Christopher Tolkien gave an interview, his first words to the press in 40 years, to “Le Monde” in July 2012. Now you can read it in English here.
The interview’s fascinating, both because of the perspective on the relatively recent “pop culture” status of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and because the article itself is written in a way that, I think, really honors J.R.R. Tolkien, and Christopher Tolkien’s lives and work. What a tasteful piece.
The article gives some great perspective as it relates the Tolkien family’s feelings about the Peter Jackson films. I enjoy the movies, but this piece put into words some of my misgivings far, far better than I could’ve. It’s very true – there is a “chasm” between what Tolkien’s stories are, and what the movies have made them into for many folks. I really long for readers to go back and experience the books without the effect of the films, interpreting and casting scenes and characters in the imaginations of the audience. But because the films are so widely viewed, and because of the way a visual medium affects the imagination, can we ever actually break from these effects and return “unspoilt” to Tolkien’s stories? I think so, if we really try. There’s always hope.
Check this out – here’s what Christopher says about the pop culture “commercialization” of The Lord of the Rings, partly because of the films:
“The chasm between the beauty and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has overwhelmed me. The commercialization has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation to nothing. There is only one solution for me: to turn my head away.”