wellington. Peter Jackson's Live Fan Event went off without a hitch, and as far as I could tell it all went according to everybody's plans.

We watched the latest Trailer, a brand new Hobbit Production Diary (number 12 already!), extended scenes from the first Hobbit movie, the new credits song for the second movie, and then, somewhat unexpectedly, a full 20 minutes of preview scenes from The Hobbit 2: Desolation Of Smaug.

On top of that, there was a lively back'n'forth live question and answer session between Wellington, London, New York, and Los Angeles, involving Evangeline Lilly, Orlando Bloom, Lee Pace, Andy Serkis, Luke Evans, Jed Brophy, and Sir Peter Jackson himself.

The press was involved as well - apart from the organisers' camera crew, I also saw New Zealand's TVOne and TV3 crews, as well as radio stations ZM-FM and NewsTalkZB.

Rather than collecting absolutely every last mention of the Event, I've decided to focus on just news items that feature Welly-moot members, so we can all enjoy our 15 minutes (seconds?) of fame. If I've missed anything, please let me know!

2013-11-04, 10:47 - Hobbit fans to get glimpse of new film - Alex, Jack, Annabel, Sophy, Lucy
2013-11-04, 18:35 - The Hobbit DOS - Live Stream Fans Gear Up - Alex, Jack, Annabel, Sophy, Lucy

2103-11-05, 06:41 - Intrigue surrounds 'Hobbit' Q&A session - Jack (article only)
2013-11-05, 08:08 - Thousands tune in to Hobbit fan event - (starts at 0:27) - Annabel, Sophie, Lucy
2013-11-05, 11:58 - Hobbit livestream event kicks off - Wayne, Annabel, Sophy, Lucy, Shirley, Hermes. Annabel, Sophy, & Lucy are also in the article
2013-11-05, 16:08 - PHOTOS: The Hobbit: worldwide fan event - Annabel, Sophie, Lucy, Wayne, Shirley, Hermes, Viv,
2013-11-05, 18:43 - Tens of thousands of Hobbit fans turn out for live webcast - Martyn, Alex (both briefly!), Jack, Annabel, Sophie, Lucy

And of course the Event itself, now available on Youtube if you missed it the first time around. I got to ask my question in front of rather too many people. :)

If I've missed any videos, let me know.

 - Jack

Monday, November 4, 2013

Welly-moot hosts the Livestream here - tune in tomorrow!

By now, all the lucky people on my list should have received their RSVP email from the organisers, and have their tickets. Check your email's spam folder if you haven't got it yet.

Make sure you print the ticket out, or have a copy on your smart-phone or tablet tomorrow - no ticket, no entry!

For those not in time or in town to get a ticket, Welly-moot is hosting the event right here. At 10:30am NZ time, click on the NowLive Hobbit poster below.

Enjoy the show, everybody, and I hope to meet as many people as possible tomorrow, so come and say hello! I should be easy to find, wearing my ridiculously heavy faux-chainmaille and full length cape.

(don't worry about that "November 4th" thing - it's November 5th in New Zealand already) 

Event Schedule - *timings are approximate for NZ
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
10.30 am – Online Pre-Show Begins
12:15 pm – Event Concludes (show may run longer depending on Q&A)

*Once the live show ends the show will replay in its entirety within the player until the highlights reel is available.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

All Fan Event Tickets are now gone - sorry if you missed out!

Sorry if you missed out - but congratulations if you're in! We're looking at being present at the centre of The Hobbit universe on Tuesday the 5th of November!

If you are one of the lucky ones, I've taken your name, email address, and mobile phone number. The organiser's ticketing team will send each email address a link to click on for rsvp-ing, and then their system will spit out a personalised ticket with barcode to download and print, or have on their smartphones to have scanned in on entry..


