(pic from my previous post, Slashdot| A Dicebag of Dungeons and Dragons Documentaries)
"In 2002, it was quite a juicy news item when, during the national census, Russians had learned that there were elves and hobbits living among them (that was the first year Russians were allowed to pencil in their ethnicity rather than choose the most appropriate option from the official list). In reality, however, elves, orcs, and hobbits had lived alongside ordinary Russians for more than a decade by then. Since the early 1990s, Russian fans of J.R.R. Tolkien have been bringing their idol’s books a step closer to reality by living them out.
In the summer, woods around Moscow, as well as Moscow’s biggest parks often teem with people who look like they’ve just walked off the set of “Lord of the Rings” - swords, armor, the works. The parks and gardens — which, for those in the know, have their own names in elven tongue — serve as grounds for role-playing and acting out the scenes from Tolkien originals as well as Tolkien-based fan fiction.
Tolkienists, as they are known, put a lot of effort into researching character family trees and life stories, learning the languages in the books, writing their own spin-offs of traditional stories, writing music, organizing games and conventions, as well as learning crafts such as armor-making. The books that make up the bulk of the Tolkien canon — The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion — provide plenty of material." (full article at the link)
That would be fun to see, especially if someone gets an arm lopped off. Man, I read the LotR trilogy 19 times in high school alone, but I'm nowhere near as hard-core as these peeps.
Best quote from the article? Has to be this:
Tibalt also emphasizes the positive influence of the culture on his life — his Tolkien obsession has encouraged him to write poetry and songs. “My mother likes that this is what I’m doing, rather than drinking beer out in the street.”(orc'd from kottke)