If you missed the first part of my Dream, read it here:
I DREAMT OF MIDDLE-EARTH – PART II DREAMT OF MIDDLE-EARTH – PART II
But before I begin, there are some things to note about this latest description. The invitation for the party specifically said this was a time of merrymaking and not business. With this in mind, everything I heard and spoke about was off record with the cast and crew. Yes, yes, I know, it would be nice to report the funny quirks and raunchy behavior, but I’m sworn to my oath. And heck, I’m protected by the ‘off the record’ requirement. I mean, geeze, would you really want to hear about Calisuri getting so wasted he dove head first into the pool in a vain attempt to board Galadriel’s boat? Nah… I didn’t think so…
The dream continues. Myself, Amy, Maurice and Leo just finished talking to Bilbo and decided to move into the courtyard. (By the way, I have no idea why Leo and Maurice are in this dream with me. Maybe it’s because they are both about 6 foot 7 inches tall and I looked like I needed body guards or something!)
The crowd in the courtyard seems to represent all the races of Middle-earth. Hobbits are pushing through legs to get to the bar; soldiers are walking around carrying mugs of ale. I pushed through some Gondorian soldiers and found myself standing in front of Claire Raskind, the publicist for Peter Jackson. I ran into Claire earlier in the week when I passed along a hat as a present for Peter. Claire was kind of enough to deliver the present, and express Peter’s appreciation for the gift. We toasted the success of the party and the success of the footage screened days earlier. As the conversation turned to footage discussion, a member of the Middle-earth media asked me for a quote. Boy, am I bad under pressure! I think I said something like, “Peter Jackson shares the same vision as fans of Lord of the Rings. We have nothing to worry about.” Gosh, I might have even made it sound better then what I really said. But anyway, we talked for a few minutes and moved on.
The party seemed to swell every minute as more and more guests arrived in Middle-earth. When we finally squeezed our way down the cobblestone path, there were so many faces that it was hard to make out the Frodos and Sarumans of this world. The media overwhelmed the area—name a big city in the world and they had a reporter there. At one point, I ran into that sly-looking Steve Kmetko guy from E! News Daily. He was hanging near Rivendell/Lothlorien, possibly trying to get a good shot of Galadriel’s boat. Anyway, he seemed rather surprised that a web designer like myself would be so forward as to give him a card! But if they want the real scoop on LOTR, who else but TheOneRing.net to contact?
We walked back towards the chateau and noticed the party had really picked up near the stage. Orcs, hobbits, elves and men were dancing wildly to French versions of “Oh What a Night” and the latest Latin offerings. In the back of the crowd, you could see the flicker of candles as a huge cakes floated towards the front. The band began to play a rather strange/disturbing version of Happy Birthday, and Bilbo’s cake appeared before us. The cake was HUGE: 111 candles and 3 monstrous layers. We all cheered wildly and toasted our favorite hobbit.
I was slightly disappointed there were no fireworks, but Gandalf was nowhere to be seen. I almost half-expected Bilbo to give a speech and then poof! disappear. No such luck. The only thing that disappeared was Leo and Maurice.
After wishing Bilbo our best, we migrated to the back of the crowd and found ourselves standing next to Richard Taylor, the head of WETA Digital! Richard is one of the more honest, inspirational and happy people I have ever met in my life. His passion for his trade and his genuine affection for the efforts of fans like us was encouraging and well received.
While I know this is just a dream, I was disturbed by Richard’s proud display of support for the Dark Lord Sauron! He wore an Eye of Sauron pin on his chest. To think that Sauron’s servants were at this party and disguised as such wonderful people as Mr. Taylor shook me up a bit. Apparently, a lot of people where wearing these pins! Even Tania Rodger, from WETA, had a pin on! Sauron must have had his hands on the entire WETA staff! How else could they create such mastery?
Mr. Taylor offered me an Eye himself. I didn’t want to give myself away, nor did I want to show fear. I accepted the gift and Amy and I walked slowly away.
Just as we were backing off, John Howe showed up again… he had a pin too! EEK!! Run away!!!
We made our way towards the hobbit holes and Bag End. Sitting on a picnic bench talking with some fans was none other then fellow webmaster Harry Knowles from AintitCool.com. I didn’t notice Harry wearing one of these ‘Eye’ pins, so I figured it was safe to say hi. He was also very well dressed. I only met him a few days earlier and I have a feeling that seeing him in a suit was probably pretty unique. A lot of people were flocking to talk to Harry, so we casually made our way towards the Trolls that had been turned to stone.
