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TORn gets the low-down on how Richard Armitage's inner Tolkien purist ticks
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spymaster@theonering.net

Nov 19 2013, 1:28pm

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TORn gets the low-down on how Richard Armitage's inner Tolkien purist ticks Can't Post

Last week, TORn staffer greendragon caught up with Thorin himself, for a chat about topics including what he is planning post Middle-earth, the upcoming release of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and whether to go dressed as Sally Bowles to the Berlin premiere of said movie. (Answer: it seems unlikely that either greendragon or Richard Armitage will be at the premiere in stockings and a bowler hat...)

Look for most of the interview in a post later this week. Meanwhile, we here at TheOneRing.net have been pondering the division in fandom which seems to be being created by the Hobbit movies; and this interview seemed like a great opportunity to get Armitage's thoughts on the subject.



Peter Jackson famously remarked (to Empire magazine):
'This will probably get me struck off The One Ring party list, but I am enjoying deviating from the book!'

In creating his three movies, Jackson and his co-writers have added to, adapted and extended the story of the book, even coming up with entirely new characters. These changes have sparked debate amongst fans, and have in some cases caused deep rifts. Entertainment Weekly, in its 'Reinventing The Hobbit' issue (November 15 2013), calls Jackson's embellishments 'bold detours', and writes:
'On the fansite TheOneRing.net, debate over the first Hobbit film has raged for so long that one recent post pleaded for a detente: "Those who love the movie are 'delusional' and those that hate it are 'radical purists'. For heaven's sake, I feel like I am observing 8-year-olds fighting on the playground!' '


[Read the whole article here; where it is audaciously titled, 'The Epic: Building a better Hobbit'!]

So how does a cast member who is known for his devotion to the book feel about these divisions? Here's what Armitage had to say, about deviating from Tolkien's words, and about a possible need for female characters in Middle-earth:


greendragon: There's a strong positive side of fandom; but there's been quite a lot of talk recently about some of the more negative reactions from fans. There seems to have been a lot of very vehement reaction - some fans have really been split into the book purists versus the movie lovers. Of all the cast, you seem to be someone who's a book devotee; I wondered how you feel about the deviations from the book which the movies are taking?

RA: Yeah, you know what, I am a bit of a purist! So I love it when Pete finds his way back to something which is absolutely, completely in the book, and the dialogue is from the book, the moment is from the book... I love it. But you know, I suppose the way I see it - it's like a folktale, where you put it into the hands of another reader, and they'll tell it in a different way. They'll use different voices; they may go off on a tangent, talking about a particular character... I know that Tolkien wrote this down, but I think at one point he probably told it to his children verbally, and he may have... you know, it's like riffing on a theme. I don't know how he told that story to his kids; but this is just Peter picking up the book and telling the story, and then at times he puts the book down, and he expands an idea. That's really all it is. You know, he loves Tolkien as much as anybody else; the writers, Philippa and Fran, they are just - Tolkien obsesses them! They will hunt down anything they can find, in the material that they are permitted to look at; any kind of jewels, little nuggets that they can use, because they want this story to be as big and epic as it can be. And working with Lord of the Rings, they had so much material; but with The Hobbit it's such a simple, small tale; and I think that the chance to go back to Middle-earth, and explore all of these avenues with all of the great characters that come in, each of whom have their own Middle-earth history, that Tolkien went back and sort of retrofitted - I think that Pete's looking at all of those ideas. And he is inventing some story as well, and some characters, but I think at the centre of it, the book is still very much there. It's like a spine.



GD: Well, to a certain degree Tolkien did that himself, as you've pointed out - having written The Hobbit, he revisited the tale when he was writing Lord of the Rings

RA: Yeah I suppose it's a bit like - I mean, Pete has a kind of childlike, crazy mind! And it's a bit like that cathedral in Spain, that never really gets finished. [Gaudi's La sagrada familia, Barcelona.] I think at some point an architect designed it, but it just keeps growing, and new ideas keep adding to it; and it doesn't make it any less fascinating! Maybe if Tolkien was making the movie himself - I don't know how he felt about them being expanded into movies - but I'm sure that he would want a development of an idea. I'm sure he would.

GD: Tolkien did say at one point, in a letter [to Milton Waldman, 1951], that in his desire to create a whole mythology, he wanted it to be something that would inspire others to create painting and music, inspired by the myth.

