Implied changes in Tolkien's Timeline in FOTR, in the film: what do you think?


First Post
Edena_of_Neith said:
Being critical of Tolkien is an invitation to a flame war. Not here on the ENBoards, but ... Gods ... go to the White Council and criticize Tolkien, and see what happens ...

Haha, that is why I would make a poor fanboy. I don't even consider my favorite authors as perfect writers- I often question some of their decisions.

Furn, are you saying then that Peter Jackson improved on Tolkien?

Argh, this is not a yes/no question in the broad sense. Movies and books are different mediums, and I do not like comparing them like that.

Do I think PJ made changes for the movie that improved the story? Yes, he cleaned up a lot of pacing issues I had with the book. He took out some characters I could have done without in the book.

Did he improve the storyline by apparently altering the timeline?

Ok, I would agree with that. Part of that goes to the pacing of the movie in the sense that the characters were not apparently idle for so long. You tell the general audiance sixteen years go by, and you are going to leave a lot of them wondering on a few issues instead of just watching the next scene.

Back to the timeline- another person mentioned Sauron could be patient, and I can see that. But could his army of goblinoids and trolls be patient?

I guess they were busy sacking dwarven cities, but I find it odd no word ever got out about that.

As for the tracking of Gollum, pardon me if I am wrong, but weren't there other rangers(or was it elves?) tracking Gollum as well as Aragorn? They could have been keeping tabs on him for sometime- or at least nipping at heels until they finally caught up with him.

I tend to be a nitpik over problems I find in movies, but I did not find the time an issue in this. Especially considering they did not often lay out specific durations of time between scenes.


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First Post
I don't think it particularly matters, it's quibbling over fine points. Does it change the story any? No. So what's the point?

As for Tolkien purists... well, I could go on a whole tirade about purists, but let me just say that nothing anyone is going to do is going to please a purist. Purists don't have to work on budget constraints and time constraints. Purists don't make movies, and purists don't write books.


First Post
I am simply curious as to what you think.

Nothing more. And ... nothing less, either.

What you have to say, is pleasant reading, and throughly enjoyable.

I hope more people have opinions to share on this issue.

Is it important? No.
Does it make for a good discussion? Maybe. Certainly it does for me.


First Post
All I have to say is this, and I am only going to say it...however many times it takes to sink in

It was by necessity that the movie's internal time line was sped up. It is a fact of film, that the longer the laps in time last, or the further the time spreds out the less interest an "adverage viewer" is going to feel towards the show.

For example Gone in 60 seconds, Vrs. Bicentennial Man..

One lasts long enough that "adverage" Viewer is going to loose concentration on the story and grow bored.

The other goes from one action pact moment to the next, riveting the audiences concentration on the screen.

If Jackson had of aged Frodo sixteen years, waited five months to start the adventure, he would have had to show it in the film which would add screen time lag, and thus detract from the interest of the viewer.

And he does actually hint at time elapsing when Gandalf tells Frodo, and the Fellowship of the Hunt for Gollum and how Sauron knew of the Shire as the place of the Ring.


First Post
Whilst speeding up the pace did bother me a little in places, there are other little bugbears which bothered me moreso.

The passage of time is a little wierd at the start of the film though (I cant remember exactly as its ages since I saw the film).

The main pacing issue I had was Jacksons choice to cut everything out inbetween the action sequences - perhaps the extra half-hour will solve this problem for me somewhat.

More at issue for me were some of the other changes - although some are hard to see without seeing how the thread resolves itself.

Firstly there is the changes to the whole Saruman thread of the story. I would have preferred it more like the original (or even the Bakshi version - actually on the whole, scriptwise that version is a more literal adaption). In addition, one of my fave pieces of dialog that takes place during Saruman and Gandalfs discussion at Orthanc got chopped...

Second, there is Jacksons attempt at the Council of Rivendell. I thought it was poorly done. Then again, its one of my fave chapters of LOTR. Again, the Bakshi writer does a better adaption.

Thirdly, there is the apparent changes to Aragorn with regards to his background and his apparent active choice in being Exiled. The film definitely gives the impression that Aragorn is just the exiled King of Gondor.

Fourthly, there is some of the characterisations...specifically that of Elrond & Gimli. Very strange I thought...we have Gimli who seems more a caricature of the typical RPG Dwarf rather than Tolkiens Gimli (again this could be rectified a bit with the Extended Edition). And Elrond - that argument between Elrond and Gandalf in Rivendell was just plain wierd...didnt seem like Elrond at all.

