20 Dec 2016 Leave a comment
19 Dec 2016 Leave a comment
Here is the post I just put up right now on the ‘Lord of the Rings’ forum of TORn ((The One Ring.net), my favorite site for all things Tolkien, an author I love, including the two remarkable Film Trilogies made by Peter Jackson from both LOTR and now also The Hobbit; along with the two lines in the end that I chose as my ‘footer’ on TORn, I want to share with you, here too, my feelings on this anniversary of a most beautifully memorable moment for me: the one when I saw for the first time ‘The Fellowhip of the Ring’ (FOTR), based on the first volume of Tolkien’s book:
It is Altaïra’s article that brought me here today, back on the LOTR board for this 15th Anniversary of the opening of FOTR:
Then once here I saw there had been this thread, earlier in December, which matched exactly what I too wanted most to talk about on such a day as this 15th Anniversary!…
I read every single post, taking so much pleasure in re-living through each of them (except two) my own feelings of stunned awe and wonderment when I first saw FOTR, in a big theater in Paris, France.
Like many at the time, I was among the complete fans of the books, who weren’t sure what to expect, and anxiously anticipated possibly the worst when they still decided to give it a try.
And then, sitting there in the darkness of this vast but full theater, all became silent, and in that silence slowly arose that extraordinary, deep feminine voice, speaking those few words in Elvish, and in English, out of nowhere, out of time itself – and the whole world suddenly turned into Middle-earth, fully alive with its incredibly ancient and intense atmosphere, its magical, overwhelming presence made magically real.
I must have started breathing again at some point of course, but I never became aware of it, totally transfixed as I remained for the full time while its peoples of all kinds, and those of them I cherished since so long, one by one appeared on the screen, looking exactly as I had imagined them, or even better themselves than I had been able to imagine them…
The places, the landscapes, everything was just right, the music itself was absolutely entrancing, so perfectly adapted it was to every culture and every moment of the mostly so well-known events that unfolded like in the books – even when they didn’t, it somehow didn’t disturb me at all, I took it all in just the same as it seemed to flow out from the same magical Source.
Thank you, Sir Peter Jackson and all those others who helped create this. Even if that first viewing of this first film would have been the only one memorable, I would have to thank you for it as one of the most beautiful memories of my life; but on top of it it turned out to be only the beginning of a whole wonderful Trilogy for LOTR, and now even one more for the Hobbit…
My heart outflows with gratitude that this happened in this lifetime of mine.
‘Is everything sad going to come untrue?’
(Sam, ‘The Field of Cormallen’, in ‘The Return of the King’.)
02 Oct 2016 8 Comments
… with yet another laptop, again a gift, from another dear friend, after the HP one (also a second-hand one) that I had been given early in the year unexpectedly collapsed two weeks ago, leaving me high and dry on the shores of Sudden Silence… just when I was about to write a new post to break an already long enough previous silence!
Yes, I am paraphrasing with my title for this post the last words of ‘The Lord of the Rings’, said by Sam Gamegie upon returning to his cozy Hobbit home – the one dear old Bilbo used to live in, and then Frodo, before and after their heroic journey to Mordor and Mount Doom… until Sam married Rosie and Frodo wanted them to have all the space and comfort needed for their numerous happy children to come.
It is a few years later that Sam said those famous and so meaningful words: when together with Merry, PIppin, and of course Frodo, he had just accompanied old Bilbo and their great other friends, those from the West, to the Grey Havens and the Ship that would take them away… not just them, but also Frodo, it turned out, and what a terrible moment that unexpected separation had been, Sam had hardly been able to leave even when the Ship had long disappeared upon the horizon… But now, he was back indeed, back fully into his own continuing role in The Story; back into the loving arms of Rosie and the children, ready for all that he would still had to do for Hobbiton, the Shire and Middle-earth in the course of the long life that still was ahead of him…
It is somehow in the same kind of mood as Sam’s that I am writing today, and you will soon learn why, down below… But anyway, as for the lack of a laptop I have missed my usual online celebration of Bilbo and Frodo’ birthday on September 22nd, I wanted to mention it as well… and the means to do it came by itself just naturally as you can see, in the writing itself, starting with the title!
