Friday, April 06, 2007

Scary story

(This post will likely make sense only to fans of the original written version of JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, all others are excused.)

I was doing some fairly random surfing last night when I stumbled across the Wikipedia entry for The Fellowship of the Ring, specifically Peter Jackson's filmed version (the books have separate entries).

Now to be clear, though I've read and re-read The Lord of the Rings many, many times, I'm not a member of that group of Tolkien purists who turned up their collective noses at any filmed version of Tolkien's classic.

Indeed I was extremely pleased with PJ's version and count it a prized part of my DVD collection (extended version of course).

That being the case, imagine my horror when I read the Wiki account of the film that might have been.

Amongst their revisions, Sam, Merry and Pippin are caught eavesdropping and forced to go along with Frodo. Gandalf's account of his time at Orthanc was pulled out of flashback and Lothlórien was cut with Galadriel attending the Council of Elrond. Denethor, Boromir's father, also attends the Council, and other changes included having Arwen rescue Frodo, and the action sequence involving the Cave troll. Most significantly, there was an all new sequence. A Ringwraith kills Saruman and attacks Gandalf at Orthanc. Seeing this from the Seeing Seat, now at Emyn Muil rather than Amon Hen, Frodo puts on the Ring and draws him all the way to the Seat on his Fell beast. Frodo manages to save Sam and stabs the wraith in his heart.


And again, you have to be familiar with and a lover of the book to understand my shock at what might have been, but pardon me.


OK, I'm better now.

As it happened the above mentioned bastardization never happened, and while I'll never be completely happy with all Jackson's choices (I hated and still hate when Frodo sends Sam away in Return of the King), still the final version serves as a cinematic achievement which does justice, in its own way, to Tolkien's remarkable storytelling.

And one final note, John Paul II may be on the fast track for canonization, and good for him. But if I had a say in it I'd nominate New Line Cinema executive Robert Shaye who, when presented with a two film deal, insisted that since the book was a trilogy, so should the movie.

The blessings of Eru upon you Bob.

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