Ring of students worships The Hobbit
By Miranda Scott
This past Saturday at Bookmans, an event took place that took J.R.R. Tolkien fans back to where the journey began: The Shire. In honor of the anniversary of The Hobbit’s re-release and Bilbo Baggins’ birthday, Bookmans hosted a bash filled with fun, food and precious rings.
A good number of people showed up and were extremely enthusiastic about being there, trading Middle Earth jokes and making crafts. There was a movie playing, trivia games and good cheer all around. With the success of this event, there is the possibility Bookmans will host more like it.
First up was a little behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but the majority of people there could spout off facts before the movie could, listing cast jokes and funny anecdotes about makeup and stubbed toes. The fans who attended shared a definite sense of love for the films and the books, especially from the younger party-goers. The featurette was followed by arts and crafts. Attendees made crowns with jewels strewn on foam and royal attitudes abounded. There were also little ‘One Ring’ necklaces that could be worn, which made many a geek gleeful.
Some people had alternate plans for their rings, wearing them like nose rings or lip rings, a new punk trend to try and spread in the Shire.
If crafts were not enough, they also offered a trivia and prizes, including coupons for Bookmans, two movie posters, tiny dragon statues and VHS sets of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. There was good sportsmanship, but still a level of competitiveness. After all, the stakes are always high when VHS is involved. While playing trivia, The Two Towers was playing. Every person at the party went home with a prize and there was a feeling of belonging that followed everyone into the night.
Elena Ybarra, the events liaison for Bookmans, says she had wanted to put on a Lord of the Rings event for a while.
“Lo and behold, I got a press packet in . . . about The Hobbit re-release on the books,” Ybarra says. “They sent me a movie poster; they sent me all this stuff and I said, ‘Okay, this is my sign.’ I looked into it more and I saw that in the Lord of the Rings community, every site had a list of events going on, and I wanted us to be on that list.”
The push to put on geek-oriented events has been increasing since the rise of the nerd zeitgeist, with shows like The Big Bang Theory, Community and Doctor Who making smart media cool again. The group of people at this event shows there is a community for geek culture and they are ready to be recognized.
Another reason to put on a big event like this is to keep Bookmans relevant in the NAU community.
Ybarra said, “We want college students to know we’re here. Hopefully, we can reach out in the right direction, you know, geek crafts and Middle Earth stuff; it’s worth the effort.”
With a place that is reaching out to students at NAU, there is sure to be a rise in events like this one, maybe with a larger audience.
Many students there were drawn to the event for pure hobbit reasons. Elena Melendrez, a freshman English major, said she came “. . . because it’s for The Hobbit. It’s the greatest book ever.”
Katy Harding, a freshman English major, said she came for the love of The Hobbit also. “I like The Hobbit because J.R.R. Tolkien is an awesome writer. It’s a good adventure and my favorite parts of the party are the ‘One Ring’ necklaces, even though they are not really the One Ring”.
However, not everyone was there because of their own interests. Some people came with friends, like Marissa Perrault, a freshman hotel, restaurant and institutional management major who said she came “because Katy invited me.”
Needless to say, some guests were not exactly premiere at the trivia game, but even so, the feeling of exclusion was not present at this party. The Hobbit Night event was a great success for Bookmans and a fun experience. Everyone went home wearing crowns and having made memories.