The LOTR Movie Site
March 21, 2000

Bombadil, Arwen, Galadriel, & The Fellowship
John Paul

A general point before I jump into specifics: surely the beauty of any adaptation from one literary medium to another is the opportunity to see the same story from another point of view; to find new ways to appreciate the aspects of the story you loved already, and to be moved or influenced in a new way by parts you hadn't noticed before.

Much seems to be being made of the omission of Tom Bombadil from the upcoming movies; it seems to be the only issue, bar the obvious Arwen "controversy", which is regularly discussed.

Am I the only person who thinks this is vastly out of proportion? Tom Bombadil appeared in what, 3 chapters out of 50-odds. I'm not saying that you have to believe that his contribution to the storyline was necessarily UNimportant, but surely everyone must see that it's not AS important as most other aspects of the story. Who would have been happy if the film had featured an extended scene in Tom's house, complete with his entire River-daughter song, but had omitted the Marshes Of The Dead? There are always sacrifices to be made, and I for one am not terribly surprised or upset that Tom Bombadil, a minor character whose contribution to the story pales in comparison to those of at least 30 other characters (Frodo, Sam, Pippin, Merry, Bilbo, Gandalf, Aragorn, Elrond, Legolas, Gimli, Boromir, Arwen, Galadriel, Saruman, Wormtongue, Theoden, Eowyn, Eomer, Denethor, Faramir, Gollum, Sauron, Imrahil, Treebeard, Beregond (?), each of the Nine Ringwraiths...) was one of the cuts. (Personally, I always found him rather annoying anyway...)

Another issue which has been greatly discussed is the casting of Arwen: Liv Tyler is too young / too pretty / not beautiful enough / not wise enough / will have to ride a horse / can't ride a horse etc etc etc. The part of this that stands out for me is "too young" - I don't think this is a problem at all; if there is any problem with a character being played by someone who is too young then I'd say it was Galadriel (is everyone else convinced that Ian McKellen as Gandalf won't look ludicrously OLDER than Cate Blanchett as Galadriel?) I don't think she even looks older than Aragorn; before anyone jumps down my throat I realise that all of that can be explained by Elven metabolism and ageing etc etc but there must be goodness knows how many well-read 40-something actresses who'd have jumped at the role...

Arwen. Arwen, Arwen, Arwen. I can't believe for a minute that any scriptwriter worth his salt would even CONSIDER making Arwen part of the Fellowship; that would destroy at least 3 of the important themes of the novel (the need to protect the "innocence", or peace, that Arwen represents; the comradeship of warriors of all races and creeds joining together solely because it is the right thing to do (not because their fiancee happens to be travelling along); and (most importantly) the whole character of Eowyn being shot to hell). Besides, there are supposed to be 9 to match the 9 - would we just forget about this, or have 10 Ringwraiths, or miss someone out of the Fellowship? Can anyone seriously expect all that to be sacrificed solely in the hope that having two warrior princesses will be much more appealing to a young female cinema audience than having one?

An expanded role for Arwen - two thumbs up. A vastly over-expanded, Arwen-exceeds-Frodo-and-Gandalf-in-importance-to-the-story role for Arwen? no chance... 8-)

[Pop quiz (I apologise for really throwing the cat among the pigeons here): IF it emerged that Arwen was to be part of the Fellowship, who would she replace and why? My money would be on Merry or Legolas.]