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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed May 29, 2019 1:14 pm

would make Frodo's choice to live go basically un-noticed and feel cheap. - Halfy

{{ That's my whole point. PJ gives Frodo a choice to live. Film Frodo makes a choice, a choice to go without the Ring, to continue his life in the full knowledge it will be gone.
And only once he makes that choice is the Ring destroyed. In terms of film beats the Ring waits on Frodo's choice to be made before it can be destroyed, yes for the added drama, but also to emphasis the choice being made- that's PJ''s narrative here and if I am reading you right you dont disagree with that being so.

My point is that narrative is utterly at odds with the one Tolkien presents of a Frodo utterly defeated and crushed to the point of complete physical, mental and spiritual exhaustion and who has wholly succumbed to the Ring, has no desire to live without it, and no desire to see it destroyed, and is incapable of making any choices regards the matter and will crave and desire it ever more as a result, whilst punishing himself mentally for his own perceived failure and weakness and increasingly feeling like God's pawn, used to complete a task and then discarded.

Only with that utter defeat does Frodo's narrative and conclusion make any sense at all. And more that utter defeat is one of the central points Tolkien is making. Probably the one major thing he took from his war experiences- that it doesn't matter how good, how right, how decent, how close to God even you are, there are some things which are beyond the human will to resist, to defeat or to overcome. But that even in those total defeats we cannot divine the movements of Gods plans, and if we face those moments in purity of heart and spirit, with bravery and courage, no matter the standing of the individual, as Frodo did in undertaking what was always an impossible task, then even in falling we will rise.

I just don't see in what way what PJ gave us is representative of this and I don't feel anyone has made a real case for it doing so. Its the exact opposite of what happens in the book. }}

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Post by David H on Thu May 30, 2019 6:01 am

I more or less agree with most of your points Petty, but this is where you lose me:

Only with that utter defeat does Frodo's narrative and conclusion make any sense at all. And more that utter defeat is one of the central points Tolkien is making. Probably the one major thing he took from his war experiences

Years ago I used to occasionally get the opportunity to sit in at guest lectures from well known authors, and at almost every one there'd be a bright student in the front row with a question about the theme, the use allegory,  or what the author was "trying to say" in the book (as if the author hadn't actually said what they wanted to say.) And in different words and manners, the authors would always answer that they had actually hoped to just tell a good story, not make any points.

There was one author (it might have been Chaim Potok) who explained to us that telling a story was like creating a living animal. Yes, it needed a solid structure and point of view to hold its shape, like a skeleton, but in the end that's not what gives a the beast spirit and energy. He said that in his opinion if the 'bones' of his or any other story were showing then animal wasn't healthy and the author had failed, and he refused to answer any more technical questions about his book. I respected that!

I get the same impression when I read JRRT's introduction to LotR. At least to me it seems clear that whatever his underlying influences and structures may have been, in the end Tolkien was wanting to tell a wonderful story rather than trying to make some hypothetical 'central point'.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu May 30, 2019 6:13 am

{{ I wouldn't disagree that Tolkien's main aim was a good tale. He claims as much in the intro saying he wanted to try his hand at a very long tale. But he himself gives death as the central theme of the books in interviews and in Letters, and what he set out to achieve with the ending and the pivotal Mt Doom scene he lays out clearly in Letters as well as its effect on Frodo, and the notion that there are some things we simply cannot stand against no matter our 'goodness'.
So its not a case of me putting an interpretation onto the work, its a case of the author doing so. As Tolkien says himself it was not consciously Catholic in the writing, but it was in the revising.

Only where I say 'probably' am I speculating, and even then its based on the substance of what Tolkien says is the meaning in Letters, but nevertheless that bit is my speculation.

