How THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING Defines Fellowship

How THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING Defines Fellowship


When I was in high school, I paid attention to the LORD OF THE
RINGS films for the very first time. I had just broken my arm… and that actually
is a funny story; I have the video of the incident right here: As you can see, I deserved it. But as I was first recovering from my injury,
I randomly decided to explore the story of Middle Earth a little more intentionally than
I had before. I decided to binge watch all three films in
the original LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. And for the very first time, I felt a story
speak to me. I had always had an interest in film and a
love for storytelling, but then and there I was experiencing something new. I was experiencing a true emotional connection
to characters and themes, and I was perceiving a story with my heart, not just my mind or
imagination. And so, in this first installment of a new
three-part video series on the LORD OF THE RINGS, I will begin to attempt to answer the
question: why? Throughout the LORD OF THE RINGS films, there
is a consistent effort to convey character development and drama. That being said, it is apparent that the priority
one for the first installment of the original trilogy, THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, is the
effort to define for itself the fellowship between characters. For this is the emotional backbone and weight
of the series: the commitment that these characters hold to each other, and the means by which
they are able to serve and support each other. So what I want to do in this video is explore
the ways in which this task is accomplished: how the screenwriters and filmmakers establish
relationship in elegant and succinct ways that speak to the audience, and create real
connections between characters that are believable and worthy of an audience’s emotional investment. Fellowship in the LORD OF THE RINGS is first defined by commitment, and last by emotional attachment or feelings of closeness. The Fellowship itself, Frodo, Aragorn, Gimli
and the lot, is not founded upon a base of affection or a sense of likeness… they are
all, relatively, strangers to each other. Therefore, time must be taken within the narrative
not only for us to be able to see these relationships grow, but also to be able to believe in their
emotional impact. This is an incredible task which the writers
had to take up. Think about it: one of the most common tropes
that screenwriters use to establish relationship between characters is the “remember this…”
line… And yet, most of the characters of THE FELLOWSHIP
just don’t have this in their back pocket. So how do you get from here… To here? This was the job of the first film: to lay
the groundwork for the relationships between these characters, so that we could believe
in the emotional impact later in the story. There are many elements within the writing
of this film that helps to define the characters’ fellowship, but what I feel is most important
to consider is something that I will call “the three-step journey of commitment”…
which an audience must perceive within a story in order to effectively believe in the fellowship
between characters and find it to be emotionally resonant. As an audience, we must be made to buy-in
to the commitments that characters make to each other. As such, one of the most fundamental scenes
from THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING is the one where the Fellowship is officially instituted:
Lord Elrond looks upon this band of diverse characters and states: The irony here is that just a minute earlier
in the same scene: And yet, we buy-in to the commitments that
each one of these characters make to each other and to Frodo. They come together under the promise to support
each other and reach a common goal. So as an audience, we expect that this is
the group that we will be following for the remainder of the film, as this scene is the
screenwriter’s way of telling us outright. If this scene was to be followed by another
where the group effectively falls-apart or splits-up, the narrative would lack focus and the audience
would be reasonably frustrated at the inconsistency. (And that’s one of the issues that comes
with subverting audience expectations: many think of it as edgy and innovative and always
something to celebrate, but sometimes it can seriously hinder the emotional potency of
a film and has the potential to make future storytelling less believable… because you
break trust with your audience.) And so the first step on the journey of defining
fellowship is the step to establish and institute commitments that an audience will know that
it can trust. You state, as a screenwriter, that despite
the lack of history between these characters and the lack of likeness, these characters
are committing to each other, and we’re going to follow that commitment throughout
our story in all of its highs and lows. In this case, the classic “show-don’t-tell”
rule is absent, in favor of clear direction from the screenwriter. And so at approximately half-way through the
film, we are presented with a bond between strangers. We recognize that a commitment to each other
and the task at hand has been made, and we buy-in to the reality of that commitment because
it’s purpose in the narrative was made clear to the audience with the equivalent of big
red letters painted across the screen saying “THIS IS WHERE WE ARE GOING NOW.” And now, in order to grow our emotional investment
