Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Musings on FANDOM and the much expected journey... 

My recent visit to Hobbiton- the icing on the cake of the little visits to LOTR book and movie places of NZ- prompted some thoughts... 

Hobbiton is obviously a "the destination" once in NZ if one is an LOTR fan.

And so it was, for us too.  LOTR was introduced to me by my brother when I was 15 when a bunch of us went to watch the movie "Fellowship of the Ring".  Of course I fell in love with Aragorn (and Viggo Mortensen) and he was the definition of "the man of my life" for my 15 year old self (and I fought over him with two other cousins of my age at the time).  I did not like Viggo Mortensen as anything outside of the role/looks of Aragorn, not even as himself when I googled him. :( oh and Gollum! I used to (still do sometimes) imitate/enact Gollum.  When Suresh gifted me the One Ring, I surprised and even spooked him with a "my precious... Gollum gollum" in Gollum vocals... :D a quite plump Gollum that made me though, he he!

The book is a different story for me... The first time I tried reading it was a #fail; not being able to go past the first 100 pages! This was back in 2007 and I was still in university.

I read it again much later, probably in the heights of joblessness of 2008 June - Sept break.
Having always been a fantasy fan, it was no surprise that I liked LOTR.  But I was not a fan in the traditional sense.  I never was - for anything - for that matter. 

I realised it when discussing Harry Potter books - which I read over and over again - with a dear friend (Lakshmi Ponnuswamy) and realised what a "fan" means.  I decided I would never be a "fan" of anything in that traditional sense where you remember and recall every minutiae of a book/movie.
But that is not to say I can't remember the events, characters and details quite well.  I just don't bother to remember them all and do not think it a sin if I forget something.

Fantasy and especially such a detailed and multi-layered epic such as the LOTR family of books, holds a very special place in my heart.  I too have had, no less than Elven dreams, trying to speak the tongues, (of course also trying to invent my own) when I was still smitten with the first read.

Visiting the WETA, (the studio that created many favourites such as LOTR, Avatar, District 9), the statues of the Kings, Gollum and Smog at WELLINGTON Airport.
Visiting some of the places where various scenes from The Hobbit were shot were quite an experience in that it would probably take another post to, if not for each spot. Oh and Avatar!  Can't wait for sequel(s)...!

Coming back to my experience in and at Hobbiton, it reminded me of..... how I was not a FAN. So many fans were feeling special just by being in the place that created Hobbiton for everyone, almost as well as how JRR would have wanted it envisioned.  For me though... it made me feel sad. 

Let me explain here, it is one thing to look at Mount Doom up close or go to the WETA studio and look at the gear or the graphic aids used, to look at the life size replica of your favourite characters.  It brings just JOY.  

But HOBBITON is just different (Atleast for me).  It's this perfect, peaceful and beautiful place, filled with happy people.  It's not hard to imagine but the movie did good by expanding on that dream with wonderful details and capturing the essence of it all.  And to go to the actual place to see where they brought it to life is a memory I will cherish, an experience I will remember. 

But that being said, here I was, looking at Bag End with no backend!!
Nothing except the door and the frame really.  That sort of killed me.  I could, in that moment, empathise with those kids that go through their "Santa is your mom" moment.  It was this bunch of highly skilled people working in a dedicated team effort and mounds of creativity, imagination; and I am sure immense FANDOM, that created this absolutely brilliant place that was only in the imagination of all those LOTR Fans and JRR's epic words till then.

And there, for me, was hard physical evidence of the fact that it was all NOT REAL.  It was NOT TRUE.   Of course I knew it all before.  But in that moment to actually see it all as a SET and be explained the details of how they painstakingly put together the magnificent piece of work-art, was this feeling of sadness that dampened and dripped on the feathers of the wings of joy and made it just float half heartedly instead of soar into the sky.

On the one hand, I was there, with one part of me being excited about being here at HOBBITON!  And the other half of me quietly withdrawing within myself into a deep corner with accusing teenager eyes. 

So instead of writing a piece of review on TripAdvisor - I am sure there are gazillion reviews already so one less is not going to affect people's decision if they already are looking for "reviews" to decide to go to Hobbiton - here I am lamenting a slight fraying in my dream fabric.  A must see if you are strong (fan) hearted unlike me.

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