With just over a week to go, and a giant Gandalf up on the front ledge at the Embassy, it seems like that it might just be time for another wee adventure into the architecture of the Hobbit.

Last time we had an explore of what it feels like inside a nice, dry, warm Hobbit cave, namely Bag End, the home of Mr ‘Underhill’.

This time, we’re off on a visit to see the home of the Elves.

Well, at least I think it is Rivendell. I’m getting a little rusty on the story, and shall have to go and re-read it again to myself, but I think that the story is that the merry band of Dwarves plus The Burglar set out to get their gold back from the mines of Moria, where Smaug the dragon awaits. Seeing as there is three films on this project now, we’re not going to see much of anything of Smaug in this first episode, except, I’m betting, a vast golden eye winking open right at the very end, and the sulky, slinky tones of Benedict Cumberpatch saying in his ultra-camp manner “Why hello…. do come in… where I can see you…” (Remember – you heard it here first).

So what we are seeing here instead is a period piece of Elvish middle-earth architecture, circa 6000 years before Sauron. It’s all quite beautiful really. First thing we can say is that those Elvish types do a nice line in precast concrete walkways, and how nice it is not to have to worry about silly NZBC Clause F4 Safety From Falling. I think I might have to specify this solution somewhere in my next house project…

Of course, someone that could also be learning from Hobbiton on how to design a graceful bridge might also be the NZTA, who dropped this clanger today – oh my goodness, what a heifer!

Remember: Don’t be an Orc-lander! Small is Beautiful! No flyover!

There’s no doubt though that Weta have worked their own brand of Elvish magic on this Taylor-made beauty. It’s a nice line in vaguely Art-Nouveau / Greene and Greene brothers kind of mid-century Medieval mashup, with (of course) pointy roofs (to match those Elvish pointy ears), naturally large eaves and overhangs in which to avoid those damp waterfall conditions, and most of all, a nice line in covered colonnades. I love colonnades. There’s something about the mesmeric repetition of the line of columns, and as long as you’re not as blind as a bat, then colonnades are just the bees knees. Luckily, Bilbo thinks so too.

Attention to detail is, as ever with the crew at Weta, pretty damn hot. Here’s our intrepid Hobbit scaling the stairs – not an easy thing to do, I’d imagine, with those large hairy feet tripping on the risers, but at least the handrails seem to be of a suitable height for both man and halfling. Nice, wiggly, twig-inspired balusters too by the way. He’s off to check out the in-house entertainment, namely the rooftop jousting exercise. I’m SURE that no horses were hurt during the making of this film. Traumatised, perhaps, by having 100 kilos of fat sweaty dwarf sat on his buttocks (that’s enough to traumatise anyone, by the way), but certainly not falling to death into the beautiful CGI sunset mountainside. Short of PETA amusing us all by getting naked, their planned protest sounds the most pointless thing of all. Saint Peter hurt an animal? No, can’t believe that. A latex headed dummy? Sure thing – but not real animal.

It’s evidently always twilight in Rivendell, as the scenes are all filled with a warm late summer’s light washing across the scenes. Great darkness will come, have no doubt. But in the mean time, have a relaxing time looking at the Elfin features of Queen Galadriel once more. Squint hard! That’s her up on the mountain top, having top level secret squirrel conversations with Gandalf about where they’ll hide the Lotto ticket if they win.

Just be thankkful that I didn’t attempt to write this post in Elvish. Although…. I wonder if google translate does do Elf already? Surely not before they have done maori, but you never know…. Next up – the Mines of Moria ! Ooooh, Spooky! I think I’d wet myself if I wasn’t already a Fish…

So – who is going to the red carpet opening? We gonna hype this city up once more?

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