Wikipedia has long been a favorite haunt of mine—though, there, I read more than write—so I was quite excited to discover this LOTR WIKI. The organization and structure of a WIKI is a perfect format for a Lord of the Rings encyclopedia, and I hope this one fulfills its potential. Perhaps, as this is a special field of expertise, I may be able to make a few useful contributions.
The Real Me
- Location: USA
- Age: Middle
- Sex: Male
- Place of Birth: Texas USA!
- Age at birth: 0—more or less.
- Hobbies: Reading, reading, and reading. Besides reading, a bit of reading, and when I am not reading, reading. Did I mention reading? I should also say that I love writing, but I am not quite as good at it as at reading.
Middle Earth Bio
I have been a devoted reader of the works of Tolkien for many years and had read The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion all several times before first hearing about Peter Jackson's plans for the big screen. While I am no purist, I enjoy thinking of the "canon" of Tolkien's Middle-earth tales as if it was the narrative of a long lost civilization. In that regard, I am a broad inclusionist of works into the canon. There is probably nothing remotely connected to Middle-earth penned by Tolkien that I would not ragard as canonical—including those things that were edited, and perhaps in some ways modified, by his son Christopher. It is not, after all, the Bible, so I think we can sustain a bit of contradictory material. Moreover, if we think of the writings as being historical narratives written by various authors over a long period of time—as translated for us, of course, by Professor Tolkien—we should be more surprised if there had not been any disagreement among them. In this way, we can all be taken up, in a sense, into the story and become a part of it.
I am now approaching twenty years of exposure to the tales of Middle Earth which has gone far beyond just reading and into in-depth study. My knowledge of Middle Earth through the various writings of Tolkien is very nearly encyclopedic.
- My favorite Tolkien book is The Silmarillion which also happens to be my favorite of all books that I have ever read.
- My favorite vignette of all Tolkien's work is a tie between The Ainulindalë and Of Aulë and Yavanna both in The Silmarillion the latter being chapter 2 of Quenta Silmarillion. I love the sheer beauty and majesty of The Ainulindalë. There is no creation myth, including that of my own religion, as beautiful and staggeringly breathtaking as this one. And Ilúvatar's tenderness and compassion in Of Aule and Yavanna very often brings me to tears. He is, to me, a reflection of my own and, I think, Tolkien's God.
- My favorite character in all Tolkien writings is Éowyn. While I am not big on the warrior princess thing, I thoroughly understand and sympathize with her inner turmoil. The beauty of her soul would only have been ruined had she been played in the movies by a stunningly beautiful actress. To that end, the choice of Miranda Otto to play the part was perfect, and she played it masterfully. (Hers was the only character in the three movies in which I was not in some measure disappointed.) The conflict within Éowyn was as much a work of the Valar as was the finding of the Ruling Ring by Bilbo. And when she had fulfilled her role, the Valar gave her peace and contentment.
Éowyn was deeply conflicted between her gender role as defined by her culture and a strong desire for winning greatness and renown as a warrior. One could imagine the Valar infusing this inner tormoil so as to raise her up to perpetrate the mighty deed which they foresaw. Once this was done, her conflict was resolved, and she found a place of contentment as a woman and as a princess of her people. What makes me love her is her brazen courage and her humble acceptance of the anti-climax of her life afterward.
It is said that great courage in battle does not come until one has reached the point of death in his own mind. Éowyn always desired glory in battle, but I think the moment her life fell to the ashes of death was in the following exchange between her and Aragorn over his intention to take the Paths of the Dead.
'Tomorrow I shall ride by the Paths of the Dead'The passion of this interaction is irresistable. She loved him, and the unmasking of her love and the expectation of the death of its object was a mortal wound not only of her love for him but also of her love for her own life. From that moment, she desired only death in battle. From that moment, her bitter resolve was made, and her courage rose like a pheonix from the ashes of her love. Her death in battle would have been one of honour and glory, but greater still was it that she lived to wed Faramir and seal the bonds of love and friendship between their two peoples.
Then she stared at him as one that is stricken, and her face blanched, and for long she spoke no more, while all sat silent. 'But Aragorn,' she said at last, 'is it then your errand to seek death? For that is all that you will find on that road. They do not suffer the living to pass....I do not bid you flee from peril, but to ride to battle where your sword may win renown and victory. I would not see a thing that is high and excellent cast away needlessly'
'Nor would I,' he said. 'Therefore I say to you, lady: Stay! For you have no errand to the south.'
'Neither have those others who go with thee. They go only because they would not be parted from thee — because they love thee.' Then she turned and vanished into the night.
Throughout the above scene between them, Éowyn uses the general, personal nominative pronoun 'you' of Aragorn, but when the mask briefly falls away, she switches to the very intimate form, 'thee'. He has told her that his heart remains in a dale far to the north and that he intends to ride to what she thinks will be certain death. She agonizes in the pain of a mortal wound of the two-edged sword that has slain her love, and she cannot prevent the mask from falling away. She believes, then, that the death of her love leaves her only the choice of the death of her life. Only the slaying of the Witch King by her tragic hands passes this moment as a favorite, for me, of the story.
