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Old 02-27-2004, 11:01 PM   #41
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maybe tolkien would've regretted what jackson had done to his books, but think about how the movies have affected the world. so many people that i know hadn't even read the books and are now converted to complete lotr nerds now. plus, they worked and tried so hard to make the movies right. i think tolkien would've been a bit critical, but proud. but who am i to say how tolkien would've felt?
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Old 02-28-2004, 09:21 PM   #42
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both Tolkiens (C.T. and JRR) would most likely be insulted by them.....they leave out mostly every important part and put in useless parts, such as the part when Aragorn drown's in that river and Arwen kisses him from around 500 miles away?Or how they took out Fatty Bolger.....



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Old 02-28-2004, 09:33 PM   #43
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He would be pleased that as good a job as PJ has done happened.
I don't think that pleased is what he'd be at all. I think he'd appreciate the effort, but I also have no doubt that he would share our anger at some spots, and be extremely put out by things that we wouldn't have even thought about. Although I guess no one can ever be for sure...
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Old 03-01-2004, 12:36 PM   #44
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Most who read the books admired the job that was done on the films, despite what was changed or omitted. I think JRR would therefore have some appreciation of them as well.
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Old 03-02-2004, 06:23 AM   #45
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I think 'insulted' is perhaps too strong a word, but I think he would almost certainly have been affronted at some of the liberties taken with the story, dialogue and characterisations.

On the other hand, I feel sure that many of the visuals would have met with his approval, as PJ's team have done a stunning job of bringing the locations and costumes to life.

Overall though, money or not, I don't think he would have enjoyed the films as he would be consistently nit-picking over the treatment of his creation.
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Old 03-03-2004, 08:39 PM   #46
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I wonder what J.R.R. would've thought of Gollum? I imagine he'd like him, but it could be that he envisioned him totally differently...
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Old 03-03-2004, 09:27 PM   #47
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nah...in an interview with PJ he said he took the decriptions of Smeagol directly from the book.....i think it was something on the Biography Channel
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Old 03-04-2004, 08:40 AM   #48
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ya i certainly think that tolkein would have been very proud that his books have been made into a film.

but some scenes are not according to the books.

but atleast someone tried didnt they?
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Old 03-04-2004, 12:51 PM   #49
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nah...in an interview with PJ he said he took the decriptions of Smeagol directly from the book
Of course, I think he tried to do that with most of the characters, but there's still a lot of lee-way inbetween the descriptions & how Tolkien actually imagined him, mostly things that can't really be accurately described on a page in a book.
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Old 03-24-2004, 05:48 PM   #50
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I don't think he would have been insulted by the movies. He may have been a little disapointed or upset that some things were changed, so much so that they were almost different characters, but overall I think he would've been happy with most of the movies. The movies introduced many people to the world of Middle Earth, encouraging them to read the books, and so he would've been happy that they did that.
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Old 03-29-2004, 09:34 PM   #51
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I think if Tolkien was still alive, PJ would have flown out to England, discussed his ideas with him, showed him the Alan lee and John Howe designs and invtied him to be involved. He might, perhaps, have explained why some things had to be changed. Probably he would have been upset about the removal of the Scouring of the Shire, but given how much else was true to the spirit of the book, and how passionate about the novel everyone was, he might have been gracious about it. Given that he had sold the rights, he would probably have heaved a sigh of relief when he saw the finished product. I read the Letters and from what I recall, he was actually quite excited about the initial concept, till he saw what the American studio was going to do with it. And I don't blame him! It was horrific.

Given that they did leave out the Scouring, BTW, I found the ending they did have, with that scene in the pub, rather touching - here are the four who have saved the world and no one at home knows or cares - in the spirit of the hobbits realising just how much the Rangers had done for them without ever letting them know. And the last scene was out of the novel, wasn't it? "Well, I'm home."
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Old 04-07-2004, 05:14 PM   #52
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I honestly think Tolkien would have been impressed with how Peter Jackson put Middle Earth onto the big screen. I'm sure there are parts or little details he would have been less pleased with, but on a whole I do believe he would have liked it. And I totally agree with Lobelia that PJ would have discussed everything with Tolkien before making the LOTR films.

If Tolkien were to dislike anything related to his books it would be some of the fanfictions out there. Not to knock anyone who writes them, but there a lot of slash fanfics out there and it's just sick.

But all that's off topic to restate myself: Tolkien would most likely like the movies except for a thing here or there.
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Old 09-03-2005, 07:37 AM   #53
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Also, I'm sure that if Tolkien was alive now he would have had a big say in how the movies were made.
We would have finally found the answer do balrog's have wings
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Old 09-03-2005, 07:53 AM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morsul the Dark
We would have finally found the answer do balrog's have wings

That assumes that said author would wish to resolve the ambiguity.
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Old 09-03-2005, 08:39 AM   #55
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I honestly don't think Tolkien would have liked the movies Jackson made. He seemed uneasy about anybody making a movie off his works. Does that mean I don't like them? No, there are many good and bad things about the movie, but here are some problems Tolkien had with turning his books into movies...

Now Tolkien through out says Z, and from an extract Tolkien explains the set up...
Quote:
Z is used as an abbreviation for (the writer of) the synopsis.
References to this are by page (and line where required); references to the original story are by Volume and page
Letter #210 explains Tolkien's feelings on movie adaptations...
Quote:
If Z and/or others do so, they may be irritated or aggrieved by the tone of many of my criticisms. If so, I am sorry (though not surprised). But I would ask them to make an effort of imagination sufficient to understand the irritation (and on occasion the resentment) of an author, who finds, increasingly as he proceeds, his work treated as it would seem carelessly in general, in places recklessly, and with no evident signs of any appreciation of what it is all about. ....

