Gollum the Norman Overlordby Varda
Iarnróid Eireann - that is Railway
of Ireland, in Gaelic, are offering return journeys to anywhere in
Ireland for only 10 euros. Usually it is, well a lot more Crying or
So feeling stressed by my job and my attempts to pack for America, I decided to go down to Waterford on a day trip.
Now Waterford has a history that would make any dungeons and dragons
ecstatic. Founded by raiding Vikings it became the second largest Norse
town in Ireland, and the Irish Danes actually sailed from Waterford to
conquer Northern England and take the Viking town of York. It was
inhabited by Gaelic, Norman, Norse and English, and they were usually
Anyway, I did the tour, climbed Reginald's Tower, a complete medieval fort, and hefted some real as opposed to film chainmail.
It was in Waterford that Strongbow the Norman champion married Aoife,
daughter of Diarmuid the Gaelic king of Leinster, a parallel with
Éowyn marrying Faramir, one from the cultured Gondor-like
civilisation of the Normans, the other from a proud and warlike but
uncultured native dynasty like Rohan. Like Éowyn, Aoife took a
bit of persuading...
Anyway, there was a good museum with a good shop and I was waiting to
pay for something and looking at all the leaflets on the town. To
impress the Plantagenet kings of England who were their overlords, the
medieval burghers of Waterford presented them with an illustrated
manuscript roll. On it were painted lively little pictures of all the
leading chiefs and kings of the time. These were on leaflets and I was
running my eye down them when I saw one that looked out of place.
I had moved on when it sort of hit me and I went back and asked the tourist office lady;
'Excuse me, but what is Gollum doing in Waterford?'
She laughed and gave me the picture. It was on the front of a leaflet
for a short film festival in Waterford. Over three days they are
showing the Lord of The Rings trilogy.
'Why The Lord of The Rings?' I asked. All around were forts of the old
city walls, kingly swords and ancient arrowheads and bow staves, Helm's
Deep crossed with Minas Tirith, towers and keeps and invaders from the
East...(the Vikings were called the Ostmen, literally Easterlings)
She looked at me as if to say 'how could you ask?' but actually said 'well, the films are SO popular, you know....'
And apparently everyone who goes into the shop asks about Gollum.....
I think he was actually a Norman overlord, as the Norman keep has
arched doorways so low they must have been made for hobbits.
Sméagol Le Prix, Gollum The Precious....