After finishing The Hobbit it took me awhile to get the courage to start the Lord of the Rings. I’ve heard they are complex, slightly tedious and overall a good but challenging read. I finally did though. I have just finished the Fellowship of the Rings and was surprised to find more noticeable differences between the book and the movie.
Let me start out the big obvious one of the missing 4 chapters. The whole Tom Bombadil character and adventure is not in the movie. As well as when Frodo gets attacked by the Barrow- Wight, their dinner with Farmer Maggot, and many other little misadventures the four Hobbits embark on during their trip to Bree. I was actually quite thankful that those chapters were taken out as I’m sure a lot of people can agree they really didn’t need to be put in the movies. Although they are great little adventures and contribute to some other things that happen in the book, those other little things could easily be changed and nobody would of really cared. I think taking those chapters out worked out for the better in the end.
Some other small differences are the timing of things, Frodo is a solid 13 years older when Gandalf returns to the shire after Bilbo’s party. The adventure that Gandalf goes on in search of discovering more about the ring is different. Aragorn goes on with Gandalf to find Gollum and ask him about the ring but not until a little while after does Gandalf decide to go to Minas Tirith and just look the ring up in old scriptures.
I’m going to skip right along to the part where Frodo gets stabbed by the Nazgul. First off, he is not in as much pain as they make it seem in the movies, he actually is able to talk and make a couple jokes along the way after getting stabbed. Secondly, Frodo stabs the Nazgul which then makes him miss Frodo’s heart by that much which is why he gets stabbed in the shoulder. When Frodo is supposable dying in the movies, Glorfindel the elf comes to them in the books and leads them to Rivendell. Arwen does not save Frodo on the horse. Frodo rides ahead of them and tries to out run the Riders while his friends stay behind and try and fight them off. Then Frodo is standing in the water and the horses get washed away but never does Arwen come in and save Frodo or do any sort of spell.
At the council I didn’t care for how long Bilbo and Gandalf went on for. I agree that Gandalf telling the whole story of the rings and the battles was very interesting, but having it explained to me previously in the movies and in a more efficient and exciting way, I was kind of bored with reading it. Not to mention Elrond does not take Isildur up to Mount Doom and does not urge him to throw in the ring like they tell in the movies.
When the fellowship leaves and is climbing the mountain of Caradhras there is a big snow storm but that has nothing to do with Saruman. In the book, the mountain Caradhras is a living thing with a mind of its own, and itself causes the blizzard because it hated trespassers.
After they escape the Mines of Moria and are deciding where to go, I found the rest of the story began to get more confusing and slightly more tedious to read because of the descriptions and names of places that I didn’t know. I would occasionally google the name of a place to see if it was in the movie and often it was but wasn’t mentioned. A lot of the mountains and little sights that the Company saw were indeed in the movies but just for a moment as they sailed by. Whereas in the books they are talked about for pages.
In the end when they are deciding which way to go, Frodo decided to take a walk to think some things through but in the movies, he just disappears. I just finished rewatching the Fellowship and because Tolkien had talked about their journey a little more than they do in the movies I was more aware of that. It was interesting because when Boromir was mentioning going to Minis Tirith in the books, I didn’t think anything of it and didn’t believe it to be a significant part of the story so I didn’t pay much attention to it. But when he quickly mentioned it in the movie I realized that that was indeed important and actually in the books and talked about more than just once. But for the sake of time was just a short tidbit in the movie.
The first movie has a lot of little changes in it as well as some major ones. In the end, I really enjoyed those moment in the movies where exact lines from the book were put in or scenes that I didn’t fully understand when I read them were clarified when I watched them. The first book was great and surprisingly not as hard of a read as I thought (I am listening to the book as I read though which helps a lot). Because I’ve been watching these movies all my life it’s easy to say that right now I enjoy them more than the book. But as I think about how much work and detail and creativity went into the actually writing of the book is amazing and makes me appreciate it way more. I liked that there were some changes made because it makes it more interesting to know that it’s a different way in the book but it still all works together.
I look forward to finishing the Two Towers and comparing the differences.