One Last Time

One Last Time…

Those words sit heavy in my heart, my friends. Such sombre words indeed :(

But never fear! This post isn’t anything dramatically heartbreaking–I was actually tagged in the “One Last Time” Q&A about The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies. It was the lovely Jennifer K. Marsh who tagged me for this one and I owe her a big thanks, ’cause I had no idea what I was going to write about today.

Here are the rules:

1) You have to be tagged in order to do it.

2) You have to tag and notify at least three bloggers.

3) Answer the questions!

4) You must have seen The Battle of the Five Armies before taking this quiz.

For those of you who also follow Jenny, this should be very interesting, seeing as how our opinions of the Hobbit movies are on exact opposite ends of the spectrum :P But I’m going to start by answering the questions, and then finish with a story that will likely explain why I feel the way I do about the Hobbit movies. There will be spoilers, so tread carefully. Enjoy.

1) Tell your story of how you came to see the movies or got into Tolkien in the first place.

The first exposure I ever had to the Lord of the Rings movies was when I was a little kid. I remember my dad watching one of the movies with me and my sister in the room. My sister was afraid of Gollum so she and I called him the “naked cucumber” to make him funny instead of scary. I have no clue where we got the cucumber part from, but there it is. The movies with the naked cucumber guy in them.

Haha but a little later on, I actually started to take interest in fantasy things. I can’t remember if Guild Wars or Dragonlance or Lord of the Rings came first, but I was introduced to all of them and my love was sealed. I watched the LOTR movies with my dad and fell in love with Tolkien-style fantasy stories. A few years later, I tried reading the Fellowship of the Ring book but gave up on the series (I was young and dumb). I then read The Hobbit several years after that and fell in love with Tolkien’s work all over again. By the time the Hobbit movies came out, there was no question that I was going to see them.

2) Who are your three favourite characters in The Hobbit? 

Ooh. Um. Hm. This is a toughie. I suck at picking favourite characters. I think I have to say Bilbo is my #1 because I love both his character and his actor. And the character development, ah! It makes me warm and fuzzy inside :D My second choice would have to be… ah, I want to say Gandalf, but I also really liked Bard, especially in the last movie. So maybe a tie between them (I’m such a cheater). Gandalf because he is incredible and wise and disgruntled half the time and he’s just a wonderful wizard. Bard because… I don’t know exactly, I just really liked his role. I liked that he was fighting against impossible odds for what he loved. And for third… I would say another tie between Tauriel and Kili. Tauriel because I love love love the fact that they added a kickass female character into the movies (I will never say no to empowering young girls), and I love love love the fact that we saw a strong female character who was allowed to feel love and loss. I just really like her character. Then I say Kili because I like that he had more presence in the movies than in the book. I wish he actually had more presence, because I would’ve liked to see more of his conflict, being so young and being related to the dwarf who was ready to destroy everything just for a dragon’s hoard.

3) Did you cry at The Battle of the Five Armies, and if so, which scenes and what type? 

Yesssss, I did. I was pretty good through Kili and Fili’s deaths, and I was pretty good through even Thorin’s death, but when Martin Freeman–I mean Bilbo–got all choked up and started sobbing, I just lost it. Agh, that one sound he makes, like a whimper? That just broke me down. And when The Last Goodbye started playing during the credits, I lost it all over again. I am a hot mess, I tell you. Don’t take me to the movies if you can’t handle waterworks.

4) Were the deaths compelling to you, and if so, whose?

Not gonna lie, Fili and Kili’s deaths weren’t that compelling to me. I knew they happened because of the book, and Tolkien didn’t really write them in a way that made you want to cry or anything, and I don’t feel as though the movie created them to be like that either. They just happened and that’s okay. That’s how it was meant to be.

Thorin, on the other hand, was a much more compelling death. I’m really fond of him sacrificing himself to kill Azog. And I like that he has the chance to make his peace. Plus there’s the fact that Martin Freeman/Bilbo was there to make the scene 100x more emotional and heartbreaking, so all of it added together made for one very compelling death.

