Lord of the Rings

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Convince me it isnt a silly adventure novel and that it was worth giving up a great philogy career .

anthony, Friday, 16 November 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Hobbit Motherfucker

RickyT, Friday, 16 November 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

I wonder what the Dwarves cocks are like

Mike Hanle y, Friday, 16 November 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

^all dwarven women have beards^

This fact scarred me as a child - gimme Legolas anyday

or indeed a LEGOlass

, Friday, 16 November 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

I liked that Jenny Turner piece that mark s mentioned in the thread spoke of above by RickyT.

And I've never read the books.

Cryosmurf, Friday, 16 November 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

whos more fuckable ; legolass or elron?

Mike Hanle y, Friday, 16 November 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

haha sean bean (= boromir) was on the frank skinner show promo-ing LoTR:
fs (who plainly thinks the book = hippy toss): "So, tell us abt Boromir"
sb: "Well, er, he's good"
fs: "You haven't read it, have you!"
[interview shifts into zne where fs embarrasses sb into talking rubbish about dwarves]

mark s, Sunday, 25 November 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

That's Boromir in a nutshell, innit? Nice on the casting. Maybe I should see. Though no CG will ever = the REAL Balrog. etc etc

After seeing the trailer, I am getting nervous. Not about the execution of the film, which looks pretty good, but I am realizing that the PRONUNCIATION of all those odd names is inchoate in my head and I like it that way. "Sauron" for instance is wonderfully slippery the way my mind says it. I'm not sure that I want the Webster's versh. And before you all say "well jrrt was a philologist and he had very precise rules about things" it's a bluddy BOOK, but one whose fuzzynesses I treasure. I'm willing to give this up visually but those NAMES, those impossible names...

Tracer Hand, Sunday, 25 November 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

eleven years pass...

Have the bbc radio drama on my phone atm, it's magical. Tracer otm about pronunciation too.

darraghmac, Tuesday, 13 August 2013 23:41 (ten years ago) link

Loved the radio version as a kid, we had it in a big box of about twenty cassettes.

I wish to incorporate disco into my small business (chap), Wednesday, 14 August 2013 00:33 (ten years ago) link

i had this weird bbc adaptation of the hobbit when i was a kid, i remember all the pronunciations seemed kind of off ('gan-DALF,' 'gol-LOOM,' etc). otherwise it was pretty awesome.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Wednesday, 14 August 2013 00:36 (ten years ago) link

Yeah the Hobbit and LOTR BBC productions were made with a different team each, I think.

Do very much love the LOTR BBC version for sure. It's a nice blend of classically stage-y radio drama -- lots of overexplaining what the characters are seeing when a visual version wouldn't need it and all -- and good atmosphere and detail. Easily the most accurate adaptation done in terms of the actual book itself. IIRC there was a late fifties adaptation for BBC Radio as well -- wonder what that was like?

There were also American radio versions done of both the Hobbit and LOTR -- The Hobbit was passable but LOTR, ack.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 14 August 2013 00:45 (ten years ago) link

What's killin me is that it's v clear that jackson had the actors take pointers from this, then the cunt goes and writes his own dialogue/scenes.

darraghmac, Wednesday, 14 August 2013 00:48 (ten years ago) link

what;s killing me is Aragornth lithp come on admit it it's fucken hilarious

failed skirty tropes (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 14 August 2013 01:00 (ten years ago) link

Im not getting it tbh? Its weird his talkin all country lord like tho

darraghmac, Wednesday, 14 August 2013 01:01 (ten years ago) link

is this the OG adaptation from the 80s? i swear when i re-listened years later that lisp was all i cd hear

failed skirty tropes (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 14 August 2013 01:03 (ten years ago) link

Check yr tape heads maybe

darraghmac, Wednesday, 14 August 2013 01:04 (ten years ago) link

has anyone heard the bbc adaptation of asimov's 'foundation'?

