Monday, 28 September 2015

Narrative - Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring - The Hero's Journey

Fig.1. Lord Of The Rings Poster

Lord of the rings: fellowship of the ring (2001) directed by Peter Jackson who has directed films such as King Kong (2005) and District 9 (2009) tells the story of J.R.R. Tolkien's famous The Lord Of The Rings which follows Frodo the Protagonist's journey through middle earth to destroy an evil ring.

We enter the story in Frodo's home, the Shire. It sets a peaceful scene and creates a bond to the main character in showing us his life before certain events transpire. Joseph Campbell created a system Called 'The Heroes Journey' it splits the story into stages that presumably make a heroes tale. This system could be applied to the Lord Of The Rings.

Fig.2. Frodo and Gandalf
To start is The call to adventure which in this movie is when frodo is introduced to the ring and the danger coming after the ring which then forces him to start his epic journey. Then The refusal to call as Frodo discovers the danger of the ring he immediately seeks to give it to someone he trusts to do a better job, he does this out of fear for himself and trust in another. We then see The supernatural aid in which we see Frodo's mentor Gandalf, a wizard and friend who will accompany Frodo in his travels. Frodo eventually leaves the Shire with companions he met before departing and thus leaving the threshold. This ends Act 1.

From this point we enter Act 2. Starting with The belly of the whale, from this point Frodo knows nothing of the world beyond his home and must adapt to this new enviroment. The road of trials are dangerous, Frodo is hunted by the Nazgul an evil group charged with finding and killing those who have the ring, Frodo and friends run into these beings on more than one occasion. Next the meeting with the goddess who in this case is the elf Arwen, it is she who introduces the power and grace of this new species of being to Frodo helping him stay alive and rescuing him from the Nazgul. Temptation, this can be when Frodo is influenced by the power of the ring to put it on, putting on the ring alerts the Nazgul to its location and therefore put the journey at risk. At this point in the story we see the atonement with the father which in this case is Frodo's uncle Bilbo who owned the ring previously, we see the negative affect of the ring on Bilbo and I believe this empowers Frodo to complete his journey. Next we are introduced to the apostasis in which we witness the death of Frodos mentor Gandalf who died defending the from the evil creature the Balrog in the mines of Moria. Unfortunatly at this point I believe the rest of Campbells stages are not apparent however they do appear in the final film of the series The Lord Of The Rings: Return of The King.

Fig.3. Frodo destroying the ring

We witness the ultimate boon which is when frodo destroys the evil ring at mount doom and defeats the evil lord Sauron. We then see the refusal to return straight after, after destroying the ring Mount Doom the volcano erupts, Frodo and his companion Sam lay on the volcano awaiting their death, but at peace knowing their quest is complete. The next two stages I believe can be combined into one stage of the movie, Frodo and Sam are rescued from Mount Doom by the giant eagles, thus being in Magic flight and Rescue from without. In crossing the return threshold we see Frodo and his companions returning to the shire their home and returning to their normal life. After this Frodo becomes the master of two worlds, being the person he was at home and the hero he is outside of his home. At the end of Frodos journey he finally has his freedom to live, in this case Frodo leaves his home to accompany his friends Gandalf, Bilbo and the elves across the see, as in Frodo's eyes he cannot be free while being in the place all the trauma of his journey occurred.

In conclusion i beleive that as a collective the Lord Of The Rings does follow Joseph Campbells The Heroes Journey, in some points it is clearer than others and is down to interpretation and opinion. however in following this structure the story has worked and is strong because of it.

Illustration list:
Peter Jackson (2001) Figure 1: Lord Of The Rings Poster
Peter Jackson (2001) Figure 2: Frodo and Gandalf
Peter Jackson (2001) Figure 3: Frodo destroying the ring

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