Once More to Middle Earth

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So it may or may not surprise you that I have the makings of a hobbit costume right at hand. It all came together two years ago, when I sort of got myself committed to a hipster hobbit cosplay for the first film’s premier:

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(and yes, those photos were eventually sent to Corporate)

Hipster Hobbit

It was also around that time that, in a whim of random Google Maps searching (as you do), I discovered that Austin has a neighborhood with several Tolkien-inspired street names:


And thus a 30 by 30 was born.

The plan was simple: don the hobbit costume once more, drive over to the neighborhood, and try not to cause too much of a spectacle while stopping to take pictures in front of it. Though in this case, the worst case scenario would likely be someone shaking their head and muttering, “Austin.”



It turned out to be much simpler than that: the day was gorgeous, the neighborhood quiet, and there was no audience save ourselves and the trees.


And one incredibly rad street sign.


I hadn’t intended to leave this one for the weekend right before the movie premiere, but scheduling (and my persistent self-consciousness about public costuming) made it so that this ended up being one of the last 30 by 30‘s of the year.

The year is going out on a bang, is what I’m saying.


Well, maybe more like a bang…followed by a fizzle.

I had very glowy feelings about the first movie, slightly-less-glowy feelings about the second, and a sort of deeply settled dread about the tears that the third film might cause me. I still cry reading the end of the book – as much as I looove the story, one must admit it ends on kind of a bleak note for a children’s adventure-tale. I knew what to expect going into the movie, but I also knew (having seen the five previous Peter Jackson adaptations) that the film would likely change up some of that narrative and I was really okay with that. While the movies will never win out over the book(s), in my mind they also occupy separate spaces. I love the Lord of the Rings films and I super-duper love the books on which they’re based. I just love Tolkien a lot, in pretty much all forms.

(I’ve even read Middle Earth fan-fiction, so I won’t claim to be a Tolkien purist.)

But I did not love this third Hobbit film.

I won’t delve into all the particulars of why – in fact, I’ve specifically avoided talking about it on social media because I’m not entirely convinced that it’s a bad film and I don’t want others to feel like they can’t (or shouldn’t) enjoy it. My sister-in-law? Loved it.

Meanwhile, this was me at around the 2 hour mark…


Fanfic did it better is not something you ever want to be thinking in the middle of a film’s climax, especially not a film based on a Tolkien story.

There are moments in the movie that I will cherish because they brought the story to life in a beautifully visual way, and parts that I can’t wait to erase from my brain by re-reading the book as soon as possible. At the end of the day: the film exists now. That is both the best and the worst thing that I can say about it.

Because I will still watch them all, and own them all, just like I read and own the books. I love Tolkien and I love experiencing his world and – WTF moments aside (I had plenty) – I will always be grateful to Peter Jackson for allowing us to live there for hours and hours.

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The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.