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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb There and Back Again: One Year of Tolkien Book/Film Discussion

    I meant to make this thread at the beginning of the year, but I got lazy.

    In December of this year Peter Jackson will be releasing part one of his adaptation of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I really enjoyed his adaptations of The Lord of the Rings, so I'm excited for these two movies.

    This forum didn't exist back then, so I/we missed out on major geeking out for the movies. I thought about starting a thread on the Hobbit when I saw the trailer, but we got months to go.

    So then I thought, why not take advantage of the next 11 months? It's been a long time since I watched the trilogy, and even longer since I read any Tolkien. I want to revisit the whole thing.

    So I'm going to be leading discussion over the months leading up to the release of the movie on the LOTR and The Hobbit. Read along, contribute, or ignore this thread if you wish. Even if it's only me, I'll enjoy the journey. I'm going to read each book and then watch the DVD of the film (extended version of course).

    Since I'm running it, I'm going to put up a schedule because I don't have the time to blast through everything in a few weeks. Three months for each book and film.

    Last week of March: discussion of The Fellowship of the Ring book/film.
    Last week of June: discussion of The Two Towers book/film.
    Last week of September: discussion of The Return of the King book/film.
    December: discussion of The Hobbit book/film.

    Hope you participate.


  2. #2
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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    I'll try. I've got a lot of other things going on, but this sounds worthy.

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    Its the only fictional book i have ever read and the first book i read.

    It was pretty good, but only read it because i was bored in civilian service. Dunno what else i should talk about it, propably wont be watching the movie, but who knows..
    "Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling."
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    Senior Member Xyk's Avatar
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    I watched the entire LotR extended edition last week while stoned. It took three days and like a gram and a half, but it was FANTASTIC.
    MBTI: INTP (PNIT if you wanna put it in order of strength.)
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    Also, credit for my new avatar goes to this person. I found it on the google.

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    curiouser and curiouser bluestripes's Avatar
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    i was sorely disappointed when i read the english original of LOTR. there was a very amateur-ish quality to the structure of the individual sentences and the narrative as a whole - the sort that can be found in some fanfiction (and then i've read fan fiction that does not feel this way). i would have said the style was more academic than literary - except most if not all academic papers i've encountered feel like a natural, cohesive whole, despite having their own distinct register and vocabulary. LOTR does not. it doesn't flow. while i was reading it, i felt as if i were trying make my way through a rocky terrain in the dark - every other sentence made me stumble. i suppose "awkward" could be the adjective i am looking for.

    the overall feeling i was left with was boredom. the writing is the same everywhere. the characters seem to speak in a near-identical manner, with little to no individual variety. there are none of those little moments where the wording itself gives one an emotional jolt. whatever is moving in the story i had to deduce intellectually, which took a long time and felt confusing and forced. the greatest disillusionment came with the two scenes i had found the most touching in the russian version - the one where shelob stings frodo and sam, thinking him dead, bids him farewell, takes the ring and attacks shelob, and the one where frodo can no longer move with exhaustion and sam carries him on his back up the slope of mount doom, feeling a sudden surge of strength. in the translated russian text, they made me cry, but with tolkien's original i felt nothing whatsoever, not a single internal stir, just a vague memory of how those moments could be imagined.

    i used to think that the LOTR movies were dampened and that there were too many battle scenes and special effects, but compared to this, i would rather have the movies.
    "i love deadlines. i like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." (c) douglas adams

    "there are only two ways to live your life. one is as though nothing is a miracle. the other is as though everything is a miracle." (c) albert einstein

    "if only i could grow with my eyes - like these leaves - into the depth" (c) sergei esenin

    "god is in the details" (c) proverb

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluestripes View Post
    i was sorely disappointed when i read the english original of LOTR. there was a very amateur-ish quality to the structure of the individual sentences and the narrative as a whole - the sort that can be found in some fanfiction (and then i've read fan fiction that does not feel this way). i would have said the style was more academic than literary - except most if not all academic papers i've encountered feel like a natural, cohesive whole, despite having their own distinct register and vocabulary. LOTR does not. it doesn't flow. while i was reading it, i felt as if i were trying make my way through a rocky terrain in the dark - every other sentence made me stumble. i suppose "awkward" could be the adjective i am looking for.

