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Notes from the Boston Exhibit

== Nienor - August 2004

The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy – The Exhibition

I went with two friends, my parents, and my brother. Upon entering the exhibit, the first thing you see is a life size cave troll. The detail was amazing…there was even saliva around the nose and mouth. It was made of polystyrene and some other components…I didn’t have the wits to write down what.

We moved along the wall to the Elves. The things I found most fascinating were the shields, bows, and swords. My friend Megan stood in front of that one case for over one half hour, and drew an intricate and nearly exact copy of Gil-Galad’s shield. I will attach a picture. The swords were beautiful, and the engravings were wonderfully intricate.

 Next we moved on to Rohan…

I was fascinated to discover that on Theoden’s armor, the lower piece (I’m afraid I don’t know what it’s called, it’s not quite chain mail, small pieces of metal attached to fabric.) was detailed. There was a pattern of engraved pieces, with a horse on each one. Very small, one would never notice in the film. And again, the horses’ heads that make up the hilt of Theoden’s sword appeared throughout the entire Rohan display.

None of Eowyn’s dresses were there, sadly, so I couldn’t get a good look at those. But Eomer’s helmet was, and I could clearly see the horse’s neck running from the nose guard to the horsetail crest. It was a fabulous piece, with other designs over the whole thing. It was in a case, and hard to get a good look at.

Theoden’s sword was displayed, and his sheath. I hadn’t really noticed, but the Rohirrim seem to use a deep musty red on most of their armor, and the king’s sheath is that same color.

Another thing I thought interesting- After looking at all the swords there, I saw how they made the belts and attached the sheath. They would have two rings on the sheath, and then it seemed that they attached the sheath itself to the belt by another ring. It may be that there were two on the belt and two on the sheath, I can’t remember exactly now. I can’t draw myself, or I would have taken note of it.

Narsil was displayed, and looking at the breaks in each piece, you could see the center of the metal. They also showed the Evenstar, and I discovered that yes, there is a jewel of sorts at the bottom of the chain, just before it connects to the piece itself. The ring of Barahir was shown, and my friend noticed that there didn’t seem to be two serpents, as Wormtongue’s description notes! There was some sort of pattern, but it was very difficult to tell what. It may have been serpents, the lighting was inconvenient.

Anduril had its own corner, and the Elvish runes were very clear. I noticed that the belt and the sheath also had runes! I didn’t have my translating material with me, or I would have tried to see what they said. They may have been the same as the runes on the blade. The sheath and belt were a very dark green.

Arwen had a large section devoted to her. The Requiem dress was there, along with her riding outfit, from the chase scene in The Fellowship. The sleeves on the Requiem dress had a pattern, something I never noticed on the screen. Something fairly simple, I think, but tiny and hard to see. The Riding Dress didn’t have much to it…there were no little patterns that I saw. The boots she wore seemed fairly tall, and were fastened at the side by loops over small buttons.

Another section, for armor, had an elf warrior from the Last Alliance. The cloak was amazing, I loved it. Draped over the shoulders, crossed behind the back, and twined around the waist and tied. It was a light grey, almost purple, and had a very subtle pattern not too unlike that on Arwen’s beaded dress, And was done with a slightly darker thread, I would think. In any case, it was obviously a piece of art, and I was totally taken aback. For good detail on the armor, get War and Weaponry. It has a lot of description…

The other armor was amazing, too. The Uruk-Hai costume was huge and blunt. Nothing special, you could see it was made to do the job and do it well, with no extra adornments. The Moria Orc costume was pretty much a conglomeration of dirty elements, very cockroach like.

The Warg riders came next. A revolting costume, with bits of horses, warg hair, and skulls. Mostly just pits and pieces…a horses rib cage, for instance, as a guard for the chest, a skull for a helmet, and decaying cloth, hide, and hair for clothing.

The Haradrim were last, but I’ll skip to that one for now. Amazing the things you discover close up…There was a belt, a wide belt, but frayed, so really just scraps of thick fabric, wrapped around the waist. All along, there were rows and rows of charms. Small skulls, and other unidentifiable objects. The entire costume was fraying red cloth, and other once bright but now faded colors were wrapped around and through.   

There were several Gondorian and Rohirric sets, and you could mostly see the continuity in the different types, especially Rohan. Each Rohirric uniform was deep red, the more important men would have gold etching of sorts. Chain mail was used in all of them, and the small rounded helms that we see in the movies.  

Gondor’s ranger costume, which Faramir and his rangers wore in Ithilien, was all dark greens and drab browns. The structure was simple, and the cloak had a hood that could come fairly far down and cover some of the face. We’ve all seen how they covered their nose and mouth with a black cloth of some sort in The Two Towers, this wasn’t displayed. The Gondorian armor from The Return of the King, was fascinating. It wasn’t intricate, but the white tree of Gondor on the front was beautiful. The armor was simple, but it served its purpose well. I imagine it weighed rather a lot! 

