I was talking to my friend Matt, who I went to High School with, and he's now at NYU getting his masters in composing (which, on a side note, makes him perhaps the coolest person I know). I asked him when I was explaining my idea for this entry which story or movie changed his life. He replied it wasn't a story so much as a score he heard when he was 15 years old. It was the first Harry Potter score. ...And now he's a composer! Because of that one score he heard from 10 years ago. That's power. That score shaped his future. A good friend of mine from college said once: "Lives change on a day-to-day basis, for a number of reasons: either a best friend gets married or you see a beautiful sunset. Or you read a powerful book."
I'm sure anyone who has been interested in reading my blog is probably under the same belief that stories have the power to change perspectives, change ideas, change hearts, and under the right circumstances maybe even change lives. I really wanted to have an entry where people could discuss and talk about the story that impacted them in this way. In my experience, there has been one movie that has impacted me more than any other: The Lord of the Rings.
I was a sophomore in high school when The Fellowship was released, and I was unaware what the movie was about or that it was based on a book. I never enjoyed reading before (I mostly blame the Accelerated Reading program we did in middle school), and so it wasn't important to me, anyways. However, on a church trip December of 2001, Ashlie, who is now my best friend, took me to see the first installment of The Lord of the Rings. I was so clueless when it ended that I asked, "So... do we just assume everything goes as planned?" Her and our other friend, Rachael, laughed. "No, there are two other movies!" I was intrigued. It wasn't until the next year, when The Two Towers was released, that the fire started to grow in me, and I decided that I couldn't just watch these movies. I had to go against everything I would usually do and actually READ THESE BOOKS. I couldn't wait any longer to do so.
It was through reading this series that I discovered I could enjoy reading. No one assigned me these books. No one forced me to test over them. I picked them up on my own and read them, and found I couldn't put them down. I never imagined before that I could ever feel so attached to a book. This was the beginning of me experiencing what (I later learned) Keat's called “the holiness of the Heart’s affection and the truth of .” I began to realize that some things that are created in the mind can be more real than some actual things in our lives, and through fantasy, real-life truths can be found. A Tolkein scholar has said, "People make the comment that this type of fantasy is escapist and evading the real world, but I think that [thinking] is an evasion. [The story] is actually trying to confront something that some people would rather not confront."
This new perspective and passion for the power of literature is what lead me to want to help others realize their capacity to love reading and how it has the power to change people. In turn, this made me want to teach English, directly sending me into my profession. I decided for sure, a year later in my senior year of high school (not far after the release of the third movie), that I wanted to be an English major, and so I was. And so I became, and am now, an English teacher. With a library in my room for my students to check out books they may enjoy. (Yes, Lord of the Rings is on there!)
Also, I fell in love with the cast of this movie. They will, perhaps, always be the cast-love-of-my-life. I don't know another movie that has ever been cast so perfectly. But besides that, they also gelled so beautifully with each other behind the scenes, it was that much more fun to watch them on screen. Chemistry abounds! Watching the actor commentary and seeing pictures of them from set, hanging out, or even red carpets was just a blast because you knew they loved each other, these films, and the experience of making them as much as you did. These movies/this story changed their lives, too, and it made me feel like I was, in some way, connected to these people. Because even though our lives were changed in completely different ways, they were still changed for the same reason and by the same means.
Ultimately, because I adored this cast like I did, I wanted to watch all the special features I could get my hands on about the making of the film. I learned about every element of film-making, from adapting and writing a script, to story boards, to casting, to making scenery, to props, to directing, and much, much more. It made me discover my love for the art of film-making and it awakened my passion and interest in everything that goes with it.
Here I am, nearly 10 years later, and I still feel the same way about this story as I did when I first started on my journey to discovering it. Each December I watch all 3 movies all in one day, and my favorite parts always make me happy or bring a tear to my eye. Rereading the books always makes me feel like I am coming home. It's the kind of love you know will last a lifetime when you can go nearly a decade and nothing has worn off or gotten old.
What movie/story/book/score/show has had an impact on you in this way? Please tell me in the comments!