Raping Tolkien

Yesterday, giving it a last-minute once-over before it goes to the printer, I found a typo on the cover of my new book, The Palace. Happily, it’s fixed. Nothing like a totally wrong word in the cover copy to make an author look bad.

But I can’t imagine how I’d feel if some movie-maker were doing to my books what Peter Jackson seems to be doing to Tolkien‘s classic, The Hobbit. Unlike Tolkien, I am not dead.

Jackson has taken a fairly compact book and stretched it out into a three-part movie marathon. The Hobbit II: The Desolation of Smaug has just been released, in time for Christmas. And no, I haven’t seen it. Are you kidding? These days, for the price of a bad movie, you could get a good book (one of mine, for instance). But I’ve been reading the reviews, and I have arranged for someone who has seen the movie to write a review for this blog.

It would take too much space to list all of Peter Jackson’s insults to Tolkien. Let me focus on just one of them.

For no cogent reason whatsoever, Jackson has invented a new major character to throw into the story–a gorgeous Elf-maid who is also the greatest warrior in Middle-Earth. (Barf bag, please. Excuse me for a minute…) I mean, what’s a fantasy without the most worn-out old cliche of them all?

But he doesn’t stop there. He has Miss Mirkwood fall in love with a Dwarf! Uh, Elves and Dwarves are different species. So this is like someone falling in love with a Shetland pony.

I think I might pay not to see this. I certainly wouldn’t pay to see it.

What did Tolkien or his heirs ever do to Jackson, to deserve this? Could the next movie please be directed by Reggie Jackson? Or LaToya Jackson? Anyone would do a better job than this. I am quite sure the specter of an Elf-Dwarf romance will ruin my sleep tonight.

But enough of this–I have a Christmas tree to decorate!

3 comments on “Raping Tolkien

  1. Well, at least Tolkien is admired enough to be “used.” I haven’t reached that stage yet. Just wait ’til you do. Take a break. Enjoy your Christmas celebration. We do; that’s why what we do counts! Your friend, DER

  2. I saw the movie today (Thursday, December 26th) – and I liked it.

    Yes, there are too many details in the movie that have nothing to do with the book. I took a literature class on Tolkien when I attended the University of New Mexico. (I was stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base at the time.) I gave up on a totally pure Tolkien representation after the first LOR movie.

    Anyway, I have seen a bunch of movies that did not go “according to Doyle.” It seems that the movie is often free to interpret the book as they please … I see nothing wrong with this.

    Where is it written that a movie has to follow the book? (They rarely do ,,, Hollywood has done this sort of thing for a long time.)

    As far as pure movie-making goes, I t6hink it is a great film. I leave to Jackson why he chose to do things this way …

    1. Far be it from me to try to convince you that you shouldn’t have enjoyed the movie! No–it’s just that the Invincible Female Warrior cliche really bugs me. Throw in an inter-species romance on top of it, and if that doesn’t bring J.R.R. Tolkien out of his grave, crazy for revenge, then nothing will.

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