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Old 03-06-2005, 11:43 PM   #241
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If you look closely, Gandalf actually has a different staff after he escapes.



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Old 03-07-2005, 03:45 AM   #242
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Being faithful to the book in this way is a BAD thing, because PJ had already ruined it by NOT being faithful to the book when it comes to Merry's sword.
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you can't pick & choose which bits you will faithfully reproduce from the book & which you'll change without a lot more thought for the implications than the movie writers seem to have put in...
I really can't argue with you anyomore if you take this viewpoint. So, you would rather PJ made up something totally different if parts of his adaption, which were TRUE to the book, clashed with other changes he made? No way, I would rather he stayed faithful to the book as much as possible.

In other words, you would have rathered Merry not attacking the Witch king at all? I really don't give a monkey if a non-book reader doesn't understand why Merry hit the WitchKing with such a savage blow. Read the books if you want to know. But to say you think it would be better to totally change the scene to cater for non book readers?

I've said countless times I wanted the sword from the Downs to be included, but I have to live with it. The scene, other than this, worked superbly.
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Old 03-07-2005, 09:27 AM   #243
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Originally Posted by The Tennis Ball Kid
If you look closely, Gandalf actually has a different staff after he escapes.
Really? Just how many staffs, swords does Gandalf have in the movie?
  • He starts with one in the Shire, and I assume that he has Glamdring.
  • He loses both when he visits Saruman.
  • He gets another staff and sword for the journey to Moria. How he got a staff between Orthanc and Rivendell is beyond me.
  • He loses both when he fights the Balrog. I assume that when his body burns away after throwing down the Balrog that he cannot carry the sword/staff with him.
  • He gets a new white staff and a sword (PJ doesn't explain what happens to Gandalf when he upgrades from grey to white).
  • He loses his staff to the WK during the Pelennor Fields battle, but at least he retains his sword.
  • When he leaves ME with Frodo, he has yet another white staff, and I can't remember if he's still packing a sword.

Am I missing any staff appearances (i.e. the Coronation)?

The average viewer must think that Gandalf can get a staff/sword just about anywhere, and may conclude that they just aren't that special - except, maybe Anduril, Sting, and the son of Haleth's sword.

Merry's blade may just have been a random sharp piece of metal that he picked up after being thrown from Eowyn's horse. Again I would say then that PJ is being inconsistent as the WK is shown to be 'the bomb,' terrorizing and 'owning' the Balrog slayer yet being brought down by the hobbit's blade. Did Merry break the spell that knit the WK sinews together, or did he sting the WK, bringing him to his knees and causing him to 'freeze' so that (1) Eowyn could have time to say her line and (2) she could stab him in the face easily without the need of a step stool?

And while I'm ranting away, just how does Eowyn get 'almost dead?' After racking up an impressive body count, fighting Gothmog (2nd in command?), she kills the WK (and if that weren't enough), runs from the Gimp, and then...what are we to assume? She looks well enough when she chats with Theoden.

And remember, we're in PJ's world, and so information must be gleaned from what was on the screen.
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Old 03-07-2005, 11:10 AM   #244
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And while I'm ranting away, just how does Eowyn get 'almost dead?' After racking up an impressive body count, fighting Gothmog (2nd in command?), she kills the WK (and if that weren't enough), runs from the Gimp, and then...what are we to assume? She looks well enough when she chats with Theoden.
It's called adrenaline, and then shock. Just like the unsung hero Merry who was walking around unnoticed after he helped defeat the Witch King in the book, his wounds did not take their perilous hold until later. This has been transposed from Merry to Eoywn for the movie, as she was the one at Theoden's side for his death speech (because film wise the story could not fit a Merry/theoden bonding session in - but this is a pity).
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Did Merry break the spell that knit the WK sinews together, or did he sting the WK, bringing him to his knees and causing him to 'freeze' so that (1) Eowyn could have time to say her line and (2) she could stab him in the face easily without the need of a step stool?
Yes, just as in the book (except she said the line before hand), Merry brought down the WK enabling her to kill the WK with a sword to his 'face'. If non book readers don't understand, and book reading cynics can't except it, then too bad.
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Old 03-07-2005, 12:00 PM   #245
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If non book readers don't understand, and book reading cynics can't except it, then too bad.
I hope that you understand my point. I've taken your advice, either 'filling in' where PJ left stuff out or 'separating' the movie from the books and enjoying each as a different thing.

Just wanted to point out more items that may not have made sense to the illiterate nor to me. With Eowyn, a major character, to be one moment a bit tussled and the next moment a bit 'dead' is was a bit (IMO) hard to swallow. Where was Merry after the encounter? Do hobbits have less adrenaline?

Would have been better, I think (like anyone cares!) if, upon stabbing the WK Eowyn screamed as if wounded. She could then have talked with Theoden but we might have had a sense that she too was filing, being mortally wounded, like Merry (luckily Aragorn saves them). Running from Gothmog didn't make her seem almost dead to me.
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Old 03-07-2005, 12:44 PM   #246
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Originally Posted by alatar
  • When he leaves ME with Frodo, he has yet another white staff, and I can't remember if he's still packing a sword.
.
well that was a few years later. I'm sure he had time to get a new one.

And wow!! I mean WOW this thread has really gone along since I was here last.

Plus a 5 Star (Or is that 5 bone?) rating! Truly I am the happiest dead thing alive!

Coming soon! More controversy from Beleg!
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Old 03-07-2005, 01:49 PM   #247
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So, you would rather PJ made up something totally different if parts of his adaption, which were TRUE to the book, clashed with other changes he made? No way, I would rather he stayed faithful to the book as much as possible.
You've gotta be kidding me.

You'd choose a greater number of book scenes over coherency??

Even if PJ makes a change, you want him to be faithful to the book in a later scene and ignore the change??

Following that logic, PJ should have had Eomer fighting at Helm's Deep with Theoden and Aragorn, since that's what he did in the book. Never mind the fact that in the movie Gandalf rode away to get him. PJ should've, without any explanation, stuck Eomer in Helm's Deep.

Ooh, and he also should've had The Mouth of Sauron ride away on his horse with a fully intact head since that's what he did in the book. Nevermind that ten seconds ago we saw Aragorn cut his head off. We'd rather see another scene accurate to the book than to see things that make sense.

