Tonight JR decided to turn on The Fellowship of the Ring. Since I probably haven’t watched any of the movies in about two years, I decided to watch as well. As we watched, I could not help thinking about my history with the movies, as well as the books.
The Fellowship of the Ring was released when I was a senior in high school. Over Christmas break, I went to see it with several friends, all of whom I remember being there to this day. I hadn’t read any of the books before seeing the first movie, so I had no basis for comparison. Even though I remember feeling like it was a bit difficult to follow the movie at times, I thought that it was a good movie. I remember being disappointed that it was going to take two more years to see the ending.
When The Two Towers was released, I was probably in the midst of finals for my first semester of college. My younger brother, who had read the books, saw the movie on opening day. He was not a fan of the theatrical version of this movie and told me not to bother. So I didn’t.
During the two years that elapsed between The Fellowship of the Ring and The Return of the King, I read the books, and watched the extended version of The Two Towers. I was set to begin my study of theology at a new college the following semester, and remember thinking to myself that I ought to finish the books and see all of the movies before I started there. I also truly wanted to watch the movies and read the books, but knowing that I would inevitably be meeting some hard-core Tolkien fans at college helped make sure that I did do those things in late 2003. One of the first things I noticed when I moved into my new apartment at college was a poster of Middle Earth.
In late 2004, the extended version of The Return of the King was released. By this time JR and I were officially a couple. JR had read the entire series of The Lord of the Rings multiple times in high school, and had been at the first (midnight) showing of each movie. Although JR and my brother, Chad, had completed a Lord of the Rings marathon earlier in the year, it had not been possible to have an extended-cut marathon until Christmas break, when work (we worked for the government) and school commitments were low. So, several of us decided to embark on our first-ever Lord of the Rings extended cut marathon on December 30, 2004.* Approximately approximately eleven and a half hours straight of Lord of the Rings fun.We didn’t start the movies until after dinner, and I think that I made it only about half way through The Return of the King, except for the fact that the others kept waking me up to see bits of the movie near the end.
The next time (and, somewhat sadly, the most recent time) that I participated in a Lord of the Rings marathon was in early January, 2007. JR and I had recently celebrated our first Christmas as newlyweds, and decided to host a Lord of the Rings marathon for some of our family and friends. This time, we started the movies around 11:00am. Not everyone stayed for the entire marathon, but there was a lot of discussion of the movies, the movies versus the books, and pretty much anything else we wanted. There was also Chinese take out. I am relatively certain that everyone there will never forget They’re Taking the Hobits to Isengard as well. Yes, this is how I partied in my child-free days. Great times were had by all.
Over the years, I have come to appreciate better The Lord of the Rings. Especially after having two literature professors in college that enjoyed going on Lord of the Rings tangents. One day we will read the books and watch the movies with our own children. In the coming year, JR and I plan to (attempt) to read Gabriel The Hobbit. Maybe someday we’ll even have a Hobbit and Lord of the Rings marathon with them.
*I remember the date because, in hindsight, it was kind of a silly day for the marathon. Everyone intends to stay up really late on New Year’s Eve/early morning of New Year’s Day. I was so exhausted by the time 1:00am on 1/1/2005 came that I was falling asleep while playing euchre.