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Wednesday, 14 August 2013 01:47 (ten years ago) link

i had the american "the mind's eye" dramatization of the hobbit that aired on npr in 1980, listened to it approx a zillion times

one yankee sympathizer masquerading as a historian (difficult listening hour), Wednesday, 14 August 2013 06:15 (ten years ago) link

nv u sonbitch i can hear nothing but lithp now

darraghmac, Wednesday, 14 August 2013 10:41 (ten years ago) link

soz dude, thought it was obvious

you've given me a yen to hear it again if that's any consolation, altho this Foundation adaptation sounds pretty cool

i had the american "the mind's eye" dramatization of the hobbit that aired on npr in 1980, listened to it approx a zillion times

Yeah that was the clusterfuck I mentioned. The elves sounded like they were squeaky toy dolls on helium, except for Elrond, so sounded like an old bloated Santa Claus reject.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 14 August 2013 11:57 (ten years ago) link

I struggle to imagine a worse elrond than weaving tbrr

darraghmac, Wednesday, 14 August 2013 11:58 (ten years ago) link

I don't think Weaving was that bad (he's pretty good at conveying the Elvish holier-than-thou attitude towards the other races), but IMO it wasn't very wise to cast an obviously balding guy to play a character who's supposed to be eternally young.

Tuomas, Wednesday, 14 August 2013 12:02 (ten years ago) link

He was, tho, that bad. He was woeful. He looked like the mekon. He looked like the dudes from mars attacks. He talked like he had challenges. He played it one dimensional frosty headmaster rubbish. Jackson ballsed up every elf, goes without saying, but his treatment of elrond and galadriel are gross incompetencies of the highest order may he shit needles forevermore.

darraghmac, Wednesday, 14 August 2013 12:06 (ten years ago) link

I struggle to imagine a worse elrond than weaving tbrr

Arnie or Stallone would have been worse.

not_goodwin, Wednesday, 14 August 2013 12:10 (ten years ago) link

I struggle to imagine a worse elrond than weaving tbrr

Trust me. It IS that bad. A little backstory:

It was produced by “The Mind’s Eye” theatre company, who at the time were responsible for numerous adaptations of classic literature for radio. The script, written by Bernard Mayes, was an abridged version of the book. Its eleven hour running time focused significantly on the dialogue, with much of the back history and expositionary narration removed.

The production was very low budget, drawing upon local amateur actors and friends of the producer. There was extensive use of library music and home made sound effects. Due to scheduling issues the cast often recorded their dialogue separately which leads to some somewhat stilted exchanges of dialogue in key scenes. The actors also had to provide multiple voices and their own accents are at times apparent. It is also clear that the production was not driven by a Tolkien scholar. The pronunciation of many names and places is often incorrect and some aspects of the plot have been reduced so excessively it leaves many questions unanswered to those unfamiliar with the story.

Oh and you get Tom Bombadil too. Rather too much.

It's all on YouTube! You've been warned, but if you want to start somewhere...


Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 14 August 2013 12:14 (ten years ago) link

Oh man, so much love for these adaptations! The LOTR one in particular I've just listened to death since I was a lad. Remember being astonished years after the fact to discover that it was really Bill Nighy playing Sam Gamgee in it.

Peter Woodthorpe (aka Del Boy's dad) as Gollum is absolutely 100% spectacular the whole way through this, he walks the line between creeping villain and pitiful wretch perfectly, makes your skin crawl. And he does it in a way that rarely if ever descends into the kind of comedy space that Serkis' version sometimes ended up occupying. Special mention for Gandalf too - I love Ian Mac, but Michael Hordern is just another level, when he gets angry in this I get chills.

The atmosphere and production throughout is wonderful, I love how frequently they bring the music in, although tbf some of the soprano little-boy opera grates at times (Boromir's prophecy etc). But the circling strings --> staccato stabs --> mournful theme of the main title music haunted my childhood.

Is the BBC Hobbit version mentioned further up-thread the one with Heron Carvic (also briefly of Dick Barton Special Agent) as Gandalf? Guy's voice fascinates me, it's so soft and oily. The music in this is also quite fun, slightly odd little medieval motif that plays at the start and end of each section. And the song that the goblins sing as the dwarves and Bilbo are taken down to Goblin Town used to give me nightmares, honest to god. TERRIFYING!

Third Rate Zoo Keepers With Tenth Rate Minds (Windsor Davies), Wednesday, 14 August 2013 16:27 (ten years ago) link

nine months pass...


