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Steve S

I think the only reason Elrond was so pissy in the movies was that Jackson needed tension for the fabricated gotta-appeal-to-the-ladies Arwen subplot. The elf portrayal that's even worse is Legolas as extreme-sports-adventurer from the Hornburg on. And of course Gimli as a buffoon is really appalling (the only thing about the movie series that really irked me, actually).

Though I have a soft spot for all those stock fantasies in the Eddings/Jordan/whomever vein, I've never cared for the ones that most heavily rip off Tolkien (beyond the general amount all of 'em do). Some of my friends loved Dragonlance, but (besides the roleplaying game basis being obvious early on) the Tolkien pastiche was so heavy that I didn't especially like the first series. The second series, the one that focuses mainly on Raistlin and Caramon, was actually very good in places. Terry Brooks is another author whose Tolkien ripoff actively pissed me off.


Your point about the elves is spot on. Tolkien has been so pervasively ripped off, it's difficult for many people to tell what he originated anymore. I luckily read LOTR in grade school, before any other fantasies (except Narnia, which has different issues), so I've always seen the ways in which Tolkein is ripped off quite clearly. And as a medieval lit/English major, his archaisms don't bother me. But many of my fantasy-reading friends think LOTR is dry and boring, compared with the more contemporary, less formal treatments by other authors. I always felt that Guy Gavriel Kay's treatment of elves was the truest to Tolkien's spirit (no coincidence since Kay edited Tolkien's writings). Brooks and many others though have gotten the form, but completely without the substance.

Incidentally, I don't know any ladies who found Arwen "appealing" in the films. Speaking for my friends, her languorous dithering annoyed the heck out of us. I felt that Jackson wanted more screen time for the female characters as a matter of principle, even though he knew the female audience would be watching Viggo and Orlando.

Steve S

As long as the principle was "I don't want to be accused of sexism," yes. I'm not saying it was a good idea, just focus group thinking.

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