Seven months ago, give or take a few weeks, I wrote about five moments in The Lord of the Rings movies that make me cry. Every time. Today, I will weepily unveil five more times The Lord of the Rings makes me cry.
I do this for a few reasons. First, I love to write about The Lord of the Rings. That should come as no surprise to anyone who has been reading my stuff on Rambling Ever On. It is my favorite book of all time. I’ve read it from cover to cover at least a dozen times. I love the films as well. They are my favorite films of all time, with The Fellowship of the Ring being my favorite movie ever. Writing about them is almost as easy for me as it is to write about my kids. Almost…
Second, for some unknown reason, I have no problem talking about all the things that make me cry. You would think it might embarrass me. Not even close. A lot of our culture wants to tell men that crying is a sign of weakness. Or a sign of some sort of lack of manliness. That’s utter nonsense. My dad is the best man I know and he has no problem crying or being deeply moved by things. Having a tender heart should be seen as a strength, not a weakness. I’ll leave it at that and get off my soapbox now. It’s not why you are reading this article after all. Let’s get to today’s list!
“I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you!
This is the big one. The ultimate “if you have a heart you are probably going to cry” moment in the trilogy. In fact, I would contend it is one of the best moments in all of movie history. There has long been a debate as to who the actual hero of The Lord of the Rings is. My guess is, this scene puts Samwise Gamgee over the top in the minds of most. This one moment captures everything you need to know about Sam. He is brave, loyal, faithful, and determined.
Sam is also wise in a way that does not get enough appreciation. He understands he is not capable of destroying the ring. It is not his task. But, he is wise enough to see a way around the problem. It’s a pitch-perfect performance by Sean Astin, and it’s a crying shame he wasn’t nominated for any acting awards. Pun fully and unashamedly intended!
“At dawn, look to the east.”
I’ve written about this moment before. You can read that article here. The first time I watched The Two Towers, I had literal tears running down my cheeks when Gandalf, Eomer, and the Riders of Rohan arrive at Helm’s Deep to save the day. The last time I watched the movie, the tears weren’t on my cheeks but my eyes welled up and I think that counts as crying.
This moment is not just emotionally moving, but it’s also cinema at its best. There are countless individual shots in this sequence that are works of art, beautiful and transcendent. Peter Jackson (director) and Andrew Lesnie (cinematographer) captured something magical and awe inspiring.
Back at the Green Dragon
This is a small, blink and you’ll miss it, kind of moment. The quest is over. Evil has been defeated. Our four Hobbits have returned to Hobbiton and are attempting to find their place in a normal and quiet life. Naturally, they visit their favorite pub, The Green Dragon. Raucous laughter and sounds of merriment are all around them. But, their quest has changed these four Hobbits. Whereas before, they would have been in the thick of all the revelry, we now see them contemplative and reserved. Howard Shore’s music during this quiet and reflective scene is some of his best in the entire trilogy, though it gets overlooked often.
War changes us. Trials and difficulties shape who we are and who we will become. This scene wordlessly says all of that and more and it couldn’t be any more powerful.
“I didn’t think it would end this way, Gandalf.”
This scene takes place near the end of the trilogy. Minis Tirith, the last stronghold of man, is about to fall. The remaining soldiers have barricaded themselves in one of the upper levels of the city and are waiting for the enemy to break though. The end feels inevitable. Gandalf the Wizard and Pippin the young Hobbit rest as they wait for the fighting to start again. It is then Pippin utters the line above in bold. What follows is one of the most poetic and hopeful conversations about death and the afterlife I’ve ever encountered. I’ll let the scene speak for itself, but I do want to draw attention to the first few beautiful notes of “Into the West”, the trilogy’s closing song, that can be heard making their first appearance.
“So do all who live to see such times.“
By the time The Fellowship of the Ring reached the Mines of Moria, I was pretty much convinced I was witnessing greatness. I had waited for this film for a long time, after all. I was thrilled with how it was all coming together. But, I had no idea how much this sequence would elevate the entire trilogy. I consider the Mines of Moria sequence, from the Watcher in the Water all the way through the fight with the Balrog, as one of the greatest film sequences of all time. This small moment, a quiet conversation between Gandalf and Frodo, is the lynchpin, the moment that pulls it all together.
Frodo is overwhelmed with his task of carrying the ring to Mordor. He does not feel qualified to do the job. More so, he is frustrated the ring ever came to him, and he shares those frustrations with Gandalf. “I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.” Gandalf responds in a way I wish more people would. He does not dismiss Frodo’s sadness and frustrations. He doesn’t sugarcoat things and tell Frodo that everything is going to be alright. Gandalf acknowledges Frodo’s concerns and then he gently reminds Frodo that while we cannot control everything that happens to us, we can control how we respond. “So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
“What to do with the time that is given to us” That’ll preach and then some! And, it will make me cry. Because it’s true.
That’s my list. Five more times The Lord of the Rings makes me cry. What about you? Let’s hear about what moments cause you to melt into a puddle of tears and emotions. Post them in the comments below or tell us about them on one of our social media accounts. Thanks for reading!