Pippin Skywalker sends along this great story of his adventure in what many would claim to be the REAL Middle-earth! Read his amazing tale and check out the great pics!
2001: A TOLKIEN ODYSSEY Part I
The 2001: A Tolkien Odyssey project is a collection of photographs and commentary provided for the general viewing pleasure of the public. This article and the pictures enclosed are Part One of a two part series. The month of May should see me back in Oxford, where I will take more photos as well as video ( a documentary). All pictures have been image edited, and effects added to give a Dreamlike Tolkien feel. Many thanks to the team at Isle of Sky Productions (my new company J ).
I boarded a train from Paddington Station to Oxford at almost quarter past one in the afternoon with my dad. I hid my lightsaber in my rather large hobbit pack so as not to worry the security guards (poor blokes..need a vacation). After boarding, I eventually got to writing in my field journal. Here is the first passage:
Today is Saturday, March 3,2001, and the time is 1:27 in the afternoon (British Time). This will be my written account of my time in Oxford, and Part I of the project entitled: 2001: A Tolkien Odyssey. I will visit all sites pertaining to and concerning the late Professor J.R.R. Tolkien. I will visit where he lived, worked, went to church, and places he just had a grand old time with friends. I will take as many photos as possible. These are provided for the viewing pleasure of the public and the memoirs of Pippin Skywalker. Commentary and notes will accompany each photograph, giving explanations of the site, thoughts and reflections on my part , and bye George! Perhaps there will be wit!
I am pleased to be one of the blessed few who are able to SEE Tolkiens Oxford. It will bring new life and joy to watching the films. And as I gaze upon the swiftly passing fields that disappear with speedy grace, I bid my farewell for now.
Over and Out at 2:07 PM.
Unfortunately, I wrote very little in my field journal after this. Perhaps next time I will be able to provide a more detailed account.
We arrived at Pembroke at around 4:00 PM. Nearby is what used to be a bookstore/café where C.S. Lewis had tea. This is what I believe to be a Phantom site on the Tolkien site seeing map. I believe that he probably visited here as well due to two things (1) He was good friends with Lewis and (2) It is right at Pembroke.
After a nice meal and scribbling down some notes we headed of to Magdalen. We walked past some old gates (like ones into some great city ) and arrived at the entrance. There stood a most forbidding sign, which read something like this:
Due to the recent foot and mouth , and for fear for spreading it to the deer, no visitors.
This was like Sam and Frodo seeing some dire warning on the gates of Mordor . But being a Jedi hobbit mind tricks work well on security…..so. .we got in. J
It was a very Grey cloudy day and also it was getting towards evening. The grounds were beautiful beyond compare .think of every great book, every great film that has to YOU, really made you yearn for the English countryside. This was like walking into a book ..it was marvelous.
The grass is a very rich, healthy green, and the buildings with all their glorious elegance look like either castles or old English houses. One looked like an old mill in hobbiton, another like Barlimans Inn. Then there was this Minas Tirith looking building with a tower (see photo captioned: Saurons hand reaches towards Minas Tirith). Eventually we reached a gateway .it was the entrance to Addisons walk. It was here Tolkien and Lewis walked together and the latter was converted to Christianity. We walked down the path and snapped pictures; some for this project, and a few test screen shots for a book-turned-film project I am working on called The Cruel Tempest. As I walked down this path I imagined what it was like for Tolkien himself to be walking there. The path was very long, so we did not walk the whole way; if you remember that song The Road Goes Ever On and ON. Then youve got the idea. J
We saw the building that was the meeting place of the Inklings, and also what I believe is what is known as Tolkiens Favorite Tree. (an immense one ..if THAT was not the origin of the idea for ents May Bill Ferny steal all your mushrooms!).
The striking thing about Magdalen was its character. The place was very quiet and still , with a placid, beautiful even melancholy air .
We came to this gate (near the hobbiton mill) behind which were all the deer. On a wall beside it is a plaque with a moving poem by C.S. Lewis called Early In The Year. I would post it here and now exept it is not Tolkien related and above all I have much yet to write. But trust me it is lovely.
Finally we walked out of the college with simply the most innocent hobbit looks you could ever imagine whilst passing security. Poor blokes ..must have been a caffeine and donut overdose.
The Adventure In The Park, And The Hunt For The Two Trees.
