Today, Monday the 15th marks the opening of the highly anticipated Lord of the Rings exhibition in the London Science Museum. was there, got a chance to chat to all the VIPs present, shoot some footage and bring you this exclusive report!

The exhibition opens for the general public tomorrow, today the press (gathered from all over the world!) got a sneak peak at the exhibit, which is said to have sold more tickets than anything else the Science Museum has ever hosted. No gathering masses around the museum today though, just lots of Finnish students, one or two tourists and a bunch of press people eagerly awaiting the launch of the first European LOTR-exhibit. Other then that very few people on the street seemed to be aware of the exhibit.Naturally TORn arrived early, about two hours early, but that was okay because it gave us a good chance to check our equipment, hobnob with the BBC and of course eat doughnuts. While waiting none other than Ringer Spy Irascian walked out the door. He was present at the ‘UK’ presslaunch whereas TORn of course was there for the ‘international’ launch, a bit later on the day. Enthusiastic is too humble a word to describe Irascian’s opinion about the exhibit. He revealed that he took something in the region of 300 pictures and was going to write up a transcription of the press-conference that was given during his session. Hopefully that’ll appear online within a few days!

While still talking another familiar face turned up: that of webmaster Círdan. He flew in all the way from Germany that morning to report on the opening of the exhibit.Anyway, we are not here to talk about that, heheh.. The hour drew nearer when the exhibit would open its doors so we made our way inside the (huge) London Science Museum, up a flight of stairs, past some security people and right into the arms of…. the Argonath! The two giant polystone sculptures of the Pillars of Kings welcome every visitor to the exhibit, just like they welcomed the Fellowship into the final part of The Fellowship of the Ring. Crouched beneath the left statue was WETA Workshop’s amazingly detailed Gollum-statue, which was quicky removed later on for reasons unknown. Apparently Andy Serkis was supposed to attend the presslaunches but he didn’t show, maybe that’s why they brought it out.

To desribe the exhibit word by word would probably do it no justice. It is rich and detailed and has a little bit of everything (although sadly enough not a whole lot from The Return of the King, maybe next year?). Costumes like those of Arwen, Gandalf, Galadriel, Frodo, Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas and Theoden are displayed throughout the exhibit alongside the outfits of Orcs, Uruks, Rohirrim and pretty much every other character in the movies.The exhibit also features a wide range of props and weapons (ranging from Galadriel’s gifts to the stuff on Sarumans desk in Orthanc). Highlights include a display with Frodo’s ‘gadgets’; the mithril shirt, Sting, the Phial, Bilbo’s Red Book and Thror’s map, lots of nice things to oogle over! Another display showed the piles of parchment, books and other assorted mess that Gandalf worked through in Minas Tirith.

So what else was there? Highlights for me personally were the ‘bigature’ of the Hobbiton Mill-Set which looked absolutely fabulous. Another memorable item was the larger-than-life statue of the Cave Troll and Moria Orc and the model of Treebeard’s head: magnificent stuff! Of course there were the items one would expect at an exhibit like these: The One Ring itself of course, lots of helmets and other weaponry, a huge statue of the Dark Lord himself and many, many other things. You’d best go and see it for yourself because there really is much more then one person can absorb in three hours’ time.

One last highlight was the very scaling area where two people could sit down on two parts of a cart against a green screen and then, by some magic camera- and computerimagery appear to be Hobbit-sized and ‘Gandalf-sized’. Of course anything that can make me look Hobbit-sized is rather spectecular!

Apart from various media-people from all over the world (ranging from Holland to Brazil) the London Science Museum had invited some very interesting guests. The above mentioned Andy Serkis unfortunately didn’t show, as did Billy Boyd, however we still had the immense pleasure of running into Lurtz-actor Lawrence Makoare, WETA-founder and Oscar-winner Richard Taylor and British author and Tolkien Expert Brian Sibley.

Lawrence Makoare was, for the largest part of the day, dressed up in his Lurtz-outfit, which must’ve been hellish given the warm weather. Richard Taylor also seemed a bit under the weather, though that might have been because of the long flight in from New Zealand the day before. Nevertheless both took some time out to answer a few of our questions. Expect to see some extremely cool footage of this event and these interviews later this week in TORn Digital!

After three almost three hours of wandering around the exhibit it was time to head out (at least we didn’t think so, but the people from the Science Museum really wanted to leave). Alas, three hours is far too short a time to spend amongst such admirable craftsmanship. Looking back on it now I still see pictures of the event (check them out in our scrapbook!) and remember not having seen that bit of the exhibit, which really is too bad.

The London Science Museum Exhibition runs till January 11th and any information you want to know about the event can be found at the website: European fans should be sure to check it out, as London is the only venue in Europe the exhibit will attend. Don’t miss it!

Update: All the photographs can be seen right now in The Scrapbook. Be sure to check back soon for the TORn Digital footage we filmed at the exhibition opening!