#124: Lord of the Rings marathon

7:30am: Awake and raring to go, an hour and a half before I usually get up (I moved one of my students so I wouldn’t have to interrupt the marathon). Gandalf (fighting fish) is okay, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli (zebra danios) are manic as usual, and Sam and Frodo (neon tetras) seem to be getting on fine – Frodo’s even recovered some more colour.

Er. . . for those who haven’t seen “Lord of the Rings”, there will be some spoilers. You need to go and watch it, if you like fantasy at all. Or heroes. Or men who are either: pretty, wide-eyed, valiant or hairy. Or short, with hairy feet. LOTR caters for all tastes.

House status: Pristine

Health Points: 5 (average)

10:30am: Decided to start with healthy snacks, so the natural degeneration is more rewarding. We have a LOT of food.

11:00am: And it begins. We have the core group of myself, CJ, Hannah and Bob. We’re only one hour later than planned. That’s gonna hurt at the other end. A last-minute bathroom break, and we’re off!

House status: Rearranged

Health Points: 8 (fresh fruit and vegetables)

11:40am: First floor stain. Even quicker than expected.

1:00pm: Change of disk, and addition of “morning tea” (choc chip cookies) to pre-existing snacks. Made chocolate spiders for later, and SMSed a friend to bring more chocolate.

1:30pm: Cave troll scene. Frodo nearly dies (again) and I’m reminded that I had a dream once that the cave troll found a nice lady troll and settled down to enjoy the quiet life.

2:30pm: Just finished “The Fellowship of the Ring”. Any time I’m running low on mojo, any one of the “Lord of the Rings” films will set me straight. It’s so epic, and so heroic. “The Fellowship of the Ring” for me is about masculinity – one of the least valued yet most valuable qualities in the world. I love that the hobbits don’t actually want to fight, but they take the strength they have and give it away. I love the power hidden in Gandalf. I love that Aragorn chooses to be a servant, and that Boromir pledges his life to the quest out of manly respect, and leaves aside his own opinion as much as he’s able. I love that all of them have intense and physical friendships, and that all of the warriors protect the hobbits with their lives.

House status: Tidy

Health: 7 (a bit hungry)

3:30pm: Gandalf just summoned the lord of all horses, and as it galloped across the green field Bob said, “This is what horse shampoo commercials look like.”

4:00pm: Just saw that brilliant scene when King Theoden was released from Saruman’s hold. For me, “The Two Towers” is the redemptive heart of the trilogy. I love it in its own right.

Just began our own “Lord of the Rings” drinking game with M&Ms. We eat whenever:

-Gimli is funny

-Frodo has a near-death experience

-Eowyn attempts to flirt with Aragorn

-a shot emphasises the blue of an actor’s eyes

-slow motion happens

-something or someone is especially creepy

-Gandalf is enigmatic

-there are subtitles

-Legolas gazes into the distance

-there are gratuitous scenic shots of New Zealand

-Gollum says “precious” or coughs

-they pass mysterious ruins

-Sam says “Mr Frodo”

-there’s an allusion to the industrial revolution

-someone has a crowning bad-ass moment

-Pippin does something stupid

-there is a shot of the giant flaming eyeball

-hobbits eat (or smoke weed, or get sloshed)

-someone is decapitated

-Aragorn handles a knife or sword

Health: 5, and dropping fast.

4:30pm: The first half of “The Two Towers” is over already. Faramir says, “This war will make corpses of us all.”

I go and look at the fish, and find myself saying, “Gimli! Leave Frodo alone.” That’s two M&Ms.

5:30pm: Aragorn opens a door better than any door has been opened before. Because he’s Aragorn, that’s why.

6:30pm: Finished “The Two Towers” while cooking dinner. Another friend showed up.

House status: Scattered with rubbish, flour, noodles and chocolate smears.

Health points: 3 (mildly nauseous)

7:00pm: Smeagol murders a worm, then his brother. And we’ve begun “The Return of the King” at last.

7:05: Enthusiasm rapidly fading. Over three hours to go.

7:30pm: As Pippin grabs the palantir, I came and checked my comments here on the blog, and was delighted to see Pamela Freeman herself has stumbled by. That’s roughly as cool as when a whole squad of Ents unexpectedly went and beat up Sauron.

8:00pm: One word: Beacons.

Bob is passing out on the day bed. It’s a good thing too – before we even began, he’d had four hours of sleep in the last forty-eight hours.

No more M&Ms for me. Too much chocolate. . . What has the world come to?

Health points: 2 (I ate a lettuce leaf with dinner).

8:30pm: Denethor stuffs his face and Pippin weeps as Faramir rides to certain death.

Can’t wait until Denethor takes a flying leap.

9:00pm: Final disk!

9:30: FRODO! BEHIND YOU!!!

10:40pm: The ring is gone. Things are blowing up. Yay!

Health status: 1 (bananas aren’t healthy when they’re in fondue)

My hair is greasy, my teeth have fur, I stink, I’m covered in chocolate smears, my hands are sticky and my face has new pimples since this morning – oh, and I seriously need a loo break. Plus my cats need feeding, and they’re looking thoughtfully at Bob.

11:06: The End (the ACTUAL end, when the credits roll) – or we could stay for the credits, and then we’d be here another two hours.

We’re watching the Easter eggs (appropriate, since there are Easter egg wrappers around the place). My foot hurts – but my bladder is A-OK.

“The Return of the King” is about triumph. A hopeless quest turns out successful. As an unpublished author, that’s a theme that resonates.

11:24: Everyone goes home, and I go to sleep.

PS I actually drove two people home – something I don’t usually do, because I get mild hallucinations when I’m sleepy (just for a second, my brain interprets things. . . differently). Today I hallucinated two cave trolls (what is it with me and cave trolls?), two ring wraiths, and a big lean-y guy from the Bree inn.

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