This said, let me present my apologies to everyone for this seeming interruption of my life and of the personal Conscious Evolution process I’m trying to give an outer sampling of through this Research Blog… Of course that process and my life with it never stopped for one second of these few weeks. If anything, the inner pressure actually increased still… although it always seems to be, many other people will agree with me, as much as we can possibly bear, at any given time!!! Things are accelerating; no doubt about that…
This happens to be also the time of the year when, every year, in a somewhat noticeably more rapid succession, several of my fellow Aurovilians, some of them old friends – like Sharanam was (see my previous post), and one more just two days ago – leave their physical body permanently and go get some well deserved rest in the limitless and much more luminous Reality that this one coexists with, but hides from our sight. However happy we may feel for those who leave, it is difficult not to feel also some sadness from the separation…
But many new faces arrive too, new Auroville babies, or new arrivals of adults, often with their spouse and children, from outside Auroville, wanting to join this crazy yet steadily growing Experiment in Collective Evolution, out here in this little corner of South India… I happen to know personally from previous short or long stays here several of those Newcomers; they came to visit me during the last few days, and I rejoiced at their coming, at their energy and at the bold dreams they spoke of with so much enthusiasm. They are from everywhere in the world, as well as from Tamil Nadu, where Auroville is located, or from other parts of India. How encouraging it is to meet these fresh arrivals! A few of them are even conscious of the deep ties they used to have with me or other Aurovilians, in some other lifetime and some other part of the world: not only there is in them that fresh energy, but also in some cases more spiritual awareness than most of us old timers had when we came thirty, forty, nearly fifty years ago – and that is such a good sign: Yes, The Story is going on well, as Evolution keeps taking new steps on this little ‘Arda’ the Earth, and we in turn share in the Adventure of our times!
So it is on this cheerful note that I will stop today in this new post, reconnecting myself with all of you too, reading this, who through me are also connected with Auroville, even if you don’t live here, or have never yet come here… If you are reading this Blog of mine, it can only be because the same Quest is alive in your hearts too, whatever form it may take for you…
13 Jun 2015 Leave a comment
What you just heard was Treebeard’s Song, sung by Sir Christopher Lee.
A fierce fan of Tolkien, deeply knowledgeable about all things Tolkien, Sir Christopher has been so happy and so proud to become part of the two Middle-earth Trilogies created by Peter Jackson, first ‘The Lord of the Rings’, and now just over, ‘The Hobbit’. For ever now Saruman the White will have the face and body, the expressions and gestures and tremendous deep voice of Sir Christopher .
But in the video I have chosen today for my own tribute to him on this sad occasion of his passing, it is Sir Christopher as Treebeard, singing this Song I always Ioved, that I want my visitors to know too:
Treebeard’s Song performed by the Tolkien Ensemble alongside Christopher Lee.
Lyrics: (from Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers)
In the willow-meads of Tasarinan I walked in the Spring.
Ah! the sight and the smell of the Spring in Nan-tasarion!
And I said that was good.
I wandered in Summer in the elm-woods of Ossiriand.
Ah! the light and the music in the Summer by the
Seven Rivers of Ossir!
And I thought that was best.
To the beeches of Neldoreth I came in the Autumn.
Ah! the gold and the red and the sighing of leaves in the Autumn in Taur-na-neldor!
It was more than my desire.
To the pine-trees upon the highland of Dorthonion I climbed in the Winter.
Ah! the wind and the whiteness and the black branches
of Winter upon Orod-na-Thön!
My voice went up and sang in the sky.
And now all those lands lie under the wave,
And I walk in Ambaróna, in Tauremorna, in Aldalómë,
In my own land, in the country of Fangorn,
Where the roots are long,
And the years lie thicker than the leaves
What an orgy of beautiful sounds and earthy, fragrant names Tolkien has put in Treebeard’s heart and nostalgic memory… What sensual love for Nature in all the phases of its beauty, season after season, as expressed by trees, and trees again, and yet more trees, all Treebeard’s passionate favorites as he voices their cherished names and the names of those cherished lands that now are under the wave…
But the Future holds more magic to come, and the wonderful coming up again of those lost lands, and the revival of their beauty, as Treebeard in the end will hear from Galadriel when finally parting from her and Celeborn, who visited him on their way back home to Lothlorien after Aragorn and Arwen’s wedding:
‘I do not think we shall meet again’, he said.
