Unsung Heroes of The Lord of the Rings: From the Page to the Screen

( 3 )

Overview

Most criticism of The Lord of the Rings trilogy emphasizes the most likely heroes in the tales: Aragorn, Frodo, Gandalf, and even Sam. From popular to scholarly literature, the women and smaller characters often go overlooked. But our notions of what makes a hero have altered since September 11, and sometimes the most unlikely people can come to embody all that we look up to and admire in a person. Here, Lynnette Porter examines what we mean when we talk about heroes, and for the first time illustrates the heroic...

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Unsung Heroes of the Lord of the Rings: From the Page to the Screen

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Overview

Most criticism of The Lord of the Rings trilogy emphasizes the most likely heroes in the tales: Aragorn, Frodo, Gandalf, and even Sam. From popular to scholarly literature, the women and smaller characters often go overlooked. But our notions of what makes a hero have altered since September 11, and sometimes the most unlikely people can come to embody all that we look up to and admire in a person. Here, Lynnette Porter examines what we mean when we talk about heroes, and for the first time illustrates the heroic qualities that can be found in the women and other beloved, though less-celebrated, characters in the The Lord of the Rings books and movies. She takes a critical look at the importance of literary and cinematic heroes in general, emphasizing the roles of Merry, Pippin, Galadriel, Eowyn, Arwen, Legolas, and Gimli, who can all be considered heroes despite their relatively smaller roles. She shows, ultimately, that our attraction to and celebration of heroes does not have to be limited to the leading man, but rather that women and youth often display essential characteristics of true heroes.

Bringing together a discussion of both the books and the movies, Porter reveals for readers the heroic nature of several characters in The Lord of the Rings who have been ignored in terms of their status as heroes. Nevertheless, these female and youthful characters have received incredible popular acclaim and illustrate the shift in the way the Western movie-going public identifies and glorifies heroes. While other stars may have outshone the likes of Merry and Pippin, Arwen and Galadriel, Porter redirects the spotlight on these favorites of the books and movies to show us how the roles they play, the actions they take, and the behaviors they display are worthy of our praise and admiration. This unique and refreshing perspective adds dimension to our understanding of The Lord of the Rings phenomenon.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Porter examines the intricacies of modern human expectations for heroes and myths, and how those complex emotions influence what we read under the covers with a flashlight as opposed to what we see from the unlikely heroes, the minor characters who catch our attention and earn our admiration because they embody some aspect of heroism, such as the character of Merry as the knowledgeable hero, Pippen as the youthful, impulsive hero, Eowyn as the action hero, and so on, and how we seek out those characters who embody what we sense we have, or lack, in ourselves."

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Reference & Research Book News

"[P]orter's style is clear and engaging. Large undergraduate and general collections."

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Choice

"[S]hows a good grasp of available criticism in both academic and popular publications….The best feature of this book, I think is that, contra the lamentably common view that Tolkien relied primarily on types for his characterization, Porter shows how well he thought out their individual personalities."

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Tolkien Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275985219
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/30/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

LYNNETTE R. PORTER is Professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where she teaches Honors Literature and Humanities. She is the author of three other books.

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Table of Contents

1 Literary and cinematic heroes 1
2 Merry as a knowledgeable hero 23
3 Pippin as impulsive, youthful hero 56
4 Eowyn as action hero 90
5 Galadriel and Arwen as inspirational heroes 115
6 Legolas and Gimli as intercultural heroes 144
7 The changing social definitions of heroes 167
Online resources for Tolkien studies 203
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 2 of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2005

    Amazing book for LotR fans!

    I just found out my school's ever reliable library has just added this book to its shelves! I just finished reading the section on Pippin (my favorite character) and this book is amazing! The author describes all the 'unsung' characters in such depth. She explores the differences between Tolkein's Pippin and Jackson's, which was very enlightening. She pointed out things from the book and the movie that I had never thought of before. I feel compelled to go back and read or watch them again. I think it's the best Lord of the Rings book I've ever read (except Lord of the Rings of course)!

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2011

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 2 of 3 Customer Reviews

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