One Ring to Rule them All

Ever find yourself confused about the One Ring in Tolkien’s stories?

 

Well, not me – obviously, but you may be. So here’s a fun little <5min primer on why the One Ring exists, what it does, what makes its wearer invisible, and more.

There is a also a “part 1” to this video, covering things like Elves, Hobbits and the creation story. It’s a bit denser, but a quick and fun video.

 

Nasty Tricksey Hobbitses

This is a rant brief analysis – my opinion on the film adaptation of The Hobbit. It comes nearly a month after I saw the movie, so I’ve had time to give it some thought. I’ll also clarify that I saw this film twice; once in a standard theater (with an 11-year-old ward in toe); the second viewing was a full IMAX/3D experience with the (less than entertained) wife.

 

  • The book is jovial, lyrical, filled with exceptional songs and poems, made-up words, heartwarming animism and fairy tale prose. It’s a children’s book foremost, lighthearted and humorous, with Middle-Earth’s grander themes explored without really needing further explanation.
  • The movie is an epic adventure, consuming a mere third of the book (2 more films coming out in the next two years) with decapitatingly bloody battle scenes, weaving plotlines pulled from the appendices and archives of Tolkien’s other writings (or completely fabricated), and a mess of an action movie. It’s clearly a prequel to Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, with lofty and often misinterpreted themes, endless CGI, and enough violence and noise to weigh it against any modern hollywood blockbuster.

radagast cartoonIf it sounds like I’m being harsh, maybe I am? The film has heart-lifting moments that made me smile, the simple story and underlying theme, beautiful landscapes and good acting all around; but constant, extraneous, and dire excess plagues this movie. It’s too action-oriented, too long, too garish. It’s like Saruman was retelling the story, and the amount of trash tied to the movie and franchise – everything from Hobbit-themed Denny’s meals to Gandalf on my popcorn box, all just screams with the type of consumerism and industrialism that Tolkien adamantly deplored. To see his vision commercialized and pandered like this is a hypocrisy. It could have been far worse, and I do hope to enjoy the future movies, but as someone who’s been so influenced by his writing (since grade school), it was a bit of a disappointment – and a disservice for those who may not have read the book first.

Go see it, but please enjoy it as an interpretation – rather than a faithful retelling. okay?

Mythgard Institute

At last, I can get my PHD in Tolkien. I knew something like this would finally come around 😉

http://www.mythgard.org/

It’s developed and managed by Professor Cory Olsen, of the Tolkien Professor fame. I might sit in to audit a class or two next semester, see how it works and what the quality is (and if it’s actually valid a legitimate graduate level credit). Thoughts?