Under the Mallorn Tree with Elbren - I Killed Haldir or How Peter Jackson Drove me to Slaying my Friend

Yes, I AM going to blame it on Peter Jackson.

Wait. Just slow down, take a deep breath, and listen to my tale before you convince yourself that this Under the Mallorn Tree is a Purist rant about Jackson's Return of the King movie.

It's not.

In fact, as most of my Revisionist and Movie Fan friends now know, I actually quite liked the Return of the King movie. I've actually seen it twice, although I confess that the second viewing was mostly an insurance ticket as I was quite emotionally and mentally drained in Toronto when I saw it the first time. Post GOTF 2003, in other words. Those that saw and spoke to me, and especially those that spent substantial time with me pre and post convention, know that I was nothing but a bundle full of Elven nerves and adrenaline during that week in Toronto.

So, I saw ROTK the movie a second time upon my return to Atlanta. I had been SUCH an emotional mess at the first viewing; I HAD to be sure that I really liked the movie as much as I thought I did. Before I put my Purist reputation on the line, you see, I had to be sure.

How did ROTK hold up for the second viewing? I didn't cry as much. In fact, here's the comparison:

FIRST VIEWING CRIED AT:

  • Charge of the Rohirrim
  • Eowyn and Merry taking out WiKi on the Pelennor Fields
  • Theoden's death
  • Gandalf's description of the shores of Valinor to Pippin in Minas Tirith
  • Grey Havens

FIRST VIEWING ROLLED MY EYES AT:

  • Arwen trotting off back to Rivendell while the Elves, clad only in their Elven pajamas, continue walking in their valium-induced trance towards the Grey Havens
  • Legolas and the Mumakil
  • Globular green Army of the Dead
  • Eye of Sauron spotlight

SECOND VIEWING CRIED AT:

  • Grey Havens

SECOND VIEWING ROLLED MY EYES AT:

  • Arwen trotting off back to Rivendell while the Elves, clad only in their Elven pajamas, continue walking in their valium-induced trance towards the Grey Havens
  • Legolas and the Mumakil
  • Globular green Army of the Dead
  • Eye of Sauron spotlight

I still give ROTK two thumbs up as a great action/adventure flick. It roars ahead and never lets up. It's the best of the three films, in my opinion.

However, as a representation of JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, the movies fall far short of the mark. The movies are more accurately dubbed, "interpretations" or perhaps even "influenced by", but certainly not representations. Yes, FOTR did an amazingly great job and stayed tantalising close to the spirit of Tolkien's books, but then it all went awry in Jackson's TTT, and he could do nothing more than carry on once ROTK came up for editing and new shoots.

But, even saying that, I have to give a big THANK YOU to Peter Jackson and his daring to make these films. It took someone with a courageous heart to even THINK of such an undertaking. Either a courageous heart, precious, or very large.........................tracts of land, if you catch my meanin.

And, actually, in all sincerity, I don't think it was the latter. I honestly think that Jackson worked from his heart, and misguided or no, mismarked or no, he did so with the one prevalent theme that he seems to want to hammer into us from the films: HOPE. Even if it's just a fool's hope.

My "thank you" is not really for the quality of the films that Jackson made, it's moreso for bringing the worldwide Tolkien fan community together by getting us all excited about the films. Even if some of us did rebel after seeing them! Nevertheless, I've met some fantastic, wonderful, and dynamic folks that I would have never met if Jackson hadn't made these films. Most of us met through the internet, and many of us through this very website, TolkienOnline.com.

Seeing ROTK in Toronto was magical for many of us, and certainly it was for me. The Gathering of the Fellowship convention, warts and all, I think, was a great party and by and large, and from what folks keep telling me, they had one helluva time. I know that for me, running around as much as I did, it was a THRILL to meet people, laugh and talk for a few minutes, and then see you all again and again as the days went by and the hours without sleep began to add up. Truly, the attendees of GOTF were what made the convention so memorable for me. I loved our guests, they were absolutely delightful, but really, if I have to be honest, it was the membership of GOTF, hands down, that made GOTF so special.

And, most likely, I would have never been surrounded by 1500 Tolkien fans for a week in such a great setting if Peter Jackson had not made his movies. So, there again, I have to say, "Thank you, Peter Jackson".

Finally, I have to thank Mr. Jackson for allowing me to kill my friend, Julia.

Quick background on how I know Julia: I met her last summer at DragonCon through our mutual friends, Donna Maloney, (TORC's Calaquendii and Guest Services coordinator for GOTF, plus my assistant many times over when I was about to lose my mind!), and Dan'a Reese, (costuming buddy of Donna's and Julia's plus a long time Tolkien nut.) Anyhow, I met Dan'a and Julia at DragonCon 2003 through Donna, and we all hit it off pretty well. Purist as I may claim to be, I was DROOLING over Julia's Haldir armour and her hubby's Boromir outfit. WOW. So, I basically bribed Julia and Kevin to come to GOTF and do a costuming panel AND be in the opening ceremonies.

So, they did!! THEN we found out, as we went through rehearsals, that Haldir's death scene was going to be a part of the production. Well, I was already an orc, and being the Director of Programming, I decided to use my "clout" *cough cough* for SOMETHING; and, so I requested to be THE orc that kills Haldir...and voila, it t'was me!

Ah, finally, my hard work for GOTF had paid off! Elbren the Purist faces off with the Elves at Helm's Deep! Elbren vs Haldir: Who will win?!

Well, you can wait for the extended edition DVD, or read on (warning: spoilers ahead):

Elbren, disguised as a Mordor Orc, takes on Haldir at Helm's Deep! Elbren SLAYS Haladir to the boos and howls of despair! BUT....then Boromir (BOROMIR?!) rushes forth and nearly slashes Elbren the Orc in half....but still Elbren stands! OH ELBREN WHO WOULD NOT DIE! Two archers stand forth....thwack thwack.....and Elbren falls! ELBREN IS DOWN!

Peter, thanks so much for allowing me my ten minutes of fame! Thank you for allowing me to make a dream come true: I was a part of Middle Earth! And touche to you as well for I think that you received some measure of revenge against my many Purist rants with the fact that my Middle Earth debut was not as the majestic Elven alter ego, Elbren; no, it was a slimy, Mordor orc who had the magical Fist of Death.

Happy New Year, everyone!


 

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