Well, dear Reader, the month-long SilmAwards is over and today we close out the celebrations with an online celebration of the Lord of the Rings’ 63rd Birthday!
(Though Tolkien began working on the larger epic to accompany the Hobbit as early as 1917… so this year marks 100 years since the very beginning of this epic adventure tale that would usher in a new era of fantasy fiction for the modern age!)
Before we get started, however, I would like to take a moment to announce the WINNER of the ONE GRAND PRIZE TO RULE THEM ALL!
Congratulations, firstname.lastname@example.org! *throws confetti and serves cupcakes* You should be receiving an email from me shortly to get your mailing address so that we can send you your prizes!
Some of you may remember that last year I posted about my Tolkien collection and the 27 signs that you might be an incurable Tolkien nerd…
This year, I thought I would do a “Greatest Hits” compilation of my favorite moments from the books and the movies. In no particular order:
“…For you have come, and that was all the purpose of my message. And here you will stay., Gandalf the Grey, and rest from journeys. For I am Saruman the Wise, Saruman Ring-maker, Saruman of Many Colours!”
I looked then and saw that his robes, which ahd seemed white, were not so, but were woven of all colours, and if he moved they shimmered and changed hue so that the eye was bewildered.
“I liked white better,” I said.
~The Fellowship of the Ring, The Council of Elrond
I wish that line had made it into the movie. It was always one of my favorites, because I just love Gandalf’s dry sarcasm. It’s so perfectly Gandalf.
At last Frodo spoke with hesitation. “I believed that you were a friend before the letter came,” he said, “or at least I wished to. you have frightened me several times tonight, but never in the way that servants of the Enemy would, or so I imagine. I think one of his spies would — well, seem fairer and feel fouler, if you understand.”
“I see,” laughed Strider. “I look foul and feel fair. Is that it?”
~The Fellowship of the Ring, Strider
Another of my favorite lines that somehow got left out of the movie… I know they referenced it, but in the book it is a little light-hearted moment between Frodo and Strider, and the beginning of their great friendship, as well as a moment that shows the absolute humility of Aragorn as he easily acknowledges that he isn’t much to look at. Something of that subtlety got lost in translation from page to screen.
“Here, my lad, I’ll take that! I did not ask you to handle it,” he cried, turning sharply and seeing Pippin coming up the steps, slowly, as if he were bearing a great weight. He went down to meet him and hastily took the dark globe from the hobbit, wrapping it in folds of his cloak. “I will take care of this,” he said. “It is not a thing, I guess, that Saruman would have chosen to cast away.”
~Gandalf, The Two Towers, The Voice of Saruman
Of course, this scene is very different in the movie… as they decided to insert the end of Saruman here, as well. But I enjoyed, again, Gandalf’s dry sense of humor shining through.
I know many will disagree with me, but The Two Towers was always my favorite of the trilogy. I would read it over and over again. Often I would pick it up and read it all by itself, without starting at Fellowship of the Ring or continuing on to Return of the King. I loved the rescue of Merry and Pippin, the Ents, the Battle at Helm’s Deep, and the daunting quest undertaken by Sam and Frodo… I loved their determination in the face of unimaginable odds, and the unsought-for help they found along the way in the form of Faramir.
The dear friendship between Merry and King Theoden… which was glossed over in the movie, but beautiful in the books.
Possibly my favorite moment from Return of the King – I remember the first time I saw the movie and just being completely overwhelmed by this unexpected moment of beauty juxtaposed with the darkness of the battle and Denethor’s rising despair.
The first half of the chapter “The Steward and the King” in The Return of the King, where we get to watch the beautiful love story blossom between Eowyn and Faramir… a love that heals both their hearts. I wish they had spent more time on them in the movie.
“I wished to be loved by another,” she answered. “But I desire no man’s pity.”
“That I know,” he said. “You desired to have the love of the Lord Aragorn. Because he was high and puissant, and you wished to have renown and glory and to be lifted far above the mean things that crawl on the earth. And as a great captain may to a young soldier he seemed to you admiarable. For so he is, a lord among men, the greatest that now is. But when he gave you only understanding and pity, then you desired to have nothing, unless a brave death in battle. Look at me, Eowyn!”
And Eowyn looked at Faramir long and steadily; and Faramir said: “Do not scorn pity that is the gift of a gentle heart, Eowyn! But I do not offer you my pity. For you are a lady high and valiant and have yourself won renown that shall not be forgotten; and you are a lady beautiful, I deem, beyond even the words of the Elven-tongue to tell. And I love you.”
I always thought Peter Jackson got it right, ending the action of the movie here and skipping ahead to Frodo going to the Grey Havens. Growing up, I never cared for The Scouring of the Shire. To me it seemed like an unnecessary bit of drama at the end of an epic quest. I wanted the Hobbits to simply go home and enjoy the fact that they saved the Shire from all the hardship they endured on its behalf. I hated the fact that Tolkien forced them to go home and discover that all their efforts had not kept evil from touching their home, as had been their goal from the beginning. And the fact that Saruman and Wormtongue showed up again just… annoyed me.
However, I recently re-read the Lord of the Rings, and when I reached that part, I discovered that I was not so bothered by it as I had been when I was younger. I appreciated how that chapter illustrated in a poignant and powerful way all the growing up that these four hobbits had done. For them to be able to sweep in like champion knights, defeat a wizard of Saruman’s caliber, and free their people allowed the rest of the Hobbits to grow up a little, as well, and to really see the difference the journey had made… in a way that they never realized with Bilbo, who had just been “that odd hobbit who went off on an adventure and then spoiled his own funeral by coming home and demanding that we return all his things.”
But I did appreciate the way the movies ended, as well. For the big screen, I think they showed all the important subtexts in this moment better than they would have had they tried to follow the book through the Scouring.
I could go on, and on, and on… in fact, I think — now that I’ve started reminiscing — that it’s about time I rewatched the movies and reread the books again. It’s been a while. So, I’ll go do that.
In the meantime, what are some of your favorite quotes and moments from the books and/or movies, dear Reader?
And if you want to join the link-up, just post the URL of your own Tolkien-themed blog post in the linky list below!