Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Return of Return of the King

Yeah, I know, this makes me a complete dork, but I am rereading the trilogy in preparation for the release of the extended version of ROTK (even though O already got me the non-extended version for my birthday, which I appreciated completely for the sentiment and thoughtfulness behind it--he's not nearly old enough to understand delayed gratification, and he was delighted that he could get Mommy to get it for me because he knew I'd like it). So here are some things that are interesting about this, my (approximately) 18th reading of it.

1. I'm in the middle of The Two Towers (3T), and I'm reading the two books of 3T out of order. It seemed like something to try, and I never liked the original order to begin with, and I think I prefer this order. So far I've only found one reference--an allusion to Gandalf--that makes no sense in this order.

2. While waiting for the bus this morning, I was reading the scene where Frodo & Sam are hanging out with Faramir, and I'm struck once again by how badly Peter Jackson screwed this one up. I really can't come up with a good reason why, either; I think the story works better the way Tolkein wrote it, and doesn't work at all this way. The running back and forth to Osgiliath doesn't make a whole lot of sense, either, but whatever; the change in Faramir's character is much more problematic. It's kind of rubber-duckyish, and really unnecessary.

3. Which leads me to the question of overall fidelity to The Text. Since I've seen the movies multiple times now, I've been wondering whether it would make the reading different in some way (or even, horror of horrors, make me less inclined to occasionally reread)--and, much to my surprise, it has added another dimension to the reading. I realized today that it's a bit like any other often-told story: you don't expect all of the versions to be equally well-told, or to include the same details, or even to say the same things about given details. And I like Jackson's telling of the whole tale, with really only two exceptions: the Faramir bit, above, and the whole will-she-or-won't-she thing that Arwen has with Elrond. I suppose it was supposed to add Dramatic Tension or something, but I thought it was unnecessary and kinda dumb. The other reason this was annoying is that the elves seemed able to go west any time they wanted to do so--they could stick around (and fade away, once the power of the ring(s) was destroyed), or head out--or so I thought. Elrond's urgency seems to be premised on that particular ship being the "last" one--but, of course, at the end of the movie there's yet another one (which is also not the "last" one if I understand correctly), so that presumed urgency with Arwen is completely bogus.

Okay, I've turned the dorkfactor off for the moment. No, wait: this site is relevant.

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