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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Peter Jackson vs Tolkien: Five Things the Films Did Better Than the Books
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Omnigeek
Lorien


Jul 4, 10:11pm

Post #26 of 51 (718 views)
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Agree that we disagree [In reply to] Can't Post

No biggie but one thing they can do with one “burglar” is scout the area and look for opportunities to slay the dragon. Basically the same skill set for a burglar as a scout. As Bilbo told Thorin and company, if they wanted to take the treasure, they should have taken 500 burglars, not one. Having noted Smaug’s weak point, they could have driven a spear through his heart when he slept again (if he hadn’t rushed out to incinerate Laketown). Theft is the one scenario that absolutely makes no sense.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jul 10, 3:24am

Post #27 of 51 (681 views)
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Delayed Gratification [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
How were 13 Dwarves and a Hobbit going to exact revenge on Smaug exactly? By stealing a bit of his treasure? Unless it was their plan to make him so mad that he'd leave the mountain and attack Laketown, where someone there might do the job for them. That's what happened so maybe the Dwarves were smarter than they seemed.

Really the entire thing makes very little sense which doesn't matter in the context of the book.

Certainly PJ and Co. thought there was an issue to be resolved for their movies.


In my own head-canon, Thorin's hope was to reclaim enough treasure to finance an army large enough to retake Erebor from Smaug. I don't think he would have had a real hope of the company being able to slay the dragon.

"Change is inevitable. Growth is optional." - DRWolf (after John C. Maxwell)


Noria
Gondor

Jul 10, 11:40pm

Post #28 of 51 (557 views)
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All of the above rationales would work. [In reply to] Can't Post

But they are head canon, not in TH book itself. Nothing wrong with that.

The book, a fairy-tale bedtime story for kids set in a kind of proto-Middle-earth, doesn't need a rational explanation of what the Dwarves were trying to accomplish.

The Hobbit movies, set as they are firmly in the world of Lord of the Rings, have to make more sense.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jul 11, 3:15pm

Post #29 of 51 (487 views)
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I need to remind myself that we are discussing the films and not the books. [In reply to] Can't Post

We do see Thorin's companions displaying some confidence that Gandalf would be able to deal with the dragon. Similarly, it is the wizard's intention here to remain with the company all the way to Erebor, which is not the case in the book. It might be that Thorin hopes to come upon Smaug in his sleep (if the beast still lives and hasn't moved his hoard elsewhere) and discover a way to slay him before he awakens. Perhaps he thinks that Gandalf would be able to place a spell of sleep upon Smaug that would keep him from waking.

"Change is inevitable. Growth is optional." - DRWolf (after John C. Maxwell)


Chen G.
Rohan

Jul 11, 8:38pm

Post #30 of 51 (461 views)
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The films do give the impression [In reply to] Can't Post

That the Dwarves look to Gandalf to help them sort Smaug out. Namely, because that is the cause he joins Thorin for, and because of Kili’s line: “Gandalf would have killed hundreds of dragons in his time.”

In the second film, when Gandalf warns them not to enter the mountain without him, I took it that he indeed intends to be there should all hell break loose. And of course, in movie language, that Gandalf warns them off of something invariably mean that they would do it, and that he wouldn’t be there.

Neat little bit of setup, that.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Jul 11, 8:42pm)


squire
Half-elven


Jul 12, 3:14am

Post #31 of 51 (427 views)
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Just teasing, but... [In reply to] Can't Post

... how did a thread in the 'LotR Movie' board become entirely about the 'Hobbit movie'?



squire online:
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N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jul 12, 6:08am

Post #32 of 51 (410 views)
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What if Tolkien didn't want Boromir to be too sympathetic? [In reply to] Can't Post

Supposing that to be the case, didn't the film fail?


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


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N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jul 12, 6:10am

Post #33 of 51 (411 views)
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Which book does Tom Shippey devote to the subject of patriotism in Tolkien's work? [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
You could of course say that notions of patriotism in general are an anachronism in Middle-earth, but:
a) It's a complex enough question for someone like Professor Shippey to write a whole book deliberating about it, so even if its true, anyone who's not a Tolkien scholar could be excused for reading patriotism in the Dwarves' motivations.


Could you elaborate on that point?


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


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N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jul 12, 6:14am

Post #34 of 51 (410 views)
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Which written battles do you prefer to Tolkien? [In reply to] Can't Post

Do you perhaps have a list of your five or ten favorite battles in literature?

