When you read, how do you view the characters in your head?

Discuss Tolkien's masterpieces within the walls of this forum.

When you read, how do you view the characters in your head?

Postby farmergiles » Tue Jul 15, 2014 12:59 pm

I first learned about LOTR from some friends the day that the two towers came out on vhs. I immediately bought it that day and watched and was hooked for life! So anytime after that I've read the books, I imagine in my head the characters and place basically exactly how they appear in the movie.

I would love to hear especially from older folk how you pictured the characters from the beginning, then through some of the animated movies and on to the current movies. DId how you picture them change, did they change to the newest movies?
farmergiles
Petitioner to the Council
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2014 5:09 am
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby Canamarth » Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:49 pm

Excellent question, farmergiles.

I read the books a good while before the films came out. I didn't picture all characters in total detail, just the ones that were important to me, I guess. One was Faramir who totally looked like Michael Praed from the 1980s Robin Hood series in my mind. Then I was also influenced by pictures of Anke Eißmann and Alan Lee. After watching Peter Jackson's films, a lot of the characters definitely took on the actors' appearances in my head - as most casting decisions were quite brilliant. Faramir is an exception to this because, frankly, the description reads nothing like David Wenham, let alone the behaviour of the character in the movie. Overall, I guess most of the actors brought more focus to the characters I already had in my head.
User avatar
Canamarth
Ringbearer

 
Posts: 13057
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2001 5:45 am
Location: Willing Suspension of Disbelief
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby Frodome » Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:54 pm

I read the books after I saw the two movies (third movie I saw after reading the books). The characters certainly have the faces of the movies' actors; but in the book I find them with more depth, emotions and are 'fairer' than in the movies. I'd agree here that Faramir, in the books, doesn't look like the actor in the movie. I like him in the movie, but I found it hard to imagine him as Faramir when I read the books. Gandalf is perfect, so is Aragorn(except the changes made in his "character"); Frodo, Merry, Pippin and Sam, Boromir, Gimli and rest are same as movie. But with more depth and emotions. Frodo is said to be having a 'light' in him, fairer than the most. I see him differently. Just Elijah's face occurs to me when reading the books. Sean Austin is perfect Sam, Dom and Billy are perfect in their roles. I'd find it hard to imagine someone else as these characters. The actors' images are printed in my head forever. :D
User avatar
Frodome
Shield Bearer
 
Posts: 134
Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:36 am
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby siddharth » Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:05 pm

Another film to book convert.

I would say that I did have "film-images" going through the mind while reading the book but on further re-reads I found a lot of it went away. Though characters are another matter. For I thought a majority of the casting decisions were spot on.
Taking them one by one;


I cannot separate Gandalf and Saruman from Sir Ian Mckellen and Sir Christopher Lee. Enough said.
I also adore PJ's decision to cast Martin Freeman as Bilbo. Imo, the best casting decision ever taken by him, better than even Gandalf or Gollum. Freeman is just so good, perfect in every little hobbity habit or behavior mentioned in the book. (such as the sniff or choke) He is the ideal Bilbo for me. In fact, I think I may even like his Bilbo better than the one in the book.
I also like Viggo as Aragorn. I have never understood some complaints where people say he doesn't look rugged enough and is too fair. The way I saw it, he looks the perfect age with all the small wrinkles and scratches on his face and the scratchy beard. And there's this Elvish gleam in his eyes. He does pull off both the Strider and Elessar sides of Aragorn.
I also like Ken Stott's Balin, definitely my 'face' when reading the book.
Besides these; Pippin, Theoden, Eowyn, Galadriel and of course Gollum, are ideal representations and I cannot imagine anyone else while reading.
Also, I read The Hobbit much earlier than the films. But I was extremely surprised when I saw that Richard Armitage almost exactly matched my imagination of Thorin. :shock: He just needed to be a little older.
I don't imagine David Wenham as Faramir while reading, but I thought he looked accurate according to the book, especially in RotK. Wise, just, kind and fair.

I don't have strong connection to the rest of the caste while reading though.
I was unimpressed by Frodo's casting and now can easily figure a different 'face' while reading. I do not have a problem with the age per se, he fits that bill quite well. But he looks neither hobbity nor Elven-fair to me. And not a mix of the two either.
Sean Astin as Samwise is okay. And so is Merry. Denethor is not.( I am not criticising John Noble, but I think it was mostly the fault of the make-up dept. and the direction. I can imagine him making a Royal steward)

ETA:
Bean! How could I forget. I love Sean Bean's Boromir much better than Tolkien's. He is Boromir for me.

ETA2:
I never gave a face to Radagast in the book. But I thought the film Radagast looked eerily similar to my take on Tom Bombadil.
User avatar
siddharth
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 4171
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:13 am
Location: ===Always changing===
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby farmergiles » Thu Jul 17, 2014 6:00 am

This is all great stuff thank you all for posting!

I understand that certain characters are not how they seem. The dwarves for me are all wrong in the new TH movies. I used gimli as a template to how I imagine dwarves especially interacting with Gandalf and Bilbo. TH dwarves seem almost reluctant to listen to Gandalf, and I don't feel that in the movies, also the dwarves feel too mannish to me, owell.

