Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Peter Jackson and J.R.R. Tolkien: The Differences

When I first became interested in LotR, one of the first questions I asked was, “Did anyone make a movie of this?” When I discovered that not only had there been made movies of it, but that those movies were three hours long and very good, I was extremely excited.

Considering the movies are three hours long, they put in a lot of details and made it very close to the book. However, there are some differences.

One of the bigger differences I noticed (I think this is only in the Extended Version, though) is the fate of Saruman. In the book, he and Wormtongue are reduced to beggars on the road; in the movie,
he and Wormtongue are both killed at Orthanc. I prefer the book because I think it's a good allegory for happens when you misuse gifts God has given you, whereas in the movie Saruman is just another bad guy to be killed.

Another big difference is the romance between Aragorn and Arwen. In the movie, she and Aragorn seem to be closer, but she comes nearer to leaving him behind. In the book, you don't get to see too much of the interaction between them, but she's more certain about staying with him instead of going with the rest of the elves. I think I actually like the movie's portrayal best because you can see more of their feelings towards each other.

The third difference is in the Ents. The “slow and steady” aspect of their character is mostly cut out of the movie. Now, of course you can't spend an hour of the movie on the Ents' meeting, but I think they could have been portrayed better than they were. Also, I would have liked it if they'd included the Entwives. So (obviously) I prefer the book.

The last difference, and the only one that can be really annoying sometimes, is Faramir. You may have gathered that both Eowyn and I are humongous fans of FARAMIR. (In fact, we've even made a pact to- oops. Penderwick Family Honor. :P) In the movie, he's basically just a wiser version of
Boromir, and a lot of his story is cut out. Not to mention the romance between him and Eowyn, which is shown in just a few clips and not given the development of Aragorn and Arwen. (Unless you're watching the Extended Version- I believe there are a lot more scenes between them in the EV.) Predictably, I much prefer the book here too.

Of course, there are many other differences, large and small. However, this is overall an extremely faithful adaptation of LotR and I love it very much.


serena said...

Oh, thank you! The fate of Sauruman and Wormtongue in the movie bothers me so much!

Joan said...

What you said of the allegory about misusing God's gifts could be true. J.R.R. Tolkein was Catholic and I believe put some allegories (sp?)on purpose.

Kiri Liz said...

Actually, Saruman and Grima both die in the books, but not at Orthanc as portrayed in the movies. After they leave Isengard as beggars, they travel for a while before coming to the Shire. They attempt to take over the Shire and then the four hobbits return and thus happens the Scouring of the Shire. Frodo doesn't want Saruman and Grima killed, even though their actions resulted in the destruction and death of so much in the Shire, yet when they try to bring them to some kind of trial, Grima gets scared and draws a knife from his clothes (just as he does in the film) and stabs Saruman in the back. Then as he's running down the road after killing Saruman, three hobbit bows twang, and Grima dies.

I actually don't mind that they die, because after leaving Orthanc, they were given the chance to redeem themselves, considering they were still alive and all that, yet they abused that privilege and tried to ruin the hobbits' homes. They were given that second chance, and they failed. There was nothing left for them but to die. Just my opinion.

Aragorn and Arwen PJ really played up, I think. I like how you can see the attachment between them, especially because then you want to root for them, but I am sad that they didn't include more of the relationship between Eowyn and Faramir. It's like PJ went overboard doing A&A and ran out of time to do more with E&F.

I'm loving this party, by the way, Jane. Eagerly looking forward to more posts from you and Eowyn!! :D

Miss Jane Bennet said...

Definitely! It just wasn't right, somehow.

I think that some of it was meant to be an allegory for redemption. Have you read The Silmarillion? That book is more clearly "tying in" with God and the Bible.

Kiri Liz,
Ah, long comments. I love 'em. ;)
Ahhhh, yes. I couldn't quite remember their end, but that's pretty much what I meant: they were given chance after chance, and they kept refusing, so eventually they got their due punishment. And it wasn't like the hobbit shot them down just because they walked past; Grima had already killed Saruman, and so the hobbits were punishing him for it.
Agreed about the romance. I don't find Arwen and Aragorn's romance to be as full as F&E, probably because Tolkien talks a lot about Arwen's physical beauty and not much about the rest of her qualities. PJ developed her character more, which in turn developed Aragorn's character more, because now he's in love with more than a pretty face. ;) And while I would have liked to see more of Faramir and Eowyn, I think that they got more "screen time" in the book than A&A, so it's only fair that A&A get more attention in the movies. :)
Thanks! I really enjoyed your guest post! :)