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What Jackson seeks forgiveness for

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  • David Bratman
    Travis asks what this might be. I think the best response is to reprint something I wrote on this list a year ago: Here are, in full and specific detail, some
    Message 1 of 25 , Dec 11, 2013
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      Travis asks what this might be.  I think the best response is to reprint something I wrote on this list a year ago:

      Here are,
      in full and specific detail, some ways in which Jackson, and his team,
      reveal their failure to understand Tolkien, examples mostly taken from his
      LOTR.

      1. He denies Frodo agency.

      "Agency" is a technical term meaning the ability to make one's own
      decisions.  This is shown in little ways, but details are telling.  The
      rushed opening of the movie sends Frodo off without the opportunity to think
      about what he's doing.  More glaringly, Movie-Frodo is physically manhandled
      by other characters in a way he is not in the book.  In the book, Frodo
      rides Glorfindel's horse himself and makes his own defiance of the Nazgul.
      In the movie, Arwen takes Frodo as a passenger and does all the work,
      including the defiance, herself.  Most horribly, because otherwise it's a
      good scene, is Sam carrying Frodo up the slope of Mount Doom.  In the book,
      Sam carries Frodo piggy-back, tenderly, like a hobbit child.  In the movie,
      Sam slings Frodo impersonally over his shoulders like a sack of potatoes.

      Other characters also lack agency, most notably Theoden.  In the book,
      Theoden has let himself be wooed by Wormtongue and must himself make the
      positive choice to listen to Gandalf instead.  Movie-Theoden is literally
      under Saruman's spell, so it's not through his own doing, and Saruman is
      forcibly cast out by Gandalf, without Theoden's doing.

      2. He compresses the scale and size of the story and the world.

      This is not a matter of running time, but of scope. Movie-Saruman is
      watching the Fellowship in his palantir from the moment they leave
      Rivendell, if not earlier, and he personally directs the storm on Caradhras.
      This destroys any sense, however wide and impressive the visual scenery,
      that the company is crossing a vast, uncharted landscape, or that there
      exist independent forces like Caradhras which are not in league with good or
      organized evil.  The same thing happens in The Hobbit, when the orcs are
      watching Thorin and Company even before they meet the trolls.  This destroys
      any sense, though other scenes try to convey it, of the tale beginning as an
      enticing adventure in the woods.

      3. He anticipates future dangers, thus flattening them out.

      Janet Croft wrote an entire paper on this phenomenon in LOTR.  Here I'll
      take examples from The Hobbit.  The movie-orcs attack (once? twice? I
      forget) before the company ever gets to the mountains, plus far more
      battling with the goblins in the mountains than in the book (to Jackson,
      orcs and goblins are different things, the differences being that goblins
      are easier to kill and are voiced by comedians), rendering what should be
      the exciting chapter 6 into "ho hum, yet another orc attack."  Movie-Bilbo
      almost casually battles two orcs, killing one, in part 1, destroying the
      book's demonstration of the growth in his character when he for the first
      time, with great screwing up of his courage, uses his sword in battle
      against the spiders later on.  For that matter, the giant spiders appear
      briefly here, destroying the surprise of their entry later on.  Movie-Thorin
      is shown as brave and admirable from the beginning, instead of pompous and
      grown soft from peaceful living as in the book, destroying the moving
      characterization of his growth and increasing depth later on.  In fact,
      Movie-Thorin is more like Aragorn should be, and Richard Armitage (at least
      today) would make a better Aragorn than the too-soft and unseasoned Viggo
      Mortensen did.

      4. He does not understand the will to be good.

      In the book, Faramir rejects the temptation of the Ring for reasons he
      himself explain.  He knows it is perilous, so he stays away from its
      influence.  Jackson/Boyens, by their own declaration in the commentary, do
      not understand this.  They say, if the Ring is so alluring, why aren't the
      good guys allured by it?  What they don't understand is that, when people
      like Gandalf, Galadriel, and Aragorn, who could wield the Ring easily, won't
      touch with a ten-foot pole a weapon that could quickly win the war, that
      shows its danger far more vividly than any tempotation scene - and such a
      scene must be weakened by being quickly overcome, or else you have a totally
      different story of someone being lured by the Ring.  In Movie-Faramir's
      case, the cutting off of his temptation scene becomes completely
      inexplicable in the movie's own terms; I've found nobody who wasn't baffled
      by what's going on there.

      The most serious example of this, however, lies in the scene where
      Movie-Gandalf socks out Denethor.  Gandalf, he says in the book, is sent to
      lead by example and inspiration, and is forbidden to use force.  Employing
      force, by reason of being too impatient and too eager to get his own way, is
      what made Saruman turn evil in the first place.  A Gandalf capable of
      socking out Denethor would quickly become another Saruman.

      5. He does not believe in strength of character.

      Toyin replied to this one, asking, cannot strength of character be shown by
      going through and overcoming a personal crisis?

      Yes, it can.  That, in this story, is what the hobbits are for, particularly
      Sam.  (Merry and Pippin are more to show the brave facing up to the
      consequences of one's own foolhardiness.  Bilbo, in his story, does a bit of
      both.  Frodo is a special case.)  Sam goes through an enormous crisis of
      confidence in Cirith Ungol.  He frets, he doesn't know what to do, he
      changes his mind several times, he gives up, and at the end he succeeds in
      finding Frodo by means of a spark of courage he didn't know he had, being
      moved to sing his song of hope in the depths of Morgul.

      But that is not what characters like Aragorn and Theoden and Faramir and
      Treebeard are for.  They serve a different function in the story.  They are
      there to offer sterling examples of what a person who's achieved that
      confidence is like.  If they had a personal crisis, it's over before the
      story begins.  They are tempered.  They are there to offer the hobbits
      something to look up to.  Accordingly, they are not the true protagonists,
      although Movie-Aragorn is more the protagonist than in the book (yet another
      point, really, Jackson's failure to understand where the center of the story
      lies.  The war is a sideshow, and Aragorn and Gandalf know it.)

      Jackson injects crises of confidence into these characters in an attempt to
      humanize them, to make them easier for a supposed modern reader to identify
      with.  There are two flaws in this reasoning.  First is that they are not
      there to identify with; they are there to look up to.  (Again, mistaking
      Aragorn for the protagonist, and the others for secondary protagonists.)
      Second is that millions of readers have had no trouble enjoying the book and
      loving these characters without this attempt at humanization.

      A more important flaw is that, because Jackson does not want fundamentally
      to change Tolkien's story, he must inject these added crises artificially.
      The plot takes a little detour to include them, and then has to circle
      around and return to where he left Tolkien's story.  The result is that the
      crises do not contribute to the organic growth of the characters, as Sam's
      does in the book.  They don't overcome the crisis, they just negate it.
      Movie-Faramir claims the Ring for Gondor, then inexplicably changes his
      mind.  Movie-Treebeard waffles over whether to attack Isengard, and has to
      be tricked by Merry and Pippin, an underhanded action that violates point 4
      above.  Movie-Legolas has a nervous breakdown (I bet most viewers don't
      remember this; it's before the battle at Helm's Deep), then gets over it
      with no consequences.  Movie-Frodo flabbergasted everyone who saw it by
      rejecting Sam in favor of Gollum, and then equally flabbergastingly, given
      that he did the first, by taking him back.  Most virtuosically of all,
      Movie-Theoden, having just been freed of Saruman's influence, suddenly makes
      an inexplicable U-turn of character and does, from cowardice, the same thing
      that Tolkien's Theoden does out of courage: taking the Rohirrim to a
      defensible place.  In the book, this is to offer battle; in the movie, it
      seems to be at first in a forlorn attempt to flee, but then the movie
      changes its mind and goes back to Tolkien's reason.

      6. He loves monsters too much.

      What Tolkien-lovers love about LOTR's setting is chiefly the elven lands of
      Rivendell and Lorien.  They talk about them all the time, and the desire to
      be with the Elves.  The movie's Rivendell is very beautiful, thanks to Howe
      and Lee; I can't say the same about its Lorien, which is too dark and
      bluish.  But there's nothing enticing about it, and Jackson just isn't very
      interested in, or able to capture, the magic of Elves.  What he loves, and
      lavishes all his imagination and enthusiasm on, is the monsters.  In
      Jackson's Hobbit, the orcs are given a huge role, injected from almost the
      beginning, extra battles added, and they're equally overplayed in his LOTR,
      as are other monsters, the Watcher in the Water and the cave troll (barely
      mentioned in the book), who get vast acres of precious screen time.  Tolkien
      is not very interested in monsters.  They're there to add color and danger,
      but the story isn't about them.  In later years, Tolkien tried to deal with
      the question of whether orcs were inherently evil, and never came up with a
      satisfactory answer.  It just was outside of his area of interest.

      In Tolkien's Hobbit (but not the movie), Bilbo on entering Rivendell says,
      "It smells of elves."  Jackson's world doesn't smell of elves.  It reeks of
      orcs.

      7. His additions read like bad fan-fiction.

      Note that I said _bad_ fan-fiction.  Fan fiction can be good, even
      excellent.  This is bad.  In the movie, Merry and Pippin playing with the
      fireworks at Bilbo's party.  It's not unreasonable to suppose that they were
      young scamps at the time, nor is it bad movie-making to use this opportunity
      to introduce them to the viewer.  What's bad is the scripting, which is
      stupid.  Even worse is the scene in the extended edition showing Boromir and
      Faramir together in happier times.  Again, an entirely reasonable
      supposition, and a useful fleshing out of the characters.  The problem is
      the way it's written.  They clink mugs of ale and Boromir says something
      like, "Today, little brother, life is good."  It has all the potent lack of
      sincerity of a beer commercial.  Tolkien didn't write like that.  Even his
      bad writing was hack Edwardian adventure fiction, not like this.

      8. Conclusion

      Now, all these could be dismissed as plot details.  But they aren't.  They
      exemplify Jackson's flaws: if he understood these things, he wouldn't have
      made these telling errors.  They add up: they just keep on coming.  And they
      are what the whole is made up of: Tolkien's is a world, not just a story,
      and it's made up of the believable and integrated parts of a world, as he
      spoke of in "On Fairy-Stories."


    • Mike Foster
      David, A good critical catalog of the Jackson films’ offenses. Faramir should sue for libel. Mike From: David Bratman Sent: Wednesday, December 11, 2013
      Message 2 of 25 , Dec 11, 2013
      • 0 Attachment
        David,
        A good critical catalog of the Jackson films’ offenses. 
         
        Faramir should sue for libel.
         
        Mike
         
        Sent: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 11:25 AM
        Subject: [mythsoc] What Jackson seeks forgiveness for
         
         

        Travis asks what this might be.  I think the best response is to reprint something I wrote on this list a year ago:

        Here are,
        in full and specific detail, some ways in which Jackson, and his team,
        reveal their failure to understand Tolkien, examples mostly taken from his
        LOTR.

        1. He denies Frodo agency.

        "Agency" is a technical term meaning the ability to make one's own
        decisions.  This is shown in little ways, but details are telling.  The
        rushed opening of the movie sends Frodo off without the opportunity to think
        about what he's doing.  More glaringly, Movie-Frodo is physically manhandled
        by other characters in a way he is not in the book.  In the book, Frodo
        rides Glorfindel's horse himself and makes his own defiance of the Nazgul.
        In the movie, Arwen takes Frodo as a passenger and does all the work,
        including the defiance, herself.  Most horribly, because otherwise it's a
        good scene, is Sam carrying Frodo up the slope of Mount Doom.  In the book,
        Sam carries Frodo piggy-back, tenderly, like a hobbit child.  In the movie,
        Sam slings Frodo impersonally over his shoulders like a sack of potatoes.

