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6444Movie-verse versus Bookverse (Re: Question concerning Dwim's list)

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  • dwimmer_laik
    Dec 7, 2005
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      --- In MEFAwards@yahoogroups.com, "rhapsody_the_bard"
      <rhapsody74@g...> wrote:
      > --- 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?

      Can you cite an example where this is the case? I'm not sure what
      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, we
      > all miss things when we read (or form our own idea about it)...

      You say "form our own idea about it" like this is both a bad thing and
      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 the
      > > 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.

      You seem to be treating this one filter as if everything depended on
      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.

      > 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.

      See above, especially the point about the Silm, which to me says a lot
      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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