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Sneaky little New Zealanders, they stole Tolkien from ussss!

Macsen
Lorien


Jan 2 2013, 6:35pm

Post #1 of 22 (1197 views)
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Sneaky little New Zealanders, they stole Tolkien from ussss! Can't Post

I don't want to pull a bees' nest onto my head here and offend any resident New Zealanders but does any one else get the impression that the country is effectively trying to steal Tolkien off of England?

I know the films were shot there, and as the country's economy is dependent to a certain extent on tourism it makes sense that they would want to make that connection in people's minds. They got the balance right with LOTR but I think that they've gone a bit too far following the release of the Hobbit, calling the country Middle Earth and "Tolkien's spiritual home" and now planning on calling a mountain "Mt Tolkien".

Tolkien never set a hairy foot in the country. Yes the scenery is spectacular but there's nothing there that couldn't have been shot in Europe, which the Middle Earth of the books (and movies to a large degree) are based upon. In fact, given how much green-screen, sets and CGI were used in the Hobbit I'm doubtful New Zealand was actually on screen for more than 20 minutes or so.

I still want to visit New Zealand one day but this PR offensive is rather off-putting. (I'm not from England by the way so it isn't sour grapes!)


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 2 2013, 7:03pm

Post #2 of 22 (832 views)
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Mwahahahaaa etc. [In reply to] Can't Post

It's fair enough that some UKers might be getting their noses out of joint by the marketing. During the union protests in 2011 (?) there was a sign that said something like "NZ: The Home of Middle-earth", which I thought was gilding the lily a bit.

Calling NZ Middle-earth is one thing (the country's landscapes do represent it on film), but saying Middle-earth is NZ is ignoring the genuine influences on Tolkien to write the story. It might seem a fine point to make but it's the difference of representation vs ownership, IMO.

(BTW it's a local man who has suggested renaming a mountain as Mt Tolkien, not the tourism board or the government; and while tourism is a decent earner it isn't a major earner for the country, and LOTR tourism makes a dent for the sector but not much more.)

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Jan 2 2013, 7:06pm

Post #3 of 22 (832 views)
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Reverse Colonialism? [In reply to] Can't Post

or New Zealand Strikes Back?

Perhaps it may help to think of it the other way around -- not that NZ stole Tolkien from England, rather film productions of some of Tolkien's works were thrust upon NZers by a US based multinational company?

Now there's a bees' nest onto one's head Laugh


(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Jan 2 2013, 7:06pm)


DanielLB
Immortal


Jan 2 2013, 7:07pm

Post #4 of 22 (785 views)
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I've never thought about it ... [In reply to] Can't Post

But then again, would it make a difference if the films were filmed here? Apart from the post- and pre-premiere tourists, we get millions of tourists a year. A small majority of these must be to places lived at/visited by/connected to Tolkien already. Would we get many more?

Did Harry Potter boost UK tourism?

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jimmyfenn
Rohan


Jan 2 2013, 7:08pm

Post #5 of 22 (794 views)
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im not that bitter but [In reply to] Can't Post

the films being shot outside of england/uk is something ive just learnt to live with over time. the shire is meant to be english countryside but when i see the shire in the films the trees and the colour of the grass just doesnt feel right, its not england!

if i could choose id film lotr in geographic relation to europe.

shire-england
gondor-italy
rivendell-germanic

etc

"You Tolkien to me?!" - Hobbit de Niro


burrahobbit
Rohan


Jan 2 2013, 7:24pm

Post #6 of 22 (791 views)
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Well it was either the Middle Earth advertising campaign... [In reply to] Can't Post

or the Flight of the Conchords one:



Smile

Actually, the above link missed out my favourite poster- "New Zealand: Like Scotland but Further Away".

