If this was 1st April…
I’ve only seen a small part of the LoTR films, perhaps a little from the first and a little from the second. I didn’t like what I saw on either occasion. The book had been lovingly perverted for no good reason. There was some idiotic scene where a shed full of fireworks for Bilbo’s birthday party gets blown up. I think it’s meant to be comical, but only if you’re five years old. And stupid to boot.
I now learn from The Independent that there’s a stage version (One show to rule them all: The Lord of the Rings comes to life on stage). Someone’s probably spinning in his grave.
What’s my motivation, dahling? rasped the Ringwraith.
You’re the minion of evil.
I’m not feeling very evil.
Well, you like The Lord of the Rings, don’t you?
Think of what Peter Jackson did to the story in the films, and what we’ll be doing to it on stage.
Now I’m feeling angry!
And because you’re angry about it…
I want to do something evil!
You go, girl!
I’ve thought once or twice recently that I ought to read the LoTR again. I haven’t in a long, long time, and I’m curious to see how it strikes me. By the time I more or less lost interest in the LoTR, I felt that it was a product of its age (1930s and 40s) and circumstance (Oxford, mainly), and once again evidence that no one can write anything without consciously or subconsciously projecting something of themselves into it.
However, I have The Children of Húrin to read first, although only after Candide.
12.05.07 The Guardian has also caught up with this in Ring cycle. (I believe Tolkien deplored Wagnerian references with regard to the LoTR.) I can’t help but feel that this is merely resulting in a camp version of the LoTR. Well, think about the relationships: Legolas and Gimli; Merry and Pippin; Frodo, Sam and Gollum (who’s kind of like the guy in the perv suit in Pulp Fiction in that relationship); Aragorn and Gandalf (I sense cottaging in Bree); Aragorn and Faramir (younger man, Aragorn having dumped Gandalf). And they’re all trying to stick their fingers in rings. As for the female characters, you have the elusive Arwen; the masculine Galadriel (you know tha she smokes those thin Panatella cigars); and the lesbian Éowen who starts butch, ends up femme, and in a purple marriage to Faramir.
Not that I believe any of this. I think that Tolkien probably lived in a masculine world where women didn’t feature much, and it’s reflected in his writing. The strange thing is that although Tolkien was familiar with Middle English romances, and although the LoTR has that sort of epic romance quality, there’s no real romance. Aragorn’s quest to win a sufficient dowry to win Arwen’s hand barely features, and no one else is going along to show off to some hot babe at home. Chrétien de Troyes and Ariosto did it better. Spenser was dull, but his heart was in the right place. Gawain and the Green Knight captures the essence of romance so well and injects a note of comedy.
It might’ve been better if Tolkien had concentrated on The Children of Húrin and Beren and Lúthien.