The canons of narrative art in any medium cannot be wholly different; and the failure of poor films is often precisely in exaggeration, and in the intrusion of unwarranted matter owing to not perceiving where the core of the original lies.
Jackson over-exaggerates things a lot in the movies. He tries to beat it into our heads. Denethor's madness, Gimli's humor...etc. Also, in this opening paragraph you can see Tolkien's general wariness of making films out of his books.

Quote:
Z .... has intruded a ’fairy castle’ and a great many Eagles, not to mention incantations, blue lights, and some irrelevant magic (such as the floating body of Faramir). He has cut the parts of the story upon which its characteristic and peculiar tone principally depends, showing a preference for fights; and he has made no serious attempt to represent the heart of the tale adequately: the journey of the Ringbearers. The last and most important part of this has, and it is not too strong a word, simply been murdered.
I practically bolded this whole excerpt because most of this stuff Jackson does. Irrelevant magic...fight between Gandalf and Saruman, Saruman's fireball. Jackson cuts characters stories (and in some cases Frodo's story) to insert large fight scenes. The cutting of the Scouring of the Shire may be argued as missing the whole point of the Journey of the Ringbearers.

Quote:
Gandalf, please, should not ’splutter’. Though he may seem testy at times, has a sense of humour, and adopts a somewhat avuncular attitude to hobbits, he is a person of high and noble authority, and great dignity. The description on I p. 239 should never be forgotten.
For the most part Gandalf's character was within the books (atleast to me). It was his beating of Denethor that I thought was out of his character.

Quote:
Here I may say that I fail to see why the time-scheme should be deliberately contracted. It is already rather packed in the original, the main action occurring between Sept. 22 and March 25 of the following year. The many impossibilities and absurdities which further hurrying produces might, I suppose, be unobserved by an uncritical viewer; but I do not see why they should be unnecessarily introduced. Time must naturally be left vaguer in a picture than in a book; but I cannot see why definite time-statements, contrary to the book and to probability, should be made. ....
As Tolkien says he understands the time contraints in movies, but what he does point out in this is for example, if 17 years pass between Frodo getting the Ring and leaving the Shire, it should be (in movie time) 17 years. Frodo seems to get the ring, than leave, and he looks younger than his 3 Hobbit companions.

Quote:
Contraction of this kind is not the same thing as the necessary reduction or selection of the scenes and events that are to be visually represented.
This is a key one, Tolkien admits that not everything can be added into the movies, things are going to get cut.

Quote:
9. Leaving the inn at night and running off into the dark is an impossible solution of the difficulties of presentation here (which I can see). It is the last thing that Aragorn would have done. It is based on a misconception of the Black Riders throughout, which I beg Z to reconsider. Their peril is almost entirely due to the unreasoning fear which they inspire (like ghosts). They have no great physical power against the fearless; but what they have, and the fear that they inspire, is enormously increased in darkness. The Witch-king, their leader, is more powerful in all ways than the others; but he must not yet be raised to the stature of Vol. III. There, put in command by Sauron, he is given an added demonic force. But even in the Battle of the Pelennor, the darkness had only just broken. See III 114.3
Now there are some misuse PJ uses in the Nazgul.
One, the Osgiliath scene when Frodo walks up to the Nazgul. First off, Frodo wouldn't be that stupid. Second, we can see from Tolkien's views on the Nazgul, they would not have the power to possess Frodo in walking right out in front of them.

Second, the Witch-King Gandalf scene. As Tolkien explains they have no power of the fearless, Gandalf is one of the few Fearless ones. He was the LONE PERSON to stand against the Witch-king when he broke the gate. The scene with the encounter of the movie shows fear in Gandalf and goes totally against Tolkien's views on the powers of the nazgul.

Quote:
Strider does not ’Whip out a sword’ in the book. Naturally not: his sword was broken. (Its elvish light is another false anticipation of the reforged Anduril. Anticipation is one of Z’s chief faults.) Why then make him do so here, in a contest that was explicitly not fought with weapons?
Aragorn doesn't even get Anduril until ROTK and throughout he shows uneasiness to become the King of Gondor. Aragorn showing the shards to the Hobbits and getting it reforged is key as it shows Aragorn wants to become the King, there is no unwillingness in him.

Quote:
11. Aragorn did not ’sing the song of Gil-galad’. Naturally: it was quite inappropriate, since it told of the defeat of the Elven-king by the Enemy. The Black Riders do not scream, but keep a more terrifying silence. Aragorn does not blanch. The riders draw slowly in on foot in darkness, and do not ’spur’. There is no fight. Sam does not ’sink his blade into the Ringwraith?s thigh’, nor does his thrust save Frodo’s life. (If he had, the result would have been much the same as in III 117-20:4 the Wraith would have fallen down and the sword would have been destroyed.)

Why has my account been entirely rewritten here, with disregard for the rest of the tale? I can see that there are certain difficulties in representing a dark scene; but they are not insuperable. A scene of gloom lit by a small red fire, with the Wraiths slowly approaching as darker shadows until the moment when Frodo puts on the Ring, and the King steps forward revealed would seem to me far more impressive than yet one more scene of screams and rather meaningless slashings.....

