The Lord of the Rings is my all-time favorite trilogy / series of movies.* I would love to watch through them all once a year, but it ends up being like once every 5-7 years. (They are 4 hours apiece,** since we’re talking about the Extended Editions.) Well, foolishly I thought that Alicia and I could easily watch through them after I quit my job and she was still on maternity leave.
That was December. Fast-forward to July, and not only did Alicia bail out after The Two Towers, I just recently finished Return of the King in bits and pieces over the last several weeks. Mea culpa.
I know I have a few friends who are as devoted as me to the series of books and movies. (Feel free to skip this post if you’re not one of them.) For the rest of you, here are my favorite scenes from the series; what are yours?
Obviously: Spoilers ahead.
Top 10 Moments from Lord of the Rings
10. Grond. (Return of the King)
9. At Aragorn’s coronation, when he says to the hobbits: “My friends. You bow to no one.” (Return of the King)
8. When Grima sees Saruman’s army of Uruk-hai, and Saruman’s “To war!” speech. (The Two Towers)
7. Aragorn confronting the King of the Dead beneath the mountain. (Return of the King)
6. The rise of the Balrog, the Bridge of Khazad-dûm and Gandalf’s “You shall not pass!” (The Fellowship of the Ring)
5. The lighting of the beacons. (Return of the King)
4. The Witch-King of Angmar leads his army out of Minas Morgul. (Return of the King)
3. Aragorn’s speech in front of the Black Gate. (Return of the King)
2. Pippin singing “The Edge of Night” to Denethor. (Return of the King)
1. The Battle of Helms Deep, particularly the atmospherics. The immense and overwhelming dread of an assault of tens of thousands in the night and the rain, spread out over the plain in front of the fortress. For me, this encapsulates the spirit of the series. I could watch this battle a million times. (The Two Towers)
Galadriel’s exposition to open. (The Fellowship of the Ring)
When the Hobbits hide beneath the road from the Nazgul in the Shire. (The Fellowship of the Ring)
Theoden’s transformation after being freed of Saruman. (The Two Towers)
The Ents flood Isengard. (The Two Towers)
Frodo departs Middle Earth and bids goodbye to Sam, Merry and Pippin. (Return of the King)
* This is not a subjective judgment. The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and Return of the King comprise the single greatest multi-film cinematic achievement in history, under any terms of measurement. While I certainly like other film trilogies and series too, I will not suffer anyone’s silly claims about The Godfather or Harry Potter or Star Wars exceeding the achievement of Peter Jackson and J.R.R. Tolkien.
** Before you hate on 4-hour movies with your “ohmygawd, how could you sit through that?” consider that 3 movies (x) 4 hours = 12 hours of film, or about the same as one season of a Netflix show. Don’t act like you’ve never burned through a season of House of Cards or Game of Thrones over a weekend.