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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Where did the Films IMPROVE ON the telling of the LOTR?
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Darkstone
Immortal


Jan 13 2012, 5:41pm

Post #51 of 105 (2073 views)
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Not an accident. [In reply to] Can't Post

From the book:

'Begone, and trouble me no more! If you touch me ever again, you shall be cast yourself into the Fire of Doom.'

I do like it better in the film where it's just the lust for the ring that destroys Gollum (and almost destroys Frodo). A clear demonstration of "Oft evil will shall evil mar."

******************************************
"Oh, Gandalf, Gandalf, you fool! Can’t you see how I feel?"
"Yeah, I see. I see our troubles don’t amount to a hill of beans. You belong with Celeborn. And I need to go find the only one who can save us."



(This post was edited by Darkstone on Jan 13 2012, 5:47pm)


dreamflower
Lorien

Jan 13 2012, 11:29pm

Post #52 of 105 (2096 views)
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Movie bits [In reply to] Can't Post

Boromir-- definitely Boromir's whole presence in the films really enhanced his character a lot. I agree on how touching the Breaking of the Fellowship was on film.

Arwen's increased role (although I am very glad they did NOT include her at Helm's Deep).

I liked some bits that weren't shown in the books, but could have happened: Boromir training Merry and Pippin, several of the moments with Gandalf (like him dancing at the Party), Frodo and Sam's conversation about the "taste of strawberries", Legolas and Gimli's friendship moment at the Black Gate...

I don't know if it is an improvement on the telling of the tale, but the MUSIC was the most astonishing thing, enhancing the film increidibly, and I find that it even enhances my mood when I am reading the books to listen to the soundtrack.


Malveth The Eternal
Lorien

Jan 15 2012, 4:37am

Post #53 of 105 (2004 views)
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Agreed (Shelob) [In reply to] Can't Post

And it's not "name calling" it is an accurate description on Jackson's faults as a filmmaker. It would be tedious to list every occurrence of these shortcomings in the Rings films.

PJ has his charms but he's not equal to Tolkien as a creator of originality and brilliance. The best his imagination could come up with (so far) was a slasher ufo flick (at that age Tolkien was already beginning to craft what was to become the Silmarillion), a zombie comedy (I'll give Jackson this, Braindead much better than the endless slew of movies that strange genre has spawned) and a puerile puppet satire. Heavenly Creatures was based on a real occurrence (overrated film IMO), Lotrs, King Kong, Lovely Bones & Tintin are all based on previously existing properties.

As of this date my favorite PJ films are: Forgotten Silver (easily his best, for me), the middle of King Kong (the original is my all-time favorite film, so I have a soft spot for anything Kong related) and the EE of FotR.

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sador
Half-elven


Jan 15 2012, 8:43am

Post #54 of 105 (2013 views)
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Just for your entertainment [In reply to] Can't Post

Here is a list of endings Tolkien had contemplated in the drafts. I suppose Jackson's choice was far better than either of these! Perhaps, had he worked on the script for sixteen years, he would have come up with a better scenario...

I must agree with both you and squire.
As a teenager, I was really disappointed with the ending, and while I got that Frodo could not destroy the Ring I was very upset that after this whole journey the final achieving of the Quest was a matter of mere chance.

But now I see it differently. With new re-readings, I began to appreciate the religious dimension behind this scene as written.
True, Man cannot overcome Evil. You can reach the very brink, but you will ultimately fail. There is no strength in a mere mortal to overcome his/her weakness.
But Evil can still be overthrown - however, only with a special Grace. And while you cannot force G-d's hand, the way you take to the awful brink is of uttermost importance. When you stand there, this is not a toss-up for chance; it is a moment of judgment for you. And if you have done your very best - not remained pure, for you cannot strive towards any goal without becoming contaminated on the way, but done your very best - you might yet be saved, by chance as some would call it. So Frodo trudges along his way for the sake of others, at almost every turn trying to go alone in order to spare others, showing pity and mercy to Gollum even when he could get rid of him while keeping his hands clean (in Henneth Annun); and thus he is saved after failing - and his failure occured not in the Sammath Naur, but a bit before, when he had actually used the Ring to overcome Gollum.

