Romancing Middle-earth

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Two Lord of The Rings fanatics who fell in love at a comic book convention - one dressed as Legolas, the other as Eowyn (Nadine Palmer - pictured) - are raising money for a pilgrimage to Middle Earth. Photo / Supplied
Two Lord of The Rings fanatics who fell in love at a comic book convention - one dressed as Legolas, the other as Eowyn (Nadine Palmer - pictured) - are raising money for a pilgrimage to Middle Earth. Photo / Supplied

Their eyes met across a room crowded with large, pointy ears.

And now a United States couple who met and fell in love while dressed as characters from The Lord of the Rings are dreaming of a trip to Middle-earth.

Chris Herzberg and Nadine Palmer, of Augusta in Georgia, met at a comic book convention in 2004. He was dressed as Legolas and she Eowyn from the film trilogy.

Speaking from the US, Mr Herzberg told the Herald they both knew there was a special connection the instant they saw each other.

"We hit it right off the bat because we were both dressed in costumes. We talked and found that we had a lot in common."

He said he may not have met his girlfriend had it not been for advice he was given days before.

"My older sister said to me, 'Chris, you look a lot like Orlando Bloom. You should dress up as Legolas'. So I did ... that's how we met."

Over the next few months the pair stayed connected via email and eventually established a long-distance relationship on the internet.

The couple now live in the state of Georgia, where Mr Herzberg is a middle school teacher at a private school and Ms Palmer is a freelance graphic artist and costume designer. She makes all their costumes.

Mr Herzberg has used The Hobbit when teaching his 12- and 13-year-old students for the past three years and is now known as "the Hobbit teacher".

"As soon as I became a middle school teacher, I decided to share my love of Tolkien with future generations. I lost a student to a tragic accident this past year and it was The Hobbit that brought the students out of the sadness," he said.

Mr Herzberg admitted, though, that he had not told them about his hobby outside of school.

"They don't know about the costumes - nor do any of the teachers. I don't want them to freak out," he laughed.

The couple are big fans of all the J.R.R. Tolkien books and films made by Sir Peter Jackson; and are desperate to visit the place where all the magic was created.

"We really want to visit Middle-earth - Wellington - and of course Hobbiton, that's a given," Ms Palmer said.

"But we'd also like to see the rest of the country. We just want to go backpacking and rent a car and just go everywhere. It's such a beautiful country, we want to see it all."

The couple are planning their big trip down under - dubbed "An unexpected journey long overdue" - and have set up a page on the fundraising website gofundme - www.gofundme.com/elvestonz - to raise funds.

- NZ Herald

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