Dress Code Middle Earth for Tolkien Devotees; 'TO BE IN THE LAND THAT INSPIRED HIM TO WRITE IS WONDERFUL'

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), August 14, 2010 | Go to article overview

Dress Code Middle Earth for Tolkien Devotees; 'TO BE IN THE LAND THAT INSPIRED HIM TO WRITE IS WONDERFUL'


Byline: ED WALKER

TOLKIEN fans have been descending on a village in Ceredigion to celebrate and learn more about the author.

Visitors to the In The Shire festival in Pontrhydfendigaid, near Ystrad Meurig, will hear speeches from experts on the Lord of the Rings in the country that inspired some of his best work.

Organised by Mark Faith, he said the festival has attracted fans from across the world.

"This is quite an undertaking for a Tolkien festival," he said. "We really want people to have a chance to learn about the author and also have a chance to dress up as their favourite characters.

"It's taken six months to put together but we've got people coming from America, Australia, New Zealand and further afield to be here." Mr Faith, 48, from Machynlleth, said the festival hopes to attract some 3,000 people and could become an annual event.

"I hope to attract not just Tolkien fans but families who are on holiday who want something fun and fantastical to entertain the kids."

Dr Corey Olsen, a Tolkien professor at Washington College, in the US, said: "I've been all over the world speaking about Tolkien but to be in the lands that inspired him to write his books is wonderful.

"Tolkien was definitely inspired by the Welsh language. He grew up in the Midlands near the Welsh border and often referred to the Marches of Wales as being his inspiration for a lot of the scenery in Lord of the Rings."

Dr Olsen said the Welsh language had helped form the basis of the Elven language Tolkien uses throughout his books.

"When he was growing up he saw all the trains coming in from Wales with these strange place names," he said.

"This sparked his interest in language and he spent a lot of time in this area and travelling around it."

Mother and daughter, Suzanne and Jasmine Woods, came from Portsmouth to spend the weekend at the festival.

Miss Woods, 19, was dressed as an Elven queen and was keen to take part in the planned battle re-enactments.

"I spent a lot of time on my costume and got my elf ears from eBay for only pounds 2 "It's my first time at anything like this and I'm really keen to find out more about Tolkien."

Rodney Matthews, an illustrator from Bala, who will exhibit his Lord of the Rings drawings at the festival, said: "I've always been inspired by Tolkien.

"I remember in my youth being in a band and touring through West Wales and reading Lord of the Rings while seeing this landscape. …

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