The Lord of the Rings, Revisited

Earlier this month after accompanying me to see The Hobbit on New Years Day, a little out of the blue my wife surprised me by remarking on the ride home that she was interested in giving the Lord of the Rings trilogy another shot. I guess she had tried watching them years ago but things just never clicked and she ended up getting bored with them, and ever since I’ve always gotten a lot of grief whenever my beloved trilogy comes on TV … until now!

Plus, wouldn’t you know … I think she actually ended up liking ’em this time around?! 😉

Or at least parts of ’em, anyways… 😛

So we’ve been watching one movie a weekend for pretty much the last three weeks – I would’ve loved to just sit down and run a crazy marathon to go through them all in a single weekend, but I didn’t want to push my luck! Even without watching the Extended Editions (I actually prefer the theatrical versions anyways), we were putting in something like 3.5-4 hours of couch time once you factored in a little extra for snacks and a break. The week between Fellowship & Two Towers wasn’t too bad, but I was really itching to dig into Return of the King after The Two Towers ended … probably because those are the two I tend to watch the most anyways.

For what it’s worth, though, I really enjoyed watching the entire trilogy this time around not only for getting to turn my wife on to one of the greatest stories ever told (in my not-so-humble opinion!), but it also gave me a chance to appreciate more of the nuances for myself. Like I said, I usually don’t lose much sleep if I only catch 2 & 3 around Thanksgiving when they’re on TV constantly, but I was reminded that there are still some great moments in the first installment – when we first get to meet Frodo and Bilbo and the other hobbits, or when Aragorn makes his introduction as Strider, or when Arwen outruns the Nazgul and turns the river against them trying to save Frodo after he’s been stabbed.

And of course…

I think The Two Towers is where my wife’s interest really started to pick up, though … at least that’s when she noted that Legolas never runs out of arrows, no matter how many he shoots! I suggested that maybe they were magical blah blah blah, but she wasn’t buying it … as if the wraiths flying around on dragons and the giant flaming eyeball were perfectly reasonable, but the arrows were just going too far! 😉

The Battle of Helm’s Deep, of course, is always the highlight of that one – as much as I enjoy the Ents on their own, I feel like their super slow talking is just holding me up from watching Gimli and Legolas fight over kills at the battle! But some of the scenes leading up to the big battle itself, too, are pretty great – I really love how Fellowship ends with the three committing to hunting down Merry & Pippin’s captors, so it’s noble to watch how that story arc progresses in the second movie. Eomer is always a curious one, too – so easily exiled from his Uncle’s kingdom, and yet he follows Gandalf back to pretty much save the day at Helm’s Deep all the same … what a guy!

Another scene that had slipped my mind from this one was Sam’s little speech of encouragement to Frodo during the Nazgul raid after they’ve been captured by Faramir…

And of course, what’s there even to say that hasn’t already been said about Return of the King?! The lighting of the Beacons of Gondor, Arwen’s plea to her father to reforge the blade that was broken, Elrond presenting the newly forged Anduril to Aragorn and directing him to the Dimolt road to recruit the Army of the Dead, the Battle of the Pellenor Fields, “I can’t carry it, but I can carry you!”, even the eight different endings that seem both excessive and also incredibly endearing at the same time because really, the trials that these characters endure over the course of 9 months are the kinds of things that change people … you can see it in Frodo’s eyes as he walks through Bag End and I think he even says it at one point – “there is no going back – there are some things that time cannot mend.”

Very bittersweet – like, “Yay, we saved the world!!! Ummm, now what?”

In a way I kind of feel like I fall in love with these movies all over again every time that I watch them, and this post ought to be proof enough that this time was certainly no exception! The end of Return of the King really left me wanting more last night, and as much as I just don’t have the time to go re-watch The Hobbit this weekend, I really think that I want to try and read through the books again this year leading up to the next installment of The Hobbit in December. I couldn’t even begin to guess how long it’s been since I’ve read the books – at least a decade, but probably a lot longer than that. In fact, earlier this month I picked up a neat little book kind of about the philosophy of The Shire and relating hobbit life to real life that’s been kind of a fun read … I don’t read many books these days, so I guess I’ve got to build up to it!

But maybe when I’m done in a few weeks, I’ll grab a copy of The Fellowship of the Ring and see where the written version takes me. I know that it’s out of order, but I’m thinking that if I read the trilogy first, I should be on The Hobbit this fall right around the time the new movie is coming out, so I can read the book, then watch LOTR on TV around Thanksgiving, then watch the first installment of The Hobbit on DVD, and then go see The Desolation of Smaug in the theater come December 13th!!! :mrgreen:

So many hobbits, so much to enjoy, and to be, and to do…


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