Photo from laweekly.com
I should begin by pointing out that I have a huge heart. I am essentially the Grinch after he gave all of the toys back and his heart grew three sizes… or whatever unhealthy amount it was. I have previously discussed my love for Star Wars and how it all started. Now that you have a little more insight into how startlingly large my heart is, let us discuss how I still have room for the Lord of the Rings.
The story actually starts out much like how the Star Wars one did. My uncle gifted me the original Star Wars trilogy on VHS, then several years later, he gifted me the Lord of the Rings books when I was about 12 or so. Was he really such a gift-giving savant that he was intentionally shaping my life in such a fantastic way? Was he trying to get me beat up by my peers? Unfortunately, we will never know.
I read The Hobbit in 6th grade and was engrossed by J.R.R. Tolkien’s storytelling and the vast world that he created in Middle-earth. I am admittedly not the quickest reader, so the book took me a very long time to finish. I slowly read through the Lord of the Rings trilogy in Jr. High School, distracted by other things like sports and video games. The three movies were released in 2001, 2002, and 2013. I tried to wait until I was done with the books to watch them, I really did, but temptation got me before I started the final book in the series. I can’t really say that I regretted my decision, however.
The movies were instantly some of my favorites of all-time, just behind the Star Wars movies and right in the mix with cinema classic Dumb and Dumber. For The Hobbit, I had to come up with how all of the characters looked in my head. For the LOTR trilogy, however, I was familiar enough with what the movie characters looked like that I was able to picture them as I read along. The films were CGI-heavy, which stands out more to me today than it did back then. The landscapes and battles were even grander in the movies than I had pictured while reading the books though, and I believe they could even engross viewers that aren’t familiar with the fantasy genre.
Aside from the spectacular mood and feel of the series, the memorable characters also help the books and movies to stand out. The hilarious friendship of a Gimli the dwarf and Legolas the elf, the unlikely heroes in the half-sized Hobbits, and the unrivaled wisdom of the wizard Gandalf are just a few notable standouts. The LOTR series has spawned some solid video games such as The Return of the King game, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, and now Middle-earth: Shadow of War.
I’m not quite the Lord of the Rings fanboy that I am for my beloved Star Wars, but the movies have a “re-watchability” that is nearly unmatched and I plan to restart the book series again soon. One final shout-out here to my late uncle for introducing me to these fantastic fantasy worlds and continuing to shape who I am even though he is now gone. I recommend not only the movies, but the books to anybody, as they are all unquestioned classics.