Are the LOTR movie actors in your minds eye now when you think about the LOTR literary characters?

I have to admit the movie actors are now my default “mind’s eye” image when I think about LOTR. My original mind’s eye Hobbit from the books was very different than the Peter Jackson movie version.

Do you still have your minds eye book LOTR characters in mind then thinking about LOTR scenarios or have the actors taken over?


Nope. But I have the characters of Ralph Bakshi’s movie instead (especially Aragorn. Thankfully).

Not at all. I love the movies, but I still picture hobbits to look more like hobbits, elves to look more like and elves, and orcs to look more like orcs.

The hobbits look least like proper hobbits, which ought to be squat and stubby and rough. When the principal hobbit is arguably prettier than the date I took to FOTR, it’s a bit unsettling. The elves were better, but still looked like humans dressed up as elves. I think they got the orcs as close as they could, without causing entirely justifiable offense.

Aragorn is just silly. “I think a servant of the Enemy would look fairer and feel fouler…” That doesn’t begin to make sense when Aragorn has fecking Viggo Mortenson’s face… though I suppose the relativism that must come of looking at people through eyes Helen of Troy’s (under eyelashes supporting flocks of roosting birds) might account for that.

While I still have my own internal view of the character’s “look” when I read the books, separate from the screen versions, I can’t say the films haven’t colored my views of them. Bernard Hill, for example, made a superb Theoden, and I have to say my version now looks somewhat like him, but he already did. Ditto Ian McKellen. The hobbits, on the other hand, not so much, and mostly the same for the rest of the cast, but I think I’ve kept some of the elements I like from all of the actors. The film cast were generally a worthy bunch, setting aside any quibbles major or minor about the script changes that Jackson made.

Pantsless Aragorn? Well, okay, if that’s what gets you through the day. :slight_smile:

Aragorn is a giver, he needs easy access to his weapon of choice at any time.

No, I mean I liked the swarthy rugged look he had (liked the contrast with his fatherly attitude towards the hobbits). I’ve read that Bakshi was somehow aiming at a Native American feel. Anyway, I think he works very well both as Strider and Aragorn. And, while I find Morternsen to be one of the best actors alive (recently resaw his Cronenberg movie, the guy is a god in it), Aragorn in Jackson’s movie seems straight out of pre teen girl fantasy (especially the permanently wet curly hair, who knew the third age was trying to mimick the eighties).

You speak truly. A ranger must have his arsenal ready at need.

Well, I’ll man up and say that I agree that that Aragorn had some good qualities. I thought, for example, that the broken nose was a perfect semaphore for his being out in the wild for 40 years and he’d gotten a bit unlovely. Plus probably other things that I’ve forgotten.

But still the pants thing (which was not restricted to Aragorn) is so iconic, it’s hard to let go of. Forgive me.

For the good humanoid characters, I think it’s more a case that Jackson and I see exactly eye-to-eye on this (and certainly we’re both indebted to Alan Lee and John Howe for this) - the Hobbits, Elves, Dwarfs and Men were all exactly as I’d always pictured them anyway, so when I say the actors are in my mind’s eye, I mean that all the movies did is give specifics to general types (well, everyone except Haldir and Grima, one is too fat and the other not fat enough, IMO)
They also got Gollum, Easterlings and the Ringwraiths exactly right.

I’m “meh” on their Haradrim, I’d wanted more Indian, less Polynesian there…


I still don’t see Orcs, Trolls or Ents looking like the movie versions.

Orcs should look like this - “goblin men”, not the Zombie/Mutant/Cockroach versions they came up with.
Trolls should look like this - again, goblin-men, only very big, not like the mentally retarded albino offspring of The Thing from Fantastic Four…
As for Ents - they shouldn’t look quite as tree-like as they do in the movies. More like the first Alan Lee picture here, or like Nasmith doeshis Ents

ETA - I really like Vigo’s Aragorn - he is (IMO) just not-conventionally-pretty enough to pull it off, especially in the first scenes in Bree. It’s his teeth, I think.
I would have preferred a slightly more polished Boromir for contrast (a bit less beardy, maybe), but Sean Bean certainly sold his portrayal to me very quickly.

I don’t picture the movie characters when I read the book, I have my own versions. On the whole, I think a good job was done with the casting, but most characters were never going to match my own mental images. The most jarring for me were Theoden (he is much older in the book), and Denethor, who I thought looked more like a car salesman than a psuedo-king.

