Lord of the Rings


Many of you will have heard of, or even seen, the Lord of the Rings, a film made in three episodes by Main Line Cinema, taken from the book of the same name by J.R.R. Tolkein.


Surprisingly, through conversations with others, many still perceive this to be a "fairy tale", which could not be further from the truth.

Lord of the Rings is best described as a fantasy;  it is much too violent to be a fairy tale.  Set in a world called Middle Earth, it is the tale of good versus evil, woven around a ring, which is truly evil, that controls many people, good and bad, with it's power.  To gain a full insight into the film, reading The Hobbit first would be beneficial , as it will introduce you to Middle Earth, the Hobbits, and the finding of the Ring.   Although this book is now considered as suitable for young readers, it has an appeal to all ages, and is easy to read.   Again, it is an exciting adventure story, not in quite so much depth as it's sequel, but sets the scene in an easy manner.

I read the trilogy when I was only 17, in a period of 3 weeks.   I had seen and heard many references to J.R.R. Tolkein's work, and finally decided to buy the book.   I bought the paperback version, which I still have, of all three books in one volume.nbsp; What a tome!  The sheer size, even in paperback form, would discourage most people from attempting it.


Once I started reading, I was drawn into another world, and found it quite impossible to put down.  The book became quite dog-earred as I carried it with me everywhere.  I read it on the bus travelling from home and work, during lunch breaks, and slack periods in work, and for many hours at night.  I found it helped to have notes with names of characters and places as reminders to get complete pleasure from the story, as it is very complex.  A vivid imagination helps too, to picture places described in great detail.   After a week, Middle Earth had become a very real place, and an escape from routine.

Having completed the story, I became a collector of all things relating to Lord of the Rings - calendars  (some of which are very sought after now),  music  (Bo Hansson),  and Tolkein's other works  (Tom Bombadil, Leaf and Tree, The Silmarillion, Un-Finished Tales, and The Hobbit).  I have the Games Workshop Lord of the Rings battle set, models of some of the characters, the cartoon version of Lord of the Rings  (incomplete, due to the producers running out of money - shame)  on DVD, and am waiting to buy the complete set of the new film on DVD, preferably as a boxed set, which I'm sure will appear.

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The Lord of the Ring film series is fairly faithful to the books, although a keen reader would spot some omissions and additions to Tolkein's work.  Despite this, the magic and message is entirely faithful and places described in the book are totally accurate, and amazingly done.  So particular was the director, Peter Jackson, who devoted seven years to the making of these films, that he built entire villages and settlements in New Zealand which are habitable .


New Zealand was chosen as the setting as the scenery lent itself extremely well to the ~feel~ of Tolkein's work, with mountains, plains, rivers and forests, without modern structures detracting from the beauty.   With computer animation adding special effects was easier, reducing the need for extras, the cost of which would have been enormous.

I was lucky with watching the films, as I knew the story, but at no time did I ever give away any of the plot to either my partner or son, who accompanied me.   Despite being asked several times by an impatient 12-year-old, I gave very little away.  When I saw the trailer for the final film, I made sure that these were not viewed, as they gave too much away of the plot.   David, who is 12, was very lucky, as the second two films have been given a 12 rating.   The first is rated as PG, suitable for under 12's with an adult.  He had reached the required age limit for the other two, just in time.   They are rated as such due to the amount of violent battle scenes, especially in the later two.   Each film is better than the preceding one, but should not be watched out of sequence to obtain the best out of the story.   There is humour as well as action, with just enough romance to keep the ladies interested too.  The actors, some unknown, were well chosen for their roles, with the previously unfamiliar becoming famous due to their character portrayal.

There are many web sites devoted to Tolkein's works;  some analysing the plots, some containing just drawings or paintings of scenery and characters within the tale.  I have visited many and would recommend them.

Some notable ones are:   for artwork  for all things ralating to J.R.R. Tolkien and his works  for all things relating to the films

If you were unsure of the nature of the film, I hope I have given you some insight and you find some time to watch all three episodes.  The first two films are available to rent or buy on video or DVD and the final film is doing the rounds of cinemas now.   If you like action films, treat yourself, I promise you won't be disappointed.


RIYAN Productions