How To Survive a Hobbit/ Lord of the Rings Movie Marathon

Six films, 1171 minutes, nearly 20 hours…. the one movie marathon to rule them all.

*The Hobbit/ Lord of the Rings spoilers incoming*

In the not too distant past, three hardened souls (myself included) set out on an epic journey of friendship, survival and inner strength, as we battled to the death (figuratively speaking) to watch all six films from The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings saga. And watch we did. Our twenty-hour quest began in the early hours of the morning and ended way, way, way beyond the witching hour. As people from around the nation rose from their slumbers to prepare for work, we willed Frodo and Sam on, begging them to just get on with it and get rid of the Ring already.

As the Ring, along with Gollum, was cast into the fires of Mount Doom, we breathed a huge sigh of elation – before realising that there was literally an hour left of numerous “endings”. But alas, we made it. By hook or by crook, and with levels of willpower only previously seen by Samwise himself (I don’t know how he put up with Frodo for so long), we completed the marathon.

To aid you on your own quests of The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings movie marathoning, I have put together a handful of priceless tips to ease the burden of this task for you. Good luck and Godspeed weary traveller, you’re in for an epic journey.


No rest for the wicked:

Your journey is going to take a while. You will reach a point in the day where Hobbit fatigue will arrest your soul and you will regret your decision to embark on this journey of Middle-Earth discovery. But there isn’t time to rest. Do you see Thorin popping for a cheeky nap on his way to Lonely Mountain? No! Did you see Frodo and Sam stopping to discuss potatoes? Erm…well yes, but you’re not allowed to! If you want to watch all six films in one day, you’re going to have to crack on, as once you get through The Hobbit trilogy, you’re not even halfway there. Seriously, look at the runtimes (extended editions – all bar The Battle of the Five Armies:

  • An Unexpected Journey – 175 minutes
  • The Desolation of Smaug – 179 minutes
  • The Battle of the Five Armies – 144 minutes
  • The Fellowship of the Ring – 208 minutes
  • The Two Towers – 225 minutes
  • The Return of the King – 240 minutes

Which brings me nicely to…

You’re not hardcore unless you live hardcore:

Watch the extended versions. Surely this is wrong, I hear you ask? Yes, these versions are padded out with added landscape shots (we get it, New Zealand is very pretty Peter), and longer versions of already long scenes, but they are also jam-packed with a plethora of excellent new material that genuinely adds to the story and world of Middle-Earth. If I learned one thing from Jack Black in School of Rock (see below), it’s that you’re not hardcore unless you live hardcore. Don’t let yourself get halfway through your marathon and realise the mistake you’ve made by watching the theatrical cuts. It will only send you spiralling into a mass of self-pity and regret, the likes of which only Thorin himself would be able to relate to. Do it properly, watch the extended versions.

Enjoy the banter, whilst it lasts (and whilst you can):

You’ll soon realise just how different a beasts The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies are. Though the sometimes slapstick banter and jokes of The Hobbit trilogy may seem a bit much at first (I’m looking at you Alfrid), you’ll soon be wondering what on (Middle) Earth has happened once you reach the increasingly grim Lord of the Rings films. Gone are the whimsical Dwarves, replaced by the oh-so-serious Aragorn and Frodo. But fear not, Gandalf will still be on hand for some cracking wizard bants – he sure does love calling people fools – as well as Gimli and Legolas who love a bit of wisecracking.

At around hour 15 of your marathon, however, you’ll be wishing they would cut the wisecracks out and get on with taking out those pesky Orcs. But as you descend into the dark nighttime hours, and sleep begins to envelop your eyeballs, remember the light-hearted jokes, remember the banter, and remember that Gandalf will think you’re a fool if you fall asleep.

Gandalf, king of banter.
Gandalf, king of banter.

Never leave a man (or woman) down:

Picture this – you’ve made it four films, and you’re on the home stretch. The Two Towers is ticking along nicely, and the end is almost feeling tangible, when out from nowhere comes a motherf***ing talking tree to try and sabotage your attempts to stay awake. Goddamn Treebeard, who speaks so incredible slowly, that he almost lulls you into sleep.

Treebeard. He's not a tree, he's an Ent, don't you know.
Treebeard. He’s not a tree, he’s an Ent, don’t you know.

But don’t let him take you, or your compadres into the land of the sleepy. Now is the time to be vigilant. Keep an eye on your fellow adventurers and do not let them give up. You’re in this together, so have each other’s backs and power on through. If you make it through Treebeard’s yammering on, then you can make it through anything, but you must do it together. Take a leaf out of Samwise’s book, and stay loyal and true to the quest (perhaps not quite to the degree of Sam though, because he’s borderline creepy).

Sustenance, you fools:

If they’re eating, you should be too, is a good rule of thumb. Whilst our heroes on the screen may be doing all of the walking, by the time you hit the halfway point of your marathon you will be feeling every step they take. So eat, drink, and be merry. If alcohol is a must, wait until at least The Two Towers, or your chances of reaching the grand finale will be diminished severely. Also, drink along with Frodo and the gang. Here are some tried and tested favourites:

  • Take a drink every time someone says “precious”.
  • Take a drink every time Sam says “Mr. Frodo”.
  • Take a drink every time Frodo says “Sam”.
  • Take a drink every time there is a close up of the Ring.
  • Take a drink every time there is a wide-angle shot of the landscape.