    the overall feeling i was left with was boredom. the writing is the same everywhere. the characters seem to speak in a near-identical manner, with little to no individual variety. there are none of those little moments where the wording itself gives one an emotional jolt. whatever is moving in the story i had to deduce intellectually, which took a long time and felt confusing and forced. the greatest disillusionment came with the two scenes i had found the most touching in the russian version - the one where shelob stings frodo and sam, thinking him dead, bids him farewell, takes the ring and attacks shelob, and the one where frodo can no longer move with exhaustion and sam carries him on his back up the slope of mount doom, feeling a sudden surge of strength. in the translated russian text, they made me cry, but with tolkien's original i felt nothing whatsoever, not a single internal stir, just a vague memory of how those moments could be imagined.

    i used to think that the LOTR movies were dampened and that there were too many battle scenes and special effects, but compared to this, i would rather have the movies.
    Really? If there's one thing Prof. Tolkien cared about a lot was the language. I don't find the writing to be the greatest ever, but nowhere close to fanfic.

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    curiouser and curiouser bluestripes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGuffin View Post
    Really? If there's one thing Prof. Tolkien cared about a lot was the language. I don't find the writing to be the greatest ever, but nowhere close to fanfic.
    there is fanfiction and fanfiction. some is written by people who hold degrees and may or may not go on to publish their own original work (been in correspondence with one of them for a short while). and yes, some of that does have a better internal flow than LOTR.

    i don't think anyone would deny that tolkien's technical use of language, as in grammatical regularity and extensive vocabulary, is excellent. but this in itself does not automatically make one's writing good. there has to be something else as well. LOTR reads as if the author were not quite there, not fully invested into the text, for lack of any better description - which usually happens when one is brainstorming and writes down a rough draft that is still to be refined, or when one writes fanfiction (as one does not usually return to the text to make improvements). this has nothing to do with one's knowledge or use of language and much more with one's intuitive sense of the text, the capacity to make it sound as if it were coming straight from one's deepest being. which, as paradoxical as it might sound, tends to require an inordinate amount of hard work.

    i have no idea how tolkien managed to spend so many years writing the trilogy and ended up with this result. perhaps he was satisfied with the writing and was more dedicated to developing the plot and the details of his imagined universe.

    to me his constructed languages are far more interesting. they are extremely well-formed and it's fairly obvious that conlanging was his greatest strength. i wish he had devoted more time to that - some of his languages that were unique and promising (e.g. entish) were left unfinished and it feels like a huge loss.
    "i love deadlines. i like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." (c) douglas adams

    "there are only two ways to live your life. one is as though nothing is a miracle. the other is as though everything is a miracle." (c) albert einstein

    "if only i could grow with my eyes - like these leaves - into the depth" (c) sergei esenin

    "god is in the details" (c) proverb

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    Fanfic? Seriously?

    ...I think we've got a serious disconnect in today's culture, along the lines as the same sort of thought that forgets that twenty years ago the Internet had to be accessed through AOL (if AOL was even around yet). Or that pocket-sized cell phones and texting were magical escapades of the scifi variety.

    I'll write more later, but maybe it would help if we'd actually consider the time period, the constraints, the nature of the fantasy publishing industry (i.e., there wasn't really such a thing), etc., at the time in which Tolkien was writing, and that the stories started out as tales for his children + a private pursuit of his.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  10. #10
    curiouser and curiouser bluestripes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I'll write more later, but maybe it would help if we'd actually consider the time period, the constraints, the nature of the fantasy publishing industry (i.e., there wasn't really such a thing), etc., at the time in which Tolkien was writing, and that the stories started out as tales for his children + a private pursuit of his.
    that's all true. what i wanted to say is that i don't feel comfortable with his style of writing - to me, it feels lacking in some fundamental way and does not affect me emotionally, though the translated version does. so do joyce, woolf, byatt and a variety of other writers who would be considered "minor" literary figures in comparison. but not tolkien. period. it's a matter of personal opinion. perhaps he feels very different to someone else.
    "i love deadlines. i like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." (c) douglas adams

    "there are only two ways to live your life. one is as though nothing is a miracle. the other is as though everything is a miracle." (c) albert einstein

    "if only i could grow with my eyes - like these leaves - into the depth" (c) sergei esenin

    "god is in the details" (c) proverb

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