I don’t know what it is about this time of year, but it always makes me want to re-watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Whether it’s my yearly desire to hibernate from about January to April, or the fact that the first LOTR marathon I attended was at the end of my first semester in college, with the classmates from my Lord of the Rings class (why yes, it WAS the best class ever :D), midwinter equates to LOTR rewatch time in my mind. Luckily for me, I’ve been able to do so on a more-or-less annual basis for several years now, and it amazes me every time that watching these epically long films never feels daunting, nor do the movies ever feel stale, no matter how many times I’ve seen them.
Though I sometimes have to settle for re-watching the movies piecemeal, my preferred way to do it is all at once in a giant, day-long Middle Earth extravaganza. In my very biased opinion, it’s the best way to enjoy these movies; however, there is some preparation involved in such a venture. Thus, I give you my list of LOTR movie marathon essentials!
- The extended editions. At this point, watching the standard versions just feels incomplete (and a little wimpy, to be honest).
- Fellow nerds to watch with. Everyone knows Middle Earth is best explored with friends! In my opinion, a smallish group is best — it allows for both moments of silent cameraderie and well-timed quote-offs. Speaking of which…
- Quotes for quoting along with your favorite moments. This will happen no matter what you do, so you may as well embrace it. Let’s face it; pretending to be Pippin and saying “We’ll need someone of intelligence on this mission…quest…thing…” will never not be fun.
- Tasty Middle Earth-themed treats. You’re in this for the long haul, so you’d better bring some provisions! Lembas bread is a must (I’m partial to this recipe), and a potato-based dish (taters, precious!) is a nice addition, as are hobbit-y treats like seed cake, sausages, or some nice, crispy bacon.
- Themed clothing (or full-on costumes for the truly dedicated!). Personally, I have a replica Evenstar necklace that I like to wear during LOTR marathons (and just in general, really). I’m also determined to get a pair of those hobbit-feet slippers from ThinkGeek one day — more perfect LOTR marathon apparel was never created. Of course, making it a pajama party rather than/along with a costume party is a great way to go as well, since you’ll want to be comfy during your tour of Middle Earth.
- Your knowledge of LOTR film trivia. If you’re doing a marathon, chances are very good you’ve watched at least some of the special features, which means you’ll always remember choice tidbits from them whenever the relevant scenes come up. And you WILL feel compelled to share them with your fellow marathoners. Just proceed with caution and try to keep it to the more obscure fun facts. If you try to tell the story about Viggo’s broken toe in the scene with the orc pyre, prepare yourself for some eye-rolling.
- Decorations. It can be as simple as a “No admittance except on party business” sign or as elaborate as dressing up your front door to look like the entrance to Bag End, but a Middle Earth-themed decoration or three is great for getting into the spirit of it all from the get-go.
These are the things I love to include as part of my LOTR-movie-madness events, but I’m sure there are other things that would be delightful as well — what do you consider to be essential to a true LOTR marathon experience? And if you’re not into LOTR, (we don’t understand but we still love you and) we want to know — what are your favorite movies or shows to marathon? Share with us in the comments!
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