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I finished re-reading The Fellowship of the Ring last night, and will turn the page and keep straight on into The Two Towers, since this is the big heavy single-volume edition I'm reading. I was inspired to get out the Extended Edition DVD this morning and re-watch the ending scenes of FOTR to note the various subtle changes.

One thing I like about the movie version is the parting between Frodo and Aragorn at the breaking of the Fellowship. After having been rushed at by Boromir, it makes sense that Frodo would next turn upon Aragorn with suspicion and test him by tempting him with the Ring. So I love that we see that happen, and can see for ourselves--and Frodo can see--that Aragorn will only close Frodo's hand over the Ring and step gently back, and swear he would have gone with him all the way to Mount Doom. Similarly, I appreciate that Merry and Pippin get to glimpse Frodo, recognize he has to leave, and help him by creating a diversion, rather than just realizing he's gone and not getting to say goodbye. Both partings are well-paced and poignant, with satisfying inter-character relationship closure (for the time being), so I'm glad they were added, even though they aren't strictly necessary. That is, Tolkien's version might make slightly more sense: i.e., Frodo decides to sneak off alone because if he announced he was off to Mordor, everyone would insist upon following him and he couldn't bear to let them all get into such danger on his account. Still, I can't help preferring the sweet farewells.

I especially think so since in this re-read I'm appreciating Aragorn more than before. Hobbits are still the most lovable, but Aragorn, Boromir, Legolas, and many others are striking me as a lot cooler and more sympathetic than I remembered from earlier readings of the books. And the Aragorn-Frodo friendship is particularly likable, the King and the Ringbearer, especially since (and I had forgotten this) Aragorn is buddies with Bilbo too. They hang out and talk poetry when Aragorn visits Rivendell. It's wonderfully cute.