Adapting Lord of the Rings

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Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by Radaghast on Fri Jun 19, 2015 8:03 pm

Eldorion wrote:Much less trying to give the Ring away at Osgiliath (and worse yet how all the characters react to that).
It does look like it, but he actually tries to put the Ring on, not hand it to the Ringwraith. I can't find the scene on YouTube but I believe it was posted elsewhere on this forum; though it was probably taken down. It's amazing how often this scene is mistaken, though. I thought for a long time that he was indeed trying to give it to the Ringwraith.

That's not to say that what actually happens in the scene is much smarter.

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Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by Eldorion on Fri Jun 19, 2015 8:09 pm

Huh.  You know, I just rewatched it, and you're completely right.  He clearly is trying to put the Ring on.  I guess I was just never able to get over him walking out onto the bridge and then taking the Ring out so slowly and obviously.

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Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by halfwise on Fri Jun 19, 2015 10:31 pm

then why'd he go running up the stairs?

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Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by Mrs Figg on Sat Jun 20, 2015 12:18 pm

the Ring had sent him temporarily bonkers, the Ringwraith had probably forced him out into the open by its influence so close to the Ring. maybe it was trying to taunt Frodo into putting on the Ring. I see it as a clever foreshadowing of what happens in Mount Doom.

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Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by halfwise on Sat Jun 20, 2015 1:15 pm

It's not clever so much as puzzling.

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Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Jun 20, 2015 3:31 pm

but the book version was opposed to the idea of his daughter and Aragorn getting together at first too. - Eldo

I disagree with this, there is no such ban on his marriage in the book, what Elrond says is-

'You shall neither have wife, nor bind any woman to you in troth, until your time comes and you are found worthy of it.....I do not speak of my daughter alone. You shall be betrothed to no man's child as yet. But as for Arwen the Fair, Lady of Imladris and of Lorien, Evenstar of her people, she is of lineage greater than yours, and she has lived in the world already so long that to her you are but a yearling shoot beside a young birch of many summers. She is too far above you. And so, I think, it may well seem to her. But even if it were not so, and her heart turned towards you, I should still be grieved because of the doom that is laid on us.......That so long as I abide here, she shall live with the youth of the Eldar, and when I depart, she shall go with me, if she so chooses....but there will be no choice before Arwen, my beloved, unless you, Aragorn, Aragorn's son, come between us and bring one of us, you or me, to a bitter parting beyond the end of the world. You do not know ye what you desire of me...the years will bring what they will. We will speak no more of this until many have passed. The days darken, and much evil is to come."

......

"Maybe, it has been appointed so, that by my loss the kingship of Men may be restored. Therefore, though I love you, I say to you: Arwen Undomiel shall not diminish her life's grace for less cause. She shall not be the bride of any Man less than the King of both Gondor and Arnor. To me then even our victory can bring only sorrow and parting- but to you hope of joy for a while. Alas, my son! I fear that to Arwen the Doom of Men seem hard at its ending!"
So it stood afterwards between Elrond and Aragorn, and they spoke no more of this matter.'

I see no ban there, no prohibition at any stage- there are terms finally, but not a ban.

When I read it its a sense of loss and sadness that strikes me most, in the first instance, when its just Aragorn smitten the potential is there for either to lose and suffer that pain of loss, when it becomes clear Arwen too has chosen Elrond gives the terms for such a marriage- terms which provide Aragorn's motivation throughout. And which PJ's version is completely void of.

'The flight to the ford would be the natural breaking point, but it's not a movie ending-worthy climax'- Eldo

I would end on Frodo choosing to take the Ring to Mordor. More than dramatic enough for a cliffhanger ending.

"Sam had already been portrayed as a homebody"- Eldo

Has he? In the script? Or are you bringing that knowledge of Sam from the book to film, and so the emotional power of that moment- is it really from the film? Or what you bring to it?

I used it as an example because its something Pj often does to save time introducing characters- he just has the character themselves, or someone else, tell you something about them.