Could Jackson have captured this? I doubt it - and I suspect it would not go down with many of the audience. And could he afford a let-down of such magnitude at the very moment of dénouement, trusting that people will digest it over several reviewings? I'm afraid not.
So I think he needed to make a second-best choice, and it was pretty credible; perhaps, as squire said, this was the logical outcome of some choices he made earlier.

And as a final note - if indeed, as I wrote above, Frodo had actually failed when using the Ring to cow an already-beaten Gollum (unsuccessfully, as it lasted only for a moment - Frodo is no Ring-wielder material), he was ultimately saved by mercy - the mercy that Sam had shown Gollum when he could and wanted to finish him off. And this was a mercy he learned from Frodo - it was not only Frodo's own virtue, but his example and legacy which redeemed him. And in a wierd way, in Jackson's version which has loyalty and friendship at its core, this is also the case - as Sam's reaching out to Frodo reflects Frodo's own legacy again, it re-enacting Frodo's risking both capsizing and detection for saving Sam at the end of Fellowship. And by the way, this is the one and only part of the breaking of the Fellowship in which I think Jackson improved on the origin, as I could easily live without the bathos of Tolkien's description of Sam.


Black Breathalizer
Rohan


Jan 15 2012, 4:38pm

Post #55 of 105 (2016 views)
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re: the end of the ring [In reply to] Can't Post

sador wrote: I must agree with both you and squire. As a teenager, I was really disappointed with the ending, and while I got that Frodo could not destroy the Ring I was very upset that after this whole journey the final achieving of the Quest was a matter of mere chance.
But now I see it differently. With new re-readings, I began to appreciate the religious dimension behind this scene as written.

Great post, sador. As an adult, I have a better understanding of Tolkien's intentions when finalizing his plans for the destruction of the ring. I just don't think fans of the mythology will ever really embrace it, especially now that we have Jackson's version.

I particularly liked a comment from the link you provided:

dernwyn wrote:
I see the movie's scene as showing how tied to the Ring Frodo is: he is not contemplating suicide, but rather wants to "join" the Ring. Notice that the Ring does not sink and become unmade until after Frodo has made the decision to break from It and accept Sam's rescue. Until then, It is waiting for him!

That is dead-on! And it is another reason why the climax of the film version of ROTK was SO emotionally powerful. It's light years better than the same scene in the book.



Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Jan 15 2012, 7:00pm

Post #56 of 105 (2036 views)
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Light years, schmight years [In reply to] Can't Post

And when did you become the authority on what fans of Tolkien's mythology have, and have not, embraced?

I would guess that most people who truly like and understand Tolkien's mythology are quite pleased with the destruction of the Ring as written in the books. What evidence is there that most are NOT pleased with it?

You're obviously an aggressive promoter of Jackson over Tolkien. It's not trollish, but it is boorish.

I think PJ and co. produced some visually arresting scenes, and some true moments of beauty. But in all, the films as films are light years worse the books as books. IMO, of course.


(This post was edited by Shelob'sAppetite on Jan 15 2012, 7:08pm)


Malveth The Eternal
Lorien

Jan 15 2012, 8:39pm

Post #57 of 105 (1975 views)
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Uh, what...?!?!? [In reply to] Can't Post

"Fans of the mythology..."???

You seem to be one of those post-internet people who think of everything as belonging to the audience.

There's no "mythology," there's a completed work of literature. Thanks to the efforts of Chris Tolkien, anyone who wishes to investigate the matter can get very well informed about the writing process, and possible solutions the aging author mooted for ideas that are not dealt with in LotR's.