        Other characters also lack agency, most notably Theoden.  In the book,
        Theoden has let himself be wooed by Wormtongue and must himself make the
        positive choice to listen to Gandalf instead.  Movie-Theoden is literally
        under Saruman's spell, so it's not through his own doing, and Saruman is
        forcibly cast out by Gandalf, without Theoden's doing.

        2. He compresses the scale and size of the story and the world.

        This is not a matter of running time, but of scope. Movie-Saruman is
        watching the Fellowship in his palantir from the moment they leave
        Rivendell, if not earlier, and he personally directs the storm on Caradhras.
        This destroys any sense, however wide and impressive the visual scenery,
        that the company is crossing a vast, uncharted landscape, or that there
        exist independent forces like Caradhras which are not in league with good or
        organized evil.  The same thing happens in The Hobbit, when the orcs are
        watching Thorin and Company even before they meet the trolls.  This destroys
        any sense, though other scenes try to convey it, of the tale beginning as an
        enticing adventure in the woods.

        3. He anticipates future dangers, thus flattening them out.

        Janet Croft wrote an entire paper on this phenomenon in LOTR.  Here I'll
        take examples from The Hobbit.  The movie-orcs attack (once? twice? I
        forget) before the company ever gets to the mountains, plus far more
        battling with the goblins in the mountains than in the book (to Jackson,
        orcs and goblins are different things, the differences being that goblins
        are easier to kill and are voiced by comedians), rendering what should be
        the exciting chapter 6 into "ho hum, yet another orc attack."  Movie-Bilbo
        almost casually battles two orcs, killing one, in part 1, destroying the
        book's demonstration of the growth in his character when he for the first
        time, with great screwing up of his courage, uses his sword in battle
        against the spiders later on.  For that matter, the giant spiders appear
        briefly here, destroying the surprise of their entry later on.  Movie-Thorin
        is shown as brave and admirable from the beginning, instead of pompous and
        grown soft from peaceful living as in the book, destroying the moving
        characterization of his growth and increasing depth later on.  In fact,
        Movie-Thorin is more like Aragorn should be, and Richard Armitage (at least
        today) would make a better Aragorn than the too-soft and unseasoned Viggo
        Mortensen did.

        4. He does not understand the will to be good.

        In the book, Faramir rejects the temptation of the Ring for reasons he
        himself explain.  He knows it is perilous, so he stays away from its
        influence.  Jackson/Boyens, by their own declaration in the commentary, do
        not understand this.  They say, if the Ring is so alluring, why aren't the
        good guys allured by it?  What they don't understand is that, when people
        like Gandalf, Galadriel, and Aragorn, who could wield the Ring easily, won't
        touch with a ten-foot pole a weapon that could quickly win the war, that
        shows its danger far more vividly than any tempotation scene - and such a
        scene must be weakened by being quickly overcome, or else you have a totally
        different story of someone being lured by the Ring.  In Movie-Faramir's
        case, the cutting off of his temptation scene becomes completely
        inexplicable in the movie's own terms; I've found nobody who wasn't baffled
        by what's going on there.

        The most serious example of this, however, lies in the scene where
        Movie-Gandalf socks out Denethor.  Gandalf, he says in the book, is sent to
        lead by example and inspiration, and is forbidden to use force.  Employing
        force, by reason of being too impatient and too eager to get his own way, is
        what made Saruman turn evil in the first place.  A Gandalf capable of
        socking out Denethor would quickly become another Saruman.

        5. He does not believe in strength of character.

        Toyin replied to this one, asking, cannot strength of character be shown by
        going through and overcoming a personal crisis?

        Yes, it can.  That, in this story, is what the hobbits are for, particularly
        Sam.  (Merry and Pippin are more to show the brave facing up to the
        consequences of one's own foolhardiness.  Bilbo, in his story, does a bit of
        both.  Frodo is a special case.)  Sam goes through an enormous crisis of
        confidence in Cirith Ungol.  He frets, he doesn't know what to do, he
        changes his mind several times, he gives up, and at the end he succeeds in
        finding Frodo by means of a spark of courage he didn't know he had, being
        moved to sing his song of hope in the depths of Morgul.

        But that is not what characters like Aragorn and Theoden and Faramir and
        Treebeard are for.  They serve a different function in the story.  They are
        there to offer sterling examples of what a person who's achieved that
        confidence is like.  If they had a personal crisis, it's over before the
        story begins.  They are tempered.  They are there to offer the hobbits
        something to look up to.  Accordingly, they are not the true protagonists,
        although Movie-Aragorn is more the protagonist than in the book (yet another
        point, really, Jackson's failure to understand where the center of the story
        lies.  The war is a sideshow, and Aragorn and Gandalf know it.)

        Jackson injects crises of confidence into these characters in an attempt to
        humanize them, to make them easier for a supposed modern reader to identify
        with.  There are two flaws in this reasoning.  First is that they are not
        there to identify with; they are there to look up to.  (Again, mistaking
        Aragorn for the protagonist, and the others for secondary protagonists.)
        Second is that millions of readers have had no trouble enjoying the book and
        loving these characters without this attempt at humanization.

        A more important flaw is that, because Jackson does not want fundamentally
        to change Tolkien's story, he must inject these added crises artificially.
        The plot takes a little detour to include them, and then has to circle
        around and return to where he left Tolkien's story.  The result is that the
        crises do not contribute to the organic growth of the characters, as Sam's
        does in the book.  They don't overcome the crisis, they just negate it.
        Movie-Faramir claims the Ring for Gondor, then inexplicably changes his
        mind.  Movie-Treebeard waffles over whether to attack Isengard, and has to
        be tricked by Merry and Pippin, an underhanded action that violates point 4
        above.  Movie-Legolas has a nervous breakdown (I bet most viewers don't
        remember this; it's before the battle at Helm's Deep), then gets over it
        with no consequences.  Movie-Frodo flabbergasted everyone who saw it by
        rejecting Sam in favor of Gollum, and then equally flabbergastingly, given
        that he did the first, by taking him back.  Most virtuosically of all,
        Movie-Theoden, having just been freed of Saruman's influence, suddenly makes
        an inexplicable U-turn of character and does, from cowardice, the same thing
        that Tolkien's Theoden does out of courage: taking the Rohirrim to a
        defensible place.  In the book, this is to offer battle; in the movie, it
        seems to be at first in a forlorn attempt to flee, but then the movie
        changes its mind and goes back to Tolkien's reason.

        6. He loves monsters too much.

        What Tolkien-lovers love about LOTR's setting is chiefly the elven lands of
        Rivendell and Lorien.  They talk about them all the time, and the desire to
        be with the Elves.  The movie's Rivendell is very beautiful, thanks to Howe
        and Lee; I can't say the same about its Lorien, which is too dark and
        bluish.  But there's nothing enticing about it, and Jackson just isn't very
        interested in, or able to capture, the magic of Elves.  What he loves, and
        lavishes all his imagination and enthusiasm on, is the monsters.  In
        Jackson's Hobbit, the orcs are given a huge role, injected from almost the
        beginning, extra battles added, and they're equally overplayed in his LOTR,
        as are other monsters, the Watcher in the Water and the cave troll (barely
        mentioned in the book), who get vast acres of precious screen time.  Tolkien
        is not very interested in monsters.  They're there to add color and danger,
        but the story isn't about them.  In later years, Tolkien tried to deal with
        the question of whether orcs were inherently evil, and never came up with a
        satisfactory answer.  It just was outside of his area of interest.

        In Tolkien's Hobbit (but not the movie), Bilbo on entering Rivendell says,
        "It smells of elves."  Jackson's world doesn't smell of elves.  It reeks of
        orcs.

        7. His additions read like bad fan-fiction.

        Note that I said _bad_ fan-fiction.  Fan fiction can be good, even
        excellent.  This is bad.  In the movie, Merry and Pippin playing with the
        fireworks at Bilbo's party.  It's not unreasonable to suppose that they were
        young scamps at the time, nor is it bad movie-making to use this opportunity
        to introduce them to the viewer.  What's bad is the scripting, which is
        stupid.  Even worse is the scene in the extended edition showing Boromir and
        Faramir together in happier times.  Again, an entirely reasonable
        supposition, and a useful fleshing out of the characters.  The problem is
        the way it's written.  They clink mugs of ale and Boromir says something
        like, "Today, little brother, life is good."  It has all the potent lack of
        sincerity of a beer commercial.  Tolkien didn't write like that.  Even his
        bad writing was hack Edwardian adventure fiction, not like this.

        8. Conclusion

        Now, all these could be dismissed as plot details.  But they aren't.  They
        exemplify Jackson's flaws: if he understood these things, he wouldn't have
        made these telling errors.  They add up: they just keep on coming.  And they
        are what the whole is made up of: Tolkien's is a world, not just a story,
        and it's made up of the believable and integrated parts of a world, as he
        spoke of in "On Fairy-Stories."


      • icelofangeln
        David: A good analysis. I might add, if I may, a problem of especial magnitude with the Hobbit movies- Jackson s ill-conceived attempt to epicize them.
        Message 3 of 25 , Dec 11, 2013
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          David:


          A good analysis.  I might add, if I may, a problem of especial magnitude with the Hobbit movies- Jackson's ill-conceived attempt to 'epicize' them.  Where it might have been (marginally) acceptable for Peej to have contented himself with making rollicking popcorn flicks (Raiders of the Lost Arkenstone? Pirates of the Celduin?), his Hobbit movies take themselves Seriously, laden with Ominous Portent; even though the 'portent' is nothing more than invented PJ byproduct* which is, as you said, bad fan-fic with no relation whatsoever to Tolkien's story.


          (*No, Jackson fans, don't bring up the Quest of Erebor; it isn't on point at all).

        • Croft, Janet B.
          An excellent summary, to stand alongside your essay in Tolkien on Film. Yes, I was sitting in the theatre grumbling “Anticipation and flattening! What DO
          Message 4 of 25 , Dec 11, 2013
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            An excellent summary, to stand alongside your essay in Tolkien on Film. Yes, I was sitting in the theatre grumbling “Anticipation and flattening! What DO they teach them in film school these days?” during Bilbo’s climactic out-of-character attack on the orcs.

             

            Janet

             

            From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of David Bratman
            Sent: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 11:26 AM
            To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [mythsoc] What Jackson seeks forgiveness for

             

             

            Travis asks what this might be.  I think the best response is to reprint something I wrote on this list a year ago:

            Here are,
            in full and specific detail, some ways in which Jackson, and his team,
            reveal their failure to understand Tolkien, examples mostly taken from his
            LOTR.

