Stranger 23, Day 23 – Meet Erin, the “Dagorhir Enthusiast”

Stranger 23, Day 23 - Meet Erin

I’m discovering that despite being a part of this journey for more than three weeks, I’m still very much nervous about asking a Stranger to talk to me and share their story. It took me a few hours of being out in public thinking about this person or that person to ask before actually asking someone. When I did, I asked someone I initially was judging. I saw him, and thought him to be very strange sunbathing shirtless on a bench at a park with a big full-on beard. That’s when I realized that instead of judging him, I should get to know him.

Well, I asked him if he’d be my Stranger for today, but after hearing about the website, he cited, “disinterested”, and put his hand up. Well, okay. Next! (You thought he was going to be the Stranger, didn’t you?)

As I was driving off to meet a friend soon, an irregular scene caught the corner of my eye. In fact, I pretty much u-turned to check it out. At first, I thought it was a re-enactment of the Civil War, but realized it was more like soldiers from the midieval ties battling it out. So as I stood there on the “battlefield” watching, I was able to speak to one of the fighters and ask what this was. She told me it was like Game of Thrones but with foam weapons (foam sword, foam-tipped arrows, etc.). It was fascinating, so I asked her to be the Stranger of Day 23 to which she was happy to be.

Meet Erin, 23

What is this about? (+ some more background info)

Erin told me this was called Dagorhir. As I said before, it’s foam fighting meets Game of Thrones. Erin was new to the local Atlanta chapter, and she was part of the “Militia” unit. To others in the Games, she was known as “Skelec***”.

For the younger audiences, I’ve censored the name, but if you’re old enough, you can probably figure it out. The Militia unit is made up of monsters, and the like. There’s actually a whole story behind the many units to which I would do terrible in trying to rehearse for you.

How did you get into Dagorhir?

“One of my friends really introduced to me, and I was really into it because I saw the movie Role Models.” While not the same, but you can see what Erin was referring to in this LAIRE scene —

Is this one of your biggest passions?

“I’d say it’s my favorite hobby. I’m pretty new into it, but definitely enjoy coming out here and fighting. I like going to the big national events. They do a lot of camping and hanging out.”

So what are your passions? Dreams?

“I do special effects make-up for the film industry. I just moved to Atlanta a month and a half ago. I work out of a studio here.”

I asked her if she did anything I would recognize, but she’s been sworn to secrecy. I’m getting a sense from others in the film industry that they’re like in the CIA — all secrets.

Then, I met Erin’s boyfriend, Alex. Alex was a big guy wearing a skull mask of sorts. He was real friendly and offered me a chance to jump into the fray. With my neck pain and an upcoming meet with friend, I wasn’t able to partake. Perhaps soon when I’m recovered.

Alex explained some of the rules of Dagorhir including what is a “death”. In this case, any touch by a sword or arrow around the body (or back) is a kill — no headshots. If you get struck in the arm, you have to remove your arm. I don’t remember what happens if you lose both arms, but if you lose both legs, you die. I’m immediately thinking about the black knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Erin continued to talk about breaking into the film industry, so I asked her what advice she would like to share, or the best advice she’s received.

“Go for it, and be really persistent. Don’t let things discourage you. For every 100 no’s, you’ll get a yes. Eventually, you have to latch on and go for it.”

What makes you feel most alive?

Erin thought about this question for awhile. “That’s a tough one. I’ve never been asked that question before. That’s a good Stranger question to ask.”

She thinks some more…

“I guess doing all this stuff. I feel like camping and hiking and being out in nature. Getting away from all the technology and all the everyday stuff. To take a step back and reflect on everything.”

What would you like to ask tomorrow’s Stranger?

“I like those kind of questions you jump over small-talk, and go after the ‘meat’ questions.”

“I always like to hear where 3 places somebody would like to see before they die, or 3 things that are on their bucket list… whether it’s someplace they want to see, or where they want to go. You find out some of the unexpected things from people.”

After the handshake.

I got to meet many of Erin’s friends who were immensely friendly, and wanted me to join in on the battles. I was really tempted, but I had to meet up with a friend and my neck is still recovering from the muscle strain. I stayed and watched a bit of the battles and found it very interesting. They were a tight group of friends even when whacking each other pretty hard with these foam weapons. They were foam, yes, but the foam was surrounding some hard, fixed object.

Something about this scene made me really appreciate, too, this liberated feeling to got out there and have fun doing what you love with a community that loves the same thing. Perhaps because I could see myself as Sean William Scott or Paul Rudd in the movie Role Models years before –judging like I did with the first man before. In fact, how Sean and Paul felt in the movie was how I felt watching the movie. But I needed to come around like they did. Now, I find it utterly beautiful there are so many people enacting on their passions — battling it out on a Sunday afternoon with foam weapons, running groups, improv and various acting gigs, and even projects like interviewing Strangers.

Plus, I did my normal weekend stuff already, so to stumble on Erin and her friends was something out of the ordinary for me, and it was nice to venture outside my normalcy.

I appreciated Erin for taking a moment to share with me her story, but also show me the world of Dagorhir (and her friends). So this interview was a little shorter because I didn’t want to hold her back from battling. She loved it, and I didn’t want to get in her way. Not that she seemed to mind at all to stay behind to talk to me — that’s how great the whole community was.

So meet Erin. No Longer a Stranger.

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