Movie Feature

'Hobbit' fan Isabelle Wong's unexpected journey

By Yong Jing YiMovies - 15 December 2014 5:44 PM | Updated 10:13 AM

'Hobbit' fan Isabelle Wong's unexpected journey

Many are familiar with the movie series revolving around the characters that inhabit Middle-earth.

As the series come to an end with ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ – it opens 18 December – there was a one-off opportunity for fans from around the world to visit the places where the movies were made.

The worldwide winners of The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest

Diehard fan Isabelle Wong was the only Singaporean among the 75 winners handpicked from 140,000 participants worldwide to go on the trip, which took place 2 to 6 November.

The winners visited Hobbiton, the now-famous location and movie set in Matamata, New Zealand, and the place where the crew shot Rivendell (Kaitoke Regional Park), where Frodo first met Faramir and Sam (Twelve Mile Delta), and the filming venue of the Air New Zealand video.

READ MORE: Middle-earth locations to visit in New Zealand

Hobbiton, Matamata, New Zealand

Wong, a 20-year-old student, told inSing: “I wanted to scream in ecstasy. Standing exactly where they shot the movie was amazing. Even the hobbit hole is real. I went in and stood at the door where Bilbo stood.”

She also met Peter Jackson, Jed Brophy who plays Nori the dwarf, and Stephen Hunter, who plays another dwarf Bombur. “They surprised us at the Hobbiton and stayed with us as we watched the second trailer of ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’. It was so cool,” Wong gushed.

Recalling how she won the all-expenses paid trip, she said: “I chanced upon the contest when I was browsing through YouTube and Twitter for cast interviews. I got all panicky when I realised it was just two days right before the video submission deadline; I was very busy with school stuff then.”

Contestants had to upload a two-minute video after liking the official Facebook and Twitter page of the movie to gain “coins” for the contest.

Wong said: “I went to see what others did. Many just wore The Hobbit costumes and talked about why they wanted to be there, so I did something different. I did a story.”


“I chose a storyline from ‘The Desolation of Smaug’where Bilbo was chased by the dragon. You don’t know what happened after Bilbo goes back to the Hobbiton, so I took it from there. I added scenes from ‘The Unexpected Journey’ when he was writing to Frodo. The final minute (of the footage) was on why I am the biggest hobbit fan.”

To some, the contest was probably just more hype for ‘The Hobbit’, but it was obviously not the case for Wong.

She mentioned that ‘The Hobbit’ has shaped her as a person after she became a fan 10 years ago when she first read the books by JRR Tolkien. She also caught the first ‘Lord of the Rings’ movie at the old Shaw cinema.

When asked to describe how big a fan she was, Wong exclaimed without hesitation, “I watched all the movies so many times, even the extended version, I can read the actors’ lines. The books as well – I’ve memorised the exact scenes on the particular pages.


“Apart from the story plot that I really love, I feel that the Hobbit series is (like an) adaptation of my own life. I relate a lot to Bilbo Baggins. Like him, I am also embarking on an unexpected journey of meeting new people and going on adventures, growing to be a better person through life experiences,” she said.

Talking about the new friends she made on the New Zealand trip, she said: “It was great as we share the same interests and ideas; we are going to exchange Christmas presents this year.”

Wong's Hobbit collection of 10 years 'LOTR' and 'The Hobbit' merchandise

Wong has some prized possessions that she collected, such as a replica Ring of Power from the 'Lord of the Rings' film, a flag with Peter Jackson's signature, a ‘Hobbit’-themed birthday card, and a set of Hobbit ears and socks, among many others.

“It quite sad that the series is coming to an end, but in the fans’ hearts, it will never end.”

‘The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies’ opens 18 December 2014

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The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
  • The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies

  • Rated
    PG13 /
    Adventure, Fantasy
  • Language
  • (6 Reviews)