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Thread: The Lord of the Rings

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by desiresjab View Post
    It is just a fact, Dream, that a lot of very serious literary folk do not take Tokein seriously. This would especially be true among the highbrow crowd, no knock against them.
    Quote Originally Posted by desiresjab View Post
    Those are some of the reasons LOTR is not regarded as high literature by people who make those judgements. The books are not character driven but plot driven.

    LOTR is not great literature in the normal sense. Once you relax and let it be what it is, instead of pointing out how well it does not fit into convenient schemes of literary vogue, we have the ability to identify with its characters, which is the first step toward enjoyability.

    Some people have an immediate revulsion to this genre, and that is okay. They will never like it under any circumstances.
    Quote Originally Posted by desiresjab View Post
    It is good to know who on here is of which type.
    Well, knock or no knock, DJ, it sounds to me like you are rationalizing a prejudice against folks with whom you simply don't agree. How would you know why another person didn't like those books as much as you did? Why reduce such people to a "type," examples of which you are glad to have identified? People enjoy what they enjoy. Why be angry about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by desiresjab View Post
    It is only a problem for those who cannot enjoy the books.
    I'm with you on that, though. I wish I liked the Middle Earth books as much as many do. As I said, I begrudge them none of that joy. And Tolkien is at least a good writer. I wish I could enjoy bad writers like Stephen King! But I genuinely don't, and I'm not going to lie about it for fear of getting on someone's stereotype list. Read what you love. I know I will.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 07-04-2016 at 01:24 PM.

  2. #32
    Registered User Clopin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ecurb View Post
    I disagree with DJ about the movies. I mentioned two of my objections earlier (the wizard fight and Frodo looking as if he'd mainlined heroin). IN addition, the endless battle scenes became dull. "Fellowship" was fairly good -- because the best thing about the movies was the sets. "Fellowship" is a travel movie, and The Shire, Rivendell, and Moria (among other places) looked great. The action scenes weren't as good.

    I saw the first Hobbit movie, and skipped the others.
    Pretty much this. The Hobbit movie was terrible (I also only saw the first one) and Fellowship is the only decent LOTR movie because of what you mentioned.
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  3. #33
    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    As Pompey (I think it was he) suggested, some of the sets seem to have been based on the Hildebrandt paintings.

    One theory (which I read somewhere) is that LOTR (and other genre fiction) represents a different approach to coming of age. In Lit. Class Fiction, the characters 'develop' and change, just as children and teenagers must develop into adults. In LOTR, Thorin Oakenshield is "Thorin, son of Thrain, son of Thror, King under the Mountain" from day one. His character is fixed by his heritage. However, "wisdom" consists of learning the lore and heritage of the past. And children develop into adults both by developing their character and by educating themselves -- by learning about history and about their own capabilities. .

    Bilbo doesn't really change. Instead, he learns that he was capable of heroic deeds all along.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ecurb View Post
    One theory (which I read somewhere) is that LOTR (and other genre fiction) represents a different approach to coming of age. In Lit. Class Fiction, the characters 'develop' and change, just as children and teenagers must develop into adults. In LOTR, Thorin Oakenshield is "Thorin, son of Thrain, son of Thror, King under the Mountain" from day one. His character is fixed by his heritage. However, "wisdom" consists of learning the lore and heritage of the past. And children develop into adults both by developing their character and by educating themselves -- by learning about history and about their own capabilities.
    It's an interesting idea, Ecurb. I always saw Frodo as analogous to a young country squire who has inherited a place and just doesn't know how he's going to deal with life's responsibilities. Then the crisis comes--which is sort of like the War--and he grows (as you say) in character. Bilbo on the other hand is sort of a doddering old uncle from the moment we meet him. I loved Bilbo's character as a 13 year old (and despised his characterization in The Fellowship movie). I must also admit that Frodo is a more mature character (meaning he appeals to more mature aspects of the reader), but I just didn't buy it at 16. I was I to Sherlock Holmes at the time, then Bram Stoker, then Dickens. Tolkien always seemed like something from a younger time. But literature takes everyone differently--just as it should do.

