Day 3: Over Rock and Under Tree by Rachael Ashdown
Continue the “Middle-Earth” adventure with Legendarium reporter, Rachael Ashdown, as she tours New Zealand!
Some days I feel like a Hobbit, some like a Dwarf. But on this day, I felt like an elf. Most of the day was just taken up driving south to reach the heart of Tolkien-fandom on Earth (Wellington), but I did do some Elvish things on the way. I am a wood elf at heart (guess who my favorite character is), and so I began the morning at dawn with a run through the forest, jogging through the trees and leaping over streams. I would be content if I could start every morning running through the forests of New Zealand. But alas, like Gandalf, I have business elsewhere.
My second stop was one of the few filming sites I was determined to see on my short trip: the Ithilien. As I said, I am an elf-lover, and so I really needed to see the home of our favorite elf prince after the War of the Ring. Brief as the stop was, it was powerful seeing the place where Mr. Jackson filmed the last scene from The Two Towers. I also didn’t mind walking on the nearby beach that also passed for a highway (being a Yankee girl from upstate New York, this was a wild concept to me). For as we all know, wood elves have a longing for the sea: “If thou hearest the cry of the gull on the shore, thy heart shall then rest in the forest no more.” (For those who don’t know, Galadriel sent this warning to Legolas in The Two Towers.)
The day ended on a delicious note. Hardcore fans of The Hobbit will remember the reference to a stag hunt by Thranduil and his elves, and it is with this connection that I refer to one of my favorite parts of New Zealand: the venison. I’m no stranger to venison steaks (I hunt whitetails at home), but the venison in New Zealand is fantastic. The fact that you can just buy it in stores is a true marvel (sorry, I’m done with endorsing the deer farming industry now). With that, my day as an elf ended on a delicious note, one that I would be glad to repeat.
Rachael is a freelance writer fresh out of college with a taste for fantasy, science fiction, and adventure. From Lord of the Rings to Doctor Who to Terry Brooks, she loves fictional worlds and the lore that inspired them. She has circumnavigated the globe, visited five continents in five years, and recently sailed aboard a tall ship in French Polynesia. She has a degree from Sweet Briar College in International Affairs, but her passion is writing, anything from sports articles to fan fiction to analyses of military theory. In her spare time she dreams of being one of Tolkien’s elves, practicing archery and wandering through forests wherever her travels take her.