Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Everyone in the Lord of the Rings books is ruder than I remembered

So I recently re-read "Lord of the Rings," because, um, that's the kind of person I am, and I couldn't help but notice how blunt everyone is in the books. Peter Jackson makes it out to be all sweet sad glances between barely platonic hobbit couples and scenes of everyone showing up at people's bedsides after battles and having gigglefits. Not so in the book. Maybe it's just because Europeans are more straightforward, but in Tolkien's vision, there's more rudeness than Elf-Dwarf rivalries and Gollum's "nassty hobbitses" Tourette syndrome. Here are some quotes.

"Then who would you take up with? A fat inkeeper who only remembers his own name because people shout it at him all day?"

-Aragorn, in response to Barliman Butterbur, who's just said he distrusts Rangers
I mean, I understand that Butterbur just said he didn't trust you, but you can't really blame him. All Butterbur sees of Aragorn is this cloaked dirty weirdo who wanders in and out of town. So I just don't really think he needed to call him fat. In general, in Tolkien's telling, Aragorn isn't the humble sweetheart Peter Jackson and Viggo Mortenson make him out to be. At the drop of a hat he's yelling to perfect strangers that he's Aragorn, son of Arathorn, heir of Elendil, with the sword of whosit and blah blah blah. That's pretty impressive and all, but he's not shy about bringing it up.

"To the tall isle I will go, but no further. There I shall turn to my home, alone if my help has not earned the reward of any companionship."
-Boromir, casually, to everyone around him
Boromir gets more and more passive aggressive as the first book moves on. This is pretty much the height of his cattiness. You'd think someone who was so interested in showing how big and manly they were would avoid acting like a 13-year-old girl. I've been on nightmare camping trips, too, and we all managed to not get snippy like this.

"Do not speak before your master, whose wit is greater than yours."
-Faramir, to Sam
Really, Faramir, right to his face. It's one thing when he and Frodo joke about Sam being a little dim, but the two of them go way back. Faramir overall is certainly not the asshole Jackson makes him out to be, but he's an awfully blunt guy in the book. He takes one look at Frodo and comes right out with "So I figure you're carrying the One Ring." Jesus, who are you? For some reason his lack of finesse wins over Eowyn in the end, which I don't really understand, but I guess if she can put up with him that's a nice happy ending for those two, since they've both been through some shit.

"Alas! For she was pitted against a foe beyond the strength of her mind and body!"
-Aragorn, about Eowyn while she was recovering
I really just don't know who Aragorn thinks he is here. Yeah, she's hovering somewhere near critical condition at this point, but she killed the guy, didn't she? I mean, Aragorn showed up with a ghost army, which is pretty badass, but she and Merry took down the Witch-King of friggity Angmar. After everyone telling them they weren't good enough to be there. Aragorn needs to step off.

"He looked towards the mountains and held up his sword. 'Farewell, Gandalf!' he cried. 'Did I not say to you: if you pass the doors of Moria, beware?"
-Aragorn, back towards the mountain where Gandalf has just fallen off a cliff
Before they move along on the quest Aragorn can't resist giving a final "Told ya so!" to Gandalf, who at this point we assume has splattered on the jagged rocks at the bottom of the abyss under Moria. Nice, Aragorn. You look really good here.

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