DOKSY (Czech Republic), Europe – A BLACK-CLAD goblin lets out a piercing roar and two lines of fighters pour into a shallow ravine, thrusting spears and waving axes. It looks violent but take a closer look and the axe-blades are made of carpet and the spears and arrows have soft tips.
In fact, the clash is a re-enactment of the Battle of Five Armies, the climax of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novel The Hobbit. The battle pits men, elves and dwarves against goblins and wargs – evil, wolf-like creatures. It has become an annual tradition staged each spring on a lakeside in the north of the country.
‘We have 805 people here now,’ said Vojtech Ovecka, a 30-year-old sales manager dressed as Gandalf, the wizard from Tolkien’s books, as the armies gather to the astonished looks of bikers passing by.
Over the twelve years since it started as a game for boy scouts, the course of the battle has diverged from the action detailed in The Hobbit – a prequel to the Lord of the Rings saga. But few fans care as they walk to the battlefield in a pine forest.
‘It’s the atmosphere that I look for in these battles, when I see people in fantasy costumes playing their roles,’ says Lukas Kopecky aka Alweron, the head organiser of this year’s battle. ‘And then of course the fight. For me, it’s a physical activity that I enjoy,’ adds the 22-year-old university student from Prague.
In the romantic countryside near the ruins of a castle about 100km north of Prague, the participants fight for the treasure of the Dragon Smaug. ‘It goes to those who win the final battle. To achieve this, you have to win smaller battles during the day to gain lives which you invest in the final battle,’ said Alweron. — AFP
Pictures Source: AFP via Straits Times