Hello, The Tolkien ask thing. 1,13,19,24. Thank you. :)
Oh this should be fun.
1. Books or movies?
Books, mostly because the books include the Silmarillion. But I love the LotR movies, and I’d argue they’re among some of the most effective page-to-screen adaptations I’ve ever seen; this is specifically because unlike a lot of adaptations I can defend every single choice made by the filmmakers when I look at it from the perspective of a writer trying to appeal to a broader audience. I feel like the LotR films are focused and keep everyone relatively in-character, and I respect that because it’s almost an impossible effort.
13. What would you change about the movies?
This is a hard one. For the interests of time, I’m going to exclude the Hobbit films from this (and also because the last thing I want to do is cause a flame war; I enjoyed the Hobbit films and don’t want my criticisms to offend, because I can be blunt without realizing it) and focus on the Lord of the Rings movies.
I would at least give Glorfindel a cameo. Despite my love for him I respect PJ’s decision to have Arwen ride out and save Frodo - she’s Lúthien’s heir in looks and in deeds, after all, and why shouldn’t the Evenstar act as her foremother would have? - and I don’t think it’s out of character for her. The idea of Elrond’s daughter taking after him, and her brothers, and her grandmother Galadriel, and her great-great grandmother, simply doesn’t surprise or offend me. But I would have ensured he got a few moments. Maybe a couple scenes in the Last Alliance?
I’d also eliminate the elves at Helm’s Deep. I can defend their inclusion because for the sake of time/budget PJ chose not to include things like the battle in Dale or the siege of Lothlórien and so decided to show that the elves did care and weren’t being elitist or ignoring the plights of others; this doesn’t mean I would keep it there. I’d mention that Rivendell was too far away to send help, and I’d show the wars in Lórien and Dale, and I’d leave it at that.
I would remove Arwen’s mystery sickness from RotK. I’d keep Elrond coming to talk to Aragorn, though I’d change the focus from “save my daughter” to “Estel, you’re being an idiot. Take up your kingship. Fulfill your destiny.”
I would include Faramir’s temptation (the reason for this is simple: those of us who have read the books know that Faramir was tempted in his own way but overcame it in his own head, but PJ was right in his pointing out that to a non-book-reading audience it would just seem as if the Ring had lost its ability to corrupt only to magically regain it during RotK. As a writer I respect and agree with that assessment.) but wouldn’t have included the detour to Osgiliath. They would have set out in that direction but Faramir would have overcome the Ring before reaching it.
Really those are the only things I can think of. I approve of the absence of things like Tom Bombadil and the Scouring and the Barrow-downs, because in a movie they just drag things out and shift the action too much.
19. What scene always makes you laugh?
In the books, there are a lot. The Silmarillion is rather barren of in-text laughs (there’s a reason so much of this blog is from the Silm), but the Hobbit has quite a few - the one I always laugh at is Bilbo getting stuck in the door and losing his buttons. In the LotR books, I love when Legolas sees the eyes of one of the Huorns and starts to ride back into the forest outside of Helm’s Deep, and Gimli starts yelling at him (“Do as you please in your madness! I wish to see no eyes!”), and I love when Sam and Frodo get into a bit of a spat over rope. In the movies, there are loads. Merry and Pippin stealing fireworks. Legolas sniping at Gimli in Helm’s Deep. Legolas’s faces in the background. Basically everything. (Honorary mention goes to Bard in Battle of the Five Armies when he asks Thranduil if he’s really going to war over a handful of jewels. I laughed so hard people stared at me in the theater.)
24. Most attractive character.
Maedhros. I mean, his name means “well-formed”. Even his mother saw how hot he was.
When the King pulls the book off the shelf to figure out where to find the trolls in Frozen, the book is written in Nordic runes, originating from Scandinavia where the film crew drew much inspiration. These runes were the basis for the dwarf-runes used in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. A map that falls out of the book resembles the map of the Lonely Mountain seen in The Hobbit.