“Anybody who says they knew it was going to be the success it was, I don’t think it’s really true,” he says. “They didn’t have an inkling until they showed 20 minutes in Cannes, in May of 2001. They were in a lot of trouble, and Peter had spent a lot. Officially, he could say that he was finished in December 2000 – he’d shot all three films in the trilogy – but really the second and third ones were a mess. It was very sloppy – it just wasn’t done at all. It needed massive reshoots, which we did, year after year. But he would have never been given the extra money to do those if the first one hadn’t been a huge success. The second and third ones would have been straight to video.

james lipton and his francs (darraghmac), Thursday, 15 May 2014 11:12 (nine years ago) link

Mortensen thinks – rightly – that The Fellowship of the Ring turned out the best of the three, perhaps largely because it was shot in one go. “It was very confusing, we were going at such a pace, and they had so many units shooting, it was really insane. But it’s true that the first script was better organised,” he says. “Also, Peter was always a geek in terms of technology but, once he had the means to do it, and the evolution of the technology really took off, he never looked back. In the first movie, yes, there’s Rivendell, and Mordor, but there’s sort of an organic quality to it, actors acting with each other, and real landscapes; it’s grittier. The second movie already started ballooning, for my taste, and then by the third one, there were a lot of special effects. It was grandiose, and all that, but whatever was subtle, in the first movie, gradually got lost in the second and third. Now with The Hobbit, one and two, it’s like that to the power of 10.

james lipton and his francs (darraghmac), Thursday, 15 May 2014 11:13 (nine years ago) link

Sounds right enough from here.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 15 May 2014 11:24 (nine years ago) link

too easy on the clown by far obv but at least he has achieved clarity with time

james lipton and his francs (darraghmac), Thursday, 15 May 2014 11:29 (nine years ago) link

Hey, smart enough to recognize a fluke was a fluke. I'm still very fond of the original three films but I'm kinda glad I kept my expectations for the new ones at the level of 'just give me a good Smaug.' Which they did, so.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 15 May 2014 11:34 (nine years ago) link

nb the clown there is jackson, i dig viggo

james lipton and his francs (darraghmac), Thursday, 15 May 2014 11:41 (nine years ago) link

Ha, I got that, trust me.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 15 May 2014 11:42 (nine years ago) link

Zeal of a convert---from ILB's Speculative etc thread:
I finally read The Lord of the Rings--finally, that is, after putting it down in early high school--thee appointed tyme of maximum susceptibility--upon realizing that I was expected to go epically Questing with a hero who had furry toes. Apparently a lot of detractors don't get past the first forty pages, or the first sentence, about Bilbo's elevetny-first birthday, but the whole point is the pull from light to dark and back again, and the way they get mingled---leaders on all levels, incl. drafted patrol leader Frodo, are subject to temptation, corruption (in the sense of physical and psychic wounds, some of them permanent/recurring--plus of course effects on Middle-earth, "the circles of the world," as mentioned briefly, in an end in one of the Appendices of this 1990s one-vol edition: circles, like the Ring, which must have their own kind of end, limits, be something, some thing, however elusively so, 'til the reader can peer through them, as Tom Bombadil does, and see something beyond. He does it and laughs, it's all nonsense to him, seeing his unchanged turf, but he knows it's real enough to others, with real enough, inescapable consequences for all, even a victorious Quest/Anti-Quest means the Grail/Anti-Grail will both save the world and destroy it, in terms of sucking the magic out of it (no spoiler, Gandalf tells Frodo that right off, when he drafts him for the destruction of the precious, corrupting Ring, cos magic's gone as far as it can go; time for the cycles continue by secular means, and slow down the death spiral, anyway)
One limitation: we're told the significance of most things as they happen---which is better than being swamped by codes, as can happen with Gene Wolfe--but an enjoyable exception is being allowed to ponder the fate of Sauron. I think (aside from his own obsessive psycylcling through Ages) seeing though his stone has intensified his focus on the Ring---stones don't lie, but their views, the contexts they create/intensify, given the viewer's own anxieties, antagonisms, hopes and dreads, have a lasting and sometimes entrapping affect on several characters. So yeah, I disagree with those who claim Tolkien doesn't do psychology--and the effect of the stone is not so far from science fictional concerns (note also the networking of stones).
And when the ship sails, it sails, buddy. Not that it doesn't leave some real nice (and not-at-all nice) stuff behind. "There's a feeling I get/When I look the West." Eh, guess I better go listen to some more of those folk-death-or-doom-metal promos (in recent years, Wino's way ahead of the pack). Also, now I need to check out the ancient albums of Cirith Ungol. But book-wise, should I read more Tolkien, beyond The Hobbit?
PS: search "Tolkien" on The New Yorker site, get lots of good results, especially Auden, Gopnik, and Anthony Lane.

― dow, Sunday, May 4, 2014 10:54 AM (1 week ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Also the stress of leadership on all levels is a big part of the fateful psychology.

