‘Well, I’m back,’ says Sam at the end of The Return of the King. I have taken the last five weeks to read the three volumes that comprise Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. The consequence is that I have scrapped the entire month of August in terms of doing any blogging or other kinds of writing. So I am back now from my summer reading and I hope that I can provide you with something useful from that time.
In the last almost 20 years, it seems that no one can read LOTR without comparing it with the cinematic releases. No, I am not going to do a book versus film comparison. Both are brilliant in relation to their respective media. However, I have had up until this morning a pet-peeve with both of them. It seems to me in both the film and book versions the endings are just way too drawn out. In The Return of the King book, there are six more long chapters after the destruction of the ring. And in the film I think there are just about as many– if not more– scenes following the same event. Because I consider J.R.R. Tolkien and the screenwriters of the film to be gifted in their respective crafts, this makes me wonder what I am missing. In casting about for an answer, I serendipitously stumbled across this video this morning. The issue is for me that I lacked a proper understanding of the difference between STORY and PLOT.
If you are a writer of fiction– a story-teller– this video may be helpful to you.
(Note: Another serendipitous moment: today is 46 years since Tolkien ‘sailed into the West.’)