Thursday, October 16, 2008

Assorted thoughts/ranting about The Lord of the Rings

As you might or might not have noticed from the All Consuming widget (or whatever it is) in the sidebar, I have been listening to The Lord of the Rings on audiobook, as read by Rob Inglis.  It had been far too long since I had reread the series in its entirety, and I had already found Inglis's adaptation of The Hobbit quite enjoyable, so I borrowed the set of audiobooks* from the library and started listening.  

I am a little over half of the way through The Two Towers at present and enjoying the narration immensely.  Sam has just overheard Sméagol having conversations with himself as Frodo, Sam, and their prisoner-guide get close to Mordor.  

As I listen, I am consistently struck with the thought, "This is so much better and more dramatic than what Peter Jackson did in the movies!"  I read the books for the first time before the movies came out, and while I love the movies, there are a few things in his adaptation of Fellowship that annoy me, more than several in The Two Towers, and many in The Return of the King.  For those who have read the books, the following list summarizes the greatest of my grievances: Glorfindel, the Theoden/Éomer storyline early in The Two Towers, Old Man Willow making an appearance in Fangorn, anything involving Faramir and the ring, anything involving Frodo in Osgiliath, Haldir at Helm's Deep, Aragorn hallucinating or having flashbacks about Arwen, Legolas performing ridiculous stunts, Gimli being relegated to mere comic relief, the manner of the demise of Saruman and Wormtongue, anything involving Aragorn and the palantir, Legolas and Gimli's drinking game in Edoras, Denethor as incompetent steward, Gondor being almost wholly unprepared for war with Mordor, Faramir's suicidal charge toward Osgiliath, the lack of resolution in the Éowyn storyline (theatrical cut), anything remotely involving Arwen and the Grey Havens, Arwen's life force being "tied to the ring," the sword Andúril being reforged two books too late, the occasion of the delivery of Andúril to Aragorn, the one ring not being destroyed the instant it meets the lava, and Hobbiton being all pristine and unscoured when the four hobbits get back to the Shire.  What Peter Jackson did to Faramir and Denethor alone... for that, we wants to stick him with the pointy end of swordses, precious, and then, oh yes, my precious, order him tied with nassty elven rope and dropped unconscious among starving, stinking Mordor orcses.  

That list turned out much longer than I expected.  Moreover, I'm sure I'll think of more to add to it later.  (UPDATE: I can't believe that I forgot to add the Frodo/Sam argument on the stairs of Cirith Ungol.  I was especially unhappy about that departure from the books.)

Anyway, the recording is great.  I like how Inglis puts the poetry to music.  His Gollum voice is pretty good, too.  




*Yes, the recordings are unabridged.  I have this to say to any publisher who might dare to try to abridge The Lord of the Rings: burning at the stake is a far, far better end than the one that you deserve for committing such an atrocity.

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