Thursday, December 3, 2015

factual mistakes about The Lord of the Rings fostered by Jackson's movies

These are specific errors, not general falsities of spirit, and they have in common that people don't realize they're major changes from the book. When the movies omit Bombadil or the Scouring, or have Faramir threaten to seize the Ring or Frodo abandon Sam, viewers realize those are changes. But they fail to recognize that the following are not true of Tolkien's story:

1. That Sauron, at the time of the War, is a disembodied giant eyeball.

2. That Aragorn is reluctant to become king.

And the latest additions,

3a. That Smeagol is a different character from Gollum,

3b, and is basically good.


  1. I would have said that even in the movies it's not entirely clear whether or not Sauron himself is _just_ a giant disembodied eyeball - he certainly isn't in the Hobbit movies. The misconception is surely that _The Eye_ of Sauron is literally a giant eyeball.

  2. Not in the Lord of the Rings movies. The giant eyeball is all you see; it's what has all the reactions, including the surprised double-take when Frodo claims the Ring; it's the being that's destroyed when the Tower falls. It's pretty clear that Jackson thinks the eyeball is Sauron, and if it isn't, it's clear that many viewers of the movies do. I've seen an article submission, which I did not publish, purportedly on Tolkien and not on Jackson, which nevertheless describes Sauron as the giant eyeball and as "helpless" on top of its tower: the exact opposite of the powerful all-pervading force that even Jackson wanted to convey.

    In the Hobbit movies, Sauron doesn't start out as the eyeball, no. But if I read the imagery in the third film accurately, Galadriel disembodies him in the attack on Dol Guldur, leaving ... the eyeball. I'd guess that somebody told Jackson he had been in error in depicting Sauron as a helpless disembodied eyeball in the earlier movies, so he has concocted this explanation as to how Sauron got that way.

  3. Creative license is the term for what Jackson did. Still it isn't an excuse. Another glaring mistake was the death of Saruman on the water wheel in Isengard. Saruman died in the Scouring the the Shire, which Jackson completely omitted. In many ways he ruined the story.