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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power


JohnC
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20 minutes ago, Matt Defis said:

What's with the crazy amount of spam in the comments on this trailer?

 

The "fans hate it because elves cannot be not white as this contravenes Tolkein's lore in important and relevant ways"*

 

*There's black people in it.

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I have some sympathy with staying true to the lore in any adaptation. And it's true that Tolkein describes elves in such a way that they are all beautiful white people, and the only references to non-white races are as from the south and east of the world (and evil).

 

But its a detail that isn't important in the scheme of things and as such I can't help but find the outrage at black elves being a thing as more than a bit racist in nature.

 

I've much more sympathy with fundamental changes to the nature of the characters. That's worth moaning about, because that starts to make the property into a skin for a different thing rather than something that is true to the important touch points of the source. That was the issue with the horrific 'Pratchett' adaptation from the BBC last year. It was just talking a few names and concepts and pasting them into its own thing.

 

This isn't that, so far. For me there's hints it might be (though clearly some don't agree). But the wider community sadly seems to have more issue with the fact there's black people in it who aren't evil.

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Adaptations from one narrative format to another require changes. It's just the nature of how stories are told. If this was just Silmarillion The TV Series told as laid out in the book it would be shit, because that's not how visual story telling works. You just need to look at Troy to see how trying to stay true to spoken / written word sprawling sagas goes. It's a beautifully shot, wonderfully acted, slickly produced two hours of utter boredom.

Which doesn't mean this won't be shit, but it's how it's adapted that will be the decider, not that it had to be in the first place.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Chindie said:

I have some sympathy with staying true to the lore in any adaptation. And it's true that Tolkein describes elves in such a way that they are all beautiful white people, and the only references to non-white races are as from the south and east of the world (and evil).

 

But its a detail that isn't important in the scheme of things and as such I can't help but find the outrage at black elves being a thing as more than a bit racist in nature.

 

I've much more sympathy with fundamental changes to the nature of the characters. That's worth moaning about, because that starts to make the property into a skin for a different thing rather than something that is true to the important touch points of the source. That was the issue with the horrific 'Pratchett' adaptation from the BBC last year. It was just talking a few names and concepts and pasting them into its own thing.

 

This isn't that, so far. For me there's hints it might be (though clearly some don't agree). But the wider community sadly seems to have more issue with the fact there's black people in it who aren't evil.


The characters in the Similalriwotist are barely sketched half the time. Hardly like taking Vimes and fucking him up.

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40 minutes ago, Mikes said:

Adaptations from one narrative format to another require changes. It's just the nature of how stories are told. If this was just Silmarillion The TV Series told as laid out in the book it would be shit, because that's not how visual story telling works. You just need to look at Troy to see how trying to stay true to spoken / written word sprawling sagas goes. It's a beautifully shot, wonderfully acted, slickly produced two hours of utter boredom.

Which doesn't mean this won't be shit, but it's how it's adapted that will be the decider, not that it had to be in the first place.

 

 

 

Yes there has to be adaptations but if you are fundamentally changing characters into something they are not you are screwing up. I never really got on with the LoTR films at the time because of a lot of the changes they made. Aragorn not wanting his heritage is fundamental. In retrospect, those sorts of changes wee limited.

 

It's like - early seasons of Game of Thrones adapted. Book Robb Stark isn't TV Robb Stark. But the fundamentals are there. Later seasons rewrote - TV Doran Martell is a different character.

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26 minutes ago, footle said:


The characters in the Similalriwotist are barely sketched half the time. Hardly like taking Vimes and fucking him up.

 

In one sense better, in one sense worse. Better because they aren't deep, well sketched over a number of book characters you are screwing up. Worse because they are literal archetypes have the time and you can't even manage to keep that the same.

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20 hours ago, Mikes said:

What's striking me about the online discourse - apart from the racism hidden behind 'BUt MeH LoRE!' - is it's easy to see who weren't around in 1999 when the message boards were filled with complaints about the deviations this young Jackson guy was taking with his interpretation. 

 

Yeah, I enjoyed this little selection of comments from that time:

 

 

Ah, plus ça change!

