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Thread: The Ring's Destruction - Jackson's Method

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The great thing about Tolkien's LotR (and The Hobbit for that matter), is that he wrote it specifically for a general audience that included agnostics and atheists. He wanted it to have Universal appeal. Thus, the aspect of Providence in the destruction of the Ring is clear enough for those looking for it, but not so obvious as to put off the irreligious.

Jackson carried this over brilliantly to the film version. It's there for those paying attention to it. The struggle for the Ring may have had different details in the film, but it is basically the same. There is a struggle, Gollum finally snatches the Ring and falls into the lava pit. Both Frodo and Gollum were necessary to ensure the Ring's destruction. None could have willingly cast it in (though only a Baggins could bear it long enough to reach Mt Doom).

Now Eldorion, I'm surprised at you :o . In no way does Jackson's version imply that Frodo "murdered" Gollum, "toned down" or otherwise :P . Gollum is the clear attacker after following them to Mt Doom to steal back the Ring. In the ensuing struggle, either one could have toppled into the pit. It just happened that Gollum fell in, but Frodo managed to grasp the ledge.

Blow by blow: Frodo turns invisible, Gollum jumps him and Gnaws off his finger then dances around, Frodo grapples Gollum for the Ring, BOTH topple over the edge. The struggle was MUTUAL, yet Frodo survives and Gollum Dies, taking the Ring with him.

This can be clearly identified as Providence by those who paid attention to the key lines of dialogue indicating such throughout the films. Yet if one is not so inclined, it could just be viewed as Fortunate Chance...just as in Tolkien's version <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> .

On this one I can't agree with your analysis GB. For me the problem with Jacksons version is the Providence is not clear enough and (and i hope I'm remembering this aright) after Gollum retakes the ring Frodo gets up from ground and goes for him/ring- either way this extra bit of aggression from Frodo is not present in any form in the book (where Frodo remains on the ground until after ring is destroyed).
For me it is the shot in particular Jackson uses of Frodo almost snarling as he gets up lurching for the ring in Gollums possession that's the problem. Jackson makes Frodo the aggressor right at the end. For me its not in the spirit of the character from the book and I think it's one of the things Tolkien may have disliked about the films if he'd lived to see them.
[quote="Gandalfs Beard":3ih6jaop]it is basically the same. There is a struggle, Gollum finally snatches the Ring and falls into the lava pit. Both Frodo and Gollum were necessary to ensure the Ring's destruction.[/quote:3ih6jaop]

The difference though (I agree with pettytyrant101 here) is that the film has a two-part struggle. First, as in the book, Gollum captures the Ring; but then Frodo gets back up and the second part of the struggle results in both falling off the edge and Gollum dying. One can find the role of providence there if one likes, but it also gives Frodo a much more active role in the destruction of the Ring, downplaying the role of providence.

[quote:3ih6jaop]In no way does Jackson's version imply that Frodo "murdered" Gollum, "toned down" or otherwise :P . Gollum is the clear attacker after following them to Mt Doom to steal back the Ring.[/quote:3ih6jaop]

I was probably unclear here, so please let me explain. In the earlier versions of the scene Frodo did clearly shove Gollum off the end, but PJ removed that. ('Toned down' was a poor choice of words on my part :oops: ). He still gives Frodo more of a role though.

[b:3ih6jaop]BTW[/b:3ih6jaop], I'm sorry for taking a while to respond; my laptop is refusing to work so I'm only able to come on with my mobile or on a shared computer. The mobile isn't really great for writing long posts so I had to wait to get to borrow a computer. I hope to be on more actively again soon. <img src='/images/smileys/smile.gif' border='0' alt='Smile Smilie' />
I had a great rebuttal earlier, but I had to go to work at 6 this morning and now I'm too tired :roll: . I WILL be back :lol: (eventually).

You really have to look at the movie appendices to understand what Jackson and company were aiming for. As someone noted earlier, they originally had Frodo pushing Gollum in, then felt that did violence to the character of Frodo and edited it into a struggle where they go down together. In any case they felt Frodo *had* to go over the edge in order to add a dramatic climax, where he made the choice to live. Gollum slipping and falling in wouldn't have worked after that beautiful scene where Gollum realizes he finally has the ring for himself. The book did it in half a sentence; the movie stretched it out with slow motion and music, which felt appropriate. A slip and fall after that would have come off as comical. They'd have to slow it way down even more to throw off the comic timing.

I do feel it muddied Tolkien's message of cosmological providence having a hand in the destruction of the ring, but cosmological providence is sort of hard to capture on film.
I think there must be some kind of confusion about what qualifies as Providence.

First, Eldo and Petty, it makes not a whit of difference whether or not there is a One part, Two part, or 15 part, struggle <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> . The destruction of the Ring required a struggle, Period; and Providence provided it. How? by choosing Smeagol, Bilbo, and Frodo to be Ring-bearers.

