The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3) The Lord of the Rings discussion


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What the books do that the movies can't

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message 1: by Tim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tim Weed The books do so much that the movies can't! Here's my breakdown: http://bit.ly/ORlIAq

What do you think?


Chris My heart sank when I saw yet another discussion thread opened up on the book vs movie battlefield. Would you do the same for, say, the Edward Burne-Jone tapestries inspired by Arthurian legends? Would you say they're not as good because you're not getting the "whole picture" that you would if you read the medieval romances? They're different media, one is a response to the other, and just because they're both narratory that doesn't mean that one is a substitute for the other.

Having said that I did agree with many of the arguments you make in connection with the immersive experience of a novel; there's little or nothing to disagree with here! But when you add "the less effort you put into something, the less you get out of it" I'm less persuaded: that is as true of books, which can also be read almost as passively (mostly by skim-reading) as watching a film is for many viewers.

I personally try to engage actively with a film, whether I watch it in a cinema, on TV or on DVD. And these days, with pause and rewind, you have the same chance to go back and watch, in slow-mo if you want, a section of the film in the same way that you can turn back a page (on a real book or an ebook) and re-read a passage that you hadn't grasped the first time around.

The films and books of LOTR are different media telling similar stories, in the same way that people tell stories but in their own way and with their own voices. The key thing to ask yourself is, is it a good telling? When we've answered that, then we can put behind us this futile Punch & Judy confrontation which keeps being resurrected.


message 3: by Tim (last edited Sep 02, 2012 01:35PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tim Weed Great points, Chris. I agree on almost everything.

Regarding the "futile Punch & Judy" debate, though, it's important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I'll admit that my discussion headline is intended to draw in those who are curious or spoiling for a fight.

But my argument is really intended for writers (and passionate readers), who may be feeling a bit down-at-the-mouth about the state and longevity of their chosen medium in this world of high-tech visual entertainment. I find it heartening to understand not just "which is better," but the inherent advantages one narrative mode has over another.


Sumukh Naik Books force us to imagine a different world through the wrods used by the author. Films on the other hand, make it very easy for us.


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