Hall of Fire tomorrow. Movie Denethor: tragedy or travesty?
Peter Jackson’s reconstruction of Denethor, the steward of Gondor remains one of the more controversial aspects of his adaptation of Return of the King.
This weekend, Hall of Fire re-engages with an old question as we ask: “Movie Denethor: tragedy or travesty?”.
Denethor II, the last ruling steward of Gondor is one of Tolkien’s most interesting characters — as flawed and tragic as some of the greatest heroes of the First Age. In his rivalry with Thorongil and Gandalf to his strained relationship with Faramir and a stewardship where he resorts to desperate acts to save Gondor, we see his pride, nobility, arrogance and, ultimately, his despair and madness.
In Jackson’s live-action movie trilogy, Denethor (played by John Noble) is written differently — a weak ruler who passively (and even actively) works against Gondor’s defence.
What are the successes and failures of Boyens and Walsh take on Denethor? Does the more dramatically shown antipathy of John Noble’s function better in film, even though it comes at the cost of some of the subtlety of the original?
Does his grief — and self-blame — at the death of Boromir sufficiently account for his descent into madness considering absence of the Palantir of Minas Tirith as a plot point?
Are there particular scenes or lines — where Denethor interacts with Gandalf, Faramir or Pippin — that resonate with you? Does Jackson’s Denethor come across as truthful?
Join us tomorrow, Saturday February 4 at the special time of 6PM EST (New York time) when we’ll ask all these questions and more as we discuss “Movie Denethor: Tragedy or Travesty?”.
Recommended reading: John Noble talks Denethor: “The Noble Steward?”
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