Monday, December 22, 2003

Thanks to The Council of Elrond, a site full of information and pictures (JOY OH JOY!!) about (what else?) The Lord of the Rings, for all the links.

From an article on The Many Faces of Viggo Mortensen: "During a break in the filming of 'Rings,' Jackson says he met Mortensen at a restaurant and, as a lark, called him Aragorn in conversation for a half-hour. Mortensen, Jackson says, never noticed."


And another article from MSN Entertainment on the King Hunk: "For anyone who's watched the extended DVD versions of 'The Lord of the Rings,' Viggo comes across like the real-life incarnation of his character Aragorn; showing off a strong natural ability at swordplay and horsemanship and earning the respect of his peers -- especially the stuntman who he wowed with his skills and, needless to say, the women."

I so have to get the DVDs now.

For the record, in case you're wondering why I seem to be obsessed with Aragorn, it's simple. He's incredibly attractive, he's ruggedly handsome, and when I see him on screen with those devastating blue eyes of his, something just goes through me. In his eyes lie the promise of a thousand unspeakable things that just make me want to say, "Just shag me rotten" or words to that effect.

Don't believe me? Just watch The Two Towers - the scene where he and Eowyn are engaging in a little swordplay. Watch the part where he walks off and turns his head to give her this incredibly seductive and flirtatious look. There's another scene in The Return of the King when she serves him drink - again, another of those looks. Badly needed a cold shower after seeing those scenes.

But on a less of female note, Aragorn was my favourite character back when I was reading the trilogy, even if I didn't particularly enjoy the books. (I think I was too young to enjoy the story, and the dislike has stuck with me ever since.) In any case, I grew up reading fantasy. My favourite race, as with most other fantasy readers, is the Elvish race, and my favourite classes of people to play in AD&D sessions were either rangers or mages. I tended to be of the Lawful Good alignment, due to the kind of person I was in real life then, but nowadays, if you ask me to choose, I'd probably opt for a Chaotic Good or a Chaotic Neutral - as close to Evil as any character is allowed to get.

On to non-Aragorn-related news articles - an interview by with Billy Boyd who plays Pippin in which he talks about the song he wrote for the movie: "Boyd got another chance to flex his musical muscles in a haunting scene in 'The Return of the King,' where he sings 'The Steward of Gondor' for the kingdom's troubled ruler Denethor (John Noble). The song becomes especially poignant as it's juxtaposed with a heart-wrenching scene where Denethor's son Faramir (David Wenham) and his fellow Gondorian soldiers face the raging advances of the enemy.

'The song wasn't in the script -- it happened very late in the process,' Boyd described. 'But rather just show the soldiers running into battle, Peter Jackson went for more of layered effect. Songs are a big part of Tolkien's books, and Pete said, 'Would you mind singing?' I said, 'Yeah, that's a great idea!''

As if Boyd wasn't jazzed enough about singing a song for the movie, his biggest thrill was still in store.
'Someone else was supposed to write the song, but the schedule changed and the scene was to be shot in five days, so Pete asked me to write it,' Boyd explained. 'After I wrote a few melodies, Pete (and co-writers) Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens and I listened to them and all agreed on one of them -- and that the song in the film.'"

And at last! An article on how (brave and noble) book Frodo differs from (weak and whiny) movie Frodo. Gina R. Dalfonzo on Lord of the Rings on National Review Online: "Tolkien’s original Frodo, though he starts out a bit naïve, is a morally rich, exceptionally mature character. As he struggles against the ring’s control, he actually grows in wisdom and moral stature, reflecting what Tolkien called in a letter the theme of “the ennoblement (or sanctification) of the humble.� And though he is not always able to be as steadfast as Sam, the often overlooked truth is that Sam doesn’t have to fight the same battle Frodo does. Which is why I’ve always thought that honoring Sam over Frodo — honorable and faithful though Sam is — is a bit like honoring Simon of Cyrene over Christ.

The comparison isn’t such a wild exaggeration as it may appear. The truth is that Frodo has many of the characteristics of a Christ figure, chiefly a willingness to sacrifice himself, to forgive others, and to bear an awful burden for the sake of others. And that hardly means a lack of drama. When the ring takes control of Frodo one final, terrible time at the climax of the story, it is in such sharp contrast to what we’ve come to expect from him — especially without our having been subjected to the kind of foreshadowing so dear to Peter Jackson’s heart — that we fully grasp the horror of the situation. As Baylor University professor Ralph C. Wood puts it in his new book The Gospel According to Tolkien, 'Tolkien demonstrates that the mightiest evil can summon forth the very highest good in a character like Frodo, even as it defeats him.' Moreover, as the scene plays out, we grasp three truths that are fully in line with Tolkien’s deeply Christian imagination: that moral strength can carry us farther than we could have imagined possible; that even the greatest human moral strength cannot stand against the strongest evil (a Christ figure is not Christ, as Tolkien would have been well aware); and that there is a Power in the world greater than we can understand, great enough to save us when we can’t save ourselves."

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