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Thread: If You Could Change One Thing

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Many of the previous posts on this thread have gone through my head, but no-one has yet mentioned the one thing that I would change: the chromatic interpretation of Lothlorien.

Peter Jackson made Lothlorien a mono-chromatic blue colour with twinkles of blue-ish lights in the background that looked like stars, which is not how it was described. Yellow and gold, with gleaming whites and rich greens are predominant colours in the book. And whatever happened to the golden flowers shaped like stars that Sam eventually names his daughter after?

Sam even mentions how sunshiney Lothlorien is:

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"It's sunlight and bright day, right enough. I though that Elves were all for moon and stars: but this is more elvish than anything I ever heard tell of."


If it was to be a mono-chromatic anything it should have been a yellow wash, not blue.
haha next theyll be saying that the Shire was supposed to have been destroyed and a box that sam gets from Lorien has seeds in it! come on now ppl....
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If it was to be a mono-chromatic anything it should have been a yellow wash, not blue.
PJ spent his money on Helms Deep and Minas Tirith and couldn't wait for real trees to grow, so to make the set cheap but realistic, he did it at night so we couldn't see there was no there, there.

If I remember correctly, many of the needed Lothlorien scenes occured in the evening or at night anyway; though as you say, it might have been nice to see Aragorn take Frodo up the hill to see the ring of trees, and enjoy the flora on the way.
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PJ spent his money on Helms Deep and Minas Tirith and couldn't wait for real trees to grow


If a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing well..... I'm willing to wait Smile Smilie
I know this is old and that people have heard it a million times, but the one thing I would change is to portray Faramir as he is actually portrayed in the books, as a foil for Boromir. The juxtaposition isn't there, and the depths and complications of their relationship as a family are lost.

Also, I would have to agree with Val that the Bombadil story is really a sideline, and if any part needed to be cut from the movie, that was the obvious choice. For me, he seems to stick out as a character that belongs more in The Hobbit rather than LOTR, and I actually wonder if Tolkien started out along those lines and then everything just grew darker and darker.
This is probably not quite the same thing but I would have loved for J R Tolkien to have made more of Arwen and Aragorns love. I'm just an old romantic at heart. In Love Smilie

Also, I would like to have known what really did happen to Legolas and Gimli?????

As for the film - in ROTK I didn't like the way the ending did not show how Sauraman ruined the Shire and Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin saved the Shire - but I suppose the film could only be so long....

It was soooo sad to see Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin just sitting in the pub with a beer as if nothing had happened! Very Sad Smilie Very Sad Smilie
Very true, Marion! I would love to have seen that. They could probably make a fourth movie out of it...hmmmm... Elf Smilie
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This is probably not quite the same thing but I would have loved for J R Tolkien to have made more of Arwen and Aragorns love. I'm just an old romantic at heart.

I think it was quite well done in the books. maybe some earlier scene during the stay at rivendell in fotr in which they have a little talk or something of that style would have given a nice hint (as far as I remember now - I might be wrong - there's nothing concrete mentioned about their love until the fields of comallen). but arwen's character in the movies was kinda put into the front too much, it annoyed me a little... though I very much liked her dresses. :P

I'm kinda glad they didn't take tom bombadil into the movie... I don't think they could have found anyone to be him, and really be him, I think... you can't just take some foolish actor and let him play this ultimate being...
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(as far as I remember now - I might be wrong - there's nothing concrete mentioned about their love until the fields of comallen)

There's a big hint in ROTK :

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'It is a gift that I bring you from the Lady of Rivendell,' answered Halbarad. 'She wrought it in secret, and long was the making. But she also sends word to you: "The days now are short. Either our hope cometh, or all hopes end. Therefore I send thee what I have made for thee. Fare well, Elfstone!"'
And Aragorn said: 'Now I know what you bear. Bear it still for me a while!' And he turned and looked away to the North under the great stars, and then he fell silent and spoke no more while the night's journey lasted.


