Then the WOW! factor kicked in with the arrival of pictures from Edoras, finally completed. Way up in the high country of the central South Island, these sets were built to stand rain, snow, and wild winter storms. Late in August there were casting calls for extras around the central South Island.
We got a look at Aragorn in action, finally:
And we got a description of Sauron from a fly on the wall who saw him sitting in a chair in black armour, full-face helmet, spikes, smoke .it was a scene with a pile of bodies and a whole lot of shouting men and elves. No telling whether it was Sauron as he appears in the Third Age (in which case his being visible is a bit controversial) or a flashback to Sauron in the past.
September brought some beautiful shots filmed at Mavora Lake, with some figures setting out on a delicate-looking craft amid high dark hills and silver water.
A tiny local paper, the Porirua News, got one of the best shots of an orc army after some fairly bizarre manouvres between them and the set security.
The bones of Minas Tirith began to rise around the walls of what had been Helms Deep, over at the quarry, with new walls and domed turrets being added.
In October we heard about a new set being near the Poolburn Dam, in a VERY beautiful and remote area of the South Island, the Ida Valley. A village set is being constructed there and the locals have been sworn to secrecy about it. And we still dont know either!
And that, folks, is where the year has taken us.
For pictures and a quick introduction to the cast, both in and out of character, there are two more pages for you to see below:
There's a nice set of pics of the cast with quick sentence on each one from Xoanon here.
Check out the Vanity Fair's "The Hobbits are Coming!" for wonderful images of the cast in costume: