Clad in an Elven Cloakby Varda
Today at lunch time I escaped from the
mayhem of the shop where I work (one customer verbally assaulted
another over.....a mousetrap. Shocked ) to walk down to Grafton Street,
Dublin's classiest shopping street, to get a gift voucher for my nephew
I queued for some time at the checkout, as the place was jammers. The
Irish spend 75% more at Xmas than the European Union average, we just
lose the plot altogether. Anyway, when I got to the desk the lady said;
'Oh, you can't use these vouchers in Northern Ireland!'
What! did Robert Emmet die so we can't exchange our gift vouchers in
Newry?...then I noticed the shelves behind the checkout were packed
with little Minas Tiriths (or is it Minas Tirithi?). Hmm, I thought,
the ROTK EEDVD must be out...
It was a very low-key, even a no-key release, no ads or posters or
special offers, although the dvd cover is very very nice, very Middle
Earth. But then I saw the price of the full fifty disc
version....EIGHTY-NINE EUROS! WOW! At present rates that must be over
$110, is it?
Anyway, it made it easier to abstain from buying it, as I told my
relatives to get it for me as my Xmas prezzie (and they are all pooling
resources to pay for it) which means I won't see it till *after* Xmas,
so I can't read all your glowing posts, sorry guys.
Looking at all the dvd boxes stacked on the shop floor, I felt a twinge
of sadness. Friends, this is the end. Not of our friendship, lord no.
Nor of our enjoyment of book and films, and our endless journeying down
the roads Tolkien merely signposted. But it is the end of the
production of new film material. Now, we have seen all that the
imagination of Peter Jackson and his inimitable team brought to birth.
A terrible sadness is born.
We always had the books, but the bursting out into the public arena of
your private passion, the knowledge that the kid serving the burger
knew who Legolas was, that absolutely intoxicating feeling when people
who had never heard of Tolkien were reduced to tears by a film of his
book....that is over. Now it will pass into that library of cult films
inhabited by Star Trek and Star Wars, perilously close to geekdom, and
worse, the unity between book and film fans will be lost, as book buffs
retreat back into their fortress and film buffs work on their
convention costumes,and never again will the two be so close, even in
The arguments are all over.
It has been an amazing three years. It has, for me anyway, been a
quest. As Frodo was warned before his quest, I have met friends in
unexpected places, and my life has been changed forever.
And I never saw it coming. I had heard the films were being made. I had
even hunted about the internet for stills, and got a picture of Gandalf
on his cart.
'That looks terrible' I thought.
Then an Irish actor, Stuart Townsend, was booted off the project, and
made some not very nice comments on the production. I think he called
it a 'nightmare'. In hindsight, some actors are just not ensemble
players, and above all team players were what this film required.
Stuart was just not that kind of actor (few Irishmen are)
I did not go to see the film when it came out. It first showed before
Xmas, and I was embroiled in a real war situation at work, a new
management was trying to sack me and the other long-serving workers. It
was a horrible situation, with fierce rows in the middle of the
Christmas rush. The War of the Ring was tame in comparision to it.
Going home one night in the week before Xmas I passed the cinema and
some people went by dressed in long black cloaks. I did not make the
connection. Little did I suspect I would be wearing an Elven cloak
myself quite soon.
I read the film reviews and they were good. But less rivetting than the
boardroom shouting matches I could hear from the staff canteen...I
pencilled in the week after Xmas to go and see the Fellowship of The
It was an afternoon during the post-Xmas sales. It was the new
multiplex cinema in the town. I had never even been in it. I hated it.
The old, family-owned local cinema had been closed down because it had
opened, so I had a grudge.
It has a vast main screen, and the huge auditorium was empty, except
for a few middle aged couples who had obviously read the book ages ago
and a few skateboarders munching popcorn.
The lights went down, the maps of Middle Earth came up, familiar to me
from too long ago. And that scene rolled up, the armies of Elves and
Men defeating Sauron under Gil-galad and Elrond, Elendil and Isildur.
It was sound-surround and Weta's massive, as I would later discover. I
could not have cared less if it was Micky Mouse with a camcorder; this
was Middle Earth as I had always dreamed it could be filmed. The scale,
the strangeness, the magic, the tragedy, the heroism, the beauty, the
battles....even the Elven banners...
I'll send you a postcard, Ma, I've found Middle Earth...