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