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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:


Nov 9 2010, 10:36pm

Post #1 of 12 (561 views)
Laketown Can't Post

One of the greatest and most thrilling parts of seeing the Lord of the Rings films (for me) was the sheer detail brought to bear on the architectural elements of the films. In my opinion, their greatest achievement was Edoras, and more specifically the Golden Hall of Meduseld. In the Hobbit movies, there will be yet more chances to design and respresent new architectural locales. Many places we will have already seen: Hobbiton, Rivendell, the Misty Mountains. But east of the Mountains, a whole new world opens up for the designers.

Architecturally, I'm most interested in Esgaroth, and the depiction of the town over the river, sitting on its piles. At some point in history, the peoples of Dale and Rohan probably shared common ancestors, and so a common culture. By the time we meet the Rohirrim in the Lord of the Rings, they have abandoned any cultural links to water or trade (if they ever shared any) and they have developed a culture almost singularly based on the use and the artistic depiction of their horses. Esgaroth is very different in many respects - culturally, artistically (we should assume) socially. Nonetheless, there are striking architectural similarities between Lake-town and Edoras, to a degree. Both cities are constructed of wood (albeit one over a lake), although for very different purposes.

Both cities sport great halls in which the Lord (king or Master) drinks and eats with his guests and court. I guess my question is this: how do you guys think that Esgaroth should best be represented, in detail, on film? We all know the basic layout, but it was the smaller details; the carving, the motifs, that made architecture in the LOTR films amazing. Should the Hall in Esgaroth be designed more starkly, with less ornamentation, seeing as though the Lake-men are a mercantile culture? (i'm not sure why this should be the case, perhaps they are less concerned with ornament and more concerned with functionality) or should the desigers introduce complicated motifs and a rich heraldry to adorn the halls and the artefacts of the lake-men? Thoughts?

(This post was edited by tumhalad on Nov 9 2010, 10:37pm)


Nov 9 2010, 10:54pm

Post #2 of 12 (331 views)
Well... [In reply to] Can't Post

... first of all I agree with you about the architecture in general and Meduseld in particular. Awe-inspiring and beyond anything I've seen in any other film.

Now, about Esgaroth. My guess is that having John Howe and Alan Lee on board again, and the designers at Weta, they're not going to miss the chance to design another distinctive culture or drop the levels of imaginative detail that made the previous films so special. And thinking of the book, I suspect that the Master is the sort who would want a setting that shows off the town's wealth and his own importance. So, since the heraldry and decoration of Rohan was based around what mattered most to the Rohirrim - their horses - I suppose the corresponding designs for Esgaroth must take motifs drawn from the things that matter to the people of Laketown. Commodities they trade in? Barrels, wine, vines? What about the Lake itself? Boats or rafts? Maybe fish - if they live over a lake, presumably they eat fish. Those are the things I'd guess at - and I'm so looking forward to seeing what they come up with.


Nov 9 2010, 11:00pm

Post #3 of 12 (336 views)
Shared culture between Men of Laketown and the Rohirrim [In reply to] Can't Post

Great post - I can't wait to see how Esgaroth is realised either! On potential for architectural similarities between Esgaroth and Edoras, both peoples shared ancestral roots - both were descended from the Northmen. So maybe we can expect to see a bit of common cultural heritage on display.

Also, at least part of the population was descended from refugees from Dale, which presumably was a more sophisticated settlement, enriched as it was by trade and exchange with the Dwarves of Erebor. Esgaroth, or Lake-town as it became known, may have been a bit on the provincial side compared to Dale before Smaug turned up and turned the latter to ash. However, the influx of refugees from Dale might be expected to have enriched the architectural style in Lake-town, perhaps introducing some Dwarven-influenced motifs. We shouldn't rule out the potential for a bit of influence from the Elves of the Woodland Realm to the west or even the mysterious wine-producing region of Dorwinion to the east - the Men of Lake-town traded with both, after all.