in this group and in the relationships there, the very fabric of fellowship has to be threatened. In the same way that you cannot have faith
without having doubt first, or you often cannot learn without failing first, fellowship in
the LORD OF THE RINGS is defined by the ways in which it is questioned and burdened by
the effects of the ring. Such as in the growth of muscle, the Fellowship
must experience significant resistance in order to be strengthened. We can’t truly believe in or emotionally
resonate with relationships unless we know that they are real- unless we know that they
can withstand their tests. So, we see multiple instances of strife during
the Fellowship’s journey, and all such instances work to wear down the group to its eventual
breaking point. And in this, it is the continual oppression
of the Fellowship that serves to call into question the integrity of its members. This is especially true for the Boromir, who
proves in time to be, for a moment, his own antagonist. Throughout the tenure of the Fellowship in
this first film, we are consistently confronted with a rising and falling of tension between
Boromir and the ring. Having ulterior motives in the back of his
mind, he constantly advises that they revert back to his own land of Gondor, and he deals
with the temptation to take the ring for himself. Besides all of the action and tragedy,
this is the central opposition that serves to define the fellowship between the characters. Lady Galadriel states this herself in this crucial
scene which foreshadows the eventual climax of the fellowship’s integrity and the climax
of the film. Her prediction comes to fruition in this scene,
when Boromir finally snaps in a way that is as threatening as it is disheartening. In effect, the whole fellowship seemingly
fails swiftly as the ensuing conflict comes to a head in the film’s climax. In the battle, Merry and Pippin are captured,
Boromir is mortally wounded, and Frodo departs from the group. It appears, that the effort has all been in
vain. However, in the end, it is not the physical
breaking of the fellowship that defines it, but instead, it is the reinforcement of the
word spoken at the start of the fellowship: the commitments made between this band of
strangers to destroy the One Ring. It is the reinforcement, in the face of opposition,
to stay true to one another. The examples of this reinforcement are clear. The key point here is that, in the event of
this tragic turn of events, Aragorn COULD turn back and become Strider once again. Gimli COULD turn back to lead his people,
and so COULD Legolas. Sam COULD leave Frodo,
give up, and turn back. The Fellowship COULD fail, and it nearly does,
but because of the reinforcement of the commitments that were made at the fellowship’s inception,
the fellowship remains true. I think that we can often mistake elements
such as actor “chemistry”, or relative connected backstories, or evident emotional connection,
for the quality of characters’ relationships. That being said, it is made apparent the fellowship
in the LORD OF THE RINGS is not defined by the messy feelings or the petty arguments
between each of the characters. It is not defined by the backstories of the
characters, their personal histories with one another, or even the mistakes that they
make against each other. Instead, fellowship is defined as an unbreakable
bond. It is defined by the choices that these characters
make for each other, and the promises that they hold to. Thus, I will contend that one of the most
important things that makes LORD OF THE RINGS films so emotionally impactful is this final
reinforcement of commitment that the characters share, the final definition of fellowship. It is the initial commitment made, the resistance
against that commitment, and the eventual overcoming of that resistance in favor of
commitment that gives way to a well-defined sense of fellowship that proves to be exponentially
emotionally impactful and resonant for an audience, collectively. You see, we don’t cry at Sam’s plea to Frodo to
allow him to keep his promise because we ever saw these characters grow up together [SAM WAS
LITERALLY JUST HIS GARDENER]. We don’t cry because of the chemistry between
the actors, and we don’t necessarily cry because we recognize that they are crying
and empathize with them. We cry because we all have, in our heart of
hearts, an innate desire to have someone who won’t abandon us when things get hard. We need people who will stay true to their
word- who won’t turn back even when the road ahead looks terrifying. We cry because we long for a fellowship defined
such as this: as a fulfilled commitment to each other, a promise kept, a bond unbroken. This is why the LORD OF THE RINGS speaks to
us so intensely: because it defines fellowship in a way that speaks directly to our souls,
in a way that provides a portrait of something that we crucially need as humans. And so, as the stage is set, this fellowship
will be the foundation of all of our emotional investment moving forward. Through its final definition of fellowship,
in the final moments of its first film, the LORD OF THE RINGS becomes emotionally impactful
for 6 more hours of story to come. HELP ME MAKE MORE VIDEOS LIKE THIS BECOME A PATRON AND GET ACCESS TO COOL/AMAZING/EXCLUSIVE CONTENT I’M LITERALLY POURING MY HEART & SOUL INTO THIS IT’S 100% WORTH YOUR INVESTMENT IF YOU WANT MORE VIDEOS, JOIN THE COMMUNITY & BECOME A PATRON YOU’RE ALL AMAZING AND I LOVE YOU