And there's a big hint in FOTR :

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For the grim years were removed from the face of Aragorn, and he seemed clothed in white, a young lord tall and fair; and he spoke words in the Elvish tongue to one whom Frodo could not see. "Arwen vanimelda, namárië!" he said, and then he drew a breath, and returning out of his thought he looked at Frodo and smiled.
Tolkien put the love story in Appendix A as an after or fore thought, rather than bogging down his adventure story with this "mush" during the hobbits 'safe interlude' stay in Rivendell. Me thinks the Professor did it just right.
ok, I didn't remember those parts, therefor I haven't read the books often enough. forgive me my ignorance.
Don't worry, the first time i read LOTR, i didn't even realise that Arwen and Aragorn had something going on, until in the last chapters of LOTR, where Arwen came to Minas Tirith to be wed.
so that was about what happened to me, too. but I got the feeling there are tons of other things I haven't yet noticed... so, as I feel like reading tolkien at the moment instead of my stupid book-report-books, I think I'll read lotr again...
thats the beauty of it tho... you can read it again and again, and theres still bits that you missed...

or your like.. wow, didnt click..!!
Im thinking of two important things(there is quite a lot I would change, more I think about it I would probably change all the movie).First I would agree that FotR(SEE) is the best of the three movies and I would also like to see Glorfindel instead of Arwen.Second one would probably be whole Tom Bombadil part!!!

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I'm kinda glad they didn't take tom bombadil into the movie... I don't think they could have found anyone to be him, and really be him, I think... you can't just take some foolish actor and let him play this ultimate being...


I think whole lot of the cast was misscasted (especialy Haldir of Lorien though he is not important char but still)!!!
Exceptions are Ian McKellen,Christopher Lee and Cate Blanchet!!!
I still think Robin Williams could play a purely Tolkien Tom Bombadil, that is to say without playing Robin Williams hamming it up as a comic character, but as Robun Williams the serious actor being the character that the Professor wrote about in LotR and The Adventures of ...
I agree Grondmaster!!! Thumbs Up Smilie
if i could change something in FOTR, it would probably be Aragorn's sword, it should have been reforged in the FOTR just like in the book, many people who have only watched the films seem to view Anduril as just a sword, it should have been portrayed as a thing of great significance, in the two towers, Aragorn was very protective about it when he went to Rohan, it should have been forged again in the FOTR and and have been shown as something of great value
I viewed the films before I was given the LOTR set for Christmas so I was like a child in wonderland and loved it all. Of course once I read Tolkien I confess to being a little perplexed about some things and still am.Why PJ decided to have emnity between those of the Rohirrim and the White City I will never understand. The leaders aeons back had covenanted with one another high up on that sacred site, they watched out for one another and I felt that King Theoden's wrath and hurt against Denethor and his crowd was very upsetting and threw the story completely out of kilter. Why why why did he do that, surely even though he had to save time and all that he could have showed the truth.
And that whole bit about Haldir upset me.I don't get that. Well at anyrate I still like the shows very much, there is a lot of 'magical beauty' in them and I think Peter did quite a stunning job.
Still I wish that one could be as close to the writer's intent in movies as is possible. Otherwise it really isn't the story he or she created, now is it?
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The leaders aeons back had covenanted with one another high up on that sacred site, they watched out for one another and I felt that King Theoden's wrath and hurt against Denethor and his crowd was very upsetting and threw the story completely out of kilter.

Well, not aeons back. After the battle of the Fields of Celebrant, around 500 years before the War of the Ring.

Anyway, among many other things, Théoden's ire towards Gondor in the movies was simply absurd.

"Where was Gondor when my son died? Where was Gondor when the Westfold was attacked?" blablablah... => Answer : Gondor was busy with defending fighting off Sauron's forces in and around Osgiliath.
Did he not acuse gondor of something even in the books? Atleast i think he said something like that. But then again i have a bad memory and i dont have the books. I was looking for them just today but no book store had them What to do what to do!
Théoden's tirade came after Aragorn said "Gondor will come", in fact, which is an absolutely absurd comment as well, especially for a future King. Maybe that's why Captain Hill became so incensed.

King Théoden's mother was from Lossarnach, so he'd not even consider badmouthing the country of his mother. In fact, King Théoden was born in Gondor and spent the first years of his life there.

