A week ago today, Chris and I broke with our usual homebodiness and went out for a lovely dinner and went to the first screening of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. (We’ve been together for four and a half years… we’ve probably been on twelve dates.)
But I didn’t want to write my review of the movie. I avoided reading all other reviews, especially after seeing too many “Is The Hobbit too long/boring/sucky” headlines and lots of just general hating. I get that people who review films are in the film-watchin’ business as opposed to the love-the-book-before-watching-the-film business. I just didn’t want to read about The Hobbit from those kinds of people.
We saw it in 3-D (not our usual preference) and at the fancy new 48FPS. The visuals took some getting used to, to be sure, but I found it absolutely incredible. The new technology combined with my excitement over the fact that I was finally seeing The Hobbit made for an amazing movie-going experience.
And now, for a moment, I would like to get sentimental.
When I saw The Fellowship of the Ring, I was in the seventh grade. I had never read Lord of the Rings, and I didn’t even see the movie until it was in the cheap theatres. One night my family just decided that we would like to see this movie that so many people were talking about. In all honesty, I came out of that theatre rather a different girl from the one who had walked in. I have mentioned before that Lord of the Rings fanfiction was the first thing I ever seriously wrote, and it was the first thing that I ever allowed other people to read. Before that, I had done some very secretive short story writing in my room, words that were for no one’s eyes but mine. I don’t know why I felt it had to be a secret, but I really was worried about what my friends, my family would think about it.
The seventh grade was an odd time for me, as it is for most people. I went to a junior high quite close to my elementary school, so my group of friends stayed quite intact as we moved from one school to the other. But I had taken a place in the academic program, and that meant that all of my classes were with the other academic program students. Spending all of my time at school with these 31 other people, it was natural for me to gravitate towards them. And though we had the same teachers, the same classes – lots in common, in that respect – halfway through the year, I still didn’t feel particularly close to any of them.
And then one day, in conversation, it turned out that a small group of us did have something in common: Lord of the Rings. We read the books together, watched the movies together, talked about it all the time. Which gave us a pretty secure environment to talk about writing about it. It gave us a secure environment to talk about everything, really. And those little geeky girls who celebrated Elvish New Year are still the geeky girls I spend my time with, we just dress a lot better and talk about other things (sometimes. It turns out Lord of the Rings has an inexhaustive list of topics for discussion.)
Those are some of the most important relationships in my life, and have been for a decade. Sparked by a mutual interest in Lord of the Rings.
My newest important relationship – with my fiance, Chris – did not begin with Lord of the Rings (it began with a search for hot water in a remarkably crap hotel), but it quickly came to include it. We loved Tolkien’s works separately, and now we love it – and argue about it – together. And finally, last Thursday, we got to have that experience of seeing the new Middle Earth film together. For me, it was as great a milestone for us as our first kiss, our first date, our first holiday together. We could not even keep it out of our engagement: Chris told me that of the two rings he liked, he had picked one because it looked “elven.”
The love that people have for Lord of the Rings has helped me find a lot of love in the real world. So I was always going to love The Hobbit, as much as I loved the Lord of the Rings films. I loved it when Chris and I saw it again two days ago after Christmas shopping. I’ll love it when I finally convince my parents to go see it, and go see it with them (in the fantasy genre, I am their interpreter). I’ll love it when I see it with my friends, and I’ll remember how excited we were when we were thirteen seeing The Two Towers together at the theatre.
I loved The Hobbit. I’m already thirteen-year-old-girl-excited for next December.