Denethor, who is he?

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Re: Denethor, who is he?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:50 pm

Tolkien delibretly sets up Theoden and Denethor as a contrast in the book already. Both men have just lost a beloved son, both men believe they are facing the end of their peoples days under their rule. Both men believe they have failed and all the sacrifices they have made have been for nothing. The interesting bit is in how both men deal with these facts and how one overcomes them and the other does not.
There is no need to batter home the point by making Denethor bonkers though- you can't have atragedy without a fall. And PJ's Denethor does not fall because he has already fallen by the time the audience finds out about him.
His pride in Gondor, the loss of his son, and visions in the palantir of the overwhelming military might of Sauron eventually cause him to despair in the book- but only when he has lost both sons.
Nor do I think its good they made his death easier for the audieince by just having an obstacle removed from the heroes way. Denethors death should be diffcult to bear for an audience, it should be poignant, full of despair and horrifying. It is the moment a good man, with a great mind is overthrown and crumbles before our eyes and in his madness brought on by loss and despair and pride take his own life- and he doesnt do so at the murdering hands of Gandalf, but clearly and as a choice standing defiantly on the pyre clasping the palantir.
It should be powerful cinema- instead its just another 'Yeehaa' moment in PJ's version made into ludicrous spectacle by the burning run and leap of the top. It is in no way tragic or painful- its more like a cartoon.

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Re: Denethor, who is he?

Post by halfwise on Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:07 pm

I was (eventually) able to accept Filmamir because I found myself agreeing with the film-makers that an attempt to portray Faramir as in the book would be too difficult a task to pull off believably. There's many other lesser examples that I've accepted as well. (maybe not happily, but it was good to know they weren't just going off and doing their own thing without reason).

But they never tried to explain changes to Denethor. You are at least providing some logical reason for the change, Mrs. Figg, and I respect that. I happen to disagree, but would feel better if the film makers had tried to make a similar case. I'm just bothered that they don't seem to realize there's a gaping difference between Tolkien's character and theirs...it signifies that they don't totally 'get' Tolkien.
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Re: Denethor, who is he?

Post by halfwise on Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:09 pm

And oh, I think an audience totally should care about the death of a main character. That's kinda the whole point, don't you think?
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Re: Denethor, who is he?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:12 pm

I think they were wrong about Faramir- I understand why they made the changes, and I can see their logic, I just think they were wrong and should have had more trust in what Tolkien was doing with all these characters.
Faramir in the BBC radio plays is superb, dramatically he works brilliantly and it follows the book character- as drama I see no impedement to doing him that way on screen.
They do the same with Farmir as they do with Denethor- they just turn the character into an obstacle to put in the heroes way- its the same cheap dramtic trick both times. Its sloppy writing.

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Re: Denethor, who is he?

Post by halfwise on Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:29 pm

Might have worked, I haven't heard the radio show (the link you posted a while back is busted).

But at least the character traits of Faramir were closer to the book. Denethor was unrecognizable.
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Re: Denethor, who is he?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:02 pm

Well I can't have that Halfwise! Uploading the relevant episode to my skydrive as I type- shouldnt take too long its only 13mb.

You might want to have a listen as well Mrs Figg if you have never heard the radio version before. Worth it just for Ian Holms Frodo and Bill Nighy's excellent Sam.

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Re: Denethor, who is he?

Post by Ringdrotten on Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:05 pm

Nod

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Re: Denethor, who is he?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:13 pm

Just enough space left on the skydrive (I think) to put the radio plays back up, for a bit anyway. Doing so now.

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Re: Denethor, who is he?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:34 pm

Radio play is all up for anyone who wants it- no idea how long it will be there for but its there now.

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Re: Denethor, who is he?

Post by Mrs Figg on Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:50 pm

I would just like to say I am fully aware this is a discussion thread thanks. I am just slightly bored with having what I say quoted back at me. I find it rude, and I never do it to other people. The only person who is actually discussing this subject 'with' me is Halfwise, as he recognises that I am trying to put forward my ideas, Petty seems to be talking 'at' me, as there is no companionable to and fro of ideas, as it is like talking to an immovable object, he doesnt concede one point or can see anyone elses point of view so it is pointless I continue the 'discussion'.
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Re: Denethor, who is he?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:57 pm

Would you like me just to agree with you to make you feel good Mrs Figg? Because that is unlikely to happen. I agreed with both you and Halfwise earlier that Noble did an excellent job with the material he had, but I strongly disagree that the presentation of the character rof Denthor is good in comparison to the depth offered by the book. When I agree i say so, when I dont I also say so. That we disagree more than agree merely eflects what we find acceptable in an adaptation of LotR's.
I could list all the things I have said where I thought Pj got it right- and I have admitted to plenty of those over the years as not everything he did was a bad idea- but what would be the point. You seem to have decided I never consider the other argument, or ever say anthing good about the films even when the evidence is there to show I have. And where I think PJ did not get it right I will state my case for why I think that.

ps the vast majority of times I quote people it is merely to indicate that what follows is in direct response to that quote- it is not 'quoting it back at you' in any hostile manner but as Eldo says merely a time saving device which most folks use on here when responding to a particular post.

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Re: Denethor, who is he?

