Monday, January 25, 2016

Q&A: Movie Qualms?

My friend asked me earlier today if there was anyway the Lord of the Rings movies (not The Hobbit movies, mind you!) diverged from the books in a way I didn't like.

Well, first off, I would like to say that I saw the movies before I read the books.  In fact, my interest in the movies was what inspired me to read the books--so I am always indebted to those movies.  

Secondly, I am very happy with the movies.  I think that they did the best they could.  I can't think of any major things I would do differently if I were to translate them.  I suppose I may side with Christopher Tolkien and say that the movies are a bit too focused on the action than the substance of the stories, but I don't fault the movie makers for that--they needed to sell tickets, and often, action is what sells.

I would say there is one thing in the movies that bothers me.  Don't get me wrong when I say this--I love Aragorn and Arwen.  And I understand that Arwen had to have more screen time in order for her to be a memorable character...but I have a strong dislike for the part of the movie where she rescues Frodo and takes him to Rivendell.

First of all, I find this to be almost a contradiction to the books (it technically is, I suppose, but normally I would be okay with Arwen replacing Glorfindel).  But besides the fact that a part of the book was completely changed, it wasn't changed to anything realistic.  Hear me out.  Elrond's wife and Arwen's mother was just killed passing from Rivendell to Lothlorien.  But, according to movie logic, Elrond still allows his young daughter (the pride and joy of his life and the Evenstar of her people) to travel alone tracking Nazgul.  I just don't find this logical.

My second reason for disliking this part, is because it took a lot away from Frodo.  The Flight to the Ford was one of Frodo's strongest moments.  He stands up to the Nazgul, "By Elbereth and Luthien the fair you will have neither the Ring nor me!"  He says.  In the movie, Frodo just moans and emits nasty gunk out of his eyes (makes me gag every time!).

Thirdly, what a way to introduce Arwen.  The movie makers realized their mistake a bit later during filming for "The Two Towers".  They originally were planning on having Arwen fight alongside Aragorn in the Battle of Helm's Deep.  Thank the Valar they didn't!  Liv Tyler says, "We realized Arwen can be strong without putting a sword in her hand."  Thank you!  What is with every female character ever having to be some "break the stereotype warrior"?  There are other ways to be noble besides battle.  Plus, this would totally take away from Eowyn who is the prime example of successful female warrior character.  I just wish they would have realized this before they had Arwen take Glorfindel's part.

All in all, I truly love the movies and I re-watch them often.  But I am the first to admit that the movies are not perfect.  The Arwen-alteration is my biggest qualm of the original movies, but I love them nonetheless.


  1. I read the books before the movies- that was the rule in my house. :)For the most part, I have no problems with the way the movies deviated from the books. Timing wise, it was mostly necessary. A movie can't be exactly like the books, and so the way the movies played out was excellent.
    I was disappointed not to see Glorfindel (whom I kinda sorta had a crush on) in the movie, but I loved seeing Arwen that way, so I didn't mind the change much. Plus her outfit in that scene is awesome. It might not make too much logical sense for her to be there, but it made story-telling sense. The writers needed a way to endear her to us. In the books, she was hardly present at all, and thus it was difficult to identify with her. so though her scene in the movie may detract from Frodo's heroism a little, I didn't mind so very much.
    (I am glad they didn't bring her to the Battle of Helm's Deep, though. That would have been too much of a stretch. Even the elves' presence there was a stretch.... still awesome though.)

    1. Sometimes I like when my favorite characters are taken out of the movies...a lot of times the actors can never live up to my expectations :). For that reason I was okay with Glorfindel being excluded. I understand why the movie makers did what they did with Arwen, but it still nags me a bit. It doesn't detract from the overall film for me though--I mean I watch the movies all the time, so clearly it doesn't bother me *too much* ;)

  2. Yes! Finally! Someone who's said what I've been thinking! Why change the flight to the ford? It's awesome the way it already is! Let Frodo have his moment! (Ew, that stuff makes me gag too... Even the thought of it.)

    Thanks for getting this out there. I feel a lot better :)