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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Did PJ actually react to any criticism on AUJ?
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KW
The Shire

Jun 14 2013, 11:10pm

Post #51 of 54 (61 views)
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My ranking is ever changing.. [In reply to] Can't Post

When I said the movies have been a net loss I meant The Hobbit. My introduction to Lord of the Rings were the movies. At that time I would have ranked the LotR movie at the top, LotR books second, and The Hobbit third. Initially I felt the same way about the LotR books being a slog. Then I started doing a lot of hiking and enjoying certain things that came with being out in the woods like the sense of stillness and isolation, the shift in physical scale as you circuitously trace the landscape, chance discovery, and the way time kind of slows down. When I decided to reread the books I was surprised to have a sudden sense of recognition of this experience. A lot of the choices in pacing and exposition made more sense to me ( even as I still see how they are a turn off for many) and it provoked me to slow down and reassess what Tolkien was doing. In doing so I discovered a thematic richness and sophistication underlying the seemingly simple plot of good vs evil that has since made Tolkien a very compelling artist to me and the books shot up to the top of my list. Obviously Tolkien likes all the trappings that come with fantasy but he also strikes me as a guy with a keen creative intelligence who found in fantasy the perfect tool for expression. Rather than skimming over passages I am now more likely to pore over his books. I haven't watched the movies in years but I assume they would still hold up for me as a separate but enjoyable work. But in the end the tortoise won out over the hare.


bborchar
Rohan


Jun 15 2013, 12:20am

Post #52 of 54 (59 views)
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I don't mind stories that take time to develop... [In reply to] Can't Post

...but I mind it when they make constant pit stops. Tolkien's story, IMO, is best when the plot is developing. Does that mean the details aren't important? Not at all- but he tries to cram a history into a story that doesn't need it. It's like two different books sometimes. Another example is that is Les Miserables. The story is great when he keeps it going, but then it derails when he crams in whole unrelated chapters of history (seriously, there's a whole chapter devoted to the history of the sewers of Paris). It takes you out of the story.

Books that develop slowly and superbly end in huge payoffs because they wrap it all together and everything makes sense. A book series that I love is Master and Commander- and it consists of twenty+ books. There are many episodes, and some develop over a long time. It's also beautifully written, using nautical terms but never leaving you behind. An example of one book like that is the Count of Monte Cristo. For such a long book, the pace is brisk and the story ever evolving.

The book "Parade's End" (made up of 4 novellas) is probably the most rewarding book I've read. It's stream of consciousness writing, and goes back and forth a lot, between time and characters, and it uses a love triangle between three characters to illustrate the changing landscape of society in Britain in WWI. It's an emotional story, one that made me cry more than once, There's an excellent miniseries for it, although it doesn't cover the last book.

I'm also not a big "repeat" reader, or at least, more than twice. I prefer to read as many different things as I can.

I love the serenity


"Go on. Walk on. You must be destroyed."

"Good boy! That's the spirit! Bring my miserable line to an end. Up, up! Come, Scientist, destroy me! Destroy your creation! Come!"

~Frankenstein


KW
The Shire

Jun 15 2013, 3:24pm

Post #53 of 54 (42 views)
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I don't recall ever really having the pit stop problem myself.. [In reply to] Can't Post

but I'm going to go back to The Illiad as an example here to try to clarify what I was getting at. There's this infamous passage where Homer does a sort of role call, listing all the various Greek captains, where they are from, and how many ships they brought along with them to war. It goes on for pages and can be a real bore to the reader. The actor Denis O’Hare has been doing this one man show of the Iliad and I caught an interview where he talked about this passage. His take was that in Homer's day his audiences hailed from all these Greek cities and so the passage would have powerfully evoked this sense in them of the homeland off to war. But that effect is totally lost on modern readers who are coming from a different experience. And so when he does his version he substitutes the names of actual modern day towns and cities that his audience would know. You can hear his take here: https://soundcloud.com/onpointradio/denis-ohare-iliad-excerpt2/

What I'm saying is that metaphorically speaking with some of the stuff Tolkien does I feel more like that Greek audience. There are techniques and modes that he uses that are very successful for me in evoking specific things but for others they feel more like that modern reader trying to get through Homer's list. I think both are a valid reaction but I think the wording of my post framed it too much as a value judgement rather than a matter personal tastes and interests. There are things that Tolkien achieves thematically for me in some of these passages that more than make up for any plot weaknesses. And that accounts for my enjoyment of his books.


I've been meaning to read those O'Brian books, actually.


bborchar
Rohan


Jun 15 2013, 10:05pm

Post #54 of 54 (32 views)
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I've read The Illiad in English... [In reply to] Can't Post

...and the Aeneid in Latin (ugh) and English. I enjoyed those stories because I absolutely love Greek and Roman mythology. To me, Tolkien's LotR doesn't feel like mythology. It feels like an invented world that has its own mythology...but I'd rather read the two separately, instead of cramming the two together in some places that don't need it. Obviously, it's just my opinion, and yours is a very valid one, too- my husband is an avid reader of the books.

"Arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris Italiam, fato profugus, Laviniaque venit litora..."

"Arms, and the man I sing, the one who came, compelled by fate and exiled out of Troy, to Italy, and the Lavinian coast..."

Our teacher forced us to memorize the openings of both over 15 years ago, and I still remember perfectly, lol.


"Go on. Walk on. You must be destroyed."

"Good boy! That's the spirit! Bring my miserable line to an end. Up, up! Come, Scientist, destroy me! Destroy your creation! Come!"

~Frankenstein


(This post was edited by bborchar on Jun 15 2013, 10:06pm)

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