― dow, Sunday, May 4, 2014 11:05 AM (1 week ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

dow, Thursday, 15 May 2014 14:00 (nine years ago) link

Still awaiting advice on other Tolkien books.

dow, Thursday, 15 May 2014 14:03 (nine years ago) link

But it’s true that the first script was better organised

To be fair, it was also a simpler story. One party is easier to follow than three parties. But I completely agree that it was the best of the movies.

jmm, Thursday, 15 May 2014 14:09 (nine years ago) link

Dow: well that's a lot to unpack! Mark S is the one who I think would lock into your read most readily and would be able to advise, so take what I'm about to say with grains of salt: If you want to read the Silmarillion as the book that some characters in LOTR would read themselves (which is how it's intended) then that'll help. If anything it'll play up the idea of cycles -- Tolkien himself went through some major revisions of Middle-earth as conceit in the last ten years of his life so if anything the final three manuscript collections -- Morgoth's Ring, The War of the Jewels and to a degree The Peoples of Middle Earth -- might be of particular interest, though I'd say you'd want to read them only after having read The Silmarillion first. The Children of Hurin expands one key tale from there in full.

Beyond that: Unfinished Tales has some of my favorite writing of his, especially 'Aldarion and Erendis,' which is as close as he ever got to a domestic drama. And of the many shorter works, Farmer Giles of Ham is a goofy-ass lark, but Smith of Wootton Major and Leaf by Niggle are complementary tales on the same idea of creativity and its worth, the latter story in an explicitly Catholic context.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 15 May 2014 14:38 (nine years ago) link

what Ned said.

EZ Snappin, Thursday, 15 May 2014 14:54 (nine years ago) link

Silmarillion = tolkein's Kalevala basically

Khamma chameleon (Jon Lewis), Thursday, 15 May 2014 14:59 (nine years ago) link

Great, thanks so much, guys! All those appendices in the edition I read were helpful too. Extended entries in the online Science Fiction Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia of Fantasy were what convinced me to try again: knowing what would happen just whetted my appetite for seeing how he would manage all that.
My local library has a lot of Tolkien and related material, like the mostly excellent Tales Before Tolkien, in which Douglas Anderson rounds up stories by authors JRR praised, and/or was evidently influenced by, others he might well have read, plus some cool ringers. Will indeed consult with Mark.

dow, Thursday, 15 May 2014 15:07 (nine years ago) link

Yeah, the appendices were Tolkien's way of getting the then-unpublished Silmarillion material out there a bit, but even then it was only a very swift redaction. Definitely piqued my interest for sure first time through! Anyway, enjoy the further reading!

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 15 May 2014 15:15 (nine years ago) link

lots of great arcane lore to enjoy in 'the simarillion' and 'unfinished tales', like about gandalf and the istari etc. wish there were ten times as much


reggie (qualmsley), Thursday, 15 May 2014 16:03 (nine years ago) link

Everyone otm nice post dow

james lipton and his francs (darraghmac), Thursday, 15 May 2014 16:07 (nine years ago) link

Thanks. Wondering about his recently published version of Beowulf too.

dow, Thursday, 15 May 2014 16:15 (nine years ago) link

Not quite out yet, I think! A few more weeks? Been meaning to catch up with that and the other translations/scattered efforts that Christopher T. has overseen.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 15 May 2014 16:27 (nine years ago) link

dow otm. reminds me that i started rereading LOTR last year then got distracted by a move, need to get back on that.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Thursday, 15 May 2014 17:38 (nine years ago) link

i think tbh it makes you look a right dickhead.

You are the one calling me a "dickhead" when you are being an utterly isolationist Tolkien fan, unwilling to bring any of your critical faculties to bear on his work?

Right, my mistake.

Sassy Boutonnière (ledriver), Wednesday, 2 March 2022 22:48 (two years ago) link

could really use an eagle right abt here

(somewhat ironically, given yr distaste for eagles as a narrative device)

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 2 March 2022 22:55 (two years ago) link

Ok, now you really do sound like a right dickhead.

war mice (hardcore dilettante), Thursday, 3 March 2022 12:33 (two years ago) link

seem to make them angry. one exception is (again) gandalf, the world's wisest man. he seems frightened.

idly scrolling through this thread again and i like this on the ring and its effects.

Boromir's fall is crucial to this whole deal (and anecdotally, among my LotR-obsessed friends (this is almost all of them, we were generally between the ages of 10-13 when the films were released and will probably never shake off the infatuation as a result), Boromir's fall and redemption seems to be the bit of the films which has most reliably stayed with people and which they found most emotionally affecting).

there are many reasons for this, some of which are - (1) he is a "normal" i.e. horribly, understandably flawed human character.

