J.R.R. Tolkien fans in the Czech Republic don’t limit themselves to reading about the great battles of Middle Earth: They live them.
Armies of around 1,000 'dwarves', 'elves' and 'orcs' - as well as human warriors - clashed in a forest near the Czech town of Doksy, 80km north of Prague on Saturday (June 15) in a re-enactment of a battle from fantasy novel 'The Hobbit'.
The weapons are foam or plastic tipped so there aren't many injuries, but a player will fall occasionally after a particularly hard hit.
Although inspired by well-known stories from Middle-earth, the results of battles at the event are not predetermined, and on several occasions, the evil side has actually won. Instead, organizers declare a new victor each year based on accumulated small victories or the completion of different tasks (for instance "securing strategically important ford”)
Dressed as goblins, wargs, elves, dwarves, and the men of Dale, this year’s competitors formed alliances, hurled insults, and engaged in real skirmishes with homemade foam-tipped weapons. Warriors spent weeks building their weapons and designing their costumes, producing shining armor, swords, and goblin prosthetics to rival those in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films.