Amph The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug, Battle of the Five Armies

Discussion in 'Community' started by -Courtney-, Nov 25, 2006.

  1. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 8
    Yes but you and Legolas forget, effort goes into writing a pointless fanfic story. Lots of effort. Effort that can't even showcase talent at editing, because a publisher would rather neck themselves than read a folio of fanfic.
  2. laurethiel1138 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2003
    star 4
    Well, if this basic list on Wikipedia is any starting point, I would say that Tolkien's works are much more like a massive crossover fanfiction, taking favourite elements from many stories and weaving them into a seamless tale, as a pretext to employ the languages he had created.

    It could be argued that Star Wars is The Hidden Fortress "in Space", much like The Magnificent Seven are The Seven Samurai "as a Western", and Wagner's Tetralogie is The Nibelungenlied "as an Opera". Which isn't to say that they can't be recognised on their own merits, but only that one mustn't be blind as to their primary source. It can even be a fun game, to spot the differences and try to discern how much a tale can bend to accomodate new realities.

    On the contrary, I am putting Tolkien on the same literary scale as Mallory, Shakespeare or Walter Scott (to name just a few examples in the English language), which isn't bad company at all. It's only that we live in a copyright-obsessed era, where everybody must get their dues and originality is an absolute must (which isn't a terrible thing, mind you). Just a few centuries before, authors were indeed praised for their ability to shed new light on known tales through their own retellings, much like the "fanfiction rewrite challenges" of today. It's all a matter of perspective. But then again, I am a Lit student, so my point of view may be heavily influenced by that, as I've seen many works being adapted time and time again for new publics and eras.

    Well, I happen to like Tolkien a lot, and while I found PJ's films interesting, I thought that Conan was absolutely boring. What can I say? We simply have different tastes, that's all...

    Lauré :)
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  3. laurethiel1138 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2003
    star 4
    What if their main objective is not to be published "officially", but simply to enjoy the challenge of telling a tale anew? The fanfiction world is too vast a place to veer into such generalizations...

    Lauré :)
    Last edited by laurethiel1138, Jan 20, 2014
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  4. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 8
    I'm sorry, but to compare Tolkein to Shakespeare? Your obsession has made you subjective and immune to reason. Tolkein's strength does not lie in his talent as a writer, but as a world builder. He is and will be remembered more for the extraordinary depth of Middle Earth; not because he could pen something that stands as powerfully moving as the St Crispin's Day speech from Henry V. As a writer, purely on his prose, he is somewhat middling.
  5. laurethiel1138 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2003
    star 4
    I happen to like Tolkien's style. Some people prefer Camus, others Dickens, yet more prefer the Brontë sisters, not to speak of Oscar Wilde or other famous writers. You may not like the way he writes, but your ad hominem attack saying "Your obsession has made you subjective and immune to reason." goes truly beyond bounds. It is not for nothing that Tolkien has been repeatedly voted one of the most influential writers (if not the single most influential one) of the XXth century, and I do not think it is for his worldbuilding alone. You are free to disagree with that if you want, as is your right, but many scholars would also disagree with you.

    Lauré :)
    Last edited by laurethiel1138, Jan 20, 2014
  6. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 8
    Oh absolutely he's influential, don't mistake me on that. Ian Fleming is also influential, and a personal favourite; but his style is too punchy and journalistic to be considered truly great. What Tolkien did was, in effect, create a genre. Robert Howard did too, to a lesser degree, but most of what the scores of fantasy writers and readers have experienced over the years owes a singular debt to Tolkien. Look at the things he more or less inspired, from books to film to TV to roleplaying games (the entire Dungeons and Dragons system, which is 40 years old at this point, exists because of him) to video games. Everything we "know" about elves, dwarves and orcs comes from him. He's hugely influential because he did what nobody else did before him.

    Influential as a writer does not, I would wager, mean for his writing style but for his attention to detail and vision. I read authors inspired by Tolkien, and they don't sound like Tolkien.
    Last edited by Ender Sai, Jan 20, 2014
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  7. Bacon164 Force Ghost

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    Mar 22, 2005
    star 7
  8. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 8

    I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN YOU DELICIOUS BREAKFASTY FOOD
    Last edited by Ender Sai, Jan 20, 2014
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  9. laurethiel1138 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2003
    star 4
    Good for them. One's first objective as an author should be to develop one's own voice and style, not slavishly copy what has come before, though one might reference it now and then. I would truly worry for their worth if they hadn't succeeded in doing so. That, however, doesn't take anything away from Tolkien's mastery of language (and as a language scholar himself, you can be sure every word was duly considered), nor from the poetic value of his writing. What I also like in Tolkien is that he experimented with many styles, from children's literature (Hobbit) to full-blown epic (LOTR) to histories of his world (The Sil), so it would be helpful to know what exactly you are criticizing, other than simply lumping it all together and saying "his writing is bad".

    Lauré :)
  10. Volderon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2007
    star 4
    IMO Tolkien wasn't a very good writer either, his prose was lacking and his choices were...weird. Going back over the FOTR book, too many times characters ask a question only to be told a quarter of an answer and then followed up by "but I cannot tell you more" or "I am not the right person to tell you" like come on...I think it was to deliberately string a reader on to keep reading but it came off as bad. Then everything gets told at the council of elrond in a big exposition dump of 50+ pages. Good times.

