The film and the written word are two essentially different media; translating the written work word-for-word into the visual medium of film is almost next to impossible. If a film like, say, Gone with the Wind had been utterly faithful to the novel, it would have taken six hours, or even more. Factors like production costs, film length and the target audience need to be considered in adapting a written work after all.
J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is generally regarded as a gem of literature. As Dibbell put it in his essay, "[t]hat The Lord of the Rings belongs among the most important works of modern Western literature is not an unheard-of notion." Berardinelli wrote that Tolkein is considered the Father of Modern Fantasy, and that the three-volume book, along with its prequel The Hobbit, brought the fantasy genre up as a major literary category in its own right. He adds that almost all published authors of fantasy lists Tolkien as one of their influences.
The epic scope of The Lord of the Rings makes it daunting for any filmmaker to bring it to the silver screen. Christopher Tolkien, son of J.R.R. Tolkien and executor of his father's estate, said that "My own position is that 'The Lord of the Rings' is peculiarly unsuitable to transformation into visual dramatic form" (Ebert). Prior to Peter Jackson's attempt, in 1978, Ralph Bakshi came up with an animated version of the novel, covering the entirety of The Fellowship of the Ring and the first half of The Two Towers. Unfortunately, because of poor production values, Bakshi's attempt failed (Berardinelli).
New Zealand-based director Peter Jackson made box office waves with his back-to-back-to-back attempt at filming the entire Tolkien work. All three films were nominated and won various awards, with the final installment, The Return of the King, sweeping the Oscars in 2003. Their combined box office gross totaled USD2,916,544,743 (Wikipedia).
Granted that Jackson has succeeded where Bakshi had not, critics and fans alike were of mixed opinions as to whether his rendering of the original material was faithful or not. Some claim that he was, while some are of a mind that he was not. This writer believes that while Jackson had indeed twisted some parts of the book to suit the movie, he had nonetheless remained faithful to the general theme and spirit of the book. This essay aims to explore this thesis by examining five scenes from the book that were altered in the movie.
The first scene taken involves Frodo's leaving the Shire after he learns that the ring is in his possession is the One Ring. In the book, upon receiving this information, it took weeks for Frodo to prepare to leave the Shire because he had not really wanted to. He expressed his desire to leave on his and Bilbo's birthday, and Gandalf allowed him to dally until then. To quote:
To tell the truth, he was very reluctant to start, now that he had come to the point. Bag End seemed a more desirable residence than it had for years, and he wanted to savour as much as he could of