Maybe you could set up a rival Original European Tolkien Tours company, visiting Oxfordshire, Germany and the valley in Switzerland that Rivendell was based on.


sycorax82
Rohan

Jan 2 2013, 7:25pm

Post #7 of 22 (767 views)
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Shot in NZ makes it feel more 'fantasy' to me [In reply to] Can't Post

I live right by the English countryside, actually not too far away from where one of Tolkien's sons, Michael, went to college for a time and, later, taught there (incidentally, the same place that Arthur Conan Doyle based the setting of The Hound of the Baskervilles).

While it would seem very fitting if locations for the films had been shot around here, they would be forever having to paste out modern buildings etc. and also it just wouldn't have that fresh, wild feeling the NZ landscape exhudes.


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 2 2013, 7:34pm

Post #8 of 22 (817 views)
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Here is the 'Scotland' one, [In reply to] Can't Post

right there.

This one made me laugh - it's so lame, it's funny. :D

Then there's this one...

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Macsen
Lorien


Jan 2 2013, 8:40pm

Post #9 of 22 (725 views)
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While we're on the topic of bad advertising posters... [In reply to] Can't Post

Here's a lame one from where I live: link Pirate


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 2 2013, 8:53pm

Post #10 of 22 (695 views)
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Urgh - I see what you mean. / [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


AlassŽa Eruvande
Valinor


Jan 2 2013, 8:53pm

Post #11 of 22 (733 views)
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In the last picture, [In reply to] Can't Post

Bret has amazingly finger-runnable hair.




That is all. Cool



I am SMAUG! I kill when I wish! I am strong, strong, STRONG!
My armor is like tenfold shields! My teeth like swords! My claws, spears!
The shock of my tail, a thunderbolt! My wings, a hurricane! And my breath, death!


Michelle Johnston
Rohan


Jan 2 2013, 9:59pm

Post #12 of 22 (706 views)
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The Best of Both Worlds [In reply to] Can't Post

Whether we like it or not an awful lot of people need to be led by the nose in matters of travel. If I worked for the New Zealand tourist board I would bring the coincidences together and make the connection but only as an inspiration - a point of reference. Indeed when I was in New Zealand early last year there was no sense of gearing up and Mata Mata is no Disney Theme Park - yet.

As some one who has had a relationship with Tolkiens literature for all of my literary life I am delighted that I have walked among those places that inspired the barrow downs/kortirion among the trees and the misty mountains. However when I visited Arwens ride to the Ford and flew past the misty mountains featured in the TTT last summer it only added to my sense of middle earth which we all know is a homage to an earlier England. Indeed leaving aside the coastal towns of South Island much of the time I feel I am transported back to an England before the fall and the impact of all those Sarumans who dug up the trees and industrialised it.

Scotland and Canada resonate in the same way but New Zealand has something else a sense of freshness and newness because we and I mean humanity only placed our foot print on its shores 700 years ago and those foot prints have remained relatively small. When you are walking through the dense New Zealand bush or flying over the southern glaciated valleys it is as if the children of iluvatar are discovering Beleriand for the first time and you see places where no one has ever walked.

There is some great casting in these movies but the best of all is location.

I tried to save the shire , and it has been but not for me.

(This post was edited by Michelle Johnston on Jan 2 2013, 10:00pm)


Starling
Half-elven


Jan 2 2013, 11:44pm

Post #13 of 22 (655 views)
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Then we simply must have this one: [In reply to] Can't Post




Starling
Half-elven


Jan 2 2013, 11:46pm

Post #14 of 22 (656 views)
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New Zealand... [In reply to] Can't Post

rocks!
That's my favourite. I bet it was Murray's concept.