The next place we hopped a cab to was the University Parks, where the famous two trees Telperion and Laurelin ( planted in honor of the Professor, near which is a bench bearing his name.) were supposed to be. As you may be postulating, it was getting dark, and worst of all we didnt have a clue as to where EXACTLY in the park they were. Imagine trying to find an anthill in Mordor. We met up with a nice hobbit lady who seemed to sort of know where they were but not exactly. Night was descending like a flood. Our search for the trees was well .leafless. I took a slim tree branch to use as a walking stick, and held my lightsaber aloft (both for lighting and defense purposes. Heaven forbid that we meet any orcs.) We walked across a wide field, and were obviously getting nowhere. Plus there had been a dire warning of the park being closed; gates locked and everything. Naturally two hobbits at night in a place where there were probably barrow wights, and balrogs and every other pile of evil scum you could think of (did I mention orcs? Oh! Good Heavens I did! By George!) was NOT that appealing. We were told we could climb the walls and we even asked this fellow, (nice chap, must be a relative of Faramir) what was the best and lowest place to scale. Fortunately such knowledge was not necessary, and we escaped a band orcs. They didnt seem to be that interested in us ..they were just involved in such sick topics like how good the garbage was in Oxford, and Bishnaks smelly feet (can these creeps ever talk about anything normal like the weather?). Another band (Sarumans Gang) were talking about how nutty Saruman gets when he rides around in his white Mercedes convertible (dont ask me, I dont work there). Ah me.
After that nasty scare we hailed yet another cabby (they are very cool over here) and asked to go to Wolvercote Cemetary. The driver, (to my amazement) had to be an elf guide or .something .. He said he had had another person ask where Tolkiens Grave was also. Strange.
By this time it was almost fully dark, and night had spread its ebony cloak over the welkin raiment of heaven (sorry, poetic outburst, hot chocolate will cure it) . After some trouble as to the exact location, we arrived at the forbidden gates (er sorry the cemetary). The cab drove right in and we got out and asked him to wait.
Now I want you all to visualize this. Here we are two hobbits, Tolkien fans with the highest degree of courage, with just ONE weapon between us. Its dark, and we are in a graveyard. And to top it all off we had to HOPE this cabby dude would stick around. Oh, and did I mention the place was suppose be locked up at 6:00 PM? (I think you all can guess WHAT time we got there. J ) So here we are
IN A GRAVEYARD (hang on
. I said that already) A pretty large one too. Time was precious. The air stood still. What would become of our beloved, courageous hobbits? Would they ever find the Professors grave and find there way out? Tune in next week for the next episode of When Hobbits Lose Their Way In Dark Places.
Seriously ..to my great wonder we walked a little ways and saw little stones saying things like JRR Tolkien, Author with arrows pointing us in the right directions. Ah .amazing what some good old knowledgeable rocks will tell you J.
Finally the stone stood before us. We found Beren and his Luthien. As an 8 year old reading the Hobbit, I NEVER in my wildest dreams could have imagined this moment. That was eight years ago
.. how time flies.
I sat down on the edge of the stone and peacefully took it all in. We took some pictures and I called my grandmother on a cellphone. She thought it was neat (she is looking forward to the films, and I told her I would take her.) We talked for a while, took some more pictures, and then departed. Our faithful driver waited nearly half an hour for us (fine fellow) and we got in and told him our next destination:
The Eagle And Child (a.k.a. House of EXTREMELY Cool Dudes)
This was our last stop of our Tolkien tour, and the last photo shoot for this project. I was greatly looking forward to visiting this legendary site, and even hoped to work on a little of my own novel in this place where great writers had gathered (there turned out to be no time for this). First we scouted out the interior trying to find the actual room where the Inklings met. I think they met upstairs. I took out my camera and snapped away. All the blokes sitting around having their pints had to be either annoyed or amused at these little paparazzi haflings. Crazy Americans was probably what was going through their heads. I squeezed between two tables to get to a magnificent black and white photograph of Tolkien. The guys must have thought I was nuts. We did manage to walk out peacefully however, with no complaints.
There was this place next door called Giles Café (see picture). Sounds a little like
That basically sums up the travels and adventures of Pippin Skywalker. As much as I would love to sit by the fire in a comfy chair and tell more tales to all you fine lads and lasses ..alas .. I can not. J
2001: The First Odyssey
Now I would like to make something perfectly clear. This is the FIRST odyssey. No, not just because it is part one; two other chaps from Barlimans Nazfyratu and Sylvanes will be visiting Britain as well. Well, I just want to say in front of the whole world: I was here FIRST ! J I talked to the former (having already been here for sometime) and found out that he is first trekking to India, then London in May. I expect Sylvanes to be here in June. Copycats. (j/k) J I myself however (so far) have been here ALL of 2001. Sorry gentleman. J Nevermind,nevermind .their fine chaps. J
Director of Photography: Pippin Skywalker
Photographers: Pippin Skywalker and Nikoliavich
Graphic Design/Optical Effects: Hannagrafx and Pippin Skywalker
Photo Scanner: Jetilife
Design Program: Adobe PhotoShop 5.5
Title: 2001: The First Odyssey provided by Pykendil of Barlimans (A capital fellow! Thanks lad! J )
I have to say my time in Britain so far has been just wonderful. We even had Star Wars Episode 2 filming about 25 minutes away from us in Ealing (No, I did not get any pictures .and plus those would be for a different site 😉 ) What better year to be in Jolly Old England than this one!