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The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy Improves on the Book

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/24/2012 Category: Arts
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,951 times Debate No: 20623
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As said above, this is debate is of the argument that the Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy directly by Peter Jackson is an improvement upon the source material for the movie Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.

I ask first, what is it that makes a story exciting and memorable?

Though many may take their own stances on this, I would say that properly placed conflict is indeed the heart of any story. Without conflict and the need to resolve it, a story does not exist. At the core of every tale there is adversity, movement, and a passion to tell the tale. Great tales also create growth and depth to suck the reader in and make them care about every event in a story. I feel this is where Peter Jackson and his team succeeded with Lord of the Rings where J. R. R. Tolkien could not.

Most people that are very engrossed in the literature of Middle-Earth seem to come to an agreement that the world and its lore are the best part of the story. The races, mighty and small, are the centerpiece which the story revolves around. Even the Silmarillion is loved by Tolkien fans because it is dedicated solely to working out the backstory of Middle-Earth. What is left in the remainder though? There are characters, plot, and events within the story. I will take one of each of these that the movies changed radically from the book and attempt to explain why they did for the better.

Aragorn (Character)- I decided to go with Aragorn first since he is the character most deeply tied with the plot, and probably even more debated than a character I may bring up later. Aragorn within the novel is rightful King of Gondor and very strong hearted. All his actions seem to be predicated on the love for his homeland and the spirit he grew from his years as a ranger.

Aragorn within the movies is a solace and thoughtful figure, but containing the element of the much maligned "self-doubt". It is due to this new character trait that he does not take up the blade of his ancestor and why he does not choose to regain his crown at the first opportunity. This is the conflict which brings the character of Aragorn to a much closer understanding by the audience.

Within the book, Aragorn takes his birthright but does not take his birthright. He takes the sword, which is useful to him for a present time, yet will not step forward to rally the men of Gondor for seemingly no reason at all. During this time, his kingdom is ravaged, his people slain, and the world of men disrupted merely due to his seemingly trivial waiting. At no point in the novel does his ascension seem symbolic or change much of anything until he taunts Sauron within the Palantir which is far later.

In the films, the forging of the sword and Elrond's appearance means a lot to the viewer because of the journeys all the characters had to do to get to that point are very evident. Aragorn successfully uses his sway and really grows as a character to muster the final confrontation at the Black Gate, where he truly uses the sword for the first time to fight back the forces of evil. That is the true progression of Aragorn's character that should be much more noticeable, especially within such a lengthy text, that never got there for the sake of dramatic effect. The changes to Aragorn's character made his person better.

The One Ring (Plot)- The driving force of the plot in both books is the One Ring. We are shown from the first chapter that the ring is powerful enough to corrupt Gandalf, the most powerful creature we have yet seen in the book or its predecessor The Hobbit. We know there is mighty sway over the minds of all from The One Ring...

Then Tom Bombadil shows up.

I will not argue about the complete destroying of pace this chapter does to book, because it should be self evident. The tone is completely abolished in order for Tolkien to inject some sort of environmental message coupled with the "crazy adventures of the hobbits down in this divergence from any plot!". I mainly bring up this point because the idea that The One Ring is supposed to be all-powerful should not just have some random exceptions.

The biggest one of these is Faramir, which I will explain in more detail below. It simply makes no sense that people are simply unaffected by the most powerful object on the planet merely to create a contrast. That dissolves the all important conflict and tension, and in Bombadil's case derails any sense of the powers at work. It also confuses a viewer, since one is supposed to feel "the eye of Sauron" even when he is not a giant flaming eyeball atop Barad-ur. The absence of the villain's presence makes them feel far less effective , and in turn lowers the tension for the rest of the piece.

Osilgath (Events)- This is technically tied in with Faramir, but it's one radical alteration to the story of the films that needs to be addressed due to its importance.

The Two Towers film take a route which many fans of the book call a completely unacceptable turn in having the character of Faramir be overcome by the desire to use The One Ring and attempt to derail Frodo and Sam to Minas Tirith to present it before his father. In the novel, Faramir does not delay Frodo and Sam after questioning them once they are able to tell him a bit about his brother, Boromir. He is not at all concerned about them after that point, and later ends up by the War's end back at home with a father burned alive.

