Re: Chairman Elrond.
- ---David Bratman <dbratman@...> wrote:
<< So far as I know, Shippey is the only scholar to maintain that
Tolkien's Council of Elrond is a badly-chaired committee meeting. What
on earth is he talking about? Yes, it's long, but that's because it's
really more a conference than a meeting. And it's a very logically
organized conference. It begins with background papers by the chairman
and Messrs. B. Baggins and G. Mithrandir, among others, followed by a
fairly brief (8 pages out of 41 in the abridged transcript, Ballantine
ed.) discussion session that's very much to the point of the decision
that has to be made, and it's concluded by a final action statement ("I
will take the Ring"). Jackson's version of the meeting is the one
that's badly-chaired, with all that squabbling that doesn't exist in
Shippey's explanation appears in _J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the
Century_ (pp. 77-82 of the Houghton Mifflin paperback edition). He
"If the Council were a well-organized committee meeting of modern time,
it would have on its agenda only three items:
(1) to determine whether Frodo's ring is indeed the One Ring, the
(2) if it is, to decide what action should be taken
(3) and further, who should take it."
He goes on to observe that the first issue could be quickly settled by
Gandalf, who can match Isildur's words to the inscription on the Ring.
That doesn't happen for quite some time (the timetable to which I
previously linked estimates 2 hours, 23 minutes). So Shippey asks, "Is
Elrond simply a poor committee chairman?" And then he traces the
course of the meeting to that point, concluding with this comment: "The
tale has not in fact been told 'from first to last' at all, but through
a series of interjections, as one character or another manages to turn
the conversation to their immediate concerns."
Of course, Shippey recognizes that Tolkien presents the Council with "a
good deal of art", and with other purposes than merely showing a well-
organized meeting. In the essay you mentioned, "Another Road to Middle-
earth", Shippey seems to feel that these purposes are satisfied in the
film: the history of the Ring from the book's Council is moved
elsewhere in the film, the book's flashback structure regarding
Gandalf's imprisonment is presented directly, etc. leaving a tighter
focus on the one crucial point of the Council: Frodo's decision -- "I
will take the Ring".
- In a message dated 12/7/07 9:41:39 AM, dbratman@... writes:
> Very much the opposite opinion here. I don't recall anything harmful being
> done to the text, but the image was definitely a problem. Tolkien says she was
> "beautiful beyond enduring, terrible and worshipful." The only word in this
> that Jackson seems to have followed was "terrible" - and he seems to be using
> it in the sense of "scary and terrifying," rather than "eliciting awe" which
> is what Tolkien presumably meant.
> Good point David! Beautiful and Terrible like an angel would have been more
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