Response to “Are Women Bored of the Rings?” – New York Times

by Jan 3, 2004Lord of the Rings (Movies)

Last month, we posted a link to an article in the New York Times entitled “Are Women Bored of the Rings?” that received quite the passionate response.  Thanks to Katherine, we have the letters that were sent in to the Times from some women who felt the same as most of those here on Tolkien Online.  Thanks Katherine!

Beyond Viggo
To the Editor:
Caryn James doesn’t like “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, so she blames it on being a girl [“Are Women Just Bored of the Rings?,” Dec. 21]. Sounds to me like the “girls should stay in the kitchen” bigotry I used to hear as a kid. I am neither a geek nor a man and I love these movies, and so do nearly all of my female friends. Of course we love Viggo, but it’s the epic story beautifully told that keeps us returning to the “Rings.”

Ms. James chides the films for their soullessness and their FX wizardry. What picture was she watching? The special effects, while cool, don’t overwhelm the film (for a true FX extravaganza, see “The Matrix”), and the breathlessness of the battles is matched by the beauty and depth of the quieter moments. Indeed, it’s director Peter Jackson’s skill at making such a large subject so, well, human, that makes these movies wonderful and amazing and thrilling — and just right for boys and girls.
Santa Monica, Calif.

The Girls Understand
To the Editor:
The “Lord of the Rings” movies are not for everyone — no film is — but I don’t think it’s a simple demographic split.

During my second viewing of “The Fellowship,” I sat in front of several adolescents obviously on a date. At the conclusion, when the dying Boromir swore his allegiance to Aragorn and Aragorn accepted it, the boys squirmed and cursed; the girls, every single one, bawled both for Boromir and for the weight Aragorn would now have to shoulder. The girls very much got the movie; it was the boys who missed the point.

Geeks R Us
To the Editor:
I have known many girls and women just as entranced with “The Lord of the Rings” as I was when I first encountered it, as a geeky seventh-grade girl in 1972. In college, I took a class in modern fantasy literature taught by a (yes, geeky) female Tolkien scholar, and many of the most rabid Tolkien fans among my fairly nerdy students at the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth are young women, ages 11 to 15. Girls can be geeks too, and estrogen is no barrier to the appreciation of the great artistry of Tolkien’s books and Jackson’s films.


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