My precious! The Lord of the Rings fantasy adventure trilogy directed by Peter Jackson, is based on the novel written by J.R.R. Tolkien. The three films: The Fellowship of the Rings (2001), The Two Towers (2002) and The Return of the King (2003) follows the journey of Frodo Baggins and his unlikely group of friends as they set out to destroy an evil ring and bring balance back to middle earth. The all-star cast include Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Andy Serkis, Liv Tyler, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies and Hugo Weaving just to name a few. Having very little prior knowledge of The Lord of the Rings film series, YouTuber Natalie Gold shares her first reactions and impressions on the fantastical world of middle earth.
I’m starting to wonder how many types of creatures there are in this world. So far, we’ve seen regular people, hobbits, wizards, elves, there were the woodland elves, wraiths, whatever the kind of creatures there are building that army in the ground I don’t know what they are but they’re horrifying.
Unsure of what to expect from the story, Gold is quite surprised and intrigued by the creation of this new world in which so many different types of magical and mythical creatures inhabit. How are they able to exist harmoniously? Do all of them possess magic?
In the first film The Fellowship of the Rings (2001) when the hobbits are being introduced into the story, Gold gets excited and finds it very amusing the characters look very similar to her own physical appearance, exclaiming “they all have hair like me! Oh my god! … I’d fit right in!” As a person who becomes very invested in relatable characters in a story, the YouTuber compares herself to the happy and loving nature of the hobbits as definitely a character she would play if she were in the film.
The hobbits are kind of like Canadians … they’re so sweet and polite and gentle and kind and appreciative … I like the hobbits a lot because they’re so sweet to each other and they really take care of each other.
As much as she likes the hobbits, the YouTuber notes that two of them: Merry (Billy Boyd) and Pippin (Dominic Monaghan) seem to be a huge liability to the group, always finding ways to create more trouble and obstacles.
This fuckin’ guy! … why is he on this trip?!
After more is explained about the ring, the YouTuber is intrigued and somewhat confused about why it is left in the care of the naïve hobbits. “It’s so creepy that a ring has so much power,” says Gold who doesn’t understand why Gandalf (Ian McKellen) couldn’t be the one to take the ring and destroy it because he is a much more powerful wizard and has more experience in dealing with these matters that seem beyond the comprehension of sheltered hobbits.
Why not destroy it? Why won’t anyone destroy this ring?
When the film explains more about what the ring is and what it is capable of doing, the YouTuber immediately compares this plotline to another magical fantasy world of Harry Potter in which she claims the ring is a version of a Horcux and the Dark Lord Sauron is a version of Lord Voldemort.
It’s a horcrux! Voldemort! It’s a horcrux. He’s Voldemort. Sauron is Voldemort!
Oh my god! What? Are you kidding me? Terrifying! What are you doing? On no Gandalf! This film definitely is full of surprises according to the YouTuber who at one point physically jumps back into her chair because she is startled by the sight of Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) as his face turns from an innocent content hobbit to a vile tormented creature when he reaches out to Frodo (Elijah Wood) to touch the ring one last time. Along with many jaw dropping moments of surviving death, winning an impossible fight and the loss of beloved characters, Gold finds herself going through a rollercoaster of emotions including a teary-eyed moment when Gandalf is pulled down into the darkness by an evil creature.
I think these movies are kind of fun because they put you into a magical world that you don’t normally get to explore at other points in your life and whenever I watch stuff like this, I always wonder what I would be. And I’d like to think I’d be an elf but I’d probably be a hobbit because look at my hair.
In The Two Towers (2002), the introduction to the character Gollum (Andy Serkis) makes the YouTuber antsy with anticipation to learn more about this infamous creature in which she is somewhat familiar through pop culture references. She finds his motives very suspicious but at the same time feels sympathetic towards him because of how the ring has tormented his soul. However, she is still unsure of what he is?
He’s just a mess of a creature. Was he a human? He was a man before, wasn’t he? Or was he not?
In one scene, Gollum is seen talking to his own reflection in the water and referring to his reflection as Smeagol, his other personality, Gold is visibly confused and creeped out: “oh my god this is so creepy. Oh my god this is insane oh my god what is he doing.” The more she sees the back and forth struggle from Gollum and Smeagol, the more sympathy she feels for this character who she says is already so pathetic, to hurt him even more would be cruel.
I actually pity him now. He’s like a really creepy pet now. Don’t hurt him. Stop hurting him.
In the end the YouTuber just feels sorry for the poor Gollum who has been tormented by the ring for so long, his crazy actions are the result of the ring causing chaos and spreading evil.
Really interesting to see Gollum/Smeagol’s character development too because I definitely empathize with him a lot more now and I understand why people pity him and maybe not want to kill him but at the same time he is just a massive liability.
