Commonplace Book, April, 2, 2011
Commonplace Book, April 3, 2011

Exception to the Rule

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It has been my philosophy throughout life, (well, one of my philosophies.  I seem to have an extraordinary amount of the things) to never compare a book with a film based upon it.

Especially an epic book.  One I have read and reread and love.

Of course there is an exception to every rule, and apparently, every philosophy.

I love Lord of the Rings.  I have read the trilogy aloud at least five times, and to myself countless.

So here it is....

~Problems I have with Lord Of The Ring films~

{Sacrilege to some perhaps- but tough noogies because the following is all perfectly true}.

First of, let me say that the casting was perfect,

the scenery and sets were superb.


#1-  Arwen simply did not have such a big role in the novels.

And she was not the one who snagged Frodo away from the Dark Riders, and fled with him to the ford and Rivendell.

She did marry Aragorn - and there are more details of their lives in the appendices.

And I realize that the girl who played her is really cute, in that elvish kinda way, (more great casting).  And that she's Steve Tyler's daughter, (though I'm certain this made no difference.  The woman looks like an elf!).

But her character was still blown way outta proportion.

#2-  Where was the poetry?  The music?  

The soundtrack was gorgeous; sweeping and beautiful.  But where was the simple music: the lilting, easy song of the Hobbits, the darker, fireside chants of the Dwarves?

 Where was the eulogy song which Aragorn, Gimli, & Legolas each took turns singing as Boromir's death ship floated slowly away?  (At one point in my life I actually had the entire thing memorized.  I feel certain I could pick it up again if I tried).

The poetry encompassed so much of that was beautiful and worth saving about the Shire, and indeed of all of Middle Earth.  I understand that the films were already long, but couldn't some of the poetry have been recited or sang in a voice over as events unfolded?  I think it would have increased the film's strength and truth.

 And I think Tolkein, no doubt watching from heaven, turned to his bud C.S. Lewis and said "Whyever did those blokes leave out my poetry?"


Though the singing of the elves as they left Middle Earth bound for the Grey Havens, with Sam & Frodo peeping through the trees, was truly haunting.


#3-  I love Cate Blanchett, but Galadriel was simply too creepy.

Of course Galadriel is a bit creepy -she's an elf, and not subject to human emotion. (Arwen seems an exception here).  And when she demonstrates to Frodo just how creepy she could become - were she transformed by the one ring into a beautiful, evil queen, it is supposed to be frightening.  But honestly I think she was just too creepy throughout.

Tolkein, I think, created a kinder, gentler Galadriel.  Perhaps beause he was a bit of a sexist (as I have heard some critics say); though probably to juxtapose the kind Gaaladiel she was, against the cruel Galadriel she could become, had she been weak enough to take the ring.

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4- Ok -  Saurman and Wormtongue simply did not die that way.

Watch the film.  Doesn't Saurman fall (or is pushed) out of his Tower window by Wormtongue during a scuffle following Wormtongue's stupidly chucking the palintar out of the window?  (An act which causes overly curious Pippen all sorts of trouble later on).

I believe the film shows Wormtongue stabbing Sauraman.  And I remember Legolas demonstrating yet more of his excellent elf bowmanship.

But Saurman & Wormtongue do not die this way, and this pushing out of the tower business does not occur in the novel.  (Though the tossing out of the palintar does.  Saurama gets majorly mad at Wormtounge).

Saurman and Wormtongue are left in their tower to be guarded by the Ents.  Naturally they escape.  And go on to create all sorts of horrible havoc back home in the Hobbit's beloved Shire.


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Which leads us to the final, and most glaring mishap of the film:

5-  Where was the Scouring of the Shire????

THIS is my major complaint.  

It is one of the best chapters in the trilogy, in that "end of the novel, satisfying, everything tied up nicely" sorta way.

I waited in vain for it at the theatre.

When the extended version of Return of the King came out on dvd, I scoured the index (the "new" scenes were asterisked) - also in vain.

What was Peter Jackson thinking ?  Did he run outta film or something?

Didn't anyone else notice this??

Maybe there was a big hoopla about it at the time and I missed it.

All I know is, I loved this chapter.  My kids loved this chapter.  It is the most out and out kick ass chapter in the entire novel.

You see:  Our band of weary Hobbits return home, to a Shire not entirely the way they had left it.  (Sam's visions in Galadirel's Mirror had been all too true).

Merry & Pippen are ginormous (for Hobbits) thanks to the Ent Water, and totally buff & battle hardened.

Sam comes back with an edge that would scare the pants off of anyone.

All three are incapable of intimidation; they're tough as nails.

And they smack the crap outta all the rotten, snively jerks who've torn down the hedgerows and laid waste to their beloved Shire.  

{And who, you may well ask, is the leader of said snively jerks:  Sauraman, with Wormtongue at his side.}

Our Hobbitses totally kick butt.

Wormtongue kills Saruman, the Hobbits kill Wormtounge

And they all live happily after.

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Which leads me to my point, (yes I do have one):

Everyone should read Lord of The Rings.

It is a trilogy, though I have read that Tolkein did not intend it as such.  To him it was one volume, one long tale; a saga.

But the publishers balked at that.  Too long, too expensive they said.  No one would buy it.

You should buy it. Read it aloud to yourself, to your significant other, especially to your children.  

And then watch the films.  They're wonderful and I love them.

{But once you read the books, you'll see I'm totally right about all of the above.}


~Spoiler Alert~



{And read the appendices. Sam marries Rosie and they have 13 children!}