Mr. Mousie and I ended our already lovely evening by watching Fellowship of the Rings (in all likelihood, Two Towers will follow tomorrow).
No matter how many times I've seen the movie (and it has been entirely too many times in the over six years since its release), I still get the same swoop of the stomach when Aragorn salutes before facing the horde of Orcs at the end, I still get the same lump in my throat when Gandalf falls, and the same feeling of awe when we first see Lothlorien.
I posted about it recently, so only a very few points that stuck with me during the rewatch.
Boromir's death still makes me get all sniffly and girl-like. The whole image of him on his knees, facing death (after fighting even when riddled with arrows) and failure to save the hobbits. And then Aragorn appearing, to give him the gretest gift he can: not even a death in peace, with a friend to close his eyes, not even the promise to save the hobbits or telling him he kept his honor, but...
It's Aragorn's final acceptance of his duty and his role, of his taking the burdens of Gondor on his all-too-human shoulders, that is what the best gift. Because the one thing that kept Boromir going and holding on is care for Gondor, and knowing that if he wasn't there, there would be no one else. But now Aragorn took it on (and such luck, isn't it? Not only is Aragorn a reluctant, disposessed king, his kingdom is in total danger and war and ruin. Some patrimony). And Boromir knows Aragorn's worth, so he can finally let go. I love the way he repeats 'our people' when Aragorn says it, because it means everything to him, that admission. Boromir is a proof of his comment to Aragorn that there is frailty in men but also honor.
That is something Aragorn needs to face not even about humans in general or Boromir, but most of all about himself. That yes, he is flawed and 'frail' but he is also incredible and worthy. So much about LOTR is not about birth destiny at all, but about your inherent worth. If you think, who is Frodo on whom everything depends? A random hobbit from the Shire. There is no prophecy over his cradle. And look at Aragorn. He tells Boromir 'I do not know what strength is in my blood' but that is the thing. Yes, he is King in part because he is the descendant. That is why he can heal, that it why he could summon the Undead Army in ROTK. But. BUT. That is just a platform. The main thing about Aragorn is that he is Aragorn. It's his strength that makes it possible: his skills, his talents. After all, look at his ancestors. They had the same blood, the same 'heir' status, but they did not achieve anything, and Isildur is the one who took the Ring in the first place! What good is the ability to summon the Undead Army, if you have no courage/ability to go where they are and face them.
That whole scene with Boromir's farewell has the feel of a Norse Saga and I love every moment of it. And the vambraces Aragorn takes on have the White Tree of gondor on them. Symbolic much? Side note: I love that LOTR characters can be incredibly strong, but are also allowed to weep or to show affection to each other. They are not macho caricatures from an action flick. Just as I love that everyone (except Legolas and Elves) look like they hurt when they fight and get exhausted by it. Look at Aragorn after the last fight: he looks like everything in his body is sore.
Hmmmm, what else. This is not FOTR specific, but I love the complex bitter-sweetness of ending. No one gets a perfect happy-ever-after, do they? Sam has family and his garden again, but he's lost Frodo. Frodo gets to go with the Elves, but it's because he is too damaged to enjoy the Shire which was the one thing he always wanted. And Aragorn and Arwen: we leave them blindingly happy at his coronation, but the whole is underlaid with the vision of the future, the certainty of Aragorn dying, and Arwen being left forever alone, and wandering in the woods where they first met to fade herself. Because we saw that in TTT all the scenes are underlaid with that foreknowledge. There is no win there. Side note: I love watching the scene with Galadriel and Aragorn in FOTR in retrospect of TTT where we learn that before leaving on the quest, Aragorn broke up with Arwen so she would leave. When he tells Galadriel he wants Arwen to take the ship to the West, he doesn't only mean it and did what he could to achieve that, but he also thinks that is what she will do.
I should probably stop, though I could go on for hours. This is pretty Aragorn centric, but what can I say? He is my favorite character.