Those who know me will know that I am a big fan of The Lord of the Rings, both the film franchise and the novels. Every so often, I’ll get the urge to watch it and I almost always indulge in that urge, even if it means a complete write-off of a day (seriously, they are ridiculously long films.) The funny thing, the thing that surprises me, is that my love for it seems only to grow as time passes, whereas usually my obsessions fizzle out and disappear rather predictably.
I don’t know what it is. Clearly something about the story just speaks to a part of me in a very unique way, and it resonates with my emotional responses to situations that come with growing up. Taking risks, leaving the familiar behind, loss, longing, irrevocable change…all that stuff. Melodramatic as it sounds, sometimes I can barely watch it because it hurts so much.
I can’t even pinpoint a particular character I love…every time I think to myself, oh, I love Frodo, I’m also conscious of the fact that I love Aragorn, and Galadriel, Pippin, Eowyn, Arwen, Sam, Merry, Eomer, Faramir etc etc ad infinitum. They’re all different and powerful in their own ways. I can’t even tell you which film I love more because even though they have their flaws, each of them have moments that are just such pure perfection. That moment when the Fellowship leaves Lorien is so beautiful. And I always get goosebumps when the elves arrive at Helm’s Deep. And I adore that moment the Rohirrim line up for the charge on Pelennor Fields. There are these pockets of sheer brilliance, both of character and cinematography, that just make me so happy – while often also breaking my heart.
And then there is the scenery. I can’t get over how beautiful it is. I am so desperately in love with New Zealand, and ever since my trip there, my response to the films has been so much more visceral. I think because I now have this personal frame of reference for the locations used, it weirdly feels simultaneously more real and more constructed. It’s just pure myth.
I wish I could visit NZ all the time. I want to have all that nature to myself, all the time. I want to go hiking in Tongariro National Park. I want to cruise the Doubtful Sound. I want to wake up to all those huge, beautiful lakes every day and I want to see mountains. Mountains, Gandalf! It’s the most beautiful place I’ve been so far in my life and it kind of makes me sad that there are so many other places I still want to visit and explore – if I wasn’t so hellbent on travelling so much, I could just go back to NZ all the time and be happy. It means so much to me. I don’t even know why. I can’t articulate it. All I know is that when I think of it – of riding in the rain over the Dart Valley, of the steam drifting across Lake Rotorua, of the trees in Arrowtown shining gold and red in the autumn sun, of Mitre Peak rising from the mist – my heart swells. If I was the type of person who could settle, who could be at peace, I imagine this is where it’d be.
Music: The Fellowship of the Ring