And what about film? You identify Peter Jackson's Battle of Helm's Deep as the greatest of filmed battles. What rounds out your top five or top ten?

For myself, I thought the movie battle of Helm's Deep was all right, if way too long for the movie but in my mind it will always be colored by some smart-alecs in the audience who started humming the theme from Chariots of Fire when they saw the orc running with the torch.


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


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Chen G.
Rohan

Jul 12, 9:07am

Post #35 of 51 (395 views)
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I was talking hypothetically [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Which book does Tom Shippey devote to the subject of patriotism in Tolkien's work? Could you elaborate on that point?


I was saying that its a subject that would require an entire book from a Tolkien expert to come to grips with, so one could forgive the filmmakers if they got it wrong.

Patriotism and nationality are 19th-century concepts, and yet they're subtly but evidentally present in Sir Peter Jackson's vision of Middle Earth: from Boromir wanting to defend his "people", to Faramir willing to lay down his life for his city, to Thorin wanting to liberate "Dwarf lands" from Smaug.

In many ways, its a core theme of The Hobbit trilogy, because - of course - it plays into the whole arguments for and against isolationism that's going on.

You can make arguments as to whether or not these concepts are indeed present in Tolkien's writings. Its not a simple subject with clear-cut answers.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Jul 12, 9:07am)


mcmojo
Bree

Jul 12, 12:57pm

Post #36 of 51 (377 views)
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Good question [In reply to] Can't Post

I've gone back and forth on that. I am fairly confident Tolkien didn't want a completely sympathetic character but he did want Boromir to end up as a hero, so I am okay with the changes the filmmakers made. It's not like the film presents an entirely sympathetic character either. He's just a bit more likeable.


mcmojo
Bree

Jul 12, 1:04pm

Post #37 of 51 (376 views)
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Battles... [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't have a list. Sorry. Here are a few examples, though:
I think both Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson have some mind-blowing battles in their books.
I think Tolkien's Pelennor Fields' battle was better.
For films:
Gladiator has some good battles.
The Director's Cut of King Arthur had some well-staged battles.
Braveheart.
The Last of the Mohicans.
Zulu.
300.
Kingdom of Heaven.


kzer_za
Lorien

Jul 12, 3:13pm

Post #38 of 51 (359 views)
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War and Peace [In reply to] Can't Post

Remains the one to beat for modern literary battles, IMO.

For Tolkien's own battles, Helms Deep isn't as good as the Pelennor or Nirnaeth. I've always found HD difficult to follow every time I reread the book actually. There is also a case to be made for the Lost Tales version of Gondolin, which is very impressive if you can get past the stuffy prose and anachronistic (within the legendarium) elements.


(This post was edited by kzer_za on Jul 12, 3:18pm)


Chen G.
Rohan

Jul 12, 4:53pm

Post #39 of 51 (343 views)
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Battles as action and battles as drama [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
For films:
Gladiator has some good battles.
The Director's Cut of King Arthur had some well-staged battles.
Braveheart.
The Last of the Mohicans.
Zulu.
300.
Kingdom of Heaven.


The Battle of Stirling in Braveheart remains, for my money, the best. The patient build-up to every step in the battle, the humour, the unbridled bloodlust craze that the characters tap into on the battlefield, the rousing, guttural cry Wallace gives at the end - its a sensation.

However, the same film also contains the battle of Falkirk which - while not as visceral, is much more operatic: its a stage for drama, rather than a battle, per se.

I feel like the same is true of the comparison of Pelennor fields and Helm's Deep. The former is more impressive as an action sequence, the latter - much, much better as a stage for drama. The same could be said for the Battle of the Five Armies, actually.


Solicitr
Rohan

Jul 12, 10:27pm

Post #40 of 51 (324 views)
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????? [In reply to] Can't Post

"Patriotism and nationality are 19th-century concepts"

Again, ???????
----------------------------------

Victor Hugo's account of Waterloo may be the best in prose.


Chen G.
Rohan

Jul 12, 10:28pm

Post #41 of 51 (329 views)
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In earlier eras [In reply to] Can't Post

People's loyalties laid with their soverign, town or religion - not with their "nation" (such a concept did not exist) or the country such a nation would have occupied. Those are modern concepts.

Not so with the characters in the films and - it could be argued - in the books, as well.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Jul 12, 10:39pm)


Solicitr
Rohan

Jul 13, 12:47am

Post #42 of 51 (309 views)
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I [In reply to] Can't Post

suggest you read more medieval history. Or even 17th-18th century.

