Middle Earth on the Big Screen—A Master Class in Fantasy Storytelling

Though I started my journey into the world of Tolkien as brought to life by Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh late in the game (2016), I am now obsessed. In this article, I will expound on a few of the reasons why.

Cate Blanchett was the perfect choice for Galadriel; her voice-over at the beginning of Fellowship of the Ring evokes a perfect feeling of the medieval. It draws the viewer into the story and the world of Middle Earth. (The magnificent score by Howard Shore doesn’t hurt either!) Within the first two minutes of Aragorn’s appearance, I was head-over-heels for this character and the way Viggo Mortensen so brilliantly became him. From his voice to his body language, facial expressions and the words he utters, this compelling, mysterious man with a tragic past, and hints of greatness just waiting to be tapped into, intrigued me.

The friendship between Pippin and Faramir in Return of the King, however short though their scenes together may be, strikes the deepest chord and melts my heart. Although an important character in the first two films, this is where Pippin comes into his own, and proves his courage. As for Faramir, I just want to give him the biggest hug; he spent his entire life trying to gain his father’s love and respect and is ten times the man Denethor ever could have been.

To balance this parental neglect, he has a close, supportive relationship with his brother. Instead of going the obvious route and pitting them against one other because of the way Denethor treats them so differently, their father’s unrealistic and suffocating expectations draw these two men closer together. Boromir values his little brother and gives him the respect he deserves. They play the scene between them in The Two Towers with brilliant warmth. I adore the line, ‘Remember today, little brother; today, life is good.’

The last conversation between Faramir and Sam is also a lovely acknowledgement for two characters who do not get enough recognition within the films; it’s likely the first kind thing Faramir has heard since his brother died and is also one of the few times another character vocalizes Sam’s importance.

I don’t know too many actors who can say so much with one five-second look as David Wenham does in the scene between Faramir and Eowyn when they’re watching their friends ride off for the final battle. Although I would love more scenes between these two (maybe with dialogue of more than just two or three sentences!), Melissa Otto and David Wenham hit it out of the park with the brief scenes they got. I believed their chemistry, and he made her smile again!

Now I will move on to The Hobbit Trilogy. The moment that sealed the deal in terms of my thinking “this movie has the potential to devastate me” is when the dwarfs sing the Misty Mountains song in Bilbo’s house (though I LOVED Blunt the Knives as well). Both are effective ways of showing the different sides of these endearing characters. Another thing I appreciate is that the feel of these movies differs from LOTR. It’s its own series, and while it could never match the sheer level of epic LOTR lays claim to, for me it comes close. It provides some awesome allusions and references to the original trilogy (i.e. the two near the end of The Battle of the Five Armies).

I also could not have chosen a better film as my introduction to Luke Evans. It doesn’t hurt that he’s playing a man of such strength, nobility, humility, fatherly love, and loyalty; Bard is beautiful both inside and out, and Luke Evans portrays his many facets effortlessly.

That said, my top favorite character has to be Kili. Aiden Turner is not only physically attractive, he imbues his character with this wonderful sincerity, humor, subtlety and self-awareness. He and Fili are the youngest of the dwarf company, and it shows in their facial expressions and actions how eager they are to prove themselves to these men (mostly their Uncle Thorin) they admire so much. There is a certain of innocence to Kili, helped by being the only dwarf to not sport a full-on beard! That combined with his special brand of honor and courage leaves me asking, “Is it any wonder Tauriel fell in love with him?!”

I fell hook, line, and sinker for Kili and Tauriel’s connection. The thing I appreciated most about their love story is it had a sense of ethereal wonder (as befits an elf) and fairy-tale-like magic, with beautifully evocative language both subtle and clear at the same time. And the looks they gave each other; I have no idea how Tauriel could resist Kili during that beach goodbye scene.

Boasting a constantly entrancing script and over-flowing with memorizing performances, I feel the magic of Middle Earth in every frame of these six films. They are everything my fairy-tale fantasy-loving heart adores, complemented by wonderful helpings of thought-provoking allegories, lifelong friendships, and beautifully exquisite love stories.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hopeless romantic, fervent bibliophile, and aspiring word-smith, Kirsty Pearce also has a deep love for fantasy, fairy tales, & history. With a wide range of TV obsessions from Outlander, Bitten, & Grimm, to Dancing With The Stars, Nikita, & Horrible Histories, she enjoys watching as many Hallmark films as possible, knitting, baking, and sharing all her fan-girl thoughts on her blog.

8 thoughts on “Middle Earth on the Big Screen—A Master Class in Fantasy Storytelling

  1. Charity Post author

    I had never even heard of The Lord of the Rings until a guy friend mentioned it to me, a few months before the release of the first film. I watched the trailer, then saw the film with him opening day on the biggest screen I’d ever been to in my life… and was totally hooked. My life, for the next three years, was all about The Lord of the Rings. I read the books. I discussed the movies with my friends. I made new friends! I ran a website about the religious symbolism in the films. I participated in forums and blogs. The fandom gradually slackened off, but it still holds a special place in my heart, and I watch it at least once a year, usually around Christmas.

    My favorite character remains Gandalf, although the others are all wonderful, too. And I’m one of the few people who enjoys The Hobbit films just as they are, with no major complaints. I am more than happy to spend a few more hours in Middle-earth. 😉

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    1. kirstymichelle94

      I would definitely recommend watching them (as you could probably tell from my post, haha). As for Kili and Tauriel, I’m so excited you’re already on board with them; in both idea and action they really are for me one of the sweetest, most adorable, magical fairy tale love stories; I’d love to read what your thoughts are if you ever do end up seeing this trilogy!

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      1. iamcharlesbakerharris

        If I ever do watch The Hobbit movies, I’ll do a blog post about it! And I truly do love every picture/clip/gif I see of them–I’m a sucker for pretty girls with red hair, and Kili’s expression is just “CONSTANT HEART EYES” and I am Here. For. It.

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  2. hamlettethedame

    YES TO ALL OF THIS!!! So exactly how I feel.

    I love that you highlight the brotherly bond between Boromir and Faramir, because it doesn’t get a lot of screentime, but it’s so key to both their characters and character arcs. THey have this awful dad, but they also have each other, and even though I suspect Boromir hasn’t been home a lot lately, what with riding all over Gondor and Rohan doing the Warrior thing, they’re still close and still important to each other. I think Boromir fully expected to sort of share the Stewardship of Gondor with Faramir, relying on him for wisdom and advice, and I think that they would have made a remarkable pair of rulers, had they ended up leading Gondor.

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    1. kirstymichelle94

      Thank you so much for commenting, and for a Lord of the Rings mega-fan such as yourself, I’m so happy you enjoyed my post!!

      Also, I completely love and agree with every one of your thoughts on the bond between Boromir and Faramir. The actors did such a phenomenal job enabling the audience to feel the depth of the love and respect these two brothers had for each other in just one to two scenes… you also got to see that they balance each other out perfectly as well personality wise, and would have made fantastic co-rulers for sure!

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