@f00l@ruouttaurmind They left so much out of the movies… understandable but still sad. And they made up stuff for the movies also. They were still wonderful but after rereading the books again, I think the movies were not improved by those removals and improvisations.
“So passed the sword of the Barrow-downs, work of Westernesse. But glad would he have been to know its fate who wrought it slowly long ago in the North-kingdom when the Dúnedain were young, and chief among their foes was the dread realm of Angmar and its sorcerer king. No other blade, not though mightier hands had wielded it, would have dealt that foe a wound so bitter, cleaving the undead flesh, breaking the spell that knit his unseen sinews to his will.”
Only no room for that entire subset of story and history in Jackson’s vision… sigh…
(Not a spoiler, and certainly not a spoiler to anyone familiar with the films)
He [Aragorn] did not know it, but Arwen Undómiel was also there [Lothlorien], dwelling again for a time with the kin of her mother. She was little changed, for the mortal years had passed her by, yet her face was more grave, and her laughter now seldom was heard. But Aragorn was grown to full stature of body and mind, and Galadriel bade him cast aside his wayworn raiment, and she clothed him in silver and white, with a cloak of elven-grey and a bright gem on his brow. Then more than any kind of Men he appeared, and seemed rather an Elf-lord from the Isles of the West. And thus it was that Arwen first beheld him again after their long parting; and as he came walking towards her under the trees of Caras Galadhon laden with flowers of gold, her choice was made and her doom appointed.
(Although Jackson did handle some of this beautifully in visual terms, such as when Elrond speaks in TTT to portray to his daughter the image of her undying grief at the inevitable death of her mortal husband.)
(This scene was Jackson’s way to “up the present dramatic choice” of the Aragorn/Arwen relationship, and the scene per se did not appear in the books, where Arwen choice was made decades earlier.
However, Jackson’s portrayal in this scene of the bitterness of mortality is lovely, and was part of Jackson’s attempt to bring that part of the appendices into the present story. I find this film scene quite moving.)
In case your are wondering, FOTR the book is compellng, but still somewhat slow going, until Weathertop.
After that the story starts to really move along, and to my mind, never feels “slow” again.
Also, Tolkien’s use of the language is of astonishing beauty.
JRRT prob knew as much about the history of the English language as anyone else living at that time. He has done the most difficult work years earlier on the then current OED, because he was simply the best and most knowledgeable person working on it.
The publishers of the OED still have, and cherish, handwritten notes by Tolkien on word and language uses.
His publishers insisted on no edits. They admitted that they made a few cautious suggestions, but would not have dared to suggest strong changes
Indeed, the publishers admitted, they didn’t know anyone living who could edit Tolkien. Tolkien’s grasp of the language and how he intended to use it was beyond that of any editor.
@f00l I will need to put Fellowship away for a minute. I’m still meandering through the first bit of the journey (Farmer Maggot is taking them to the ferry as I put it away this morning).
There is a fair bit of tedium in this part of the story. Too much for my liking. I appreciate a well set scene as much as the next reader, but it’s truly not necessary to count the number of hairs on every caterpillar or spots on the wings of each butterfly they encounter, is it? I’m beginning to wish I had a dollar for each unique description of sunlight, darkness, wind or rain in the first three or four chapters.
@f00l I usually forget about accelerating playback. I had to do that to get through The Descendants. I wanted to finish the story, but it had a fair amount of content which wasn’t really relevant to the plot. Stepping up to 1.5x helped.
Although in the end I discovered the plot barely existed anyway. Another case where the movie was more enjoyable than the book (and the movie wasn’t exactly great).
@f00l I stuck with it and had the Tom Bombadil experience. I would have enjoyed Tom in the movie. Instead, Jackson seems to have rolled Bombadil into Gandalf. And Goldberry was replaced with… dunno, Galadriel? Arwen?
Anyway, I’m just into book 2. Yes, despite the constant songs and frequent tedium, the story as told in the book is certainly better than the Jackson film. I still love the film though.
Because it’s such a long story, just about every adaptation cuts Bombadil.
The world of Tolkien fanatics is full of huge Bombadil fans.