(2) his confrontation with Frodo is redolent of a drunk abusive father getting back from the boozer late and confusedly assaulting his child and this lands differently and is more immediately affecting than most of the stuff which happens in Middle Earth (Bilbo and Frodo's respective freak-outs re: the ring at opposite ends of the journey also good on addicts and addiction).

(3) Boromir is more or less the only main character (by which I guess I mean member of the fellowship) who feels at risk at any point of shitting the bed entirely. he he is therefore human and relatable and ultimately tragic in a way the others aren't.

the hobbits themselves are obviously reader / viewer surrogates in some respects but they are massively. pure of heart, not susceptible to the charms / evils of the ring. the incorruptibility of the stolid, simple yeomanry on the land. iir my Keith Thomas correctly, the stolid, simple yeomanry of early modern England used to burn small animals alive for sport, take bets on how many stones it would take to kill a cat tied to a pole etc). the hobbits are fun but they are too pure to be believable.

Aragorn is obviously a total daydream. he is a fairytale prince from the get go. you like him and trust him but you're made to feel very quickly that he belongs to a different world entirely. good use of the hobbits in establishing this tone early on (especially Sam, the stolidest, simplest yeoman of the lost (also the most natural poet) who senses Strider's weirdness immediately, is initially suspicious but quickly falls in love). you never believe Aragorn will cave to temptation.

the other ppl tempted by the ring at various points all belong to the fairy story side of things. (Gandalf, Galadriel, even Faramir with that "air of Numenor" which Sam identifies)

whereas Boromir is just a pretty normal bloke in out of his depth with no plot armour and no supra-human wisdom or magic to protect him.

he's born to a position of power and responsibility and like a great many apparently functioning but actually completely dysfunctional celebrities / leaders / parents suffering from imposter syndrome he is capable of wearing the pressure well under certain circs but beneath the surface there is this torrent of fear and anger and abject desperation.

he utterly fucks it up and while imo the other characters don't actually forget this, he also redeems himself in a non-trivial way, and then he dies, in some respects a hapless broken, tormented figure but also he is real. he fucked up and he tries to make it better and he sort of does but not really and everyone else has to live with that, and sometimes that's how it goes

tl;dr Boromir is really a pretty good character who has actual depth. Tolkien could write characters and he could do it well

Windsor Davies, Saturday, 5 March 2022 02:21 (two years ago) link

this entire rant prompted by Sean Bean in fuckin Snowpiercer being on my tv tonight

Windsor Davies, Saturday, 5 March 2022 02:21 (two years ago) link

typos taking that from barely coherent to utterly incoherent but i stand by every mistyped word.

Windsor Davies, Saturday, 5 March 2022 02:25 (two years ago) link

new borad description

i read to 69 position (Neanderthal), Saturday, 5 March 2022 02:44 (two years ago) link

WD, that’s good stuff.

removing bookmarks never felt so good (PBKR), Saturday, 5 March 2022 03:59 (two years ago) link

It is indeed

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 5 March 2022 05:01 (two years ago) link

yeah fuck dude, that was excellent

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 5 March 2022 05:34 (two years ago) link

Boromir has that constant weight of expectation & the shroud of a bad father wrapped around him & fear of fucking it up for himself & the whole what will dad say … check the boxes doomed doomed doomed

he sees himself nobly seeking what he believes is rightfully his but is really a slave to his doubt, it dooms him to fuck it up & makes us all kinda love him because he’s all of us

we all want to be sam but but maybe we’re all boromir

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 5 March 2022 05:41 (two years ago) link

Just to say, LOTR starts with Bilbo in the power of the ring and ends* with Frodo similar - they're less susceptible, rather than not at all.

Andrew Farrell, Saturday, 5 March 2022 14:46 (two years ago) link

when i am tempted by the ring i simply think of the way my dad eats cherry tomatoes

mark s, Saturday, 5 March 2022 14:54 (two years ago) link



terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 5 March 2022 16:21 (two years ago) link

great Boromir posts! the casting/performance of Bean are also critical here imho.... he is really good at playing guys who are clearly not as cool/together/complete as the people around them, and know it inside (see: Ronin).

