Lord Of The Rings: Books Vs Films (Theatrical Releases).

While traveling earlier this year, I have been listening to the Lord of the Rings book trilogy on audio. Excellent reading by Rob Ingliss.
Further, because they were available on Netflix, recently I re-watched the three movies of the theatrical releases.
Previously I have watched the extended editions, too, but they are not in my recent memory.

Here is my impressions of the releases, for the moment:

I have loved the books since I first read them, first in Danish, then in English. This happened in the 1980s, and for a while I read all three books every year or two.
This means that when I first saw the films at their release around 2000, I could easily compare the films and the books, in relation to what was included in the films, and what was changed.
While I can understand the need to remove some parts of the books in order to fit the rather massive story into about 3×3 hours, it does result in some flaws in the films. Here are a few examples:

From the first film/book: Fellowship of the Ring:
– when I first saw the movie, I was wondering if I had missed a part of it. The hobbits were fleeing the Black Rider, crossing the Brandywine river in the ferry boat, and suddenly they were at the gate in Bree. No unmasking of the “conspiracy”, no Old Forest, no Tom Bombadil, and no finding their weapons in the Barrow Downs.
I might have accepted missing Tom Bombadil, but the swords found at the Barrow Downs are significant at a later stage: The sword that Merry receives at that point is the one that can destroy a ring wraith. Now this just happens with no explanation at all. It is not even mentioned in Rivendell, where Elrond *could* have explained the significance of the sword.
– I can accept the merging of the characters of Glorfindel and Arwen, if only for the Arwen/Aragorn part of the story. Also, it does not really detract from the main story.
– also, though it is kind of spoilery, I can accept the beginning of the movie, providing the back story of the Ring.

From Book 2: The Two Towers:
– parts of the orc hunt and Merry and Pippin’s experience with the orcs and Treebeard have been cut, but it does work.
– The arrival of the elves at Helm’s Deep was confusing, having read the books, but I can see that it would not be so, if someone is watching the films alone.

From Book 3: Return of the King:
– Elrond coming to see Aragorn at Helm’s Deep is a change that becomes rather inconsistent with the books, and made little sense to me.
– A large part of the story is completely missing, especially there is absolutely nothing about meeting Saruman on the way home, and having to deal with him in the Shire when they arrive home. Everything is just unchanged when they return to the Shire. I consider this a significant part of the story, because it shows how the hobbits have grown since the start of their journey.
These are just examples of changes to the story, there is much more, but it will have to do for now.

Did I enjoy the films? YES! I did, they still have excellent changes form the beautiful to the horrific, just like the books. The landscapes they film in are magnificent (I would like to visit some of those places). The moods in the films are excellent, as are the vast majority of the characters.

I still find that the films have a strong emotional effect. Maybe this is because I know the books so well.
I love the cinematography and the music used, and I am aware that the films could not have been made at all before their time, because the technology to make the effects did not exist.

So yes, despite the flaws I see, I like the films quite a bit.

Here is how I would rate the films and the books:

1) Theatrical versions: 8/10
2) Extended versions: 9/10
3) Books: 10/10

I am aware that I need to re-watch the extended versions again some time, but not just now.

The Order, TV Series.

I just finished watching the first season of the Netflix original series, The Order.

I was well enough entertained to follow through with the whole season. It is, however, not the strongest of the Netflix originals I have seen.

I found the characters OK, and the story line a little bit generic. I was well enough entertained, so the rating of the season is an average 7/10.

Watched and Read, March to June.

The watching and reading has been reduced a bit due to other activities, so here are 3 months worth:

Finished:

Supergirl, season 4, 8/10

Berlin Station (spy thriller), season 1, 5/10 with a friend

Black Lightning, season 2, 8/10

Star Trek Discovery, season 2, 8/10

Shadow Hunters, season 4 (aka. 3a), 7/10

Magicians, season 4, 8/10

Highlander, season 2, 7/10

Sense8 re-watch, except final episode, 10/10

Game of Thrones, season 8, 8/10

The Scorpion, season 1, 7/10

The OA, part 2 8/10

Films:

The Matrix (re-watch), 8/10

Matrix Reloaded, 7/10

Matrix Revolutions, 7/10,

as part of me watching more by the Wachowskis

Partly watched:

Jeremiah, season 1, with a friend (the show disappeared from HBO Nordic, but I managed to find both seasons on a DVD set (Rather expensive, but I wanted it anyway))

The Americans, season 6, with a friend

Legends of Tomorrow (not yet finished)

Started Cloak & Dagger, season 2

Started Roswell, New Mexico (2019 version), but did not get very far. It did not catch on too well in the first few episodes

 

Read: Finished “The Broken Earth” trilogy by N.K. Jemisin I like that very much, 9/10

 

The Iron Throne: Game of Thrones Is Finished. No Spoilers.

I watched the final episode of the whole Game of Thrones series.

I like it quite a bit, though the two final (short) seasons 7 and 8 felt rushed. I am aware that this is not necessarily the fault of the show runners. While they had got an outline of the books not (yet) written they did not have as much material to work with, and they probably miss several things that have been in George R.R. Matin’s head.

The missing part may also be due to the compression of the seasons made necessary by the decision makers at HBO.

Seasons 7 and 8 felt uneven from episode to episode, although the finale did tie up a lot of story lines, and was satisfactory to me. It even tied up something that several people were complaining about in the penultimate episode.

