It’s hard to believe, but The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring turns 15 this month. To celebrate the anniversary of the first film in Peter Jackson’s smash-hit adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s classic novel trilogy, here’s a rundown of 10 Fellowship of the Ring quotes fans can (and do) live their lives by.
10. “What about second breakfast?”
On the surface, this question posed by Pippin to Aragorn doesn’t seem like much to run with – but you can look at it one of two ways. The first is to consider it as a gentle nudge regarding the benefit of micro-meals – in this case, two smaller, spaced out breakfasts – over the traditional “three squares” approach to dieting. The second is to take a more philosophical approach, and look at “second breakfast” as a symbol for not dwelling on what has already happened, but rather looking forward to what lies ahead (in this case, an early morning tea!).
9. “The road goes ever on and on”
Speaking of looking to what lies ahead, the lyrics of the song “The Road Goes Ever On” remind us that life is a journey and encourages us to take part. The song’s later verses (not heard in the film) also serve as a gentle heads-up that our own travels – be they long or short – will invariably end to make way for the never-ending journeys of others, and to take comfort (rather than sadness) from that knowledge.
8. “If in doubt…always follow your nose”
Whether you’re trying to suss out if the chicken at the back of the fridge is still fresh enough for tonight’s stir-fry, or trying to navigate a labyrinthine Dwarven mine, this advice given by Gandalf to Merry is extremely practical. On a less superficial level, it’s also a reminder of the virtue of seeking out simple, common sense solutions when you find yourself in a jam.
7. “Fly, you fools!”
More nuggets of wisdom here from Gandalf (albeit couched in slightly less folksy tones), and words that the less punctual among us should take to heart. In this life, there are moments where it’s okay to sit around navel-gazing, and there are moments when time is of the essence and you need to act accordingly – and it shouldn’t take a volley of Orc arrows to know the difference.
6. “You will unite, or you will fall”
If there’s been a theme to 2016, it’s that the world seems like a very divided place. Leave it to someone as wise as Elrond to remind us that – regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or even species (seriously, can the elves and dwarves patch things up already?!) – we need to band together and respect each other’s differences. Otherwise? It’s curtains for the lot of us…
5. “If you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to”
More travel-based musings, this time from renowned adventurer Bilbo Baggins. On the face of it, this seems more like a warning than anything else, and it’s true that if you don’t think at least a little about where you’re going, you might end up somewhere very different than you had originally planned. Still, there’s a certain romance to chasing off after the great unknown and falling into an adventure – heck, it’s something ol’ Bilbo himself was fond of doing – so bear this in mind, too.
“Mellon” is the Elvish word for “friend”. But it’s also the answer to the fiendishly straightforward riddle, “Speak friend and enter”, barring entry to the Mines of Moria, and which the otherwise brilliant Gandalf failed to solve without help from Frodo. So the next time you find yourself over-thinking a problem and at your wits end, take a deep breath and remember: sometimes the solution is staring you in the face.
3. “Many that live deserve death; some that die deserve life”
The first “heavy” quote on this list, and one that’s seemingly non-applicable to anyone outside those serving in the armed forces. But think a little more laterally and you’ll realise that Gandalf is basically telling Frodo not to be too quick to cast severe judgements on people, and to instead make room in his heart for compassion and restraint – something we can all stand to do in our daily lives.
2. “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future”
We live in a society where it seems more and more impossible for the little guy (or gal) to effect actual change in world. Yet, as Galadriel rightly points out, we can all make a difference (cue John Farnham’s “You’re the Voice”) through our own actions and, more importantly, as an inspiration to others. No matter how grim things seem, it’s vital we never lose sight of that.
1. “All you have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to you”
Without doubt the most evocative quote on this list, Gandalf’s sage pep talk to Frodo also acts as a very polite boot up the backside. Not only is the old Wizard advising his young Hobbit friend to make the most of his life at all times – regardless of how terrible the circumstances may seem – he’s also snapping him out of the slightly entitled mindset we’re all guilty of falling into occasionally, whenever we moan, “I wish this wasn’t happening to me”.