'they depicted a setting where both readers and newbies alike can easily imagine that there is more going on than just what the characters see in front of them'

I think you can only get away with it if the script supports it, and PJ's doesn't- there are very occasional mentions of other parts of the Shire- "he's a Baggins, not a Hardbottle from Bracegirdle" but there needed to b a few more of these, such as there are in the book- Pippins wistful regret that they wont be going to taste the best beer in the east farthing, mentions of Bilbo's treasures being on show at the Mathom House in Michel Delving- just small things, little additions where the book itself has them which convey the sense of a place larger than what we can see on screen.

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Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by halfwise on Sat Jun 20, 2015 3:41 pm

You have to remember that in the book Tolkien doesn't just give us dialogue such as Pippin's regret at missing the Golden Perch, but a line or two of background besides. Such things would be a little harder to make work in the movie unless you showed a brief shot (such as hobbits imbibing in the place) that served the same purpose. It can get expensive. But though I think these establishing lines would have been good, much the same was done by the prologue that showed scenes of hobbit life that went deeper than what we see in the storyline.

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Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Jun 20, 2015 3:45 pm

That prologue only exists in the EE- when I discuss the films as adaptations I tend to discuss the theatrical- as that's what most folk would have seen.
Sorry should have made that clear (and its been that long since I saw the theatrical I also sometimes forget something was only EE and make mistakes, confusing the issue further!)

And lines such as Pippins work very well in the radio adaptation, where they don't even have a visual of the Shire to sell you it and they do a better job.


17.40- one short conversation gives a greater sense of place and scale to the Shire than PJ manages throughout-


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Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by halfwise on Sat Jun 20, 2015 3:51 pm

"concerning hobbits" wasn't in the theatrical release? Been so long I'd completely forgotten. That's one of the most lyrical segments that probably did the best job of bringing non-book readers into the world.

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Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Jun 20, 2015 3:55 pm

Yup, its a far better intro than the history of the ring one, but no it wasn't in the theatrical.

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Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by Forest Shepherd on Sat Jun 20, 2015 10:04 pm

Eldorion wrote:Huh.  You know, I just rewatched it, and you're completely right.  He clearly is trying to put the Ring on.  I guess I was just never able to get over him walking out onto the bridge and then taking the Ring out so slowly and obviously.

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Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by Radaghast on Sat Jun 20, 2015 11:03 pm

I'm actually kind of bummed I have one less thing to riff on the movies about Razz

But, again, what he actually does in the movie is just as stupid, imho.

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Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Jun 20, 2015 11:24 pm

Thanks Forest.

And I agree that it makes very little difference whether Frodo is trying to put it on or hand it over, its no less stupid.

But worse its stupid on their own terms.
Their excuse for making Faramir an 'obstacle' was that having built up the corrupting power of the Ring they could not then just have someone refuse it outright with no temptation.

Yet they put Faramir in close proximity to the Ring, on along march in which he is acting under the Ring's influence against his own better judgement. And the reason for the march is to try to win his fathers love by returning the Ring to him.

So no matter what Frodo is doing there is nothing in Frodo's actions which can possibly do anything other than reaffirm his original decision- that its too dangerous to let them just wander about with the weapon of the enemy.
Frodo has just 100% proved that yes, it is too dangerous, this Frodo will give it or himself up at the fist chance. And he hasn't even got to Mordor yet.

It also does no favours to Frodo, and its just another incident in a long line of them in which he falls over, freezes with fear, succumbs, or wanders about witlessly as if in a dream.

The problem is of course- PJ and Co's stated reasoning- not to undermine the power of the ring to corrupt- is here completely undermined- as its corruption of Faramir wears off instantly upon witnessing Frodo''s actions- for some reason- and he repents and releases them.
When following their on wn logic Faramir, having travelled with it for dubious reasons would be just as consumed for it a his brother was. And witnessing Frodo's acts should logically have proved the point and been how he could easily justify to himself its best if he take the Ring, for reasons of safety of course.

Awful as that would have been, it would have at least made sense within the narrative they were telling.

