Tuesday, December 23, 2003

I'll probably have more to say about this on my own blog, but I thought I'd send up a trial balloon here. In the course of the Lord of the Rings films over the last two years, I've seen the sentiment often expressed that the movies aren't merely excellent tellings of Tolkien's story, but superior tellings of Tolkien's story. For example, here's a representative quote from John Scalzi:

The filmed version of the tale is a better film than the book version is a book, because the storyteller in the film tells the story better. Middle-Earth is undoubtedly Tolkien's world. But Jackson is the better teller of this particular tale.

Part of Scalzi's argument is that the books are not great literature, an idea which I reject utterly, and in fact I've been holding off on responding to this because I don't want to foam at the mouth. Anyone else want to say anything on this? Are the books great literature? I, for one, think that they indisputably are, and as much as I love the films, I don't think for one second that they tell the story better than the books.