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General Tolkien Discussion (books, movies & TV)

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Split off from the Hobbit thread (which is still the place for discussing the Jackson movies of The Hobbit) :

We don't seem to have a Lord of the Rings thread, so I just took this here:

On 9/16/2014 at 10:58 PM, Arcadia said:

Many of the Faramir scenes made me cringe, he's my favorite character in the book and they really changed him for the movie. *sigh*

 

On 9/16/2014 at 11:11 PM, Carol the Dabbler said:

Oh dear, I really like Faramir in the movies.  Don't tell me I'm gonna be disappointed when I get to that part of the books?  :(

 

What is it with women and Faramir (or Aragorn, for that matter)? I think he's pretty boring, in book or film. I prefer Boromir, to he be honest (especially as played by Sean Bean...). More believable. More flawed. More human.

I guess the "proper heroes" just aren't my thing. I need my heroic characters to have something - well, I don't know. Like, Frodo and Bilbo are okay because they are Hobbits. Hobbits are pretty unheroic by nature, so that's fine. Or Gandalf is okay because he's really old, and besides, he's funny and wise and nobody's love interest (that's often a bonus for me, somehow). Faramir is just way too perfect for my taste. He's not even affected by the stupid ring! Come on!

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I usually like the flawed heroes better than the completely good ones too but in this case I really like both Faramir and Aragorn and don't like Boromir. I don't even know why. And by the way I don't like Frodo (I know I'm the only one here) even though he is one of the flawed heroes. I think he's pretty stupid sometimes and his relationship with Sam is too sappy for my taste. Fortunately there are many other characters that allow me to enjoy the films/books.

 

And Carol, I loved Faramir in the films but he was even better in the books :)

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Oh, good -- I won't dread meeting Faramir then!  I have read the books a few times already, but they seem to be making more of an impression this time.

 

You're not the only one who's not totally keen on Frodo.  Actually, the whole LotR movie trilogy was a tad too epic and ethereal for my taste, and Frodo was kinda part of that.  I like him better in the books (so far, they're just leaving Lorien), and I love Sam, but Bilbo is still my favorite Tolkien character (and always has been -- even before Martin Freeman was cast, which utterly delighted me).  I also like Aragorn quite a bit.

 

I know exactly why I don't care for Boromir -- he's a jerk!  That opinion is based primarily on the movies, where I'm pretty sure I was supposed to be leery of him, but he's not coming across all that well in the books either.  Too easily influenced by the Ring, apparently, even at a distance.  Whereas Faramir (judging strictly by the movies) somehow manages to be both noble and sweet without making me gag -- I think that's because his nobility and sweetness seem so natural and intrinsic, rather than just something that he does.

 

I like flawed heroes too, but in my opinion, the character needs to be basically strong and admirable and at least a bit likable, despite the flaws.  Boromir doesn't strike me as any of that, just weak and opportunistic.  I will grant that he has good intentions, but that's about it.  I don't even like him when he goes all good-guy at the end -- kinda like hey, why should I believe you now?

 

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Oh, good -- I won't dread meeting Faramir then!  I have read the books a few times already, but they seem to be making more of an impression this time.

 

You're not the only one who's not totally keen on Frodo.  Actually, the whole LotR movie trilogy was a tad too epic and ethereal for my taste, and Frodo was kinda part of that.  I like him better in the books (so far, they're just leaving Lorien)...

 

 

I saw the films first so I thought that the reason I didn't like Frodo might have been the actor's or director's fault and that I would like him better in the books. But no. He seemed exactly the same to me. At least I can appreciate Elijah Wood's performance now but that doesn't make me like the character.

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I won't say I don't like Frodo, but he is not one of the more accessible characters. And he's not meant to be, he's Tolkien's version of the flawed hero; attempting a feat he knows to be beyond his strength, yet carrying on anyway, to death and failure, because the alternative is to succumb to the dark. As he does in the end anyway. You're meant to pity him, and respect him, but not necessarily like him. He's too far above us, at least by the end.

