One of the most enduring debates within The Lord of the Rings fandom is whether Jackson’s version of the story managed to surpass Tolkien’s original. While many continue to believe that Jackson got everything wrong and that Tolkien’s was far superior, there are also those who are willing to say that Jackson actually improved on certain elements.
With the arrival of the new Rings of Power series, fans will return to the world of Middle-earth. Many likely returned to the movies and novels in preparation for the series, further emphasizing the differences between the two versions. And while the book is a classic, there are still more areas where fans feel the movies have made improvements.
The Shire is one of the key locations in Lord of the Rings lore as it is the home of the Hobbits. The books and movies begin the story in The Shire as the characters are established. However, some fans felt it had a bigger impact in the movies.
Editor daneato admitted that the books make him look pretty cool, “but the movies don’t leave me with any greater desire than to be a hobbit just hanging in The Shire.” This helps to have more impact when the heroes have to leave their house.
Boromir is certainly the most complex member of the Fellowship as well as the first member to die for good. His death occurs quite similarly in both versions as he finds redemption with his heroic last stand.
However, it’s the death placement that makes fans prefer the movie as it is at the end of Fellowship of the Rings, which makes a better cliffhanger than just Frodo leaving. Given that Boromir’s death is considered by many to be one of the greatest scenes in Lord of the Rings, it certainly makes for a memorable ending.
The Fellowship is a collection of iconic heroes who form a formidable team in the story. Although they don’t last long before they are torn apart, their formation is one of the most famous moments in the first film.
In the books, the Fellowship is formed after the council in which Frodo volunteers to take the ring. The movies change it to each member volunteering in response to Frodo’s bravery which Redditor quick_study9 finds “immediately binds the group together in their common mission.”
Arwen saves Frodo
One of the many times Frodo’s life is in danger during this adventure is when he is stabbed by a Nazgûl’s sword. In the books, Glorfindel’s character drives him to Riverdell to save his life.
However, this is changed in the books to Aragorn’s elf and love interest Arwen being the one to save Frodo. It makes sense to combine these two characters, but Redditor rtop found the sequence to be “Not only exciting but moving.”
Aragorn as the reluctant heir
Although Frodo is the one who wears the ring, many fans consider Aragorn to be the true hero of the story. He is a brave and skilled warrior who rallies the heroes and ultimately leads the army into battle. He is also revealed to be the heir to become king of the human race.
In the books, it’s a position Aragorn has taken all his life. But while Aragorn proves himself a worthy king several times in the movies, he’s much more reticent about it. Editor papaEauMoi calls it “a more satisfying character arc.”
Faramir and the Ring
One of the most notable changes to the LOTR books was the decision to have Faramir almost seduced by the power of the Ring. AdmiralStark feels this is a big departure from the film, as it creates “an interesting dark echo of Boromir’s ringside corruption”.
In Tolkien’s original story, Faramir is ultimately one of the few characters with almost no temptation to take it, which may seem unbelievable to some, given how powerful the Ring proved to be. .
Aragorn is more than a plot device
Aragorn is one of the most powerful characters in the books and movies, but he’s in some ways plot-driven in the former. Fairy Tales noted that the movie Aragorn may be a bit sad, but he’s more of a character in his own right.
The book version, they claim, “exists for reasons useful to the narrative, but there is nothing interesting beyond that. Since the books mostly focus on the actions of the hobbits – with a few notable exceptions – there’s something to this line of argument.
Streamline the plot
There’s no doubt that Tolkien’s original novel is epic in every sense of the word, including its sheer length. It’s a sprawling story that takes in many different regions of Middle-earth.
Some Redditors, including FroodLoops, note that one of the movies’ great strengths is that they excel at “streamlining the storyline to remove unnecessary/tangential storylines and flesh out others where appropriate.” It made for a crisp but reasonably comprehensive and entertaining if the story. Although some beloved characters did not appear, it contributed to the film’s superiority.
Realize Aragorn and Arwen
Even though there are relatively few romances in the original novel, one of the most notable is the one between Aragorn and Arwen. Elphie93 recalls “feeling a bit disappointed that Aragorn and Arwen’s bonding wasn’t developed further in the books”.
Luckily for this user, the movies take a long time to show just how much Aragorn and Arwen mean to each other, so much so that they can be considered one of the best fantasy movie couples.
Two laps is less boring
Even the most dedicated Tolkien readers will sometimes agree that The Two Towers is the weakest part of the book, mainly because the action begins to falter.
Rudy_13, for example, notes that “there is something about the TTT movie script” that sets it apart from the book it is based on. In part, this user is no doubt responding to the fact that the film version includes a titanic battle scene as well as a notable confrontation between Frodo and one of the Ringwraiths, as well as Gollum.
Films flesh out battle scenes
In the books, the battle scenes, especially those at Helm’s Deep and the Pelennor Fields, are essential parts of the story. However, they’re mostly portrayed without the kind of detail they’d need to make a big impact on screen.
Ramoncg_ remarks that they “still recommend the movies to people who have read the books and want to see all of these major events unfold in epic form.” There’s no doubt Jackson’s trilogy battles are some of the most impressive on the big screen.
Sauron is one of the most powerful beings in Lord of the Rings lore, and his influence can be felt almost everywhere. In particular, it is often conceptualized as a large eye, although the book is vague about what this actually entails.
Jackos1221 remarks that “the rendition of Sauron as a flaming eye was incredible”. It’s certainly a striking visual, and it shows just how well this being is able to see almost anything that happens across the broad face of Middle-earth.
More complete characterizations
While there’s a lot to appreciate about Tolkien’s masterpiece, there are some things it lacks, including a lot of character interiority. The film, however, gives these individuals a vibrancy that they can sometimes miss on the page.
This is what makes it appealing to many Reddit users. Tannen Hawkwing, for example, notes that “By the time we got to Return of the King, we had probably the best portrayals of every main character you could ask for. »
The film is more of a fantasy adventure
There’s no doubt that Jackson’s trilogy is among the best fantasy films ever made. However, they differ from novels in terms of genre, because while they are epic, they also have a lot in common with the adventure film.
As Le_Commandant points out, “the movies work like a fantasy adventure. The books, on the other hand, are an epic and look (to me) like an Anglo-Saxon version of the Odyssey. Although the films may sacrifice some of the richness and complexity of the books, they still manage to draw the viewer into a great conflict.
Denethor is better
Denethor is one of the most complicated characters in movies and books, and he is deeply tragic in both.
While each interpretation has a lot to recommend it, Le_Commandant argues that “I think the movie version feels more real; the way he is thrown into depression by Boromir’s death seems more tragic to me. Even Denethor’s fiery plunge from the top of the White Tower can be seen as a truly terrible end for a man driven to madness and despair by his grief.