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I've finished my second reading of Return of the King, and though I swore I would not bother doing this, I find I can't resist. So here's my lengthy and untidy list of...

Stuff that impressed me, amused me, made me want to cry, and/or Better Be In the Third Film

I apologize for this being the third post in a row about LOTR, but hey, it's my journal and you can skip it if you want to.


The wall of Minas Tirith being 700 feet high. 700 feet! That's taller than the Space Needle! And then the White Tower goes another 300 feet ABOVE that. This really is a Middle-Earth metropolis – they've got the skyscrapers and everything.

I hope they do the Pippin/palantir episode in the film, so that Pippin and Merry get separated, because their respective adventures are quite interesting, and then their reunion...well, I'll get to that. But let's just say I'm working under the assumption that they do get separated.

The Paths of the Dead. Way cool. I bet PJ, with his ghostly-horror-flick background, will not turn down the chance to film this one. Incidentally, I think an adapted Princess Bride quote is in order here:
Eowyn: You'll never survive!
Aragorn: Nonsense. You're only saying that because no one ever has.

That black Mordor sky spreading out over everything. Satisfyingly creepy. 'It began last night at sunset. From the hills in the Eastfold of your realm I saw it rise and creep across the sky, and all night as I rode it came behind eating up the stars....'

Dernhelm. Hee. Oh, Eowyn, the issues you have. I hope they keep the part where Merry rides with her. I could see myself favoring some actual "het" fanfic if it were Merry/Eowyn. With Eowyn dressed as a guy, and Merry finding out the truth in some memorable fashion...hmm...

The enemy flinging severed heads over the walls of Minas Tirith. So cruel and horrible. Much cinematic potential. But can they do that and keep a PG-13 rating?

The pyre of Denethor. Yikes. Burn, baby, burn.

Merry and Eowyn tag-teaming to take out the Witch King. Kick-ass. They BETTER get that right.

So many things from the Battle of the Pelennor Fields (this tends to be where the "wanting to cry" stuff begins). Theoden's death. Eowyn's near-death. Eomer discovering them both: 'Then suddenly he beheld his sister Eowyn as she lay, and he knew her. He stood a moment as a man who is pierced in the midst of a cry by an arrow through the heart; and then his face went deathly white...' The death of Snowmane, Theoden's horse, and the touching burial they give him.

Aragorn and Legolas and co. arriving on the Black Ships. Cue the Pirates of the Caribbean jokes!

Pippin finding the wounded Merry. Poor things. They almost reach Frodo/Sam levels of beautiful angst.
'Lean on me, Merry lad!’ said Pippin. ‘Come now! Foot by foot. It’s not far.’
‘Are you going to bury me?’ said Merry.
‘No, indeed!’ said Pippin, trying to sound cheerful, though his heart was wrung with fear and pity.... he let Merry sink gently down on to the pavement in a patch of sunlight, and then he sat down beside him, laying Merry’s head in his lap. He felt his body and limbs gently, and took his friend’s hands in his own. The right hand felt icy to the touch.


Aragorn healing Eowyn, then handing her over to her brother, who tells her about Theoden's death. Eomer, 'amid his tears': '... he bade me say farewell to Eowyn dearer than daughter.'

The Mouth of Sauron, taunting Gandalf, Pippin, Aragorn, etc., with the bad news:
...he held up first the short sword that Sam had carried, and next a grey cloak with an elven-brooch, and last the coat of mithril-mail that Frodo had worn wrapped in his tattered garments. A blackness came before their eyes, and it seemed to them in a moment of silence that the world stood still, but their hearts were dead and their last hope gone. Pippin who stood behind Prince Imrahil sprang forward with a cry of grief....' (*sigh*...exquisite pain.)

The force field outside Cirith Ungol that Sam breaks through with the phial of Galadriel. Rather cool idea.

Small moments of triumph on Sam's way up the tower, such as meeting the random Orc: ...what it saw was not a small frightened hobbit trying to hold a steady sword: it saw a great silent shape, cloaked in a grey shadow, looming against the wavering light behind; in one hand it held a sword, the very light of which was a bitter pain, the other was clutched at its breast, but held concealed some nameless menace of power and doom.
For a moment the orc crouched, and then with a hideous yelp of fear it turned and fled...
That Gamgee lad should thank his lucky stars for the Ring and bad lighting conditions.

