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Memory vs visual media

Allan J
Registered User

Apr 20, 12:18am

Post #1 of 9 (3522 views)
Memory vs visual media Can't Post

As a teen in the 60's - 70's, when summer school breaks hit here in Wichigan, my first day would find me after dinner in my small bedroom laying on the bed with a roll of spearmint life savers, window fan on the ledge (no A/C)blowing on my face cracking open FOTR for my annual summer adventure.

When I read any novel, I develop mental pictures that fit my minds eye as to the characters appearance. For the life of me, I can't do the same now with FOTR. The casting was such that now that Peter Jacksons casting choices were so inspired, like a virus they have wiped out my visual history and replaced everything with his.

The only original character I can recall is Bombadil in my minds eye who of course never appeared in the films. Do any of you have similar experiences or recollections, or am I simply slipping into old age?


Apr 20, 1:22am

Post #2 of 9 (3495 views)
Yes, to some extent. [In reply to] Can't Post

Certainly the various adaptations over the years have influenced how i "hear" the characters. And thanks to Viggo, Aragorn will always look a bit scruffy to me even if he was supposed to be beardless.

“Hell hath no fury like that of the uninvolved.” - Tony Isabella

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Apr 20, 1:26am)

Forum Admin / Moderator

Apr 20, 4:06am

Post #3 of 9 (3480 views)
Largely yes, however... [In reply to] Can't Post

...Tolkien's descriptions of post-disaster Isengard - the paving stones, the bollards, etc - go into such detail that I still see my mind's-eye version while reading the book, not Jackson's version (which looks like not much more than a large, icky pool).

Jackson's Helm's Deep did finally help me understand what Tolkien meant with his description of the various areas of the fortress, though.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.

Fantasy novel - The Arcanist's Tattoo

My LOTR fan-fiction

(This post was edited by Ataahua on Apr 20, 4:07am)


Apr 20, 12:19pm

Post #4 of 9 (3449 views)
Very much so [In reply to] Can't Post

Though I admit that my own mental pictures were not very detailed and quite cartoonish. Jackson's movies totally replaced them for LOTR - not so much for the Hobbit.

And your summer reading scenario could have been written by me!

Happiness: money matters, but less than we think and not in the way that we think. Family is important and so are friends, while envy is toxic -- and so is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude. - The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner as summarized by Lily Fairbairn. And a bit of the Hobbit reading thrown in never hurts. - NottaSackville


Apr 21, 5:47am

Post #5 of 9 (3413 views)
Yes indeed! [In reply to] Can't Post

For me, basically anything that doesn't show up in PJ's films is more or less "intact" in my brain whenever I'm reading the books. I have a feeling that as I get older, those images get ever so slightly richer in detail (compared to child me reading for the first/second time), but still retain the vague essence of that first impression, and the rhythm and tone of how scenes unfold (I think the "voice" I hear reading in my head is that same little kid, though).

As far as the bits that are in the movies (which isn't an insignificant portion, of course!), the movies have an unfair advantage in that I saw the films prior to reading the books. So oftentimes I see Elijah's face when it's Frodo, and Sean's for Sam, and so on. But Tolkien's dialogue and the way he writes scenes often lets me retain my mental image.

But going back to your own example, I'm 100% with you in that chapters like the visit at Bombadil's are entirely preserved in my brain. Does something like the Scouring of the Shire not exist fairly preserved in your memory bank, or does the movie vision in Galadriel's mirror taint that too? It's interesting, either way!

Join us every weekend in the Hobbit movie forum for this week's CHOW (Chapter of the Week) discussion!


Apr 21, 6:04am

Post #6 of 9 (3406 views)
Interesting example! [In reply to] Can't Post

I do know what you mean, though.

I think what also helps preserve my mental image of things is how long it takes the characters to go from A to B place in the books, and the descriptions all of the terrain they traverse in between. The movies understandably truncated things based on the locations they found or could build, but everything is so spread out in the books that it shapes how my brain imagines certain places/moments.

Join us every weekend in the Hobbit movie forum for this week's CHOW (Chapter of the Week) discussion!


Apr 21, 2:51pm

Post #7 of 9 (3378 views)
Amen on the movie's Helm's Deep--I never quite pictured it right from the books.// [In reply to] Can't Post



Apr 21, 2:58pm

Post #8 of 9 (3381 views)
Hit or miss for me [In reply to] Can't Post

Book-Frodo is so hardwired in my brain that I never picture Elijah Wood's version, even though I liked him. But movie-Boromir very quickly replaced my book-inspired version of him, just because I thought he was more fleshed out as a person. I still have to stifle little gasps of awe when I rewatch FOTR and Rivendell appears--wow, the book version never looked that good in my brain, and I'm sorry I didn't do it justice. And much as I liked the book-Argonath, the movie version gives me a stronger impression.


May 29, 12:01pm

Post #9 of 9 (2530 views)
For me it always will be the mental picture [In reply to] Can't Post

I am no film fan in general.
I prefer my own images in my head.

But the few movies I really love I can rewatch endlessly - without them replacing my own pictures.
For the most part at least.

I agree on the Aragorn picture though. And the face of Sméagol/Gollum.

But even to this day I vastly prefer text to any moving media. Or text and images instead of youtube things. Oldfashioned I know :)


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