A Very Unexpected Journey
How would you react to someone who has never seen the Lord of The Rings? Would you exile them as outcasts? Or would you wrap them up in a blanket and welcome them into a world of Tolkien mythology?
Don’t judge me too harshly. I haven’t been living under a rock for the past 20 years. But have I had the viewing pleasure of following Frodo as he journeys across Middle-earth? Not until very recently. And I have to admit, I do feel like I’ve missed out on a vital part of my childhood.
I still remember the buzz of the first film’s release back in 2001. The adaptation had been a huge success, raking in $870 million. It appeared, no matter where you turned you couldn’t escape the Fellowship. Perhaps that’s why I never gathered enough interest to watch it.
The problem with this came with a lack of understanding. Which first bubbled to the surface when I began studying for an English degree. Of course, I knew the name J. R.R. Tolkien well. In fact, I was well-rehearsed in his early life. Still, I persisted with my lack of knowledge of the books, maybe out of pure stubbornness… “Why should I watch or read them now when I’ve gotten through life fine without them so far?”
Taking the plunge
Well, my stubbornness finally dispelled, and I took the time to watch The Fellowship of the Ring. 3 hours and 48 whole minutes, to be exact. So, am I now a Tolkienite? Have I succumbed to the cultural revolution of Peter Jackson’s live-action movie? Do I wish I had a hobbit sitting in my pocket? The answer to the last question is a definite yes, but as for the others? Let’s have a look at my verdict.
To start with, the opening scenes confused me. Don’t get me wrong, the initial blackness and elvish whispers put me on the edge of my seat. But Sauron being defeated by dismembering his finger? It seems a little over-kill. Especially when hordes of armies take part in such a fierce battle. Still, the cinematography is pretty insane. And the opening does give a great back-story.
Next, my thoughts turn towards the rolling landscapes of Hobbiton. First, this corner of the Shire is exquisitely named. Second, I felt like I had stepped into a child’s fairy garden. Who wouldn’t want to roam the picturesque, small houses embedded into the hills? With round doors and each beautifully framed in forna. It’s no wonder fans flock to the New Zealand set every year to catch a glimpse of it.
Though, I do have a small issue with this onscreen perfect corner of Middle-earth. Tolkien seems to have gifted Hobbits with qualities that can’t be visualised. In my mind, hobbits are good-natured, busy little creatures who live in burrow-like houses. They dress like they have stepped off the set of Robin Hood as merry men extras, in mini size. They eat eight or nine times a day. Enjoy naps at short intervals, have never been far from home and have eyes that grow wide at the sounds of the night. They are like wildlife prey, it takes true heroism, for they are timid by nature and would rather avoid a fight. Though, this kind of timid-turns-hero innocence belongs to an earlier, gentler time. Perhaps this is why the portrayal of Hobbits seems to be missing something.
I also find myself contemplating how different The Fellowship would have been. Had it been adapted many years earlier, in a time such as the 1950s where movies began to branch out.
So, Frodo Baggins begins his journey to the fire of the Cracks of Doom… I admit I love nothing more than an underdog to hero epic. The minute Frodo set forth on his quest, I practically ‘whooped’ at my screen. And when one becomes nine to form a Company of the Ring? It’s almost like magic. I remember a similar feeling when watching Suicide Squad for the first time. Unexpected underdog becomes a hero – a storyline that will never grow old.
On a separate note. I would also like to point out, the sheer terror the Black Riders would have bestowed on me all those years ago. I found myself holding my breath with Frodo and his comrades as the Black Rider is almost upon them in the woods. That scene alone should count for a higher PG rating.
As members come together, it feels as though good will prevail over evil. That is, until the ring’s power becomes too much to contain. Que the fall of the Company of the Ring. Wait? The ring begins to corrupt members? The group splits? Surely even in Middle-earth the ‘safer together’ rule stands! The comradery was short-lived, leaving Frodo and Sam continue their journey to Mordor.
Now, despite my concerns over the on-screen adaptation. I have to admit that having read a great deal on Tolkien, he is a master at his craft. Watching the movie has opened my eyes to the sheer imagination of the author. The Fellowship is as much about war as it is about power and greed, innocence and enlightenment. Tolkien combined both his personal experiences of war and his passion for mythology. I do have to praise the production of the adaptation trying to do such an epic story justice. The scenery is fantastic, and the whole production screams ‘Epic’.
I have to conclude with the statement that after some deliberation. And many sleeping hours lost, I have read the first LOTR novel. Although it was a long, one-sided battle of wills, I have to state that for me, the book far outweighs the live-action. The detail in the writing is irreproducible.
It’s a journey
Reviewer and Lord of the Rings superfan, Roger Ebert put in beautifully. He said, “The written trilogy is about leaving places, going places, being places, and going to other places.” Which couldn’t sum up the first book better, it seems so much more visually aesthetic. Landscapes are described with the ever-faithful detail of a Victorian travel writer. Characters are given life through intricate specifics which don’t always seem that specific. You feel the realness through the art of imagination.
The journey becomes a quest, and the timid hobbit becomes the hero, but not until many, many hours later. If you haven’t yet taken yourself on this journey to Mordor, grab your espresso and snacks, it’s going to be a long ride!
Thanks for reading about what is was like for someone who had never seen Lord of the Rings to break that fact. Are there any famous flicks that have passed you by? Let us know in the comments below.
