In partnership with Tourism New Zealand, the filmmakers of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, created a larger-than-life pop up book depicting four of the phenomenal sets that were featured in this film. So, picture this...we physically got to walk through these fantastic sets. (Jealous yet?)
But first, they served us a delicious lunch and there were prizes. Very, very cool prizes. I won a fabulous gift basket which included a ton of this year's Warner Brothers DVD and Blue Ray releases, which made me a total hero to my kids. Big Mom-win here. Thanks, Warner Brothers!
They told us in the invitation that, besides, lunch and prizes there would be "...surprises."
Were we ever surprised and ridiculously delighted by the appearance of the Dwarves, Fili and Kili. I know. Shut up!
Actually, these are the actors who play them, but when you're as seriously nerdy about this stuff as we are, you just call them by their drawf names even though, duh, we know they're only actors, but that's not important right now. Aidan Turner on the left is Kili. DeanO'Gorman (on the right) plays Fili. Or as you are more likely to recognize them, in all their Dwarf-lord glory...
See what a great day we were having?
And then it was time for a tour of The Book of New Zealand, also known as The Giant Pop-up Book of Middle Earth. Which, if I wasn't thinking about it before made me totally want to vacation in New Zealand because....hello? New Zealand.
There was the head of Thror which stands guard at the entrance to the Lonely Mountain. (Anyone else geeking out over this yet?) In real life it's Turoa on Mount Ruapehu. (Look at me, learning NZ geography!)
Could it get any better than this?
Well, yes. The next stop was walking into Beorn's house. Beorn is the shape-changing-giant-bear-man who helps the dwarves and Bilbo on part of their quest for the Lonely Mountain, but of course, you already knew that (or at least, you would if you were a Hobbit über-geek, too, but that's not important right now). Everything was giant-bear-man size kind of awesome.
Then there was Laketown, where all the death and destruction will happen once the dragon Smaug, who lives in the Lonely Mountain is awakened by Bilbo (but you didn't hear it from me). Lucy was interviewed by the crew here.
For those of us (I'm looking at you, faithful homeschooling parents) who have read and loved all the Tolkien books, this was a Tolkien fan-girl's dream come true. Although, I have to confess, I'm a bit disappointed that Peter Jackson decided to turn a 300 page book into a trilogy of movies, but I still don't care because we über-geeks could happily lose days (or at the very least 3 hours at a time) in all things Middle Earth.
Food, prizes, Fili, Kili, and Middle Earth. A perfect Tolkien über-geek holiday.
A few days later, Amy and I went to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in Real 3D. My kids were fighting over who got to see the movie with me. "But you already took Lucy to Middle Earth!" they protested. (That just sounded cool to say.)
This second part picks up where the last film left off. And not to spoil too much, but I thought the first half took a little too long and because I'm a Tolkien purist and I struggled with what was in the film and what wasn't. The question that remains, of course, is: Is there such a thing as too much Legolas? The answer, of course, is no.
So our company of Hobbit and dwarves arrives at the Lonely Mountain. (Just like we did!)
And Bilbo came face-to-face with the you-will-totally-believe-dragons-are-really-real Smaug. This part of the film captured our imaginations like nothing else and then it became difficult to sit still from all the nervous excitement. Added bonus: Smaug the dragon is voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch. I practically wept.
I'm sincerely grateful to Warner Brothers for their generosity and for letting us be a part of The Hobbit Event. For this über-nerdy Tolkien fan-girl, it has been a very rewarding adventure.
The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug opens everywhere on December 13, 2013.