Unfortunately, the exchange above between Éowyn and Aragorn is altered in the screenplay and bears little resemblance to the scene in the book. In the movie, the revelation of Éowyn's love is less subtle and therefore, to my mind, less noble. Instead of emerging from the narrative by way of an emotional transferance, "...because they(I) love thee," it just kind of plops out, "Éowyn. Why have you come?" "Do you not know?" "It is but a shadow and a thought that you love." And, there is no reversion to the intimate personal pronoun. The passion is there, but the subtlety is lost.
- My favorite moment of the LOTR story—both book and movie—is the slaying of the Witch King by Éowyn.
Otherwise, my favorite parts of the LOTR stories are the historical narratives such as the chapters The Shadow of the Past FOTR 1:II and The Council of Elrond FOTR 2:II. History is a favorite study of mine, so the historical passages of Tolkien's writings hold a special appeal for me.
- Favorite story paradox: Yep! I have one! How Gollum came by the knowledge that taking the ring up Mount Doom was dangerous to it and him. I have yet to find an adequate explanation. It seems that Peter Jackson saw the same problem himself and dealt with it by just having Frodo tell Gollum what he was going to do. The best that one can come up with for the books is that Gollum overheard Frodo and Sam talking about it, but there is no point that I can find that he could have. Quite a conundrum! Many that I have discussed this with felt it necessary to propose any kind of closure, but I am satisfied with it not being closed. I love the mystery of such things.
There is no character in Middle Earth that I more strongly identify with than Gollum. Though he is not my favorite character, his internal conflict of minds is a powerful echo of my own dual nature. One wonders to what extent Tolkien's own personality went into him.
- What I liked most about the movies: That Éowyn's character, played by Miranda Otto, was true to the original.
- What I liked least about the movies: Tie between the sophomoric behavior of the Ents and the lie that Frodo told Faramir about Gollum in the cave of Henneth Annûn.
Thoughts on the Movies
While many long-time readers of Tolkien were disappointed by the movies—I have heard of some that have even refused to see them—I (almost) thoroughly enjoyed them. I say almost because some of the changes in the story were not agreeable to me. The inversion of the characters of Aragorn, Elrond, Faramir, and Treebeard and the utterly nonsensical use of the Ents were maddening. Many of these changes were unnecessary and quite ruined parts of the movies for me.
Having a deep knowledge of Middle Earth from Tolkien's writings, I expected the movies to be a mixed bag, and experience proved me right. While I love the movie trilogy and think all three movies to be awesome fantasy epics, there are a number of specific points on which the screenwriters' deviations from the story left me frustrated and dissatisfied.
Accurate or no, the Battle of the Pelennor Fields as depicted in the The Return of the King Movie was breathtaking, and I absolutely loved it without reservation. I especially enjoyed the Mumakil. While some of the stunts had to have been filmed in a universe with alternate laws of physics, such as that of the Weta Workshop, the overall effect was a sight to behold. Éowyn's and Merry's ride among the Mumakil, however improbable, was a thrilling experience.
- Write-up article on Miranda Otto.
- New article: Towers of the Teeth
- New article: Carchost
- Mod article: Narchost
- New template: Template:Userbox
- New article: LOTR:Userbox
- Renamed article "Differences between the books and the films" to "Tolkien vs. Jackson: Differences Between Story and Screenplay"
- New article: Derndingle
- Renamed article: "Crack of Doom" to "Cracks of Doom"
- This user page is always a work in progress.
- Tolkien vs. Jackson: Differences Between Story and Screenplay
- Movie vs. Book:Major Differences (This is to be a subarticle to Tolkien vs. Jackson: Differences Between Story and Screenplay.)
- Movie vs. Book:Fellowship of the Ring (This is to be a subarticle to Tolkien vs. Jackson: Differences Between Story and Screenplay.)
- Movie vs. Book:Two Towers (This is to be a subarticle to Tolkien vs. Jackson: Differences Between Story and Screenplay.)
- Movie vs. Book:Return of the King (This is to be a subarticle to Tolkien vs. Jackson: Differences Between Story and Screenplay.)
Things to Work On
- Add chapters for Quenta Silmarillion.
- Create articles for Wanted Pages (see my User Talk on this).
- Add article: The Outlaws of Dorthonion.
Article Ideas for Development
- Echoes of Middle-earth History in LOTR Movies
- Middle-earth Symbols and Lore: A Guide to Myth and Meaning for Moviegoers
(The above two article ideas are probably the same thing—the first being the idea and the second being the title.)
Please feel free to discuss these things on my User Talk page.
For now, only through my User Talk page. I may add more later.