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Rarely does an actor know when a line of dialogue is going to go "viral," attaching itself to the career and becoming the Signature Quote for the duration of the performer’s time on screen. Clint Eastwood probably had a good feeling about, "Go ahead. Make my day." But did Sir Ian McKellen know that "You shall not pass" would be the quintessential line of dialogue from Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the line that the actor would use to motivate British students as they get ready for their examinations?
Chew Valley School in Somerset, UK posted the above video of Sir Ian McKellen inspiring a gaggle of school children as they prepare to take exams. The legendary actor was present on the school’s campus to celebrate "the tremendous work the Equalities Team [has] been doing for more than a year now in promoting human rights, opposing bullying and in particular challenging homophobic language and behaviour in school," according to the Chew Valley Web site. The school’s Equalities Team recently achieved national recognition for their efforts against bullying, and even earned the title of Stonewall Champions from the Stonewall organization, which McKellen helped to establish.
Of Sir Ian McKellen’s visit, Chew Valley’s headteacher, Mark Mallett, said:
Sir Ian was a gracious guest at the school and an impassioned evangelist for tolerance and equality. I can think of no better creed for our young people to take from their school careers into their lives as citizens as they go from here to contribute to the future of our society and country."
The question remains: Do these young children know that Ian McKellen’s line comes from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film? Will they go home and rifle through McKellen’s filmography, to try and figure out who that nice old man was, and why he was shouting at them?
They’re probably just going to unearth meme after meme of this guy, telling them that "One does not simply pass the examination."
As for Sir Ian McKellen, the actor will be back at it one last time for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, which opens in theaters on December 17.