There were quite a few famous faces hanging around these infamous landmarks from The Hobbit. We spotted Arwen talking casually with a group of important people from Middle-earth’s entertainment business. Like a streak of light, we caught a quick glimpse of Frodo as he bolted by to meet up with Samwise.
However, in this whole crowd, all eyes seem to be focusing on someone in the center. Amy and I pushed our way through the mass to discover just what attracted so much attention. And then, there he was: Peter Jackson. Peter, or should we call him the sculptor of Middle-earth, was beaming as hundreds of people complimented him on his wonderful accomplishment.
He was very approachable as Amy and I introduced ourselves. I guess actually meeting and talking with Peter Jackson in real life, the day before, brought on this part of my dream. We drank a bit, chatting mostly about the footage. Obviously we complimented his mastery in capturing Tolkien’s vision on screen. Everything people say about this man is true. He is grounded. Really and honestly grounded. When you talk to him, he doesn’t act like someone who just spent a small fortune making what will become the largest movie franchise of all time. He acts like a friend you’ve just met in a pub and decided to drink with.
The dream gets a bit hazy at this point. I know we met a lot of other people involved with the Lord of the Rings, and talked a lot about the beautiful footage.
I can really only remember one person specifically. Amy, Maurice and I were standing talking to someone about the prospects of the Lord of the Rings DVD and what will be on it. I remember the words, ‘ground breaking’, ‘extra footage’, ‘2 discs,’ ‘summer after the film’ and not much else. You see, I was on my third glass of wine at this point. Could that be why I’m hazy? Specifics are beginning to fade.
One of the biggest highlights of this dream was getting a chance to speak with Gimli and his crew. I think we spent a good hour talking with his wife, Deborah. It was very encouraging to meet someone so honest and ‘real’ in this setting. We chatted a bit about Gimli’s challenges and toils, living in Middle-earth and my second favorite subject, Apple computers! (They have computers in Middle-earth I guess…) I think I was able to provide some quality technical support, but we shall see.
Gimli’s manager (who knew dwarves had managers?!) was also very down to earth and personable. Louisa Springs came up to me during our interviews on Saturday and introduced herself. She was one of a very few ‘talent’ managers to do that. It made my day. In a place where you are next to the Rivendell Times Movie Critic and other such bigwig reporters, it’s nice to have someone recognize you and also recognize the importance of fans.
We talked with Louisa and Deborah a bit more and finally sat down with Gimli. The best thing about Gimli? He treated us like real people. While he is quite a stubborn dwarf, it is tons of fun to talk with him. At one point, he insisted that the Lord of the Rings was about the journey of a dwarf, and that’s it! And after meeting him in person, I believe it! This character was one you don’t argue with.
At this point a rumor is going around that gifts are being given out at Bilbo’s Birthday party. Woo! I bolt to find them. As I’m dragging Amy, Maurice and Leo behind me, we run into Pippin Took!
Pippin is absolutely wonderful! Yet another inhabitant of Middle-earth that has wonderful manners and greets you with the most sincere friendship. Unfortunately, our time was short. The transportation that brought to Middle-earth was leaving VERY shortly, and we didn’t get to speak much. I did get a chance to exchange a cigarette (borrowed from some other person wearing an ‘Eye’) for a signature!
The dream starts to fade now. People are slowly disappearing and the crowd is noticeably smaller.
As I look back on the dream, I think Louisa Springs (Gimli’s manager) sums it up quite well.
“The whole party invoked the spirit of LOTR. More than anything else could have done.”
Here, here, Louisa!
So the ships arrive. Great big ships with soft cushy seating and a short hobbitish man at the helm. We all walk up the ramps to leave this wonderful place, and board what looks like a ship back to the real world. The sadness hasn’t hit yet, but I’m sure it will.
As we pull away from the shore, we look back and catch a glimpse of this wonderful world. Maybe someday we can return.
The alarm goes off, and here I am, in a hotel in Nice. Its noon and I strangely still feel tired. What did I do last night? All I can think of is this wonderful dream and I’m overcome by a deep and utter sadness—the same sadness we all get at the end of LOTR. When the ships for the Grey Havens leave. When the drama, the quest, the story end. We want more, but we know there is no more.
My heart hurts. I almost have a tough time breathing from the sorrow.
But it was only a dream!
I look to my left and there is a black bag sitting next to the nightstand. I pull the strings to open it and find a horde of treasure. A replica of Sting! A pipe with some pipeweed. A special edition of LOTR and a poster!
I hurriedly ring Amy.
“Where were we last night??” I ask.
“I’m having a good dream. Go back to sleep,” she replies.
The medallion under my pillow goes unnoticed.