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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
It's not a formulaic cliche - it's what storytelling/character is entirely about

starlesswinter
Lorien

Nov 8 2012, 7:56pm


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It's not a formulaic cliche - it's what storytelling/character is entirely about [In reply to] Can't Post

One of the main reasons of narrative storytelling is to present a significant point in the life of a person or a society, and that almost ALWAYS represents an important change. Why? Because it offers the opportunity for a wider range of emotions, for conflict, and for the opportunity to take the audience on a journey that ultimately succeeds or fails. There's no rule that a character needs to overcome all his or her flaws by the end of the story, but he or she most certainly needs to experience a change of some kind in order to be compelling. Whether it's Gollum in LOTR or Snape in the Harry Potter universe, the morally conflicted characters always captivate audiences the most.

Nobody wants to watch a film about the Titanic that ends the day before the ship hits the iceberg. The entire reason the Quest of Erebor is compelling is that the Dwarves have something to reclaim - they're in a fallen state and want to retrieve a lost glory. It shouldn't always be a case of reversals (someone bad becomes good, something lost becomes found, etc.), but there's no reason for this fan-based concept that says inserting roadblocks for characters on their way to becoming "noble" is ruining the essence of who those characters are. It's just another classic case of hating change because it's not what we're used to. The whole notion of the infallible hero is what gave birth to the terms "Mary Sue" and "Gary Stu" in the literary world (characters who always do the right thing to the audience's point of annoyance). In real life they would be admirable and morally respectable, but in the world of storytelling they're just not interesting to read/watch.

I don't think it helps in any way to think of a fictional story as an authentic shard of reality. There needs to be an intellectual gap in the way we view storytelling and the way we see the real world because storytelling is a reflection upon the experience of reality - not a direct representation of it. Very few people ponder the meaning of death when a loved one actually dies, for example, but a story about death offers that opportunity through a variety of techniques. In some cases stories may give the illusion of reality, but ultimately there's a reason we're not watching Aragorn go to the bathroom behind a tree. We want to see the most interesting parts of his life, not where he's merely dragged along by other people's actions. It might not be entirely like life, but this ISN'T real life - and it's not supposed to be.

