Tolkien was well acquainted with war, having fought in the trenches at the Battle of the Somme in the First World War, and living through the Second, “watching” the atrocities from afar. These wars were demonstrably different from the “war on terrorism” we face today, but there were certainly elements of “terror” in them. …Professor Tolkien had no delusions about the realities of war and how the enemy should be treated.
Caldecott reminds us of Sam’s words in The Fellowship of the Ring: “I feel as if I was inside a song, if you take my meaning,” and that this is the etymology of the word “enchanted.” Tolkien’s original idea had been to share his mythology in the form of songs. We have been enchanted, entering the song, and coming back changed.
Olsen: “It would seem that there are only two sensible reactions we can have to these long strings of wildly improbable events. We can either scoff at them and find the whole story rather absurd, or we can begin to suspect that Bilbo’s adventure is being orchestrated by some power beyond the wizardry of Gandalf the Grey or the wisdom of Elrond of Rivendell.”
Peter Jackson at least seems to understand that the story is about more than a change of physical location. Tolkien certainly would not have approved of Bilbo becoming the crazed warrior he is already becoming by the end of the first movie. But he would approve that Bilbo now cares about more than his own comfort.
Yet one does not have to resort to wishful thinking to uncover a Catholic worldview in The Hobbit, and Pearce’s recent book, Bilbo’s Journey, does a fine job of showing how Tolkien’s faith is “hidden” within the story. As Gandalf says, the journey will be “very good for you—and profitable too….”
Drawing from a variety of sources, including letters and memoirs of those who knew the Professor, Duriez’ biography should stand as the definitive source for this generation. The novice will find the book very readable and accessible, while the aficionado will benefit from a strong refresher, as well as a few new tidbits and ideas to chew on.
As much as I wanted to just sit back and enjoy the movie, I had a hard time removing the critic’s hat. Watching it without the 3D distractions was helpful, but it didn’t take away what I found most disturbing about the film.
For Corinna the journey of self-discovery entails too much risk. She has been hurt so many times she has deliberately chosen to hide. … By hiding from others, Corinna has missed out on the joy of being known. But when she develops the courage to deal honestly with others and with the world, she opens her heart to one of the most rewarding aspects of life—a relationship with another person.
Leave it to big studio execs, hungry to milk every cent from this franchise, to stretch one book over three movies. Halfway through this film, I felt like the whiny kid in the back seat asking his parents repeatedly, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”
Gollum has become an iconic character since he first made his big splash back in The Two Towers. What would it be like to try and recapture the magic that made him so memorable over a decade later? Andy Serkis shares what it was like.
The Hobbit is the shortest of the books in the Lord of the Rings series, and yet it’s getting a trilogy of movies all its own. How can that work? We talk with Peter Jackson and others about making three movies out of the one book that started it all.
life is, perhaps,
when we look just right and the right wizard happens by,
always on the brink of an adventure . .
The soundtrack is beautiful, if that word rightly applies to the haunting sound you remember from The Lord of the Rings. There will be familiar themes adapted for the new story, as well as new themes for what’s unique in The Hobbit.
As much as anything else, when it comes to The Hobbit, people have been talking a lot about this 48 frames per second business. But what exactly is that and what difference does it make? We talked to Peter Jackson to get some answers.
I wonder if we are raising a generation of movie viewers who want to go “there” and enjoy the “awesomeness” of the special effects without thinking. They seem to be looking for something “epic,” not life-changing. But I guess that’s not really different than my own generation who went to movies looking for something “cool.”
My hope is the sophisticated themes of Tolkien’s book will somehow be present in Jackson’s version. I have yet to see anything that would bolster that hope. I pray I am wrong. … The second page of this post has promised comments on the new video clips which can be found on Entertainment Weekly.
There are many things in the clips I’ve seen that I like, but some that I find rather disconcerting. The two TV Spots released on the Warner Bros YouTube Channel this week illustrate some things I like, and some… well, let me put it this way: I wish PJ hadn’t gone there.
Tolkien’s protagonists are what previous generations would have called virtuous, a word that has somewhat gone out of fashion in our time. Tolkien’s readers find in his characters moving examples of faith, hope, love, perseverance, courage, and humility, examples that can serve as models to aspire to in their own lives. Tolkien’s stories remind us that the virtuous life is not dry, dull, or out of date—but high adventure.
People often wonder why God doesn’t make our lives easier and simply solve all our problems for us. But the older we get, the more we come to see this strange assistance that looks like help only long afterwards as a blessing-in-disguise. As we watch Bilbo grow and mature, it is clear that Gandalf knew what he was doing.
Tolkien’s faith had an impact on his fiction, not in a light, superficial way, but in a fundamental, underlying way. Whether you are reading The Hobbit or planning on going to see the first of the three films this December, here are five things to watch for.
Cutler hopes his book will draw others to the source material and, in the spirit of Lewis and Tolkien, renew the imaginations of his readers and challenge them to look at the world with fresh eyes.
How could a world filled with dwarves, elves, goblins, wizards, and hobbits be considered Christian? Brown uses what we know about the author of the famous children’s story, along with his attention to detail and careful wording of The Hobbit, to show how J. R. R. Tolkien wove his faith into its pages.
On Monday I had the privilege of attending the unveiling of a blue plaque to commemorate the one year which J.R.R. Tolkien spent living at number 2 Darnley Road, Leeds.
As I grew older, I discovered that I was not as far from Middle-earth as I once thought. In fact Middle-earth was my world rendered in a way that allowed me to grasp the spiritual truths I could not otherwise understand. When reading the Rings, I saw my own world clearly for the first time.
