Gollum the Norman Overlord

by 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 Very sad

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 all fighting.

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. Gollum.

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....