            1. He denies Frodo agency.

            "Agency" is a technical term meaning the ability to make one's own
            decisions.  This is shown in little ways, but details are telling.  The
            rushed opening of the movie sends Frodo off without the opportunity to think
            about what he's doing.  More glaringly, Movie-Frodo is physically manhandled
            by other characters in a way he is not in the book.  In the book, Frodo
            rides Glorfindel's horse himself and makes his own defiance of the Nazgul.
            In the movie, Arwen takes Frodo as a passenger and does all the work,
            including the defiance, herself.  Most horribly, because otherwise it's a
            good scene, is Sam carrying Frodo up the slope of Mount Doom.  In the book,
            Sam carries Frodo piggy-back, tenderly, like a hobbit child.  In the movie,
            Sam slings Frodo impersonally over his shoulders like a sack of potatoes.

            Other characters also lack agency, most notably Theoden.  In the book,
            Theoden has let himself be wooed by Wormtongue and must himself make the
            positive choice to listen to Gandalf instead.  Movie-Theoden is literally
            under Saruman's spell, so it's not through his own doing, and Saruman is
            forcibly cast out by Gandalf, without Theoden's doing.

            2. He compresses the scale and size of the story and the world.

            This is not a matter of running time, but of scope. Movie-Saruman is
            watching the Fellowship in his palantir from the moment they leave
            Rivendell, if not earlier, and he personally directs the storm on Caradhras.
            This destroys any sense, however wide and impressive the visual scenery,
            that the company is crossing a vast, uncharted landscape, or that there
            exist independent forces like Caradhras which are not in league with good or
            organized evil.  The same thing happens in The Hobbit, when the orcs are
            watching Thorin and Company even before they meet the trolls.  This destroys
            any sense, though other scenes try to convey it, of the tale beginning as an
            enticing adventure in the woods.

            3. He anticipates future dangers, thus flattening them out.

            Janet Croft wrote an entire paper on this phenomenon in LOTR.  Here I'll
            take examples from The Hobbit.  The movie-orcs attack (once? twice? I
            forget) before the company ever gets to the mountains, plus far more
            battling with the goblins in the mountains than in the book (to Jackson,
            orcs and goblins are different things, the differences being that goblins
            are easier to kill and are voiced by comedians), rendering what should be
            the exciting chapter 6 into "ho hum, yet another orc attack."  Movie-Bilbo
            almost casually battles two orcs, killing one, in part 1, destroying the
            book's demonstration of the growth in his character when he for the first
            time, with great screwing up of his courage, uses his sword in battle
            against the spiders later on.  For that matter, the giant spiders appear
            briefly here, destroying the surprise of their entry later on.  Movie-Thorin
            is shown as brave and admirable from the beginning, instead of pompous and
            grown soft from peaceful living as in the book, destroying the moving
            characterization of his growth and increasing depth later on.  In fact,
            Movie-Thorin is more like Aragorn should be, and Richard Armitage (at least
            today) would make a better Aragorn than the too-soft and unseasoned Viggo
            Mortensen did.

            4. He does not understand the will to be good.

            In the book, Faramir rejects the temptation of the Ring for reasons he
            himself explain.  He knows it is perilous, so he stays away from its
            influence.  Jackson/Boyens, by their own declaration in the commentary, do
            not understand this.  They say, if the Ring is so alluring, why aren't the
            good guys allured by it?  What they don't understand is that, when people
            like Gandalf, Galadriel, and Aragorn, who could wield the Ring easily, won't
            touch with a ten-foot pole a weapon that could quickly win the war, that
            shows its danger far more vividly than any tempotation scene - and such a
            scene must be weakened by being quickly overcome, or else you have a totally
            different story of someone being lured by the Ring.  In Movie-Faramir's
            case, the cutting off of his temptation scene becomes completely
            inexplicable in the movie's own terms; I've found nobody who wasn't baffled
            by what's going on there.

            The most serious example of this, however, lies in the scene where
            Movie-Gandalf socks out Denethor.  Gandalf, he says in the book, is sent to
            lead by example and inspiration, and is forbidden to use force.  Employing
            force, by reason of being too impatient and too eager to get his own way, is
            what made Saruman turn evil in the first place.  A Gandalf capable of
            socking out Denethor would quickly become another Saruman.

            5. He does not believe in strength of character.

            Toyin replied to this one, asking, cannot strength of character be shown by
            going through and overcoming a personal crisis?

            Yes, it can.  That, in this story, is what the hobbits are for, particularly
            Sam.  (Merry and Pippin are more to show the brave facing up to the
            consequences of one's own foolhardiness.  Bilbo, in his story, does a bit of
            both.  Frodo is a special case.)  Sam goes through an enormous crisis of
            confidence in Cirith Ungol.  He frets, he doesn't know what to do, he
            changes his mind several times, he gives up, and at the end he succeeds in
            finding Frodo by means of a spark of courage he didn't know he had, being
            moved to sing his song of hope in the depths of Morgul.

            But that is not what characters like Aragorn and Theoden and Faramir and
            Treebeard are for.  They serve a different function in the story.  They are
            there to offer sterling examples of what a person who's achieved that
            confidence is like.  If they had a personal crisis, it's over before the
            story begins.  They are tempered.  They are there to offer the hobbits
            something to look up to.  Accordingly, they are not the true protagonists,
            although Movie-Aragorn is more the protagonist than in the book (yet another
            point, really, Jackson's failure to understand where the center of the story
            lies.  The war is a sideshow, and Aragorn and Gandalf know it.)

            Jackson injects crises of confidence into these characters in an attempt to
            humanize them, to make them easier for a supposed modern reader to identify
            with.  There are two flaws in this reasoning.  First is that they are not
            there to identify with; they are there to look up to.  (Again, mistaking
            Aragorn for the protagonist, and the others for secondary protagonists.)
            Second is that millions of readers have had no trouble enjoying the book and
            loving these characters without this attempt at humanization.

            A more important flaw is that, because Jackson does not want fundamentally
            to change Tolkien's story, he must inject these added crises artificially.
            The plot takes a little detour to include them, and then has to circle
            around and return to where he left Tolkien's story.  The result is that the
            crises do not contribute to the organic growth of the characters, as Sam's
            does in the book.  They don't overcome the crisis, they just negate it.
            Movie-Faramir claims the Ring for Gondor, then inexplicably changes his
            mind.  Movie-Treebeard waffles over whether to attack Isengard, and has to
            be tricked by Merry and Pippin, an underhanded action that violates point 4
            above.  Movie-Legolas has a nervous breakdown (I bet most viewers don't
            remember this; it's before the battle at Helm's Deep), then gets over it
            with no consequences.  Movie-Frodo flabbergasted everyone who saw it by
            rejecting Sam in favor of Gollum, and then equally flabbergastingly, given
            that he did the first, by taking him back.  Most virtuosically of all,
            Movie-Theoden, having just been freed of Saruman's influence, suddenly makes
            an inexplicable U-turn of character and does, from cowardice, the same thing
            that Tolkien's Theoden does out of courage: taking the Rohirrim to a
            defensible place.  In the book, this is to offer battle; in the movie, it
            seems to be at first in a forlorn attempt to flee, but then the movie
            changes its mind and goes back to Tolkien's reason.

            6. He loves monsters too much.

            What Tolkien-lovers love about LOTR's setting is chiefly the elven lands of
            Rivendell and Lorien.  They talk about them all the time, and the desire to
            be with the Elves.  The movie's Rivendell is very beautiful, thanks to Howe
            and Lee; I can't say the same about its Lorien, which is too dark and
            bluish.  But there's nothing enticing about it, and Jackson just isn't very
            interested in, or able to capture, the magic of Elves.  What he loves, and
            lavishes all his imagination and enthusiasm on, is the monsters.  In
            Jackson's Hobbit, the orcs are given a huge role, injected from almost the
            beginning, extra battles added, and they're equally overplayed in his LOTR,
            as are other monsters, the Watcher in the Water and the cave troll (barely
            mentioned in the book), who get vast acres of precious screen time.  Tolkien
            is not very interested in monsters.  They're there to add color and danger,
            but the story isn't about them.  In later years, Tolkien tried to deal with
            the question of whether orcs were inherently evil, and never came up with a
            satisfactory answer.  It just was outside of his area of interest.

            In Tolkien's Hobbit (but not the movie), Bilbo on entering Rivendell says,
            "It smells of elves."  Jackson's world doesn't smell of elves.  It reeks of
            orcs.

            7. His additions read like bad fan-fiction.

            Note that I said _bad_ fan-fiction.  Fan fiction can be good, even
            excellent.  This is bad.  In the movie, Merry and Pippin playing with the
            fireworks at Bilbo's party.  It's not unreasonable to suppose that they were
            young scamps at the time, nor is it bad movie-making to use this opportunity
            to introduce them to the viewer.  What's bad is the scripting, which is
            stupid.  Even worse is the scene in the extended edition showing Boromir and
            Faramir together in happier times.  Again, an entirely reasonable
            supposition, and a useful fleshing out of the characters.  The problem is
            the way it's written.  They clink mugs of ale and Boromir says something
            like, "Today, little brother, life is good."  It has all the potent lack of
            sincerity of a beer commercial.  Tolkien didn't write like that.  Even his
            bad writing was hack Edwardian adventure fiction, not like this.

            8. Conclusion

            Now, all these could be dismissed as plot details.  But they aren't.  They
            exemplify Jackson's flaws: if he understood these things, he wouldn't have
            made these telling errors.  They add up: they just keep on coming.  And they
            are what the whole is made up of: Tolkien's is a world, not just a story,
            and it's made up of the believable and integrated parts of a world, as he
            spoke of in "On Fairy-Stories."

          • Troels Forchhammer
            Excellent analysis, thank you! About Frodo s agency, I d like to also add the scene on the stairs of Cirith Ungol (thank God for scene skipping on DVDs ;-) )
            Message 5 of 25 , Dec 11, 2013
            • 0 Attachment
              Excellent analysis, thank you! 

              About Frodo's agency, I'd like to also add the scene on the stairs of Cirith Ungol (thank God for scene skipping on DVDs ;-) )

              Whether Jackson is incapable of understanding, or just had no use for, Tolkien's Thomistic image of evil, I don't know, but it was the only of my major irritants that is missing from your list -- evil is not the same in Jackson's world as it is Tolkien's. 

              /Troels


              On 11 December 2013 18:25, David Bratman <dbratman@...> wrote:


              Travis asks what this might be.  I think the best response is to reprint something I wrote on this list a year ago:

              Here are,
              in full and specific detail, some ways in which Jackson, and his team,
              reveal their failure to understand Tolkien, examples mostly taken from his
              LOTR.

              1. He denies Frodo agency.

              "Agency" is a technical term meaning the ability to make one's own
              decisions.  This is shown in little ways, but details are telling.  The
              rushed opening of the movie sends Frodo off without the opportunity to think
              about what he's doing.  More glaringly, Movie-Frodo is physically manhandled
              by other characters in a way he is not in the book.  In the book, Frodo
              rides Glorfindel's horse himself and makes his own defiance of the Nazgul.
              In the movie, Arwen takes Frodo as a passenger and does all the work,
              including the defiance, herself.  Most horribly, because otherwise it's a
              good scene, is Sam carrying Frodo up the slope of Mount Doom.  In the book,
              Sam carries Frodo piggy-back, tenderly, like a hobbit child.  In the movie,
              Sam slings Frodo impersonally over his shoulders like a sack of potatoes.