I also agree with the more depth thing from the books! That is a great way to describe it. Yes Merry and Pippin look like they do in the movies in my head but I can see that there eyes are thinking of their friends elsewhere, the ent drought pulsing through them giving understanding etc. etc. I feel that with most of the characters in the books, I know more back story so that they seem deeper.

I agree that Viggo physically is perfect for Aragorn and does an amazing job, the only thing is that the book is simply different, they would have had put many more scenes in the movie to convey how Aragorn really is.
farmergiles
Petitioner to the Council
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2014 5:09 am
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby BerenVonRictoffen » Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:35 am

farmergiles wrote:I first learned about LOTR from some friends the day that the two towers came out on vhs. I immediately bought it that day and watched and was hooked for life! So anytime after that I've read the books, I imagine in my head the characters and place basically exactly how they appear in the movie.

I would love to hear especially from older folk how you pictured the characters from the beginning, then through some of the animated movies and on to the current movies. DId how you picture them change, did they change to the newest movies?

I imagine them as they were described:
Denethor: very tall, and pale, with a long curved nose between dark grey keen eyes, and skin like ivory.
Aragorn: Very much like Denethor, but the tall heir of kings, wise with many winters, greycloaked, hiding a power that could be felt; shaggy head of dark hair flecked with grey, and a pale stern face with keen grey eyes.
Faramir and Boromir: tall and very strong, lordly but kindly, very fair of face, proud of bearing, and great warriors to the eye. Faramir more resembles Denethor than Boromir, who looks more like the men of Rohan, very beautiful as men go.
Legolas: tall as a young tree, immensely strong, fair of face beyond the measure of men, long slender hands. Merry and mirthful.
Frodo: a stout little fellow with red cheeks, taller than some, fairer than most, perky chap with a bright eye. A perfect gentleman, fairly wealthy, well-educated by his mentor in all things from lore to languages to swordsmanship.
Sam: strong, plain-faced and brown-skinned; slow but shrewd, with a great interest and curiosity. Distrustful of strangers.
Merry and Pippin: young lords in waiting; free-spirited and resembling Frodo as his kin, likewise tall (for hobbits) and fair-skinned; immensely wealthy, but a still a bit immature (especially Pippin); Merry's a bit older and bigger than Pippin.
Gandalf: Dark eyes, long white hair, sweeping silver beard, huge eyebrows, long nose, loud voice, somewhat short for a man, but with broad shoulders and huge black boots.
Elrond: tall, long dark hair to his shoulders, grey-eyed, fair of face as an elven-lord, face is neither young nor old, yet venerable as a king of Dwarves, strong as a warrior, wise as a wizard, and as kind as summer. Like Gandalf, a lord of power and dignity.
Arwen: like in form of womanhood to Elrond, young and yet not so. white arms and clear face flawless and smooth, light of stars was in her bright eyes, grey as a cloudless night; queenly,the likeness of Lúthien come on earth again; such loveliness in living thing never seen before nor imagined.
Treebeard: 14 feet tall, man-like, almost troll-like, with smooth brown skin and (I believe) dressed in tree-bark. Eyes are brown but shot with a green light.
Eowyn: fair and cold, not yet come to womanhood, very fair of face, and long hair was like a river of gold, Slender and tall but strong stern as steel, a daughter of kings.
Butterbur: a short fat man with a bald head and a red face.
BerenVonRictoffen
Shield Bearer

 
Posts: 181
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:40 pm
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby Canamarth » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:57 am

siddharth wrote:I don't imagine David Wenham as Faramir while reading, but I thought he looked accurate according to the book, especially in RotK. Wise, just, kind and fair.


Totally interesting to see that people who have seen the films first don't match Wenham to the character described by Tolkien - as also mentioned by Frodome. Proves that they are pretty different, and not just in physical attributes - which I guess one could easily skip over while reading and keep the film face in mind anyway.
User avatar
Canamarth
Ringbearer

 
Posts: 13057
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2001 5:45 am
Location: Willing Suspension of Disbelief
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby siddharth » Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:49 am

Canamarth wrote:
siddharth wrote:I don't imagine David Wenham as Faramir while reading, but I thought he looked accurate according to the book, especially in RotK. Wise, just, kind and fair.


Totally interesting to see that people who have seen the films first don't match Wenham to the character described by Tolkien - as also mentioned by Frodome. Proves that they are pretty different, and not just in physical attributes - which I guess one could easily skip over while reading and keep the film face in mind anyway.


Having seen the films first, Faramir is definitely not an exception for me here.
I feel the same way for Denethor, Frodo, Legolas, Wormtongue and in some ways Merry too.

In fact, I thought RotK Faramir paralleled book-Faramir extremely closely and is quite true to Tolkien, compared to the rest of those I mentioned.
User avatar
siddharth
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 4171
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:13 am
Location: ===Always changing===
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby BerenVonRictoffen » Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:16 am

Canamarth wrote:
siddharth wrote:I don't imagine David Wenham as Faramir while reading, but I thought he looked accurate according to the book, especially in RotK. Wise, just, kind and fair.