Brilliant idea, Essex.
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But to say you think it would be better to totally change the scene to cater for non book readers?
I don't think PJ should've changed anything for non-bookers- I agree with you on that. BUT, he did change things, and once he changes something I think it's better to follow through on the change and have the rest of the movie make sense than to ignore the change later and end up with an accurate book scene that doesn't flow with the rest of the movie.
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Old 03-07-2005, 02:36 PM   #248
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I would have preferred that Jackson keep to the book world, and modify only as needed to translate to the media. Additional information wasn't appreciated.

For example, wanting to show that the WK is very powerful by breaking Gandalf's staff - okay, as painful as it is for me to watch.

Aragorn falling off of the cliff into the river in TTT - what?

Eomer's not at Helm's Deep - okay, whatever; it keeps the focus on Aragorn, Theoden et al and shortens the list of main characters (i.e. no Erkenbrand).

Arwen at the Fords - okay, again to shorten the list and also keeps the 'romance' in the movies to attract a bigger audience.

Arwen at the Fords - "She elf..." need I say more?
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Old 03-07-2005, 04:25 PM   #249
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lord of dor-lommin, you've moved into the realms of sarcasm, which dosen't suit anyone here.

re the MoS head. No, I do not mean changing a scene that much. At the end of the paragraph you quote, I stated 'as much as possible'.

Going back to the scene in question, because PJ didn't explain Merry has a 'magic' sword doesn't mean the scene does not work for book readers. You really think it would have been better to NOT have this scene partly faithful to the books? You would rather Merry did NOT help defeat the witch king because PJ hadn't explained about the sword of westernesse??????
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Old 03-07-2005, 06:32 PM   #250
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This thread here goes into some of the changes made by Jackson and team, and explaining why they decided to do what they did...it may be of some interest.

Then this one brings me to a key point. You can't take things explained in the book, that weren't shown in the movie, and say "it doesn't work in the movie." If you want to explain how something doesn't work in the movie, then stay within the movie's context. The recent debate seems to be the Withch-king Merry sequence...

Since nothing is in the movies is shown about a special sword specifically designed to harm the witch-king we must assume that any sword would be able to do so. Does this weaken the WK's power? Possibly, we'll look at that a little later. First however...I'll let you know any blow to the knee is going to hurt, speaking from experience from tearing my ACL, it's going to hurt if you get stabbed in the back of the knee, so you're going to go down. Heck them whip out batons the police you, a crack from them in the knee, you're down...it's a very vulnerable spot.

Jackson has nothing on the sword of westernesse, so now we must think does it weaken the WK's character from being struck in a vulnerable spot, that will likely bring you down? The Wikkie doesn't do nearly as much as he does in the book. If you ask me Gothmog seems more in command of the armies then the WK, there is nothing to show that Wikkie had anything to do with breaking the walls of Minas Tirith...The one arguable scene we see, that could possibly fit in, would be WK owning Gandalf. Which happens to bring up another question about inconsistancy in the films...Gandalf the grey able to defeat a Balrog, but Gandalf the White is owned by the WK? So, did it weaken Wikkie's power by having him stabbed in the back of a knee by a "normal" sword? That I'll leave for the debaters, I'm merely a messenger, I know nothing .

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Old 03-07-2005, 06:55 PM   #251
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Please maintain the civility that has characterised this thread to date despite the great variation of views.
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Old 03-07-2005, 09:16 PM   #252
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you've moved into the realms of sarcasm, which dosen't suit anyone here
Oh, I'm sure I'm not the only one here who loves sarcasm. But if it bugs you that much I suppose I could cut back a bit.
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I stated 'as much as possible'
Yes, and the Merry/WK incident is not possible, just as the illustrations I gave.
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You would rather Merry did NOT help defeat the witch king because PJ hadn't explained about the sword of westernesse??
Possibly. I rather would've seen TWK killed by a stray arrow than doing what he did- fall to his knees and wait to be stabbed in the face. I cannot stress enough how totally stupid his movie death was. Eowyn's cool line and her big "Aargh!!" as she stabs him doesn't make up for it.
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You can't take things explained in the book, that weren't shown in the movie, and say "it doesn't work in the movie." If you want to explain how something doesn't work in the movie, then stay within the movie's context.
Nice to see that point made, Boro. You are exactly right! You can't say that a movie scene works unless it works entirely within the movie itself, with no supplemental information from outside sources.

Within the movie we have these facts-
1) TWK is very powerful
2) Merry's sword is ordinary
3) Merry stabs TWK in the leg
4) TWK falls to his knees and takes no action to stop himself from being stabbed

Doesn't work. No way.
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Old 03-08-2005, 07:40 AM   #253
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Oh, I'm sure I'm not the only one here who loves sarcasm. But if it bugs you that much I suppose I could cut back a bit.
It is not the sarcasm itself, but the implication behind the sarcasm which I consider to be verging on the uncivil. Notwithstanding the differences of opinion on the issues covered by this thread, it should be (and indeed has been) perfectly possible to carry on the discussion without resorting to personal comments.

I will delete any posts which I consider fall on the wrong side of the line.
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Old 03-08-2005, 08:25 AM   #254
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Originally Posted by Essex

In other words, you would have rathered Merry not attacking the Witch king at all? I really don't give a monkey if a non-book reader doesn't understand why Merry hit the WitchKing with such a savage blow. Read the books if you want to know. But to say you think it would be better to totally change the scene to cater for non book readers?

I've said countless times I wanted the sword from the Downs to be included, but I have to live with it. The scene, other than this, worked superbly.
The point is the movies are not internally coherent, which makes acceptance of the secondary world they depict more difficult than it should be & at times simply impossible. Every time you are confronted by something like Merry's stabbing of the WK the 'spell' is broken because it simply doesn't make sense that Merry (or anyone else) could cripple the WK with an ordinary blade. As I said, the radio series made it clear tha merry's blow did no more than distract the WK's attention, giving Eowyn the opportunity to strike the death blow. This made Merry's action a contributory factor in the WK's fall (less so than in the book, admittedly) but avoids 'breaking the spell' by not having Merry be able to bring one of the most powerful beings in Me with an ordinary sword. We are, after all, talking about the equivalent of bringing down a Balrog by stabbing it in the big toe with a toasting fork.

The whole point is that these movies don't work for book or non book fans & the reason for that is that Jackson & the writers couldn't decide who they were making the movie for.