I have spent some time on this passage, as an example of what I find too frequent to give me ’pleasure or satisfaction’: deliberate alteration of the story, in fact and significance, without any practical or artistic object (that I can see); and of the flattening effect that assimilation of one incident to another must have.
Jackson does exactly what Tolkien says he despised. Rewriting the Weathertop scene and turning it into a fight.

Again, the last paragraph here is key. As Tolkien says he understands "artistic license" but he does not agree with deliberate alterations of the movie for "pleasure and satisfaction."

Quote:
Z does not seem much interested in seasons or scenery, though from what I saw I should say that in the representation of these the chief virtue and attraction of the film is likely to be found. But would Z think that he had improved the effect of a film of, say, the ascent of Everest by introducing helicopters to take the climbers half way up (in defiance of probability)? It would be far better to cut the Snow-storm and the Wolves than to make a farce of the arduous journey.
Now would Tolkien think Jackson's work on the snowstorm was a farce? I can't say, but Jackson does alter it and makes it almost nothing like the books. He changes it to another fight between Gandalf and Saruman, and as Tolkien says he'd rather see this scene cut than be changed.

Quote:
20. The Balrog never speaks or makes any vocal sound at all. Above all he does not laugh or sneer. .... Z may think that he knows more about Balrogs than I do, but he cannot expect me to agree with him.
Now there's a big problem with the Balrog in the movie. It's nothing like the things we know on balrogs. Jackson seems to take his Balrog off of John Howe's work, and while John Howe is a dazzling artist, there's little lore he puts in to his drawings of Balrogs.

Quote:
In the book lembas has two functions. It is a ’machine’ or device for making credible the long marches with little provision, in a world in which as I have said ’miles are miles’. But that is relatively unimportant. It also has a much larger significance, of what one might hesitatingly call a ’religious’ kind. This becomes later apparent, especially in the chapter ’Mount Doom’ (III 213-5 and subsequently). I cannot find that Z has made any particular use of lembas even as a device; and the whole of ’Mount Doom’ has disappeared in the distorted confusion that Z has made of the ending. As far as I can see lembas might as well disappear altogether.
Well, the Lembas are long gone once they get to Mount Doom. In fact I don't know if they've eaten anything since. And the choppy 30 minute ending could show the "distorted confusion of the ending." Tolkien mentions.

Quote:
I do earnestly hope that in the assignment of actual speeches to the characters they will be represented as I have presented them: in style and sentiment. I should resent perversion of the characters (and do resent it, so far as it appears in this sketch) even more than the spoiling of the plot and scenery.
This is one of the biggest faults Tolkien would find in the movies (I think). The altering of dialogue, switching lines with people, and just making up your own dialogue. Tolkien would not be very fond of this, he makes it clear here, that to him his dialogue is important and a necessity to plot and scenery.

Quote:
The narrative now divides into two main branches: 1. Prime Action, the Ringbearers. 2. Subsidiary Action, the rest of the Company leading to the ’heroic’ matter. It is essential that these two branches should each be treated in coherent sequence. Both to render them intelligible as a story, and because they are totally different in tone and scenery. Jumbling them together entirely destroys these things.
Now, I myself do not have a problem with the "jumbling" of the two stories. Tolkien thinks differently.

Quote:
31. I deeply regret this handling of the ’Treebeard’ chapter, whether necessary or not. I have already suspected Z of not being interested in trees: unfortunate, since the story is so largely concerned with them. But surely what we have here is in any case a quite unintelligible glimpse? What are Ents?
Another thing I see a lot of people complain about in the movies. One, Treebeard and the ents deciding at first NOT to go to war, and have to be tricked into it. Secondly, Treebeard is totally unaware that his forest is being cut down, he has no clue until Pippin tricks him into taking him passed Isengard.

Quote:
33. I am afraid that I do not find the glimpse of the ’defence of the Hornburg’ this would be a better title, since Helm’s Deep, the ravine behind, is not shown entirely satisfactory. It would, I guess, be a fairly meaningless scene in a picture, stuck in in this way. Actually I myself should be inclined to cut it right out, if it cannot be made more coherent and a more significant part of the story. .... If both the Ents and the Hornburg cannot be treated at sufficient length to make sense, then one should go. It should be the Hornburg, which is incidental to the main story; and there would be this additional gain that we are going to have a big battle (of which as much should be made as possible), but battles tend to be too similar: the big one would gain by having no competitor.
Tolkien thinks the battle of the Hornburg is secondary to the story with Merry, Pippin, and the Ents. This is switched around in the movies. The half and hour fight scene, plust more for preparing the battle takes up almost a third of TTT. Tolkien did not see The Hornburg as a significant event compared to the story with the Ents.

Quote:
Z has cut out the end of the book, including Saruman’s proper death. In that case I can see no good reason for making him die. Saruman would never have committed suicide: to cling to life to its basest dregs is the way of the sort of person he had become. If Z wants Saruman tidied up (I cannot see why, where so many threads are left loose) Gandalf should say something to this effect: as Saruman collapses under the excommunication: ’Since you will not come out and aid us, here in Orthanc you shall stay till you rot, Saruman. Let the Ents look to it!’
So, now we get to the cutting of the Scouring. And Tolkien says if he's going to do this there is no reason in Saruman's death being shown. The Whole Orthanc scene I think is mishandled. With Saruman's fireball, and falling on spikes...etc

Now I have come to accept and love the movies and many things I have come to accept Jackson's terms. Perhaps Tolkien would have, but from this letter he was not very fond of the idea of his books being altered and changed. He knew things had to be cut, but he felt some things (characters and dialogue) were more essential then large fight scenes and in Jackson's movies this is switched.

