Sounds Like a Quest to Me

mthums – Matt Thumser

I am no connoisseur of the fantasy genre. Yet, I find myself drawn to The Lord of the Rings. Perhaps it is the mystique it has carried through the generations, the fact that my parents have enjoyed this same work of fiction. Perhaps it the the masterful way in which J.R.R. Tolkien presents his tale, or perhaps it is the desire for a great quest that lies in each and every one of us.

The Fellowship of the Ring is the quintessential quest. Everyone knows this. Good battles Evil, temptation plagues characters, relationships are strained and strengthened; all of this happens in the process of a journey with an ultimate goal in mind. In The Fellowship of the Ring, this ultimate goal is the destruction of the one ring, the all powerful ring to rule them all. The humans, the elves, the hobbits- all of them team up to fight the forces of evil brought on by Sauron and his armies of orcs. A fellowship is forged; an alliance of the best warriors, the greatest minds, the wisest beings Middle-Earth has to offer, and the nobodys beset with greatness and yet as it trudges on toward Mt. Doom, it begins to crumble. Tolkien’s work, and Peter Jackson’s adaptation of it, have proven timeless, and are a model of perfection for the fantasy genre as a whole.

In watching the film, I find myself drawing similarities to another of my favorite films. While it is not entirely an epic fantasy, it contains the wizards, knights, and battles common in the genre. That film is Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Now, Holy Grail is obviously a satire. It’s not meant to be taken seriously. But the thematics evident in both films are very similar. King Arthur and his round table are on a quest to find the Holy Grail. Along the way, they encounter many obstacles; the group succumbs to temptation, and falls to pieces. Eventually, like in The Lord of the Rings, they all reunite to finish what they started. Although the Knights of the Round Table never do find the Holy Grail, they followed a journey, in the same manner as Frodo and Sam, and the rest of the Fellowship.

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