Halfwise (wisely :mrgreen: ) points to the reasons the book version of the struggle would not work on-screen. Most people who hadn't read the books would have found it a comically anticlimactic let-down if, after all that effort to get to Mt Doom, the Ring was destroyed because Gollum was dancing on the edge with glee. A grander, more epic struggle was required for the film.

However, this in no way minimizes Providence Halfwise. If anything, the extended struggle actually enhances the perception of Providence by making it clear that the Ring could not be destroyed by an Act of Will. A merely accidental slip and fall could be more easily chalked up to a Random Act of Chance. But by battling on the ledge of of the lava pit, Frodo and Gollum are fulfilling their destined roles. And when they BOTH topple over the edge and Frodo Lives while Gollum dies, it couldn't be more clear that a Greater Power has a hand in the proceedings.

Thus, Jackson actually [i:2k5xnv5g][b:2k5xnv5g]strengthens[/b:2k5xnv5g][/i:2k5xnv5g] Tolkien's intended Climactic Theme, which he had been building on throughout the films by including key dialogue and elements from the books that point to a "Higher Power".

And for the record: I am an Agnostic, so I cannot be accused of having a Theological axe to grind :roll: . But I have spent years studying Mythology, Religion and Philosophy and I recognize Providence when I see it <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> .

I still think Providence is not going to be in the minds of the average film viewer upon watching that scene, sorry, I know PJ puts in references throughout that hint at a guiding hand but it is nowhere near as clear as it is in the book by the same point in the narrative (and maybe in film never could be).
As to the struggle and the ledge bit- I still think it has more to do with the Hollywood maxim if there's a ledge (particulary over something dangerous like lava) your hero has to dangle off it. After all its so common in film its entered the language as a byword for suspense - a cliffhanger- I was disappointed by the ledge bit as much for reasons of boring film conformity as by any offence at changing Tolkiens outcome. I thought it was a cheap dramatic device that was the epitomy for me of all that was wrong about the adaptions.
Gaaaah! Yes, I agree that many film-goers who aren't theologians aren't going to pick up on Providence--that was part of my point. But the other part of my point is that it is patently obvious to those that are looking for it.


P.S. While I acknowledge that the dangling from a cliff device is a common filmic practice, I respectfully disagree that it is a cheap shot. It's a common dramatic device because it WORKS. And it works particularly well in that scene. I would have been disappointed with anything less.
Mr Pettytyrant, I'm with you on all this. My point would be: a great book needs to be filmed by a great director. Pete is very good, but if you want nuance and truly compelling scenes, you need someone who sees movies as more than a series of gimmicks and sword fights.

Millions upon millions loved the way Tolkien did it. We just needed someone with the confidence to take a risk and film it like it should have been filmed. We needed someone with Sam-like trust and courage! Someone who, if Tolkien's great works landed on his or her desk nowadays, would have the confidence to publish them!

What upsets me the most is that they're going to do it all again, this time to The Hobbit - and the damage done will be even worse! Yes, it might be okay with Tolkien Liberals like GB and his ilk to macerate Tolkien's vision, and also for people who wouldn't even bother to open a book even if Miranda Kerr was the centerfold (I always open books just on this off-chance) to go watch a comical-adventure-everything-in-the-effects movie, but for people who genuinely respect Tolkien, the mere idea is truly heart breaking....

Sorry... I have to log off now... my tears are dripping on the keyboard...

I think Odo we may be of a similar mind when it comes to where PJ went wrong. He seems to have performed a sort of reverse filmic alchemy on Tolkien, turning all his high matter into base matter- Legolas single handily hopping about and killing a Mumakil and surfing down its snout! Frodo rejecting Sam and sending him away in favour of Gollum. Faramir taking the ringbearer to Osgiliath. Frodo dangling from the Crack of Doom. I could go on listing examples, sadly, but I think the point is made- these changes can be defended but only on the grounds you are pandering to studio expectations of what people are willing to accept- I think the continued success of the books should have told PJ people were happy with the story as it was, not taken it as a licence to meddle as they saw fit and where it suited their preconceptions of an audiences thresholds.
The production, the costumes, the sets are all outstanding- the script is a disgrace. And for me that's the tragedy- everything else is as good as could have been wished for but the heart of it is gone, sold down the commercial river.
It saddens me that for many people those films will for ever be Lord of the Rings- now [i:eh3it3qh]I'm[/i:eh3it3qh] crying over my keyboard.
At last! Someone who understands! (Well, [i:2b4opvpj]someone [/i:2b4opvpj]else - Eldorion is a Pure Soul too). Oh me, suddenly I want to become a noble Scot, traipsing around the Highlands in my skirt-like kilt with my best girl by my side...!

