Saturday, May 4, 2013

Welly-moot 2.2 (April 28th, 2013) - Dual Themes

We had our second meeting this year, on Sunday, 28th of April. All the regular members attended: Jack, Alex, Kris, Martin, Ash, Cinnamon, Ben, Iain, Ryan and Jennifer with Hawk, Annabel, Kumi, and one new visitor; Kate from Germany.

We started with Jack opening the moot. He mentioned two projects; Mt Tolkien (the renaming of the mountain in South Island) and Riventroll (a statue in Rivendell (Kaitoke Regional Park)). Unfortunately the naming of Mt Tolkien was not successful at this time. However, we will continue to try to rename a New Zealand feature officially – we might be able to do some local renaming (perhaps formalise Rivendell). We will keep everyone informed. Regarding the Troll statue, we have applied for the Art Grant from Creative Wellington NZ for Riventroll’s funding. We are still waiting for the contract from them in the end of May. Fingers crossed!

Some updates from the members; Cinnamon showed us the photo of herself with a large group of the Hobbit’s cast, including Sylvester McCoy (Radagast), Stephen Hunter (Bombur), Dean O’Gorman (Fili), from this year’s Supanova in Brisbane, Australia.

Welly-moot member and jeweller Annabel has finished creating a gorgeous badge for our group. The introductory price for members at the meeting was $16, and it will shortly be available on our website for $20 (not including P&P). An announcement for that will be made soon.

Another great piece of news is that local LOTR touring company Wellington Rover Tours has granted us a special discount of 50% off for Lord of the Ring Full-day Tours for Welly-moot members. At this stage the discount will go all winter, so book in over the next few months. Send Jack a message and he can arrange the tour at the special price.

So, come and join our Welly-moot meetings, and enjoy this VERY special deal! Ben will be the first of our members to enjoy this, as he's booked in later this week. Hopefully we can get him to write a quick update about it afterwards.

Some other news:

Kate mentioned that a German Sword Trainer is coming to Auckland in May. She suggested if we have enough people we can have the workshop in Wellington as well. However it was too short notice and we didn’t have enough time or resources to prepare for this. Hopefully in the future we may have another opportunity like this.

The Themes:

Finally, it was time for our discussions. The main topics were “What is your favourite part in Hobbit book?” and “Tolkien’s other tales and short stories”. To allow for a more active discussion, we divided the groups into two smaller circles and we had exciting, and fun discussions, with appropriately high geek-levels.

Theme 1 – What is your favourite part in The Hobbit?

A lot of people liked the moment where the Dwarves come Bilbo’s place, because it is so funny. Alex likes Gandalf and Bilbo’s first encounter – Gandalf said “What do you mean? Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that…..”. It is a very “unexpected” reply, and from this conversation onwards, unexpected incidents happen continuously to Bilbo, which is one of the main elements.

Part of the group - Martyn on the left, Cinamon and Ash at the top. (that's Kate's arm to the right, and Kris's head at the bottom)

Kris read the part of the book with her nice low tone to make people concentrate even harder. Even young Hawk was completely drawn in...

Theme 2 -Tolkien’s other tales and short stories

In addition to his mythopoeic compositions, Tolkien enjoyed inventing fantasy stories to entertain his children. (Wikipedia) – Alex did her home work
  • The Father Christmas Letters - annual christmas letters from Father Christmas for his children
  • Mr. Bliss
  • Roverandom
  • Smith of Wootton Major ( Roverandom and Smith of Wootton Major, like The Hobbit, borrowed ideas from his legendarium)
  • Leaf by Niggle (part of Tree and Leaf)
  • On Fairy-Stories (part of Tree and Leaf)
  • The Adventures of Tom Bombadil
  • Farmer Giles of Ham
Kris recommends “Roverandom”; it is easy, shorter, and fun. We agreed that the stories have fairytales, giants, wizards, dog which talks, magic, etc, and it is not only children but adults can enjoy these stories. Other opinions are that adults tend to analyse the stories but children don’t and they just accept them and enjoy them. Why shall we not enjoy them rather than analysing or criticising? Overall it was fun discussion and we will do it again.

