The End of a Journey


“Seconds ago, we finished our last shot with Gandalf. The end of an incredible adventure that began in 1999. I’m feeling very sad right now.” –Peter Jackson

My son Mikey sent me this as a text sometime last week. I can’t tell you how choked up I got when it popped up on my android. The entire Lord of the Rings cycle was a big part of mine, Denny’s and Miguel’s life these past thirteen years.

I first was introduced to LOTR when I was in eighth grade by my best friend Mark Greene. It was a tough slog for me but I persevered. I already knew the Greek myths pretty much by heart and had imbibed the Norse sagas in elementary school so I was not unprepared. Tolkien’s cycle was definitely more complex. When I entered middle age, a dear friend from the past introduced me to the entire Inklings project and my faith in the fundamental truths of Christianity was immensely strengthened. If you ever get a chance, rent the DVD Shadowlands (the Joss Ackland/Claire Bloom version), you’ll see what I mean.

Anyway, life intervened and I didn’t have the time to think about the great mythic cycles of my youth except as vague, enjoyable reminiscences. It’s hard to devote yourself to The Prose Eddas when you have to memorize the IUPAC protocols for naming organic compounds or knowing which drugs are metabolized by the liver and which by the kidneys. Anyway, when word came out that Peter Jackson was going to take up this project back in 1999 and I was pretty comfortable in my profession, I started feeling like a teenager again. To add even more joy, my two sons had discovered Tolkien on their own (thank you parochial school education! Who needs a new car anyway?). The closer we got to June 2001, the more excited we all were. Jackson’s directorial style may be overwrought for some but I believe he captured the Christian spirit which underpinned Tolkien very well.

Seeing Jackson’s Facebook entry though brought it all back. The Lord of the Rings and even The Hobbit will always be a big part of our lives. Thank you Peter and job well done!


  1. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    I attempt to read The Lord of the Rings trilogy every year. I don’t always make it, but I always attempt it. The Hobbit has been more sporadic. I read it through twice when I was younger, but now just get snippets of it. The movies are wonderful, and this Friday my family and I will be watching the Hobitt, part one in the park. Read and watch these films even Shadowlands, they are well worth it.


  2. Trudge at SmartVote says

    Unless we forget the whole premise of the Lord of the Rings….

    ….To leave our comfortable Hobbit Holes and actually become willing to live and die for something in the overarching conflict of good and evil, whether here or abroad?

    For example, helping fight for our Orthodox brothers being savaged across the Middle East?

    A good summary of the situation on News Busters:

  3. Michael Bauman says

    Trudge, lest we forget the rest of the story….The King must accept his kingship and lead and protect (note to bishops). It is the combination of the simple courage and steadfastness of the chosen Hobbits (and others) and the Kingly leadership of Aragorn that saved the day. One could not have done it without the other. Each participant recognized his gifts and used them. We cannot tell others how they should use their gifts, we must only call them to the task and strengthen one another in the process.

    No doubt some of our bishops are a bit as the Ringwraiths, bound to the Ring of Power able to destroy, but unable to build. Those are few, if any. Most are as Théoden.

    In optimistic mode (rare for me), I look at the EA as the forming of a fellowship that will be pruned and those who serve the true King will emerge, take up their kingship and lead. The rest will fall away and some who seem lost in the slumber of a waking death may yet be roused as was Théoden. Nor should it be forgotten that even one who seem wholly corrupted by evil and covetousness was crucial to the final victory. It was Frodo’s unwarranted compassion for Sméagol that kept Sam from killing him.

    I think that we can pray that what we are seeing is a fellowship (regardless of the human motive behind it) at least, hope for that even, since our faith is of hope while despair a sin that leads to insanity and death as we see in the fate of the last steward of Gondor ,

    Glory to God for all things.

  4. Rdr. James Morgan says

    I may be the first American to read The Lord of the Rings! I was a junior naval officer stationed in Reykjavik Iceland in 1960-61, and had friends in the British embassy there. They had a very nice library, and got a copy of the trilogy when it first came out (1954-55). I poured through it (and the Hobbit too!), and on returning to the States found that no one had heard of Tolkien or his works as the American edition had not come out yet.

  5. says

    The First Consul at Nicaea was peopled by bishops from all over the empire. Almost all of them had proving bodily injuries of their faithfulness. By the Grace of God they survived, but all were willing to die for the Faith, a common denominator among them, They also had the added blessedness of the obedience of harmlessness, with none of the violence in the LOTR manifested by Christians. A much harder path than fighting back. We in Operation Rescue also followed these bishops in our encounters with orkish police and pro-aborts. I did slap a abortion doctor with all my might, in imitation of St Athanasius, who was about to attempt to grab a 97 lb grandmother and break her neck, who was blocking his door as he had done to me. I did not think she would be able to endure it unharmed, as I had. The spirit of Christian fellowship among us was most authentic, and these were the best people I ever met. These recognized and accepted me gladly as one of them. It was the first time I could feel genuine respect and honor directed at me, and of course, I gave it gladly to my fellows. Joan Andrews, the mother of pro-life activism, made me feel like Bilbo, when Thoren finally accepted him. She very excitedly told me of the miracle of the earthquake at Sunnyvale. I was quite embarrassed, as I was the one standing before the judge, when the earthquake hit. I cannot match this Lady, her sacrifices make mine look rather tame. But, we are kindred spirits, indeed. Christians can live this great story. The people who do know their God will do Valiantly. God will gather these eagles together, as the scripture says. I hope I am called there. and see any and all of you there.

  6. Tolkien did not just write a story, he created a world with many thousands of years of history that was on going, a mythology of good vs. evil. The Potter series does a good job of showing what magic is like and what a magic school is like, but does not show that much about the rest of the magic world. How do people in the magical world in the Potter series make their money? Some work for the Bureau of Magic…what about the rest? Do they produce things? Not well explained. Both are excellent, but may appeal to different tastes.