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One book to rule them all

I often make predictions, and with a kiss of Mafia-like death, virtually all of them fail to come true. I have a gift.

However, it gives me great pleasure to announce that at least one of them has come true. Lord of the Rings has been voted, against all the muttered displeasures of the socialist London-based diners of the BBC cognoscenti, and the great and the good, as the United Kingdom’s favourite ever book.

Which reminds me of the following quote:


Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-Earth. Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all spurious BBC competitions to fill up the airwaves with cheap programming, so the money saved can be used to prop up the useless lives of BBC socialist parasites, are an evil.

If this book can win, against all the railings of the government worshippers who rule this country, then I have hope. One day we will destroy their ring of power and free ourselves from their tyranny. In the meantime, let’s just hope Mr Jackson gets the film rights for ‘The Hobbit’, to give us something to watch next Christmas.

4 comments to One book to rule them all

  • “Next Christmas” is much too optimistic. Peter Jackson is making his King Kong remake for Universal next (which is scheduled for 12 December 2005 – remember that a two year gestation period is typical for a big Hollywood film), and he has also said things about making a smaller New Zealand based project at the same time or soon after. He has also mentioned that there have not been enough good zombie films made recently, and has expressed an interest in making one. This may or may not be the same project as his “smaller, New Zealand based project”.

    The rights for “The Hobbit” are apparently presently split between New Line and MGM (Miramax likely have some rights too, although I think these would be purely financial – they have some right to profit but no right to stop the movie being made). These parties will have to do some kind of a deal before the film can be made. Although this isn’t an insurmountable obstacle (films are made by combinations of more than one studio all the time) it does mean that the lawyers of the various parties will have to get together to come up with a completely different deal from the one that applied for the Lord of the Rings before the film can be made. (Plus there has been friction between some of the actors and New Line over the level of bonuses they were paid for The Two Towers. Negotiations with some of the same actors for The Hobbit could be, shall we say interesting). And while it is in the interests of everybody to make such a deal for a film that is a certain moneymaker, this will take time.

    In short, it would amaze me if this film is in cinemas less than five years from now. I could be wrong, but I really, really doubt it.

  • Andy Duncan

    Cheers Mr J, but five years? It’s going to be hard for the make-up people to get Ian Holm looking young enough, if he doesn’t fall under a bus in the meantime. But seeing as he played a magical Frodo 20 years ago, on the radio (at least I think it was him), maybe he can let Elijah Wood play the younger Bilbo, on film. No doubt, John Rhys-Davies will play a damn fine Thorin Oakenshield.

    I must say, when I first read the Lord of the Rings, I was a bit shocked to find Bilbo running off with the elves, and letting Frodo take up the ring, before I got used to the idea. Maybe this reverse re-casting might square the circle! Or should I say, the ring! ;-)

  • Tony H

    “if this book can win” – ? Surely the voting must have been for the film. I’d be (mildly) interested to learn how many of those who voted for LOTR had actually read the trilogy, as opposed to watching the movies. I wonder who these “BBC cognoscenti” are who disdain it: do they disdain the rest of the crap in the book list? What is their opinion of the stupefying dross that constitutes so much (decidedly non-Reithian) BBC programming now?
    BTW I went to see “Master & Commander”, another ripping yarn, with misgivings having discovered O’Brian’s work nearly thirty years ago and read the entire Aubrey series with great appreciation. It’s a damn good film, mucked about no more than you might expect and much less than I’d anticipated. Great piece of pop culture that isn’t vulgar, dim or offensive.

  • Paul Marks

    Contrary to Tony H.

    L.O.T.R. won polls for the most popular book long before any of the films were made.

    As for the who the B.B.C. (Guardianista) people were – errr you might have tried watching the show on Saturday night, then you would have got to hear from a few of them.

    Near the end of the show one of the B.B.C. expert group of three admitted that she had never actually read L.O.T.R. (I suspect that many of the attackers had never read the work either).

    Perhaps there are better works of fiction than L.O.T.R. – but sneering that “the votes must have been for the film”, when millions of people (in this country alone) have read and loved L.O.T.R., is not a very good argument.