Hobbiton – click any image for full size
“Mae govannen! So good to have you here with us!” Zephira (Gidgette Adagio) greeted as Caitlyn and I explored her homestead region, Hobbiton. “I must confess, I am still working on texture terrain in Region details. I am a noob to this, but have wanted to do this for a long time and finally got the courage to try!”
Truth be told, Zephira undersells herself. Hobbiton is a picturesque region beautifully brought together and welcoming to visitors. Inspired by Tolkien’s Middle Earth, it contains many touches and nods towards his tales without actually being specifically placed with a single realm of Middle Earth. So it is that Hobbit holes sit alongside (and beneath!) wizard’s towers while the houses of Big Folk can be found amidst the green, rolling landscape I have little doubt Tolkien would regard as being a slice of Middle Earth were he able to see it.
This is a place of delight and natural beauty, full of little touches which make careful exploration a must. Light role-play is allowed (but not required) and the region is home to one or two people – so don’t be surprised if you bump into locals who are in character. As well as Zephira, we had the pleasure of bumping into Robin Brandybuck, a second cousin (once removed) to the famous Meriadoc Brandybuck!
Visitors are advised to use the region’s default windlight when exploring, and this casts the landscape into the shadows of evening, giving it an added air of mystery. However, such is Zephira’s design, it is well suited to a range of windlight settings, and for the purposes of the images here, I used one of my preferred pre-sets.
There is no set path for exploration – simply follow wherever your feet take you. As the region is home to some, there are one or two places that are off-limits to visitors, but the majority of the land is open to wandering, whilst there are also several places where visitors can simple sit and observe the comings and goings of others.
Some of the highlights of the region are easy to find: the wizard’s towers, the Hobbit holes, the follies, and so on. However, when wandering, keep an eye out for all the little touches which both bring the landscape to life and reflect the tales which inspired it.
For example, Smeagol can be found in one direction, hunched on a rock and wearing his Gollum face. Elsewhere a walk through the more wooded parts of the region might lead to an encounter with an Ent or two – although at least one (Treebeard himself?) – can easily be missed if you hurry by too quickly. Elsewhere, a little mine reminds us that Middle Earth is the home to Dwarves as well, while a dragon stands watch on a rocky peak, and – across the waters – a single Eye stares out from the high tower of Barad-dûr.
Hobbiton makes for a delightful visit. My thanks to my region spotter, Shakespeare, for passing on word about it, and thanks from both Caitlyn and I to Zaphira for both sharing her vision with Second Life explorers, and for the warm greeting and time spent with us during our visit.
Hobbiton (Thunder Dragon Island, rated: Moderate)