The End of All Things
By Me- Elf
I still can’t get my head out of it. It might as well have been eons ago, much less yesterday that I was staring at a screen with my mouth wide open waiting in incredible suspense as the Final Chapter unfolded before my eyes.
And now I think of The End. The splendid, amazing, gut-wrenching, noble, awesome, touching end to that which we have so long waited to stand and applaud for, to sob over, to celebrate and whisper about. To be disappointed about ‘Towers’ was bad, but I can’t imagine the kind of agony it would have caused me to be disappointed about Return of the King. Therefore I wasn’t. Instead of looking at the replacements, the effects, the eliminations–I chose to look at it with the same attitude I had when I read the books. I clapped with the rest of the theater when Legolas slid down the trunk of the great Oliphant, I dropped my jaw when the Dead appeared before Aragorn, and at the Cracks of Doom I found myself whispering “Drop it, Frodo, just drop it.”
I was glad to see that ‘The End’ was the very spot that Tolkien ended the books. To have changed that would have truly ended the whole thing. As an author I know the last words you put on the paper mean something to you that you sometimes can’t put into words. Tolkien had a reason for the words “Well, I’m back,” that Sam spoke when he returned home. If Peter Jackson had changed that my whole view would be altered. But he didn’t, and it’s not.
To read it was a great thing, to see it all happening before my eyes was quite a better one. To actually see the brave, ‘fat Hobbit’ say with the anguish of a friend watching his companion die a slow and horrible death: “I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you!”–no moment in any movie has ever moved me more.
Here, at the end of all things will the true ‘Rings Geeks’ be determined. Those who went along for the ride will fall away and leave only us. The writers’ fan fiction will continue to score the archives of Tolkien Online again and again; the parties will continue, the laughter will continue to pour out in rivers that never end. We will find something to look forward to. This review isn’t about endings, as the title may suggest. We don’t have to say goodbye as 2003 rolls to a halt, the New Year can bring for us a new year of tears, laughter, joy, and numerous readings of the books. Perhaps for some ‘Return’ invited a greater look into what these fabulous books were (and are) really about. Perhaps for others it has pushed them to try something they never would have dreamed of. Purists and revisionists can argue, authors and artists can create, thinkers can ponder, etc. etc. This doesn’t have to be the end. It can be an inspiration for another beginning–if we let it.
Return of the King. The final installment, the last page, the end of all things? No, my friends, we’ve barely made it through page one.