The Return Of The King

The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The KingMama, Mara and I went to Charlotte this afternoon to see the new Lord of the Rings movie, “Return of the King.” I had a wonderful time. I’ll always carry with me the image of Mama staring at that screen with a warm glow and a smile upon her face. I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to share this story and these characters with her, and that we could all experience these movies together. When I was a teenager and had read LOTR for the first time, I never expected that Mama would ever read the books. They’re not an easy read. And I never thought that anyone could possibly film the story in any decent way. Peter Jackson proved me (and a lot of other people) wrong, and made it possible for someone like me to share Tolkien’s story and vision with someone who probably would have never been able to approach it in print form.
I know I sound like a geek. I don’t give a shit. Because of the movies a lot of people have learned what all the fuss is about. And if I’m a geek because I treasure the opportunity to share something like this with my mother, then so be it. But if this story has not warmed your heart in some way, shape or form, either you haven’t seen it or you’re not human.
I suspect that plenty of people will be posting their synopsis of movies. I won’t bother. But I owe Peter Jackson a great debt. When Loretta (my aunt, for those who care) died last year (July 9th), I never could have guessed that LOTR would be such an important part of our healing process. But we bought the DVD for the first movie when it came out about a month after Lo’s death, and I will always remember the stunned silence between Mama, Mara and I when Gandalf fell into the chasm and was lost, and the others in the Fellowship showed such anguish. We were all thinking of someone. I of Loretta. Mara of her father (who died in 2001). Mama of both Loretta and Sis (her sister who died in 2001). And when the extended version came out, we watched that, too, followed by “The Two Towers” and then its extended version. It’s really something that we’ve shared together. And in a sense we all feel like we’ve been on a journey together. Yes, I know how it sounds. I don’t care.
Mara and I got home yesterday morning. Last night we watched the extended version of “The Two Towers” and then this afternoon we went to Charlotte together and watched “The Return of the King” at AMC Theaters. All of us were touched by the movie. Mara wept quietly at times. I had a hard time controlling myself on occasion, but I wasn’t about to cry in front of Mama. Not that I’m ashamed to cry in front of Mama, but she would’ve spent the rest of the evening on the phone telling everyone about me crying in a theater.
Okay. So I’m babbling. It’s been an interesting day. An emotional day. Not just because of the movie, but because I shared it with my wife and my mother, and because it meant a lot to all of us. Maybe in a way that’s what Tolkien wanted. He’s certainly given us a common mythology that we can all relate to. Peter Jackson made it accessible for a lot of people who would have never known it otherwise.

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