So yesterday (no, wait, look at the time--officially two days ago, then) was Sarah's birthday celebration. I met up with Sarah and Nathaniel and Simon and Alice for dinner, and then we added Amanda and Peter and Nancy to the crowd to go out to see Return of the King
. It was quite simply one of the best evenings I've had in a long time. Sarah seemed to like both her birthday and Christmas presents, which made me happy, and I love my present: Sorcery and Cecelia
. (It has officially become my Christmas reward book. So long as I keep reading The Brothers Karamazov
while I'm here, as soon as I go home for Christmas I get to read Sorcery and Cecelia
. Whatever it takes to get through yet more Russian literature, right?) There were many obscure SF references made, both during dinner and while lining up for the movie, and talk about badgers (mushroom, mushroom!) and cool books and LotR and Star Trek, and I had such a great time.
The movie itself was simply fantastic. Watching it, I could hardly believe how amazing it was; I enjoyed it more than either of the first two, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. I did not notice how long the movie was. The only thing that told me how long I'd been in the theatre was my need to pee upon leaving. And sometime during the movie Sarah and Nathaniel switched seats so that Sarah could see, and I was totally oblivious. When the movie was over I turned to Sarah and asked, "So when did you get here?"
And I'd been warned to bring kleenex, as I noted before, and I needed the kleenex. Sometimes I found myself fighting tears not because anything was sad or frightening but simply because it was too much for me to handle. Everything was so big, so overwhelming. There were so many emotional highs and lows that by the time it was over I felt totally drained. In fact, by the final tear-jerking scenes, I felt like I had no tears left. "Hell," I thought, "I've been crying for an hour. What more do they expect of me?" But it was worth it, and I can't wait to see it again.
I really can't speak to its faithfulness to the original text, simply because the last time I read Return of the King
was about ten years ago, and while everything I remembered was in the movie, I didn't remember a heck of a lot. When the movies started coming out I decided to re-read the books, then abandoned that plan after reading Fellowship
. I admire Tolkien far more for his amazing worldbuilding than for the books themselves. The films bring the details and human emotion of the story to life for me far more clearly than the books ever have; that, really, is just a matter of taste. I totally understand how much this work has given to the fantasy genre--hell, it practically created it--and yet I don't subscribe to the theory that every fantasy author must love Tolkien. Sorry, no.
But, anyway, enough rambling. A day spent wandering through shopping malls seems to have warped my brain in strange and unusual ways. So here's to Sarah's Birthday, my new favourite holiday, and here's to getting some sleep.