I do not see Tolkien being very fond of Jackson's movies.
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Old 09-03-2005, 11:13 AM   #56
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When I read Tolkien's Letters a while back, I found his thoughts concerning the film then planned most enlightening.

However, while it is clear from what he says in that letter that there are many aspects of Jackson's films that would have displeased Tolkien, it is also very clear that the screenplay which Tolkien was commenting on was a very different kettle of fish to the trilogy which Jackson made. Zimmerman's script seems in many ways to be aimed at "disneyfying" the Book, whereas Jackson largely avoided this.

And I think that you apply some of Tolkien's criticisms of the Zimmerman screenplay to Jackson's films rather out of context. For example:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tolkien
It is based on a misconception of the Black Riders throughout, which I beg Z to reconsider. Their peril is almost entirely due to the unreasoning fear which they inspire (like ghosts). They have no great physical power against the fearless; but what they have, and the fear that they inspire, is enormously increased in darkness. The Witch-king, their leader, is more powerful in all ways than the others; but he must not yet be raised to the stature of Vol. III. There, put in command by Sauron, he is given an added demonic force. But even in the Battle of the Pelennor, the darkness had only just broken.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boromir88
Second, the Witch-King Gandalf scene. As Tolkien explains they have no power of the fearless, Gandalf is one of the few Fearless ones. He was the LONE PERSON to stand against the Witch-king when he broke the gate. The scene with the encounter of the movie shows fear in Gandalf and goes totally against Tolkien's views on the powers of the nazgul.
Gandalf's confrontation with the Witch-King occurs at a time when he had been "raised to the stature of Vol. III". Tolkien envisaged that the Witch-King was "powered-up" for the attack on Gondor and Jackson portrays this nicely in the scene in Minas Morgul where he dons his armour. It is therefore not completely out of line with Tolkien's conception of the Nazgul that the Witch-King would represent a severe obstacle, if not a match, for Gandalf in this scene.

Similarly:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tolkien
Z .... has intruded a ’fairy castle’ and a great many Eagles, not to mention incantations, blue lights, and some irrelevant magic (such as the floating body of Faramir).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boromir88
I practically bolded this whole excerpt because most of this stuff Jackson does. Irrelevant magic...fight between Gandalf and Saruman, Saruman's fireball.
It seems to me that there is a world of difference between Jackson's changes in this regard and the intrusion of fairy castles, multiple Eagles and floating Faramirs.

And:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tolkien
... and the whole of ’Mount Doom’ has disappeared in the distorted confusion that Z has made of the ending.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boromir88
And the choppy 30 minute ending could show the "distorted confusion of the ending."
None of the changes that Jackson made are anything like as drastic as the removal of "the whole of 'Mount Doom'". The 20 minute ending was, I think, Jackson's best attempt to capture the spirit of the end of the book. Given that some of the worst criticism of the trilogy (from film critics) is that it takes too long to end, I can certainly see why the Scouring was left out. I think it is unfair, however, to say that the films do not adequately represent the journey of the Ringbearer. Tolkien's criticism of this aspect of the Zimmerman screenplay seems to be based on the disappearance of 'Mount Doom'. Something that Jackson certainly cannot be accused of.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boromir88
It's nothing like the things we know on balrogs.
Ah, but how much do we know about Balrogs ...? The film Balrog certainly seems to be an accurate representation of many people's (inclusing my) visualisation of the Balrog from the book (even if not strictly cannonical). And it certainly doesn't seem to suffer from the same poor realisation that Zimmerman's sneering Balrog seems to have suffered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boromir88
This is one of the biggest faults Tolkien would find in the movies (I think). The altering of dialogue, switching lines with people, and just making up your own dialogue. Tolkien would not be very fond of this, he makes it clear here, that to him his dialogue is important and a necessity to plot and scenery.
Agreed. But Tolkien was not a writer of screenplays ...

As, indeed, the following comment shows:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tolkien
The narrative now divides into two main branches: 1. Prime Action, the Ringbearers. 2. Subsidiary Action, the rest of the Company leading to the ’heroic’ matter. It is essential that these two branches should each be treated in coherent sequence. Both to render them intelligible as a story, and because they are totally different in tone and scenery. Jumbling them together entirely destroys these things.
Portraying the two threads of the story sequentially, while it works well in a book, would have worked disastrously on screen. The same point applies to his suggestion that the Battle of the Hornburg is less important than the story of Merry, Pippin and the Ents. He may not have liked the idea of his book being made into an "action" film (even a superior one, which I believe Jackson's trilogy is), but it is difficult to see it enjoying the same success if done differently (and, when stumping up the kind of investment required for these films, studios and investors want box-office success).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boromir88
So, now we get to the cutting of the Scouring. And Tolkien says if he's going to do this there is no reason in Saruman's death being shown.
Which is exactly what Jackson did (and got roundly criticised for) with the theatrical version. In any event, Tolkien's biggest gripe seems to be that Zimmerman had Saruman commit suicide, a mistake which Jackson did not make.

Overall, I agree that Tolkien would have been uncomfortable with many of Jackson's changes (just as his son and the purists are). But I do think that he would have appreciated it as a fine visual representation of the world that he created and I also believe that he would have recoginsed it as capturing much of the spirit of his story, certainly moreso than the screenplay upon which he comments in this letter.

