I felt like writing a post about the Lord of the Rings because I’ve watched the movies recently and I was really thrilled, I’m even going to do a movie marathon with the extended versions next holidays.
At first, the Lord of the Rings was a three-volume novel written by the English author J.R.R. Tolkien, and they were preceded by the prequel The Hobbit. They were written between 1937 and 1949. It’s one of the best-selling novels ever written.
Each book has its movie, and in general it follows the storyline. The whole project took 8 years and cost $281 million.
The three books are all about one quest: taking the One Ring to Mordor and destroying it because its power is boundless and it can bring the Dark Lord Sauron back.
Bilbo Baggins is a Hobbit who lives in the Shire, and he stole the ring from a hideous creature named Gollum, when he travelled through Middle Earth with the dwarves to get back their kingdom, the Lonely Mountain, which was stolen from them by Smaug, a dragon. Since then, he kept the ring, but Gandalf, a wizard, found out about it and knew that the only thing that was to be done was to destroy the ring, and he tasked Frodo, Bilbo’s adoptive heir, with this mission.
Frodo left the Shire 17 years later and took other Hobbits with him, whose names are Samwise Gamgee, Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took. On their way, they founded the Fellowship of the Ring, with Aragorn and Boromir, who are Men, Legolas, an Elf, and Gimli, a Dwarf. Together they travel across Middle-earth, and their paths often part, because they face enemies or events that separate them.
I cannot tell you much more of the story because it’s complex and long and besides I don’t want to spoil anything about it, it would certainly ruin the movies and the books for those who haven’t seen or read them.
So if I cannot tell you the whole story I’ll introduce you the main characters whose names are said above, and after that, tell you a few anecdotes I know about Peter Jackson’s movies.
Frodo inherited the One Ring from Bilbo and kept it hidden 17 years before he finally leaves the Shire. He’s very compassionate, because he pities Gollum unlike other people who think he’s repulsive. In my opinion, he’s the bravest member of the Fellowship because he had the strength to be the main Ring-bearer and so he had to resist the temptation of the Ring’s power all along his way to Mordor. Besides, he’s altruist because he sacrificed himself to complete successfully the quest. But mainly, the fact that he’s only a small, ordinary Hobbit, who has never experienced danger and battle, but who succeeds thanks to his determination to do his best, makes him a hero.
He was Frodo Baggins' gardener and best friend. When Gandalf tasked Frodo with the quest of destroying the One Ring, Sam was eavesdropping and so the wizard chose him to accompany Frodo as a “punishment”.
He’s my favourite character, because he’s loyal and never loses faith. He always does his best to protect Frodo from any harm. Throughout the journey, like every character, he changes a lot, and gains confidence and willpower.
Meriadoc Brandybuck a.k.a. Merry, & Peregrin Took a.k.a Pippin
These two Hobbits are very close friends, they’re inseparable.
They have the qualities of their kind, like common sense and a good heart.
Pippin is the youngest member of the Fellowship, he’s very cheerful but sometimes even thoughtless and he brought trouble to the Fellowship more than once because he acted silly.
Merry is the most clever Hobbit, and he clearly is some kind of role model for Pippin.
I love their pairing because I admire their friendship, their love for each other is so strong, and they’re so cute together!
Aragorn possess the usual features of heroism: he is courageous, strong, ingenious and keen. He is a great warrior and as the heir of Isildur, owns the throne of Gondor. But he’s a hero with doubts because he feels it’s is duty to fight against Sauron next to his people, and at the same time, he’s needed in the Fellowship to help Frodo accomplish his quest.
Gandalf The Grey
Gandalf guides the Fellowship and often solves situations which at first sight seemed unsolvable. Being a wizard makes him an immortal being, he does not seem to age or change. In fact, wizards are not human, they are spirits in human form, who are on earth to accomplish a specific purpose and leave when they are done. That’s why we don’t know much about Gandalf, he’s a mysterious character, but we know that he’s the most powerful being of Middle-Earth, with the Dark Lord Sauron himself.
Anecdotes on the trilogyAnd last but not least, a short extract from the movie where Billy Boyd, who plays Peregrin Took, sings a beautiful song:
The Shire actually exists, but it is commonly known as New Zealand. Indeed, most of the scenes shot in Hobbiton took place in the hilly landscapes in Wellington.
The Beatles were great fans of Tolkien and wanted to adapt the Lord of the Rings into a movie. Paul wanted to play Frodo, Ringo wanted to be Sam, George wanted the role of Gandalf and John, Gollum. They even asked Stanley Kubrick to direct, but Kubrick refused, saying the novel was “un-filmable.” And besides, Tolkien refused to let the musicians have the rights of the trilogy.
Only one cast member has met Tolkien in person: it's Christopher Lee, who plays Saruman The White.
The three movies were shot simultaneously, and six million feet of film were shot on the trilogy, and that's over 1100 miles!