Lord Of The Rings
The Lord of the Rings, also known as LOTR, is a series of books written by J.R.R Tolkein written between the years of 1937 and 1949. About a young Hobbit by the name of Frodo that goes against the evil Lord of the Rings to destroy the one ring in the fire of Mt. Doom. The pop culture value of this book has be tremendous and inspiring to all ages, especially since it was made into a major motion picture in 2002 directed by award winning director Peter Jackson. The pop culture value may have much to do with the themes, the 1960s and 70s hippie movement, Rock n Roll, Roadside attractions, animated movies, and the creation of the internet. All of these pop culture references have much to do with making LOTR the most popular culturally influential book of our time.
The themes in Lord of the Rings can range from anywhere from hope to the hard traveled path of good. J.R.R Tolkein once was quoted saying “Many young Americans are involved in the stories in a way that I’m not”. This shows that J.R.R Tolkein was a where that many people took the themes of the book differently. This allows for the reader to make his own assumptions and make-up there own themes for the story. This could explain why the themes of the story can be so different. One theme that is expressed is hope. That the travels of the young Fordo to Mt. Doom against all the odds is a symbol of hope, that people have throughout the story. This could be the reason for the massive amount of popular culture that has come out of this book. A great man by the name of William Shakespeare is quoted saying “The miserable have no other medicine but only hope”. This quote can explain the reason why people thought that the book was about hope and that those people can relate it to there own lives. Other themes included friendship, because of the relationship between the characters. It can be concluded that the themes of the story have made it a pop culture success because of the way it left the reader feeling a little better about themselves whether it be about, hope or friendship.
The 1960’s and 70’s Hippie movement has a lot to do with the success of the Lord of the Rings series. The “Hippies” as they came to been known, loved the psychedelic features that came within the stories that J.R.R Tolkein told. In fact the books even had a bootleg series published by ACE Books. These stories told of psychedelic adventures between the antagonists, that were not in the original books. Other Lord of the Rings pop culture came out of the “Hippie” movement such as the coined phrase: “Fandom”. Fandom was a phrase that represented all the fans of the LOTR series. People that were into Fandom were known as “Ringers”. “Ringers” were known to be very outgoing when showing their love for the books, they would often dress up, act, and/or even dedicate there lives into becoming characters of the books. In conclusion the 1960’s and 70’s “Hippie” movement had a humongous effect on how the Lord of the Rings series effected pop culture.
Following the “Hippie” movement, Rock n Roll was soon to follow in jumping on Lord of the Rings bandwagon. Coming out with songs “Here comes Bilbo” and “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins”. The latter being song by the famous Star trek star Leonard Nimoy. These songs gave birth to a whole new kind of audience for the LOTR fan base. Soon not only “Hippies” were reading the adventures of Frodo, Gandalf and friends, but also families and young children, people that had never had interest in fantasy stories were being drawn to this epic novel. Rock n Roll was bringing Lord of the Rings to the masses and this effected the epidemic that would become Lord of the Rings fever!
Roadside attractions have also become a huge part of the pop culture journey that the Lord of the rings has been through. Hobbitville located in Santa Cruz California is a most definite “Ringers” stop, when it comes to roadside attractions. In Hobbitville, they show the wondrous adventures of a hobbit, including Bilbo and Frodo (the two main hobbits in the book and movie). All the hobbits are carved statues that are life size and is placed on a path throughout a portion of the great Redwood Forest. Another Tourist attraction for any hardcore “Ringer” is New Zealand, home of the set of all three LOTR movies. In New Zealand, Red Carpet Tours will take you to the extravagant and exotic locations of the different sets were the greatest trilogy, Lord of the Rings was shot. These two locations have been visited by thousands of people throughout the course of the LOTR pop culture phenomenon. Roadside attractions have allowed for more people to experience Lord of the Rings, in turn allowing for the LOTR pop culture extravaganza to continue and thrive throughout time.
Animated movies such as, “The Hobbit“, “Lord of the Rings“, and “Return of the King” have acquired extreme pop culture value. All three movies were produced by Rankin and Bass, the claymation masters behind such film classics as “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “The Year With No Santa Clause”. Rankin and Bass brought their fans from those film classics to the new Lord of the Rings fans and it was a huge cult classic. Though at first it did receive some criticism for the way the characters were portrayed as “frog-like” characters (because of the way they looked), other than those few critiques many people enjoyed the almost perfect sensation of the animated movie version of Lord of the Rings. These movies once again grew the Lord of the Rings fan base to even higher heights allowing for its pop culture value to rise to a substantially large amount.
The creation of the internet in the 1980’s allowed for “Ringers” to connect and share their opinions and event locations. Websites such as Theonering.com were created to allow all sorts of Lord of the Rings fans to connect on a whole different level. Theonering.com was a huge factor for the live action movies success. Not only did it give updates of the movies creation ands set designs and even gave feedback to the director himself. This allowed for every fan to become connected to each other and give critiques. The creation of the internet is a huge part of creating and sustaining the pop culture value by allowing all the fans to connect and talk about the books and movies.
Lord of the Rings has become a huge pop culture success since its creation in the 1940s. The open ended themes allowed for the fans of the book to explore and create their own theory’s and assumptions of the story. “Hippies” brought large amounts of people to the book to read the psychedelic stories of J.R.R Tolkein. Rock n Roll and animated movies brought a new, family atmosphere with its kid friendly songs such as, “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins” and movies such as “The Hobbit“. Roadside attractions gave way to any everyday tourist. An the creation of the internet brought all those fans together to discuss the books and movies. All of these have contributed to the pop culture success of the greatest fantasy story ever told, Lord of the Rings.