But even at a much more basic story level, PJ does not give us a true ucatastrophe as Tolkien outlines it. Narratively, in PJ's, it is not unlooked for as the choice scene is looking for it. Not does it occur only in the final moment of utter darkness and ultimate despair and failure- Frodo is still literally fighting fit and making choices. So even from the perspective of the most basic story telling Tolkien was doing at his climax, the ucatastrophe, its not even there in PJ's (even though the Coven have the cheek to talk about it still like it is in the commentary!  Mad  )}}

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Post by azriel on Thu May 30, 2019 8:53 am

My ideas are often poo-poo'ed as soon as I open my mouth but, that's what ideas are for. To be discussed, pulled apart & then put back together. I feel Tolkien had a full filling life, more full filling than I have had. I feel that maybe he just wanted to "shout out" about life, that its real. Its full of hardship, failures, fear, depression. But there is always good times, laughter, silliness & joy. Its down to each of us to make a decision & a choice of what our next step is & he thought he'd show what the next step could be. I think he sums up us. To start with Frodo is happy with Bilbo, happy in the Shire, happy with his lot even tho he had an itch most Hobbits don't feel. Look how he ends up. Worn down, worn out, the good times forgotten. But he's still determined, he wont give in even tho he's come so close to it. That describes me at times, it describes a lot of people. Peejers didn't express this in the film because I don't think he's got to that point in life. Tolkien must have done. He lived thru a war, somehow. How can you not put your soul into writing when you've actually experienced what you are writing about ? You cannot switch off your feelings or memories. Peejers hasn't got those feelings or memories. I cant help but think Tolkien is asking ' there must be something better than this ' That 'man' is invariably bitter to each other & that sometimes it takes outside forces to show us to be a better person & live in a better world. Frodo is the lynch pin. He's on our level, we can relate to him, he is the 'common man'. People can say that the Orcs are German soldiers & Sauron is Hitler or any other bad guy from history, good. At least Tolkien wrote as he lived. Peejers is just relating a Tale from his perspective not from his heart. He's out to make money, Tolkien was out to live. Its almost like a cleansing of the soul. That's just my ideas anyway.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu May 30, 2019 9:07 am

{{ I think your right Azriel. LotR's is a book with a Catholic perspective. The Ring going in after everything seems hopeless and lost is Christ rising from the Dead after even his most ardent followers have given up all hope and belief and good has been utterly defeated- yet it happens anyway. The ultimate ucatastrophe.

I think the idea that sometimes what you face will crush and defeat you, not just physically but sometimes spiritually and mentally too, and that's not your fault, or because of anything you have done, or because you somehow deserve it or brought it on yourself - but because sometimes the force against you is simply far greater than your strength to bear, and yet out of your seeming defeat some larger divine plan plays for an overall greater good (like dying in the trenches but winning the war and halting further death, or succumbing to the Ring yet it being destroyed anyway, or Christ dying on the cross but coming back afterwards) is a very Catholic interpretation of the war experience.

But its also a very relatable one. We all have things we face which get us down, weigh on us, crush us, put us in dark places during our lives, we all have our Rings to bear, and I think what Tolkien says about those times through Frodo's experience is very important and fortunately shorn of over sentimentality but not of sympathy and understanding. And its completely absent from PJ's films in my view. }}

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:59 pm


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Post by chris63 on Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:41 am


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Post by chris63 on Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:43 am




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Post by Forest Shepherd on Sat Jun 29, 2019 5:00 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:{{ I think your right Azriel. LotR's is a book with a Catholic perspective. The Ring going in after everything seems hopeless and lost is Christ rising from the Dead after even his most ardent followers have given up all hope and belief and good has been utterly defeated- yet it happens anyway. The ultimate ucatastrophe.

I think the idea that sometimes what you face will crush and defeat you, not just physically but sometimes spiritually and mentally too, and that's not your fault, or because of anything you have done, or because you somehow deserve it or brought it on yourself - but because sometimes the force against you is simply far greater than your strength to bear, and yet out of your seeming defeat some larger divine plan plays for an overall greater good (like dying in the trenches but winning the war and halting further death, or succumbing to the Ring yet it being destroyed anyway, or Christ dying on the cross but coming back afterwards) is a very Catholic interpretation of the war experience.

But its also a very relatable one. We all have things we face which get us down, weigh on us, crush us, put us in dark places during our lives, we all have our Rings to bear, and I think what Tolkien says about those times through Frodo's experience is very important and fortunately shorn of over sentimentality but not of sympathy and understanding. And its completely absent from PJ's films in my view. }}

"I think what Tolkien says about those times through Frodo's experience is very important and fortunately shorn of over sentimentality but not of sympathy and understanding. And its completely absent from PJ's films in my view." -Petty

Can you clarify what you mean in the bold?

