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January 4, 2003

A Case of Betrayal
Martha N.

I first read the LOTR trilogy when I was in college, and for the last 22 years I have made it's reading a yearly ritual. I believe I understand the characters and what Tolkien wanted me to understand about them. I waited and hoped, that one day someone would make this story into a movie and would above all else, be true in the telling. I was so pleased with FOTR. While not perfect, it was so very close. I had renewed hope that each installment would be just as true. When I saw TTT, I was heartsick. I have never walked out of a movie before, but came so very close this date. I stayed only to see if Peter Jackson would somehow redeem himself, but it never happended. The first thing that struck me was the mockery of the bond between Arwen and Aragorn. Arwen is no starry eyed teenager with a crush. She is a women who has seen ages come and go. She is comes from the oldest and wisest race in Middle Earth. Her decision to farsake her mortality for the love of Aragorn was not whimsy. If anyone understood that, it was Aragorn. He accepted her love and her decision as a great gift. He would have never thrown it back in her face. He would have never treated it as a passing fancy, "a beautiful dream" that is now over. Aragorn knew that his destiny was to one day fight a great battle against the forces of evil for the very life of Middle Earth and all mankind, but he would have fought it alone to save the woman he loved. Her love is what gave him hope. Her love is what kept him going. He knew that if he failed, they had no life, no future. She would have never left Aragorn to go to the Grey Havens. The thought would have never entered her mind. She would have faced whatever fate awaited her by his side. The second blow to me was the corruption of of Faramir.Boromir represented everything that was dark in man. He was mastered by his desires for power. He lacked the other attributes of a great king or leader, so he excelled and won renown the only way he could;as a great warrior. Faramir, as his name suggest, represented all that was good in men. He was noble, yet humble. He did not desire great power, but accepted his responsibility as a leader with great seriousness. He was honorable, brave, truthful and wise. Because he was so pure of heart, he could discern the hearts of other men. As far as the Ring, Faramir said he would not pick it up if he found it along the road. He had no desire for it. He recognized it as evil. When Peter Jackson chose to corrupt him and make him like Boromir, he made a grave mistake, and in my mind, an unpardonable sin. What makes all of this so ironic and so curious is that Peter Jackson went to great pains to make Boromir and Gollum much more sympathetic creatures, when their whole purpose for being was to demonstrate the dangers of allowing our darkest and most selfish desires master us. Then, unexplainably, hen, he destroys the character of the two men who are meant to embody those higher aspirations of men; truth, honor, courage, to be ready to give your all, your life, to preserve what is good. There were lesser sins, but I could accept the other liberties or departures from the story because they did not attack the core of what LOTR represents. I am sad and heartbroken over this last installment. I think I know now why I read that Peter Jackson was trying to lure the case back to New Zealand to reshoot some scene the the Return of the King. I think now, he may know his folly. Thank you for the opportunity to express my feelings. I know not everyone will agree with my assessment of the story or the movie. I merely wish to see the single greatest piece of fiction in the 20th century, or maybe ever, to be preserved in it's truest form, for future generations to enjoy as Tolkien intended.

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