Of course, many of the characters themselves are radically different from the book versions. It was adapted in a coherent manner, and most of the character changes stem from changes to the plot required to compress the book down to a reasonable running length, or simplifications due to limited screen time. For example, the screen Grima screams “I am evil” in appearance, tone, and every word he says, in an almost pantomime manner. This is inevitable, given his character must be established in his first scene. While I enjoyed the films, I don’t think they capture much of what makes the book special. Many of my favorite chapters, such as The Shadow of the Past and The Council of Elrond, just don’t translate well to film. I think of them as a story inspired by LOTR done in the style of a late 20th century action film.

Not really. Elijah Wood is a talented actor, but when I read the book I don’t think of him as Frodo; he’s far too young. Mortenson and McKellen work as Aragorn and Gandalf; Lee works for me as Saruman. But otherwise even the actors who did excellent jobs – I’m thinking specifically of Otto and Bean – seem quite distinct from their literary originals.

To my mind the book is a separate entity from the movies, but that may be because I dislike the third one so.

Not really. Most of the characters looked a lot like I had pictured them anyway, but to the extent there are differences, I mostly still see them the way I always had.

And I agree with MrDibble that the monstrous races weren’t really right, though I think I’d go further than him. Orcs/goblins I always pictured as being more spindly, thinner and with longer limbs. Plus with screwed-up and even inconsistent proportions: Like, a goblin might randomly have one elbow a little higher up the arm, and the other a little lower. Trolls I think of as tall, thin, and warty, and possibly with oversized feet and hands (maybe with too many fingers on each). And Ents I think should have been actually more treeish, but it’s really, really hard to put an image to how I think they should look, so I’m willing to make allowances there. The best depiction of ents I’ve ever seen was actually some that someone made out of LEGO, linked in a thread a week back or so.

Oh, and the Balrog was all wrong. Yes, it should be bigger than a human, but more like the 8-12 foot range, not that 40-foot towering monstrosity they had. And the movie Balrog was also too much flame and not enough shadow-- Yes, shadow and flame are tricky to reconcile, but I can think of ways to do it. I would have started with a big actor with a massive mane of hair and beard, set him on fire (presumably via digital effects, not literally), then inverted the luminosity channel of the resulting image while keeping hue and saturation the same. Then, take the shape of digitally-added bat wings, and just ever-so-slightly reduce the luminosity within those shapes, too.
What about places? I thought the filmmakers had read my mind when I saw Minas Tirith, since it looked exactly like I’d pictured it, but I disagreed on Orthanc and Barad-Dur. Orthanc I see as being all smooth curves and a more organic (though still ominous) shape, while Barad-Dur I picture as a single monolithic spire thrust violently out of the bedrock (links are to carvings I’ve done). I never really had a strong notion of what Rivendell was like, though, and like the movie version better than the vague ideas I had before.

I agree that Rivendell and Minas Tirith were the best realised locations, and much better than any image I had of them.

I agree. Maybe a little more tree-like than the Nasmith ones, but not nearly so treeish as the Jackson movie.

I think I do see a bit of Vigo when I picture Aragorn (by the way, it’s not just pre-teen women that his look was a hit with, I’ve been informed several times).

Don’t really see others in the movie. I mean my image of Gandalf was pretty much the same as what they made McKellan up to look like anyway, so I can’t say my image has changed at all. I don’t really see the others, even though they were OK, except Theoden, who looked less like a warrior-king and more like an badly aging semi-dissolute English prog-rocker.

Absolutely. I re-read just prior to the movies. For FOTR, I still had my images. By the time I got to TTT and had seen the FOTR movie, they were completely replaced by the movie images.

I’ve pretty much made the conversion. But neither movie got Samwise right. Bakshi’s version came closer.

Since I first read them as a child, I pictured Gullom like the 1960’s Spider-Man villian the Green Goblin.
That works for me. :smiley:

The movies were my first time with the stories, so I’d be lying if I said I didn’t see those images.

I always pictured the hobbits a bit more pudgy than they appeared in the movies.

I thought the movie balrog was actually better than the one in my mind’s eye. So was Orthanc.

My minds eye of Mordor was more dark and gloomy than shown in the movie.

With the hobbits I tend to alternate between older illustrations and cartoons, and the movie versions. Gandalf & Saruman I definitely go with the movies. For Aragorn, Legolas and so on I go with the movies because I never really had much of a lasting mental image from the books. For orcs…I’ve run across enough different versions of orcs over the years that it depends on when you ask me.

I don’t think so; I think that’s an example of modifying the material to fit the medium. Making it big like that made it more impressive and scary because unlike in a book you can see how huge it is. In a book you can talk up how scary it is; with a movie going for visuals and sound works better.

And yes, I tend to see the movie Balrog in my mind’s eye now.