One of many poignant and Gothic moments: At last, weary and feeling finally defeated, he sat on a step below the level of the passage-floor and bowed his head into his hands. It was quiet, horribly quiet. The torch, that was already burning low when he arrived, sputtered and went out; and he felt the darkness cover him like a tide. And then softly, to his own surprise, there at the vain end of his long journey and his grief, moved by what thought in his heart he could not tell, Sam began to sing. Doubt they'll keep the song, but it's one of the few songs I sort of wish they would find a way to keep. (A lot of the others, the epic-length ones, we're probably better off without, in the film version I mean.)

The Frodo/Sam reunion in the tower. I can't pick a single line or even a single page; I mean, my goodness. You understand, I'm sure.

Frodo really is rather strange and depressed – "fey," to use a more Tolkienian word. A collection of stuff he says while in Mordor:
'The whole thing is quite hopeless, so it’s no good worrying about tomorrow. It probably won’t come.'
' ...this blind dark seems to be getting into my heart. As I lay in prison, Sam, I tried to remember the Brandywine, and Woody End, and The Water running through the mill at Hobbiton. But I can’t see them now.’
' ...the Ring is so heavy, Sam. And I begin to see it in my mind all the time, like a great wheel of fire.’
'It’s no worse than I expected. I never hoped to get across. I can’t see any hope of it now.'
'Lead me! As long as you’ve got any hope left. Mine is gone.'
‘...we shan’t need much on that road. And at its end, nothing.’
' No taste of food, no feel of water, no sound of wind, no memory of tree or grass or flower, no image of moon or star are left to me. I am naked in the dark, Sam, and there is no veil between me and the wheel of fire.'

Thanks for the pep talk, Mr. Frodo.

This was actually kind of funny:
‘Let me drink first, Mr. Frodo,’ he said.
‘All right, but there’s room enough for two.’
‘I didn’t mean that,’ said Sam. ‘I mean: if it’s poisonous, or something...'


Frodo and Sam slowly dying of dehydration and starvation. Painful.

Frodo pitifully trying to crawl up the base of the Mountain; Sam's offer: ‘I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you and it as well. So up you get! Come on, Mr. Frodo dear...'

Don't know if the destruction of the Ring will be faithful to the book – I have my doubts that it will be – but that's all right as long as they have the moment afterward, when Sam and Frodo huddle together on the erupting mountain, calmly sure they're about to die. 'Here at the end of all things...'

Their awakening, and their reunion with everyone – especially Gandalf. Many tears I anticipate.

Faramir and Eowyn getting together – I've heard complaints about this, but gosh darn it, I thought it was very cute.
‘How should I ease your care, my lord?’ she said. (bawm-chicka-bawm-bawm)
I hope they adapt this little exchange, too:
'I do not wish to play at riddles. Speak plainer!’
‘Then if you will have it so, lady,’ he said: 'you do not go, because only your brother called for you, and to look on the Lord Aragorn, Elendil’s heir, in his triumph would now bring you no joy. Or because I do not go, and you desire still to be near me. And maybe for both these reasons, and you yourself cannot choose between them. Eowyn, do you not love me, or will you not?'


All the partings are rather sad, of course, but I start feeling depressed when Elrond tells Frodo: '...you will not need to come back, unless you come very soon. For about this time of the year, when the leaves are gold before they fall, look for Bilbo in the woods of the Shire. I shall be with him.’

And then it gets steadily worse from there. I can't concentrate on the Scouring of the Shire or anything else in between because I know what's coming. By the time they actually set out for the Grey Havens, I'm very bitter and upset.
'Do not be too sad, Sam. You cannot be always torn in two. You will have to be one and whole, for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be, and to do.’
‘But,’ said Sam, and tears started in his eyes, ‘I thought you were going to enjoy the Shire, too, for years and years, after all you have done.’...


It occurs to me that they might put the line "Don't go where I can't follow" there, at the end, rather than its original place. Either one would work. But I still hate that last chapter for what it does to me.

Must focus on thoughts of the parody material that I can draw out of this; otherwise I'll be too sad to get out of my seat and leave the cinema once the credits roll. This, you see, is why I do irreverent things like write parody and/or slash (or read it): it's simply too sad otherwise and I wouldn't be able to stand it.

