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Old 03-22-2002, 05:37 AM   #1
Airetauriel
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Sting 'Seeing' the book

I've been thinking for a while on the effect seeing the first film has had on re-reading the trilogy. Has anyone else found that their initial vision of how the places and characters looked has changed with seeing them on the big screen? Being able to look at someone else's vision of how each place and person looks has altered my initial perceptions and imaginings when I first read the book. Is this a sentiment shared by anyone else? Also in 'seeing' the book, when re-reading, you become more visually oriented, I find. You feel the book the first time you read it, and later you find yourself imagining the places and people, but I seem to have lost that now. Even when reading TTT or ROTK, which we haven't yet seen, 'my' Frodo - the one from my imagination - has been replaced with Elijah Wood. Also, when reading the book, you forget about the obvious size difference between all the characters, and don't usually think about the problems that would cause when they were all travelling together, but now I think about it regularly when reading. <P>If I'm being a little unclear, think of this. There's somewhere you have to go and someone you have to meet. It's a very important meeting - say, for example, a new job and your new boss. The night before you imagine the workplace and the boss, and all the scenarios, as you sit there worrying about it, but you have that mental image of an office and a person. Of course, the next day, it turns out nothing like you imagined it, but it all goes fine, you get used to the reality, and therefore can never remember afterwards your preconceptions and imaginings about the place. <P>The images of the film are everywhere and they are stealing my imagination!!!! This is why I'm a book person. I don't have anything against the film, but I'm really having to cling to my own vision in the face of so many other people's ideas.<P>Anyone understand what I'm getting at???<P>Airetauriel
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Old 03-22-2002, 06:06 AM   #2
Neferchoirwen
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Sting

Yeah. I think I get what you mean. As a reader, you have your own imaginaiton, your own expectations, and when you watch the movie, your imagination gets replaced. For some people it's frustrating, but for some, it's quite enlightening.<P>The only thing I read and watched in its order of appearance, was Harry Potter. I did not have any prior expectation of what the whole thing would look like, but I feel that if I start reading Book3, maybe I'll stick to my own 'images.'<P>As for LOTR, hmmm...I don't know. I lked the movie. maybe our imagination has certain biases towards our visually seeing what we really like rather than what we have mentally seen.<P>I totally get what you mean, but I hope I make sense.
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Old 03-22-2002, 07:16 AM   #3
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Sting

i'm both a book and a movie person, though the two don't normally fit together. when books have been made into films i normally tend to dislike the film rendition or find both film and book appealing in different ways. this was the case for me for "the english patient" for example; i found the book lyrical, almost magical, and the movie realistic and intense.<P>i find that after watching the film, there is more color and depth, even intensity, in my own mental imagery of the places and characters of middle-earth, and i do picture the cast as the characters too. but there ends the vergence. after that, i find the book altering the movie-modified imageries, such as a brighter, more dreamy movie lorien, with complete book dialogue and events, or a stouter smaller-eyed elijah wood travelling in ease towards bywater. i guess if i hadn't been an lotr fan for ages the book would have less control, but as steepened as you and i are in this lore, well...<P>---------------------------------------------<BR><I>every man's life is a path to the truth -- hesse</I>
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Old 03-22-2002, 09:21 AM   #4
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Sting

I find, as a heavily visual person, that the movie really brought the book alive for me, but it didn't affect my own imaginings of the book at all. It was really cool to see Hobbiton brought alive. And when you actually got to *see* Rivendell. I had known that it was beautiful, but never been able to put a picture to it. I did, however, find Lothlorien kind of disappointing. It was nothing as I had imagined it. But, it was beautiful nonetheless.
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Old 03-22-2002, 10:19 PM   #5
piosenniel
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Sting

