This is a weekly series here at Adventures in Borkdom. It chronicles adventures I have that are directly inspired by the books I read.
As many of you know, a major portion of this summer’s reading has been centered on Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I read these books along with SJ and the gang in participation of Putting the Blog in Balrog readalong. Alas, all good things must come to an end, and PtBiB concluded this last Friday with our final drinkalong to Peter Jackson’s The Return of the King. I was sad to say goodbye to this project, but at least I got in one last huzzah–an adventure inspired by “The Battle of Pelennor Fields” from Tolkien’s The Return of the King.
The armies of the Dark Lord are massing as his evil shadow spreads even wider. Men, Dwarves, Elves and Ents unite forces to do battle against the Dark. Meanwhile, Frodo and Sam struggle further into Mordor in their heroic quest to destroy the One Ring.
The devastating conclusion of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic tale, begun in the The Fellowship of the Rings and The Two Towers.
On Sunday afternoon, I took to San Diego’s Morley Field to witness a different kind of field battle –Live Action Role Players (LARPers) taking part in the Battle of Morley Field!
Admittedly, I didn’t just go to Morley Field to relive my favorite scenes from The Return of the King. I have heard about the Morley Field LARPers all year from my friends and husband and have been dying to watch. I just needed a reason.
I have been a little obsessed with LARPing ever since I first saw the battling knights on the mezzanine terrace at Comic-Con five years ago. There is nothing better than taking a much needed snack break outside of the convention center, resting one’s tired feet, to the sounds of battle. Sword hitting shield. It’s awesome.
Then, I came across the wonderful documentary Darkon, which profiles a group of LARPers who participate in the massive LARPing game Darkon. If you haven’t seen this documentary, I highly recommend it. Finally, I have been anticipating the release of the movie Knights of Badassdom, which stars Ryan Kwanten (Jason Stackhouse of True Blood), Summer Glau (of Firefly) and ….wait for it….PETER DINKLAGE (Tyrion, duh) as LARPers who have to fight demonic forces. Actually, check out the trailer (I just re-watched it). THERE ARE A TON OF AWESOME FOLKS IN THIS MOVIE! WHEN IS IT COMING OUT? I WANT MY DINKLAGE!!!(I think it was supposed to come out last year, but still hasn’t!). Here’s the trailer I saw at Comic-Con ’11:
Ok, back on task. As you can see, this Inspired Adventure was a win-win for me. So, I set off to Morley Field around 2 pm on Sunday, excited to get a LARPing fix.
As soon as I first took my seat under a shady tree, I started picking up on the rules of the game and the characters involved. Apparently, there were two teams: Team Carl and Team Pokey (?), comprised of a rag tag bunch of players in full gear and players in street clothes. All bore either a two-handed foam weapon or a one-handed weapon with a shield. Also, all were men. Once the game started, the dudes would attack, balls to the wall, scrapping against each other with their foam weapons. Ahhh the sounds of battle:
“Are you dead?”
“I died a while ago.”
Across the field: “Is Elias dead?”
“I said, I died a while ago!”
Apparently, when one fighter receives a mortal wound (presumably a hit to the head, back, or chest), they drop to a knee, count slowly to five, and then it’s game on again. Extra lives, just like in Zelda!
One fighter stood out, a cocky dude with a two-handed weapon, called “Exile”. He was barefoot, wearing some sort of drapey, homemade pants, and he clearly loved to battle and enjoyed an audience. In fighting with the newbs (the guys in street clothes), he would command, in obvious irritation, “Hit harder!”. There was never any question when he was out of the fight, because he would yell out “Exile’s dead!”. Thus, why I knew his name.
I think Exile was the Boromir of the crew.
After this somewhat disorganized melee, the group took a short water break, and then the real battle began.
All of the fighters took to the field and then split into two groups: the experienced and the inexperienced. It was now time for real battle! I imagined the Pelennor Fields…
Great was the clash of their meeting…
But, the white fury of the Northmen burned the hotter, and more skilled was their knighthood with long spears and bitter. Fewer were they but they clove through the Southrons like a fire-bolt in the forest.
And behold! There were two Eowyns amongst the ranks of Northern men:
And now the fighting waxed furious on the fields of the Pelennor; and the din of arms rose upon high, with the crying of men and the neighing of horses.
And in that hour the great Battle of the field of Gondor was over; and not one living foe was left within the circuit of the Rammas. All were slain save those who fled to die, or to drown in the red foam of the River.
And now, it was the fighters’ water break, and I decided to depart (I felt a little shy watching them and taking pictures. Plus, I was almost hit by a thrown spear). So, I returned to the car. As I walked, I thought about how much fun those LARPers were having…and how much exercise they were getting. It seems to me that LARPing is a way better form of recreation than hitting the gym! I think these guys are onto something…
Once I got to the car, I got one more LoTR fantasy: my own personal Legolas: