- what she says: I'm fine
- what she means: I'm still incredibly conflicted about The Hobbit trilogy and the entire commercialization of JRR Tolkien's works. I don't mean to say "ugh if you only watched the movies and didn't read the books then you are lame trash" because I think that there is merit in the movies as their own story and, even as an avid fan, I admit that much of Tolkien's writing can be very difficult to read. If you liked the movies, the video games, the board games, and all the rest of the stuff that came out of Peter Jackson adapting Tolkien's work, then i'm happy for you. If all that is true and you have no intention of reading Tolkien's works, then I still am honestly very happy for you. But I struggle over how certain aspects of Peter Jackson's adaptations change people's views of Tolkien's work. And yeah I get it it sounds very cry baby "my movie adaptation isn't word for word the details of my favorite book" but it's honestly more than that. Tolkien codified so many tropes and so many mechanisms so prevalent in modern fantasy where it's almost impossible to imagine how different modern fantasy would be without his presence, or if it would even exist at all. Every small change that Jackson made to the narrative had ripples in people's perception of fantasy and is changing the landscape for modern fantasy literature more and more as the narrative that the movies present becomes the base of fantasy and new writers keep choosing drier and drier plot molds to work with. Peter Jackson made an executive decision to make the Lord of the Rings movies about the race of Men and subsequently The Hobbit about the Dwarves, Elves, and Men, removing viewers from the hobbits themselves, the intended in-universe avatar for the audience. Throughout all of the movies there are dissonant undertones of hobbits being the audience's eye into Middle Earth and the story being overly focused upon everything else. The effects aren't as blatant in Jackson's version of the Lord of the Rings as Frodo and Sam's story arc is too pivotal to change too drastically, but from the removal of The Battle of Bywater and even to smaller details such as having the Siege of Osgiliath be the climax for The Two Towers rather than Sam's fight with Shelob all end up changing the final message of the stories. The Lord of the Rings movies tell the audience that to change the world you need to either be living in places of conflict or be chosen by the conflict to see it to its end, and that if you succeed nearly all evil will be gone from the world. But the books are much more solemn and show that we cannot live as a people divided in a single world; that events seeming far off will find themselves bleeding outside our front door. The books remind us that evil is never gone, and that once a knife is taken out there still must be healing. And even after the healing, things won't be the same they were. Jackson's telling of The Lord of the Rings is far more fanciful than the narrative it's based on; the narrative that revived fantasy itself in the modern era. And while this isn't a bad thing (the Lord of the Rings movies were phenomenal), we find ourselves in a state where new writers see how fanciful the movies are, take their own stories and make them grittier, only to end up with nearly the same thing that Tolkien wrote only without the depth and detail because no author can be as skilled as Tolkien. And new authors aren't trying to be him nor should they try to be because they have their own story. But the skewed sense of fantasy we have as a culture has left the whole genre in a hole that George RR Martin has only begun to dig us out of. And goodness if Peter Jackson only made the Lord of the Rings then we still would have this problem, but with the adaptation of The Hobbit I'm starting to become afraid that we aren't even close to being done with the problem. And obviously the struggles modern fantasy is facing can't ALL be attributed to Peter Jackson as him and his crew have done a remarkable job of rendering Tolkien's universe, but The Hobbit movies took everything bad about the fantasy genre and supplanted itself as the base of fantasy right out from under Bilbo's large hairy feet! There are narrative loose ends all over the place (What happens to the Arkenstone? The town of Dale? Who rules in Erebor after The Battle of the Five Armies?), the main plot of the movie was switched from being a quirky picaresque to about an unnecessary love triangle (two of the characters in the love triangle not even appearing in the original work), the Dol Guldur sideplot was ruined by effects that looked like they came out of a 2005 desktop knock-off fantasy game, and the final battle stretched out so long that people are left tired before it was half over. It seems like Peter Jackson put in every overused fantasy trope he could find into The Hobbit trilogy and now everyone's freshest memory of fantasy is more flimsy and broken than some of the worst fantasy novels coming off of he shelves. All this being said, I don't hate the movies. I love the movies and I love just about anyone else who loves the movies. But is this what Tolkien would've wanted? He said himself that he thought the fanaticism surrounding his works failed to take into account the literal millennia of history that are in his world that he spent his entire life working on. Tolkien's works act not just as stories to make us think about far away and fictional places: they're vehicles we can use to analyze the way we live as a people, to see our history in a broader sense. I'm critical of Peter Jackson's adaptions of Tolkien's work because I honestly don't think I would've found Tolkien without Jackson's movies. I struggle over the fact that these movies, despite my love for them, are likely exactly what Tolkien wouldn't want to see his series become. I struggle because more and more movies keep fantasy in the white-cishet-male-glorification-in-northwestern-europe gutter far past it's expiration date. I struggle because authors who try to write fantasy that doesn't take place in a medieval europe carbon copy get laughed at and ignored because publishers think it won't sell because "Fantasy is White". I struggle because my love for Tolkien was only possible by him being the standard bearer of a consumerist engine he abhorred and honestly I'm scared that Tolkien's memory will be trapped this way forever.
sarah you're always the one i go to when 1d things are getting me down.. i felt so sick after reading that human trash wooton's article even though i feel like a lot of it isn't true. you don't think that stuff is true do you? obvs louis and harry aren't close anymore and neither are ot4 and zayn but like.. the rest of it?? was all so awful and i just need someone to tell me it was just nasty journalism