Welcome to the latest “Getting to know…” questions that need answering. Based on the old Getting to know you threads that I used to post on the message boards here on TORn, so those familiar with them will know that the questions can be a little crazy and the answers even crazier.
This month we’re asking questions of uber fan from Brisbane Australia, Peter Kenny.
Hi Peter and thank you for joining in 🙂
Kelvarhin: What piece of Tolkien ephemera began your collection?
Peter: My very first Tolkien Book was a single volume paperback edition of The Lord of the Rings given to me as a gift in 1976. I still have that original copy in my collection.
Kelvarhin: Where in Australia to do you see The Shire, and where do you see Mordor?
Peter: The Shire: Near Brisbane is an area from Samford to Dayboro of rolling green hills flanked by a forest covered mountain range to its West. Whenever I have overseas visitors I always take them for a day’s drive through this area.
Mordor: In Tasmania there’s an old mining town that I have visited, called Queenstown. The countryside which surrounds Queenstown is devoid of vegetation although it is geographically situated in a World Heritage Rainforest area. This devastation was caused by copper mining in the early days of settlement. The forests were cut down for the smelters and the sulphur fumes from the smelters poisoned all the new vegetation.
Kelvarhin: Are there any items associated with Jackson’s new trilogy that you have your eye on? (I like the Funko plush dolls myself.)
Peter: I have the Plush Dolls from The Lord of the Rings series. They have been a huge hit amongst friends and fans alike. Recently someone posted on a chat that these sorts of items are abhorrent to the works of Tolkien and should not be on the market. I wish to take the opportunity to disclose that the use of my plush dolls at different events have helped attract people to our information booth and thereby bring new members to our Tolkien Group. They are not the sole reason but they do help. People need to be more open minded about the associated merchandise as even the smallest things open people’s eyes and minds to Tolkien’s World.
I have purchased Weta’s Bilbo and Thorin polystone statues and would like to buy Thorin’s sword, Orcrist. I also wait with bated breath for the arrival of a Smaug sculptured statue.
Kelvarhin: The world is about to end! Luckily, Tolkien fans escape on board a specially designed spaceship. You can take only one piece of memorabilia from your massive collection – what would it be, and why?
Peter: I gave a lot of thought to this one and my first thoughts was to take a favourite piece, but then I thought, no, it has to be something inspiring with that will give hope for the future, so I chose The Silmarillion. A book full of despair and tragedy but it also includes, love, friendship and concludes with a new hope for future generations. Isn’t that what we wish to achieve out of the turmoil that lead to the end of the world? A new beginning for future generations.
Kelvarhin: The Hobbit has inspired many youngsters to begin reading over the generations. What other authors do you recommend to new readers through your Proudfoot Foundation?
Peter: Several authors come to mind, but the two whom I most often mention are C.S. Lewis : The Narnia Series, and J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter Series.
Kelvarhin: What are you hoping for will be released as a statue in the future?
Peter:I am really looking forward to Smaug. I also wonder if they will release a statue of an eagle and Beorn as a bear.
Kelvarhin: Why did you decide on being a Hobbit and not, for instance, the librarian in Minas Tirith?
Peter: My Alter Ego, Fortinbras Proudfoot was created a decade ago when I was doing The Hobbit as a unit of work with my Year (Grade) Seven class. All the children were given Hobbit names which were created by an online word generator. The teacher had to have a Hobbit name, so I modified mine into one I liked, which was Fortinbras Proudfoot. I have kept the name ever since and use it as my pen name for poems and stories I write, and of course it was selected for The Children’s Literacy Foundation.
Kelvarhin: What is your most precious piece in your collection?
Peter: What is my most precious item? There is the porcelain statue of Arwen and Aragorn, the leather bound ‘Children of Hurin’, Proudfoot’s personal invitation to Bilbo’s Party and several others I value and like.
The most precious item is probably my 1937 Hobbit, although I personally like the original newspaper lift out, ‘THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT’, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2, 1937. The Hobbit Book Review…“A WORLD FOR CHILDREN”…the final sentence of the review reads, “Prediction is dangerous; but ‘The Hobbit’ may well prove a classic.”
But of course my biggest item, that everyone loves, is ‘The Hobbit Hole-A miniature Bag End’. A 102cm x 117cm Model that will soon be on display in the Queensland Museum.
Kelvarhin: You have seen a lot of the world. What is your favourite place? And what is the craziest thing that has happened to you during your travels?
Peter: I have a number of favourite places; but there is one place in Tyrol where I would like to live. A farmhouse situated on a green slope surrounded by large mountains. I stayed there for a short time in 2012. Each morning I would wake up and through the bedroom window I would see the green slopes and a distant high mountain. When I got out of bed I would step onto the small bedroom balcony and allow my senses to take in the beauty of the scenery, the freshness of the air and the absence of sound. I could only think of Middle-earth and the Shire.
Crazy: In Austria, during a role play activity, I was captured by Orcs. The biggest and ugliest stood guard over me while the others proceeded to build a fireplace and spit to roast me over. Their conversation sounded so serious about roasting a Hobbit, I began to think, “Do these blokes realise this is only role playing?”
Kelvarhin: Who were your heroes, when you were a young child?
