The LOTR Movie Site
November 27, 2000

Regarding Arwen & Bombadil

OK, I've been listening to all of you debate the changes that are to be made in the films, and I finally have to give my side. I am a die-hard purist when it comes to changing a piece of literature to fit the movie's needs. However, I also have to concede that you simply can't have all aspects of a book accurately portrayed in the movie version, no matter how long the film is.

Let's take Arwen. Now, RELAX GUYS! No one is saying that she will be a part of the Fellowship. She won't be traveling across mountains and Dead Marshes with everyone else. PJ is simply taking the story of Aragorn and Arwen that Tolkien told in the Appendixes and giving it air time. Tolkien allowed us to discover their love slowly as we read his tale. I didn't even know they were in love until Aragorn rejected Eowyn! But you have to remember, many of the people who will be going to these movies aren't patient enough to sit and read the books, much less wait until the second or third movie for the love story to unfold. PJ only has a few hours to explain to you why Aragorn felt compelled to get involved with the War of the Rings (Elrond wouldn't let Aragorn wed Arwen unless he was the King, as it is told in the appendix). OK, it seems clear that she will be the Glorifindel character that the hobbits and Aragorn meet on the way to Rivendell, and that is a change from the book, but it is done to make the story tighter for the movie's purposes. Why introduce another character (Glorifindel) who will have nothing to do with the rest of the story? In the book, having these peripheral characters like Glorifindel lends depth to the story. In a movie, it will detract from the story.

Bombadil is an example of this same concept. Throughout the trilogy, as well as in "The Hobbit" we see glimpses of the history of Middle Earth. In order to fully understand the references that are made, we have to read some of Tolkien's other works - i.e. the appendixes, "The Silmarillion", etc. Again, in a book, these references give depth to the story. In a movie, that depth is achieved through other means - the scenery, the visual effects, etc. Bombadil has NOTHING to do with the current story that is being told. He is from another time, as far as the War of the Rings is concerned. That is why he is left out. Don't be offended. If you want to know more about Tom Bombadil, read the "Adventures of Tom Bombadil", but you can't say he is crucial to the tale being told here.

Anyway, I had to give my two cents. Love these discussions.