6444Movie-verse versus Bookverse (Re: Question concerning Dwim's list)
- Dec 7, 2005--- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "rhapsody_the_bard"
>Can you cite an example where this is the case? I'm not sure what
> --- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, Marta Layton <melayton@g...> wrote:
> Okay, I've been trying to follow this conversation the past days, but
> I am not sure if I understand completely why this is brought up for
> discussion.. It might have been the flu though ;)
> > So that's at least part of the problem: we're using the terms
> > differently. If I don't see a story labelled as movieverse and I
> > see an event that is in the movies but not in the books, I think of
> > it as an authors' mistakes. I don't mean movie-inspired pieces per
> > se, I just want to expect it. So for me as reader, I appreciate
> > having this material labelled. And this is for the authors' good as
> > much as anything else. My reading of an unlabelled movieverse story
> > will probably be less forgiving than my reading of one for which I
> > had fair expectations. It might be the difference between an 8 point
> > and a 10 point review.
> Well, reading this I wonder... what if an author does thorough book
> research, but you (as a reader) think it is a movie thing (maybe
> because it feels a bit alike, or PJ dived more into the books than you
> assumed). What then?
you're talking about here, other than a purely hypothetical scenario.
The plot points of the movie that depart from the books are pretty
obvious and well-trodden fandom ground by now. If someone uses the
plot device that Elrond had a conversation in the garden in front of
Gilraen's graave about Arwen, that's movieverse. Can you reconcile it
with bookverse? With sufficient skill, you could say it's not
counter-canonical, it's just extra-canonical. But do we know where
that came from? Yes: the movies.
If one disagrees with the characterization PJ used, that's a more
subtle point, usually, and much more open to the "PJ did more research
than you think" objection. Also, just to be clear, I don't assume PJ
did less than the required amount of research. I assume what happened
was that in order to make a feature film that had twenty speaking
roles that were significant, he took poetic license in ways that
sometimes worked out far less than well because they played to
preconceptions of the average viewer's patience and ability to follow
a plot. Having done the research does not guarantee a good
interpretation, it just makes it less likely to be bad.
So let's say someone characterizes Denethor as a right bastard who's
unfit to rule in every important way, and I think to myself, "Gee, PJ
did that too. This is a movieverse story, not a bookverse one." If I
think that's not a great thing, but I think it's someone adhereing to
the movieverse, I'm going to give that person points for working with
flawed source material as best they can, but whether bookverse or
movieverse, my review will be relatively short, because I just don't
think that in *any* universe, that's a good characterization and so I
won't enjoy the story as much. I'll enjoy it *more* if I think it's
movieverse, whether or not it's warned of--that's called being
charitable. If I think the person got this from the books, she'll
actually get fewer points because I'll think there's less excuse for it.
I think you need to be aware of this as well. We
> all can't know every single detail of what Tolkien wrote or stated, weYou say "form our own idea about it" like this is both a bad thing and
> all miss things when we read (or form our own idea about it)...
an avoidable thing. Nothing literary is read about which one forms
onnly the idea that the author had of it. Yes, there are bad
interpretations, but a good interpretation is still an interpretation
and constitutes "my own idea about it." In the case you mention, it's
going to be in the author's benefit where I'm concerned to give me
reasons to think s/he is basing his/her work on the movieverse. If
not, I'm going to think it's a bad bookverse interpretation, just as I
think PJ's screen adaptation of Denethor is a bad interpretation,
though not necessarily an unresearched one.
> > Ah, the joys of being in such a complex canon! I'm for including theYou seem to be treating this one filter as if everything depended on
> > drafts of Tolkien's posthumously published works just to avoid
> > controversy, because while the details might be different, the
> > *medium* is at least the same, and Tolkien himself had some hand in
> > choosing the details. Even if they weren't finished.
> Well the thing is here, especially with HOME is that Tolkien drafted
> so many versions of one event, that it is quite often contradicting.
> It is a great source for plotbunnies though, but I can imagine that
> when someone explores a HOME thing that covers an event in the
> Silmarillion that is contradicting... that would be very interesting
> to see how you guys want to see that as categorisation because
> technically: it isn't AU, you can quote canon on that.
it. I recommend checking the example form I filled out for a Trotter
and Bingo story. You can say "My story is bookverse" and still choose
*AU* as a category if it's based on material that ws clearly discarded
by Tolkien, or depending on how you view underused sections of the
drafts (LACE) in their relation to other drafts (The Silm is *also*
not work JRRT approved or finished--it is heavily edited by C.Tolkien
and Gavriel, iirc--so Silm as canon is itself a fan creation,
inaugurated by the need to have some point of reference that was
relatively stable for the pre-Third Age stories, that acknowledged
that Tolkien had done some work there so it wasn't a free for all).
you can do that, and say in your author's notes or summary, "I'm
relying on material from HoME that Tolkien discarded." The forms can
accommodate this level of sophistication--I think the concern, that
including the drafts as bookverse is misleading, is not taking into
account the full range of data and the manipulability of that data
that the form demands and can support.
>See above, especially the point about the Silm, which to me says a lot
> Even the URT contains contradicting material... just don't try to dive
> too much into exploring Celeborn for example... it gave drive you
> insane ;) And I am not starting about LACE, which is never ever
> mentioned in the Silmarillion to begin with.
to me about your conception of canon--it's still not complex enough
despite the objections you're trying to bring to bear on behalf of
that very point. We are *all* going to make assumptions, we cn't help
it. It's how those assumptions are used in crafting the story so tht
it is convincing based on the most reasonable conception of canon
(itself a position one can argue for and should) you can find for your
Maybe it's because I hang out at HASA normally, but this is the
standard we use. If it's citable, it's fair game--you don't get to
dock the person just because s/he used some obscure, discarded portion
of Tolkien's drafts. But just because it's *citable* doesn't make it a
good story yet--our conception of canon *is* complex because the
interrelations of JRRT's writings is complex and ultimately in some
cases 'undecidable'; it is therefore not enough to just point to the
source material. If you use something clearly discarded (Trotter, for
example), be prepared to make your case for why this story needs to be
written--do it not by the footnotes (which still need to be there so
the reader can find out what's given in the draft(s) you're working
with), but by telling me a good story. That's the bottom line. If you
choose to take on the challenge of working with material that is
contradictory because you *need* something from it, be prepared to be
very sophisticated as a writer in leading your reader through the mess.
But the complexities of canon aside, I really think there's a focus
that's too narrow, here. Take the story you deem to be a good example
of what your'e talking about. Put it through the form--the whole
thing, not just the bookverse/movieverse filter, and ask yourself
whether or not the whole form seems likely to be misleading. Post the
results and explain why, so we can see what you're talking about.
Right now, possibly because I, too, have caught the dreaded disease of
the month, I'm not able to see what you're talking about in your
objections very clearly--not in a concrete way that convinces me this
is more than a set of exceptional cases (w.r.t. the 'what if it really
is bookverse and you only think it's movieverse' position at least). I
need concrete stuff! My head is too filled with goop for anything less
to enter it, unfortunately. :-S
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