              Other characters also lack agency, most notably Theoden.  In the book,
              Theoden has let himself be wooed by Wormtongue and must himself make the
              positive choice to listen to Gandalf instead.  Movie-Theoden is literally
              under Saruman's spell, so it's not through his own doing, and Saruman is
              forcibly cast out by Gandalf, without Theoden's doing.

              2. He compresses the scale and size of the story and the world.

              This is not a matter of running time, but of scope. Movie-Saruman is
              watching the Fellowship in his palantir from the moment they leave
              Rivendell, if not earlier, and he personally directs the storm on Caradhras.
              This destroys any sense, however wide and impressive the visual scenery,
              that the company is crossing a vast, uncharted landscape, or that there
              exist independent forces like Caradhras which are not in league with good or
              organized evil.  The same thing happens in The Hobbit, when the orcs are
              watching Thorin and Company even before they meet the trolls.  This destroys
              any sense, though other scenes try to convey it, of the tale beginning as an
              enticing adventure in the woods.

              3. He anticipates future dangers, thus flattening them out.

              Janet Croft wrote an entire paper on this phenomenon in LOTR.  Here I'll
              take examples from The Hobbit.  The movie-orcs attack (once? twice? I
              forget) before the company ever gets to the mountains, plus far more
              battling with the goblins in the mountains than in the book (to Jackson,
              orcs and goblins are different things, the differences being that goblins
              are easier to kill and are voiced by comedians), rendering what should be
              the exciting chapter 6 into "ho hum, yet another orc attack."  Movie-Bilbo
              almost casually battles two orcs, killing one, in part 1, destroying the
              book's demonstration of the growth in his character when he for the first
              time, with great screwing up of his courage, uses his sword in battle
              against the spiders later on.  For that matter, the giant spiders appear
              briefly here, destroying the surprise of their entry later on.  Movie-Thorin
              is shown as brave and admirable from the beginning, instead of pompous and
              grown soft from peaceful living as in the book, destroying the moving
              characterization of his growth and increasing depth later on.  In fact,
              Movie-Thorin is more like Aragorn should be, and Richard Armitage (at least
              today) would make a better Aragorn than the too-soft and unseasoned Viggo
              Mortensen did.

              4. He does not understand the will to be good.

              In the book, Faramir rejects the temptation of the Ring for reasons he
              himself explain.  He knows it is perilous, so he stays away from its
              influence.  Jackson/Boyens, by their own declaration in the commentary, do
              not understand this.  They say, if the Ring is so alluring, why aren't the
              good guys allured by it?  What they don't understand is that, when people
              like Gandalf, Galadriel, and Aragorn, who could wield the Ring easily, won't
              touch with a ten-foot pole a weapon that could quickly win the war, that
              shows its danger far more vividly than any tempotation scene - and such a
              scene must be weakened by being quickly overcome, or else you have a totally
              different story of someone being lured by the Ring.  In Movie-Faramir's
              case, the cutting off of his temptation scene becomes completely
              inexplicable in the movie's own terms; I've found nobody who wasn't baffled
              by what's going on there.

              The most serious example of this, however, lies in the scene where
              Movie-Gandalf socks out Denethor.  Gandalf, he says in the book, is sent to
              lead by example and inspiration, and is forbidden to use force.  Employing
              force, by reason of being too impatient and too eager to get his own way, is
              what made Saruman turn evil in the first place.  A Gandalf capable of
              socking out Denethor would quickly become another Saruman.

              5. He does not believe in strength of character.

              Toyin replied to this one, asking, cannot strength of character be shown by
              going through and overcoming a personal crisis?

              Yes, it can.  That, in this story, is what the hobbits are for, particularly
              Sam.  (Merry and Pippin are more to show the brave facing up to the
              consequences of one's own foolhardiness.  Bilbo, in his story, does a bit of
              both.  Frodo is a special case.)  Sam goes through an enormous crisis of
              confidence in Cirith Ungol.  He frets, he doesn't know what to do, he
              changes his mind several times, he gives up, and at the end he succeeds in
              finding Frodo by means of a spark of courage he didn't know he had, being
              moved to sing his song of hope in the depths of Morgul.

              But that is not what characters like Aragorn and Theoden and Faramir and
              Treebeard are for.  They serve a different function in the story.  They are
              there to offer sterling examples of what a person who's achieved that
              confidence is like.  If they had a personal crisis, it's over before the
              story begins.  They are tempered.  They are there to offer the hobbits
              something to look up to.  Accordingly, they are not the true protagonists,
              although Movie-Aragorn is more the protagonist than in the book (yet another
              point, really, Jackson's failure to understand where the center of the story
              lies.  The war is a sideshow, and Aragorn and Gandalf know it.)

              Jackson injects crises of confidence into these characters in an attempt to
              humanize them, to make them easier for a supposed modern reader to identify
              with.  There are two flaws in this reasoning.  First is that they are not
              there to identify with; they are there to look up to.  (Again, mistaking
              Aragorn for the protagonist, and the others for secondary protagonists.)
              Second is that millions of readers have had no trouble enjoying the book and
              loving these characters without this attempt at humanization.

              A more important flaw is that, because Jackson does not want fundamentally
              to change Tolkien's story, he must inject these added crises artificially.
              The plot takes a little detour to include them, and then has to circle
              around and return to where he left Tolkien's story.  The result is that the
              crises do not contribute to the organic growth of the characters, as Sam's
              does in the book.  They don't overcome the crisis, they just negate it.
              Movie-Faramir claims the Ring for Gondor, then inexplicably changes his
              mind.  Movie-Treebeard waffles over whether to attack Isengard, and has to
              be tricked by Merry and Pippin, an underhanded action that violates point 4
              above.  Movie-Legolas has a nervous breakdown (I bet most viewers don't
              remember this; it's before the battle at Helm's Deep), then gets over it
              with no consequences.  Movie-Frodo flabbergasted everyone who saw it by
              rejecting Sam in favor of Gollum, and then equally flabbergastingly, given
              that he did the first, by taking him back.  Most virtuosically of all,
              Movie-Theoden, having just been freed of Saruman's influence, suddenly makes
              an inexplicable U-turn of character and does, from cowardice, the same thing
              that Tolkien's Theoden does out of courage: taking the Rohirrim to a
              defensible place.  In the book, this is to offer battle; in the movie, it
              seems to be at first in a forlorn attempt to flee, but then the movie
              changes its mind and goes back to Tolkien's reason.

              6. He loves monsters too much.

              What Tolkien-lovers love about LOTR's setting is chiefly the elven lands of
              Rivendell and Lorien.  They talk about them all the time, and the desire to
              be with the Elves.  The movie's Rivendell is very beautiful, thanks to Howe
              and Lee; I can't say the same about its Lorien, which is too dark and
              bluish.  But there's nothing enticing about it, and Jackson just isn't very
              interested in, or able to capture, the magic of Elves.  What he loves, and
              lavishes all his imagination and enthusiasm on, is the monsters.  In
              Jackson's Hobbit, the orcs are given a huge role, injected from almost the
              beginning, extra battles added, and they're equally overplayed in his LOTR,
              as are other monsters, the Watcher in the Water and the cave troll (barely
              mentioned in the book), who get vast acres of precious screen time.  Tolkien
              is not very interested in monsters.  They're there to add color and danger,
              but the story isn't about them.  In later years, Tolkien tried to deal with
              the question of whether orcs were inherently evil, and never came up with a
              satisfactory answer.  It just was outside of his area of interest.

              In Tolkien's Hobbit (but not the movie), Bilbo on entering Rivendell says,
              "It smells of elves."  Jackson's world doesn't smell of elves.  It reeks of
              orcs.

              7. His additions read like bad fan-fiction.

              Note that I said _bad_ fan-fiction.  Fan fiction can be good, even
              excellent.  This is bad.  In the movie, Merry and Pippin playing with the
              fireworks at Bilbo's party.  It's not unreasonable to suppose that they were
              young scamps at the time, nor is it bad movie-making to use this opportunity
              to introduce them to the viewer.  What's bad is the scripting, which is
              stupid.  Even worse is the scene in the extended edition showing Boromir and
              Faramir together in happier times.  Again, an entirely reasonable
              supposition, and a useful fleshing out of the characters.  The problem is
              the way it's written.  They clink mugs of ale and Boromir says something
              like, "Today, little brother, life is good."  It has all the potent lack of
              sincerity of a beer commercial.  Tolkien didn't write like that.  Even his
              bad writing was hack Edwardian adventure fiction, not like this.

              8. Conclusion

              Now, all these could be dismissed as plot details.  But they aren't.  They
              exemplify Jackson's flaws: if he understood these things, he wouldn't have
              made these telling errors.  They add up: they just keep on coming.  And they
              are what the whole is made up of: Tolkien's is a world, not just a story,
              and it's made up of the believable and integrated parts of a world, as he
              spoke of in "On Fairy-Stories."







              --
                  Love while you've got
                      love to give.
                  Live while you've got
                      life to live.
               - Piet Hein, /Memento Vivere/
            • David Bratman
              Please elaborate, Troels! I d like to read it. -----Original Message----- From: Troels Forchhammer Sent: Dec 11, 2013 11:40 AM To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
              Message 6 of 25 , Dec 11, 2013
              • 0 Attachment
                Please elaborate, Troels!  I'd like to read it.

                -----Original Message-----
                From: Troels Forchhammer
                Sent: Dec 11, 2013 11:40 AM
                To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [mythsoc] What Jackson seeks forgiveness for



                Excellent analysis, thank you! 

                About Frodo's agency, I'd like to also add the scene on the stairs of Cirith Ungol (thank God for scene skipping on DVDs ;-) )

                Whether Jackson is incapable of understanding, or just had no use for, Tolkien's Thomistic image of evil, I don't know, but it was the only of my major irritants that is missing from your list -- evil is not the same in Jackson's world as it is Tolkien's. 

                /Troels


                On 11 December 2013 18:25, David Bratman <dbratman@...> wrote:


                Travis asks what this might be.  I think the best response is to reprint something I wrote on this list a year ago:

                Here are,
                in full and specific detail, some ways in which Jackson, and his team,
                reveal their failure to understand Tolkien, examples mostly taken from his
                LOTR.

                1. He denies Frodo agency.

                "Agency" is a technical term meaning the ability to make one's own
                decisions.  This is shown in little ways, but details are telling.  The
                rushed opening of the movie sends Frodo off without the opportunity to think
                about what he's doing.  More glaringly, Movie-Frodo is physically manhandled
                by other characters in a way he is not in the book.  In the book, Frodo
                rides Glorfindel's horse himself and makes his own defiance of the Nazgul.
                In the movie, Arwen takes Frodo as a passenger and does all the work,
                including the defiance, herself.  Most horribly, because otherwise it's a
                good scene, is Sam carrying Frodo up the slope of Mount Doom.  In the book,
                Sam carries Frodo piggy-back, tenderly, like a hobbit child.  In the movie,
                Sam slings Frodo impersonally over his shoulders like a sack of potatoes.

                Other characters also lack agency, most notably Theoden.  In the book,
                Theoden has let himself be wooed by Wormtongue and must himself make the
                positive choice to listen to Gandalf instead.  Movie-Theoden is literally
                under Saruman's spell, so it's not through his own doing, and Saruman is
                forcibly cast out by Gandalf, without Theoden's doing.