RA: And hasn't it absolutely done that? I mean not just Peter Jackson making a movie, but everybody, from hobbyists that make costumes, to jewelry designers! There are just a million ideas that are springing out of this!

GD: One area of negativity is the backlash that there has already been from some areas about Tauriel. [RA interjects, emphatically, "Yeah"] I saw in EW that you said your nephew had named his hamster Tauriel! Is that true?



RA: He did! [laughs] So already she's a success! Yeah - he's really into her!

GD: Is it possible this dislike, before we've even seen how the character plays out, could come from a slightly misogynistic base? You know, if this particular negativity against Tauriel is from a rather sexist attitude you sometimes find in geek culture; do you think there's any of that going on?

RA: I don't really know - I think people probably will change their minds once they've seen the film, because they'll just engage with the character and enjoy that character for what she is; which is a kickass female elf; which has been long awaited, I guess! You know, my little nephew is a perfect example: he doesn't care whether it's in the book or not, he's just going to sit there and enjoy the movie; and in a way, Pete's making those choices for that younger audience. The older audience can grunt and snarl about it, but at the end of the day, she's a great character and she's female! There are so few female characters - aspirational female characters - in this, you know? I'm saddened that he hasn't created a demonic female orc! I think that would be kind of interesting!

GD: Maybe there are female orcs - we just don't know! Â Maybe it's like the dwarves...

RA: You can't tell! [laughs] That's the other thing, as well - you see, in the flashbacks, a lot of those female dwarves, that Tolkien mentions in his appendices as being very few, and having beards! They [the designers] really went there! They designed them and they created visual imagery for it, and I think you see a little bit more of it in this movie.
More from Richard Armitage later in the week. Watch this space! Meanwhile, some more thoughts on the films' 'bold detours', and the fans' reactions to them:

Demosthenes' addendum: I can't resist adding a few thoughts. Purism has certainly become one of the dirty words of Tolkien fandom in the last decade or so. And sometimes (often?) its deployment seems little more than an ad hominem attack intended to suggest that nay-sayers are a bunch of old fossils and generally shut down debate. Here, Armitage suggests that purism can be big enough to embrace adaptation, change and, perhaps even outright invention. It's an interesting thought. It's no big deal to acknowledge that any adaptation must involve change as it necessarily involves interpretation. It must do, regardless of whether it's going from print to film, from print to visual art, or even a "simple" translation from one language to another. Even the act of reading is an interpretation, else why the hell do we argue so much and so often over whether Balrogs have wings? Perhaps, somewhere out there, exists the perfect Form of the Balrog, of which all our individual conceptualisations (yes, even John Howe's) are mere echoes. And perhaps this is what Armitage means: that by being able to perceive Middle-earth through the (necessarily) imperfect lens of someone else's interpretation, we might glimpse just a little more of what the "real" Balrog might look like. What's not to like about that?

greendragon adds: The issue of female characters is an interesting one. Tolkien's works contain plenty of strong, female characters - the Valar are both male and female, Galadriel bears one of the three Elvish rings of power, and Goldberry is an astonishing equal partner to the one being who is able to resist the power of the Ring, Tom Bombadil; and that's before we even mention Eowyn. Bilbo himself derives much of his strength of character from his mother's side of the family. For all that Tolkien does not have women make part of the actual questing group (in either The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings), it would be untrue to say that he, as a writer, is dismissive of the 'fair sex'. Nonetheless, it is true that The Hobbit lacks any female character who plays a role of any real kind (stealing silver spoons doesn't count); the movie makers have sought to address this by creating Tauriel. Why should this be an issue? There are many 'unseen' beings in Tolkien's writings; we know that dwarf women exist, but they do not appear as part of the plot. Their presence is understood but not explicit - just as we can reasonably assume that Legolas would be in his father's realm, even if he is not named in The Hobbit. Likewise, it stands to reason that there must be many female elves besides Galadriel, Arwen and the few others whose names we learn. As Tolkien has created a fully rounded world, we should surely accept that it is populated with beings, some of whom we do not meet in the limited lines of his texts. Isn't adding a character a compliment to the comprehensiveness of Middle-earth, rather than an outrage against its original creator? And is it possible that some fans wouldn't feel quite such outrage if the new character were male?

Demosthenes' final word: I've been thinking about this issue a bit -- there is a vast difference between the repellent viciousness perpetuated upon Anita Sarkeesian and the anti-Tauriel rhetoric (some of it well-considered, and some less so) that I've noted on TORn, and other Tolkien forums. One needs to acknowledge that. Still some of the commentary is discomfiting and disturbingly personal (examples: one individual describing EL as "ugly" (pretty reductive), and another that "Tauriel is going to ruin The Hobbit" (single-handedly? really?)). I've simply not seen that directed at Alfrid, the Master of Lake-town's shifty "yes-man" and surely the Marty-stu to Tauriel's Mary-sue.

Of course, the opinions expressed above are simply that - opinions, inspired by the debate seen currently in Tolkien fandom, and by the thoughts Richard Armitage shared with TORn last week. We're sure our readers will have plenty of their own opinions on these passionately felt topics!

(This post was edited by entmaiden on Nov 20 2013, 5:10pm)


Brethil
Half-elven


Nov 20 2013, 10:37pm

Post #2 of 39 (330 views)
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These passages are interesting in light of the Purist vs Adaptist question [In reply to] Can't Post

An interesting point, even with the inclusion of Tauriel and the outrage over 'girl power' I'm not certain that the films will meet the "Bechdel test". It seems the inclusion stands a bit alone, so not an overwhelming change to the story. Filling in the world beyond the travelling party - certainly. I had no idea how the story could adapt to the screen without it, other than being a bit of a travelling film in a sort of odd vacuum.

I've said this before - but I am always brought back to the ideas that JRRT mentions in Letter #131 - the blank canvas and scores of those to come; and that the failing of the Elves was trying to 'embalm' Arda. Is denying the canvas and music, is embalming and zipping up the literature what he would have wanted? Given that he took the time to respond to Zimmerman's outrageous ideas as he did, I don't think entirely think so. And I can't help but think that regarding the texts as (almost) sacrosanct and Biblical in nature would have made him, especially him, most uncomfortable.

Huge changes to important structures? No. But adapting and expressing the spirit of the work...well, I think, maybe, yes.

So presumably I am an Adaptive Purist. Smile All this is IMHO of course. Thanks to Greendragon and Demosthenes for the info. Angelic

The second TORn Amateur Symposium is running right now, in the Reading Room. Come have a look and maybe stay to chat!





(This post was edited by Brethil on Nov 20 2013, 10:38pm)


acheron
Gondor


Nov 21 2013, 1:26pm

Post #3 of 39 (293 views)
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Great post [In reply to] Can't Post

I chuckled at Demosthenes' theory of an ideal Platonic Balrog. Wink

As far as "what about Alfrid" goes, I think that might just be that Alfrid has not been emphasized nearly as much. I am not following the Hobbit production overly closely, and I had almost entirely forgotten about Alfrid: other than when the casting was announced I don't remember hearing anything about him. Whereas Tauriel appears in the trailers and posters and all that.

For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much -- the wheel, New York, wars, and so on -- while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man, for precisely the same reasons. -- Douglas Adams


Riven Delve
Grey Havens


Nov 21 2013, 1:36pm

Post #4 of 39 (316 views)
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Interesting definition of “purism” [In reply to] Can't Post

If I’m understanding Richard Armitage correctly, he seems to be saying that he defines “purism” in his own case as being faithful not necessarily to the published Hobbit book, but rather to the core story behind it.

This is intriguing to me because of what Armitage says in the AUJ EE (Appendix 8, “The Company of Thorin/Thorin, Fili, Kili”). There he talks about digging deep into Tolkien to find who Thorin is and Tolkien’s motivation for making him who he is—and this search involved reading early drafts of the Hobbit story, and delving into the meaning behind Thorin’s name and how it evolved. (I’m assuming but am not sure this research material included The History of the Hobbit as well as other works.) So Armitage is not just blowing hot air about knowing his Tolkien stuff.

Because of his interest in Tolkien’s process of creating the Hobbit book, I am wondering if Armitage sees the story (or folk tale, or perhaps myth) as an ongoing, organic thing. I suppose, then, that The Hobbit book would be similar to the trunk of a tree: there are deep roots below the surface, and branches and leaves that may develop from it. But the tree is not just the trunk.

The question is, How much grafting can be done, and how many new branches can the tree support? Does that fact that the core story, or root, is still there make the tree viable, no matter how it changes "above ground"?

I personally have decided that there are probably two trees of the same species—one for the book, and one for the films. They’re not the same, but they look remarkably similar! Perhaps the films spring from the acorn that didn’t fall far from the original tree. I’m not sure if that makes me a purist or an adaptist—or maybe just a little bit crazy about this kind of tree. Smile


"Our perennial spiritual and psychological task is to look at things familiar until they become unfamiliar again." --G. K. Chesterton



Bombadil
Half-elven


Nov 21 2013, 7:28pm

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Bomby loves when peeps [In reply to] Can't Post

"Wax poetic"
with sound thinking
Here...


Eruvandi
Tol Eressea


Nov 21 2013, 7:41pm

Post #6 of 39 (280 views)
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*applause* [In reply to] Can't Post

That was so eloquently put Riven Delve, an excellent comparison indeed! Your post really made me think and I think you are right.


Brethil
Half-elven


Nov 21 2013, 8:30pm

Post #7 of 39 (271 views)
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Really, can there *be* a better metaphor? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
If I’m understanding Richard Armitage correctly, he seems to be saying that he defines “purism” in his own case as being faithful not necessarily to the published Hobbit book, but rather to the core story behind it.

This is intriguing to me because of what Armitage says in the AUJ EE (Appendix 8, “The Company of Thorin/Thorin, Fili, Kili”). There he talks about digging deep into Tolkien to find who Thorin is and Tolkien’s motivation for making him who he is—and this search involved reading early drafts of the Hobbit story, and delving into the meaning behind Thorin’s name and how it evolved. (I’m assuming but am not sure this research material included The History of the Hobbit as well as other works.) So Armitage is not just blowing hot air about knowing his Tolkien stuff.

Because of his interest in Tolkien’s process of creating the Hobbit book, I am wondering if Armitage sees the story (or folk tale, or perhaps myth) as an ongoing, organic thing. I suppose, then, that The Hobbit book would be similar to the trunk of a tree: there are deep roots below the surface, and branches and leaves that may develop from it. But the tree is not just the trunk.

The question is, How much grafting can be done, and how many new branches can the tree support? Does that fact that the core story, or root, is still there make the tree viable, no matter how it changes "above ground"?

I personally have decided that there are probably two trees of the same species—one for the book, and one for the films. They’re not the same, but they look remarkably similar! Perhaps the films spring from the acorn that didn’t fall far from the original tree. I’m not sure if that makes me a purist or an adaptist—or maybe just a little
bit crazy about this kind of tree. Smile This is a very eloquent and discussable metaphor here R-D.
For a personal response, I would have to say that the 'two trees' concept (seriously, how much better could the idea *be*) is how I have looked at the entire adaptation process since LOTR. The two trees can live quite nicely next to each other.
I can contrast that with how my Dune garden has but one tree: the text. The acorns have spawned things that did not stand.
It brings to mind Letter # 306, where JRRT is discussion religion and its evolution with age. He relates it very similarly to the way you have related the adaptation question: the various parts of the liturgy and elements of faith being the parts of the 'tree' (ie: the Catholic faith) and having the sum effect being a very living, evolving and necessarily changing thing.
Now (NB and completely granted: he is speaking about faith in this letter and *not* his own literature) it feels like the man himself was in tune with the need for growth and change, for 'pruning' and shaping of new growth. For the inevitability of and the subsequent embracing of change.
I would hope that what is happening in our time could be seen as such - the growth of the text into a visual and film culture, where effects capability exist to express so many of the fantasy notions that he held dear. I realize maybe (probably?) this is all hopeful thinking, and maybe just because I see peace within my own mind, and to reconcile my love of the texts with my love of the films as well.
I hope I am not being a self-serving sort of Adaptist (I may be. Can't rule it out) but the notion of avoiding the texts in a contemporary adaptation, and the "avert our eyes - let it sit on the shelf" sort of approach feels...odd. With respect I think that the stories can be told on a screen - and I do feel that this crew has a great deal of respect.
All very much IMHO here. SmileThanks for an insightful post R-D! Cool


The second TORn Amateur Symposium is running right now, in the Reading Room. Come have a look and maybe stay to chat!





(This post was edited by Brethil on Nov 21 2013, 8:32pm)


malickfan
Gondor


Nov 21 2013, 8:31pm

Post #8 of 39 (286 views)
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Another excellent interview with Armitage [In reply to] Can't Post

Though I have my issues with Jackson and co's interpretation of Thorin, I really can't fault Armitage's dedication as an actor, or his impressive credentials as a Tolkien Fan , it is always a pleasure to here or read about what makes him tick, such a polite considered man...even if he will never be Thorin to me.

An interesting approach to Purism as well, I can't pretend to be an expert on the books or films, but he is certainly giving me cause to think about my own approach to the films.

Hmm.

I don't have much to say.



entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Nov 21 2013, 10:26pm

Post #9 of 39 (251 views)
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Verlyn Flieger wrote a lovely short story [In reply to] Can't Post

that I was thinking of while reading the interview. The story is called "Green Hill Country" and it's a tale about the nature of storytelling. It appears in a paperback anthology of short stories called "Seekers of Dreams).

In the story, several people around a campfire reminisced about an event, but each person had a different perspective. The event was drawn from Tolkien's stories, and you could imagine the people were descendants of the hobbits in The Lord of the Rings.

Here's a link were we talked about it a couple years ago - almost two years exactly!


Na Vedui
Rohan


Nov 21 2013, 10:32pm

Post #10 of 39 (263 views)
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I would love to know [In reply to] Can't Post

... what will happen to the Middle-earth stories a hundred or two or three hundred years from now. Various goalposts will have moved: copyright issues will have passed or changed, English and other languages into which LOTR is translated- assuming they are still even spoken - will have changed such that the language of the book and the films is no longer current; technology will have changed (or collapsed) and if films are still being made, it will be in ways presently unimaginable. And so on. It could go several ways - either the story will pass into being one of those old-fashioned things that people may just have heard of but nobody much reads or bothers with. Or it could (like Jane Austen's works) have a long life as a classic, with the text still popular and adaptations more or less firmly rooted in the text. Or it could survive (with or without the original texts being extant) as a mythology, adapting and evolving in a protean way as has happened with the Arthurian matter or the legend of Robin Hood.
I hope it will survive. I have a picture in my mind of a post-apocalyptic scene a long way into the future: a mixed group of ragged people sitting round a fire, raptly intent on a storyteller telling (maybe in English, maybe not), a version of the tale of the Ring...


Na Vedui
Rohan


Nov 21 2013, 10:39pm

Post #11 of 39 (238 views)
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In synch. [In reply to] Can't Post

IT seems I was typing my post (below yours) while you were posting, and so didn't see yours till I'd finished and sent mine. We must both have been typing about "people round a campfire" pretty much at the same time!


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Nov 21 2013, 11:15pm

Post #12 of 39 (239 views)
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LOL! [In reply to] Can't Post

I recommend "Green Hill Country". You will love it.


Na Vedui
Rohan


Nov 21 2013, 11:25pm

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I must look for that anthology [In reply to] Can't Post

Were the other things in it also Tolkien-related, or were they just random stories?


Magpie
Immortal


Nov 21 2013, 11:45pm

Post #14 of 39 (247 views)
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I just wrote greendragon a 'fan letter' :-) [In reply to] Can't Post

because I so enjoyed the questions she posed to Richard which allowed Richard to answer so wonderfully and let me see into his thinking a little.

And now I'm writing little 'fan notes' to all you guys.. because these are the thoughtful, wonderfully articulated kinds of posts that make me love my fellow 'friends-in-Tolkien' here on TORn.

:-)


LOTR soundtrack website ~ magpie avatar gallery
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entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Nov 22 2013, 12:23am

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Not all Tolkien-related [In reply to] Can't Post

but a very nice collection!


Dame Ioreth
Grey Havens


Nov 22 2013, 12:32am

Post #16 of 39 (232 views)
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I like his idea of thinking of these storeis as folktales. [In reply to] Can't Post

In fact, I wonder if that comes the close to that intention Tolkien talked about to be a sort-of historian who was merely translating these tales for a modern audience. If I think of it that way, it all fits.

My grandfather was born in a lumber camp in Ontario. His father was foreman of the mill; a very formidable man. The stories my grandpa used to tell about his father sounded like legend. I had a chance to hear those same stories at his wake, told to me by cousins I hadn't seen in years. Each telling had that common core, but all were told a bit differently, colored by the generations and voices it had passed through.

This is how I think of Tolkien. The world he created is very "real" to me. I can step into it without much effort beyond opening the book. But my Middle Earth is not others Middle Earth, just like the way I told my great-grandpa's stories was not the same as how my cousins told them. SPJ won the Tolkien fan jackpot and got to make his Middle Earth come alive on screen. What I think is the most important aspect of his Middle Earth is the love and care and respect he puts into his imagining. As a fellow fan, I'm just happy that it is in the hands of someone who loves them as much as I do.

