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Question: I read that the character of Arwen is different in the film adaptation than from the books (including "Fellowship of the Ring"). In what ways? Second, did director/screenwriter Peter Jackson gave a reason why he expanded Arwen's presence in the film adaptation? Was it done for marketing purposes as some fans had claimed?

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Chosen answer: Well, Arwen in the books really doesn't do a great deal - she's an extremely minor character. The first reason for increasing her role was simply to remove some of the myriad other characters from the book - for example, the elf Glorfindel, who, in the book, is the one who brings Frodo to Rivendell, then never appears again. Considering the sheer number of characters in the tale, it makes a certain sense to combine them occasionally. The second reason, and why they chose to use Arwen at this point, is that it fleshes out her character a bit, giving us a glimpse of her strength and power and allowing us to get a better glimpse at her relationship with Aragorn, making it clearer why he would love her. It has also given the tale another strong female character, which, yes, isn't bad for marketing purposes, but that consideration wasn't the primary reason for doing so.

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Trivia: According to the book, Frodo is the oldest of the Hobbits in the Fellowship, but Elijah Wood, who plays Frodo, is actually the youngest of all the Fellowship actors - he was seventeen when filming began. The actors who played the younger Hobbits (Merry, Samwise and Pippin) - Dominic Monaghan, Sean Astin and Billy Boyd - ranged in age from 23 to 31 at the beginning of filming. Ironically, in the book Pippin is the youngest of the four Hobbits, whereas Billy Boyd, who played Pippin was actually the oldest of the four actors portraying the Hobbits.

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Question: Some people have said that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote the "Rings" novels to make a point regarding 20th century society. What is it?

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Chosen answer: The people who have said such a thing are incorrect. Tolkien stated that the work's inspiration was primarily linguistic in nature, and strongly disagreed with the meanings that other people saw in the books - the Ring as allegory for the nuclear bomb, et cetera. Tolkien's exact words, from a foreword to one of the editions of the books: "As for any inner meaning of 'message', it has in the intention of the author none. It is neither allegorical nor topical....I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers. I think that many confuse 'applicability' with 'allegory'; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author."

Phil C.

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