                2. He compresses the scale and size of the story and the world.

                This is not a matter of running time, but of scope. Movie-Saruman is
                watching the Fellowship in his palantir from the moment they leave
                Rivendell, if not earlier, and he personally directs the storm on Caradhras.
                This destroys any sense, however wide and impressive the visual scenery,
                that the company is crossing a vast, uncharted landscape, or that there
                exist independent forces like Caradhras which are not in league with good or
                organized evil.  The same thing happens in The Hobbit, when the orcs are
                watching Thorin and Company even before they meet the trolls.  This destroys
                any sense, though other scenes try to convey it, of the tale beginning as an
                enticing adventure in the woods.

                3. He anticipates future dangers, thus flattening them out.

                Janet Croft wrote an entire paper on this phenomenon in LOTR.  Here I'll
                take examples from The Hobbit.  The movie-orcs attack (once? twice? I
                forget) before the company ever gets to the mountains, plus far more
                battling with the goblins in the mountains than in the book (to Jackson,
                orcs and goblins are different things, the differences being that goblins
                are easier to kill and are voiced by comedians), rendering what should be
                the exciting chapter 6 into "ho hum, yet another orc attack."  Movie-Bilbo
                almost casually battles two orcs, killing one, in part 1, destroying the
                book's demonstration of the growth in his character when he for the first
                time, with great screwing up of his courage, uses his sword in battle
                against the spiders later on.  For that matter, the giant spiders appear
                briefly here, destroying the surprise of their entry later on.  Movie-Thorin
                is shown as brave and admirable from the beginning, instead of pompous and
                grown soft from peaceful living as in the book, destroying the moving
                characterization of his growth and increasing depth later on.  In fact,
                Movie-Thorin is more like Aragorn should be, and Richard Armitage (at least
                today) would make a better Aragorn than the too-soft and unseasoned Viggo
                Mortensen did.

                4. He does not understand the will to be good.

                In the book, Faramir rejects the temptation of the Ring for reasons he
                himself explain.  He knows it is perilous, so he stays away from its
                influence.  Jackson/Boyens, by their own declaration in the commentary, do
                not understand this.  They say, if the Ring is so alluring, why aren't the
                good guys allured by it?  What they don't understand is that, when people
                like Gandalf, Galadriel, and Aragorn, who could wield the Ring easily, won't
                touch with a ten-foot pole a weapon that could quickly win the war, that
                shows its danger far more vividly than any tempotation scene - and such a
                scene must be weakened by being quickly overcome, or else you have a totally
                different story of someone being lured by the Ring.  In Movie-Faramir's
                case, the cutting off of his temptation scene becomes completely
                inexplicable in the movie's own terms; I've found nobody who wasn't baffled
                by what's going on there.

                The most serious example of this, however, lies in the scene where
                Movie-Gandalf socks out Denethor.  Gandalf, he says in the book, is sent to
                lead by example and inspiration, and is forbidden to use force.  Employing
                force, by reason of being too impatient and too eager to get his own way, is
                what made Saruman turn evil in the first place.  A Gandalf capable of
                socking out Denethor would quickly become another Saruman.

                5. He does not believe in strength of character.

                Toyin replied to this one, asking, cannot strength of character be shown by
                going through and overcoming a personal crisis?

                Yes, it can.  That, in this story, is what the hobbits are for, particularly
                Sam.  (Merry and Pippin are more to show the brave facing up to the
                consequences of one's own foolhardiness.  Bilbo, in his story, does a bit of
                both.  Frodo is a special case.)  Sam goes through an enormous crisis of
                confidence in Cirith Ungol.  He frets, he doesn't know what to do, he
                changes his mind several times, he gives up, and at the end he succeeds in
                finding Frodo by means of a spark of courage he didn't know he had, being
                moved to sing his song of hope in the depths of Morgul.

                But that is not what characters like Aragorn and Theoden and Faramir and
                Treebeard are for.  They serve a different function in the story.  They are
                there to offer sterling examples of what a person who's achieved that
                confidence is like.  If they had a personal crisis, it's over before the
                story begins.  They are tempered.  They are there to offer the hobbits
                something to look up to.  Accordingly, they are not the true protagonists,
                although Movie-Aragorn is more the protagonist than in the book (yet another
                point, really, Jackson's failure to understand where the center of the story
                lies.  The war is a sideshow, and Aragorn and Gandalf know it.)

                Jackson injects crises of confidence into these characters in an attempt to
                humanize them, to make them easier for a supposed modern reader to identify
                with.  There are two flaws in this reasoning.  First is that they are not
                there to identify with; they are there to look up to.  (Again, mistaking
                Aragorn for the protagonist, and the others for secondary protagonists.)
                Second is that millions of readers have had no trouble enjoying the book and
                loving these characters without this attempt at humanization.

                A more important flaw is that, because Jackson does not want fundamentally
                to change Tolkien's story, he must inject these added crises artificially.
                The plot takes a little detour to include them, and then has to circle
                around and return to where he left Tolkien's story.  The result is that the
                crises do not contribute to the organic growth of the characters, as Sam's
                does in the book.  They don't overcome the crisis, they just negate it.
                Movie-Faramir claims the Ring for Gondor, then inexplicably changes his
                mind.  Movie-Treebeard waffles over whether to attack Isengard, and has to
                be tricked by Merry and Pippin, an underhanded action that violates point 4
                above.  Movie-Legolas has a nervous breakdown (I bet most viewers don't
                remember this; it's before the battle at Helm's Deep), then gets over it
                with no consequences.  Movie-Frodo flabbergasted everyone who saw it by
                rejecting Sam in favor of Gollum, and then equally flabbergastingly, given
                that he did the first, by taking him back.  Most virtuosically of all,
                Movie-Theoden, having just been freed of Saruman's influence, suddenly makes
                an inexplicable U-turn of character and does, from cowardice, the same thing
                that Tolkien's Theoden does out of courage: taking the Rohirrim to a
                defensible place.  In the book, this is to offer battle; in the movie, it
                seems to be at first in a forlorn attempt to flee, but then the movie
                changes its mind and goes back to Tolkien's reason.

                6. He loves monsters too much.

                What Tolkien-lovers love about LOTR's setting is chiefly the elven lands of
                Rivendell and Lorien.  They talk about them all the time, and the desire to
                be with the Elves.  The movie's Rivendell is very beautiful, thanks to Howe
                and Lee; I can't say the same about its Lorien, which is too dark and
                bluish.  But there's nothing enticing about it, and Jackson just isn't very
                interested in, or able to capture, the magic of Elves.  What he loves, and
                lavishes all his imagination and enthusiasm on, is the monsters.  In
                Jackson's Hobbit, the orcs are given a huge role, injected from almost the
                beginning, extra battles added, and they're equally overplayed in his LOTR,
                as are other monsters, the Watcher in the Water and the cave troll (barely
                mentioned in the book), who get vast acres of precious screen time.  Tolkien
                is not very interested in monsters.  They're there to add color and danger,
                but the story isn't about them.  In later years, Tolkien tried to deal with
                the question of whether orcs were inherently evil, and never came up with a
                satisfactory answer.  It just was outside of his area of interest.

                In Tolkien's Hobbit (but not the movie), Bilbo on entering Rivendell says,
                "It smells of elves."  Jackson's world doesn't smell of elves.  It reeks of
                orcs.

                7. His additions read like bad fan-fiction.

                Note that I said _bad_ fan-fiction.  Fan fiction can be good, even
                excellent.  This is bad.  In the movie, Merry and Pippin playing with the
                fireworks at Bilbo's party.  It's not unreasonable to suppose that they were
                young scamps at the time, nor is it bad movie-making to use this opportunity
                to introduce them to the viewer.  What's bad is the scripting, which is
                stupid.  Even worse is the scene in the extended edition showing Boromir and
                Faramir together in happier times.  Again, an entirely reasonable
                supposition, and a useful fleshing out of the characters.  The problem is
                the way it's written.  They clink mugs of ale and Boromir says something
                like, "Today, little brother, life is good."  It has all the potent lack of
                sincerity of a beer commercial.  Tolkien didn't write like that.  Even his
                bad writing was hack Edwardian adventure fiction, not like this.

                8. Conclusion

                Now, all these could be dismissed as plot details.  But they aren't.  They
                exemplify Jackson's flaws: if he understood these things, he wouldn't have
                made these telling errors.  They add up: they just keep on coming.  And they
                are what the whole is made up of: Tolkien's is a world, not just a story,
                and it's made up of the believable and integrated parts of a world, as he
                spoke of in "On Fairy-Stories."







                --
                    Love while you've got
                        love to give.
                    Live while you've got
                        life to live.
                 - Piet Hein, /Memento Vivere/


              • Travis Buchanan
                ... ​Yes, Troels, give us more about this.​ Travis On Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 7:40 PM, Troels Forchhammer wrote: Tolkien s Thomistic
                Message 7 of 25 , Dec 11, 2013
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                  On Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 7:40 PM, Troels Forchhammer <troelsfo@...> wrote:
                  Tolkien's Thomistic image of evil

                  ​Yes, Troels, give us more about this.​


                  Travis
                • Travis Buchanan
                  ... ​These are valid criticisms, David, and well stated. I think they could mostly stand under the general complaint that Jackson and company failed to
                  Message 8 of 25 , Dec 11, 2013
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                    On Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 5:25 PM, David Bratman <dbratman@...> wrote:

                    some ways in which Jackson, and his team,
                    reveal their failure to understand Tolkien


                    ​These are valid criticisms, David, and well stated. I think they could mostly stand under the general complaint that Jackson and company failed to understand and so communicate Tolkien's vision or the 'spirit' of his books. In other words, he made the movie he wanted, and told the story he wanted, whatever his motives or intentions were, stated or subconscious. And as you and others have pointed out, it isn't Tolkien's story in many important respects. Tolkien, of course, though he sold the rights for financial reasons, would have never personally been involved in the making of a movie of his story, so we can pretty well guess he would disapprove of any film adaptation, however faithful. Christopher Tolkien's reaction to the existence of the films and his refusal to see them as given in the Le Monde article is telling as an indication of how his father might feel.

                    After all is said and done, however, is Jackson's misunderstanding and distortion of Tolkien's story in his movies something he should beg forgiveness for? Or, with the rights to make a movie adaptation of the story, is he free to adapt it to his purposes and understanding and taste as he has, and the public be free then to see or not see what he has made, and praise or decry it accordingly (as several on this list have done)?

                    Travis
                  • David Bratman
                    ... They were intended to be. When I wrote this itemization, a year ago, I had been asked for specifics to back up that general claim. These were the
                    Message 9 of 25 , Dec 11, 2013
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                      Travis Buchanan wrote:

                      >​These are valid criticisms, David, and well stated.
                      >I think they could mostly stand under the general
                      >complaint that Jackson and company failed to
                      >understand and so communicate Tolkien's vision or
                      >the 'spirit' of his books.

                      They were intended to be. When I wrote this itemization, a year ago, I had been asked for specifics to back up that general claim. These were the specifics.

                      >In other words, he made the movie he wanted, and
                      >told the story he wanted, whatever his motives or
                      >intentions were, stated or subconscious.

                      That argument I have also made. It comes up in response to a different claim, the claim that Jackson was forced to make the changes he made because of the nature of the movie storytelling medium. I find it obvious that Jackson violated the "rules" of movie-making whenever he felt like it, that he had the studio backing to do it as he wanted, and the movie-making talent to make a box-office hit within budget, so the changes he did make were because he wanted to make them, not because he had to.

