And it was everything I'd hoped and more.
** I am now thoroughly of the opinion that Sam is the real hero. (Honestly, there were a couple of times when I wished he'd smack Frodo and tell him to stop being such a wanker.) Sam's really the one who saves the day, and no one ever really knows it, because he's far too noble to tattle on Frodo. And he doesn't get the adulation, the seat on the last boat out, but it's okay, because he gets the Shire, and Rosie and their children, and for him that's enough, because he knows what's really important. So in the final analysis, I love them all, but Sam is my absolute favorite.
** I cried for pretty much the last half-hour. I teared up when Theoden got killed, but I really turned on the waterworks when Sam started talking about Rosie, because he's been the rock the whole way through and it's the first time we really see him crack. Then I bawled at the coronation when Aragorn said "You bow to no one", and bawled A LOT at Bilbo's scene. Decrepit Bilbo is just upsetting.
** Absolute favorite eye-candy moment: Aragorn jumping off the ship. *swoon* Second favorite: Umm, pretty much anything with Faramir. Here's hoping for more Faramir in the EE. *swoon*
** I just love Legolas and Gimli. One of my favorite bits was Gimli's "never thought I'd die next to an elf" exchange.
** Also, just love Merry and Pippin. They really came into their own.
** I really wanted to hug Gandalf when he put the smack down on Denethor.
** Speaking of Gandalf, I saw Ian McKellen on Conan during the Christmas holidays, and he told this great story from filming. Seems the first scene he shot in the entire trilogy was Gandalf's first scene, where he arrives in Hobbiton, and the very next day, because of Cate Blanchett's schedule, they shot the last scene at the Grey Havens. Therefore, Sir Ian said something along the lines of "that peaceful expression on my face... that's because I have no idea who these people are."