Friday, December 19, 2003

Well, I'm back.

From Middle Earth, that is. We saw the early evening showing of Return of the King last night.

Frankly, there aren't words. Nevertheless, I shall try.

[spoiler for ROTK]
I held off reading this book so that I wouldn't have too many expectations for the movie. I had been undecided on whether I would do this until I read The Two Towers and fell in love with Tolkien's version of Faramir.

On the other hand, I spoiled myself silly for the movie - sort of. I knew lots of little details that, had I known how they added up, would have essentially added up to the story. Some of the details were from the book, some were from the movie. For the most part I didn't know which was which. I did know about the events that were moved from the end of TTT, because there was no way in hell that I'd stop reading a book that fantastic before the end.

The two big things that I did not expect:

  1. Eowyn and the Witch King. I knew the prophesy, that no mortal man could kill him. I'd theorized that perhaps it would be a hobbit (Merry or Pippin, even before knowing their exact roles in this part of the story), and during the movie I became certain that it would be Aragorn, based upon my very limited understanding of the Dunedain. When Eowyn was holding Theoden, I realized that it would be her. When she beheaded the Fell Beast, it actually took me a moment to realize what had happened - not because it was shown poorly (it wasn't), but because it was so stunning and sudden. When she pulled off her helmet, I very nearly cheered.

  2. The eagles. I had NO IDEA, and was so unspeakably happy when they came. Later, when Frodo and Sam were on the rock on the edge of Mount Doom, with the lava flowing around them, I knew that it would be the eagles who'd come to their rescue (I wasn't spoiled, I am just clever), but it never occured to me that Gandalf would be with them, and I cried.

The crying was a bit of a pattern for me throughout the film. I managed to hold the tears back, though they formed in my eyes, until the first sweeping shot of Minis Tirith as Gandalf and Pippin rode up. Yes, it was the architecture that got me. (Shout-out to Jess!) The tears had been in my eyes since at least the moment when Merry and Pippin were separated, but this is when they started flowing.

I was very surprised at the number of songs in the movie. Merry and Pippin in Rohan, Pippin to Denethor, and Aragorn. In the two previous films, the songs have only been in the extended cuts. I thought it was lovely to have them in this version.

The utter physical disintigration of Frodo and Sam broke my heart. When Sam carries Frodo up Mount Doom, you can see the bones in tiny Elijah Wood's ass. Their recovery in the end was so sweet to watch, particularly Sam. The moment when he stood up to go talk to Rosie in the Green Dragon was so moving, because it immediately made me think of his reactions to her in the beginning of Fellowship, and showed how much he changed. Frodo trying to be Frodo again was almost as heartbreaking, and I sobbed and sobbed as he said goodbye to his companions to get on the ship with Gandalf.

I read a review on the WD in which someone was disappointed in Aragorn grabbing Arwen and kissing her. I think that is ridiculous - he won the battle, he was crowned king, and his love came back to him. I would have grabbed her just as quickly, kingliness be damned.

I won't even mention the moment when Aragorn and all of Gondor bowed to the hobbits, because my keyboard is getting wet just thinking about it. (That sounds gross. I mean that I am crying again.)

There is so much more to say. I don't know how to say any of it. My mind is a blur of wonder and heartbreak. When the movie was over and we walked out to the courtyard at the theater, I broke down completely and sobbed into Will's chest for about ten minutes. Then we went inside and had a drink. I have never needed one so badly.