the end of the days of Hobbits.

Filming has wrapped on the final Hobbit film, and Peter Jackson has set his Middle Earthers back into our world.

The reality of such an ending as this is hard grasped, as the Desolation of Smaug is set for release this Christmas, and There and Back Again not until the 2014 holiday season. Whether Peter Jackson feels satisfied by the end of next year, and has no more stories to tell in Tolkien’s Middle Earth will be a question for later. For now, we should recognize that when all is said and done, Jackson will have created 6 films of staggering proportion and beauty (and length).

Despite the at times overwrought sweepiness that accompanies the epic nature of Jackson’s adaptation of Tolkien’s stories, Jackson created a world that can be re-visited countless times. Which is a mark of great fantasy. The best of the best when it comes to film and television are not only those that are deemed great as a formal work of art, but also those that occupy a time and place to which audiences wish to return.

Few fantasy tales in recent decades carry this desire for return more than Jackson’s Middle Earth.  If he wants to keep telling stories in that world, we’ll keep coming back. Because the world he made for the Lord of the Rings is a pleasure to spend time in.

We’ll see soon if that holds true for The Hobbit. Though I’ve no reason to assume otherwise.

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