As a writer I’m often asked what is my favourite book or favourite film which is almost impossible to answer. There are so many good books and good films to choose from, new as well as classics, but I’ve narrowed it down to the one book and the one film which have had the most profound influence on me.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J R R Tolkien. I fell in love with the story (and with Aragorn, a real hero!) when I was 13. Since then I’ve re-read it countless times, and always discover something new in it: a detailed description I may have read too lightly, the beauty of Tolkien’s poetry – something I’ll admit to skipping occasionally because it slows down the action. Or even a feeling I didn’t have last time I read it.
My favourite bit is when the Rohan princess Eowyn and the hobbit Merry slay the Witch-king of Angmar, the Lord of the Nazgul. I cry every time I read it, it’s just so desperate, a last-ditch attempt at saving a man they both have the deepest affection for, Theoden King. Sadly in the film adaptation they rather rushed this part and also skimmed over the important plot point that the Witch-king cannot be killed by a man. It takes the combination of a woman and a half-ling to bring him down. They’re not helpless despite not being big brawny blokes. I like that. All power to their elbow etc.
Casablanca, a beautiful love story and an excellent portrayal of a cynical, disillusioned man who comes good in the end and discovers that some things are worth fighting for. That he must choose sides and stop sitting on the fence. It’s a story about doing the right thing even if it means sacrificing what means most to you in the world. Rick gives up Ilsa because he loves her.
She would willingly leave her husband for him, a good and honest man, but Rick knows she could never live with herself if she did, so he makes the decision to end their affair. He chooses not to sully their love with the taint of betrayal and instead treasure what they did have, saying, “We’ll always have Paris.” It’s both sad and uplifting.
And that last line, “Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”, just gets me every time!
So, what are your favourites?