05 January 2017
Evil be thou my Good - A Pause for Gratitude
Greetings Dear Reader,
As you know I highly value your thoughts and questions Dear Reader. If I think in a vacuum then I keep company with a fool. Today I wish to put at center stage the thoughts of two dear friends who took the time to responds to my post in this series concerning the arts.
Mark and Kyp took the time to express to one of my other friends their thoughts. One is brief and the other lengthy. Both capture the spirit of my thinking in their analysis. I welcome further thoughts on this.
For context Mark refers to the following line:
“But fear no more! I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway. Not were Minas Tirith falling in ruin and I alone could save her, so, using the weapon of the Dark Lord for her good and my glory. No, I do not wish for such triumphs, Frodo son of Drogo.” - Faramir
That was my favorite line from a character that I loved in the books and was very disappointed with how Peter Jackson adapted him in the movies. And, after reading the blog post, I see that my disappointment was for the very same reasons as yours.
Full disclosure: I hated the movies' Faramir portrayal for a while, I still hate the Aragorn and Eowyn character changes.
But I'd argue different reasons for Faramir (and Aragorn's) changes in the movie, and I'd say it actually comes from two thousand years of Christian storytelling:
We LOVE redemption stories. Star Wars is the story of a man who falls and the son who saves him. Vader sacrifices himself to save his son and defeat evil (see also Doc Oc, Prydain's Prince Ellidyr, that one woman in Atlantis, etc.). Harry Potter's Snape, a former Death Eater, repents and seeks a new life, becoming the biggest hero of the series (see also Lando Calrissian, Jean Valjean, etc.). The Silver Chair's Jill fails to follow instructions, puts a friend in danger, and is sent on a quest to save him (also seen in Labyrinth, East O' The Sun, etc.), hearkening back to the Cupid and Psyche mythology.
So, why does LoTR need more of these? It's already got Boromir and Sméagol. Well, the books DON'T need more of that.
But the movies were different. First, they catered to a new audience who might not have read the books at all, and second, they came out years apart from one another. Because of this, events were shuffled around a bit so that each movie had a slightly different arc: one that could stand alone for a year until the next movie. A speed reader could power through those books in a day or two; a slower reader in a week. These movies took three years to see. The first movie would had a firm ending and set all the stages, the second had a series of cliffhangers, and the third concluded all story arcs.
So in Fellowship, Boromir has the redemption arc. In Return, it's Sméagol/Frodo. But who do we have with a big redemption arc in Towers? Nobody, that's who. Sure, the wheels are turning on Sméagol, but his redemption is unique and comes in fits and starts. So, let's go into the life of Faramir, the unloved younger brother of a cruel father. So they created for him an arc of his own, which is fleshed out to my satisfaction in the extended Towers movie.
Also, remember that the Frodo scenes in the book, while arguably the most important, were small, simple, and far-between. There needed to be more problems for them to face to slow their trip into Mordor and to give them the screen time they needed.
(This is also why Aragorn gets turned into a whiny, weak, reluctant hero. Coming back two years later to "hey, it's this guy, who totally knows what's up and never falters" seems increasingly unrealistic with the passage of so much time. This was a Bad Call, though. There were enough Reluctant Heroes already, and he keeps changing his mind as to whether he's reluctant or not, which gets implausible after the third.
Thank you, Dear Friends, for your thoughts.
Wishing you joy in the journey,
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
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