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21916Re: [mythsoc] Murkierwood

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  • John Rateliff
    Feb 22, 2011
      On Feb 22, 2011, at 1:44 AM, David Bratman wrote:
      > Has anyone else read the brief opening chapter available on the website?
      > There are some strange and apparently unnecessary historical bloopers in it.
      > I'm leaving out the stuff that might actually be necessary for the plot.

      Hi David.

      You're not mistaken. The chapters in which JRRT appears make no effort at all at accuracy; it's more like "hollywood biopic" pseudo-reality. For example, a number of chapters are presented as transcriptions of audiotapes of Inklings sessions in which his friends address CSL as "Clive" (others present include "Tollers", "Charles", "Owen" and "Ian"). Hillard doesn't seem to know, or care, much about JRRT's actual life; his "Tolkien" is simply a peg to hang various attitudes and speeches on.

      I'm currently reading the book and am about a third of the way through, but it's slow going because it's such a mess structurally. Some chapters deal with our modern-day heroine and the oddballs she runs into,* some are flashbacks from her hobo grandfather's diaries, some are the transcribed Inklings meetings, some a string of snippets about a plucky girl-hobbit's adventures (torn out of Bilbo's manuscript by a misogynist Gandalf), some are brief re-writing of scenes in LotR from other points of view, some with a wraith in New York City impersonating the main character out of TAXI DRIVER. Many of them do all of these at once. The plucky girl-hobbit is supposed to be the most important part of the book, based on what Hillard says about it, but she's pretty much lost in the verbage.

      Like I said, a mess.

      I do have to say his depiction of Sauron outweirds John Boorman's, which I'd hitherto thought impossible.

      --John R.

      *the Amtrak Man, who's ridden trains continuously since 9/11; a street-person ranger; a one-eyed bartender; a slick hollywood producer who puts Peter Jackson on hold to take the heroine's calls; &c.
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