“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view–”
“–until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
To Kill a Mockingbird
Cosplayers enjoy the unique experiences that come from transforming into their most beloved characters from the page and screen. With enthusiasm, ingenuity, and painstaking attention to details, they inhabit different worlds and literally walk a mile in another person’s shoes. Unless that person is a hobbit. In that case, shoes would be undeniably inappropriate.
This past weekend, I had so much fun as I joined other fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings on a cosplaying adventure! Photographer Gwendolyn Mayfield of Alkaia Veritas Photography rounded up a group of dwarves, elves, hobbits, a wizard, and even an orc for a Middle-earth photo shoot.
The group came together from from far and wide, and considering the 8:00 a.m. arrival time, I can only imagine how early everyone left their beds! We met up at Gwendolyn’s house where she had already created a perfectly cozy replica of Bag End for a re-creation of the “Unexpected Party” scene. Downstairs in the dressing room, wigs, beards, and dirt were applied, and costumes came together while The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was projected on screen to help everyone get into character.
Everyone finished their preparations early, so the dwarves, Bilbo, and Gandalf took their places at Bilbo’s table. Gwendolyn planned everything perfectly; the rolls were even fresh from the oven! Everyone immediately got into character: Thorin took his place at the head of the table, Dwalin, Fili, and Kili ate and drank heartily, Bofur and Gandalf each enjoyed a pipe, and Bilbo looked positively disturbed by the dwarves’ table manners. Everyone was a pro, and Gwendolyn got her shots in no time.
The rest of the characters joined us as we moved outside for photos by the front door. Here’s the point where I should mention that we were in Colorado in the autumn, and things were getting chilly. Glenn Mayer, who was dressed as Gandalf, found his multiple layers of clothing were about to come in handy, and the elves were wishing they were actually as impervious to the cold as their Tolkien counterparts. But everyone was a trooper, especially Sachiko, who ran barefoot in the snow (not for the last time), while yelling, “I’m going on an adventure!”
We all packed into cars and headed off to a trailhead for some more rugged pictures. We certainly didn’t look like your average hiking group; I really wish I could have heard the inner thoughts of the people we passed on the trail. By this point, some fresh snow started to flurry around us, and though we pulled our coats and cloaks a little closer, it made for some dramatic shots.
It really felt like an adventure as we trekked farther in, searching for the perfect backdrops. Mud started to border hemlines, adding authenticity, and more than one member of the company lost footwear to boggy portions of the trail. But there was an ever present sense of camaraderie as new friends were made, coats were shared, and hobbits and the orc alike were offered helping hands.
At the end of shoot, we returned to the cars, and I said my farewells. Some of those crazy kids were heading back to Gwendolyn’s to change outfits for another photo shoot later that day. Cosplayers sure are forged from stern stuff!
I am so grateful to Gwendolyn and Chris who opened up their home to everyone, and I’d like to thank the group for letting me tag along! To see more photos from the day’s exploits or to see Gwendolyn’s other cosplay photography, visit the Alkaia Veritas Photography page on Facebook.
Which photos are your favorites? Do any of these costumes inspire you to try your hand at some Middle-earth cosplay?