The idea that a plurality of authorial ideas, or unfinished concepts, or the interpolations of others after the author's death, somehow transforms a text not yet even one century old into some kind of malleable, audience-controlled, multimedia "myth" is, to me, completely absurd. This is a delusion of the video-game, media-centric generation.

There is the novel -- what the author intended the world to receive as the story.
There are various interpretations that exist due to the grace of the author, who was concerned about things like providing college tuition for his grandchildren, and possibly medical care for his aging wife and himself. That is why Tolkien let go of some rights to his work. Also, he never thought that Rings would ever become the worldwide success it has become. But for a man who generally did not like cinema, and who wouldn't let his children play with "ugly plastic toys," and was not a friend to the modern world, I hardly think he would be smiling on all the junk that has been cranked out under his name. And even though he'd hoped to see his work inspire other artists in the manner of an actual mythology, I think it's plain enough to see in his letters that he did not see Middle Earth as being a collaborative project. Elaboration & illustration are one thing; someone else being on equal footing as himself as "sub creator" another.

Now, among the "official" interpretations is the Peter Jackson trilogy.
You might prefer his tinkering to the original and real work, that's fine, but this hardly represents a variation in a tradition, as is the case with oral traditions. Unless you're willing to include role playing manuals and modules, video games, and Burger King merchandise in with the Jackson films, I don't see how this idea is valid. Is it alright if I prefer my Burger King Aragorn figurine to Viggo Mortensen's performance? Someone worked hard to produce that toy! It exists. It is a variation on the "Aragorn Tradition." Is it not a valid part of the "myth?"
Something tells me you probably give Jackson special precedence, because the films impress and please you.
That does not make Jackson equal to Tolkien.
Tolkien: Author.
Jackson: Illustrator.

I prefer the author to the illustrator, in this case.

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Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Jan 15 2012, 9:58pm

Post #58 of 105 (1957 views)
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I think you're responding to a different person [In reply to] Can't Post

I certainly do not believe that Tolkien's mythos can be twisted into awful forms by subpar film-makers. You may want to reread my post. I was arguing with Breathalizer about the source material being far superior to Jackon's "illustration" as you put it, which I find terribly unsatisfying.

I am not "one of those post-internet" people, whatever that means.

Are you sure you weren't intending to respond to Breathalizer?


Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Jan 15 2012, 10:08pm

Post #59 of 105 (1960 views)
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If you switch over to threaded mode, you'll see that Malveth did respond to Black Breathalizer. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


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Malveth The Eternal
Lorien

Jan 15 2012, 10:11pm

Post #60 of 105 (1963 views)
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Yes She-lob [In reply to] Can't Post

I am sure that I'm responding to Breathalizer!
At least, I clicked "respond to this post" on his post.
Why do you think I'm responding to you?
I agreed with you earlier, so it should be clear that this doesn't apply to you ;)

Sorry for the misunderstanding: slip of the finger or ghost in the machine!






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TomthePilgrim
Rohan


Jan 15 2012, 10:51pm

Post #61 of 105 (1937 views)
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Oy! [In reply to] Can't Post

While I (as usual) cringe a little at the 'tone' that creeps into your posts, I have to agree. While I do enjoy parts of the film trilogy, Tolkien's source material is the true masterpiece that we are all here to celebrate.

It saddens me a little when the novels are claimed to be less powerful than the films . . .

"I am Gandalf, and Gandalf means me!"

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,


sador
Half-elven


Jan 16 2012, 7:14am

Post #62 of 105 (1960 views)
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Isn't this the wrong board? [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Tolkien's source material is the true masterpiece that we are all here to celebrate.

May I invite you to join us in the Reading Room?


Black Breathalizer
Rohan


Jan 16 2012, 6:08pm

Post #63 of 105 (1916 views)
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the Lord of the Rings mythology [In reply to] Can't Post

Malveth The Eternal wrote: There's no "mythology," there's a completed work of literature.