The film's depiction was stated to have occurred for two reasons by Jackson and his team:

1. They needed a climax for Frodo and Sam's story within The Two Towers.

2. Faramir's rejection of The One Ring's temptation made the power of Sauron seem ineffective.

As stated above, the second point is the major issue that made the book less coherent. The reason this change is not only acceptable but an improvement on the original text is because it shows consistency as well as character progression through adversity. Boromir died, and Faramir grieves over that in both versions, but it does not seem to properly affect him in any meaningful way in the novel. Going by the movie though, Sam's admittance to Faramir about Boromir's downfall caused by The One Ring strikes hard at his heart and makes him realizes the sacrifices that must be made for the survival of men.

As for the structure to Osiligath specifically to create a climax? It again was there to represent the reach of Sauron's grasp and bookend the other stories that were going on around the same time. Skipping to Shelob would give the Mordor story even less to accomplish in the final movie, and thus Sam and Frodo's adventure would seem almost peripheral. Not to mention the timelines...

Well, there's a start of my argument as to why the Motion Picture Trilogy adaptation of Lord of the Rings excels and succeeds where the book did not. Overall the story and characters are far stronger, and the world remains intact whilst also creating something unique for people to relish for years to come.


I appreciate Pro's arguments and position, but strongly hold that the books written by Tolkein are far superior to the movie renditions. Indeed, conflict is important to a story, but conflict as it is presented in time-limited movies is often rushed, and quickly resolved. In the Lord of the Rings novels, conflict is drawn-out, tormenting characters in a real way, and being a driving force in their growth and development.

The books contain a living, breathing world. There is a real sense that things are happening everywhere in the world, not just in what the author is telling us. There are intersecting plots, realistic character development, and possibly the most importantly, there is a great deal of appreciation for life, freedom, and beauty. There is song, dance, and poetry. It is a beautiful world the reader can get lost in, compared to a captivating story for a viewer to watch.


First, I will speak to the issue of Aragorn taking up his birthright. The sword wasn't reforged in the novels until the council of Elrond. His task at the time was the most important task among the people of Middle-Earth; to escort the Ring to Mt. Doom. Pro's assertion that Aragorn took the sword but didn't 'step up' is unfounded, as destroying the Ring was much more important than taking the throne.

Pro also states that the forging of the sword in the movies means more, but in reading the books, there is truly a much greater story, greater struggles, and greater meaning to this event. Imagine if the fellowship had arrived at Rivendell only 5 minutes into the movie. There would be even less meaning. Essentially this is what happened from the books to the movie; the story was cut short, and the meaning as well, due to time-constraints.

In addition, Aragorn put off claiming the crown until Sauron was dealt with, as he knew that his claim would likely be contested, and cause strife and division among men at a time when they were fighting for survival. He showed his wisdom in doing so. This wasn't, as Pro states, 'no reason at all'.

-----Tom Bombadil-----

Tom Bombadil is an important part of the Lord of the Rings story. He is one instance of a great and mysterious world, that doesn't revolve around Hobbits. Not only that, but the journey through the Old Forest is tremendously important to the growth of the Hobbits. They start out wide-eyed and innocent, but the conflicts they run into in the Old Forrest and Barrow-Downs help prepare them for the rest of their journey, instead of the movie's adaptation of them walking out of the shire and hiding from one of the most powerful servants of Sauron by sitting under a tree-root.

As for Tom Bombadil proper, he is, as I said, part of the mystery, story, and wonder of Middle-Earth. These wonderful details are the breath of a living, breathing world. Without supporting characters, intersecting plot-lines, and history, the Lord of the Rings would be reduced to a battle of will between a Hobbit and Sauron. This speaks to our lives. We have our most important goals, but no matter how much we try to focus on them, other things happen. There are distractions and set-backs. This is the human condition; chasing our goals in imperfect conditions.


As I have said, one of the greatest feats in the Lord of the Rings novels is the scope involved. Tolkein created a world in which there is a sense that the world lives on outside of the story. Faramir is an example of an encounter that gives the reader a taste of another great story, the story of Faramir.