Subject User Time
Can someone explain to me this need for every character to be lordly and proper all the time? starlesswinter Send a private message to starlesswinter Nov 8 2012, 7:09am
    This might be moved over to the board for the trilogy, as it seems to be more relevant to those films MatthewJer18 Send a private message to MatthewJer18 Nov 8 2012, 7:14am
    Completely Agree on this! Elutherian Send a private message to Elutherian Nov 8 2012, 7:50am
        Film Gimli is nothing like his book self DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Nov 8 2012, 8:11am
    If you prefer ElendilTheShort Send a private message to ElendilTheShort Nov 8 2012, 8:27am
        Aragorn is the perfect example of a character who had no need ElendilTheShort Send a private message to ElendilTheShort Nov 8 2012, 8:58am
            It's not a formulaic cliche - it's what storytelling/character is entirely about starlesswinter Send a private message to starlesswinter Nov 8 2012, 7:56pm
                What people tend to forget about LotR GoodGuyA Send a private message to GoodGuyA Nov 8 2012, 11:13pm
                    will and self-mastery and maybe ... Escapist Send a private message to Escapist Nov 8 2012, 11:29pm
                        I think what all this boils down to... starlesswinter Send a private message to starlesswinter Nov 10 2012, 6:28pm
                            LOTR ElendilTheShort Send a private message to ElendilTheShort Nov 10 2012, 6:51pm
                                LOTR in no way resembles your life? Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Nov 10 2012, 7:09pm
                                    Magpie after Moving to the Shire in my Mind's Eye Bombadil Send a private message to Bombadil Nov 10 2012, 8:57pm
                                        When a friend I made in Tolkien died unexpectedly... Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Nov 10 2012, 9:54pm
                                            Magpie! ...Goldberry will be waiting to Meet you.. Bombadil Send a private message to Bombadil Nov 11 2012, 1:28am
                                                for you... Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Nov 11 2012, 1:37am
                                            A wonderful post Shelob'sAppetite Send a private message to Shelob'sAppetite Nov 11 2012, 2:06am
                                I'm sure MANY would disagree that he removed the mundane parts starlesswinter Send a private message to starlesswinter Nov 10 2012, 7:31pm
                                    Magpie ElendilTheShort Send a private message to ElendilTheShort Nov 10 2012, 8:04pm
                                        aha! Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Nov 10 2012, 8:48pm
                Of course it is formulaic cliche ElendilTheShort Send a private message to ElendilTheShort Nov 8 2012, 11:56pm
                    Not every character has to, but it's important that the main characters do starlesswinter Send a private message to starlesswinter Nov 10 2012, 1:06am
                        In the book Aragorn is a main character ElendilTheShort Send a private message to ElendilTheShort Nov 10 2012, 3:36am
                            Aragorn macfalk Send a private message to macfalk Nov 10 2012, 10:18am
                                Your opinion ElendilTheShort Send a private message to ElendilTheShort Nov 10 2012, 5:51pm
                            RE: Aragorn and Faramir starlesswinter Send a private message to starlesswinter Nov 10 2012, 6:57pm
                                Exactly macfalk Send a private message to macfalk Nov 11 2012, 12:26pm
                                    I understand your opinion Shelob'sAppetite Send a private message to Shelob'sAppetite Nov 11 2012, 5:43pm
                                        Nobody here used those words starlesswinter Send a private message to starlesswinter Nov 11 2012, 6:57pm
                                            starless ElendilTheShort Send a private message to ElendilTheShort Nov 11 2012, 7:42pm
                                                Re: change starlesswinter Send a private message to starlesswinter Nov 12 2012, 2:19am
                                                    But too many character arcs in an ensemble Shelob'sAppetite Send a private message to Shelob'sAppetite Nov 12 2012, 3:05am
                                                        True, but... starlesswinter Send a private message to starlesswinter Nov 12 2012, 3:28am
                                                            Agreed Shelob'sAppetite Send a private message to Shelob'sAppetite Nov 12 2012, 3:59am
                                            I'm not insulted at all Shelob'sAppetite Send a private message to Shelob'sAppetite Nov 11 2012, 8:19pm
                                                Sorry, I did not mean to come across that way starlesswinter Send a private message to starlesswinter Nov 12 2012, 2:13am
                                                    No worries - it didn't bother me at all! {NT} Shelob'sAppetite Send a private message to Shelob'sAppetite Nov 12 2012, 2:14am
                                    You can't be talking about me surely ElendilTheShort Send a private message to ElendilTheShort Nov 11 2012, 6:47pm
                                        I wasn't calling you it specifically macfalk Send a private message to macfalk Nov 11 2012, 9:39pm
        Then again... macfalk Send a private message to macfalk Nov 8 2012, 9:00am
            Aragorn is a better man than the Mouth ElendilTheShort Send a private message to ElendilTheShort Nov 8 2012, 9:19am
                Good point about Beregond. Macfeast Send a private message to Macfeast Nov 8 2012, 1:21pm
    Gimli isnt too bad in FOTR imin Send a private message to imin Nov 8 2012, 2:34pm
        Well put imin DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Nov 8 2012, 3:22pm
        I only remember Gimli burping once... Elutherian Send a private message to Elutherian Nov 11 2012, 3:34am
    as regards Gimli Elenorflower Send a private message to Elenorflower Nov 8 2012, 5:28pm
    This is something that gets at me too GoodGuyA Send a private message to GoodGuyA Nov 8 2012, 6:03pm
        Amen starlesswinter Send a private message to starlesswinter Nov 8 2012, 8:09pm
            why not create something original then? Sinister71 Send a private message to Sinister71 Nov 8 2012, 9:54pm
                Because you can love something and not think EVERYTHING is well done starlesswinter Send a private message to starlesswinter Nov 10 2012, 1:25am
    All or nothing at all dreamflower Send a private message to dreamflower Nov 9 2012, 4:49pm
        I don't think GothmogTheBalrog Send a private message to GothmogTheBalrog Nov 9 2012, 4:56pm
            "I meant to do that." acheron Send a private message to acheron Nov 9 2012, 5:02pm
                Calvin & Hobbes? Bombadil Send a private message to Bombadil Nov 9 2012, 10:02pm
        Fanon I like that... LOL Sinister71 Send a private message to Sinister71 Nov 9 2012, 10:03pm
        RE: Gandalf and Bree starlesswinter Send a private message to starlesswinter Nov 10 2012, 1:12am
            Re: Gandalf and Bree dreamflower Send a private message to dreamflower Nov 10 2012, 2:22am
                Re: Time starlesswinter Send a private message to starlesswinter Nov 10 2012, 7:03pm
                    But he did not have Shadowfax when he left the Shire dreamflower Send a private message to dreamflower Nov 10 2012, 8:29pm
                        Honestly I don't think it's something most people even notice starlesswinter Send a private message to starlesswinter Nov 10 2012, 11:42pm
                            Probably not. But I did. dreamflower Send a private message to dreamflower Nov 11 2012, 5:05am

 
 
 

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