"Fixing" RotKComplications Ensue
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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Alex, I'm curious about your RotK change. Going back to the books, I've always felt that the denouement in the Shire was off, though I understood what Tolkein was trying to say about the soldiers coming home from the big war to a place that would forever feel a little smaller to them (and then effectively acting out the war in miniature). So I agree that dropping that whole section out would make for a more compelling story.

But what about the final ship out to the Western Lands? The sorrow in that ending makes me tear up when I read it (and did in the movie). Would you still jump ahead to that, or would you just end with the return to the Shire?
Me, I'd skip the ship to the West. That's elegy. My posse don't do elegy.

Seriously, the ship to the West is cool. But I would go out on the big emotional moment, which I think is the return to the Shire -- made bigger because of the (necessary) decision to ditch the Scouring of the Shire. I think I'd have them show up at the pub, and they get affectionately joshed for their weird costumes, and no one really cares what they were up to in the outside world, they're just glad to have them back. And Sam finally has the courage to talk to to Rosie, and what could be better than a pint at the pub, and maybe Frodo walks out of the pub and looks around at the Shire in the moonlight ... and smiles.

What more do you need after that? Tell me you're not crying already.

I guess the key point is that once Frodo comes home, his story is over. He has done what he needed to do. No jeopardy. No stakes. No opportunity / problem / goal worth mentioning.

And once the story's over, roll credits.



I suppose I was just too busy to comment on this when you made the original post. You say: "Because the whole reason they went on the adventure was to save the Shire just the way it is."

And the reason Lord of the Rings is a great book is because what they learned on the adventure was that this is *impossible.* War has consequences. Take away the consequences, and Lord of the Rings is just a neocon fantasy.

By Blogger Will Shetterly, at 1:19 PM  

Oh, while what I said was easy, I agree that the Scouring of the Shire presents enormous structural difficulties for a screenwriter. I understand why you and Jackson want to skip it.

But I think the battles could've been shortened a little, and then you'd have room for forty-five minutes to do the Scouring of the Shire and the ship to the west properly. Think of it as Act Three.

By Blogger Will Shetterly, at 1:24 PM  

I like the idea of just coming back to the Shire and settling down.

Or at the very least, they could have handled a lot of that with very short scenes with almost no dialogue. What if one day Frodo was just gone? And they all knew where he went. Like Good Will Hunting.

Then there'd be no need for that endless resolution.

In the theater when Sam said "But the story wasn't over yet" one dude groaned really loud and the whole audience laughed.

By Blogger Emily Blake, at 1:33 PM  

I'm torn. I really do like the new, simpler, bladder-friendly ending you suggest Alex, but Will makes a great point. The hobbits left the Shire as boys and came back older, scarred, world-weary men. Your ending captures that perfectly. But it shows war as having no consequences on those left behind.

So how about we skip the Scouring. No one likes that anyway, and if LotR is Tolkein's allegory for WWII, there was no invasion of mother England, just bombardment. I don't think it hurts your ending if they...

...show up at the pub, and are welcomed, but things are different. There are a few hobbits in uniform, while some swords and shields rest on a stand by the door. They aren't asked much about their journey because the residents of the Shire have their own war stories to tell of defending their homeland from bandits and armies passing through on the way south. Sam still talks to Rosie and Frodo still smiles alone, but with a tinge of sorrow at what's been lost.

By Blogger R.A. Porter, at 3:50 PM  

Well, that wouldn't be bad at all, RA.

If you want a grownup ending, RA's ending is excellent. A little more fantastickal, go with mine. Either way, I think go back to the Shire, have a brewski and a meaningful look, and then roll credits.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 7:05 PM  

My problem is that SAM is the hero of the third movie. Frodo is a whiny biatch (technical term).

By Blogger James, at 8:28 PM  

I think I'm reacting from my knowledge of the book, but I wouldn't much care for Frodo smiling at the end. Getting stabbed by the Ringwraiths and the burden of the One Ring had a permanent negative, dark effect on him. Yeah, your ending would fit into the Romantic telling of the epic story, but I like the idea that Frodo didn't just grow up, he was scarred, also, and would never be the same in a not so good way.

By Blogger The_Lex, at 4:00 PM  

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