The Bran Report

It's good for parts of you that you'd probably rather not think about.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I am rewatching Return of the King, and today I am struck by the change in culture between now and the forties.

(I don't know if I've talked about this before, so bear with me.)

In the books, I always got the impression that Merry and Pippin were pals, while Sam and Frodo were brothers-in-arms.

In the films, I think the Took and Brandybuck are a couple. Having just seen Pippin leave Edoras, I have a hard time seeing it any other way. In the appendices they both get off-screen wives and children, though it has been remarked that this is not as watertight as argument as it seems, and even less so in the forties. (That's right, viewers at home. Return of the King has hours more material they cut out of the films, detailing people's grandchildren. Peter Jackson may not have hurried, but he didn't keep more text than he needed to either).

Sam and Frodo's relationship is much the same as it ever was: even in the books, it was never quite clear if Frodo did or did not have the love that dare not speak its name. Maybe his peculiarly celibate lifestyle are meant to show how messed up he was by that Morgul blade. Sam has always been unambiguously keen on the ladytypes- a dramatic neccesity, given that subservient devotion is his defining characteristic.

In many ways, I wonder to what extent the extended explorations of the varieties of male affection are a consequence of its origin in the pre-feminist era- when you only introduced a female character because she was going to be praised for her beuty or deliver a line that approximates to "Ha ha, I don't have a penis so good luck with that prophecy pal, P.S. please eat this sword".

Well, Tolkien phrased it a little more elegantly.


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