Totally interesting to see that people who have seen the films first don't match Wenham to the character described by Tolkien - as also mentioned by Frodome. Proves that they are pretty different, and not just in physical attributes - which I guess one could easily skip over while reading and keep the film face in mind anyway.


That's because those who saw the films first, clearly don't read much.. or very well, as a certain poster proves on an all-too-regular basis. Not going to mention any name
The (glaring) difference in appearance from the films and books, however, is pure Hollywood, i.e. they don't want the spares to upstage the stars, so they pick some so-so looking actors for the spares and then beat them with the ugly-stick, while prettyboys fill the main roles. For example Frodo was expressly described as being fat at the outset, while Sam "looked like a Dwarf" in shape, i.e. stout and strong aswell as brown-skinned and "plain-faced;" but instead the movie picks a pretty-boy for Frodo (almost a pretty girl in looks); meanwhile the fat guy plays Sam, who is also relatively fair and good-looking.
Likewise Boromir and Faramir were the best-looking men anywhere; but Wenham and Bean: not so much, with their grubby hobo-appearance and cartoon-like big noses-- this is clearly to make Viggo look good by comparison, when he's short, scrawny and balding with bad teeth. So PJ breaks out the ugly-stick and makes the Big-nose Brothers into couple of pinatas, and a star is born!
Likewise, Miranda Otto was chosen to play Eowyn, despite her being described as more beautiful than any woman in Gondor, and like to Finduilas, who was of Elven descent-- and where Boromir and Faramir got their looks; in contrast, Otto.... doesn'texactly measure up to that description; this was clearly to make the donkey-faced Liv Tyler look good in comparison... I guess Sarah Jessica Parker wasn't available.
And of course, the evil characters are hideous, when in reality (and the book) they're fairly good-looking and charismatic; but of course Hollywood has to "put a lampshade on it" as the trope goes, and so Grima becomes uglier than Gollum, Saruman is dracula in white, and the Mouth of Sauron is..... too horrible for words.

But this is standard in films; for example in Harry Potter, Fleur Delacour was not nearly as good-looking in the movie as in the book (which even Rifftrax noted as then ad-libbing her as saying "those who read the books will wonder why I'm not much hotter), This was clearly to avoid upstaging the female leads like Hermione, who was likewise described in the book as being fairly plain-looking.
It's all about capturing the audience by presenting the importance of characters according to their looks-- particularly when playing to a younger audience who are inherently more superficial. And it's come to be expected, in fact; any Disney film will tell you that and LotR is no less caricatured.
However while this works in Harry Potter, it's not so good for a book that expressly says "all that is gold does not glitter" about Aragorn, while Boromir is described as "his face was even more beautiful in death than in life;" i.e. the moral is that you can't judge a book by its cover. But that's exactly what the producer does with the book-- and thus does something else with it... and then washes his hand of the whole matter. (Ok, I was too harsh; he probably doesn't wash his hands afterward.
Or perhaps ever, by the look of him.. "BUUUURRRRRPPPPPP!")
Last edited by BerenVonRictoffen on Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
BerenVonRictoffen
Shield Bearer

 
Posts: 181
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:40 pm
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby Voronwe_the_Faithful » Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:57 pm

Do you really have to prove that you are a disgusting human being in every single thread? I would think that only occasional reminders would suffice.
User avatar
Voronwe_the_Faithful
Mariner

 
Posts: 5574
Joined: Thu Dec 26, 2002 7:53 pm
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby BerenVonRictoffen » Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:45 pm

Voronwe_the_Faithful wrote:Do you really have to prove that you are a disgusting human being in every single thread? I would think that only occasional reminders would suffice.


"Disgusting?" That would mean getting paranoid and lashing out at opinions different from yours, in the telling manner of an insecure pathological narcissist.
Hypocritical much? :rofl:
Good day, sir.
BerenVonRictoffen
Shield Bearer

 
Posts: 181
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:40 pm
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby Shadowman82 » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:32 pm

I read the books before the movies came out but I do have to say Ian Mckellen and Christopher Lee is now how I see and hear Gandalf and Saruman respectively , Kate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving also come into my imagination when I read for those characters . I do say as far as Aragorn goes I don't have a specific look in mind but I imagine his voice would be more along that of John Hurt in the Bakshi film that that of Viggo . Hurt's voice has a certain something that Viggo's doesn't .
Shadowman82
Citizen of Imladris

 
Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 12:32 pm
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby Diamond of Long Cleeve » Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:12 am

BerenVonRictoffen wrote:That's because those who saw the films first, clearly don't read much.. or very well, as a certain poster proves on an all-too-regular basis. Not going to mention any name.


Your passive-aggressive sniping is noted. ;)

For example Frodo was expressly described as being fat at the outset


Frodo is never described as being 'fat'. He thinks he's put on a bit of weight before setting out on his adventures in FotR, and Butterbur repeats Gandalf's humorous description of Frodo as a 'stout little fellow with red cheeks' - a generic description that would fit most hobbits. Gandalf also proceeded to describe Frodo to Butterbur as 'fairer than most'. I've always interpreted that to mean Frodo was more good-looking than your average hobbit - 'fair' here is being used in the old-fashioned sense of 'attractive', not 'blond' - and in TTT Sam looks on the sleeping Frodo's face and thinks it's beautiful. 'Old and beautiful'. Frodo is a Fallohide, who are slimmer and fairer than Harfoots and Stoors.