The true reason that scene with Frodo is there at all is a much sadder and poorer- their decision to end the main line after Helm's Deep- it left the Frodo/Sam line with no climax at the corresponding point in their tale- so PJ and Co had to contrive and invent one and this, remarkably, was the best they could think of.

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Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by Radaghast on Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:38 am

And, of course, if the Ringwraith has seen the Ring with the Hobbit, the Enemy would know where the Ring was.

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Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by Bluebottle on Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:34 pm

Creatively it made sense.. because they wanted it to happen.. Shrugging

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Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by Radaghast on Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:31 pm

Bluebottle wrote:Creatively it made sense.. because they wanted it to happen.. Shrugging
Not sure I understand Question

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Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by Forest Shepherd on Sun Jun 21, 2015 7:06 pm

Bluebottle is referencing an oft-quoted line that the writers of Game of Thrones put out some time back in justification of a change that they made to a central character.

It's like the Game of Thrones version of PJ and Co's "we're sticking to the spirit of the books."

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Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by Radaghast on Sun Jun 21, 2015 7:22 pm

I see. Thanks, FS.

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Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by Eldorion on Mon Jun 22, 2015 12:52 am

Mrs Figg wrote:the Ring had sent him temporarily bonkers, the Ringwraith had probably forced him out into the open by its influence so close to the Ring. maybe it was trying to taunt Frodo into putting on the Ring. I see it as a clever foreshadowing of what happens in Mount Doom.

This has already been hashed over, but I just wanted to say I agree with Mrs Figg's assessment here. Although I also agree with Radaghast that Faramir's response to it made no sense.

Pettytyrant101 wrote:That prologue only exists in the EE- when I discuss the films as adaptations I tend to discuss the theatrical- as that's what most folk would have seen.
Sorry should have made that clear (and its been that long since I saw the theatrical I also sometimes forget something was only EE and make mistakes, confusing the issue further!)

Just wanted to address this before jumping into your main, post Petty. It's been over a decade since I last saw any of the theatrical editions, so I too sometimes forget which scenes are EE-only. I'm aware of Jackson's statements about the theatrical version being "definitive", whatever that means in this context, but seeing as he gave us two versions and one is widely agreed (on Tolkien forums, at least) to be better and is the more-watched of the two, I typically talk about the EE. Just wanted to put that out there.


Pettytyrant101 wrote:I disagree with this, there is no such ban on his marriage in the book, what Elrond says is-

...

When I read it its a sense of loss and sadness that strikes me most, in the first instance, when its just Aragorn smitten the potential is there for either to lose and suffer that pain of loss, when it becomes clear Arwen too has chosen Elrond gives the terms for such a marriage- terms which provide Aragorn's motivation throughout. And which PJ's version is completely void of.

I didn't say that there was a ban in the books. I said that Elrond's initial disapproval ... setting up of obstacles ... whatever you want to call it served basically the same narrative purpose, considering how the timeline had been condensed. I do agree that making his motivation be antipathy towards men doesn't make any sense given the aid he rendered to the Dunedain and that it would be just as fitting, even for film!Aragorn, if he used the "you must become king first" condition.

I would end on Frodo choosing to take the Ring to Mordor. More than dramatic enough for a cliffhanger ending.

That's even worse than ending the film with the fords! Plenty of book readers find the Council of Elrond to be boring, and while I'm not one of them, I do question how dramatic it really is. But more importantly, you'd really end the film with an introduction to at least half a dozen new characters in the last 20 minutes who don't get to do anything to establish their identities except participate in a debate (in which most of the talking is done by Elrond and Gandalf)? That's not the conclusion to a movie that is able to stand on its own. It's not really suitable for the conclusion of a non-standalone part of a larger story either, which I'd imagine is why Tolkien put it at the beginning of Book II and not the end of Book I.

Has he? In the script? Or are you bringing that knowledge of Sam from the book to film, and so the emotional power of that moment- is it really from the film? Or what you bring to it?