First, Faramir is not a normal man. He is descended from the Numenorean, like Aragorn. As such, he is privy to not only a longer life, but to greater personal characteristics. One great example of the strength of Faramir comes in his reply when Frodo asks him if he(Faramir) had been attempting to ensnare Frodo with his questioning. Faramir replied `I would not snare even an orc with a falsehood.'.

Faramir serves as a reminder that the power of evil(the Ring), is not instantaneously, all-encompassingly corrupting. We know Frodo to be struggling after carrying the Ring with him for as long as he had been, and that contrasts with Faramir's ability to resist. This speaks directly to the human character. We can resist temptation. The more we are faced with a temptation, we can become weakened, but we always have the strength to resist.

As to the idea of creating conflict, Tolkein included Faramir's personal conflict in the story: "I should now take you back to Minas Tirith to answer there to Denethor, and my life will justly be forfeit, if I now choose a course that proves ill for my city. So I will not decide in haste what is to be done. Yet we must move hence without more delay." This was included in Osgiliath in the movie, but not as powerfully as it came from one of Faramir's men, rather than from his own mouth. Later, as he spoke with Frodo, Faramir said "But fear no more! I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway. Not were Minas Tirith falling in ruin and I alone could save her, so, using the weapon of the Dark Lord for her good and my glory. No. I do not wish for such triumphs, Frodo son of Drogo.". Faramir, knowing the penalty on his own life, understood the nature of the Ring, and understood the tragedy it would bring if he took it. While he desired to defend his people as best he could, he had the wisdom to choose the better path. What intrigue is there in a story where all human wisdom and courage is for nought? Certainly, if the Ring were so powerful as to overcome a decendent of Numenor in a matter of hours, then no man, hobbit, dwarf, or elf would be able to resist as long as the fellowship did. The movie's rendition of Faramir brings a great contradiction into the movie as to the influence of the Ring.

-----The Battle of Pellenor Fields-----

The battle for Minas Tirith is severely reduced in meaning in the movie rendition. Men defend against Sauron's armies, but fail. They are only saved at the last minute by an invincible army of spirits. Where is the human connection in that? Where is the human triumph?

In the books, men are losing the battle, but Aragorn shows up with his companions and a host of men. This turns the battle in men's favor, and men(not spirits) win the day. This speaks to the human spirit, as we can overcome any obstacle we face.

-----The Conclusion-----

The movie renditions fail tremendously in how they handled the end of the story. The Lord of the Rings isn't a 'happily-ever-after' fairy-tale that can fit in 20 pages of a child's storybook. The Lord of the Rings is an epic tale, a living, breathing world, where life will never stop. I will expand in later rounds on the problems with what was left out of the ending in the movies.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for taking up this debate. Even when one is fully sure of themselves, tackling something as expansive and debated as Lord of the Rings is probably on a scale of the story itself. We could likely go on for far more rounds than available, but obviously we will not.

I would also like to say as a bit of an additive that I did read the book first, a few years before the films first came to the screen and in between had a passing interest in Middle-Earth lore. After the films, it expanded rapidly, but that is more subjective than the argument's basis.

To begin, I will say that a scale does not automatically create tension in a story. The fact that one feels the presence of something that is not explicitly stated within a story is entirely on their own interpretation through imagination. One does not feel the presence of Morgoth in Lord of the Rings, since his role is worked out in the Silmarillion. The expansive novel itself may give the seeds for a huge world, but it does not fully explore it, and with good reason. The plot is focused well enough, yet I will say it was too focused.

Going a bit out of order here, I will begin with refuting the Faramir stance first. Your argument that he would be able to resist the call of The One Ring due to his bloodline is made invalid by two points:

1. Boromir falls to the temptation of the accursed object, and that is his closest blood. Even Aragorn feels the temptation at one point, but is able to stay his hand because he is focused on the task ahead. In the movie, it is even better explained because The One Ring is his true fear because it is compounded with doubts his bloodline can ever be cleansed of the taint of Isildur's decision.

