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VSarkiss (704)

VSarkiss
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I haven't really taken the time to set this up, but you can look at my home node [perlmonks.org] on Perl Monks.

Journal of VSarkiss (704)

Sunday December 29, 2002
08:04 PM

The Two Towers

[ #9666 ]

Warning, spoilers.

When I originally read the book, I thought the title referred to Minas Tirith and Minas Morgul. They're the towers of good and evil, they're where the respective parties end up, and you get set up for the epic battle in the next book. But prior to seeing the movie I saw an interview with Peter Jackson, and he said that the title refers to Isengard (he meant Orthanc) and Barad-dur. I thought, "That's interesting, that's a different take on the story." When I saw the movie yesterday, I realized why he said it: Minas Morgul is gone!

I really understand you have to take things out to make the movie fit: you can't just translate the book word-for-word into a picture. So I didn't mind in FoTR that Thom Bombadil or the barrow-wights were gone (although I thought the movie suffered from having left out Gimli's interaction with Galadriel at Lothlorien -- I thought it was an important piece of character development). But in this case, the missing parts I think were really detrimental to the story. It also really bothered me that he threw new elements into the story: I thought they made the movie less interesting, not more.

The emphasis on Rohan rather than Gondor leaves you wondering why Aragorn cares about the battle of Helm's Deep. There's no real explanation of how it's connected to the quest to destroy the ring. That's why Peter Jackson had to throw Aragorn off the cliff: he needed to make the battle more dramatic, and Aragorn more connected to it.

And don't get me started on the elvish army marching to Rohan. If Elrond had an army, what the heck were they doing up to now? This was Deus ex machina of the worst kind.

I also missed Faramir's character from the book. There he's an interesting and thoughtful man, but here he's just another power-hungry human.

On the positive, I liked the oliphaunts and thought Gollum was superb. And Eowyn is as much of a hottie as I thought she was.

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  • The change in the towers was disconcerting to me as well.

    Actually, the elves definitely had an army historically, and I believe if you read Appendix B of The Return of The King, you find that the elves of Thanduil and Lorien both were attacked by Armies in league with Sauron about the same time that many of the events chronicled in the books took place. You could assume that in the Tolkien version, the elvish armies were tied up in defense of these realms.

    The army that came to the aid of the Rohan were n

    • I can see how you would conclude from my rant that I didn't like the movie. ;-) Actually, I did like it, but I wish I'd liked it more. And I'm definitely waiting for Return of The King, and I probably will buy the 18-dvd collector's edition (or however many they'll be up to by then) in 2004.

      This is like finding a bone chip in your sandwich: it's still good food, just some annoying bits are in it.

  • I'm pretty sure that Jackson didn't invent the fact that the two towers in the title were Orthanc and Barad-Dur. That's what I remember hearing the first time I read the book 25 years ago.

    • I didn't think Jackson made that up, it's quite plausible. I also recall wondering which towers the title referred to when I first started reading the book. (Only 12 years ago, the first time ;-). I thought it must've referred to Minas Tirith and Minas Morgul only after finishing The Return of The King.

      I'm not claiming to be an authority on what Tolkien intended, but I found Jackson's take on the story so different from my own that it was pretty disconcerting.

    • Just saw this here...

      I think you're right! Going back to the books, I see that Minas Tirith is hardly mentioned at all in The Two Towers.

      Of course, it plays heavily in The Return of The King. The last time I read them, I read them back-to-back and didn't really notice the breaks between the books much.

      In retrospect, it is clear that the Two Towers are Orthanc and Barad-Dur.