I have never been much of a movie person, but movies based off of books are even worse. They may be good movies, but they are ruined for everyone who knows that the book is much better. I once tried to watch To Kill a Mockingbird, but I never finished it. It wasn’t because I thought it was bad, it was just much lower than my expectations. The Help movie fell a little short of The Help book. While I liked The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when I was younger, I now find more pleasure by poking fun at the Narnia movies than actually watching them.
That is why The Lord of the Rings movies are so incredible.
There is a certain amount of ceremony to The Lord of the Rings in my house. First of all, you cannot read the books until you are thirteen years old. You cannot watch the movies until you have read all the books. Then it is a bit of a family affair the first time one of us watches the movies. Everyone has been looking forward to this moment for about a month while the new thirteen-year-old is discovering Middle Earth. We have long discussions about the books where we laugh or moan about old quotes and scenes we have forgotten about. We throw red herrings into our conversations to keep the person on her/his toes. I have remarked about how so-and-so dies even though they live to the end of the book. I have perpetuated false alarms. I do this because in our excited conversations, at least a few spoilers get dropped, so we have to make something up that is outlandish so that the reader won’t believe anything we say and will continue to read the books with great expectation.
Once we finally get to watch the movies we have to constantly be shushing one another. You may mock Legolas, Arwen, and Frodo, but keep it to a minimum. You may say some of the best lines with characters, but not entire dialogues. You may gasp, scream, etc., but only when it isn’t drowning out what anyone is saying. This is all to make sure that the person watching the movies for the first time gets to fully enjoy it and compare it to the books. That is always so much fun, but the really fun time is when we watch it for the second time.
Sif turned thirteen last October. Sherlock and I strove valiantly not to interject comments and for the most part succeeded. Sif (NOT me or Sherlock) started screaming instructions at the characters without realizing it. She said things like, “No Frodo! Sam’s your friend, not Gollum!” She still claims that she does not remember doing this. (Which means she was watching them the proper way: getting completely lost in the story.) Now we are watching the movies again in 30-minutes-a-night segments.
All of the teenagers and adults in my family have at least one thing in common with each other: their love for The Lord of the Rings. Because of it, we have immediate reference points to knowing how each other thinks. We know what each person’s favorite scenes are. We know that the perfect man for each of us girls would, without a doubt, be exactly like Aragorn. None of us likes eating cherry tomatoes.
And my dad only has to say one thing to make anything from bacon to tacos be suddenly very unappealing.
I don’t consider myself a real fangirl, and I don’t appreciate it when people trivialize LOTR with geekiness. But there is nothing like re-watching three 3-hour-long movies in your own living room on a summer evening. Yes, I laugh too loud. Yes, I still gasp at things I knew were going to happen before hand. Yes, I practically have the entire thing memorized. No, that does not mean I am going to get tired of watching it.
I just love a good book and I love a good movie.