 

I think I adore Faramir because he's one of the few people in the book who IS more like us. The elves, half-elves, wizards, dwarves and hobbits are gone, folks, swallowed up by the age of Man. Faramir represents the best Man has to offer in a darkening world. Most of the other characters are too far beyond us; they represent a past that we can never, ever retrieve. The best that we can hope is that a respect for the magic of that time will live on; thus, Faramir. But it's Eomer who's held up as the example of what Tolkien thinks most "good men" are like in the new age.

 

And now you know I have spent wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too much time studying Tolkien.................. but I'll leave someone else to insert the religious connections. :D

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I'll just add: Us not really taking to Frodo was intentional on Tolkien's part .... one of his themes was that we tend to overlook those who serve. We tend to be attracted to the brightest, the boldest, the bravest -- the Gandalfs and the Aragorns and the Sams -- while the dull little ants who make our world possible trudge on unnoticed in the shadows. I find that a very astute and moving observation on Tolkien's part, apparently influenced by his experiences in the trenches in WWI.

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I won't say I don't like Frodo, but he is not one of the more accessible characters. And he's not meant to be, he's Tolkien's version of the flawed hero; attempting a feat he knows to be beyond his strength, yet carrying on anyway, to death and failure, because the alternative is to succumb to the dark. As he does in the end anyway. You're meant to pity him, and respect him, but not necessarily like him. He's too far above us, at least by the end.

 

Well, I love Frodo, and I think Elijah Wood was a perfect casting choice. I think the character is accessible enough. He's easy to love and feel for and pity and admire and want to protect. I missed Frodo's sad blue eyes very much when watching the new Hobbit films. Frodo and Sam were actually the only ones I could truly relate to. And Boromir, because he's so human. Yeah, he's a total jerk, but that's what humans are like, and he's the rare character in Lord of the Rings who is neither good nor one of the bad guys. He's just average.

 

The friendship between Frodo and Sam is one of my favorite relationships in fiction. Yeah, I guess I was sold on "bromances" long before Sherlock...

 

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 I missed Frodo's sad blue eyes very much when watching the new Hobbit films. 

 

 

That's something I definitely didn't miss  :D

 

I know Frodo's role was very important and I love the idea of a little almost unnoticeble character that saves the world from darkness and I sometimes even pity him but still... I wish Sam hadn't saved him from the Orcs and had thrown the ring into the lava himself  :P

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Actually, I believe something like that was Tolkien's original plan, but he turned out to be a big ol' softie and couldn't bring himself to do it.

 

But it was always Smeagol's fate to fall into the lava, evidently. Something about his greed and selfishness proving to be his undoing - and Middle Earth's salvation - in the end. Go figure! :smile:

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Well, I love Frodo, and I think Elijah Wood was a perfect casting choice. I think the character is accessible enough. He's easy to love and feel for and pity and admire and want to protect. I missed Frodo's sad blue eyes very much when watching the new Hobbit films. Frodo and Sam were actually the only ones I could truly relate to. And Boromir, because he's so human. Yeah, he's a total jerk, but that's what humans are like, and he's the rare character in Lord of the Rings who is neither good nor one of the bad guys. He's just average.

 

The friendship between Frodo and Sam is one of my favorite relationships in fiction. Yeah, I guess I was sold on "bromances" long before Sherlock...

Well, I do too, actually, but he was more ethereal and harder to grasp in the books. And when it comes down to it, I love Bilbo and Sam more. Sam's a miracle.

 

To heck with the blue eyes, it's that Elijah Wood smile that just made me melt. Especially the last time we see him, before Frodo turns away from the world. *sniff!*

 

I neither love nor hate Boromir, I just find him tragic. So much good betrayed by a shortsighted desire for power. There's a metaphor for our age, if you like. His was the best character study. Well, him and Sam.

