I am a fan of the works of JRR Tolkien. It had been years since I had read the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit, when Peter Jackson brought the stories to life on the big screen. I fell in love again with Middle Earth as I watched the first movie in the Lord of the Rings series. I read the books again, all of Tolkien’s books on Middle Earth. I watched each movie over and over as I waited, patiently, for the next installment to arrive in the theater. I found huge pieces of myself, my identity, within those films and books. I grew, with the characters, as they journeyed and I journeyed as well.
When I heard rumors that The Hobbit was being considered for a trilogy of films, I didn’t think Peter Jackson could do it again. I was not as big a fan of The Hobbit, since some of my favorite characters didn’t appear in this book and presumably wouldn’t in the film, but I welcomed a chance to return to Middle Earth. I was wrong about Peter Jackson. He so beautifully captured the story. The special effects were stunning. I fell in love with the warrior race of dwarves, which until The Hobbit movie, had been my least favorite characters in the LOTR films.
This December, the final movie in The Hobbit trilogy will be released. A part of me can’t wait. However, being familiar with the book, another part of me has been very content with the year long wait to the finale. I know it will be a deeply moving, gripping film. I will be the viewer in the back of the theater, sitting stoically by myself, watching the inevitable unfold on the large screen.
Peter Jackson is brilliant. He is gifted. He has created excitement for the upcoming release and found a way to give back at the same time. He has launched The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest, which I entered for my first. This isn’t just a share or like a page and get your name entered for a chance to win contest. This is done Middle Earth style, where characters and entrants discover who they are and what they are made of as they journey. This contest offers a challenge, four of them, actually, with one given out each week. Each part of the challenge must be met, for a chance to win. And the prize? It is very worthy of the challenges. The winner gets the opportunity to journey to New Zealand, the cinematic Middle Earth, to experience the epic conclusion to The Hobbit trilogy in the first official screening of the movie with director, Peter Jackson.
Yes, I am a fan. Ask anyone who knows me moderately well. But a year ago, before this amazing year of firsts, I never would have entered such a contest. I would have convinced myself that I had no chance. I would have balked at the challenges, which push me out of my comfort zone. Challenge One was easy enough: write a virtual postcard and send it to Peter Jackson, sharing what I would do on my prize winning trip to Middle Earth. Challenge Two, which I completed tonight, was to take a quiz about the locations used in New Zealand for the filming of The Hobbit movies. This one would normally give me pause. I am very familiar with the scenes in the movie, yet not so familiar with New Zealand. I don’t like to take a quiz if I know I am going to fail. I am grateful for Google and the opportunity to learn, via computer, about the breathtaking landscapes in that gorgeous country. I answered 9 out of 10 questions correctly.
Challenge Three scares me. I must create a two minute video to send to the judges, sharing my musings and recollections of my experiences of The Hobbit movies. Reading that would have caused me to pass on this contest, before this year. I am very self conscious in front of a camera, especially when it is video taping. I am learning to move beyond that, this year. I love that this challenge is a true challenge for me, pushing me. I will share from my heart and not over think this part of the contest. Challenge Four involves sharing exclusive art, mine or someone else’s, it doesn’t specify. I perhaps should be wondering more about this one!
I am grateful for the opportunity to enter this contest, and show my deep appreciation and love for these life shifting stories and films. And I am grateful for the challenges that move me beyond my comfort zone and further along in my journey. As Bilbo Baggins, the Hobbit hero of these films, says later to Frodo, “It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Perhaps, on a powerful journey, with no promise of safety, but the guarantee of adventure and growth and the discovery of who I am created to be.