Hear me shout from atop the glen above the loch: "Och ne noogy, nin-ninny, shimmy-shammy-shoo, up the glen wi me fair wee Nellie...!"

Nah... It's probably better for everyone if I stay Australian.

I have only one proviso with what you've said. I actually think some of the scripting was spot on, where it stuck as close to the text as filmographically possible. This to me only makes things worse. It showed with pristine clarity how good Tolkien's depictions were and that they could be filmed properly! For instance, the idea of Gollum dancing around in glee and falling off the edge was brilliant and I really can imagine that scene! To me it would had been just about the easiest scene from the book to film - and would have been among the best to watch! But no... it had to be souped-up... aargh!

Hey! And all this discussion about The Method of the Ring being Destroyed - it's balderdash! Gollum falls in, disappears into the fiery lava, suddenly everything starts to go boom... Why do we need more? The Ring was just a Ring. Sauron's tower collapsing was the true manifestation of his Fall - and the whole point! All Sauron's Power and Malice was in the Ring. Yes! Sauron's Destruction was the point! I'll say it again: the ring was just a ring! When I was reading the book, I did not sit there for twenty rapt seconds imagining how it looked as it melted. That seemed totally irrelevant. It fell into a Volcano, for God's sake! The fires of Mount Doom was the only power that could destroy the Ring. Not the [i:2b4opvpj]"only power that could destroy it, though only after a fair bit of effort." [/i:2b4opvpj]

I sadly confess, that I liked Legolas and the Mumilkil - though I agree with you one hundred percent it should have been in another film altogether! PJ should have made two movies, in fact, the LotR and [i:2b4opvpj]"PJ's Very Vaguely Tolkienish Fantasy Movie." [/i:2b4opvpj]

Stop it you two, now you're making me cry :cry: . There, there now...*virtual pat on the shoulders*...all is not as bad as it seems.

You still have the books. And the film-script is not as dire as you make it out to be. Those of us who carry the books in our heart have the double joy of seeing some of our imagination brought to life, even if not to all our expectations. The alterations are not nearly so great as to topple Tolkien's Edifice. And we shouldn't be sad for those that didn't read the books. Tolkien's Story is what made the films the commercial success they are in the hands of an imaginative director. It could have been REALLY BAD (as in Michael Bay or George Lucas directing :P ).

Yes - Tolkien's story made the film a commercial success! Only we got much more than less than half of it! That's our point!

PJ traded on Tolkien's fame - but he did not respect or trust Tolkien's story enough! I also suspect he wanted his puny "creative" ideas to be forever linked with Tolkien's 'great' ideas!

It's like MacDonalds making their version of Lembas and all us Stoors from Rushock Bog (below Needlehole) thinking it's actual Lembas! See how deep go the ramifications.

As to us having both versions to... would you say 'cherish', GB, I bet you would! Yes, that would be something a Liberal with Heathen leanings would say! Cherish, my sweet rounded ass! I'll tell you now, when I read Tolkien I keep having images from PJ's substandard pro-creations flashing up! Tainted! I feel [i:io80p3c8]tainted[/i:io80p3c8]!

As to folk who'll never 'read' Tolkien - they don't deserve to 'see' Tolkien. (Mind you, with the movies, those Heathens get what they deserve!)


Have to rest now.... now where did I put those anti-anxiety pills....?
Ok I admit calling the entire script a disgrace was a bit strong- but that's how parts of it make me feel, like my bloods boiling- where it sticks close to the source (large chunks of Fellowship) it works as well as I could have hoped (although I'd still liked to have seen less "modernising" of the dialogue but that's a smaller issue -sort of), but where PJ and co take a flight of fancy and think they can "improve" Tolkien it is a disgrace- I listed some of those disgraces previously but I think its worth dwelling on one of the ones that bugs me most, because it perfectly illustrates how these changes betray a complete misunderstanding of the source material (warning this may get technical!)
Lets take Faramir and his capture of Frodo. Almost all the main players in the book get a shot at seizing the Ring and some succumb and some don't (most don't, interestingly) the difference between the two is outright rejection. Gandalf, Aragorn, Galadriel,Faramir, and Sam all reject the ring when their turn comes and they never look back. Those who don't, Boromir being a good example, the ring works on, feeding their delusions and sneaking into their mind until the moment comes when they will try to seize it. Had Faramir not rejected the ring and captured Frodo then gone on a long march to MInas Tirith by time they reached Osgiliath he would not have let the ring go. And within the context even of their own script the part where Faramir chooses to release Frodo after witnessing him trying to give the ring to the Nazgul makes even less sense- there is no excuse for this sort of change within the narrative. Plus it wastes a remarkable amount of time in an adaptation where its going to be impossible to get all the source material in as it stands. So those who defend PJ's changes should consider their purpose which has nothing to do with Tolkien and everything to do with conceptions of what a mass audience wants- and that's a shame cause Tolkien proved if you write what you really want to and love, it doesn't have to conform in any way to be a success. Pj should have trusted his source far more than he did.
If they ever try to make LOTR again they should come here for help with the script! Hopefully it would be for tv- 20 episodes, 1 hour each easily be able to do the books justice!
Is there an echo in this house? Well said, Mr Tyrant.