2. If such a thing were evident across all peoples of the same blood, it would completely ruin the suspense in the story. Once one might learn of the heritage of a character, there is no worry that they will not try to snatch The One Ring from Frodo because they are immune to the pull. You said yourself that tension is indeed a strong point in a story, so why would it be so much better to take away so many potential plot threads to move the story?

As I stated, Faramir does indeed show as the human analogue where there is hope. It merely takes hardship, and a line of loss for him to truly realize his folly in giving in. The pull of The One Ring is also emphasized by the character of Denethor, who I will admit the changes in the movie did not suit as well as other characters, but even in the books the corruption of the Steward of Gondor would have more than likely drove Faramir to the edge of his wits. At the same time, for Faramir to tell a full truth just as many people complained Frodo did not (in the same scene, no less) makes the character uninteresting and hard to attach to. There seems to be an "above man" quality to him that cannot be related to or seen. At least with Gandalf, you know he is a force beyond mortal conjuring.

That would lead me neatly into Aragorn. Aragorn's kingship may have waited in the times where men would not wish to be divided, but in a time of desperate hour a unity is often needed if only for a brief moment of force which may lead into something later on. Denethor was an ineffective leader, and there is evidence within the book that there was contention for every action he made upon the throne of Gondor. The issue with the argument is that Aragorn appears in Minas Tirith to do this in an all ready tumultuous time, and he was not going to wait for Denethor to disappear before he came in the first place. Whether or not he made a wise move, he did not seem to plan it.

To the battle of Pellenor Fields itself, the Con has seemed to miss the entire point of the reforged sword. The sword in the books, even with its placement in events, did not actually mean much for the Fellowship's formation. When Elrond gives it to him and tells him to take up the mantle in the films, what's the first thing he does? Assert this new found courage and authority in himself by marching down to the Path of the Dead and call upon the Army to fulfill their deed owed from Isildur. This is much like a repeated echo throughout history, where the son must carry the burdens of the father. When truly recognized as Isildur's heir by everyone else around him, Aragorn makes his wisest decision by starting his rule by being greater than his father ever could have been. Were it not for this intervention and growth of character, Isildur's Bane would have not come full circle.

Now onto Tom Bombadil. As I mentioned before, the odd spirit in himself represents a meta concept that feels so detached from the book that it's almost hard to realize that Tolkien wrote it himself. There is greatness in him and his world, but Tom Bombadil was no shining example of that. As it was, this particular chapter made the world feel like it was completely inconsistent and in no way matched up to the journeys they had prior or would have. There is no growth shown to anything with the events at this creature's house, and contribute nothing to the much desired conflict that actually makes up the tale. Lord of the Rings is supposed to be based around The War of the Ring, which all chapters further except for this one. Backstory is nice when there's not a whole chapter devoted to it.

I feel that the argument that the Jackson movies over-simplified the story to a childish degree does not hold the least bit of water. There was an incredible amount of world-building and character-building going on, even if the pace was perhaps quicker than one could read the book. From a truly objective viewpoint, it followed the structure of a successful screenplay from each one of its subplots and did not skimp out on showing the scale nor the drawn out bits when it needed to. However, the former was brought out to a far better degree and the latter made incredibly exciting given the amount of time usually allotted to things in a visual medium.

I will leave with a few more brief arguments on a few more differences in the films.

Frodo- Specifically sending Sam away. This should be plainly obvious that it created a great deal of tension between Sam and Frodo to create a better narrative, as well as majorly reflect the "war buddy" story in a much more realistic way. Again, people learn things through adversity, and without that you merely have characters coming to mind with seemingly no prompt. The One Ring can only destroy, they say, so why does Frodo never lose his temper with Sam even once?

Eomer- Eomer's role in the novel is a cavalry charger. Eomer's role in the film is to properly provide context to Rohan as well as show the power of Wormtongue, even if it is not his hand specifically at work. For such a noble sort of person, exile is much harder hitting than imprisonment, and there is no feeling of a character's nobility when they're absent until so late in the story. In addition, the Riders of Rohan seem only a military force until you realize the driving force behind them akin to Eomer.

