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Nov 22 2012, 5:13pm

Views: 87
Arrrrgghhhh. [In reply to] Can't Post

Look, I don't like slot machines of any sort. I think they're stupid. But this lawsuit is even dumber. Orders of magnitude dumber. No, I'm not saying that Christopher Tolkien and the Estate are trying to bilk Hollywood for more money. They're not being greedy. They're being stupidly protectionist of THEIR IDEAL VERSION of the Middle Earth myth - the one they own in book format. Somewhere between JRR Tolkien's death and now the Estate has become convinced that the only suitable medium for the story of Middle Earth are the books they own the license to. Despite the fact that Tolkien himself made several statements about his wish that other people would take up the myths and legends after he was gone so that they would become a real mythology, the Tolkien Estate has made themselves the guardians and trustees of the 'purity' of the original forms of Middle Earth, chasing down anyone who tries to enlarge the mythos beyond the original books (aside from themselves, of course). All the while, however, they want people to continue discovering and enjoying Middle Earth through those books which are increasingly falling out of the public's ability to easily read. It may not be easy for US to understand this, and as lifelong reader myself I can completely see why it's hard to understand this because for me the Tolkien books formed the basis of my functional understanding of English grammar and language when I was a kid and even though I'm an American I still find myself spelling color with a 'u' sometimes --- but the language Tolkien used to write the books is not spoken English anymore. It's becoming really archaic, and although an educated person can read them just fine, a lot of English-speaking students don't stick with the books because nowadays it a takes a lot more effort to slog your way through a copy of the Fellowship than it does a copy of Harry Potter. I'm not saying that's a good thing (because it's not), but it happens.

The books are becoming a narrower and narrower market for young readers. A lot of adults are still discovering Tolkien, which is great, but Middle Earth shouldn't be the exclusive property of the academic and scholarly types (and adult nerds) the way so many stories of the early-mid 20th century are becoming. The mythology needs to GROW. Every generation that loves Tolkien is going to start incarnating him in their own way. Fan-fiction IS one way, but the major mass media of this generation is visual. Again, not saying that's good or bad, but video games and movies have become the preeminent storytelling devices of the 21st century - books are lagging behind, especially books that are not written in colloquial English. LOTRO is a GOOD THING for Middle Earth, just as Peter Jackson's movies are. It's an IN to the Middle-Earth mythology for people who otherwise would not find their in -- because for a lot of people books are not the way they discover things that they love. Most of the people I know who play LOTRO who had never read the books before (most of them had seen the movies, obviously) have since begun at least TRYING to read the books because ... well, spend a few months in LOTRO and how can you NOT fall in love with Middle-Earth?

If the Tolkien estate manages to win this case and reduce Warner Bros. to only making movies, if it manages to prevent video games from every being made in the future without their permission, the Tolkien mythos will suffer significantly. People who were going to discover Tolkien through the media form that they love and then maybe go on to read the books out of interest and curiosity may not ever discover him beyond the movies that Christopher Tolkien hates so much. And two generations from now - 2062 - there may not be very many school children or young adults interested in slogging their way through books written in a form of English that is barely penetrable to them. Tolkien may be the new Shakespeare for school kids - "Why do we have to read himmmmm, he doesn't make any sensseeee...." That would be a tragedy. I understand that Christopher Tolkien is getting old and probably fell behind the times some way back, but the Tolkien estate can't afford to fall behind the times. If they want Middle-Earth to continue being beloved the way it is and a part of our public cultural understanding of the world -- Middle-Earth has to stay current. Video-Games are one way in which it can do that. Yes, there are some truly BAD video games out there that are just about hacking and slashing, and very few of the Middle-Earth video games are true to the storyline in any real way, but they are a way to keep the legend current for people who aren't going to discover it through the traditional format. They are a way to keep it alive. And not only will that ensure that some form of the Middle-Earth myth continues, it will also keep the books alive.

Now, Ideally, the books will eventually be 'translated' into a more modern form of English, maybe by 2030?, and imparted to new readers in an accessible format that way, and ideally eventually our copyright-crazed culture will stop trying to suck the lifeblood out of every bit of intellectual property and fair use provisions will be extended to works that were released a few decades ago so that future storytellers can continue to update the the Middle Earth mythos with video games, movies, tv shows, what have you.

But for just now, I wish the Tolkien Estate people would understand that they are only HURTING the stories that they love by cracking down like this, and I hope WB kicks their butt in court.

Subject User Time
Geek Dad's Erik Wecks has some insight into the Tolkien Estate's lawsuit News from Bree Send a private message to News from Bree Nov 22 2012, 12:16am
    Thank you I find this so Gross Bomby is siding with Christopher Bombadil Send a private message to Bombadil Nov 22 2012, 10:47am
    Arrrrgghhhh. worldsmiths Send a private message to worldsmiths Nov 22 2012, 5:13pm
    Very interesting article imin Send a private message to imin Nov 22 2012, 5:30pm


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