  5. #35
    Registered User prendrelemick's Avatar
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    A word about those battle scenes, I completely agree re The Hobbit films, pointless and tedious and many were not in the book and added nothing but padding. Not so with LOTR - or not so much - because the director switched between the epic scene and individual and knew when and how to do it to keep me interested. ( I admit Helms Deep went on a bit though.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by prendrelemick View Post
    A word about those battle scenes, I completely agree re The Hobbit films, pointless and tedious and many were not in the book and added nothing but padding. Not so with LOTR - or not so much - because the director switched between the epic scene and individual and knew when and how to do it to keep me interested. ( I admit Helms Deep went on a bit though.)
    I just remember noise and fuss. But maybe the problem was that I didn't really want to be there. They used to release those movies around Christmas (at least here in America). I was living sort of near Boston and my brother was living quite near. He would have a Christmas Eve party that I'd drive to after picking up my wife at her job in Cambridge (the city next to Boston). The trouble was that Mrs. Bum's work would let out early for the holiday, so we would have a few hours to kill before the party started. One year we decided to see The Fellowship of the Ring because, what the heck, it was Tolkien, right? However bad it was it was going to beat Mel Gibson or Mr Bean. We weren't crazy about the movie, though, and we pretty much forgot all about it until the next year found us in an identical situation. So for three years going to Lord of the Rings movies that we didn't really like became a gala Christmas tradition with the Bums. Not as good as your family tradition of reading Tolkien to your children, Prendrelmick, but it was the one we ended up with. Each movie was a little worse than the last (IMHO) and by the end of Return of the King my no-longer-young coccyx was throbbing in pain.

    So maybe I didn't give them as I much of a chance as I might have, but I'm pretty sure it is the only chance they are ever going to get from me. And as Tiny Tim observed, "God bless us, every one."
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 07-05-2016 at 09:51 AM.

  7. #37
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  8. #38
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    I've always been a huge fan of LOTR. Read it at 12 (in the German translation, mind you) and found it longish and dull. But luckily I had another try when I had grown up and was fluent enough in English to read the original version. And loved it ever since. I think I must've read it ten times or twelve or even more, and I know I'll read it again some more times. It's as if I was coming home or embracing a good old friend. Rare are the books where i'm thinking at the end "Why can't this exist in reality?"

    As far as the LOTR-movies are concerned, I liked them a bit less than the books but found them not too bad (rather dig that movie genre to be honest). Now, as far as "The Hobbit" is concerned… in my eyes the main default of the movies is that they don't capture the essential tone of the book at all. I consider LOTR as an epic book for grown-ups whereas "The Hobbit" is a book for kids. That's why I do love "The Hobbit" too – the playful, childlike music humming throughout the book. Now the LOTR-movies were as epic as the books; but "The Hobbit" was way too grim and dark and… well, "grown-up", if I'm allowed to use this term for a movie. So I have to admit I didn't like them at all.
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    Dieter, you have caught what I also feel, having, like you, read LotR several times. It is almost time for me to read it again after some 5 years, not having read it, so I am probably getting abstinence problems.

    What is the difference between a film and a movie, I've always thought of movies as the American word for films? The problem with films is that they are too compressed, so go from one adventure sequence to another, bypassing the quieter passages. These are also needed to stop the pace of the story getting too breathless.

  10. #40
    Registered User prendrelemick's Avatar
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    Context is all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helga View Post
    Here on the ice Tolkien is certainly not looked down on in any way. There are classes at uni about his work and one of the best known literature professor here has written extensively on the subject, both books and author. In one of his Tolkien class the students had to write a poem or story in the spirit of Midgard as an assignment.

    Maybe he is held in high regard here is because of his interest in Iceland. Some words are pronounced in 'Icelandic' like Beorn is pronounced the way we say the word bear. Also some of his mythological creatures are rooted in Icelandic mythology.
    I remember, a long ago, a forum where people were upset because Borges said he didnt like what he read of Lord of the rings, and they started to attack Borges like crazy. It was funny, because most of them had no idea about Borges and thought he was talking moved by envy. The truth is Tolkien is not "great literatura", who cares anyways, but I suppose he is the good minor writer groups. Deserves his place with Conan Doyle, Lovecraft, Bram Stoker... They are honest in their ambitions.

    I think the merit of Tolkien is not the plot (not that great either), but how his literatura is very visual. It is a big surprise to see this as a big best-seller, when it follows so little of the best seller rules. I think because of this visual trait. This is so powerful that they live on the many illustrations of his work and in the movie (wise enough to use the already stabilished visual, but here is all wisdow of those movies) and this is peculiar. He was writting during a momment society perceptions were shifting to the visual again. Kudos to him. No wonder that a blind man like Borges wasnt moved by Tolkien (there are other motives as well, but this strikes me as obviously).

