Time Passage in LotR

By: Lynne M.

The movie, obviously, integrates the Green Dragon conversation into one that occurs at The Prancing Pony. The reason for this was to keep out any extra scenes and still get in the important dialogue.  However, it seems to lose a little of its effect. The Prancing Pony is loud and boisterous, while The Green Dragon seemed more calm (especially in LOTRO — There was barely a soul there.) and allowed for the conversation to flow more freely, rather than trying to talk over others.

Also, the journey to The Green Dragon from the novel takes up more time passing, which was not shown in the movie. In LOTRO, it is easy to see (if you look at a map and don’t consider your character’s blazing fast speed) the distance they walked and how long it would take them to do that. Thus, movement within the imagined world varies according to which interpretation of the story is being examined.

Also, the passing of time within the novel seems more like time manipulation to me. Tolkien subtly adds in that 12 years have passed, all while describing a currently happening scene of Sam walking home from The Green Dragon that causes the reader to be drawn back in to a current scene, possibly not even realizing that 12 years have passed. I, honestly, didn’t really think about how odd it was that those 12 years just slipped by until our conversation in class. Tolkien did a wonderful job of glazing over what seems like a long passage of time by adding in only a few paragraphs of detail related to that time.

The World’s Tamest Dragon

By Justin G

When I heard that we were going to visit the Green Dragon in LOTRO, I (along with everyone else in the class, it seems) had this image of hobbits dancing, drinking, and generally being their merry selves.  The scene in the book (and movie, though in a different pub) led us to believe that The Green Dragon is a popular place, and that hobbits are there every day after working the fields.  We even went there after nightfall, so I was expecting the place to be packed.  To my dismay, though, our large group of adventurers was the only presence in the tavern.  The only other character in the entire place was the barkeep!  My first thought was, of course, “what a letdown!”  I wanted to see a rowdy group of hobbits dancing on tables and drinking.

I have some experience with an online “game” (game goes in quotes because there is no point to it whatsoever) in which you create a simple avatar and walk around talking to people.  Now I will not go into my motives for playing this other than to say that I was kind of a troll.  But the reason I bring it up is that there are quite a few computer-generated characters that sit around and answer questions.  The first thing I thought of upon entering The Green Dragon in LOTRO was, “why aren’t there any of those?  It would be really easy to have people to talk to.”  But then I realized that it wouldn’t really be that easy.  Unlike that other “game,” talking to these would have to serve some kind of purpose.  Gamers don’t usually talk to random characters, only the ones they have to talk to in order to complete their quest.  It would’ve been an unnecessary burden to put other computer-generated characters into the tavern.

However, that fact really takes away from the charm of the environment.  In the book and movie (though the movie portrays the wrong pub), there are cheery hobbits drunkenly prancing about and celebrating.  When seeing (or imagining) this happening I feel a desire to join the hobbits.  It seems like they are just having so much fun that I want to see if I can do that.  But in LOTRO, the one medium that offers the option of possibly joining in with the merry-making, there are no hobbits to be found.  It makes for one disappointing Green Dragon experience.

The Differences in Distances Among Media

By: Max Mam

While they share many similar aspects, the movie, book, and video game version of The Fellowship of the Ring each carry vastly different characteristics. One of the main discrepancies among the three media is the way space is presented. In LOTRO your character can easily travel from The Shire to The Green Dragon in Bywater in a matter of minutes. If your character isn’t already a high level, there is the possibility that you might run into a few animals that you have to kill on your short journey to Bywater. Nevertheless the run is relatively painless compared to the many many miles of road between the two locales as presented in the Fellowship novel.

The expanded distance seen in the novel is fine since the reader is able to jump through long periods of time between sentences. Large distances, however, don’t cut it in video games like LOTRO where players don’t want to spend hours merely running from town to town. To achieve a shorter travel time for players the designers of the game merely compressed the Middle-Earth map to a smaller scale so that everything is much closer and more accessible to players.

The movie handles The Green Dragon scene in an altogether different way. Instead of incorporating the actual scene in Bywater, the producers saved film time by inserting the Green Dragon conversation in the group’s visit to The Prancing Pony. It just wouldn’t have been practical for the movie to include every single scene.

What goes on behind closed doors…

By Evan Schrager

In the extended version of Lord of the Rings, The Green Dragon is a loud and merry bar full of cheerful hobbits. It’s an uplifting experience watching Merry and Pipin jump around the table belting out their song. Everyone is cheering them on, and the mood is very happy and wild. You are watching as if you were standing inside the bar cheering them on along with the audience.

On the other hand, The Green Dragon in LOTRO was a mild disappointment when we arrived. It was empty and seemed almost abandoned, aside from the tavern keep and another straggling hobbit. The point of view is interesting though, because you get to control your avatar. You can run to one side of the bar, and back to the other. You can talk to the tavern keep, and leave and come back in. It just happens to be empty when you enter-who knows what goes on inside when you leave?

In Chapter 2, Sam and Ted Sandyman, the miller’s son, had a friendly argument in the Green Dragon about the strange things happening around the Shire. Ted Sandyman represented the general population of hobbits that wished to ignore all the strange happenings.  ‘Ah, you do if you listen. But I can hear fireside-tales and children’s stories at home, if I want.’ Ted is referring to the “queer” events that have taken place. He makes an assertion that talking about such things is unnecessary and frightening. Hobbits enjoy themselves, and make sure above all else, that they are happy and satisfied. Merry and Pipin’s table dance in the movie also shows the hobbits’ ignorance to the dangers that were about to unfold.

Jim’s point about imagination in relation to LOTRO makes a lot of sense to me. If you want to really experience the game as if it were real life, you must use your imagination. When you are out completing your Epic Quests, maybe the workers and the Logging Camp aren’t cutting wood anymore. Maybe they went to sleep! Maybe they are drinking ale at The Green Dragon! Who knows!? It is Middle Earth-each and every citizen has a life, and hobbies, just like Tolkien describes. Sam likes to garden, Frodo enjoys a walk in the woods, and Bilbo enjoys an adventure. I really like the refrigerator analogy as well, because while we know that the button controls the light, we can still imagine what’s going on inside. LOTRO allows the player to make what he/she wants to out of their experience. You can power level your character to 50, or you can experience the life of a citizen in Middle Earth at your own pace. Taking it slow really allows you to absorb the reality of Middle Earth as a world. It differs from the novel in that you can see it first hand, instead of creating a picture in your mind. Neither perspective is better- they just present the world in a different way.