Exciting/Six Degrees of Lord of the Rings

A few days ago, I was contacted by the lovely Sarah from HealthCentral.com, asking if they could feature one of my February posts. Naturally (because some days are not blonder than others), I agreed and you can find it here. It's very exciting connecting to a new community and I can highly recommend their sites as a source of information and discussion.

And speaking of discussion, let's have some. Not so long ago, I read a post over on defective yeti about the Lord of the Rings. Or, more specifically, about how Matthew’s wife (aka the Queen) refused to read The Hobbit based on her experience with the Lord of the Rings being "super long and boring". Now, I have read The Hobbit, not just once, but several times and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have also attempted to read The Lord of the Rings, not just once, but several times and never got past page 70, because as the Queen says, it's super long and boring.

I know several men who are at this very moment in dead faints at the blasphemy, littering floors all over the city. Which is actually sort of interesting - I know an awful lot of people who are incredibly passionate about Tolkien and the vast majority of them are men. Which, come to think of it, makes sense and I’ll get to that in a moment.

I did watch the movies and liked them a lot - enough to buy the DVDs (used, as I am cheap like that). Recently, I decided to re-watch them and had my opinions from the first time I saw them confirmed. I liked the The Fellowship of the Ring (#1) once we got out of the Shire - I realize that this is another heretical statement, but the hobbitses kinda bore me. The Nazg├╗l (Black Riders) terrified me yet again - that part of the movie was done so brilliantly and the rest of it is pretty nifty, too. The Return of the King (#3) is also quite something (although I still haven't seen the spider scenes, instead fast forwarding with closed eyes through the squelching, munching sounds) and before I get to what I don't like, I want to make it clear that I do think that these films are an incredible achievement of storytelling and movie making, that the special effects are out of this world (especially when viewed on a screen larger than my 13 inch television), they deserved every accolade they got and I am very much looking forward to seeing The Hobbit.

That said, much of The Two Towers (#2) bored me senseless. It's such a boy's club - as I suspect the entire story is, as I remember purists having issues with the enhanced roles of some of the female characters in the movies. I think The Two Towers illustrates why - they had to enhance the female characters in order to enhance the audience to include the other half of the human race. In the second movie, Arwen waits. Really, that's all she does. Weeps poetically, as well, tears like crystals slowly gliding down her cheeks. When speaking to a friend about us, she mentioned Eowyn and I had a handy rebuttal. Because Eowyn, despite clearly being handy with a sword, gets sent to the caves at Helm’s Deep with the rest of the women and children, while boys barely out of diapers, who’ve never held a weapon before, are told to get on the walls to fight. WTF?? As a woman, there is nothing on that screen to make me connect to the story and the characters other than the story and the characters and for a three-hour movie, you'd better give me something more than boys running around heroically while the women sit prettily and wring their hands in fear. And another thing I was wondering about, although I think this is in The Return of the King. So Gandalf has become the white wizard – incredibly powerful, right? Then how come in the battle of Minis Tirith, he fights with a sword and using his wizarding stick to bash the enemy over the head? I mean, can’t it do other things? Like smiting the freakin' dragons or whatever they are? It just seems like such a waste of resources.

Which brings us to the 'six degrees' aspect of this post and yes, I know - I got a little distracted on the way. I got this idea, see. That it could be fun to choose movies to watch based on the actors in Lord of the Rings. Originally, I planned to only do the Fellowship, but ran up against the all boys, all the time thing again, so I've expanded the parameters to include not just additional hobbits, but also the three relatively fleshed-out female characters of Arwen, Eowyn and Galadriel (three? Really? Only three in almost 10 hours worth of film? I rest my case)(oh, wait - the spider was female, too, but I'm ignoring that "actor" due to a severe case of the willies). Once I watched the movies, I'd report back. I'm a little stuck on which movies to choose, though and this is where you come in. I'm entirely open to suggestions (although I don't guarantee listening to all of them), so if you've got a recommendation, please speak up in the comments and feel free to select quirky, as well as mainstream movies. Herewith the actors (am I missing any?):

Elijah Wood (Frodo)
Sean Astin (Sam)
Dominic Monaghan (Merry)
Billy Boyd (Pippin)
Ian McKellen (Gandalf)
Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn)
John Rhys Davies (Gimli)
Orlando Bloom (Legolas). NB: I consider the fact that I watched Pirates of the Caribbean III absolves me from ever watching him in anything agai.
Sean Bean (Boromir)
Cate Blanchett (Galadriel)
Liv Tyler (Arwen)
Miranda Otto (Eowyn)