Actually, there were original scenes in the movies which I think worked - some of the Aragorn/Arwen stuff, Theodred's Funeral. Other things weren't bad in themselves, they simply weren't integrated into the storyline properly & so irritated. I wish they had gone ahead & written their own fantasy story & filmed that, because I suspect they might have made a fair fist of it. But, to repeat an earlier point, it seems that they set out with a whole bunch of scenes from the book which they wanted to put on screen, but then came up with lots of stuff of their own which they also wanted to do. They clearly struggled to produce a script which could include both, & in the end they failed.
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Old 03-08-2005, 12:49 PM   #255
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You know, it seems to me that you are all thinking about this far too much.

Yes, there are inconsistencies within the films – things which (without further explanation, at least) don’t quite work or don’t quite make sense. I fully accept that. As a perusal of some of my comments elsewhere in the Movies Forum will quite clearly suggest, there are a number of areas in which I think that they could have been improved. But clearly (given their critical and popular success) these things did not greatly impair the films for the vast majority of “ordinary film-goers”, for (professional) reviewers, or for members of the “film” community (who were primarily responsible for the awards which it received).

Why is this? Are they somehow less intelligent or less discerning than those for whom these inconsistencies cause irritation or anger?

No, of course not. The reason for the different approach is, I think, mainly because such issues go largely unnoticed by the majority of viewers, or are just not considered sufficiently important by them to warrant any major concern.

To take the much-discussed Merry v Witch King scene as an example, I was obviously aware of the “barrow blade” issue having read the book (although I was more disappointed that more was not made of Merry’s role in the WK’s demise – we only got a fleeting glimpse of his contribution). But despite having read the book, it did not at that point occur to me to think “Oh, that makes the Witch King look weak” or “Oh, how come Merry’s sword was able to do that”. I was simply carried along with the scene.

I have mentioned before the immediacy of films, compared with books. Films (or films of this genre, at least) do not put great demands on their audience. They do not demand, or require, in-depth analysis while they are being watched. So relatively minor inconsistencies do not really spoil a film for most viewers, simply because they either do not notice them or because they are of little concern to them at the time. Of course, if they stick out like a sore thumb they can destroy a film, but I do not think that we are talking about that degree of inconsistency here.

Books on the other hand put great demands on the reader, who is required to visualise the story and construct it in his or her head. This requires thought and will often lead to deeper analysis. And books take time to read – there is much more time for inconsistencies to occur to the reader as he or she reads. One is not “carried along” with the action to quite the same degree as one is with a film, and there is much more opportunity, while reading, to pause, think and analyse.

Does that make those to whom films of this genre appeal any less intelligent or discerning? No, I don’t think so. I certainly hope not, as I am a great fan of such films. Of course, the genre is not to everyone’s taste. There are those who prefer more thought-provoking films (and there are those who like both). But that (in my view) is a matter of taste, not intelligence or discernment.

So why is it that many book fans are unable to overlook the inconsistencies in the same way that other (non-book fan) viewers can (whether consciously or unconsciously)? Well, I think that it is partly a consequence of the “sacred text” issue – the books (or particular characters or scenes) are just too important to some people for them to be comfortable with the changes that were made. But it is also because those who are familiar with the source material for the films (ie the book) are going to be much more alive to any changes and much more likely to analyse them and consider whether they “work” or not. Indeed, that it just what the majority of threads in this Forum are directed towards.

And, finally, perhaps it is fair to say that (by virtue of the immediacy of one and the demands of the other) one can get away with more errors in a film that one can in a book. Although I would come back to my point that there are very few authors writing today, let alone scriptwriters, who pay the same painstaking and time-consuming attention to detail that Tolkien did when writing LotR. Perhaps davem and others are right when they say that it was misconceived to try and turn such a complex and detailed work of literature into a film. But had Jackson and co not done so, then we would not have the films. And that, to my mind, would be a shame.

Should they have made them better? Perhaps. But they were the ones making the films and so the decisions on how to do so were theirs to take. And those decisions were not (as has been suggested) taken with the intention of “improving on Tolkien” or winding up the fans. Nor were the changes that were made randomly picked out of the air. They were, in my view, made in a genuine effort to broaden the appeal of the films and render them suitable for the big sceeen screen. And that being so, I am prepared to accept the changes (albeit not without the occasional comment ) and simply get on with enjoying the films for what they are.
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Old 03-08-2005, 01:57 PM   #256
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Perhaps davem and others are right when they say that it was misconceived to try and turn such a complex and detailed work of literature into a film. But had Jackson and co not done so, then we would not have the films. And that, to my mind, would be a shame.
Had Jackson and Co not made these films, the Barrow-Downs would be comprised of those folk who were here before the films came out and the occasional Ranger. Nor would the Trilogy have been available on supermarket shelves and news-stands. A very large percentage of us would never have come to the Downs, and none of these movie-discussions would be taking place.
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Old 03-08-2005, 02:01 PM   #257
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Well, I think that it is partly a consequence of the “sacred text” issue – the books (or particular characters or scenes) are just too important to some people for them to be comfortable with the changes that were made.
I'd say that's most likely the circumstances. I think it also takes a bit of time. When I first saw TTT in the theatre, I'm like elves at Helm's Deep? Faramir taking the ring to Osgiliath? Gah!!!! Then after watching the director's commentaries, and rewatching the movies, again, and again, I've learned to come to terms with those changes, and realize "heck, it's not so bad." Same instance when first watching ROTK. The way they portrayed Denethor and the Green Slime both got me irked. I've come to terms about Denethor, since it would be time consuming to show before his mind was broken, and it dramaticized Aragorn's return, I'm ok with Denethor looking crappy. Some things just take time, and reviewing to sort of come to your senses and cool down. (I'm sure the screaming Orli fans were a big contribution to my hot-temperedness in the first viewing of the films).