An echo of appreciation only - I wondered where I got that phrase about trust from! Take it as a compliment your comment stuck so firmly in my mind that it wormed its way into my own arguement! (Besides that sounds better than plagiarism!)
And isn't plagiarism the highest form of flattery anyway?

Only if some swine isn't making money out your words! Sadly nobody has been kind enough to pay me for my words- yet.
I always suspect I'm plagiarizing a plagiarizer - but I haven't derived a profit yet, either. Maybe it's a sad sign of the times!

Um... wasn't this thread about a ring being melted or something.....?

Yes it is but dare I say, from the recent lack of critical counter comments we Tolkien purists may have won the arguement with our fine array of points raised and silenced the heathen PJ lovers!
And if that doesn't bring em back out the woodwork don't know what will - looking at you here GB seen as your are (courageously) the only willing spokesman for the PJ apologists brigade at moment. (Did you previously destroy all the others Odo?)
Oh, I am just having fun sitting idly by chuckling at the complete lack of Thread Topic discipline :roll: :lol: .

My case is my case, I have made it several times and it stands just fine :P (thank you very much). My main ally Beren is MIA. And I really have little more to add at this time; thus, pray continue with the non-sequiturs <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> .

Dear Tyrant, I think I've worn some of those Liberals and Heathens down over time. I guess my method is a bit like the Chinese water torture.I also never rely on logic unless it makes sense, nor do I refrain from making up ridiculous statements if it deflects them away from any lack of facts I might have to support my arguments. It's a tried and true method in politics, I do believe. As you'd be aware, winning the Tolkien Purism argument is almost, but not quite as important, as actually winning the argument full stop. (But stay alert! They're still lurking out there... somewhere... like goblins...)

Dear GB, you'd been gone so long I thought you'd died and gone to Heaven, which saddened me because that would mean I'd never be able to chat with you ever again (unless of course you were appointed Gate-Angel at Hell's Portico, I guess). Now... seeing you're here... back to business! Please don't use French words in future. I don't speak French! I don't now what a non-sequitur is (though you may have just spelt it wrong?) Or did you mean a numb-secateur? These are words that sound French too and yet I at least recognise them as units of English language (from the French?). But what do you mean by them? How do they serve your argument? (I hope you're not utilizing them as some kind of [i:10x3fo2j]cutting [/i:10x3fo2j]remark - boom boom!)

Actually its a Latin word :P .

Non sequitur
This article is about the rhetoric device. For other uses of the term, see Non sequitur (disambiguation).
A non sequitur (pronounced /?n?n?si?kw?t?r or ?n?n?s?kw?t?r/) is a conversational and literary device, often used for comedic purposes (as opposed to its use in formal logic). It is a comment which, due to its apparent lack of meaning relative to what it follows,[1] seems absurd to the point of being humorous or confusing, as in the following joke:
Q: How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Fish.
The use of non sequitur in humor can be deliberate or unintentional. Literally, the expression is Latin for "it does not follow."[2] In other literature, a non sequitur can denote an abrupt, illogical, unexpected or absurd turn of plot or dialogue not normally associated with or appropriate to that preceding it. It is a type of logical fallacy.
The non sequitur can be understood as the converse of clich’. Traditional comedy and drama can depend on the ritualization and predictability of human emotional experiences, where the Theatre of the Absurd uses disjunction and unpredictability. The New Yorker magazine is popular for their use of non sequitur one-liners in their comics.

[b:1sa0lqnj]Merriam Webster:[/b:1sa0lqnj]
Main Entry: non se’qui’tur
Pronunciation: ?n’n-?se-kw?-t?r also -?tu?r
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin, it does not follow
Date: 1540
1 : an inference that does not follow from the premises; specifically : a fallacy resulting from a simple conversion of a universal affirmative proposition or from the transposition of a condition and its consequent
2 : a statement (as a response) that does not follow logically from or is not clearly related to anything previously said
<img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> :mrgreen: :ugeek:

So a non sequitur is a kind of fish, is it?

GB, I really don't know how that's relevant.

PS: I see no reason to keep repeating my argument time and again in a narrow time frame, especially when I'm ahead :P . No-one has adequately refuted my objective demonstration that Providence is perfectly clear in Jackson's version of the Ring's destruction, if not more-so than the original version.

