Today is December 16th, 2014. In just a few hours my ticket stub will be torn and I will enter theater 19 at AMC to watch the final chapter of the Middle Earth saga. A journey that took root thirteen years ago in the very same theater. I was just a little kid then. I had excitement and expectations that were larger than any joy I had previously felt. For months I had been preparing for this movie. In the age where movie trailers could be watched through Quicktime’s website I would load and reload each trailer that came out. I would watch every channel that would have a special promoting the film. I would buy every single toy from the Burger King set. I would read The Hobbit for the first time and never have a book I loved more.
A mind opened to the very words ” In a hole in the ground….there lived a hobbit.”
The night I saw The Fellowship of the Ring with my brother my life legitimately changed. The obsession of my forming years took deep root. Simply put out of all the movies I had ever seen. This was the absolute best. Never had I been so wowed by the product of a camera. There was nothing like these special effect. These costumes. This MUSIC.
In Middle School my identity was these movies. I saw them in theaters a collective nine times. I was the trivia expert. I would wear numbers on my shirt that counted down to the release of the next film. Each time I play these movies (which is well above the hundreds by now.) I find myself hitting my deepest nostalgia. Because this journey is different. There is so much hope packed into these stories. And with every re-watch, I somehow am just as moved as the first time I watched them.
When Aragorn looks to the hobbits at the end of “King” you can’t not get goosebumps. “You bow to no one.”
Simply put in all of my life and likely to my death there will never be movies that I will think better than this trilogy.
The story is unmatchable. I genuinely love each and every chapter of Star Wars but it just doesn’t even come close for me. Every bit of the world is against these characters. Darkness has sought its final victories. And in that beings of different nations, different tribes, with often opposing backgrounds and reasons to hate each other unite to support the simplest and smallest of them all in a journey to defeat that darkness. A journey that “never had much hope, just a fools hope.”
Despite its seeming impossible-ness these characters fought for the good of the world. One of my favorite lines is exchanged between Legolas and Gimli.
“Never thought I’d die fighting side by side with an elf…”
“What about side by side with a friend.”
“Aye, I could do that.”
That speaks great volumes to the power of uniting with those not like us to do something that eternally matters.
The simple honesty of so many of the stories lessons still holds resonance with me.
When life throws you a burden you can’t dream of understanding. And yet you are the one to which this life has entrusted it. To which “all you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.”
I do believe those words have largely shaped my life. As do I believe that seeking the victory of goodness despite the impossible obstacles we may face is a journey worth seeking.
In the last movie when Aragorn looks back at the remaining fellowship and the men of the west and says in somber truth”For Frodo.”, you feel the victory of that. The victory happens then. To choose your end in a blind hope that the good will be victorious. Even in a lack of certainty.
Hope after all is the most precious of all of life’s treasures.
In a journey crossing over a decade I find myself yet again at a closing chapter. And though I will for the rest of my life return to the pages of Tolkien and the images of Jackson, there is a certain sadness to be entering the theater “One Last Time.”
My largest collection of nerdom revolves around the stories of a Middle Earth. Owning four copies of each of the original films in various formats. Or numerous editions of The Hobbit. Or the various weapons that have slivers of screen used props melted into them. The various autographs of cast members. The playing cards, the action figures, the magazines, the posters, the creepy Gollum stuffed animals, the special edition soundtracks, the ONE RING ITSELF!
I can recite to you every word from all three of those films. Seriously, it is a bragging right. It is how I geek out with my best friends. I wrote an 80 paged spoof in middle school. “Lord of the Freaks” complete with character drawings and posters. I often reference quotes in real life situations. And frequently creep people out with my Gollum voice. I can tell you the scene and the dialogue that takes place over Howard Shore’s tracks. I know the various behind the scenes details of each scene. I somehow even know how many crows are on the scarecrow when Sam is about to cross the furthest step he’s ever been from home.
Go on, take a guess.
The answer is three.
I have loved this journey with every passing moment and will defend the FACT that these are the best movies ever made. I still remember staying up late to hear Steven Spielberg say the words “It’s a clean sweep!” To which “The Return of the King” joined the leagues of most Oscars won for a film. Years ago my parents knew the role a certain man had played in my life. They bought me a large statue of him dressed as a Corsair. Peter Jackson is a true hero of mine. He inspired my love and fascination of film. And that love opened many great chapters of my life. It garnered me one of my best known reputations and has thrived itself into one of my truest identities blessing me with wonderfully nerdy friends.
This is why I love The Lord of the Rings.
With a happy and heavy heart,
“Now comes the day to bid you farewell…”