Saturday, February 12, 2011

Lord of the Rings: Movie vs. Book Part 1

I am a Middle Earth fanatic. I've read The Silmarillion and bits of Unfinished Tales as well as The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. If you can, I advise reading through at least The Silmarillion in addition to the more well known stories. It makes a lot of things in Lord of the Rings make sense, except Tom Bombadil. He wasn't supposed to make sense, though.

I also enjoy the movies, even though they've got some HUGE differences from the books. Since I'm reading Fellowship of the Ring right now, that's the one I'll do today. Also, this is not the extended movie, as I haven't seen it.

It's time again for Bilbo's birthday! Yay! Party! Gandalf is coming to the Shire. Frodo meets him. Didn't happen in the book, but ok. It's a good way of introducing one of the main characters. They're driving to Bag End. Gandalf shoots off some fireworks for the little hobbits chasing him. In the book, the little ones chase him all the way to Bilbo's house and are incredibly disappointed because he didn't show them anything pretty. Not even a little one. This difference is ok, too. I liked that Gandalf got a little showy. The party starts, lots of food, music, fireworks, Bilbo's speech and disappearance, yadda yadda. Things go really well up to the end of that. And then no time passes at all and Frodo leaves Bag End with Sam, runs into Merry and Pippin in a field, and gets chased off by Farmer Maggot.

Whoa whoa whoa! What? No. Frodo doesn't find out what the Ring is for around 9 years. Then he sells Bag End to his uncle's most unfavored relatives, the Sackville-Bagginses, has Merry cart his stuff to a house in another part of the Shire under the pretext of moving, and sets off to his new house with Sam and Pippin. They have dinner with some elves one night, stop for dinner at Farmer Maggot's after being stalked by Nazgul for a while, and catch a ride with the farmer to the ferry. He even gives them a basket of mushrooms! Merry shows up and escorts them across and to Frodo's new house, where they spend a night and then set off into the Old Forrest the very next morning, leaving a hobbit named Fatty Bolger to pretend to be Frodo for a while. The trees in the forest are old and they don't like Hobbits very much after a bonfire the Hobbits started once upon a time in the middle of the forest, so they drive the travelers to the river, and Old Man Willow. Yes, he's a tree. No, he's not an Ent. He's just ancient and not very happy. Frodo gets dunked in the water and a root tries to hold him down. Merry and Pippin get sucked into the tree. Sam pulls Frodo out of the water and they decide to start a fire to force the tree to let Merry and Pip go. That doesn't work, so Frodo panics and starts running around screaming "Help! Help!" Along comes one of my most favorite characters, Tom Bombadil. He whacks the tree and tells it to let the little ones out, and then invites the hobbits to his house for the night.

Tom is described as being the Master, but he only has real power within the land he calls his own. This is the only thing that, in my mind, disqualifies him from being one of the Maiar. You see, There's Illuvatar (God), and then the Valar (Vala is the elvish word for Angel, but the Valar are, to me, more like lesser gods), and then the Maiar (helpers of the Valar. Sauron is a Maia). They have a considerable amount of power, such as Tom displays over the Ring and the forest, and have been around from the beginning of Arda, and Tom claims that he has. Anyway, back to the story.

They stay with Tom and Goldberry, his wife, two nights, and are sent on their way. As hobbits will do, they stopped for lunch and ended up taking a nice, long nap. When they started on their way again, a Barrow-Wight got them. Frodo wasn't as deep under the spell as his companions and managed to keep them from being beheaded, and then called Tom to save them. Tom rides with them to the road after that, and the hobbits come to Bree where they meet Strider.

Now the book and the movie are back on the same page for a chapter or two, after Peter Jackson cut out 3.

Strider takes the hobbits to Amon Sul, also called Weathertop, where they don't have the funny conversation about Hobbit meals (which was a good addition to the movie since it hadn't gone through the walk-eat-walk-eat-sleep-eat-walk-eat- rest-eat nonsense that it missed in the other 3 chapters). He and Frodo go to the top and find a rule left by Gandalf, and a large, scorched patch where there had recently been a huge fire. It was apparent that Gandalf had been there and had been attacked. They went back down and stayed in a cave thing at the base of Weathertop, where they were attacked by Nazgul, Frodo put on the Ring, and got stabbed. It was also a good thing in the movie that they had this part on top of the hill. It was more... Flashy? Cool? Yes. Cool. Frodo held out 17 days with a shard of the witch king's sword burrowing toward his heart. Seventeen days he was riding Bill, the pony Sam bought in Bree, talking, traveling, and not being so pathetic. While they were making their way to Rivendell an Elf Lord (not Arwen!) came and traveled with them, letting Frodo ride his horse. Then all 9 Nazgul showed up near the Ford, Frodo made it across on his own, and when the witch king stepped into the water, a great flood came down, and figures of tall riders on white horses could be seen. This wasn't the design of Arwen, but of her father Elrond and Gandalf (who put the horses in there to be showy), and was kind of a trap. Frodo fell off the horse, was found by elves, and carried into Rivendell, where Elrond healed him.

