Saturday, April 26, 2014

Are There Hobbits in Second Life?


In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.

J. R. R. Tolkien

          For those of you who know me, and those who don’t are about to find out, I enjoy fantasy.  The tales of gods, dragons, and magic have kept me reading and playing games for quite some time.  (Significant Other is amazed that I ever bothered to take the time to grow up which in itself may be debatable.)
          Second Life (SL) drew me in initially because of the potential to experience that fantasy.  I’ve met vampires, Goreans, pirates, and visited the Ancient Wonders of the world.  Was chased by zombies, flew a dragon, experienced steampunk, and strolled the streets of Weimar Berlin. Let’s not forget my quest for Doctor Who and his TARDIS.
          All these experiences, whether pure fantasy or based in some former reality, I remember and cherish.  (Although, Significant Other and Real Life (RL) friends do tend to wander off when I begin to tell my tales.  I ascribe it to simple envy on their parts.)
          But, one experience has escaped me so far inworld and, that, that is the world of J. R. R. Tolkien.  (If you don’t know whom that is, please just stop reading now.  None of what follows will make any sense to you.  For that matter, why are you even reading me in the first place?)
          Anyway, back to my story.
          Recently, my good friend, Perryn Peterson, let me in on a little secret.  He was planning a Tolkien Festival inworld and wanted to know if I’d be interested in blogging about it. 
          Does a dog have fleas?  (For those who are offended by my analogy, please excuse me and remember that I’m American and just be grateful that I didn’t use the one about the bear in the woods.)
          Thanks to Perryn I was permitted to visit the Festival area prior to its opening.  What follows is based on my trips to Middle-earth in SL.  Stay with me and be amazed! 
          Arrival at the landing zone leaves me in a hobbit’s home in Hobbiton.  (Bilbo Baggins’ perhaps?)  The room has the look and feel of where a hobbit might lay his head.  (The bed is small!)
          Looking out the front window, I have a beautiful view of the town nestled in the Shire.  Other hobbit homes are visible and smoke coming out of chimneys tells me that some are home.
          I exit the house and take the pathway down into the village proper.  The look and feel of an old English village where Tolkien got so many of his ideas is there. 
          Walking through the town, I come to its edge and the woods where a path leads up a mountain to my next destination, Rivendell, home of the elves.  Here, I discover that Perryn has once again outdone himself.
          What awaits me is beautiful city of white marble looking out over the surrounding countryside. Gold gleams from towers.  There are few sights in RL comparable to what lies ahead of me. 
          Nature’s component is not overlooked either.  Waterfalls, trees, and flowers cover the mountains with their beauty. 
          This is where SL, and other virtual worlds to be fair, excel.  While the written word is a powerful tool, being able to stroll through a 3-D rendering of Tolkien’s genius has to be experienced to be truly appreciated. 
          Merchants’ shops will be here during the Festival as well as the dance floor for the social activities.  Fountains and flowers add to the festive feel of the city.
          From here, I teleport to Lothlorien, the forest domain of the elves, where Perryn’s partner, Mike Olbracht, has outdone himself in creating the woodland scene which opens before me. 
          I walk along a forest path with trees towering over me and flowers and shrubs lining my way.  The sun’s rays breaking through the foliage makes for a realistic scene.  A footbridge over a pond gives the sense of deep waters.  The water lilies only complete a perfectly natural scene.
          My stroll brings me to my destination which is a tall tower with Chauron the dragon guarding its treasure.  The dragon is still young and hence small unlike the massive one I rode recently.  Once the Festival begins, this dragon can be ridden as well I’m told. 
          This is a brief summary of the world of Tolkien’s Middle-earth created by Perryn and his team.  There are many byways and highways that I have yet to take here.  But, I’ll have to hurry and this sim opens today, April 26th, and will only remain open until May 11th. 
          Ninety merchants will have their wares on display across the sim.  A mini-hunt whose object is the “One Ring” will also be run.  (I’m told this hunt will be a little more difficult than most!)
          Many old favorites will be returning with their merchandise.  Longtime participant Aley Resident from Acadia Asylum will have her shop.  Several new merchants will be showing for the first time.  EmpyreanForge and Rahpture will be among these.  JSparker Resident is opening a tavern where whistles can be wetted!
          I’d like to thank Jadziyah, and fellow Whovian, of Eclectic Stars for sending a sample box full of Tolkien merchandise to sample for this story.  Make sure to check her shop out when you visit!  Her merchandise is highly authentic and of very good quality.
          Finally, a shout out to Tolkien himself!  Thank you very much for your heroes and their stories which have entertained so many of us for so very long! 
          I’ve included links to pictures of my stroll below but these don’t do the Festival any justice at all.  Go and see for yourselves.  You’ll be glad you did! 
          Remember, it’s only open until May 11th! 
          Also, please support the sim by contributing donations at the kiosks placed around the sim for this purpose and support the local merchants.  RL isn’t the only place where Big Box stores are squeezing the little guys. 
          I’d like to thank Perryn for inviting me in for a sneak peek at all the work he and his team have done!  I’d also like to thank Jadziyah for reaching out and sending her samples over to me! 
As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives.   
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          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
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Photo No. 1 Hobbit’s Home

Photo No. 3 Festival Sponsors

Photo No. 4 Hobbiton

Photo No. 6 Hobbiton Street

Photo No. 7 Hobbiton Flowers

Photo No. 8 To Rivendell!

Photo No. 10 Rivendell

Photo No. 11 Rivendell Courtyard

Photo No. 12 Rivendell Waterfalls

Photo No. 13 View of Rivendell

Photo No. 14 Rivendell Dance Floor  

Photo No. 15 Road to Lothlorien

Photo No. 16 Woods at Lothlorien

Photo No. 17 Stream in Lothlorien

Photo No. 21 Flowers in Lothlorien


1 comment:

May O. Mingzi said...

There are hobbits in Avilion, too. You can even rent a hobbit home.