Likewise Boromir and Faramir were the best-looking men anywhere; but Wenham and Bean: not so much, with their grubby hobo-appearance and cartoon-like big noses-- this is clearly to make Viggo look good by comparison, when he's short, scrawny and balding with bad teeth. So PJ breaks out the ugly-stick and makes the Big-nose Brothers into couple of pinatas, and a star is born!


I'd love to know in what universe Wenham and Bean are not considered good-looking. :rofl: You must surely be aware of the big fan-base out there for Sean Bean (not just for his Boromir but for his work in Sharpe and Game of Thrones etc.) and many female Tolkienists are also fans of Wenham.

Likewise, Miranda Otto was chosen to play Eowyn, despite her being described as more beautiful than any woman in Gondor, and like to Finduilas, who was of Elven descent-- and where Boromir and Faramir got their looks; in contrast, Otto.... doesn'texactly measure up to that description; this was clearly to make the donkey-faced Liv Tyler look good in comparison... I guess Sarah Jessica Parker wasn't available.


Given that Miranda Otto is gorgeous, this is just ... silly.

And of course, the evil characters are hideous, when in reality (and the book) they're fairly good-looking and charismatic; but of course Hollywood has to "put a lampshade on it" as the trope goes, and so Grima becomes uglier than Gollum, Saruman is dracula in white, and the Mouth of Sauron is..... too horrible for words
.

Tolkien's orcs are 'fairly good-looking and charismatic'? :rofl: For someone who does apparently know the books quite well, this is not an accurate claim. Tolkien often uses the traditional trope in presenting a number of his evil characters as also looking evil and quite ugly, e.g. Bill Ferny and the ruffians, the entire race of Orcs. The Mouth of Sauron in the book is hardly 'good-looking'. :lol: There's nothing wrong with this traditional trope, and Tolkien is also prepared to subvert it. Hence Sauron's beautiful form as Annatar, before the destruction of Numenor.
User avatar
Diamond of Long Cleeve
Mariner

 
Posts: 6643
Joined: Mon May 08, 2000 12:00 am
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby siddharth » Tue Aug 12, 2014 5:08 am

BerenVonRictoffen wrote:That's because those who saw the films first, clearly don't read much.. or very well, as a certain poster proves on an all-too-regular basis. Not going to mention any name.


Then I suppose there's absolutely no excuse for someone (not mentioning any names!) who's supposed to have read Tolkien several times before the films, and yet commit the most basic of errors like calling Hobbiton (and every other big and small village or town or city or fortress in Middle-Earth, in fact) "a bustling metropolis", or calling Frodo "fat" and Sam not so much, or implying that The Mouth was supposed to be fair. :rofl: :rofl:


And of course, the evil characters are hideous, when in reality (and the book) they're fairly good-looking and charismatic; but of course Hollywood has to "put a lampshade on it" as the trope goes, and so Grima becomes uglier than Gollum, Saruman is dracula in white, and the Mouth of Sauron is..... too horrible for words
.

Being the all-wise Tolkien-guy you obviously are, please account for the number of times Tolkien calls all his heroes "fair" and describes the villains, men or orcs, in an ugly fashion. But you won't! :D

Likewise Boromir and Faramir were the best-looking men anywhere; but Wenham and Bean: not so much, with their grubby hobo-appearance and cartoon-like big noses-- this is clearly to make Viggo look good by comparison, when he's short, scrawny and balding with bad teeth. So PJ breaks out the ugly-stick and makes the Big-nose Brothers into couple of pinatas, and a star is born!
Likewise, Miranda Otto was chosen to play Eowyn, despite her being described as more beautiful than any woman in Gondor, and like to Finduilas, who was of Elven descent-- and where Boromir and Faramir got their looks; in contrast, Otto.... doesn'texactly measure up to that description; this was clearly to make the donkey-faced Liv Tyler look good in comparison... I guess Sarah Jessica Parker wasn't available.


This. Whole thingie. Just. Needs a ...

:roflmbo: :roflmbo: :roflmbo: :roflmbo: :roflmbo:

And a few more

:lmbo: :lmbo: :lmbo: :lmbo: :lmbo:
User avatar
siddharth
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 4171
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:13 am
Location: ===Always changing===
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby Voronwe_the_Faithful » Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:09 am

Diamond of Long Cleeve wrote:Your passive-aggressive sniping is noted.


There is nothing "passive" about it, my dear Di.
User avatar
Voronwe_the_Faithful
Mariner

 
Posts: 5574
Joined: Thu Dec 26, 2002 7:53 pm
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby BerenVonRictoffen » Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:37 am

Shadowman82 wrote:I read the books before the movies came out but I do have to say Ian Mckellen and Christopher Lee is now how I see and hear Gandalf and Saruman respectively , Kate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving also come into my imagination when I read for those characters . I do say as far as Aragorn goes I don't have a specific look in mind but I imagine his voice would be more along that of John Hurt in the Bakshi film that that of Viggo . Hurt's voice has a certain something that Viggo's doesn't .

