The LOTR Movie Site
March 10, 2000
Essay of a 16-year-oldG.E.M.
Before I state my opinions
concerning the filming of this trilogy, I feel it is only appropriate that I prove my
claim as a Tolkien purist. When I was in the fourth grade, my father read The Lord
of the Rings to me. I had heard The Hobbit on several occasions, watched the poor
animation interpretation, and even listened to audio tapes of
the tale. Now I was finally old enough to hear what happened after Bilbo
returned to Bag End. After hearing the chapter The Council of Elrond in the
Fellowship, what should befall me upon the playground at school, but an adventure of my
own? Well, sort of.
My best friend and I found a golden ink pen just lying on the
ground. There was no inscription, but I assumed letters would appear if I held it in the
fireplace. We tried to write with it, but no mark was made upon the paper. Lo!
Invisible ink! Saurons hand had come to southern Ohio! I supposed I was
destined now to be the Pen Barer. I wanted no part of it, there was no drop of
Tookish blood in me! I approached the on-duty teacher and told her all about the
dark lords evil schemes and the significance of the pen.
Oh, yes, she said casually. Well, I never
read those little stories, but if you want the pen then I say finders keepers.
No! I didnt find it! Saurons
craft isnt found! It finds you!
Well, if you want it, just keep it! She
said becoming annoyed.
You dont understand! I cried, but the bell
rang at that moment. Frustrated, I sought the aid of my classroom teacher.
Poor woman. She was a substitute, and I think my usual teacher
would have understood what she called my vivid imagination. This woman
was not amused, Go sit down. Young lady, either you are just stupid, or
youve found a very clever way to keep from doing your vocabulary words!
But Ms. Smith you dont understand! Unless this
pen is destroyed the Black Riders will come and theyll sniff around until they find
Thats enough! She cried
standing. Unless you want a detention, sit down! And Ill have no
more racial slurs in my classroom!
That night I told my father I was embarking upon a quest to
destroy the accursed pen. With a smile he said, Well, Ive been on many
adventures. I think the pen was meant to come to me.
Since my ordeal seven years ago upon the playground, I have
come to cherish these stories. Upon hearing there was to be a movie trilogy based
upon them, I was overjoyed, for I am a deep lover of the theater. However, if the current
rumors are true, not only will I be disappointed, but offended.
First, there is the folly of cutting Tom Bombadil from the
script. Perhaps many consider his character non-vital, but that is to say the journey
of the four hobbits through the Old Forest in non-vital, and that simply is not
true. The ordeals suffered by Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry in the Old Forest
symbolize the trek into peril this quest means for them. Yes, they might simply
meander into Bree, meet Strider, and suddenly be tossed into treacherous
danger. However, the transition of the safety of the quiet Shire to the erie
fearfulness of the Old Forest to the ultimate peril before them is much smoother.
On the other hand, I do hope that, considering Toms absence
from the screen, the hobbits do not cross the Old Forest, for without his aid they cannot
come out alive. It simply is not plausible. To say that mild-mannered hobbits, even
Tooks, could waltz into the Old Forest, slay the Barrow Wights, or even escape the
clutches of Old Man Willow, is altering the design of Tolkiens creation.
Now we come to the horrible error of portraying Arwen as anything
less than a symbol of elegant peace (I say less, and not more, because changing
Tolkiens character of Elronds daughter in any way can only be
degrading.) I have read that Mr. Jackson admits he is only creating a cinematic
adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, but what many do not seem to understand is that
there is a long leap from cinematic adaptation to outright alteration of the
essence of a character, or even the theme of a story.
To create Arwen as a warrior is not only laughable ( or should I
say it would be if it were not true) it unravels her character. This matter has been
addressed by many talented writers on this website and I will not ramble about the
abasement of her character for long. Let me say that I believe the ideas of Jackson
are important, but not so as the fans of the Lord of the Rings, the patrons who have
adored this work for so long. Above all is the intent of Tolkien himself. He
seems as forgotten now as good old Tom Bombadil.
One issue I have not seen discussed (forgive me if I have
overlooked someone mentioning this) is the effect Arwen as a warrior will have upon
Eowyns role. The wonder of the Lady of Rohan was not only her courage and her
skill, but her determination to ride to battle. Perhaps in our modern world it is not
only assumed every woman from the elderly to the young have not only the power to fight
wars to renowned victory, but that they would want to.
Whatever the world today is like, The Lord of the Rings does not
take place today. It takes place in Middle Earth and the women of that realm did not
commonly jaunt off to wars. As proof, recall the scene in the chapter Battle of the
Pelennor Fields in The Return of the King. Eowyn has just smitten the Nazgul
lord and now her supposedly lifeless body is being borne from the battle along with
Theodens. The Prince of Dol Amroth has just wept for the King of Rohan.
And rising he looked then upon Eowyn and was amazed. Surely here is a
woman? he said. Have even the women of the Rohirrim come to war in our
If Arwen and Eowyn fight in the wars it makes the presence of
women upon the fields, and the fiery spirit of Eowyn, seem more common than Tolkien
intended. Whoever owns the rights to the story, it shall ever remain
Tolkiens vision, and little if any should be altered.
A final point I must make with a chuckle, why is Jackson
even bothering to create these films? If he remained true to the books the dedicated
readers would overflow the box offices. Perhaps he does not realize the vast number
of people affected for life by this story. Yet, if he offends them to the point of driving
many or all from the theaters, who else will go to watch? However he appeals to the
general audience, the majority of non Tolkien fans will not set foot in a
theater to see the films. The Lord of the Rings? Theyll cry
abashed. Thats as bad as being a Star Wars fan! No, worse! You
have to read to like those stories! I mean no offense to anyone. I am simply
trying to make a point through over exaggeration. Please, do not respond with hateful
essays simply because of the above remark.
My guess is that if half the rumors are true, the movies will
make very little money, yet if Jackson would but comprehend the magic of The Lord of the
Rings as written by Tolkien, he could not only make astounding money, but add a link to
the rich legacy of this story.