Waggish Writer Geeks Out: The Lord of the Rings Zoom Call Reaction: Part 2
Updated: Apr 23, 2021
Hello and thank you for visiting Waggish Writer.
This is a follow up blog post to "Waggish Writer Geeks Out: The Lord of the Rings Zoom Call Reaction: Part 1."
Here, I revisit the show to record more of my thoughts and reactions to seeing the fable cast of the Lord of the Rings trilogy years after the release of the "Fellowship of the Ring."
The show's opening credits provided an enjoyable viewing that include the film reel in the background.
What I enjoy about Josh Gad's entrance to the video is how he keeps it real. He added humor by showcasing a meme featuring Boromir's infamous scene of "One Does Not Simply Walk into Mordor." The meme transformed the line into socially representation of the COVID-19 situation: "One Does Not Simply Forget to Social Distance from Others."
Gad clarifies the show is a fundraiser. He and an animated arrow point to the donate button to the side of the screen for supporting "No Kid Hungry." (As I re-watch the show, the funds slowly but definitely risen, indicating the impact this fundraiser is having in the days following the actual showing.)
Cheerios donated $1,300,000 to the event, meaning that the donations given to the fundraiser are being added on top of Cheerios' donation.
Gad sets up the scene nicely by saying he's breaking away from his favorite decades, the 1980's, (why do I feel like a Holliday/Ready Player One vibe? Maybe that's just me), to 2001 when "The Fellowship of the Ring," the first movie of "The Lord of the Rings Trilogy," appeared in theaters.
He builds the anticipation by sharing the words we know from the series: "hobbits, orcs, ringwraiths, elves, dwarves, wizards, and the Shire." Gad quotes the legendary text inscribed on the One Ring in Common tongue before he proclaims that this show is to bring together the fellowship from the series together.
The legendary musical score that opens the series proceeds the first arrival of the cast, Sean Astin who played Samwise Gamgee.
True confession, I did not realize who he was until he said "Oh really?" That was the moment I realized it was Sam. It speaks to the talent behind the scenes who transform the actors into the characters we know and love from the movies.
I had a chuckle when Astin named a few names of shows that they could be talking about, ending with "Rudy." Gad contradicted the actor, saying that they could not have football while the rest of us can't. (Due to COVID-19 keeping the gathering of people small.)
I loved how Astin corrected Gad that he wounded Shelob, rather than killed the demon spider.
Next to enter the scene is Elijah Wood. This actor I knew by name and could hear just traces of the voice I've known so well as Frodo Baggins, the Ring-bearer for most of the trilogy.
When the next guest appeared, I had no idea of how to place him. I later learned from my partner/checking the internet that it was Dominic Monaghan who played Merry.
Then, I didn't recognized the next guest until I heard his voice to place him as Pippin. After, I did a bit of research to get his name as Billy Boyd.
I was astonished to see Orlando Bloom, the actor who played Legolas, come in. I know this actor fairly well for his role in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series. He does look more like his character, Will Turner, with darker hair (which could be the lighting or his hair more naturally dark).
I extremely geek-ed out when Wood performed his line, "I wish this choice never come to me. I wished none of this happened."
A small pause. A ding. A familiar face arrives to the Zoom call and speaks an iconic line that resonates with the current COVID-19 situation: "So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do when the time is given to us."
I loved this arrival of Sir Ian McKellan, the legendary Gandalf of the Fellowship.
Throughout this show, I marveled at the cast and how the camaraderie seemed never to have been forgotten.
What blew my mind and hyped up the show's awesomeness was the arrival of the legendary Peter Jackson, director of the trilogy, and the writer, Philippa Boyens. It was such a treat to see them arrive.
I chuckled when Gad asked about the infamous tattoos that the Fellowship said to have acquired.
Astin, McKellan, and Bond immediately got up to show theirs. Apparently, Jackson has one but did not show it on the screen. Then, I did notice that Wood stood up to expose his tattoo slightly behind his jeans' band.
I had some knowledge of the cast getting tattoos, but I did not remember what it represented. In my research, I learned from Graves' article that the tattoo is the Elvish script for "Nine" (2).
Something I did not know was that the movies were being made at the same time. The scale, scope, and time it must have taken blew my mind.
I was also surprised that the line, "You shall not pass," a line that's so iconic, is not from the book.
Another line that Boyens wrote that feels so close to Tolkien's level of control of language is, "A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he needs to."
This line takes me back to the Hobbit trilogy to the iconic scene of Bilbo Baggins and the dwarves being captured by the three trolls who are getting ready to eat them. I remember catching a glimpse, as Bilbo did, of Gandalf on the outskirts. Gandalf then smashed the rock to expose the trolls to the daylight that turned them into stone.
It was wonderful to see the group together.
Viggo Mortensen and Andy Serkis arrived next to the Zoom call. I knew exactly who Mortensen was because he is my Lord of the Rings crush main lead. My brother got me one Christmas a cut-out of Aragon that geek-ed me out. (It is currently at my parents' home, but it will definitely be migrating back into my possession).
Serkis is not someone I am as familiar with and did not realize who he played Gollum. However, I recall seeing pictures of him in a body suit since he does the movement with CGI taking care of the rest of the creation of Gollum.
It was interesting to learn how Mortensen came later on into the scene as he was a last minute replacement and how he was anxious before he started. He said he was glad to have physical demands for his first filming was his battle against the Ringwraiths on Weathertop.