Still, overall I quite liked the film.

In any case, for a near-perfect adaption I turn to the BBC radio-play.


First Post
Sidran said:
One lasts long enough that "adverage" Viewer is going to loose concentration on the story and grow bored.

I guess it depends on what audience you aim at. Given the choices Jackson seems to have made (at least in the cinema cut) he seems to aiming at the Summer blockbuster / Mummy Returns style crowd.

The other goes from one action pact moment to the next, riveting the audiences concentration on the screen.

If Jackson had of aged Frodo sixteen years, waited five months to start the adventure, he would have had to show it in the film which would add screen time lag, and thus detract from the interest of the viewer.

It doesnt have to lag or even use up heaps of screentime. Even Bakshi managed to show the 16 years passing easily...


First Post

You are over looking the fact that after returning to the Shire to find out if Frodo and the Ring are still safe, he tells Frodo that he looked everywhere for the creature Gollum but the enemy found him first. Thus he did not race instantly back to the Shire after discovering the truth about the Ring. He raced all over Middle Earth looking for Gollum first.

Lady Dragon

First Post
It is impossible to fit an entire novel into a three hour film,as it is an hour had to be cut off to make it fit. So a film maker even one dedicated to remaining true to the story must find creative ways of shortening the story without losing anything important.

I don't really think weather they made it clear how much time had passed between Bilbo's birthday party and the flight from the Nazgul is really all that important.Which other scene would you have had them cut out so that they could have better clarified the timeline.And don't tell me that flashing subtitles every 3 seconds was the answer,because they are make a film look tacky.And it wasn't really that important to the overall story.

As for some of the other changes that they made such as replacing Glorfindel with Arwen in the tail end of the flight from the Nazgul.It works just as well she is of equal or even higher statis in elven heirarchy to Glorfindel thus she has the persumably the same abilities. It also made it possible to focus more on the love aspect to better please a general audience as well as a modern audience who have a different opinion of women's roles than were evident in the 40's and 50's when Tolkien wrote these books.


First Post
Ok, I made a mistake here.
I wasn't really referring to the film aspects of the change in the timeline, or how the changes would improve or hurt the film.

- - -

Let me ask a specific set of questions:

Assuming you have read the book The Fellowship of the Ring ...

Would it make more sense for Gandalf to:

1: Take 16 years to get back to Frodo, after the Party?
2: Take 2 weeks to a month to get back to Frodo, after the Party?

1: Once he discovered Frodo's Ring was the One Ring, to hang around with Frodo in the Shire for a good while, then advise Frodo to leave in a way that takes a long time?

2: Urge Frodo to leave within the hour?

Would it have made more sense for Elrond to:

1: Wait until Frodo recovered, have his Council, then wait the 2 months for the scouts to return?
2: Wait until Frodo recovered, have his Council, then send Frodo out at once?

Would it have made more sense for Galadriel to:

1: Allow the party to heal and rest, and spend over a month in Lothlorien?
2: Allow the party to heal and rest, then send them on their way?

In other words, was Peter Jackson's version of the story an improvement on Tolkien?

Then of it from a book point of view.
Is it a better story than what Tolkien wrote?

Or, would it be worse?
If it is worse, why is it worse?

Just curious. Just asking.


Mod Squad
Staff member
You ask a lot of "does it make sense" questions here. The answers are pretty contingent on what was happening in the world.

Does it make sense to wait 16 years after the party? If we are given that Sauron knows nothing of the Ring's recovery, and Gandalf honestly doesn't realize what it might be, sure. Even if Gandaldf knows fully, moving to early may be disastrous. But if Sauron is hot on the ring's tail, and Gandalf has much stronger suspicions, then no, waitign is foolish.

How much does Sauron know? How quickly would Sauron be acting (given that he's not the only one who wants the Ring)? How long does it take to travel and search and hear news? The answers you seek lie into the answers to these questions. We don't see into Sauron's mind, so it's rather hard to tell.

Both timelines make a good story. It is not a digital question - Did he or did he not improve on Tolkien. It could be that it is neither an improvement, nor a harm. Heck, the story is about the characters, their deeds and bravery and natures, not about details of timelines.

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