There is no denying the influence the Lord of the Rings franchise has had on cinema. This franchise paved the way for fantasy on both the small screen and the big screen. It proved to the world that a fantasy adventure can be both visually striking and engaging in its narrative. With a strong cast of characters and a dedicated production team, the Lord of the Rings captures the spirit of this beloved book series. The Fellowship of the Ring kick starts this journey, and these are the most memorable scenes from the first instalment of this epic franchise.
Prologue: One Ring to Rule Them All…
The opening sequence of The Fellowship of the Ring does everything it can to successfully hook a viewer. Establishing the history and power of the one ring and his master, we are given a glimpse into the despair and destruction that once beheld Middle-Earth. The dramatic shots of war and the corruption of men did a phenomenal job at establishing a lingering threatening presence from the enemy. Pair that with the almost ethereal narration from Galadriel, and we have an opening that instantly captivates the viewers.
Taken from the extended edition, ‘Concerning Hobbits’ introduces us to the peaceful and serene Hobbit way of life. A Hobbit doesn’t meddle in the affairs of the “big folk,” instead they choose to take pleasure in indulging in food, drink, and nature. It’s a simple life, but not an unfulfilled life and the serenity found in Hobbiton reminds us of the incredible task that is asked from our heroes.
The Passing of the Elves
Another scene found in the extended edition, this moment is both a nod to the events from the book. It’s a brief moment of solace early on in Frodo and Sam’s journey and one that makes the hobbits realise just how vast the world is. It may not liken to the comforts of home, but the grace and elegance found in this scene is a beautiful tribute to the elves.
Who could possibly forget the hooded ranger silently observing the happenings in the Prancing Pony? The lone figure in a crowded room is bound to catch anyone’s eye. Yet, despite his hooded face, you can see his eyes are calculating, heightening that air of mystery to this stranger. As far as first impressions go, this scene was a brilliant introduction to this iconic character, one that instantly makes us curious to know more about the man who would be king.
Saruman the White
This battle was a test of wits, will, and magic. In a shocking turn of events, Gandalf closest ally and head of the council of wizards betrays him. What follows is a match between two of the most powerful entities of Middle-Earth. Christopher Lee’s performance as Saruman was phenomenal, and this scene introduces us to his menace and lust for power as Ian McKellen’s Gandalf perfectly captures the deep shock at such a betrayal from his oldest ally.
A Knife in the Dark
It was a close call between this moment and their introductory scene, but Weathertop highlights the sheer terror the black riders inflict. The sight of the five sword-drawn ringwraiths closing in our hobbits is striking, making us fear that the journey will end before it even begins. It is effective and chilling because even through the eyes of the ring, we come to understand how powerful these servants of darkness are. On top of that, we also get the first glimpse of Aragorn’s skills as a fighter, with the use of fire to thwart the ringwraiths providing some brilliant imagery to contrast the darkness of this scene.
The Council of Elrond
Anytime we see Rivendell, we are immediately taken to a place of solace and peace. It’s almost like a barricade from the foes of Middle-Earth. However, despite this illusion, Elrond understands the consequences of keeping the ring in this haven. Realising there is but one choice, he summons the council to determine the fate of the ring. This is the first time members of the fellowship are seen interacting with one another, and the council offers a glimpse into the many dynamics that could make or break the fellowship. We witness the mistrust between elves and dwarves, the conflict between men, and an heir is revealed. It’s the most diplomatic scene in the trilogy, one that is simultaneously dramatic, tense, and humourous.
The Bridge of Khazad-dûm
Having awoken the Balrog in Moria, Gandalf takes his final stand against this creature. After witnessing Gandalf’s commanding magic, it was quite the shock to see him fall into the pits afterwards. No one expected the fellowship’s leader to fall, and what makes this passing so heartbreaking was the following sequence of grief from the surviving members of the fellowship. Accompanying the scene is the brilliant piece of music that heightens the sorrow of Gandalf’s passing in what has since become an iconic movie moment.
The Mirror of Galadriel
This scene comes at a moment when morale is at an all-time low. Having found temporary solace in Lothlorien, Frodo encounters the lady Galadriel, keeper of one of the three elven rings. This meeting between Frodo and Galadriel reiterates the consequences for Middle-Earth should the quest fail. It’s both a warning and a test. Some may point to Galadriel’s rejection of the ring as the best moment, but it is Frodo’s despair and understanding of the task at hand that steals the scene as this sets in motion the path he must now take alone.
The Departure of Boromir
Boromir’s character arc had its ups and downs but despite his flaws, Boromir’s heart was always true. Out of the fellowship, it is Boromir who has seen and experienced the threat of Mordor. With his city looming in the shadow of evil, you can understand why Boromir’s desperation could be corrupted by the ring. However, despite his actions, you can’t help but sympathise with this man, and his final stand more than made up for his previous actions. Once again, the striking cinematography coupled with the music makes for an emotive scene. Sean Bean was brilliant at this moment, but credit should also be given to Billy Boyd and Dominic Monahan, as the two hobbits witness the death of their friend and in their helplessness to save him are captured by the orcs of Isengard. It reminds us of the innocence of hobbits in this cruel world. The moment Boromir succumbs to his injuries is one that viewers will never forget.
What are your favourite scenes from The Fellowship of the Ring?