And it also seems to me that Tolkien was unlikely to be satisfied with any film version of his book which stood a realistic chance of being made. Then again, he did do rather well out of selling the film rights to it ...
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Old 09-03-2005, 02:39 PM   #57
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[QUOTE=The Saucepan Man]
Overall, I agree that Tolkien would have been uncomfortable with many of Jackson's changes (just as his son and the purists are). But I do think that he would have appreciated it as a fine visual representation of the world that he created QUOTE]

I was thinking about this today as I was shelving the Home Index with it's John Howe picture. Since action films are not my thing and things like the troll fight bored me to sobs, and I am basically a purist, the look of the thing was what reconciled me to the films. I think hiring Howe and Lee was Jackson's masterstroke. Since I imagine Christopher Tolkien must have had some say in the covers of his works, it is reasonable to assume that he finds Howes vision of Middle Earth at least acceptable.
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Old 09-03-2005, 02:45 PM   #58
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Well argued Sauce, but I still haven't been convinced. Now, I did leave out parts of this letter because it talked about the scenery, and all and all I though Jackson did wonderful on the scenery. Meduseld, Minas Tirith, Rivendell, I thought he did a good job, and I don't think Tolkien would have had a problem with the scenery.

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However, while it is clear from what he says in that letter that there are many aspects of Jackson's films that would have displeased Tolkien, it is also very clear that the screenplay which Tolkien was commenting on was a very different kettle of fish to the trilogy which Jackson made.
Exactly, which is why some of it may be left up to interpretation, on whether Jackson did what Tolkien didn't like.

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Gandalf's confrontation with the Witch-King occurs at a time when he had been "raised to the stature of Vol. III". Tolkien envisaged that the Witch-King was "powered-up" for the attack on Gondor and Jackson portrays this nicely in the scene in Minas Morgul where he dons his armour. It is therefore not completely out of line with Tolkien's conception of the Nazgul that the Witch-King would represent a severe obstacle, if not a match, for Gandalf in this scene.
I still disagree with this. Yes, at this time The Witch-King had the "power uppage" but regardless Gandalf is still fearless therefor the Nazgul had no effect on him. And as we see he is the only one that was able to stand up to the Witch-King and he quite convincingly shows he's not afraid and intent on going after the WK when he flees from the standoff.

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It seems to me that there is a world of difference between Jackson's changes in this regard and the intrusion of fairy castles, multiple Eagles and floating Faramirs.
True, but you did not deny the irrelevant magic and the...
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He has cut the parts of the story upon which its characteristic and peculiar tone principally depends, showing a preference for fights; and he has made no serious attempt to represent the heart of the tale adequately: the journey of the Ringbearers.
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The 20 minute ending was, I think, Jackson's best attempt to capture the spirit of the end of the book. Given that some of the worst criticism of the trilogy (from film critics) is that it takes too long to end, I can certainly see why the Scouring was left out. I think it is unfair, however, to say that the films do not adequately represent the journey of the Ringbearer. Tolkien's criticism of this aspect of the Zimmerman screenplay seems to be based on the disappearance of 'Mount Doom'. Something that Jackson certainly cannot be accused of.
Yes, but I could remember somewhere (though I can't right now and I may just be making it up) but Tolkien does say The Scouring was an essential part to the story of the Hobbits. It marks the ending of the War of the Ring and the growth maturely by the Hobbits. Do I think The Scouring should have been added? I don't, but would Tolkien see this as an essential part of the storyline in the movie? I don't know, just food for thought.

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Ah, but how much do we know about Balrogs ...? The film Balrog certainly seems to be an accurate representation of many people's (inclusing my) visualisation of the Balrog from the book (even if not strictly cannonical).
I don't know much, but I do know they aren't 40 foot tall giants, and they don't have horns or hooves. It's very unlikely that they have wings, though I don't want to get into the debate here, there's plenty of threads for it, and it would only go in circles as both sides can be argued.

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Agreed. But Tolkien was not a writer of screenplays...
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Portraying the two threads of the story sequentially, while it works well in a book, would have worked disastrously on screen. The same point applies to his suggestion that the Battle of the Hornburg is less important than the story of Merry, Pippin and the Ents. He may not have liked the idea of his book being made into an "action" film (even a superior one, which I believe Jackson's trilogy is), but it is difficult to see it enjoying the same success if done differently (and, when stumping up the kind of investment required for these films, studios and investors want box-office success).
I did say I disagreed with Tolkien on this, but it does not take away that he shows dislike for this part. He didn't think the two storylines could be jumbled together (though I strongly disagree and he may have changed his mind, who knows). And he thought The Hornburg was secondary to the Ents. I disagree again, but I do think that Jackson took way too much time setting up the battle scene, as it's a 30 minute fight and for about 30 minutes before building up to it with the elves. This does take off time from the Ents, and I do think Jackson didn't handle the Ents in the best way possible. As he just makes Treebeard blissfully unaware of what's going on in his own forest.

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Which is exactly what Jackson did (and got roundly criticised for) with the theatrical version. In any event, Tolkien's biggest gripe seems to be that Zimmerman had Saruman commit suicide, a mistake which Jackson did not make.
Good point, but he does throw in an irrelevant fireball and we don't know what he would have thought of Saruman falling on a wheel of spikes. I've made the argument before he may have liked it as it's rather fitting for Saruman to be chopped up on the machines that he had made.