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To heck with the blue eyes, it's that Elijah Wood smile that just made me melt. Especially the last time we see him, before Frodo turns away from the world. *sniff!*

 

You mean this?

 

Frodo_havens2.jpg

 

 

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Er, I suspect so, but all I'm seeing is a message from Arwen Undomiel that "hotlinking has been disabled". And I didn't even realize she was a site admin. :P

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Me too.  Could you post a regular link, T.o.b.y?

 

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Never mind, I finally got one to copy to my site. Here's the smile I'm referring to .... awwwww, who couldn't love this....?

vRJAJM4.jpg

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The biggest surprise to me was how young they made Frodo in the movie. But Mr. Wood was a good choice, it worked. And in the book, Frodo was supposed to look younger than he was, so I can go with the flow.

 

Really, the only casting choice I really didn't like at all was Denethor. Way, way off base, imo. Denethor a noble but flawed figure, in the movie he was just a jerk. Ook.

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I think I adore Faramir because he's one of the few people in the book who IS more like us. The elves, half-elves, wizards, dwarves and hobbits are gone, folks, swallowed up by the age of Man. Faramir represents the best Man has to offer in a darkening world. Most of the other characters are too far beyond us; they represent a past that we can never, ever retrieve. The best that we can hope is that a respect for the magic of that time will live on; thus, Faramir.

I think you've put your finger on the main thing I don't care for in LotR -- the idea that the elves and part-elves are somehow intrinsically more admirable than the mere humans and hobbits (and far more admirable than those greedy dwarves). While there are obviously differences between any two cultures, I resent the implication that I am supposed to bow down to anyone merely because of who their ancestors were, even if they were elves or kings.

 

I'll just add: Us not really taking to Frodo was intentional on Tolkien's part .... one of his themes was that we tend to overlook those who serve. We tend to be attracted to the brightest, the boldest, the bravest -- the Gandalfs and the Aragorns and the Sams -- while the dull little ants who make our world possible trudge on unnoticed in the shadows. I find that a very astute and moving observation on Tolkien's part, apparently influenced by his experiences in the trenches in WWI.

I agree that it's a very astute observation. Just not sure that it makes a terribly compelling story.

 

Frodo and Sam were actually the only ones I could truly relate to. And Boromir, because he's so human. Yeah, he's a total jerk, but that's what humans are like, and he's the rare character in Lord of the Rings who is neither good nor one of the bad guys. He's just average.

I agree that Boromir is neither good nor truly evil -- but if he represents the average human, then Heaven help us all! 

 

I know Frodo's role was very important and I love the idea of a little almost unnoticeble character that saves the world from darkness and I sometimes even pity him but still... I wish Sam hadn't saved him from the Orcs and had thrown the ring into the lava himself  :P

Now that last bit is just a tad harsh!  :P 

 

Really, the only casting choice I really didn't like at all was Denethor. Way, way off base, imo. Denethor a noble but flawed figure, in the movie he was just a jerk. Ook.

I suspect that was more the script than the casting, though I do agree that the actor portrayed a very convincing self-absorbed monomaniac. Perhaps Jackson felt that they didn't have time to do justice to Denethor as a noble but flawed figure (since he wasn't one of the main characters), so they painted him with broader strokes.

 

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I think you've put your finger on the main thing I don't care for in LotR -- the idea that the elves and part-elves are somehow intrinsically more admirable than the mere humans and hobbits (and far more admirable than those greedy dwarves). While there are obviously differences between any two cultures, I resent the implication that I am supposed to bow down to anyone merely because of who their ancestors were, even if they were elves or kings.

:cry: Waaaaa! :cry: That's what I love about it! Not that we're supposed to bow down to them, but that they give us hope that humans can do better than we do. In case you haven't figured it out by now, :D I am a romantically unrealistic idealist!!!!

