Saturday, November 9, 2013

Harvestmath Series - Harvest Reveller

The theme from the 2012 Harvestmath Festival revolved around beer and pretzels. Other than the pretzel embroidery on the tunics and dresses, there were handheld items that fit in your weapon slots like silver been steins and giant pretzels (which is great for the RP community). I never knew why, so I did a little research using the two images in unison. Initially, all I could find was some obscure reference to board games called "Beer & Pretzels" and "Wiz-war" because the two items were traditionally consumed while playing them and then a Three Stooges 1933 short film called "Beer and Pretzels." Believe me, I sat there for ten minutes scratching my head and making faces at my monitor while thinking there's got to be more to this. It couldn't be more than a random choice, could it?

So, I tried to search for those images separately...and it worked. I actually think that the cosmetics introduced last year were actually a tribute to LOTRO's European players, the German ones in particular. I never realized that the pretzel had European origins, between Germany, France, and Italy. Out of all the historical texts I could find, most pointed towards a German origin. I had a chance to learn that the pretzel, in all it's shapes and designs, was an important aspect of German baking. It's used during religous traditions and multiple festivals, it's been used as a historical symbol of affection, and it's even been the emblem of bakers and guilds. And as for beer, I could find nothing other than Oktoberfest, which is celebrated for 16 days between the end of September and the first weekend of October. I don't know about Oktoberfest outside of Germany, as I've never been to one in the US, but only specific beers are allowed to be served at the celebration.

It's great to learn that sometimes what you find in the game actually has a direct outside influence. Another little cultural tidbit I encountered on the way, as I expanded my search to include Tolkien, was a reference to the late Margaret Carroux.  She was instrumental in translating The Lord of the Rings in German while working directly with Tolkien to accurately preserve his prose and stylings. With a substanital effort and encouragement from the professor during the late 1960s and early 1970s, she was able to complete the task.

Until last week, I never realized how deep the cultural influences are regarding Tolkien and the interpretation of his works. Funny how a post about an outfit became a bit of a history lesson, huh?

Although the festival is over, I might squeeze in another Harvestmath-related outfit or two.

Shoulders:  Enduring Westernesse Cloth Shoulderpads of Fate (White, world drop)**
Back: Summer Traveling Cloak (Red, Lithe Festival token reward)
Chest: Harvest-brew Long-sleeved Tunic and Trousers (Crimson, Harvestmath Festival token reward)

**Shares the same appearance with the Barrow-scholar's Shoulder Pads

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