J.R.R. Tolkien

catseye

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Tolkien did have a habit of subscribing to the notion of 'why use one paragraph to describe something when you can use 3 chapters' :p
Oh yes, brevity was not his friend. But I also love Fellowship - it's just such a 'road' novel. There's something very atmospheric about it and the descriptions of the long walks and the nights under the trees. I also agree that you couldn't have the barrow wights without Tom Bombadil and he would have been hard to work into the film without his appearing as a deus ex machina (which he sort of is in the story too, to be fair). I can't remember how the film gets around the hobbits having swords - as, in the book, they take them from the treasure of the barrow wight.
 

Gloucestrian

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Aragorn just hands them some swords on Weathertop in the film.
 

Ogdred Weary

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Trouble is you can hardly have the Barrow Wight without Tom Bombadil to rescue them (or another intervention in the story to erase the need for him) and if Frodo and co can defeat a Barrow Wight then why not the Ring-wraiths that pursue them in Bree. It would damage the sense of suspense, while also confusing the casual audience.

The first half of Fellowship is one of my favourite parts of the story, I love the section between the first night under the fir tree through to the Bucklebury Ferry, the slowly building fear of pursuit is sublime. The subsequent passage of the Old Forest and the other misadventures caused by short cuts are, in my opinion, some of the most atmospheric and world-building parts of the story. I have heard many complaints that Tolkien took forever to get going with the story but in my opinion the story would not be the same without that very dense set of misadventures at the beginning giving us a good sense of how capable the Hobbits are and where their strengths and weaknesses lie.

However if this had all been faithfully filmed it could have taken a whole film just to get to Bree. So I can understand why they cut the majority of that material, sad though it is.

In today's IP driven, franchise hungry world Tom Bommers will get his own Netflix series and we will find out about his Dark And Gritty Origins, which will then lead to Goldberry getting her own spinoff which will see her Even Darker And More Grittier Origins as she smites the patriatchtree among the Ents.

The Barrow Wight will get a Youtube series where he does unboxing vids and gives make up tips.
 

Gloucestrian

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... but when you are subjected to all 143 verses of Tom Bombadil trilling about his very suspect meeting of his 'wife'...well. It's enough to put you off.

So, inspired by the resurrection of this thread, I am now re-reading Fellowship again and I am wondering if some editions omit some of the poetry. The copy I originally read as a child was a 1950s or 60s edition (might have been a first edition, come to think of it) but nowadays I read a reading copy (the dog tends to like shoving his nose into whatever I am reading!) which is from the third printing of the 1991 HarperCollins edition. I do vaguely recall a lot of verse in the chapter 'In the House of Tom Bombadil' but in my reading copy there's just a short verse about the meeting of Goldberry and Tom Bombadil, p124.

Nothing in that verse reads as 'very suspect' to me, though I could see how it could be read as somewhat sinister in a way. Curious if your copy has more verse here, and if some has been removed from more recent editions. I intend to look out my older copy and check that too (not sure I still have it, sadly).
 

Lb8535

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So, inspired by the resurrection of this thread, I am now re-reading Fellowship again and I am wondering if some editions omit some of the poetry. The copy I originally read as a child was a 1950s or 60s edition (might have been a first edition, come to think of it) but nowadays I read a reading copy (the dog tends to like shoving his nose into whatever I am reading!) which is from the third printing of the 1991 HarperCollins edition. I do vaguely recall a lot of verse in the chapter 'In the House of Tom Bombadil' but in my reading copy there's just a short verse about the meeting of Goldberry and Tom Bombadil, p124.

Nothing in that verse reads as 'very suspect' to me, though I could see how it could be read as somewhat sinister in a way. Curious if your copy has more verse here, and if some has been removed from more recent editions. I intend to look out my older copy and check that too (not sure I still have it, sadly).
No, T made some edits as he went mostly for consistency and to fix the "finding the ring" thing but cutting poetry was not one of them. It's not all that long a poem really, but if you're not fascinated by early English/Norse poetry metres as he was it can go on a little. And of course all of Tom's spoken words are in a meter whose name I don't know but it's all in --..-(pause or -) -..-- . Very cunning of T.
 

Gloucestrian

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I wasn't suggesting this was a Tolkien edit rather perhaps a later editorial choice by a publisher.

Since length and verbosity has been brought up a couple of times, I'd like to say that in my opinion nothing in LotR strikes me as excessively long or verbose. If the poetry is not to your taste or interest, it is easy to skip over (though less so in audiobook form, I suppose). For my part I tend to skip some of the poems but read others, though when I was younger I read them all dutifully. That said I also read the Bible, the Torah and the Koran too when I was young, even the Silmarillion is an easy read compared to some of those!
 

Kondoru

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I read the Sil before I read LotR....

I think this tells you too much about me.

But, I am familiar with a lot of RL myth, and so its not unfamilar to me.
 

Coastaljames

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I spent the Easter weekend introducing my 7 year old stepdaughter to the entire LOTR movie series. Absolutely fantastic. Rekindled my love for them as I watched her love grow.

Been doing some reading and listening to a lot about how Tolkien's deep Christian faith informed a considerable part of his story-telling.
 
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