Comments

( 34 comments — Leave a comment )
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mactavish
May. 1st, 2003 09:03 pm (UTC)
I haven't read the books since the mid-seventies, and you've really brought back a lot of the character for me with this, a lot of why they were important to me. Thank you.
mollyringle
May. 2nd, 2003 03:06 pm (UTC)
You're welcome - I feel honored to have given new life to such a great book for someone. It definitely survives a re-reading. I imagine this won't be the last time I read it, either.
poopsmoothie
May. 1st, 2003 10:00 pm (UTC)
Yes, yes, yes.
(Anonymous)
May. 2nd, 2003 01:02 am (UTC)
*sob* It's so sad. Sad and beautiful. *dries tears* I'm afraid to get my hopes up too high, PJ can't possibly do it was good as the book, they're just bound to mess it up somehow. I can't wait to see it, but at the same time I dread it, if you know what I mean. In addition to what you said, I would sort of like Imrahil to be in the movie, though I doubt he will be. Kinda liked him.
mollyringle
May. 2nd, 2003 03:08 pm (UTC)
Yes, it could be confusing to add Imrahil and all the other contingents who join up. Too bad...I was very curious how the heck "Imrahil" is pronounced. (I know, I could look at the pronunciation guide in the appendices, but I'm having a lazy day.)
hollinelf
May. 2nd, 2003 01:16 am (UTC)
I'm going to -cry- at the end of RotK at the cinema. Hell, I was upset after I finished the book. It wasn't just because it was a sad-ish ending, it was that it was the end of the story, there was no more of that world to discover. Reading it's great to go into that world again but there's nothing like when you first discover it. I suppose I'm like that with all books but especially LotR. Have you ever read The Sandman by Neil Gaiman? That had the same effect on me.

I'm not even going to think about what I'll do once RotK has been long out at the cinema because I love this fandom so much. Not just for the movies, for everything that comes with it, like meeting new people through it. I know there'll be other things to like but I don't think it could equal this. I really do sound obsesssed but I don't care, I love it! I know there's people who feel the same way.

I saw FotR, was amazed, saw TTT and couldn't believe how good that was too, I just know that if PJ says RotK is going to be the best, It's going to be something spectacular.
mollyringle
May. 2nd, 2003 03:10 pm (UTC)
Haven't read 'Sandman' - sounds like I should check it out.

Yes, this is quite a good fandom. Rather all-encompassing. You don't sound obsessed to me; you sound normal...which perhaps just shows how obsessed I am myself. :)

I'm sure ROTK will be good. Since they filmed all three at once, it would be very odd to have the first two be good and the third one completely suck. Though, I guess it's all in the editing... still, it'll be fine. There will undoubtedly be surprises and changes, but still, it'll be fine.
celtic4
May. 2nd, 2003 08:10 am (UTC)
I will probably be hysterical after ROTK ends. I know PJ will make the most out of the sad parts...and it will be all too beautiful and terrible and happy and sad, all at the same time...
mollyringle
May. 2nd, 2003 03:14 pm (UTC)
Indeed, and there will probably be at least 12 or 13 "sad parts" (not an exaggeration; I just went through and counted up the likely ones); so, assuming a 3-hour movie, that's one every 15 minutes. Oh boy. This will be exhausting.
cenire
May. 2nd, 2003 10:15 am (UTC)
Oh, oh, oh. I need to reread TTT and ROTK.

I was thrilled with Peter Jackson's adaptation of FOTR. Of course, I had my quibbles, but that's inevitable. I loved TTT as a movie -- as an adaptation of Tolkien, I didn't like the deviation from the novel, but I still thought it was a fabulous, beautiful, brilliantly done film.

And I can't wait to see ROTK. I'm even more excited after having read your list of reasons! ROTK has always been my favorite section of LOTR (I don't want to say my favorite book, since they were originally written as one book) because it has the most drama, the most passion, the most life. By the end of the book, I grow to sympathize with each character. I'm a bit apprehensive that PJ will change crucial details, but I'm trying to think of them separately in my mind -- book apart from movie -- so I can truly appreciate the film in its own right.

I love your parodies, and I know what you mean. It IS hard to deal with all that sadness. But you're able to recognize the sorrow, get through it, and then lightheartedly, perhaps irreverently have fun with the story... and make other people laugh too. :)
mollyringle
May. 2nd, 2003 03:17 pm (UTC)
Right - much as we appreciate faithfulness, it's important to keep in mind that what makes a good book isn't always the same as what makes a good movie. As I read it, I was picturing in my mind how I would rewrite certain scenes if I were in charge of the screenplay. Things can be changed as long as the basic feel is kept, and so far, PJ has done a great job of keeping the basic feel.