Gold describes herself as a very character driven person and is already completely invested in this group of main characters. She comments on the unlikely and almost bromance-like relationship between Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) as very heartwarming. She humorously notes how they have an ongoing game-like competition as to who can kill the greatest number of orcs or evil creatures while in battle.
I really like how Legolas and Gimli’s relationship has developed, it’s really cute.
She especially has a growing attachment to Gandalf, who acts like a mentor figure for the hobbits and when she sees he had survived the fall into the abyss, becomes yet again concerned for his welfare during the Battle of Helm’s Deep.
I swear to god if Gandalf or Gandalf’s horse dies, I’m done. I’m done with this trilogy.
During the battle, she sees some of the elves dying, but is confused by it. Can they die? Are they really immortal? If they are dying here in battle, that means they’re actually aren’t immortal, right? All questions that arise during the battle along with the excitement of seeing good triumph over evil: “movies like this really bring out the violent side of me because I’m just so excited to see the bad guys die.”
Before starting the final film in the franchise, Gold reflects back to the two previous films praising them for creating such a magical world in which she has become fully invested in. She notes that everything from the set, the details in costume and design, and the directing are fantastic in bringing to life this universe.
They are definitely some really well-made films. The score, the design, the acting, directing just everything is phenomenal. I really don’t have a bad thing to say about it other than me not liking certain characters but even the characters I don’t like, I end up empathizing with them on some level.
In the beginning of Return of the King (2003), there is a flashback to Gollum’s beginnings and how he was a hobbit who slowly turned more into a creature obsessed with having the possession of the ring. The scene ends with him referring to the ring as “my precious”, in which the YouTuber now realizes where the pop culture phrase came from.
Oh my god they are like fighting to the death over this ring. Aren’t you like friends or relatives? Really? You just killed your friend.
And throughout the film, any scene with him brings on more stress and anxiety for the YouTuber who hates to see Frodo and Sam (Sean Astin) constantly being derailed from their mission to take the ring to Mordor and destroy it in the fire. Especially in the moments where he comes between Sam and Frodo, Gold gets very emotional knowing from an outside perspective that Sam is only being a loving friend to Frodo whose mind is now clouded by the evilness of the ring and influence of Gollum’s corrupt nature.
If Sam saves Frodo and then also dies, I will lose it.
After everything that has happened so far, the YouTuber is now questioning the purpose of the ring. Is there some sort of deeper message behind what the ring symbolizes?
What is the ring a metaphor for? Like I wonder if it has a representation.
The YouTuber also notices that in many parts throughout the films, there are some scenes in which she has absolutely no idea what the characters are saying. She refers to word vocabulary, sometimes the language and the word context in which the characters are speaking.
If I could have like a word counter for the amount of words that I have no idea what they mean … there’s so many words, like every other sentence I don’t understand half of what they’re saying.
In one scene where Merry and Éowyn (Miranda Otto), a woman, are denied the right to fight in the ultimate battle to save their kingdom, and instead defy the king's orders and ride off into the battlefield in the disguise of armor, Gold shouts with excitement and joy for the characters who stood up to authority and took matters into their own hands.
Fuck the patriarchy! Yes! Please, thank you! Oh man! I love that both of them are just like screw this I’m fighting, I’m angry.
And when Éowyn takes her sword and kills the Witch King, the YouTuber cheers on the character yelling “what a bomb feminist moment yeah!”
One character the Gold dislikes in the beginning of the film is King Denethor (John Noble), because of his unfair and unloving treatment towards his son Faramir (David Wenham). By the end, she is completely disgusted by this character’s lack of humanity and justice calling him an awful king, an awful father, an awful man and an insufferable human being.
Oh my god he’s alive! You’re going to burn your son alive?! And everyone is just complicit in it? How on earth? … what is your problem that you would murder your own son. I thought I couldn’t hate this guy more. I have not hated a movie character this much in a long time.
When Sam and Frodo finally make it to the mountain of Mordor and Frodo is on the edge of the fire pit about to drop in the ring, Frodo’s hesitation and contemplation over the possession of the ring confuses and frustrates Gold, who feels like the journey for them to get to this point took so long. And when at the last second Frodo refuses to give up the ring, Gold is visibly distressed.
It’s just a fucking ring! Drop it. You can do it! … are you kidding me? No, no!
In the end, good triumphs over evil and the ring is destroyed. When it is revealed that the group of hobbits: Merry, Pippin, Sam and Frodo now have to split up with Frodo leaving with Gandalf, Gold becomes very emotional and starts crying. She has become so invested in these characters and their friendship it really tugs on her heart strings to see them separate in different directions knowing what they had all gone through to save middle earth.
I did not expect to end it that way at all. I for sure thought most of our crew was going to die … I’m relieved to know that none of them died and it had a happy ending.
YouTuber Natalie Gold watches and gives first impressions of movies and TV shows on her channel regularly.