Olórin He Was in the West
Or rather the South, I suppose. No matter. The Hobbit is nigh, and Hawk is ready. He's not alone.
The city is amped for the film's world premiere. Banners of its characters -- Bilbo, Gandalf, Thorin, Gollum, Elrond, Galadriel -- wave from the lampposts. Shadowy silhouettes of the Grey Wizard, the 13 dwarves, and their unlikely companion show up in shop windows; their color likenesses appear on Air New Zealand planes. An oversized stamp featuring Bilbo blankets the side of the New Zealand Post building.
Tomorrow perhaps 100,000 or more fans, denizens or wayfarers, will jam the streets outside the Embassy Theatre for the red carpet event and a glimpse of some of the film's stars. We'll be among them.
Over the weekend we visited the Hobbit Artisan Market set up in Waitangi Park. We also visited the Weta Cave, where we picked up a hat for our little Wizard. He's too young yet for the film itself, but it's been a real privilege to witness the proceedings through his eyes. We read the book earlier in the year ("Why does Gollum have only six teeth?"), after visiting the set of Hobbiton in Matamata. He's met a number of the cast and crew, including co-writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, for whom he recited Bilbo's "My dear Frodo" and the dwarves' song from the teaser trailer. And he's followed Peter's online production diaries. He understands that films are made, and that people make them. I'm okay with that.
Our journey to Wellington, to New Zealand, wasn't entirely unexpected. Certainly, no one knocked on our door and whisked us away in search of ancient gold. But the energy surrounding these films, the national pride, the community, and a young boy's excitement -- all of these are a most welcome surprise. It's a great time to be here.