Peter: When I was young I was not aware of the existence of The Hobbit, nor do I recall ever seeing a copy of it in a Library. My father used to bring home a few comics every Friday for me to read. One of them was always The Phantom. Some of my mates and I had a “Phantom” Club and to be a member you had to have a Phantom ring. He was our hero in my early years.
Kelvarhin: Did you ever write a letter to Tolkien?
Peter: Unfortunately I was not aware of Tolkien before 1976, so I never had the opportunity to write a letter to him. I think if I had, after reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, I would have asked, “Are there any more stories about Middle-earth?”
Kelvarhin: And have you visited all the Middle-earth locations in New Zealand yet?
Peter: I have not visited all the movie locations in New Zealand but my last count came up to Thirty-seven, and next time I tour, there will be new Hobbit locations to visit.
Kelvarhin: You’ve attended many conventions over the years, which one do you enjoy going to the most and what is your most memorable moment from them?
Peter: The first overseas Tolkien related Festival I attended was “Festival in the Shire” in Wales, August 2010. It was a most enjoyable three days which included Tolkien related talks by well-known speakers and writers. There was also entertainment, traders, a collectibles display and other enjoyable activities.
At this Festival I met people with whom I have forged lasting friendships and have met them again at other Conventions and Festivals over the last couple of years. Some of these people have invited me into their homes as a guest or invited me to dinners where they have shared their knowledge and passion of all things Tolkien.
In 2011, I attended my first Oxonmoot and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. At Oxonmoot I met old friends and made new friendships all of whom have inspired me to immerse myself deeper into Tolkien’s world. After Oxonmoot I attended The Tolkien Shop’s 25th Anniversary. The Tolkien Shop is in Leiden, Netherlands and is a wonderful place to visit for anyone who likes collecting Tolkien books and movie memorabilia. There are thousands of items to tempt any fan. After the Netherlands I travelled to Bonn, Germany to attend RingCon. RingCon is advertised as Europe’s biggest fantasy convention and if you are a big fan of Tolkien or any other fantasy worlds, this is a must visit event. Guests are world class and the costumes worn by fans are absolutely amazing.
In 2012, I returned to Europe for two months and built a holiday around attending events throughout Europe.
• Return of the Ring, Loughborough, England, August 16-20;
• Edinburgh International Children’s Book Festival, Scotland, August, 25;
• Austrian Tolkien Society, 10th Anniversary, September, 14-16;
• The Hobbit 75th Anniversary Festival, The Netherlands, September, 20-22;
• Ring*Con, Bonn, Germany, October, 5-7.
Also on these journeys, I had dinner with the Tyrol Tolkien Group, visited the Middle-earth Harp Maker and also visited a number of other interesting people who are well known for the following and of course I name them as friends.
• The Tolkien Library
• The Tolkien Shop
• The Hobbit Hunter
• The Middle Earth Museum
At each of these Festivals/Conventions I did presentations on varying Tolkien Subjects. Each event was different in format and the experience was was memorable. I have returned home with this experience and a wealth of ideas which I hope I can use to make our Tolkien group here grow.=
During my 2012 travels I also stayed with many friends I had met on previous visits and I can only say that Tolkien People have to be the friendliest people you could hopefully meet. Tolkien would be most impressed with the people who are following his legacy. The most memorable thing is the friendships I have made.
Kelvarhin: What’s the most frequent question you get asked when you do your presentations?
Peter: As I do many different presentations I get asked many different questions, but one that comes up most often is related to Copyright. As you are aware copyright of works related to Tolkien’s works are a minefield for those without the knowledge of the do’s and don’ts. I have many different answers on this subject depending on what the question is related to.
Kelvarhin: What is it about Tolkien that keeps you going every year?
Peter: Each year I enjoy going back because the events I attend are always enjoyable and interesting; offering new subjects and new formats. But the thing I enjoy most is meeting all those friends whom I have met on previous visits. As I said above they are interesting and wonderful people.
Kelvarhin: Are you planning on going to any of the Oscar Parties? And will you be attending the Premiere for Desolation of Smaug this year, like you did for AUJ?
Peter: The Oscar parties I would love to attend, but at this stage they are a little out of my budget because flying from Australia to Los Angeles is quite expensive and I am a retiree now with limited financial resources. However, I am looking at the possibility of the 2015 Party if I get an invite.
I plan to attend the Red Carpet Premiere in Wellington this year and am planning to organise a group to travel with me from Australia. I have a number of enthusiastic people here who are keen to join me.
Kelvarhin: What’s your favourite memory from the AUJ Premiere?
Peter: The AUJ Premiere had a number of enjoyable moments. Firstly, the enthusiasm of the group who travelled on the tour was infectious (especially one group of Hobbits from Melbourne). The most enjoyable highlights were the day we visited Hobbiton, The Premiere Costume Party and attending the Red Carpet Premiere in Wellington. Once again new friendships were made and some people will never be forgotten.
Thank you again, Peter, for agreeing to speak to us this month, and sharing some of your love of Tolkien with us all.
Once again thanks to our message board regulars, Ataahua, DanielLB, Rosie-with-the-ribbons, SirDennisC and dernwyn, for this months’ questions.
If you want to ask any questions yourself, head over to our Message Boards, the sign up process is pretty painless. A lead post for questions is made on the Main Board at the beginning of each month.
Till next time from TORn’s resident Tiger.