Ringer Maya sends us this report from today’s signing at the Weta Cave.

The queues were especially long this afternoon at Weta Cave. The cave is usually rather busy and packed with tourists, movie fans, Tolkien fans and other enthusiastic visitors, but today was exception even in busy times’ standards. Like many others, I too arrived at the cave today, my own wee elfling in tow, willing to brave the long queue especially to meet illustrator Alan Lee and to have him sign our copy of The Hobbit 2013 Official Calendar.

It was such a delight to find out that John Howe, the other major illustrator on the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies was there as well!

Inside the Weta Cave

The Weta Cave is a gallery/shop exhibiting and selling many artifacts by Weta Workshop made for such creations as the Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, King Kong, District 9, children’s shows like The WotWots and Jane and the Dragon and many more.

It is found in Miramar, a southeast suburb of Wellington, located in close vicinity to Peter Jackson’s Park Road studios and Weta Workshop. As its name suggests, the cave is rather small, and today it was filled to its absolute capacity. People came from near and far, some bringing their own memorabilia with them to be signed.

Full to the brim

As you might imagine, standing in a long queue with an impatient young one isn’t always easy, but we enjoyed the many exhibits on display, and chatted with the people around us. You could clearly hear more languages than just English filling the cave. After more than an hour we finally came to stand face to face with Alan Lee and John Howe. What can I say — such gentlemen! They signed our Hobbit calendars and had a small chat with us. The elfling — who is rather shy — was semi-hiding behind my cardigan. I was therefore very touched when Alan Lee tried to make a conversation with him.

When Alan found out that the elfling was also a young artist who is particularly interested in drawing his own-created creatures in his own-created worlds he leaned forward towards the elfling and said “well, that’s how I started too!” which was such an incredibly kind and encouraging thing to say.

It was a unique experience, one we will not ever forget.

Then it was back to the wind and the rain outside… that’s spring in Wellington for you.

Click image for full gallery