I hope I can make people laugh after this one. It may prove very difficult...
pollitt
May. 2nd, 2003 10:36 am (UTC)
::whimper::
I recently reread Return of the King as well, which just served to prove to me that I will, indeed, be a with Kleenex in hand throughout the film. I know Dom and Billy have spoken about the separation of Merry and Pippin, so I'm pretty sure that will, indeed, be shown.

I really hope that PJ stays true to the book with the crowning of Aragorn, and the Witch King's demise, etc... I expect to be destroyed, really, by the farewells, but I keep hope that PJ will work with the appendices, providing a happy ending (because I am a sap and romantic).

There will no doubt be plenty of parody material, for you, I truly hope there is. Those have brought so many laughs and smiles, it would be a tragedy if the sadness won out.
mollyringle
May. 2nd, 2003 03:19 pm (UTC)
Re: ::whimper::
I know Dom and Billy have spoken about the separation of Merry and Pippin

Cool. Hadn't heard that. This reassures me.

Yeah, if he doesn't make some mention of Sam going across the Sea at the end, I'll be disappointed. Maybe it will be implied in some line of Frodo's; something like, "One day, you can come join me, but not yet."

*sigh* It will be sad, but I'll do my best to draw the humor out.
Re: ::whimper:: - pollitt - Sep. 16th, 2003 09:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
kateelvellon
May. 2nd, 2003 11:32 am (UTC)
Holy Christ. I honestly think it's the best book ever. Tolkien was ridiculous.
The Paths of the Dead. Way cool. I bet PJ, with his ghostly-horror-flick background, will not turn down the chance to film this one. Incidentally, I think an adapted Princess Bride quote is in order here:
Eowyn: You'll never survive!
Aragorn: Nonsense. You're only saying that because no one ever has.

YES! That is the bit I am most excited about. Also, we need some damn sea-longing from Legolas. Let him have his personality!!!

It's so sad and wonderful.
I will need your parody as well. I'm going to be depressed for months when its all over...
mollyringle
May. 2nd, 2003 03:25 pm (UTC)
we need some damn sea-longing from Legolas.

Indeed. They haven't touched on that at all yet. Wasn't it mentioned early in TTT, in the book? Oh well...maybe when they jump on the Black Ships he'll say something cryptically Elven about the Sea. :)

I will need your parody as well. I'm going to be depressed for months when its all over...

Well, if I'm going to be needed, then I guess I'll try to survive afterward... hehe.
(Anonymous)
May. 2nd, 2003 12:57 pm (UTC)
An old weary hobbit
All the points you made are things I agree with. Oh, let it be like that, Filmmakers That Be! Thanx for calling to my attention the sheer SIZE of the White City. Somehow it had never registered with me before. I do hope they use the severed-head-ballisto thing, it's so cruel and poignant even though it doesn't have to do with any one character we know. If PJ can show flying orc intestines, he can show branded severed heads hurtling through the air. That's what I sez.
Also, there are some bits from Two Towers which come after the point the movie left off. I'm sure you've thought of this too, but what about:
"Sleep, then, master! Lay your head in my lap."
And then Gollum comes back hours later and finds them both asleep and Frodo looking angelic, and he has a moment of remorse...That's what I'm rooting for. Of course, I'm among the few people who take an interest in Riverbank Folk, so I am all agog to see the flashback bit finally used *somewhere*. You know, "Give me that, Deagol, my love."
Yours truly, April the Lurker
mollyringle
May. 2nd, 2003 03:33 pm (UTC)
Re: An old weary hobbit
I'm sure you've thought of this too, but what about: "Sleep, then, master! Lay your head in my lap."

Ah yes - I was hoping to see that at the end of TTT, but since it wasn't there, maybe it'll be early in ROTK. Along with "maybe the last meal they would ever eat together." (Which it isn't, of course, but it's a poignant thought.)

They did film the Smeagol/Deagol stuff, but I forget whether it'll be in ROTK or the extended TTT. Hmm.
i_kat_i
May. 2nd, 2003 02:14 pm (UTC)
"If the parting would be bitter...
more grievous still would be the long road home alone." (The Gray Havens) Some words from the last pages of the book and yet they so resoundingly echo my own sentiments each time I finish reading the book...

