“In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.” ~excerpt from The Hobbit
As we found out, an actual Hobbit hole is not comfortable at all. It is a dirt-walled hole in a hill and occasionally has a few broken umbrellas. But even though we were a little disappointed with the contents of the Hobbit homes, Hobbiton was still a very interesting place to visit and provided a small glimmer of the filming process and a glimpse into the world of the Shire.
We took a tour around the site, and our guide was awesome. She made herself heard and provided us all with interesting facts about the area and how the Shire scenes were filmed. For instance, did you know the scene in Bilbo’s home, in which Gandalf hits his head on the doorframe, wasn’t meant to happen? The actor Ian McKellan hit his head but acted through it. Later, the director Peter Jackson thought the scene was more natural and kept it. Along with learning about the filming, we were also able to see the entire set used for the Shire.
The Shire has over 40 hobbit-holes, and each one is completely different. Some had miniature wood stacked out front. Others had little stands selling pastries or fruit. The only hobbit-hole that wasn’t miniature was Bilbos home, Bag End.
The large, green, oak door leading inside rests at the top of the entire Shire, overlooking the lake and the large tree beside the party field, and all the way out to the Green Dragon Pub and the large stone bridge. All of these things were actual parts of the Shire, and all looked exactly like they did in the movie.
You could just imagine the party field filled with lights and tents and hobbits dancing. You could imagine Gandalf and Bilbo sitting outside Bag End, watching the festivities and smoking a pipe. You could even imagine the grumpy old hobbit man standing outside his hobbit-hole and scowling at us as we walked by his home. Getting to see and walk in and along side all of these parts of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit stories made you feel like you were a part of it.
One of my favorite parts of the tour, though, was being able to see Samwise Gamgee’s house next to the party field.
This completed the tour and we left for the Pub, where we were served complimentary ginger beer. Overall it was great second day in New Zealand. – Walden