                      >Tolkien, of course, though he sold the rights for
                      >financial reasons, would have never personally
                      >been involved in the making of a movie of his
                      >story, so we can pretty well guess he would
                      >disapprove of any film adaptation, however faithful.

                      That is correct. Tolkien thought a movie of LOTR would never be made. (source is an article I cited in my "Tolkien on Film" essay) Indeed, the first director approached by the original movie-rights holders was Stanley Kubrick, who turned it down on the grounds that the book was unfilmable. (source: "At the Apple's Core" by Denis O'Dell, the producer responsible.) Remember that Kubrick was the director who made "2001" and "Barry Lyndon", so if he says a book is unfilmable, he's really saying something.

                      >After all is said and done, however, is Jackson's
                      >misunderstanding and distortion of Tolkien's story
                      >in his movies something he should beg forgiveness
                      >for?

                      Perhaps I should have rephrased my subject heading. It is not Gollum who begged for forgiveness from Frodo. It is Frodo who freely decided to forgive him. So it is not up to Jackson to beg from us. It is our reaction to him that we should decide.

                      >Or, with the rights to make a movie adaptation of
                      >the story, is he free to adapt it to his purposes
                      >and understanding and taste as he has,

                      Please do not confuse Jackson's legal right to make any movie of LOTR that he pleased, which is undeniable, with his moral responsibility towards the source material, which is not a matter of law (at least in a country lacking droit moral). Jackson initially accepted his moral responsibility, as Troels' quotes have shown, until he discovered, from fan reaction, how deeply he had betrayed it, at which point he took up the defensive posture that he had improved on Tolkien's deficient book.

                      >and the public be free then to see or not see what
                      >he has made, and praise or decry it accordingly
                      >(as several on this list have done)?

                      Including me. What else am I doing in saying this than reacting accordingly?
                    • Mich
                      well not only this but to add in a new Elvin character who wasn t even in the hobbit and to bring back lagolas? I mean he wasn t even in the hobbit. and as for
                      Message 10 of 25 , Dec 11, 2013
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                        well not only this but to add in a new Elvin character who wasn't even in the hobbit and to bring back lagolas? I mean he wasn't even in the hobbit. and as for the Quest of Erebor in the book the quest was to take back the lonely mountain it wasn't even cald Erebor in the hobbit. I agree in the first hobbit film there were allot of detours from Tolkien's hobbit story. here's hoping that the second film will not be as lagging as the first was in parts. from Mich.  
                      • Alana Joli Abbott
                        ... Ha, Mike! Yes to this. It s what I thought on first viewing of the Jackson films; though I generally enjoyed them as a viewer, I mourned particularly the
                        Message 11 of 25 , Dec 12, 2013
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                          Faramir should sue for libel.

                          Ha, Mike! Yes to this. It's what I thought on first viewing of the Jackson films; though I generally enjoyed them as a viewer, I mourned particularly the loss of Faramir as a representative good man. I had always thought, in the books, that Faramir's ability to reject the ring out of hand was more moving than any of the more powerful characters doing so.

                          -Alana

                          --
                          Alana Joli Abbott, Freelance Writer and Editor (http://www.virgilandbeatrice.com)
                          Author of Into the Reach and Departure http://tinyurl.com/aja-redemption
                          Author of interactive novel Choice of Kung Fu http://tinyurl.com/aja-cog 
                          Contributor to Haunted: 11 Tales of Ghostly Horror http://tinyurl.com/haunted-aja
                          Contributor to Tales of Rosuto Shima http://tinyurl.com/aja-talesrs
                          --
                          For updates on my writings, join my mailing list at http://groups.google.com/group/alanajoliabbottfans
                        • aveeris523
                          I kept hoping that in the extended edition Faramir would finally say (even to Denethor) , I wouldn t touch the thing if it lay in the road . No such luck.
                          Message 12 of 25 , Dec 12, 2013
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                            I kept hoping that in the extended edition Faramir would finally say (even to Denethor) , "I wouldn't touch the thing if it lay in the road".
                            No such luck.
                             
                            Steve
                             
                            In a message dated 12/12/13 17:04:52 Pacific Standard Time, alanajoli@... writes:
                            Ha, Mike! Yes to this. It's what I thought on first viewing of the Jackson films; though I generally enjoyed them as a viewer, I mourned particularly the loss of Faramir as a representative good man. I had always thought, in the books, that Faramir's ability to reject the ring out of hand was more moving than any of the more powerful characters doing so.

                            -Alana
                             
                          • Troels Forchhammer
                            ... I m sorry about the delay - I haven t been ignoring you, but time is an issue at the moment ... First, the designation of Thomistic is not my own - it is
                            Message 13 of 25 , Dec 13, 2013
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                              On 11 December 2013 22:29, Travis Buchanan <travisbuck7@...> wrote:

                              On Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 7:40 PM, Troels Forchhammer <troelsfo@...> wrote:
                              Tolkien's Thomistic image of evil

                              Yes, Troels, give us more about this.

                               I'm sorry about the delay - I haven't been ignoring you, but time is an issue at the moment ... 


                              First, the designation of "Thomistic" is not my own - it is borrowed from Jonathan S. McIntosh, who has written about it on his blog, The Flame Imperishable, <http://jonathansmcintosh.wordpress.com/>, in a series he called "Tolkien's Metaphysics of Evil", the first post of which is here: <http://jonathansmcintosh.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/tolkiens-metaphysics-of-evil/>


                              I am not particularly knowledgeable about the writings of Thomas Aquinas, so I am accepting McIntosh' conclusions because I feel that they are, so far, the discussion that best addresses the actual treatment of Evil in Tolkien's work. The point that I found particularly interesting was his discussion of the Master Ring, where I do not think that Shippey's discussion (which is, I think, in many ways the 'standard' critical discussion of Evil in Tolkien's work) was quite satisfying.  

                              Sorry - I need to keep this short for now as I have a meeting in a few minutes ;-) 


                              Some of the points that I find McIntosh addresses better than Shippey is related to the descriptions in Tolkien's letters of the Ring working through 'a lure to power' and his whole invocation of the prayer, "lead us not into temptation" as well as his discussion of Bombadil's immunity to the Ring. The Ring, thus, works through the pre-existing desire for additional power that is in all of us (with Bombadil as the exception that, proverbially, proves the rule), and not by some kind of magical mind-control. The Ring is not, in my opinion, an active agent for corruption, but people are rather corrupted by their own desires. 


                              I'll try to put this in a more detailed and coherent form when I have a bit more time ... 

                              Best, 
                              Troels


                              --
                                  Love while you've got
                                      love to give.
                                  Live while you've got
                                      life to live.
                               - Piet Hein, /Memento Vivere/
                            • Croft, Janet B.
                              Interesting, Troels - my own interpretation of the Ring in my book on Tolkien and war was that it acted like an addiction, as Shippey said, but I thought he
                              Message 14 of 25 , Dec 13, 2013
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                                Interesting, Troels – my own interpretation of the Ring in my book on Tolkien and war was that it acted like an addiction, as Shippey said, but I thought he didn’t go far enough in that he didn’t say what it was an addiction TO. The way I see it, the Ring worked on the addiction (or temptation) to the desire to dominate other wills. I’ll have to follow up on those McIntosh articles – it sounds like we are thinking along the same lines.

                                 

                                Janet Brennan Croft

                                Editor of Mythlore http://www.mythsoc.org/mythlore.html

                                “Almost as entertaining as the guy with a tank full of scorpions. But not quite.” OKC Mensa, after I lectured on Tolkien and war.

                                 

                                From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Troels Forchhammer
                                Sent: Friday, December 13, 2013 4:30 AM
                                To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                                Subject: Re: [mythsoc] What Jackson seeks forgiveness for

                                 

                                 

                                On 11 December 2013 22:29, Travis Buchanan <travisbuck7@...> wrote:

                                 

                                On Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 7:40 PM, Troels Forchhammer <troelsfo@...> wrote:

                                Tolkien's Thomistic image of evil

                                 

                                Yes, Troels, give us more about this.

                                 

                                 I'm sorry about the delay - I haven't been ignoring you, but time is an issue at the moment ... 

                                 

                                 

                                First, the designation of "Thomistic" is not my own - it is borrowed from Jonathan S. McIntosh, who has written about it on his blog, The Flame Imperishable, <http://jonathansmcintosh.wordpress.com/>, in a series he called "Tolkien's Metaphysics of Evil", the first post of which is here: <http://jonathansmcintosh.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/tolkiens-metaphysics-of-evil/>

                                 

                                 

                                I am not particularly knowledgeable about the writings of Thomas Aquinas, so I am accepting McIntosh' conclusions because I feel that they are, so far, the discussion that best addresses the actual treatment of Evil in Tolkien's work. The point that I found particularly interesting was his discussion of the Master Ring, where I do not think that Shippey's discussion (which is, I think, in many ways the 'standard' critical discussion of Evil in Tolkien's work) was quite satisfying.  

                                 

                                Sorry - I need to keep this short for now as I have a meeting in a few minutes ;-) 

                                 

                                 

                                Some of the points that I find McIntosh addresses better than Shippey is related to the descriptions in Tolkien's letters of the Ring working through 'a lure to power' and his whole invocation of the prayer, "lead us not into temptation" as well as his discussion of Bombadil's immunity to the Ring. The Ring, thus, works through the pre-existing desire for additional power that is in all of us (with Bombadil as the exception that, proverbially, proves the rule), and not by some kind of magical mind-control. The Ring is not, in my opinion, an active agent for corruption, but people are rather corrupted by their own desires. 

                                 

                                 

                                I'll try to put this in a more detailed and coherent form when I have a bit more time ... 

                                 

                                Best, 

                                Troels

                                 

                                 

                                --
                                    Love while you've got
                                        love to give.
                                    Live while you've got
                                        life to live.
                                 - Piet Hein, /Memento Vivere/

                              • ernestsdavis
                                ... Interesting, Troels – my own interpretation of the Ring in my book on Tolkien and war was that it acted like an addiction, as Shippey said, but I thought
                                Message 15 of 25 , Dec 13, 2013
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                                  ---In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, <jbcroft@...> wrote:

                                  Interesting, Troels – my own interpretation of the Ring in my book on Tolkien and war was that it acted like an addiction, as Shippey said, but I thought he didn’t go far enough in that he didn’t say what it was an addiction TO. The way I see it, the Ring worked on the addiction (or temptation) to the desire to dominate other wills.


                                  It seems to me that doesn't exactly jibe with either Bilbo or Gollum. Gollum, before he goes to Mordor, doesn't seems to be particularly interested in dominating other wills, and Bilbo certainly is not, and neither of them realizes that the Ring is useful that way. They are just addicted to the Ring itself, which I think is what Shippey means.


                                  There is another question about the Ring that I've wondered about for years, having to do with the scene where Frodo offers the Ring to Galadriel. What in heck does he think he's doing? The one charge that Elrond laid on him was not to give it to anyone else, including other members of the Company and the Council "except in case of great need" (sorry, I am out of town, and away from my copy, and thus quoting from memory). There is no great need here; his offer comes out of the clear blue sky.