I'm hoping there will be plenty of cool costumes on the day - please feel free to leave the civvies behind and come in full Middle-earth attire! Alex & I will be costumed, and I understand quite a few others will be as well. Come join us, don't be shy. :)

Today (Saturday) we paid a visit to the Costume Cave on Wakefield Street; an excellent source of costumes. On Monday, the TV crew will go back with us, to film us selecting the costumes (I know, we cheated, and selected them today). If anybody wants to join us for that, please let me know; I've got a few others there as well, but if you wanted a shot at fame, now is your chance! The TV crew will likely look for us on Tuesday as well. I'm thinking of bringing my full-sized Narsil blade (unbroken). Not sure if I'll get it past security though.

Let's have a great fun day on Tuesday! This is a unique occasion! Don't waste the opportunity!

  - Jack

Friday, November 1, 2013

Welly-moot 2.5 report (somewhat belatedly)

NB - Due to all the excitement around the Live Fan Event earlier this month, it looks like I never hit the "Publish" button on this report. My apologies, so here it is. Some of the items are somewhat late but better late than never, right? ;)

The Welly-moot group met on 27th October. As usual, we started with catch-ups between members, and we exchanged some news and updates.

From left front, clockwise: Kris, Jack, Martyn, Wayne, Annabel, Francine (hands only), and Cinnamon. As usual, Alex, managed to avoid the camera by taking the pictures. Also present were Annabel's two hobbits.

Jack talked about the Hobbit Fan Event on 5th November at the Embassy Theatre. The Welly-moot group has been invited to attend by the organisers RoadShow Distributors. There will be further announcement on this website in the next few days..

The was a report about the Auckland Armageddon fantasy convention from Cinnamom. Also, we have a new member; Franziska, from Germany. She has always loved Tolkien's stories and has finally made it to New Zealand, which was a childhood dream of hers.

Cinnamon and Franziska

The main discussion today was about King Thranduil's history (Legolas’ father). We had interesting discussions about him. Who is he? How did he get to Mirkwood? Where is Legolas's mother?

Everyone brought their books and we took turn to read the parts related to Thranduil, or to his father Oropher. The skant information available about them makes this a fascinating part of the histories.

Martyn and Wayne

Jack had scoured the net for some more information about Legolas' mother, but nothing concrete was found. He did stumble on a Yahoo Q/A, where someone named "Celtic Druidess" had this to say (slightly paraphrased):

Who is Legolas’ mother / Thranduil’s wife?

Tolkien never really created a full family tree for Legolas. We can trace his lineage back on his father's side to his grandfather, but no further.

It is possible that Thranduil’s wife was one of the Silvan Elves (Thranduil being a Sindarin elf), which is made clear in in the History of Galadriel and Celeborn (in Unfinished Tales), where there's a brief account of the arrival of Thranduil's father Oropher among the Silvan Elves of Greenwood the Great.

It's made obvious there that Oropher and his small band of Sindar merged themselves completely with the Silvan people of the Wood, leaving behind their Sindarin inheritance. By this time, Thranduil had already been born, and in order to link themselves to the Silvan elves, it is likely that Thranduil had been married to one of them. But this is never dwelled upon, and so is just an educated guess.

The extended discussions were about the "real world" Kings in England, The Netherlands, Germany and Sweden. In the real life, the kings are not exactly blood line, however in Tolkien’s world the Kings are totally blood lines ("blue blood???"). Aragorn was an exile and eventually becomes the King, merely because of the blood in his veins.

After the Tolkien discussions, we returned to the Hobbit 2 movie release. We have agreed what we would like to do something in December when the Hobbit 2 (Desolation of Smaug) will be released. We will contact to the Embassy Theatre to watch Hobbit 1 on 12th December evening, then we will watch the Hobbit 2. We also have of a party on 12th at the Embassy if we can. We will announce the details on this Website. It can be a costume party as well.

We will update this blog about the Event on 5th November. Keep your eyes open!

  - Alex & Jack

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

IMPORTANT: All Welly-moot members - please read and respond ASAP!

It looks very much like the Welly-moot members will be given a limited number of tickets to Peter Jackson's Live Fan Event on Tuesday November the 5th.

