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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Aragorn's "Death" Scene

Radagast-Aiwendil
Gondor


Jul 28 2012, 8:07pm

Post #1 of 25 (949 views)
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Aragorn's "Death" Scene Can't Post

Those of you who are familiar with my posts may or may not know that while I am highly complimentary of PJ's film trilogy, there is one scene that makes me cringe at the very mention of it. I'm referring to the scene in 'The Two Towers' in which Aragorn is dragged over a cliff-face by Sharku's Warg, and is thought dead by his companions.

Does anyone have an idea as to the purpose of this scene? I am in need of enlightenment. From what I can see it is unwanted, not accurate to Tolkien-lore and totally unnecessary. The only reason that I can think to include it is to show how vulnerable the people of Rohan are without Aragorn's leadership, as Theoden is not the king he once was and Gandalf has left them to find Eomer.

What are your thoughts about this scene?

"What do you mean, good morning? Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not, or that you feel good this morning, or that it is a morning to be good on?"-Gandalf the Grey, The Hobbit.

(This post was edited by Radagast-Aiwendil on Jul 28 2012, 8:08pm)


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jul 28 2012, 10:17pm

Post #2 of 25 (431 views)
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At the end of a film scene [In reply to] Can't Post

or a book chapter, the characters need to be in a different situation than they were at the start of it, otherwise the scene/chapter is pointless. I think the writers had Aragorn 'die' to achieve that for the warg battle. If there had been no 'result' from the battle, the Rohirrim and refugees would have toddled off to Helm's Deep with only the death of Hama on their minds, which isn't much of an influence on the story - and would have raised the question of why have the warg battle at all.

Which is not to say that I like Aragorn's apparent death. But then, I can't think what else the writers could have used that would have fit with canon.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Kristin Thompson
Rohan


Jul 28 2012, 10:18pm

Post #3 of 25 (479 views)
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Philippa Boyens' comments [In reply to] Can't Post

I asked Philippa about this scene when I interviewed her for my book, The Frodo Franchise. As I quote her there, she replied:

We needed to separate him from his peers, because we wanted him to be the one to deliver the news [of the approaching Orc army], because we needed a conflict to drive Helm's Deep. We chose the conflict to be the two most interesting characters at Helm's Deep, which we decided were Aragorn and Theoden, the two who could come head to head.

We also thought there would be a huge payoff in the third film, when Theoden rides to the aid of Gondor. So we needed to set up this defeat, in a way, for Theoden: that it is Aragorn who saves them at Helm's Deep.

We also needed a moment of connection with Arwen, which we wanted to be alone. We wanted her to almost call him back. We wanted to do all of these things, but it had to be done in a filmic way.


Whether or not one buys the explanations that the writers have offered about such changes, I have to say that in my experience they at least thought them over quite carefully and could explain why they made each change.


Radagast-Aiwendil
Gondor


Jul 28 2012, 10:23pm

Post #4 of 25 (410 views)
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Thanks for this [In reply to] Can't Post

It's nice to see that this question has been answered, at least in a way. While I don't buy it completely, I see where they are coming from, though if that really was their intent (to seperate Aragorn from "his peers") I'm sure there were many other more appropriate things they could have done. Nevertheless, it doesn't ruin the film, so I suppose it is not too much of a problem.

"What do you mean, good morning? Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not, or that you feel good this morning, or that it is a morning to be good on?"-Gandalf the Grey, The Hobbit.


Kristin Thompson
Rohan


Jul 28 2012, 11:22pm

Post #5 of 25 (437 views)
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The writers sort of backed themselves into a corner [In reply to] Can't Post

In my opinion, in the book, there are two protagonists: Frodo is the protagonist of the Quest plotline, Gandalf is the protagonist of the War plotline. (Given your avatar and quotation, I suspect you won't argue with that!) I'll be talking about that in some detail in the book on Tolkien's novels that I'm working on.

But in the film, Frodo and Aragorn are clearly the protagonists. That means the writers had to change Aragorn, to bring him more prominently into the action, to play up his romance with Arwen, etc. His relationship with Brego, his horse, becomes more important than that of Gandalf to Shadowfax. He suggests the attack on the Black Gate to divert Sauron's attention from whatever might be happening within Mordor.

In the book, Aragorn plays a heroic role in the Helm's Gate episode, but basically the big moment comes when he and Theoden ride out on what they think will be a suicide charge. Gandalf is the one who saves the day. Of course, that rescue happens in the film, too, but a huge emphasis is put on Aragorn in both the warg attack and the Helm's Deep battle itself. I can see why the writers thought they had to play up Aragorn's role to the point where they invented a "death" scene that isn't in the book at all. I suspect for people who have not read the book, that whole scene and the aftermath when Aragorn rides to Helm's Deep work pretty well.

But of course it means that poor Gandalf plays a relatively small role in THE TWO TOWERS (somewhat redeemed in the extended version) and in general becomes a far more conventional wizard-helper figure than he is in the novel.


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Jul 29 2012, 2:49am

Post #6 of 25 (388 views)
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Excellent points [In reply to] Can't Post

I suspect, though I do not know, that the film-makers designated Aragorn as protagonist for the war storyline becuse a) he was a human man; b) he was a relatively young and attractive human man, and c) he brought a few love stories with him (Arwen, and the unrequited Eowyn experience).

Before the FOTR film was a commercial success, I imagine there were fears that a Hobbit protagonist wouldn't be all that appealing to a general audience (particularly a Hobbit protagonist without a female love interest). And hedging against that fear with a very old, long-bearded protagonist did not make commercial sense either.

Aragorn was the obvious choice And yes, that led them to all sorts of interesting places...

But no matter Boyens' rationale, I think it was not a very creative writing decision. Nor do I think it was implemented very effectively...

Though I admit to really liking some of the cinematography during the montage of Aragorn riding Brego to Helm's Deep. This softens the blow for me...


weaver
Half-elven

Jul 29 2012, 3:58am

Post #7 of 25 (369 views)
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"He fell..." [In reply to] Can't Post

The logic of the scene is not great -- they leave the future king for dead? -- but I do like how it works on other levels.

It does a lot for the Aragorn/Arwen storyline, especially. Before the Warg battle, we get the flashback of Aragorn letting Arwen go, following his "head" -- Elrond's logic -- rather than his "heart", with the Evenstar necklace being the focal point -- he tries to give it back to her, she tells him "it was a gift" and to "keep it."

After that, in the Warg battle, he loses the Evenstar necklace -- and falls, from which he returns after reconnecting spiritually with Arwen, which is shown through the vision he has of her. Then, when he returns to Helm's Deep, Legolas is there --who gives the Evenstar back to Aragorn. Their bond is restored, and he goes on to take charge at Helm's Deep, to save Minas Tirith, to lead the combined armies at the Black Gate, and to become King.

There's some nice parallel imagery, too, here -- we get those wonderful images of Arwen associated with "night" earlier, when Elrond describes her fate -- and in Aragorn's return, he's shown with the sun rising. I always kind of liked that contrast.

Eowyn's reaction to the loss and return of Aragorn does a lot to show what's going on inside of her head and heart regarding him, which provides a foundation for her later actions in the story.

And you get some nice character moments between Legolas and Aragorn, Gimli and Eowyn, Gimli and Aragorn, Theoden and Eowyn, and Theoden and Aragorn, all resulting from the decision to have Aragorn "fall" and "return."

So I don't like the device -- the fall is a bit contrived -- but I do like everything that results from it. Having him "presumed dead" ends up being quite a key moment in the films.

Weaver




GoodGuyA
Lorien

Jul 29 2012, 4:30am

Post #8 of 25 (335 views)
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The journey to Helm's Deep is an empty part of the book [In reply to] Can't Post

There is no conflict along the way to Helm's Deep. Since they decided to make the climax at Helm's Deep, this creates a large part of the primary plot of the movie which is essentially empty. The concept of the scene itself is actually good, in my honest opinion. "The armies Saruman send a force ahead to attack the refugees of Edoras". It's a better alternative to the rather anticlimatic attack in the book which fails, thus they decide to retreat regardless (leaving some people behind, which makes a sum total sense of zero). However it was a fight which needed to have some consequence. Obviously the pack still has to make their way to Helm's Deep in one piece, and we as an audience don't yet really care about the Rohirrim that much. Thus it has to fall on our main characters.

I'll admit that I have been unfairly defensive of this plot thread because I absolutely love the cinematography and visuals on it. Knowing that Aragorn stands as the sole witness to the sheer force of Isengard and succeeds through pure will is such a grand feeling!... But it's a cheap emotional tug. The sequence of events around it are rather contrived, and as vital as it was to explore Arwen's connection with him, it stretches itself way too far. As nice as it is to have this emotional toil focused on Eowyn for a while, it sort of falls apart when Aragorn (quite ceremoniously) reappears and continues to have the same conflict with her in the next movie. At least it is an arc, rather than just meandering.

So what could they have done to fix it? And no, the answer is not "Just do it like the book", because then we wouldn't have gotten any of the emotional stuff in between. Helm's Deep had to be TT's climax. The disconnect from Merry and Pippin had to be maintained, the action needed time to resolve itself, and most importantly the mysteries of the first movie which did not feature at all in TT had to be bookended. Like I said, I think the lead up to that scene was fine, and the idea of focusing a conflict around Aragorn and Theoden could have been accomplished by perhaps emphasizing their differences as it comes to leading a people in this sort of dangerous situation. I don't know, maybe Theoden orders a man to chase down a warg rider near the edge of the cliff and he ends up falling off. Then afterwards Aragorn could have his spiel about doing what is only necessary... Or something. I'm not a professional screenwriter!

But I understand the meaning of the scene and what it did for the movie. TTT is the weakest film for more than a few reasons, but it's not directly because of its differences from the books. Just think about these issues yourself and think if they really could have been solved by "fleshing out the world more".


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Jul 29 2012, 5:47am

Post #9 of 25 (368 views)
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Helm's Deep did not HAVE to be TTT's climax [In reply to] Can't Post

In fact, I think Helm's Deep did not need to be emphasized at all. As Tolkien once noted, you could cut it out of a film version without much harm to the story.

In fact, I think the major problem with TTT as a film is the absolutely massive amount of time we spend at the place...

The first half of TTT, at least in the EEs, is far, far superior to the second half, IMO. In fact, I often only watch the first disk of TTT, and don't bother with the overheated, bloated rest of it.


Radagast-Aiwendil
Gondor


Jul 29 2012, 10:45am

Post #10 of 25 (329 views)
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I agree to a certain extent [In reply to] Can't Post

I think that the scene itself (i.e. before the "death" plot device) was a nice addition. As has been mentioned earlier, the result of the scene (i.e. the reaction of Eowyn and others) was also good in terms of showing more to their characters. What I didn't like was the way that the "death" itself was handled. While I accept the reasons for which it was done, I am not fully convinced by the explanation given by the writers.

I would also agree that TTT is the weakest of the three films for several reasons (Inaccuracies to the text, Gandalf's lack of screen time, Faramir's portrayal etc), and that maybe these issues couldn't have been improved by directly "fleshing out the world" as you put it. On that subject, I do think that many changes made to these films were improvements (e.g. Saruman's death at Isengard).

"What do you mean, good morning? Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not, or that you feel good this morning, or that it is a morning to be good on?"-Gandalf the Grey, The Hobbit.

(This post was edited by Radagast-Aiwendil on Jul 29 2012, 10:48am)


geordie
Tol Eressea

Jul 29 2012, 12:07pm

Post #11 of 25 (323 views)
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No, it's not 'empty' [In reply to] Can't Post

- in the book, Theoden is leading an army to the Fords of Isen, to engage the enemy. They divert to Helm's Deep when they hear new intelligence on the way. In the book, Theoden has left the civilian population of Edoras under the leadership of Eowyn at the ancient stronghold of Dunharrow, which makes a lot more sense than a forced march of some 130 miles across open country, as in the movie!

As for Aragorn's death scene - it's been a while since I saw the 'making of' dvds, but didn't it come about because Vigo had taught his horse to lie down? I seem to remember something vaguely along those lines.

Tongue


GoodGuyA
Lorien

Jul 29 2012, 2:42pm

Post #12 of 25 (310 views)
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Replies [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
In fact, I think Helm's Deep did not need to be emphasized at all. As Tolkien once noted, you could cut it out of a film version without much harm to the story.

In fact, I think the major problem with TTT as a film is the absolutely massive amount of time we spend at the place...

I fail to see a viable alternative. Keep in mind that you cannot, absolutely cannot have Shelob's encounter in Two Towers. Not only for time purposes, but it would make the final movie the most boring thing you could ever possibly imagine. Whenever someone brings up the idea of "It should have been six films", I always have to bring this up. I've seen a fanedit cut of book six, and it's 40 min. Remember how people dreaded the finale of RotK? This would be even worse. Lot of talking and resolving things that really don't need resolving. Yes, you have the Scouring, but that takes about 10 min tops, and it interferes with the actual climax of the movie.

The reason the beginning of RotK is so good is because you get a breather between the films to digest the goings-on of the plot, then a great reintroduction to the characters. Also they cut out three chapters of nothing at Isengard. Don't get me wrong, The Voice of Saruman is one of my favorite chapters (and it was represented well in the EE), but too much of all that is just explaining crap that we've all ready seen or didn't need to be explained. If you ended with Pippin and Gandalf riding to Minas Tirith, you end up leaving Aragorn's story hanging and really not having a satisfying resolution after being reintroduced to characters for such a short time.

Maybe you see something I don't, but Helm's Deep seemed necessary to me. Not only does it represent the strength of men which both the text and the screen emphasize a great deal, but it gives the Rohirrim something to actually do instead of just talking about what great warriors they are. I agree that there was a bit of elongation that was unneeded. Cut the elves, ditch Legolas and Aragorn's pointless fighting (though that's far less egregious, in the long run). The problem is that the plot moves so quickly in succession in the books that's there's so little time to flesh out who the Fellowship is after the Breaking. That's what I thought TTT did right. They really delved into the characters. Some deviations received more strongly than others, but I think of them as great improvements by great actors.


In Reply To
- in the book, Theoden is leading an army to the Fords of Isen, to engage the enemy. They divert to Helm's Deep when they hear new intelligence on the way. In the book, Theoden has left the civilian population of Edoras under the leadership of Eowyn at the ancient stronghold of Dunharrow, which makes a lot more sense than a forced march of some 130 miles across open country, as in the movie!

"It's a better alternative to the rather anticlimatic attack in the book which fails, thus they decide to retreat regardless"

The journey to Helm's Deep is empty. And you know that leaving Eowyn at the Dunharrow would have been a bad idea, especially given that nothing actually happens there for the entire movie even if you used the whole book material. That's the problem with Eowyn in general, really. She's so important and yet so pointless.




In Reply To

As for Aragorn's death scene - it's been a while since I saw the 'making of' dvds, but didn't it come about because Vigo had taught his horse to lie down? I seem to remember something vaguely along those lines.

Tongue
He did! Far braver man than I. Not sure I would have been comfortable with a horse laying next to me.

(Bah. I hate this Quote system.)


Kristin Thompson
Rohan


Jul 29 2012, 2:50pm

Post #13 of 25 (321 views)
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I agree about the reasons for the change [In reply to] Can't Post

I can certainly see why Aragorn was promoted to co-protagonist, for the reasons you give. Ironically, though, I wonder if it was necessary. Given all the adulation that has poured forth for both Ian and Gandalf, I think the film could have been equally popular, even among people who hadn't read the books, if they had kept the wizard as the main figure in the war plotline. I noted with some surprise that the design for the Comic-Con Hobbit poster was a simple of image of Gandalf walking alone along a path in the Shire. Plus the first Empire cover for the film was Gandalf.

I'm certainly not entirely happy with the rationale for the "death" scene, since, as you say, there could have been other ways of conveying the same information and effects. But after hearing Philippa's reasoning, I'm more patient with that scene than I was at first.


geordie
Tol Eressea

Jul 29 2012, 3:04pm

Post #14 of 25 (288 views)
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Hum, I disagree .. [In reply to] Can't Post

- in reply to -

"The journey to Helm's Deep is empty. And you know that leaving Eowyn at the Dunharrow would have been a bad idea, especially given that nothing actually happens there for the entire movie even if you used the whole book material. That's the problem with Eowyn in general, really. She's so important and yet so pointless. "

Nothing that Tolkien wrote is empty, or pointless. These are his tales, honed over many years and he decided to tell them in his way. Take Eowyn for example - her role at Dunharrow was to be as lord to the Rohirrim (not Rohans, as pJ keeps calling them in the audio commentaries) --Tongue-- because she was brave and high-born, and all loved her. Eowyn's duty was to stay with her people, whether the king returned or not, and to lead them if the king died. She deserted that duty.

This sets up nicely for the Houses of Healing, many chapters later, when Gandalf tells Eomer a few home truths about his sister - born in a woman's body but with courage at least the match for his; trapped in a bower, a hutch to trammell some wild thing in. It's all good stuff; and stems from what we're reading in the Edoras chapters. The way Tolkien tells his story is subtle and unhurried, and repays attentive reading. His style isn't 'in-yer-face', and I like it for that reason.






GoodGuyA
Lorien

Jul 29 2012, 3:15pm

Post #15 of 25 (308 views)
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You have to draw the line somewhere with the adaptation [In reply to] Can't Post

Gandalf is popular because he represents someone utterly classic in literature. Basically every wizard in history has to stand up to Gandalf because he is so quintessential to the life of LotR. As a character though, he is not wholly interesting. Obviously he was a lot more interesting as the Grey since he had a sense of humor and was not completely sworn to his purpose. Halfway through the books, however, he goes through a character arc off page and we don't get to see him evolve to the end of the books.

Aragorn, in contrast, goes through a well-defined arc. He is more the character that we relate to, even though he is of noble heritage. His power also acts as a catalyst to many parts of the plot, rather than a response like Gandalf. We look to Gandalf as a powerful wizard who has the solution to everything wrapped up behind his mystery, but that's really not what he ever was. He was more of a diplomat; someone that knew more about Middle-Earth than we could imagine. He was there to help, but not to overstretch what was a part of him. Aragorn, however, goes above and beyond for the people he cares about. He risks life and limb on every adventure they undertake in the waning hope that he might be able to rally his people towards the greater cause. That is why Aragorn truly is the protagonist of Books 3 and 5. We know where his growth will lead to and we feel genuinely scared for him. Did you ever feel that frightened for Gandalf?


Kristin Thompson
Rohan


Jul 29 2012, 4:03pm

Post #16 of 25 (298 views)
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I fear we will have to agree to disagree [In reply to] Can't Post

Assuming we're talking about the book here and not the film, I don't see Aragorn as having any character arc. Not that I think he's not a good or sympathetic character, but I personally don't see character arcs as necessary to the "High and Perilous" figures in the book, like him and the bearers of the Three. The hobbits are the ones who have huge maturation processes, as do Legolas and Gimli in terms of learning about comradeship among races. But Aragorn has done all his maturing by the time we meet him. Much of that is described in the appendices rather than in the text proper. He has his set goal at the beginning, and he sticks to it.

I find Gandalf continuously interesting, which is rather remarkable, given that he is delegated to giving massive passages of exposition, ordinarily the kiss of death. But think of the palantir chapter, which is one of my favorites, despite the fact that it's two-third exposition. But seeing the unexpected friendship between Pippin and Gandalf develop is remarkable. And I don't think Gandalf's personality changes all that much as the White. (Again, we're talking the book; everything I'm saying here is pretty much the opposite in the film.) He's certainly still got a sense of humor, and he can be afraid (as the scene where Faramir tells of having met Frodo and Sam demonstrates).

But I can't argue all this here. In my book on the novels, I'll have a chapter each on Frodo and Gandalf as the protagonists, as well as a section explaining why neither Sam nor Aragorn is, as some people would claim, the protagonist of either plotline. Now I just have to finish writing it!


Magpie
Immortal


Jul 29 2012, 4:27pm

Post #17 of 25 (265 views)
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Using the Quote System [In reply to] Can't Post

(I will assume you are using Advanced Editor since the quote 'bug' isn't a factor in Basic Editor)

Clicking "Quote" instead of "Reply" is buggy. There are two ways to work around it.

Way 1 (which I used when I used Advanced Editor - I now use Chrome which only has Basic Editor):
  • Don't click "Quote". Instead, click "Reply".
  • Copy anything from the post you're replying to that you wish to quote
  • paste that into your reply window
  • hit enter a few times after this material that you've just pasted
  • highlight just those lines you want to quote (not the entered blank lines)
  • click the button on the tool bar that looks like quote marks
  • place and click your cursor to start writing in those blank lines you created

  • of course, you can vary the order of those tasks. You can copy, then hit reply, then paste, then write your response, then highlight quoted text and use the quote tool on it.

