Viking replicas in Rohan- Its all Kia’s Fault!
After seeing Kia’s awesome attempts over at CSTM at making some items from LOTRO, I thought I’d go ahead and add some of the items I have made over the years. These were all made as part of a 850-1000AD reenactment group (Viking era) which I have done for 13-4 years. We are currently on a short break from reenacting as mud huts, open fires, blades, and dirt and small babies do mix very well, but in a year or two when he’s bigger we hope to do some again as it is a great atmosphere for kids to learn and experience things, and friends whose children have been brought up in this atmosphere have benefitted massively from it.
So without further ado:
This is a viking helmet I made about 6 years ago, it is based on the helmet bowls found at York and also Valsegarde in Sweden, with the Eye/Eyebrow design from a 10th century helmet fragment found at Tjele in Denmark. Not only does it look awesome on a Viking, it would look fantastic on a Rohirrim Warrior, and seeing this really makes you realise how much the LOTR films borrowed from Viking/Saxon Culture for the Rohirrim in their film and object design!
A set of Viking women’s shoe/slippers made of calf skin, with a cow hide sole. Made jointly by myself and Emma. As cool as the knee-high boots we see in films are, in the real early medieval period such tall boots were not known until about 1350AD, so no Saxons, Viking or Normans in them I’m afraid. Realistically most the average people in Tolkien’s world would probably wear footwear similar to this.
This is me (right) and a cousin of Emma’s (left) doing some training. The shield is one I made myself from Limewood, a common wood used for making shields, which smells wonderful and floral when cut! It is faced in leather for strength, and the edge is bound in rawhide. The shield boss I hand beat cold from a disc of steel, and the design is the White Hart of Christ defeating the world serpent. I am not christian myself, but too many vikings play pagan personas, whereas by the 10th century many were converting to christianity which I thought it would be nice to portray. The design itself is taken from a viking carved stone from Gosforth, in my home county of Cumbria (sadly made famous by the recent shootings). The clothing and other items are all made by myself and Emma to patterns and designs of the period, from Wool and Linens. This scene again could be taken straight from the West-Fold of Rohan, a Rohirrim warrior training his young son!
This is an Oak replica of a Viking bed found on the 9th century viking ship at Gokstad in Norway. It was a real labour of love, and now stands in our guest bedroom with a real mattress and sheets on, so if you are ever a guest at our house this is what you’ll stay in! The dragon heads are scaled down a little from the original so I could fit it in our viking tent, and indeed our house a little better, but the effect is still cool! I added another picture close up of the carvings I did on the heads as you can really see the Jelling/Borre style interlace and how strongly that effected the LOTR film makers again.
Here we have a Hnefatafl (If Merric or Goldenstar are reading this, then just thank god you don’t gotta try pronounce that!) Board made of Oak I made for a friend. It was beautiful when done and she played games on it with some bone pieces I made her and some glass opposing replica pieces she had made by a glass maker. just the sort of thing a Thegn of Rohan would play at his high table with his son to teach him the tactics of war!
This is the inside of a house we stopped in outside of York, we ‘adopted’ it for several years and were responsible for thatching and general maintenance. The banner on the wall was done by Emma in a late 9th-10th century style, though the story is actually a viking style re-telling of how we (the small group of friends we re-enacted with) met and formed the group. The atmosphere in the houses at night was very special, and as most of us were LOTR fans also, we all though this was definitely fitting of a Rohirrim Mead hall.
Our adopted house from the outside, would fit seamlessly next to Meduseld.
The banqueting hall is full of atmosphere as well. We have had up to 50 people in it, and you really get a sense of how it must have felt feasting with a lords hall, be it a Viking lords or Theoden!
And yes before you ask…. we have used this venue and the things we have made for a Bree fancy dress party! In 2006 we invited 20 of our close friends to the Prancing Pony for an evening of merriment and fun. There were all sorts of assorted costumes from Hobbits, and Men, to Elves and the Dwarves of the Iron Mountains. I myself went a Imrahil of Dol Amroth, but sadly we were so busy having fun we forgot largely to take lots of pictures, but I do have a couple to share with you!
A friend of ours at the time who we helped make an Aragorn costume, at some point in their life every LOTR fan should be allowed to do this pose in this costume, it is the most awesome thing ever!
The Common room at the pony, with the bar in the right foreground. A good friend of ours ran the bar for the evening, including ‘snacks’. (don’t ask)
And finally guess what Emma came as… At 5ft tall there was no camera trickery or scaling needed, and sure-fire proof that Emma’s dwarf altoholism pre-dates LOTRO itself: Emma came as a Dwarf: Oin Alottamoney (right) and her friend Dimli son of Gloinnotverybrightly (he did have to cheat and sew his shoes to his knees!)
…. And yes, we cannot wait until baby dwarf is big enough to start wearing costumes, he has already been to a fancy dress party as a viking baby: