LOTR: Book vs Movie Interpretations

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Riv Res
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LOTR: Book vs Movie Interpretations

Postby Riv Res » Tue Mar 04, 2014 9:59 pm

I haven't the dimmest Idea where to put this topic and question, so I take the liberty of opening a new thread for it. No one will break my heart or frost my cookies if they find a place that already exists where we can discuss it and we can delete this new thread in that case.

In the new thread where we are discussing The Appendices to LOTR, we have started a conversation that is ultimately about how women are treated by Tolkien in his writings. This led me to think about Arwen and Aragorn. I was looking up several writings ... new essays and theses that deal with their relationship and I was struck by something that I found disturbing. In every single one of these papers/writings a point is made (strongly in most cases) that Arwen was the cause of siginificant strife and animosity between Elrond and Aragorn ... that it caused a permanent rift between them. I must say that I completely disagree with this premise and in each case I feel strongly that the writers have been unduly influenced by the way this is portrayed in Peter Jackson's films.

There is no doubt in my mind that it was Tolkien's desire to show how both Elrond and Aragorn agonized over the choice that Arwen would have to make someday whether she stayed in Middle-earth with Aragorn or sailed to the West with her father ... BUT ... I do not believe that Tolkien wrote this point of contention as permanently dissolving the bond between Aragorn and Elrond. Even PJ did not take it that far, yet these writers (without mentioning the films at all) all make it seem that the romance ended the relationship between the two.

Tolkien writes that Elrond was steadfast in that Aragorn must re-establish his kingdom and his kingship before he would agree to the union. Tolkien, indeed, has Elrond state, "And now a shadow lies between us." But, he still calls Aragorn, "my son" and Tolkien writes ... "Then Aragorn took leave lovingly of Elrond ... ". There, of course, is none of this in PJ's films to a point where the opposite is depicted, far more forcefully.

My point for discussion is ... have we/they/writers/Tolkien scholars succeeded in blending film and book on this point? Have these writers been overly influenced by the films' portrayal of this relationship and lost Tolkien's true intent that although the love between Aragorn and Arwen was fraught with heartache and difficulty, the relationship between Elrond and Aragorn remained respectful and loving?
If you read a few of these essays ... you would not think so. (I Googled women in Tolkien)

What say you? :wink:
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Merry
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Re: LOTR: Book vs Movie Interpretations

Postby Merry » Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:20 am

I like frosted cookies! :D

I think you're right that people confuse the books and the movies. I find myself doing that. (:-X I also agree that there is no basis in the books for the interpretation that you have found so widely. The overall context of this is that the time of the Elves was ending and that no matter what happened to the One Ring, there was going to be loss for the Three Ringholders. Elrond would rather give up his Ring and his daughter than to submit to Sauron.

Ultimately, though, and this is cool, Elrond seems to think that this is Arwen's decision. What a novel idea! I think everyone knew that if Sauron were victorious, there would be no point in Arwen and Aragorn marrying in that evil world. Even Aragorn would want to see Arwen pass over sea if that happened. So Elrond's condition that Aragorn win the kingship wasn't an arbitrary one, but one that just made sense. Arwen knew that Aragorn would need to be king in order to marry her.

Anyway, I don't find in the books any sense that Elrond resented Aragorn at all. Arwen's choice was a sad one for Elrond, but not all sadness is evil! It's not like Arwen is some kind of Yoko Ono, breaking up the band! :roll:
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Lindariel
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Re: LOTR: Book vs Movie Interpretations

Postby Lindariel » Wed Mar 05, 2014 3:06 pm

Ladies, I absolutely concur. One of the many things I disliked about PJ's version of LOTR is his misrepresentation of the relationship between Elrond, Aragorn, and Arwen. Elrond loved -- LOVED -- Aragorn as a son, and this love for him did NOT change. The "shadow" that falls between them is Elrond's grief over losing his daughter to mortality, but that never changed the love and respect between Elrond and Aragorn.

Sigh . . . honestly, people who write essays on Tolkien need to take the time and care to discriminate between the world Tolkien created, and the very different version of that world that Peter Jackson depicted in his films. Perhaps filmmakers who produce films that have been adapted from other sources should take care to title their films "So-and-So's Film -- based on the novel/play/story by Author." It might help remind folks that very often the movie and source material diverge in important ways.

Heh, as an aside, this reminds me of Francis Ford Coppola's movie "Bram Stoker's Dracula," starring Gary Oldman and Wynonna Ryder. Coppola actually had the nerve to title the movie "Bram Stoker's Dracula," and then make truly DRASTIC changes to the plot of Stoker's book, giving Dracula an entire back story that never existed in Stoker's original creation. That movie DEFINITELY should have been called "Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula -- VERY loosely based on the novel by Bram Stoker."
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Riv Res
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Re: LOTR: Book vs Movie Interpretations

Postby Riv Res » Wed Mar 05, 2014 7:35 pm

Lindariel wrote: Elrond loved -- LOVED -- Aragorn as a son, and this love for him did NOT change. The "shadow" that falls between them is Elrond's grief over losing his daughter to mortality, but that never changed the love and respect between Elrond and Aragorn.


Lindariel, I am so glad it is not just me that feels this way. It is a part of the story that I find very endearing. LOL ... I was beginning to think it was just the romantic in me though. :roll: :lol: :wink:
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Merry
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Re: LOTR: Book vs Movie Interpretations

Postby Merry » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:08 pm

Here's something else that differs between books and movies: look at the timeline in the Appendices. Frodo is older than Boromir. I can see why PJ made the hobbits younger, I guess, but they were not boys. Pippin, if I remember correctly, was the only one not to have reached the age of full maturity, which was 33. (Interesting number for that, don't you think?)
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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
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Riv Res
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Re: LOTR: Book vs Movie Interpretations

Postby Riv Res » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:24 pm

That is not the only timeline that PJ played with. :roll: He has made a mess of the Dwarf timeline in The Hobbit, to be sure. I used to think that PJ was pressing his luck and including material from several other Tolkien writings to enhance his films, but I now think that I am wrong. Starting to re-read The Appendices (which he has the film rights to), I have rediscovered what a treasure trove of Tolkien lore they are. A blessing and a curse all at once. :wink:
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Re: LOTR: Book vs Movie Interpretations

Postby Philipa » Thu Mar 06, 2014 1:11 pm

Michka responded to this thread over on VW, so I've taken the liberty of translating her post (btw Michka, use this free translator as it seems to work well) and moving it here.

I am in the mountains, on the computer of my children, and I acceded to the Middle Earth but cannot answer it, also i past by the latter to say that I agree with actively the ideas exposed, absolutely in agreement with the points of view of Merry, Lindariel and Riv Res on the ties of mutual affection between Elrond and Aragorn, and the shared love of Arwen for his father and his beloved monarch, the choice that she made, the condition imposed by Elrond, and the result written by the author, well thought out, well developed. Peter Jakson adds a lot of fancy things and removes as much, it does not respect the writing of Tolkien to the letter, it includes of course, that the theater must be a little different for reasons of images more "meaningful", and commercial! But as you say all: the title of the film should contain an explanation: "based on" . And for the adventures of the Hobbit , it is worse!!!thank you for your impressions relevant , i think as you
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Re: LOTR: Book vs Movie Interpretations

Postby Merry » Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:31 pm

'The Two Towers' is on TV now; even though I own the DVD, it's always kind of fun to watch it on TV for a while!

Since I've criticized PJ a lot recently, I'll give him this: one of my favorite lines from the movies is when Faramir asks Sam if he is Frodo's bodyguard, and he answers with a lot of attitude that he is a gardener! I think Tolkien would have enjoyed this. :clapping:
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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.

