Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Bored of the Rings
The moment of high farce occurs when the surly dwarf falls in love with the elf queen and starts boasting about her beauty to some other nitwit. Bow-legged ass! If you’re going to compliment a lady, either say it to her face or send her a love note. Praising females is a waste of breath if they never get to hear it. Mind you, it doesn’t always produce results if they are within earshot. If you’re ever in a position to chat up a lady gorilla, telling her what beautiful eyes she has won’t get you to first base. Commenting on the firmness of her rump is the sort of remark that might earn you a nibble on the neck. “You’ve got the kind of butt cheeks I could crack nuts between” is one that normally goes down well.
It is wrong to judge an author by one book, so I had a look at The Hobbit and was far more impressed – an altogether snappier tale, I feel. What holds the narrative together is the ever-present danger of someone getting eaten. Will the trolls eat the dwarves? Will Gollum eat Bilbo? Will Gandalf eat his wand? This is very true to life. As any wild animal knows, there’s nothing like the fear of a ravenous predator to sharpen your wits and perfect your comic timing. You choose your next wisecrack carefully when it might be your last.
Inspired by this work, I moved onto a slender volume called Farmer Giles of Ham – a novella that can be read from start to finish in a single sitting. The secret of this utterly charming story is its fine cast of characters: a shrewd rustic; a stupid giant; a cheeky dog; a dry dragon; a cynical blacksmith; a pompous king. Any Tolkien fan who hasn’t read it is like a wine-buff who’s never tasted champagne.
Why would a writer capable of something as wonderful as Farmer Giles pen a grim and tedious tome like Lord of the Rings? And why do so many people think that yawnsome yarn is one of the greatest stories ever told? It’s all very mysterious to a gorilla. I suspect that humans have some kind of faux nostalgia for a mythical age of chivalry, when valiant warriors defeated the bad guys without fluffing their lines or causing collateral damage. It’s all complete bunk of course. If anything like Middle Earth ever existed, most modern humans would have found the smell of shit unbearable.
I find Bored of the Rings can be summarised thusly: ...then they went here, ate lembas, then over there, ate lembas, then walked over to that spot and ate some more sodding lembas. Jewelry was involved. The end. It's like the begats in Genesis (the bible, not Phil Collins with a nasty turn of Tourette's).
Alas, I fear I suffer some kind of faux nostalgia for a mythical age of chivalry, when valiant warriors defeated the bad guys without fluffing their lines or causing collateral damage...
I'm talking you tubes of course.
I was dragged to see all three films and I felt that the most frightening thing about them was the fact that as Gollum hopped from rock to rock I feared his little loincloth might reveal his shriveled little bits. But I suppose that's testament to the animators that I was drawn into by the realism they created.
Amoir: It's part Bible, part Illiad. You always have to travel a long way to fight the good fight. It never comes to you.
Kitty: Try Farmer Giles of Ham instead. A great one to read to children if you can do funny voices. And short.
Domestic Minx: You would have spiced up Middle Earth with your saucy ways, dear Minx.
Oswaldo: Tossing them is more fun than fighting them.
Mr Boyo: Elf Shagging is an inspiring hobby for some. A lot of those Middle Earth characters look very Welsh to me.
Colonel A B: Legolas is a funny name, isn't it? A cross between Legoland and Legless.
WWG: Thank you, my good fellow. What brought you here?
Pi: I never realised such music would be on YouTube until you suggested it, so thanks back.
Misssy: Wasn't Gollum nude in the book? Evil thoughts gave him an erection. I suggest you get Meeester Farmer Giles of Ham for Christmas.
I didnt get on with them at all and found both the books and films as boring as hell. Frank Herberts Dune series being much more to the Beasts tastes.
In all seriousness thought LOTR makes a very handy doorstop and at a push a formidable offensive weapon.
Liv: He was so much better in The Hobbit. Funnier, nastier and yet more pitiable.
Uncle Norman: Thorpe was a pitcher rather than a catcher. No hobbit would have been safe in his company.
Mary: Tell them Farmer Giles was Tolkien's masterpiece. That should dumbfound them.
Cooper: Tolkien had a gift for comedy, but squandered it by trying to be another Homer.
Ms Moi: The dwarf was dishy? To a hungry dragon perhaps. Are you sure no girls like LOTR?
Emma: Is that you, EmmaK? How about writing a sex story called 'Bawd of the Rings'?
I liked The Hobbit but never finished TLOTR. I don't remember why. I didn't watch the films either.
Kara: Good point. Smart girls don't read fantasy because they already have wild fantasies of their own. Share them with us if you want to...
Lord Likely: And given the dimensions of Lord Palmerstone, ruptured a few, no doubt.
Mutley: Do so at your own peril. Don't blame me if you get attacked by a hobbit-lover.