But as usual, PJ, or rather the persons who wrote the script, thought otherwise.
Thankyou for the correction about the time frame Vir.
And 'here here'. you are so right on.
Allright now im sure there is something wrong whit my head i cant remember anything!
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and i dont have the books. I was looking for them just today but no book store had them What to do what to do!
You might consider ordering them online or via the mail, or ask your book store to order them for you, which is the simplest if you don't have a credit card.
If I were limited to a single change, I would make it a broad change, and start the films off on the right foot. There are so many specific things that make me shift uncomfortably in my chair while I'm watching the films that I think it would be fatuous/moot to change any single one of them in an attempt to improve the storyline. I differ in opinion with Vir in that I would simply eliminate the "prologue" altogether, and just start the films off in the shire with Bilbo's birthday. But that would only be part of my change. My change would be to lead the audience much more gradually into the complexity and depth of the evil. The first film thrust the audience too immediately into the full horror of the situation, and the story plateaus and stagnates (and even degrades with Arwen's role) until well past Moria. In this spirit, Old Man Willow and the barrow wights would be a natural adjunct, and Gandalf would not have summoned Frodo to leave the Shire for many years after Bilbo's party. JRR knew how to build up the story and maintain a steady interest. PJ, not so much.
If I could change something that really bothers me, it would be that the TRUE characters said the words t hat PJ gave to others. That bugs me no end.They gave the line from Aragorn's own mother when she gave up hope and foretold her demise to her son, and a ton of others.
And I would have them have the right relationship between King Theoden and his people and Gondor, that was stupid and perplexing and changed the very fabric of the storyline.
If I could change something in the Prologue of FotR it will be a new scene of Celebrinbior forging the rings,In the First half of FotR wuld be Glorfindel.....you know. The second half of FotR is a deleted scene where Erond and Celeborn had a meeting( It would make the image of Celeborn less than an image of an nobody). In The two Towers I wish Haldir didn't die. In Return of the King I would have added Elladan and Elrohir in it and the Scourging of the Shire. And in one f the eleted seen Galadriel spoke in the Grey Heavens of Annatar and an image of Annatar came up. He looked rather nice ou know. And I forgot, in Rivendell Elrond tells the Hobbits of Beren and Luthien and that they could of slipped it in the movie. It would be pretty interesting.Big Smile Smilie
If I could change one thing I'd ditch PJ and hire John Boorman (check out Excalibur.) He, in turn, would do it without the ghastly computer-generated effects, and avoid all the numerous and cringe-inducing lapses of tone that permeate the movies as they stand:
1. Most egregious: Frodo falling for Gollum's crumby (!) framing of Sam and the latter's banishment.
2. The dwarf-tossing jokes.
3. Legolas as skate-board dude.
4. Gandalf's abominable mugging.
5. The butchering of the Ents' motivation.
6. The dopey conclusion to the Council of Elrond (Re-read the chapter in FOTR, and tell me what is gained by the change. So many of PJ's changes seem to be merely for the sake of change, i.e. pointless.)
7. Faramir.
8. The general trend throughout the movies was away from dignity and towards cheapness: cheap laughs, cheap thrills, cheap pathos.
9. Read Tolkien's reaction to Zimmerman's treatment in the Letters. Imagine his reaction to PJ's product. He somewhere in the letters, regarding a potential movie, writes that one must either settle for cash or kudos; ironically, he (or his estate) wound up with both, but I don't think he'd have been terribly pleased with the movies as they stand. Furthermore, we (or the world) are now stuck with them for at least another 30-40 years.
Now now, all PJ's changes were for the better.

'Better', as in, generating the greatest amount of moolah as quickly as possible.
If I, as a person who saw the Fellowship of the Ring movie before I read any of Tolkien's books, could change one thing about any of the movies it would be this: That it was filmed at all. Viewing just isn't the same thing as seeing. When you read a book, you "see" what is happening by understanding it through your own medium. When you "view" a movie you are impressed by the images that the film makers could create and how they are united with the story, your eyes become the processing medium instead of your thoughts.
Some movies do leap out at me as something beyond a visual impression, but the Fellowship of the Ring did not have that impression on me. It succeeded only in making me curious to see if there was more to what appeared to be some sort of epic journey. After reading the book, I had realized that the reason I didn't understand what I was reading was because the movie was just too limited. Time and money absorbing flashbacks would be the only way to give Tolkien's amazing amount of background information into a movie. Tolkien gives it to you in one sentence sometimes. Also, actors can only do so much. A written character has no human limitations, a description of words can look however an author wants the character to. Basically, I am trying to say that books are typically better than films beacuse they come more directly from the mind. The limitation of senses involved in reading empowers the mind and imagination to work freely, creating a much more personal and specific experience. You see it how the creator saw it first, in your mind. Sight is the only sense involved, and it serves merely to carry, rather than project. A gifted director can capture this effect occasionally, but it still obscures the personal touch that makes books so much more potent to me.

