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View Diary: The Hobbit is a very small movie with very big feet (191 comments)

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  •  Tom Bombadil IS absolutely essential, because... (15+ / 0-)

    While the LOTR is not necessarily allegory in the political sense from when it was written, it is very political in a very modern sense.

    Throughout the books is the constant battle between nature and man, between arms and thought, between instinct and reason.

    Tom Bombadil is the embodiment of nature. Like Treebeard, he is oldest, and represents a layer of existence that goes deeper than the mechanations of elves, dwarves, men, or even hobbits. And there's a hierarchy of each race on each of the scales above.

    Bombadil is the essence of nature of the earth. He can control it, and it is interesting that he often does so with rhyme, much like the wiccans and pagans of old. And the ring, that tempts so many, has absolutely no hold on him whatsoever. To him, all the fussle and futzing is just a playful toy.

    That's power. And that's one of the main themes of the book, that nature has power beyond the mere tinkerings of men, elves, or whoever.

    That is also the main reason why I was so offended when Jackson had Pippin force Treebeard to attack Orthanc. No, no, no! The trees, nature, were coming to life to overthrow the evil machinery of Orthanc. That was important. Tolkien would have been livid.

    What separates us, divides us, and diminishes the human spirit.

    by equern on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 01:26:52 AM PST

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    •  Pippin didn't force Treebeard to attack. (9+ / 0-)

      Pippin used some cleverness and wisdom to show Treebeard what Orthanc was actually doing to the world around it. Once Treebeard saw the devestation, Treebeard changed his mind and called the other ents to action.  The way it is in the book, the hobbits are just observers watching the ents do their thing, but in the film, Pippin goes from thinking they should give up, being convinced by Merry to consider the problem from the perspective of the Shire being destroyed, to finding a solution to the problem, the same solution Merry used on him: make the situation real. For Pippin, prior to Merry getting him to think of it in terms of the Shire being destoryed, the war was still a distant thing happening elsewhere to Pippin. But once the war became real, he understood it. That's what Pippin did with Treebeard. By showing Treebeard the devestation first-hand, he made the war real to Treebeard. And that led to Treebeard changing his mind about directly intervening in the war. Whereas in the book the hobbits just sit around watching things happen, the movie gave Pipping character development. And that's something that I really like.

      •  i think it was one of the lamest, stupidest (2+ / 0-)
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        wasatch, radarlady

        bits in the adaptation. tree beard, one of the oldest, most thoughtful sentient beings in middle earth, needs to be tricked by a barely-adult hobbit into seeing what's going on? puh-leeze.

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 02:14:13 PM PST

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        •  Ents take a long time to do anything or agree (4+ / 0-)

          on anything... Hobbits and men etc. are too hasty. The Ent moot seemed to take forever to the Hobbits but it was actually lightning fast in Ent terms... and the whole film version of this is still in keeping with Treebeard realizing the need for "hastiness"... that doing something immediately was was what he had to do... not because Pippen told him but because Treebeard is wise enough to see when to not do things the usual way of the Ents.

          Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

          by IreGyre on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 02:28:21 PM PST

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    •  It would only be essential if there weren't other (3+ / 0-)

      examples of that in the book.

      There are other examples in the book, better examples, and examples that are highly relevant to the story itself.

      You mention Treebeard, and that's a perfect example that also is imperative to the plot of the book. Orthanc and the Ents are representative of the conflict in the book, and move the story forward.

      That's what you want to keep.

      Things that don't move the story forward are what you want to cut, or at least rewrite to bring it into the greater story. Bombadil could have worked as an addendum -- I love Tolkien's notes and addendums -- or he could have worked if Bombadil was given a greater part of the story, but he doesn't the way he's written.

      Anyone could entirely skip the Bombadil chapters and be none the worse for the wear in terms of reading and understanding the book. That's a TERRIBLE thing given those are chapters not just a couple pages or paragraphs of a random happenstance.

      •  But that is not Tolkien (2+ / 0-)
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        Kevskos, radarlady

        Yes, I agree with you 100% from a modern, screenwriting perspective in which the writer assumes everyone has ADD.

        But Tolkien was writing a book reflective of a different time. A time when people would sit around telling stories, and side-stories that really didn't do much to further the plot were welcome diversions.

        Tolkien's sources were Beowulf and the Elder Eddas. He wanted to write the English equivalent of the Kalevala of Finland. That's what the Lord of the Rings was supposed to be.

        But I remain steadfast, Tom Bombadillo was the very embodiment of the magic of nature. Something we urbanites have mostly forgotten, but people of an older time did not.

        Keep in mind too, that if "worship" is too strong a word, Tolkien had a strong psychic bond with trees and nature. He wooed his wife under one, got married under the same tree, and retook vows with her under the same tree years later, if memory serves. He definitely was a "tree hugger" long before it became popular.

        What separates us, divides us, and diminishes the human spirit.

        by equern on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 04:22:52 PM PST

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        •  Personally I think the books are boring... (1+ / 0-)
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          And it's not just because everyone has ADD now.  The pacing is just way too slow.  I think the books may create a world with a lot of depth, but they by and large are not an example of good storytelling.  They're simply too plodding and unfocused.  

          The Hobbit was by far the best of Tolkien's books precisely because it was the shortest.  I'm sure I'll get flamed because there are a lot of people who seem to worship Tolkien, but from a storytelling standpoint they have significant flaws.  

          Then again, most Fantasy novels today seem to be largely garbage, so it's hard to be that critical about Tolkien's work.  There certainly has been much worse published since then.  Including Wheel of Time where after a good start, Robert Jordan got so bogged down with pointless characters that no one cared about that it took him 20+ years to write the series and he actually ended up dying before finishing.  It's amazing (and dispiriting) to see a series go from amazing and gripping to exceptionally poor and boring over the course of several novels.  

          Of course, it didn't help that 90% of Jordan's innumerable characters shared one of two personalities: bitchy, controlling woman, or whiny man.  

    •  What??? No Tom Bombadil???? (0+ / 0-)

      Oh no...I really was looking forward to that part.

      I had heard that it was going to be 3 parts and figured it would be overly long on the battle scenes...but to leave something OUT of a short and easy read book???? Sacrilege!

      Character is what you are in the dark. Emilio Lizardo in Buckaroo Bonzai

      by Temmoku on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 08:28:18 AM PST

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