I’m back from my second visit to OG Middle Earth and I have thoughts. Remember, you brought this on yourselves.
I remember noticing a difference in Star Trek once Roddenberry was no longer involved. He was really hung up on the idea that there can’t ever be conflict among the crew, because in his perfect future, we’ve literally grown out of interpersonal conflict. And it was *boring* because it didn’t make sense. Even in a perfect world, it is impossible for there never to be a disagreement about the right choice in a complex situation, or tension between self interest and community interest. Also, conflict (and its resolution) is essential to deepening relationships so relationships were just flat.
I see a lot of the same Roddenberry attitude in Tolkien’s writing. I am shocked at home much of the conflict Jackson made up whole cloth.
- Theoden never railed about Gondor abandoning Rohan at the Westfold, despite the fact that it does in fact fall. He’s like “oh yeah, I’ve been getting poisoned by a monster for however long and a huge army is marching towards me and I’ve been awake for like 5 seconds but we need to immediately raise an army and go to WAR in Gondor? Stop talking, I’m already sold. We’ll leave in the morning, so that other people can get organized, but for the record, I am good to go right fucking now.”
- Aowen wasn’t forced to stay back with the women, she’s a goddamn Amazon and everyone figured she’d be a solid, trustworthy, powerful leader that the people would listen to and be protected by.
- Boromir’s big bad moment was pointing out that Frodo is a pint sized naive baby who is never getting to Mount Doom, just walking the damn ring right to Sauron. “Your quest is insane and doomed, bring it to Gondor, it’s a good a place as any to hide it and may do some good there” is a pretty strong argument.
- The Ents didn’t need to be tricked into joining the war effort, they paid attention to Sauron till he moved out of their neighbourhood then refocused on more urgent priorities till the Sauron problem couldn’t be put off anymore, same as how literally everyone prioritizes.
- Frodo knew Gollum was tricking him when he took him to Minas Morgul, he just also had no better ideas.
- Orcs used to live in Rohan before it was “gifted” to Rohan and Sauron is taking advantage of that bitterness? No wonder he got so many people showing up to take down Helm’s Deep. Also he focused there because he thought the ring was there? He wasn’t just randomly splitting his armies to attack multiple fronts because of how historically successful that strategy is?!
- Even Gollum figures if he gets the ring back he can keep it from Sauron.
Everyone (except Gandalf) is more sensible, more compassionate, more honest, and doing the absolute best they have with the information they have. And it’s a lot more boring than the movies. I can buy dragons and people coming back from the dead and tree people. I can’t buy a world that is thousands of years old that seems to have no baggage, where no one is selfish.
- Why did no one warn me that the LORT is a musical? I thought all the singing in the Hobbit movies was just about burning time to spread out the plot over 3 movies but this is a fucking musical.
- Gimli, you fucking drama queen. Boy would literally prefer to receive a scary doom-filled prophecy from Galadriel – second hand – than not have a message from her at all.
- The heroic trio of the fellowship, was robbed. By a horse. BY A HORSE.
- New hot take on Gandalf – he’s not working for Sauron, he’s just so old and has seen so much that he’s gone a little nuts, and is more of a chaotic neutral than lawful good. Honestly, I think he came back from the dead just to troll people. “lol you thought I was an enemy but we know each other! Sort of, you ring a bell, anyway, I’ve met a lot of people. Also there’s literally nothing you could do to harm me so there was no risk. Anyway, I’m going to sit here and talk to the smartest person around, me, while you gawk in confusion. Oh, also, this is my horse. He robbed you last night. Look at him. He’s so fucking sexy with that silver hair and he’s the best horse anyone has ever seen ever so obviously he’s mine. I mean, technically he’s Theoden’s but I’m not giving him back.” He didn’t even tell Theoden he was leaving to find him an army. Just “byee” and then when he comes back and they’re surprised he’s like “what? I said I’d be back.” Broseph. Be better.
- I knew from all the complaints I heard from other book lovers that there is a lot of complexity to the Orcs et al that gets flattened in the movies, but what I don’t get it why. The Orcs don’t really get much more airtime in the books, but Tolkien is shockingly more efficient with that time than Jackson is. Like, the thick gunk the Orcs made Merry drink was a healing potion?!?!
- “LOOKS LIKE MEAT IS BACK ON THE MENU” ISNT CANON?! NOOOOOOOO!
- Love that Treebeard gets so enamoured talking to Pippin and Merry that he briefly forgets that they aren’t little baby ents.
- Okay I definitely get the Sam / Frodo shipping now. Our little gold digger went and caught feeeeeeelings. And to be fair, Frodo is actually not the wet sock here he is in book 1 or the movies. He’s decisive, thoughtful, intelligent, kind, and unfortunately also underfed, which appears to be Sam’s Achilles heel.
- Despite people’s love of Tolkien’s world building, I think his strongest point is dialogue. That’s where the characters come alive and the stakes of the quest really hit home. I’d really love these books if they were like 50% shorter.