P.S. - Please don't have me stoned to death for seeing the movie before reading the books. I was young and impressionable, my firend wouldn't shut up about how great it was. I wanted to read the book, but I'm very picky and wanted to know if it would be good before beginning it. I mean, come on, who hasn't taken a peak at his or her Christmas presents the night before?

P.P.S. - I am aware that not everyone celebrates Christmas, and I'm sure whatever you celebrate is very important to you and a fine event.
Whether one sees the movie before reading the book or after is immaterial; having actually read the book is the important thing. Even if you first see the movie, when you latter read the book, your mind's eye will probably be filled with PJ's visions; however, Tolkien's words will probably modify many of those visions. If you see the movie second, and are able to suspend your mind's eye's preconcieved visions while watching the movie, you will enjoy it more. Though You may have to watch it more than once to do this. That's the way it happened to me anyway.

And the extended non-theatre version of all three movies are much better than the initial in-theatre versions as they have more explanatory content as well as greater character development.
I saw the movies before I was given the books as a gift, but I was able to enter into both and be swept away. I loved the visual of the movies, actually seeing something before my eyes, hearing persons speak etc. But the books were the real magic, I devoured every word and saw my own versions of what the characters looked and sounded like, the way Tolkien described the places and areas I also visualized quite differently than that of what I saw. I thoroughly loved and enjoyed both.
Obviously the two of you are my intellectual and imaginative superiors. I was really just expressing my regret that I had not encountered the books earlier, and I was railing against the lack of creativity present in films based on movies. The only original movies I ever seem to see are comedies, most of which I find present only to serve as a net to catch people, empty their pockets, and throw their impoverished bodies back. At least the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed long after the book was written and had been read by several generations. Other books were transferred to the reel only a few years after being written. Such as Harry Potter, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and Eragon. I have to admit that I never read or saw any installment of the latter two.

Bringing myself back to the core subject, I agree that the extended editions were better. I own all three. They sit on my shelf awaiting the day that I can forget nearly entirely about them, re-read the trilogy a few more times, and sit down for a re-creation of the feeling the long-time fans must have felt when the movies were first released.

I have to say that I was deeply disappointed by the constant attributing things said by one character to another. For instance when , in the conversation held between the newly restored King Theoden and Aragorn, Gimli, and Gandalf, Aeowyn suddenly explains what has happened thus far after the little girl asks' where's mama?' Aeowyn say the words, rick, cot and tree' , something like that. But it is Treebeard who says that. Why do they do things that way, it destroys the integrity of the project. It is one thing to change this or that to make things work in the medium of cineman, but if the producers, writers and the lot cannot even work things out so that the right people say the right things, what use is it. Just to make money.

And I have to agree one hundred per cent with Vir about the introduction. Shameful and right away it starts with misinformation and nonsense, no matter how dramatic and cool it might seem.

If I could change one thing I would trade my reality for the reality of fotr. I would change places with frodo preferably. The film is like family. I would love to live in middle earth. The shire. Rivendell. That would be awesome. But that's not "realistic". So I would change frodos eyes. I would make them a shade lighter blue. And Tom bombadil would have a scene too.

I agree with Sprodo that be awesome to change my reality with a character in LOTR, but I would switch with Gimili. I would definitely put the Scourging of the Shire in the movie cause was just plain awesome in ROTK.  

Wow., Vir and Elfstone. i was so absorbed i sat in a terrible position and now my shoulder is out and I have a headache. Vir, I cannot believe that you used the words, dude and no way Jose, it sounds so unlike you that I was really all astonishment for the longest time.

Elfstone, i never met, is he in music for real Am or Rednell or Anyone" And is his picture on our council page? What intelligent sparring, I guess being rather whimpy in my posts I never knew that we council members were ever allowed to spar like that. It was a good thing we had Grondy and Nel to deal with things. But how exciting!

