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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 7:23 pm 
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yovargas wrote:
I would also say that my anecdotal experience with GoT vs LOTR critiques isn't "the GoT TV show is a better adaptation than LOTR was" but that "GoT is a better story than LOTR". IOW, I suspect the people who are making the comparison are mostly the same people who are still dismissive of LOTR itself and are never gonna take the story of silly hobbits walking forever very seriously - whereas GoT is a fantasy story that those who still see LOTR as too geeky or childish can get behind.


Amen!

My point was that from my experience “GoT” fans who are critical of “Lord of The Rings” films, most of the time complain about aspects that are vital ingredients of the book too: too much walking, silly hobbits, etc. And that often leads to the same criticisms which have been (unfairly) labelled at the books for decades.

I did not want this thread to become a "GoT" vs. "LOTR" discussion however:

M: Concerning Voronwë’s answer to question G: You wrote that Tolkien granted Christopher the right to "publish edit alter rewrite or complete any work of mine which may be unpublished at my death or to destroy the whole or any part or parts of any such unpublished works as he in his absolute discretion may think fit and subject thereto." Does this mean CT could have written his own stories in Middle-Earth, if he had only drawn inspiration from some of his father’s unfinished works? Could Christopher Tolkien have “finished” “The New Shadow”?


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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 7:42 pm 
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Absolutely. That's not all that different from what he did do with the Ruin of Doriath.

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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 10:04 pm 
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Passdagas the Brown wrote:
People like straw men, I see. Note that I said "for a lot of people," not "for critics." It's all anecdotal, as no one will pay me to conduct a study on the subject, but I see comments to that effect in a lot of places online where people discuss TV and film (SV has seen some of it, but the "LOTR used to be my favorite fantasy film, but GoT destroys it in terms of writing and directing" sentiment seems quite common among watchers of GoT who post on various sites). So the answer to "which people?" is "a number of GoT TV show fans who post online." That's flimsy support for my assertion, but it's certainly not just me who's recognized the high quality writing and directing in GoT compared to TH and LOTR. Though of course Voronwë has only seen me say it, as it's not likely he ventures far outside HoF to solicit opinions about GoT! I mean, if I posted on a GoT forum that I'd never seen anyone say that the LOTR films were of higher quality than GoT, you could legitimately question whether or not I'd ventured outside GoT fandom...

On GoT's critical reception, I disagree strongly based on the facts. The praise GoT gets, especially the praise for the writing, from a very broad range of high-profile critics is extraordinary - very close to the level of praise "The Wire," "Sopranos," and "Breaking Bad" have received. While there may be a few curmudgeonly "anti-fantasy" holdouts, critics have largely shed that bias and recognized the show's significant artistic merit. It's mostly those who refuse to watch it that have tended towards strong negativity (such as most of the people here who open-mindedly refuse to even consider watching it). I find this strange, particularly as someone who is often frustrated by people who refuse - on unshakeable principle - to even peer behind the cover of a Tolkien book. Why treat other fantasy the same way? (Even though I maintain that the LOTR books, and all Tolkien's work, is vastly superior to GRRM, IMO). I suppose I cannot understand the arrogance of disliking something without finding out for oneself what that something is!

Back to comparisons. For me, who's watched every episode of GoT thus far, it's clear. Benioff and Weiss, both possessors of PhDs in literature from Trinity College, Cambridge (and experts in Beckett and Joyce), are infinitely better writers than PB and J. Even some of the smallest and least significant scenes in GoT are masterpieces of dialogue and adaptation compared to PB and J's clunky "characters melodramatically spew exposition at each other" style.

I appreciated bits and pieces of PJ's films. But Tolkien deserves far, far better, IMO, and I hope a better crew of writers and directors try their hand at LOTR and TH before I croak!

And on GOT, please read and/or watch the darned things before passing judgment! I know some of you have, but for others, it's simply impossible to have a meaningful conversation about the relative merits of LOTR/TH and GoT if you haven't seen the latter.


I think that it is certainly fair to criticise the writing and directing in the LotR films (people on these boards have been doing that for a decade now), and to suggest that the screenwriting and directing in GoT is better (although not having seen GoT I couldn't comment). But I still think that it would be a stretch to go from there to the point where there is seen as being any sort of pressing need to re-make the LotR films.


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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 10:07 pm 
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Beutlin wrote:
I did not want this thread to become a "GoT" vs. "LOTR" discussion however


It might be better to continue any GoT vs. LOTR discussion in this recent thread:

Of LotR, Game of Thrones and recent 'criticisms' of Tolkien

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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 10:56 pm 
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Voronwë the Faithful wrote:
Absolutely. That's not all that different from what he did do with the Ruin of Doriath.


