April 25, 2001

Re: Trilogy?
Rhys M.B.

This is my first time on this forum, so forgive me if I am retreading old topics.

In an earlier post regarding whether or not LotR is properly a trilogy, AlexB wrote:

"My Oxford dictionary defines a Trilogy as:"a group of three related novels, plays, opera's etc.". Laura's definition states that the works must be different. I'm not sure what she means by "different" but, the essense of a trilogy is that it is a continuation of any of the: themes, story, characters, or setting, of the original book. Furthermore, the parts of a trilogy need not be independent of one another (imagine watching Return of the Jedi without seeing the other two first). Also the fact that LOTR is also sold in a one book edition, still qualifies it as a trilogy because the book is still seperated into three seperate novels. The LOTR movie trilogy will follow the plot of the book, which makes it important to see all three movies in sequence. Lastly, if you want to refer to something as a trilogy, or three conected "parts", it's up to you, as there is no difference between the two terms. If anyone still agrees with Laura's argument, could they please inform George Lucas and tell him to quit writing

Alex is missing a very important point. While LotR might be divided internally into 6 books and was published in 3 volumes, they were not written as seperate entities. In a trilogy (be it literary or a movie), each installment is created as a seperate entity to build upon and continue a previous installment. In a trilogy, one installment is created and released (or published) and then another is created, etc. Things can and do change in the process of creating each installment and so, while the final product may create a whole, the creation process is not done at once. This makes a trilogy very different from the case of LotR.

LotR was written as one story but was published in three volumes because of its length. The breaking up of LotR into three volumes was for convenience and to make it easier to seel the product, not because it is three different installments of an on-going storyline but because it is one REALLY long storyline. LotR was written as one whole story and subsequently broken down in three volumes but utilizing the breaks of the internal books. As a result, you cannot really read or appreciate the LotR without consuming the whole. To use Alex's example of Star Wars, each of those installments can be appreciated individually, even though one builds upon what the others before it did, but make no mistake, they are seperate stories within their universe.