Goldberry wasn’t really rolled into anyone. Galadriel in the film is close to the character in the books. But some of Bombadil’s language was given to Treebeard.
What the sound people did in the films to give the echo to Treebeard’s voice is really cool. They seem to have built a huge wooden “echo room” in which John Rhys-Davis did the voice recording as Treebeard - so that the voice would be full of some sort of echo from wood.
I’m glad you stayed with FOTR thru the slow parts.
Tolkien was a huge expert on ancient heroic sagas and folk tales. (The entertainment of times when there was little entertainment for most people). He brought some of those archaic traditions of speed and detail into LOTR. Sometimes the echos of those traditions work well for modern readers, sometimes they don’t.
Most people I know doing LOTR have to get themselves past the hobbits’ very slow path out of the Shire and the Old Forest.
After that, the reader experience seems to change. As the quest continues, the reader goes past so many places where we as readers seem to want more detail, more history, more story.
I hope that, at the end, you are sorry there isn’t yet another book or 3 of story still to go.
Just finished “The Valley of Shadows”, from the “Black Tide Rising” series by John Ringo. The series is about a bioweapon-based zombie apocalypse. The first trilogy covered one family that went to sea to escape, and later to start taking actions to rescue others and recover what was lost.
This one is the brother of the trilogy family’s father, head of security for a multinational bank in NYC, and the steps they take to try to hold everything together long enough for a mass produced vaccine to be created and stave off the ‘end times’.
The trilogy was more enjoyable (humorous elements in a zombie apocalypse due to a gung-ho oversize 13 year old girl who loves getting into a scrum with the zombies); this was still a good, if depressing read. The family at sea didn’t have to deal with the corruption and backstabbing endemic to NYC, its politicians, gangs, mafia, etc. They just had to survive storms and zombies.
I just started “Uncompromising Honor” by David Weber; I think this is the latest in the Honor Harrington series, a story of the empire she serves and the massive space wars between various polities, currently the small but powerful and advanced alliance her Star Empire of Manticore has formed and the very much larger, but corrupt Solarian League based out of Earth.
The books are a little uneven, and Weber has a habit of exposition that can blow up the page count, but I keep enjoying the series enough to come back for more.
@f00l It’s cool that you met Mapplethorpe! Or possibly just nodded companionably at Mapplethorpe!
I don’t know that I can accept a list of kick-butt lady memoirs that doesn’t include Faithfull, even though Marianne comes across as almost entirely passive in her own life and mostly interested in being a cool-ass Beat junkie. Actually, Eve’s Hollywood has a couple of good, random slams against MF, where (I paraphrase here) she quotes a friend as describing her as the kind of girl who “walks around barefoot but has a closet full of shoes” and “carries around books on witchcraft, but they’re new” (last one doesn’t seem fair, because you know Anita Pallenberg probably recommended them). Eve Babitz wasn’t (and probably still isn’t) that sensitive to other people’s fears and insecurities, I think.
@f00l I do not blame you for Bustle’s article unless you wrote or edited it! Even if you did!
Exene’s sharp turn into conspiracy theory is distressing (although, maybe not even a sharp turn, could even be a straight line; I shouldn’t assume anything). But yeah, if you find anything good post it here!
@f00l I think people just projected a lot of assumptions onto MF based on their own insecurities and assuming that she had none. She was so beautiful and was running around with the biggest rock stars in the world, and had a music career she didn’t (at the time) entirely deserve (but once she discovered her voice–good god). So yeah, fashionable poseur who never had to worry about anything and had everything just handed to her was the idea. I don’t think anyone realized how shy and uncomfortable she was, or that she didn’t have any money at all and never did. She wouldn’t have talked about it.
I didn’t know there was a meh book club! I just finished The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival. I wanted to say something about it because the title and brief description makes it sound a little like a low rent action movie, but instead what you get is 1990s Russian politics and history, tiger biology, and an interesting and well written story. I’m picky about books lately and this is highly recommended.
