Tolkien Society Journeys with the Fellowship

By Eleanor O’Hagan
Staff Writer

The Tolkien Society hosted a discussion and screening of Peter Jackson’s “The Fellowship of the Ring” on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 6 p.m. in the Fireside Lounge.

English professor Ben Reinhard briefly spoke before the movie on the experience that many viewers went through when seeing the film for the first time during the nation’s recovery from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“The sense of an ancient evil, a crusade for the free world and in the midst of it all was ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’” Reinhard said in his opening remarks, making a comparison to the fight against evil in both Tolkien’s work and the real world.

Though Reinhard had some criticisms for the trilogy, especially in Jackson’s portrayal of good and evil, he noted that the trilogy offers a glimpse into Tolkien’s world for people who would not otherwise have been exposed to his work.

Reinhard also offered critiques of Jackson’s depictions of elves, hobbits and men. Finally, Reinhard presented some discussion questions for viewers to consider while watching the film.

These included questions about the difference in aesthetic between Tolkien’s work and Jackson’s as well as a consideration of what the viewer would change about the movie.

Following the screening, sophomore Luke Vansuch, president of the Tolkien Society, lead a discussion reflecting on Reinhard’s questions and the content of the film. While there was a wide range of changes viewers would have made to the movie and thoughts on its aesthetic, all in attendance agreed with Reinhard’s assertion that Jackson’s films are an opening into Tolkien’s work for people who may not have previously encountered it.

“I loved the movie night!” said sophomore Lauren Hunter. “I thoroughly enjoyed hearing his (Reinhard’s) story with Tolkien and how it impacted him”

The Tolkien Society will be showing the next installment of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “The Two Towers,” on Feb. 18 at 6 p.m. in the Fireside Lounge and will have English professor Dr. Aaron Urbanczyk speaking and leading discussions on the film.