Saturday Six #11: One Obsession to Rule Them All

Isn’t it great when you’re talking with a longtime friend and you suddenly find something new that you have in common?

This happened to me a few weeks ago when a friend and I discovered our mutual love for The Lord of the Rings. Many a Facebook chats were then filled with movie lines, book-movie comparisons, favorite characters, memorabilia…the list could go on! It was so much fun to have a whole new subject to discuss together, and also delightful to revisit one of my biggest past obsessions.

I wasn’t interested at first. My dad brought home the first film on DVD from the video store (I was still living at home at the time, and yeah, I just dated myself by using the phrase “video store”), and my mom and I just looked at each other and rolled our eyes. But three hours later when, as you know, the movie ends with a massive cliffhanger, we glared at my dad and yelled, “THAT’S IT?” Thus began the obsession.

I’m not “obsessed” with The Lord of the Rings anymore. But I can present you with six pieces of evidence that fifteen years ago, I was one of the biggest LOTR nerds you ever would have met.

The Theater. After not seeing The Fellowship of the Ring in theaters at all, I went on to see midnight showings of The Two Towers and The Return of the King. There were people in costume, but I was not one of them. Not only that, I saw TTT three more times and RoTK twice more….in the theater. Of course, this was in the day of $5 student tickets, and we had a brand-new, 30-screen theater exactly halfway between my parents’ house and where most of my college friends lived (I commuted for 2 years).

The Pin. I purchased an elven brooch on eBay, and I wore it proudly on the lapel of my gray peacoat for years. I never had a ring, though. I don’t actually understand why people would want to have a reproduction of The One Ring, or heaven forbid, WEAR IT. Terrifying.

The Game. I had the Lord of the Rings edition of Trivial Pursuit, and to this day, it is the only Trivial Pursuit I’ve ever enjoyed playing. Possibly because it was the only one I was ever good at. Which was possibly because I spent entirely too much time watching the DVD bonus features. At my college graduation party, my friends and I sat down for a game, and instead of wearing my graduation gown like normal, I slipped my arms out of the sleeves and pinned the collar together at my neck using the aforementioned brooch. And I owned everyone at that table.

Here we are playing LOTR Trivial Pursuit. You can’t really see the brooch on my gown, but I promise it was there!

The Marathon. On a cold and cloudy January day in 2005 or 2006, I hosted a marathon featuring the extended editions of all three films. That’s 628 minutes (10.5 hours) of film time. It was accompanied, of course, by themed food, including chicken stew (a stand-in for rabbit stew), lembas bread, and PO-TA-TOES.

The Hobbits. I had a fantastic life-sized cardboard cutout of the four hobbits from the Fellowship. Sadly, they were not all that much shorter than I am! My senior year of college, a neighbor on my floor had a Legolas cutout, and we took him on a road trip to the Upper Peninsula and managed to snag some pretty good photos of him out and about!

A friend and my roommate, watched over by the Hobbitses.

The Screenplay. My love for LOTR inspired me to write my own screenplay. Truth be told, I had (and still have) no idea how to write a screenplay, but I imagined it to be Masterpiece-Theater-style, in the vein of the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice. It was an adaptation of the novel Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell, and I did actually make it through an entire draft. I dreamed of one day sitting at the Academy Awards alongside Dominic Monaghan, who was obviously going to star in the film because he is originally from Manchester, UK, where Mary Barton takes place. He was going to be my significant other after we met on set. Oh, and I was also going to win the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. OBVIOUSLY.

What far-off days those were, but days of big hopes and dreams, and days of having the time to obsess over something so completely! It’s fun to look back, isn’t it? And fun to realize that, even if it’s not at obsession level anymore, you still really enjoy and appreciate something from your past.

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