"Authority is Not Given to You to Deny the Return of the King!"
I feel like these endings are necessary. After the years devoted to these films, after feeling the passion they inspire, I can wait a little longer to see exactly how things play out for our heroes. After letting these films put me through the wringer, it's nice to see everyone get their happy ending.
When we began watching The Return of the King, Seb and I were largely unaware of how drunk we were. We were so caught up with the story that the booze didn't hit us until about twenty minutes after we finished. We record these things; the recording for this film is composed of equal parts us talking about dicks, quoting the film, proudly declaring that we're very sober thankyouverymuch, and crying. Hysterically crying. The journey ended, the ring was destroyed, there was no more evil in Middle Earth ever again, and we proceeded to fall asleep, content.
No hangover, I might add. So, aren't we the real heroes of this story?
"The Return of the King's Cup": The Rules
1. Title drops: The full title, "Return of the King" OR "The Lord of the Rings"
2. Drink when they drink.
3. Drink for Daddy Issues
4. Drink when Frodo and Sam say each other's names.
5. Drink when you see a marching army.
All the above rules apply. Also...
1. Drink when someone or something is called by a name that is NOT their given name or title. For the purposes of our game, the ring is called "The One Ring" or "The Ring of Power". The proper title for the Black Riders is "Nazgul". And hobbits are properly called "Hobbits".
Anything other than that gets a sip.
2. Drink when we cut from an important scene to something less important.
All the above rules apply. Also...
1. Drink whenever someone puts on the ring, or is tempted by the ring's power.
What I'm trying to say is that these films aren't beyond reproach. I love them with all of my heart, and their campiness and histrionic tendencies speak to my soul. It's this kind of thing that made me start this blog. No piece of art is so sacred that you shouldn't be able to poke fun at it however you'd like. The true test of a film's worth is whether it survives that kind of scrutiny, if even after stripping it down and laying its flaws bare you still really enjoy it. "Return of the King" survives scrutiny with aplomb, and that's why it deserves thirteen Oscars.
That isn't what happens with Eowyn. What we have here is a woman who is constrained by her place in society and has learned to adapt and live within those constraints. She speaks about fearing "a cage", fearing immobility and withering, but makes no moves to change her circumstances until the people she loves are threatened. She is a woman of duty, and the fact that her duty drives her into battle has little to do with her sex and everything to do with where her responsibility lies and how the larger conflict is affecting what is important to her. In short, she is motivated and active.
There has been a huge call for a "stronger" female presence in film especially, in female characters that are complicated and interesting. The people making the films, however, seem to take the word "strong" too literally. It doesn't matter if our heroine knows three types of martial arts, or can use a bow with precision accuracy. If she doesn't WANT things, she's not a well-developed character. We want people to act like human beings, not flawless robots who have to be told where to go and how to move.
It can be done. Eowyn is by no means a perfectly written character, but she's interesting, she's heroic, and she gets stuff done. Those are basic requirements being filled. Now if we can get a woman who's as emotionally complex as Aragorn or Theoden, we'll be doing even better.
Far Beyond Bromance
ANYWAY, this sort of talk says more about the film's portrayal of male friendship than it does about its stance on gay romance. The fact that so many people raised their eyebrows at Frodo and Sam means that they're unused to seeing two (presumably) straight men baring their souls to each other and expressing the kind of devotion that these two do. By the end of "Return of the King", these two have been through hell and back, an experience just as bad as any war, and the only thing they had was each other. Regardless of whether these emotions can be construed as romantic, they're touching and powerful, and the audience feels that. Hardcore.
In "Return of the King", Merry and Pippin are separated for the first time. Gandalf forceably takes Pippin to Gondor, leaving Merry behind in Rohan, and Pippin is visibly upset by this, especially since he doesn't have a chance to say a proper goodbye. You start to think that maybe Pippin and Merry have never had to do this before. What if they've spent their entire lives together? Every single day?
Merry and Pippin's relationship differs from Frodo and Sam's because their feelings are largely unspoken. They take for granted that the other person is going to be there day after day, and don't understand the depths of their feelings until they're faced with the prospect of never seeing each other again. Until then, their affection for each other feels familial. They're almost like twins; they have a connection that feels natural and supernatural at the same time.
Oh. Ugh. Do people attach romantic significance to Frodo and Sam's relationship because they fit more neatly into a masculine / feminine dynamic? Like, Merry and Pippin are basically equals, but Frodo constantly has to be rescued by Sam's kindness while dealing with the unfortunate consequences of his machismo and anger?
I'm depressed now. Please forget I came to that conclusion. Enjoy the hobbit love for what it is.
Like, why doesn't Aragorn use his unbeatable ghost army to storm the Black Gate?
Drink whenever someone says the word "Ring".
This is an extension of the "Title drop" rule. Full disclosure, I played the game for The Fellowship once using this rule and I was blackout drunk by the time we got to Weathertop.
Drink whenever someone says something in Elvish.
Yes, I know it's called "Sindarin". I'm trying so hard to keep a lid on my nerddom.
Drink for Book Chapter Title Drops.
They like to drop a few of these in every once in a while. If you've got a full edition of the novels, just keep it open by you.
For Your Inebriation is written by Krissy Pappau (Hollis Beck). All "Lord of the Rings" images are owned by Newline Home Video.