i too am a book and a movie person - it was easy for me to keep the two separated in my mind - i still have my own vision of places and people. what i thought was great was being able to actually 'see' another fan's vision of the book -- pj's!!
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Old 03-23-2002, 12:42 AM   #6
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I'm fairly visual in some ways - not as much as Tigerlily maybe - since I have to make a conscious effort to not replace the scenes I imagined with the ones from the movie. It's not too much of a struggle now though - besides, I like both versions. Some movie elements have come in, unavoidably, but all they've done is make it more vivid .<P>The only movie character who directly took over the book character for me was Elijah Wood as Frodo, but the reason for that was that I always had a very difficult time picturing Frodo; if I had the ability I could draw pictures of the way I imagined every other character, but not him - curly hair, brown or green eyes, short, and that was about it. It was like he was out of focus. So the movie face works for me .
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Old 03-23-2002, 01:13 AM   #7
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Sting

Since my own pictures in my mind's eye of Middle Earth have been colored by all the artistic interpretations I've seen through the years, (From Tolkien, and the Hildebrants, to Alan Lee) it hard for me to judge. On the whole I felt that PJ's locations and sets matched my own visions closely, sometimes eeriely so. <P>The only place that didn't seem "right" to me was Bree! It looked like such a dank, dirty ol' town, and seemed so threatening. Maybe PJ was just trying to show it to us through the eyes of four naive, sheltered Hobbits.<P>I'm trying to remember if there were any other Hobbits in Bree. Was it portrayed as strictly a "Big People" town?<P>Now I do have some very firm ideas on how Fangorn and Ithilien look. It will be interesting to see how movie matches my images.
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Old 03-23-2002, 01:21 AM   #8
Kalimac
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Sting

Bree went by so fast it was hard to tell who lived there, unless you want to count all the Mos Eisley refugees who were at the Prancing Pony. But they did have hobbit-sized rooms, and Butterbur didn't seem especially surprised at them, so even if was a "Big People" town in the movie, they must have gotten some hobbit traffic; enough to give them some room at the inn, anyway.
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Old 03-23-2002, 01:25 AM   #9
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Sting

Stop that Kalimac! Now I'm seeing little aliens playing saxaphones behind the bar!
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Old 03-23-2002, 02:02 AM   #10
Marileangorifurnimaluim
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Ha! - Birdland.<P>I find it remarkable how close the images of Middle Earth I had were to the movie, and I haven't really seen any fan art. Only Lorien was radically different. I appreciated the artistic vision of Lorien, and it left my own untouched. Likewise my vision of the world of ME. There were slight differences (Bree for one, Bag End from the outside was slightly different than imagined) but my own vision predominates.<P>Not so with my imagined picture of the characters. Especially Frodo has morphed into Elijah Wood. I've struggled to bring back my own, albeit vague, image of Frodo, with brown eyes and a softer less elfin look than Elijah, more warmth and depth, quietude, dignity perhaps. Much less innocence.<P>My image of Gandalf and Sam remain, but Aragorn has stubbornly become Viggo, if only because Viggo is only slightly leaner and shorter and more angular than the Aragorn I imagined, but otherwise very close.
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Old 03-23-2002, 02:12 AM   #11
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Sorry Birdland - not trying to ruin it for you, just couldn't help but think of another innocent-entering-scary-bar scene in a trilogy . Though did you ever see the Bakshi LOTR? Remember how when Frodo starts singing "There is an inn" etc, musical accompaniment just suddenly starts up without any visible source? Aliens on saxophones would have been *almost* preferable.<P>Maril - you're right, Bag End was something that was almost exactly the same both before and after - it was absolutely wonderful they way did that (the interiors were perfect as well). The only thing I hadn't pictured was the gold edging around the door and windows, but it is a nice shorthand explanation for how the legend of Bilbo's vast wealth arose, if nothing else.
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Old 03-23-2002, 02:30 AM   #12
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Blah..never type in the dark, you hit wierd buttons. I had written a big big reply, and then hit the refresh key!! Stupid, stupid, stupid! Okay, let's see if I can remember what I wrote. Ah yes!<BR>Everything was as I imagined it, except for Rivendell. When I first read the Hobbit, I was about 12, 13. Attention span not the greatest back then (much better now as am mature 17) and when it came to the part about Elrond I didn't pay that much attention to the descriptions Tolkien gave. So when we came back to Rivendell in LOTR, all I could recall was "The Last Homely House" Thing. So what I originally pictured was a big big field right next to the mountain with one wooden house in the centre of it. *winces* Seriously, I did NOT have a very good imagination back then!! I rather prefer PJ's Rivendell to mine, and who could blame me?? I laugh at myself!! Laugh with me!!
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Old 03-23-2002, 08:43 AM   #13
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I get what you mean, but as I last read the book when I was nine I've found that the film has helped me visualise it more.
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Old 03-23-2002, 12:47 PM   #14
Jessica Jade
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I saw the movie first, and i have, as of last monday, finished the entire LOTR. Since i did see the movie first, i have a vague image of the movie actors when i read the book. Frodo, most definitly, is Elijah Wood to me. I don't know how i would have pictured him otherwise, but now i'll never know. I do agree though, that Tolkien's descriptions of him were quite vague. And i do think that Frodo was portrayed excellently by Elijah Wood. <P>It is the places that i imagine differently from the movie, even after seeing it. Lothlorien in the book was incredible to me...Tolkien's description was so much better than the movie made it look. Rivendell, on the other hand, was more beautiful than i thought the books described. I liked Rivendell a lot better in the movie, but i loved Lorien better in the books. I also didn't picture Isengard quite the same. It didn't really look all that circular, did it? I think the view from Orthanc was pretty accurate though. My favorite chapter in Fellowship was the Bridge of Khazad Dum, and i think that the book's description of Moria was extremely intriguing. They did a good job of it in the movie, but the picture in my mind is more enhanced and elaborate. In the book, that chapter is so much more descriptive-the way they described Khazad Dum and the terrible majesty of the dwarven halls, it captivated me much more than the movie. Nontheless, it was my favorite part of the movie and i loved it. Basically, the movie does not imagine everything for me, it merely gives me an idea, a sketch, of how things sort of ought to look. Hobbition, i think, was excellent. Couldn't have been better. And the characters were very well cast. The actors totally ARE those characters...but of course, maybe i wouln't be saying this had i read the books first.<P>I do regret not having read them first because i was robbed of the chance to imagine it ALL for myself, but i'm also grateful i saw the movie first, because i was able to watch it and appreciate the movie for its own sake, without any comparisions to the books. I think that initially, i was able to appreciate the movie more than others would have, because they would have been comparing it to their imaginations. Most people who've read the books and then watch the movie won't see the movie in itself, for it's own sake...they'd be seeing it for how it matches up with the book. Well, it willl certainly be inteteresting to see how the next two movies are going to be. I'm glad i got to imagine those myself!<P>Books that i've read a long time before the movie came out do not change my imagination of it at all. Harry Potter, for example. I saw the movie, and thought they did a good job, but i preferred my imagination ten times more. And when i go back and look at passages from those books, i still see the characters as i first imagined them. LOTR is the same way, the movie and the book are like two separate things. They're totallly different. There's the movie. And there's the book. Both outstanding but in dfferent ways. When i re-read over passages of LOTR, i see the places as I imagine them. For the characters, i've been permanatly affected by the movie, but i have sort of this vague image of them when i read the books. I don't see characters that clearly in my mind when i read. But descriptions of the places and setting are much more vivid in my imagination.
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Old 03-23-2002, 12:54 PM   #15
ElanorGamgee
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I saw the movie first, so I imagine a lot of characters looking like those from the film, but I have noticed that as I read, I start altering their appearances in my imagination little by little. So I don't think that seeing the movie first completely robbed me of thinking up scenes and characters for myself.
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