Tolkien's completed work of fiction was a mythology. Mythology was one of JRR Tolkien's life-long passions. His love of myths was the catalyst for the mythological world he created inhabited by the creatures who would speak the languages he invented. In his letters, Tolkien said he had a keen interest in "mythological invention." The Professor wrote in one of his published letters to a fan, "(England) had no stories of its own, not of the quality I sought, and found in the legends of other lands." So his life-long work, The Silmarillion, as well as the Lord of the Rings, was his effort to write a modern mythology for England and, it turns out, most of western culture.
His influences included fairy tales, Anglo-Saxon and Norse mythology, and numerous sources from Finnish, Greek, Persian, Slavic, and Celtic mythology.

In the Houghon Mifflin "Welcome to Middle Earth" Special that accompanies the FOTR theatrical DVD, Tolkien historian, Brian Sibley said, "Tolkien created a world that he said could be enhanced by other people with paint, with music, and with drama. ... Tolkien created a myth, a modern myth and what has happened is that by turning it into a film, a filmmaker has given it a new dimension and taken the myth one stage further which is how myths are born and how they're carried through from generation to generation, So in a way, I see Peter Jackson as part of the mythic process that began when Tolkien wrote the first line of that book,


Rostron2
Gondor


Jan 16 2012, 6:11pm

Post #64 of 105 (1930 views)
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Knife in the Dark [In reply to] Can't Post

I recall a discussion here or on some other Tolkien site about the Nazgul stabbing the empty beds, and how that was quite different from what Tolkien intended. Some hold that (in the book) the actual attack on the Inn was done by agents of the Nazgul, and the stabbing was therefore not by the Ringwraiths themselves. I could never quite reconcile where the idea that 'agents' did the dirty work in Bree came from, when the book also details the wraiths breaking into the house at Crickhollow. That other incident would tend to support the idea that they might have been the ones that broke in and tried to kill Frodo & Co.

So, I think from a dramatic tension standpoint, PJ captured the idea of the Wraiths being fooled by the empty beds. You sort of have to reconcile the idea that the One Ring isn't acting as a GPS device for them when it's not on Frodo's hand. However, others may have different ideas about book action/movie action with regards to the attack on the Inn. Overall, I liked the way it was done from a cinematic standpoint, and they skipped the whole Ferny/Southerner stuff which was needless complication.


Malveth The Eternal
Lorien

Jan 16 2012, 6:41pm

Post #65 of 105 (1939 views)
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Hmmmm [In reply to] Can't Post

>>Tolkien created a myth, a modern myth and what has happened is that by turning it into a film, a filmmaker has given it a new dimension and taken the myth one stage further which is how myths are born and how they're carried through from generation to generation, So in a way, I see Peter Jackson as part of the mythic process that began when Tolkien wrote the first line of that book.<<

You're free to see it that way, but we live in the age of the Copyright & Trademark.
Tolkien was a novelist, not an illiterate bard chanting at the fireside.
I don't see Jackson as anything more than a film director in search of a subject, who adapted a novel. In my humble opinion, the adaptation is in no place superior to the original published text.
As for Middle Earth being a "mythology" you'll have to define "myth" first; good luck! I have stacks of academic books which all attempt to define that elusive term! I've been toiling at it for decades now, and I can tell you, the concept is more slippery than a fish in Gollum's bony grasp!

Lord of the Rings: Copyrighted, original, contemporary, published prose work.
Peter Jackson: Film director.
My Opinion: Film falls short of novel on all counts. Addendum Opinion: Tolkien's works do not (yet) represent a modern mutation of preliterate oral traditions, nor has it (yet) attained the character of a genuine national epic, therefore comparisons to such things are, at present time, moot.

Cinema is basically an adaptation of stage drama, even with special effects and location photography taking the place of the audience's imagination; it is as "new" as the ancient Greek theater! There's nothing new here, beyond technology involved. Much closer to "real" myth are things like FEMA Death Camps and the President not being a U.S. citizen etc. Tolkien is miles and miles away from the real thing...


