May contain some spoilers.
Growing up, I became obsessed quickly with J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series. For my birthday I asked my Nana to take me to the Grand Rapids Symphony to watch the second and third Lord of the Rings movie be played with a live orchestra, and for Christmas I asked my Dad to take me to see the Hobbit midnight premieres. I was fortunate enough to have a family that took an interest in what I enjoyed, since it was a series they grew up knowing as well, so I got to have a pretty cool childhood, if I do say so myself.
To say I'm a fan in an understatement. Not only do I have all the movies on ITunes, but on regular DVD and Bluray as well. Yes...it's a pretty extreme obsession. I own the books. I have toys and trinkets dedicated to the series and pictures from a calendar from 2014 or so hanging around my room.
So, like any fan, I decided to pull out the movies and watch them over the long break. You'd think as someone who watched them so many times throughout the years I would notice just about everything in the series...well I guess I was wrong.
With that being said, here are some things I noticed while rewatching the series:
1. The characters are truly the most memorable part of the series.
From left to right: Bombur, Ori, Kili, and Nori (The Hobbit) media.giphy.com
Whether it be books or movies, characters to me were always what made or break the story. If you have a good story with poor characters, it's just not the same. With The Hobbit, the dwarves were crucial to the story and since you have so many of them, thirteen to be exact, they needed to be well developed so you could really relate to them. While some dwarves had more character than others, each one had their own quirks that made you love them.
Three characters in particular; Bilbo, Gloin, and Balin were brought up not only in the The Hobbit, but mentioned and seen in the Lord of The Rings as well. Being able to see Gloin old and grey with his son, Gimli, now grown up, really warmed my heart. But it wasn't entirely happy, because Bilbo and Balin weren't so lucky.
If you haven't read, or seen the movies, spoiler alert, Bilbo was the one who got the One Ring before Frodo, and before he became corrupt with the obsession of the ring, he was a very homebody hobbit who just wanted to plant his acorn in his garden. Seeing him in the Lord of the Rings more superstitious and crazy, made my heart break.
Not only that, but we get to see Balin's tomb, where unfortunately some of the dwarves who went off with him perished after a goblin attack. It was bound to happy, Balin dying and all, but knowing that his final days were decimated by a goblin attack, made me cry just as much as Gimli did when he found out.
2. The series truly had one of the best casts!
From left to right, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan media.giphy.com
You hear it all the time about actors hating one another while working on a film. It feels like rarely you hear about friendships lasting after movies. The thing I find most adoring is how close the cast mates were. You would almost assume that everyone would like one another after working with each other for so many years on the films, but sometimes it just isn't the case.
Two of my personal favorite characters from the Lord of the Rings, Merry and Pippin, who were played by Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd, have such a close friendship that you almost wonder if it was a friendship made to be.
If you follow the two on Instagram, then you'd know that the two are constantly liking and commenting on one another's posts, still very goofy like we knew them to be years back.
The Lord of the Rings cast, at least the ones in the Fellowship, even have matching tattoos of the number nine. It truly warms my cold, dead heart to know how close this cast over a decade later.
3. The music is everything.
From The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring media.giphy.com
Concerning Hobbits is for sure the best gift Howard Shore gave us. I still listen, and most definitely bop to, on a daily basis. Misty Mountains and Blunt the Knives were also top tier but nothing can beat Concerning Hobbits.
While the story and characters are amazing, the music is certainly one you could never forget. The strings, choir, flutes, anything you hear in the soundtracks are sounds you will always remember.
Once you watch the films so many times, you get this really cool gift of being able to identify the part in the movie purely based on the song...okay so maybe not as cool as you I make it out to be, but you get my drift!
Music is something so vital to a lot of people's lives. It brings us joy, a sense of relaxation, and entertainment. As someone who played the cello throughout school, learning to play Misty Mountains was like winning the golden ticket. If you haven't really listened to the music, you really should! (I may or may not be listening to it now as I write this...)
4. Action scenes? Yes, please!
From The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies media.giphy.com
While a lot of the animals and backgrounds are CGI and/or a green screen, Peter Jackson never fails to amaze us with the high-intensity action scenes. You truly feel like you are out on the field during the battles.
Most of the scenes do take place in New Zealand, where you can actually go and check out the Shire, but there are parts that need to be done with a green screen just because, well, it is fantasy.
But the thing that Jackson does so well makes it look real. Instead of doing a crappy job and it ends up looking like it was CGI or in front of a green screen, the scenes blend so well together that it looks real.
Even though the movies, all six of them, were made between the years of 2001-2014, the CGI is actually really good for the time it was made. Yes, we live in a world now where CGI looks fantastic and sometimes you can't tell whether it is real or not, but even just a few years ago it wasn't anywhere near as complex as it is today.
5. The theme of friendship is truly beautiful.
From The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King media.giphy.com
In both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, friendship played a huge role in the story.
With The Hobbit we have the company of dwarves, a hobbit, and a wizard (occasionally) together journeying to the Misty Mountains. Unfortunately, in the beginning, Thorin Oakenshield, the leader of the dwarves, doesn't speak too highly of Bilbo Baggins which causes mass amounts of tension between the two but as the story goes on they grow as friends and, without giving away any spoilers, by the end of it you will be crying just like Bilbo.
Just like The Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings movies has a lot of friendships. Some, much like Thorin and Bilbo, don't really start out as friends but by the end are very close. For example, Legolas and Gimli, an elf and a dwarf, are very timid around one another (this could very well be because of the feud in The Hobbit) but by the end of Return of the King, the two are just as close as our mischievous hobbits, Merry and Pippin.
Having these characters grow together as friends not only makes the story more emotionally attaching but shows how developed they are from the beginning to the end.
From The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey media.giphy.com
I have a lot to thank J. R. R. Tolkien for. Without him, I would have never been made into the person I am today. This series changed me in more ways than anything else in my life. It is silly to say, but it is true.
During a time when I felt as though I had nobody, I had the adoring characters of this series to go to when I needed a laugh, someone to cry with, whatever the case might have been, this story was here for me.
So if you haven't read the books or watched the films, please do. Not only will you fall in love but have your eyes opened to all the wonderful possibilities in life.
So again, J. R. R. Tolkien, thank you for creating possibly the best story out there.