The creator of Ultra Games, for Nintendo (Doctor Casino), Sunday, 6 March 2022 12:59 (two years ago) link

think boromir as written plays slightly differently ito establishing his bona fides, in the movie (of necessity) hes rushed into a somewhat unstable threat figure and redeemed in one battle sequence (which tbf works well, just differently)

as a one line summary its ofc the same thing but in the details and slow release of the character it does make a difference to me- feel same re denethor. impatience and frustration play v differently over two hours on screen than they do over several book chapters

his relationship with aragorn is imo much more key and gently layered in the book also, his entry into the fellowship and what trust the hobbits end up placing in him individually is through this lens and they in turn are often the perspective from which we think of him- again in the movie such layering is v difficult to achieve, its a group scene we watch all as it happens

Ár an broc a mhic (darraghmac), Sunday, 6 March 2022 14:50 (two years ago) link

I'm rereading right now (in French translation, for practice), and I think this might be the most devastating passage in the book (from the end of "The Stairs of Cirith Ungol").

And so Gollum found them hours later, when he returned, crawling and creeping down the path out of the gloom ahead. Sam sat propped against the stone, his head dropping sideways and his breathing heavy. In his lap lay Frodo’s head, drowned deep in sleep; upon his white forehead lay one of Sam’s brown hands, and the other lay softly upon his master’s breast. Peace was in both their faces.

Gollum looked at them. A strange expression passed over his lean hungry face. The gleam faded from his eyes, and they went dim and grey, old and tired. A spasm of pain seemed to twist him, and he turned away, peering back up towards the pass, shaking his head, as if engaged in some interior debate. Then he came back, and slowly putting out a trembling hand, very cautiously he touched Frodo’s knee – but almost the touch was a caress. For a fleeting moment, could one of the sleepers have seen him, they would have thought that they beheld an old weary hobbit, shrunken by the years that had carried him far beyond his time, beyond friends and kin, and the fields and streams of youth, an old starved pitiable thing.

But at that touch Frodo stirred and cried out softly in his sleep, and immediately Sam was wide awake. The first thing he saw was Gollum – 'pawing at master,' as he thought.

'Hey you!' he said roughly. 'What are you up to?'

'Nothing, nothing,' said Gollum softly. 'Nice Master!'

'I daresay,' said Sam. 'But where have you been to – sneaking off and sneaking back, you old villain?'

Gollum withdrew himself, and a green glint flickered under his heavy lids. Almost spider-like he looked now, crouched back on his bent limbs, with his protruding eyes. The fleeting moment had passed, beyond recall. 'Sneaking, sneaking!' he hissed. 'Hobbits always so polite, yes. O nice hobbits! Sméagol brings them up secret ways that nobody else could find. Tired he is, thirsty he is, yes thirsty; and he guides them and he searches for paths, and they say sneak, sneak. Very nice friends, O yes my precious, very nice.'

Sam felt a bit remorseful, though not more trustful. 'Sorry,' he said. 'I'm sorry, but you startled me out of my sleep. And I shouldn't have been sleeping, and that made me a bit sharp. But Mr. Frodo, he's that tired, I asked him to have a wink; and well, that's how it is. Sorry. But where have you been to?'

'Sneaking,' said Gollum, and the green glint did not leave his eyes.

Sam just picks exactly the most brutal word for Gollum to hear, and he's completely accurate, and yet he’s also unknowingly killed whatever was wakening in Gollum the moment before. You can totally see how the qualities of Sam that Windsor mentioned above ("the stolidest, simplest yeoman... who senses Strider's weirdness immediately, is initially suspicious but quickly falls in love") also have this chain of consequences when it comes to Gollum.

Tolkien also calls it the most tragic moment in the story: https://excerpts-from-tolkien.tumblr.com/post/25617989248/sam-was-cocksure-and-deep-down-a-little

jmm, Friday, 11 March 2022 16:14 (two years ago) link

Yeah it is unquestionably THE moment on many levels. The closest any adaptation has come to capturing it was the BBC radio series. It's just this profound moment of emotional wreckage -- two exhausted people far from home and only having each other at base, a ruined and wracked companion who still has a glimmer of light somewhere inside -- and the what-might-have-been lingers. It's one of Tolkien's most generous moments, really.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 11 March 2022 16:25 (two years ago) link

So…I started reading The Last Ringbearer yesterday. But I had to stop. Because all the description of the horrors of war are just too real in this moment. But it’s fascinating.

ian, Friday, 11 March 2022 16:42 (two years ago) link

Definitely been meaning to read that, and am considering it for a future episode. (Separately earlier this week I was shared a link to a truly wtf fanfic sequel that is insanely elaborate, and also insane.)

