Sunday, August 28, 2011

HEY LORD OF THE RINGS, WHY SO SERIOUS?




It's a shameful confession for a nerd to make, but I've never read Lord of the Rings (shameful!) After enjoying such spin-offs as Dungeons & Dragons, The Order of the Stick, and DM of the Rings, I thought that I should finally see the movies at least. Besides, The Fellowship of the Ring was on Netflix streaming.

So anyway --it was OK. I know now where the concept of a "ranger" in D & D comes from. But, you know, I wouldn't mind a little humor or some sex. These are kind of a big part of most peoples' lives, is it so weird to want that? I hear tell that the filmmakers took the liberty of adding some romance in later films (correct me if I'm wrong), but it was not in the books. If you are writing a book set in a monastery or an intimate portrait of an asexual it's one thing, but this is a world-spanning epic with dozens of races and hardly any romantic/sexual relationships. It also has unfortunate "fewer girls=more serious" implications.

The whole thing of bludgeoning the audience with, "This is totally serious and about good and evil, everyone!" whenever someone starting falling under the ring's baleful influence also got old fast. And some wonder why people write slash fiction about Sam and Frodo or try to seduce every wench or dude they see while roleplaying a fantasy scenario. Great world-building, JRR, but the people want the dancing girls/boys too.

My kind of fantasy is more of the pulpy, steamy, decadent 20s-30s sort. Robert E. Howard, C.L. Moore, E.R, Eddison, Fritz Leiber, James Branch Cabell etc., had a lot of fun creating imaginary worlds before Tolkein came along and sucked all the fun out of it. I'd be all over a Jirel of Joiry or Fafhrd and Gray Mouser movie in a heartbeat. Please Guillermo Del Toro, Joss Whedon, somebody, make it happen!




1 comment:

JethSeux said...

Yeah I guess Tolkien's background as an Oxford professor of dead languages might have made him a little stuffy. He was one of the foremost experts on the Anglo Saxon language of his day. I couldn't get into the Hobbit, it was much more dry and dense than CS Lewis, and I put it down quickly! From what I understand though, Tolkien was much more into building imaginary races and their languages (he wrote an Elven dictionary), than in the details of daily life that are more interesting to the average reader. I spent my youth with Narnia and Robert E. Howard's Conan books. I am glad the last cinematic interpretation of the later got through, being true to the writer's lurid focus on the seamier side of barbarian life, while still escaping an NC 17 rating!