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The Lord Of The Rings
On my birthday this year, a friend gifted me the entire The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. Just a few months ago, fantasy was a genre I would stay miles away from. I was softened up to fantasy by Harry Potter (the first two installments of which were incidentally also a birthday gift). Though this time I was unsure if I would be able to tackle the sheer volume of the work (1000+ pages!). My last attempt at reading something as voluminous was a miserable failure – I couldn’t get myself to turn past the 400th page – the work in question being Vikram Seth’s debut novel of epic proportions – A Suitable Boy.

Once I had exhausted my preferred list of books, I casually picked up The Fellowship Of The Ring one fine evening. From that very moment, I was hooked!

Reading LOTR is like losing yourself to this wonderful imaginary world conjured by Tolkien. The characters are so well defined that you feel as if these are not characters in a book but real people you’ve known for years. The depth of Tolkien's powerful imagination can be fathomed by the fact that he spent years researching his worlds – inventing their histories, their kings and their progenies, their cultures and their languages complete to their calligraphic details. I cannot recommend a worthier read!

It would be unfair to indulge in a comparison between Harry Potter and LOTR – yet them being the only two brands of fantasy that I’ve read, I am tempted to. By no means do I intend to discredit Rowling of her exceptional literary abilities and yet I cannot help remarking that she had a considerable head-start -- thanks to LOTR. It is hard to think of Dumbledore without being reminded of Gandalf, or to mention Dementors without allowing your thoughts to wander towards the Nazguls or for that matter discussing Voldemort without evoking thoughts of Saruon.

Now to a topic which is matter of much debate – books and their movies. As far as LOTR is concerned, I feel like a person who arrives at an evening party the very next morning. Yet I am trying to salvage all I can and so I picked up The Fellowship Of The Ring DVD.

Once again, the movie disappoints. Here are some of my prominent jeremiads: Some characters are outright miscasts, most notably, Gimli the dwarf and Elrond the king of Rivendell (who is incidentally played by the same guy that we know as “Agent Smith” from Matrix; I had a nagging feeling that he would break into harangues of “Mr. Anderson” any moment). The movie also commits the unpardonable folly of altering the story line perfunctorily. For instance, after Frodo is stabbed by the Nazgul he is rescued by Glorfindel in the book (rather by his horse - if I exercise laser sharp precision) while in the movie its lady Arwen who comes to Frodo’s rescue. While in the book, both Frodo and Sam are invited to peek into the mirror of Galadriel, in the movie, Sam is shown as blissfully asleep. I could go on forever but I would cut to the biggest disappointment – the exclusion of enigmatic Tom Bombadil altogether! And yes both the Dark Riders and the Eye of the Dark Lord failed to kindle even slightest trace of horror (though the latter did elicit my ridicule).
posted: 1.9.04



I did skip a few of the "n" no of songs that were in the book, but luvd this one...

Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!
-Eomer, The Battle of the Pelennor Fields

As always, the book supercedes the movie.


By Blogger Dr. Look n Feel Good, at 2.9.04  

Hi Muthu,

Initially I was dilligent with the songs, but even then I found it necessary to skip a lot of the verses. Sometimes during a tense moment in the story, the last thing you want is your protagonists breaking into ditties. But I am sure I'll revisit the book and make up for my laxity!


By Blogger Deepak, at 3.9.04  

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