Clothes Make the Elf

Unlike “Star Trek” (which is real, of course), “The Lord of the Rings” has inspired many a fantasy costume since J.R.R. Tolkien’s mythic

saga was first published in 1954. During the ‘60s, there was even an attempt by the Beatles to film “LOTR” starring John Lennon as Gollum, George Harrison as the wizard Gandalf, Paul McCartney as Frodo and Ringo Starr as Frodo’s sidekick Sam. Decades later, Peter Jackson secured the movie rights, and the rest is history, or rather, fantasy. “The One Ring Celebration” last month at the Pasadena Center gave fans the opportunity to dress as hobbits, wizards, orcs and dwarves, with no fear of being institutionalized.


Caitlin Kagawa


16, Student,

Huntington Beach

How did you become a “Lord of the Rings” fan?

My mom made my brother and me read “The Hobbit” for a book report. By the end of sixth grade I was knee-deep in the other books.

My friends and I are deep in the fan base on the Internet. We write stories.

You write your own “LOTR” stories? About what?

Things in the appendix and fleeting parts of the books.

What character are you dressed as?

Aragorn. It’s taken me two years to complete this costume. I learned how to make the leather from the Society of Creative Anachronism.

Who is your favorite character?

Aragorn. He was the lost heir to the kingdom. He was raised by the elves.

How far does your “LOTR” devotion go?

I want to get a “LOTR” tattoo on

my back. I learned to speak Elven. “Mae Govannen.” It’s a greeting.

Give us a line in character.

“Sons of Gondor, of Rohan,

my brothers!”


Barbara Ring

44, Librarian

Katherine Ring

40, Teledyne Buyer

Brenna Ring

44, Librarian,

San Diego

Which characters are you?

We are the Brandybuck sisters [hobbits]. We’re not in the book. We’re based on the Tolkien universe. We like mushrooms, we tend to be homebodies, we tend to be late, we want to have a good time.

Are you hobbitlike in real life?

Katherine: I personally don’t like mushrooms.

Barbara: Male hobbits smoke. We don’t know if female hobbits smoke.

Your favorite “LOTR” character?

[All three]: Frodo!

Are “LOTR” fans different from “Star Trek” fans?

Brenna: We are fans of both. Our mother introduced us to “Star Trek.”

Katherine: She was going to science fiction conventions in the ‘50s.

Why do people love fictional worlds?

Barbara: In the ‘70s a lot of people felt alienated because they were the geeks. The science fiction fan universe was very accepting.


Jay Smith

50, Primary Care Giver,


How did you become a fan?

Friends told me of the book when

I was quite young and I became fascinated with it. But I’m not an expert. I just look good in the outfit.

What character are you dressed as?

Gandalf [the wizard]. I also do Father Christmas at corporate events and private parties.

Why Gandalf?

Well, I knew I was going to end up over 6 feet tall when I was a little kid, so I thought, “Forget hobbits.”

What other hobbies do you have?

I write, I sing, I read poetry. I have a voice that [makes] people say, “Here, read the phone book to me!”

How is today’s world like Middle Earth?

We’re in the middle of a horrific war, and unfortunately we are going to have to dig ourselves out.

Your favorite “LOTR” group?

Ents [the Tree characters] because they take their sweet time. They take sooooo looong to dooooo anyyyyythingggg. But they don’t make mistakes.


Caitlin Shindler

23, Graduate Student,

San Diego

What “LOTR” character are you dressed as?

I am Arwen. She’s an elf who gives up her immortality to be with her human lover, Aragorn.

Your favorite “LOTR” group?

Elves. They have beautiful, flowing costumes in gorgeous colors and rich fabrics. The men too, not just the women. I’m a grad student in biology at UC San Diego. In my spare time I make costumes.

What’s the difference between a “Star Trek” fan and a “LOTR” fan?

A lot of sci-fi fans are in it for the cool technology stuff. Sci-fi is futuristic, fantasy often goes back to the past.

What character are you most like?

Probably one of the hobbits. Hobbits are down to earth and happy and interested in eating good food and having fun.

If the “one ring” is a metaphor, what is it?

The ring taps into something in everyone, the desire for power. The hobbits resist it the longest because they are the simplest and happiest.