I'll admit that I mixed up the order in which the "farthest away from home" scene and the glimpse of the Wood-elves/trying to fall asleep outdoors scenes occurred, but the two of them together serve to characterize Sam as a homebody. And in his few earlier appearances he is depicted as, for lack of a better word, "earthier" than Frodo, more involved with life in the Shire (including his crush on Rosie), and more of a typical Hobbit, who are definitely established as homebodies. Obviously none of this is shown in the level of detail that the book has, but I know many film-first viewers who picked up on the emotional significance of the "farthest away from home" scene just fine.

I think you can only get away with it if the script supports it, and PJ's doesn't- there are very occasional mentions of other parts of the Shire- "he's a Baggins, not a Hardbottle from Bracegirdle" but there needed to b a few more of these, such as there are in the book- Pippins wistful regret that they wont be going to taste the best beer in the east farthing, mentions of Bilbo's treasures being on show at the Mathom House in Michel Delving- just small things, little additions where the book itself has them which convey the sense of a place larger than what we can see on screen.

You also have the entire party scene -- beginning from the line "half the Shire's been invited...", continuing with Bilbo greeting guests, and up through the roll call of surnames -- that helps establish the broader Hobbit community. Although I do feel compelled to note that the lack of inner and outer parties (one for 144 members of prominent families related to the Bagginses, one for everyone else) contributes to the flattening of the Shire's social structure and the implications that has for Frodo and Sam's relationship. Once again, the ability of people who hadn't read the books to pick up on stuff like this is evidence that the films managed to convey their point well enough. If you want to talk about a setting that was shortchanged by the films, then I return to my previous example of Gondor, which has almost no indication that it's anything more than a city-state, or Bree, which is a one-note ominous inn for adventurers in the film.
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Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by Radaghast on Mon Jun 22, 2015 1:40 am

Eldorion wrote:Plenty of book readers find the Council of Elrond to be boring, and while I'm not one of them, I do question how dramatic it really is.  But more importantly, you'd really end the film with an introduction to at least half a dozen new characters in the last 20 minutes who don't get to do anything to establish their identities except participate in a debate (in which most of the talking is done by Elrond and Gandalf)?  That's not the conclusion to a movie that is able to stand on its own.  It's not really suitable for the conclusion of a non-standalone part of a larger story either, which I'd imagine is why Tolkien put it at the beginning of Book II and not the end of Book I.
I think the Council of Elrond is possibly my favorite chapter of the book, though it would have been tricky to do it justice on film. That said, it could have been an (or the) exposition dump in the movie, as opposed to the intro where Galadriel's disembodied voice essentially breaks the 4th wall, telling the audience everything outright.



Last edited by Radaghast on Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:34 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added something I meant to include before.)

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Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Jun 22, 2015 1:44 am

it would be just as fitting, even for film!Aragorn, if he used the "you must become king first" condition.- Eldo

Fitting? Its his main character motivation. Instead of Aragorn's desire to be King and to marry Arwen it is in conflict with his love and sense of duty towards Elrond, and the knowledge of what his own desires will bring to Elrond, the pain of parting eternal.
I think the version Tolkien presents us is much more emotional, involving, personal and dramatic than the old rehashed reluctant King tosh we got instead. Mad
But as I said in my main piece, that would require substantial character development of all three involved and the willingness to try a script that did not rely almost entirely on sound-bite writing.

'That's even worse than ending the film with the fords!'

Works really well in the radio play where it ends an episode a dramatic cliffhanger.
Tolkien did not right by any conventions save those of the ancient sagas, to adapt him successfully you have to be just as brave with cinema convention.

'If you want to talk about a setting that was shortchanged by the films, then I return to my previous example of Gondor, which has almost no indication that it's anything more than a city-state, or Bree, which is a one-note ominous inn for adventurers in the film.'

I agree entirely about Gondor and Bree, both appallingly adapted from the page- but I id say I was talking about FotR- otherwise that post would have been pages long!

