Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lord of the Rings, part one

Ok, I'm ready...
I have known for some time that I have to write an entry on Lord of the Rings, but I've felt a bit self conscious about the whole thing, because not only are they (in my mind) some of the greatest books in the entire history of literature, but there must be like a gillion people having both an opinion about them, or people that knows more than me out there. So this is me expressing my feelings about the literature, how I feel when reading the books or watching the films.

When I was a girl my parents introduced me to C.S. Lewis and his stories about the magical Kingdom of Narnia. I felt that Narnia was the only fantasy I would ever need, I truly felt this way for many years. I mean, I marveled in the Chronicles of Narnia, the BBC-series from back then, and I fell in love with the guy playing Peter, the guy playing Caspian (as an adult) and the guy playing Rilian (I can't remember their names at this point, but that's also not the point). This was one of my first notions that anything British was great.... I honestly felt that fantasy couldn't get any better.
"They were all of them deceived."

I have always known about The Lord of the Rings, held the book in my hands with a certain awe, and felt that this was something really special.
But like I said, I felt that Narnia would suffice. . And then when I heard about the project of Lord (because that's what he is in my mind) Peter Jackson, then I knew it was about time to read the novels. Because I think it is the proper order of things to read the books before watching the films. Thus you'll always have your own images if the film sucks...Whilst when the other way around you're forever stuck with lousy images in your mind...that is if you should happen not to like the film. I, however, loved, I mean really loved...like adored, big time, we're talking intense affection here, both the book and the films.
And, by the way, I have been a fan of Peter Jackson since before Lord of the Rings. I saw Braindead and Bad Taste back in high school, and I loved The Frighteners. I watch it every now and then. So to me Peter Jackson was not a strange new face...having seen someone drink an alien's vomit, you would remember him, eh?
 And hearing about him taking on a project of this magnitude was intriguing, at the very least. Meaning it was finally time for me to read the books.
And so, following Frodo, Samwise, Merry and Pippin, I embarked on a journey towards Rivendell. Where to after that, I had no idea... I know I didn't quite trust Tom Bombadil, I still don't... But he turned out to be one of the good guys...right?

I was truly lost in the story, and for the first time in my life The Chronicles of Narnia was pushed down from the throne as the best fantasy ever (It's currently somewhere in the top ten, and that is mostly because of sentimental reasons, I don't think that it stood the test of time to be honest, and what's more they are almost humorless. This is a fact Roald Dahl pointed out in Matilda, yes the books are great, but almost without humor, and I can relate to that. What's more, they are full of that school moral, "don't close the door behind you when in a wardrobe, clean your sword etc, that's a bit lame, eh?).
Now with Lord of the Rings I had found my true match. It was, or so it felt, all about the story. And I agree with the writer, that it's too short. Later I would embark on Silmarillion,
 and find an even better match, but that's for another entry...for real! I have started writing it, but it's quite overwhelming still.
So, I was lost in the story about Middle Earth. And as a writer myself, I find it intriguing that a writer is able to put considerable meaning to every single word. And using something as ordinary as words conveying the biggest and most magical story ever written is even more marvelous. This is why J. R. R. Tolkien is one of my inspirations, one of my teachers... My Captain!

Having read the books (the book, or the books? "What say you?") I was really looking forward to "The Fellowship of the Ring." The film! I bought my ticket in advance, for the premiere of course, and was filled with an almost religious anticipation. I dressed up, not as an elf or anything, but I dressed up! Put my make-up on, and got lost in the visual master piece that is LOTR (as fans like to call them :-)). My father objected big time to Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn, I have no idea what he would like Aragorn to be like, but in my world there couldn't be a better Aragorn than Viggo.
Sean Astin as Sam is also a strike of genius, he is a fantastic actor (just saw him as Twoflower in Terry Pratchett's Colour of magic, and he's completely adorable).
Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan are ruling the screen as Pippin and Merry.
I love Sean Bean as Boromir (I feel Sean Bean has been treated badly over the years, I think he should be awarded a lead as the hero soon...he is and has been for a while hero material, but often ends up interpreting the scoundrels. He's cool as Boromir, though).
 I completely adore Ian McKellen as Gandalf,
not to forget Orlando Bloom as Legolas (I could spread him over a cracker).
Liv Tyler as Arwen Undomiel is also brilliant, although she has been subject to criticism on a couple occasions. I don't agree, as I think she is fabulous.
 But now I will present my most controversial statement so far as a blogger, and believe me, it is huge...
I really, truly and utterly... loved Elijah Wood as Frodo. I don't care what the rest of the world thinks, he was Frodo in those films, and he was a good Frodo. Yeah, he might be a tad young in comparison with my mind's picture from reading the books, but I think he's nailing it. And if you are one of those who only can detect one facial expression, well, you're simply not looking deep enough. There are depths to his acting that makes the Frodo interpretation completely breathtaking.

My father and I have an ongoing discussion on the quality of these films. He has obviously chosen not to like the films, claiming that Aragorn and Frodo are completely wrong, claiming that the creators of the film corrupted the story, and all in all being quite passionate about it. I am passionate about the contrary. I'm not saying that this isn't his right, because obviously it is. But I am telling him that he can be thankful he read the books first as his mental image of Aragorn, Frodo and the story as a whole is still intact (there isn't a soul in this world that can mess with the mental image, that's why I think reading the books before watching the film is pertinent.). And if it's such a bad interpretation then just leave it...Let the books be the books and the films be the films.
No one is forcing anyone to watch. In the end I suspect he enjoys to complain, a bit... I can actually see some of his points, and I'm not this pro-LOTR, going on a crusade to claim that Peter and his lot made no mistakes. But I am saying that Peter Jackson managed to create an epic interpretation of one of the greatest epic stories in the world... Now, the biggest epic story is without a shadow of a doubt Silmarillion. In the Silmarillion the war of the rings is mentioned in a couple of paragraphs, just to put it into context. But, The Lord of the Rings is an easier read than Silmarillion. I can't for the life of me understand how they could make a movie out of Silmarillion, but if someone were to do it, it would be Peter Jackson...

I haven't said so much about the books or the films, but no sweat, it's coming... Maybe for Christmas, because now that I've started, it turned out not quite so daunting as I feared...

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