Ned Raggett, Friday, 11 March 2022 17:10 (two years ago) link

jmm, never read that Tolkien passage you linked. Very interesting and some insight into how things might have been different.

move over GAPDY, now there's BIG THIEF! (PBKR), Friday, 11 March 2022 17:14 (two years ago) link

Yeah, I want to get an edition of the letters. Whenever I read excerpts, it seems like Tolkien is his own best commentator.

jmm, Saturday, 12 March 2022 13:47 (two years ago) link

yeah thanks for linking to that Tumblr, jmm, it's a lovely site to idly flick through. the letters are of particular interest. for instance:

“Some reviewers have called the whole thing [The Lord of the Rings] simple-minded, just a plain fight between Good and Evil, with all the good just good, and the bad just bad. Pardonable, perhaps (though at least Boromir has been overlooked)


Tolkien otm

Windsor Davies, Sunday, 13 March 2022 05:26 (two years ago) link

The letters are often fascinating. We regularly refer to them as needed in our episodes.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 13 March 2022 15:11 (two years ago) link

three weeks pass...

Okay, our latest episode is live -- we finally get around to tackling Bakshi's adaptation:


Ned Raggett, Monday, 4 April 2022 14:23 (two years ago) link

four weeks pass...

New episode up and this time around we talked about evil -- or began what will be the start of more episodes to come, more accurately:


Ned Raggett, Monday, 2 May 2022 15:33 (one year ago) link

the pod loves you but it's chosen darkness

mark s, Monday, 2 May 2022 15:37 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

Latest episode is live and we went a touch meta...


Ned Raggett, Monday, 6 June 2022 15:45 (one year ago) link

four weeks pass...

And our latest is up: on Tolkien's essay "A Secret Vice."


Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 5 July 2022 16:51 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

The latest episode? On food? Why yes.


Ned Raggett, Thursday, 1 September 2022 14:25 (one year ago) link

three months pass...

New episode, we talked about some old film or something


Ned Raggett, Monday, 5 December 2022 21:44 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

So this time around we tackled two of the shorter non-Middle-earth works...


Ned Raggett, Monday, 16 January 2023 16:57 (one year ago) link

four weeks pass...

And we did one of the big ones here -- Gollum:


Plus we finally have an episode guide up:


Ned Raggett, Monday, 13 February 2023 17:33 (one year ago) link

Wait, what?

Warner Bros. Pictures is revamping the “Lord of the Rings” film franchise.

Get the details here: https://t.co/XfHSGK6zfh pic.twitter.com/Te23J4STah

— Variety (@Variety) February 23, 2023

groovypanda, Thursday, 23 February 2023 21:59 (one year ago) link

I hope that these are new versions of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Thursday, 23 February 2023 22:01 (one year ago) link


what have I done to deserve you (lukas), Thursday, 23 February 2023 22:02 (one year ago) link

If we get movies about the fall of Gondolin, Beren and Luthien, and Ungoliant and the distruction of the trees of Valinor that'd be cool

octobeard, Thursday, 23 February 2023 22:14 (one year ago) link

that article isn't clear at all on what these are, I certainly hope they are not remakes.

I? not I! He! He! HIM! (akm), Thursday, 23 February 2023 22:15 (one year ago) link


Ha, made the same joke to my cohosts. (We are not sanguine.)

Here's the key part here:

Freemode, a division of Embracer Group, made the adaptive rights deal for books including “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit.” The pact will be billed under the name Middle-earth Enterprises.

Embracer, who have been hoovering up a LOT of things, took over the rights from the 'original' as such Middle-earth Enterprises, who cashed out about a year back after holding onto them for fifty years -- that was the company that Saul Zaentz organized when he got the Hobbit/LOTR film rights in the early 70s, after they were briefly held by UA directly. Everything you've seen since on a cinematic or staging front, plus various other merchandising things that fall under that general umbrella, ultimately were controlled/licensed from the Zaentz team, first as Tolkien Enterprises and then as Middle-earth Enterprises as noted, a name this new venture is now incorporating. (The Rankin-Bass adaptations were the weird stepchildren that fell into an unclear rights void.) Anyway, by this I mean Bakshi's film, the two Jackson trilogies, even the stage musical from the 2000s.

akm is correct on what these are or aren't supposed to be. They could, if they wanted to, go for remakes. They could do works derived from Hobbit/LOTR. Embracer made noises about doing separate films based on characters a while back. That they've partnered with Warner Bros rather than doing something separate does make a certain sense; WB would like to hold on to their franchise opportunities and Embracer doesn't have to build from the ground up. In ways, this is just a recalibration of the original Zaentz situation when it came to dealing with studios/producers interested in developing things.

If you're wondering about how the Amazon show exactly fits into all this: Amazon used a carveout in the rights specifically regarding TV. They can do whatever they want within the scope of that deal, but it applies strictly to Hobbit/LOTR material, nothing more, which is why so much of the first season was, in essence, invented nonsense.

It's worth further noting that all this is due to Tolkien himself agreeing to a rights deal back in the late 60s, which specifically only covered the two key works published at the time, Hobbit and LOTR. Everything else published since is the estate's to deal with, and Christopher Tolkien absolutely refused any further licensing or rights deals. His own son Simon is now the de facto head of the estate and they were willing to do the Amazon setup precisely because it gave them some space for negotiation themselves, as far as we can tell, but that was it, and none of the posthumous publications have had their rights sold, from The Silmarillion on. Until or unless that changes, anything further developed in this new deal has to essentially be, much like the Amazon series, invented fanfic, with vague head-nods towards canon as such.

BTW, the Mike De Luca mentioned in the Variety piece has his own history with New Line and WB. Frankly I'm not thrilled to see his name back here, per this 2011 piece. I remember when he was originally fired from New Line:


Ned Raggett, Thursday, 23 February 2023 22:51 (one year ago) link

And a bit of further context to keep in mind -- there already is this film due next year, which was started some time back; this deal had nothing to do with it:


Ned Raggett, Thursday, 23 February 2023 22:58 (one year ago) link

even the stage musical from the 2000s

the what now?

I? not I! He! He! HIM! (akm), Thursday, 23 February 2023 23:01 (one year ago) link

Enjoy our episode about it!


Plenty of links and more info in the show notes there.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 23 February 2023 23:09 (one year ago) link

Anyway here's a concise overall rights explainer:


Ned Raggett, Saturday, 25 February 2023 22:52 (one year ago) link

this time they can get some important things RIGHT

* more bombadil
* eagles carry the ring
• "one does not simply walk into mordor" (three-seat tandem)
• turning back roald dahl-style to the uncensored early texts, galadriel is a GNOME

mark s, Saturday, 25 February 2023 23:12 (one year ago) link

two weeks pass...

New episode doncha know


Plus news of our first live episode...

Ned Raggett, Monday, 13 March 2023 16:25 (one year ago) link

Recording episode 49 this weekend -- but here's where to find us for episode 50!


Basically if you can make it to Portland on April 22...

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 23 March 2023 20:43 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

So for our annual April Fool's as such, and even more appropriate given the day, we tackled a truly terrible knockoff:


Ned Raggett, Monday, 1 April 2024 16:30 (three weeks ago) link

i made my kid read the mere description for The Sword of Shannara and he was absolutely appalled.

i think the "Soon a Skull Bearer, dread minion of Evil, flew into the Vale, seeking to destroy Shea. To save the Vale, Shea fled, drawing the Skull Bearer after him...." actually angered him.

omar little, Monday, 1 April 2024 16:38 (three weeks ago) link

Such poetic language.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 1 April 2024 17:15 (three weeks ago) link

Have enjoyed this twitter discussion this weekend

Keeping it to the Fellowship only, I agree with the main analysis that Frodo and Aragorn should swap; Frodo hasn’t got the arm for right field and you can hide him in left. I don’t think a hobbit should be shortstop, frankly, that should be Legolas.

Someone was saying “You can’t have a hobbit play second” to which someone responded “the Astros run out Altuve at second every day”. The hobbits are a problem for the infield, but you’ve got to play them. Boromir has to cover the hot corner to prevent it becoming a complete shitshow and you just hold your breath with the right side of the infield.

Durin’s Bane and Gandalf have an epic battle. DB keeps fouling off pitches, Gandalf keeps coming with the craziest shit you’ve ever seen. It’s a stalemate. Ultimately DB strikes out but Gandalf gets pulled due to pitch count. Who comes in, in relief? What???

Gandalf the White!

— Tyson, Lewis’ Number 🍉 (@TyMoIsSecret) April 13, 2024

If you’re playing Legolas at shortstop that means a hobbit in CF unless you move Aragorn to centre but with Sam at first you need someone with range in RF cos otherwise everything’s getting hit that side, so you have Legolas at shortstop and hope his speed and athleticism means he can basically cover the whole middle.

I bet Gandalf throws filth.

Roman Anthony gets on his horse (gyac), Monday, 15 April 2024 10:39 (one week ago) link

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