February 03, 2003

Book vs. film

Here is an interesting interview with the writers of the Lord of the Rings films, explaining some of the difficulties they had translating the book to the film, the decisions they made, and so on. An interesting fact is given at the end: apparently Phillippa Boyens' next project is an adaptation of Ursula K. LeGuin's Earthsea Trilogy. That's another of my favorites; something to look forward to.

Posted by Andrea Harris at February 3, 2003 11:14 PM

That would be the "trilogy" that's now -- is it five books, or six -- long. I've lost track.


Posted by: Gary Farber at February 3, 2003 at 11:55 PM

Blogged this, by the way, here. A few minor errors in the article, you'll note, from the misspelling of "Uruk-hai" to saying that the Tolkien FAQ establishes that Balrogs have wings (a point Tolkien made distinctly ambiguous). And "logistical problems... with the evil eye"? How silly! (Now, Middle-Earth's impossible economics: that's another story.)

Thank goodness they didn't drop Galadriel's refusal of the Ring!

Posted by: Gary Farber at February 4, 2003 at 12:22 AM

Oh I know -- the article wasn't very accurate, though I think that was more the article writer's doing than Boyens' or Walsh's. (I agree about the eye thing, though. I would have liked to have left the Eye more of an unseen -- or barely seen, since no one could stand to look at it -- evil, though I am not sure if that could have been done on film.) One inaccuracy that people are always repeating is one that especially makes me crazy -- the notion that Saruman "created" the Orcs. He did not. He merely mutated some Orcs into his special Enhanced Orc v. 2.0. But non-Tolkien fans don't seem to get this even though the movie script has Saruman basically give us a little history lesson on the Beginning of the Orcs.

Re: the Earthsea Trilogy: I think they are referring to the original trilogy that LeGuin published way back when, not the two later books that are rather inferior, IMHO. LeGuin seems to have become rather mushy over time, and her writing has suffered. (Again, IMHO. I enjoy her earlier works rather than her later, Now My Consciousness is Raised, works.)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at February 4, 2003 at 02:01 AM

I strongly agree with your comments on the decline of LeGuin's work in recent years and the disappointing quality of the later Earthsea books in particular. A shame, LeGuin is a great writer but she has gotten preachy and boring.

Posted by: John F. MacMichael at February 4, 2003 at 08:19 PM

As I recall -- and I could be wrong, I've not checked in a while, it was Morgoth who "created" the orcs -- but didn't, since only Eru has the power of creation -- by more or less torturing elves into becoming the Orc race.

So apparently Lysenkoist genetics work in Middle-Earth (or pre-Middle-Earth).


Posted by: Gary Farber at February 4, 2003 at 11:46 PM