Category: books

  • When you play the Game of Thrones, you win(ce) or you die (inside)

    When I was thirteen, my high school English teacher assigned Lord of the Flies to our class. At first, I enjoyed the book. After all, Flies begins innocently enough: grade school boys shipwrecked on a mysterious island. It almost felt like an outdoor survival adventure—still a favorite genre of mine. But soon the tone—and my […]

  • Jurassic VR

    Jurassic VR

    You will always have a soft spot for the films you loved when you were twelve. For me, 1993 was the golden era of film-making. The Fugitive, released that year, remains my favorite Harrison Ford movie—even besting my beloved Star Wars and Indiana Jones series. Similarly, I could watch Groundhog Day a thousand times and […]

  • Regendering bedtime stories

    Regendering bedtime stories

    When Michelle Nijhuis reads The Hobbit aloud to her five-year-old daughter, she doesn’t quite recite Tolkien’s original prose. There’s one major change: Bilbo is a girl-hobbit. As she explains at Slate: You know what? The switch was easy. Bilbo, it turns out, makes a terrific heroine. She’s tough, resourceful, humble, funny, and uses her wits […]

  • Bilbo > Frodo.

    Bilbo > Frodo.

    I’ve always preferred The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings. The first book may be silly, but it’s fun. It doesn’t demand a fortnight to read. It doesn’t get bogged down in faux-history. Most importantly, The Hobbit boasts a more interesting main character. Yes, Bilbo is ridiculous and stuck-up and pretentious. But he’s also […]

  • Lord of the Re-hash

    Lord of the Re-hash

    Authors often fall victim to their own success.

  • Not quite convinced

    Not quite convinced

    For decades, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy was considered “unfilmable.” The Professor himself doubted that any director could successfully adapt the work. Chief among the challenges? Middle-Earth’s major races come in all shapes and sizes. Men and elves wouldn’t pose a problem, but how could an actor play a four-foot-tall hobbit? Or a […]

  • You got Aragorn in my Bilbo!

    Recently, Daniel Wood suggested that Peter Jackson’s next two Hobbit movies should feature cameos from Aragorn, Gimli, Denethor, Arwen, Merry, Pippin and Sam. This is a terribly dumb idea. First of all, at the time of The Hobbit… Aragorn is 9. Denethor II is 12. Merry, Pippin and Sam are –40, –48 and –38, respectively. […]

  • First things first (part 2): why Peter Jackson should have made Lord of the Rings after The Hobbit

    Last time, I explained why, in an ideal world, Peter Jackson would have tackled The Hobbit first (before The Lord of the Rings). But what would this have meant for The Hobbit’s bigger, more serious older brother? Of course, much depends on how well The Hobbit performed at the box office. But let’s assume that […]

  • First things first: why Peter Jackson should have made The Hobbit before The Lord of the Rings

    Back in the mid-nineties, Peter Jackson had a problem. He (and his creative partners) had unveiled plans to film J.R.R. Tolkien’s most celebrated novels, using their native New Zealand as a stand-in for Middle-Earth. They hoped to make The Hobbit—chronologically, the series’ initial book—first. But Jackson’s producers failed to secure rights for The Hobbit. Undeterred, […]

  • Christopher Tolkien on Peter Jackson’s Middle-Earth movies.

    Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?