Books or Movie?  LOTR by way of The Count of Monte Cristo

by Tarmiriel
This is a general response to the at-least-four-years-and-counting debate of how to film LOTR (okay, okay, it's been going on since the '60s).

While watching some of the extras on the DVD version of "The Count of Monte Cristo", the screenplay writer said something that really resonated with me.

He said: "For all of you who are upset that the movie is not like the book, I have this to say: 'Thank you'. If you want the book, read the book. It's a good book. This is the movie...there are some things you cannot translate."

I had been a stickler (still am, to some extent) for the word-by-word, line-by-line of Tolkien. And I was wrong. The books are beautiful, written by a man who had mastered the language in a way I never will. At times his craft was less than desirable, but he had an almost innate knowledge of what word to use.

But LOTR wasn't a movie. PJ & Co. made it a movie, and they didn't have a lifetime to do it, and while sometimes little things bother me, I can't say I would have done it differently. Because I don't know. I wasn't there, and I've never done anything remotely like it, never seen anything done remotely like it. (Remodeling our house reminds me of it, though--a vast, expensive nest of controlled chaos and no time off.)

I'm not saying that I hate the movies or love the books, or hate the books or love the movies. Or even that it's wrong to do so. I'm saying that hating one because you love the other is in itself a betrayal of the very truth [according to Tolkien] you are trying to protect.

LOTR has a life of its own apart from the author, apart from the publisher, and apart from the movie morguls. It exists because we are here, and attended to it, so that it planted its seed within us. It grows in our hearts and in our minds, and even (see the Red Book forum) bears fruit.

Thanks for reading.