Twelve Months and Counting

Co-written with the lovely Suzanne Walker. You can find her over at Cognitive Recalibration

Eight months ago, we began this blog with a post to celebrate the start of the filming of The Hobbit. Now, as the year draws to a close, we are given something even more special to celebrate. The more geekish corners of the Internet exploded with glee on Tuesday night, as Peter Jackson released the first official trailer of The Hobbit. As he did, we knew with incredible, delightful certainty: this is real. This is actually happening. And, to quote a friend, this entire trailer just wakes up the Tookishness in you to a fabulous degree. I want nothing more right now than to catapult into Middle-Earth and join Bilbo on all the adventures we know he is going to have.

It begins in a wonderful, sweet, familiar place, as Ian Holm whisks us off from the Shire we know to the Shire of seventy years previous, with his younger self being extremely reluctant to deal with thirteen intrusive dwarves, not to mention a wizard who proposes the preposterous idea of an adventure. The dwarves, far from appearing completely identical as they did in the prologue to the Fellowship, are incredibly distinctive -- in costume, in prosthetics, and in personality. It’s wonderful to see that Peter Jackson & company are really making an effort to make them thirteen distinct characters, each very much their own person, rather than lumping them together as “Thorin and the others,” which is often the case in the book.

And though we’ve been excited for a very long time at the choice of Martin Freeman, we can finally see that indeed, his endearing manner coupled with the ever-present touch of awkwardness make a perfect match for Bilbo, the hobbit whose reluctance turns to daring and then to pride, as he becomes far more than he ever thought he could be. For at its core, The Hobbit is about Bilbo Baggins being whisked off on an adventure he doesn’t quite understand, and giving in to his Tookish side perhaps a little more than he intended. Bilbo is so on his own on this adventure, and he is going to be a BAMF-y, Tookish hobbit whether he wants to or not.

But larger things are happening here. The glimpse we get of him in Rivendell, as he looks upon the Shards of Narsil--we can’t know if he realizes it, but we realize that there are so many other things at work than the Dwarves’ and Bilbo’s quest. We’re given scenes of the other characters that depict the gravity of Middle-Earth’s situation at this point in time--I want to know what that conversation between Galadriel and Gandalf is about!!! We see Dol Guldur, which I had completely forgotten about, but it looks about as perfect as can be.

Tying it all together is Howard Shore’s gorgeous new score, and the breathtaking shots of our protagonists journeying across the mountains of New Zealand -- I mean, Middle Earth. And it’s absolutely clear from this trailer that the movies are going to be every bit as brilliant and wonderful as we’ve come to expect from Peter Jackson. He knows we’re waiting, and have been waiting patiently through all sorts of nonsense. And he’s giving us a brilliant, perfect glimpse of our Middle Earth.

Ten years ago, The Fellowship of the Ring came out in theaters, and a whole new world opened up for us. The discovery of Middle Earth came at a defining time in our lives -- the infamous middle school years. In 2001, it was cool to be obsessed with Lord of the Rings. We were far from the only ones. But few of our peers continued to love it over the years -- while they moved on to the next cinematic fad, we rewatched the movies, re-read the books, or wrote fanfiction. The popularity of Middle Earth is sure to explode in a year’s time, once again. But we are proud to say that we stuck with it throughout. We never truly left Middle Earth. But it is so, so fulfilling to know we are going to be back to it fully in a mere twelve months.