And Celeborn said: ‘I do not know, Eldest.’ But Galadriel said: ‘Not in Middle-earth, nor until the lands that lie under the wave are lifted up again. Then in the willow-meads of Tasarinan we may meet in the Spring. Farewell!’
My own heart sings together with that of dear Treebeard, every time I read again this wonderful Promise by Galadriel, echoing the cherished names we too have come to love…
For it is the renewal and revival of our own cherished Earth that Galadriel is announcing in those ancient times Tolkien has recreated so beautifully in his books – to give us the ‘Estel’, the Hope of those future times to come too…
11 Jan 2015 Leave a comment
Since it was announced that Billy Boyd would be performing the credit song at the end of The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, I have been anxiously awaiting the release. Since the release of the song, “The Last Goodbye,” I have been listening to it non-stop. On a personal level this song holds an enormous amount of emotion for me. I’m leaving tomorrow morning to move two states and multiple hours away from the only home I’ve ever known. Listening to this song in the car at night while I was driving alone after saying goodbye to yet another good friend was probably not the best idea. It was as if it was raining, only my eyeballs didn’t have windshield wipers.
The last time I discussed the power and the scope of credit songs, I compared the songs from the first two Hobbit films (you can find the post
View original post 911 more words
22 Dec 2014 Leave a comment
This is a different kind of Review, both on BOTFA and on the ‘Hobbit’ Trilogy in general.
I don’t want to repeat endlessly the already many existing great Reviews that deal with the various liked or disliked details in the film. This is why:
A strange feeling of progressive ‘distanciation’ has happened to me over the years, about this whole ‘Hobbit’ Trilogy.
Not at all in a bad way: on the contrary, it has enabled me to get a POV about it that has gradually transcended all my first impressions of these movies, and led me to what is in my eyes a far better understanding and appreciation of them.
Yes, I was already very appreciative of them to start with (!), but in a kind of superficial way. Now my perception of them has changed, because I have had the curiosity and courage at a certain point of entirely following PJ, Fran and Philippa into their script choices instead of grumbling automatically against them.
In that way I have unexpectedly come to discern (and to myself grow into) the much vaster picture the team of writers were actually presenting for us all to see: a continuum ‘Hobbit – LOTR’ in which, although all the episodes narrated in the little bedtime story are still there, they come out differently because they are taken out of their original linearity. From the flat two-dimensionality that is hidden from us in the book only by the exquisite writing art of Tolkien, each of these episodes leaps into a welcome three-dimensionality in the story on screen, thanks to just a few major changes creating turning-points that affect all the events happening after them as consequences of these few changes.
I have read comments upon comments from all of us fans, that although they praised the films in general, still deemed this part or this subplot unnecessary and useless; and every time it was the writers’ ‘wrong choices’ that were incriminated, when it was not a precise person in their team who got charged with the responsibility for this or that specific ‘wrong choice’, as that person was obviously ‘ruling the roost’, according to the author of the post.
There came a time when I grew tired of what felt to me like a kind of arrogance on the part of some of us, too ready to believe – and to say loudly in a few cases – that these writers were just a clever bunch bent simply on profiteering to the maximum from Tolkien’s books, profit being obviously the only possible reason why such a small book (the other sources of material also from Tolkien not being mentioned, or being called ‘fillers’) would have been turned unexpectedly into a new blockbuster Trilogy.
What do I see now, then, when I look at these three new films?
I see essentially tons of background history (either straight from Tolkien or figured out by the writers) being inserted artfully here and there, to reveal at the right moment for example the reason behind a certain character’s coldness and apparent empty selfishness; or to flesh out what we knew already from the LOTR Trilogy about this or that important event, stemming actually from something that had happened earlier, at the time of ‘The Hobbit’; or to make us discover yet another area of Middle-earth that we had only heard of vaguely before, and had not guessed how important to the overall story that region had been in the far past… a past still alive through a live dragon or some other monstrous beast surviving, a terrible threat, deep down the Mines of Moria.