And I have to say that now that I've seen AUJ, I would have to include Richard Armitage as another who truly loves this world and worked hard to give us the best he had in terms of his portrayal of Thorin. He will always be Thorin to me now because he has managed to find the core of who Thorin was beyond what Tolkien included in the children's version of the tale. It's as if he has unearthed who Thorin would have been if Tolkien had been writing this story for the same audience as LOTR.

I'm grateful for being able to appreciate both. I love the books and I love the movies. They don't have to match to make me happy.

Where there's life there's hope, and need of vittles.
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings



Magpie
Immortal


Nov 22 2013, 1:56am

Post #17 of 39 (220 views)
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*exchanges fancy club handshake with Dame Ioreth* [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm glad you've joined us here, DI.

Interestingly, in searching for something I wrote on another topic, I ran across an old post of mine that talked about storytelling. It doesn't have much to do with this topic, per se. But I am a big fan of storytelling and storytelling is set up to change with the person telling the story and the listeners hearing it.

I've written more than once about being influenced by Bruno Bettelheim's book, The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales.

And this is the thread I ran across last night:
http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=114952#114952


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Magpie
Immortal


Nov 22 2013, 2:07am

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HEY! [In reply to] Can't Post

As I was reading your post, I was almost going to ask you if Flieger hadn't done something like this at the Marquette conference evening get together. But then I thought better of it. Most people wouldn't know what we were talking about and I'm never sure of my memory half the time.

So I just followed your link to read more.

Had to laugh to read this:

It was untitled and unpublished when presented as a dramatic reading by multiple speakers in 2004 in a warm Milwaukee hotel conference room where Entmaiden, Altaira and others provided the snacks. Flieger followed the presentation by leading a discussion with the audience on the subject of oral transmission.


almost 10 years, now.


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Dame Ioreth
Grey Havens


Nov 22 2013, 2:54am

Post #19 of 39 (205 views)
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Thank you for the fancy handshake! [In reply to] Can't Post

Is it the kind that ends in a hip bump? Cool I need to know so when I show up at the TABA premiere to meet all of you I won't let you down.

I am intrigued by the book you mentioned. My NaNo story has a strong foundation in oral tradition - it is a vital part of how the characters are revealed. My grandfather passed on stories to me, slightly different with every telling (he used to say his eyes were brown for a reason) but we hung on every word.

When I accepted a PTA position of cultural arts chair (i.e. I booked the assembly programs), I always insisted on one storyteller. My Brownies wrote a serial story, one chapter a week, about the adventures of their counterparts - the Rocky Road Brownies. They visited a chocolate volcano, cheese island and when they bridged they became Junior Mints. We read it aloud and mimed the action as part of our Bridging Ceremony.

I think storytelling is the most intimate form of performance and creativity and anyone can do it. Our kids are better readers and better writers because of it, I am convinced of that.

I will definitely be looking into that book and I have bookmarked the thread too. This truly gives me inspiration!

Where there's life there's hope, and need of vittles.
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings



Magpie
Immortal


Nov 22 2013, 3:06am

Post #20 of 39 (209 views)
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re: Bettelheim [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know if it helps (or not) to put him in context.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruno_Bettelheim

He's not without controversy and I don't pretend to know much about him other than I found what he said about story telling very interesting. So take my 'recommendation' with those caveats.

I searched for my posts on him here at TORn and found other discussions where he's discussed esp. in connection with "On Fairy Stories".

If you're doing a search for old conversations here, you have to spell it 'wrong' as well as 'right' to find them all. :-)

Bettleheim and Bettelheim (correct spelling).

We'll have to work out the fancy handshake. I don't actually know any but they look cool and I wish I did.


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Brethil
Half-elven


Nov 22 2013, 3:33am

Post #21 of 39 (203 views)
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Good to see you Magpie! [In reply to] Can't Post


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I just wrote greendragon a 'fan letter' :-) because I so enjoyed the questions she posed to Richard which allowed Richard to answer so wonderfully and let me see into his thinking a little.

And now I'm writing little 'fan notes' to all you guys.. because these are the thoughtful, wonderfully articulated kinds of posts that make me love my fellow 'friends-in-Tolkien' here on TORn.

:-)

I love your little bird tracks. SmileAngelic And I second your 'fan letter' (*waves to Greendragon*) and thanks to Richard for sharing these ideas with us all.

