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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
LotR "Trivialities"

Saruman
The Shire


Nov 23, 9:17pm

Post #1 of 19 (1213 views)
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LotR "Trivialities" Can't Post

I think that most people aren't bothered by PJ and company's changing of the source details that many classify as "trivial" to a modern audience. And, I suppose, they are right to a certain extent. But I would like to discuss what changes - however small in a character or their appearance -bothered you in Peter Jackson's LotR trilogy. The more "trivial" the better, although we can also talk about significant changes in story if you'd like.

I always disliked how Boromir did not have dark brown hair. I believe PJ's excuse for giving Boromir light-brown/borderline-blonde hair was that he would look too much like Aragorn. Boromir is one of a few characters in the book who Tolkien almost completely describes as far as appearance. He basically paints a picture of Boromir in our heads. And his Boromir has dark hair. Why change it? It makes no sense to me.

As for my namesake, I didn't like how PJ completely avoided Saruman's "of many colours" aspect. In the book, it sounds to me like Saruman's robes appear white, but like a prism, splintered into many colors according to light. Gandalf mentions how it confused him to look at it. I see how this could be a difficult challenge to transfer to a film setting, but I think they could have pulled it off.

What are some small details which always irked you?

"I have seen it..."


CuriousG
Half-elven


Nov 23, 9:26pm

Post #2 of 19 (1185 views)
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Shelob tossing the Phial to the side in her fight with Frodo [In reply to] Can't Post

That one irks me a lot because she was terrified of the Phial in the books, and the hobbits' heroism made it burn brighter. And no one had EVER stood up to her before in centuries. Instead Frodo uses it more like a flashlight, and Shelob is only partly deterred by it. It went from super-cool, unexpected weapon of salvation to "meh."


Saruman
The Shire


Nov 23, 9:36pm

Post #3 of 19 (1182 views)
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Good one [In reply to] Can't Post

I had not thought of that. Now it's going to bother me every time, haha.

"I have seen it..."


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Lorien

Nov 23, 9:58pm

Post #4 of 19 (1179 views)
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Faramir also should have had dark hair. [In reply to] Can't Post

And Saruman's Many-Colors aspect is one of my favorite parts of the book description. A shame they didn't put it in the movie. Celeborn should have had silver hair. Sam should have had a darker complexion. Bilbo should have looked like he was fifty in the LotR. Merry should have had brown hair, and Pippin should have been blond. And, without intending to sound weird, Frodo should have been naked in the Tower of Cirith Ungol. Laugh

"Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back. But I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy. Now I have taken my worst wound in this parting, even if I were to go this night straight to the Dark Lord."


Saruman
The Shire


Nov 24, 2:25am

Post #5 of 19 (1159 views)
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Agreed! [In reply to] Can't Post

No doubt, Sam should have been more rustic looking. To add on to Merry's & Pippin's hair colors - I believe Tolkien described Pippin's hair as "almost golden" in one of his letters. So yes, Merry's and Pippin's hair color should have been switched.

"I have seen it..."


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Nov 24, 3:43am

Post #6 of 19 (1156 views)
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Pippin [In reply to] Can't Post

In the book, Pippin is the youngest member of the Fellowship; he seems (physically) too old in the films.

"For a brief time I was here; and for a brief time I mattered." - Harlan Ellison


CuriousG
Half-elven


Nov 24, 2:07pm

Post #7 of 19 (1117 views)
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LOL. I know what you mean about naked Frodo [In reply to] Can't Post

That part of the book seemed highly symbolic: being naked in a tower full of evil orcs, well, it just makes the reader feel how uncomfortably vulnerable Frodo was and how badly things could go for him, and how desperately he needed to be rescued by Sam. And believing he had lost the Ring to the Enemy, Frodo felt stripped of not only his mission and duty to destroy it, but the way it was growing on him over time, he felt stripped of a part of himself, like a snail without a shell.

That said, it's a little easier to read about nakedness than see it on a film, where I think the impact is more literal and visceral. "Look, Elijah Wood is naked in that scene!" So I'm not sure all the symbolism from the book would carry over, and instead it would be remembered as "the naked scene," like Janet Jackson flashing a breast in her wardrobe malfunction during a Superbowl halftime performance.


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Lorien

Nov 24, 3:03pm

Post #8 of 19 (1108 views)
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I know, right? [In reply to] Can't Post

Another triviality: I would have really liked to have seen Merry's encounter with a Black Rider in Bree. It's one of my favorite moments, because it kind of foreshadows his bravery on the Pelennor Fields. Even Aragorn is amazed by his act of courage. It's a great example of hobbit bravery.

"Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back. But I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy. Now I have taken my worst wound in this parting, even if I were to go this night straight to the Dark Lord."


Saruman
The Shire


Nov 24, 9:24pm

Post #9 of 19 (1083 views)
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Hobbit bravery indeed [In reply to] Can't Post

I always liked that part too. It sheds light on Merry's personality more so than many other parts in the book, and gives him a bit of a side quest of his own. I noticed that once the Fellowship is together, Merry & Pippin get very little attention in Frodo's main narrative. Sure, Pippin tosses the stone in the well which highlights just how much he still has to grow, but once that's over we don't see Pippin struggle with his mishap at all. I'm sure at some point he had to have kicked himself for possibly giving away the group's presence.