Warning: Do not start this game on The Fellowship of the Ring if you intend to make it to the end. You won’t make it out of the Shire.

Samwise is a big fan of potatoes for a reason. Heed his advice, and stock up on grub, you’re going to need it.



So be on your merry ways Middle-Earthians, and enjoy your quests for glory.


Further reading:

How To Survive A Star Wars Movie Marathon

Star Wars Marathon

26 Comments Add yours

  1. Darrell Curtis says:

    Reblogged this on The Road goes ever on and on… and commented:
    A whimsical (yet sobering) guide to embarking on a quest to view the entirety of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth films in one sitting… Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Crispy says:

    You say ‘survive’ like it’s a bad thing to sit thru all 6 extended editions. I am a hardcore fan who saw each LOTR movies 35 times in the theater and each Hobbit movie 15 times (not as popular as LOTR and got pulled out of the theaters earlier). I have been to New Zealand 3 times, been on multiple Middle Earth tours, rode a horse that was in The Return of the King and have been to many cons to meet actors from the movies. And it’s not ‘multiple endings’ in ROTK, read the book. When I have the time, not only will I watch all 6 extended editions starting with FOTR which I think has better flow, but I will do it with my fellow fanatics and with Hobbit themed food and we may go with costumes! It will be an event! I’ll let you know how it goes!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Luke Kent says:

      Thanks for checking out the post, really great comment 🙂

      Haha, it felt like surviving by the end of it – it was great fun, and I absolutely love the films, but 20 hours in a darkened room became a bit of a slog when we got towards the last hour or so, and the middle of the night. Glad we did it though, costumes and themed food sounds like a great way to make an event of it!

      I do wish we’d gone for the LOTR films first, if only because they’re denser and richer in detail than The Hobbit movies which are a bit of a lighter watch, I feel like you have to be a bit more alert for LOTR, so a good place to start!

      Massively impressed by your total views for each of the films at the cinema, that’s some amazing commitment! Would LOVE to visit New Zealand too, it looks beautiful, I bet there’s lots of fellow LOTR/Hobbit fans to mingle with visiting there as well 🙂


  3. Haha this is GREAT! I don’t think I’m at that point yet where I’d even dare to attempt a marathon like this but if I would, there would definitely be food and definitely be drinking. Go hard or go home. Fantastic article, are you currently sharing your work on any other movie/tv platforms?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Luke Kent says:

      Thank you, that’s very kind 🙂

      Lots of food is a must, drinking is slightly counterproductive lol, but good fun!

      I’ve done a bit of writing on other platforms, but have been focused on my little site here for the moment – I’m glad that you like it 😊


      1. My pleasure! 🙂

        Well, if you’re interested, I’d love to help you get your writing seen on Moviepilot. Feel free to drop me a line so I can expand on that. My contact details are on my About page. I’d love to hear from you.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Luke Kent says:

        Fantastic! I shall take a look see 🙂


  4. Caz says:

    Great post! Lord of the Rings is the very reason I love film! Fellowship of the Ring consumed me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Luke Kent says:

      Thank you very much! Such fantastic movies, it was great fun to watch them all in one go…a long day, but worth it nonetheless!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Caz says:

        I might have to do it as a celebration of seeing Sir Ian McKellen on stage in August!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Luke Kent says:

        Amazing! I’d love to see him on stage, no doubt he’ll be fantastic!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Caz says:

        I am sure he will! So excited as he’s coming to the North East!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Luke Kent says:

        Very cool, might have to investigate tickets!


      5. Caz says:

        Yeah it’s doing a small tour of three venues then a stint in London

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Luke Kent says:

        Nice! I see it’s with Patrick Stewart as well! That’s all kinds of awesome!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Caz says:

        Yeah they are proper best mates haha. Announced the whole thing midnight at New Year ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Luke Kent says:

        Haha, what absolute heroes! 😄

        Liked by 1 person

  5. MovieMania says:

    A great read. I’ve done the Hobbit/LOTR marathon once and loved each minute of it. This makes me want to do it again but this time I’m more prepared for an epic journey. Back to Mordor it is. Thanks for a fun read!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Luke Kent says:

      Thank you, glad you enjoyed!

      Nice to hear that there are fellow marathoners! It was a lot of fun, an amazing film series 👍


  6. CP says:

    Awesome Write Up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Luke Kent says:

      Thank you! 😀


  7. Keith says:

    Fabulous read!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Luke Kent says:

      Thanks, glad you enjoyed! 😁


  8. Joran Hazelaar says:

    WoW i couldn’t stop laughing!!!! I even made some screen shots of your text to show to my friends! Your an amazing writer!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Luke Kent says:

      Thank you very much, I’m glad you enjoyed! 👍


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