10 replies

  1. Awesome!
    I hope it’s the extended editions…
    mick’s last blog post..Hope and change versus experience

  2. I’m interested in the politics of it. Consider the comment by Elrond to Gandalf after Frodo gets the Ring to Rivendell.
    “I was there Gandalf, 3,000 years ago ,..blah,blah”
    So for 3 millenia there hadn’t been a single technical nor social development, still kings & serfs, swords and sandals. Sauron was right to try to give it all a bit of a nudge.
    PJ created a masterpiece esp. by giving the females some function & space instead of sticking to the obligatory cyphers of Tolkein’s 15th C social mores.
    Is there any way of getting hold of Saruman’s final speech that is not even on the extended versions? In the book it was quite important and expository.

  3. Taking a break. Mick, yes, it is the extended DVD.
    I can’t really focus on the politics of it all yet, although I agree it’s fascinating. I’m stuck on just how wrong it is to be unable to watch Boromir’s death scene without Monty Python’s skit on Mary Queen of Scots intruding. At least I was able to not blurt it out and spoil my daughter’s suspension of disbelief.

  4. Awesome! I’ve made a date with a friend to have a LOTR marathon next weekend (I got a massive craving while watching The Golden Compass, which was disappointing), and have been tiding myself over since then watching all the appendices. I think it’s fascinating to see how they made the movie, and the amount of blood, sweat, and tears that went into it at every single level, even on the actors part, blows me away.

  5. You should enjoy it, She-Cago. I haven’t watched the appendices yet. And now that I’ve seen it “straight”, there’ll have to be another occasion to watch it with the commentary, although that’s probably easier to do in chunks than as a marathon. But it was a very good way to spend a holiday Monday, and now my daughter won’t feel left out when her friends are talking about it at school (between us and Nana we had all the original release DVDs but she wasn’t interested a few years ago).
    ambigulous amphibious (sorry!):

    So for 3 millenia there hadn’t been a single technical nor social development, still kings & serfs, swords and sandals. Sauron was right to try to give it all a bit of a nudge.

    I know that last line especially is just a bit of contrarianism, but Tolkien’s idea was, I suspect, more that the evil that Sauron had unleashed was responsible for the continuing barbarity of the world.
    After all, all those orcs under the Nazgul acting on Sauron’s instructions still kept life “interesting” for the 3 millennia between Sauron’s disembodiment and the journey of the Ringbearer: the Elves’ retreat to their magical havens was only necessary because of the depredations of Orcs and the Men under the sway of the Nazgul. There were many other attacks on the free nations of MiddleEarth over the intervening centuries, as Sauron sought for the Ring and plotted to have ultimate dominion even without it. Have a read of the Silmarillion sometime for more detail of those intervening 3 millennia than you might have really wanted to know!
    Regarding serfs: warrior societies with peasant farmers didn’t necessarily mean serfdom (for warriors to be useful in a crisis they have to practise with their weapons many hours every day, which leaves them no time to farm for themselves, just as farming properly leaves no time for weapons drill: the people must be fed as well as defended, so labor is divided). The societies under the sway of Sauron are outright slave societies. The only place free of serfdom and kings (or evil overlords) was the other haven – the pre-Victorian pre-industrial world of the Hobbits in the Shire.
    What about Tolkien’s politics on industrialisation? The noble warriors, well delineated as individuals, who are fighting on the side of right are all part of pre-industrial societies, the most advanced technology they have is the the water-wheel, some fireworks and some war engines. The evil warriors are all faceless masses who toil in “dark satanic mills”. The movie gave the orc captains far more individual personality than I remember Tolkien ever giving them (good thing too, for the sake of the movie).

  6. Just realised I mistook amphibious above for another commentor, ambigulous. My apologies.

  7. I love the movies, but loathe the books. (Not ‘The Hobbit’, just the trilogy). Have you ever seen Mike Moorcock’s essay on Tolkien and Lewis, et al? It’s titled ’Epic Pooh’, and he sympathises with Sauron because ’anyone who hates hobbits can’t be all that bad.’
    TimT’s last blog post..A discourse on a discursive matter

  8. The books badly needed a ruthless editor. The story arc is excellent, which is what the movies capture so well. The execution of the story got bogged down in Tolkien’s linguistic pedantry and anti-urban conservatism, and his lack of self-examination is simply extraordinary in his claim that it was just an adventure tale containing no symbolism or allegory.
    Moorcock knows how to turn a phrase. I like his take on the Shire as a “Surrey of the mind”.

  9. TigTog – I can’t believe that you of all people used the Tarzan theory as a (lighthearted?) justification.
    There is no reason for a demarcation between workers & warriors until some nasty specimen noticed that a sword was great for killing people. Absokutely useless for warding off ravenous beasties, tilling the garden or hewing wood but great for ..heeyyy.
    It was barely containable during the Bronze Age as the Greek myths document, esp Robert Graves’ idiosyncratic works.
    But once the ‘bright/star swords (iron)became common the result is.. today.

  10. I’m not sure I did use a Tarzan theory, as I don’t really know what one is.
    You’re the one who asserted that the continuing Dark Age warrior hierarchy of Middle-Earth societies in the books lasting for 3000 years was a problem that Sauron allegedly was trying to rectify, joke or not.
    The point of my counter was that since the eternal and implacable enmity of Sauron was what made those societies need a perpetual warrior elite in the first place, then the best way for Sauron to rectify the problem would have been to simply top himself after getting the Nazguls to take off their rings and the orcs to drink some KoolAid. Then all the warriors could have turned their swords into ploughshares etc.

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