For me it is not ‘by chance’ that BOTFA has been, just two days ago, the first film I ever saw in 3D. To the visual 3D corresponded a sudden coming together in my consciousness of the actual three-dimensionality of this whole story as well, every detail in it being linked inextricably to so much more than I had at first suspected. All that has been prepared and shown separately before in the two first ‘Hobbit’ films falls now into its intended place, one detail after the other, like in a symphony orchestrated by a master musician (and the music we owe again to Howard Shore is a great part again of this magic being woven together through this last film).
So many places or even characters that hardly existed in my consciousness, although I knew Tolkien had mentioned them indeed, have now come alive for me, and for ever: in AUJ I had got a feeling that only Thror and Thorin had really been introduced, and I missed learning more about Thrain too, the least known of the three; but after the DOS EE, Thrain too has come alive in me, and indelibly so *tears up while writing this…*.
Well, it’s like bringing the whole of Middle-earth gradually into the real world of our lives, not any more just through the wonderful words of Tolkien, but now almost down to the realm of actual physicality, thanks to the filming art and all the other arts that have been involved in the making of these extraordinary movies.
At every step I feel now the respect and appreciation of the writers for what was already great and totally satisfactory in the original books; and I feel at the same time in the same writers the equally needed ability to discern the flaws when they are there, and to put in an alternative that will solve these flaws, often in a way that Tolkien himself might have appreciated, I’ll dare say.
I too in the past have believed that Tolkien, for example, would never had married Aragorn to Eowyn, so I was at first quite scandalized that an attraction between Aragorn and Eowyn was so much as hinted at in the films, even though it was more on Eowyn’s side; but then I discovered in the HOME books put together by Christopher Tolkien, that in his first drafts his father had indeed married Aragorn to Eowyn; only later had he “seen” Arwen as a new character, who then of course became the more ideal spouse for Aragorn…
In the same way, one thing that is sometimes brought up as being totally absent in Tolkien, and yet unduly present to some extent in the films: what I will call ‘gore’ for short:
I remember when watching for the first time the scene in TTT where the Three Runners, looking anxiously for their Hobbits friends, reach the mound of Orc corpses left behind by Eomer and his Rohirrim: a horrible head of an Orc was standing there on top of a spear, I had to close my eyes to avoid that ugly sight. Disgusted and angry, I felt this was really a betrayal of Tolkien, who would never had put such a gruesome detail in one of his books. Well, I did check nevertheless… and found to my utter amazement that the said gruesome detail was right there also in the book, described exactly as it appeared in the film!!!
Again, this time for this Trilogy: I re-read entirely ‘The Hobbit’, just to refresh my memories of it… and was quite surprised to notice that Beorn too not only had killed a warg and a goblin during his night expedition, but had also put the head out on display:
“Come and see!” said Beorn, and they followed around the house. A goblin’s head was stuck outside the gate, and a warg-skin was nailed to a tree just beyond. Beorn was a fierce enemy.
And that one is right in ‘The Hobbit’, a bedtime story for his own kids!… Surprising may be, but true.
If you look carefully you will probably find a few more instances showing that Tolkien did have some ‘gorish’ moments in his writings too. I really couldn’t tell which one is the worse, of Denethor’s death on the screen, or on the page.
Just to say that perhaps we should be less absolute in our views about what Tolkien would have liked, or not, in the present six adaptations of his best-known books.
What is sure for me at least, is how much more I have discovered of Tolkien’s own world, thanks to these six films by Peter Jackson and team. The changes from the books aren’t random mistakes as we too often think, but deliberate deviations for a purpose we may discover only at the end of the entire arc of the character or the situation.