 

That said, I do understand the concerns about how preciously defined characters are being depicted (no patience for the "they're making it too PC/woke" complaints coming from bellends, mind), and I am a little wary about the new series myself, but that's more to do with it coming from Amazon than anything.

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I seem to recall a lot of backlash at the time the first production photos came out from Jackson's films that derided then as having Frodo and Sam's relationship be a gay one rather than a friendship. Which went down like a lead balloon.

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The latest Nerd of the Rings video goes into the trailer. Nothing new that hasn't been said before, but he has a quote from Carl Hostetter, who worked with Christopher Tolkien to write The Nature of Middle Earth, who goes into why elves nd dwarves of various skin shades does not go against the lore as written.

 

I mean, not that that would make any headway against why some people are complaining about it, but it's good to bring up nonetheless.

 

 

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I think that's right and a little disengenious; it was originally conceived as a prehistory of England with all associated implications. Everyone is missing the honking religious themes though. Tolkien was super Catholic and wanted to be theologically compatible. People are good if they follow God's plan. They are bad if they stray from his will and listen to the devil. Layering race on as anything significant is a serious misreading of the stories at a pretty deep level. Catholicism is a universal religion. Race just doesn't and couldn't be significant to the story. I doubt people will listen to that reason either, but I think it's better to acknowledge the original context and why this isn't a significant change.

 

Dwarf lady beards, however, are fundamental.

 

Anyway, I just remembered one of the games made Shelob a hot woman in with a relationship with Sauron. Literally nothing this can do will be as bad, or as sexy.

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1 hour ago, Chindie said:

The Shelob isn't a giant spider and is a sexy woman soured me on that series more than any of the other fan fiction crap in it.

I loved it, as I hate spiders and pretty women makes my tummy feel funny.

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17 hours ago, Wiper said:

 

Yeah, I enjoyed this little selection of comments from that time:


Two take-outs from that:

 

1. The level of online hate is so much worse, more vitriolic, more bigoted and graphic these days. How far we’ve fallen, and how fast we continue to plummet as a species.
 

2. I will now only refer to PJ as ‘That bastard Peter Jackson”.

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4 hours ago, kensei said:

Tolkien was super Catholic and wanted to be theologically compatible

 

I always thought it was CS Lewis who was the raging Catholic and Tolkien found Narnia a bit irritating as a result.

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1 minute ago, monkeydog said:

 

I always thought it was CS Lewis who was the raging Catholic and Tolkien found Narnia a bit irritating as a result.

 

Lewis was Church of England who fell away from practicing before coming back to it in his 30s and then wrote a lot on it. I think Tolkien influenced him and was annoyed he didn't convert to being a Catholic.

 

Anyway, Tolkien on Lord of The Rings

Quote

The Lord of the Rings' is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out practically all references to anything like 'religion,' to cults or practices, in the imaginary world. For the religious element is absorbed into the story and symbolism.

 

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6 hours ago, kensei said:

Oh and as for annoyance, Lewis is reported to have said at one of Tolkien's readings

 

"By God, not another bloody elf"

 

Which is the fairest review possible of all Tolkien.

 

Lewis was so strange. His books are dated and hard to read these days, but The Last Battle is incredibly strange and interesting as a version of Revelations.

 

It's like Tolkien but he goes crazy abstract and weird at the end of Narnias time, instead of at the start like Tolkien.

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Imagine being so angry and full of vitriol and such a loser that you actually lose your shit because a made up character from a made up story has a different skin colour than you’d prefer, as if it had any consequence whatsoever on the character or their ability to do whatever it is they’re doing in this made up world with made up races. 

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I found a visual representation of the most of the other reason for some people complaining.

 

FLudSTEXoAYAFTS?format=jpg&name=medium

 

"This Middle Earth looks stupid and nothing like the source material. Now excuse me while I go watch Legolas surfboarding on a shield."

 

Anyway, I still hold the one thing that saved the Hobbit films was something that was non-cannon.

 

qNov46.gif

 

 

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20 hours ago, Festoon said:

 

Lewis was so strange. His books are dated and hard to read these days, but The Last Battle is incredibly strange and interesting as a version of Revelations.

 

It's like Tolkien but he goes crazy abstract and weird at the end of Narnias time, instead of at the start like Tolkien.

I recently read some Narnia books to my daughter and I was surprised that it dipped a little into sci-fi multiverse themes. 

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13 hours ago, AstroBot said:

That was the worst bit!

 

100% - that dreadful airless, lifeless,  sequence, choreographed like a dance number taking place in a PS2 cut scene was a fucking nightmare. Horrible GoPro shot in there too. Dreadful.

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I get that the book LoTRs is inherently this British heritage thing, deeply linked to out own isles history so I can see the desire (amongst white men/brexit voters) for it to be championing them. And if your a clueless white person, with no understanding of how the world is, you could look at something like Black Panther' and wonder why you can't have something like that (to be fair, they are so persecuted, so little of our global culture represents them *tiny violin*). 

 

But it's that inherent whiteness/britishness in the books which is a problem with growing awareness. Firstly the books exploration of human races ain't great. The only humans that are black are the Haradrim, from the south, and they've been corrupted by Sarum, and stand with the other "savage races". Only the white humans have managed to remain civilised and stand against the evil.

 

In the second age numenor bought them as slaves. 

 

Then there's the fact that the races, elves, humans, dwarves, hobbits, orcs etc, are themselves a bit dodge when you stop to think about it. The nobel, carefree working class hobbits, the wise intellectual aloof upperclass elves, the ruling by their more noble blood elite white kings,  they takes aspects of human society separated by class and separate them genetically isntead. It's good story telling, but it's all a bit 'know your place'. For the time it was written, I think it was an excellent way to communicate the truths that the simple hobbit/working class is more righteous than the upper classes when war hits.

 

The white people who want to whitewash the cast, want to not have to think about the problems the book raises with our society, and Amazon want to diversify the cast so they can ignore the problematic aspects of the books and keep it simple and marketable. Ironically this binary choices are both wanted to achieve the same end - avoid a conversation about how these books and our society are kinda fucked. 

 

There's a reason that Game of Thrones was so successful exploring the whole 'The Feudal System is evil as fuck' even though that gives him no satisfying ending  because society wants a 'good' ending that doesn't include the death of Feudalism. How do you conclude something in literature, we haven't concluded in real life?

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The problem is that Tolkien's world is much closer to "Feudalism was fine, actually". When the King is good and just, the Kingdom is good and just and all is well. GRRM explicitly calls this out as something he wanted to avoid in Game of Thrones. 

 

However, I think you are well off the mark on the class / genetics thing. Again, you have to see the religious influence coming through. Elves do extraordinarily bad things. Not in just in great grandiose ways, but in small ways too. Where they are presented as better it's due to them being closer to God - they listen to the Valar, have seen the light of the trees etc. Dwarves are even more of a mixed bag - Thorin's actions in the Hobbit for example and all races have similar sort of feudal hierarchies.

 

Orcs are a bit of a hard one. Dragons, giant spiders, balrogs are all effectively demons. However orcs are specifically created by Morgoth corrupting elves that didn't escape to the West. That raises all sorts of awkward questions I don't think the stories can stand up to, but again the religious reading is the intention. They are ruined by the actions of the devil and are evil in so much they are ensnared and cannot break free of his influence. 

 

Everyone being white I think is a product of the time and the influences and you have to be careful back applying modern readings onto a story that his it's roots pre WW1. There's probably a touch of imperial assumptions.

 

The above doesn't necessarily make for happy modern liberal readings either, and people place too much weight on stories which Christopher Tolkien even earned in the Simarillion could not bear them. But I think you have to capture at least some of that to get Tolkien, otherwise you make something else.

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  • 2 months later...

Couple more images got released yesterday. On my phone so can't link, buy a quick google will find them.

Nothing much to say. They don't reveal much, but if I see "woke" used to describe anything one more time I'm going to declare myself transgendsr.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Looks like there was a screening of  abortion if the show overnight. Lots of NDAs going around. General consensus is it's being handled well, lots of pimple saying everyone who saw it and said so are being paid.  Basically another day on the internet.

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