Post by Mrs Figg on Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:09 pm

I dont need you or anyone to agree with me to make me feel good, you can disagree with me until your face goes blue or your arse explodes, either is good. But other people are a teensy bit more flexible and willing to see other peoples points of view, as Halfwise did. He totally disagreed with me but he was friendly and approachable about it, which makes it pleasant to discuss stuff with. Its tedious to talk with people who are set in stone. I dont mean pandering to peoples fragile egos I mean being a bit less dogmatic, its all subjective anyway, who is to say you are always right and I am always wrong when it comes to PJ and LOTR.
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Re: Denethor, who is he?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:14 pm

I have never claimed to be always right- merely to have an opinion and to present the reasons for that opinion.
Thing is the things we would probably agree on- Bilbo's troll tale at the party and Gandalf with the hobit children, moving the Smeagol speech to Moria or the description of the ship leaving the havens to gandalfs speech at minas tiirth, Boromoirs death scene etc doesnt make for any sort of discussion at all because all we can say is 'those bits were good weren't they?" "Yes"- end of discussion. It is where Pj deviates from the source the debate, and the contentions, will lie.
And I am struggling to recall an instance when in response to one of my arguments you have said, "you now that would have been better if PJ had left it alone." So perhaps Mrs Figg we are not so unlike in our stubberness to hold to our views.

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Re: Denethor, who is he?

Post by Kafria on Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:21 pm

Ummm... at the risk of inflaming things further, I have a thought.

In both books and films we are treated to lots of examples of individuals and groups struggling with integrity against the power of the ring. Some lose that battle (Boromir and Denethor), but there is some nobility in them. There aren't any examples of main characters that simply submit or crumble under the onslaught. Is it possible that this is what is trying to be shown? It certainly seems unrealistic in the light of human (and hobbit/dwarven) nature that all would face the times stoically.

(Oh and just a warning ---- I have buckets of cold water and I am NOT afraid to use them Twisted Evil )

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Re: Denethor, who is he?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:24 pm

The only one I can think of Kafria would be Smeagol. He is not presented as the nicest of people before he gets the Ring and it doesn't take much for him to turn to murder of his best friend- even Bormoirs Ring lust doesnt prompt him to murder although he dos try to take the Ring by force.
And it could be argued Saruman submits.
And steady with the water- its only Febuary thats not bath month!! Shocked


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Re: Denethor, who is he?

Post by Mrs Figg on Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:36 pm

No bath month is April, February is for brushing off a few cobwebs and de-crusting a few toes maybe even picking at bits of ear wax but thats IT, anything else is just dangerous and frankly unnatural. pale

What about Isildur? ok he was noble but he missed a golden oportunity to destroy the Ring, and it killed him.


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Re: Denethor, who is he?

Post by halfwise on Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:36 pm

Way back in the depths of time some of us were on this same topic and I was raising my usual complaint (I'm pretty much a one trick pony) when Gandalf's Beard replied that he thought Denethor appeared exactly as he imagined him from the book. That threw me for a loop, as I couldn't imagine him being read any other way. The film makers appear to have done the same.

But Ms Figg (I'm tempted to float "Figwit" as a trial balloon, but fear you may take it all wrong. Figmiss? No, that could miss as well. Figgy will have to do when pressed for something less formal) is actually seeing both sides, and appreciates both. You see both! O Figgy - you are perched on the edge of a knife, and I fear for your artistic soul lest the darker version consume you.

So in the last few messages I have humbly offered a course in Denethor appreciation, sort of like learning to distinguish between a Gran Cru and a Two Buck Chuck. The one is rare refinement, a source of trembling, transcendent pleasure. The other is for the sweltering, grog swilling masses. Both have their pleasures, but having sipped my Denethor with pinky extended, I simply can't go back.

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Re: Denethor, who is he?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:38 pm

Thats a nicely obscure way of putting it Halfwise-I think- I need your diplomacy skills with Mrs Figg! Or one of these days she is going to set my kilt on fire. Shocked

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Re: Denethor, who is he?

Post by Kafria on Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:42 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:Thats a nicely obscure way of putting it Halfwise-I think- I need your diplomacy skills with Mrs Figg! Or one of these days she is going to set my kilt on fire. Shocked

As I said - buckets of water ready!javascript:emoticonp('Very Happy')

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Re: Denethor, who is he?

Post by Mrs Figg on Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:55 pm

I love sweltering grog swilling masses? Suspect I suspect Loremaster Halfwise of lobbing a deadly spinning apple as deftly as ol Sam. Oh yes I have serious doubtings Suspect I do.

But that winsomely curled one is right, I do like both. rabbit


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Re: Denethor, who is he?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:57 pm

lol! And I thought he might have got away with it too!

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Re: Denethor, who is he?

Post by Mrs Figg on Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:04 pm

He'd have to get up pretty early to pull the wool over this little Figgy. Evil or Very Mad Charming curlyness and cute dimples notwithstanding.
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Re: Denethor, who is he?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:06 pm

I'm just happy its not me thats earned your wrath this time. On the other hand I suspect you may have enough wrath to go round...

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Re: Denethor, who is he?

Post by halfwise on Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:13 pm

Hey, I'll have my Micky-D cheeseburger every now and again, but discreetly keep my mouth shut when people bash them. I admire your pluck for standing up in defense of the taste of the sweltering masses (urgh - that's not a nice image). Not trying to make you disdain that side, just want to ensure that you realize that one is lofty, the other coarse. Kick back on the sofa with a bottle of grog and enjoy the heck out the movie...but for finer contemplation, well, I need say no more.

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Re: Denethor, who is he?

Post by Mrs Figg on Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:29 pm

I like the sweltering masses, I am one. I am also quite coarse on occasion, and vulgar and pedestrian. Some of Shakespeares finest were coarse, like Sir Toby Belch and Falstaff, and they were the ones I liked the best. if liking film Denethor makes me a cultural philistine thats fine by me. Cool
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