The one thing I would change thinking about it this night is to put right the silly animosity in King Theoden for Gondor, where did that even come from, Rohan and Gondor historically were fast friends and helpers in times of trouble, what about the sacred pact made high up on that mountain top? That whole thing bewildered me and was upsetting.Iknow i mentioned it before but tonight it made a greater impact on me as I read through the thread and i feel it throws off the whole thing, just everything that follows does not connect.

Oh what a wonderful thread. I base my changes on things I would alter to Film which I Actually love and return to often.

In TFOTR I would have loved for more of Loth Laurien in the day time. The green wall, the view of Mirkwood and Dol Guldur from Frodo's first view of the realm from the high look out. It would have been a great segment as we are about to see The Necromancers hideous hide out in An Unexpected Journey.

In TTT I would have shown more of the Huorns rampaging and destroying the Uruks, after the wonderful scene of the charge or Eomers Rohirum outcasts, akin to the tree attack in the Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe. All we really see are some trees moving and the Uruk's runnin into them.

In ROTK I would have totally re shot the entrance of The Witch King into Minas Tirith and his power battle with Mithradir. In my version The Witch King ambles into the City after Grond has struck. Through the gates he slowly walks mounted on a truly hideously twisted and altered giant black horse " if horse it was" there met by Gandalf. They stand only metres apart. The Witch King holds his sword aloft. A cock crows. Gandalf holdS his white staff high. The Witch Kings sword erupts into sickly flame. Gandalf is engulfed in a halo of light and simply stares at the King of Evil Undead and then we hear them..... The Horns Of Gondor! The flames go out. The Witch King feels doubt. He turns his steed with a scream of astonishment. Gandalf takes a deep breath. The Witch King returns to the battle.

Those things truly would have lifted the movie to such lofty and incredible heights. I honestly think to gloss over so much of a person's canon and have the audience, many of whom will never crack open a book, bereft of the depth of the book, the incredible genius of the way things were put together, the richness of the characters, to have them bereft of all this makes the entire venture worthless almost. I mean i  am grateful of course for that much we have, but to me it is like being grateful for crackers when all the time the hostess could have fed me nourishing healthy food and plenty of it. Depressing.

At the beginning of march we will be able to address any of the three movies and say what we would have changed, but only one thing per post to be true to the title Elfstone created.

While we are discussing such things , I think PJ is sometimes hard done by unfairly. I only just re read the chapter Mount Doom. On page 921 we read a description of The Great Eye. Quote - One moment only it stared out...as from some great window immeasurably high there stabbed northward a flame of red, the flicker of a piercing Eye... The Eye was not turned on them, it was gazing north...but Frodo at that dreadful glimpse fell as one stricken mortally. I think it's clear that that is the manifestation we saw in the films. Well perhaps PJ may have revealed the eye sooner than in the books, however I for one owe him an apology.

That is quite true Brego, I never understood why there was a fuss and if you are reading this Sir Peter Jackson, please forgive us for being judgemental and falsely charging you with things you did not do.

And while I am on the subject, I am only speaking from a purist point of view, for to me John Ronald Ruel Tolkien is not only a great man, philologist, but he is my brother because of our Catholic background. So to me it is rather as if someone messed about with my brother's things. But aside from that I think the movies are sumptuous and breathtaking just as awesome once in a life time movies. Just not true to the heart of the creator of it all.

Nice to hear Dear Lee Lee. For me JRRR will always be a Grandfather figue as I never met my blood Grandfathers as they sadly both died young. I don't know how many of you have seen the fabulous TV show Downton Abbey? It is sumptuous and set of course in a village in England in the early 1900's. It's during WW1 that our favourite processor starting writing his great legend. I keep expecting him to walk on screen and take part in an episode. I thourougly recommend it.

Brego wrote: While we are discussing such things , I think PJ is sometimes hard done by unfairly. I only just re read the chapter Mount Doom. On page 921 we read a description of The Great Eye. Quote - One moment only it stared out...as from some great window immeasurably high there stabbed northward a flame of red, the flicker of a piercing Eye... The Eye was not turned on them, it was gazing north...but Frodo at that dreadful glimpse fell as one stricken mortally. I think it's clear that that is the manifestation we saw in the films. Well perhaps PJ may have revealed the eye sooner than in the books, however I for one owe him an apology.  

