FILM: Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

Fantasy Film ReflectionsI feel a great energy growing within. If only I could harness it and inject it when I need it most such in the dark days of despair. ~ Diane Tibert

Is my memory fading or was life too busy a few years ago when I first watched Fellowship of the Ring? I remembered the basic story, but I had forgotten much of the details. A significant amount of it was scattered in the winds of time. Names had escaped me, and certain scenes such as the hobbits meeting up with Aragorn in the Prancing Pony tavern were white-washed from my mind.

I didn’t remember the human fighter’s name, but after reading a little about the character played by Viggo Mortensen, is there any wonder? He was officially known as Aragorn II, son of Arathorn, but he also went by the names Strider (in and surrounding areas of Bree), Dúnadan (Man of the West), Wingfoot, Estel (his name when he was young to hide his true identity), Thorongil and several others.

It was as if Tolkien couldn’t decide on a true name for the character, the descendant of a king.

With so many characters to keep track of (some with more than one name), it’s no wonder I couldn’t remember all the unusual titles that sometimes were spoken sparsely. Bilbo, Sam and Gandalf were the only ones I recalled with certainty. Oh! And Precious, but I had learned that back in my teens and had no idea of its connection with this movie.

Aragorn was the reason I had to change the name of one of my main characters in Shadows in the Stone. Bronwyn, the dwarf fighter, was originally named Argon around 1980. At this time I had not heard of Tolkien or his Lord of the Rings novel(s). I also did not know one of his main characters was Aragorn, very similar to Argon.

I had grown quite attached to Argon for many reasons. He was an honourable dwarf who risked his life for others. Since I had met him with this name, I knew him by no other. In my love of science I knew Argon (Ar) was a chemical element, in the group 18 in the periodic table and the third most common gas in Earth’s atmosphere. In its own right, Argon was a noble gas.

A few months before Shadows in the Stone was published, I discovered Aragorn, which at that time came to me to be Aragon, which turned out to be an autonomous community in Spain where it coextensive with the mediaeval Kingdom of Aragon. My fantasy novel is no Lord of the Rings by any means, still, I tossed and turned this dilemma in my mind for weeks before finally deciding in the public eye, Argon would be…not Argon.

Then the hunt was on for a name. It was painful, but I settled on Bronwyn. It grew on me over time. But that has little to do with the Fellowship of the Rings film.

And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend; legend became myth. ~ Fellowship of the Ring

As a starter film that leads to a deeper, longer adventure, Fellowship of the Ring does a great job of setting things into motion. We receive information about a large number of characters, their strengths and weaknesses and why they must do what they do.

The scenery, of course, is grand. We are led through sweeping landscapes. Forests, glens, shires, mountains and river canyons take us from one corner of Middle Earth to another. The cast is filled with hobbits (which at times are referred to as halflings), elves, humans, dwarves, archers, swordsmen and magic users.

Although the movie is long (228 minutes), it seems hardly enough time to fit in all the details of the story. They are quickly related through backstory and tales.

One such tale is by the traitorous wizard Saruman. He tells the orcs under his creation and command: Do you know how the Orcs first came into being? They were elves once, taken by the dark powers, tortured and mutilated. A ruined and terrible form of life…

I can’t believe this story because I know it to be not true. I suppose in Tolkien’s world it is, but in mine, it is not. I also don’t believe orcs (orks) and goblins are the same, interchangeable, according to many writings by Tolkien. To me it is like saying that goats and horses are interchangeable, and goats were derived from donkeys who were forced to live in damp mountains. But again, this is his world where he rules.

Speaking of orcs, or goblins, whichever ugly being the director Peter Jackson has as slaves to the evil forces in Middle Earth, I find them not scary, just horrible looking. Which leads me to ask: why must all evil beings be horribly, disgustingly ugly and grotesque? Does ugly translate into terror? Do they need to be dripping of some type of slime? Must they look like the devil and breathe fire? Perhaps the young find this entertaining and unique, but for someone who has lived through as many winters as I have, I become bored with the redundancy.

Although sword fighting, fantasy races and high adventure inspire me, watching this film a second time reminded me of why I was only half interested in the second one in the series and why I didn’t watch the third installment: too many countless grotesque, purely evil creatures with no redeeming qualities. Endless battles with creatures so easy to kill a green hobbit can wipe out a dozen in one fleeting moment seem a bit senseless for someone who wants something with more depth.

If these battles had been reduced to two minutes each and the director had focussed on the story, the actual story that hints at being wonderful, then I would be more inspired and more interested. I suppose though such a film would not capture the attention of the average movie-goer who pays to see one thrill after another.

I’ve thought of an ending for my book – And he lived happily ever after… to the end of his days. ~ Bilbo Baggins

Ignoring the senseless evil parts of the movie, I will focus instead on the heroic deeds of the good characters. This is truly inspiring.

Aragorn, Legolas Greenleaf (elf) and Gimili (dwarf) are faithful to the hobbits and protect Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin on their perilous journey. Eventually though, Aragorn realises that Frodo’s destiny is his own and allows him to continue without protectors. Sam however has other ideas and jumps in to accompany Frodo.

Aragorn, Legolas and Gimili head out to intercept the goblins who captured Merry and Pippin. And so the movie ends with this parting.

Film Trailer

If more information is desired on the world created by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien check out Minor Places in Middle Earth.

This marks the 4th of 28 traditional fantasy movies I plan to watch by December 31, 2014.

Film Poster found at The Wertzone.

Ring image found at Park204 – Alex The Lord of the Rings.


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