Monday, November 22, 2004

Kasa kaay, Uruk-hai?

For those unfamiliar with Marathi, 'Kasa Kaay' is the closest you'll get to 'Wassup' in Marathi? If you aren't familiar with who the Uruk-Hai are, I suggest you first read Lord of the Rings. For a quick summary though, read this. For those who do know, read what I stumbled upon.

This post wasn't supposed to be entirely dedicated to Uruk-Hai (I hope my blog doesn't get blasted by the Uruk-Hai Defamation League). This was supposed to be for the entire trilogy. I must shamefacedly admit that I wasn't aware of the Lord of the Rings till I heard of it in Texas A&M. This was before the movies came about. There was a nerdy character who claimed to have read the whole trilogy 15-20 times (Avi, am I accurate or did he claim a greater number?) Sufficiently piqued and substantially unemployed (this was during my 8-month phase of joblessness or job search as I call it respectfully) , I picked up the trilogy and in 10 unputdownable days, I finished it. While my job hunt wasn't on its peak during the period, the time was well spent. Instantly, this made an entry onto my favorites list and it shall remain so. I was so happy that my name featured in the book (Boromir dies at this place) I particularly enjoyed the homage Tolkein paid to various mythologies. You can see how Rowling tries to do the same in the Harry Potter series.

My general experience has been that movies aren't ever as good as their books (Godfather being an exception). The trick is that the director should stop competing with the author in an effort to better the work and focus on making a good 'movie'. Peter Jackson did just that. He made a great nine-hour movie. I am keen on getting my hands on the DVD set of the trilogy. Should be a collector's item.

I was once in a training session with a huge audience and the speaker generally asked the question ' What was Gandalf's sword called?' No one answered that time, but I know several people who could have answered that in their sleep. People get so enamored by some books that they it just becomes part and parcel of their lives. They remember the minutest detail with the greatest ease. Some become gurus (like Avinash when it comes to Harry Potter), some remain moderately knowledgeable enthusiasts (like yours truly) and some like to enjoy and forget. If you haven't heard of the LOTR, please see the movies. If you have seen the movies, please read the books. If you have read the books, do share your feelings on the same.


Avinash said...

Parth, I think the claim was that he has been reading Tolkien since he was four........har har. BTW just for fun here's a laughably easy (for enthusiasts at least) LOTR quiz:
1. What is the name of Aragorn's sword?
2. What gift did Lady Galadriel grant Gimli?
3. How many Orcs did Gimli and Legolas each kill at Helms Deep?
4. What is Gandalf's other name?
5. His name in the ancient tongue means 'giver of gifts' (or is it 'bringer of gifts'?). How do we better know him?

Hint: Only the last answer is guessable. All others u either know or dont know.

phucker said...

Answers (These are all off the top of my head)
1. Anduril, forged from the shards of Narsil, Isildur's sword which cut the finger + ring off the hand of Sauron
2. Gimli was given a lock of Galadriel's hair
3. Tough one, I think they killed about 100-and something between them (I'm too lazy to look it up in the book)
4. He is called Mithrandir by the elves, and the Dwarves have another name for him, which I forget.
5. Do not know...

Parth, Gandalf's sword is called Glamdring

Yes.. I am a HUGE fan of LOTR. I was first exposed to LOTR when I was about 14. I asked my sisters to gift me the book for my birthday. I was hooked. My Punjabi-Sikh Grandma used to get really bugged and say "Stop carrying it around like a 'Granth' " (A Sikh holy book). I had read C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, and I have to admit, I disliked it a lot. But then along came LOTR and I was just shocked. It was (and is one hell of a well-told story, warts and all). Out of the movies, I loved the first 2 parts, but I think Jackson totally RUINED Return of the King - but I still have all 3 DVDs. But from everything I've read and heard, fans of the book should buy the Extended Edition DVDs, and not the regular ones - which are more for the uninitiated. I have to say though, that for the most part, Jackson translated the book onto the screen almost EXACTLY as I had imagined certain scenes in my head. But there were lots of flaws
- the extension of the Aragorn-Arwen story. Yes I understand movie audiences are different, but I still hated that part of things.
- Galadriel is shown as being very creepy in the movies.
- In Return of the King, the Battle of the Pelenor simply becomes Aragorn + Ghost Army versus a SH*TLOAD of enemies..whereas in the book they show a great gathering of all the forces of Gondor before the battle. Plus Aragorn goes racing thru Gondor UNITING all of its people into the fight. This big task of his gives him more legitamacy as the King, whereas in the movies, he just kind of says Hey Buddy, I'm the King, and everybody else is like, yea I guess so..

