Books vs movies

Sam and Frodo are treking across the fumes and sinks of Mordor in the last few leagues to Mt. Doom, and Mr. Boy and I are accompanying them for his second time and my, uh, sixth, I think. I am struck again by the depth of Sam’s tenderness for ring-burdened Frodo. Post-movie in my case, and recalling reading elsewhere that what little of it there was in the movie raised questions about Sam’s sexual preferences. Despite Rosie Cotton waiting at home. In the book, where it comes up every few paragraphs, it seems like brotherly affection, or perhaps kindly servant and beloved master, and the criticism seems petty. Mr. B. soaks it all up, transfixed by Tolkien’s careful descriptions of the terrain and the weather and the orc armies and the power of the eye, momentarily distracted, although it might also be the sound of my voice reading aloud. Much as I liked the movie and plan to watch it with him one of these days, I’ll put it off as long as possible, so the words continue a while longer to build pictures in his mind, pictures unconstrained by the movie images, let alone, for now, the adult preoccupations. His interest in Narnia, for instance, profound when it was on the page, diminished significantly after seeing The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It wasn’t a bad movie. It’s just too confining.

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