Way 2 - if you really want to quote the whole thing and find Way 1 too fussy...
  • Click "Quote"
  • find and click the button under your compose window that says, "Switch to Basic Editor"
  • in that new display, you'll see the code that creates the format.
  • at the end of your quoted material, you'll see >> /quote << put between square brackets
  • after this code command, hit enter a few times
  • switch back to Advanced Editor, place your cursor in those blank lines you created

It's just almost impossible to get your cursor to click *after* the command for the quote formatting (the code creating it being, of course, invisible in Advanced Editor) by hitting the "Quote" button first. You have to create those blank lines to give your cursor a place to land. I did say 'almost'. It is theoretically possible to click your cursor and get it to 'land' after the quote command (instead of inside it) and I have occasionally done it. But overall, it's way more vexing to try to do it than to resort to Way 1 or Way 2
It's worth noting that - that I don't think one needs to quote an entire person's post to make one's reply. For those of us reading threaded, it is very apparent who one is replying to. If one is reading in flat mode, and there is some confusion as toward whom the reply is intended, then one can click the link above all posts except the thread starter, original post 'in reply to'.

I will, if I am addressing a particular point or phrase or something, quote portions of a post. And, as I said, I would use Way 1 to do that. Now, I have to write the code myself but I don't like those lines above and below the quote formatting so I don't use the quote command much. I will just as often use the indent format and make it obvious I'm quoting someone. for example...
as GoodGuyA said:

(Bah. I hate this Quote system.)

There were lots of posts grumbling about this when the boards first started. I think most of us either adapted using the ways I've outlined. Or stopped quoting altogether!


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Escapist
Gondor

Jul 29 2012, 6:06pm

Post #18 of 25 (258 views)
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I think it also serves the purpose [In reply to] Can't Post

of elevating Arwen above Eowyn in romantic importance during a time when an audience might otherwise question Aragorn's choice or get confused about who the leading lady is in the story.

I think the same thing could have been achieved in more canon ways such as by showing her working on his kingly banner and what-not and conversing with him telepathically after he temporarily falls in battle (with less of a far fall and no appearance of having died) - there may be other ways to get the same effect without stretching canon as much. Although any change could potentially create issues with the canon inadvertently.


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Jul 29 2012, 6:09pm

Post #19 of 25 (289 views)
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I would say that there are three main protagonists in both books and film... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
In my opinion, in the book, there are two protagonists: Frodo is the protagonist of the Quest plotline, Gandalf is the protagonist of the War plotline. (Given your avatar and quotation, I suspect you won't argue with that!) I'll be talking about that in some detail in the book on Tolkien's novels that I'm working on.

But in the film, Frodo and Aragorn are clearly the protagonists. That means the writers had to change Aragorn, to bring him more prominently into the action, to play up his romance with Arwen, etc. His relationship with Brego, his horse, becomes more important than that of Gandalf to Shadowfax. He suggests the attack on the Black Gate to divert Sauron's attention from whatever might be happening within Mordor.



Frodo is the protagonist of the 'Ring" plotline. Aragorn is the main protagonist in the 'Rohan' subplot. And Gandalf is the protagonist of the 'Minas Tirith' plot.

After the Battle of the Pelennor Fields Aragorn and Gandalf partner up, but an interesting reversal takes place at the Black Gate. In Tolkien's The Return of the King, it is Gandalf who takes charge at the parley with the Mouth of Sauron; he rallies the others and dismisses Sauron's lackey. In Jackson's version, Gandalf seems to have lost some of his mojo after his staff is broken by the Witch-king. The news brought by the Mouth of Sauron almost sends him into dispair. It is Aragorn who takes the lead and (dramatically) breaks the spell by beheading Sauron's messenger. As serious this was as a breach of protocol, it was arguably necessary to rally Aragorn's companions.

"Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house." - Aragorn


Kristin Thompson
Rohan


Jul 29 2012, 6:52pm

Post #20 of 25 (282 views)
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I don't want to get into a protracted argument about this [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll just say that in my opinion there is no Rohan plotline, and I'm just talking about the novel here. The entire action once the Fellowship is related to the Quest and to the War of the Ring, which encompasses all the related battles (Erebor and Lothlorien as well as Rohan and Isengard). From the Council onward, Gandalf's strategy concerning the War is to 1) push Sauron into launching his war prematurely, 2) draw his attention away from Mordor so that Frodo and Sam can get to Mt. Doom, and 3) bring the various peoples of Middle-earth together in a concerted resistance to Sauron. Pretty much everything that the other characters do during the rest of the book in some way is calculated to further those ends. In at least three major scenes Aragorn defers to Gandalf as the leader, as does Elrond at the Council.

