Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Lords of Wasting Time

If I could choose only one from the many moral lessons, as these epic stories go, that The Lord of the Rings film trilogy attempts to impart upon its audience and label it as the most important, most relevant of them all, it would be this: Time is of the essence. Carpe diem. Seize the day. As long as there is sunlight, keep working; as long as there is moonlight, the night is young; as long as one can toil away, stopping is not an option. Now that may be too much of an exaggerated elaboration, but you get the point.

 You should have run, you fool.

Take for example, Gandalf's fall at the Bridge of Khazad-dum in The Fellowship of the Ring. He had defeated the balrog alright, but quite assured that the demon had been sent to its abysmal death, he chose to linger for a few moments on the edge of the broken stone bridge and catch a few breaths. Had he immediately walked away after defeating the demon, the balrog's whip would not have been able to take hold of his ankle and pull him down to the deep, thereby probably ensuring the continuance of the fellowship and who knows what else.

 You should have seen through Gollum's intentions when you were arguing over the techniques of cooking rabbit, Samwise.

Or how about Sam and the array of opportunities when he could have simply sliced off Gollum's head, especially in The Return of the King, that part where he hears loud and clear the creature's plans to kill them? I mean, come on, you really, really hate this creature and know full well that it plans to kill you - and take note that Frodo's asleep! Samwise - so much for the name - was equipped with a sword, but instead, he would barbarically choose to first strangle Gollum and wait for Frodo to wake up and see them. And this didn't happen just once.

Bite that finger off, yeah!

Wait. Then again, if Sam had killed Gollum, then there'd have been no one to bite the ringed finger off Frodo at the Crack of Doom near the end. So... this is tough. But in that scene is another example. 

"What are you waiting for? Just let it go!" shouts Sam, some steps behind Frodo, who stands at the edge of the ledge in the midst of the Chambers of Fire. Then, Frodo, perhaps suddenly possessed by the selfish spirit of Isildur, chooses to take the ring as his own. (Am I spoiling it for you? I thought everyone should have seen the trilogy by the end of the decade? Otherwise, that's a glaring hole in your movies-to-watch list.) 

Take me baby, or leave me!

Going back to the topic, had Sam stood by Frodo's side, he could have at least forcibly taken the ring from Frodo and cast it into the fire himself. Like suddenly grab and throw, and the rest will follow. Heck, we all know Frodo isn't that fast, anyway - and it's his own fault he lost a finger, too. This ring's been attempting to kill him all year, and he still chose to stare at it for longer than a second before destroying it, fully aware of its power to control him? Damn it, Baggins.

When in trouble, the Precious goes before one's life.

At the very least, Gollum is pardoned for first dancing with joy when he had at last retaken the ring, instead of running away with it. That's happiness, my friends. And we have to admit, the thing's kind of mental.

Having said all this, I have to applaud Shelob for her courage and determination to get a taste of hobbit meat. But once again, carpe diem: If I were her, I would have immediately pounced upon the unarmed Frodo instead of climbing over the rocks, trying to decide which position best to paralyze the slow thing. Attack Frodo and carry him back to the tunnel before Sam arrives.

Shelob calculating the best angle to pounce upon Frodo.

Yesterday, I finished my long-awaited LOTR (by Peter Jackson) marathon, a total of nine VCDs (yes, they still exist) all containing visual greatness. Once again, the trilogy reminded me that it is the most awesome film epic of the decade, and of my youth. Sorry, Harry.

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