Like many fantasy fans out there, I was eager to see Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I had some misgivings, though, since he had had to condense the weighty Lord of the Rings in many ways to make it fit into three still-epic movies (which I enjoyed), and seemed to be doing the opposite with The Hobbit — a slight volume aimed at children — by expanding it into, well… three epic movies. Continue reading →
One writing axiom is “keep your characters in trouble.” Another is “keep your reader guessing.” Budding fantasy writers — and, indeed, suspense writers — could learn a thing or two from The Two Towers, the middle part of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.
The action picks up with the Company of the Ring in disarray, seeking the Ringbearer, Frodo, as they are ambushed by orcs. (If you haven’t read Lord of the Rings, stop now; if you’ve only seen the movies, this discussion will make no sense — the movie and the book versions of The Two Towers have totally different structures, among other differences.)
All the reader knows from The Fellowship of the Ring is that Frodo has decided to go to Mordor alone, and Sam has gone with him; Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas know even less, as they variously fight the orcs and finally discover Boromir succumbing to his injuries, having failed to stop the orcs from abducting Merry and Pippin (which he doesn’t get a chance to tell them). Continue reading →
It’s often said by readers, “The book is always better.” But is it? Are some works of literature impossible to translate to such a visual medium as film? Or do they just need some tweaking to let their stories run free on the silver screen?
I wrote this piece some years ago; my opinion still stands, though I’m interested to hear what readers and fans of Tolkien have to say, since I’m well aware opinion is divided on what Jackson did with Tolkien’s work.