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Post by chris63 on Thu Jul 04, 2019 3:36 am


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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Jul 04, 2019 8:22 am

Can you clarify what you mean in the bold?- Forest

{{ What? You want me to clarify something, whilst drunk? that I wrote a while back whilst also drunk? drunken What kind of cruel and unusual punishment is this!? Mad

Fine.
I meant that whilst Tolkien clearly acknowledges Frodo's post Ring being destroyed, post-war trauma, it forms the foundation for why Frodo leaves after-all, its not overly focused on, overly dramatist, or overly milked for sympathy.
Tolkien is, well very British about it, much like real life post-WW2 people got shell-shock, folk tried to understand, they were sympathetic, but they were also British about it so you didn't actually talk about it directly, draw attention to it, and everyone just got on with things, at least publicly.
Frodo is presented in this way, he becomes increasingly withdrawn from public life in the Shire yes, but his pain, his struggles are all had alone and in private. Even Sam only finds out by accident. Frodo doesn't volunteer the information, he does the British thing, you keep the stiff upper lip for public appearances and you do your crumbling mentally in private.

Tolkien clearly sympathises with Frodo's plight, he writes him onto the ship after all, but he doesn't hammer the reader with it over and over, or with an overtly clumsy and heavy handed narration such as PJ gives his film version. There is a simple and plain honesty to how Tolkien portrays it that is often lost in lesser works under a heavy use of over-sentimentality. }}

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Post by Forest Shepherd on Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:28 pm

I can't cast judgement at the moment on the merits of narration for explaining Frodo's irremediable plight post-ring. But I see what you're getting at about how Tolkien conveys the suffering. Some quotes from the text showing how Tolkien handles Frodo's wounds would give your view the solidity it lacks, but I understand the gist of what you're saying.

Did you mean WWI? I think British WWII veterans had it better than those of WWI, in terms of public opinion. I'm reminded of the accounts in Jackson's recent documentary of soldiers coming home and looking for work, and being met with actual resentment and a desire for them to just go away by the general public and employers in particular. "Veterans need not apply", that sort of thing.


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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:06 am

{{ 'So he (Sam) was not at home in early March and did not know that Frodo had been ill. On the thirteenth of that month Farmer Cotton found Frodo lying on his bed; he was clutching a white gem that hung on a chain about his neck and seemed half in a dream.
"It is gone for ever," he said, "and now all is dark and empty."
But the fit passed, and when Sam got back on the twenty-fifth, Frodo had recovered, and he said nothing about himself.'

'One evening Sam came into the study and found his master looking very strange. He was very pale and his eyes seemed to see things far away.
"What's the matter, Mr Frodo?" said Sam.
"I am wounded," he answered, "wounded; it will never really heal."
But then he got up, and the turn seemed to pass, and he was quite himself the next day. It was not until afterwards that Sam recalled the date was October sixth. Two years before on that day it was dark in the dell under Weathertop.'

'Frodo was ill again in March, but with great effort he concealed it...'

As you see Tolkien builds it up, acknowledges it and the effect its having on Frodo, but its not overplayed. And each time he suffers such a bout Frodo displays that English stiff-upper lippness, get on with it in public, dont make a fuss, dont draw attention to it or your pain or suffering, don't talk about it, even with loved ones.

Regards WW1 or 2, Tolkien's personal experiences were 1 but if memory serves the ending of LotR's would have been written either during or after 2, the book being finished about 1949 I think. }}

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:45 am

{{ Tolkien goes in more detail into Frodo's suffering in Letters: }}

181
'The Quest was bound to fail...fail it would and did as far as Frodo considered alone was concerned.'

