Shortly after the release of the final installment of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, film critic Carine James pondered in these same pages whether women were “just bored” when it came to Peter Jackson’s blockbuster films.
James wrote, “Any film so popular has to attract audiences of all classes of ages and genders.” “But both demographic and empirical evidence suggests that the trilogy is still primarily a boys’ toy.”
Whether women of the time felt enthralled or bored by these films, which debuted 20 years ago this month with “The Fellowship of the Ring,” is not for me. But I do know that I, then a 13 year old girl, and my 12 year old sister, loved the story of Sam and Frodo and their quest to destroy the One Ring. And we weren’t alone.
“I was obsessed with DVDs,” said Karen Han, 29, a TV and film writer based in Los Angeles. “I think it was pretty much every vacation, I would watch all three movies in one day and do marathons, and I would do a lot every year.”
For a certain subset of Millennial women, the “Lord of the Rings” movie trilogy has the same role that “Star Wars” might have for those who grew up in the late ’70s to ’80s: this comfort. Look style for women in their late 20s and 30s.
In the years after the films came out, watching them again felt like a ritual that my sister and I observed. (My parents saw him at the theater with us, then never saw him again.) During college, I occasionally met a “Lord of the Rings” girl—a few friends in graduate school, and strangers at night out . And, of course, used to eat memes and memes together.
Then a few years ago, I started poring over articles on The Cut and elsewhere. “What about the Boromir woman?” “I’m always horny to Sauron.” “The Greatest Christmas Movie is ‘The Lord of the Rings’.”
“We all loved ‘Lord of the Rings,'” said Gabriella Piella, 32, a culture writer for GQ and former staff writer at The Cut. “It certainly increased my understanding that there was an exclusively female interest in these films that I hadn’t thought of as necessary before because I think the world of ‘Lord of the Rings’ would have been thought of as a bland male interest. Is.”
Jokes and memes are a great way fans can connect, but Payella and other women who came of age in the “Lord of the Rings” era say their passion for movies is much deeper and more emotional. It’s an attachment that grew with the film’s most poignant, Howard Shore score-backed moments: “Don’t you know your Sam?” “I know your face” and “I would have followed you, my brother, my captain, my king.”
“The overall message of this story is that as long as you have love and hope in each other, victory or victory is possible,” Han explained, “It’s technically an epic fantasy adventure, but I don’t think so.” It tends to have the same kind of ideas of masculinity and power that these stories traditionally do.”
Explore the world of ‘Lord of the Rings’
The literary universe, created by JRR Tolkien, was adapted into a popular film series in the early 2000s that inspired generations of readers and viewers.
The trilogy’s primary romantic relationship may be between Aragorn (Vigo Mortensen) and Arwen (Liv Tyler), the reluctant heir to the throne of Middle-earth, and his half-Elven love interest. But both Pyella and Han argue that the relationship between the two is no less tender than the heart-wrenching death of Boromir (Sean Bean) – whose desperation to save Middle-earth leads him to try to steal the Ring. – With Aragorn by his side, at the end of the first movie.
It’s the kind of moment that isn’t often found in male-oriented action movies, and in some corners of the internet, like LiveJournal and Tumblr, that tenderness—of Frodo and Sam, Legolas and Gimli, Mary and Pippin, Gandalf and Bilbo’s The middle became the focal point of “Lord of the Rings” fan fiction.
“I was absolutely obsessed with reading gay Hobbit erotica,” said Chelsea McCurdy, 35, who works for a nonprofit based in Conway, Ark. And I think that was a big deal for me as far as my gay journey and love were in these movies. ,
McCurdy, who is married to a transgender man and estimates they watch at least one movie every two to three weeks, said that her attractiveness goes beyond being “a sexist teenager”, adding that “nothing seems unsafe.” Because the good guys are all really good. And there’s no rape, there’s nothing that makes you feel uncomfortable as a woman throughout the trilogy.”
Indeed, the most toxic male characters in movies often have satisfying endings. They are stabbed in the back and snuffed out (Saruman), shot with arrows (Grima Wormtong), or killed after setting themselves on fire (Denethor).
Twenty years later, McCurdy was replaced exclusively by female characters – Arwen, Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) and Iovine (Miranda Otto) – whose roles were adapted into screenplays by Peter Jackson’s longtime partner Fran Walsh and his writing collaborator Philip Boynes. was extended.
“My all-time favorite No. 1 scene is ‘I’m No Man,'” McCurdy said, referring to the pivotal scene in which Iovine kills Sauron’s most formidable servant, the Witch-king of Angmar. “That whole scene gave me goosebumps, and baby feminist Chelsea just ate it.”
Television writer Han agreed, although she was reluctant to use the phrase “strong female character”. She explained, “It always seems like such a shallow and intuitive understanding whenever people try to do this in contemporary cinema, but ‘The Lord of the Rings’ really hit it out of the park.”
These female characters and many of their male counterparts who are white (as are most characters in the film) have not diminished the trilogy’s staying power, even for those who now hold Hollywood to a very high standard. keep on. Sarah David, 32, an editor at Vice, said, “It’s beyond criticism for me because I think I ate it too young and because I watch it, even if the movies are recent, like That’s kind of an old, immovable job.” Media and union organizers. “I didn’t see any lack of gender or race analysis in it because this story is so old and common good versus evil, you know?”
For Han, it’s not the filmmakers’ treatment of the action sequences that stand out but their handling of the relationships” and the very beautiful and ornate way they presented the world, which I guess doesn’t mean it Doesn’t appeal to men, but is certainly more open to more people from more backgrounds who are looking for something to love within it.”
Will the twin girls today enjoy these movies or develop any attachment to them, the way I did, is debatable. (Marvel movies, these aren’t.) But four women I spoke to agreed that if you want to embrace all nine hours of the “Lord of the Rings” saga, it’s easier said than done when You are young
“It’s one of those things that you have to do at the right time in your life,” said Paella, “Facing it as an adult, I think it’s not going to have the same effect.” Your guard is down at that age in a way that doesn’t happen when you’re an adult.”