Nov 9 2010, 11:20pm

Post #4 of 12 (318 views)
Dwarven influence [In reply to] Can't Post

The idea that the Dwarves may have influenced some aspects of Lake culture I find very intersting - it's not something I'd thought of, and it's probably more likely to be apparent than any cultural similarity with Rohan, given the proximity of Esgaroth and Dale to the Iron Mountains and Erebor. Unfortunately we don't know much about Dorwinion though; certainly not enough to judge any architectural influence, but we know for a fact Dwarves themselves helped rebuild Dale after the destruction of the Dragon, so its a safe assumption that they probably influenced the Dale of former times as well. That influence may have trickled into Lake-town in the form of some motifs and styles, perhaps. Intriguing thoughts!


Nov 9 2010, 11:31pm

Post #5 of 12 (329 views)
I agree that Laketown will probably be really cool... [In reply to] Can't Post

... and that the team will show the same kind of quality and attention to detail they did in the LOTR movies. But the best part is that they get to BURN IT in the last shots! Evil

Tol Eressea

Nov 10 2010, 1:25pm

Post #6 of 12 (207 views)
Esgaroth is a blank canvas [In reply to] Can't Post

as far as the designers are concerned. They can do as they wish with it. The insider on Reddit claims that there was a design aspect of Laketown that GdT loved, but PJ disagreed about it and will probably change it now that he's directing. I've never really thought about Esgaroth's artwork, but I assume that the Lonely Mountain and Smaug will be significant motifs, as will boats, fish and so on. I also like the idea of the dwarven influence... maybe we'll get a more 'woody' take on the stone dwarven architecture we saw in Moria?

King Isildur of Gondor
The Shire

Nov 10 2010, 1:42pm

Post #7 of 12 (198 views)
I believe... [In reply to] Can't Post

...the amount of detail and quality they did with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, will be present in The Hobbit movies. On the LOTR ExEd. dvd's one of the things I like most to watch are the featurettes about set building and art department.

- Isildur, son of Elendil -


Nov 10 2010, 1:42pm

Post #8 of 12 (211 views)
Democracy [In reply to] Can't Post

I wonder what Esgaroth and the Master might say about Tolkien’s views on democracy.

…all eyes looked upon the ring; for he held it now aloft, and the green jewels gleamed there that the Noldor had devised in Valinor. For this ring was like to twin serpents, whose eyes were emeralds, and their heads met beneath a crown of golden flowers, that the one upheld and the other devoured; that was the badge of Finarfin and his house.
The Silmarillion, pp 150-151
while Felagund laughs beneath the trees
in Valinor and comes no more
to this grey world of tears and war.
The Lays of Beleriand, p 311

Tol Eressea

Nov 10 2010, 1:51pm

Post #9 of 12 (205 views)
Wasn't the Mayor of the Shire an elected office? [In reply to] Can't Post

If so, it would seem that Tolkien is presenting the reader with both positive and negative examples of democratic leadership.


Nov 10 2010, 9:43pm

Post #10 of 12 (155 views)
Laketown [In reply to] Can't Post

It shall be the Santa Monica pier x 100 and it shall be awesome to see Smaug crash into it smashing all the burning wood to bits.


Nov 10 2010, 11:39pm

Post #11 of 12 (143 views)
wares from Harad? [In reply to] Can't Post

Wonder if any of the commodities from the more southern exotic regions like Harad would have found their way to Lake-town and how, if any, the southern influences would have on Lake-town. Would there actually be trade route via the Anduin upto Ered Luin then back down towards Esgaroth by the Forest River? I read sometime back that the Gondorians had traded with the southern regions of Harad. Perhaps then it would be the Gondorians who would have had near contact with southern merchants and then distributed goods by the Anduin? Can't find that quote anywhere now. Would there have been immigrants from Harad and other more exotic southern peoples that may have settled in Lake-town adding another layer of architectural detail that is perhaps religated to the less well off parts of Lake-town?

I suppose of the two, Southern most Gondor and East-northern regions (Lake-town, Esgaroth, Dale...) Gondor would be the more cosmopolitan because of it's southern location and its strategically placed trade posts between North and South (Bay of Belfalas, outpost of Umbar)?

Tol Eressea

Nov 11 2010, 6:01pm

Post #12 of 12 (148 views)
Good idea [In reply to] Can't Post

It would be very interesting to see the wares of various cultures at the Esgaroth market – I have a particular liking for the Easterlings' style of armour and would like to see some of their other craftworks. If the filmmakers decide to throw all the unused LotR props they still have lying around into a bunch of stalls at the Laketown market, I'll have no problem with that at all. Smile


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