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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
The look of the forbidden pool in Ithilien

Calenheniel
Bree


Jan 11 2013, 12:48am

Post #1 of 24 (958 views)
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The look of the forbidden pool in Ithilien Can't Post

This scene in TTT was such a shock to me when I first saw it in the theatres because - amazingly enough - the Art Design team on the films recreated the landscape of the forbidden pool, the cliff, and the moon and landscape in the background exactly as I had imagined it when I'd read the book earlier that same year (although I imagined Faramir approaching with his archers from the right instead of the left side). It also marks the only time I've EVER felt 100% that my own image of the book had been translated to the screen - not that it makes a lot of difference either way, but it was still a pretty unbelievable experience. Smile

Did anyone else feel likewise about this scene, or others in the series?

'I do not know what is happening. The reason of my waking mind tells me that great evil has befallen and we stand at the end of days. But my heart says nay; and all my limbs are light, and a hope and joy are come to me that no reason can deny. Eowyn, Eowyn, White Lady of Rohan, in this hour I do not believe that any darkness will endure!' And he stooped and kissed her brow.


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jan 11 2013, 9:46am

Post #2 of 24 (579 views)
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I admit that my Middle-earth was shaped by Alan Lee's paintings, [In reply to] Can't Post

so there were a lot of scenes where I had deja vu - most especially early in TTT when Gollum tried to get the Ring from the sleeping hobbits and ended up on the ground Sam in a vice-like grip, and Frodo hovering over him with his sword to Gollum's neck.

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 beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Kassandros
Rohan


Jan 11 2013, 3:01pm

Post #3 of 24 (544 views)
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I found it interesting that Christopher Tolkien cited John Howe and Alan Lee [In reply to] Can't Post

When rereading the interview with Christopher Tolkien, I was struck by his mentioning Alan Lee and John Howe by name in terms of his complaints of the movie's vision of Middle Earth supplanting that of the book's. I'd have thought he'd focus on Peter Jackson and the studios, not the art directors. Perhaps he feels uncomfortable with the vision of two artists supplanting everyone else's?

Hope this isn't too much of a tangent!

all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us...


ArdamŪrŽ
Valinor


Jan 11 2013, 3:21pm

Post #4 of 24 (501 views)
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Did he really? [In reply to] Can't Post

That incredibly weird to me considering they're two of the primary Tolkien artists. It's especially crazy because I know there are illustrated copies of The Hobbit, LOTR, and The Children of Hurin all by Alan Lee. You'd think if he didn't like them he'd not continue to use them. Unless I'm completely off base and he has no input in who illustrates the books. But I find that unlikely.

There's a sad sort of clanging from the clock in the hall and the bells in the steeple, too.
And up in the nursery an absurd little bird is popping out to say coo-coo (coo-coo, coo-coo).


Kassandros
Rohan


Jan 11 2013, 3:46pm

Post #5 of 24 (488 views)
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I suppose it's unclear [In reply to] Can't Post

Here's the quote:

"Rather quickly, however, the film's vision, conceived in New Zealand by well-known illustrators Alan Lee and John Howe, threatened to engulf the literary work. Their iconography inspires most of the video games and merchandising. Soon, by a contagious effect, the book itself became less of a source of inspiration for the authors of fantasy than the film, and then the games inspired by the film, and so on."

So it's not a Christopher Tolkien quote, but the interviewer talking about Christopher Tolkien's concerns.

all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us...


ArdamŪrŽ
Valinor


Jan 11 2013, 4:00pm

Post #6 of 24 (470 views)
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Ah well that is a little different [In reply to] Can't Post

It makes more sense. I actually understand the sentiment then. Basically anything middle-earth related now is based off of the movies. Not everything of course, but lots of it is. I understand being annoyed at that.

There's a sad sort of clanging from the clock in the hall and the bells in the steeple, too.
And up in the nursery an absurd little bird is popping out to say coo-coo (coo-coo, coo-coo).


Loresilme
Valinor


Jan 12 2013, 10:09pm

Post #7 of 24 (442 views)
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Ted Nasmith [In reply to] Can't Post

illustrated The Silmarillion, and both his biography from his website and the entry for him on Wikipedia give the indication that he worked with Christopher Tolkien. Since his illustrating relationship with the publishers (book, calendars) went on for quite a while, it must have been with Mr. Tolkien's approval, so perhaps it is Mr. Nasmith's vision of Middle-earth that he is most in accord with.

Mr. Nasmith was asked to participate in the films but declined for personal reasons.

However, in looking up information on him, I ran across this website (a fan site not affiliated with Nasmith) which compares several of his paintings and illustrations to scenes from the films, with the suggestion that his artwork was the basis for many of them.

There are some striking similarities. Which makes it interesting then that Mr. Tolkien would criticize the look of the films (not the films themselves, but the look of the films), if in fact many of the scenes were influenced heavily by an illustrator that he did (at least at one time) approve of.


Kassandros
Rohan


Jan 14 2013, 7:12pm

Post #8 of 24 (385 views)
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I'm not sure Christopher Tolkien is complaining about any one specific art style... [In reply to] Can't Post

As far as I can tell, his problem is that a single style has been so influential that it has taken over. I have a feeling that Christopher Tolkien might not have been happy even if it was Nasmith's style that was used for the film. I think Christopher Tolkien wants a diversity of art styles to flourish. That's how I interpret it, anyway.

That website is interesting. So many of those seem to be similar just because they're both based on the book. I think the website would be more persuasive if they compared the shots to work by other artists. If the different depictions are very different from each other and yet the movie always tends to use Nasmith's, I'd be more convinced by that. As is, not so much.

all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us...


Loresilme
Valinor


Jan 14 2013, 7:56pm

Post #9 of 24 (378 views)
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I'm not familiar with their entire body of work [In reply to] Can't Post

whether Nasmith, Howe or Lee. Just the more well-known pieces. The website author *seemed* to be so, mentioning several times not having seen those particular angles and interpretations in either Howe or Lee's work - but I would agree with you, it would have been better reporting if he had gone beyond that and included examples of their renderings of those scenes, to prove his point.


sador
Half-elven


Jan 14 2013, 9:35pm

Post #10 of 24 (441 views)
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The quote you brought indicates something deeper [In reply to] Can't Post

"The film's vision" cited here is not about Jackson, Lee or Howe, but rather about the subjugating of the book to the visuals. Middle-earth becomes less an imaginary landscape, varying with the different readers - with their perceptions and images of places and people evoked by the written word; it now has a concrete, unified vision which is an alternative point of reference. You might not like Ezpeleta, Horus Engels, Rankin/Bass or Cor Blok - but they provide fresh images, and different interpretations of Tolkien's work. But if you look at the Fan Art forum, you'll find many budding artists pracrticing in reproducing the Lee/Howe images. Some are really good at it - but all those clearly traded the book for the movies as a source of inspiration.

And it becomes even worse, seeing that JRRT himself drew and illustrated several scenes in his books; and the movies are hardly loyal to that vision. It might be an artistically imperfect vision - but hey, it was the author's! I can easily relate to Christopher Tolkien resenting Jackson and his team supplanting that vision. After all, he probably grew up with these visions, and knows them more intimately than anyone.

This might be an inevitable process; it surely is a sign of the films' success. But seeing a Richard Armitage-figurine being sold as Thorin must be unsettling for him.






 leniel Tindome
Bree


Jan 15 2013, 7:47pm

Post #11 of 24 (393 views)
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Like your point of view a lot, sador [In reply to] Can't Post

even worse are these hundreds of "Fan oder Fun Art" pictures, manga style, Thorin as a young "daddy", Kili &Fili Babies and so on... (of course completely based on the movie actors). Really cant stand this bs (sry, but its true).


sador
Half-elven


Jan 16 2013, 4:15am

Post #12 of 24 (430 views)
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Thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

But I did not mean those cringeworthy pieces you have referred to, for two reasons: both because I am blissfully unaware of those, but more importantly, because they are inevitable in a way: have you ever read a bit of slash-fic? The couple of stories I've encountered heavily draw on HoME; but I do not consider them a reason not to have published that series.

I was more concerned with the serious fan-art, which becomes heavily influenced by Jackson's world. Inevitable again, once they have become a common denominator of the fans' imagination; but Christopher Tolkien is bound to see, and regret, the impoverishment and narrowing of the horizons of budding fan-artists, and not be thankful for the addition source of inspiration.


weaver
Half-elven


Jan 16 2013, 11:32pm

Post #13 of 24 (326 views)
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what's interesting to me is how much I did not remember right! [In reply to] Can't Post

I had a much different image of the Grey Havens scene, for example -- I guess based on my own experiences of being by the water -- so when the films had that very golden touch to them, and that elaborate harbor, it did not match my mind-picture at all. And then I went back and read the chapter and found out that the movie was much closer to the actual description than the way I had pictured that moment for so many years.

I agree with you on the Faramir shot being very striking -- it looks like a painting until he moves, so it's almost eerie...dreamlike in impact. But I never had a clear image of that scene in my head.

The image of Gandalf knocking on Bilbo's door, now, that one I could have sworn was a bit of Tolkien art come to life, but I've never been able to find any artist's version that matched it perfectly. So in that case, I do think the films nailed an image that I had in my brain, pretty much exactly the way I had stored it there!

Weaver



weaver
Half-elven


Jan 16 2013, 11:37pm

Post #14 of 24 (326 views)
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thanks for that link... [In reply to] Can't Post

I remember seeing that once before...but it's been awhile, so I appreciate you digging it up and reposting it!

The thing about Naismith's art is that it always looked more like painting than illustration to me -- and so many of the film images, as we have often commented around here, have that same quality to them. So maybe that explains in part how close they feel to the film, even though he was not part of the artistic process.

I do think also that Jackson had all kinds of Tolkien artwork pinned to the wall while they were working on the films -- who knows, maybe some were Ted N's work, and they influenced him subconsciously?

In fairness, though, I'd say Naismith, Jackson, Lee and Howe all endeavored to picture what Tolkien wrote fairly accurately -- so it's not surprising in that way that they would come up with similar ways to depict the same scenes.

Weaver



Calenheniel
Bree


Jan 16 2013, 11:39pm

Post #15 of 24 (344 views)
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The Grey Havens also looked totally different in my head [In reply to] Can't Post

A bit more sombre than was portrayed in the film, I think.

'I do not know what is happening. The reason of my waking mind tells me that great evil has befallen and we stand at the end of days. But my heart says nay; and all my limbs are light, and a hope and joy are come to me that no reason can deny. Eowyn, Eowyn, White Lady of Rohan, in this hour I do not believe that any darkness will endure!' And he stooped and kissed her brow.


weaver
Half-elven


Jan 16 2013, 11:53pm

Post #16 of 24 (314 views)
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sombre is a good word... [In reply to] Can't Post

I guess it's the word "grey" that gives it that mental picture for me, well that and how darn sad it is.

It was more like the "golden" havens on screen, so I was surprised to find this was as true to the book imagery as it was!

Glad to know I'm not alone in having color-troubles with this scene...:)

Weaver



Loresilme
Valinor


Jan 17 2013, 12:15am

Post #17 of 24 (319 views)
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You're welcome! [In reply to] Can't Post

They each had their own style, but they all had such an amazing ability to imagine so clearly what was in Tolkien's descriptions and depict it with such accuracy, maybe there's a bit of all of them in there :-).


squire
Valinor


Jan 18 2013, 7:31am

Post #18 of 24 (342 views)
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Happy ending! [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the problem with the film's Grey Havens scene was that someone felt compelled to give it a "happy ending" feel. The cinematic ride off into the sunset is beyond cliche, and yet seems still to be a commercial necessity with "heroic" films. Thus the gold lighting in Jackson's version, which is not mentioned in the book at all:
Then Frodo kissed Merry and Pippin, and last of all Sam, and went aboard; and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew, and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth; and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore glimmered and was lost. ... But to Sam the evening deepened to darkness as he stood at the Haven; and as he looked at the grey sea he saw only a shadow on the waters that was soon lost in the West. There still he stood far into the night, hearing only the sigh and murmur of the waves on the shores of Middle-earth, and the sound of them sank deep into his heart. Beside him stood Merry and Pippin, and they were silent. (LotR, VI.9)
Imagine the scene ending with a grey mist deepening to night, the three hobbits standing by the water, only the sound of surf, and no musical score whatever in order to capture Tolkien's description of a deep, dark, meditative silence.



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'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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Kassandros
Rohan


Jan 18 2013, 3:35pm

Post #19 of 24 (309 views)
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Chills. [In reply to] Can't Post

I like your idea.

