My Experience Hosting a Lord of the Rings Marathon

February 4, 2019

A couple of weekends ago I hosted a few friends for a Lord of the Rings marathon and we set off on an epic adventure in Middle Earth together. Here’s my take on what went well, what I’d change, and which movie I never intend to watch the extended edition of again.

My first recommendation from the weekend is to have a running order that tracks your breaks, meals, and viewing times throughout the day. My wife and I found this excellent Quora post that lists the runtime for each movie (extended editions of course) which we used to form the basis for our crib sheet. We decided that it was best to start late and run late (10am-10:30pm) as opposed to requesting our guests arrive at 7am! Whilst we leaned heavily on the running order to ensure we’d finish in good time we didn’t stick to it strictly. People are human and listening to your crowd’s needs is important!

My second recommendation is to not watch the Two Towers in its extended form. It adds an extra 40 minutes of footage to what is probably the weakest of the three movies. The Two Towers is already light on action and heavy on background and my group of friends struggled through the extended tree contents. Whilst there are some gems in the extended version, such as The Funeral of Theodred and Sons of the Steward 1, it’s difficult to justify the extra time spent waiting for Return of the King.

A small touch that helped me enjoy the marathon was choosing to watch a remastered version of the Fellowship of the Ring. The bluray extended editions of The Fellowship of the Ring are infamous for their green tint up to the Mines of Moria. Many classic shots are ruined by green snow, off-colour skies, and darkened faces. Fortunately, 44rh1n from the Original Trilogy forum has produced a restored version of the movie by using scenes from the non-extended Bluray and using chroma from the extended DVD edition. If you’re not convinced it’s worth getting 2, take a look at the comparison image below.

A comparison between 44rh1n's Restoration, the Extended Edition bluray, and the original bluray
A comparison between 44rh1n's Restoration, the Extended Edition bluray, and the original bluray

Whilst the day itself went off without a hitch there are a few things I would do differently next time. Firstly, I would turn the heating low. We were fortunate enough to have broken heating but if it had been on or it had been the middle of summer, we would’ve been frustratingly warm by the final movie. Secondly, I would’ve planned for some physical activity! By the time the second movie was over people were itching to go outside and do something different. A scheduled walk would’ve scratched that itch nicely. Finally, I would’ve planned how to play 44rh1n’s restored Fellowship of the Ring in advance. An hour before we were due to start I was playing with a Raspberry Pi trying to network it to Windows 10, a setup doomed to fail. In the end I streamed it from my PC to my Chromecast Ultra using VLC player. It worked flawlessly after I stopped my computer from sleeping 3.

  1. The One Wiki to Rule Them All has an excellent article on the extended editions and their contents [return]
  2. To get a copy you will either have to be part of an exclusive BitTorrent community or convince 44rh1n that you’re not a pirate [return]
  3. The moment it stopped streaming was extremely embarrassing and could’ve easily been alleviated with a little forethought. [return]
Last Updated: 2019-02-05 00:11