By Charly SHELTON
A dragon has been spotted in Los Angeles. A firedrake from the north, the dragon Smaug has landed for the first time at Los Angeles International Airport amidst cheers from press and fans alike. On hand to greet the mighty dragon were Sir Peter Jackson, writer/director of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies of Middle-earth stories, as well as Dean O’Gorman and Aidan Turner who play Fili and Kili, respectively, in The Hobbit films. The mighty dragon sat perched atop his bed of gold as Sir Jackson and his colleagues got right up near his head to take a picture.
Some might say, “One does not simply get that close to a dragon.” Luckily it wasn’t a real dragon. Air New Zealand has wrapped one of its Boeing 777 jets with the likeness of the dragon Smaug to commemorate the release of the second film in The Hobbit saga, “The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug.”
Along with the new plane, there are amenities on board the plane to make even the most disagreeable Orc feel right at home. From Hobbit-style food on the in-flight menu to a Middle-earth preflight safety video to enchanted elven socks and dragon eye sleep masks, you will be whisked away on “The Airline of Middle-earth” and in a journey of only one night, you will wake up at the base of the Misty Mountains in Auckland, New Zealand.
“We’ve been big fans of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films for some time and, given that they are produced by Sir Peter Jackson, a famous New Zealander and in New Zealand,” said Christopher Luxon, CEO of Air New Zealand, “we just think it’s entirely appropriate that Air New Zealand, the national carrier of the country, should be fully involved in celebrating all things Middle-earth.”
When in New Zealand, the premiere Tolkeinian attraction is Hobbiton – hometown of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins – among many other hobbits. The indoor/outdoor sets used in the films have been left as a permanent addition to the countryside where fans can come to visit and live a day as a hobbit would, complete with second breakfasts and Elevenses and all.
The new Air New Zealand Smaug plane will join a fleet of planes departing from LAX and heading for Auckland daily. For more information, visit Air New Zealand’s website where you can also book your Middle-earth experience getaway.