January 5, 2003
Tom vs. Shelob
I have read the books many times, but do not claim to be an expert. In fact, I have been forgoing my annual re-read since I first heard the movies were being made as I did not want to break the spell.
That being said, I noticed many changes right off: Arwen, Tom B., and various other timing of things. Tom neglection does not bother me. In the books, if you time-chart out every event, you will notice a similarity between the position of the Tom BomB. event and the Shelob event in relation to the position that each character plays. One is good, one is evil, but both are neutral to the ring. In fact, those two are the only two in the book that have no concern of the ring. In this way, they are neutral good and neutral evil respectively. To make this connection even closer, both are time aged creatures that pre-date most things on middle earth. Tom has his young maiden, Shelob has her inquenchable thirst. Tom help, Shelob hinders, but neither make the path to mount doom. Neither are neccessary to the story.
However, I feel if one was out, the other could be too. The idea of traveling the trip to the cracks of Doom with Sam and Frodo is difficult, knowing that everything they face has been evil and there is still only more to come when the world of man takes over.
On that note, I will say that the movie "Lord of the Rings" is the best I have seen for attention to detail and cohesive story blocking. The addition of the Character Arwen as a more prominent figure is neccessary, because you cannot show Aragorn at the end next to a chick you never saw before. Tolkein did not get away with this in the book either and Every time I read, pre P.J.'s vision, I have been at a loss who that stupid queen was. Why Aragorn did not hook up with Eowen was beyond me everytime.