The Gaffer’s Elite: The Films

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies (posters)

Ranking all things Middle-earth

It is useless trying to escape the unavoidable.

With this final post from The Gaffer’s Elite series, it is time to rank the Middle-earth films.

Yes, you heard that right: writing down, from 1 to 6, the best films from the good ones.

I’m sweating just typing that sentence; most fans can attest to the special viewing experience gained from every one of these six movies.

And yet, it is no use denying that there will always be that one film, from either of the two trilogies, that makes you feel geekier and more impressed whenever re-watching.

Do not hate me for the Herculean task I have had to complete in creating this list!

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Celebrating Tolkien Reading Day!

James Tolkien (Header)

(P.S. Fake pipe – I do not smoke. The intriguing expression is real though …)

Celebrating Tolkien and His Timeless Works

On the 25th of March, Year 3019 of the Third Age, the One Ring was destroyed in the depths of Mount Doom – bringing an end to the dominion of Sauron and the heralding the liberation of Middle-earth.

In our world, this day marks a worldwide celebration and appreciation of Tolkien and his works.Tolkien (BBC)

Celebrations usually take the form of Middle-earth reading marathons; with some even more reading marathons.

Pick your favourite passages and let the words flow within your mind, as you experience the magic of Tolkien.

I myself have just begun my 9th or 10th re-read of The Silmarillion; which will lead me on to re-experience The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Tolkien is a fantastic writer and master world builder.

To honour today’s celebration, here are three favourite passages of mine from his 3 distinct works. Continue reading

The Gaffer’s Elite: Characters

Gaffer Gamgee

Ranking all things Middle-earth

Last week we discussed some of the most remarkable sets and locations from the Middle-earth saga. This week, we’ll be looking at the characters.

This was naturally tricky, so I’ve decided not to rank these in the usual way. Rather than assigning numbers, I decided to select 3 characters from each trilogy and briefly explain the reasons why I find them appealing

As with the other posts, it does not mean that those unmentioned characters are not my favourite; but to keep this post brief and maintain the sanity of you the readers, I’ve limited by list to a total of 6.

I’ve made one exception and omitted Gandalf from both trilogies. Let’s face it. These films wouldn’t be the same without the contribution of Ian Mckellan’s stellar performance. Considering he’s in all 6 films, I’ve decided to leave him out. Nothing against Gandalf, at all. Again, it’s all about brevity (… and sanity). Continue reading

The Gaffer’s Elite: Realms and Settlements

Gaffer Gamgee

Ranking all things Middle-earth

Hullo friends!

It’s Friday today and that means another post from the Gaffer’s Elite! Now I had announced a “favourite characters” ranking last week, but in the meantime I thought there’s just one more post I need to do before getting to that.

Undoubtedly, one of the most appealing things about Middle-earth, and the reason why we keeping going back to these films and reading the books, is due to the vast variety of locations the stories take place in.

In 6 films, Peter Jackson and his creative team have visualised much of Tolkien’s fertile creativity and sublime imagination. Suffice to say, the combination of visual effects, set design and New Zealand’s natural breathtaking countryside, have given us a wealth of fantasy locales unlike any other.

So without further ado, here are some of my most cherished environments from the films… Continue reading

Remembering Middle-earth Video Games

Sam EA Games

I confess that I am somewhat of a keen gamer. Not that I’m your typical expert, but I do my best to keep up with the latest releases (just reading about them rather than playing them, unfortunately).

However, I wanted to dedicate a quick post to two games based on The Lord of the Rings trilogy that have remained a personal classic.

No LOTRO here or the brand new Shadow of Mordor … I’m talking about The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (video game) and The Battle for Middle-earth II. Continue reading

The Gaffer’s Elite: Credits Songs

Gaffer Gamgee

Ranking all things Middle-earth

After going through some of the most beautiful and emotional cinematic shots in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings last week, it’s time to switch back to the music category. We’ve all been there: screen fades to black and the score swells up to greet the text and title captions fade in and out. This is a slightly tedious experience during most cinema viewings, but when it came to the Middle-earth films, we fans were glued to our seats – not only to go through the names of the hardworking team behind them, but also to listen to the end credits songs.

Suffice to say, they’re all special in their own way; but like any other piece of music, there’s always one that precedes the other; the chills and emotions are stronger and run deeper. Which reminds me. After several posts from The Gaffer’s Elite, I’ve realised it would be much more exciting and suspenseful to leave the top choices last. Sure, you can always scroll immediately to the bottom to reveal the favourites, but at least I’ve tried my best.

And yes there are 7 songs listed below, even though there are only 6 films and hence 6 end credits songs; but you’ll see why in a minute. Continue reading