Read why Samwise Gamgee is the most underrated Lord of the Rings character HERE.
Harry Potter: The Questions You Keep Asking, Answered
It’s been over 24 years since the first instalment of the Harry Potter series was published. But regardless of the length of time passed, many questions are still left unanswered. Fansites still tear apart page upon page looking for the key to unlock J. K. Rowling’s extraordinary mind. Interviewers have fired question after question at the infamous author. Yet, when one question is answered, it seems to open the flood gates for many more.
J. K. Rowling has now moved onto crime fiction. But she still finds the odd spare moment to grace Potter fans with her virtual presence. Using Twitter to answer some of the endless questions’ fans have conjured.
Let’s take a look at some of the most valid Harry Potter questions asked on Twitter and how J.K. Rowling answered them.
What happened to Fluffy the three-headed dog?
Poor Fluffy wasn’t mentioned again after being set free in the Forbidden Forest. Never fear! Rowling is here to tell us of Fluffy’s fate.
Back in February 2015, Rowling replied to the question on Twitter. stating that ‘He was repatriated to Greece. Dumbledore liked to put Hagrid’s more foolish acquisitions back where they belong.’
Beyond the happily ever after
A snapshot of Harry, Ron and Hermione’s Happily Ever After is presented at the end of the final book. The three (and Ginny) complete the circle by walking their own children to the Hogwarts train.
But, their lives developed much more than having children. As Rowling revealed back in 2007. Hermione began her career within the Ministry of Magic. She worked in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. Here, she became instrumental in the improvements for the treatment of house-elves. After this, she moved to the Dept. of Magical Law Enforcement, where she ensured the eradication of pro-pureblood laws.
Harry and Ron took different paths. Harry became an aura, a highly trained law enforcement officer. Ron went into the family business, helping his brother run Weasley’s Wizarding Wheels.
Did Harry, Ron and Hermione return to their schooling?
There’s a huge gap at the end of The Deathly Hallows. The pages seem to jump from the defeat of Voldemort to 19 years later. So did the famous trio return to school?
Rowling stated that Hermione returned to Hogwarts to complete her NEWT’s. But Harry and Ron did not, instead, they followed their career paths straight away. Although, I’m pretty sure defeating the source of all evil scores big points on a C.V.
Harry’s scar shape is important, right?
Well, no. Unfortunately, Rowling just thought ‘it looked cool’.
Potter super-fans have other ideas, though. One Tweet back in 2019 revealed that the scar could symbolise much more. @TodayYearsOld Tweeted:
‘Did you know Harry Potter’s scar isn’t a lightning bolt, but the hand motion to cast Avada Kedavra.’
Avada Kedavra is a killing curse used within the Dark Arts. The hand movement looks like a lightning bolt, but much softer. Not surprisingly, the Tweet went viral and caused shock waves through the Potter community.
What does Hufflepuff’s common room look like?
We are taken on a trip to Slytherin and Ravenclaw’s common room, and we spend a lot of time in Gryffindor’s. So, when fans asked Rowling for a description, she was only too happy to oblige.
‘The Hufflepuff common room is accessed through a portrait near the kitchens, as I am sure you have deduced. Sorry – I should say ‘painting’ rather than portrait because it is a still-life. It is a very cosy and welcoming place, as dissimilar as possible from Snape’s dungeon. Lots of yellow hangings, fat armchairs, and underground tunnels leading to the dormitories. All of which have perfectly round doors, like barrel tops.’
Is there more than one Wizarding school?
If you are one of those people who watch the films before the books. You’ll have probably asked ‘Is Hogwarts the only school for wizards?’. In this instance, it’s the books that hold the key, and if you take notes in ‘The Goblet of Fire.’ Students from other schools arrive at Hogwarts to attend the Tri-Wizard Tournament.
The books reveal more about a couple of schools, such as the Palace of Beauxbatons. Beauxbatons is a beautiful chateau situated in the Pyrenees mountains of Southern France. Durmstrang is another, and one of the three largest in Europe. Durmstrang is situated in the northmost regions of Norway or Sweden and is known for its Dark Arts.
Rowling has since revealed more schools, including Castelobruxo, Mahoutokoro, Uagadou and Ilverymorny.
Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood end up together?
It’s a no, which has disappointed fans. But the two remained close friends as Luna followed a career in Wizarding Naturalism. She became famous for tracking rare creatures before marrying Rolf Scamander.
Neville married fellow Hogwarts student Hannah Abbot. Surprisingly, Neville became an aura before returning to Hogwarts as a Herbology Professor.
Did Draco Malfoy get his just desserts?
This is a big one for Potter fans who wished to see Draco pay for everything he subjugated Harry to. But, as The Deathly Hallows hints, it appears he went through a huge transformation.
Draco was a complex character, not only a member of Slytherin, but he was also a bully. But much of his behaviour came from his upbringing.
Draco tried to prove himself to the Dark Lord, only to be rescued by the three he often tormented. This caused him and his mother to neglect Voldemort once it was believed Harry was dead. The two avoided Azkaban, and he went into a very dark place, emotionally. But he emerged a changed man. He had a wife and a son, and a simple nod to the trio 29 years on seemed to solidify that he had changed.
Thanks for reading our article on unanswered Harry Potter questions now answered. Did you already know these? Did we miss any big ones? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out 5 Hidden Messages In Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows That You Missed HERE.
Read IMDB information on Harry Potter HERE.
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