That is quite intriguing. Makes one think what would have happened if Christopher Tolkien had decided to continue his father’s work. Would we have seen another trilogy, on the same level as “The Lord of the Rings”? After all, there have been plenty of stories in world literature which were continued by other authors after the original writer’s death. Would Tolkien fans have regarded CT’s new works as something akin to fan-fiction?


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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 1:27 am 
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I don't think Christopher ever had any interest in doing that, nor the inclination, nor the talent for it. My best guess is that most of the invention that was done in completing The Silmarillion (and particularly the Ruin of Doriath) was done by Guy Kay.

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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 4:26 am 
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Frelga wrote:
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Where are the dubious, morally corrupted characters?


Thorin, Denethor, Boromir, Fëanor and Sons, Túrin (for those who think that the incest angle is so daring), etc., etc.

In other words, people who criticize Tolkien's characters for being black-and-white are people who haven't read Tolkien, and don't realize how morally complex, violent, and horror-packed his world actually is.

Back to your regular scheduled programming. :3face:


This. Overwhelmingly, those GoT fans that claim Martin is simply a superior story-teller to Tolkien are primarily people who know LOTR through the films only.

I think we vastly underestimate the degree to which Tolkien is judged, in today's popular culture, by what is in Jackson's films, rather than what's in Tolkien's books.

I think that due to the mythology that PJ's films were almost slavishly consistent with the books, many assume that what Jackson gave us was very similar to what Tolkien gave us.

In this context, I strongly believe that most of those who praise GRRM as superior to Tolkien are praising GRRM and the HBO show runners as superior to Jackson.

But this is a very difficult belief to validate, and so I'll stop here.

The only thing I can say with certainty is that I believe PB & J are not even close to being in the same league as Benioff, Weiss and team in terms of writing and directing. Not even remotely close. And this has nothing to do with the relative merits of the source material. It has everything to do with good scriptwriting and good directing. IMO, of course, as this is all subjective.


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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 4:28 am 
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Sorry - feel free to move my last post, if appropriate!


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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 5:13 am 
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Passdagas
the Brown wrote:
Frelga wrote:
Quote:
Where are the dubious, morally
corrupted characters?


Thorin, Denethor, Boromir, Fëanor and Sons, Túrin (for those who think
that the incest angle is so daring), etc., etc.

In other words, people who criticize Tolkien's characters for being
black-and-white are people who haven't read Tolkien, and don't realize
how morally complex, violent, and horror-packed his world actually is.

Back to your regular scheduled programming. :3face:


This. Overwhelmingly, those GoT fans that claim Martin is simply a
superior story-teller to Tolkien are primarily people who know LOTR
through the films only.

I think we vastly underestimate the degree to which Tolkien is judged,
in today's popular culture, by what is in Jackson's films, rather than
what's in Tolkien's books.

I think that due to the mythology that PJ's films were almost slavishly
consistent with the books, many assume that what Jackson gave us was
very similar to what Tolkien gave us.

In this context, I strongly believe that most of those who praise GRRM
as superior to Tolkien are praising GRRM and the HBO show runners as
superior to Jackson.


Sorry but criticisms of black and white characters in LotR predate the film - in fact have been there since the time the books were published.
Also, from the list of characters Frelga mentions only two belong to LotR. PJ ruined Denethor and then improved upon Boromir.

So yes, the criticism of black and white morality is a literary criticism in existence since the 50s, tban related to the films.

And apologies, that'd be my last word on this in this thread.


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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 7:41 am 
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I would put the whole LotR-GoT debate aside (even though it is interesting) by pointing out that a sub-optimal adaptation of a famous book has never been a guarantee that the book is adapted again soon afterwards. In fact, I can’t think of a single example where it happened. Nor does Hollywood always jump onto an obvious source of potential revenue.

The Great Gatsby was made into a so-so film in 1974, but wasn’t adapted again until 2000 (for TV) and 2012 (for film). Nineteen-Eighty Four was made into a fairly well-received film in 1984, but nobody has tried to adapt it for the screen since, even though they would have the advantage of modern technology and freedom from the need to work with the requests of Orwell’s widow. John O’Hara’s Butterfield 8 was made into a reasonably well-grossing film in 1960, but nobody has ever tried to adapt O’Hara’s arguably superior Appointment in Samarra, nor adapted Butterfield 8 again. I, Claudius was made into a low-budget but critically-acclaimed TV series in 1976, and in spite of the obvious public demand for political-action-historical dramas nobody has tried to adapt it again into a big-budget spectacular a la GoT. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was made into another critically-acclaimed TV miniseries in 1979, but didn’t reach the big screen until 2011 (in another very well-received film). Other people can probably think of many other examples. On the whole, I suspected that the film industry is Tolkiened-out at the moment and will be for some time.