Serkis got his chance to expand upon his character role as Gollum/Smeagol, basically a conflicted character with his twisted persona due to the One Ring's influence to the persona of his life before the One Ring's appearance.
They talk about cast members that were not present, including an infamous Lazy Boy Recliner that John Rhys-Davies, the actor who played Gimli, always had on set.
With that, Gimli and Boromir, Sean Bean, appear. Unfortunately, Rhys-Davies glitched out for part of the conversation, but it allowed Bean to get some time with the cast.
They brought on the actors who played Eomer and Eowyn, Karl Urban and Miranda Otto. I was surprised to see the actor who played Eomer is fairly good looking.
(Disclaimer: I am very much in love with my boyfriend. These are only fan crushes.)
One of the fun stories I learned is that Bean did not like flying. Therefore, he willingly took a long hike to avoid flying. The cast was able to make out Bean scaling a cliff to get to the shoot location.
When Rhys-Davies reappeared and spoke for the first time, I was stunned to discover he also voiced Treebeard, the Ent who rescued Merry and Pippin from the orc in Fangorn Forest.
They then brought Liv Tyler, the actress who played Arwen and my platonic love rival for Aragon. When I look at her, it does not seem she has aged a day from when she played Arwen.
One of the moments I lost myself to geek-hype-excitement was when Gad asked if anyone had props as Rhys-Davies had his helmet.
I lost it when Wood draw out Sting, the legendary sword passed to Frodo from Bilbo in the Fellowship. Other cast members had props: Urban had his helmet, Monaghan had his sword, Rhys-Davies had his helmet, Bloom had his leather guards. Tyler apparently has her sword, but she was unable to share it at the time.
What I geek-ed out more about is when Urban and Otto played out a scene from the Return of the King conversing about Merry being left behind from the battle. I remember the theatrical version well, so I was able to pick up on the extended vibe from the dialogue. It makes me extra excited and wanting to pick up my extended editions from my DVD collection to watch it.
I geek-ed out in my second and third viewing of the Astin and Serkis' rendition of Gollum and Sam's conversation about "Taters."
I really enjoyed the question Jackson posed to Serkis about how Gollum and Smegal social distance:
Gollum: "Social distancing is for persons."
Smegal: "Who likes to drink disinfected, Precious?"
There was an exchange where Tyler got to say her lines from protecting Frodo from the Ringwraiths. I nearly lost my sanity when I heard her speak Elvish in the spell that would call forth the river to sweep the Ringwraiths away.
There was a moment where the cast revealed that the dialect coach, Andrew Jack, passed away from COVID-19. They took a moment to raise a glass if they had one in their memory, preceding a segment of video to show him.
They had a chance to speak to Howard Shore, the composer of the trilogy's music. Boyens said that she had tears because the music made the other half of the movie.
Towards the end of the show, Taika Waititi, a director and for this show's purpose, the quiz master, appeared to quiz the cast on trivia related to the Lord of the Rings series.
One of the questions was how many times Gollum says "Precious" in Two Towers? 15. Return of the King? 17.
Those numbers surprise me for I thought Gollum was on quite a few times where he could be saying "Precious. "
They wrap up the session with Boyd's song from the Return the King: "The Edge of Night."
There was a moment where Bernard Hill, the actor who played King Theoden, comes in with his helmet to find himself alone. He winks at the camera before the end credits roll up.
While I was getting information to make sure that I was citing information correctly, I read Axion's article on ARS Technica that the call appears to be scripted (1). To that fact, kudos for the ones who create the scene and scripts because it felt seamless in their conversation.
Curious about the show? Want to see it and have your own reactions to it? Check it out at "One Zoom to Rule Them All!"
"One Zoom to Rule Them All | Reunited Apart Lord of the Rings Edition" was hosted by Josh Gad as a benefit to "No Kid Hungry," a fundraiser to help the children who've been the most affected by COVID-19 in getting meals to them (3). Cheerios donated $1.3 million to the event.
When I watched the show's YouTube version for the second and third time, the donations steadily increased their numbers.
My second viewing ended when the donations was at $123,392 (I started around 122,995 at the start of my viewing) while Axion had noted several days prior that it had been at 83,000 on June 1 (1).
My third viewing started at $146,729 and then climbed to $146,734. It is not as big of a jump as my second viewing, but it climbed.
That is a lot of support and an incredible testament to the actors who took time out of their day to partake in the call.
While COVID-19 has lead to a lot of loss, there seems to be a lot of gain to be found. How often can one say that a cast for a legendary trilogy would come together (apart at the same time) for charity? It speaks to the creativity this time has sparked and how incredibly talented the cast are.
If you like my geek reaction or like the show, write a comment below. Let's geek out together about the Lord of the Rings!
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This is Waggish Writer signing off of this post. Stay tune for more "Waggish Writer Geeks Out!"
(1) Axion, S. (2020, June 6). One zoom to rule them all: Lord of the rings cast reunites to share memories. ARS Technica. https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2020/06/one-zoom-to-rule-them-all-lord-of-the-rings-cast-reunites-to-share-memories/.
(2) Graves, W. (2020, June 1). "It's one zoom to rule them all" in the lord of the rings reunion: Watch. Consequence of Sound. https://consequenceofsound.net/2020/06/lord-of-the-rings-cast-reunion-one-zoom-to-rule-them-all/
(3) Josh Gad. (May 31, 2020). One zoom to rule them all | Reunited apart the lord of the rings edition [Video]. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_U0S6x_kCs