I did not choose The Lord of the Rings, The Lord of the Rings chose me.
Back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, we used to get these 5-in-1 and 7-in-1 movie discs that were pirated copies of English movies. I had an entire folder filled with such DVDs and it was my favourite pastime to find pretty folders to lovingly organize my prized DVDs.
One such DVD contained The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I watched the first two movies back-to-back, my brain going into a middle-earth fog because unbeknownst to me, the two movies constituted six hours of run time.
Mother brought an end to my binging session saying I couldn’t hog the TV on a weekend like this. There were other people too who needed to unwind in front of the idiot box.
That had been my first introduction. My association with the series has grown as the years have passed.
A friend of mine braved the school library and found The Fellowship of the Ring and attempted a read. She said that for the first fifty pages, there was only a description of the fireworks and she got so bored, she gave up. The thought scared me, I had loved the movies, so I forego reading them and was happy with just the movies.
Fast forward seven years and I found the fat omnibus with all three books in one book in my college library. This time, I braved the demons and issued the book. It took me about a month to read it, but read it I did, including the Appendices.
I wasn’t much impressed with the books because two of my favourite things from the movies: Aragorn and the love story of Aragorn and Arwen was barely in the books. But the whole Mordor portion had been enough to make up for it.
Another few years later, I was introduced to the extended editions of The Lord of the Rings movies. The run time which had been nine hours extended to twelve hours and my sister and I spent a weekend, completely buried inside middle earth, the battle of the ring and the nefarious ways of the Dark Lord Sauron and Saruman.
By this time, I was firmly an LOTR nerd. Wanting to be a true nerd though, I picked up the book again. I have no qualms in accepting, I couldn’t read it. And in this case, the movies are far superior than the books.
My thought has further solidified in this direction after I watched the “additional material” i.e. the making of The Lord of the Rings. It was fascinating to see that there are scholars who have made it their life’s work to study JRR Tolkien and his fantasy world. Tolkien was so disenchanted with King Arthur being the only British mythology that he wanted to create his own mythology which is why he spent so much time coming up with different languages and their rules, species and their lore, origins, etc.
It is also fascinating to note that even though he wanted to step away from King Arthur, there are elements from his mythology that have found their way into LOTR. So many elements from the King Arthur mythology [the hero’s journey, having a kindly grey wizard teacher, the villain who is as much a part of the hero’s journey] in fact find their way into many fantasy novels.
The thing that I have always enjoyed about LOTR is the menacing presence of Sauron throughout the series. It’s a dark, terrible story and even though it has a happy ending, there is so much loss [not just physical but even emotional] that occurs on this journey and so much that depends on the strength of people and their ability to resist evil.
Also did I mention Aragorn? I feel like I haven’t mentioned him enough. I adore Aragorn. He was (and is) my first “adult” crush.
Being the proper nerd I am, I have read The Hobbit, have seen the three movies and (ha! Brag alert) even read The Silmarillion. And though I’m wary of the series that is soon to come on Amazon, I cannot wait to dive back into middle-earth even if it’ll not directly deal with the events of LOTR.
I’m taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s My Friend Alexa. For the next 1 month, I’ll be sharing some of my favourite bookish memories; hence the title Reading Tales.