I have to admit, not being a gamer or having no experience whatsoever with MMORPGs, would make it quite difficult to accomplish this week’s task. We were asked to compare three mediums – book, movie and game – regarding the scene that takes place atop the Weathertop mountain.
To make it to Weathertop in-game one must first complete Book 2, Chapters 1-4 from the epic quest chain, which involve level 22-25 nasty orcs and birds in the area.Then you get to form a fellowship and enter the instance “Retake Weathertop”. As proof of having done the game part of the assessment, we were also asked to post a screenshot of our adventures. Uiril – my char(acter)- made it thanks to the help of my wonderful kinship, Eagles of Thorondor at the Meneldor server. This is a guild which boasts plenty of Coursera members and has people from the previous course session participating as well.
Truth is that without having help from a decent guild / kinship in most MMORPGs, one is missing the whole point. Raids, instances, dungeons, everything revolves around parties making a decent effort together. There are those who like to “solo” – even when things are not meant to be soloable – and those who turn to “pugs”, i.e. random grouping with strangers via the game’s AI. However, the latter is often disappointing and/or frustrating. Hence, the social aspect of MMORPGs (discussed in weeks 2 & 3) is indeed all about finding other people to play with; people with whom you can actually communicate and get the job done.
As for this week’s assignment, I submitted the following:
Option One: Write an essay that compares the scene in the novel, the film, and the game with respect to one of the following aspects: the actions or events in the scene; how characterization occurs; dialogue; setting / mise en scène / game space; point-of-view; and your experience of reading, viewing, and interacting with the scene. Include a screenshot of your character’s experience at Weathertop in LOTRO.
LOTRO Threefold: Tolkien’s Weathertop scene across film and game
J.R.R. Tolkien has Strider describe Weathertop to Sam as a hill that “commands a wide view all around.” [Tolkien 2012: p. 471-472, 499] Thus, the fellowship heads for that vantage point in hope of finding Gandalf there and assess how they will continue their perilous journey. Upon the hill, however, traces of “cloaked and booted Riders” [p. 513] caused much despair to the Hobbits, for it seemed that the enemy has been here. Strider informs the group of their abilities and heightened senses [p. 514-515] as well as reminds them that fire can prove to be an exceptional weapon,since “these Riders do not love it and fear those who wield it” [p.515]. Interestingly, Peter Jackson opts for presenting fire as a fatal mistake that Sam, Pippin and Merry commit in order to satisfy their hunger; Frodo wakes up from his slumber only to yell at the starving Hobbits “What are you doing? Put it out, you fools, put it out! “. The panoramic shot of Weathertop with a tiny lit spot from the camp fire validates Frodo’s fears. The Nazgul know that someone is there; their shrieking sound fills the air, approaching from the misty foot of the hill.
In the book, Strider has not left them. In contrast, they all sit around that same camp fire telling stories like the tale of Tinuviel [p. 519] and trying to stay warm. Suddenly they feel them coming – just as Strider said it happens with humans – and under Strider’s command they gather close to the fire with their faces outward. [p. 527] Jackson does portray the chilling shrieks and the ominous look of the five dark figures true to the original, even when Frodo puts on the ring and sees them for what they truly are. Terror overcoming the Hobbits is also evident, though Sam is first to fall in the movie, not shrinking to Frodo’s side, as stated in the book. [p. 528] The director also retains Frodo’s desperate eagerness to put on the ring and Elijah Wood captures Frodo’s agony when “a pain like a dart of poisoned ice” [p. 530]pierced his left shoulder. The Elven words Frodo uses in the book to scare them away are not used in the movie. Finally, Strider appears out of nowhere in the film to save the day with lit torches, setting the enemy ablaze. The book’s final scene presents Frodo clenching the ring in his right fist, again as in the movie. Peter Jackson however gives Viggo Mortensen plenty of screen time battling the forces of evil. Aragorn concludes that Frodo needs Elven medicine for his wound because it’s beyond his skills ; Nevertheless, in the book there is a whole chapter where he exhibits some knowledge of medicinal plants and offers the young Hobbit a mixture of Athelas himself [p. 534] Notably, Jackson’ s touch of having the blade vanish into thin air like smoke is inspired by the book [p.534].
Regarding the game, the narrative involved fails to become a loyal reenactment of the scene. After having received Book 2, Chapter 5 quest from Candaith the Ranger in his camp, the player and his fellowship are being transported to the foot of the mountain. Battling mostly orcs and goblins along the way, the party makes it to the top where an elite mob, a gigantic troll, appears. Despite observing many scenery details that closely resembled both the book’s and film’s venue, the instance itself felt more like a boring fight (probably due to the fact that my kinmates were high-leveled and it was relatively too easy). Still, there was some agony felt when battling the last boss but the pressure was on me personally so as not to make a mistake in combat. Given these facts, my reaction to the finale of the instance, sharing the “job well done” moment with the kinship members almost reminded me of the first time I watched Aragorn saving the day: rejoice.
The Lord of the Rings Online. Westwood, MA: Turbine, 2014. Computer game.
The Lord of the Rings the Fellowship of the Ring. New Line Home Entertainment, 2001. DVD.
Tolkien, J. R. R. The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of The Lord of the Rings. Boston: Mariner /Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. E-Pub. 10 Aug. 2014.
***Screenshot from the game – Kinship:Eagles of Thorondor – Server: Meneldor – Character: Uiril, Elf Hunter