 

Anyway, the bowing indicates respect for wisdom, not an acknowledgement of superiority. The elves aren't intrinsically better because they are elves; they are wiser, because they never Fell. They rejected the apple, so to speak. It's all tied up with Tolkien's theology, I wouldn't presume to try and describe it better than that, not being of that persuasion myself. But I love the idea that we can be better than we are.

 

I'll just add: Us not really taking to Frodo was intentional on Tolkien's part .... one of his themes was that we tend to overlook those who serve. We tend to be attracted to the brightest, the boldest, the bravest -- the Gandalfs and the Aragorns and the Sams -- while the dull little ants who make our world possible trudge on unnoticed in the shadows. I find that a very astute and moving observation on Tolkien's part, apparently influenced by his experiences in the trenches in WWI.

I agree that it's a very astute observation. Just not sure that it makes a terribly compelling story.

 

Oooo, sacrilege! That IS the story. Well, most of it. But I agree, I have a much harder time reading the Trudging Hobbits-in-Hell chapters than I do the Valiant Knights-at-War chapters. I often skip bits. If it weren't for the respite in Ithilien with Faramir I don't know if I could ever get through Book 4. But Tolkien sure drives his point home, doesn't he? I don't get as absorbed in Frodo's journey, he's not really the heroic type and it's all so .... grim. But without him the rest of us are doomed. Love it, love it, love it.

 

On the other hand, my brother only liked the Frodo parts, he thought the battle parts were a snore. But he had a far more spiritual bent than I. I like some flash and bang spicing up my sermons. :smile:

 

 

Really, the only casting choice I really didn't like at all was Denethor. Way, way off base, imo. Denethor a noble but flawed figure, in the movie he was just a jerk. Ook.

I suspect that was more the script than the casting, though I do agree that the actor portrayed a very convincing self-absorbed monomaniac. Perhaps Jackson felt that they didn't have time to do justice to Denethor as a noble but flawed figure (since he wasn't one of the main characters), so they painted him with broader strokes.

 

Jackson said (in the commentaries, I think) he was going for a Shakespearean-type character, which would have horrified Tolkien; he very much disliked Shakespeare. His influences were much older and less psychology-driven than Jackson's version would have you believe. I loved Jackson's take on the lure of the Ring being like an addiction, though, I thought that was a spot-on analogy.

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Anyway, the bowing indicates respect for wisdom, not an acknowledgement of superiority. The elves aren't intrinsically better because they are elves; they are wiser, because they never Fell. They rejected the apple, so to speak. It's all tied up with Tolkien's theology, I wouldn't presume to try and describe it better than that, not being of that persuasion myself. But I love the idea that we can be better than we are.

Not following that last bit -- if the elves are wiser because of what their ancestors did or did not do, how does that imply that we non-elves can be better? Wouldn't we have to set our WABAC Machine for the Garden of Eden, as it were?

 

Oooo, sacrilege! That IS the story. Well, most of it. But I agree, I have a much harder time reading the Trudging Hobbits-in-Hell chapters than I do the Valiant Knights-at-War chapters. I often skip bits. If it weren't for the respite in Ithilien with Faramir I don't know if I could ever get through Book 4.

You're obviously a die-hard Tolkien fan, if your LotR is more than three books! (Six or seven, isn't it? We have a nice hardbound set like that too, but I'm currently reading some mass-market paperbacks.) My favorite parts of any Tolkien books concern basically the home life of hobbits. (As I said, I'm not all that much into "epic" -- unless maybe it's an epic second breakfast.  :D  )

 

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Not following that last bit -- if the elves are wiser because of what their ancestors did or did not do, how does that imply that we non-elves can be better? Wouldn't we have to set our WABAC Machine for the Garden of Eden, as it were?

Hey, this is Tolkien's theology, not mine! :D At the risk of getting it wrong and offending someone, here's the concept as I understand it: Tolkien believed in original sin. Adam and Eve sinned; therefore all Mankind is guilty of sin. The first elves didn't; therefore, they ain't.