Rather, the opposition argument has resorted to bewailing the fact that Jackson didn't film the scene word for word from the book :roll: . Which is true, but is a rather subjective Red Herring (subjective in the sense that whether one likes or dislikes the adaptive techniques employed is entirely up to the individual).

But, if you two would rather banter about plagiarism (and being PC and Scots and Kilts and Ozzies on certain other threads <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> )and fill up paragraphs with Red Herrings that cannot be countered with rational arguments, then be my guests :mrgreen: . I find it very entertaining :lol: .

Hows that for fish for ya eh? :P

Fishy, if you ask me - and certainly not cogent argument!

Frodo trying to grab the ring was plain wrongedness! And certainly not necessary. And generally a bad idea smelling (metaphorically)of rotting fish Ha! Touche! (That's French, so there!)(I don't mean [i:2d13fs42]metaphorically[/i:2d13fs42], on this occasion, in its strict nasal sense, only indirectly).

Btw I think it quite Racist of you to snub kilts! (I myself admire and respect any man with legs nice enough to shamelessly show them off in all weathers - especially when the wind is gusting up the glen!)

To return to the French: Au Contraire Mon Frere--I neither implied nor stated a snub of Kilts <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> . I've been known to enjoy a kilt or two in my day (but I didn't have the huevos [that's Spanish :P ] to go Full Scot by Freeballing it :lol: ).

Again, Frodo grabbing for the Ring is consistent with his overwhelming desire to keep the Ring and struggle with Gollum for it. There is no deviation from the essence of Tolkien's scene.

Aha! Mon frew, ooo la la, c'est me Kate (French), but Frodo didna grab at och nellie ring (Scots)!So,son, whywouldyaputsumpininzaflickthatweren'tinzabook? Nah mate! Don'tmakenosense!(Australian commonsense).


Didn't know I was linguistic, did you, GB? (Neither did I until I tried it, but i shouldn't have been surprised, we Australians are never daunted by a challenge).
Right time to confront this Ring destruction lark. But perhaps from a new angle. I don't think we are going to square this circle between the purists and the rest so instead I will simply lay out what I think supports my arguement. Which is, that the scene fails to understand how Providence is demonstrated in the book and why the ledge bit is merely for added drama and goes fundamentally against Tolkiens underlying message in the scene.
Frodo struggling to regain the ring with Gollum undermines one of the main things Tolkien was trying to say about moral courage. "At that last moment the pressure of the ring would reach its maximum-impossible..for any to resist. Frodo..had spent himself completely(as an instrument of Providence) and had produced a situation in which the object of his quest could be achieved." Letters 246 . "Produced a situation." In other words Frodo as an agent of Providence has spent (sacrificed) himself in completing his task, which was to bring the Ring to the one place where it could be destroyed and the one place he was incapable of resisting or destroying it. That was all of his task. His displays of repeated mercy to Gollum were rewarded because Gollum was still alive to seize the Ring and acting, again according to Providence, he fell into the Cracks and the Ring was destroyed. Wether the viewer consciously understands this or not is not important- many who read the books miss it- but in adaptations you have a duty to honour what the author was saying, what his meaning was. PJ claimed he was making changes but honouring the spirit clearly he was not.
The failure of the ledge scene is in undermining what Tolkien says in moral terms about Frodo. Frodo never gives up the Ring, he claims it. With the ledge scene PJ offers Frodo a choice, to follow the Ring into the lava or return to hope, he chooses hope. Frodo of the book does not- he chooses the Ring. It is for this reason he is given passage from the Grey Havens."He had not...cast away the Ring...he was tempted to regret its destruction, and still to desire it...Frodo was sent..over the sea to heal him..before he died." Ltrs 246. All the symptoms Frodo displays after the Rings destruction stem from that choice- PJ throws this away in favour of some heightened drama, a cheer from the audience and a comfortable, clear cut good moral choice from Frodo. But it fails Tolkiens ideals miserably.
Wonderfully put.
Oh Please, It's perfectly obvious from Jackson's version of the battle that Frodo chose the Ring :roll: , if not MORE-SO. And he WAS about to let go of the ledge and follow Gollum into the pit. However; the Ring was destroyed at that point of the film, and it's grasp no longer totally controlling Frodo's Will.

And in the film, prior to the fall, Frodo's Will had indeed been utterly spent (just like in the Book), but Providence has nothing to do with an individual's Will, it is God's (or the Gods's) Will that it refers to. Again, without the Individual Will in charge, Providence becomes even more discernible.

So, a brilliant attempt at recovery Petty :mrgreen: :ugeek: . That was a particularly good argument, but it still doesn't fly <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> .

