Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Internet, How I Missed You

It's been...quite a week.  You may have read on Cat's blog that one of my students was hit in our school parking lot.  Turns out she has broken toes and something is wrong enough with her ankle to require a visit to an orthopedist.

Plus, my Internet connection went out, about which I whine frequently on Twitter.

However, while trolling around the Internet, trying to accomplish the last three things on my to-do list before winter break (with the goal being to leave school stuff behind for an astonishing two weeks), I found this compilation of clips of famous speeches.

I was pleasantly surprised that Picard's "This far, no farther!" speech from First Contact was included.  That speech packs more emotional punch for long-time fans -- because we know Picard's history with the Borg -- than the oft-quoted "how many does it take, Admiral!" speech from Insurrection.  Both are classic HERE COMES THE MESSAGE moments, but the first strikes a deeper chord, I think.

Also...Bastian.  On Falcorn.  From the end of Neverending Story.  Not a speech, but...yay!

And Azeem, from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.  (SOOOO not a Kevin Costner fan, but I do love that movie.  Largely because of Azeem, now that I think of it.)

I only recognized the clip from The Great Muppet Caper because Patrick nearly wore out that tape when he was little, and I don't get how it's a "great moment," but whatever.

(I now have "The Happiness Hotel" stuck in my  head.  Nifty.)

Charlie Brown of course, and I'm pretty sure Brad Pitt (as Alexander the Great? Or was that from Troy?) snuck in there too.

But what intrigued me, from a fandom standpoint, was the choice of Aragorn's speech to his troops from Lord of the Rings.

Why?

Well, to my mind, there are three iconic moments in Return of the King.  The first is Sam's Moment, with a capital M:  "Come on, Mr. Frodo.  I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you!"

The second two are fascinating to me from a psychological standpoint.

Yes, a psychological standpoint.

I think a lot of The Two Towers and Return of the King, at least from the films' standpoint, was a contrast in Aragorn and Theoden's leadership styles.  In TTT, Theoden refuses to ask Gondor for help in their battle, but then refuses to help Gondor in RotK because they didn't offer help themselves.

When the battle seems lost and Aragorn suggests one final stand, Theoden responds with "For death and glory!" while Aragorn replies with, "For Rohan.  For your people."

Basically, I think the goal here was to show that Aragorn is thinking of others, thinking ahead, while Theoden is focused on himself.

Then, before each person's big battle in RoTK, they each muster their troops.

Theoden does it thusly:  "Forth, and fear no darkness!  Arise!  Arise, Riders of Theoden!  Spears shall be shaken!  Swords shall be splintered!  A sword day, a red day, ere the sun rises!  Ride now!  Ride now!  Ride!  Ride to ruin, and the world's ending!  Death!  Death!"

You might notice a certain...fatalism in the above.  It's basically, "ride to your deaths, but don't be scared!"

Meanwhile, King Aragorn (because by this point, he is King Aragorn) circles his nervous troops as they rear back in fear from the army coming out of the Black Gates:  "Hold your ground!  Hold your ground!  Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers, I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me.  A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day.  An hour of wolves, and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down, but it is not this day.  This day we fight!  By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!"

In other words, "I know you're scared, and so am I, but today, we are going to show our courage, in the name of everything we love."

It's this speech that always -- always -- gives me chills, even (good Lord) five years later, and it's this bit that is in the video referenced above.

I'm glad I'm not the only one.

(Incidentally, I've tried to read the novel several times, but the farthest I've ever gotten is when they take an injured Frodo to Rivendell.  Something about Tolkien's information-dump style of writing is just very off-putting to me.  I admire the sophisticated world he essentially invented to explain the history of the language he'd invented -- I just wish he'd written a companion book to go with the actual story.  But I've always wondered how those three moments are rendered in the book.)

1 comment:

Mz. Cat said...

It was Brad Pitt from Troy. Colin Farrell from Alexander. Orlando Bloom (huge sigh!)from the movie Kingdom of Heaven was also in the clip.