September 23, 2005

Daily Dose of Tolkien Geekery

Gary the Tolkien Geek rounds out his posting on Book One of The Fellowship of the Ring with Chapter 12 - Flight to the Ford, with an interesting comparison of the time it took Bilbo and Frodo, respectively, to make the journey from the Shire to Rivendell. (What always bothered me about this chapter was Strider's assertion that Weathertop was about half-way between Bree and Rivendell. It certainly didn't seem that way, given the amounts of time taken on the two stages of the journey.)

Gary also mentions the Hobbits' encounter with the old stone trolls from Bilbo's prior adventure:

Tolkien even decides to make a stop at a place familiar to readers to The Hobbit. As they follow a worn path, they discover the troll-hole where Bilbo had found Sting, his elvish blade. Further off in a clearing they come upon the three trolls that were introduced in Chapter 2 of The Hobbit, and stood there still having been turned to stone some sixty years earlier. Frodo and Sam recognize them from the many times Bilbo told them the story. I almost wish, however, that Tolkien had not included this reminder that in his earlier work there were trolls with the names Bill, Bert and Tom that spoke with a cockney dialect. That depiction of trolls seems too inconsistent with the way they are presented in The Lord of the Rings.

I suppose that's the danger of trying to write both a children's and an adult version of the same matter. On the other hand, in one of the earliest chapters of FOTR reporting on the growing threat of evil in the world, Tolkien mentions that trolls were abroad again, no longer dull, but cunning and armed with dreadful weapons. (I can't remember the exact quote.) I always thought this was an attempt to cover the inconsistency of their prior depiction in The Hobbit.

As for Frodo's harrowing arrival at the Ford, I'd just like to point out that Peter Jackson's insertion of Liv Tyler doing a Xena impersonation at this point serves no purpose whatsoever other than to give the audience some eye-candy. Surely you movie buffs are going to let me have this gripe.

By the way, Gary also links to what looks like a very interesting book: Karen Wynn Fonstad's The Atlas of Middle Earth. We wants it! We waaaaaantsss it!

Posted by Robert at September 23, 2005 10:00 AM | TrackBack

You get the gripe. Or the grippe, if you prefer. I don't seem to be as exercised by some of Jackson's liberties as others, but his inflation of the Aragorn/Arwen storyline (which was practically non-existent) has to be seen as a ploy on the lines of "Titanic", where every director wants to get the crossover female audience involved in what is essentially an action picture.

Posted by: Chris at September 23, 2005 10:47 AM

The Atlas is definitely worth getting. The level of detail is incredible. Ever wonder what Shelob's lair looked like in relation to the Pass at Cirith Ungol? How about floorplan for Bag End? It even has a detailed layout for every battle, including army movements and positions. (cue Stewie Griffin voice) Robert the history buff would certainly appreciate that, wouldn't he now. Yes, I think so.

Posted by: Gary at September 23, 2005 11:45 AM

The grabbing the female audience with romance thing annoys me because using it means that it is assumed that women won't like action movies otherwise. So not true and I can think of plenty of women who weren't happy with the inflation of the Aragorn/Arwen relationship in the movies.

Posted by: jen at September 23, 2005 01:09 PM

One more thing for me to gripe about - I was disappointed with the deflation of the Eowyn-Faramir budding romance in ROTK movie.

Posted by: jen at September 23, 2005 01:10 PM

I think that P.J. had to inflate Arwen's role in order to answer the question that has always troubled us -- why didn't Aragorn pick Eowyn? Clearly, she's better in every respect -- except the whole mortality thing. Whoops -- even there, she's no worse than Arwen.

Posted by: The Colossus at September 23, 2005 01:21 PM

I was an early anti-Arwen crusader. Don't get me wrong, I love the character, but I wanted one of my fave elves -- Glorfindel -- to have his day! Instead, he got knocked into a ditch somewhere while Arwen stole his horse and took all the glory :)

Posted by: Ith at September 23, 2005 03:59 PM

Yes. Very good book. Also has the Silmarilion maps. Very nice.

Posted by: TheRoyalFamily at September 23, 2005 05:18 PM

Ayup, definitely out of my league.

But I'm still a fan.

Not a big, big fan, but a fan nonetheless.

Posted by: Vinnie at September 23, 2005 07:43 PM

Have you ever seen RETURN OF THE KING? where FRODO gets his finger bit off by GOLUM?

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