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Old 06-04-2022, 05:47 PM   #1
Mithadan
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The Current Narrative

There is a first time for everything; I don't think that I have ever opened a thread in this forum before.

I am not going to analyze or even criticize the Jackson movies, The Rings of Power, The War of the Rohirrim (or Bakshi, etc). Instead, I want to discuss ... the discussions or perhaps the lack thereof about the upcoming Amazon production.

Unlike the time before the Jackson movies, where there was extensive analysis and debate on message boards about everything from casting to shooting locations to rumors about the plot, the current narrative about The Rings of Power is being driven primarily by Amazon, the show runners, and the video game platforms. Depending upon whether I am using my home or work computer and which browser I choose, one of my launch pages is a Microsoft News Feed and, almost invariably (perhaps driven by what websites I frequent combined with the upcoming series) there is an "article" about some Middle Earth with the topics spanning all three Ages. Today's topic was which armies fought in The Battle of Five Armies. These daily "articles" invariably have at least one "fact" wrong and frequently are seriously flawed. If similar posts were made here, people would (or maybe the correct phrase is "would have once upon a time") jump all over these posts, correcting or criticizing them. But what I hear here is ... crickets.

Thoughts?
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Old 06-04-2022, 08:03 PM   #2
Galadriel55
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I think that all the major developments in the Amazon show's production do generate quite a significant and rather heated response here. But in the spans of time in between reveals, there is not much to add to what has already been said. I think we are mostly approaching the show each with his predetermined attitude, and it won't change from one extra misquote or another.

The other part of it is that if we were to correct or critique every article out there which gets a basic fact wrong, we won't have time for anything else. And it serves no purpose. It does not educate the people who make these mistakes, it does not enlighten the public about the real world of Tolkien or promote his works, and it certainly doesn't give me a lot of pleasure to read through all these articles unless there is a specific interest to do so.

It is also somewhat reflective of the character of this site that such "articles" aren't posted here on a regular basis. If someone made a post with a misquoted fact, I am willing to bet my head that it would be corrected in due course. Correcting external articles though? Talk of quixotic tasks.

But rest assured - once the show actually airs, I think there will be another burst of discussion here.
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Old 06-04-2022, 08:11 PM   #3
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"Gundebad, where a horde of flying bats are seen erupting like a disease towards Ravenhill. This is also where the company of dwarves are ambushed and the Battle of the Five Armies takes place." https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/other...fa88ef9d543763

Have at it!
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Old 06-04-2022, 09:36 PM   #4
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You know what, I am not really interested in a contest whose aim is to find the greatest number of things that are wrong with that sentence. Two sentences, sorry. I get it, but at the same time, if I allowed myself to get so riled up over every article, I wouldn't have a life anymore. If it gives you relief to vent about it, I get it too, and I don't mind and might even join in a little. But I don't sufficiently care about these articles to begin with to get upset over what they say.

Thinking about it, the Downs does still keep track of the nice articles popping up now and again. From the recent ones, here's one about the Pope. And here is one about Earendil. I think the kind of articles worth talking about are the kind that add something to your life, not ones that just rile you up without giving anything in return. So here you are, if you need to wash away the taste of "Gundebad".
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Old 06-05-2022, 10:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithadan View Post
Instead, I want to discuss ... the discussions or perhaps the lack thereof about the upcoming Amazon production.

...If similar posts were made here, people would (or maybe the correct phrase is "would have once upon a time") jump all over these posts, correcting or criticizing them. But what I hear here is ... crickets.

Thoughts?
I saw the trailers, and divined enough of the fan-fic revisionist nonsense found therein to tell I will despise the Amazon production. I won't be watching. No sense in getting upset about something I have absolutely no interest in becoming invested in.

Plus, there is the added detraction of having to pay Amazon monthly for the privilege of watching this swill. I already pay a ridiculous amount for cable and Netflix (for the rest of the TV watchers in my household), I am not paying any extra -- particularly since I really don't watch TV much anymore.
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Old 06-05-2022, 02:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithadan View Post
If similar posts were made here, people would (or maybe the correct phrase is "would have once upon a time") jump all over these posts, correcting or criticizing them. But what I hear here is ... crickets.

Thoughts?
The thing is... it's been 20 years. Back in the day, I was very definitely a message board complainer. I could probably still rattle off a massive list of everything wrong with Jackson's movies, likely including the words "character assassination" several times.

But... it's been 20 years. I am way too tired to get into a conversation where about half the replies will be flatly negative. I mean, people are allowed to be negative! Rant all you want! But I don't have the energy to either be positive in the face of that, or to devote to hating something that a) nobody has even seen and b) I would quite like to be good, actually.

