Why Everyone Should Watch “The Lord of The Rings” Movies

Cover image that says "Laura's Love of Lord of the Rings: Part 1"


If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you’d know that I am a lover of all things fantasy. I pretty much essentially only read fantasy. I play mostly fantasy video games. If I could dress in fantasy inspired clothing every day, I absolutely would. My love of fantasy started pretty young, but the one franchise that really solidified it for me was “The Lord of the Rings.”

I first saw the movies when I was about 12 years old. From that point on, I have consistently watched them at LEAST once a year. I genuinely believe that everyone should watch those movies, regardless of whether they’re into fantasy or not. Here’s my top 3 reasons why:

1- We owe a lot of modern fantasy to Tolkien.

J.R.R. Tolkien | Biography, Books, Movies, & Facts | Britannica

Like it or not, fantasy as a genre is here to stay. More and more fiction books are published each year, and more and more of those are fantasy. In fact, over $590 million dollars worth of science fiction and fantasy books were sold in 2023. Clearly I am not the only one who connects more with make believe worlds than with our own. The more fantasy that we see in our every day life, the more we have to thank J.R.R. Tolkien. It is not uncommon to see Tolkien called “The father of modern fantasy,” and for good reason. I think Terry Pratchett (another absolutely fantastic author) said it best:

J.R.R. Tolkien has become a sort of mountain, appearing in all subsequent fantasy in the way that Mt. Fuji appears so often in Japanese prints. Sometimes it’s big and up close. Sometimes it’s a shape on the horizon. Sometimes it’s not there at all, which means that the artist either has made a deliberate decision against the mountain, which is interesting in itself, or is in fact standing on Mt. Fuji.

Tolkien was so influential to fantasy that that topic alone has its own Wikipedia page. Many of the tropes we associate with the genre actually started with Lord of the Rings. For example, while the great author didn’t invent the concept of multiple fantastical races like elves and dwarves, our modern conceptions of them have roots in his depictions. In many ways, he standardized their image. He also was one of the first to successfully market a fully realized new world with its own languages, geography, lore, and more. Even the plot of many novels, with an unlikely hero having to save the world, can be traced back to him. Essentially, if you have any interest in fantasy, watching Lord of the Rings will give you a good idea of where it all started.

This is where I’m sure many of you are questioning why I’m specifically saying “watching” instead of “reading.” In my second post in this series, you’ll get more of an insight into that choice. But for now, I’ll simply say that while the books are absolutely amazing for what they are, the movies are simply far more accessible. You still get many of the fundamentals from the movies without having to dedicate yourself to the rather intense novels. Not only that, but the movies also provide…

2- Genuinely incredible music, cinematography, and acting
Composer Howard Shore in front of a backdrop of "The Lord of the Rings" characters
Howard Shore’s music truly elevates an already fantastic work.

Despite being done over 20 years ago, the movies still hold up INCREDIBLY well. There’s absolutely a reason that all three films won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects (along with many other well deserved accolades). According to Comic Book Resources, “…The Lord of the Rings only ever used CGI when it needed to.” I think this may be one of the reasons that they still look so good. The world looks like it could be real, because in a lot of ways, it was. We don’t see many of the technical limitation of the age because so much of it was done with prosthetics and clever camera work.  Not to mention, the movies were filmed in New Zealand, a breathtaking land traditionally owned by the Maori people. The wide sweeping shots as the fellowship travels are just astounding.

The cinematography isn’t the only thing that makes the movies great from a technical standpoint. Howard Shore, the film’s composer, created some of the best movie music I have heard to date. I unironically listen to the soundtracks in my every day life. Nothing gets you ready to tackle a project you’re avoiding quite like “Osgiliath Invaded” or “Helm’s Deep.” “Concerning Hobbits” is truly a masterpiece and is personally one of my all time favorite songs. It’s perfect to listen to on a temperate spring day to calm the mind and body. And you cannot forget the true wonders that Shore does with leitmotifs. The way that he helps us to see connections across the three films with nothing but a common musical theme is nothing short of amazing. Once you hear the ring’s theme, you’ll discover it’s pervasive influence all throughout.