Ben, Ryan and Jack debated whether the shorter stories could be interpreted as being fairytales told within Middle-earth by its own denizens – potentially a post “war-of-the-Ring” Middle-earth, long after the elves are all but forgotten. Certainly Roverandom and Smith of Wootton Major could be read as such, while Leaf By Niggle is more of a “meta” work, a story that perhaps describes how the other stories came about.

Ben on the left, then Ryan & Hawk, Jenifer, Annabel, and Jack at the bottom (wearing the Finnish Tolkien Society's t-shirt)

An interesting point arose when sympathy was expressed for both Tolkien as well as for Peter Jackson, who have both described originally as creating their works for themselves, but have later also both said that the can’t read/watch them again (references?). Iain suggested that this echoed Frodo’s predicament in saving the shire, but finding himself unable to stay there afterwards. Interesting.

Welly-moot this year

We are based in Wellington NZ and so, will most likely have great opportunities to get involved locally especially next a couple of years because of the Hobbit 2 & 3.

  • Welly-moot will be actively looking to join any event and hopefully won’t miss any opportunities! Because of that, we want to organise Welly-moot parties in December 2013 and 2014.
  • Movie marathon – LOTR 1, 2, 3 and Hobbit 1 at Embassy Theatre before Hobbit 2 would be great idea. Jack will look into this in before the next meeting.
  • We will invite people from in film industry in Wellington to our meetings.
As Jack was too busy talking to others, the meeting was closed by Kris and Alex. The next meeting will be on Sunday 14 July 2:00pm. We usually have meeting every two months, however this June, Jack and Alex are going to Japan, where they might be able to visit Tolkien Society in Japan! Expect a report if this ends up happening!

We will keep everyone informed on this website when any activities we will do. All posts here are automatically placed on our Facebook page as well as on our Twitter account.

  - Alex

Monday, April 29, 2013

Chilean Tolkien Society visits Wellington

A little while ago I received a message from two representatives of the Tolkien Society in Chile, Paula Menz and Rodrigo Krebs. They are currently travelling around New Zealand, and would be in Wellington on the day of the moot last week. Unfortunately, they wouldn't arrive in Wellington until after the meeting had finished, so that was a no-go.

Then I found out that they had also booked in for a full day LOTR tour around the region, so I decided to take an extra day at work, and show them around instead. Our own Ben was also booked on that day, so it seemed like a great opportunity to have a few hardcore Tolkien fans on board, all together.

It ended up being a fun day (as most of my days are). We started the tour on Mount Victoria, for the famous "Get Off The Road" scenes, including a Shortcut to Mushrooms. After that, we headed straight off to the Weta Workshop, as we were booked in to the new "Window Into The Workshop" exhibition that Weta has now formally opened to the public. We got lucky - there were trolls about outside, as well.

Bert (or Tom or William)

After the workshop, it was time for an early lunch at the Scorch-o-rama, and then straight on to the Kaitoke Regional Park, north of Upper Hutt, for a good look around Rivendell. More locations on the way back, including the beautiful Isengard in Upper Hutt's Harcourt Park, and that took it to well after 5:00pm.

I decided to drop off the other passengers first at their respective hotels, and then us four remaining hardcore geeks went off to continue the Tolkien discussions over dinner at one of my favourite local noodlebars.

We dropped Ben off at his residence, and eventually Paula and Rodrigo as well.

Ben, Jack, Paula & Rodrigo
Paula and Rodrigo, it was great to meet you both - we're sorry you couldn't make it to the meeting but there's always a next time! I've added your Tolkien group to our official page of Friends.

If you find yourself back in Wellington for any reason, we'd love to hear from you again!

  - Jack

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Welly-moot 2.2 (April 28, 2013) - Dual Themes!

Due to the increased size in the group, this month we're going to try discussing two separate themes. The size of the group and the venue means it's becoming harder to hear everyone properly. To adjust, we're splitting the group into two separate themes, and you can pick (and switch!) at any stage of the meeting.

