Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak
"Spacious Skies"

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Hobbit's Middle-Earth Flower and Vegetable Garden

The Hobbit film set is home to a rustic year-round, working vegetable garden that one would expect to find in middle earth.  I took these pictures in February so these are their summer crops with plenty of sunflowers scattered throughout including colorful varieties of squash, tomatoes, corn, pumpkin and gourds. The Hobbits had an extensive agricultural system in the Shire but were not industrialized. The shire has rambling dirt paths and seasonal flowers, vegetables and fruit trees behind picket fences. There is well water near the garden as well as a working table, crates, woven baskets for gathering crops, saw horses, birdhouses, and make shift poles for supporting plant vines. Every item looked authentic including a scarecrow standing by its lonesome in a field of wildflowers.

This is the older version of the scarecrow from Lord of the Rings with Frodo and Sam in the field.

The Party Tree at The Shire

There was a specially large pavilion, so big that the tree that grew in the field was right inside it, and stood proudly near one end, at the head of the chief table. Lanterns were hung on all its branches." (LOTR, Book I, Chapter I, page 38)

On the right side of the field, there were wild flowers growing on the slope and a beautiful child was picking flowers.  Picking flowers is not permitted but her mother could not resist taking her picture and neither could I. 

"The only brew for the brave and true...comes from the Green Dragon!"

During the Hobbiton Film set tour, we visited the Green Dragon Inn and received free brew.  I tried a glass of apple cider and it was cold, tasty and wonderful after a hot summer 2 hour tour.


The Green Dragon Inn was frequented by Hobbits from both Bywater and the neighboring settlement of Hobbiton. The Hobbit Frodo Baggins regularly visited the inn as did his friends Sam Gamgee, Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took. Throughout the movie and the book, the inn is referenced to as a "great" place. One such example in when Merry and Pippin refer to the Inn in The Return of the King (film) when they are singing on a table at Edoras. Specifically, they sing "The Green Dragon (song)"

"Oh you can search far and wide,
You can drink the whole town dry,
But you'll never find a beer so brown,
Oh you'll never find a beer so brown,
As the one we drink in our hometown,
As the one we drink in our hometown.
You can keep your fancy ales,
You can drink them by the flagon,
But the only brew for the brave and true...
..Comes from the Green Dragon!

Bag End - Thorin Oakenshield Lost His Way

Bag End is the home of Bilbo Baggins where Thorin Oakenshield and Company meets Bilbo Baggins to start their journey to Erebor to take back their homeland from Smaug the Dragon.

[as the dwarves wash and stack the dishes, the door bell rings]
Gandalf: He's here.
[Gandalf opens the door and we see Thorin (Actor Richard Armitage)]
Thorin: Gandalf. I thought you said this place would be easy to find. I lost my way, twice.
[Thorin walks in]
Thorin: I wouldn't have found it at  all, had it not been for that mark on the door.

Quote and Screen caps from "The Hobbit There and Back Again"

Bag End was the largest and most luxurious Hobbit home and sits on top of the hill overlooking the Shire with an oak tree growing over its' roof.  I did not understand why Thorin lost his way twice and had to look for the mark on the door.  Gandalf did not communicate with Thorin very well from the beginning. He should have told Thorin to look for the Oak which was visible in all directions. This scene shows the beginning of the contemptuous relationship between the two characters. Gandalf is not being honest of his full intentions and he keeps Thorin at bay and not fully informed. Later in the journey, Gandalf's leaves the party at Mirkwood on their own when they needed his guidance the most. He went back on his word and they were left to face the dragon without him.  Gandalf is to blame for the future events and calamities with the dragon. He is not my favorite character in the book due to his instigation of the journey's purpose, and then leaving the quest, which lead to a chain of events that eventually ended in the deaths of Thorin and his nephews. Gandalf has been missing for a large part of the book and yet when he returns, he has chosen not to return to the dwarves, who he encouraged and aided up to this point, but sides with Bard and the Elven king for the treasure. I could write a paper about the greed from dwarves, man and elves and the theme of betrayal but I'll leave that for another topic.  Thorin Oakenshield did lose his way more then once but redeemed himself in the end by showing enormous courage in The Battle of Five Armies: Thorin gives everything he has to change the tide of the battle. I am looking forward to the third trilogy.

The No Admittance sign except on party business still hangs on the gate in front of Bag End for the Hobbiton tour.  It appears at the beginning of the film when the Older Bilbo is giving a party but it carries a deeper theme for the story of the exclusive party consisting of 13 Dwarf's, Gandalf and Bilbo going on an quest to Eredor:  "Built deep within the mountain itself, the beauty of this fortress city was a legend. Its wealth lay in the earth, in precious gems humed from rock, and in great seams of gold running like rivers through stone."  No one else joins their dangerous party to enter the lonely mountain where the dragon allows  "No Admittance".

Middle-earth Hobbiton Movie Tour in Matamata, New Zealand


Middle-earth is located on the picturesque Alexander farm, where we visited the Hobbiton Movie Set from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films in a  2 hour guided tour. The tour started with a drive through the picturesque 1,250 acre Alexander sheep farm in the Waikato region with spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges. It is a twelve acre site where the 44 hobbit holes were created and transformed into The Shire from Middle-Earth. Peter Jackson spotted Alexander Farm during an aerial search of the North Island, and he thought its rolling meadows and fantastic views made it a perfect spot to build the set of The Shire. The Shire includes the Hobbit holes, Green Dragon Inn, Mill and other structures created for the LOTR and Hobbit films. While Bilbo Baggins is on an adventure far away from his homeland of The Shire, we were there strolling through hobbit holes and had a drink at The Green Dragon.

Bilbo Baggins "Good Morning" Bench

These are photos I took on the The Hobbiton film tour of Bilbo's bench at Bag End where he was approached by Gandalf the Grey looking for someone to go on an adventure.

"Bilbo Baggins: Good morning.
Gandalf the Grey: What do you mean? Do you mean to wish me a good morning, or do you mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not? Or perhaps you mean to say that you feel good this particular morning? Or are you simply stating that it is a morning to be good on?
Bilbo Baggins: All of them at once, I suppose. [long pause] Can I help you?
Gandalf the Grey: That remains to be seen. I'm looking for someone to share in an adventure.
Bilbo Baggins: An adventure?... Well, I don't imagine anyone west of Bree would have much interest in adventures. Nasty, disturbing, uncomfortable things. Make you late for dinner!"

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hobbiton Shire - Bilbo Baggins Jumping Fences


 The last photo is a screen cap of Bilbo Baggins yelling “I’m going on an adventure” running and jumping over a fence during a scene from The Hobbit. The Hobbiton film set has many fences throughout The Shire. I noticed the fence Bilbo jumps has the middle rail located higher up from the ground then the rails on the fences I photographed.  I remember a different scarecrow from the Lord of the Rings. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hobbiton Shire, Green Hill Country and Beyond

The pictures above are landscape photos I took while on The Hobbit Film set in Matamata, New Zealand.  The second photo from the top is the famous Party Tree from Lord of The Rings, the third photo is Bag End with the Oak Tree growing on top of the roof. The shire is surrounded by rolling hills in the distance. The location is picturesque at every angel.