Hobbit Day: Lord of the Rings' Intro to the Shire Is Perfect

Today is September 22, by Shire-reckoning, or any other, the twin birthdays Bilbo and Frodo, ringbearers and heroes of Middle-e arth and avid lovers of books, ale, pipeweed and food. Their journeys to the other side and back are very much loved, but their first introduction into their world in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of their greatest highs.

Fellowship of the Ring's opening is not through the Shire. It takes some time to reach the end, as with all good Lord of the Rings films. First, Galadriel must tell us the story of the Rings of Power, their Dark Master, and how they defeated the Last Alliance. Elrond then asks Isildur to destroy the ring he knows he has already lost. The extended cut shows Isildur's hubris, which was paid in blood. We also see how the One Ring escaped from the Kingdoms of Gondor, Arnor, and ended up in the hands of a Shirefolk. It is only then after all the sweeping views, epic battles between good and bad, high drama, and greater tragedy that Fellowship actually begins. A map that takes you away from all the action to show you the small, pastoral lands in the Shire. Then, you are pulled further out to Bag End, where you will find the cozy, messy comfort of Bag End.

It's an amazing contrast to the brown-greys, molten tones and fields that were before Mount Doom. This brings us to the intimate view of Bilbos house. This intimacy continues even as Bilbo is no longer our main focus. He becomes a narrator and we are introduced to the Shire's people, the Hobbits. The arrowsbristling that flew through the ranks of Menreplaced by the gentle breeze and the flurries from fields of wheat and grass. Gleaming armor has been replaced with overhauls, flannel and flower-printed dresses. Helmets and shields have been replaced by frills. There are no orcs. Only Hobbits. They smoke, laugh, drink, play, and work. It was a peaceful community and a celebration for the calm gained in the fury of battle that unfolded just minutes before. Perhaps a cow is the most terrifying sight in all of the shire.

There are so many cows.

Howard Shores is your companion. His beloved, instantly ear-worming Concerning the Hobbitslight and the airy strings that contrast with the bombastic brass and choral songs of the Battle of the Last Allianceis a masterclass at scene-setting. You are instantly introduced to the Shire's world and its inhabitants, as well as the alien world around them. As Bilbo writes his own history, Bilbo explains that these are not warriors or great keepers for the peace. They are just livers of living, symbolizing a peace that has lasted for many generations. The Shire becomes Fellowship and the trio at larges is a happy place.

Frodo and his friends are ripped from their lives by Gandalf, and forced into a fight against the most powerful of evils. When they get close to giving up on their quest to destroy it, it is Concerning Hobbits who flutters into Shores score. It is there to remind us about these first moments, the unlikely beginnings Frodo and Sam had, reminding us (and us) of what awaits them once their quest is over, and spurring them on towards the heroism that they all achieve. This is a beautiful glimpse into the Shire, a peaceful view into a life that could feel more homey, more loving, and more comfortable than any of the epic views to come in the trilogy's long journey back to the Shire at the end of Return of the King.


Bilbo's narration says that things are made to last in the Shire. Bilbo also mentions Frodo and Gandalf riding up through Hobbiton on the Wizards rickety wagon, passing from generation to generation.


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