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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
What you brought up about trauma affecting Theoden is interesting.

taekotemple
Grey Havens


Mar 6 2011, 5:50am


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What you brought up about trauma affecting Theoden is interesting. [In reply to] Can't Post

As someone who has done counseling with people who have been traumatized, maybe I can add something to what you're saying in your 3rd paragraph.

People who are traumatized can have issues with trust and issues with cognition. The amygdala, which plays a big role in emotional response, is larger in the brain of someone who has been through trauma. The amydgala is also a gateway to the prefrontal cortex, which is kinda the logic center of the brain. With a larger amygdala, sometimes people who are traumatized often are more emotionally reactive than someone with a smaller amygdala, as the info processes through to the prefrontal cortex faster.

So, in Movie Theoden's case, being newly post traumatic, his thinking could be markedly more reaction based instead of logic based. He could be having difficulty processing through information to his logic center, so he's not thinking with the clarity he had before Grimma and Saruman got to him.

Trauma can apply to a lot of different situations. In Theoden's case, it could be like people who have been rescued from a cult. It takes time for them to readjust their thinking. Theoden could still be affected by the negative influence of his psychological possession, contributing to his mistrust of others. On top of that, he placed trust in Grimma, only to realize that his trust was abused. This could lead him to have a harder time putting his trust in others who he may think should have seen something was wrong, and should have done something about it.

People recovering from trauma can sometimes come across as self-centered, and that mostly comes from being in survival mode. Theoden shows a few times in the films where he can seem to be more focused on his ego, in a sense (like insisting on going to Helm's Deep, or not going to Gondor's aid, or asserting that he is king and not Aragorn.) With a violation of trust, it's hard to trust other's opinions or assertions, leading one to rely on oneself sometimes to the exclusion of others, even if the logic of others is more sound.

I had a hard time with the Theoden switch after the beacons were lit. But, I can look at it this way: his trauma is one thing, but his job is another, and he still has the presence of mind to know that when there is something that is his job to do, he must do it. He is a king, and even though he's dealing with all of this psychological upheaval, he does know ultimately his job is not solely about him, but his kingdom as a whole. Plus, in a sense, the beacons being lit kinda made a decision for him. I have relatives who have differing degrees of post-traumatic stress, and many of them have a harder time with decision making themselves. Having decisions made for them at times is a lot easier.

Wow, looking at Theoden that way was an interesting opportunity to use my psych background. I don't think it necessarily addresses all of the film choices, but it might make some things make more sense. And considering Tolkien himself served in wartime, he probably saw some of the psychological intricacies of PTSD. Maybe that influenced how he wrote Theoden.

Thanks for posting what you did Arwen!

Subject User Time
Interesting News on Sir Ian Holm... Maiarmike Send a private message to Maiarmike Mar 3 2011, 8:39am
    Very interesting indeed, Maiarmike... Patty Send a private message to Patty Mar 3 2011, 9:40am
    Yeah... I love Ian Holm... but Peter Jackson... Owain Send a private message to Owain Mar 3 2011, 9:40am
        While I agree... Bound Send a private message to Bound Mar 3 2011, 9:55am
            Right Maiarmike Send a private message to Maiarmike Mar 3 2011, 10:00am
                Have not gotten back or Kangi Ska Send a private message to Kangi Ska Mar 3 2011, 10:01am
    Perhaps... Pipe Dream Send a private message to Pipe Dream Mar 3 2011, 10:33am
    His notification has just been delayed grammaboodawg Send a private message to grammaboodawg Mar 3 2011, 11:17am
        mods up to the "Menel" Earl Send a private message to Earl Mar 3 2011, 2:32pm
        Optimism Appreciated Groppe Send a private message to Groppe Mar 3 2011, 5:29pm
            Howdy Groppe! grammaboodawg Send a private message to grammaboodawg Mar 4 2011, 1:33am
    I sure hope they can reconnect the communication link sphdle1 Send a private message to sphdle1 Mar 3 2011, 12:38pm
    he's almost 80 Welsh hero Send a private message to Welsh hero Mar 3 2011, 3:27pm
    Well rings7 Send a private message to rings7 Mar 3 2011, 4:17pm
        You may be rambling, but you make sense./ Patty Send a private message to Patty Mar 3 2011, 4:19pm
    This brings up the question of a London filming...maybe for both Eruonen Send a private message to Eruonen Mar 3 2011, 4:28pm
        This is just what I hope is in the cards./ Patty Send a private message to Patty Mar 3 2011, 6:32pm
            Sorry, but no thank you thesithempire Send a private message to thesithempire Mar 3 2011, 8:21pm
                I think you´re a bit equivocated... Ruijor Send a private message to Ruijor Mar 3 2011, 10:51pm
                    Not my implication thesithempire Send a private message to thesithempire Mar 3 2011, 11:00pm
                        Yup duats Send a private message to duats Mar 3 2011, 11:29pm
                            James Cosmo -- Holy crap, yes! thesithempire Send a private message to thesithempire Mar 3 2011, 11:50pm
                                Thanks duats Send a private message to duats Mar 4 2011, 12:03am
                                    I don't know Milknut Send a private message to Milknut Mar 4 2011, 12:22am
                                        Thoughts duats Send a private message to duats Mar 4 2011, 12:37am
                                            Duats hits it on the head thesithempire Send a private message to thesithempire Mar 4 2011, 1:38am
                                                I never noticed that Arwen Skywalker Send a private message to Arwen Skywalker Mar 6 2011, 3:12am
                                                    What you brought up about trauma affecting Theoden is interesting. taekotemple Send a private message to taekotemple Mar 6 2011, 5:50am
                                                        Frodo and Pippin thesithempire Send a private message to thesithempire Mar 6 2011, 9:54pm
                                                            Very well put - a good analysis of scriptwriting vs. performance. // squire Send a private message to squire Mar 6 2011, 10:15pm
                                                                Thanks! thesithempire Send a private message to thesithempire Mar 6 2011, 10:46pm
                                                                    Yeah, well... Maiarmike Send a private message to Maiarmike Mar 6 2011, 11:02pm
                                                                        True and true thesithempire Send a private message to thesithempire Mar 7 2011, 9:40am
                                                                    I think you also have to factor in entmaiden Send a private message to entmaiden Mar 6 2011, 11:07pm
                                                        PSTD Arwen Skywalker Send a private message to Arwen Skywalker Mar 7 2011, 8:55am
                                                            A more realistic portrayal: Kangi Ska Send a private message to Kangi Ska Mar 7 2011, 9:57am
    The longer they take... Ruijor Send a private message to Ruijor Mar 3 2011, 4:41pm
        Same thoughts as Ruijor Maddie Send a private message to Maddie Mar 3 2011, 5:04pm
    OMG what would be amazing if he gets the chance! sushiking Send a private message to sushiking Mar 3 2011, 6:01pm
    It would be nice... Donry Send a private message to Donry Mar 3 2011, 6:30pm
        I hope too KAOS82 Send a private message to KAOS82 Mar 4 2011, 12:25am
    OMG! What are they waititng for?!? Call him back, now! xxxyyy Send a private message to xxxyyy Mar 4 2011, 1:43am
    Old Post of mine that could indicate where Jackson & Co are headed Faramond Send a private message to Faramond Mar 4 2011, 5:47pm
    Ian holm... Namssil Send a private message to Namssil Mar 4 2011, 6:29pm
    Ian Holm willowing Send a private message to willowing Mar 5 2011, 5:03am

 
 
 

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