It does not fly - it flitters prettily on the butterfly wings of sweet reason. Oh how little your eyes see, GB, and then only the most banal even then (I mean this kindly).
Sure I already posted this, but doesnt seem to have appeared so will state it again. I'm throwing down the gauntlet to you GB. I was expecting more meat on the bones of your arguement. At least attempt to address the points I raised rather than just restating your old arguement without back up supported by the text or Tolkien.
PS in case you mistake my tone- I'm not trying to provoke a fight merely a good solid debate. So lets hear from the defence!
The thing is Petty, I'm not questioning your characterization of canon. Indeed I accept it and willingly concede it's veracity. It's your characterization of Providence I question, and thus your dismissal of Jackson's version and characterizing it as being somehow antithetical to Tolkien's :mrgreen: .

I make no attempt to characterise Providence, I am attempting to convey in his own words Tolkiens feelings on Providence at the point of the rings destruction (which is the job PJ as adaptor should have been doing)which cleary in its underlying meanings (and especially in what Frodo's choices mean for him) PJ fundementally alters. I fail to see how logically you can acknowledge this whilst at the same time argueing PJ not only maintains these themes but somehow makes them more obvious with his changes.
Then we'll have to agree to disagree <img src='/images/smileys/smile.gif' border='0' alt='Smile Smilie' /> .

In my view, Jackson's changes make Providence more obvious, not less. Therefore I don't see him as altering the themes, merely the scenario.

In any case, Jolly Good Show Petty!!! :mrgreen:

No, GB, don't give in to him, I suspect he's just a big bully! You must stand up to him!
Come on, Mr Tyrant, don't let him slink off like this! Chase after him and give him a piece of your mind!
As Petty said, no point repeating ourselves :mrgreen: , for me the question here fundamentally rests on my (accurate <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> ) definition of Providence, and for Petty it rests on Tolkien's description of it in his letter: "Frodo..had spent himself completely[b:kcgbuto3] (as an instrument of Providence)[/b:kcgbuto3]...". Now, I would have to read the entire letter before I could analyse whether that is an accurate quote (for now I accept that it is, until such a time as I can analyse it for myself), or whether Tolkien truly meant what Petty says he meant about the role of Providence in the context of the situation he created.

So for now, we'll just have to wait for a Noob to get things started again (WOW, that's the quickest anyone's gone from Noob to Leet here :o ).

I know neither what a Noob or a Leet is, but never mind, the important thing is to give that Scottish git a right royal British-American drubbing! March forth GB! (But be careful, they're a canny race, let's not have any Bannockburns here).
Well, I'm searching online for a more complete section of letter 246 right now. I'll return when I've found it and compared it to some of my points. I'm not so sure that the quoted sections actually contradict my points, but I want a bit more context to be certain.

Take the time you need GB! I look forward to reading what you come up with (and then destroying it in the name of Tolkien)!
Will this be Queensbury Rules, or a street fight? Not that I'm encouraging violence... as it would not be very PC of me.
Alrighty Then Petty!!! :mrgreen:

After some second thoughts I wanted to give your thoughtful argument the attention it deserved, and analyse the Tolkien quote in greater context. I found a more sizable chunk of letter 246 and also relevant sections of letter 181 (I don't personally own Humphrey Carpenter's collection of Tolkien letters and it's been a number of years since I read it).

At this point it's worth noting the Theological views of Tolkien because as a Roman Catholic he clearly was no "Calvinist" <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> . Much like his Anglican friend CS Lewis, he believed that Mankind (and by extension Hobbitkind) had Free Will. Most Calvinist Theologians (at least the ones at Narniaweb :lol: ) gently mock this view with the term "Free Willie", because their view essentially deprives Mankind of any REAL Free Will. God not only knows all that will be, but ACTIVELY Predestines all that will be.

Catholics and Anglicans (for the most part) see God as stepping back and allowing Sentient beings to Choose whether or not to follow His Plan. This is particularly relevant, because it means that for "Calvinist" Protestants Providence is so ubiquitous as to be nearly meaningless (EVERYTHING is God's Will); and that for Catholics, Providence works in a more subtle manner.

In their case, Providence is still God's Will (which is the Highest), but it acts "situationally". In other words, one can choose to act against God's Will or for a path that [i:3ei8gzmq][b:3ei8gzmq]coincides[/b:3ei8gzmq][/i:3ei8gzmq] with God's Will. And only when one's Own Will is depleted is Providence at Full Strength.

[quote:3ei8gzmq] [b:3ei8gzmq]letter 246:[/b:3ei8gzmq]
"[u:3ei8gzmq]At the last moment the pressure of the Ring would reach its maximum -- impossible, I should have said, for any one to resist[/u:3ei8gzmq], certainly after long possession, months of increasing torment, and when starved and exhausted. [b:3ei8gzmq]Frodo had done what he could and spent himself completely (as an instrument of Providence)[/b:3ei8gzmq] and had produced a situation in which the object of his quest could be achieved. His humility (with which he began) and his sufferings were justly rewarded by the highest honor; and his exercise of patience and mercy towards Gollum gained him Mercy: his failure was redressed."[/quote:3ei8gzmq]

[quote:3ei8gzmq][b:3ei8gzmq]letter 181:[/b:3ei8gzmq]
Frodo was in such a position: an apparently complete trap: [u:3ei8gzmq]a person of greater native power could probably never have resisted the Ring's lure to power so long; a person of less power could not hope to resist it in the final decision[/u:3ei8gzmq]. (Already Frodo had been unwilling to hard (sic) the Ring before he set out, and was incapable of surrendering it to Sam.)

The Quest . . . was bound to fail as a piece of world-plan, and also was bound to end in disaster as the story of humble Frodo's development to the 'noble', his sanctification. Fail it would and did as far as Frodo considered alone was concerned. He 'apostatized' -- and I have had one savage letter, crying out that he should have been executed as a traitor, not honoured. . . .

Thus, the moment Frodo's Will was completely subsumed by The Ring, he ceased to be an Active Agent of Providence. His Will (as was Gollum's) was at that point "utterly spent". He had completed his Quest (i.e. "produced a situation"Wink Smilie--get the Ring to Mt Doom--and could do no more than that, no-one could (which means he is NOT a "failed Hero" as so many erroneously believe, including Frodo himself). So the only Force greater than the Ring's Will, [b:3ei8gzmq]at that point[/b:3ei8gzmq], was Eru's Will, i.e. Providence, which shifted the odds in favour of Frodo, and against the Ring and Gollum.

This is true in both Tolkien's version AND Jackson's version. As I've already pointed out, it makes no difference to Providence how long the struggle lasted, or whether Frodo attacked Gollum, because they were both controlled by the Ring, and only the Power of Providence could act against it.

In Tolkien's version, Providence alters the odds causing Gollum to fall into the pit while dancing with Glee. In Jackson's, Providence uses the protracted struggle to send both over the ledge, but allowing Frodo time to clasp the edge while Gollum continues on down with the Ring.

So I'm sorry Petty. I wanted to give your argument a fair shake. But in no way do Tolkien's comments contradict my argument.

But again, you proffered a valiant and cogent argument 8-) , but it doesn't shake out in the context of how Providence works, or how Tolkien understood it, and how Jackson filmed it.

Good post GB, I do so like to see a well organized and researched arguement. I think you are homing this disagreement in on the crux of the matter. I see little point in arguing over the merits of the struggle at this point (I'll come back to it though), at a push I could concede that it does not interfere directly with Providence-although I'd argue Frodo was as physically broken as mentally at the final point and incapable of fighting and that Tolkiens outline in Letters supports the idea his task was merely to get the Ring to the right place at the right time not have a fight over it, but leaving that aside a moment I feel there is still a strong case to be made against the decision Jackson gives to Frodo. I find the ledge dangling cheap as drama but I can understand it as film but you fail to mention in your defence the important bit of it, the choice Frodo is given whilst he dangles.
I find nothing in your arguement to sway me from my view. Frodo of the book, had he be dangling in such a position and offered the same choice, would have let go and chosen the Ring and death.
As you rightly point out Frodo fails in his own mind, at the utmost end he cannot resist or cast away the Ring- it is crucial to understanding his later state of mind that this is so (and his reason for inclusion on the ship).
In PJ's account whilst the Ring is melting below him Frodo lets it go- he chooses Sam, he chooses hope. This will no doubt get a cheer from the Groundlings but its still wrong, simply wrong and I don't see how your finely crafted arguement justifies it. Perhaps you shall enlighten me. :mrgreen:
I would also add that whilst I will concede that it does not utterly destroy the notion of Providence's role having Frodo actively participate in a struggle to take the Ring over the edge (distasteful as I find it), it does reduce the very great importance Tolkien places on Frodo's mercy and pity, the two things which save Gollum and make him the the only one in whose hands the Ring can finally be destroyed- and he doesn't need a push from Frodo just Eru returning in kind Frodo's mercy a thousand fold by giving mercy to the world.
And as I've said before PJ's job was to interpret Tolkiens underlying themes not alter them when he thinks its crowd pleasing to do so.
Had Tolkien written the ledge dangling scene, he would have had to craft a similar outcome as Jackson's (unless he planned to write the Hero's Sacrifice, as in Arthurian Romance. But that WOULD have been an utter alteration of his themes, which included Redemption. Jackson thus supported Tolkien's themes more than I think you realize).

The thing is, in Jackson's version, Frodo chooses Hope in the end, because the Ring has finally been destroyed and he has some modicum of Will left (the Ring melting in the Fires from which it was born, no longer has a hold on him). Providence caused him to reach out and grasp the Ledge, and caused Gollum to NOT do so. This also is in keeping with Tolkien's theme. As we both agree, Frodo believes he's failed and not a Hero in canon; yet, in canon, he also chooses Hope in the end.

I agree that Frodo is as physically exhausted as his Will is spent, canonically. Yet in canon there is still a brief Struggle--Jackson extends it and he is still within Reason for doing so. Gollum is also a rather physically spent creature, yet the Ring's influence still gives him strength to go on. Similarly, Frodo could just as easily been written by Tolkien to have that Supernatural energy propelling him to fight for the Ring, drawing on both the Ring's Power and Providence itself.

Now I can certainly see why you think that Jackson choosing an archetypal film convention is a "cheap shot", but that fails to take into consideration that Tolkien himself was writing from archetypal and archaic convention, The Hero's Journey. Tolkien and Lewis both were captivated by ancient Myth and Medieval Thought; and both believed that "Originality" (in the sense of wholly and utterly unique) was a false and Modern concept. For the Ancients and Medievals, all artifice was Variation on an archetypal theme.

And finally, as the Ring and Providence, are in the end, the two Forces actually battling on the Ledge, I can only reiterate that Frodo is not in control of his mind or body, and thus the loss of Will and the ensuing Struggle in no way diminishes the Mercy and Kindness Frodo previously showed towards Gollum in either the book or the film--something Tolkien himself refers to in both of the aforementioned letters as to being one of the key factors that grants Frodo the Grace of Eru, and thus passage to The Undying Lands (with a little help from Arwen <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> ).

So in the end, I do not expect to convince you to like Jackson's version any better, and Reason alone is no reason <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> for you (or anyone) to enjoy something that doesn't resonate with you. My only hope is that you will see that your reasons for despising the films are not, in fact, based on actual deviations of themes, but deviations from the original narrative as written--[u:23er9bdb]And there is certainly nothing wrong with that.[/u:23er9bdb] :mrgreen: .

No-one can, or should, force someone to love something they do not.

Sorry to dumb this down so even an Australian can understand it, guys. The truth is: Tolkien's ending was [i:1rpp85q8]fresh [/i:1rpp85q8]and [i:1rpp85q8]interesting[/i:1rpp85q8]. Smeagol/Gollum dancing about and toppling over is wonderful comic/tragedy. It fitted in with his personality. Yes, Frodo indeed was saved by Providence, I think you both agree on this. But having Frodo try to grab back the ring after he was physically, emotionly and (perhaps) spiritually exhausted makes a farce of his whole Journey.

Sorry GB, I think you're wrong, however good and intelligent your discursiveness is. When you address the central issue, Tolkien's end for Smeagol was better than P.J's. His ending was satisfying and original. The audience could easily have coped with it. Some people actually like originality, GB, we're not all fans of archetypes, you know. In fact, they're actually banned under statute in Australia, and rightly so (they're called ' cliches' down here btw!)
I actually think Tolkien would be rolling in his grave to hear you call his beloved Archetypes "Cliches" :lol: . In any case, villains falling off cliffs due to their own error or during battles with the hero is indeed an ancient trope. In fact, a quite famous one that Tolkien would have been quite aware of would have been Holmes and Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls. Holmes reappears in a later story to explain how he survived (some sort of Japanese Jiu Jitsu technique) and Moriarty died.

Not only that, some unpleasant critics have gone so far as to suggest that villains falling to their deaths at their moment of apparent victory is Deus Ex Machina :x , a "cliched" plot device meaning literally "God in the machine" (as a writer yourself, I expect you are well aware of it <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> ), which is a nasty way to put down Providence (though to be fair, SOME writers do use the technique merely to write their way out of a plot hole when they have no intention of literally ascribing the event to a Higher Power or Magic :roll: ).

Yes, I know I use that machine thing in a certain book you may have heard of. It is a very useful tool when you can't be bothered thinking up a more authentic way of solving a problem in your story!

I have, now you mention writing, thought at times of writing a fantasy story where I take an almost documentary view of the action, which is something that is not really done even in so called 'contemporary fiction', whether Romance, Mystery or Political Thriller (among other genres). Imagine a fantasy written like it's a genuinely True story. Magic would have to go immediately (yes, I'm biased!), but a bit of alchemy might not go astray, and of course the Races would have to be thoroughly worked out and un-Romanticized, if you know what I mean. Imagine a show like "Cops" but with a Dwarf or Elf as the protagonist , and in a Mediavel-type setting. (I'm suggesting a serious book, btw, not a farce of any sort).

(You're going to tell me it's already been done, aren't you!)
I'm not certain actually :? . I seem to have some vague recollection of something a bit like that, possibly from the telly or a film, but I can't put my finger on it. Probably just my imagination :roll: .

Anyway, the Verite style you suggest would probably work better as a screenplay than a book. That's a really cool idea Odo 8-) .

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