The Nostalgia Critic agrees with that.
However I suppose it depends on whether a reader is left or right-brained, since the former will read and understand the basic text, and so will fit it to an image that's presented; meanwhile a right-brained one will tend to visualize the characters more as given by the description in the text, but may not read and interpret the text properly--, as with many artists who draw the balrog as a traditional flaming demon with wings etc, Treebeard as an actual tree (despite this applying to the Huorns), Minas Tirith as a wedding-cake in the middle of nowhere, etc.
That's why there are experts in this particular book, since it's difficult to maintain the context otherwise, and thus the book is so often misinterpreted to find the film's images suitable-- particularly since many of them were taken from artist's renderings.
BerenVonRictoffen
Shield Bearer

 
Posts: 181
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:40 pm
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby BerenVonRictoffen » Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:38 am

Voronwe_the_Faithful wrote:
Diamond of Long Cleeve wrote:Your passive-aggressive sniping is noted.


There is nothing "passive" about it, my dear Di.

"Dear" LOL
Such a quaint couple :rofl:
BerenVonRictoffen
Shield Bearer

 
Posts: 181
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:40 pm
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby BerenVonRictoffen » Tue Aug 12, 2014 9:28 am

farmergiles wrote:This is all great stuff thank you all for posting!

I understand that certain characters are not how they seem. The dwarves for me are all wrong in the new TH movies. I used gimli as a template to how I imagine dwarves especially interacting with Gandalf and Bilbo. TH dwarves seem almost reluctant to listen to Gandalf, and I don't feel that in the movies, also the dwarves feel too mannish to me, owell.

I also agree with the more depth thing from the books! That is a great way to describe it. Yes Merry and Pippin look like they do in the movies in my head but I can see that there eyes are thinking of their friends elsewhere, the ent drought pulsing through them giving understanding etc. etc. I feel that with most of the characters in the books, I know more back story so that they seem deeper.

I agree that Viggo physically is perfect for Aragorn and does an amazing job, the only thing is that the book is simply different, they would have had put many more scenes in the movie to convey how Aragorn really is.


Dwarves are specifically stated to have long beards, but in the film we see Darves with as little facial hair as mere stubble, a goatee or a mustache. While this is clearly to tell them apart, the descriptions given in the book do that well enough: i.e. different sizes, ages, beard-colors etc.
Likewise, Merry and Pippin were not comic-relief in the books, they were simply an image of maturation and loyal companionship.
And Viggo being physically perfect for Aragorn? In the book, the man was at least 6'6", to begin with, and the hardiest warrior in Middle-Earth; in contrast, Viggo is about 5'7" in heels, and 150 lbs soaking wet... and it's like Dean Cain as Superman, vs. Christopher Reeve. Aragorn as also physically described as much different in the book:
"As Frodo drew near he [Aragorn] threw back his hood, showing a shaggy head of dark hair flecked with grey, and in a pale stern face a pair of keen grey eyes."
"Then the old man looked up. Pippin saw his carven face with its proud bones and skin like ivory, and the long curved nose between the dark deep eyes; and he was reminded not so much of Boromir as of Aragorn."

And more as to Denethor's apparance, which was so much like Aragorn's:
Denethor looked indeed much more like a great wizard than Gandalf did, more kingly, beautiful, and powerful; and older.

This certanly differs from what we saw in LotR, for both Aragorn and Denethor.
BerenVonRictoffen
Shield Bearer

 
Posts: 181
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:40 pm
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby BerenVonRictoffen » Tue Aug 12, 2014 9:52 am

Canamarth wrote:Excellent question, farmergiles.

I read the books a good while before the films came out. I didn't picture all characters in total detail, just the ones that were important to me, I guess. One was Faramir who totally looked like Michael Praed from the 1980s Robin Hood series in my mind.

That's not a bad likeness, since he's fairly good-looking: Image
However Faramir was said to be like in appearance to Boromir as well, so I don't see why you wouldn't picture someone similar for him.

Then I was also influenced by pictures of Anke Eißmann and Alan Lee. After watching Peter Jackson's films, a lot of the characters definitely took on the actors'
appearances in my head - as most casting decisions were quite brilliant.
Overall, I guess most of the actors brought more focus to the characters I already had in my head.

Then I'd ask that you please go back and read them again, because they're not even close.
This sounds more like power of suggestion, ala -- ironically-- South Park's episode "The Hobbit," which told how images from pictures can dominate even direct eyesight-evidence to the contrary, let alone written text.

Faramir is an exception to this because, frankly, the description reads nothing like David Wenham, let alone the behaviour of the character in the movie.

