Monday, December 19, 2011

A Reel Ten: Remembering The Fellowship

Ten years ago today, THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING debuted in theatres.



The release of FELLOWSHIP, which was the first chapter in Peter Jackson’s trilogy of Oscar-winning films, was a dream come true for us book and film geeks. Deemed as “un-filmable” for over fifty years, seeing the characters and fantastic environments come to life on the big screen was an unforgettable experience. But what happened on that night to myself and my companions…was quite unexpected.

On a cold night in December 2001, under a very Tolkien-esque sickle-moon, I and a group of close friends gathered together at the magnificent confines of Cinemark theatres in Northeast Pennsylvania to view FELLOWSHIP for the first time. We had all been friends and colleagues prior to that night, but what happened after walking out of that theatre was something that not even The Wise could have foreseen.

Our own Fellowship was born. It was a term that we all latched on to. As in the film, we all connected with the theme of “fellowship”; where several individuals out of several backgrounds and beliefs came together, and stayed together. We referred to ourselves as The Fellowship from that night on; it was a term built out of friendship, brotherhood, and love.

Over the next two years, the FELLOWSHIP film and the following two films played a major part in our geek-lives. The films stayed in the theatres until the spring, the summer brought along the first peeks of sneak-previews and trailers, and fall delivered the DVD’s and eventual next theatrical chapter. We scoured the internet for glimpses of the next film, collected memorabilia, re-read the books and lived the films throughout the course of the year. It was an experience we had not lived through since the early days of STAR WARS. And through it all, Our Fellowship grew stronger. What made it all the more special is that we all came back together each year, at the same place to see the next film; the same company, at the same place, for the same thing…three years in a row.



Our Fellowship proved to be strong outside of the ring of movies and geek-stuff; we gathered for libations, helped each other out through unexpected changes, and never let one another fall into shadow. Over the winding road of time there have many comings and goings, but the core of it endures.

This Blogger remembers his Fellowship in his own way every year; in a near-vigil like tribute, I watch the trilogy only once a year…always in December.



Today, as in the films, Our Fellowship stands separated by time and distance. And just like in those movies, stands strong and steadfast despite the passing years, increasing miles, and life-altering changes. It is something we were never able to wrap our minds around and define, which is perhaps the way it should be; for the most powerful and special things in life should not be answered easily. It is this Blogger’s hope, even if it is a fool’s hope, that Our Fellowship will be able to re-unite once again in December of 2012, when a long-expected film revisits Middle-earth once more. One stage of our journey is over; another is just beginning.

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