The LOTR Movie Site
February 12, 2001

Tolkien's Grave-Turning
Ray MacL.

Sometimes things that shouldn't be forgotten have been   forgotten.
Most importantly in this case, who JRRT was and why he originally wrote. It is almost amusing to read discussions of how Tolkien's work is being abused and how he would turn over in his grave at what the new movie trilogy is doing with/to his work.

That fact is, the semi-cult status of  LOTR would have caused the in-ground gyrations long before this present movie. Those who condemn the movie are doing so based on an interpretation of Tolkien's work stemming from the popular perspective  of the 1960s and can not, in any way, think they reflect the author's views or reactions. Ironically, it is THEIR views for the past 40 years that have been/would have been offensive. Have none of you read Tolkien's collected personal letters? Do so before you start claiming to understand what would and wouldn't make him "role over in his grave."

Please consider the following:
1-Tolkien's main interest was "The Silmarillion". It came in concept first. Elves, not humans nor certainly the annoying hobbits, were his vehicle to construct a complete mythology, northern European in nature and highly linguistic in base. He basically pulled together fragments of myths from Iceland, Finland, England, and other countries to make complete what could never be so in his own academic work....a fully-documented cultural mythology.

2-"The Hobbit" was a popular afterthought, a book for children, that was considered publishable where "The Silmarillion" material was not.

3-LOTR grew out of publisher demands for "a new Hobbit'". In it, he was able to develop some of the story lines from "The Silmarillion" that he thought important. Therefore, we have two distinct story lines in LOTR, the hobbit stories (stemming from public desire for more of "The Hobbit") and the Gandalf/Aragorn stories (Tolkien's attempts to tell his beloved Silmarillion story lines).

4-Tolkien expressed amazement that LOTR became so popular. To its credit, it did create enough interest in the author that "The Silmarillion" was eventually published.....if not for the right reasons. However, his great study of the previous Ages of the world was still the work most dear to his heart.

No, I don't think JRRT would turn over in his grave at whatever this movie trilogy does to LOTR. What the fans of the books they are based on have made of them over the past 40 years have likely shocked that out of him, in body or spirit.

Enjoy whatever comes out in movie form. It won't be the real Tolkien, but then again, neither was LOTR...and I enjoyed those writings immensely.