I think I have read the whole book (or series) about 7 or 8 times now and I swear it just gets harder to return to real life every single time! It is just such a subliminal journey into fantasy, with characters that you come to love so muchly, that it depresses the hell out of me when it all comes to an end! It usually takes me about a week to get over the book...What will life be like after the 3rd movie? LOL (I hear mutters of "get a life!" from readers here...but life in Johannesburg for me is pretty much like living in Morgul vale after the ring was destroyed...or maybe I am just in a black mood lol)

Sam steals my heart totally in the last book :) I think of all the characters, he is my absolute favourite and I, personally, think he shows the most incredible wisdom and insight! It is probably more profound, because you almost don't expect that of him. Never judge a book by its cover...(now this might make another good caption for lemonlye's new pic of Sam and Frodo snogging! LOL)
(Anonymous)
May. 2nd, 2003 11:06 pm (UTC)
I have a very similar reaction to RotK when I'm getting towards the end... I start to dread the last chapter, because it's just so agonisingly sad and melancholic. The first time I finished RotK, I felt utterly dejected for about three days afterwards, and I hardly talked to anyone during that time.

When I thought I was finally over it, I read the sections in the appendices called "Here follows a part of the tale of Aragorn and Arwen" and "Later events concerning the members of the Fellowship of the Ring", and reading about all my beloved characters dying or sailing off never to be seen in Middle-earth again made me lapse right back into feeling dejected.

But even with all this sadness and loss, it's an incredibly beautiful tale..... which would explained why I'm reading LotR again, for the fourth time :) Still quite a way to go until I get to The Grey Havens again though...
justanotherjane
May. 4th, 2003 08:27 am (UTC)
i loved the ending of rotk,(i cried...im a wuss) they'd better stay loyal to the book or i'll be an angry woman...i wonder if they plan to include what happens to everyone AFTER frodo and the elves leave (sam becoming mayor, having fifty billion kids...i thought it was sweet that he named one after frodo, merry, and pippin.) Im interested to see if they show what happens to Arwen as well, after the death of Aragorn...Ooo, and legolas and Gimli. yay.
justanotherjane
May. 4th, 2003 08:30 am (UTC)
Oh yeah...and Sam going across the sea...*sobs*
how could i have forgotten that?
:) - (Anonymous) - May. 4th, 2003 10:44 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mollyringle - May. 5th, 2003 03:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
jedmiller
May. 4th, 2003 11:48 am (UTC)
Yes, yes to everything people are saying here. I am getting sad about the end of ROTK just reading these messages. Also musts for retention, I think, are the amazing sequence of how the King is actually crowned and the finding of the White Tree.

Lemon, great call on the song Sam sings alone in the tower and on the reasoning for why PJ will keep the Paths of the Dead. God, I hope you're right. But I despair, I despair. There is simply no way to retain everything that warrants retention, even without the Scouring. A friend asks, without the Scouring, where and how will we say goodbye to Grima and Sharkey?

Also, reunion of Aragorn and Eomer, final attempt by Eowyn to join Aragorn's company (which we can presume is cut because key lines were already in PJ's TTT), and that unearthly moment on the road back when all are sleeping except Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel, who sit in communion, still as stone.

(Feels funny throwing all these spoilers around. Kinda illicit...)

Ai! Ai! Ai! It's not even June yet...
mollyringle
May. 5th, 2003 03:23 pm (UTC)
People were warned about the spoilers before the LJ-cut. Throw them around at will!

I've heard there have been several "endings" for Grima and Sharkey filmed, or at least discussed, so theoretically we'll see some creative closure to their story.

To think, we have to wait till November just for the extended TTT. Ai!, indeed.
audaxia
May. 4th, 2003 05:28 pm (UTC)
They have to have Eowyn longing for a window facing the east. I love that part. If people think she's just a girl with a crush (which, admittedly, she can come across as), that bit alone should make them rethink their perception of her.
yukonqueen
May. 5th, 2003 09:21 am (UTC)
Oh, the memories.
You know, as much as I long for an Aragorn/Eowyn romance, just to get that wench Arwen out of the picture, the fact that Faramir and Eowyn really did belong to each other is enough to get me sobbing. Which brings me to my next point.

I rate a movie's excellency on whether it can make me cry or not. Usually, it's because of the music, but I will bet anyone a million dollars that I will be sobbing the entire time through ROTK (while I'm not swooning over Aragorn). Hell, I cried while reading the book. I'm such a sap.
mollyringle
May. 5th, 2003 06:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Oh, the memories.
I think we can rest assured that this movie will make pretty much everyone cry. And probably more than once. Which is kind of a problem, since I hate crying in public. Wish I could get a private viewing stall for it or something...
(no subject) - yukonqueen - May. 12th, 2003 01:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
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