    As the movies, hardly imagine something so bad that wasnt directed by Michael Bay. Like I said, they did well to use the visual already stabilished by the illustrations of the books, so we get taken to the movies, we see middleeather is possible... then things dragg. They screwed the world building the books, no pacing, the characters of Tolkien are flat, but in the movie they are a thin line, so bad that even good actors couldn't offer much, bad editing... so we are left with the scenary. Which existed in the fans mind already. Tolkien hated the movies (true story, get one of his letters when the first attempts to negociate a movie adaptation were made, he wrote a list of the motives why the script they sent to him would fail. Tolkien was very cranky, but if you follow his list, you will feel he could be talking about Peter Jackson).

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    I think the merit of Tolkien is not the plot (not that great either), but how his literatura is very visual.
    I agree, but I would go even further. Tolkien had a gift for writing physically--even geographically. When Frodo and Sam find something evil in a dark and clammy outcrop of rocks, it's because something evil would have been in a place like that. The topography is haunted by its very physicality. And Mirkwood became free of its spiders and trolls when it was restored to Greenwood the Great. Even the evil things have a physicality. They are (usually) preternaturals rather than supernaturals. And even Tolkien's wraiths used to have bodies.

    This physical-topographical sense is why (as Clopin said) The Fellowship of the Ring is in effect a road story. It's also one of the reasons I didn't like the book at 16. I remember thinking: What do I care that Sam and Frodo went up that hill? Nothing interesting happened there and it didn't move the plot along. But in retrospect, I see that Tolkien was using the land itself to darken the story.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    The truth is Tolkien is not "great literatura", who cares anyways, but I suppose he is the good minor writer groups. Deserves his place with Conan Doyle, Lovecraft, Bram Stoker... They are honest in their ambitions.
    I agree about Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker. (I haven't read much Lovecraft, but I fear his devotees will call the wrath of Cthulhu on your head for such blasphemy ). But these authors (and Tolkien) deserve to be read by Middle to High School students, and all are vastly superior to Harry Potter and all that dumb down. I will say this for Harry, though: he got a generation of children to read again, which is more than some of their parents do.

    Was Tolkien really a cranky old man? Hmmm. Maybe it's time for a reassessment.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 07-05-2016 at 10:47 AM.

  13. #43
    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    Tolkien's students (including Kingsley Amis and Phillip Larkin) though he was one of the most boring teachers ever. Here's an article from the New Yorker:

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/20...he-dragons-egg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    I agree, but I would go even further. Tolkien had a gift for writing physically--even geographically. When Frodo and Sam find something evil in a dark and clammy outcrop of rocks, it's because something evil would have been in a place like that. The topography is haunted by its very physicality. And Mirkwood became free of its spiders and trolls when it was restored to Greenwood the Great. Even the evil things have a physicality. They are (usually) preternaturals rather than supernaturals. And even Tolkien's wraiths used to have bodies.

    This physical-topographical sense is why (as Clopin said) The Fellowship of the Ring is in effect a road story. It's also one of the reasons I didn't like the book at 16. I remember thinking: What do I care that Sam and Frodo went up that hill? Nothing interesting happened there and it didn't move the plot along. But in retrospect, I see that Tolkien was using the land itself to darken the story.
    Yes, no doubt of that. There is a motive why Tolkien was very detailed and careful with those aspects. Because that was the soul of his work. Hence the movie was so empty, they never captured this aspect of the work and why the new age movement adopted it.
    ,

    I agree about Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker. (I haven't read much Lovecraft, but I fear his devotees will call the wrath of Cthulhu on your head for such blasphemy ). But these authors (and Tolkien) deserve to be read by Middle to High School students, and all are vastly superior to Harry Potter and all that dumb down. I will say this for Harry, though: he got a generation of children to read again, which is more than some of their parents do.

    Was Tolkien really a cranky old man? Hmmm. Maybe it's time for a reassessment.
    They should be happy, Lovecraft is in a fine company. There are many others there, such as Agatha Christie, Artur Clarke, Isaac Asimov... we call them genre writers, but I think they are more "one idea" writers. Not so sure about Harry Potter, I do not think it is original or great, but perhaps she got the one idea too, we just fail to notice it.

    I guess Tolkien could be crank. A edition of The Hobbit by Maurice Sendak didnt happen because both were very crank, after all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    They should be happy, Lovecraft is in a fine company. There are many others there, such as Agatha Christie, Artur Clarke, Isaac Asimov... we call them genre writers, but I think they are more "one idea" writers.
    I would add Chesterton to that list (for Ecurb's sake) and David Cornwall/John Le Carre (for mine). I once read something in which Cornwall was staunchly defending Conan Doyle's works. It soon became clear he was really defending his own. It's too bad he felt he had to do that. My credo has always been: read what you love.

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