That's not the exception, it's the rule for this film, you're simply singling out one character truthfully to the text, but not to descriptions of the other characters like you are for Faramir.
However the film did get it right in a sense, i.e. the book said that Boromir and Faramir were said to be like in appearance ("Faramir the younger was like him in looks but otherwise in mind"), and it cast two goons with similar big noses.
So if you pictured Faramir much differently than Boromir, then you missed that in the descriptions. .. and that seems to go for the rest other than Faramir.
BerenVonRictoffen
Shield Bearer

 
Posts: 181
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:40 pm
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby Voronwe_the_Faithful » Tue Aug 12, 2014 10:04 am

BerenVonRictoffen wrote: "Dear" LOL
Such a quaint couple :rofl:


I'm not surprised that the concept of people respecting and caring about each other is foreign to you. It must be sad to live such a pathetic existence, barren (or perhaps beren?) of all of the warmer emotions, consumed by hate and envy. I do feel sorry for you.
User avatar
Voronwe_the_Faithful
Mariner

 
Posts: 5574
Joined: Thu Dec 26, 2002 7:53 pm
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby heliona » Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:41 pm

Viggo is actually pretty close to 6'. Finding someone who was 6'6" was probably difficult, especially adding into the mix that they need to be able to portray the character. Also, Sean Bean and David Wenham are gorgeous - just because you don't think so, BerenVonRictoffen, doesn't mean a lot of other people (mostly women) agree with you.

I've discovered that often people are cast not because of how they look, but how they act and whether they can portray that character well on screen. With that in mind, I think the casting of LotR was pretty good. I don't like the casting of Liv Tyler and Cate Blanchett (although I love the latter as an actress), however, everyone has their own image in mind of characters, and also no doubt has a limited choice of actors to choose from.

In answer to the original question, I don't view the characters in my head. At least, I don't have a fully-formed view. I never saw the dwarves with blue beards and yellow beards, just sturdy fellows with different-coloured hats. Gandalf certainly never had eyebrows that extended beyond his hat (as described) as that would really be a bit absurd. I would imagine the stern grey eyes of Aragorn, and the parts that Tolkien mentioned, but I wouldn't have an actual fully-formed person in mind. I never do when I'm reading, really.

Because of this, I wasn't particularly upset about the casting of the films (aside from the two I've mentioned, and that is mainly because I felt that they didn't portray the Elves properly, not how they looked).

(And, although I'm not "older folk", I did read the books a while before the films came out. :D )
Image<-- Celebrating Science in the TVM!

Life is short; break the rules, forgive quickly; kiss slowly; love truly; laugh uncontrollably; and never regret anything that made you smile. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Grab a chance and you won't be sorry for the might-have-beens. - Arthur Ransome

Just because I have the vocabulary of a well-educated sailor doesn't mean I'm not a lady.

In Memoriam EDW - March 14th 2009
In Memoriam rowanberry - March 1st 2014 (~In Memoriam AHH - Alfred Lord Tennyson~)

Photos: My Flickr Photo Collections & Wee Nell - the furry ball of mischief!


(I occasionally post as White Shadow - you've been warned!)

New posters, there's a Welcome and Comprehensive Guide to the Messageboard to answer your questions.
User avatar
heliona
The Sexy One ~ Hellaciously Huggable

 
Posts: 10533
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2000 11:14 am
Location: Atop a sunny hill
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby BerenVonRictoffen » Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:45 pm

heliona wrote:Viggo is actually pretty close to 6'.


Sure. And Tom Cruise is 5'11, right along with Russel Crowe.

Finding someone who was 6'6" was probably difficult, especially adding into the mix that they need to be able to portray the character.

You mean, like, an actor?
And Liam Neeson is 6'5, while he's also a Scot who has played plenty of similar roles, from Odin to Qui-gon to Rob Roy. Likewise, Viggo either couldn't play Aragorn worth a darn, or he wasn't allowed to; heck the guy did more bowing and scraping than most slaves, let alone a king. The difference is, Liam doesn't come cheap, like the others in this string of forgettable performances; for a big-budget film, they sure didn't tap much from the A-list, so the money could go into the leprechaun's gold-pot via WETA.

Also, Sean Bean and David Wenham are gorgeous - just because you don't think so, BerenVonRictoffen, doesn't mean a lot of other people (mostly women) agree with you.

Meh. Women swoon over anyone famous; I'm naturally speaking more objectively, and prettyboy Vignewton was chosen for just that.

I've discovered that often people are cast not because of how they look, but how they act and whether they can portray that character well on screen.


And Columbus discovered a route to India, i.e. not all "discoveries" are accurate.
Surely you do realize, that the same people who interpret a character's appearance, also interpret how a character should act?
If PJ&Trolls can't even read a simple written description of a character, they can't really be trusted to discern acting context.

With that in mind, I think the casting of LotR was pretty good.


Gee, a false premise leads to a false conclusion, will wonder's never cease?

I don't like the casting of Liv Tyler

Nobody did, it was pure corporate politics and personal connections to daddy Steve aka "plunger-lips". However if it takes that much of a diversion to shock your sensibilities, they're pretty well-insulated against authorial intent.

and Cate Blanchett (although I love the latter as an actress), however, everyone has their own image in mind of characters, and also no doubt has a limited choice of actors to choose from.

Especially if you want to pay scale for "spare parts" who'll work cheap to get in a big-budget movie, i.e. you get climbers rather than the cream.
Even Sean Astin only got scale for all three films, since there's only so many roles for a short little fat guy except as a hobbit (which is strange, since the term "fat hobbit" sounds a bit redundant).

In answer to the original question, I don't view the characters in my head. At least, I don't have a fully-formed view.