    I like his world building though. That's top notch stuff. All the names of places etc.
    Last edited by Volderon, Jan 20, 2014
  11. Vialco Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2007
    star 4
    As an author, I agree that every writer has to have his or her own style. I like Tolkein's writing style, but I acknowledge that he had some ideas that were pretty weak.

    1. Sauron never appeared in person and for the most part did nothing to personally harm the heroes. Much like Thrawn, Sauron never actually faced the protagonists, which I thought made him a fairly weak villain, IMO. I like a villain that confronts the heroes personally and can demonstrate to the audience why he is a genuine threat.

    2. The power of the villains seems to diminish at times. Saruman was a mighty wizard, greater than Gandalf the Grey, who killed a Balrog, is struck down by Grima Wormtongue, a mere mortal.

    3. The wizards seem to have very little magic to speak of. We never see Saruman use any magic other than his voice, which hardly qualifies as magic.

    Some aspects I did like were:

    1. All the awesome locations, like Orthanc, Minas Tirith, Barad-dur.

    2. Compelling characters, like Saruman, Gandalf and Legolas
  12. Darkslayer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2013
    star 4
    I definitely agree on the world-building aspect. That's why I like The Silmarillion so much more than The Lord of the Rings. You can tell Tolkien was much better, and more excited, to write a broad, sweeping epic instead of a more traditional story, and you could also tell that he was better at it.
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  13. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 8
    I would simply make this point, Laure; sounding like does not mean slavishly copy. I'm not the only person who has said Tolkien suffers as a storyteller but excels in the depth of his creation so it may be that you're not willing to criticise the author and therefore subjective. I'm not sure, I just don't feel alone.

    But what you should look at is this; there are two other fantasy realms I can think of with comparable depth and breadth of custom and history, to Middle Earth. One is Azeroth, from the Warcraft games. The other is Fae'run from the Forgotten Realms, a D&D campaign setting. Both are home to novels, games, comics. Both have fantastic lore.

    And whilst both have one driving creative force (Chris Metzen and Ed Greenwood), they are also part of a wider team. Tolkien did as much on his own, if not more.

    That is why he's influential. Not because his pensmanship was on par with Byron or Shelley.
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  14. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    I'm interested to hear this. What did you find "compelling" about him? As I recall, the films added a significant amount to his character, and even then he was still just a guy that did cool action scenes.
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  15. Jarren_Lee-Saber Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 16, 2008
    star 4
    I absolutely and and completely disagree to every letter of that sentence.

    I just saw Gravity last night, and I was filled with SO much disappointment! Not even going to get into that, but the visuals weren't anything we hadn't already seen in 90s space films. The Hobbit, on the other hand, gave us loads of never-before-seen technical stuff.

    Smaug alone deserves the visual effect award!
    Last edited by Jarren_Lee-Saber, Jan 21, 2014
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  16. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 8
    LIke this?

    [IMG]

    Less the "wow", I suppose...
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  17. jp-30 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2000
    star 9
    Woof woof aooooooooooohhh!
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  18. Jarren_Lee-Saber Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 16, 2008
    star 4
    Fairly similar :p

    In my defense, i edited my post BEFORE you posted this :D
  19. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    Tolkien is indeed influential, but there are as stated many influential authors who either aren't particularly great writers or write uninteresting stuff.

    Jane Austen is a staple of English Literature studies here, and quite rightly she is hailed as an important literary figure (especially being a woman at the time she was writing and the barriers that broke). I like many however find her books to be uninteresting, clichéd, overly idealistic and predictable. Sure she's a great writer, but he stories aren't really very good IMO.

    JK Rowling on the other hand is sort of opposite. The Harry Potter books are very good stories with lots of interesting characters and events, but they aren't really that well written. Rowling is overly descriptive and draws things out far too much instead of effectively condensing what she wants to say. Good storyteller, not a great writer (much like George Lucas I suppose).

    Having only read The Hobbit many years ago I'm not that up on Tolkien's writing style, but from what I've heard he is much like Rowling. There's nothing wrong with that if people like your work, but writing good stories does not automatically make you a good writer. It just means you have a very good imagination.


    And everyone has critics. Shakespeare is a very great writer but not everyone likes his plays.
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  20. darthcaedus1138 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2007
    star 5

    wut
  21. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    Gravity is a better movie than DOS, but visual effects superiority is harder to say.
    Just because The Hobbit has more CGI in it, that doesn't mean it has better effects than Gravity. Gravity has amazingly realistic stuff in a real-life scenario, DOS has an impressively created fictional world but I'm not sure it looks more believable than Gravity (and less is more most of the time). Smaug is a very impressive piece of CGI, but he's still clearly a piece of CGI.

    What's more annoying is that DOS seems not to be up for the Hair & Makeup award. That much facial hair got overlooked?
    Last edited by SithLordDarthRichie, Jan 21, 2014
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  22. I Are The Internets Chosen One

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    Nov 20, 2012
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    So you want Smaug to go up and be presented the vfx award at the Oscars?
  23. Lugija Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2009
    star 4
    He could be presented a large golden statue...
    Wait, that didn't work that well last time...
  24. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
  25. Jarren_Lee-Saber Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 16, 2008
    star 4
    Well duh! I mean, Gollum accepted the MTV award for best CGI character (snatched it from the hands of Andy Serkis) and insulted PJ, Dobby, MTV, and the crowd :D So why not :p