Lord of the Rings: A Romance?

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There’s only one thing Hobbits care about more than second breakfast, and that’s each other. Maybe not all Hobbits – after all the Sackville-Bagginses are definitely everyone’s least favourite cousins – but when it comes to Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee, there’s a whole lot o’ lovin’ goin’ on.

Let’s consider the basics: a young, single man is left a large fortune by an old bachelor who’s tired of nosy neighbours and wants to settle somewhere more secluded. The young man picks out the family’s most prized bit of bling and runs off into the wilderness with his awkward, bumbling gardener. What follows is a lot of bundling themselves into bushes, plenty of bickering about their companion who refuses to wear more than a dirty old thong and a fair amount of sweaty cuddling. 

The Lord of the Rings trilogy has all the tropes of a classic romance: a When Harry Met Sally ‘just friends’ set-up, a Pride and Prejudice-style disagreement over a slippery ex-family-friend and Titanic’s water-based confessions of undying loyalty. Gollum might be slightly less detestable than George Wickham, but even so it’s difficult to deny such an uncanny list of parallels. 

The depth of Frodo and Sam’s love is the warm heart at the centre of the trilogy. Their dedication to and dependence on one another is what makes us care about the plight of the Fellowship and the fate of the Shire. I could insist that The Lord of the Rings is about the battle between good and evil. I could just as accurately call it a fantasy series, or even a motivational video for the vertically challenged. But in the end, I’m convinced that ‘love story’ hits a lot closer to the mark.

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