Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lord of the Rings Through a Kid's Eyes: Part 2


Once again, it was very interesting seeing her reactions to elements of the story that can be easily taken for granted after multiple viewings and readings.

My fatherly concern started immediately, because as soon as the opening title passed, my daughter inquired, “Where’s Legolas?”

Then she started in (after expressing relief that Merry and Pippin were alive, at least for the moment) yelling, “Legolas save them!” 

Her main focus stayed on Merry and Pippin, and she was always very happy to see them, and several times stated that they should just, “Pop out and say hello,” to reunite with
“Legolas and those other guys.”
She did eventually remember Aragorn’s name, which from an overprotective Dad concerned about his little girl growing up too fast point of view isn’t much better.

Frodo’s appearances were, by far, her least favorite parts. This is mainly because of her dislike of Gollum, and every time he appeared she would be off on a tirade about him being:
“So Ugly” … “So Creepy” … “So Gross” etc.

Partially, I also think it’s due to Frodo’s journey being the least interesting and exciting of the three rapidly subdividing arcs.

In fact the only good thing she had to say when Frodo’s gang was on screen concerned the Nazgul.   At the first appearance of a Fell Beast, the slight nervousness at seeing the Dark Rider shifted somewhat:
“Oh no –Whoah - ohhaaaaAWESOME!!!!! So cool! So cool! So cool! So cool!”

It definitely made a big impression, even more so later on at Osgiliath where her reaction for the first time one dropped a giant hunk of castle on the fleeing troops was the similar if louder:
“AAAAAAAAAHH!!! HO-LY! That was cool!!”

This caused me to look forward to her reactions to the Battle of Minas Tirith with great anticipation. (And then be soundly disappointed. More on that next time.)

My wife, deciding that my daughter’s apparent Orlando Bloom obsession wasn’t driving me crazy enough, chose to join in again.  When the Orcs were deciding on meal possibilities and one of them said:
“I want…”
She chimed in, using a gravelly voice indicating I’ve had far too much influence on her, yelling:

My concerns about my daughter’s possible crushes abated somewhat when the flashback to the epic romance of Aragorn and Arwen was greeted with a loud, “BLEAH!” as they kissed.

It turned out she liked Legolas only because of his skill with a bow, and other combat abilities.
His leaping onto Gimli’s horse at full gallop and his shield surfing trick both earning him more out loud cries of:
“WOW!  So cool!”

Despite her enjoyment of combat skills, Merry and Pippin remained her favorites, and she was most attentive for their section of capture and escape. She followed most of what occurred, but I did have to pause the movie (again) and explain why Saruman was destroying the forest.  Apparently smelting isn’t something they cover in fourth grade. 

As Merry and Pippin ran from the Orc into Fangorn she was very worried for them, reminding them of the rumors they heard about the old forests being alive.  As they clambered up what turned out to be Treebeard’s trunk, she cried:
“You said the trees move!  Don’t climb. Baaaad things will happen!”

After some initial shock, and some initial evil giggling at the Orc getting stomped on, (that’s my girl) she decreed the Ents were:

When I explained Pippin’s plan to get Treebeard to see the damage to the forest, she gave it a very Richard Lewis sounding seal of approval:
“Nice pla-an.”

The introduction of Rohan, which always makes me sit up a little prouder and straighter (Is that Howard Shore soundtrack epically impressive or what?), brought her Eowyn, another female character to root for, and more explaining on my part.  When Wormtongue convinced Theoden to banish Eomer, she stared blankly for a bit and asked:
“Is that a Joke?”

The reveal of the White Wizard shortly thereafter certainly caught her off guard, because I was smart enough to hide the box this time.  When Gandalf originally spoke in Saruman’s voice and was obscured by the light, she was a bit concerned:

I paused the film again to attempt to provide the back story and mythology concerning the Istari and the Valar, but after I saw the blank expressions on both my wife’s and daughter’s faces, I switched tactics, stating, “He was only MOSTLY dead.”

She was happy to see all the important people (that is, everyone who wasn’t travelling with Gollum) safe and mostly together again.  She also approved of Theoden’s sword and Galadriel’s mentally projected appearance, because both were pretty.

Even though Gandalf returned, Boromir was still all the way dead, making it easy for her to accept a final ending as possible for the characters.  Aragorn’s drop off of the cliff at the end of the Warg battle brought her some resigned sadness.
“Oh great, I liked him.”

Once he was shown to be all right, in her relief she expressed the true reason he had her attention:
“Aragorn? Aragorn? At least he’s not all smashed.  YES! He’s not dead!
I like him, he cuts off heads good!”

That’s my girl.

Finally, the story line reached the Battle of Helm’s Deep. This is my most favorite battle in the series.  I know Minas Tirith is on a much grander scale, but the climax of the second movie felt like it had more emotional peaks and valleys to me. Also it was the first battle of this scale I’d seen. Even though the other one is larger, it wasn’t first. (Yeah, don’t think too hard about that.)

As Saruman assembled his Orc army, and instructed them to attack, her confidence in the heroes remained firm and unswerving:
“That’s just scary…
Well, that’s not good. Everyone’s gonna die.”

I think the ebb and flow of the battle got a little too complex for her to follow.  At first she kept up.  She let out an, “Awwwww.” when Haldir died, and the explosion that took out the wall caused her to state, “That was cool,” while keeling over in a fake faint.

However, when Theoden yelled to “FALL BACK TO THE KEEP!” she may have been a bit confused, yelling out:

What is a keep anyway?”

She finally figured out who was who in time to lean forward on the couch and yell:
For the ride of the Rohirrim (with her dad – That’s my girl.)

Now that she had a firm grasp of the characters and story, there couldn’t possibly be more questions in the finale, could there?

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