Theme 1) Your favourite part of The Hobbit
Theme 2) Tolkien's other tales

For theme 1, bring along your copy of The Hobbit book, and feel free to read a small section of it to the group, and explain why you enjoyed that part more than others.

For theme 2, we will talk about some of Tolkien's other tales, not set in Middle-earth. Farmer Giles, Roverandom, Leaf by Niggle, or any of the others - what makes them special? Do they relate to Middle-earth at all? Do they share common themes? Let's talk!

Also, we hope to have Annabel Graham with us again. Annabel is a jeweller who creates beautiful pieces for Doctor Who fans the world over, and she's hand-crafted a bronze badge for us. She showed us a sample at the last moot, which was adored by all.

The Welly-moot badge - get one now!

As promised, we've managed to keep the price very low compared to her usual pieces - it will be less than $20 (a final price will be set before the meeting).

So please, bring a $20 note, and wear the Welly-moot logo with pride.

We'll see you next week - bring friends, family, or perfect strangers! And please, spread this announcement on your facebook pages, twitter account, work noticeboards, etc.

  - Jack

Monday, March 25, 2013

Update from our Austrian friends

Recently I received an email from Astrid who visited us in 2011. Astrid is a member of the Austrian Tyrol Tolkien Smial, and some of you may remember that she joined us for a meeting in December 2011, together with Peter Kenny from the Brisbane Tolkien Fellowship.

She has blogged about her experiences in New Zealand, including her time at the Welly-moot. Their blog is mostly in German, but she has graciously translated the relevant pages into English for us.

For her New Zealand experiences, read here.

For her Welly-moot evening, start here.

Astrid is considering coming back for another visit in the future - I think she should come back for December 2014, the release month of the LAST Hobbit movie. It should be a fantastic month!

  - Jack

Monday, February 25, 2013

Welly-moot 2.1 (Feb 24, 2013) - All about Tolkien

A great meeting on Sunday - an almost record number of people turned up - 19 in all! Especially good since we hadn't done anything other than announced it on this blog (which automatically posts to Twitter, Facebook and Google+). So, apparently you guys are all watching then! Always good to know!

The meeting started with a welcome message from me to the first Welly-moot of 2013.

From far left/top, clockwise - new member Annabel; Charlene; Miranda; new member Elliot; Wayne; new member Karena; Kris; Jenifer; (and in front, backs turned) Alex; Kumi, new member Ben, and Mervi

We have several new guests; Annabel and Elliot joined us today - I met both of them a week before, at the Weta Cave while I was showing a group around on a tour. Annabel is a jewelery designer who has created some beautiful pieces for her Doctor Who passion, as well as recently a badge for Weta Workshop's Doctor Grordbort Range. Elliot is currently studying digital animation and SFX, among other things.

I had handed Annabel a Welly-moot card in the hope they might both make it for the moot, so that went well! What I hadn't anticipated was that she liked our logo so much she made a badge out of it!

Welly-moot Bronze Lapel Pin
I will talk to Annabel further about this - I'm very keen to be able to offer our members the chance to buy this - you'll be supporting a very talented artist! Can everyone drop me a message if you're keen on buying a badge - they'll be in the vicinity of $10-$20 each, depending on final design and number of orders, I suspect.

Ben also attended for the first time, he's from Christchurch originally, and has decided to make Wellington his new home. Ben has also done some papers with Corey Olsen, aka the Tolkien Professor, so it sounds like we have another hardcore Tolkien fan!

Finally, Karena also joined us, from France. Karena had been on a tour with me the day before, and had taken me up on my invitation. I suspect Karena won't join us again since she's only in NZ for a short time, but it was very nice to have you with us, all the same!

Also with us for her last meeting was Mervi, who will have to return to Finland again shortly, after her extended stay in New Zealand. We will all be very sad to see her go, but at least she has another Tolkien group to return to - Suomen Tolkien-seura Kontu ry. Mervi gave me a present from her group - a beautiful T-shirt with "Hobbit" written in Suomi and in Runes. Thank you - I shall wear it with pride!

