Not too long ago the hubby pressured me to sit down and watch all of the Lord of the Rings movies with him. Anyone that knows me knows that I have a hard enough time sitting through a regular length movie let alone the epic lengths of these films. My legs itch to move, my mind wanders. Nothing good ever comes out of me watching movies at home.
But I relented.
This was Tolkien we were talking about. I could deny it all I want, but I had a special place in my heart for Tolkien. The very first film I watched in a theater that wasn’t a Drive-In was The Fellowship of the Ring. I remember this well, sitting as far up as I could so that the screen towered over me while I bit the heads off my gummy bears.
So, each weekend we would put in a DVD and become a mass of tangled limbs watching each film. Body parts would go numb and there would be snacks lost in the cushions of the couch, but I also realized how much I truly enjoyed them and how much I hadn’t seen before. I watched the Pippin’s facial expressions, finding a perverse joy in his ridiculous countenance in the most serious of scenes. I would yell at Eowyn when she pined after Aragorn because I had never seen the third movie. I didn’t know that Arwen would return to him.
Meanwhile, something else great had been happening.
The Hobbit had been split into three films. The Lord of the Rings trilogy was one thing, but Bilbo Baggins had ventured his way into my heart sometime in middle school and stayed there. I remember the cheesy hunter green cover of the book and curling up on the bus (my knees braced on the seat ahead of me) as I fell into its fantastic world. I haven’t read it since then and I really should now that I own it, but that didn’t stop me from vibrating in my seat with excitement over the upcoming Hobbit films.
The first film came out just weeks before our wedding, before I could move in with him. The hubby had already seen the first film without me while he was stationed in California, but when he saw what it meant to me he wasted no time buying tickets during his Christmas time visit home. Like remembering a dream, scenes came flooding back to me while I watched it unfold. I knew what had been in the book and what hadn’t.
And just let me say that I also have a previous infatuation with BBC’s Sherlock. But, I didn’t know the scope of Martin Freeman’s acting skill until now. He moved seamlessly from John Watson to Bilbo Baggins to the Lester Nygaard of FX’s Fargo. I was blown away by his goofy Minnesotan accent and jumpy character in Fargo.
Then they casted Benedict Cumberbatch, the man of many a woman’s fantasies. Maybe his face doesn’t have screen time, but I’m more than pleased with his voice acting for Smaug and Sauron. What can I say? The man does the sociopath part very well.
As I write this, I keep glancing to the bottom shelf of my bookcase. Our Tolkien collection is not only the base for my collection, but the foundation for all the fantasy books and games and what have you that came after him. I’m not a diehard fan like one of my classmates who had the towers tattooed on his forearm, but I know where this whole story began.
And who’s not to say that I won’t get a Smaug tattoo someday?