Lord of the Rings meets Visby Medieval Week

The Medieval Week on the island of Gotland is back in full swing for its 31st year, with fire shows, Vikings and a behind the scenes look at the Lord of the Rings. The Local's Isabela Vrba finds out more.

Lord of the Rings meets Visby Medieval Week
Sting - the sword of Frodo Baggins, and its creator Peter Lyon. Photo: Gotland Museum
The popular re-enactment festival, held in Visby, is the second biggest tourist attraction on Gotland, right after Almedalen political week. It gathers around 40,000 visitors and a many a medieval enthusiast dressed in character.
One of the highlights this year has been the visit from the Lord of the Rings swordsmith, Peter Lyon. The New Zealander is the man who brought Tolkien's mythological world to reality and is bringing the audience behind the scenes of the famous franchise.
"It may be childish but I'm very excited about seeing Aragorn's sword," organizer Björn Sundberg told The Local. 
Lyon was the mastermind behind most of the weapons from both The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit films, Sundberg explained. Even Frodo Baggins' sword – Sting – is on display for eager fans. 
The kiwi's first lecture was a crowd favourite and drew in almost 200 enthusiasts, with his next scheduled for Thursday at the Gotland museum.
Photo: Marie-Anne Björkman
Sundberg added that there was a lot more on offer than just jousting, parades, lectures and a raucous medieval market.
"Each year is different, but what I think stands out the most this year is that we are having more and bigger performances," he explained. "Famous medieval artists like Poeta Magica, who has been coming here for 25 years, and Krabat, will be performing each other's songs together."
Another expected hit will come in the form of Girls on Fire, a group of female fire performers together with medieval musicians. 
But swords and fire aside, Sundberg said his favourite part was the participants.
Photo: Marie-Anne Björkman
"What I mostly like about Medieval Week is meeting new people, but also seeing familiar faces," he said. "Even if I have only worked here for three years, I enjoy seeing people who have been coming for about 15 years. It is fun seeing people coming together with common interests."
"Our idea is to make history accessible and simple to understand for everyone," Sundberg added. "That's why we are having more lectures this year."
For visitors interested, several topics are on offer from renaissance food during Gustav Vasa's time to exploring female warriors.
Medieval Week will go on until Sunday, August 10th. Click here to check their website for more information in English, German, and Swedish. 
Isabela Vrba/The Local

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