(Oh, and the only things wrong with your quote, in context, are the spelling of Gundabad and some slightly dodgy grammar. "This is also where" is supposed to mean Ravenhill - it looks like it was probably a run-on sentence that got shoddily edited - and that is an accurate description of the film.)

hS
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Old 06-05-2022, 06:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithadan View Post
If similar posts were made here, people would (or maybe the correct phrase is "would have once upon a time") jump all over these posts, correcting or criticizing them. But what I hear here is ... crickets.

Thoughts?
I have gone from "little hope" to "no hope" that I would enjoy anything about the Amazon series.
I feel also that my complaints over the years have likely become tiresome, so I've elected to simply ignore the whole thing as far as possible.
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Old 06-05-2022, 09:05 PM   #8
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I mostly just want the show to not suck. Otherwise I'm happy enough to go along for the ride with whatever story it's going to tell. I know it won't be Tolkien, I know there are going to be parts of it that will be true, and other parts that will grate, but I've more or less made my peace with that. I just don't have the time and energy to invest in hating on something and that's OK. If it turns out I don't like it, I'll just go watch something I do like instead.

I also know that things are going to get very tiresome when it releases. There are still people out there who are so wound up in how the Star Wars sequels or latter seasons of Game of Thrones RUINED EVERYTHING FOREVER, and are so caught up in it that they're quite happy to continue producing 4 hour YouTube videos meticulously deconstructing every single minor point. Then there are the plot hole warriors who'll devote colossal energy to pulling out contradictions with obscure footnotes as evidence that they' re somehow more clever than the creators.

Finally there's the racist/sexist angle, already hard at work getting in a twist over deviations from "the lore". And it's always "the lore" with these people which is fairly convenient as it makes them easier to identify.

We've 3 months of relative peace before all this crap lands, and I want to just enjoy that.

So no, not too interested in engaging on this stuff right now. Particularly not when it concerns a show that's based on such thin source material that inventing stuff wholesale is unavoidable anyway.
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Old 06-07-2022, 10:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Finally there's the racist/sexist angle, already hard at work getting in a twist over deviations from "the lore". And it's always "the lore" with these people which is fairly convenient as it makes them easier to identify.
That's rather a broad brush, don't you think? It is part and parcel of Amazon's contempt for Tolkien's creation, the "lore," that they run roughshod over everything including his admittedly Euro- and androcentric viewpoint; he very consciously calqued his creation upon, indeed set it in a fictional prehistory of, northwestern Europe. Why should criticism of this "we're going to make generic cliche-ridden fantasy but call it 'Tolkien'" thus be an identifier of "istaphobes?"

Pretty much everything in Tolkien's mental furniture led that way, from his youthful infatuation with the Kalevala to the fact that his tripartite division of the Elves stemmed ultimately from dissatisfaction with Grimm's explanation of Snorri Sturluson's account of the Norse alfr. His motivation, following Lonnrot and Grundvig, was to create a national myth, but out of whole cloth: it was indeed a "mythology for England" (Carpenter's phrase, but a decent precis of Letter 131). In fact, in The Lost Tales, Tol Eressea was England, the future island of Great Britain. At least until the early 1960s, and possibly for the rest of his life, the frame story/transmission vector was the Anglo-Saxon mariner Aelfwine.

Less well-known but just as direct is this, from Letter 180: "Having set myself a task, the arrogance of which I fully recognized and trembled at: being precisely to restore to the English an epic tradition and present them with a mythology of their own." Middle-earth is completely ripped up by the roots if its grounding in the soil of England is removed. And this, from Letter 190: "'The Shire' is based on rural England and not any other country in the world... The toponymy of The Shire, to take the first list, is a 'parody' of that of rural England, in much the same sense as are its inhabitants: they go together and are meant to. After all the book is English, and by an Englishman, and presumably even those who wish its narrative and dialogue turned into an idiom that they understand, will not ask of a translator that he should deliberately attempt to destroy the local colour."

It is all of a piece that Amazon's invented Harfoot protohobbits should have names that are linguistically impossible within Tolkien's subcreation, and skin-tones that are equally impossible. What Amazon is giving us is not Tolkien, but a cargo-cult with Tolkien featuring as John Frum; and "Nori Brandyfoot" is no more legitimate than a bamboo mockup was an actual DC-3.

Remember this blast, highly appropriate today:

I wonder why a translator should think himself called on or entitled to do
any such thing. That this is an 'imaginary' world does not give him any right to remodel it according to his fancy, even if he could in a few months create a new coherent structure which it took me years to work out.
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Old 06-07-2022, 10:38 AM   #10
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In this connection, it's worth reading Verlyn Flieger's paper where she speculates that the Notion Club Papers may have been another idea for a frame-story to replace Aelfwine, but one which remained explicitly English: https://muse.jhu.edu/article/176066
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