This morning I was cooking eggs and smoked sausages when, as I was about to crack the fourth egg over the pan, I looked down at the kitchen floor (for no particular reason except that I sometimes look down to make certain my feet are still in this dimension) and saw, staring back at me, smoking a pipe and wearing his silly hat, Gandalf the Grey (or rather Ian McKellen's version of Gandalf the Grey). In the tiles on my kitchen floor. There he was, from the shoulders up anyway, mid-wink.
I told it to quote fly, you fool unquote. Gandalf the Grey Tile did not deign to answer. I cracked the fourth egg and let the yoke sizzle in the pan, doing my best to ignore the wizardly face winking from my kitchen floor.
Of course, I could not stop thinking about the image at my feet. I said to myself: Dustin, perhaps you should take this moment (putting egg to plate with spatula) to reaffirm your faith in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Not the books, of course: no need to reaffirm anything there. I was thinking the movies. I looked to Gandalf the Grey and his half-wink, his firesmoke beard. He told me it would be a good idea ("So long as you don't share it with anyone, of course!" and I have no plans to), and I told the fierce wizard I would reaffirm just after my hearty breakfast.
Breakfast scarfed, I sat in my favorite chair (the thinking one, torn-up leather with wheels) and stared off into space as many of my friends so often find me, not really lost in thought, more lost in wall. While I was away, leaning back in my chair, unprepared for any amount of roll away, I discovered this about my faith in The Lord of the Rings movies: I still love the whole shindig. The special effects, of course, are amazing. The adapted screenplay can't be trifled with (even if I were a Tom Bombadil lover and pissed about his lack of appearance in the film, which I'm not, I'm not). Overall, the movies are a rollicking good time.
There are a few problems that I've found during my reaffirmation. The Return of the King really wants to milk it, really wants to jerk your tears, if you get my drift, what with the four-eight overly sentimental climaxes over the last thirty minutes of film. Don't worry: I'm not talking trash about one of the great books/movies of our time, not exactly. Tears welled in my eyes, too, when Frodo wakes up after having destroyed the ring and Sam (in slo-mo) comes into the room and sees his friend well. Hell, I pretty much wept when Frodo got on the boat (why, Frodo, why, did you have to leave???). But there are moments of seriously atrocious acting. I'm not talking about Elijah Wood, though he's pretty awful most of the time. I'm talking about Orlando Bloom. He's supposed to be this kickass elf dude and, really, he makes every single line of dialogue into something cheesy and lame. It hurts me to watch him in the movies. Yes, he's pretty. But that's no excuse.
Okay, enough humbuggery. These are great movies, greater books (even though, as a teenager, I was sometimes thrown by Tolkien's dried-leaf prose, but that's neither here nor there). As for Gandalf the Grey Tile, when I went back to the kitchen to put my plate in the sink, I looked for him again. He was gone.
SIDENOTE: The sign above is a misquote. Sheesh.