One of my favorite parts of Lord of the Rings is how the history of the environments always echoes what’s happening in the story.
Most sequences in Lotr are like: “the heroes enter a location that is ruined/fading/dead. Then the heroes do something that makes the location’s lost history come to life again, if only for a moment.”
Like the most obvious example of this is Moria. The heroes walk into Balin’s tomb and read the story of what happened there– the dwarves hearing drums in the deep, barricading the door, and being attacked by goblins.
Then immediately after the heroes hear drums in the deep, barricade the door, and have to survive an onslaught of goblins, just as the dwarves did.
The other really obvious example is Mount Doom: Sam tries to get Frodo to let go of the Ring, and Frodo refuses– echoing how Elrond tried to get Isildur to let go of the Ring, and Isildur refused.
But there are more subtle versions of this too-– like I’ve already talked a lot about how much I love this part of Weathertop. Weathertop was once a magnificent old watch-tower that was used by ancient kings, and long ago the ancient kings even used to battle over who owned it. Then the Northern Kingdom fell, and the watchtower fell into ruins and was forgotten.
But then Aragorn (a king in exile) and the Nazgul (who were “great kings of men”) return to Weathertop– and it’s like an echo of the battles that used to happen there. This watchtower fell into ruin and lost its royal identity, the Nazgul fell into ruin and lost their identities, and Aragorn turned from kingship and chose a life of anonymity– so it’s like!!!!!!!! The kings are as faded as weathertop itself!! It drives me wild
(also: unrelated but I love this shot where Aragorn is a dark silhouette and the Ringwraiths are bright white silhouettes, it’s just nice)
Another example is Amon Hen and the Argonath. This land used to belong to Gondor,– but it’s broken, overgrown, in ruins, and gradually fading away.
And this is the place where Boromir dies– the place that symbolizes his country’s death.
But it’s also the place where film!Aragorn finally decides to accept his responsibliity to Gondor–when he realizes that Gondor/mankind has worth, even if it’s faded and in ruins and ultimately doomed.
Or there’s Helm’s Deep in the Two Towers, where the history of Helm’s Deep as a fortress that can’t be taken is repeatedly tied to the hero’s efforts to save it. The heroes find courage by reminding themselves of the fortress’s history. (“The horn of Helm Hammerhand shall sound in the deep– one last time!”)
Or the way Frodo making the choice to take the Ring to Mordor, leaving his home behind, ties into the history of Rivendell– to the way elves are preparing to leave their home behind. Or the way the elves’ grief at how Lothlorien is doomed to fade away ties to the heroes’ grief at the death of Gandalf.
Idk! It’s like every scene! And sometimes the characters themselves are aware they might relive the past– and it it fills them with hope (Helm’s Deep) or dread (Moria, Mount Doom.) But sometimes it’s subtle, to the point where the characters themselves might not realize it’s happening. And i just think that’s neat