December 1, 2000
Dispatch from the
Council of Elrond
When I first walked into Rivendell, I gasped. It was like being inside a huge, three-dimensional Lee painting; the sort of thrill that movie theme parks aim for. The largest of the Wellington studios had grown an autumnal forest glade of large fibreglass trunks and tangled canvas roots; a Japanese-style bridge spanned the electrified waterfall splashing into a pool. On the steel catwalk that supports the lights, an effects person was ready with a bag of leaves to trickle down during shooting.
The Elves' headquarters grew out of the vegetation, slim wooden pillars supporting walkways above open spaces and shaded arcades. The rooms had no outer walls so it wasn't easy to sense where the buildings gave way to the gardens. One upper-level gallery had four original Alan Lee landscapes that he had painted especially for his favourite set: and I wondered whose walls they would end up on.