For that matter, read Shakespeare.


(This post was edited by Ataahua on Jul 13, 1:26am)


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jul 13, 6:38am

Post #43 of 51 (276 views)
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"Nationalism has been a recurring facet of civilizations since ancient times ..." [In reply to] Can't Post

"...though the modern sense of national political autonomy and self-determination was formalized in the late 18th century."

(Per Wikipedia.)

The split between you and solicitr may be mostly about definitions.


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


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N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jul 13, 6:38am

Post #44 of 51 (275 views)
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Has anyone checked to see how Tolkien uses the word "nation"? // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


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Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
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Chen G.
Rohan

Jul 13, 8:29am

Post #45 of 51 (265 views)
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I’m a history grad [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
suggest you read more medieval history. Or even 17th-18th century.

For that matter, read Shakespeare.


Applying for a PhD. I assure you, I know.


squire
Half-elven


Jul 13, 11:40am

Post #46 of 51 (248 views)
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I don't believe he does [In reply to] Can't Post

Not in his fantasy fiction, at least. As this discussion highlights, the word is now far too modern in connotation to work in the proto-medieval European setting he constructed.

He uses it in his 'Letters', I think, though not very often as they were edited to focus on his fantasy-author work, not his own political or social thoughts.



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.


kzer_za
Lorien

Jul 13, 1:26pm

Post #47 of 51 (238 views)
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In the letters [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien says at one point, presumably with a bit of joking exaggeration, that he would like to execute anyone who used the word "state" in its modern sense.

He also was skeptical to say the least of the whole idea of the Great Britain and especially as a commonwealth/empire (the readings of LotR as nostalgia for the declining British empire are mistaken). On the other hand, he was very much an old-school English loyalist to the point of being bitter about 1066 and wary about French influence in English cooking!


(This post was edited by kzer_za on Jul 13, 1:36pm)


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Rohan


Jul 13, 3:11pm

Post #48 of 51 (218 views)
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Robert Jordan had fantastic battle scenes [In reply to] Can't Post

I may not like the Wheel of Time series in general, but the battles that typically concluded each of his books were always incredible and almost worth reading the seven-hundred preceding pages to get to. In particular, the battle at the end of book two was truly epic.

"It is my duty to fight" - Mulan


Solicitr
Rohan

Jul 13, 6:46pm

Post #49 of 51 (198 views)
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"Nation" [In reply to] Can't Post

Is, or was, not quite the same thing as "nation-state." Certainly Germany and Italy were nations long before they ever were states! Nationalist sentiment well predates Westphalia; even Crusaders wore color-coded crosses by nationality, and the Teutonic Order was expressly just for Germans. And English patriotism also goes a very long way back, at least to the time of Henry IV if not Edward III (the use of English by the upper classes and in literature dates from this period, and was very much a function of the war with France). Shakepeare, himself writing long before the 19th century, has John of Gaunt launch as flagwaving an encomium to England ("this sceptr'd isle") as any WW1-era John Bull; and if the real Henry V never cried "Harry, England and St George!", it certainly seemed appropriate enough to a 1590s audience. In fact that play is stuffed to the gills with patriotic sentiments- not very surprising for the years just after the Armada.


Chen G.
Rohan

Jul 13, 8:11pm

Post #50 of 51 (190 views)
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There are vestiges of nationalistic sentiment in the Middle Ages [In reply to] Can't Post

But its not the fully-formed concept of modern times. At any rate, it should be anachronistic to Middle Earth and yet, even if it is, it doesn't feel too off of the mark.

Tolkien was, after all, a 20th century writer, and he could not escape the trappings of his time entirely.

The filmmakers, working in the 21th century, certainly can't, and their films are deeply informed by such concepts, as well as by anchiliary concepts such as globalism and isolationism. It informs other films in their catalogue: look at the commentary on treatment of immigrants in the script to Mortal Engines, or - given that some of the films were co-written by Guillermo Del Toro - the commentary on racism in The Shape of Water.

Those themes - chiefly, the commentary on isolationism - aren't foreign to The Lord of the Rings, either: look at Theoden, refusing to call for Gondor's aid and later contemplating: "Why should we ride to the aid of those who did not come to ours." Perhaps the most straightforward expression of the theme is in the exchange between Treebeard and Merry: "This is not our war" - "but you're part of this world!"


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Jul 13, 8:16pm)

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