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Re: [mythsoc] Jackson/Contamination

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  • David S. Bratman
    ... That would be fine, if Jackson were just one of hundreds of people making their own little-publicized films of LOTR. Everybody could take whichever one(s)
    Message 1 of 33 , Feb 26, 2002
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      Joan Marie Verba wrote:

      >Still, it may take some of the disappointment out of the film to think
      >of it NOT as JRR Tolkien's LotR, but as Jackson's version of LotR. Then
      >one can take it as Jackson's personal "fan fiction" of LotR, and to me,
      >that "disconnects" it from JRRT's version fairly well.

      That would be fine, if Jackson were just one of hundreds of people making
      their own little-publicized films of LOTR. Everybody could take whichever
      one(s) they wanted; nobody who didn't want it would have it shoved in their
      faces.

      That's how I feel about Tolkien-based artwork. Some I like a lot
      (fortunately Alan Lee is among them), some I dislike strongly. But I can
      easily ignore the ones I don't like; though the more ubiquitous and
      official they are, the harder they are to ignore.

      This is not, however, the case with the officially authorized, one-and-only
      (at least for this generation), massively publicized film.

      You can't ignore a 500-pound gorilla. It's not a 5-pound gorilla.


      Susan Palwick wrote:

      >I don't consider that process
      >inherently disrespectful, and it's interesting to me how compulsively I avoid
      >storylines that would actively *contradict* something within the text. Fan
      >writers call this "respecting canon," and some of them get positively fierce
      >about it; they're as protective of Tolkien, in their own way, as anyone on
      >this list.

      If someone had written fan fiction with Jackson's storyline - hobbits scare
      off Nazgul by tossing rocks, hobbits leap onto Bucklebury ferry just ahead
      of galloping Nazgul, Arwen lugs Frodo across the Ford, etc. - all of which
      contradict the text, would you have considered that a violation of
      "respecting canon"?


      >I suspect that we always insert ourselves into texts, especially texts we
      >love, whether we intend to or not; part of the process of becoming a good
      >reader is becoming conscious of that process and controlling it

      I don't think I do that. At any rate, while I prefer stories with
      sympathetic protagonists whose actions I understand, I never require that
      they resemble me, and I don't quite understand the common complaint of
      readers that they have to have a character to identify with, preferably one
      of their own sex/race/etc.


      >People who consider self-insertion into the text a heresy would obviously be
      >less inclined to enjoy "inflected" versions of Tolkien, although I have to
      >wonder how much some of the purists (and I'm *not* talking about anyone here)
      >are in fact defending their *own* self-insertions against all comers.

      I don't think I do that either. I don't consider myself a purist, of
      course; and I haven't noticed this problem among those I know who are purists.


      >Anyway, it's an interesting issue. Question for the list: when you read
      >Tolkien, do you see yourself as one or several of the characters? Which
      >ones? With whom do you identify, and why, and how do you think that's
      >"inflected" your reading of Tolkien's work?

      I see the story through whomever is the viewpoint character at the
      time. If by "see yourself as" you mean, "whom do you think you could
      actually be?", that for me would be the same as "with whom do you
      identify?", which I would interpret as "whom are you most like?"

      And the answer to that for me would be Merry. (The real one, not the one
      in the movie.) We're both more captivated by maps and history than by
      Elves, we're more than a little pedantic (see Merry at the ruins of
      Isengard), and we're determined to carry on despite being stranded in Rohan.


      >The problem with *desiring* Legolas -- and I've seen Internet postings from
      >plenty of women who say they want to have his half-elven children -- is that
      >male-elvish/female-human sexual relationships are completely against canon:
      >in all the elvish/human pairings I know about, the gender roles go the other
      >way. Which means that I, myself, have found that particular fantasy very
      >difficult to construct, as fun as it might be to do so.

      It's not against canon in the sense that it doesn't contradict known fact,
      it's just something that never happened. Male human-female elf pairings
      only happen under particular rare circumstances either, so even the
      human-mating of Legolas's sister could be considered a kind of thing that
      didn't happen, not just a specific thing that didn't happen.


      >But that also makes
      >me wonder, on a much more serious level, why Tolkien never wrote any such
      >pairings. And I still need to do the research of reading the material David
      >sent me to on this issue!

      I've been thinking about that since this came up before, and I believe it's
      related to Tolkien's instincts and training both in fairy tales and in
      real-world male-female relationships. Tolkien identified with Beren, and
      identified his wife Edith with Luthien. To have Beren the mere mortal
      human worshipping the inhumanly graceful and beautiful Luthien exemplifies
      the male putting the female on a pedestal. The elf-maiden condescends (in
      the old sense) to accept his love. To have the male be of the "higher"
      race would upset the pattern. Fairy tales can go either way (a handsome
      prince can be charmed by a scullery maid under the right circumstances),
      but one pattern is again the male questing for the love of a female of
      higher rank.

      Tolkien wasn't completely limited to that pattern, however. Eowyn dares to
      love a man of Numenorean blood, the highest human rank, not once but
      twice. Galadriel is of more prestigious background than Celeborn. None of
      these are cross-species, however.


      David Bratman
    • Paul F. Labaki
      ... and David Bratman responded ... I ve never been able to understand that kind of attitude in a reader. One of the great joys of the written word is it
      Message 33 of 33 , Mar 5, 2002
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        >
        > Susan Palwick wrote"
        >
        >> I suspect that we always insert ourselves into texts, especially texts we
        >> love, whether we intend to or not; part of the process of becoming a good
        >> reader is becoming conscious of that process and controlling it
        >
        and David Bratman responded"

        > I don't think I do that. At any rate, while I prefer stories with
        > sympathetic protagonists whose actions I understand, I never require that
        > they resemble me, and I don't quite understand the common complaint of
        > readers that they have to have a character to identify with, preferably one
        > of their own sex/race/etc.

        I've never been able to understand that kind of attitude in a reader. One
        of the great joys of the written word is it allows the reader to experience
        thoughts and emotions experienced by the characters which the reader might
        otherwise never experience in the primary world. This differs from a
        viewer's experience with film because the viewer always remains external,
        whereas readers enjoy more of an internal perspective of characters'
        experience like the puppeteer in "Being John Malkovich" literally seeing
        through another's eyes.

        I've never wanted to insert myself in stories I'm reading.


        David also wrote:

        > I see the story through whomever is the viewpoint character at the
        > time. If by "see yourself as" you mean, "whom do you think you could
        > actually be?", that for me would be the same as "with whom do you
        > identify?", which I would interpret as "whom are you most like?"
        >
        > And the answer to that for me would be Merry. (The real one, not the one
        > in the movie.) We're both more captivated by maps and history than by
        > Elves, we're more than a little pedantic (see Merry at the ruins of
        > Isengard), and we're determined to carry on despite being stranded in Rohan.

        I'm abashed to say, I am most like Bilbo, except that I could never move
        silently like a hobbit. Somehow that seems a bit presumptuous to me, but I
        think it is true, and I must say I'm disappointed, because my favorite
        character has always been Gandalf.
        >
        >
        > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >
        >
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