Tom Shippey

Studies of the Written Tolkien Legacy: From Analysis, to Maps, to Philosophy and Ethics, to Philology
Post Reply
Iolanthe
Uinen
Posts: 2339
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 2:21 pm
Location: Washing my hair in the Sundering Sea

Post by Iolanthe » Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:26 pm

I agree that his statement is very strange. There is no deviation at all from Tolkien in Jackson's presentation of the invovement of all those he mentions. I'd love to know what his thinking was here :? .

The Zulu film you're trying to think of is called 'Zulu', Lindariel. One of my favourite films! I hadn't realised it had influenced Jackson's Helm's Deep but I can see it now you mention it. But in that film no help comes, they hold off the Zulu's all on their own until the Zulu losses were so great and they had impressed the enemy so much with their courage, that they saluted them and left (which is historically accurate - there were more Victoria Crosses awarded at Rorke's Drift that at any other engagement before or since). Small chance of the Uruk-hai doing that to the people at Helm's Deep!
Now let the song begin! Let us sing together
Of sun, stars, moon and mist, rain and cloudy weather...

Lindariel
Posts: 1062
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2005 8:30 pm
Location: The Hall of Fire, Imladris (otherwise known as Northern Virginia)

Post by Lindariel » Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:47 am

Thanks Iolanthe! I haven't seen the Zulu film. I'm only recalling what PJ said in one of the many DVD extras about how he took inspiration from this film for the Battle of Helm's Deep, and particularly for how the battle was started by a random misfired shot. He did specifically mention a small beleaguered force being unexpectedly swelled at the last minute by another small force as part of the concept. But it is possible he was referring to this as a common plot device of war movies; Zulu was the only movie he mentioned by name as I recall. He was REALLY keen on it!
Lindariel Image

“Therefore I say: Eä! Let these things Be! And I will send forth into the Void the Flame Imperishable, and it shall be at the heart of the World, and the World shall Be.”

Merry
Varda
Posts: 3263
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 7:01 am
Location: Middle-west

Post by Merry » Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:43 am

I remember watching 'Zulu' when I was young and loving it!

I'm not going to be as hard on Shippey as you two, although he certainly doesn't need me to defend him! I didn't particularly like the part in the movies where Mippin has to trick Treebeard into seeing the damage caused by Saruman: Treebeard would have known the situation in depth and the Ents were certainly capable of making up their minds on this alone. Having the Elves at Helm's Deep also took away from the theme that the time of the Elves as the action heroes of M-e was over and the Big Fade had been going on for a while. So PJ kind of sacrificed these themes in favor of hitting us over the head with the theme of a sort of racial unity. (To me, this rings kind of hollow when included in a movie that makes dwarf-tossing jokes, but that's just me!)

The thing I'm wondering about is Shippey's claim that this was to reel in Americans. I'm also wondering if the dwarf-tossing and escalation of violence and war, along with the stupid surf-boarding, etc., were put in for American audiences. Do European or Aussie/Kiwi audiences have different sensibilities in these kinds of things?
Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

Lindariel
Posts: 1062
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2005 8:30 pm
Location: The Hall of Fire, Imladris (otherwise known as Northern Virginia)

Post by Lindariel » Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:44 am

Merry, I don't think that stuff was put in to reel in American ADULTS. I firmly believe the purpose of most of that stuff was to lure in and thrill the all important 18-25 year-old (or younger) MALE demographic. It had very little to do with American politics or world-view and everything to do with hooking and thrilling teenage boys.
Lindariel Image

“Therefore I say: Eä! Let these things Be! And I will send forth into the Void the Flame Imperishable, and it shall be at the heart of the World, and the World shall Be.”

marbretherese
Posts: 765
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 1:42 pm
Location: Middle England
Contact:

Post by marbretherese » Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:44 pm

Lindariel wrote: It had very little to do with American politics or world-view and everything to do with hooking and thrilling teenage boys.
I'm sure that's true - it's certainly not just US audiences - and it worked as far as some of my younger friends here in the UK are concerned. I didn't like all that boy's own stuff at all, or the dwarf tossing stuff!
"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."


http://www.marbretherese.com
http://marbretherese.blogspot.com/

Chrissiejane
Posts: 91
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Scotland

Post by Chrissiejane » Tue Mar 02, 2010 8:56 am

I don't believe any of those devices were aimed at any particular demographic, either American or European. They are simply tried-and-tested cinematic devices to offer momentary relief to the building tension of the principle story-line of the scene - and, paradoxically, to increase that tension even further.
....her song released the sudden spring, like rising lark and falling rain, and melting water bubbling

Merry
Varda
Posts: 3263
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 7:01 am
Location: Middle-west

Post by Merry » Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:17 am

So do we want to choose another of Shippey's articles to read?
Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

marbretherese
Posts: 765
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 1:42 pm
Location: Middle England
Contact:

Post by marbretherese » Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:02 am

Yes, I'm happy to move on, did you have one in mind Merry?
"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."


http://www.marbretherese.com
http://marbretherese.blogspot.com/

Merry
Varda
Posts: 3263
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 7:01 am
Location: Middle-west

Post by Merry » Sun Mar 07, 2010 3:17 pm

Not yet. Do you?
Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

marbretherese
Posts: 765
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 1:42 pm
Location: Middle England
Contact:

Post by marbretherese » Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:17 pm

How about "A Fund of Wise Sayings: Proverbiality in Tolkien" ? it has a bit more general appeal than some of the others.
"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."


http://www.marbretherese.com
http://marbretherese.blogspot.com/

Merry
Varda
Posts: 3263
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 7:01 am
Location: Middle-west

Post by Merry » Mon Mar 08, 2010 5:35 am

Sounds good to me. How about everyone else?
Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

Merry
Varda
Posts: 3263
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 7:01 am
Location: Middle-west

Post by Merry » Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:06 am

Well, marbretherese, looks like it's you and me! When shall we start? :wink:
Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

marbretherese
Posts: 765
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 1:42 pm
Location: Middle England
Contact:

Post by marbretherese » Thu Mar 11, 2010 8:26 am

Merry, I cheated and re-read this chapter earlier in the week just in case, so we can start when you like :D The first comment I have to make is actually a confession: Shippey has a lot to say about how we take proverbs for granted, and I wondered when I started reading this chapter if that was true. Then it struck me that I'd totally missed the breadth and depth of the verse:

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.


I've always linked these lines to Aragorn, as intended in the story, but Ithey can be applied to the whole of creation. So Shippey was right - I hadn't seen the bigger picture and I've been taking them for granted myself. Which is kind of embarrassing :oops:

Let me know what you think when you've had a chance to read the essay again yourself . . .
"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."


http://www.marbretherese.com
http://marbretherese.blogspot.com/

Merry
Varda
Posts: 3263
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 7:01 am
Location: Middle-west

Post by Merry » Thu Mar 11, 2010 3:58 pm

Not cheating at all--I've already read it, too! I put a quote from the essay in the LOTR thread last night. But I'm going to be out of town this weekend, so maybe we can start officially on Monday.

Shippey is so attuned to meanings: leave it to him to notice the shift from the general to the specific in that verse. But I'm so accustomed to thinking of LOTR as an allegory for life that I have thought of the first part, anyway, as applying to all of us. Not all those who wonder are lost!
Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

marbretherese
Posts: 765
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 1:42 pm
Location: Middle England
Contact:

Post by marbretherese » Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:09 pm

Monday it is, Merry - enjoy your weekend!
"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."


http://www.marbretherese.com
http://marbretherese.blogspot.com/

Post Reply