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Re: LOTR: Book vs Movie Interpretations

Postby Merry » Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:38 am

TOR.n called our attention this week to an audiotape of a lecture by Tom Shippey given at Swarthmore comparing the book with the movies:

http://www.swarthmore.edu/news-events/tolkien-book-to-jackson-script-medium-and-message

It's fifty minutes long, so get yourself comfortable! But if you haven't heard Shippey lecture before, get ready for a treat. I don't know if anyone knows Tolkien better, yet he has appreciation for the movies as well. It is quite enjoyable. :clapping:
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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
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Re: LOTR: Book vs Movie Interpretations

Postby MICHKA » Mon Jul 21, 2014 9:30 pm

Comme je ne comprends pas la langue anglaise, je n'ai pas le plaisir de pouvoir écouter la conférence du Dr Shippey(? c'est cela?) #-o ce serait super sympa d'avoir la transcription, car avec coogle j'aurai la traduction en français et j'avoue que le sujet m'intéresse beaucoup: avis aux amateurs courageux (:-o< (:-o<
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Re: LOTR: Book vs Movie Interpretations

Postby Merry » Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:47 pm

It would be nice to have a transcription, Michka, even for those of us who can understand English! It is a treasure. Maybe we need one of those court reporters who can type really fast!
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Re: LOTR: Book vs Movie Interpretations

Postby Merry » Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:14 pm

I was short on time yesterday, but today I thought I could tell you at least one idea from Shippey's lecture. I remember it because he wrote about it in one of his books: this is the idea of what he calls 'interlacing'. In the books, Tolkien interlaces different plot structures. So, after the Fellowship separates, we follow one or the other group for quite a while, not knowing what the other group is doing. This is effective because the characters in the books also do not know what the others are doing. They have to make decisions based on what they think is best at the time, not knowing for sure how effective their actions are going to be in terms of accomplishing their goal. Maybe the best example of this is Aragorn's decision to try to rescue Merry and Pippin from the orcs. In terms of their goal of destroying the Ring, this may not have seemed like the best decision, Mippin being relatively unimportant in the scheme of things. But Aragorn knows that no one else is going to rescue them and follows his intuition. As it turns out, if he had not followed them, he would not have run into Gandalf, who would not have told him to go to heal Théoden, and things might have been entirely different in the battle of the Pelennor, etc., etc. And if Mippin had died, they would not have met up with Treebeard, the Ents wouldn't have destroyed Isengard, and things might have been quite different. So this interlacing plot device serves to heighten tension, but it also gives the characters a chance to display their faith in their own decision-making, in each other, and in Fate.

Shippey notes that this structure is largely absent from the movies, where we pretty much follow the action in the present moment. He leaves us with the question of whether this is more or less effective.
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Re: LOTR: Book vs Movie Interpretations

Postby MICHKA » Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:12 am

C'est évidemment très bien imaginé, nous ne doutons pas de l'ingéniosité de Tolkien qui a vraiment pensé tout ce qu'il a écrit, prémédité les épisodes non seulement pour lui-même et le déroulement de l'histoire mais pour le lecteur également, le laissant dans l'incertitude de la suite, c'est très intelligent d'entretenir le mystère, le suspense de cette façon. Trop d'auteurs donnent le dénouement dès les premiers chapitres, ce qu'on dit chez nous: un roman cousu de fil blanc! j'avoue que j'aime toujours autant revenir à la narration originale de LOTR entre deux visionnements des films( je ne me lasse pas!!)merci pour le résumé proposé, c'est extrêmement intéressant de confronter les points de vue et analyses des écrivains ou scénaristes, enrichissant, même!
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Re: LOTR: Book vs Movie Interpretations

Postby Merry » Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:27 pm

I agree that the books are more effective than the movies in this regard. Because the moviemakers didn't use this method, I guess they felt they had to use other ways to build in tension, ones that were less authentic, in my opinion.

Shippey's lecture is not all critical of the films. Some of the deviations from the books, he thinks, are quite successful. I remember he talked about the 'love triangle'--Aragorn, Arwen, Eowyn--and how that device seems to be successful in films.
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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.


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