One does not simply walk into Mordor.

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The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

AFI 100 Years… 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) Ranking: #50

So there’s this hobbity-looking hobbit named Frodo… he goes to a birthday party and sees a magic disappearing trick… he takes the ring that made the trick happen and leaves the Shire with a few of his friends. Their plan is to meet this wizard dude named Gandalf at the Prancing Pony, but he’s not there because he was off having an epic wizard battle. Instead, they meet this awesomely kick-ass ranger named Strider who kind of ends up babysitting them cuz they have no idea how to keep themselves safe. I mean, they can’t even light a fire without getting themselves stabbed by some wraith thingys.

They meet a hottie rock n’ rolla chick on a white horse, who takes Frodo to elf land to get him healed. She’s cool because she can control waves and stuff, and is willing to give up her immortal life for Strider because… duh, who wouldn’t? That guy from The Matrix and Priscilla Queen of the Desert tells Frodo to take the ring to the fires of Mordor to destroy it. Everyone’s like, aw hell nah! and then they’re all like, OK I guess I’ll go with you.

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They trek over snowy mountains and then deep into the Mines of Moria, where one of the hungry hobbitses wakes up a cave troll and a whole army of Orcs. Frodo gets stabbed again… I swear, half of this movie is just Elijah Wood’s face convulsing in pain or racked with confusion. Oh wait, it’s OK because he was totally wearing special armor. Gandalf sacrifices himself to the scary dragon creature, although he could have gotten away if he’d just run a little faster, and the rest of the party heads off to see an elfy-eared, mildly creepy Cate Blanchett who can totally read your thoughts and talk to you with her mind power. She basically tells them how screwed they are, and freaks everyone out. Thanks a lot, lady.

Boromir, goaded on by her ability to see into the hearts of hobbits and men alike, tries to steal the ring from Frodo but fails. (SPOILER ALERT: Sean Bean dies in the end, as usual. Poor guy can’t catch a break.) Boromir ends up defending Merry and Pippin during the final battle scene, allowing Frodo to escape with the ring. Frodo decides to continue on his journey alone rather than putting his friends in danger, but Sam catches up to him and they sail away into the sunset. Aww bromance.

In all seriousness though, Peter Jackson and team did a great job with this movie. Despite all the CGI and special effects, it’s really the amazing cinematography and stellar cast that come shining through to bring the story to life. Great battle scenes, stunning backdrops, and I like to think that I can see the camaraderie between the actors in real life translating onto the screen. I sure hope Return of the King is airing on TV soon so I can rewatch all my favorite parts 🙂

Cocktail #1: Shire Flower

Fragrant and floral. Adapted from She Knows.

  • 3 oz vodka
  • 1/2 oz elderflower liquer
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbl orange elderflower preserves (gotta love IKEA!)

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a coupe glass.

Cocktail #2: Riders of Rohan

Inspired by the “Aragorn” from this awesome-sounding, Hobbit-themed bar in the UK.

  • 1 & 1/2 oz vodka
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup
  • 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz Midori

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a coupe glass (or the Horn of Gondor if you are in possession of it).

Bonus Cocktail! Desolation of Smaug

Found in my Internet search for LOTR-related concoctions. Unfortunately it calls for eggnog, which is difficult to find in stores around this time of year. And as it only calls for half an ounce, I didn’t feel inclined to make my own batch of eggnog. So I tried it with milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg instead. It was… unpleasant to say the least. But that’s my own damn fault. I did enjoy the concept behind it, and the flavor profile, and am looking forward to trying this again come winter. Check out the video here at Liquor.com.

I had better luck with a second version, which features Evan Williams Apple Orchard in place of the eggnog. It gives it a fantastic fall flavor and aroma.

Version 1 (NOT recommended. Just posting so that others can learn from my mistakes. Definitely do use eggnog if you have it, and let me know what you think!)

  • 1/2 oz grenadine
  • 1/2 oz milk
  • 1/2 oz Fireball whiskey
  • 5 drops Bittermen’s Hellfire Bitters

Layer the grenadine, milk, and Fireball, in that order, in a shot glass. Top with bitters, cinnamon, and freshly grated nutmeg. In the photo above, this is the shot on the right.

Version 2 (Delicious. Sort of like a Redheaded Slut but without the Jager aftertaste.)

  • 1/2 oz grenadine
  • 1/2 oz Evan Williams Apple Orchard, just because I had some on hand and thought it might work well
  • 1/2 oz Fireball whiskey
  • 5 drops Bittermen’s Hellfire Bitters

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a shot glass. In the photo above, this is the shot on the left.

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