Tolkien was a strong Christian and though he wasn’t preachy, his Christian faith permeates his work. That’s something that’s always attracted me to it—there was a connection…. We tried to capture the same spirit and essence, just on a different scale.
The Fellows Hip: Rise of the Gamers certainly does not have the look and feel of a first attempt by a fledgling production company. The acting by the principal players is very good, and the script and cinematography suggest a more experienced film crew.
Complicating matters is the general perception amongst many fans—a sentimental, romanticized, and unexamined perception—that The Hobbit is a light, whimsical fantasy. It is not.
The party’s over—the wrap party that is. So what will Jackson’s creation look like? Click through to read some of my thoughts.
The trailer wisely uses images familiar to fans of the Lord of the Rings movies, beginning with a shot in front of Bag End…. So, what do you think of the trailer? Click through to watch it and leave your comments.
So far, writing these blogs has been a fun adventure as discoveries have been made and gems of information unearthed. I am trusting that more treasure will be found as we move along. You may have noticed that I try and give a sort of trailer for the next instalment at the end of each blog but in the last chapter, my fascination with gaining the cup may have caused me to take my eye off the ball.
If you are looking for a unique volume that captures the Tolkien phenomenon of the 1970s, The Tolkien Scrapbook might be just the ticket.
Thorin showed up today. Click through for a link and to share what you think about Peter Jackson’s thirteen Dwarves.
Peter Jackson calls the trilogy “the biggest home movie in the world.” Watching the various features, it was obvious that this massive project was a labor of love. Emphasis on “labor.”
I couldn’t help thinking what effect this landscape would have had on the young Tolkien when he visited his aunt at Bag End Farm. Almost everything Tolkien wrote is full of his love for the countryside. Having lost his father in infancy and his mother when he was 12 years old, getting out of Birmingham to this rural idyll must have been a great blessing for him.
What is the place of 3-D in the film industry? Does it enhance the filmmaker’s ability to convey the story, or is it merely a novelty that distracts? And what affect will it have on the upcoming Narnia and Hobbit movies?
The Lord of the Rings was not popular because of its Director. (Peter Jackson was relatively unknown in 1999.) It killed at the box office because of the popularity of JRR Tolkien and the quality of the films.
Tolkien fans know the history. But what makes the movie such a great story is not what we already knew; it is how we get there. The creators of Born of Hope are not only first-rate filmmakers, but also superb storytellers.
As Frodo could count on the fact that his burden came to him not without purpose, so we can be confident that God has a purpose in the challenges we face as a nation, and as individuals. The question is what we will do “with the time that is given to us.”
Last weekend, I had the pleasure of walking along the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire… I was reminded of some strong connections between Lewis, Tolkien and this location.
“I have recently come to believe that the right person for the part of Bilbo is…” Click through to find out my opinion about who should play Bilbo and some speculation about the upcoming Hobbit films.
If it weren’t for Bilbo and Frodo, I’m sure I would have never developed an interest in fantasy literature or cared about Norse legends and sagas. And I certainly would have never picked up a book written in verse by some obscure philologist.
Carpenter’s biography has been the standard since it was published in 1977, and has been the basis for virtually every Tolkien biography that has been written since.
A characteristic of great writing is that you see something new every time you read it. Fantasy writers who have come after Tolkien have “an elephant on their shoulders” trying to live up to what he was able to accomplish.
When J R R Tolkien first imagined Bilbo Baggins, little did he realize what a huge franchise would grow from this little fellow. Editions of The Hobbit are available from the cheapest paperback, to an exquisite leather deluxe edition. It is even available in a comic book!
I get the feeling that we really ought to start moving and take the most important books with us and refer to them along the way. But which ones to take and which ones to leave behind? We’d better do some sorting and get packed…
My Harvard-educated mother read the first chapter (if that) and then quit. And to be honest, I only read the book to show my mom that I could read a book that she could not. I did not expect that it would become my favorite book.
Rickety Shack Films is led by Chris Bouchard, who wants to share his own unique vision based on Tolkien’s Middle-earth with a not-for-profit movie. “It’s being made purely for the love of and in tribute to [Tolkien’s work].”
George MacDonald is hard to avoid if you start reading around Tolkien but he does seem to be noticeably absent from Tolkien’s own acknowledgements which is in contrast to C.S. Lewis who described him as his master in matters relating to the writing of fantasy and fairy stories.
Although Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass should be commended for their ground-breaking work as the first to attempt to put Middle-earth on screen, some of Tolkien’s worst fears came true.
Tolkien: “It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations…” It was far too easy for Congress to come up with a “Bailout” plan, but it will be far more difficult to deal with the economic Dragon that has lain hidden for many years.
It may be that students who first took an interest in Tolkien’s books in the 60s were thinking that the imagined world of Middle-earth owed something to drug use … more people persisted because they were hooked by the story and the beauty of Tolkien’s imaginary world.
I was asked to contribute to a presentation at our church on connecting with culture by looking at The Lord of the Rings films from a spiritual perspective. “What is the meaning of The Lord of the Rings?” I am still struggling with the answer to that question…
I vividly remember being read the Hobbit in public school. I soon became aware that the series was a bit controversial in some Christian circles due to the “magical” nature of the stories. I have never understood this.
When you start reading The Hobbit, you are in Middle-earth (or under it) and you have to decide whether you want to stay and find out more. I took a while to grow to like it: you might say I was a reluctant convert.
The new “Hobbit Whole” features on Hollywood Jesus will be based on the theme of journeys to and from Bilbo’s home. We will be posting features about once a month, and news on the film as it breaks. Click through for more details and a photo of a famous Tolkien-related landmark.