Although the death of Thranduil’s elk was also pretty heartbreaking. What a beautiful creature :(

5) Overall, were you satisfied with the movie itself?

I was indeed. I don’t think it was the strongest movie of the series (I’m really fond of the first one, I think it’s my favourite), but I think it makes a beautiful and satisfying end to the series. Plus, I am a sucker for any kind of epic fantasy battle scenes so looooots of eye candy in this one!

6) Describe the movie in one word.

Aggggh. (That’s a word, right?) Just one word? Hm. This is almost as hard as picking my favourite characters. After much scouring of Thesaurus.com to find what I want, I think I’ll go with…

Resonant.

I’m going to tag Chrome Biatch and TJ Edwards (dunno if you’ve seen it…) aaaaand I can’t find a third person who I reasonably suspect would’ve watched it… Gah >:| You can tag yourselves if you want.

***

All right: story time. You may remember me blogging a while ago about how sad I was that Battle of the Five Armies was the end of the Hobbit adventure. There, I explained how the Hobbit movies are so special to me because they were the first Middle-earth movies that I was actually old enough to watch in theatres. I missed that opportunity with LOTR. But there’s another reason these movies are so important, and that’s because of my family.

First, of course, is my dad. He’s the one who first showed me Lord of the Rings (and Guild Wars, for that matter), and he was the one who really influenced my love of fantasy. In the past many years, we’ve shared excitement over all sorts of fantasy things, whether it’s new movies or video games or whathaveyou, so of course we were both pumped to go see the Hobbit movies in theatres. So pumped, in fact, we went to see each one on opening night, which was a rare and exciting experience for me.

Now, a love of fantasy seems to run on my dad’s side of the family, because my grandparents (and aunt and uncle and cousins) on that side are also big Tolkien fans. So of course my grandparents were also pumped about the release of the Hobbit movies, and of course they were pumped to join us in watching them in theatres on opening night.

And so, on December 14th, 2012, the five of us arrived two hours early at the movie theatre, ready to stand in line and ogle the movie poster and buzz with excitement as we awaited the adventure before us. I especially couldn’t wait. It was my first time venturing into Middle-earth with all the surround-sound and three-dimensionality of a movie theatre, and my first time embarking on such an adventure when the adventure is actually happening, not years afterwards. And what’s more–I was doing it with my fantasy-loving family by my side.

And it was bliss. It was worth every bit of waiting. I loved the movie, I loved the characters, I loved the music, I loved the world. There was no question we were going to do this again the next year, and the next. And we did. All three years, we showed up two hours early on opening night for our Middle-earth adventure. That was wonderful. Sharing that with the people who inspired my love of fantasy–that was perfect.

But then I set off on my own Unexpected Journey.

Because around the same time that the first Hobbit movie was premiering, I was talking to my grandma on my mom’s side and she said something that surprised me.

My grandma on my mom’s side is a lovely woman. She has always been a smiling, grandmotherly figure in my life and I always relate her with her gardens, complete with cherub/angel baby/fairy statues. She’s the grandmother who would let me and my sister play with all her sparkly jewellery and blinged-out high heels. She’s definitely not the grandmother I would have a drawn-out discussion of magic systems and goblin classifications with. But she heard me talking about the Hobbit movie coming out and her ears perked up. She said that she’d seen it advertised and thought it looked interesting, even though she didn’t really know what it was about. But it caught my attention, and so for Christmas, I took her out just the two of us to watch The Hobbit in theatres.

There was something both amusing and absolutely perfect about that night. I was taking a woman who (bless her heart) didn’t even know what a hobbit was to see a movie whose book was written by the king of high-fantasy. But as I sit here and remember the look on her face when she read her Christmas card and realized she was going to see the movie, and when I remember the look on her face after watching the movie, and how thrilled she was… it’s an amazing memory, it really is. We also made it a tradition, going out to see the next two movies.