That indicates you're a left-brained reader, and therefore prone to suggestion when shown a visual image, while a right-brained reader will tend to develop an image which is often inaccurate to the text.

I never saw the dwarves with blue beards and yellow beards, just sturdy fellows with different-coloured hats.

Then you didn't even get that right, since Dwarves never wore hats, just hoods. The Hobbit expressly said this, in addition well to their different colored beards-- not mustaches, not stubble, not goatees-- beards.

Gandalf certainly never had eyebrows that extended beyond his hat (as described) as that would really be a bit absurd.

From The Hobbit:
"But Gandalf looked at him from under long bushy eyebrows that stuck out further than the brim of his shady hat."
"and when Bilbo tried to open his mouth to ask a question, he turned and frowned at him and stuck oat his bushy eyebrows, till Bilbo shut his mouth tight with a snap."
"He gave Bilbo a queer look from under his bushy eyebrows, as he said this, and the hobbit wondered if he guessed at the part of his tale that he had left out."
And from LotR:
"He wore a tall pointed blue hat, a long grey cloak, and a silver scarf. He had a long white beard and bushy eyebrows that stuck out beyond the brim of his hat."
"Gandalf was thinking of a spring, nearly eighty years before, when Bilbo had run out of Bag End without a handkerchief. His hair was perhaps whiter than it had been then, and his beard and eyebrows were perhaps longer, and his face more lined with care and wisdom; but his eyes were as bright as ever, and he smoked and blew smoke-rings with the same vigour and delight."
"‘I wouldn’t,’ said Frodo. ‘I am content. And I don’t miss Gandalf’s fireworks, but his bushy eyebrows, and his quick temper, and his voice.’"

So there was some difference between Gandalf of TH and LotR, but not much. Meanwhile the movie-Gandalf has eyebrows like E.T.
In contrast, even the cartoon got it right:
Image

I would imagine the stern grey eyes of Aragorn, and the parts that Tolkien mentioned, but I wouldn't have an actual fully-formed person in mind. I never do when I'm reading, really.
Because of this, I wasn't particularly upset about the casting of the films (aside from the two I've mentioned, and that is mainly because I felt that they didn't portray the Elves properly, not how they looked).

I hear that often, i.e. "they got everything else fine, but not this character I really liked."
It's called "playing favorites." But as for the Elves, I don't even think they should have been cast all, since they were described to be "fair beyond the measure of men," not transvestites. Therefore they should have been played like Gollum, i.e. CGI's stand-ins, and similarly voiced by voice-actors which would be similarly modified electronically to give them impossibly fair voice.
Meanwhile, Gollum could have been played by a real actor, since he was a twisted hobbit not a gremlin, and therefore should have looked like a hobbit.

(And, although I'm not "older folk", I did read the books a while before the films came out. :D )

And the above displays your accuracy, as well as suggestibility.
BerenVonRictoffen
Shield Bearer

 
Posts: 181
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:40 pm
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby oldtoby » Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:08 pm

Aren't you just precious with your purist zeal, its so cute, very Y2K. I just want to pat you on the head and give you a cookie. :thppt:
User avatar
oldtoby
Ringbearer

 
Posts: 15281
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2002 10:40 pm
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby IrisBrandybuck » Tue Aug 12, 2014 6:42 pm

oldtoby wrote:Aren't you just precious with your purist zeal, its so cute, very Y2K. I just want to pat you on the head and give you a cookie. :thppt:


:rofl:

Now, children...let's play nice.

Heliona, I was just thinking on Cate Blanchet as Galadriel yesterday. I've started listening to the BBC production of LOTR again and realized I really like their Galadriel, which made me think back to all the reasons I DON'T like Cate in the role. I won't go into it here, but I really wish they'd have found someone else.

Now...Liv I like. :)

And being a girl...I don't really think all that much of Sean Bean...but Viggo? *wiggles eyebrows* (he's 5 ft 10.5 inches btw...I think I read somewhere that of the fellowship actors John Rhys-Davies was the tallest, but I'm not 100% on that).

Going back to the original question...I think I was like most people when I first read LOTR...I didn't have anything specific in mind and now I do tend to place the actors when I feel appropriate, but sometimes I just don't see them, I have a different feel in my mind. *shrug* It's a good question to think on.
Image

<------ The TVM is going on vacation!

Cats were once worshiped in Egypt. They have never forgotten this.




"They ask me what I'd like written about me when I'm gone. I hope they write I made Penn State a better place, not just that I was a good football coach." -- Joe Paterno
User avatar
IrisBrandybuck
I can't brain today. I have the dumb.

