Short answer: lots of stuff, but not even close to all the books and paraphernalia I’ve collected over the years.
I’ve pulled together just a few of my treasures to give hint of where my mind usually goes when I start thinking about science fiction and fantasy. Every once in awhile, I’ll point out one or two of the items and let you in on why I’m attached to them. Where to begin?
Let me direct your eye to the objects a bit to the right of the center: deceptively simple ring dangling on a chain, leaf pin and —what are those box-like objects at top behind the ring and chain?—ah, yes, the boxed sets of the special extended DVD editions of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and Return of the King.
When The Two Towers came out, I went to the midnight show with a group of friends —nerds all, but not nerdy enough to dress as inhabitants of Middle Earth. (Do I regret that not-dressing-up part? Possibly.) The year before, when Fellowship hit the theaters, I had gone to see that film by myself. I hadn’t yet found my fellowship, but that’s not to say I was friendless. The truth is, I enjoy going alone to see a movie every once in awhile. If you’ve never done that, try it. It’s a totally different experience and it can be a great one, especially when the film is important to you. I’d seen (with friends) the cartoon version of LOTR. The Nazgûl were cool (can’t seem to miss with those guys in any format), but the rest—not so good. But that night, from the first few seconds of Peter Jackson’s film, I watched magic unfold on the screen. Alone, I could disappear into the experience. I felt I was in Middle Earth. (At least up to the point after Gandalf brings his staff down to crack the Bridge at Kazahd Dûm and a woman in the audience said, loudly, “I guess he doesn’t want him to pass.”)
From The Two Towers on, I’ve been lucky to share the films and hours of discussion about the films and books with my happy fellowship of nerds. So the trilogy, in both mediums, means a lot to me. I’ve stopped counting how many times I’ve watched these DVDs alone or with friends. I love the films, the extra features, the oh-so-right packaging details. My favorite extra feature? I do like the “From Book to Script” extras because comparing the books to the films is a favorite pastime. But my absolute favorite would have to be the commentary track by Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan. Hmm, which movie is that one on? On no, I feel a LOTR marathon coming on.
By the way, the miniature sword. Could it be Aragorn’s? Boromir’s? Gandalf’s? Come on, nerds. You’re better than that. It’s not even from LOTR. Any guesses?
The first time I saw the trailer for Fellowship, I thought, Wow, this is going to be something amazing. I hadn’t read the books yet, and I wasn’t a big fan of fantasy–but I knew I had to see these films. Months later when my best friend and I went to its opening night, I sat forward in my seat gaping—I was totally enamored with the scale of the film-making and the power of the story.
I began reading the books awhile later and found it was fun reading them while being in the middle of the LOTR frenzy. And it was fun talking to people who liked to analyze both and compare them to each other.
I think the LOTR books, along with Harry Potter, got a lot of people excited about reading again, especially reading epic stories about friendship and heroes and sacrifice. I think also that the fact that these stories appeal to both kids and adults contribute to their popularity. Not to sound cheesy, but I think it’s cool when people can share in these reading experiences.
We love watching the films, too. Once could never be enough.
I’ll definitely talk about it in Part 2 if no one guesses by then. Sarah’s the one who’d probably get it right.
I give up on figuring out the sword. Will we learn about its origin in Part 2?