That's the basic position I'll be taking in my book, and I hope the evidence I'll be presenting there makes a plausible case for it.


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Jul 29 2012, 9:56pm

Post #21 of 25 (260 views)
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From the breaking of the Fellowship onward... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I'll just say that in my opinion there is no Rohan plotline, and I'm just talking about the novel here. The entire action once the Fellowship is related to the Quest and to the War of the Ring, which encompasses all the related battles (Erebor and Lothlorien as well as Rohan and Isengard). From the Council onward, Gandalf's strategy concerning the War is to 1) push Sauron into launching his war prematurely, 2) draw his attention away from Mordor so that Frodo and Sam can get to Mt. Doom, and 3) bring the various peoples of Middle-earth together in a concerted resistance to Sauron. Pretty much everything that the other characters do during the rest of the book in some way is calculated to further those ends. In at least three major scenes Aragorn defers to Gandalf as the leader, as does Elrond at the Council.



Part of your line-of-thought seems to be missing in your second sentence. Nevertheless, I would say that once the Fellowship is broken at Amon Hen, the narrative splits into three, distinct plot-threads: Frodo & Sam traveling to Mordor; Merry & Pippin as captives of the Orcs (and then guests of Treebeard); and, Aragorn, Gimli & Legolas persuing the Orcs then rejoining with Gandalf to save Rohan. The latter two threads recombine at Isengard, only to split again as Merry remains with Aragorn, Legolas & Gimli in Rohan and Pippin travels to Gondor with Gandalf. A fouth plot-thread is formed when Aragorn and the other two Hunters takes the Paths of the Dead.

Yes, the subplots are all connected by the goal of allowing Frodo and Sam a chance to destroy the Ring, but they are still quite distinct from one another. To say that it is all a part of Gandalf's strategy is facile and gives the Wizard too much credit.

"Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house." - Aragorn


GoodGuyA
Lorien

Jul 29 2012, 10:24pm

Post #22 of 25 (257 views)
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The Arwen stuff is tricky. [In reply to] Can't Post

Basically everyone that I've ever talked to, book reader or not, says that the Arwen plotline slows the movie down. And that's even when it has plot relevance. To have her literally doing nothing (working on a banner? Really?) would have just made the audience completely fall back in their seats. I personally like those scenes because of the elven aesthetic and the leaving Middle-Earth conflict, but it certainly gives the movie a different tone. It's difficult to make anything not within the path of the main heroes relevant though. Lots of people complained about no mention of the "Northern Conflicts", but that's exactly the reason why. Maybe her at Helm's Deep was the better way, but we'll never know (and I know most folks here wouldn't care to know ;) ).

PS: Thanks Magpie.


(This post was edited by GoodGuyA on Jul 29 2012, 10:24pm)


Escapist
Gondor

Jul 29 2012, 10:40pm

Post #23 of 25 (237 views)
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I agree that the Arwen stuff is tricky [In reply to] Can't Post

but with the banners, Aragorn's mission, aspirations, and hope could have been the focus instead of a near death experience.
No, it isn't quite as exciting, I agree. But I think the battle itself and the search for the hobbits might be enough to carry the main story forward without needing an extra punch about Arwen and immortality and the like.
But I don't think there is an easy or perfect solution out there that I have heard. Wink It's just one of those tricky things like you said.


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Jul 30 2012, 2:17am

Post #24 of 25 (249 views)
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The Arwen stuff in the films was mostly okay [In reply to] Can't Post

And gives the films a distinctly "non-traditional action film" feeling. I have also heard people complain, for pacing reasons, about these "jumps back to Rivendell," but I generally disagree with those people's opinions about films, and thus, don't care. Smile


Spaldron
Rivendell


Aug 4 2012, 3:51am

Post #25 of 25 (270 views)
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Aragorn had to see the Uruk-Hai army... [In reply to] Can't Post

... and therefore warn the people at Helms Deep so they could prepare for the attack. He also needed reuniting with Brego (which had been set up earlier).

To go further and to what has already been listed above, to provide Theoden some inner conflict about his leadership, an arc which would be ultimately paid off at Pelennor Fields.

I know some people have a problem with the Warg attack but I think it works perfectly in the context of the film.

"A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities."

 
 

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