This Christmas completes The Lord of the Rings cycle for our family. Three years ago, we began by taking Butterfly and a friend to see part one of the trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring. For the next two Christmases, we cashed in PC Points and took whoever was visiting. In fact, for the final episode, The Return of the King, last year, we had an entourage of six, including ourselves — a rather significant fellowship for our little family.
Just as some of the characters in the films have come and gone, so have some of the characters who have been part of this familial and seasonal odyssey to Middle Earth. Like true hobbits, however, three of us have remained unwaveringly constant: Cuppa, Butterfly, and me.
Now, we three are partaking in the final quest: part four. Oh, did you not know about the final instalment? Well, there isn't one, not really, not in the sense that you might expect. However, I have always thought that once we had the whole DVD collection in our possession, we should sit down and watch the whole trilogy from start to finish.
So it is that we revisited The Fellowship of the Ring last night, and so it is that we will replay The Two Towers later tonight. The grand finale, The Return of the King, will be rerun tomorrow night: New Years Eve. Of course, that's the episode that we're really anticipating because it has been a year since our first and only viewing. Because a full year has elapsed, I'm sure that much will seem new; indeed, owing to the beneficence of extended DVDs some of it will, in fact, be brand new.
So, in this festive season which has involved change for our family, we have this familiar element to cling to for one more retake. I'm not sure what, if anything in particular, will replace LOTR in future, but we too have been somewhat bound together by the incredible yarn of the hobbit and the ring. Now, just as the Third Age has come and gone, so have certain things in our lives been alterred: where, when, and how we celebrate the season, for example.
Indeed, the Third Age of Middle Earth has ended, but the earth still turns. Likewise, an era has ended for our family, but the fellowship shall continue.