I must ruefully admit that while I am a huge fan of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy, I have never read the books by J.R.R. Tolkien. (In fifth grade I bought a box set that also included The Hobbit, which I started to read… but I got stuck in chapter two, amidst all the discussion of roast mutton.) Therefore my appreciation of the world shown in the films is based entirely on how great the films are and by how well the actors, screenplay and other technical elements brought those Tolkien characters to life.
Three nights ago I watched most of The Two Towers on cable. It always stuns me when I notice how much of the dialogue I know right away, anticipating it before the characters speak. I don’t know if The Two Towers is necessarily the best film in the trilogy, but it will always be my favorite one.
The love scene in Imladris between Aragorn and Arwen is one of the best moments in the film (the YouTube clip’s lack of Elvish subtitles notwithstanding). As the “Evenstar” theme plays, we see the romantic beauty that lingers in Aragorn’s memories beyond the warrior’s exterior. (Not to sound like fanfiction too much, but it really is a beautiful scene.)
I suppose I could have read Tolkien if I’d wanted to, but between the ages of nine and eleven, the joy of seeing the Lord of the Rings trilogy without knowing what would happen in the films was really exciting. I know I can’t claim to be a superfan in the same way that Tolkien readers are, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t love Peter Jackson’s films as much as any other avowed geek. I’m darned proud of it, and as soon as I find my Legolas shirt, I’m going to wear it again. I’m glad to be a member of the LOTR fandom.