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Black Breathalizer
Rohan


Jan 16 2012, 9:30pm

Post #66 of 105 (1966 views)
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the mythology of the Lord of the Rings [In reply to] Can't Post

Malveth The Eternal wrote: As for Middle Earth being a "mythology" you'll have to define "myth" first; good luck! I have stacks of academic books which all attempt to define that elusive term! I've been toiling at it for decades now, and I can tell you, the concept is more slippery than a fish in Gollum's bony grasp!

So the essence of your response is, "mythology" is too hard to define? Sly

Well, a two-second Google search can pull up a Wikipedia definition for you: "A myth is a sacred narrative explaining how the world and humankind came to be in their present form.
The main characters in myths are usually gods, supernatural heroes and humans. Creation myths usually take place in a primordial age when the world has not yet achieved its current form."

That definition doesn't describe Tolkien's Middle Earth writings? I would have sworn that Tolkien's Ainulinadale was about the creation of Ea by
Illuvatar!!! And wasn't Middle Earth written to be a long forgotten age in our history? And doesn't the Professors characters include, "the first born," elves, wizards, dwarves, hobbits, orcs, and humans? Why is it so hard to admit that Tolkien wrote a modern day mythology?

Myths and legends have been a part of humanity as long as there have been humans---and they will certainly continue to exist even in this age of "copyrights." In the case of Tolkien's work, it simply means that the owner of whatever copyrights we're talking about still gets paid despite whatever novel twists or turns the mythology may take under new storytellers.



(This post was edited by Black Breathalizer on Jan 16 2012, 9:32pm)


Malveth The Eternal
Lorien

Jan 16 2012, 9:40pm

Post #67 of 105 (1906 views)
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Ugh [In reply to] Can't Post

You're wed to this idea & no amount of logical counter argument will budge you even slightly. Not that it makes any blinking difference in the world! If you're going to resort to flipping Wikipedia...

And yes, the fact that it's hard to even determine what a "myth" is makes it really hard to describe anything as a "myth." If you mean part of the integral weave and weft of a culture: look elsewhere.

But enough of this, it's pointless, you're just defending some movies you're really into right now and I'm wasting both our time. Have fun with your movies & discussion.

Peace, Out!

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Otaku-sempai
Immortal

Jan 16 2012, 11:24pm

Post #68 of 105 (1917 views)
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Sorry, Malveth, I agree with B.B. on this... [In reply to] Can't Post

My understanding, from the first, is that he was referring to the larger canon of Tolkien's fictional mythology of Middle-earth. Since the Professor, himself, famously described it as such, I see no reason to go looking for elaborate definitions of 'mythology'.

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost.


Malveth The Eternal
Lorien

Jan 16 2012, 11:52pm

Post #69 of 105 (1921 views)
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Really?? [In reply to] Can't Post

I must've missed that follow up letter from Tolkien to the original film producers who approached him:

"Dear Sirs,

On second though, ignore my previous, crotchety letter! On further reflection, I see that the changes you propose are not unnecessary alterations to a story that works perfectly fine and already has pleased hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of readers. I see that they are variations on my original myth and you are acting like the bards of old, only your medium is that of cinema. How foolish I have been! Indeed, I can see that many of the changes you suggest are clearly improvements on my original mythology! Yes, like any true myth, it requires many voices retelling the story before it can reach its true potential. So, please, go ahead and change whatever you like!

Sincerely,
Jrr Tolkien"


Yes, I must have missed that entirely...as opposed to the extensive critical breakdown he took the time to write criticizing their pointless changes. Exactly like the author of a novel approached by would-be adapters, and entirely unlike a poet merely passing on one version of a story.

And now I really have said my last word :P
Forgive my last-word-itus!

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(This post was edited by Malveth The Eternal on Jan 16 2012, 11:54pm)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal

Jan 17 2012, 12:01am

Post #70 of 105 (1928 views)
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We are writing of two different things. [In reply to] Can't Post

You keep harping about some strange collective mythology created by Tolkien's fans, but I don't think that was what B.B. was aiming at. My understanding is that he (and I for certain!) was referring to Tolkien's own created mythology for England that is his Middle-earth. The Hobbit is most definitely a part of that canon and cannot be completely separated from it without losing some essential element of itself.

