Half over, already! In King Richard Armitage, Servetus admits to (gasp!) stray thoughts while lecturing • In fanfic, Margaret Hale guestposts at John Thornton's on why she loves him • Jo Ann continues her story • In freeform, Jas Rangoon jokes about potential reproductive partners for Mr. Armitage • Itsjsforme reveals another Guy of Gisborne PSA (still not safe for work!) • Gratiana Lovelace needs more help captioning "Whimsical Moments with Deadly Serious ChaRActers!" • In fandom, IngeD3 focuses on Ricky Deeming • Fabo confesses her Richard Armitage eyelash fetish! • In the Hobbit, it's calories galore as Antonia Romera discusses fingerlicking at the Hobbit table • The Queen takes on Hobbit cakes • Links to all FanstRA 3 posts appear here at the end of each day.
From the Core Bloggers:
CDoart on Armitage in historical costumes • Guy’s outbreaks are escalating at judiang’stherapy sessions • RAFrenzy spurs us all onward • Longhairedtoad guests at Richard Armitage Fan Blog with “If RA Had a Superpower …” • Traxy writes all about the Monet, Monet, Monet • Fanny interviews Wattpad author Yelloweeee • Jonia relates her most memorable moments in fangirling • mulubinba describes her visit to Beorn’s House, aHobbit film location • and bccmee is hot on the trail of the sexy dwarf — who knew? • Links to all FanstRA 3 posts appear here at the end of each day!
Travelling through New Zealand, my OH and I tried to imagine which areas might be used in The Hobbit. Lonely Mountain was one thing we were always on the lookout for. Would it be Mt Ngauruhoe? … No that was used Mt Doom in Lord of the Rings. Would it be Mt Ruapehu? … or would it be a mountain that was CGI’d (is that a word?) onto one of the many wonderful backdrops of scenery we were passing through. We had completed 75% of our holiday when we arrived at Queenstown having missed a visit to Matamata (which was closed for filming), and also the Weta Cave ( we arrived after closing time in Wellington). Our final opportunity to do something related to Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit/Peter Jackson therefore was to book into a 4WD Safari of the Scenes tour in Queenstown. We were lucky to get places on the afternoon tour to Isengard and Lothlorien. (Translated, these scenes were taken in the Glenorchy area at the far end of Lake Wakatipu). Arcadia Station, a little past Glenorchy, was, I heard, a location for The Hobbit. I wasn’t sure if we would get there, but a trip in a four wheel drive over beautiful isolated South Island was not to be missed.
We were picked up by our guide in this very appropriately named jeep.
Being the last two to be picked up, we ended up with seats in the very back and at times I had to hold on tightly, but it was all part of the fun. This was the road that many of the film crew (and cast) would travel on, a few days after us.
Well, RA or no RA, I was having the time of my life and trying hard to remember scenes from Lord of the Rings so that I could answer the questions out Guide threw at us from the front. As I had been postng links on my Thorin blog from any snippet about locations a google search came up with, I knew that we were heading not only into Lord of the Rings territory, but also Hobbit territory. I knew for example that 3 foot 7 (the Hobbit production company) had applied for permission to land helicopters at the tiny grassed airstrip at Glenorchy. I also knew that a water tank of large proportions had been erected on a plot of land past Arcadia Station in order to provide water for plants and green grass. Moreover, someone had leaked a photo of the set construction to the media and we had been speculating about what the construction was (Beorn’s house).
First stop was at a viewpoint half way along the road to Glenorchy. (It is actually quite a long drive from Queenstown). Take a look …. How stunning is this!! (Imagine tired actors being refreshed by this vista).
The peninsula you see in the foreground is Amon Hen in FOTR. This is where the orcs capture Merry and Pippin.
Glenorchy is a tiny little village with a grassy airstrip – nice place for walkers and people who like peaceful places. There was nowhere I could see, where the cast and crew could stay, so I assumed that they would all be flown in by helicopter from Queenstown. Our guide confirmed that this is what they did for the Lord of the Rings filming, which in fact, had to contend with quite inclement weather at times. Our guide knew someone who operated chartered flights to the area for Peter Jackson, and there were numbers of stories circulating around Queenstown of drivers who had been employed to help transport Hobbit cast/crew. They were all sworn to secrecy of course, as were the guys doing the set construction.
Our next stop was at a point near the Dart River where we could see the location of Isenguard in the distance, nestled at the head of the valley.
…. But how stunning is this place!
We continued along the road towards Arcadia Station and I finally plucked up courage to tell the Guide that I’d heard (*cough) that The Hobbit was to be filmed nearby. He immediately answered that they were building a set and we would be driving past, but there was not much to see, and we would not be allowed to get close. Nice try on my part I thought.
Next we passed the Dead Marshes. In truth, the actors were not wading through these as it was far too dangerous, and Peter Jackson did not want to lose anyone. The marshes were therefore recreated at Stone St Studios, but I guess their technology (excuse my ignorance) allowed them to superimpose the real marshes into the film, with actors wading in water in the studio. (Note to self: Watch The Making of LOTR!!).
Driving through beech forests, our Guide pointed out an Ent …. (That’s it to the right of the road). Can you imagine the trucks and cast caravans getting along this road to the set??? They must have apparently! The lower (blurry) picture is from Peter Jackson's Production Videoblog #6.
This forest was used in the filming of Lothlorien. Apparently all the leaves had been blown away and they manicured the ground for the scene.
Coming out of the beech forest, we rounded a corner and saw the Dart Stables paddocks. The Hobbit set was being built on their land, and some of their horses were used for filming (or so we were told). You can just see a marquee behind the horses – that was being used by the film construction guys.
Below is a close up of the marquee with gentleman carrying "interesting objects" inside (away from prying eyes ...." Secret Hobbit Business").
We were able to stop at the gate and get out to take a photo. Despite reports to the contrary, we were not stopped by security guards, but as you will see from out photos, we were too far away from the building to really get any spoilers, and Peter Jackson was interviewed on the set only a few days after this, so no secrets revealed.
Further along the track, we can get a glimpse of the building work. You can see how far away we were though.
The set is nestled in front of a beech wood, with mountains behind. The vista to it’s left is below:
Not bad, is it!! I can see why Peter Jackson said it was a lovely respite for all involved to be out here.
"Sir Peter Jackson says the sunshine, mountains and fresh air of Arcadia Station, near Queenstown, have raised both his spirits and those of his 450 cast and crew." (NZ Herald)
The following article by James Beech from the Otago Daily News describes his visit to the set:"Tree's demise Hobbit-sized crisis" Otago Daily Times Online News. That’s about the closest we got to The Hobbit filming. Peter Jackson was in Queenstown with Fran Walsh on the Skyline Gondola two days after us; the cast came in the following week.
Still, it was a fantastic trip.