Quote:
Overall, I agree that Tolkien would have been uncomfortable with many of Jackson's changes (just as his son and the purists are). But I do think that he would have appreciated it as a fine visual representation of the world that he created and I also believe that he would have recoginsed it as capturing much of the spirit of his story, certainly moreso than the screenplay upon which he comments in this letter.

And it also seems to me that Tolkien was unlikely to be satisfied with any film version of his book which stood a realistic chance of being made. Then again, he did do rather well out of selling the film rights to it ...
I agree, and as I've said I've come to learn and accept, and love the films. There are many wonderful things done with them (with some unnecessary things and not talking about diverting from the books). But I was trying to show that Tolkien would not be very happy with the movies made by Jackson, and as you say I doubt he would have been happy with any film adaption of his books?

Now, why would Tolkien be stingy on this? I think it comes down to that he is the creator of this stories, so naturally he would feel connected and want the need to protect them more than say you or me. While we all love his work, we can accept that making a film is much different than writing a book, and translating that book on film is difficult.

While Tolkien may go to understand this, it didn't take away the fact that these are his books and he would not like them to be changed, hence his unhappiness towards ANY film adaptation (I think). As he says he has dialogue in there for a purpose, for the plot, and for scenery, he knows things has to get changed around in movies, but he wrote everything for a purpose and making changed would change his purpose of writing the books. That's why I think he's much happier with cutting scenes instead of changing them.
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Old 09-05-2005, 05:35 AM   #59
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I'm no expert on Tolkien and have never read any of his letters...

But somehow I think he might just not have wanted to see the movie. Ever.
I don't think even Tolkien himself, had he been the director, could have lived up to the visions of grandeur he had concerning his own story. PJ's movie probably doesn't even come close. As an excuse, he would have started nitpicking about those minor mistakes - that actually really don't matter when you are telling a story - when in reality, he would just have been disappointed to see his story in visual. Because a visual, any visual, could never live up to a human mind that has been busy shaping a world for an entire lifetime.

No, I do not think he would not have liked it. I, however, did.
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Old 09-12-2005, 11:28 PM   #60
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I'd like to know what Tolkien would have thought of the manner in which the Gondorians were treated (one might almost say "mistreated") by Jackson.
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Old 11-23-2005, 02:48 PM   #61
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The return of Sauron and the Nazgul

Although the evil power & spirit of Sauron & the Nazgul was destroyed when the One Ring was no more, is there anything to suggest that these guys can return in their original form, as in before Sauron turned to evil ways & ensared the nine men doomed to die?

A novel could follow in which Sauron returns as a good guy, but in seceret again plots the mastery of ME for his own, with the nine men, formerly the Nazgul, working as his agents? Sounds like re-telling the LOTR all over again, but not quite.
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Old 12-04-2005, 06:32 AM   #62
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Though I enjoyed the Return of the King, The Two Tours is for me the worst film in the trilogy.
I agree that PJ could not adapt the whole story. But why did he include scenes that didn't even exist in the book, instead of real events related in it? If he didn't have the possibility to do so because the books were too massive, he shouldn't have added others imaginary scenes (death of Aragorn, Elves in Helm's deep...).

About this last point: for me, the coming of Haldir was a mistake. The end of the 3rd Age shows the end of the Elves. They are all leaving Middle-Earth. And it's something that I really notice each time I read the books: it's the time of Men, with the 4th Age coming.
So, why should the Elves get involved in the war and help the humans in Helm's Deep battle?

Anyway, I enjoyed the two others, with just one great disadvantage: each time I'm reading the books, I have the faces of the actors instead of the ones I've imaginated until now. And for Eowyn, it's very annoying as I find Miranda Otto very far from what I was thinking. Fortunately, I'm quite happy with Boromir and Faramir.

EDIT: I lost the thread of the conversation. I meant by this answer that Tolkien, if he would not be insulted, would be (maybe) irritated by some aspects of PJ's adaptation.
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Old 12-10-2005, 04:09 AM   #63
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Well, to voice what has been said before I guess, I do believe that it is all but impossible to say whether Tolkien would have liked the movies or not, as there are good arguments going both ways.

He was very critical of the other adaptation yet for the sounds of it, it was an outright DISASTER.... while PJ's adaptation had some.... incongruences... I do believe it did catch the essence of the books. The Shire was perfect, Bagg-end looked beautiful, as did Rivendel, Gondor and Rohan. Lorien looked a little different from what I had imagined (in the movie it looked to me like the 'houses' (can't remember their name) were like a massive building set on trees while I imagined them as much smaller yet somehow more closely associated to the trees themselves....)

The characters were mostly well done. I dont think any of the hobbits was badly portrayed (even Frodo and Gollum) Saruman's fireball and falling on a spike were not of my liking (but the way snake kills him at Othranc rather than The Shire was ok if they did not mean to add the scouring of The Shire to the movie) and Argorn not wanting to be the king was sort of a major mess-up yet if it had been stressed just a little less it would have been quite understandable (after all, it's not like being the King of a nation in constant war with a very powerful enemy is an easy choice)

I must say I enjoy the movies a lot, as when I'm watching them I am aware it is a movie and not hte original book. I don't think JRR (or for that matter any) Tolkien would have been able to abstract themselves from the books and enjoy the movies, but should they have been able to, I think they would have been overall pleased. Argorn talking and giving orders in Elvish was brilliant, even if the elves were not supposed to be there in the first place (by the way, are there not elves in the Siege of Gondor?) The love story was quite acceptable, as it was not stressed ad-nauseum and it fit in well with the story. The only part I disagree with is Arwen waking up Argorn pretty much from the dead with her kiss... but the rest worked out for me.