That's all I'll have for now. Again, thank you to the Con for taking up this debate, and I'm eager to see your responses.


I will begin by addressing Pro's points.

It is true that scale doesn't automatically create tension in a story, but I can show that some scale is essential with a simple thought experiment. Let's take the Lord of the Rings as written by Tolkein, and compare it to a version that has drastically reduced scale:

"There was a short guy named Frodo. He had an evil ring, took it to a volcano, and the ring fell into the lava, destroyed forever. The end."

It is clear that for a story to have the plot, character development, and 'life' that makes a great tale, there must be at least some sense of scale. The more simplified a story becomes, the more it risks falling into the category of our thought-experiment.


1 - Pro mis-represents my position. I didn't say Faramir was immune to the ring. I simply pointed out the problem that one of the most honorable men(Numenorean men) would almost instantly succumb to the Ring. This is not the message of the story, it is a story about thriving in spite of difficulty. It is a story about overcoming trials and temptations. When a man like Faramir instantly succumbs to the Ring, it creates a rift between the message of the story and the reality of human nature.

If Faramir fell victim to the Ring after a few hours, why was Boromir able to resist for so long? The strength is contradictory to itself in the movies.

2 - Again, I never said Faramir was immune to the Ring. Only that the Ring doesn't instantaneously overcome strong-willed men. Beside, this plot thread wasn't taken away in the book. The movie rendition moved the timing of Faramir's struggle, and made him weaker in spite of it.

The 'above-man' quality to Faramir is misunderstood. Faramir represents what is good in human nature. He is a man who has been through much strife, has strong character and wisdom, and has learned that self is not the most important concept. Faramir, in the books, serves as a role-model, the kind of man children aspire to become.

Aragorn - Aragorn had been working with Gandalf for 53 years by the time we come to the Fellowship of the Ring.[1] This is an example of why Tolkein's world feels so alive. If we know everything that is happening in a fictional world, there is less connection to our own world. We find that Aragorn is troubled, but a wise man, and he is following a purpose. At the time of the Fellowship of the Ring, Aragorn's sole purpose is to help destroy the Ring. Pro still assumes it would make more sense for Aragorn to have taken the throne instead, even though he and Gandalf both knew there was no true hope without destroying the Ring.

Yes, Aragorn did march down the Path of the Dead, I simply showed where the movie diverged. In the books, the dead spread fear among the Corsairs at an earlier time, but the true message is how Aragorn helps unite men(by getting men from South Gondor to come to Minas Tirith's aid). The movie took away the victory of men and gave it to invincible spirits. There is much less connection to the human condition when a supernatural force saves men in the movie, than when men save themselves in the book.

Tom Bombadil - As I said, the books show greater character growth. The hobbits were bright-eyed and naive when they set out. The Old Forest and Barrow-Downs were minor events compared to what was to come, but small trials prepare us for greater trials. There is a tremendous amount of character growth that happens here, as well as 3 of the hobbits being given the weapons they will carry throughout the rest of the story. The Lord of the Rings isn't just about the Ring, it is about overcoming adversity. There is no single adversity in our lives, and there was no single adversity that the fellowship faced.

Frodo sending Sam away - This was a horrible thing to do. The message between the friendship of Frodo and Sam is that there are true friends who will always be there for you. There are bounds between friends and family that cannot be broken. Frodo and Sam were true to each other through everything, and throwing in this bit about Frodo not trusting Sam anymore diminishes completely the strength of their friendship, and the meaning of them facing the trials together. Tolkein believed in unconditional love, but this was diminished in the movie.

There are truly many, many differences between the two versions, and we could spend years debating, but I can sum up why the books are better than the movie renditions, before I present a few more examples.

Tolkein invented a world, languages, peoples, cultures, history, etc... He wasn't constrained by time or budget to make the story as good as it could be. The movies were under time constraints and budget constraints. So many details simply couldn't be included in a three hour movie. Character development, intersecting plot lines, and back-stories had to be cut out for no reason other than there wasn't enough time.

