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New Zealand Blog 5: The Magical Places

 Written by    May 24, 2018

Just know this: Gimli is a dwarf and Galadriel is an elf – a very powerful elf – and dwarves and elves historically are not friends. Lothlórien is where Galadriel lives, and in “The Fellowship of the Ring”, Gimli meets Galadriel there when the fellowship takes a pitstop.

Now. Let’s get into it.

“There are no trees like the trees of that land. For in the autumn their leaves fall not, but turn to gold.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, in the voice of Legolas, speaking of Lothlórien

There’s a beautiful scene in “The Fellowship of the Ring” where Gimli and Galadriel speak of bridging the gaps between the races of dwarf and elf. It takes place in Lothlórien, one of the most gorgeous places in Middle Earth: ethereal, full of light, and everlasting. Following this is the cessation of Gimli and Legolas’s fighting – which is actually totally hilarious in the movie – and in general, smoother relationships throughout the Fellowship.

The climax of the scene is when Galadriel presents everyone with going-away gifts. The rest of the fellowship get gold and silver belts and magic nuts and coveted phials. Gimli, however, overwhelmed by his love for Galadriel, requests a strand of her hair. That’s when it starts getting creepy. But up until then, you see this wonderful forging of an unlikely relationship. While caught in the noisiness and impending doom hovering around Middle Earth, two races create a bond to carry them through the trying times, a bond forged despite a history of ardent rage and hatred. And it all happened in Lothlórien!

In retrospect, my expectations of our weekend trip down to Queenstown were similar to those of Lothlórien. I was told that Queenstown was one of the most luscious and breathtaking places in this world. And when our plane began its descent and the ranges of snow-capped mountains came into the scene, my breath hiccupped for a moment in awe.

We just spent a weekend there. But I wanted to soak up as much of it as I could. Looking back on the trip, I think I’d also say the weekend was a turning point in me becoming much closer with the people on my trip. Which is why it’s similar to Lothlórien – achingly beautiful and makes great bonds. Heck yeah!

The majority of what I did:

  • Dinner at an Indian place with two of the guys on my trip! Good bonding.
  • BUNGY JUMPING with three girls on my trip. Good bonding!
  • Hiking with two of the same girls. Bonding! You get the idea.
  • Went for a drive through the mountains and saw where the Misty Mountains from LoTR were filmed. (!!!)
  • A trip down to Milford Sound.
  • More food gatherings.

Jumped off this!

Did not jump off this.

Milford Sound

Queenstown was like a little vacation within our study abroad. It was adventurous and different. It was fun. It was fun partially because I could let myself psychologically relax – it felt as though I had gotten to the point of being more comfortable with people I was traveling with. I hardly talked to anyone the first few days of the trip, and now I think I’d be comfortable texting anyone on the trip and asking them to hang out.

We’re actually all quite different. None of us knew each other before coming and probably had our preconceived notions – LIKE GIMLI AND LEGOLAS – but it’s nice to see a new perspective, get out of your bubble, beat your own expectations, etc., etc. Maybe not beat your expectations, but sidestep them, taking a different path from what you’re used to. It leads to a little more excitement and a little more closeness.

Study Abroad


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