Riders of the Purple Sage free on Kindle. The audible book is a buck if you buy it at the same time. I got the version read by Mark Bramhill which goes for thirty bucks. Amazon is weird. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004TP5JXA
William Gibson tweeted this morning that there’s a US-wide temporary price drop on Neuromancer ebook to $1.99. Probably worth picking up. My copy is a stolen library copy, so he hasn’t gotten any of my money yet…
@f00l@sammydog01 That would solve so many of my problems that it’s not even funny. Well, the look on your face when you realized just how many '70’s craft books were now your responsibility would probably be funny.
And now I just bought Mythago Wood for the kindle because I read the original short story in the '80’s and loved it, found out Holdstock expanded it into a novel in the '90’s, planned on reading it but never did, found it on kindle but for $7.99 which is past my limit for a book I could get through interlibrary loan, but today it’s $2.99. This is the end of a 30-year journey, people. And possibly the beginning of another 30-year journey, because there is a sequel. And it’s $7.99.
Anyone else into The Expanse?
Book 8 (Tiamat’s Wrath) will be released this Tuesday, and I’m really looking forward to it.
If you’re not familiar with the series, it is hard sci-fi, speculative space-opera set something like 250 years in the future (iirc), when humanity has expanded outward from Earth to colonize the rest of the solar system. It has a little bit of everything; political intrigue, epic space battles, mystery (complete with a future-noir style detective, complete w/ fedora), suspense and even mysterious alien tech.
It has some really well crafted and developed characters - after a few books, they start to feel like old friends.
The individual book plots do start to seem a bit formulaic by mid-series - our heroes pursue a mystery/threat, find themselves in an impossible-to-survive, no win situation, but miraculously triumph and live to repeat the formula in the next book - but the books are still riveting and a joy to read despite the formula and the overarching plot of the series is quite compelling.
The authors have stated that the 9th book will be the last, and there are also a handful of novellas that tell some smaller stories/character origins that are also great reads and do an excellent job of deepening/broadening the series’ universe.
It has also been adapted into a fantastic TV series - best sci-fi space opera since BSG, IMO - canceled by SyFy after 3 seasons but picked up by Amazon who will be releasing season 4 sometime later this year.
I love the TV show, watched the first two seasons before discovering it was a book series (which I then read more voraciously and faster than anything I’ve ever read), but it’s no substitute for the books. A great adaptation and excellent TV, to be sure, but things get lost/changed/streamlined from page to screen.
I’m assuming if you’re in this thread, you enjoy reading, so my suggestion is to read the series first, then watch the show. They’re different enough to enjoy each on its own merits but, if I had to choose one, I’d choose the books in a heartbeat and, IMO, better to have some foreknowledge going into the show than to spoil the plots of the books.
Oh yeah - the future-noir, fedora wearing detective is played on the TV show by Thomas Jane, and he’s awesome!
There are quite a few other lesser known stand-out performers, too (Shohreh Agdashloo and Wes Chatham being my personal favs). But read the books first!
@sammydog01 Well, like I said, I did watch the first two seasons before reading the books, but I’m glad I read the rest before watching season 3 or any upcoming seasons.
Everyone has different preferences, some people would rather stay ahead in the TV series than have the books spoil it - to each his own.
But, IMO, you should read at least through book 4 and probably even 5 before watching season 4.
Season 3 really rushed through its adaptation of book 3, and made several major changes to facilitate that - disappointingly so - there are more and better told stories in the book.
Season 4 will tell the story of book 4, which is more of a stand-alone story than the other books, and I think it will also touch on some of the stuff in book 5, which is a pretty damn epic story itself.
Anyway, if you’re a fan of the show, then I assume you must be a fan of Amos - because he is the best character in any story ever. lol Not just my opinion, but maybe not everyone’s. /shrug
If you do get through season 4 of the show without reading ahead in the books, I would strongly urge you to at least read the novella The Churn before watching season 5 (it’ll be more than a year before season 5, but I’m sure there will be a s.5).
The Churn is Amos’ origin story and, IMO, the best of the novellas. Gives a ton of insight into an already incredibly deep, complex character. A must read before reading book 5 and I’d say one should even read it before watching season 5 even if they haven’t read any of the other books.