                                  The only explanation I've come up with is that he intuits that she will refuse it, and he does it so that she can prove to herself that she has the strength and wisdom to refuse it, since she has wondered about that for years. Still it seems like playing with fire.

                                • Janet Brennan Croft
                                  Gollum didn t have much opportunity to dominate anyone but goblins :). Also Tolkien hadn t really worked out what the Ring did when he wrote The Hobbit. If you
                                  Message 16 of 25 , Dec 13, 2013
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                                    Gollum didn't have much opportunity to dominate anyone but goblins :). Also Tolkien hadn't really worked out what the Ring did when he wrote The Hobbit. If you look at its actions in LotR it's more consistent.

                                    And why would Frodo offer it to not just Galadriel but Gandalf? Perhaps the Ring wanted to be used by someone with a will stronger than Frodo's. Both of them would have far more scope for domination than a simple hobbit.

                                    Janet
                                    Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

                                    From: <davise@...>
                                    Sender: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                                    Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2013 17:16:59 -0800
                                    To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                                    ReplyTo: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                                    Subject: RE: [mythsoc] What Jackson seeks forgiveness for

                                     




                                    ---In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, <jbcroft@...> wrote:

                                    Interesting, Troels – my own interpretation of the Ring in my book on Tolkien and war was that it acted like an addiction, as Shippey said, but I thought he didn’t go far enough in that he didn’t say what it was an addiction TO. The way I see it, the Ring worked on the addiction (or temptation) to the desire to dominate other wills.


                                    It seems to me that doesn't exactly jibe with either Bilbo or Gollum. Gollum, before he goes to Mordor, doesn't seems to be particularly interested in dominating other wills, and Bilbo certainly is not, and neither of them realizes that the Ring is useful that way. They are just addicted to the Ring itself, which I think is what Shippey means.


                                    There is another question about the Ring that I've wondered about for years, having to do with the scene where Frodo offers the Ring to Galadriel. What in heck does he think he's doing? The one charge that Elrond laid on him was not to give it to anyone else, including other members of the Company and the Council "except in case of great need" (sorry, I am out of town, and away from my copy, and thus quoting from memory). There is no great need here; his offer comes out of the clear blue sky.


                                    The only explanation I've come up with is that he intuits that she will refuse it, and he does it so that she can prove to herself that she has the strength and wisdom to refuse it, since she has wondered about that for years. Still it seems like playing with fire.

                                  • scribblerworks
                                    An interesting point as to why Frodo would offer Galadriel the Ring. I don t know that I d have thought of it before, but could it not be an occasion where the
                                    Message 17 of 25 , Dec 13, 2013
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                                      An interesting point as to why Frodo would offer Galadriel the Ring.

                                      I don't know that I'd have thought of it before, but could it not be an
                                      occasion where the Ring actually pushed Frodo on this? After all, the Ring
                                      was seeking more powerful and potentially corruptible carriers as it
                                      sought to get back to Sauron. I know we want to be wary of ascribing too
                                      much agency to inanimate objects, but we'd already been told that the Ring
                                      betrayed Isildur by slipping off his finger.

                                      The Ring would have been quite happy to have Galadriel the Terrible. But
                                      because its agency could only act through Frodo's will, the temptation was
                                      offered in genuine humility. That would make the temptation more obvious,
                                      because Galadriel knows full well she cannot match Frodo in humility. She
                                      knows pride is her own sin.

                                      Hmmm. An interesting topic for consideration. :D

                                      Sarah


                                      >
                                      > ---In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, <jbcroft@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > Interesting, Troels – my own interpretation of the Ring in my book on
                                      > Tolkien and war was that it acted like an addiction, as Shippey said, but
                                      > I thought he didn’t go far enough in that he didn’t say what it was
                                      > an addiction TO. The way I see it, the Ring worked on the addiction (or
                                      > temptation) to the desire to dominate other wills.
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > It seems to me that doesn't exactly jibe with either Bilbo or Gollum.
                                      > Gollum, before he goes to Mordor, doesn't seems to be particularly
                                      > interested in dominating other wills, and Bilbo certainly is not, and
                                      > neither of them realizes that the Ring is useful that way. They are just
                                      > addicted to the Ring itself, which I think is what Shippey means.
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > There is another question about the Ring that I've wondered about for
                                      > years, having to do with the scene where Frodo offers the Ring to
                                      > Galadriel. What in heck does he think he's doing? The one charge that
                                      > Elrond laid on him was not to give it to anyone else, including other
                                      > members of the Company and the Council "except in case of great need"
                                      > (sorry, I am out of town, and away from my copy, and thus quoting from
                                      > memory). There is no great need here; his offer comes out of the clear
                                      > blue sky.
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > The only explanation I've come up with is that he intuits that she will
                                      > refuse it, and he does it so that she can prove to herself that she has
                                      > the strength and wisdom to refuse it, since she has wondered about that
                                      > for years. Still it seems like playing with fire.
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                    • Mike Foster
                                      Sarah, That is an interesting and viable interpretation. Mike From: scribbler@scribblerworks.us Sent: Friday, December 13, 2013 8:36 PM To:
                                      Message 18 of 25 , Dec 13, 2013
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                                        Sarah,
                                        That is an interesting and viable interpretation.
                                         
                                        Mike
                                         
                                        Sent: Friday, December 13, 2013 8:36 PM
                                        Subject: RE: [mythsoc] What Jackson seeks forgiveness for
                                         
                                         

                                        An interesting point as to why Frodo would offer Galadriel the Ring.

                                        I don't know that I'd have thought of it before, but could it not be an
                                        occasion where the Ring actually pushed Frodo on this? After all, the Ring
                                        was seeking more powerful and potentially corruptible carriers as it
                                        sought to get back to Sauron. I know we want to be wary of ascribing too
                                        much agency to inanimate objects, but we'd already been told that the Ring
                                        betrayed Isildur by slipping off his finger.

                                        The Ring would have been quite happy to have Galadriel the Terrible. But
                                        because its agency could only act through Frodo's will, the temptation was
                                        offered in genuine humility. That would make the temptation more obvious,
                                        because Galadriel knows full well she cannot match Frodo in humility. She
                                        knows pride is her own sin.

                                        Hmmm. An interesting topic for consideration. :D

                                        Sarah

                                        >
                                        > ---In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com,
                                        <jbcroft@...> wrote:
                                        >
                                        > Interesting, Troels – my own
                                        interpretation of the Ring in my book on
                                        > Tolkien and war was that it
                                        acted like an addiction, as Shippey said, but
                                        > I thought he didn’t go
                                        far enough in that he didn’t say what it was
                                        > an addiction TO. The way
                                        I see it, the Ring worked on the addiction (or
                                        > temptation) to the desire
                                        to dominate other wills.
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > It seems to me that doesn't
                                        exactly jibe with either Bilbo or Gollum.
                                        > Gollum, before he goes to
                                        Mordor, doesn't seems to be particularly
                                        > interested in dominating other
                                        wills, and Bilbo certainly is not, and
                                        > neither of them realizes that the
                                        Ring is useful that way. They are just
                                        > addicted to the Ring itself,
                                        which I think is what Shippey means.
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > There is another
                                        question about the Ring that I've wondered about for
                                        > years, having to do
                                        with the scene where Frodo offers the Ring to
                                        > Galadriel. What in heck
                                        does he think he's doing? The one charge that
                                        > Elrond laid on him was not
                                        to give it to anyone else, including other
                                        > members of the Company and
                                        the Council "except in case of great need"
                                        > (sorry, I am out of town, and
                                        away from my copy, and thus quoting from
                                        > memory). There is no great need
                                        here; his offer comes out of the clear
                                        > blue sky.
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        The only explanation I've come up with is that he intuits that she will
                                        >
                                        refuse it, and he does it so that she can prove to herself that she has
                                        >
                                        the strength and wisdom to refuse it, since she has wondered about that
                                        >
                                        for years. Still it seems like playing with fire.
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >

                                      • Mike Foster
                                        Janet, A worthy interpretation. Neither Sam nor Gollum would have made much of the Ring’s potential (pun intended). Sidebar: so why was Sam able to take it
                                        Message 19 of 25 , Dec 13, 2013
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                                          Janet,
                                          A worthy interpretation.  Neither Sam nor Gollum would have made much of the Ring’s potential (pun intended).
                                           
                                          Sidebar: so why was Sam able to take it from Frodo when there was no choice in the matter but also give it up?
                                           
                                          Mike
                                           
                                          Sent: Friday, December 13, 2013 7:58 PM
                                          Subject: Re: [mythsoc] What Jackson seeks forgiveness for
                                           
                                           

                                          Gollum didn't have much opportunity to dominate anyone but goblins :). Also Tolkien hadn't really worked out what the Ring did when he wrote The Hobbit. If you look at its actions in LotR it's more consistent.

                                          And why would Frodo offer it to not just Galadriel but Gandalf? Perhaps the Ring wanted to be used by someone with a will stronger than Frodo's. Both of them would have far more scope for domination than a simple hobbit.

                                          Janet

                                          Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

                                          From: <davise@...>
                                          Sender: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                                          Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2013 17:16:59 -0800
                                          To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                                          ReplyTo: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                                          Subject: RE: [mythsoc] What Jackson seeks forgiveness for
                                           
                                           

                                           



                                          ---In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, <jbcroft@...> wrote:

                                          Interesting, Troels – my own interpretation of the Ring in my book on Tolkien and war was that it acted like an addiction, as Shippey said, but I thought he didn’t go far enough in that he didn’t say what it was an addiction TO. The way I see it, the Ring worked on the addiction (or temptation) to the desire to dominate other wills.

                                           

                                          It seems to me that doesn't exactly jibe with either Bilbo or Gollum. Gollum, before he goes to Mordor, doesn't seems to be particularly interested in dominating other wills, and Bilbo certainly is not, and neither of them realizes that the Ring is useful that way. They are just addicted to the Ring itself, which I think is what Shippey means.

                                           

                                          There is another question about the Ring that I've wondered about for years, having to do with the scene where Frodo offers the Ring to Galadriel. What in heck does he think he's doing? The one charge that Elrond laid on him was not to give it to anyone else, including other members of the Company and the Council "except in case of great need" (sorry, I am out of town, and away from my copy, and thus quoting from memory). There is no great need here; his offer comes out of the clear blue sky.

                                           

                                          The only explanation I've come up with is that he intuits that she will refuse it, and he does it so that she can prove to herself that she has the strength and wisdom to refuse it, since she has wondered about that for years. Still it seems like playing with fire.

                                        • Janet Brennan Croft
                                          Because Sam was Wise; remember how he was tempted with a vision of Mordor as a garden and rejected it, saying the small garden of a free gardener was enough.
                                          Message 20 of 25 , Dec 13, 2013
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                                            Because Sam was Wise; remember how he was tempted with a vision of Mordor as a garden and rejected it, saying the small garden of a free gardener was enough. But he knew sometimes you may be the only one capable of taking up a burden, when it has to be done. So you do it, and hope you can set it aside when the time comes.