In this last opus just released, what for me shines particularly – besides of course the main storyline of Bilbo helping Thorin’s Company to reclaim Erebor – is the whole Dol Guldur sub-plot with all its tremendous ramifications, including the Nazgul back-story of the Witch-King of Angmar; and through Legolas and Tauriel’s visit to Gundabad, that links up wonderfully with the second subplot I personally love, although it is disliked and rejected by a majority of fans, it would seem: the entire sub-plot of the Mirkwood Elves, with Thranduil and Tauriel quite strong and interesting characters in their own right, both independently and yet also together shaping the future personality of Legolas as we will meet him again sixty years later in LOTR at the Council of Elrond.
Not only do I not find the so-called ‘romance’ between Tauriel and Kili the Dwarf really implausible or ridiculous, I find it a most revealing sign of the times that the mutual hostility between the two species – continued actively through their hardened and embittered present leaders Thranduil and Thorin – has to come to an end, and be replaced by friendship and mutual appreciation, if not by deep love as exemplified in this added story of Tauriel and Kili. Their genuine love will start already producing deep, positive changes within the other characters as well and in their relationships, opening up at last a whole situation regarding Mirkwood that had become as stagnant and stale as the situation in Erebor while occupied by Smaug.
So, even more than for DOS EE, it is with utter admiration and gratitude that I salute this new incredible achievement by this team of film-makers, bringing to us this far-reaching perspective on Middle-earth, in which the Story guided invisibly by Eru becomes indeed a Story of Diversity unfolding towards a multi-facetted, harmonious Oneness.
Looking forward now to the EE… and then to watching the six films, starting with AUJ EE and ending with ROTK EE, for this is the way I prefer!…
22 Dec 2014 Leave a comment
Last year for the release of the second ‘Hobbit’ film, ‘The Desolation of Smaug’. and the year before for the release of the first one, ‘An Unexpected Journey’, I missed my chance of seeing the new movie on a really big screen because I waited for someone else to organize some collective transport in order to go see it in the only place not too far from us who live in Auroville : Chennai, the big city called ‘Madras’ in the old days. I waited and waited… and nothing happened!…
This time around, for the release this year of the last film of this new Trilogy by Peter Jackson happening in Tolkien’s ‘Middle-earth’ like the previous one, ‘The Lord of the Rings’, I am not taking any chances any more: to make sure that I will definitely see ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’, I’ll take care of everything myself!!!
So, last Tuesday, I wrote out my announcement:
“I am organizing a taxi to go this Friday 19/Saturday 20/Sunday 21 to Chennai see the third and last film, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”. It has very good reviews, and all the theatres in Chennai showing it are already fully booked, starting tomorrow Wednesday, for the first two days. We have a chance to get some seats after that (the taxi driver can buy the tickets in advance). It would be for the midday show, so departure 9 am, return 3 pm just after the show. If you want to come, please contact me as soon as possible.”
What this announcement from me in our Auroville little weekly newsletter didn’t mention, because everybody knows it, is that from here (near Pondicherry) it’s a three hour drive going to Chennai; and of course the same again on the way back… no flying Eagles to carry you!!!
On the very Tuesday morning I sent my email to the publishing office, someone almost immediately phoned me, even before the announcement got printed: that person had seen it at the newsletter’s office, and happened to be the mother of two teenagers very keen to come along. So they became the first two on my list!
That was a good start, I felt. But realizing the newsletter would come out only on Friday, and the distribution in some places could be as late as Saturday night, I asked a friend to also post my announcement online, on our internal Auroville communication site.
And I myself started emailing a few Aurovilians here and there whom I knew since long were definitely fans.
After half a dozen of them had answered me, one way or the other, and for whatever reason, “No thanks, I cannot come”, a suspicion grew in me that perhaps not so many people would be interested enough in seeing that film on the really BIG screen it was meant for, to go all the way to Chennai for that joy. It might well be that only I had such a passion for these films, that I would do such a crazy thing – including the taxi fare, that was actually way beyond my means if ever I had finally to go alone.
In the meantime, it appeared that the online booking of the tickets for the Sunday as I had finally asked, wasn’t working properly; as for taxi drivers buying the tickets in advance, that seemed not to be happening either, because… nobody knew anymore in which theatres the movie was still shown, most of them having gone on since then with their other planned movies!!!