Hobbits - In the movie, the hobbits are initially 'dumbed down', to allow for more character growth due to time constraints. Merry and Pippin become comedic relief in the movies, and many instances of valor are left out or changed to moments of fear. One instance of this is on Weathertop. In the book, Frodo strikes out with Sting at the Riders, but in the movie, he cowers in fear. The movie rendition of Frodo in particular contradicts itself between courage and cowardice. Another example is the lake at the gate of Moria. In the book, Boromir throws a stone in the lake. In the movie, it is Pippin, to continue the 'dumb and dumber' feel given to Pippen and Merry.

The movies are great entertainment, but they are in no way comparable to the epic tale contained in the books. The Lord of the Rings books are one of the few fictional worlds where I feel a sense of awe every time I read it. Pro made a comment about imagination, but fails to understand that a writer's job is to stimulate the imagination of his readers. Tolkein successfully did this.


Debate Round No. 2


I feel that the Con has a misunderstanding of what sort of scale truly makes a story huge and exciting. Don't get me wrong, Tolkien's world is just that when you take it is as you are reading the story. When one gets down to the nitty gritty of it though, there are seams within the elements that make the scale more convoluted than truly a part of the story.

You seem to deem all characters within The Lord of the Rings as utterly necessary to the plot in this sense, as if taking away a single element would alter the nature into the synopsis you seemed to say that the films made it. I would counter that by asking what the necessity was of Elrond's other children. They are the ones who come before Aragorn takes his tread into the Path of the Dead in the novel and bring... A flag. There are a great many other characters who were not needed to keep the integrity of a story which actually drives itself to finish, rather than awkwardly lingering to work out details which do not become important to a character. Robert Jordan can also be accused of this.

As I said before with the Army of the Dead, it was the triumph of man that brought out their greatest weapon. Both sides had weapons both figurative and literal that allowed them to turn the battle in their favor when it came around. In this case, you seem to be more attacking the concept of the Army of the Dead then the use in the movies specifically. The fact that Aragorn used it to turn the tide of the battle at the only time it could have worked was the truth of his wisdom. They would not have succeeded had the events prior not happened, since Sauron's armies could have regrouped and found out a way to dispose of the wraiths properly.

To the point of The One Ring, it seems like you're backpedaling over your agreement that conflict makes a proper good story. There is most certainly conflict seen when The Ring went South, with all members of their party expressing doubts about their comfort in the eve of such a power as Frodo bared. Boromir was the only one who had a specific chance to come in contact with The One Ring, and thus why you got to see the literal glimmer in his eyes and tainted mind. With Frodo and Sam as his prisoners, Faramir would have been close with the artifact at all times, and he did not have anything to distract him when there was a chance to gain it. In fact, he had the most reason to take it due to his honor that must be upheld, lest he be downtrodden. In the movies he is still able to live up as a figure we can look up to, but the character progression is actually seen instead of told. That is another thing which a great story does.

Frodo and Sam's journey also intertwines with both points here. When you say that there is unconditional love, that means a story is completely predictable between characters which causes their progression to have to be explained instead of felt. The One Ring's role in the story is to bring everything towards its steady end, a symbol for the ultimate journey of our lives. What would life be like if we agreed so readily with most people, and those that we did not we bitterly and wholly disagreed? This is the characterization, or lack thereof, of good and evil. Jackson's films add dimension from things like Theoden's grudge towards Gondor, to Elrond's lost faith in humanity, and of course Frodo's fault with Sam. It was a fault, and without it Frodo is far less an understandable character.

There is a fanciful lightness present in some parts of the story that do not flow well with the proceedings. Clearly some of the mentalities of The Hobbit snuck into The Lord of the Rings that overall make the story far weaker than the focused movie rendition. The pace is hindered by these grandiose ideas that amount to nothing, after a fashion. Streamlining the mindset does not mean simplifying it, and the movies certainly did not. They merely made a stronger focus around the characters which amounted to something, instead of simply introducing aspects and then having them disappear. It creates more reason, and even in a book there is more time to flesh out a character's innerworkings.

