What Would You Choose?

I was wasting time on pinterest the other day (a site I usually find to be a little overwhelming with the excess of wedding planning ideas that get pinned) when I ran across a pin that basically said you find yourself in front of 7 doors. They lead to Wonderland, Neverland, Hogwarts, Narnia, Middle-earth, Westeros and Camelot. Which do you choose and why?

Which got me thinking, which one would I choose?

Neverland was kicked out immediately. I’ve never read the book, the Disney movie is not my favorite, and as entertaining a movie as Hook is…meh. That story has never really ignited my imagination.


Camelot was the next to go. While I love most of the Arthurian fiction that I’ve read (particular favorites are the Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell and The Camulod Chronicles by Jack Whyte), I wouldn’t want to visit. Arthurian times were pretty brutal and, if you were a woman, pretty boring. The two main females in Arthurian stories are Morgan Le Fay, evil and devious, and Guinevere, who brought about the ruin of Camelot with her relationship with Lancelot. The clothes were cool though.


Next out, Wonderland. I like both the Disney version and the recent Tim Burton version. And the books were pleasantly weird and full of nonsense. But actually visit Wonderland? Could be kind of dangerous.


And then, Westeros. George R. R. Martin’s series is set in what is essentially the medieval era. Except with dangerous and deadly fantastical creatures like dragons and the Others thrown in just for fun. The series is amazing but this is one land I would not want to visit, especially since statistically I would end up as one of the nameless peasants, only entering the story to be raped, beaten, and/or murdered.


So I’m left with three choices now: Hogwarts, Narnia, and Middle-earth.

I’ve written how I feel about Harry Potter before. It’s a hopelessly insulated world and while Hogwarts might be a lovely place to go visit, there are better choices available here.


The next one was a bit of a struggle for me but it would have to be Narnia that’s cut out. The books make it clear that Narnia is a beautiful place with talking animals and a majestic Lion for a King. And the movies are set in New Zealand and eastern Europe with some of the most lovely landscapes I’ve ever seen on film. I think what made me decide ultimately against Narnia is that we have seen the entire history of Narnia already. And given the choice, there’s somewhere I’d rather be.


And the winner is…Middle-earth! Although, if I’m honest, there never was much of a competition here. To visit the Shire, Gondor, Rohan, Rivendell, and Lothlorien? That would be perfection. The movies have become so entwined with the books in my mind too that visiting Middle-earth would be like visiting New Zealand and I’ve been wanting to do that for the past decade.


So what about you? Which door would you go through?


Fantastical Places: Part 3

This will be the last post on fantasy locations for a bit. Or at least until I find somewhere else to write about. (I could always gush about New Zealand I suppose, but I do try to keep my obsessions under control. Sometimes.)

If you’re anything like me, you’ve most likely wanted to live in a palace or a cottage just like the ones mentioned in fairytales and stories. Well, we’re not the only ones. There is a whole style of architecture called, appropriately enough, storybook style.

Chaplin Court

Homes built in the storybook style might be castles or cottages. Most seem to have been built in the 1920’s and 1930’s. They are always unique and easy to distinguish from any other type of house or building.

Storybook Cottage

All the pictures and info I’ve used here came from Storybookers.com, which is a great website that gives far more information than I have about what constitutes storybook style. It also has further reading suggestions, galleries of some of the houses, and links to storybook style buildings.

I suppose the best word to describe this all would be: Charming.

Bogart House

Fantastical Places: Part 2

The last post was about New Zealand exclusively. This post will mention a few more places.

The Soca River in Slovenia provided a fairytale-like beauty for Prince Caspian.

Besides New Zealand, The Chronicles of Narnia also did some filming in Bovec, Slovenia. It was here that the bridge was built by Telmarines and subsequently destroyed by the Narnian forces.

Many of the London scenes were actually filmed in Prague and most of the forest scenes from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe were filmed nearby in the Adrspach National Park.

Lucy Pevensie may have just entered Narnia, but Georgie Henley is most likely in the Czech Republic.

Another favorite place for fantasy/sci-fi locations is British Columbia. Not only do they have some great incentives for film makers, they also have really gorgeous surroundings!

All kinds of movies and TV shows have been filmed (or are being filmed) in the Vancouver and British Columbia area. The X-Men trilogy as well as the Origins: Wolverine movie were filmed in British Columbia. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was filmed nearby. Two of my favorite TV shows also call(ed) the area home: Dark Angel and Once Upon a Time.

Hatley Castle in British Columbia- also known as Professor X's School for the Gifted in the X-Men movies.

And finally, a little bit closer to my home, Atlanta! Atlanta has really been growing as a location for shooting movies and TV shows because we have begun offering some really great incentives as well. Zombieland filmed here a few years ago and the TV show The Walking Dead films here as well. An Atlanta company called Giant Studios was instrumental in the technology behind the motion capture system used for Gollum.

Bill Murray's house in Zombieland. It's also a private residence in the Atlanta area.

This is only a small sampling or films and locations, obviously. Chicago and New York both played host to Batman and Spiderman, respectively. Ireland and Malta were among some of the gorgeous locations used in the Game of Thrones series. And, according to Troll Hunter, Norway is overrun with trolls.

Location finders must have really amazing jobs!

Fantastical Places

I recently wrote a post about food in fantasy made real. Now I think I’ll write about fantasy places made real. This will most likely end up as multiple posts since today I’ll just be talking about New Zealand.

Hobbiton- or a sheep farm in Matamata

I love New Zealand. Actually, a more appropriate word is obsessed. If you ever speak to me, New Zealand will most likely come up in conversation somehow. I’ll find a way to work it in. But ever since seeing the beauty of the country in the Lord of the Rings movies, I’ve known I had to go there.

Lord of the Rings is now, of course, what most people think of when talking about New Zealand. And they have fully embraced their status as Middle Earth. The official tourism website of New Zealand has a special section dedicated to tours, itineraries and locations based on the movies. With the release of The Hobbit next year, that list will most likely grow.

But¬†New Zealand is not only the Lord of the Rings‘ physical home. The country also served for various locations in the recent Chronicles of Narnia movies.

Look familiar? The Pevensie children entered Narnia through this passage in Prince Caspian; it's also known as Cathedral Cove.

Peter Jackson, who is a New Zealander by birth, has filmed most of his other movies there, including King Kong. (anything on Skull Island is all New Zealand- with a few enhancements!)

Whale Rider is another well known movie filmed entirely in New Zealand.

A young Maori girl attempts to gain her grandfather's respect.

And finally, one of my favorites, The Price of Milk.


Will I be going to New Zealand? Absolutely. I’m just saving money for a plane ticket and then it’s simply a matter of deciding the best time to go and narrowing down what I want to see into a period of about three weeks.

I can’t wait!