Another triviality: Boromir picks up the shards of Narsil in Imladris, briefly reveres them, then gets caught off guard by Aragorn's creepy glance and drops the shards, referring to them as no more than a "broken heirloom." He doesn't even bother to pick them up, but walks away like a complete jerk. Boromir of the books would never be this disrespectful to one of the biggest pieces of his country's history. It's so out of character for Boromir, and happening so early on, really puts a divide between the book and movie counterpart. In the films, although Sean Bean did a fantastic job with the character, I contend that he failed to fully represent Boromir's character in a sense. If you notice, from that scene on, Aragorn especially does not entirely trust Boromir - on Caradhras he puts his hand on his sword hilt for approaching Frodo and grabbing the Ring - and so right away in the film Boromir loses credibility, and thereafter his actions don't come off as noble as they do arrogant. In the book, Boromir is a good, respectful (for the most part), but flawed man who was divided in mind not so much by his arrogance as by his intense, rose-colored pride for his country. So, that rift in character in the Imladris scene rifts Boromir's entire character to an extent. At least for me.

"I have seen it..."

(This post was edited by Saruman on Nov 24, 9:26pm)


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Lorien

Nov 24, 9:35pm

Post #10 of 19 (1080 views)
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That scene with Narsil, yes - that has bothered me. [In reply to] Can't Post

Not always, because I really love Sean Bean's Boromir, and somehow without being very noble he does seem less villainous in the movies. But sometimes it annoys me.

More so, though, the scene where Gimli tries to destroy the Ring. That always bothers me. Gimli is probably my least-favorite character in the movies - I think that you can have comic relief characters, but I like them more when they're not just comic relief. Gimli never really developed past being the butt of all the jokes. I never envision him looking like that from the books, either.

"Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back. But I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy. Now I have taken my worst wound in this parting, even if I were to go this night straight to the Dark Lord."


Saruman
The Shire


Nov 24, 11:36pm

Post #11 of 19 (1070 views)
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Poor Gimli [In reply to] Can't Post

The bastardization of Gimli in the films is one of the most glaring and unfortunate errors. I wouldn't consider it trivial (it's worth it's own topic, no doubt!) but I mostly agree with you. I do like his look in the movies, that doesn't bother me. It was, like you said, his role as clown and butt of all jokes that really takes away from his character. And I agree that he had little character development. The book does have some humorous parts in it concerning Gimli and Legolas, and I thought those were handled fairly well in Fellowship of the Ring. But Two Towers and Return of the King totally mishandle Gimli and turn him into butt of all jokes. Also agree that the scene in Rivendell where Gimli tries to destroy the Ring is completely unnecessary, and out of character for Gimli.

Gimli has recently become one of my favorite characters in the book. It's probably because there is such a great divide in the books and film counterparts.

"I have seen it..."


Eledhwen
Forum Admin / Moderator


Nov 25, 3:12pm

Post #12 of 19 (1042 views)
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The hair colour really bothers me [In reply to] Can't Post

I love Sean Bean's Boromir, and I quite like David Wenham's Faramir (apart from the whole taking the hobbits to Osgiliath aspect, which goes beyond trivial). But they should have had dark hair! At least Aragorn was dark.

That's my major trivial beef with the films really. Mind you, even my issues with the less trivial stuff (see above, and add in "Go home, Sam" on the stairs of Cirith Ungol, Denethor's random fiery plunge, and Saruman's spiky wheel) are minor when I put into context the whole achievement and the moments of perfection (the first glimpse of Bag End, the Argonath, Boromir's death, Eowyn standing before Meduseld in that gorgeous white dress, the beacons, the Ride of the Rohirrim, the moment the Ring is destroyed, and the Grey Havens ...)

Storm clouds


2ndBreffest
Rivendell


Nov 25, 5:53pm

Post #13 of 19 (1024 views)
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PJ's Gimli [In reply to] Can't Post

"Nobody tosses a dwarf". Come on man, must you always go for the lowest hanging fruit possible? Seriously. And then of coufse there's the burping and farting etc. Tolkien's humor is clever and subtle, PJ's is like the kid in middle-school who throws a doodie on the bathroom ceiling and tells his friends to go check out what he's done.


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Nov 25, 8:10pm

Post #14 of 19 (1007 views)
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I think we have to remember [In reply to] Can't Post

That Gimli was quite drunk at the time, and as such social niceties would have very likely fallen by the wayside. I think that was the whole point of the burping and farting in that case. Even Eomer is rather surprised that Gimli got THAT drunk.

As to "nobody tosses a dwarf", I take that to be a very accurate portrayal/characterization of the magnitude of a dwarf's pride. Dwarves had the attitude not that they were small but that everyone else was just big. But-the big but- the dwarves were mightier anyway.

For a dwarf to need assistance solely because of small stature (or more to the point, smaller legs) would very much piss him off because it's telling the other race (human, elf, etc) that he isn't strong enough to make the jump on his own. He's forced to ask for help from a race that is not his own, and as a dwarf that's a MAJOR blow to his pride. Dwarves do not take kindly to being perceived as weak or weaker than other races.

Now, if Gimli had been burping and farting his way through the whole of ME, that would definitely point more toward PJ's childish humor (much like the way such humor was more "in your face" in the latter half of TH films).

But the ONLY time he does so is when he's, to be blunt, too drunk to care. It really highlights the difference in alcohol tolerance between him and Legolas- he's so drunk that he burps and farts and slurs about swimming with little hairy women (most likely an insinuation to skinny-dipping, aka very lewd), whereas Legolas only just begins to feel a slight tingling in his fingers from the same amount of ale at the point where Gimli finally passes out.

Now, keep in mind I don't drink myself for many reasons, but I have heard countless stories of how many who are truly drunk can do stupid things (and if they're fortunate, their antics don't end up on youtube), and yet when sober they are some of the most prim and polite and proper people you'll ever meet.

I think we can forgive the burping and farting as not being crass middle-school humor, but rather being an indication of how truly drunk Gimli was at the time. And since they were at a party/feast where there was a lot of drink, and it seems as though the game was Eomer's idea (since Gimli and him had to explain the rules), it's not an unlikely setting for such drunkenness.

Besides, they had to show some indication of Gimli clearly losing that game, and what better way to do so than to have a proud, stubborn, and generally polite (but on his own terms) dwarf slur about skinny-dipping, burping, and farting?

I just don't see why people are so irritated by that. It fits the setting rather well, I think. It's ME, and in ME bodily functions still happen. And if one is too drunk to care, it may be far less discreet than it would be otherwise. Which I think was the point.

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Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Lorien

Nov 26, 7:15pm

Post #15 of 19 (944 views)
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Pretty good points. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll have to see, on my next viewing, what I think about it.

"Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back. But I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy. Now I have taken my worst wound in this parting, even if I were to go this night straight to the Dark Lord."


Chen G.
Rivendell

Nov 26, 8:19pm

Post #16 of 19 (935 views)
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Yeah [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I just don't see why people are so irritated by that. It fits the setting rather well, I think. It's ME, and in ME bodily functions still happen. And if one is too drunk to care, it may be far less discreet than it would be otherwise. Which I think was the point.


This.

There's this notion around the internet that films should have a certain tone and stick to it. So in a "serious" and "grim" film (which most of the films in this series are) you can't have humor, especially physical comedy.

But to me, that couldn't be further from the truth. Any narrative element or stylistic device gets old when its used consistently through the course of a movie, therefore the need for variation arises. And indeed, a lot of films have both serious material and comedy.

Some of the best Harry Potter entries move between levity and gravity constantly; most Spielberg films do it well; recently Infinity War did it succesfully. Braveheart does it very exceptionally well - etcetra.

I don't mind the humor in these films (with regards to creating dissonance with the more weighty material), with the exception of one or two gags, but since they're so few, its really a non-issue.


Saruman
The Shire


Nov 26, 11:41pm

Post #17 of 19 (904 views)
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Thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with Cirashala here. The drunken scene and the "nobody tosses a dwarf" scenes are brief and really don't bother me as much as, say, Gimli's bumbling and tumbling onto the hills as one of the Three Hunters (Legolas: "Come, Gimli! We're gaining on them!). This scene shows blatant disregard for dwarven endurance.

Another triviality with Boromir (I seem to have the most complaints about him) - while I agree with a previous poster that his death scene was done well (truly heart-wrenching), it took more than 3 arrows to bring him down. His sword was broken at the hilt, his shield was cloven. It was a complete and utter sacrifice in which he gave all including his life. This is truly a triviality as it doesn't take away from the scene and not to mention it would hurt more seeing Boromir stuck with numerous arrows. Still, it is worth mention.


"I have seen it..."

(This post was edited by Saruman on Nov 26, 11:43pm)


StingingFly
Lorien


Nov 28, 11:45pm

Post #18 of 19 (841 views)
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The Three Hunters [In reply to] Can't Post

The Three Hunters sequence is one of my favorite parts of TTT, I've replayed those scenes and music in my head numerous times during long runs or hikes in the forest.
The only irritant is, as you say, Gimli's bumbling! In the books it was dwarven endurance which kept him in the hunt, like the legendary tortoise in his race.
Watching TTT you wonder why in the world they don't just leave him. It's only a pack of orcs, which Aragorn and Legolas could have taken care of. Well, movie Legolas anyways.


2ndBreffest
Rivendell


Nov 29, 12:00am

Post #19 of 19 (834 views)
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PJ's Gimli might be an alcoholic [In reply to] Can't Post

I mean it would explain the way he was falling behind and rolling around in the hills. It's also possible, though the camera was too far away to know for sure, but he may have been farting during that scene as well. And that scene at the end of rotk when everyone surprises Frodo, Gimli looked like he may have had a few.

 
 

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