- "Shortcut to Mushrooms" (hobbits, cliff, tumble!)
- "Pass of Caradhras" (Legolas walks on snow--very subtle but true to book; Aragorn cuddles Sam and Frodo, just to keep them warm I'm sure)
- "Bridge of Khazad-Dum" ("YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" *whip-snag*, *fall* "Noooo...!"--that was very Luke-Skywalker of Frodo, wasn't it?)
- "Departure of Boromir" (he's gripping Aragorn's shoulder, then he's not, then he is, then he's not, then he is; is this a film flub?)
- Subsequent near-drowning experience of Sam. I agree with reviewer on Salon.com who suggested that the shot of Frodo's hand plunging into the water and grasping Sam's wrist (and Sam's grasping back, after a moment) will enter the annals of "great and famous film moments."
Anyway, it's clear that Tolkien has catapulted near to the top of my life's obsessions so far, in a mere few months. This got me thinking about what my other serious obsessions have been. And by "serious" I mean that I talk about them way too much, and I sometimes get frustrated and start cursing the stars that I couldn't have been involved in them somehow. (Like the hopelessly enamored city councilman in 'Waiting for Guffman': "It's just so GOOD, I mean did you SEE--aaagh!! DAMN I wish I was in this production!")
So the other obsessions, what were they...
I do believe the first would have been the Monkees. Yeah, laugh all you want. In fact this whole list will be somewhat laughable. Peg (my younger sea-star) shared this obsession with me; I was about 10 and she was about 8. We watched ALL the Nickelodeon reruns, played air guitar to their songs on the porch, formed a fan club consisting of us and two other guys in the neighborhood, and thought it monstrously unfair that we hadn't been teenagers in 1967. This obsession died quietly, but to this day I have a special place in my heart for those lads and can still sigh over Nez's voice (Michael Nesmith, for those not in the know).
For years after that, my obsessions were nearer--boys in town, generally. So the next fandom obsession didn't take place until, I suppose, I read 'Les Miserables.' I'm still not sure whether to count this one as an obsession. But I did read that big book twice, saw the musical, and have memorized the CDs. Even now, someone says "You're late" in just the right tone, and my mind immediately swirls into: "Marius you're late! What's wrong today? You look as if you've seen a ghost. Some wine and say what's going on!" "A ghost you say, a ghost maybe; she was just like a ghost to me...one minute there then she was gone..." I don't cry in public, as a rule, but that musical left me no choice at all. Quite the experience.
But there's really no living person you can stalk when it's Victor Hugo's genius you were obsessed with, so clearly I was ready again for a rock-star obsession. Enter The Cure. Age 20, senior in college, getting increasingly dark and sarcastic in response to the pastel sorority fluffs I lived among, I was perfectly poised to get bowled over by Robert Smith. My room became a swath of British flags, candelabras, black overcoats, styling mousse, and new CD's. I was also just discovering the internet, so I was able to read other people's accounts of meeting them backstage, and get myself into a bitterly jealous frenzy. My roommate at the time, no stranger to things Goth, helped me along in this; together we wrote a 30 Days to a Complete Gothic Transformation, and in the summer of '96 actually went and saw them in concert. Me and that spiky hair in the same room...ah, such bliss! And in fact I DID get backstage once, in England--via a chat room, where we sometimes talked with the keyboardist's brother; a few of us got passes. But Robert did not come out to meet us, alas. I had to content myself with getting the autograph of said keyboardist. Bah.
The Cure obsession ended in disillusionment. I had gotten just close enough to see the whole sleazy-backstage thing, wherein your quality of character had really no bearing on whether or not you got to meet celebrities. It was rather more to do with whether the roadies (or keyboardist) found you hot.
And I have not been obsessed with a band since. There have been brief, brilliant obsessions about books or actors. These two coincided neatly when, after deciding I absolutely loved George Eliot's 'Middlemarch,' I found that Rufus Sewell played the romantic lead in the miniseries version. Spent a few weeks in a joint Middlemarch-Rufus obsession. Quite pleasant. And a couple years back, I got interested in the notion of renting every movie Jude Law was ever in, but I gave up at some point.
Bringing us to Lord of the Rings. Of which I have said more than enough already. I can't guarantee anything, but given the quantity (and quality) of fan material available out there for it, and the teasingly long spaces between the three movies, I suspect that this obsession is settling in for a long stay.
I can live with that.