I like who ended up sitting on the throne (no spoilers). I did not quite see this coming, but it made sense to me. To me it was a bitter-sweet ending for most characters, which is much like real life can be.

I rate the final episode 9/10.

I may be back with more later, but that will be spoiler filled.

New : Watched and Read, January 2019

I am going to try something new on the blog :

Making a few notes on what I have watched, read and/or listened to, month by month, mostly with personal ratings.

There is the possibility of making separate posts about particular seasons or books.

Here is my list of genre related activities for January, 2019 :

Finished seasons :
Chronicles of Shannara Seasons 1 and 2 (7/10)
Into The BadlandsTV (seasons 1-3) (7/10)
Riverdale S1 (7/10)
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina S1 (including xmas special) (8/10)
Titans S1 (7/10)
The Flash S4 (8/10)
Arrow S3 (re-watch) (7/10)
MarvelRunaways S1 (7/10)
ThePunisher Season 2 (7/10)
Black Lightning Season 2. I realized it continued in February, so deduct it here and I will add it to Watching in Progress

Watching in progress :
StarTrek Discovery S2 1 ep per week
Roswell New Mexico in progress one ep per week

Magicians S4 – weekly episodes

Black Lightning Season 2

Watched with friends :
Highlander S2 in progress (re-watch for me)
Jeremiah S1 in progress (re-watch for me)
Pine Gap S1 (8/10)
Berlin Station (in progress)

 

Reading :
Book 1 of the Broken Earth trilogy by N.K.Jemesin
“The Fifth Season”

 

13 seasons of TV finished, some long, some intermediate, and several short ones in one month, as well as a novel. Quite a bit, but I expect February to have a little less genre activity, due to other activities taking over.

 

Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files

Before I did my removal I had started reading the Dresden Files books.

I like the writing, the books are page turners, but with an escalating story. I have finished book 9 “White Knight”, and I will continue, slowly over the months/years. I may, at some point, be in the same position as others who had read all the books out, waiting for more.
At least, Jim Butcher writes faster than some authors, so the waiting is not that long 😉

It has been good to see the growth of Harry Dresden’s character, from a “simple” detective wizard to a rather powerful one.

In the mean time I will read some other stuff, my list is quite long.

Dresden Files – Books and TV series.

A while ago I started to read the Dresden Files series of books by Jim Butcher.

At present I have read the first 3 books of the series, and enjoyed them thoroughly. I surely intend to read further in the series, and there is no lack of material. The series has, at present 16 books out, and the total series is expected to be around 25 books. Nor these books are not the massive tomes, such as the “Song of Ice and Fire” books, so reading a book at a time, mixed with other books, will be manageable. I have the first 12 books on the Kindle, so I don’t even need to buy them before I can read them 😉

Jim Butcher is the Guest of Honour at the Eastercon in Heathrow next year, and I am considering going there if time allows.

There is a TV series that ran for a single season, 12 episodes a few years ago. I found the DVD set and watched it the past week end.
Paul Blackthorne, also known from “Arrow” plays Harry Dresden, and I like his acting in this one, but I think he is better in “Arrow”.

I found the TV series quite entertaining, after a few episodes it started to find its feet. Harry Dresden is the only person in Chicago having his occupation in the phonebook stated as “Wizard”. He helps the local police out in the strangest cases that would normally have gone unsolved.
He is a rather powerful wizard, but has dabbled in black magic which was not too popular with “The Council”. He is under essentially constant surveillance and invariably accused of the worst of intentions.

The series follows him in a series of cases, the pilot episode “Storm Front” is relatively true to the first book in the series with the same title.

The TV series is “based on” the books, but after the pilot it deviates considerably from the books, so I should be relatively spoiler safe when I resume reading the book series.

I would rate the series at an enjoyable, slightly above average 7.5/10.

I rate the first 3 books a bit higher, at a solid above average 8/10

More Audio Books : Tolkien

During some more long rides to Denmark I started listening to “The Hobbit” and got through the first volume of The Lord of the Rings trilogy “The Fellowship of the Ring”.

All read by Rob Ingliss, I find him an excellent reader who renders voices and accents for the characters very nicely. I find his reading gives me the feeling of an epic story – well, I already know the epic scope of the story having read it several times. Very enjoyable, rendering the poetic parts as well as the terror parts of the story very well. Powerful reading.

Tolkiens reinvention of the mythical story is, of course, another part of the attraction for me. In my view he is one of the great story tellers of the 20th century.

On later travels, I look forward to listening to the two final volumes – again. Oh, the joys of having an MP3 player in the car, since I find the radio channels on the way either boring or unnerving.

Hugo 2010 Novelette : “One of our Bastards is Missing” by Paul Cornell

I have mainly known Paul Cornell from his stories in the Doctor Who universe (“Father’s Day” and “Human Nature/Family of Blood”). his is my first Cornell story outside that.

Nice to see that he is nominated in two categories this story is best Novelette and also in the graphic story category – mor about the graphic story later.

This one starts nicely out, the protagonist, a security officer is confronted with a mystery at the wedding of the princess.

The story has a slight surreal feel, but at the end it is quite consistent. So we have got mystery, betrayal and a good wrap-up.

Two more novelettes to go, and for now my choice is between this one and the Eugie Foster one

8/10