246

'...what Frodo himself felt about the events is quite another matter.
He appears at first to have no sense of guilt, he was restored to sanity and peace. But then he thought he had given his life in sacrifice: he expected to die very soon. But he did not, and one can observe the disquiet growing in him. Arwen was the first to observe the signs, and gave him her jewel for comfort, and thought of a way of healing him.
Slowly he 'fades out the picture', saying and doing less and less. I think it is clear on reflection to an attentive reader that when dark times came upon him and he was conscious of being 'wounded by knife sting and tooth and a long burden' it was not only nightmare memories of past horrors that afflicted him, but was also unreasoning self-reproach: he saw himself and all that he done as a broken failure.
"Though I may come to the Shire, it will not seem the same, for I shall not be the same."
That was actually a temptation out of the Dark, a last flicker of pride; desire to have returned as a 'hero', not content with being a mere instrument of good. And it was mixed with another temptation, blacker and yet (in a sense) more merited, for however that may be explained, he had not in fact cast away the Ring by a voluntary act: he was tempted to regret its destruction, and still to desire it.'

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Post by Forest Shepherd on Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:00 am

Great quotes! Thanks

This is such an interesting idea: having your protagonist fail at their main objective. You don't get that very often in popular media.

"The Quest was bound to fail...fail it would and did as far as Frodo considered alone was concerned."

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:12 pm

{{ I'll tell you where else you dont get it- PJ version of events. Evil or Very Mad  And that was my original objection.
Everything that occurs to Frodo after he comes home is dependent on how things went down at Mt Doom. By making Frodo at Mt Doom the exact opposite of book Frodo- film version is active, making choices, capable of physically fighting for the Ring, having the strength to hang onto a cliff face without dropping for ages, and ultimately makes a choice to go on living and take Sam's hand.

Book Frodo was crushed, broken, incapable of any mental, spiritual or physical acts, had totally succumbed to the Ring and did not wish it to be destroyed, he made no choice to live on and in fact expected to die pretty much there and then regardless of outcome. His later pain and self recrimination and lusting still for the lost Ring are all the reasons he has to go on the ship and leave to be healed.
There is no reason in PJ's- he screwed up the main point of what Tolkien was saying at the crucial crux of the tale.  Mad  Of everything wrong with those films, and by Eru there is a shit load, its the single worst as it is fundamental to everything else before and after. As Tolkien points out the quests failure, and in particular Frodo's personal failure, was foreseen and indeed built in from the very start.
Even though its only Frodo who views it in terms of failure. But its fundamental, its where all the books themes come together in the climatic moment. And its not just absent from Pj's- he does the exact opposite!  Mad }}

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:44 pm

{{ What I find interesting about all this is that in Letters Tolkien compares what happens to Frodo to if he had instead just been crushed by a massive falling boulder- in neither case is it really a failure- the boulder is just something to big for Frodo's physical form to take. And so with the Ring, the Ring is simply a force so great that no mortal could defeat it, they'd just be crushed by it like the boulder- which is what happens to Frodo. Frodo sees it as a failure on his part, he succumbed, he desired wanted and claimed the Ring and at the crucial moment he could not destroy it.
Gandalf and Aragorn we are told take a different view- only Frodo could have got it that far, to the one place where providence could intervene and have it destroyed. That he succumbed at the last is no failure as it could not have ever have ben other wise.

So what do I find most interesting about this- that Gandalf must have known this from the very start when he talked Frodo into taking the Ring. And certainly by the time of the Council when Frodo takes the task on. He must have known that no mortal could withstand the full power of the Ring without succumbing. Gandalf must have known the most likely outcomes were Frodo dies in the effort, Frodo succumbs in the effort, or somehow the ring is destroyed and Frodo will suffer evermore the loss of it. It rather puts the many times Gandalf shows genuine concern about Frodo and his well-being, physically and spiritually, in a slightly different light for me, one tinged with an element of guilt. }}

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Post by Forest Shepherd on Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:25 pm

There's a nice reaction shot of Gandalf's face in Jackson's Council scene, when Frodo volunteers, that ties well into that.

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Tolkien related video's. - Page 9 Empty Re: Tolkien related video's.

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:31 pm

{{ If memory serves the instruction to Sir Ian at that point was to react like a WW1 veteran whose son had just told them they'd enlisted for WWII. So there is something of the knowing Frodo is letting himself in for something bad going on there in it, but its not to the same extent it can be considered in the book, clearly as they obviously didn't understand the books ending. }}

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