My only problem with the movie is that, while it did help me to imagine the cities and places a whole lot better, it also made it harder for me to "see" the characters as I imagined them before. The Hobbits were not quite the way I had thought of them, Argorn was also very different but the movie character had sort of the same "feeling" to him so it did not bother me as much. Eowyn was actually as I had imagined her (physically) as I thought of her as an amazingly good looking woman who was a little.... crazy is not the word but perhaps too saddened by life.

All in all, I believe that unless Tolkien had been able to abstract himself from his own work and enjoy the movies as they were, he would not have been completely pleased, although it is also possible that we, as lovers of Tolkien's work are far more strict than the writer himself. After all, it is also likely that he would appreciate a (good) effort to transform his books into film and I believed that PJ, for all his flaws did an excelent effort.


(sidenote, I tried to look up if there were elves in the Siege of Minas Tirith yet I could not find it... but it is quite late over here and I might have missed. I'd appreciate it if anyone could check for me)
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Old 12-10-2005, 06:54 AM   #64
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(sidenote, I tried to look up if there were elves in the Siege of Minas Tirith yet I could not find it... but it is quite late over here and I might have missed. I'd appreciate it if anyone could check for me)
The sons of Elrond were there in the battle (as well as Legolas, of course )

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Old 12-10-2005, 02:05 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by davem
The sons of Elrond were there in the battle (as well as Legolas, of course )
I guess that could somewhat, somehow, perhaps, maybe, kinda, sort of..... explain the elves in Helms Deep?
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Old 12-10-2005, 02:50 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by Farael
I guess that could somewhat, somehow, perhaps, maybe, kinda, sort of..... explain the elves in Helms Deep?
I've read the same point made about Elrond sending his sons to the aid of Aragorn in the book & his sending of Elves to aid the Rohirrim in the movie to show that the Elves haven't entirely given up on Men (& by extension on Middle-earth itself). I think the idea that the Elves are completely detatched & unconcerned with the fate of Middle-earth, & are leaving it to Men to deal with Sauron in practical ways - I've said similar things myself in the past. I think its probably a bit more complicated than that.

The Elves play the part they are capable of playing. I just think they have become so detatched over time (apart from the 'Great' like Galadriel & Elrond) that when push comes to shove they aren't all that capable of doing much beyond 'self-defence' (which is what I think we see behind their defence of Lorien & Galadriel's overthrow of Dol Guldur). Certainly the movie Elves are a more dynamic & active force than the Elves of the book, yet I accept their 'detatchment' & struggle to engage with a world that is changing beyond their capacity to deal with it does come across at Helm's Deep, where, let's face it, they prove almost incompetent. Their arrival may be impressive but once the battle starts they do little other than die tragically.

The more I think about it the more 'successful' I feel Jackson is in communicating the final days of the Elves in Middle-earth through episodes like Helm's Deep. Of course, Legolas' superhero antics overshadow that conception somewhat, but the idea of the Elves as not just tragic figures, but also as a spent force, wanting to recapture old glories but incapable of doing so - in fact capable only of leaving Middle-earth (by dying there or by taking ship into the West) does come across.

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Old 12-10-2005, 03:01 PM   #67
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If Jackson was successful in that then it's possibly a kind of 'happy accident'. Why? Because Arwen was originally scheduled to turn up and fight at Helm's Deep, and in fact these scenes were filmed but then edited out (you can see a few glimpses of Liv Tyler in some scenes though you'd possibly have to watch the film frame by frame with a microscope ). The contingent of fighting Elves would have come along with her, and there would be no reason to cut out scenes of audience-friendly Elves.

By the way, I think he was successful in getting this point across anyway...
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Old 01-18-2006, 06:37 PM   #68
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Is it a book or a film, no, its a life.

Tolkien could never come to terms with the enormous thing he had created, and the commercial aspect of the films resulting in doubling book sales, would have gone over his head I think. He would have been happy generally, somethings may have upset him, missing out bits you can understand, but inventing bits of your own, well who knows what he would have said. Maybe he would have felt like many of us, however I would like to think for the good reasons. Think of how many people have gone on to read the written word of Tolkien, and remember why this gift was given in the first place, and why he spent a lifetime to give us it.
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Old 01-29-2006, 08:43 AM   #69
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Its well known that Tolkien was uncomfortable with dramatisations of fantasy/fairy stories generally - see his comments in OFS for example. I suspect that he would have felt that out of all the various movies Jackson's version was the best overall adaptation. Having said that, we know that this adaptation (the only one we can presume he would have seen) did meet with authorial approval for the performances (Bogart's Frodo is in many ways superior to Wood's) if not for the modern day setting. Chandler's script does of course omit many of the subtleties of the novel, but Hawks' direction manages to communicate the deeper themes well.
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Old 02-11-2006, 12:42 PM   #70
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I don't think Mr. Tolkien would be angry, per se. The man is very mellow, and level-headed.

He might be...perturbed.

Personallly, That is just how I envisioned it. The orcs, the trolls, Oliphants.

But if Mr.Tolkien would have been alive, he would have had a huge say in the movie anyway. So we would have probably had a MUCH different film.
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Old 02-26-2006, 01:19 PM   #71
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I don't think Tolkein would be angry with the movies. Much of his studies were mythologies, stories that by nature change with the re-telling. Peter Jackson was re-telling a legend when he made the Lord of the Rings movies, and I think that Tolkien, with all his knowledge about how the stories develop over time, would have expected many changes. I think he would have been disapointed about the missing characters, just as any parent would when one of his children was left out, but insulted at the re-telling of The Lord of the Rings, which he himself considered to be a recording of pre-existing myths? I think not.

