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I finally watched Fellowship Of The Ring last week. Discussing with Amanda how well the movie fit with how I remembered the books made me realize a few things about how I twisted the story in my own mind. Lord Of The Rings is an excellent story, and I never blatantly violated anything J.R.R. Tolkien said. But there are some philosophical inclinations in the books that I seemed to be subconsciously rebelling against, both in my imagination as I read and in my remembering of the books. For example, the spectacular flying dragon firework stretched its credibility in my mind. I had thought of Gandalf's fireworks as more or less mundane fireworks like we would use on the 4th of July, but which seemed much more magical and spectacular to hobbits who had no familiarity with such things. I can't fully explain why it seemed wrong for Gandalf to be using his magic simply for entertaining people, but it did.

More significant was my picture of the orcs. The movie's orcs were too dirty and deformed. I imagined them being ugly, of course, but on some level my imagination accorded them a certain amount of dignity. I had trouble with the idea of a race of beings that exists only to be evil. I wanted to put the orcs in a category closer to the humans who fought for Sauron, or wolves and ravens -- creatures enslaved to evil, but capable of existing as legitimate beings on their own. I have this sort of fantasy about the orcs settling down to farm the less desolate parts of Mordor after Sauron's final defeat.


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