Like many LoTR geeks out there, I figured that when Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy finally ended, that was going to be it. There was a sense of finality, a feeling that I’d endured a great journey myself, following the film from its early rumors at the end of the 90s to the final, haunting finale in the theaters (and of course, purchasing the entire box set). But then… came The Hobbit. Then there were two films. Then there were three! As Balin might say, “Bless my beard!”
However, so many years later, this time around has been totally different. The Hobbit movie is happening. Like, for real. In just a few weeks. And instead of having had the time to religiously follow every detail like I did when I was in college with LoTR, I’ve only managed bits and pieces leading up to the film’s release. And now all that anticipation is compressed into three intense weeks! I’m beside myself with anticipation (when I’m not raging about merchandizing).
So to help alleviate some of the stress before the buildup, I thought I’d share nine ideas for biding your time before The Hobbit hits the theater.
Read The Hobbit again. Perhaps this is the most obvious, but it’s still important. With a few weeks to go, The Hobbit, unlike the trilogy, is totally something you can read in a few days. I just finished reading it with my son, and I couldn’t believe how much I’d forgotten since first reading it years ago (I’ve always been more of a LoTR reader). What’s particularly fun are the instances that inform the trilogy, and the characters who show up. My particular favorite is the raven, Roåc, who I’d completely forgotten about. Remember, geeks, it’s up to us to hold up the film to the book. And the best way to do that is going in with information.
Watch Jackson’s original films. It’s been a long time since we’ve been in Middle Earth, and even though The Hobbit is all about what happens on the way to finding the ring, it’s still helpful to return to that place of magic and wonder. I’m not terribly sad that New Zealand has supplanted the original world of the hobbits in my imagination, because it’s not only more beautiful, but it’s an actual real place. For those of us on that side of the world, or for whom finances are not a concern, I suppose you could always visit in person. But a re-watch with friends sounds pretty awesome to me.
Watch the Rankin-Bass film, The Hobbit. This was my first exposure to hobbits and, particularly, to Bilbo Baggins, as many kids who grew up in the 80s. While you can say what you will about it, there are some pretty stellar vocal performances, not to mention that Gollum is seriously, seriously terrifying. Those goggly eyes still get me every time. Plus, it’s fun to walk around your house warbling “The Greatest Adventure”.
Watch Leonard Nimoy’s hobbit song, “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins”. This sprung out of the same generation as the aforementioned hobbit film. And really, there are no words. Thankfully, there is a video (below). Even though I’ve seen the video about thirty times, it makes less and less sense every viewing.
Make some beer. Recently, my husband and I have started brewing again. And, as you well know, hobbits like their malted beverages. If you’re a novice, I’d suggest a kit like what the Brooklyn BrewShop folks do. The directions are easy to follow, and the outcome is splendid. Do it now, and you’ll have some in time for the New Year! Then you can toast the film, more or less, in pints. Or more.
Watch the National Geographic special on the filming of the original trilogy. I’m a big fan of this particular series, as it does a great job of showing just how huge in scope the films were. I have no idea to what extent the new films are going to go, but it’s a good refresher course, anyway, especially for those of us who particular dig cinema.
Troll theonering.net and thehobbitblog.com. Remember those stills you saw eight months ago? Or that rumor you heard when you were just getting the casting news? Following the breadcrumbs (or crumbs of lambas) back to the source can be a great way to bide your time. Plus you can watch all the trailers and special features, as well. Not to mention hear the songs.
Make a hobbit feast. Go ahead, eat breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, then lunch, teatime, and dinner (just to name a few). Yes, I’m aware that many of us just did a similar thing with Thanksgiving, but make it hobbit themed. Invite some friends over. Drink some beer, fry up some crispy bacon. Gather up some cheese and fresh bread, scour the pantry for the ingredients to make up some seedcakes. Invite enough to seat thirteen!
Write some verses. After all, Bilbo was quite the poet in his later years, to say nothing of Sam Gamgee. Some good places to start include the various histories of Middle Earth, which include much of the poetry in the ebooks as well as other, related events. Then go outside (if it’s warm enough) or sit by the fire (if it’s too chilly out of doors) and pick up a pen and paper and write upon the simplest things: rain, friendship, hearth, family. And food. An ode to bacon wouldn’t be out of place, I wouldn’t think.
How are you going to bide your time waiting for The Hobbit?