There are other flaws but those are all minor. Ok so I nitpick, but I do feel that Jackson did a REALLY brilliant job with what was an EXTREMELY difficult subject. These books have been out since World War II and have had a following since then... to make all of those fans happy is a tough job. There was a guy called Ralph Bakshi (Indian?) who made an animated version of the LOTR sometime in the late 70s or early 80s which bombed big time.

I think I have hijacked your blog again, with a really long post, so I shall stop now. But with a few suggestions. If you haven't read the prequel - The Hobbit, you should. It's a lot more light-hearted I think geared towards Kids/Teens but still very good. And also here is a link to a Star Wars/LOTR comparison. Some of it is actually quite surprisingly similar but some is pure rubbish - the author compares Yoda to Gollum!!! Oh and one final point - I thought the way Peter Jackson handled Gollum was great. You actually DO feel lots of pity and disgust for him. He's like this ultimate drug addict..

Parth said...

Tarun was good with the answers and you are free to hijack my blog as you please :-) To evoke a reaction like this was the intent of the post.

I think the number of orcs they killed were 40 and 41 or somewhere close. I knew about Anduril and Mithrandir, but not about what was given to Gimli. If the last one is guessable, I'd have to say Galadriel ... she is the only one who is gifting anything to anyone in the whole story :-)

Avi, answers please? Tarun, shall definitely pick up Hobbit when possible.

Avinash said...

Man.....Tarun, u are really hooked to LOTR. Parth if u really haven't read the Hobbit, do read it. U will find that the book has been written for 10-15 yr old kids at most. But the sequels are too good. Infact Tolkien started the Hobbit as a story to tell his kids and then it just took on a life of it's own. Maybe thats why the difference in treatment. Anyway by popular demand(!!) here are the answers:
1. Anduril - Flame of the West.
2. Lock of her hair.
3. 41 and 42 respt.
4. Sorry abt this one, I was looking for his original name. The three wizards came over the shores to middle earth. They were Saruman the white, Radagast the brown and Mithrandir the grey.
5. Parth I am amazed u didnt get this inspite of the hint. It's Sauron of course.

BTW hilarious true story. In a LOTR quiz on campus a give-away question was 'Who is the Lord of the Rings?' One idiot actually answered Frodo. :-)

RTD2 said...

AAGGGH! I feel like I came in to this one too late! Where do I begin? Yes, I can add myself to the list of "moderately knowledgeable enthusiasts" of the LOTR. I actually read the Hobbit much before the LOTR, and when I ultimately did read it, thought, wow! A western Mahabharat! Full of plots and sub-plots and dynasties and good versus evil. I really enjoyed the movies, too, though, like Tarun, I didn't like the 3rd one and especially hated the Arwen bit (not just because I don't like Liv Tyler!!). My biggest peeve is that they didnt even SHOW the Houses of Healing where Aragorn is revealed as the king (if memory serves me right!) But I disagree with respect to Galadriel - I thought the movies actually tamed her down! I was much more spooked out by the book notion of her.
Anyway, I have a theory that people's interests/preferences in music, movies and literature go together. For instance, I haven't met a Pink Floyd fan who doesn't like Dire Straits, Deep Purple, the Dead and Jethro Tull. Similarly, if u like LOTR, u will like Harry Potter, the Hitchhiker series, and yes, Tarun, Star Wars. In that vein, I recall a remarkable piece by a friend of mine who wrote for this message board ( His was a "What if Douglas Adams wrote LOTR" version guaranteed to have u in splits. I can send it to u by mail if u want because it is too big to include here.
Another funny coincidence - the two biggest LOTR fans I know are both mathematicians. The other fans are all engineers. All are male.

Avinash said...

RT, Dont be too sure abt the association thing. If u go to, they have a section where they publish hate mail and it's full of mails from ostensible LOTR fans spewing venom on HP.

RTD2 said...

Sure Avinash..It's a's not going to always work :) But yes, those mugglenet forum people and others I know too all have the same argument you and Parth had against remixing film songs - it's the purist versus the imitation maal debate. The twain shall never meet I guess! Who cares? I enjoy both!