I watched Peter Jackson’s version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship Of The Ring this morning for the first time since it’s opening. Of the three, it is still my favorite, in both book form and its adaptation to film. I also believe that Peter Jackson’s vision is the best book-to-film adaptation I’ve ever seen. If you disagree, I’d like to hear what you think. If not The Lord Of The Rings, then what? What would you pick?
In a previous post, I listed a few books that have inspired my writing of A Thousand Screaming Rabbits. I must add one more. Or, to be more specific, I must add four more, from The Hobbit all the way through The Return Of The King.
I was a teenager when I first read The Hobbit. But its initial impact was subdued and ignored. Hell, I was a teenager. And besides, I was a fresh fourteen year-old who only recently discovered the tantalizing taste of Chardonnay. With my pal Jeff, and the hundreds of bottles we had taken from my parents, Bilbo Baggins, it seemed, was all but forgotten. But never fear, it wasn’t all boozy mayhem. There were also moments of mischief found in TP’ing, heaving water balloons at speeding automobiles, and in the Junior Lifeguard program at the San Clemente pier where we were given the distinguished title of “the worst troublemakers in Junior Lifeguard history.” It wasn’t our fault though. Ask Jeff, Ed spoke out of the side of his mouth! It was hilarious.
Anyhow, as I was saying, J.R.R. Tolkien’s books eventually made a profound impact on me. A few years later, in my mid-teens, I read The Fellowship Of The Ring. I adored it, and had to read the other two immediately. What is it about these books that would render me so transfixed, so enamored?
I think the answer, for me, is a simple one: it’s a story of a few, overcoming the power of many. It’s a story of the individual spirit and will rising up against the oppressing vigor of an oppressing collective. It’s a story of adventure. It’s a story that describes a journey. This is perhaps the reason I’d include it on my list of “Books That Have Inspired.” Like Frodo, Alasdair seeks to amount to something, to prove something, to matter. He seeks to persist, to achieve.
Above all, the journey is a timeless one. It exists for whomever chooses to find it. And I’ll tell you what, it’s pretty darn empowering.
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