Starling
Half-elven


Jan 2 2013, 11:51pm

Post #15 of 22 (658 views)
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Really? [In reply to] Can't Post

I didn't notice at the time. I was too busy romping through the green meadows in a carefree manner. Wink


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Jan 3 2013, 3:15am

Post #16 of 22 (640 views)
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Seeing that no one in England [In reply to] Can't Post

ever tried to make even one live-action film on The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit... I'd say no. NZ hasn't done anything to England but make one of their writers more famous than ever; increase tourism in England for people who visit Tolkien's haunts, home, and graveside; bring jobs and revenue with film-related work via NZ/Jackson with the orchestration for the films and filming done in England, etc. :)


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imin
Valinor


Jan 3 2013, 4:24am

Post #17 of 22 (642 views)
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depends on how a person sees middle earth [In reply to] Can't Post

If they are coming at it from the films then yes they will surely see middle earth as being New Zealand.

If they have read the books then they will most likely think of wherever they know best as inspiration for their imaginations on creating the landscape.

If they are really into it they may read about Tolkien and realise he is English and so associate Middle Earth with England.

For me as The Shire represents England and i grew up in English countryside, that is what it will always be to me. I have not read them say NZ is Tolkien's spiritual home but it seems a bit of a stretch.


alienorchid
Lorien


Jan 3 2013, 3:51pm

Post #18 of 22 (576 views)
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I wouldn't say that [In reply to] Can't Post

the economy is *dependent* on tourism, but it is a significant contributor. Despite that, there are lots of NZers who couldn't care less, or actively dislike, the hold that LotR/The Hobbit has on the country.


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Jan 4 2013, 5:18am

Post #19 of 22 (575 views)
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An interesting observation Imin [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
If they have read the books then they will most likely think of wherever they know best as inspiration for their imaginations on creating the landscape.


As some know I'm from Canada. Where I live presently the landscape is very hilly and well forested, dotted with rivers, small lakes, and farm land suitable for growing crops and grazing animals. And though the landscape does remind me of what Tolkien describes of Middle-earth, when I was back home over Christmas -- home being a place that is very flat, not so well forested, and basically a village in the middle of nowhere -- I realized that that place feels more like Middle-earth to me than any other place I've seen on film or been to in real life...

As you suggest, it probably has to do with my long association with that place which has been mingled with my imaginings of Middle-earth for most of a lifetime. It was in the flat countryside and small forests of that place that I used to go on journeys with Aragorn and Legolas, especially in winter. Perhaps it is the smell of the air, or the wide open nothingness between copses and small woods... perhaps Middle-earth relies more on a feeling than the physical features of a place...

hmmm


(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Jan 4 2013, 5:21am)


geordie
Tol Eressea

Jan 4 2013, 1:19pm

Post #20 of 22 (549 views)
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Yes, that's true - [In reply to] Can't Post

-Ithink that (before the movies anyway) people thought of Middle-earth as part of their own experience. I've never seen mountains, but in my mind the Misty Moutains are Switzerland. But home tends to be where people place their idea of the Shire. I know a Dutch bloke who says that for him, the Shire is flat, with canals and windmills.


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 4 2013, 5:41pm

Post #21 of 22 (531 views)
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I've been to New Zealand twice [In reply to] Can't Post

and I think it's an amazingly beautiful country, but it's not Middle-earth to me. That's probably because I read the books many, many times before I saw the movies, so my Middle-earth is firmly fixed in my mind.

Rohan to me is more like the middle of the US, with miles and miles of rolling plains, and not the rocky terrain of the movies. The mountains are like either the US Rocky Mountains or the Swiss Alps, and while I don't have specific counterparts for the Old Forest, Mirkwood and Fangorn, my idea of Fangorn at least is not at all what the movies depicted.

I love the movies, but I've been able to keep my version of Middle-earth and the characters intact.


alienorchid
Lorien


Jan 5 2013, 11:30am

Post #22 of 22 (540 views)
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I'm from NZ [In reply to] Can't Post

and I read the book first, so when the movie was filmed in NZ it seemed totally natural for me because I already had NZ-as-Middle-Earth in my head. In saying that, though, I have also traveled to the UK and Ireland so I always imagined the Shire to be English countryside, or like little isolated villages in Ireland.

 
 

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