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Words of Explanation  by Larner 6 Review(s)
KathyGReviewed Chapter: 1 on 10/2/2015
Well, Aragorn wasn't exactly ignored, although Rankin and Bass did ignore his relationship to the hobbits. Legolas and Gimli, on the other hand, were left completely out!


Author Reply: Like I said, I do tend to shudder at the Rankin-Bass animated version. Their adaptation of The Hobbit was better, although I found their depictions of Bilbo and Gandalf rather unattractive. It's too bad that the artists who did the Bakshi version were all so unequal in their depictions and the manner in which they animated the film. Plus that the financial support was pulled after the first film was done but before the whole project could be completed was a distinct disappointment at the time.

KathyGReviewed Chapter: 1 on 10/1/2015
Frodo was also illustrated in the 1980 Rankin-Bass TV movie, The Return of the King. Apparently, his looks in that film are not as familiar to Tolkien fans as they are in the Bakshi film (more's the pity).



Author Reply: I fear I tend to suppress Rankin-Bass's version of The Return of the King, as so much of it makes me shudder. Even Sam's monologue of the images the Ring tries to plant in his mind, although almost straight from the book, feels contrived and lacks immediacy. And Pippin and Merry are ridiculous! Aargh! And to basically ignore Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas--that was flatly criminal.

As for the reason given for Frodo to be granted the right to go to the Undying Lands--even louder Aargh!

Only the song "Where there's a whip there's a way" does stick with one, doesn't it?

KittyReviewed Chapter: 1 on 5/24/2010
Tolkien's descriptions of persons certainly left something to be desired in comparison to the ones of the country. I always wondered why Imrahil, being a relatively minor character, was better described than Legolas, for example.

Yes, from the bit that was mentioned dark hair for Frodo is likely, though I admit that, being German, I learned 'fair' as a synonym for 'blonde'. But the Elves were described as the 'fair folk', and as we know, only (or mainly?) the Vanyar used to be blonde, so I learned early on that at least for Tolkien fair doesn't say much about the hair colour. And as you point out, it can mean 'fair of character' as well.

I know that many didn't like Elijah as Frodo, but I do, too; he does fit the description of outward appearance and character we have very well.

Author Reply: So I've heard repeatedly over the years, that in the German translation they indicated Frodo was blond in spite of the brown mat used to simulate his hair.

"Fair" has several meanings in English, after all.

I felt that for the most part Elijah Wood fit the part perfectly!

AndreaReviewed Chapter: 1 on 4/25/2010
[...] but fair does not always indicate fair-colored hair. It also means physically beautiful, having a particularly light complexion, and having a particularly discerning mind that seeks to give all their due in the end, one that will not cause any to need to defer to any other if it can be avoided.

Thank you very much for pointing this out, Larner!
In fact, the German translation of LOTR replaces "fairer" with the German word "blonder", which refers to the hair color.
In my imagination Frodo had always dark hair. I can't say exactly why, but it might have had to do with the brown mat. Or with *my* hair color ;-)

Thank you for this insightful essay!


Author Reply: It is so easy to focus on only one definition for a word and forget the others when translating to other languages. I've seen others comment on this as well.

Thank you so!

ArmarielReviewed Chapter: 1 on 4/25/2010
A fascinating and thought-provoking article. You've brought to surface insights of which I was only vaguely aware myself, if at all. Thanks for this and I look forward to seeing more such character analyses from you.

~~~~~{~@

Author Reply: All of us will probably end up with such collections as Dreamflower's Musings eventually, those of us who belong to the LOTR Genfic Community who wrote to this month's challenge, at least. Thank you so! Am always gratified when I'm able to provoke thought!

harrowcatReviewed Chapter: 1 on 4/25/2010
This is a great essay Larner and I agree with your reflections all the way. Funnily enough, I had never taken the 'fairer than most' remark to mean hair colour but, as you said, to refer to physical and spiritual beauty.

I think PJ did a fine job of casting generally. My dad had a lot to say about the accents that he gave Merry and Pippin though!

Lots to think about here - thank you.

Author Reply: For those of us who are English speakers from the start, the brown mat serves to let us know Frodo's hair was not blond, at least. Am glad you agree about the definitions for the word I've focused on as well. Am amused your father had apparent criticism of the accents, however! Heh!

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