One of the greatest apeals of The Lord of the Rings is not that it has an extremely exciting plot, but that when you read the books, you feel like you can actually travel to Middle Earth. The fact that the movies carry over that sense of realism in my humble opinion makes up for any shortcomings in plot. The focus of the books wasn't plot, in any case. It was Middle Earth itself, the land, the history, the culture of the people living there. The creators of the movies took that aspect of the books to heart, and every detail of set, costume and even in most cases the behavior of the actors brings to life the wealth of characterization that Tolkien wrote, not just for the main characters, but for the land itself, and the history leading up to the climax of the War of the Ring. I prefer to think of the movies as one big fan-art project, not dissimilar to a John Howe painting. The analogy makes sense in my head; whether it makes sense to anyone else, I can't say. What I mean is simply that we shouldn't be so quick to condemn the movies for failures in the plot line, and forget that they were made with the best intentions at heart, and made in a way that was meant to pay tribute to Tolkien, not rip off his work. Just look at the differences in interpretations between The Lord of the Rings movies and the Harry Potter movies, and you'll see what I mean.

Sorry for the digression.

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Old 03-19-2006, 04:17 PM   #72
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If I were Tolkien, personally, I would be rather proud. If he could see them, he should be flattered by the fact that someone wanted to show the world what their idea of LotR appears as and what it means to them. Yes, it does, in the end, affect the way new readers percieve the books and this new perception may be different than if there were no movies at all, but the movies still do not take away the reader's ability to use their imagination. The movies never could decently do absoloutely everything in the books, and they still leave room for the imagination. Plus, the New Line Cinema movies aren't the only LotR movies out there. I'm very glad for the movies. They have actually let some people know the books are out there. They're the reason I've begun to read the books, and I love the books very much.
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Old 03-21-2006, 10:52 AM   #73
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I myself guess that Tolkien wouldn't be very satisfied to the movies. Of course they bring more readers to his books. But still, sometimes when watching the movies I wonder if Tolkien would have liked them after all. At times, I felt that PJ has made LotR just an action spectacle, which I think Tolkien wouldn't have been very pleased with.
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Old 03-21-2006, 02:29 PM   #74
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Personally I don't think he'd be insulted, but rather displeased with the final cut... I mean they cut out the Barrow Downs scene, and Tom Bombadil! (and Fatty Lumpkin!) Among other things (too numerous to name)... Although according to one of my relatives/relations, those scenes weren't exactly "needed" I dissagree however...
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Old 04-26-2006, 02:54 PM   #75
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Ellewen, surprisingly enough, I don't think Tolkien would be too upset over the cutting of scenes. As Tolkien states that he understands time constraints and things have to be contracted if you are making a movie from a book:
Quote:
Contraction of this kind is not the same thing as the necessary reduction or selection of the scenes and events that are to be visually represented.
So, it's not the cutting of scenes that upsets him the most, it's the altering and changing around his ideas (which Jackson did a lot of). Tolkien would rather prefer the Ents being cut out of the movies, than have them being changed from the books:
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If both the Ents and the Hornburg cannot be treated at sufficient length to make sense, then one should go.
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Old 05-02-2006, 01:44 PM   #76
Goldberry101
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I, personally, think that the movies would have insulted him. I saw the movies before I read the books, so I was expecting something totally different in the books. Things move a lot faster in the movies, but that's good for a movie because otherwise it would take FOREVER to make a movie. Another thing that I think he might not have liked about the movies is that they make Arwen into such a big star. She has, like, two or three lines in all three books. She is second in the credits in the movie and on the cover of almost everything. In conclusion I think that Tolkien would not have liked, and would have been dissapointed in the movies.
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Old 05-02-2006, 01:47 PM   #77
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I think he might not really feel insulted, but a little put off and maybe angry. I mean, I saw the movies before I read the books, and so when I did read the books I was expecting a faster pace, like the movies are (not to say I don't like the books...they are just different from the movie). I think he might have been mad about how Arwen was changed from a two or three line character into a really big star. All of this to say, I think he might not have been insulted but dissappointed.
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Old 05-02-2006, 01:48 PM   #78
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Oops, I didn't realize the first one had post, this is my first time ever doing anything like this so I'm sorry because they kind of say the same thing.
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Old 05-02-2006, 04:08 PM   #79
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Goldberry, welcome to the Downs! Duplicate posts aren't a problem - you can delete them yourself. Just click on the "edit" button, and you'll find a box with the option of deleting your post in the edit window. If you have any problems or would like help, please send me a PM and I'll be happy to do it for you.

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Old 05-02-2006, 04:22 PM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldberry101
Oops, I didn't realize the first one had post, this is my first time ever doing anything like this so I'm sorry because they kind of say the same thing.
I think you'll find that repeating yourself is the best way to come out on top in any discussion here on the Downs. Many people here initially disagree with me, but I find that if I just keep on saying the same thing over & over & over they get bored & go away so that I get the final word & so win the point. This is a good thing. Some posters do, admittedly, keep on but they underestimate my persistence, insight, wisdom & all-round stubbornness & in the end give up out of sheer exhaustion.

Using big words intimidates most of them too (especially the Colonials )

Welcome to the Downs.
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