For you, which came first … r Jackson or JRR Tolkien?

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2nd Lieutenant (Level 18)
8428 XP

Recently, while re-reading The Lord of the Rings, I had the experience that I always do. The images and feelings I had when I first read it came flooding back over me. I was on a tour bus with the Land of Lakes Choirboys cracking open my first copy of The Fellowship of the Ring. I think it was 1976. All the locations and characters in those books formed indelible images in my mind that I retain to this day.

I wanted so much to see a live action film made from the books. It was a common discussion, during our Chivalry and Sorcery game sessions (our GM did not care for DnD), which scene we wanted to see most: Helms Deep, The Barrow-Wight; everyone had an opinion. So I was over-the-moon when, 20+ years later, I heard that someone was filming the whole trilogy. I logged onto TORN every day and read every scrap of information I could find. When the films were finally released I was not disappointed. They were better than I ever imaged.

They were good, but I wonder if maybe they were too good. I mean, now there’s an entire generation of fans that’s grown up having those films – and not the books themselves – as their first exposure to Middle Earth. I have a friend who’s always refused to see the films because he doesn’t want anything to influence his experience of Middle Earth other than Tolkien.

Are the people who read the books only after seeing the films able to have a unique experience of Middle Earth? I don’t just mean learning about the intricacies of the lore or the deviations in the plot. I mean are the books able to thrust you entirely into their world or do you still see Peter Jackson’s interpretation of it?

Just wondering.

Citizen (Level 8)
808 XP

Does Rankin/Bass count? That would be my first introduction to JRR Tolkien.

In truth, I wasn't particularly fond of Rankin/Bass's interpretation (partly because I've never been fond of musicals), and it wasn't until I studied Fantasy/Science Fiction Literature while attending University that I garnered more appreciation for JRR Tolkien. My professor described JRR Tolkien as one of two "grandfathers of high fantasy" The other was Robert Howard, who wrote Conan the Barbarian.

I very much enjoyed Peter Jackson's interpretation of both Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit (inaccuracies, filler, and all). First time I saw Peter Jackson's version of Bag End, I thought -- now that's a home I could love, if I could fit in it. But then I saw Rivendell and I just had to ask my partner, "can we move there?" She didn't say no...

"What if everything you see is more than what you see — the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it is really a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." — Shigeru Miyamoto

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2nd Lieutenant (Level 18)
8428 XP

Robert Howard? He was in the Lovecraft circle. Dunsany was active at least a decade before those two, and George MacDonald half a century before that. I guess if you consider comprehensive world building to be emblematic of High Fantasy then I can see the point. Still, Middle Earth is so far and away more sophisticated than anything that came before it - and so few things that have come after - that I would have a hard time putting Tolkien anywhere but in a class of his own.

Rivendell certainly was beautiful. I wish I'd designed it.

I enjoyed the Rankin Bass Hobbit. It did a good job of capturing the book's sense of wonder, and that's the most important thing, I think. I also liked the Ralph Bakshi Lord of the Rings, apart from the ending, of course.