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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 6:25 pm 
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I'd rather watch I, Claudius again in its low budget glory, rather than watch a new version that didn't have Derek Jacoby. :love:

(Edited to remove pesky apostrophe.)

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Last edited by narya on Tue May 27, 2014 2:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 7:32 pm 
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Even if it does look like HFR. :D

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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 2:17 am 
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What narya said. :love:

And that speaks to one of the drawbacks of remakes. Sometimes there is a character who has been cast and acted so well that the very thought of replacing him/her dampens enthusiasm for the endeavor.

In Jackson's LOTR, that would be Gandalf (in my opinion). I simply can't picture another Gandalf now, because Ian McKellen so fully recreated what was in my mind from the books.

Remakes have been done of both successful and dreadful originals, but some actor/character combinations should not be touched. Jacobi as Claudius and as Caedfael. Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa and Humphrey Bogart as Rick in "Casablanca." Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter. Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch and Captain Ahab (sorry, Patrick Stewart).

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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 2:21 am 
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WampusCat wrote:
And that speaks to one of the drawbacks of remakes. Sometimes there is a character who has been cast and acted so well that the very thought of replacing him/her dampens enthusiasm for the endeavor.


Exactly!

Though I wouldn't mind a different Frodo...

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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 3:19 am 
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What this discussion tells me is that we simply do not know what will happen, and guesses that LOTR will or will not be remade in 20 years or less, are generally on equal footing. Lots of people thought audiences were Spidermanned out, and then a reboot followed less than five years later. On the other hand, no one is saying that Titanic will be remade anytime soon, despite its extraordinary commercial success.

All we can really do is either hope for a remake in our lifetimes, or hope that one isn't attempted. I'm firmly on the side of the former crowd. Whatever the case, I prefer to live in hope!


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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 3:47 am 
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There's much more material to draw from with Spiderman and the other comics characters. So I don't think that's a good comparison. A single story cannot be told over and over again, unless you can find a new, better angle for telling it. The King Kongs, for example, were very different tellings of the same story. Even the Muntiny on the Bounty movies were quite different. How different do you want the next LOTR to be?

If there is a remake, I predict it will be aimed at the next major movie audience generation. The animated LOTR for the baby boomers who read the books when they first came out had a very hippie influence, quite different than the most recent offering. And they both will be different than a LOTR for a future all-digital generation that could never imagine slogging through three books, and who spends most free time tweeting, killing things on screen, or message boarding.

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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 4:05 am 
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A very good point narya.

I indeed cannot recall two adaptations of the same story which do not take different approaches/POVs/settings to the core story.
Even the Spiderman reboot had a very different origin story.

The spiderman comparison is not appropriate.
We can judge it, by say, how many times classics like "Gone with the Wind", "2001" or "Godfather" have been attempted?


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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 12:13 pm 
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Yeah, you can't count comic movies in reboots because the comics themselves have decades worth of different stories and characters to pull from. Plus Spiderman isn't "a story", he's a character. They can put that character in different stories - not unlike the various versions of Sherlock that have been made - but they aren't going to just retell the same story every 10-20 years.

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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 1:51 pm 
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Quote:
The animated LOTR for the baby boomers who read the books when they first came out had a very hippie influence, quite different than the most recent offering


That's an interesting statement, narya. I have never seen the animated LOTR (I know, I really should be kicked off this board for such an admission ;)), but a hippie influence? Really? What does that look like?

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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 2:39 am 
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I can think of about a million different ways to adapt LOTR. Imagine, for example, one where the Dúnedain actually play a role, or where we see the backstories of the Fellowship (imagine a scene of Sauron's emissaries to the Lonely Mountain), or where we have multiple storylines from the beginning, which eventually merge (such as goings on in Gondor and Mirkwood being shown early in the first film), a version where Sam is clearly the main character (where we see lots of the Gaffer at the beginning!), another that begins with Gandalf arriving from across the western sea, or a more stylistically lyrical adaptation, etc, etc, etc. My version of LOTR would be so different to PJ's as to be almost unrecognizable.

It can be done, to be sure. Will it happen soon? I have no idea. But I hope so.


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