NewsWire: It Could Become a Nasty Hobbit - Evening Standard Online
It Could Become a Nasty Hobbit
Evening Standard Online - April 3, 2000
One of JRR Tolkien's sons married a Canadian. When this young woman's parents met the great author, they confided: "Somehow, we couldn't get along with The Lord of the Rings - we couldn't identify with any of the characters."
Since most of the characters are hobbits, dwarfs, wizards and elves, it was perhaps not surprising. Clearly, that is what is expected of literature nowadays. Those of us who can't identify with Odysseus or Achilles will not bother our heads over Homer.
The screen version of Lord of the Rings, which one can tell in advance will be excruciatingly bad, is trying to increase the female interest of the tale. Cate Blanchett is playing the Elven queen Galadriel, and Liv Tyler the beautiful Arwen - both pretty minor roles in Tolkien's epic, but evidently the film's director and distributors believe the public won't be interested in the story Tolkien actually wrote.
Perhaps these things don't matter, but those of us who admire Tolkien will feel rather sad. If I were a multi-millionaire, I'd commission a film of Tolkien's The Silmarillion, which is largely about disembodied angels and which contains some of his best work.
The Lord of the Rings is one of the greatest pieces of narrative ever conceived by a human imagination. Are we really so limited in our sympathies that we don't want the film version of Lord of the Rings to reflect its great original and would rather have some stupid Yankee version?
If this is our attitude, why not inject some gay interest into the story, lest it make the homosexual community feel excluded?