The LOTR Movie Site
June 20, 2000

Observations of a New Reader

Hello. I have been reading your site for weeks. I am a new reader of the LOTR books. Right now, I am in the beginning of ROTK, first chapter. I tried to avoid the net spoilers and the complaints until I had made my own opinions on the books. I had heard that Jackson was making some changes, and that there were some characters (Liv Tyler's character, "Arwen") whose roles would be expanded/contracted. So it began...

Truthfully, my first reaction to Tom Bombadil was that he must have been one of the cuts that Jackson was talking about. First reading his character, I was very cynical about his yellow boots, cheery nature, singsong voice, etc. Of course, as I truly dig into the universe, I really like Tom. Still, it is apparent that he would be a major turn-off for the average audience. And YES, this movie is being made for Joe Q. Public. The movie must make money! There is also the fact that Tom takes the attention off the main plot, Sauron and his Ring. I don't care how important he is in Middle Earth power hierarchy, he is still not important to the story. As a new reader and fan of the books, without even having read your site or any other, I expected Tom Bombadil's scenes to be cut. Still, I would love to see his character shown if there was ever an extended hour (as was rumored) for the DVD version.

As far as Arwen is concerned, I admit that I knew somewhat about the contraversy surrounding her and Tyler. Therefore, I made a special point to notice how her character is portrayed in the books. To my surprise... there is barely any mention of her! That's it?! I had to go to the appendix to get any real info! Of course, I haven't read the crowning yet, but... My point is that I feel that in a movie translation, they MUST add scenes with Evenstar and Aragorn, just to *thoroughly establish Aragorn's motivation.* Unless they are planning a narration, which I wouldn't prefer, adding scenes for exposition with Arwen and Aragorn, therefore making his motivation more present in the story, is the only way to bringing his character to life in a movie translation. Otherwise, all we have to know about their relationship is Arwen sitting at Elrond's table and Aragorn woefully saying "Evenstar" on occasion. We have to know why he is trying so hard to get his crown back. Adding to their romance is a perfect way and natural way. It is a dangerous territory that Jackson is in, but I see no other way of showing the events of the Arwen/Aragorn appendix chapter than bringing it into the main story.

As far as the "XenArwen" debate goes... would she NOT defend herself if she were attacked at Helm's Deep? Certainly, I cannot imagine how Jackson is going to get her there, but I don't see her using a bow and arrow as being bad at all. If she is there anyway to add to the love story (which I think can only improve her and Aragorn's characters, if done right), it doesn't seem a stretch to me for her to defend herself.

Is my point of view flawed? Yes, I have not read the romance of Faramir and Eowyn, or even seen Eowyn's fight scenes. "What do I know," right?

I know that the idea of saying that nothing in the book should be changed is childish and without fairness. Just imagine trying to stuff every monologue, every song, every meal, and every sunrise into a two-hour movie. Try selling that to Hollywood! It is not realistic. Yes, it is very romantic to say that every piece of the book is a gem, and that change is unacceptable. There would never be a movie that way. I would must rather see an edited movie than no movie at all.

Still, we will always have the book.