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Prologue-Chapter II
by taaroko (taaroko)
at December 27th, 2010 (11:09 am)
amused

current location: Hobbiton
current mood: amused

Okay, I'm not sure this will resemble anything like a proper discussion opener, but this is the first discussion opener for a discussion concerning books that I've attempted.

Hobbit word of the week: mathoms--objects with no practical use but which nevertheless tend to accumulate in houses. I, for one, will be incorporating this word into my vocabulary, as there are quite a few mathoms lying around my parents' house (and I'm sure I've got several in my dorm as well).

Prologue

So this seemed mainly to be the encyclopedia entry on hobbits. I loved it. I had forgotten a lot of this stuff, like that there are three types of hobbits: stoors, harfoots, and fallohides. (Which type do you think you'd be? My brother thinks he'd be a harfoot, but I think we'd more likely be fallohides, as we're blonde and eccentric.)

Chapter I

This was delightful. Hobbits are such endearingly ridiculous creatures. And Bilbo's antagonism with the Sackville-Bagginses is hilarious. Also, could Gandalf's fireworks be any more awesome? I think not. One thing I particularly appreciated was the emphasis on Bilbo and Frodo's friendship with Gandalf. In the movie, that isn't illustrated nearly as clearly, so that Frodo's reaction to Gandalf's fall in Moria seems like an overreaction, especially compared with how little grieved everyone else seems to be. But no, this is a very close and enduring friendship. Oh, and another excellent hobbitism: "filling in the corners". Which I certainly did at Christmas dinner.

Chapter II

This chapter was a bit slower and less light-hearted, but very significant. Apart from further proof of the strength and depth of Frodo and Gandalf's friendship, we got a great deal of backstory for the Ring and Sauron (my voice got very tired reading all of that in as close an approximation to Ian McKellen's voice as I could manage). The plot has certainly thickened. And now Sam is part of the story. I'm so used to the movies that I was surprised to find the friendships as they are here in the beginning of the book. Merry and Pippin are Frodo's best friends, but Sam is pretty much just his gardener, even if they are fond of each other. Also, I'm starting to get the impression that Tolkien wrote a rather livelier Frodo than Elijah Wood portrayed. Movie Frodo seemed to be mainly quiet and thoughtful, but without the same spirit he had in the books.

Comments

Posted by: Avox in Arcadia (perpetual)
Posted at: December 28th, 2010 05:00 am (UTC)
Hitomi: Gaea

Yep, that is right in line with the thoughts I was having, particularly about mathoms. (I hope we can have more words of the day, even if we run out of hobbit ones.) It's kind of a cool time to be reading this, what with the gifting season and all.

The movies were kind of crafty with the way they portrayed certain characters and friendships. When the first one came out I remember being all agog at how accurate everything was, but I think that was mainly for the visual weight of it. I could still tell that there was a lot that was off the mark about Frodo and his pals, but the new medium let me brush it off.

Right away you can see how the changes were there to make things easier and more obvious for a silver screen audience. Frodo & Sam's relatively subtle bond really wouldn't have worked the way it was, for example. I love the way it develops in the books, though - you never really see it happening, you just begin to know that they have this absolute trust in each other. And you don't have to listen to all that teary-eyed "Oh, Sam!" crap.

Also, one difference made to Frodo's character that I think had a huge impact was his age. In the movie, you never see how much time passes between the birthday party and the conversation between Gandalf and Frodo about the Ring, but it doesn't look like more than a few months. In the book it's seventeen years. Frodo isn't a rich kid being pushed into a scary adventure; he's a responsible but eccentric adult dealing with matters that most people couldn't handle.

I agree with what you say about him being livelier and having more spirit than we saw in Elijah Wood's Frodo, but I think his intelligence and awareness is even more important. I loved the way Bilbo and Frodo are shown as the epitome of hobbit-ness in so many ways, but they're also exceptional hobbits, and that's why Gandalf, who enjoys hobbit culture very much and is extremely concerned about protecting it, singles them out as his friends and helpers.

Lest I start sounding all elitist about the book vs. the movie (well, I am a Ravenclaw, after all), I did notice one change that I really liked. Gandalf's quote about how all who live through such times wish things were otherwise was moved to much later in the story, and that was a scene that really touched me and showed his wisdom. In the book it was glossed over a bit - maybe it's just easier to take that wisdom for granted.

I need some LotR icons...I wonder if I could manipulate this community into finding some for me...

Posted by: taaroko (taaroko)
Posted at: December 28th, 2010 07:53 am (UTC)
Éowyn

Hehe. Even if we can't manage words of the day (or week), I'm sure we can manage to find at least one good hobbitism a week.

I think, with your help, I've finally pinned down what I'm finding different about book Frodo vs. movie Frodo so far. Movie Frodo gives off this air of helpless naïveté that book Frodo really doesn't have, because he is, as you say, intelligent and aware, and it shows. I don't really mind the age thing in the movie, though. For one thing, Elijah Wood is hot, so I'll take him over a fifty-year-old any day. For another, hobbits seem to age more slowly than humans anyway, what with not coming of age until 33 and their twenties being their irresponsible adolescent years. And Frodo got the ring at 33, so it stopped his aging right there.

Also, I'm very excited to read the development of the bond between Frodo and Sam if it's how you describe it. I didn't have a problem with the way it was in the movies (most of the time, I found it rather touching, actually), but it spawned another horde of slash fans, and *that* was annoying.

Posted by: Avox in Arcadia (perpetual)
Posted at: December 29th, 2010 05:09 am (UTC)
Gargoyles: flight

Okay, this is interesting: do we know that the Ring stopped his aging as soon as he got it? It does sound like that's how it happened for Bilbo, but Frodo used it less and didn't seem as instantly attached to it. I got the impression that the neighbors weren't whispering about him being well-preserved, like they did about Bilbo.

Elijah Wood's pretty hot, I'll give you that.

Yeah, I didn't mind the way Frodo and Sam were portrayed in the movies, aside from the occasional eye-roll ("Oh, Sam!"). It was just different.

And Merry and Pippin even more so, I think. Maybe the helpless naivete that you speak of was added to the hobbits across the board: both of them were a lot less mischievous and a lot more mature in the books than they were in the movies. And in contrast to Sam, they began as close friends to Frodo - that didn't happen over the course of the journey.

Posted by: taaroko (taaroko)
Posted at: December 29th, 2010 05:45 am (UTC)
Éowyn

Yeah, I don't think the Ring affected Frodo's aging as much as it did Bilbo's, given his non-use of it, but Gandalf definitely commented on how little he had visibly aged.

Heh. In some shots, Elijah Wood is my favorite eye candy in the movies. In others, he looks really weird, and then I look at Viggo Mortensen or David Wenham instead (speaking of, I'm very eager to meet book Faramir again, as I vaguely remember being less generally irritated with his choices than I was with those of movie Faramir). As for Orlando Bloom, it's rather obvious that he's wearing contact lenses, and I much prefer him when he's got dark hair anyway. Aaand I believe that's enough from my shallow side now...

I think we'll have to do a marathon of the movies once we finish the books. I already want to watch them again and we're only this far in. :P

Posted by: Avox in Arcadia (perpetual)
Posted at: December 29th, 2010 06:02 am (UTC)
River: my hero

I almost grabbed my copy of The Fellowship of the Ring to watch right away, but a marathon after the books would be better. We'll need something to fill the hole anyway. :)

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