Monday, December 04, 2006

Lazy and critical

Yes, that's me. I've been a lazy blogger, which should be obvious from my lack of serious posting. Not that I haven't been thinking, but I haven't been writing much and I certainly haven't been blogging.

And do I actually have anything to say today? Not much, except I've been re-reading the Lord of the Rings. A couple of weeks ago, we watched The Fellowship of the Ring. The other day Bob was watching The Two Towers. We liked the movies a lot, but reading the books reminds me of some things about the movies that bother me. Some of it is the little details -- no Tom Bombadil, the compression of the storyline so that Frodo is heading out on his journey only weeks after Bilbo's party, some things like that. But what is bothering me more, which becomes more clear when I read the books again, is some fundamental issues. Such as, Aragorn was not that conflicted about returning to Gondor. He'd been waiting and watching for years -- decades -- for the time to be right for him to reclaim the throne. And Merry and Pippin are not nearly as inept and buffoonish as they are in the movies. Sure, they're young and somewhat foolish, but they're also a lot more capable (especially Merry) than the movies portray them.

OK, so who am I to criticize Peter Jackson? He got a lot about the Lord of the Rings right, especially the bond between Frodo and Sam. (But even that is hard to portray well in our day and age and in America, because we don't seem to understand the kind of loyalty and close friendship that men in a different age and a different place were able to express.) And I think the movies introduced a lot of people to the books who might not have read them before. It's hard to convey some of the nuances of the books in film, but there's an attitude, a way of looking at the world, that is present in the books that is missing from the movies.

Reading the books again is a good reminder to me of what a fantasy story can do -- how much depth of human experience it can explore, the kind of metaphors that are possible in fantasy. And walking with Frodo and Sam and the Fellowship reminds me of why I fell in love with the stories in the first place -- Middle Earth is a wonderful place to spend some time and I love hobbits.

1 comment:

Mirtika said...

I have the books (two sets, one from the seventies, one from 2000) sitting on my shelves. And I get the urge to reread from time to time, but then all the new books say, "memememememe. read MMMMMMMMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE." :0