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

100 Comments

  1. Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUB6wXURR-I

    I HAVE A SPECIAL MISSION FOR ALL OF YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Please SHARE this video when & where you can! It's SO helpful to the channel, and it gets the word out about this video to as many eyes and ears as possible!

    Share on Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, send to all your friends, and more!

    Be my fellowship and help me on my journey to getting this video seen by the world!
    THANK YOU SO MUCH, and cheers, dear viewers.

  2. Absolute fantastic presentation and execution of this video! I grew up loving the LOTR! Quick thing, why is the music during the video played at a strange pitch? Am I the only one who hears this?

  3. Mmm… the hobbit is not the Lord of the rings, and this lord of the ring wasen't the original movie. But the original movie didn't do so good and this is amazing

  4. 2:23 got me. not the words but the music. this theme is so awesome so emotional so memoriable i think that the music in lotr is the reason for the emotions you feel during the movies.

  5. Please tell me where i can find the slowed down version of the breaking of the fellowship theme used at the start of your video. Or is it just slowed down using software?

  6. Trying to explain love of lord of the rings through the medium of cinematography, is like trying to explain the love for one’s children Jesus based on the clothes the wear. There’s a bit more too it than that…

  7. being raised on lord of the rings, i have never found films that have made me feel so much nuance every time. i have an overwhelmingly strong feeling of nostalgia every time someone even brings it up

  8. This is not real life social dynamic. A lot of new members to teams try to be accepted into the group but end up being excluded anyway.

  9. Last Jedi actually did subvert audience expectations well since those expectations were based on cliches and old series and not what actually happened of was told in Force Awakens or what was natural for the characters. It was not forced subversion but allowing the story to go to a different direction based on who the characters were.

  10. Excellent video dude. Really good. I don't know what's wrong exactly, but something's a little off with the microphone. It'd be fantastic if you could fix that, that'd be great. Again; great video. Loved it. You made me cry. ❤

  11. I got chills at 13:00….how did you know? D': You're absolutely right.
    I wasn't expecting you to hit the nail on the head so accurately for that rhetorical question. Dude.

  12. Omg the last Jedi, really? Do I REALLY need to explain to you why changing up Star Wars so that it can start to move the fuck on after 40 goddamn years is necessary to keep it alive and relevant (and interesting, btw)? After a goddamn year?

  13. Weight Of Cinema, please I need to know which track is playing at 14:10 , it hits me like a rock man.. I couldn't find it in the OST as of yet

  14. Man I just binged watched your avatar vids and now this. The audo is clear, the edditing is spot on and the topics taken up are expanded upon with razor focus. I cannot comprehend why this channel does not have more subs. But any ways you have one more. Great work

  15. My heart is broken because there's only one part right now. I needs the other 2! I agree wholeheartedly. This series is and will probably forever be my favorite. As a writer I strive for my books to be a fraction as good as this series and if someone ever compares my books to these I could die happy

  16. This story is so powerful. I teared up like three times just watching this video ABOUT the story. You can imagine the water works when I actually watch the movies/read the story. It’s brilliant. Great job on this video! Looking forward to more!

  17. I love your analysis of these films! I was thinking of the scene in Return of the King where Frodo wakes up and sees everyone in his room – and the audience is made to remember that Frodo, unlike us, hasn't known of any of their outcomes the entire time. It seems like the final reinforcement of fellowship you were talking about – after all that time, they were all still fighting for him (even Gandalf, who he thought was dead). Its such a beautiful scene.

    I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on Sam and Frodo's friendship. It seems as if the series begins with them and ends with them. We watch as they endure so much together, making their final goodbye so heartbreaking!

  18. I know that Howard Shore composed the original soundtrack, but where does this video’s version of the soundtrack come from? (It’s pretty good)

  19. Loved this a lot. I think you captured in words what I felt when i watched this, roughly at the same time and age that you did. Nice production value too.

  20. You give all the credit to the 'screenwriters' when it was, in fact, Tolkien that was 100% responsible for this amazing Fellowship. Good video, and all, but you talk as if the film wasn't an adaptation. The film-makers didn't have to do anything of what you claim, because Tolkien already did it. The film-makers merely had to adapt a masterpiece, and they succeeded.

  21. Nice touch using the Last Jedi as an example of a film that fails through tone deafness and significant lack of realistic character progression

  22. Regarding Sam's relationship with Frodo before the quest began, Sam was merely Frodo's gardener. Indeed, Sam refers to Frodo as "Mr. Frodo" throughout the entire series.

  23. Idk if u have seen " the lessons from the screenplay" on YouTube. But his channel is amazing. I'm only saying this bc I feel yours is just as good and I have only just discovered it. No idea how I haven't seen this before. Thank you sir!!! Subbed

  24. This isn't the only fellowship analysis video on YouTube worth watching, but it's probably my favorite. Thank you.

  25. Showing black and white footage of the Last Jedi while talking in a somber tone as though it's failure is a foregone conclusion is not going to convince me that that film wasn't great.

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