OK so I have something to say and I really hope someone listens. My father read all of J.R.R. Tolkien’s works when he was a boy and proceeded to obsess over them for nearly 60 years before he died. I grew up having The Hobbit read to me at my bedside and walking each morning to my 5th grade class with the collector’s compendium of Lord of the Rings under my arm. When I played, it was as a hobbit/elf/dwarf/wizard/whatever, running from Nazgul and fighting the Dark Lord.
I had a discussion tonight with someone about the inaccuracies between J. R. R. Tolkien and Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth. Basically, it lead to the fact that there are a lot of people who are really upset about the discrepancies between the two. The ones that I personally noticed the most was how serious Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit was compared to J. R. R. Tolkien’s. (Not withstanding the major plot changes.)
Here is the conclusion I have come to. When I went into the theatre to see The Hobbit last week, I was excited to see Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth. Not J. R. R. Tolkien’s middle earth. Believe it or not, I already have that one in stunning detail. It’s all written beautifully down in a several hundred page tome that smells like my dad. What I saw in the theatre was a re-imagining of someone exactly like me. Someone who loves the books dearly and who spent the time and energy to really think about what that world meant to them. So basically, they are two separate universes in my mind.
Something I don’t understand is how someone can go look at a work of art created by one person and compare it to another. One might do something better than the other (yes, I know I just committed blasphemy by implying that PJ could have done something better than JRR, that is not my point) but ultimately, they are separate works with separate visions. I think where people ruin it for themselves is they don’t keep an open mind and accept the fact that J.R.R. Tolkien’s words translate differently for everyone. I personally had a totally different vision of about 90% of what happened in the Lord of the Rings movies but I still happily embraced the ideas that Peter had of Middle Earth, and I would gladly do it again if someone else did the exact same thing. Think of all the fanart and children’s drawings and fanfictions out there. All different people’s visions.
So here is my suggestion. If you are having trouble digesting the movies, all of the film making and technical mistakes aside, I suggest that you take a look at your own vision of Middle Earth. Do you think what you see in your mind was exactly what J. R. R. Tolkien intended? I highly doubt it was, and I can’t believe that any of us could say that we truly all see the same version of his world. The best we can do is share and embrace the heart and soul of his creations and celebrate them for what they were: Truly inspiring works that have and will continue to affect generations of people for years to come.