From far left/top, counterclockwise - Ryan; Jenifer; Kris; (in front) Karena; Wayne; Elliot; Miranda; Charlene; Annabel; Martyn; Mervi; Ben; Kumi; Alex. The empty seat is mine (-Jack). Missing here are Adam, who was getting another coffee; and Hawk and Annabel's two girls (separate table - their discussion was about whether boys can wear tutus or not).

Next on the agenda was to discuss the two projects we're currently working on - the naming of Mount Tolkien is awaiting me to write a letter to the Geographic Board to let them know of the Tolkien Society's support for the proposal. I shall finish that by next moot, so an update on that then.

The big project is still the Stone Troll project out by Rivendell in the Upper Hutt Kaitoke Regional Park. We're referring to the beastie as Riventroll. Currently we're spending an astounding number of hours into filling in an Arts Council Grant application form, and that should all be done (and handed in!) by the end of this week. After that, we can relax a little!

Finally then, we got onto the main theme for the day - "It’s All about Professor Tolkien". Kris brought some beautiful books and introduced the drawings and pictures by Professor Tolkien and shared them with the group. Hobbiton, Rivendell, the Eagles, Smaug the Dragon, and the Lonely Mountain all were drawn by Tolkien. Kris also had a lovely postcard from a valley in Switzerland that looked remarkably like Rivendell. Apparently Tolkien had stayed in the valley, and the inspiration does seem to match. It also looked very much like Ted Nasmith's version of Rivendell.

It was also remarked by a few people that the Lonely Mountain looked somewhat like Mount Taranaki in New Zealand's North Island.

The discussion went to Tolkien's languages, and how it all begun with his love for them. There are some noted similarities between Quenya and the Finnish tongue, as well as between Sindarin and the Welsh language. We consulted with our resident Welshman, Martyn on this, and with our Fin Mervi.

A quick poll was taken also - had everyone read LOTR and Hobbit? Of the 16 adults, 15 had read The Hobbit, and 12 had read LOTR. I thought we'd also asked Silmarillion readers but I can't find the statistic for that right now.

As we rounded the afternoon's discussion off, Kris wanted to know if anyone had ideas for future meetings. Here are a couple:

  • Tolkien's short stories
  • Tolkien's theology (and his academic writings)
  • Middle-earth cuisine

Please let us know any other ideas you may have.

That concluded the first meeting for 2013 - if this one was anything to go by, it should be a cracker year!

  - Jack

Monday, February 18, 2013

Welly-moot 2.1 (Feb. 24, 2013) - It's All About The Professor

This week's meeting will be whatever we each make it. Bring something to show or tell that you admire or enjoy about Professor Tolkien;  his writings, his art, his life's story. There was something special about this man that has made "The Lord of the Rings" the world's most beloved book. What is at the top of your list?

To start us off, here is a recently published group of photographs of the Professor and his wife, Edith. It's a peek into an English academic life where books and growing things had equal value, it seems.

Thinking ahead, please bring your ideas for our next meetings - things you've been wanting to discuss.

See you Sunday at 2:00 at the Embassy Cinema upstairs cafe.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Welly-moot dates for 2013 - note them in your calendar!

Time is creeping up on us! The first meeting of 2013 approaches already, and we haven't even announced the dates yet! So, let's do that right now.

Since last year's the dates seemed to suit most people most of the time, we're just going to stick to the same basic schedule as before - every last Sunday of the even-numbered months, at 2:00pm at the Embassy Cinema.

This year's schedule is as follows:

  • Welly-moot 2.1 - February 24th, 2:00pm at the Embassy Cinema
  • Welly-moot 2.2 - April 28th, 2:00pm at the Embassy Cinema
  • Welly-moot 2.3 - July 14th, 2:00pm at the Embassy Cinema(*)
  • Welly-moot 2.4 - August 25th, 2:00pm at the Embassy Cinema
  • Welly-moot 2.5 - October 27th, 2:00pm at the Embassy Cinema
  • Welly-moot 2.6 - December 29th, 2:00pm at the Embassy Cinema
The meeting themes will be announced separately, before every meeting.

(*) Meeting 2.3 is not on the usual schedule, since we'll be overseas for our holiday on the last Sunday of June.