You take upon the hobbit comment as if that was truly a fault of Peter Jackson. From the hobbit's inception, they were and were constantly referred to as funny creatures that existed outside the world of the "big folk". Sure, they're perhaps a bit more in your mind, but as they were presented in Tolkien's works hobbits were always meant to be little people who did not know much of strife and were very humorous. Accenting those qualities within Merry and Pippin both gave a proper analogue for an audience to understand these concepts, as well as to see their character progression. When one is first introduced to a character in any work, they are stereotyped by the viewer. It takes a good writer to dig you out of that mindset, and I feel that Merry and Pippin show far less progression from their humble roots in the book.

Imagination may be heightened by a master story teller, but to me it seem you are supplanting it to fill in the holes of your argument. I try my best to stick to what is proven, at least to me, to create a better story. Tolkien I feel was a bit overzealous in some places whereas Jackson hit it right on the mark.


Scale - The difference in scale between the movies and books can be summed up like this: When watching the movies, you watch a great story take place. When reading the books, you experience an epic story that takes place in a living world.

Army of the Dead - There is no way to get around it. In the movies, the dead saved mankind as they were being overrun. In the books, the dead helped in a battle in the south, by putting fear into the enemy. Then, men came to their fellow-men's rescue, and together they fought back the enemy army. The human triumph comes from personal victory, and victory in the community. Society is based off of working together, and men worked together to save their kingdom. I assert that this is much more meaningful than having invincible dead guys save you at the last minute.

Faramir - The Faramir of the books represents strength of human nature. Strong and wise. More importantly, it represents that humans don't have to falter immediately upon being faced with adversity. In the movies, Faramir never shows great strength. Even after sending away Frodo, he plays the part of an overlooked younger son, weak, and only seeking the approval of his father. He never portrays the strength that is so important to the story of the Ring. Contrasted with Boromir, in the book you have one brother who resists, and one who doesn't. It's not the nature of the Ring that matters, it is the nature of the person. Having Faramir succumb to the ring only pushes an agenda that there is no hope(which it contradicts shortly after).

Unconditional Love - Pro misses the point of unconditional love. The point is exactly that it is predictable. I know 100% that I can count on my spouse at a time in need, just as Frodo and Sam knew they could count on each other. The movie pushes the thought that you can't count on anybody unconditionally, which is a dismal way to approach life. Tolkein's message in this regard is far more powerful than the movie adding drama for the sake of entertainment.

Hobbits - Hobbits are cheerful, but not stupid. Merry and Pippen were given a 'dumb and dumber' portrayal, especially through the first half of the movies. Comedic relief can be entertaining, but it detracts from the real message behind growth, struggle, and triumph.

One last thought I would address is 'streamlining'. If you were to take your life and make a documentary from the outside looking in, you would see a person who went to school, worked some jobs, had friends and family, etc... But, that's not you. You are the sum of your experiences, thoughts, and dreams. Someone watching you from the outside doesn't get to see your thought process, or see what you dream about. Sure, your dreams aren't vital to telling the tale of what you do in life, but they are vital in telling the tale of you. In this way, the books reign supreme. We get to know the characters, and experience the world from their eyes, in a way the movies never approach. I'll close as I opened, the books allow you to truly experience an epic tale, rather than watching a great one.
Debate Round No. 3


The idea of what my argument is seems to have been forgotten here by the con. I have said that the reason Jackson's films are better is because they tell and overall better story. Again, if you're just looking for a lexicon of tales of a mythical world, read The Silmarillion. However the best story tellers, people like George R. R. Martin, are able to tell the story of a big world without bogging down the narrative. Everything actually relates to something rather than simply being a myth or a song.

I think one particular example of Tolkien fan's complete lack of focus as it comes to the movies is Minas Tirith. People were in outrage that Minas Tirith did not have an outer wall that was darker than the rest. Even if that was an important piece of lore, it completely confuses the idea of the "White City" in the first place. One would think the name would be different if the entire city did not gleam in the sun like its fabled golden tower. It's a pointless piece that contradicts things, but they could not get over the fact it was not to exact standards.

