Middle Earth Challenge: The Fellowship of the Ring

Middle Earth Challenge

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkeness bind them

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, The Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit.

In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.

Now.. As much as I love this book. It does lag on for a bit, as it might feel like an eternity for the Fellowship to finally begin their journey. Now this is only the first half of the book really. It’s musty full of characters and their backstories, as well as the history of the Middle Earth. At least the events leading up to task at hand. Personally I rather enjoy reading about the history and backstories of the characters. But I can see why most people don’t like reading LOTR. Another thing to keep in mind is that LOTR book trilogy was never written as such. Tolkien wrote LOTR as one book. It was the publishing company that made the change and broke it up into 3 novels.

What is odd about this “first” book, most of the scenes aren’t presented in real time. Only to be told after the fact, sadly taken away any drama or thrill story. It doesn’t hurt the story by any means, just makes things move slowly. Now the way they spit the books up, cause this book to not have a ending per se. The Fellowship of the Ring serves as a history guide and backstory for the The Two Towers and The Return of the King. Jackson’s version incorporates the first chapter of  The Two Towers and shows its events in real time rather than flashback. It also makes them simultaneous with the Breaking of the Fellowship. This finale is played as a climactic battle. In the book Aragorn (and consequently the reader) misses the entire battle and is only told about it later by Legolas and Gimli. In the film he engages in a vicious combat with the Uruk-hai, including their leader, referred to as Lurtz in the script. In the book, Boromir is unable to tell Aragorn which hobbits were kidnapped by the orcs before he dies, and Aragorn deduces Frodo’s intentions when he notices that a boat is missing and Sam’s pack is gone. In the film, Aragorn and Frodo have a scene together in which Frodo’s intentions are explicitly stated.

Now in the Mines of Moria sequence was altered. In the book, following the defeat on the Caradhras road, Gandalf advocates the Moria road against the resistance of the rest of the Fellowship, not Gimli. Suggesting “there is a hope that Moria is still free…there is even a chance that Dwarves are there,” though no one seems to think this likely. Frodo proposes they take a company vote, but the discovery of Wargs on their trail forces them to accept Gandalf’s proposal. They only realize the Dwarves are all dead once they reach Balin’s tomb.

The Movie chose instead for Gandalf to resist the Moria plan as a foreshadowing device. Gandalf says to Gimli he would prefer not to enter Moria, and Saruman is shown to be aware of Gandalf’s hesitance, revealing an illustration of the Balrog in one of his books. The corpses of the dwarves are instantly shown as the Fellowship enter Moria. One detail that many critics commented upon is the fact that, in the novel, Pippin tosses a mere pebble into the well in Moria, then hear what sounds like a hammer tapping in the distance. In the film, he knocks an entire skeleton in the well, also dragging down a chain and bucket. We all know what happens next hahahah.

That is just a few examples in the differences between the movie and novel. Over all The Fellowship of the Ring is worth the read, it makes you become attached to the characters and give you an idea on how grand scale the world is.

The_Lord_of_the_Rings_(1978)Before I forget, there is the animation that was made. The film makes some deviations from the book, but overall follows Tolkien’s narrative quite closely. Of the adaptation process, Bakshi stated that elements of the story “had to be left out but nothing in the story was really altered.” The film greatly condenses Frodo’s journey from Bag End to Bree. Stop-overs at Farmer Maggot’s house, Frodo’s home in Buckland, and the house of the mysterious Tom Bombadil deep in the Old Forest are omitted. Maggot and his family and Bombadil and his wife Goldberry are thus all omitted, along with Fatty Bolger, a hobbit who accompanied Frodo at the beginning. According to Bakshi, the character of Tom Bombadil was “dropped” because “he didn’t move the story along.” The character Glorfindel is amalgamated with Legolas.

The film is a product of it’s time and the animation always jarred me. It’s a mix of the Disney’s The Black Cauldron and the first Heavy Metal movie. While I like some parts of it, most of it dragged on and on. Even tho they put the Fellowship and Two Towers together in one movie. There was to be a sequel, going more into the The Two Towers. But it never happened. The Director Bakshi said:

“I told them they can’t drop the Part One, because people are going to come in thinking they’ll see the whole film, and it’s not there. We had a huge fight, and they released it as Lord of the Rings. So when it came to the end, people were stunned in the theater, even worse than I ever realized they would be, because they were expecting to see the whole film. People keep telling me I never finished the film. And I keep saying, ‘That’s right!’

“Had it said ‘Part One,’ I think everyone would have respected it. But because it didn’t say ‘Part One,’ everyone came in expecting to see the entire three books, and that’s where the confusion comes in.”

Oddly enough the Rankin-Bass studio, who made the Hobbit 1977 animation. Came back and made the Return of the King as a sequel to the Hobbit not the Lord of the Rings. I shouldn’t say that, I mean it completes the story yes. But the animation styles are two completely different things. As the studio said:

“completing the story begun in Bakshi’s film by adapting the final novel, though the Rankin-Bass production offers no stylistic continuation from the earlier film.”

But I’ll get more into that another time.

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