So fast forward to December 17th, 2014, where I’m crying after just finishing Battle of Five Armies. The group of us huddled in the lobby, reliving the past two hours (and the past three years) and commiserating over the fact that it’s the end. But amongst those tears are lots of smiles, because what a beautiful movie it was, and what a special memory we had made together. It was bittersweet, and it was precious.

And then, go a few weeks forwards, as I’m sitting in the theatre with my grandma, listening to The Last Goodbye and again crying my eyes out. Because it was then, during that song, that I realized it was the last time. It was the last time I would be going on this special adventure, and I didn’t want it to end. That memory was especially bittersweet, and it was precious.

Maybe that’s why I love the Hobbit movies so much. Maybe it’s because I had the most wonderful people by my side, sharing in this special moment with me. Maybe it’s because we were all there united by this love of adventures and little hobbits. Maybe it’s because those memories I made are irreplaceable.

That’s my story. And now, with bittersweet tears in my heart, I say my last goodbye.

“Many places I have been
Many sorrows I have seen
But I don’t regret
Nor will I forget
All who took that road with me”

Thank you, all those who took such a blessed journey with me. I will never forget it.

Who have you adventured with?

May you always have a companion on all your life’s adventures.

-Alex

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4 thoughts on “One Last Time

  1. It took me about five minutes to recover laughing from Gollum the “naked cucumber”. What in the world?! Too funny. I imagine he would have seemed quite a creepy/scary character to a young kid, though! You know, I completely forgot about Thranduil’s elk dying. That was indeed tragic. Saddest part of the whole film ;) And it lasted a grand total of two seconds.

    ‘The Last Goodbye’ is a beautiful song. It’s just a shame it’s linked to The Hobbit ;) It really irritates me how they kept shoving LotR down our throats throughout The Hobbit, though. Like in the music video. Just stop. It is NOT LotR. It is The Hobbit. Aaaaaggghhhh it breaks my heart how much I hate The Hobbit! I wish I didn’t. But then it’s their fault for slaughtering the story. Ugh. Tolkien is crying in his grave, I tell you.

    It also breaks my heart that you missed LotR in the cinemas the first time round. Truly, truly breaks my heart. How you missed the most glorious experience in the world! <3 I still remember so, so vividly sitting there listening to the eager buzz of those around me, waiting for the lights to go down, and then they did and the curtains rolled back. And we were sat in the very front row! Pure magic.

    I know I say this all the time, but I really do believe it: If you had experienced LotR when it first came out, you too would hate The Hobbit. You would.

    A complete aside, here. I love you drawing at the top in your head-banner thing. A bearskin?

    • Hahaha yeah I really have no clue how that came to be, but it’s stuck with me ever since :P

      That song, I swear. It gives me chills. Haha yes, I know ;) They really are very different stories, and very very different films. Ah, poor old Tolkien. I wonder what he would think about this whole movie-making business, were he here to witness it.

      Bah, curse my tender age! :P I have to admit, it’s times like these when I wish I actually was older. Even just a little bit, because I think even 10 year old me would’ve appreciated seeing LOTR in theatres. I shall have to live vicariously through you and your magical memories, I suppose :)

      Dunno if it would necessarily have made me hate the Hobbit, but I guess we’ll never know for sure ;)

      Oh, thank you! Yep, a bearskin, the nasty fellow.

      • It made me giggle extra hard because of conversations about cucumbers being evil at the best of times, if you recall. Ahhh, funny times.

        ‘Tis very moving :) Hmm, honestly, I wouldn’t be overly surprised if Tolkien turned around and said he disliked the LotR films. I’m not sure why I think this. He would most certainly hate the Hobbit, though ;)

        Ahh yeah, I know the feeling. Sometimes I sit and wish I was older due to various situations, but then we must stop and remember that our souls were brought into this world at its particular time for a reason, and we must never question the wisdom of the soul.

  2. Pingback: Chain Post – The Hobbit (Movie Edition) | TJ Edwards - A Practice In Episodic Fiction

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