Our Sponsor Sideshow Collectibles Send us News
Lord of the Rings Tolkien
Search Tolkien
Lord of The RingsTheOneRing.net - Forged By And For Fans Of JRR Tolkien
Lord of The Rings Serving Middle-Earth Since The First Age

Lord of the Rings Movie News - J.R.R. Tolkien
Do you enjoy the 100% volunteer, not for profit services of TheOneRing.net?
Consider a donation!

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
How do you hear Tolkien characters speak when you read?

noWizardme
Valinor


Nov 19 2017, 5:06pm

Post #1 of 17 (2607 views)
Shortcut
How do you hear Tolkien characters speak when you read? Can't Post

Do you imagine certain specific accents (e.g. those used by Peter Jackson movie actor for the character, or the actor from another dramatisation)?

Or, do you not imagine anything all that specific?

For myself, I realise that, unless I'm given strong clues (the customers at the Ivy Bush and their Mummerset, for example) I imagine something you might call Nebulously Generalised Standard English - probably rather parochially expecting that characters spoke like an amalgam of people I know in real life. So (to give one example) Billy Boyd's Scottish Pippin was not what I was expecting the first time I saw the movie.

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


squire
Half-elven


Nov 19 2017, 7:27pm

Post #2 of 17 (2556 views)
Shortcut
Like you, I hear a generalized standard English - but to me it sounds specifically British [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien's diction, for all the range he gives his fantasy characters, fits a characteristic "British" style that I associate with a lot of other mid-century fiction I've read, anything from Evelyn Waugh to Ian Fleming, including my favorite Nevil Shute. Even in books from the same period, American authors read somewhat differently, with anything from vocabulary to phrasing and slang being just different enough to be distinguishable over the length of a book.

So I always read Tolkien hearing that cultivated-sounding, slightly posh and slightly reassuring, "British" accent.

I don't hear the Jackson characters, very likely because so little of the book's dialogue was actually used in the films. If I were an audio book fan, I suspect I would starting hearing the reader's voice renditions in later re-readings on my own.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Nov 19 2017, 7:56pm

Post #3 of 17 (2549 views)
Shortcut
I do 'hear' the Trolls speaking Cockney (or some variation thereof). [In reply to] Can't Post

Otherwise, just in some nebulous English accents.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


Bracegirdle
Valinor


Nov 19 2017, 9:23pm

Post #4 of 17 (2540 views)
Shortcut
I ‘hear’ the Elves as softly yet foreignly clear, commanding, attention grabbing, somewhat like: [In reply to] Can't Post

After tripping and falling down a Britisher might say “Excuse me.”, apologetically embarrassed just in case he’s inconvenienced anyone. An American just hollers @#$%$# %$# you son of a #$@%...

‘. . . the rule of no realm is mine . . .
But all worthy things that are in peril . . . those are my care.
For I also am a steward. Did you not know?'

Gandalf to Denethor




noWizardme
Valinor


Nov 19 2017, 10:21pm

Post #5 of 17 (2535 views)
Shortcut
When I’m reading dialogue I know to be American, say... [In reply to] Can't Post

...an odd thing happens. Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe sounds roughly Humphrey Bogart to me (because of films). But reading To Kill A Mockingbird, I know intellectually that Scout will have the tones of the Southern US, but I rarely ‘hear’ those- it’s not an accent I know well enough to imagine.

I suppose that one of the author’s jobs is to prevent this mattering: it’s distracting if a character talks oddly and I can’t work out why. Also distracting for a different reason if, I can’t work out whether it’s (say) the Boston and West Point Lieutenant speaking or his Texas sergeant.

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Nov 19 2017, 10:27pm)


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Nov 19 2017, 11:52pm

Post #6 of 17 (2524 views)
Shortcut
Well, in general [In reply to] Can't Post

I do think that the movies where reasonably accurate in speech matters. I do wonder about the characters that where not in the movies or only in briefly. What would Tom Bombadil be like? A bit of an eccentric, I suppose. Maybe Glorfindel had a nice Irish accent. Maybe some of the Elves did have a bit of an Irish twinge about them. I do sometimes read them in that manner.


noWizardme
Valinor


Nov 20 2017, 1:51pm

Post #7 of 17 (2503 views)
Shortcut
Yes, that does make me wince slightly [In reply to] Can't Post

I suspect that the trolls speak in a sort of received version of how cockney people would speak, rather than something authentic - if they were supposed to be talking in American accents they would be going 'Howdy pardner' and 'Yehaar!' a lot

I think that Tolkien did it that way not to suggest that there is some Middle-earth equivalent to the East End, from which these trolls happen to come. I think that the accent is a shortcut to establishing the trolls as likely to be criminal but a bit stupid. Which is really a prejudice about people who speak that way in real life and makes me feel a little ...embarrassed.

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


noWizardme
Valinor


Nov 20 2017, 2:18pm

Post #8 of 17 (2499 views)
Shortcut
Do elves by other authors speak as sweet (or as RP British, anyway)? [In reply to] Can't Post

If you are reading a fantasy story by another author - what then: do the elves still sound the same?
(Assuming, in the above, the absence of an obvious steer from the author of course, such as having an elf-detective who clearly talks like Philip Marlowe.*)

Something that happened recently to make me think about this - I was critiquing someone's story in a writers' workshop recently, and I commented that one of the lines of his elf princess character didn't work for me, because she suddenly sounded like 'an all-American Mom'.

The problem, for me, was that I'd been reading this elf-lady in my accustomed neutral vaguely Received Pronunciation (RP) British elf-character voice and then suddenly... I said it caused me to be pushed out of the story slightly. I was wondering whether this happened because RP is an accent I hear around me a lot and so is my personal internal default; or whether elves have become 'likely to be RP' as a staple of the fantasy genre (perhaps because of Tolkien's influences).

--
* an elf-detective who talks like Philip Marlowe? - I almost want to do that now :)

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Nov 20 2017, 4:36pm

Post #9 of 17 (2489 views)
Shortcut
Troll Accents [In reply to] Can't Post

The Troll's accents read as Cockney to me as an American, but I'm not sure that was the intention. I don't know how true this is, but I've read that Tolkien was giving them, not Cockney dialect, but a country-cousin to it.

Generally, when I read Tolkien I give his characters British Received accents. I am a little more likely to 'hear' Aragorn as American, but that might because of his 'action-hero' status (and partly because of the NPR radio drama of LotR).

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


Bracegirdle
Valinor


Nov 20 2017, 5:31pm

Post #10 of 17 (2488 views)
Shortcut
There are Trolls and there are Trolls... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The Troll's accents read as Cockney to me as an American, but I'm not sure that was the intention.

As an American I’ve always read the Trolls (the Stone-trolls anyway) with a bastardized British accent. I think it’s the VERY rarely used words (over here across the water anyway) such as “blimey”, “lout”, and “poor little blighter” that hint at that Cockney accent as you say.

Now the Olog-hai were a different matter. I believe, if they did speak at all it was the Black Speech….

‘. . . the rule of no realm is mine . . .
But all worthy things that are in peril . . . those are my care.
For I also am a steward. Did you not know?'

Gandalf to Denethor




Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Nov 20 2017, 6:03pm

Post #11 of 17 (2482 views)
Shortcut
Olog-hai Speech [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Now the Olog-hai were a different matter. I believe, if they did speak at all it was the Black Speech….


Tolkien does write that the Olog-hai (Black Trolls?) were capable of the Black Speech. Presumably, that made them capable of learning Westron as well, though whether they were taught it is unrevealed. I would imagine that they did know the Common Tongue if only so that they could understand, relay and issue orders in that language (as well as understand and interrogate prisoners).

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


CuriousG
Half-elven


Nov 20 2017, 7:46pm

Post #12 of 17 (2479 views)
Shortcut
And what race are they? (seriously) [In reply to] Can't Post

I hear them speak "American Midwest accent," which is pretty standard on TV and movies, and conveniently enough the accent I grew up with. Like you, I was surprised by the accents in the movies. Not upset or turned off, just surprised.

Related question: for people who are of Asian/African/Latin American/Other descent, do you picture a bunch of white people throughout LOTR, or think of the characters as people with your own skin tone?

I have to admit that when reading any book, unless I'm hammered over the head with something very obvious like "And then John, who was Chinese,...", my default is to picture everyone as Caucasian, including any space saga or fantasy saga. (If a novel is set in Africa, sure, I picture Africans.)


noWizardme
Valinor


Nov 20 2017, 10:19pm

Post #13 of 17 (2460 views)
Shortcut
Now I’m imagining John Wayne as Boromir ... [In reply to] Can't Post

He’s doing a pretty fine job...

~~~~~~
Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


Bracegirdle
Valinor


Nov 21 2017, 12:18am

Post #14 of 17 (2450 views)
Shortcut
I confess to a similar ‘default’ [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I have to admit that when reading any book, unless I'm hammered over the head with something very obvious like "And then John, who was Chinese,...", my default is to picture everyone as Caucasian, including any space saga or fantasy saga. (If a novel is set in Africa, sure, I picture Africans.)


But a bit of an OT twist, this is what endeared me to the original ‘Star Trek’. We had 2 whites, an African American, an Asian, a Scot, a Russian, and of course 1 Vulcan as the leads.

And the very first African American/Caucasian kiss ever on television (Kirk and Uhura).

Oh, could it ever be so????

Or in the immortal words of Rodney King:
"c c Can’t we all just get along?"


‘. . . the rule of no realm is mine . . .
But all worthy things that are in peril . . . those are my care.
For I also am a steward. Did you not know?'

Gandalf to Denethor




CuriousG
Half-elven


Nov 22 2017, 8:55am

Post #15 of 17 (2402 views)
Shortcut
Well, if you're going to hear Americans, better John Wayne as Boromir than Mickey Mouse. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


CuriousG
Half-elven


Nov 22 2017, 9:01am

Post #16 of 17 (2408 views)
Shortcut
Star Trek was multicultural and politically correct before those terms existed. [In reply to] Can't Post

But Roddenberry was being Vulcan-logical in reasoning that not everyone in the future would be from Iowa, like Kirk.

I heard criticisms of Star Wars: Rogue One being "too diverse," which I thought absurd. It's an empire spanning a galaxy with hundreds of inhabited worlds. That means diversity. Look backwards at how diverse the Roman Empire was if anyone needs proof; there was even an emperor named Philip the Arabian.

What was more absurd was the original Star Wars, where everyone was white, including the Stormtroopers. (C3PO was golden, so I guess he was the token non-white.)


Petty Dwarf
Bree


Nov 29 2017, 2:20am

Post #17 of 17 (2318 views)
Shortcut
Actually, we never saw the stormtroopers with their helmets off, [In reply to] Can't Post

and Lando Calrissian was black. I think that was a lot more about what actors were available.

Anyway, I hear mostly the Peter Jackson characters, with cockney accents for Orcs and Trolls, but with Irish accents for the Elves.

Gandalf and Bilbo retain their VAs from Rankin/Bass' "The Hobbit", though. As amazing a Gandalf as Sir Ian is, he just isn't THE Gandalf to me.

"No words were laid on stream or stone
When Durin woke and walked alone."

 
 

Search for (options) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.3

home | advertising | contact us | back to top | search news | join list | Content Rating

This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law. Design and original photography however are copyright © 1999-2012 TheOneRing.net. Binary hosting provided by Nexcess.net

Do not follow this link, or your host will be blocked from this site. This is a spider trap.