I will be in charge of distributing them to our members, so, please check the following list AS SOON AS POSSIBLE and get back to me! This will definitely be a "First In, First Served" occasion.

  • You are a fan of Peter Jackson's Middle-earth movies
  • You are a member of the NZ Tolkien group Welly-moot
  • You are in Wellington on November 5th
  • You are able to attend this event starting at 11:00am
If ALL of these conditions are true, please email me ASAP.

Please let me know if you need any extra tickets - we may be able to accomodate those as well, but Welly-moot members who attend our meetings will be given priority.

My email address is still

  - Jack

Saturday, October 26, 2013

IMPORTANT! Fan Event Announcement at Welly-moot 2.5!!!

Hopefully everybody's heard about Peter Jackson's announcement about the Live Fan Event.

I guess everybody is trying to get some of the free tickets that is giving away. It looks like Welly-mooters won't need to worry about those...

If you're a member of Wellington's Tolkien group, please make sure you come to the meeting this Sunday the 27th, since I have a special announcement to make there, which will affect all Welly-moot members in the Wellington region during the event.

If you're not already a member, this would be an EXCELLENT meeting to attend and become a member. Membership is STILL free, but you do have to attend a meeting.

I'm not able to make any promises at this stage, but things are looking very good right now. Come to the meeting to find out more.

Sunday 27th of October, 2013, at 2:00pm.
Embassy Cinema, Upstairs at the Cafe.

Come one, come all!

And please feel free to email/retweet/facebook-post this link to anyone else who needs to see this in the next 17 hours.

  - Jack

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Next Welly-moot theme: Thranduil, father of Legolas (moot 2.5)

The next Welly-moot isn't far away, it's time we had a theme for it! With the second Hobbit movie not far away, we're focussing on one of the characters from it - Legolas' father King Thranduil of the Woodlands Domain. Who is he, how did he get to Mirkwood (or Greenwood the Great, as it was called in the olden days), and why haven't we met Mrs Thranduil?

Reading material (if you feel enthusiastic) will be from The Hobbit; the last part of the chapter "Flies and Spiders", and the first half of "Barrels out of Bond". If you have any other material relating to him, please bring it.

The meeting is at the usual place and time - Sunday the 27th of October, at 2:00pm, upstairs at the Embassy Cinema. Bring coffee money.

See you all there, and bring a friend!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Report - Welly-moot 2.4: Rivendell

(Apologies for the late report - if anyone wants to volunteer to write these after every meeting, please let me know).

Welly-moot met on August the 25th, and we discussed Rivendell. The homework was to read the Rivendell chapters in The Hobbit, plus the sections in LOTR, and for the super-keen among us, watch the movie versions of Rivendell one more time as well. Attendance was good - all in all, 13 people enjoyed the coffee at the Embassy. Kris, Alex and myself were met by Wayne and Hillary, and Miranda. Annabel had brought Lucy and Sophy, and Hawk was there with mum & dad Jenifer and Ryan. Sadly, it is likely their last meeting as they will be leaving our shores to return back to the USA in a month or so. Also we had a new member, Caitlyn. Welcome to our little group, Caitlyn!

Pic: (from the back of Ryan's head in fron, cw to the left): Jenifer, Annabel, Hillary, Wayne, and Miranda

Since our last meeting, Welly-moot has had a small identity crisis - the group was fast on its way to becoming a Peter Jackson fan club instead of the chartered Tolkien fan group. The problem of course is that we're pretty much all  big fans of both, and a large percentage of the group was on the set of The Hobbit movies as extras, so a lot of the discussion has been about the movie versions in the past.

Today's discussion brought us back to the roots. There was a good sized stack of books present; to the point of some not getting discussed. [Wayne, I did notice that you had a copy of "Defending Middle-earth" with you. Please bring it again next meeting - we WILL get to it!]

