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21643Re: [mythsoc] Are Hobbits white?

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  • David Bratman
    Dec 8, 2010
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      Darrell A. Martin wrote:

      > Tolkien
      > describes his Hobbits as if they were certain kinds of English folk.
      > That *ought* to end the discussion, in my opinion.

      Yet he says some hobbits were "browner". And I asked, what did he mean by
      that?

      > However, it is a cinematic tradition that what an author wrote is of
      > little consequence.

      Indeed, and here we have an attempt by the movie-maker to stick to (his
      perception of) the author's intent, where in other places he does nothing of
      the sort. It's a Jackson tradition to mix worshipful fidelity with complete
      mashed potatoes, and here, as often before, he manages to do both at once.

      > Some alteration is unavoidable because of
      > the differences between the media,

      So we are constantly told, but aside from condensation, I have yet to see
      any coherent argument explaining why particular alterations are necessary,
      nor have I seen any declarations of what is not possible in movies that some
      movie-maker hasn't violated with impunity.

      > but sometimes there are changes that seem to arise
      > solely from the filmmakers' desire to tell their own story, not the
      > original author's.

      Considering the number of "rules" of movie-making that Jackson discarded
      brazenly in his LOTR movies, in the service of telling a more Tolkien-like
      story (the epilogue to RK being the most blatant), it's obvious that the
      changes he did make were because he wanted to make them, not because the
      rules of movie-making forced him.

      > The thoroughly unsatisfactory answer to your original question, then, is
      > that the author's authority extends only as far as the contract allows
      > and his or her lawyers can enforce it.

      It's unsatisfactory because being legally permitted to do something has
      nothing to do with the question of why you actually do it, or whether you
      should.

      > I fear I assumed something more specifically tied to Tolkien than you
      > intended, in your reference to Le Guin and Martin. I have opinions that
      > would not be considered Politically Correct about why many Americans, in
      > our supposedly multi-cultural society, tend to like fantasies that are
      > more or less based on northwestern Europe in the more or less Middle
      > Ages.... I do not think it an accident that the "Game of Thrones"
      > trailer shows actors that are white, or very VERY white.

      My point was, that anybody inclined to criticize Tolkien, or even Jackson's
      casting agents, on this matter should be shouting from the rooftops about
      what's been done to Le Guin, or about the adaptation of GRRM which I presume
      (since I've never been able to read his doorstops) is faithful to the book
      in this respect.

      > My biggest disappointment with "Game of Thrones" is not the lack of
      > racial diversity in the cast (there is at least one little person,
      > though). It is that it can be accused, in my opinion, of the failure
      > which Le Guin described in her essay, "From Elfland to Poughkeepsie."
      > That is, that it is too much like a modern international political
      > thriller, just with swords and a dash of supernaturalism thrown in, for
      > my taste.

      Yet the amoral thriller aspect seems to be just what the book's fans like,
      and the actors and movie-makers in the promo film actually praise the story
      for having characters who are completely unpredictable. The appeal of this
      eludes me.
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