By Thursday night, it became obvious the only chance there still was to find a place where the film was still running, was to forget about Saturday and Sunday, and go to Chennai the very next morning, Friday 19th, and just find out directly there – with the risk of going for nothing if it was already all over everywhere.
I tried frantically to contact the mother of the two teenagers, but her phone numbers in our internal phone book weren’t the correct ones any more. On Friday morning itself, from 8 am on I tried again and again to contact her, this time through other people. Nothing doing.
So when the taxi I had booked for 9 am arrived, I was indeed alone, the only passenger going for this journey “There and Back again”.
Because of heavy traffic inside Chennai (a very large city) we arrived late for the midday show in the ‘City Centre’ multiplex; and anyway the one and only showing for ‘The Hobbit’ would be, it turned out, at 10 pm in the night!!!
Impossible for me to stay that late.
The driver then took me to yet another huge mall just like the ones I remembered from France itself, splendidly decorated and lit because of Christmas etc. In the multiplex there, the unique showing for The Hobbit’, we found out, would be at… 4pm.
Sigh of relief. This was more manageable.
We happily took our tickets – the driver seemed to be interested in seeing that film, so I invited him to join.
Then he went for his favorite local style lunch elsewhere, while I stayed put in the safety of that huge mall, for a more French-like fare: if this was to be a once-in-ten-year outing, the lunch too could be part of it!…
After that I spent a full hour down one level, in the bookshop… trying to find some illustrated little book presenting ‘The Hobbit’ or ‘The Lord of the Rings’, but with pictures from the Peter Jackson movies instead of the boring kind of usual colored drawings: it had dawned on me that without any introduction at all to this last movie of the ‘Hobbit’ Trilogy, my poor driver would not understand a thing in the entire movie: a simple local man like him, his mother-tongue Tamil with enough English understanding but without the slightest idea otherwise of what Middle-earth could be, and the various odd species inhabiting it besides the normal Humans, he wouldn’t be able to make any sense of what would be going on full blast in this last film, without even the help of any prologue!!!
When we met again at 3.30 pm, on a piece of paper I made for him my own sketches of a map, and wrote down the names of the various main species and their Rulers, and I described the basic way of being of each species; already for him to imagine that they all lived here on Earth very long ago, when we the ‘normal’ human beings weren’t the only ones around, was quite a remarkable feat. Add to that my brief summary of the previous events in this story… He did seem to follow me a little, poor fellow…
Then it was time to go into the multiplex!
Only when upon entering we were both given a pair of strange ‘sunglasses’, did I realize I was going to see ‘The Battle of the Five Armies’… in 3D!!!
Gulp… First time in my life I would see a film in 3D (I have lived in Auroville since 1972). Would that be okay for me?…
Already with my bad eyesight and bad hearing, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to see or hear anything at all from afar, but a blur of moving colors on that huge screen, and confused sounds to try to understand. My 3D glasses in my hand, I had an instant of sheer panic: with the addition now of this above my own glasses, would I see anything at all??? It would be so horrible to have paid all this taxi fare and come all the way on my own, only to be unable to see or hear anything of that movie!!!
But that didn’t happen. On the contrary, I saw and heard everything perfectly well and even enjoyed the 3D effects to my heart’s content!
It was only my throat that nearly went into spasms, with all the moments of tension and fear and emotional upheavals, sweet or terrible, succeeding each other nonstop.
The rest of the audience (quite packed actually), all well educated and well-to-do young Indians, most of them couples, didn’t express itself noisily, so even my cries of anguish – or sobs during the entire ending – had to be kept on the ‘mute’ mode as well: as the only Westerner there, I felt I had really to behave!…
But I remained resolutely seated throughout the End Credits and Billy’s beautiful song over those beautiful drawings by Alan Lee. I was the last person to leave – still in tears – at 7pm.
My driver told me he had liked that movie very much, he found it quite a beautiful story.
By 10 pm I arrived back home, exhausted but tremendously happy:
I have done it! I have seen it!!! I have seen ‘The Battle of the Five Armies’!!!
And I fell on my bed and slept at last.