My Fandoms #1

So something I get asked a lot is what fandoms I belong to. I really don’t belong to any properly, because I’m too lazy to follow anything. But I’ll just go over some of my favourite things and explain why I love them so much:

Anything Middle-Earth related:

Right, so my all time favourite author is without a doubt J.R.R. Tolkien. I first read The Hobbit when I was ten, and completely fell in love with it. I guess the reason I love the Hobbit is that it manages to combine ease to read with sufficient description and clarity. So it’s something I can sit down and read in one sitting, yet actually enjoy immensely and actually remember afterwards. The Lord of the Rings was a huge step up from this, and I first read it when I was thirteen, and it took me about three months to read. I can now do it much quicker, but it’s still not an easy task. The reason I love the Lord of the Rings is because it is a book which actually requires some level of intelligence to understand and follow. The themes and issues aren’t particularly complex, but if you aren’t attentive while reading it, you’re going to miss some pretty big bits of information. While in many ways I prefer the story and the characters of the Lord of the Rings to the Hobbit, the Hobbit is something I have certainly read many more times. And then there’s the Silmarillion. That took me forever, and I was about fifteen when I first read it. Due to it’s incomplete and very much note-like nature, it can be quite difficult to read. The stories themselves aren’t deep and complex, because they can’t take up hundreds of pages or else the thing would be thousands of pages long. But it has a very Biblical feel to it, and sometimes it can very much be like “This happened, which made this person feel like this. So they did this, but that made this person feel like this” That’s not a particularly accurate representation, but it is what it can feel like sometimes. I’m not complaining, I love the stories in the Silmarillion, it just takes a lot of attention to read. Briefly, the Lost Tales. These Books were really good for seeing the way Tolkien had arranged his works previously, and the background with Elfwine is very reminiscent (at least to me) of Ancient Epics, in which someone would begin with something to the effect of “Tell me Muse/Bard/Poet, the story of…” It’s very much done in a retrospective way, and I actually really enjoyed it. While the stories can sometimes have the same fault as the Silmarillion, I can’t honestly say I didn’t enjoy every minute I spent reading them books. Finally, my favourite one. My favourite Tolkien Middle-Earth related book is easily the Children of Hurin. Why? Because Turin. End. No, I loved this book so much; it managed to combine everything that was good about the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, while also giving a story that hadn’t really been expanded on in other books. The entire thing is descriptive but not tedious, and I loved (at least the development of) all the characters. Even the antagonists have to be admired for their guile and cunning. The only real complaint I could ever put on this book is that I was looking through the contents page, and the last couple of chapters and illustrations (at least in my copy) were major spoilers. So for two characters throughout the entire book I was just thinking “You’re gonna die”. Granted I probably should have left the contents pages alone, but can you blame me? Wait, yes? Oh. Okay, this was originally meant to be a post about all my fandoms, but I’ve just gone on about how much I love Tolkien. I didn’t even make it to the movies. Ugh. I guess I’ll do it now I’ve mentioned them;I may as well.

The Lord of the Rings Movies:

What did I like? The actors. There was not a single actor or actress in these films who I can honestly say I think was miscast. Looking at some of the original plans they had for the cast, it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing Aragorn, or Gandalf, and certainly anyone doing a better job. The only problem I had with any of them was that some had some really inconsistent accents. Granted not everyone can do a decent English accent, plus they’d been doing it for years, but it was funny how Viggo Mortensen’s accent was best in the Two Towers, whereas in the Fellowship of the Ring, it sometimes seemed he was still getting used to it, and Return of the King he was getting fed up of it. But I really have no time for people who complain about the actors in these films.

Effects: The effects were perfect for these films, in my opinion. They didn’t go overboard, creating every set from inside a studio, but they also knew where special effects would help and enhance the film.

Visual Representations: This was exactly how I pictured Middle Earth from the books. In my opinion, they could not have captured the visual feel of it any better.

What Didn’t I like? The one character I have a mixed view on is Faramir. While he was my favourite character from the books, and I still love him in the films, he was definitely changed. The reason for this is supposedly to show the power of the ring, and that not even the noblest man can resist it. But the whole point of Faramir was to be someone who could resist it; a mirror to his brother and father. Also, he was the character that Tolkien often identified with himself, so I think it’s a bit… can’t think of the word, but not quite disrespectful but similar.

The only real thing I didn’t like was the omission of certain plot elements and characters, but after all, they’re films and they can’t fit all 1008 pages in. The three characters I’d have liked to see were Tom Bombadil, Glorfindel and Beregond. As Christopher Lee said in an interview, the reason for these omissions was because in the grand scheme of the narrative, they don’t have any real significance. Yes Tom saves the hobbits, but he plays no real part in the destruction of the ring or the war. Yes, Glorfindel saves them from the wraiths, but past that we never see him. Yes, Beregond idolises Faramir and tells us things which make us like him even more, but that doesn’t drive the story along. So in terms of films, I don’t really have many complaints if any in fact. They did what they needed to, yes some bits were adapted and omitted, but as a film maker, you have to cut things and it’s better to annoy fans because you left out something small and ultimately insignificant than annoying everyone because you’ve left out a massive part of the plot.

As for the Hobbit films. Eh. I didn’t mind the first one, it was longer than it needed to, and it added some stuff. But the things it did add were there for a reason; they gave you background information which linked to LOTR. But generally speaking, it was true to the book and that’s something that is hugely important to me. As for the second film, I heard on a review that it was “not one for the purists”. Which is me. But I still went to see it. Of the seven of us that went, two of us had read the book, and we were the only ones who didn’t like it. I say didn’t like it. We sat through the entire thing cringing at either made up romances, characters who shouldn’t be there or stupid plans involving impossible chemistry of gold. I really didn’t like that film. My friend and I often wonder how much we’d have liked it had we never read the book, but honestly, I think there was too much action and too little anything else for me to have liked it much anyway. Also, I think that Stephen Fry was miscast as Master. I don’t think he did a bad job, but I think that the actor whoplayed Alfred (I think) could have made a better Master. Also Luke Evans confuses me. He makes me think Orlando Bloom got freaky with Peter Andre. And I’ll leave you with that.

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