 
Posts: 21179
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 9:42 pm
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby oldtoby » Tue Aug 12, 2014 6:57 pm

JRD is definitely taller, saw a pic a week or so ago of the cast and he was by far the tallest, like 6 foot 2 or thereabouts
User avatar
oldtoby
Ringbearer

 
Posts: 15281
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2002 10:40 pm
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby siddharth » Tue Aug 12, 2014 7:25 pm

Image
User avatar
siddharth
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 4171
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:13 am
Location: ===Always changing===
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby Hobbit_Guy » Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:10 pm

One of my first quibbles with FotR when seeing it in theatres was that Gandalf's eyes weren't supposed to be blue. I think that about sums it up. :D

Unfortunately, I had only read LotR 5 or 6 times before seeing the movies, so I wasn't able to form strong mental images for every character. I'm somewhat disappointed that even though I "know" certain characters are supposed to look differently (and can list the differences in how they're supposed to look), the movie images will pop into my head while reading and I have to try to force myself to focus on the description the book gives. But then, after I get back into the text again, they pop up again. It's difficult. I've tried to abate it by looking at pre-movie fanart to burn alternate depictions of the characters into my head, but it isn't working so far. Frodo is the worst offender; I had a firm enough mental picture of him before the movies, but I can't seem to imagine it any longer. Elrond, too. Faramir, Théoden, Celeborn, and Gríma are others who look especially different than their book appearance, in my opinion. Legolas was quite different than my own image.

As far as casting/images go, McKellen's Gandalf is likeable, though I wish he had been shorter compared to Legolas, Aragorn, Boromir etc. I'm still somewhat annoyed with how they had him give in to the hobbit children and show them some pre-Party fireworks (instant gratification!) whereas Tolkien's Gandalf sternly noted that they'd have to wait until the Party. Sure, it 'humanizes' Gandalf and makes the film audience like him, but it struck me as out of character. McKellen's Gandalf isn't "the Gandalf" for me; I still try to picture him differently when reading the books.

Film Saruman and Galadriel were essentially the same as my pre-film mental image of their appearances and voices (though I still think more of her hair should have been braided, as the book states that she undoes one of them to cut 3 hairs for Gimli: if she had a good amount of loose, flowing hair as in the movie, she wouldn't have needed to undo a braid!)

Théoden ... well, he has the same name as the book character, at least, and is lord of the same people. Having him be completely blond in the film (instead of white-haired) is jarring.

I wasn't too pleased with Gollum's appearance and portrayal; my strongest criticism is the loincloth. I realize a good amount of pre-film artwork also had him in one, but Gollum wore clothes (taken from Orcs?), with pockets. He wasn't near-naked.

I had pictured Sam as younger and more in shape than Frodo; I wasn't too happy with their casting Sean Astin and requiring him to add on even more weight for the role, compared to already-thin Frodo. And Pippin was supposed to be the youngest of the 4 hobbits, not the oldest. It showed.

I like Ian Holm as Bilbo, but he wasn't supposed to look that old yet. Martin Freeman captured book-Bilbo's appearance (if not attitude) well enough for me, so now I imagine him during the Party at the beginning, which makes the lines about him being unnaturally preserved more appropriate.

I wasn't too fond of Viggo's appearance - too fair-looking; I usually picture Ciaran Hinds for Aragorn.
User avatar
Hobbit_Guy
Shield Bearer

 
Posts: 440
Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2003 4:10 pm
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby Alys » Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:43 pm

I'm doing some catching up here, so obviously don't know what backgrounds you all have with each other, but a couple of you are displaying bad manners and unpleasantness, and are falling far short of the standards we'd like to see here.

I suggest you all concentrate on the subject at hand, rather than making personal comments and digs at at each other.
User avatar
Alys
Moderator
 
Posts: 7018
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2001 9:52 am
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby Canamarth » Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:57 am

Thanks, Alys.

Just to make something clear: Everyone pictures the characters totally differently in their heads (hence the excellent question above). There's no right or wrong way about it. No need at all to get personal or make assumptions about other people when discussing this. We don't know what Tolkien saw in his head when he wrote his books, and that's totally fine. Each individual's imagination is shaped by his/her surroundings and innate abilities. It's a pretty cool thing, if you think about it, that the same words (dark, tall, handsome) will evoke so many different pictures in different heads around the globe.

Each adaptation is also entitled to diverge from the original as much as it pleases (if you've seen an (excellent!) post-modern German adapation of Hamlet with lots of naked people running around the stage, wearing helicopter helmets, you'll know what I mean). It's called art. You are entitled to an opinion about the adaption, can say what you like about it, or what you don't, which other decisions you would have made. Try to be matter of fact and to the point about it (which can be difficult, I know, if the original means a lot to you) if you want to get your point across, though. Tastes are different, luckily, otherwise we would hardly have anything to talk about! Debating whether or not an actor is a few cm smaller than what is described in the original text, for example, is totally beside the point. Filmmakers don't set out to make a copy of books.
User avatar
Canamarth
Ringbearer

 
Posts: 13057
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2001 5:45 am
Location: Willing Suspension of Disbelief
Top

Re: When you read, how do you view the characters in your he

Postby siddharth » Wed Aug 13, 2014 6:37 am

heliona wrote:I don't like the casting of Liv Tyler and Cate Blanchett (although I love the latter as an actress), however, everyone has their own image in mind of characters, and also no doubt has a limited choice of actors to choose from.


Just out of curiosity, how much of that is because of the portrayal of the character? Because I think visually Cate is perfect as Galadriel, though the way she acted (or the way they made her act) was not really in line with Book-Galadriel...though I think she is much closer to it in the Hobbit films.
User avatar
siddharth
Ranger of the North

 
Posts: 4171
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:13 am
Location: ===Always changing===
Top

Next

Return to The Books (Tolkien)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests