Return of the King and time

Now that I have a film category (should have placed it long ago), here goes.

My daughter, K, and her friend, C, and I finally had the change to watch the “longer” version of P. Jackson’s LOTR last night. Took a while. But we left the final film wondering at some of the extended version inserts. Faramir and Eowyn have their time, but the nod came off a little strange. After all her looks and urgings for Aragorn, she and Faramir exchange glances and poof “sense of balance,” or, rather, love over some amount of time, judging by the change in light scene to scene. The event transition in the film seemed more than a day. Cut then to Pippin finding Merry in the gloom of battle. The experience of these two events had a disjointed feel, however. I couldn’t tell if this signaled flashback, parallel time, or progressive sequence. The danger of all this has to do with relieving tension. We’re supposed to feel glad in the balance between relationships: Aragorn gets his and Eowyn gets hers. Eowyn loses then gains something. Of all the three films, I felt that the Return of the King was the most dangerous to complete because it is, after all, the resolving film. Still liked it very much.

3 thoughts on “Return of the King and time

  1. JRadke

    Return of the King was indeed very tough in the transition and time departments. The book actually ends like it begins: 60+ pages of Hobbit-tale. But the ROTK Hobbit stuff was much more annoying, and in my opinion should have been published as a seperate novella.

    Well, not surprisingly, I found the endings of ROTK just as annoying. I say endings because by my count, ROTK “ended” at least three different times. It should have ended at Aragorn’s coronation. I know that would have left Frodo’s parting out of it, but at that point everything felt so anti-climactic.

    Of all the movies, ROTK felt rushed as the end got nearer.. even at 3.5 hours. I’m not really going to fault Jackson because the way Tolkien wrote the trilogy made it very tricky to translate to film.

    Film is a medium that requires constant peaks and valleys. But the books have a lot of plateaus. And where you can put a book down and come back, movies don’t really work that way. All in all, I throughly enjoyed the LOTR films, and of all the movies, ROTK definately benefitted the most from the extended edition.

  2. Steve Post author


    I thought that Jackson’s changes in the telling of ROTK were very ambitious. Imagine that in the novel you don’t know whether Frodo is captured. In the movie you know he’s escaped the orcs, thus the face-off at the gate has very little emotional power. Tradeoffs, tradeoffs. The return of the hobbits to Hobbiton, in my mind, was the true resolution to the tale of the 4 in the novel. They return and F,S,P, and M’s changes are used to save their sweatest territory. They “become” at the end–it’s the culminating test. But you’re right, there are many potential endings here, depending on whose story you concentrate on, just one part of Tolkien’s genius.

    I find that LOTR is a sad tale all the way around, much as is the tale of Arthur. All the cool people leave “us” to fend for ourselves.

  3. JRadke

    I definately think that there are two versions of LOTR:

    Tolkien’s version, which focuses on the Hobbits

    and Jackson’s version, which focuses on Middle-earth.

    I almost get the sense that Tolkien wrote “Middle-earth’s story” as an aside to Frodo and Sam’s because it “had to be told”. It’s as if he doesn’t want the world of men mucking up the journeys of the two brave Hobbits, so he seperates the two stories. This isn’t a surprising revelation if you know Tolkien’s background and how he felt towards the Age of Industry.

    I am happy for both, because both tell the same story from different perspectives. Ut would have been a very tough choice, but Jackson should have remained consistent with his interpretation of the movies and ended ROTK with the story of Middle-earth in focus.

    Your ending sentence is right on with how I felt at the end.

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