Kris had brought a beautiful postcard from her travels to Switzerland's Lauterbrunnental, which was one of JRR Tolkien's inspirations for Rivendell. She also brought her print of Alan Lee's Rivendell for comparison, and indeed, there was more than a passing resemblance. This has been noticed by others as well. Kris also had her copy of "The Art of Tolkien" with her, which was enjoyed by all.

Hillary had recently been to a reading by the Rabbi Dr Raphael Zarum from the London School of Jewish Studies, on the topic of "The Torah of the Lord Of The Rings". We discussed this briefly (thanks for the copies of the notes you passed out, btw!), and the topic of translated Tolkien works came up. Alex had brought her Japanese copy of The Hobbit with her (and her English one as well)

Soon we were back to Rivendell. In chapter 3 of The Hobbit, Bilbo thinks to himself "Hmmm! it smells like elves!". After discarding and possibility of B.O. from the elves, we decided it must be like spring or summer, a refreshing smell.

There is also a lot of talk of singing in all the books - not just from the elves but also from the dwarves, the hobbits, the men, some of the animals, and yes, even the orcs sing. Singing is a very powerful thing in Middle-earth. In the Silmarillion it is said that the world of Arda is sung into existence, and all things were created by their own song from the Valar (the deities). Singing is a magical thing. These days the mass-media has changed all that, probably beginning with the onset of radio. When once everyone could sing (apparently), nowadays you have to be better, or at least as good as, anyone on radio, and therefore few attempt it in public anymore. Although the sound of singing is still commonplace through our myriad devices, it's rarely live singing anymore. Is it a loss? The quality is better usually, but there's plenty to be said for live impromptu performances.

There the discussion turned to the atmospheric difference in the Rivendell from The Hobbit to that in the Lord Of The Rings. In The Hobbit, the elves at Rivendell are playing musical instruments, singing, dancing, eating, even hunting. In LOTR, there wasn't so much happening, and a lot less elves to be seen at all. This has to do with the symbolic autumn of the elves throughout the sagas (in fact, the season in LOTR was autumn when the fellowship arrives at Rivendell). The elves are leaving at that time, to return to the Lands in the West - Valinor. During The Hobbit, that autumn has not yet started.

Peter Jackson's movies certainly reflect this change as well, which shows his attention to such details. There are stories that his set-builders stapled 400,000 fake autumn leaves to the trees in Rivendell's LOTR filming locations - a necessity since it was filmed in an evergreen rainforest area.

What we can see in Peter Jackson’s movies is not necessary the same from own images from books however the movie's Rivendell is beautiful and comfortable. Our own images are mostly ‘Homey place’; there is fire place, plenty of food and drink on the table - all in all comfortable and safe.

Alan Lee’s drawings are closer to the book. Rivendell is built in a hidden place and elves must have had plenty of time to create arts, songs, and stories.Rivendell was a place to relax.

From there, the discussion veered briefly off Rivendell. Was the movie accurate in its portrayal of the characters from the books? Was the casting done well? We all had images from the characters after reading the books. For example, Orlando Bloom matched most people's vision of Legolas from the books, however neither Aragron nor Boromir were as well cast. Not to say they were badly played though. I've recently finished the books again, and although I saw Legolas very much like Orlando's portrayal, Boromir and Aragorn were different in the books for me. Different, but not better or worse.

Pic: (left to right) - Hillary & Wayne, Miranda, and Jack in full swing.

Too soon, the afternoon was at and end, the coffee had run out, and people started to leave. We'll have an other meeting at the end of October - watch this space!

One final thing - Kris picked up a pair of glasses left behind by someone - if it was yours, please get in touch with either myself or with Kris.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Many Meetings Moot

Many Meetings Moot - August 25 

We've talked dwarves and dragons. Now let's talk elves. Rivendell has always been my favourite spot in Middle-earth. Elrond's Last Homely House would have suited me just fine.
"His house was perfect, whether you liked food, or sleep, or work, or storytelling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all."

For this moot, before the meeting we're reading The Hobbit, chapter 3: A Short Rest. 
For those who want to take it a bit further, please also read The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2, chapter 1: Many Meetings, and chapter 2, and the first pages of chapter 3 if you have time. 

"Frodo was now safe in the Last Homely House east of the Sea....Merely to be there was a cure for weariness, fear, and sadness."

That sounds pretty perfect, doesn't it? Find your favorite passages about elves and Rivendell, and we'll go through the chapters and talk about what we think Tolkien was trying to establish about elves and their importance in Middle-earth. We  can also discuss how well the films matched our vision of Rivendell. 
Bring any illustrations you have to share, yours or other artists. Have you written any poems or songs worthy of the Hall of Fire? We'd love to hear them - and we promise not to fall asleep. ;D

As usual, the moot will be held upstairs at the Embassy Cinema, at 2:00pm. See you there!


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Welly-moot Member Meeting 2.3 - Hermes and Smaug

Although the weather was atrocious, and a few regulars didn't make it to the moot this time, we still had a friendly and enthusiastic meeting today. The ones that did make it - Jack, Alex, Wayne, Annabel, and Barbara, plus two Australian Tolkien fans Kathryn and Judy (Judy's been before) - had a chance to meet our very special guest, Hermes the Blue Tongue Skink. Hermes arrived with his two carers, Shirley and David.

[JACK: For the record - Hermes is probably a girl. Apparently it's not so easy to check with lizards. I noticed that the moot's guys referred to Hermes as "him", while the ladies used "her" - talk about projecting! The rest of this blog entry was written by Alex, so I guess we're going back to "her"].

Before the opening, we had a great opportunity to meet Hermes up close. She was lovely to hold on our arms and shoulders - very gentle and unique. We all had a turn by the end of the meeting, and enjoyed holding her.

Welly-mooter Wayne with Hermes. Click the photo for a closeup.

As revealed in an earlier post here, Hermes was indeed a reference animal for Weta Digital. Guillermo del Toro had a specific design in mind for Smaug, and his ideas sounded similar to what Hermes looks like, in some ways. She was photographed and filmed for her movements, especially her specific movements, to visualise actual dragon movements. Hermes is currently around 11 years old. These skinks usually live to around 20 years old in the wild, and older in captivity.

Once the meeting opened, there were some news items, reports, and updates. First a report from Annabel and Jack about Armageddon on 1 June 2013. Annabel had her Whovian Jewellery stand (Doctor Who themed jewellery) at the Armageddon show, and Jack helped out on day 1, with the Welly-moot banner flying behind him. Annabel described how they were visited by Sylvester McCoy, who of course played Radagast the Brown in The Hobbit, as well as the 7th reincarnation of Doctor Who (from 1987 to 1989). Pretty thrilling - and he was lovely to talk to. Unfortunately, Annabel totally forgot to get him to sign her Hobbit book!

From the front, clockwise around the table: Jack, Annabel, Wayne, and David.

The next report was from Jack and Alex on the Weta Cave's 5th anniversary on 1 June. The full report has already been posted here earlier.

The special report from Jack and Alex was the visiting Tolkien Society Japan in Osaka. We had a great time with them; friendly people who are big fans of Tolkien. We were welcomed at the Gandalf Cafe with Ent drink, Lembas, Bilbo’s scones, and Beorn's Honey Cakes, as well as Japanese snacks and drinks. It was an incredibly fun day, and we hope to welcome some of their members at our meetings in the future. I'm still writing a separate blog entry on the day, and I'll post some photos on that too.

Then we had a big discussion about the new Hobbit 2 trailer. In principle, we all liked it, and the most interesting was of course Smaug's brief appearance. We had a lengthy discussion about him though. Some people were disappointed by the dragon’s appearance in the trailer. "He was not as handsome as expected", "his head was too big", "the colour of his eyes was different than the end of the first movie", "he looked too cartoonish" were all raised as concerns. Annabel pointed out that it actually looked like John Howard’s dragon, and Jack mentioned that Peter Jackson is usually very careful what he shows before the movie so it might be the possibility that the Smaug would look different in the Hobbit 2. One theory, put forward by Kathryn, was that perhaps this wasn't the actual Smaug at all, but a possible Smaug in a dream from Bilbo, or perhaps from one of the dwarves. That's an interesting theory - I guess we'll have to wait until December to find out.

Next we discussed what the story would be in Hobbit 2, and where it will be finished; at the Smaug’s death? We all had same thoughts that the Necromancer in the movie is the key. How Peter Jackson tells the story about the Necromancer will affect how the story goes in The Hobbit 2. This is another exciting mystery, for now.

The Final topic was what we want to do in November and December; The Hobbit 1 (Extended Edition) will be released on Blu-Ray and DVD in November, and The Hobbit 2 will be released at movie theaters on December. There apparently won’t be the World Premier in Wellington this year, however we predict that there will be some other activities in Wellington, and wider NZ. Apparently Red Carpet Tours will hold a Costume Party in December.

One idea that we are particularly interested in is watching The Hobbit 1 at either the Embassy Theatre or at the Roxy before Hobbit 2 and partying with invited artists related with the movie Hobbit. We will talk about more details at the next meeting - email me with more ideas.

Shirley (with Hermes), Barbara, Judy, Kathryn, and Jack.
Alex managed to avoid being photographed once again.

Until next meeting, stay warm!

  - Alex and Jack

Next meeting - Sunday 25 August 14:00pm

Monday, June 10, 2013

Update on "Hermes as Smaug model" comment in previous post

UPDATE from the previous post:

I've just heard a comment directly from Hermes himself (via his handler) about the details leaked of his Smauginess...

Totally Smaug's eye...?

can I please make a small correction to the above piece.
My handler said that del Toro had mentioned a description of Smaug once and it sounded similar to me, (but so do many dragons…) we know nothing more than the rest of the public do.
I’m simply a reference animal at digi, nothing more.

thanks for all the love and awesome pictures!

And here’s the link to the [del Toro] comment on
Happy to come to the moot and meet though.


 So what have we learned?
  1. Hermes was indeed a reference animal for Weta Digital
  2. Guillermo del Toro had a specific design in mind for Smaug
  3. His ideas sounded similar to what Hermes looks like, in some ways
  4. Hermes can type, and has access to the internet
What does that all mean? Not all that much, I'm guessing. 
  1. Hermes may have been one of many reference animals, physical or otherwise, for Smaug.
  2. Guillermo del Toro is no longer involved with the design process, and I'm guessing the art direction has completely changed since he was at the helm.
  3. Hermes reads our blog, and would like to visit the Welly-moot
Welly-moot's newest member, Hermes?
Hermes, we'd love to host you. Please bring your handler, Shirley! By the time our next meeting rolls around on July the 14th, the new Hobbit trailer will have been released (the day after tomorrow, in fact), so perhaps we'll have seen a glimpse of Smaug by then. We'd love to have Smaug as the main discussion!

What else have we learnt?
  1. We have a theme for the next Welly-moot! :)

Thanks Hermes!

   - Jack

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Welly-moot goes to the Weta Cave's 5th birthday party

The Weta Cave celebrated its 5th birthday this week - they first opened their doors to the public at 11:00am, on the 6th of June, 2008. As it happened, Alex and I were the first two through the doors on the day (ok, she was first, but I was holding the doors open for her).

Daniel Reeve
We weren't as quick off the mark today, five years (and two days) later. We arrived at the Weta Cave just around 1:30pm, halfway through an enormous queue for Weta's calligrapher/cartographer Daniel Reeve, who was selling his new Hobbit Birthday Party Invitations, and handwriting people's names onto them with his calligraphy skills. I had brought my map of The Shire (after taking it off my wall), and he signed it for me. Oddly, since his work covers a lot of my mancave's wall, I didn't have his autograph yet!

Mark Hadlow (aka Dori, and Bert)
While we were waiting, we spotted Dwarf actor Mark Hadlow elsewhere in the mass of people, and Chief Wizard Richard Taylor as well.

Alex with Jed Brophy (aka Nori) and an enormous smile on her face
The call went up that there was another Dwarf on the premises, and sure enough, Jed Brophy had arrived also.


Alex, still smiling, with Tania Rodger
After Daniel Reeve graciously signed my (his?) map, we went outside, and met up with Tania Rodger, Weta Workshop manager (and partner of Richard Taylor).

Various other people, including Warren Beatton and Dave Tremont came by to join in the celebrations, cake was eaten, and balloons added to the happy occasion.

Mad scientist and Welly-mooter, Warren.
Richard Taylor with Alex, and her autographed Hobbit book

Dave Tremont, Doctor Who fan #1, and creator of the miniature Barad-Dur

One interesting tale came to hand - in the morning a very special guest had been introduced to the crowds - Hermes the Blue Tongue Skink.

I was initially unclear about why he'd been invited (apart from being pretty awesome), but his handler/owner, Shirley Jones, mentioned offhand that he had been a digital model for Smaug when Guillermo Del Toro was still directing. I couldn't draw her out on more detail, so I'm not sure if Smaug still looks like Hermes, or how much, but that was an interesting snippet of information!?!

 I'm pretty sure this will be discussed at the next meeting - quite a few Welly-mooters had made their way to the event as well. I saw Annabel, Warren, Erin, Cinnamon, Elliot, and Ryan and Hawk. Did I miss anyone?

As an unrelated side-note, Alex and I are on our way to Japan next week, we'll be back for the next meeting (July 14th). Hope to see you all there! I'll be available via email sporadically if anyone needs me (but please don't need me).

  - Jack

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Welly-moot goes to Armageddon!

Armageddon is in full swing.

That sounded wrong. I don't mean the end of the world is nigh - Armageddon is Wellington's annual fantasy convention. This year, it was held at the Westpac Stadium (where some of the Lord Of The Rings' sound effects were recorded, back in 1999).

I'd spoken about the event to Annabel Graham, the jeweller who has created our gorgeous badges for us (see right-hand side-bar, here on our blog). Annabel had offered a bit of wall space from her Whovian Jewellery stand for our banner, and I had two days off between LOTR-touring to help her out a bit, so I decided to take her up on her offer.

The event started today (Saturday), so on Friday we came to set up the stand.

The Welly-moot banner was still on bamboo sticks from the last event, which I thought might help hold it up, but in the morning it had fallen over. Luckily I'd brought some tacks in with me, which solved the problem completely.

Pic: At 8:30am, the queues had already started; the show wouldn't open until 10:00am!

I spent a fun (if tiring) Saturday with Annabel, discussing rather a lot of Doctor Who with rather a lot of Doctor Who fans.

I didn't take photos of all the Doctor Who fans, but here's a few special visitors for the Welly-moot. Pay special attention to the last two photos! :)

Pic: Welly-mooters Erin & Erika were the first to say hello, and promptly bought their Welly-moot badges

Pic: Welly-mooter Wayne soon appeared as well, in appropriate attire.

Pic: Welly-mooter Cinnamon came to say Hello as well. Apparently Ash was there as well but I arrived too late with my camera.

Pic: Oh, and did I mention Radagast the Brown? Radagast the Brown also came by.

Pic : Although what possible appeal a Doctor Who Jewellery store would hold for Sylvester McCoy is beyond me. ;)

All in all, a fun day, and we got to meet some awesome people. Apart from the obvious, we also ran into "our" Riventroll sculptor Kim Beaton who was doing live sculpting demonstrations with the newly named concrete "Pal Tiya", and Weta effects wizard Gino Acevedo. If you are in Wellington for the next two days, make your way to the Westpac Stadium - over the next few days there will be a lot more Hobbit actors around!

  - Jack