Adam Kaminski | The Cool Column
Call me Gimli, I’ll call you Legolas
Published: Thursday, October 17, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 17, 2013 01:10
If there were only one movie trilogy to characterize the ultimately nerdy student body at Tufts, I hope it would be the Lord of the Rings. I also hope, for the sake of my argument, that you guessed where I was going with that.
As I meander through campus, late to French again, I recognize the virtues of Rings characters within my every peer. I notice Gandalf and his wit, Legolas and his beauty, Frodo and his resilience, Sam and his spirit, Arwen and her grace and the orc in Dewick, gorging endlessly (and heroically) on our sensational buffets. My French teacher’s glares suggest I may lack these virtues, but how can I help it if I stroll like a dwarf?
In my mind, everyone seemed to parallel one or a few of these archetypal characters. Everyone seemed to present clearly defined characteristics common to those of the fellowship. Naive? Yes. Stereotypical? I know. But did my fellow student body share this naivety with me? Was the Lord of the Rings really as ubiquitous as I assumed?
When confronted with the inevitable question, “Which LOTR character are you and why?” there are really only two possible responses. One: an enthusiastic, premeditated and rapid release of who and a detailed, exact description of why. Or two: nothing much of anything. “Why didn’t I watch those damn movies before I got to college like my friends told me to?” The downcast, shameful look speaks for itself. This discrepancy is expected, normal even, and the answers I did receive (yes, I really asked people) were illuminating regardless of their textual accuracy.
Freshman Jared Glaser immediately proposed Gandalf the Grey as his spirit character. “Oh, he’s the most badass, definitely,” he argued, “I mean, he rode the Balrog.” True. Jared insisted, however, that Gandalf’s real enticement lay in his ability to blow smoke ships. For the tokers on campus, Gandalf is surely a worthy and virtuous spirit guide.
The women I asked almost invariably opted for hobbit-hood. Vanessa Torrice claimed she would be a Sam, while Amanda Huang suggested she was a Frodo. The hobbits in LOTR display tremendous sums of courage among numerous other admirable characteristics, from friendship and kindness to determination and passion. This nicely juxtaposes with men’s desired ability to “blow smoke ships.”
One friend of mine, Tim Balton, couldn’t produce a single character with whom he related. And yes, he’s still a friend. Instead, the quick-thinker named another character from another series of books: Hagrid from Harry Potter. I think the gamekeeper of Hogwarts suits Tim, the tall, animal-loving and beard growing goof nicely. Although, to be consistent, Pippin is just goofy enough to work, too.
The answers I received varied in detail, enthusiasm and, of course, accuracy. The Lord of the Rings trilogy was not as ubiquitous as I had hoped. Still (and maybe this is my stubborn dwarf shining through again), I believe that the fellowship is definitely representative of our student body.
This opinion may be wrong (in fact, if I’ve learned anything from having opinions, it’s that this one probably is wrong). But it may not be far from a universally accepted truth here at Tufts that we all identify with certain characters, certain movies, certain books and certain virtues we admire and wish to embody. We all strive for excellence by setting the bar high. “I want to be as brave as Harry Potter!” “I want to be as cunning as Captain Jack Sparrow!” “I want to be as handsome as Jean Valjean!” “I want to be as badass as Gandalf the Grey!” Determination and imagination are certainly strong here at Tufts and that’s more important than any trilogy. Honestly, I just want to grow facial hair like a Dwarf.