Gandalf crowning Aragorn at the end of "The Return of the King."
Gandalf crowning Aragorn at the end of “The Return of the King.”

Not only are both the cinematography and the music shining examples of the arts, the casting and acting are also insanely good. I literally cannot think of better people to play these iconic roles. In particular, Ian McKellen will always have a place in my heart as Gandalf. He so perfectly captures the juxtaposition of someone who is infinitely powerful, and yet also unable to stop the tide of war. Viggo Mortenson as Aragorn is another incredible choice. Like Gandalf, Aragorn is a complex character. He is a king by right, and yet he is a vagabond. Able to have all, he chooses none. Mortenson portrays that nuance and depth amazingly well. While these two are my favorite, all of the actors very much deserve the praise. This series is a fantasy tour de force. Despite that though, I don’t think that’s the most important reason everyone should watch “The Lord of the Rings” movies. That reason is because…

3- “There’s some good in the world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.”
“Frodo: I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” -JRR Tolkien, "The Fellowship of the Ring"
One of my favorite quotes from the series.

If you’d humor me for a moment, I’d like to tell a personal tale. When I was 12, things happened in my personal life, and suddenly I felt like the rug was pulled out from under me. I went from a generally pretty happy child to having diagnosed clinical depression. I felt like there was no hope anywhere. My world was a dark one, and I was utterly convinced I would never see light again.

And then I watched “The Fellowship of the Ring” for the first time. And suddenly, there in the distance, I saw the flicker of a candle flame once more. In it, I found hope.

I would argue that fundamentally, “The Lord of the Rings” is about hope. Frodo is thrown into a situation that he did not ask for, did not know what to do with, and did not want. And yet, he carries on. There are many, MANY moments in which he could have quit, in which he almost does throw in the towel. But he doesn’t. He falls and gets back up, time and time again. And THAT is the main reason why I think everyone should watch “The Lord of the Rings.”

Sometimes, it can feel like our world is getting darker and scarier by the minute. With war and climate change and hatred surrounding us, how can we have any hope? We are constantly bombarded by doom and gloom at every turn. But Frodo and the Fellowship remind us that nothing is forever. When I was younger, I felt like I was fighting titanic forces that could not be bested. But seeing how the characters responded to their own seemingly insurmountable battle helped me to fight my own. If you have ever felt that way, like you couldn’t breathe for all of the ache in your heart, truly do consider watching “The Lord of the Rings.” If you don’t have the time for a 12 hour movie marathon at the moment, at least read the quote below.

“It’s like the great stories, Mr. Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad has happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing this shadow, even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines, it’ll shine out the clearer. I know now folks in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going because they were holding on to something. That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.”

So remember, the next time the world seems like nothing but shadows, there will be light.

What do you think? Do I have rose-tinted glasses for the movies? Do you like them as much as me? Let me know your thoughts below. Keep an eye out for my next post detailing my view on the books versus the movies. And look ahead for September, when we’ll be hosting a party for dear ole Bilbo Baggins. Harthon ad-govatham. 

2 thoughts on “Why Everyone Should Watch “The Lord of The Rings” Movies”

  1. Wow, Laura, you summed it up so perfectly that I have nothing to add! Maybe I can use it to convince a few more people to watch the movies. Google suggested your blog post to me on my phone and I’m so glad I read it. I’ll be sharing it with my LOTR-obsessed niece because you remind me so much of her and I bet she would say exactly the same things if she had your gift for expression. She has her own, of course. 🙂 She’s very musical and I know she will agree with your praise of the music.

    Last weekend half a dozen of us went together to see the three extended editions in theaters. That was my niece’s first time to see it on the big screen, along with the others. I saw them all when they first came out! This re-release was wonderful experience. ♥️ As many times as I’ve seen these movies, I still noticed new things and was struck again by the timeless values that run through the whole story.

  2. Lord of the Rings excelled in every aspect of filmmaking. The screenwriting, casting, cinematography, costuming, sound mixing, special effects, makeup, sets and miniatures, music, direction, acting, art direction. And all that with a terrific story as the foundation. A triumph in so many ways!

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