 

However, even though Man is guilty due to Original Sin, we are permitted to redeem ourselves. The wisdom/grace/ecological correctness of the elves is both proof that an "unsullied" world can exist, and illustrates what that world could be like. I think. I'm sure I've grossly oversimplified the whole thing. Quite frankly, the theology makes little sense to me; but striving for our own version of Lothlorien sure as heck does. (Huh?) :wacko:

 

You're obviously a die-hard Tolkien fan, if your LotR is more than three books! (Six or seven, isn't it? We have a nice hardbound set like that too, but I'm currently reading some mass-market paperbacks.) My favorite parts of any Tolkien books concern basically the home life of hobbits. (As I said, I'm not all that much into "epic" -- unless maybe it's an epic second breakfast.  :D  )

Ah. I assume you have a three volume version (the "trilogy")? If you look at the 2nd half of the second volume, you will see that it is called "Book 4". I.e., The Lord of the Rings is actually consists of six "books". It's usually published as 3 volumes (for reasons) or sometimes as a single volume (which was Tolkien's original intent), but whatever format it's in, it's always 6 books. (And a multitude of appendices.) Clear as mud, right?

 

The home life of hobbits was Tolkien's favorite part too, his friends had to really push him to get around to the plot! :smile:

 

Fun bit of trivia: Strider was originally a hobbit. The story was half over before Tolkien figured out he wasn't!  Watch the difference in the way Strider speaks before and after we learn who he really is.

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Hey, this is Tolkien's theology, not mine! :D At the risk of getting it wrong and offending someone, here's the concept as I understand it: Tolkien believed in original sin. Adam and Eve sinned; therefore all Mankind is guilty of sin. The first elves didn't; therefore, they ain't.

 

However, even though Man is guilty due to Original Sin, we are permitted to redeem ourselves. The wisdom/grace/ecological correctness of the elves is both proof that an "unsullied" world can exist, and illustrates what that world could be like. I think. I'm sure I've grossly oversimplified the whole thing. Quite frankly, the theology makes little sense to me; but striving for our own version of Lothlorien sure as heck does. (Huh?) :wacko:

I assume that "strive" is the operative word there, and I believe that's what life is all about, doing the best you can. So even though I don't agree with Tolkien's theology either, I can (provisionally) agree with his conclusion.

 

Ah. I assume you have a three volume version (the "trilogy")? If you look at the 2nd half of the second volume, you will see that it is called "Book 4". I.e., The Lord of the Rings is actually consists of six "books". It's usually published as 3 volumes (for reasons) or sometimes as a single volume (which was Tolkien's original intent), but whatever format it's in, it's always 6 books. (And a multitude of appendices.)

Yup. We actually have a seven-volume set (with the seventh being the Appendices). But right now I'm studying the book for references to hobbit culture, and don't want to underline in our nice hardback books, so I bought the paperback "trilogy" in a used-book store. You should see all the red ink in the "Prancing Pony" chapter!

 

The home life of hobbits was Tolkien's favorite part too, his friends had to really push him to get around to the plot! :smile:

Well, no wonder that part is so appealing, then! When people bitch at Jackson for spending so much time at Bag End, he ought to cite Tolkien at them!

 

Fun bit of trivia: Strider was originally a hobbit. The story was half over before Tolkien figured out he wasn't!  Watch the difference in the way Strider speaks before and after we learn who he really is.

I just ran across an online reference to that yesterday! He was supposed to be a hobbit who for some reason wore wooden shoes, so he was called -- what? Clomper? Stomper? Something like that. I hadn't thought to compare the dialog, though. *sigh* Now I'll have to back up about ten chapters!  :P

 

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Clomper and Stomper? He's not a reindeer, fer cryin' out loud! :D

Uhhh... I can't remember it either, but you're on the right track. Keep trying, let me know when you've got it. :P

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You win a no-prize!!!

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How do I go about claiming it?

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You just did.

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