 

First, I disagree that the initial sentence refers to the Eye. The fuller context reveals that for a moment the mantling clouds drew aside, and Frodo saw...

'... and then he saw, rising black, blacker and darker than the vast shades amid which it stood, the cruel pinnacles and iron crown of the topmost tower of Barad-dur. One moment only it stared out, but as from some great window immeasurably high there stabbed northward a flame of red, the flicker of a piercing Eye; and then the shadows were furled again and the terrible vision removed.'

 

The tower itself is said to 'stare' out of the clouds, for a moment (I note the repetition of this word with respect to the clouds) -- but -- as from some window, Frodo also 'sees' a stabbing flame (which he perceives to be the flicker of an Eye), before the terrible 'vision' is removed.

 

In any case, readers will be well aware of the image of the Eye from the books, yet nowhere in the books is the Eye presented as some sort of huge 'searchlight' atop the Dark Tower, a fairly absurd image in my opinion, when presented consistently in this way...

 

... with the more important point being: it is objectively presented in this way in the films -- that is, the film audience consistently sees a large 'electric' Eye atop Barad-dur as if it is really there, as opposed to being seen through one of the characters, or as a vision in Galadriel's mirror, or a seeing-stone, for example.

 

And along with the incorrect notion that Sauron was bodiless in the Third Age, the impression could easily be that Sauron is a large eye, or possibly projects such an image atop his tower to physically see in some way.

 

In my opinion Tolkien's treatment of the Eye is very different from 'Sauron, the objectively viewed lighthouse', and I don't recall any criticism of Jackson here based simply on the fact that he portrayed the image of an Eye in his films. No doubt the written word presents a challenge here, but again not an insurmountable one as far as the medium of film goes, in my opinion.

 

I would think the image of the Eye is expected from even the purest purist; but once again, how Jackson chose to portray the Eye however, in various scenes, is a different story.

hmm, now i must go and read it and before and after and see if Tolkien himself explains any of this. Some of his work I find rather open to interpretation. Oh well...back to print.

All true Galin.  However its up to the readers vision whilst reading and re reading and I have to say that my approximation was not far off PJ's.... 

I don't know if I have contributed to this thread already or not (I am disinclined to read posts from 2005), but the one thing I would like changed in the movies is the characterisation of some of the characters (I seem to recall, that some years ago we actually had a thread entitled 'if fictional characters could sue' and I may have already expressed an opinion there).

Elrond disturbs me the most. Where is the person who laughs at Bilbo's cheeky (but I suspect affectionate) banter or who has such compassion for the suffering of others, such as Frodo or who grieves for the loss of loved ones. Would have liked to have seen some of that.

Gimli. Wise and clever relegated to comic relief. A bit of a shame, if very entertaining.

Galadriel getting touchy feely even with non-elves? Makes me a bit uncomfortable.

Celeborn. would have liked to see some of his fiestiness. His reaction to Gimli in Lorien was almost legendary after all.

Having said all that, I think Arwen's character was significantly improved. Modern audiences want more strong women. In fact, much of the above can be forgiven on her account.

Incidentally Brego, we had a discussion about the Eye and the film as recently as September and October 2011, in which you wrote...

(...) If you were to portray this image, how would you make it threatening and powerful?  An actual eye looking out a window on top of Barad Dur, or looking into a Palantir, or an invisible power? 

 

Wasn't this -- 'An actual eye looking out a window on top of Barad-dur' -- in reference to this passage (now under discussion) from the books? 

Yes I remember that Galin.  I was trying to explain how in film it is fiendishly difficult to show in a few seconds the meaning a a few beautifully written words and that every reader visualizes a different thing while reading.  At that stage I had forgotten about the description quoted above from the ROTK.  Having recently re-read it I remembered the thread and commented here in this thread as we were talking re changes we would make to the films.  I stand by what I say above but respect that others see and feel differently.  Having said that I was also struck by how faithful to the book is the destruction of Mordor, Towers, Buildings and Volcano after Gollum carries the ring to its doom.  I think the hopelessness of the Dark Armies plight is well expressed in the Trolls face as he look back over his shoulder and sees Mount Doom blow its top as the company cheery "Frodo!"

Er, perhaps I shall leave you two to gently spar, this seems 'man's work'.

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