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10940Re: Faithfulness to Tolkien

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  • Michael Martinez
    Jan 4, 2004
      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Carl F. Hostetter <Aelfwine@e...>
      wrote:
      >
      > On Jan 4, 2004, at 8:46 PM, Michael Martinez wrote:
      >
      > > For example, at one point, they wanted to know how the Elves
      > > would have rendered numbers. The only example I could find was
      > > in Aragorn's letter to Samwise. Oops. Can't use it.
      >
      > First, this sort of thing is not at all what I consider important
      > in terms of faithfulness to Tolkien or the book...

      I would regard it as extremely important to being faithful to
      TOLKIEN. In fact, when they asked me how I thought they should
      render the signs, I suggested they use Tengwar or Cirth as seemed
      appropriate, and then fade to English translations (as was common in
      movies in the 1940s). They instead opted for that cutesy-looking
      English-Tengwar blend which elicited many comments two years ago (in
      particular, I recall many people asking why the Tehtar were necessary
      for an "a").

      > ...The new reader of Tolkien's novel knows no more than what
      > Tolkien put into the book;

      [snip]

      Which is all the more reason why one SHOULD be faithful to the
      author's vision. Millions of people did not read the book (or return
      to finish reading it) until after they saw the movies. The movies
      had a tremendous impact upon the visualizations new readers have
      formed.

      Being faithful to the smallest details could have enhanced the new
      reader's experience tremendously. Instead, it has forever created a
      rift between those who read the books first (and thus formed their
      own visualizations) and those who read the books second.

      Now, it can reasonably be said that any such rift would have been
      inevitable, and that is true. Millions of readers argue about the
      details of Tolkien's vision all the time. Nonetheless, the imagery
      provided by the movies is riveting and will stay with people for a
      very long time.

      Instead of seeing Middle-earth caressed by Tengwar, cradled by Cirth,
      they see it draped with "Happy Birthday Bilbo".

      I have spent way too much time arguing with self-proclaimed Tolkien
      purists who haven't bothered to read the books in ten years. And in
      my old adage, I have come to regret speaking out so harshly about
      David Day's books, not because I have changed my mind about their
      valuelessness, but because every time I open my mouth, I spoil a
      treasured experience for someone.

      Now I find myself in the bizarre position of liking/disliking the
      movies and having to defend/criticize them at the same time. I am a
      man of two minds, but I am (unlike those who have seen the movies
      first and not yet read the books) cursed by the knowledge of just how
      different Peter's Middle-earth really is from Tolkien's.

      There are insensibilities which the general Tolkien community has yet
      to dwell upon (and perhaps would be better off never recognizing).

      > Second, if this sort of reasoning were of any concern to the
      > filmmakers, they have violated their legal limits repeatedly: for
      > example, most of the pseudo-Sindarin dialogue fabricated for the
      > movie utilizes information found only in the _Etymologies_, which
      > was published in _The Lost Road_. Apparently, the filmmakers had
      > no qualms with using such unlicensed sources.

      Ah, but all they did was hire a Tolkien linguist to fabricate
      dialogue for them. If they knew Sindarin to begin with, they
      wouldn't have had to turn elsewhere for help, would they?

      Perhaps they were only blowing me off politely and intended to pick
      and choose among the details as they saw fit.

      In which case, I am grateful they did not rob Morton Grady
      Zimmerman's script.
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