                                            Janet
                                            Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

                                            From: Mike Foster <mafoster@...>
                                            Sender: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                                            Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2013 21:05:27 -0600
                                            To: Mythsoc<mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                                            ReplyTo: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                                            Subject: Re: [mythsoc] What Jackson seeks forgiveness for

                                             

                                            Janet,
                                            A worthy interpretation.  Neither Sam nor Gollum would have made much of the Ring’s potential (pun intended).
                                             
                                            Sidebar: so why was Sam able to take it from Frodo when there was no choice in the matter but also give it up?
                                             
                                            Mike
                                             
                                            Sent: Friday, December 13, 2013 7:58 PM
                                            Subject: Re: [mythsoc] What Jackson seeks forgiveness for
                                             
                                             

                                            Gollum didn't have much opportunity to dominate anyone but goblins :). Also Tolkien hadn't really worked out what the Ring did when he wrote The Hobbit. If you look at its actions in LotR it's more consistent.

                                            And why would Frodo offer it to not just Galadriel but Gandalf? Perhaps the Ring wanted to be used by someone with a will stronger than Frodo's. Both of them would have far more scope for domination than a simple hobbit.

                                            Janet

                                            Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

                                            From: <davise@...>
                                            Sender: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                                            Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2013 17:16:59 -0800
                                            To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                                            ReplyTo: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                                            Subject: RE: [mythsoc] What Jackson seeks forgiveness for
                                             
                                             

                                             



                                            ---In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, <jbcroft@...> wrote:

                                            Interesting, Troels – my own interpretation of the Ring in my book on Tolkien and war was that it acted like an addiction, as Shippey said, but I thought he didn’t go far enough in that he didn’t say what it was an addiction TO. The way I see it, the Ring worked on the addiction (or temptation) to the desire to dominate other wills.

                                             

                                            It seems to me that doesn't exactly jibe with either Bilbo or Gollum. Gollum, before he goes to Mordor, doesn't seems to be particularly interested in dominating other wills, and Bilbo certainly is not, and neither of them realizes that the Ring is useful that way. They are just addicted to the Ring itself, which I think is what Shippey means.

                                             

                                            There is another question about the Ring that I've wondered about for years, having to do with the scene where Frodo offers the Ring to Galadriel. What in heck does he think he's doing? The one charge that Elrond laid on him was not to give it to anyone else, including other members of the Company and the Council "except in case of great need" (sorry, I am out of town, and away from my copy, and thus quoting from memory). There is no great need here; his offer comes out of the clear blue sky.

                                             

                                            The only explanation I've come up with is that he intuits that she will refuse it, and he does it so that she can prove to herself that she has the strength and wisdom to refuse it, since she has wondered about that for years. Still it seems like playing with fire.

                                          • Mike Foster
                                            Janet, I recalled that quote as soon as I hit “Send.” That makes him and Faramir two of the best (or most remarkable) of Tolkien’s characters. Mike From:
                                            Message 21 of 25 , Dec 14, 2013
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                                              Janet,
                                              I recalled that quote as soon as I hit “Send.” 
                                               
                                              That makes him and Faramir two of the best (or most remarkable) of Tolkien’s characters.
                                               
                                              Mike
                                               
                                              Sent: Friday, December 13, 2013 11:46 PM
                                              Subject: Re: [mythsoc] What Jackson seeks forgiveness for
                                               
                                               

                                              Because Sam was Wise; remember how he was tempted with a vision of Mordor as a garden and rejected it, saying the small garden of a free gardener was enough. But he knew sometimes you may be the only one capable of taking up a burden, when it has to be done. So you do it, and hope you can set it aside when the time comes.

                                              Janet

                                              Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

                                              From: Mike Foster <mafoster@...>
                                              Sender: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                                              Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2013 21:05:27 -0600
                                              To: Mythsoc<mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                                              ReplyTo: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                                              Subject: Re: [mythsoc] What Jackson seeks forgiveness for
                                               
                                               

                                              Janet,
                                              A worthy interpretation.  Neither Sam nor Gollum would have made much of the Ring’s potential (pun intended).
                                               
                                              Sidebar: so why was Sam able to take it from Frodo when there was no choice in the matter but also give it up?
                                               
                                              Mike
                                               
                                              Sent: Friday, December 13, 2013 7:58 PM
                                              Subject: Re: [mythsoc] What Jackson seeks forgiveness for
                                               
                                               

                                              Gollum didn't have much opportunity to dominate anyone but goblins :). Also Tolkien hadn't really worked out what the Ring did when he wrote The Hobbit. If you look at its actions in LotR it's more consistent.

                                              And why would Frodo offer it to not just Galadriel but Gandalf? Perhaps the Ring wanted to be used by someone with a will stronger than Frodo's. Both of them would have far more scope for domination than a simple hobbit.

                                              Janet

                                              Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

                                              From: <davise@...>
                                              Sender: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                                              Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2013 17:16:59 -0800
                                              To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                                              ReplyTo: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                                              Subject: RE: [mythsoc] What Jackson seeks forgiveness for
                                               
                                               

                                               



                                              ---In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, <jbcroft@...> wrote:

                                              Interesting, Troels – my own interpretation of the Ring in my book on Tolkien and war was that it acted like an addiction, as Shippey said, but I thought he didn’t go far enough in that he didn’t say what it was an addiction TO. The way I see it, the Ring worked on the addiction (or temptation) to the desire to dominate other wills.

                                               

                                              It seems to me that doesn't exactly jibe with either Bilbo or Gollum. Gollum, before he goes to Mordor, doesn't seems to be particularly interested in dominating other wills, and Bilbo certainly is not, and neither of them realizes that the Ring is useful that way. They are just addicted to the Ring itself, which I think is what Shippey means.

                                               

                                              There is another question about the Ring that I've wondered about for years, having to do with the scene where Frodo offers the Ring to Galadriel. What in heck does he think he's doing? The one charge that Elrond laid on him was not to give it to anyone else, including other members of the Company and the Council "except in case of great need" (sorry, I am out of town, and away from my copy, and thus quoting from memory). There is no great need here; his offer comes out of the clear blue sky.

                                               

                                              The only explanation I've come up with is that he intuits that she will refuse it, and he does it so that she can prove to herself that she has the strength and wisdom to refuse it, since she has wondered about that for years. Still it seems like playing with fire.

                                            • Joshua Kronengold
                                              Mike Foster wrote ... Possible, but, I think, irrelevant. Frodo isn t strictly interpreting his charge, and doesn t think himself worthy
                                              Message 22 of 25 , Dec 14, 2013
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                                                Mike Foster <mafoster@...> wrote
                                                >Sarah,
                                                >That is an interesting and viable interpretation.

                                                Possible, but, I think, irrelevant. Frodo isn't strictly interpreting his charge, and doesn't think himself worthy of the ring. Nor is he truly capable of protecting it from a powerful person such as Galadriel, Elrond, Gandalf, or even Faramir. Instead, he tries to pass his charge on to someone more apparently worthy when the opportunity presents.
                                              • Mike Foster
                                                “I wish it had never come to me.” Frodo offers the Ring to Gandalf and Galadriel. Faramir spurns it, Sam returns it. No good character wants it. Mike
                                                Message 23 of 25 , Dec 14, 2013
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                                                  “I wish it had never come to me.”  Frodo offers the Ring to Gandalf and Galadriel.  Faramir spurns it, Sam returns it.  No good character wants it.
                                                   
                                                  Mike
                                                   
                                                  Sent: Saturday, December 14, 2013 1:36 PM
                                                  Subject: Re: [mythsoc] What Jackson seeks forgiveness for
                                                   
                                                   

                                                  Mike Foster <mafoster@...> wrote

                                                  >Sarah,
                                                  >That is an
                                                  interesting and viable interpretation.

                                                  Possible, but, I think, irrelevant. Frodo isn't strictly interpreting his charge, and doesn't think himself worthy of the ring. Nor is he truly capable of protecting it from a powerful person such as Galadriel, Elrond, Gandalf, or even Faramir. Instead, he tries to pass his charge on to someone more apparently worthy when the opportunity presents.

                                                • ernestsdavis
                                                  ... --Gollum didn t have much opportunity to dominate anyone but goblins :). --Also Tolkien hadn t really worked out what the Ring did when he wrote --The
                                                  Message 24 of 25 , Dec 14, 2013
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                                                    ---In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, <jbcroft@...> wrote:

                                                    --Gollum didn't have much opportunity to dominate anyone but goblins :). --Also Tolkien hadn't really worked out what the Ring did when he wrote --The Hobbit. If you look at its actions in LotR it's more consistent.

                                                    Yes, but Bilbo's addiction is in the Fellowship, not in the Hobbit.

                                                    --And why would Frodo offer it to not just Galadriel but Gandalf?

                                                    Well, Gandalf is much less of a problem because at the time that he offers it to Gandalf (a) he hasn't been charged by Elrond; (b) he doesn't yet understand its full powers of corruption. Gandalf has explained its effect on Gollum and on Bilbo (and on Frodo himself), but Frodo can at this point reasonably suppose that these would not apply to Gandalf.

                                                    --Perhaps the Ring wanted to be used by someone with a will stronger --than Frodo's. Both of them would have far more scope for domination --than a simple hobbit.

                                                    Well, possibly, but for that to work, or for Sarah's similar suggestion to work, the Ring would have to be pressuring someone to give it up. That doesn't seem to be its usual M.O.

                                                    It's not clear to what extent the Ring wants to get into the hands of someone powerful and to what extent it wants to Sauron specifically. (By the way, I think it's perfectly OK to attribute agency to the Ring, since Tolkien does many times,) After all it slips off Isildur's finger, thus passing a very powerful wielder in favor of being at the bottom of a marsh and then held by small fry for 3000 years. Gandalf says in "The Shadow of the Past" that the Ring left Gollum because it wanted to get back to its maker. He says in "The Last Debate" that Sauron "will look for a time of strife, ere one of the great among us makes himself master and puts down the others. In that time the Ring might aid him, if he were sudden."

                                                    -- Ernie


                                                  • ernestsdavis
                                                    Another possibility is that Frodo is under Galadriel s charm -- I don t mean deliberate witchcraft, as Boromir would suspect, but just that he is overwhelmed.
                                                    Message 25 of 25 , Dec 15, 2013
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                                                      Another possibility is that Frodo is under Galadriel's charm -- I don't mean deliberate witchcraft, as Boromir would suspect, but just that he is overwhelmed. Sam says of her "You could dash yourself to pieces on her, like a ship on a rock, or drownd yourself, like a hobbit in a river. But neither rock nor river would be to blame." It could be that a mild form of this has happened to Frodo.


                                                      It's even possible that that is what Frodo thought of when Galadriel tested his heart; that he wanted to get rid of the ring by handing it off to her. That would give a sharper point, both to her comment that he was greatly revenged for her testing his heart, and to Boromir's eager questioning of him about it (on this reading, Boromir suspects that Galadriel is trying to get the ring for herself in this way --- he does finish that by saying that he distrusts her).


                                                      But neither of these feel right to me; they obviously tread a little too close to the Prologue of  Bored of the Rings.



                                                      ---In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, <mneme@...> wrote:

                                                      Mike Foster <mafoster@...> wrote
                                                      >Sarah,
                                                      >That is an interesting and viable interpretation.

                                                      Possible, but, I think, irrelevant. Frodo isn't strictly interpreting his charge, and doesn't think himself worthy of the ring. Nor is he truly capable of protecting it from a powerful person such as Galadriel, Elrond, Gandalf, or even Faramir. Instead, he tries to pass his charge on to someone more apparently worthy when the opportunity presents.
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