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Re: [mythsoc] Review

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  • Trudy Shaw
    ... From: WendellWag@aol.com To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com ; Knossos@yahoogroups.com Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2002 4:34 PM Subject: [mythsoc] Review ... Since
    Message 1 of 5 , Feb 12, 2002
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: WendellWag@...
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com ; Knossos@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2002 4:34 PM
      Subject: [mythsoc] Review
      >>Frodo shouldn't be played by someone who's 20 years old. He's stated in the book to be 50 at the point he leaves the Shire. Even if we assume (as seems reasonable) that hobbits age slower than men, Frodo should be the equivalent of a man in his thirties.

      Since the rest of the review was subjective I won't get into agreeing/disagreeing with various points, but will make one "objective" observation regarding the above. Frodo would have stopped aging physically on his 33rd birthday, the day he came into possession of the Ring. That's the human equivalent of a 21st birthday (coming of age), so a 20-year-old isn't a bad age-equivalent.

      One thing that can--and has been--debated quite a bit is the movie's decision to (seemingly; it's not stated specifically) excise the 17 years between the Party and Frodo's departure, which makes Frodo not only physically barely-21, but also less mature in other ways. Cinematically, the reason behind this seems to be so that the viewer sees him mature over the course of the three movies.

      --Trudy


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • David S. Bratman
      ... Oversimplification (though one which Jackson may have made). The Ring has a preserving effect, but your aging process doesn t suddenly screech to a halt.
      Message 2 of 5 , Feb 12, 2002
        At 05:37 AM 2/12/2002 , Trudy wrote:

        > Since the rest of the review was subjective I won't get into
        >agreeing/disagreeing with various points, but will make one "objective"
        >observation regarding the above. Frodo would have stopped aging physically
        >on his 33rd birthday, the day he came into possession of the Ring. That's
        >the human equivalent of a 21st birthday (coming of age), so a 20-year-old
        >isn't a bad age-equivalent.

        Oversimplification (though one which Jackson may have made). The Ring has
        a preserving effect, but your aging process doesn't suddenly screech to a
        halt. Here's what the book says about Bilbo: "Time wore on, but it seemed
        to have _little_ effect on Mr. Baggins. At ninety he was _much the same_
        as at fifty." And here's what it says about Frodo: "As time went on,
        people began to notice that Frodo also showed signs of good 'preservation':
        outwardly he retained the appearance of a robust and energetic hobbit just
        out of his tweens." I read that as the equivalent of a man in his 30s who
        still gets carded, a strikingly youthful appearance rather than a rigid
        maintainance of his exact appearance at the time of the Party; notice the
        "just out of". I don't find a 20-year-old actor out of place for Frodo, as
        long as he's mature-looking for 20, and can _act_ more mature still. It's
        Bilbo whose actor is much older than the character should look. (Ian Holm
        just turned 70.)

        Gollum now, he probably doesn't look anything like what he did when he
        first got the Ring, so at least over a longer period "stopped aging
        physically" isn't an adequate description.

        But I agree with your age-equivalent calculations. Numenorean Men, now,
        Unfinished Tales makes clear that they grow up and decline at the same rate
        as normal Men: their expanded lifespans are a stretching of their
        middle-years. So Aragorn was as mature at 21 as any Man. But Hobbits not
        coming of age till 33 gives one pause. As their average lifespan is 100,
        and the traditional human span is 70, multiplying hobbit ages by .7 gives a
        decent enough result: Pippin at 29 should be seen as about 20; a
        33-year-old hobbit should be seen as about 23; a 50-year-old hobbit should
        be seen as about 35; the Old Took should be seen as breaking 90.

        Incidentally, I once saw a 6-year-old girl playing Bilbo in a stage play of
        "The Hobbit", and an amazingly good performance it was too. But that was a
        long time ago: she'd be about 30 now.

        Apologies for not saying this earlier, but I found Wendell's original
        "Review" post on the film to be entirely cogent, perceptive, and to the
        point. I agree entirely with about 80% of it, and don't really disagree
        with the rest.

        David Bratman
      • michael_martinez2
        The tweens and coming-of-age-at-33 tradition were Shire conventions. Tolkien never said or implied that all Hobbit communities shared them. He explained some
        Message 3 of 5 , Feb 12, 2002
          The tweens and coming-of-age-at-33 tradition were Shire conventions.
          Tolkien never said or implied that all Hobbit communities shared
          them. He explained some of the differences between Gollum's people
          (the Stoors of the Gladden Fields) and the Shire-folk in one of his
          letters, especially concerning how families were governed and
          birthdays were celebrated. Gollum's people did not observe the
          custom of giving out presents to celebrate one's own birthday, but
          rather of receiving them.

          Gollum's folk are sort of the antithesis of the idealized Shire
          culture, but they serve as an example of the variation Tolkien
          conceived of within each race. Even the Dwarves and Ents experienced
          variation in appearance and points of view.

          Hobbits are really no different in that respect. I think the coming-
          of-age at 33 issue is taken too seriously by many people. It should
          not be identified with a biological point of maturity.
        • David S. Bratman
          ... But they re based on something. ... I do not say that non-Shire hobbitoids had the same concepts of coming of age, or the same ages if they do. (We can t
          Message 4 of 5 , Feb 12, 2002
            At 10:26 AM 2/12/2002 , Michael Martinez wrote:
            >The tweens and coming-of-age-at-33 tradition were Shire conventions.

            But they're based on something.

            >Hobbits are really no different in that respect. I think the coming-
            >of-age at 33 issue is taken too seriously by many people. It should
            >not be identified with a biological point of maturity.

            I do not say that non-Shire hobbitoids had the same concepts of coming of
            age, or the same ages if they do. (We can't make up our own minds between
            18 and 21.) And I certainly don't maintain the .7 figure as a rigid
            calculation: it's a useful rule of thumb, no more. But I think that the 33
            is one piece of evidence in a consistent case that Hobbits age more slowly
            than we do, across the board. Here's some relevant biological and
            behavioral facts:

            1) Hobbits reach a hundred as often as not, so their aging process
            definitely differs from ours in an extended direction. Tolkien says Bilbo
            was "old even for Hobbits."

            2) Pippin seems awfully immature for 29, by our standards.

            3) Bilbo and Frodo both go on their Adventures at about 50. Both of them,
            notably Bilbo, who didn't have a Ring until then, seem awfully young and
            spry for 50, by our standards.

            4) If there's a human society that has its coming of age as great as 33, I
            don't know of it. Indeed, many societies (especially primitive and rural
            ones) often have comings-of-age that seem surprisingly young to us.

            This isn't proof: Hobbits don't exist, so nothing is proof. But it's a
            solid argument.

            David Bratman
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