Again I will address the sway of The One Ring. We are shown as soon as Bilbo has an alone moment with Gandalf that the artifact's pull is strong enough to corrupt a noble soul who faced down a dragon and made his way across Middle-Earth to help reclaim a right. I ask you, what makes men of possibly lesser caliber above that? To believe that there is no way that The One Ring could fully take them is also contradicting the story again. Denethor is taken by the Palantir, and Aragorn nearly is as well were it not for his confidence and growth throughout the story. To resist the temptations of the Dark Lord should not be coded into someone like they were written that way, but shown truly through their hardships which in turn makes a story feel like there is actual risk.

Jackson and his team gave every important character and arc within the films, and a role to fulfill that contributed to the overall story. If he had kept every character like Elrond's sons, random rangers, or.... Tom Bombadil, then there would be no way to characterize them properly. Tolkien may have made great men of valor, but he did not exactly create compelling characters because we have no notion of how such a spectacular journey has changed them. Most of the characters become completely peripheral and nameless, making the viewer wonder why there was so little to these people even within this big book.

Now I will end off myself by saying that The Lord of Rings is a great series, for almost anywhere you look you can feel the great influence that has settled upon our culture. However, story-telling has come a long way since the fourties and fifties, and people fully understand the science of what makes a truly amazing story. Not only that, but the movies had tangible heart and care at every turn, and even if you disapprove of the changes you cannot help but know that reasons were there for every one. The story was still in place, the characters richer, and a world still existed to explore beyond the "narrow" confines of the story. The books will always exist, as will the movies, and I feel the medium on both sides is better for them.

Thank you con for accepting this debate, and I wish you luck!


I apologize, due to real-life constraints I am limited in time to draft my final response. I thank my opponent for the debate and his time, and wish him luck.

The movies tell an entertaining story, and it is a great story. However, the books cause you to experience a greater story, where the characters are real, with histories, motivations, and struggles. The world of the books is alive, filled with music and poetry.

As to the sway of the Ring, Gandalf wasn't as tempted by it in the books as in the movie. The movies present another problem here, where the power of the Ring is greater against men, Numenorean, and those great souls such as Gandalf. Some characters resist for days, weeks, months, or years, while others succumb almost instantly. For a message to be universal and to speak to the human spirit, it must be consistent, and this is one area where the movies fall short.

In review:

Faramir, rather than being a symbol of 'a giant among men', was reduced to an insecure, weak person in the films. In the books, he didn't fall victim to the ring after only a few hours, but him doing so in the movies shows immense contradiction among the power of the Ring.

Aragorn, in the books, was troubled, but noble. He was already on a quest, working with Gandalf. We know his story, we know his struggles. He leads horses through the paths of the dead, defeats an army with their help, and rallies the men of South Gondor to save the day at Minas Tirith. He brought victory to men. In the movies, he clashes swords with a ghost, and the invincible army saves men at the last moment. A tremendous victory was turned into a Deus ex machina moment.

Frodo and Sam, in the books, show unconditional love and trust. This is an important message to mankind. This kind of love still exists in our world, and adding drama in the movies by having Frodo send Sam away only destroys the strength of that message.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Oldfrith 4 years ago

So... We should change everything to make it more exciting? Tolkien weighed each word carefully; he did NOT want to change LOTR
Posted by baggins 4 years ago
Excellent debate! I just read R1. I will vote on it as soon as I have read rest of it.
Posted by Dakbykayk 4 years ago
Everything is flawed. The films are as well. All I'm saying is that Tolkien wrote the story with less of a mind to make things exciting and more of a steady progression with little regard for making it a truly climactic epic. The movies take that basis and create something different, but better.
Posted by Oldfrith 4 years ago
Translated: Tolkiens Opus was flawed and needs improvement
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by ConservativePolitico 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: As an avid fan of both the movies and the books I read this debate with earnest. In the end I must give my points to Con since they pointed out all of the great things about the books that are left out of the movies. The movies add very little the book's original splendor.
Vote Placed by imabench 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: pro and con went into a bickering fest over the accurate representation of the books in the movies when pro could have easily won just by showing how popular the movies made the lord of the rings... Instead this onslaught ended with no satisfactory results and since no sources were used even once with conduct and spelling even, I fail to declare a winner