Beowulf: The Lost King of Rohan

Beowulf A Translation and Commentary (header)

An Anglo-Saxon Connection

The Anglo-Saxon epic has been acknowledged many times as one of the major sources of inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. The world in the poem is easily comparable to Rohan and beyond. The character of Beowulf himself has been placed under scrutiny and analysed alongside other characters from Middle-earth, including Aragorn and Bard the Bowman.

The Geat hero, however, shares a close affinity with the majority of the kings of Rohan. Indeed, one could argue that many of the qualities and characteristics found in the House of Eorl can be attributed to Beowulf as an individual. The events that shape his life can be gleamed from the lives of Théoden’s ancestors.

For the purpose of this article, I will be using Tolkien’s recently published: Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary, in order to reference specific passages in relation to the character. I have also compared them with the text in The Lord of the Rings, with strong emphasis on ‘The House of Eorl’ in Appendix A. Continue reading “Beowulf: The Lost King of Rohan”

Tolkien Week: Days 3 & 4

Middle-earth Marathon Hangover (header)

Something of a Middle-earth Marathon hangover …

So I missed a post yesterday. And yet, I was still exercising my Tolkien Week celebration duties. That back-to-back trilogy marathon took me way beyond what I had originally planned to do.

What I thought would be a day-by-day, film-by-film, viewing turned out into the final 4-film stretch all in one evening. Continue reading “Tolkien Week: Days 3 & 4”

The Thorin vs Azog Duels: An Analysis

Thorin vs Azog (analysis)

Why AUJ’s scene works better than BOTFA’s

The comparisons are obvious and the decision to include an initial confrontation between Azog and Thorin at the end of An Unexpected Journey, cleverly foreshadows the eventual meeting at the end of film 3.

It is my intention to analyse the two scenes and work out why one works better than the other.

For the purposes of this analysis, I will be referring to the Thorin/Azog scene at the end of An Unexpected Journey as the “Pine Forest Confrontation”; whilst the scene in The Battle of the Five Armies will be referred to as the “Ravenhill Conflict”.

Time and time again, I have found that the Pine Forest Confrontation has been a constant tear-jerker since my very first viewing of the film. With the Ravenhill Conflict, the emotional resonance lies only AFTER the conflict has ended.

I do not want to go into much detail on the Ravenhill Conflict, as I’ve already said much in a previous post (The Problematic Climax of ‘The Battle of the Five Armies’).

What follows is a personal opinion and is not meant to generalise the overall feeling of any fans or viewers of the film. Continue reading “The Thorin vs Azog Duels: An Analysis”

What were the Silent Watchers?

The Silent Watchers

Spirits Only a Gamgee could Master

If you have seen the films, you probably didn’t notice them. But if you’ve read The Lord of the Rings, you most probably remember them clearly. You’ve asked questions, but never got to any revealing answers.

It is ironic how, with all the appendices, letters and thousands of pages on Middle-earth’s history and detail, there are so many mysteries left unraveled by Tolkien.

Case in point are the Silent Watchers guarding the entrance to the tower of Cirith Ungol. Continue reading “What were the Silent Watchers?”

The Problematic Climax of         ‘The Battle of the Five Armies’

Bilbo (confused)

How Peter Jackson went places he proved he would never go

I have been a Peter Jackson apologist for a number of years: attempting to understand and explain to others certain decisions done by the filmmaker when adapting the Middle-earth stories tothe silver screen.Peter Jackson

Never being a narrow-minded “Jacksonphile”, I tried – as much as possible – to understand his reasonings; but not always found myself in full agreement with the outcome of specific choices. However, I always accepted Jackson’s own thoughts behind the alterations he employed.

However, after viewing The Battle of the Five Armies, I have come to the conclusion that Peter Jackson has probably done some shocking errors of judgement in its third act; something I will undoubtedly find extremely difficult to accept why he made the choices that eventually ended up on the screen.

I can most certainly understand why, but I don’t think I’ll be able to agree or sympathise with those decisions.

Continue reading “The Problematic Climax of         ‘The Battle of the Five Armies’”

The Gaffer’s Elite: The Films

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies (posters)

Ranking all things Middle-earth

It is useless trying to escape the unavoidable.

With this final post from The Gaffer’s Elite series, it is time to rank the Middle-earth films.

Yes, you heard that right: writing down, from 1 to 6, the best films from the good ones.

I’m sweating just typing that sentence; most fans can attest to the special viewing experience gained from every one of these six movies.

And yet, it is no use denying that there will always be that one film, from either of the two trilogies, that makes you feel geekier and more impressed whenever re-watching.

Do not hate me for the Herculean task I have had to complete in creating this list!

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Continue reading “The Gaffer’s Elite: The Films”

The Gaffer’s Elite: Realms and Settlements

Gaffer Gamgee

Ranking all things Middle-earth

Hullo friends!

It’s Friday today and that means another post from the Gaffer’s Elite! Now I had announced a “favourite characters” ranking last week, but in the meantime I thought there’s just one more post I need to do before getting to that.

Undoubtedly, one of the most appealing things about Middle-earth, and the reason why we keeping going back to these films and reading the books, is due to the vast variety of locations the stories take place in.

In 6 films, Peter Jackson and his creative team have visualised much of Tolkien’s fertile creativity and sublime imagination. Suffice to say, the combination of visual effects, set design and New Zealand’s natural breathtaking countryside, have given us a wealth of fantasy locales unlike any other.

So without further ado, here are some of my most cherished environments from the films… Continue reading “The Gaffer’s Elite: Realms and Settlements”

The Gaffer’s Elite: Credits Songs

Gaffer Gamgee

Ranking all things Middle-earth

After going through some of the most beautiful and emotional cinematic shots in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings last week, it’s time to switch back to the music category. We’ve all been there: screen fades to black and the score swells up to greet the text and title captions fade in and out. This is a slightly tedious experience during most cinema viewings, but when it came to the Middle-earth films, we fans were glued to our seats – not only to go through the names of the hardworking team behind them, but also to listen to the end credits songs.

Suffice to say, they’re all special in their own way; but like any other piece of music, there’s always one that precedes the other; the chills and emotions are stronger and run deeper. Which reminds me. After several posts from The Gaffer’s Elite, I’ve realised it would be much more exciting and suspenseful to leave the top choices last. Sure, you can always scroll immediately to the bottom to reveal the favourites, but at least I’ve tried my best.

And yes there are 7 songs listed below, even though there are only 6 films and hence 6 end credits songs; but you’ll see why in a minute. Continue reading “The Gaffer’s Elite: Credits Songs”