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost.


(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Jan 17 2012, 12:03am)


Malveth The Eternal
Lorien

Jan 17 2012, 12:26am

Post #71 of 105 (1913 views)
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No [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not speaking of fans, I am speaking of "official" spin-offs, such as the Jackson trilogy.
Jackson's films in no way represent an alternative tradition.
They are an adaptation of a novel.
Like the 1950's adaptation of "War & Peace."
That film does not represent an alternative to Tolstoy.
It's just a Hollywood movie you can watch when you feel like it.
Ditto Jackson.
Unless you're willing to treat it like an actual cultural tradition, in which case coloring books & descriptions on toy packages are just as valid as Tolkien and Jackson, then it's just a defense of Jackson's inane changes.

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Otaku-sempai
Immortal

Jan 17 2012, 12:42am

Post #72 of 105 (1954 views)
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That still is not what Black Breathalizer seems to have meant [In reply to] Can't Post

I just re-read B.B.'s earlier post that started your rant. When B.B. wrote "fans of the mythology", the "mythology" he is referring to Tolkien's canon, not expansions by filmmakers or other later writers. You are 'way off with your screed.

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost.


(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Jan 17 2012, 12:44am)


Rostron2
Gondor


Jan 17 2012, 12:58am

Post #73 of 105 (1876 views)
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This... [In reply to] Can't Post

However, some other biases are creeping into the others' discussion. Tolkien was never a film fan...


Malveth The Eternal
Lorien

Jan 17 2012, 12:59am

Post #74 of 105 (1925 views)
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Screed? [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry if it came off screed-like, I'm just offering my counter-opinion. And given BB's replies, it seems I am right on the mark. He has not tried to correct me, rather he continues to put forward the idea that Tolkien's "mythology" is now part of some kind of collective ownership, and that Jackson's changes are part of a "tradition" in which both are valid. If I'm wrong about his position, he can correct me himself. But I don't think I am. And to that I say: nonsense!

Anyway, puh-leeeeeeeeze let me get out of this thread :)

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Black Breathalizer
Rohan


Jan 17 2012, 2:39am

Post #75 of 105 (1890 views)
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the mythology of the Lord of the Rings [In reply to] Can't Post

Otaku-sempai wrote: When B.B. wrote "fans of the mythology", the "mythology" he is referring to Tolkien's canon, not expansions by filmmakers or other later writers. You are 'way off with your screed.

Yes, I was referring to Tolkien's canon.

Malveth The Eternal wrote: (Black Breathalizer) continues to put forward the idea that Tolkien's "mythology" is now part of some kind of collective ownership, and that Jackson's changes are part of a "tradition" in which both are valid.

That is also true, depending on your interpretation of the word, valid. Jackson's vision is now part of the mythology...just a Ralph Bakshi's vision is a part and the Rankin Bass cartoon is a part. And twenty years from now, there will probably be another director's vision of LOTR.

An example would be the various depictions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyles' Sherlock Holmes. Does the appearance of a dashing modern-day Sherlock and Bilbo Baggins-looking Dr. Watson somehow minimize or invalidate the original? Goodness sakes, no. Does loving various variations of a tale make you a traitor to the author of the original? Of course not. We see variations on our modern day heroes all the time. How many variations of Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek have we seen? How many different James Bonds have appeared on the silver screen? How many variations of the King Arthur and Camelot story have we seen on TV and movies over the years?

Yet somehow, when it's Tolkien's Middle Earth, we're supposed to understand that any variation of, I guess, "the sacred script," is blasphemy and pandering to the unwashed masses of film goers. That's hogwash too.

It's quite possible to love the books AND love the films with all of their 'gastly' deviations.

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