Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Lord of the Rings



This time last year, I was busy declaring my undying love for a certain movie trilogy. And now it seems I've come full circle. In a way, it only feels natural to talk about both versions of the Lord of the Rings in this order, since I saw the movies well before reading the book. But my first journey to Middle-earth was actually through a 1990 computer game. This one to be precise:




It's amazing to think that this game was once heralded as having state-of-the-art graphics. What I remember most fondly about it though was that it featured clips from the 1978 animated film, and I think that was what ignited my current love for the Lord of the Rings. The video I posted does a pretty decent job of laying down the foundation of the book's plot, so I think I can go straight to the facts and my thoughts.

The Lord of the Rings is often regarded as the definitive fantasy novel by fans of the genre. It was first published between 1954 and 1955 (in three separate volumes, even though it was written and intended to be read as one king-sized novel). Since then, it has gone on to sell more than 150 million copies, making it the second best-selling novel of all time (bested only by the Charles Dickens classic, A Tale of Two Cities).

I didn't start reading the book until fours years after the last of Peter Jackson's movie adaptations was released in 2003. And it took me another four years just to get to the end of it. Why? I don't know exactly. Maybe it was the fact that I already knew how everything would turn out. Or perhaps the long-winded passages describing every mountain, river and valley down to the last detail. But considering the fact that the book took twelve years to write, I'd say I didn't do too bad.

It was only after going back to read the book could I fully appreciate the amount of work Peter Jackson put into the movies. He took something that was already epic in its own right, then somehow managed to make it even more so. Most of that came at a price though, since he had to cut out a lot of the source material in order to make the narrative in the movies tighter.

The most memorable omissions were some of the few laugh-out-loud moments to be found in the book. Like the conversation between Gandalf and Saruman after the destruction of Isengard. And the playful banter between Gimli and Faramir about the fairness of the Lady of the Wood. It was these little things that made going back to read the book worthwhile in my opinion.

19 comments:

  1. I love Lord of the Rings, both the books and the movie adaptations! I also read the books after watching the films, and even then I picked up on things that I knew didn't happen in the films, as with all adaptations!

    It's funny looking back at that game and how it was once state-of-the-art. I've played more recent Lord of the Rings games and it's pretty crazy how advanced graphics have become.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. Crazy. So much advancement in just, what, 20 years or so. I see games like Uncharted and the upcoming Watchdogs, and I can't help but wonder how far the bar would've been raised some 20 years from now.

      Delete
  2. LOL I can't believe someone besides me has played that game! I never had a good enough soundcard to hear those rocking tunes and epic sound fx... In fact, my computer could barely process this game! (Or Space Quest, Quest for Glory, King's Quest, etc.)
    I read the books way before seeing the movies. I even tried reading the Silmarilion and used its appendix to name swords and areas in the woods behind my house. I drew a plethora of the characters in high school. This is a series I need to read again. The dialogue in these books is some of the most epic.
    I, however, am guilty of skimming when he starts going on about the vales and hills and bluffs and trees and ... zzz.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL. Those are some truly retro games you've mentioned. I was also guilty of constantly trying to push my computer to its processing limits with games like those way back then. I still haven't read the Silmarilion, but I've been meaning to. And yes, the dialogue was indeed epic. :)

      Delete
  3. Stephanie Meyer sold 150 million Twilight books. But I like Tolkien more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too. Besides, the Twilight books are generally regarded as a series, meaning its 150 million is split between 4 books, whilst LOTR, though sometimes sold as a trilogy, is generally counted as a single volume.

      Delete
  4. Jackson did an amazing job. I prefer the movies to the books. I read them as a teen and then again right before each movie was released.
    Now that is a flashback of a video game! I remember playing ones that were all text back in the day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All text? LOL. I never played any of those, but I can just imagine what the experience must've been like. LOL.

      Delete
  5. Never got into the Lord of the Rings, but I do need to pick that up and read it...I feel like I am missing out! Know what I mean, it is very popular!! I got into another series and stayed with it...the hunger games....loved it. Great post! www.sandysanderellasmusings.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love The Hunger Games too, especially the first and last books in the series. The second one felt more like filler to me, in that it didn't really move the story forward.

      Delete
  6. I read The Hobbit as a kid (they way you should), but didn't get around to the Lord of the Rings trilogy until the movies were being prepared for release. I enjoyed them, and it's one of the rare instances where a filmmaker's changes have bothered me, especially in The Two Towers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did manage to read The Hobbit before the Lord of the Rings, but having seen the movies before reading the books, I wasn't at all bothered by any changes.

      Delete
  7. I actually didn't read them until I was well into adulthood, but they're such beautiful novels.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me neither. And yes, the books are truly beautiful. :)

      Delete
  8. I read the books when I was 16 or 17. It took me about a year, and I remember being totally immersed in the world. Fantastic, although perhaps a teeny bit of editing could have been done. I liked the movies, I thought Jackson did a good job with such a large amount of material.

    The clip made me smile! I remember playing similar games back in the day. Yep, things have certainly moved on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ditto on the editing. Maybe the book's length wouldn't be an issue if the whole thing had been released as a six-book series, the way the story was broken down internally.

      Delete