The Mists of Mount Doom: J.R.R. Tolkien’s New Zealand

By Alan McMonagle

It is a misty morning, just after six, one week to Christmas. There is a stinging bite from the cool morning air. An early bird gnaws worms, trapped in frozen ground. We stand around in clusters. Teeth chatter, bodies quiver, hands rub rapidly together. Gusts of foggy breath mingle with the morning haze. I zip up my cozy fleece purchased the evening before. Fionnuala kneads her swollen ankle damaged the previous week.

‘Look, look, it’s Gandalf,’ somebody calls out, and through the swirling fog materializes a tall slender man with a white speckled beard. Our transport ha...

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