The second TORn Amateur Symposium is running right now, in the Reading Room. Come have a look and maybe stay to chat!





grammaboodawg
Immortal


Nov 22 2013, 10:26am

Post #22 of 39 (215 views)
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Oh my... I'm so grateful for his observation [In reply to] Can't Post

his endearing thoughts of how Tolkien must have told the story in different ways to his children when he put the book down and deviated from or embellished on his own story. How perfectly observant of why we could (and should) embrace Peter's storytelling. I actually got teary reading how intimately Armitage could put himself into imagining Tolkien with his children as he took them on their jouney of imagination in Middle-earth.

Cripes, this is a great read! Armitage is so thoughtful and generous in his responses to some questions I was very curious about myself! I can't wait to read the rest of your talk with him. Thanks so much gd, and thanks to our gracious Mr. Richard :)



5th draft of TH:AUJ Geeky Observation List - August 11, 2013
1st draft of TH:DOS Geeky Observation List - August 11, 2013



sample

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West."

I'm SO HAPPY these new films take me back to that magical world!!



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TORn's Geeky Observations Lists (updated soon)


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Nov 22 2013, 10:36am

Post #23 of 39 (192 views)
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*warm hug* [In reply to] Can't Post

And back to you, my friend. Thank you for this... because I'm feeling so happy and close to all right now :)



5th draft of TH:AUJ Geeky Observation List - August 11, 2013
1st draft of TH:DOS Geeky Observation List - August 11, 2013



sample

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West."

I'm SO HAPPY these new films take me back to that magical world!!



TIME Google Calendar
TORn's Geeky Observations Lists (updated soon)


Riven Delve
Grey Havens


Nov 22 2013, 1:04pm

Post #24 of 39 (200 views)
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The funny part is, Bomby [In reply to] Can't Post

I got inspired by my own post with the desire to sit beneath a tree with a book like a certain Hobbit, waiting for Gandalf--or Desolation of Smaug--whichever comes first. Laugh


"Our perennial spiritual and psychological task is to look at things familiar until they become unfamiliar again." --G. K. Chesterton



Riven Delve
Grey Havens


Nov 22 2013, 1:33pm

Post #25 of 39 (187 views)
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Well, maybe... [In reply to] Can't Post

I had a whole "train track" metaphor going on in my head, with The Hobbit book as a station...but then my imagination went all Thomas the Tank Engine on me. Wink



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It brings to mind Letter # 306, where JRRT is discussion religion and its evolution with age. He relates it very similarly to the way you have related the adaptation question: the various parts of the liturgy and elements of faith being the parts of the 'tree' (ie: the Catholic faith) and having the sum effect being a very living, evolving and necessarily changing thing.
Now (NB and completely granted: he is speaking about faith in this letter and *not* his own literature) it feels like the man himself was in tune with the need for growth and change, for 'pruning' and shaping of new growth. For the inevitability of and the subsequent embracing of change.I would hope that what is happening in our time could be seen as such - the growth of the text into a visual and film culture, where effects capability exist to express so many of the fantasy notions that he held dear.
I realize maybe (probably?) this is all hopeful thinking, and maybe just because I see peace within my own mind, and to reconcile my love of the texts with my love of the films as well.


Part of the peril of writing a story based on "myth," I think (other kinds of stories perhaps being less susceptible?), is that it cannot really be confined to a static text. If we look at myth in terms of Jungian archetypes, then all of us have these ideas going on in our heads somewhere, and we've got our own interpretation of how the myths should unfold, and how we personally embrace them. So in that sense there is always change.


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I hope I am not being a self-serving sort of Adaptist (I may be. Can't rule it out) but the notion of avoiding the texts in a contemporary adaptation, and the "avert our eyes - let it sit on the shelf" sort of approach feels...odd. With respect I think that the stories can be told on a screen - and I do feel that this crew has a great deal of respect.All very much IMHO here. Smile



I suspect I might be a little biased myself. Angelic (Curse you, movie-Thorin! Look what you've done to me! Wink) But although I don't always like every choice PJ & Co. make, I do feel confident that they respect the "canon" material--even if the way they "respect it" looks different from how I would have done it. And sometimes I'm glad it looks different, because then I get the chance to ponder why it was done differently, from an artistic point of view.


"Our perennial spiritual and psychological task is to look at things familiar until they become unfamiliar again." --G. K. Chesterton


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