#LOTR15 -A Life-Changing Day …

The Lord of the Rings (on-screen logo)

It can often be frustrating trying to comprehend the impact of watching The Lord of the Rings for the first time.

How do you explain something as monumental, powerful, personal and life-changing as this to someone else?

No matter how much I try, be it to fans or non-fans alike, I never seem to be able to do so successfully. There’s always a piece of the puzzle missing: a complex jumble of raw emotion with a strong sense of nostalgia as this time of the year often brings with it.

This week has been marking the 15th anniversary since the release of The Fellowship of the Ring; and while this post is intended to celebrate this milestone, I’m here primarily to recall the events from fourteen years ago when, on 21 December 2002, The Lord of the Rings truly made an impact in my life.

When I saw The Fellowship of the Ring for the first time in March 2002, whilst I thoroughly enjoyed it, I couldn’t yet appreciate what I had just seen and the influence it would have on me years later.

It was after having seen The Two Towers a year later that it finally hit me, that what I was seeing was unprecedented and extraordinary. Suffice to say, since that moment of emerging from the theatre, not a day has passed that I have not thought (in some way or other) about Middle-earth: be it a scene from the film, a piece of music, a quote from the books …

Again, it’s difficult to summarise the effect of this experience over 14 years.

One thing that has developed and grown into something extraordinary, is my passion and immense admiration towards reading and writing.

I have already written about my journey of Discovering Middle-earth, but seeing all the recent articles and images about the release of the first installment has made me think and recall those exciting memories (and not without a tinge of sadness).

So yes, thinking of the first time I watched any of The Lord of the Rings films is like the loss of childhood. It’s unrepeatable because it was unique, extraordinary and deeply influential. Yet, you can always look back at it. It hurts, but you are glad you have experienced it at the right time.

There, I think that’s the closest in words I can come to describe these emotions.

Good night.

6 thoughts on “#LOTR15 -A Life-Changing Day …

  1. Oh my gosh. Fifteen years!!? Makes me feel so old. I did not experience the full LOTR experience until ROTK was released, but from that moment on I was hooked. I was a freshman in high school and I just completely immersed myself in the culture of Tolkien. It propelled my writing and sparked my imagination in ways I can’t even describe. You are right that it is an incredibly personal experience and it is very hard to describe to someone who has not gone through the same transformation. Thanks for another great post, James!

  2. Very well described. It’s how I feel about the Tolkien legacy, but honestly also how I feel about Harry Potter, which is where my love of fantasy, high-epic or not, began to flourish.
    But the first time I finished The Fellowship of the Ring, I knew my life was changed.
    And yes, the music… Will never lose its power.

  3. I was excited to see Fellowship and as the film advanced, I had more and more confidence that a filmmaker had finally come along who was capable of fulfilling my expectations from reading Tolkien. The scene that drove this home for me was the Mines of Moria. I never thought a film maker would/could accomplish this.

  4. It’s really been fifteen years? I guess that means I’ve loved LOTR for over half of my life now.

    The first time I watched the films was an incredible experience. I completely understand what you describe. It’s hard to describe how it moves you. I had already read the books once through by then, but watching it come to life in Fellowship was amazing. It made me fall in love with it even more.

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