Suzy: I don't need a brillo pad on my chin, Suzy. My beard grows all over my body.
Dare I say it, but I prefer the films.
~raises shield in anticipation of a volley of literary arrows~
Legolamb and Tom Benzodrine, you get the picture, it is very sixties. I agree about Farmer Giles of Ham and the Hobbit they ARE fun, especially if you've got the house to yourself and you've just smoked a fatty boom batty.
But i am totally totally addicted to the movie....watched the extended eds at least 5 times over. Just love the battle scenes and the handsome lads with their long, hard, gleaming swords ;P
Mu Tai: The night time pen is a loose nib. You are wise to alert us to its danger.
Mosha: There's no shame in preferring the film. There are some good-looking elves in it.
Emma: Yes, a gollum-like madam who can make ugly men invisible to get them a discount with her girls. But then she gets greedy, and starts advertising mysterious invisible gigolos to middle-aged ladies...
Jahooni: You can get to the end if you're on vacation and it rains continuously for a week or two. All things must pass.
Dr Maroon: Farmer Giles wouldn't approve of people reading him on drugs - a few pints of beer and Tailbiter were enough for him.
Sabrina: The Elves are pin-ups alright, but would you go on a date with Frodo? A lot of girls think he's cute.
Although I do appreciate a woman who can crack a walnut with her butt cheeks. On that, we are in agreement.
Tolkien's Shire was also an idealised view of rural england, untouched by progress and innocent of the evils of war.
This is reinforced by the fact that the magical 'ring' represents science and technology - and the story climaxes with the ring being destroyed so the world can go back to its rural life.
If Tolkien were around today he'd probably be driving a 2cv and wearing a flat cap.
Because it's the only work of fiction published in the last two centuries that successfully recaptured the scope and feel of the ancient epic sagas: the Epic of Gilgamesh, Beowulf, The Iliad and The Odyssey, the legends of Arthur King of the Britons.
Some people appreciate & admire that. Some people don't. De gustibus non est disputandum.
(By the by, if you read and liked "Farmer Giles of Ham," you might also like another novella Tolkien wrote called "Smith of Wootton Major.")
Captain Smack: It surely took him took a lot of work. He should have given the elf queen the ability to crack nuts with her butt cheeks.
Asym42: That's another reason why epic good v evil stories don't work anymore. The World at War showed a real fight against evil and there was very little poetry in it.
Mrs Cake: Don't be embarrassed! These elvish kings have a way with the ladies!
Liv: Really? I'll strive to be worthy of it.
Trish: No need to apologise, I bet you sounded cute!
Wolfwalker: Well I explained why comparisons with the Illiad and the Odyssey don't work for me. A myth of antiquity cannot be manufactured. But thanks for recommending Smith of Wootton Major.
Ari: You could be right. A reviewer of The Silmarillion said it was unreadable.
so sorry but I seem to be one of the few who cannot get into my blogger site & this for 2 days. Because I didn't want to go off blogging again, I returned to Behind the Curtain. Sorry for the runaround. I mean, just in case you felt like a read. Rather presumptious of me, I must admit. :-)
On second thought, given your reaction to LOTR, maybe you wouldn't like "Smith of Wootton Major." "Farmer Giles" is Tolkien's form of a 'low' fairy-tale, all fun and games and light buffoonery. "Smith of Wootton Major" is a 'higher' sort of fairy-tale, a bit more serious and sobering.
[shrug] The only way to find out is to try it, I suppose. I liked them both, though for different reasons.
Altho Giant worms , desserts and savings ones piss did indeed take up large amounts of the story.
I thought the larger concepts were religion and politics as a means of manipulating the masses coming into direct conflict with the species drive to evolve and survive.
Was I reading too much into it do you think ????
P.S. Will people please stop blowing things up in Iraq. Several of the sections of Gilgamesh have been found on clay tablets subsequently used as housebricks. One carelessly placed bomb and we'll never find out which visiting dignitary gave the gilded cat statue.
Wolfwalker: It seems that J.R.R. wrote in a variety of different styles.
Beast: Weren't the religion and politics all a bit medieval and dynastic? The sand-worms and the piss-saving were the most profound ideas, if you ask me.
Jen: Really? Feel free to quote it!
Rosanna: A young Julie Andrews would have made a good elf princess.
Ms Robinson: I'm glad you're glad! Pressing flowers is another popular application.
Aunty: I'll do my best to get your message to Iraq, but I think they might have other things on their mind at the moment.
I can quote most of the Hobbit too, have LOTR Risk and all the figurines...
oh my gosh. I am in fact a 14-year old computer geek. HELP!
You didn't like Lord of the Rings? Well, Roverandom is another book of his, as charming as the Hobbit, and heaps better than Farmer Giles.