Back to the Elves for a bit. Galadriel and Celeborn had a large section. Galadriel’s headdress was one of most beautiful things there, I thought. This picture is the best I’ve seen of it…

The gold and silver accents were, well, gorgeous, to say the least.

They displayed one of her dresses. The Mirror Dress and her Fellowship Greeting Cloak, it was the finest dress there. I kept returning to it. Just incredible. It was very simple.

The cloak was of a sheer white fabric, beaded in a leaf and flower pattern. The dress was of the same fabric, with an underdress as shown in this picture.

The sleeves were very long and seemed to extend many inches below the fingers. I was fascinated to discover that the belt had two parts! It doesn’t hang down in just one piece; there are two equally long parts. Both are slightly curved at intervals.  The broach was there also, affixed to the top of the dress.

They showed Nenya, and I saw that it had a small leaf pattern just behind the main part in front.  

Sam’s bags were amazing. They showed the larger and smaller scales, and you could see how the very weave of the fabric had to be different sizes. They were completely identical, down to the hithlain rope.  

At one point, a woman brought out Glamdring. We each got to hold it for a minute or two, wearing white gloves. It was beautiful. Not very sharp, of course. I found it interesting that you had to hold it pommel facing up to read the runes. The small blue stone at the beginning of the hilt was not cut into a perfect circle as I had supposed, it was rough and mostly uncut. The sword was beautiful…I loved it immediately. Gandalf’s sheath was blue, a dark blue. His robes were so wonderful! Weatherworn and patched, they really looked as if they had been used for years. The same with Aragorn and Saruman. He had a shoulder bag, I saw…something I never saw before for some strange reason. He had an undershirt that was laced up the front, to the neck.

Saruman’s robes were off white. The pattern was starting to wear down, from years and years of wear. They weren’t exactly simple, looked pretty complicated actually. The sleeves seemed to be long, but held back on some way, folded maybe. The front of his under-robe was connected by hook and eye type fixtures, loops that slipped over buttons. There was a section with the things from his room, the book open to the page about the Balrog. A rather scary illustration! Again, I didn’t have my material with me, or I could have translated it, but I picked out occasional ‘L’s and other letters. The palantir really was something; it was smaller than it appeared on screen. There was no eye in its murky depths, but there were murky depths!

Back to Aragorn. His costume was very worn, in fact, it said that Viggo Mortenson actually washed and mended it himself over the course of the project! I don’t know that this was one that he used. All dark colors. You could see that the sleeves were held on by thick cord, maybe leather, and could be unlaced. I think, if I remember correctly, that his boots were laced up like Arwen’s, along the side, with buttons and loops.

All along the ceiling hung Gondorian and Rohirric banners. They were beautiful! My favorite was one of the White Tree of Gondor, in gold on a white banner. It looked as if it had been used at the fields of the Pelennor, with dirt on the bottom and sides. It was the same pattern as the one Boromir uses to proclaim that Osgiliath had been reclaimed.  The Rohan banners were also amazing. Horses against different colored backgrounds mostly.

The One Ring, apparently one of the most used props, was encased in a tube with a light shining through. The elvish writing was rotated around the walls by lights, you could hear different clips from the movie, including Alan Howard chanting Ash nazg durbatuluk.

A miniature of Barad-dur and a statue of Sauron stood outside. The miniature was incredible! Sauron, in full armor, was huge.

Farther on, there was a Ringwraith and his sword. I realized that even the Ringwraith’s robes are patterned! On the inside of the fabric, there is a frayed dark grey pattern. The entire thing was frayed. I heard somewhere, on the Regular Fellowship dvd, I think, that they used 50 meters of fabric per Ringwraith. That doesn’t seem possible, but that is almost definitely what she said! Ngila Dickson herself. If someone knows if this is true or not, let me know! The swords of the wraiths were decaying and pitted. They looked as if they had been used for years. The armor for their hands was incredible, all kinds of tiny hinges and other bits.

They displayed four crowns of the kings, and then four crowns of the Nazgul. You could see how different they were. The horse’s bridle and headpieces were huge, heavy, and dark.

You could sit on the two parts of Gandalf’s cart, and be sized as a Hobbit or a Wizard. My dad and brother tried it, which was rather amusing, because since my dad is 6’2” already, and my brother 4’10”, when the latter was a Wizard and the former a hobbit, they were the same size! It was rather funny.

There was a scaling wall, where a computer would judge which species you belonged to. I was a female elf, which was odd, I’m only 5’3”. I don’t think it was working perfectly… 

Next to the wall there was a model of Ted Sandyman’s mill, from Frodo’s vision in Galadriel’s mirror. Very detailed.  

You could hold a plastic sword and shield, and a computer would do some basic motion capture, and show you as an Uruk, Gondorian, or Elf.

Well, that’s about it! I went on August , 2004! I hope to go once more, and take some more details down about the costumes.

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