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Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Jun 22, 2015 1:49 am

I think the Council of Elrond is possibly my favorite chapter of the book. That said, it could have been an (or the) exposition dump in the movie, as opposed to the intro where Galadriel's disembodied voice essentially breaks the 4th wall, telling the audience everything outright.- Radaghast


Its one of my favourite chapters as well.
I have issues with Galariels exposition dump at the start- its lack of context, its likelihood of details being forgotten by the time they are relevant ect- there is something to be said for Tolkien's choice to provide such information only whre its needed in the narrative.
Its also a little odd that PJ went for a narrator then never used it again throughout.
The Council scene is one where a narrator could be useful, as the reader sort of dips in and out of the meeting at crucial points anyway- and narrator or ot if I were making it that's the feeling I would try to convey- not to show the whole complicated thing, thats not possible in a film, but to give the impression of coming in and out of it and important points- and I'd use flashback to keep it visually interesting- so say Gloin tells of the Rider at Erebor we would see his words.

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Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by Radaghast on Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:32 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:The Council scene is one where a narrator could be useful, as the reader sort of dips in and out of the meeting at crucial points anyway- and narrator or ot if I were making it that's the feeling I would try to convey- not to show the whole complicated thing, thats not possible in a film, but to give the impression of coming in and out of it and important points- and I'd use flashback to keep it visually interesting- so say Gloin tells of the Rider at Erebor we would see his words.
That could have worked very well, I think.

Also, I realized I forgot to add something after my comment about "The Council of Elrond" being possibly my favorite chapter in the book. My statement should have read (with emphasis on what I meant to include):

"I think the Council of Elrond is possibly my favorite chapter of the book, though it would have been tricky to do it justice on film. That said, it could have been an (or the) exposition dump in the movie, as opposed to the intro where Galadriel's disembodied voice essentially breaks the 4th wall, telling the audience everything outright."

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Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by Eldorion on Mon Jun 22, 2015 3:18 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:I think the version Tolkien presents us is much more emotional, involving, personal and dramatic than the old rehashed reluctant King tosh we got instead. Mad

I don't really disagree with you here.

Works really well in the radio play where it ends an episode a dramatic cliffhanger.
Tolkien did not right by any conventions save those of the ancient sagas, to adapt him successfully you have to be just as brave with cinema convention.

An episode ending cliffhanger is not even remotely the same thing as the conclusion to a film.  The appropriate analogy from TV and radio would be a season ending cliffhanger, if it's a program with multiple seasons.

Tolkien wrote LOTR in six semi-contained chunks and none of them introduce assloads of characters at the very end or conclude with lengthy scenes of exposition.  Most either end with action scenes, either in straight-up cliffhangers or followed by denouements that help resolve the plots that led to said action (not by introducing entire new plots).  Not really all that unconventional TBH.

I agree entirely about Gondor and Bree, both appallingly adapted from the page- but I id say I was talking about FotR- otherwise that post would have been pages long!

Well the point of my Gondor and Bree analogy was to illustrate the difference with the Shire.  You might not think there was enough development, but it was there, and it did get the point across to a lot of viewers.  Whereas there was no indication at all that there fiefdoms in Gondor or much of anything in Bree (though the multi-level peepholes in the gate was a nice touch).
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Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by Forest Shepherd on Mon Jun 22, 2015 7:30 am

It was a nice touch indeed, but the lack of any actual hobbits anywhere was quite the opposite.

I think the Gondor comparison is apt. If the Shire had been treated as Gondor had, we would have had a single row of holes in a lonely hill in the midst of the barrow-downs.

Edit: I just discovered that there is, in fact, a video at the beginning of this thread. I started watching it but then I realized that I had to get some sleep (early work tomorrow). I wanted to say something real quick before I forget about a tidbit that jumped out at me. When they're first talking about their first experience reading LotR it seemed extremely appropriate that Peter Jackson's first copy was a paperback with a still from Backshi's Lord of the Rings. How all these insights seem to come together! This image of a young Jackson reading the Lord of the Rings with the prominent figure of a hideously animated Black Rider in his mind falls perfectly into our fan theories of where his creative inspiration came from for his adaptation.

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