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A very large percentage of us would never have come to the Downs,
I must say mark, I wouldn't even be here at the downs. I probably wouldn't have picked up Tolkien's book ever again, or bought the Sil, or the Hobbit. The movies got me back into the mood. I had read the books long before, sure it was good, but it was something that I forgot. Then after watching FOTR in the theatres, I got to rereading, and rereading...and um...rereading, and now I admit, I'm just another nut. I thank Jackson for bringing back the "Middle-earth" spirit in me, and opening Tolkien's world to a wide range of people who never heard of Tolkien before the movies.
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Old 03-08-2005, 02:26 PM   #258
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So why is it that many book fans are unable to overlook the inconsistencies in the same way that other (non-book fan) viewers can (whether consciously or unconsciously)? Well, I think that it is partly a consequence of the “sacred text” issue – the books (or particular characters or scenes) are just too important to some people for them to be comfortable with the changes that were made. But it is also because those who are familiar with the source material for the films (ie the book) are going to be much more alive to any changes and much more likely to analyse them and consider whether they “work” or not. Indeed, that it just what the majority of threads in this Forum are directed towards.
You provide a very interesting distinction between the way we read books and the way we read movies, SpM, but I don't think your dichotomy fits everyone. For instance, I am not one who approaches Tolkien as a sacred text, much as I greatly admire his work on fantasy and story telling. (Please, no rotten tomatoes from the groundlings.)

And I am a fan of action/fantasy flicks. At least, I love the original Star Wars. As I have said well nigh several times already, I think Lucas handled things more coherently and consistently than Jackson did. Jackson threw in items, scenes, portrayals because he thought them funny at the time. He did not, for me, create an overall film of consistent tone and vision. The fantasy movies I enjoy best do this.

Now, this is not to ridicule those who weren't bothered by ill-timed humour or inconsistent characterisation. I simply demure and say my objections to the films are not explained by your very interesting theory.

I will run off now and attempt to calculate a standard deviation coefficient for your theory, to determine the standard error and mean and mode so as to know where I fall.
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Old 03-08-2005, 02:48 PM   #259
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The reason for the different approach is, I think, mainly because such issues go largely unnoticed by the majority of viewers, or are just not considered sufficiently important by them to warrant any major concern.
That doesn't hold true in my experience. I've had so many people ask me about incidents in the films which they did not understand or which they saw as inconsistencies and time and again I have to explain to them what the meaning of particular scenes was. There are a large number of people out there who are, for want of a better word, geeky, and who notice tiny details, and a significant number of them have not read LotR (shock! ), and this is the audience which Jackson hoped to reel in, I'm sure, as they are more likely to spend vast sums on repeat viewings and collectable merchandise.

But about my own objections to the films... I do not watch the films with my lips pursed in a sour expression, pen poised in my hand as I write a letter of complaint to New Line. I watch the films and enjoy them. I collect the memorabilia, in fact the mathoms have taken over a large part of my house, and I can say they are big favourites with me. But it is those few sticking points which spoil it for me. And the more I hear grumbles from those who have not read the books, the more those sticking points are reinforced.
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Old 03-08-2005, 02:53 PM   #260
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Yes, there are inconsistencies within the films – things which (without further explanation, at least) don’t quite work or don’t quite make sense. I fully accept that. As a perusal of some of my comments elsewhere in the Movies Forum will quite clearly suggest, there are a number of areas in which I think that they could have been improved. But clearly (given their critical and popular success) these things did not greatly impair the films for the vast majority of “ordinary film-goers”, for (professional) reviewers, or for members of the “film” community (who were primarily responsible for the awards which it received).
Clearly, there is some truth in this. The films are quite popular.

However, I don't think I understand the point of appealing to their popularity. What conclusion are you trying to draw from this? The films are popular, therefore ________?

I ask because, quite frankly, I don't much care what other people think of them (whether ordinary film-goers, reviewers, or members of the film community). The complaints I have about the movies are, necessarily, based entirely on my appraisal of them. Certain things about the movies didn't make sense to me; certain things bothered me. And it doesn't improve my esteem of these points in the slightest to know that others were not bothered by them.

Of course, if someone gives me a valid argument for why such and such a perceived flaw is not really a flaw - then my evaluation of the point may change. But if millions of people say "Oh, I wasn't bothered by X", that is completely irrelevant to my appraisal of the films.

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As I have said well nigh several times already, I think Lucas handled things more coherently and consistently than Jackson did. Jackson threw in items, scenes, portrayals because he thought them funny at the time. He did not, for me, create an overall film of consistent tone and vision. The fantasy movies I enjoy best do this.
This is a good point, and I quite agree. I don't buy the "they were only movies, so you can't expect too much" line for the simple reason that, as you say, there are such things as great movies. There are movies that are internally consistent, believable, and so forth. There are movies that stand up quite well to endless study. I would agree that Lucas did better with regard to these things than did Jackson, and I think that the Star Wars saga is an excellent demonstration of the fact that movies can be just as coherent, as well-constructed, and as powerful as can books.
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Old 03-08-2005, 03:23 PM   #261
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I must say mark, I wouldn't even be here at the downs. I probably wouldn't have picked up Tolkien's book ever again, or bought the Sil, or the Hobbit. The movies got me back into the mood. I had read the books long before, sure it was good, but it was something that I forgot. Then after watching FOTR in the theatres, I got to rereading, and rereading...and um...rereading, and now I admit, I'm just another nut. I thank Jackson for bringing back the "Middle-earth" spirit in me, and opening Tolkien's world to a wide range of people who never heard of Tolkien before the movies.
This kind of puts me in a difficult position. For many years I had simply re-read TH, LotR, The Sil & listened to the radion series of LotR & my interest in (though not my love of ) Middle earth had faded into the background.

Then I realised the movies were coming out, & I looked forward to them with a mixture of trepidation & hope. I bought 'Author of the Century' & was fascinated. In the bibliography to that book I saw mention of Verlyn Fleiger. My interest in Tolkien was re-invigorated. I rejoined the Tolkien Society, began working my way through HoME, joined the Downs & became the man I am today

Now, I too must thank PJ for that. Also for the fact that after joining the Tolkien Society again I have visited Tolkien's grave three times at our annual Oxonmoot. As far as having joined the Downs goes - I can only say that it has absolutely changed my personal life in ways I could never have expected ([b]Esty[/i] at least knows how much, but I won't go into detail for fear of being reprimanded for being 'off-topic' )

But - this is perhaps the cause of my problem with the movies. They sparked such a deep fascination with Tolkien's works that I came to find an incredible depth of meaning in the books as I studied them. Fellowship I quite liked, but by the time TT came out I was too aware of what Tolkien was doing. It made it virtually impossible to simply watch the movie as a movie. I had become too immersed in Tolkien's thought by them.

I do find myself wondering what my reaction to the movies would have been if all the secondary literature hadn't been available, if I'd only had my Hobbit, LotR, Sil & BBC tapes. Alas, I'll never know.

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Old 03-08-2005, 03:53 PM   #262
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But - this is perhaps the cause of my problem with the movies. They sparked such a deep fascination with Tolkien's works that I came to find an incredible depth of meaning in the books as I studied them. Fellowship I quite liked, but by the time TT came out I was too aware of what Tolkien was doing. It made it virtually impossible to simply watch the movie as a movie. I had become too immersed in Tolkien's thought by them.

I do find myself wondering what my reaction to the movies would have been if all the secondary literature hadn't been available, if I'd only had my Hobbit, LotR, Sil & BBC tapes. Alas, I'll never know.
Much agreed. Wish that I could somehow have watched the movies without all of the books inside my head so that I could see and judge just what was on the screen. Problem is that you can't go backwards.

I appreciate PJ et al's work, and I'm sure that it was an immense task and that the writers in no way were looking to personally aggravate me with certain scenes, but the fact is that they did. What I've found interesting in regards to the movies and this forum is that you'd think that presented with the same data (books, movies) we'd be all of one opinion with maybe a few minor dissensions. I could understand arguing with those who don't share our passion and with those whose only exposure to JRRT was from one viewing of the movies (and that could have been a 'date' night, meaning that the viewer's brain could have been a bit addled ), but I never would have guess that we here could be (at times) in such discordance.

But that's what all of this so much fun and of immense interest.
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Old 03-08-2005, 03:54 PM   #263
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But clearly (given their critical and popular success) these things did not greatly impair the films for the vast majority of “ordinary film-goers”, for (professional) reviewers, or for members of the “film” community (who were primarily responsible for the awards which it received).

Why is this? Are they somehow less intelligent or less discerning than those for whom these inconsistencies cause irritation or anger?
Obviously, yes, in some ways that must be true. If inconsistency exists but is not noticed by someone then that person is definitely less... what should I say... observant. There's no denying that. It's true by definition.

Remember, WE are the Tolkien fanatics. WE, here on this site, are the Albert Einsteins of all things related to Tolkien. We are the experts. We are the ones who notice the most. We are the ones who see inconsistencies where others don't.

The fact is, when we are talking about Middle Earth related things, "ordinary film goers" and "profesional reviewers" ARE, in a way, inferior to us. The fact that they can't see things that are there is proof of this inequity.
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However, I don't think I understand the point of appealing to their popularity. What conclusion are you trying to draw from this? The films are popular, therefore ________?
I'd like to ask the same question.
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Old 03-08-2005, 04:26 PM   #264
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I think that SpM is arguing a slightly lopsided case in saying that it is possible to enjoy the movie as separate from the book, when you know the book with a strong degree of familiarity. Those who have not read the book MIGHT not be troubled by inconsistencies in the movies, but then again, maybe they are. My mom, for example, has not yet read the books, and had to ask for some considerable explanation at times. In those situations, I found it necessary to return to the BOOKS to answer them.

I'm going to make something a comparisom with another big movie of the past year, The Passion. Like the LotR, it is a major work based on a very well-known story (in this case, the real-life passion and death of Jesus, as depicted in the four Gospels). Like the LotR, how is received and how popular it is depends on how faithfully it adheres to the original work. The proportion of pre-existing "fans" (people who knew the original work) is perhaps somewhat disparate, but the parallels are certainly there.

The Passion is considered to be a great piece of cinematic achievement. It is visually compelling, well-acted, and tells its story concisely. Nonetheless, do you think that it would have achieved the same sort of media hype, controversy, and number of viewers had it not been based on a pre-existing work? Of course not! It wouldn't even have existed.

In the same way that practising Christians, and others familiar with the story of Christ's passion, attended the movie expecting to see the story depicted as accurately as possible, so too did all those generations of Tolkien fans attend the movie, knowing that their judgement would be based on how well it adhered to the original story.

Now, The Passion tells a story much shorter, and less complicated, and so easier to translate to film. I am not suggesting that PJ and Co didn't have a more difficult task when adapting the story. What I AM saying is that the job they did was NOT as good as it should have been, and because we already knew and cared for the story, it was inevitable that our judgements on it would be based on our reading knowledge.

While I was watching the movies for example (RotK in particular), I was, like SpM, carried away with the movie-presented storyline. At the same time, however, I was groaning over every unnecessary change, and LITERALLY smacking myself on the forehead in the case of some, to the extreme annoyance of my friends sitting around me. Nor would I say that this was limited to crazy, multi-book-reading fans like myself. While they didn't go to the extremes of head-smacking, some of my one-or-two-time reading friends came out of the theatre with questions beginning or ending with "I don't think they did it that way in the book..."
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Old 03-08-2005, 05:49 PM   #265
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Quote:
1) TWK is very powerful
2) Merry's sword is ordinary
3) Merry stabs TWK in the leg
4) TWK falls to his knees and takes no action to stop himself from being stabbed
3 of the above lines are exactly the same as the book. Why can't you take a leap of faith and have the sword as magic? Why couldn't it be the blade of numenour that was given to Merry by Galadriel (which was an obvious play on the blade of westernesse that he gets from Tom)? Just use a bit of lateral thinking and the scene will be OK for you.

If you must see the sword as 'ordinary' then what's that line that Pippin says in the movie that the Mightiest warrior can be felled by one arrow? David slew goliath didn't he? You are viewing things in a very black and white way with no shades of grey. Movie WK is powerful, so therefore can't be hurt by an ordinary sword. Why? Where is this rule written down?

The main premise of the Book (and film) is about the 'weak' defying the odds and saving the day. Why CAN'T the WK be hurt by a blade to his body inflicted by a small, insignificant hobbit?

PS Just HOW do you show cinematically without a narrator that the sword unknit the witch king's spirt/sinews anyway? Who in Middle-earth knew this sword could do this? And we couldn't have gandalf or someone inspect the sword afterwards as it was destroyed in the undoing of the witch king anyway. If a character looked at the blade beforehand and said, wow I bet you could kill the witch king with that magic blade, it would've no doubt given the game away to a few million movie goers.....
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Old 03-08-2005, 05:52 PM   #266
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Formendacil I think it depends on the person; because I like Spm can enjoy the movies appart from the book. The first time I watched FOTR,TTT,ROTK I did have the book in mind but after that when I saw the movies again, I was able to enjoy them appart from the books.

I would also like the point out that Star Wars was always a movie and that all those books came after. Lucas made up the story himself. PJ didn't have that option because he was basing it on an already written book. Whereas Lucas was able to start from scratch and could change anything if he had to since he was the creator to begin with.

As for the issue with Merry and the witchking. I had never thought of the sword issue. However, I had been dissapointed with the film's lack of emphasis on Merry's side of the story. Luckily this was slighlty fixed by the EE where there is an extended scene with Merry and Pippin on the Pellenor fields.
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Old 03-08-2005, 09:13 PM   #267
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bęthberry
You provide a very interesting distinction between the way we read books and the way we read movies, SpM, but I don't think your dichotomy fits everyone.
Well, of course everyone approaches both books and films differently. We are all, after all, unique. But I think that, as a general rule, it is fair to say that the immediacy of films allows for a certain degree of leeway in the detail, whereas the opportunity for reflection allowed by the literary medium means that authors don’t necessarily have this luxury.


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Originally Posted by Bęthberry
As I have said well nigh several times already, I think Lucas handled things more coherently and consistently than Jackson did.
Well I am not going to sit here and say that the (original) Star Wars films are not classics. I would put the LotR films on a par with them. I think it is probably right that they are more coherent and consistent, but the basic plotlines in the Star Wars films are far simpler. Jackson was dealing (and by necessity trying to simplify) some pretty complex source material. And you have to admit that the Ewoks were a mistake …

Also, the latest two instalments of Star Wars are a lot less smooth and do have a number of inconsistencies, which suggests to me that Lucas is not necessarily a better director than Jackson. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. But perhaps it is just a sign of the times, in that Lucas felt that, with the times-a-changin', more was expected of him and that he had to alter his approach to suit a more modern audience. (It is, after all, primarily only the Star Wars fanatics who have been up in arms about the recent films. Hmm, is there maybe a parallel here? )


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Originally Posted by Lalwendë
That doesn't hold true in my experience. I've had so many people ask me about incidents in the films which they did not understand or which they saw as inconsistencies and time and again I have to explain to them what the meaning of particular scenes was.
I do still doubt that this is an issue with a majority of viewers. It is certainly not my experience. But I would be interested to know whether they still enjoyed the films and whether they felt that these incidents impaired their enjoyment in any way. Were they particularly bothered by them? Might the fact that they noticed them have been because they felt particularly engaged by the films?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiwendil
However, I don't think I understand the point of appealing to their popularity. What conclusion are you trying to draw from this? The films are popular, therefore ________?
My point is that these inconsistencies don’t seem to have greatly affected the popularity of the films. Nor were they picked up in the many reviews that I have read, which I would expect if they were major issues to anyone but Tolkien fans. It just seems to me that the vast majority of people were not really bothered by them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiwendil
The complaints I have about the movies are, necessarily, based entirely on my appraisal of them. Certain things about the movies didn't make sense to me; certain things bothered me. And it doesn't improve my esteem of these points in the slightest to know that others were not bothered by them.
Well, as I have said may times, the view one takes of the films is necessarily a subjective matter. I am most certainly not trying to tell you that these things shouldn’t bother you because they did not bother other people. But I am interested in trying to understand why you (and the majority of other contributors to this thread) were bothered, irritated or angered (as the case may be) by them and why many others were not.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiwendil
I would agree that Lucas did better with regard to these things than did Jackson, and I think that the Star Wars saga is an excellent demonstration of the fact that movies can be just as coherent, as well-constructed, and as powerful as can books.
I remain highly doubtful that an entirely consistent film version of a book as complex and intricate as LotR could be made unless it duplicated virtually every scene and every line of dialogue from the book. Every omitted or attenuated scene or change made for filmic purposes has a knock on effect which has to be addressed in some way or other. And every director will emphasise his or her own themes and place his or her own interpretations on what is important, which will again have knock on effects. The whole Faramir/Osgiliath issue arose because Jackson and co did not want to lessen the power of the Ring in the minds of audiences and because they felt that some tension in the journey of Frodo and Sam was necessary at this point to counterbalance the action in Rohan. That seems a perfectly justifiable decision to me. Although it may not be one that you agree with, there was a filmic reason behind it. But in consequence of this change, they had to come up with a reason to have Faramir let Frodo and Sam go. Hence Frodo’s encounter with the Nazgul (which is my only real issue with the whole sequence of events). I tend to think that they could have come up with a better way of doing this. But the fact remains that it is a knock on effect from the changes they made earlier for what I see as perfectly valid filmic reasons and in those circumstances I think that (whatever the quality of the director, scriptwriters and film crew) inconsistencies will arise when the source material is so finely wrought.


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Originally Posted by lord of dor-lomin
Obviously, yes, in some ways that must be true. If inconsistency exists but is not noticed by someone then that person is definitely less... what should I say... observant.
I disagree. If a person is less inclined to be bothered by an inconsistency, then they are less likely to notice it. That does not necessarily make them any less intelligent or observant than someone to whom the inconsistency is a major issue. As you said yourself:


Quote:
Remember, WE are the Tolkien fanatics. WE, here on this site, are the Albert Einsteins of all things related to Tolkien. We are the experts. We are the ones who notice the most. We are the ones who see inconsistencies where others don't.
I entirely agree with this. It does not make the “Tolkien fanatic” any more discerning on a general level. Just more discerning on this particular subject. And, the way I see it, the films are not just for the Tolkien fanatics.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Formendacil
I think that SpM is arguing a slightly lopsided case in saying that it is possible to enjoy the movie as separate from the book, when you know the book with a strong degree of familiarity.
I don’t see the “lopsidedness” here, when that is precisely what I am able to do. What I really want to understand is why others here cannot do so, and what factors are involved in this. Certainly, close familiarity with, and emotional attachment to, the book is a factor. But I am not sure that it provides the entire answer, as I am clearly not the only Tolkien fan who is able to enjoy the films without letting the many issues that have been brought up on this thread significantly impair my enjoyment of them. And I trust that my "Tolkien fan" credentials, and those of others who have the same approach, are not in question.
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Old 03-08-2005, 09:31 PM   #268
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Also, the latest two instalments of Star Wars are a lot less smooth and do have a number of inconsistencies, which suggests to me that Lucas is not necessarily a better director than Jackson. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. But perhaps it is just a sign of the times, in that Lucas felt that, with the times-a-changin', more was expected of him and that he had to alter his approach to suit a more modern audience. (It is, after all, primarily only the Star Wars fanatics who have been up in arms about the recent films. Hmm, is there maybe a parallel here?
If I can say so without taking the thread off topic, I disagree. I am, it seems, one of the minority of serious Star Wars fans who consider the prequels to be on the same level as the originals. This gives us an interesting counter-example to LotR, for our appraisals of the new Star Wars movies seem to be precisely the opposite of our appraisals of LotR. I was disappointed with Jackson's films; you were disappointed with Lucas's. Perhaps this may allow each of us to better understand the other's opinion; the way you feel about certain points in the new Star Wars movies is probably quite similar to the way I (and many others) feel about perceived flaws in LotR. And just as you point to the popularity of Jackson's movies, I admit I am tempted to point to the box office success of Episodes I and II as an indication that their most vocal bashers do not in fact represent the majority view.

Quote:
My point is that these inconsistencies don’t seem to have greatly affected the popularity of the films. Nor were they picked up in the many reviews that I have read, which I would expect if they were major issues to anyone but Tolkien fans. It just seems to me that the vast majority of people were not really bothered by them.
But I don't think that this point is in dispute. It seems to me that much of the argument here is at cross purposes.

I didn't like the films.

But look, they were popular.

But I think that this and that are grave flaws.

Well, other people don't seem to think so.

But I'm telling you, I do think so.

This, as you can see, is not really a disagreement at all.

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Old 03-08-2005, 10:50 PM   #269
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Originally Posted by Essex
3 of the above lines are exactly the same as the book. Why can't you take a leap of faith and have the sword as magic? Why couldn't it be the blade of numenour that was given to Merry by Galadriel (which was an obvious play on the blade of westernesse that he gets from Tom)? Just use a bit of lateral thinking and the scene will be OK for you.
You can't, in all honesty do that. Merry quite obviously uses the sword Theoden gives him at Edoras.
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Old 03-08-2005, 11:59 PM   #270
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Popularity a sign???

For all that the movies were popular, there were those (non-Tolkien fans, some cinema fans, and some ordinary joes) who went to the movie, not having read the book, who didn't like it. This happens, quite naturally, with EVERY piece of art created. In the case of the movies, I have met a few myself.

It is a faulty argument to say that the popularity of the movies shows the inconsistency is the noisemaking of irate fans, simply because it is impossible for us to present the general public with a fully (or at least, nearer fully) coherent version, and ask which they like better. And since that cannot be done, to present popularity as a sign of success is a somewhat misleading argument.

How do we know that they wouldn't have been MORE popular if they had been internally coherent?
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Old 03-09-2005, 02:55 AM   #271
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Neurion,
Quote:
You can't, in all honesty do that. Merry quite obviously uses the sword Theoden gives him at Edoras.
re Merry's sword perhaps being the one he got from galadriel. This is why there are so many disagreements on this site. People only sseem to see things in black and white. Why is it so obvious that the sword he uses is theoden's? Why can't you take the leap of faith and see it as the sword galadriel has given him? Why does it HAVE to be theoden's? I cannot understand this.

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Old 03-09-2005, 08:24 AM   #272
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Originally Posted by Essex
Why can't you take the leap of faith and see it as the sword galadriel has given him?
Well, its partly because the sword given by Galadriel in the movie came from the 'Gondolindrim' - & so was not a Numenorean sword.

But mostly its because that there 'sword' she gave him was actually a dagger

(... & no, the scale thing, a la Sting, won't work because when M&P handle the blades in the movie its clear they're not much more than 'dagger' sized to them. Sting was originally a long fighting knife.)
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Old 03-09-2005, 08:44 AM   #273
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Neurion,re Merry's sword perhaps being the one he got from galadriel. This is why there are so many disagreements on this site. People only sseem to see things in black and white. Why is it so obvious that the sword he uses is theoden's? Why can't you take the leap of faith and see it as the sword galadriel has given him? Why does it HAVE to be theoden's? I cannot understand this.
Note that someone (maybe even me ) could walk through the DVD frame by frame and identify the sword.

Essex, why is it in these movie threads that you (and others) refer back to the books? Is it because you assume that we are all have read the books (which I'm sure that we all have at least once)? Sometimes I think that the misunderstandings come from a poster making a point using *only* the movies as the source material, yet we all have this background knowledge that fills in the gaps.

For example (and I hope that this works as it's all from memory, and I can't remember the theatrical version at all!), assume that I never read the books nor saw the EE version of FOTR. Now in ROTK just where did Frodo that cordless light bulb thing with which he holds Shelob at bay?

We all know where he got it as do the EE DVD viewers. Assume a poster thinks that Bilbo or Gandalf slipped it to him, or that he carried it with him from Bag End, as this poster is 'filling in'. Also assume that the poster asks to limit the discussion to the theatrical versions of the movies. How then would one respond to his/her comments regarding 'inconsistencies, etc?'

See my point (no, not the one on the top of my head)? Now, it's obvious that the poster could pick up the FOTR or EE and find an answer - plus we'd all jump on a reply with information, links, pictures, whatever.

Now, for this example, switch Merry for Frodo and the WK-bane sword for the phial. Limit information to the EE DVDs. There can be only one answer, and this wil be determined after someone does the work above.

There are some possibilities for 'knee biter':
  • the Weathertop 'wrapped in burlap' sword - never stated as magical
  • the Lothlorien sword - made by elves, possibly magical
  • the Rohan sword - no clue
  • the Pelennor fields 'found on the ground' sword - no clue

If it proves that Merry's WK-bane is not elvish, why do we assume that it can be magical (yes, I know that the Barrowdowns' sword is, but I'm in PJ world)? Now, if you're full of vinegar like me, you start thinking that if the sword has no chance of being magical, yet puts the WK on his knees, this lessens the WK 'mystique' and starts making you question why Balrog-slaying Gandalf got owned by the same (which, as you well know, everything always comes back to with me )

Surely a knee shot hurts, but why couldn't someone have shot this guy with an arrow at sometime in the same location? Or encircle him with spears? Etc?

You start down a road that ends up here.

Anyway, forgive the long post - too much coffee, sunlight and Oreo's.
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Old 03-09-2005, 09:16 AM   #274
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ok, let's go down the film only route.

as I said before, pippin states that the mightiest warrior can be felled by one arrow.

No one gets near the witch king to fight him. if you've got a fell beast to attack with, I can see why he hasn't been felled by an arrow!

the WK is powerful yes, and can use his 'magic' to break gandalf's staff. But is he invincible? I put it to you that he is not.

Just because the WK is mighty, why can't he be felled by a sword? If gandalf got stabbed with a sword, wouldn't it have hurt him as well? no matter how mighty or who ever gandalf may have slayed beforehand, including the Balrog, he is still able to be killed by a sword. If pippin hadn't stabbed the orc in minas tirith, don't you think that gandalf would have died? Ok, he can deflect a blast from Saruman, but that's, how can I put it, magic deflecting magic. Didn;t saruman die from a stab to the back (proceded by a lovely somersault onto a nasty loking wheel)

Also remember that Merry crept up on him from behind, unseen. Perhaps comparible to a flank attack or the like in battle. He was OVERLOOKED. That is one of the reasons why the witch king was defeated.

So again, I ask why can't the witch king be killed with a sword (or dagger) to the back of the leg to down him, and a blow to the head with a sword? Just because he is powerful does not mean he is invincible.

NO ONE is invincible in middle-earth, even Sauron. Haven't we learnt that much from the movies?
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Old 03-09-2005, 09:40 AM   #275
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurion
You can't, in all honesty do that. Merry quite obviously uses the sword Theoden gives him at Edoras.
Okay...

Just to muddy the sword waters a little bit more, here's what I thought when I saw the movie:

Theoden was using Merry's own sword, just as in the book. The same sword that Merry lost at Parth Galen, had returned to him by Aragorn at Isengard, and then proceeded to break behind the Witch-king's kneecap.

It never occurred to me that dagger given to him by Galadriel is ever seen again (sure, they use it against the uruks, but after that I don't recall seeing it, and it's too short to be confused with his "sword").

I was, after reflecting, a bit perplexed by the fact that there doesn't seem to be any sign of of Merry's old sword from Parth Galen to his knighting. This is another instance of inconsistency.

I didn't notice it during the movie the first couple times because I was too busy being irritated by Elrond, Arwen, Aragorn's crown, Sam, and other big things. I simply assumed that I was forgetting some small thing from the previous movies. After all, the exact path taken by a sword is a pretty small thing.

But wait! They make a HUGE fuss about Anduril. And it doesn't even take out someone like the Witch-king. You'd think that they'd at least make it clear where Merry's sword came from. Wouldn't they?
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Old 03-09-2005, 09:40 AM   #276
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Essex,

Wonderful reply. You've made a compelling argument using what PJ has given us. I can actually accept the 'Gandalf gets owned by the WK who gets owned by Merry' logic much easier now (again, I still don't like the G-WK scene, but you've made it make much more sense).

Hopefully others will follow your example.
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Old 03-09-2005, 12:48 PM   #277
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Essex has proved that it is somewhat understandable for TWK to fall down. I'm perfectly willing to accept that.

But what I don't think anyone can explain is the complete helplessness of TWK after he hit his knees. It's as if getting a leg wound renders his motionless. Does his spine run through his knee? Cause he certainly looked as if he'd been paralyzed.

A more realistic scene would've had TWK stumble down and then swing his weapon around behind him and kill the little gnat that just bit him.

He most certainly wouldn't have sat there looking straight at Eowyn as she took off her helmet, said "I am no man", and stabbed him. No way. He could've easily killed her while she was doing all that.
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Old 03-09-2005, 12:58 PM   #278
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Originally Posted by lord of dor-lomin
But what I don't think anyone can explain is the complete helplessness of TWK after he hit his knees. It's as if getting a leg wound renders his motionless. Does his spine run through his knee? Cause he certainly looked as if he'd been paralyzed.

A more realistic scene would've had TWK stumble down and then swing his weapon around behind him and kill the little gnat that just bit him.
Could he have been stunned as he never even saw an enemy at his back, let alone being stabbed by the same? And I'm willing to allow a little 'smudging' of time in regards to movies as an 'instantaneous' event sometimes drags out a bit as the camera has to render other POV.
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Old 03-09-2005, 01:41 PM   #279
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Quote:
Could he have been stunned as he never even saw an enemy at his back, let alone being stabbed by the same?
Who in the world on a battlefield reacts to getting attacked by being "stunned"? Who's going to have that reaction?

I have a little something to say about this, because a while ago I got bit by a dog on the back of my leg. I wasn't expecting it but all of a sudden he up and bit me. Did I fall to my knees and sit there? No! Duh. That's the last thing your survival instinct tells you to do. Nobody would do that. Upon being bitten, I immediately whirled around and clubbed the dog with my fist, before I even knew what I was doing.

That's how people react to being attacked from behind (unless the attack is vicious enough to physically damage their brain or spine or something).

TWK's reaction is how people react from being stabbed at the base of the neck or hit in the head with a sludgehammer, which did not happen to him. There's no way you explain his reaction without a magical weapon.
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Old 03-09-2005, 01:49 PM   #280
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Originally Posted by Essex
So again, I ask why can't the witch king be killed with a sword (or dagger) to the back of the leg to down him, and a blow to the head with a sword? Just because he is powerful does not mean he is invincible.
Aragorn atBree(in the movie) 'They are the Nazgul, neither living nor dead.' This is the point. The Nazgul are not simply very powerful mortal foes. They are supernatural beings. Therefore only supernatural means may defeat them. In the book it is Merry's barrow blade which 'unknits' the WK's magically knitted together sinews,which breaks the spell & makes it possible for Eowyn's sword to destroy him. It is the fact that the blade, wound about with spells for the bane of Mordor, strikes him, that enables Eowyn to dispatch him.

The WK can be 'killed' - though only in a very specific way. As I said, in the radio series the writers had to change the story to account for Merry only having a standard sword. It doesn't really work if you think about it, but at least the writers made an attempt to account for it. In short, Merry's blow with the barrow blade is vital. If we just go with the movie, why have Merry there at all? Anyone could have struck the WK an unexpected blow to distract him.

The movie spends a lot of screen time building up the WK as an overwhelmingly powerful supernatural force & then prceeds to have him 'killed' by a couple of people with normal weapons. It simply doesn't make sense. Why the build up if he can be brought down by an unexpected blow & killed by any woman who just happens to be on the field?

What this does is lessen the 'magic' & hence the significance, of the event, as well as making the WK into no more than a big powerful mortal enemy. You might as well have replaced him with a troll - in fact that would have made more sense & served the purpose of the event - to show Merry's & Eowyn's desperate act of courage. If you introduce a supremely, supernaturally, powerful foe you have to account for his destruction in a believable & convincing way.
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