Easily my favorite part of RotK's denoument, and perhaps of the whole movie, was Frodo's narration about how some hurts never heal. Heartbreaking.

all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us...


 leniel Tindome
Bree


Jan 18 2013, 5:43pm

Post #20 of 24 (311 views)
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Great Idea [In reply to] Can't Post

i would even cry more during this scene. Would prefer your idea, its much more mystical.


FlyingSerkis
Rivendell


Jan 18 2013, 7:44pm

Post #21 of 24 (365 views)
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That passage gives me chills big time [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree that doing the scene like that would have been much more emotional and truer to the characters and to Tolkien. Heart

Then ManwŽ and Yavanna parted for that time, and Yavanna returned to AulŽ; and he was in his smithy, pouring molten metal into a mould. 'Eru is bountiful,' she said. 'Now let thy children beware! For there shall walk a power in the forests whose wrath they will arouse at their peril.'

'Nonetheless they will have need of wood,' said AulŽ, and he went on with his smith-work.


telain
Rohan

Jan 20 2013, 2:09pm

Post #22 of 24 (347 views)
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Late! Once again! [In reply to] Can't Post

(I bet you were wondering where I was in this discussion, sador -- stuck in the Reading Room! How I wish I had seen this post a year ago!)

For those of you wondering what the above comment is about, I recently wrote a thesis on mental imagery in text and film using none other than TheOneRing.net as a case study. No worries! I have no designs to hijack this thread, but I do, of course, find it interesting.

It is a common fear -- that visual images once released will "take over" a story. What I found was that people are able to integrate textual and filmic mental images (or reassert their own images) if the filmic or artistic versions are not compatible. Unfortunately it does take a bit of work...

It is very interesting to me that Tolkien disliked certain artistic renderings of faerie stories; he thought it limited the imagination (which is part of what you are saying here, sador). Yet, he did draw several scenes -- particularly landscapes and places. These things are harder to visualize through text, because they are often large and complex, and frequently our vocabularies don't do them justice.

I wonder, too, if it is the mass-marketness of the film industry that is more to blame. All the merchandise and advertising that is de rigueur for the blockbusters must be a particularly large and unwieldy double-edged sword. On the one hand, more people may be attracted to the books, on the other more people may be misinterpreting what they read or indeed privileging the film versions.

Personally, I think the films help in some ways -- especially for imagining those parts of the books I have trouble with. But I don't take the films wholesale -- I use them as a starting point and modify them to my satisfaction. Sometimes it is easy and Jackson et al have done well. Other times, well, not so well...


weaver
Half-elven


Jan 22 2013, 3:25am

Post #23 of 24 (275 views)
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They got the harbor right, and the ship style, and the direction and the time of day... [In reply to] Can't Post

In my mind, I never pictured an elaborate harbor or ship -- it was just all nighttime and sad and I never even had an image in my mind for the ship!

From the book version,.I missed the star glass, and the sound of the waves -- I do wish Sam and Merry and Pippin would have stuck around for awhile for the deep meditative silence, and the fall of night, but people already thought it was too long!

That said, I don't think it was a happy ending on screen or in the book..at least it makes me cry most of the time in either form. That little smile/nod that Frodo gives is a bit of comfort though, that the book does not provide.

Weaver



sador
Half-elven


Jan 27 2013, 10:03pm

Post #24 of 24 (441 views)
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At the present, I expect prompt responses from none... [In reply to] Can't Post

...lest they expect prompt answers from me!

Having finished with difficulty my part in a massive project, I breathed freely for a couple if days - only to be asked to step in for an emergency, as other components are way behind schedule. So between working like mad, supervising others who were similarly recruited, and familial duties - I had the time to skim through some posts while sipping my caffeine overdose, but never to post.
But I haven't forgotten you - nor NoWizardMe. I still intend to comment on both your excellent chapter discussions next week.

Regarding your post - I think this is a general issue regarding translations, whether to a different language or a different media. You ultimately lose more than you gain - the translation does help, not least by making the story accessible to new audiences; but there is so much that is inseparable from the original language, which is lost - and what's more, limits the audience by overwhelming it with the translators' views.

But I still contend that any truly profound story, should bear retelling in other media and languages; and if it is to have a lasting impact, it must be.
Whether any specific translation was well-crafted and successful is another question; but I get the impression that Christopher Tolkien was not concerned about the pros and cons of Jackson's films. On the contrary, once they are considered a success they become a real threat to the books, which are the true, undiluted expression of his father.

 
 

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