So, there were a few minor differences there. I thought the chase scene in the movie with Arwen and Frodo vs. Nazgul was pretty awesome, but I get frustrated with movies when they put in pretty chicks where there aren't any (don't get me started on the new CrapClash of the Titans movie, where they even got Io's story wrong).

Everything in The House of Elrond passed just about as it had in the book. Boromir wasn't so childish at the council, though, and there wasn't a big fight over who would carry the Ring. Bilbo offered to, since he said he started the whole mess by finding the Ring. Not much important stuff there.

The next big difference comes when they depart. Aragorn is carrying Anduril, which is Narsil reforged. He had been carrying around the hilt for years. This means that there's a huge wrong in the Return of the King movie (in fact, Elrond didn't show up there at all! It was a company of Rangers), but we'll get there later.

Walking, walking, walking, walking. They got that part right. And then Cruel Caradhras. My only gripe here is that it wasn't Sarumon causing all the problems. It was the mountain itself. It would have been funny, though, to see Aragorn and Boromir tunneling through the snow.

And then Moria. I think they did a pretty good job on Moria. What they chose to change, they chose well. Adding a little action with the Watcher in the Water, having Pippin push a skeleton and a bucket down the well instead of throwing a rock, making it a troll instead of a giant orc that stabbed Frodo... These were all excellently done. I also liked the scene on the broken stairs, where we find out that Dwarves will NOT be tossed, even though that wasn't in the book either. The fall of Gandalf was also very, very well done, and fit almost perfectly with the book. Gandalf yelled "Fly, you fools!" as he was falling, but I thought a harsh whisper before the fall better. The escape from Moria was done well, and being found in Lothlorien was ok. It was all right to leave out the company having to sleep in a tree for a night, but they missed out on Gollum.

I hate that they left out the blindfolding thing. Because he was a dwarf, Gimli had to be blindfolded to be led to the elvish city. He pitched a fit, but Aragorn said that if one of them had to be blinded, all of them would go as such. Gimli was appeased, but only due to the fact that Legolas was going to be just as blind to the beauty of the forest as he was.

Things in Lothlorien went well until the gifts. Ooh... This may make me more angry than leaving out Tom. In the movie, only Frodo got something. He got the right gift: A vial of light from the star Earandil. In the books...
Sam got a box of dirt and a seed from a mallorn tree. Merry and Pippin got silver belts. Aragorn got a scabbard for Anduril. Boromir got a gold belt. Legolas got a bow of the style that the elves of Lothlorien used. My favorite gift was that given to Gimli the Dwarf. It's no secret that dwarves and elves are not friends. Come on, Gimli was going to have to be blindfolded to walk through the forest. Galadriel asked Gimli outright what he wanted. He told her that it was enough to have seen the lady of the golden wood, and he meant it. When she commanded him to name his desire, he simply asked for a strand of her hair.

This was huge. Why should a Dwarf ask for and receive a strand of the Queen of Elves' hair when forever ago she refused the request to one of her own kind? That's right. An elf lord asked for a strand of her hair and she said "No." So along comes a dwarf and he gets three! That's right. She unbraided her hair and plucked out three golden strands to give to a creature with whom her kind have had a rivalry for thousands of years. The thing is, though, that he didn't ask for it. He would have gladly walked away empty-handed, because he was being honest when he said that getting to see her was enough, but she ordered him to name his desire, and she gave him what he named, though he didn't ask.

Floating down the river is kind of hard to mess up, and they stopped at about the right place. Everything followed the book to the end, and then kept going. The Fellowship of the Ring ends with Sam and Frodo going off alone. Boromir doesn't die until the next book. So... In a couple weeks, after I have once again read The Two Towers, I'll have that one to right about!

This ended up being longer than I thought, and the other two aren't likely to be any shorter. Of the three, however, Fellowship of the Ring is my least favorite book and movie. The book is about walking, and the movie found too many ways to mess that up. After reading into the history of Middle Earth, though, the songs make more sense, and things like Gimli and Galadriel's gift have more importance.

So. On Monday you shall have something I've learned, and it will probably be something about pride.

Until Monday,

No comments:

Post a Comment