…and the third marathon: Lord of the Rings

Samwise the Brave

Sam: The actual hero of the story.

There are a number of good heroes in this story.  Also a number of real idiots.  Pippin tends to mess everything up.  Boromir with his delusion and arrogance.  Denethor, last of the Stewards of Gondor, telling his surviving son to his face he wished he (Faramir) were dead and Boromir survived.  Sending Gondor’s horsemen to their destruction.

What gets me (what also got me about Harry Potter – the later sequels) is how Frodo becomes the perfect tragic hero.  (Harry does too.)  This got me the first time I saw the movies, by which time I’d read the books 5 times, and was never tripped up by Frodo’s tragic nature.  I don’t want to be funny, they go through hell, sure, but all that dead-seriousness is not much fun!

It also struck me this time round how Faramir, who is no less a hero than his brother Boromir (though less arrogant) is portrayed in the movie as a wuss.  A total softy.  In the book he’s brave and decisive, and his decision not to take the ring from Frodo is based in wisdom rather than in lack of character.

On the other hand Eomer really gets his moment in the sun.

Interesting to revisit this movie.  I will have to re-read the book, I’ve nearly forgotten about Fatty Bolger, Fangorn Forest and Tom Bombadil.  The first time I watched The Fellowship of the Ring, I couldn’t understand why they should have left such colourful parts out, until it struck me that Tom Bombadil actually messes up the plot because he’s totally immune to the ring.

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10 thoughts on “…and the third marathon: Lord of the Rings

  1. Would you care to comment on the following works of literature: ‘Gurth’ by Sir Walter Scott, and ‘Sancho Panza’ by Miguel de Cervantes? 🙂 😉

    There’s also the whole Harrowing of the Shire / Sackville-Baggins, and the Ghân-buri-Ghân & the wildmen sections too, by the way, that are missing from the LOTR films.

    • That’s right, they left out most of that. After all it’s an epic saga, and one can never really catch all the action and depth of a book in a movie. If you compare the movie “Chocolat” to the book “Chocolat”, they end completely differently.

      I haven’t read much Sir Walter Scott. When I was cutting through literature in my teens most of it was in German, I was only just getting used to English. 🙂 (Of course after reading Tolkien I was hooked. But after reading Dickens I was a bit put off again.) As for Sancho Panza – yoy that is so long ago I can’t even remember the storyline. Much water has passed – let me stop right there. 😉 (We’ve currently got no water, and our brilliant municipality has defaulted on paying their “wekkas” overtime that was owed, so naturally the “wekkas” now drop all tools at 5pm sharp.)

    • Of course I was pulling your leg about Gurth (a character in Scott’s ‘Ivanhoe’) and Sancho Panza (squire of the eponymous ‘Don Quixote’), as you referred to Sam as ‘the actual hero’ of LOTR.

    • hehe I fell for it!! (Well I knew Sancho Panza was DQ’s sidekick so I simply presumed that you’d meant DQ, but as for Ivanhoe – haven’t read it.)

      I still feel Sam is the better hero in LOTR. He’s got everything a hero needs: Positivity, slight simple-mindedness, and stacks of bravery. 😉 Frodo is too tragic for the role.

    • LOTR is too big, far too interwoven for an identifiable ‘hero’. The obvious, standard literary ‘hero figure’ is in fact Aragorn, the adventurer who becomes King.

  2. I’ve no interest in watching the films at all. And although I’ve only read Two Towers I have my own visualisation ie cinema in head that does not remotely match the pictures/excerpts I come across. Sam and Frodo aren’t young boys, they are wise (?) hobbitses.

    Reading a book before seeing a film is never clever! I read the Ludlum books after seeing the Bourne films. Good thing too or I wouldn’t even have watched the films out.

    You didn’t mention Gollum/Smeagol. My favourite, such a brilliant creation. I like Pippin too 😀

    • Yes, true, Gollum is a brilliant character. I must say that the film portrayed him – should I say – very much the way I’d imagined him.

      The books are much deeper than the films but the films are certainly worth watching, already for the scenery. Of all three books, the Fellowship is my favourite. If you haven’t read that, do yourself the favour.

      Legolas is better as Legolas than as Lucius Malfoy. Gandalf is better as Gandalf than as Dumbledore, but Snape is better as Snape than as Grima Wormtongue. 😉

    • Well, Liv Tailor is better as Lilly Potter than as Arwen Undomiel. I thought in the movies, Arwen was playing quite a weak character. In the books she’s a much stronger person.

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