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Books Lord of the Rings Entertainment

LotR Rewritten From a Mordor Perspective 583

Posted by samzenpus
from the up-is-down dept.
Hugh Pickens writes writes "It's been said that history is written by the winners but Laura Miller writes in Salon about a counterexample as she reviews a new version of Lord of the Rings. The Last Ring-bearer was published to acclaim in Russia by Kirill Yeskov, a paleontologist whose job is reconstructing long-extinct organisms and their way of life. Yeskov performs essentially the same feat in his book. The Last Ring-bearer is set during and after the end of the War of the Ring and told from the perspective of the losers. In Yeskov's retelling, available in translation as a free download, the wizard Gandalf is a war-monger intent on crushing the scientific and technological initiative of Mordor and its southern allies because science 'destroys the harmony of the world and dries up the souls of men' and Aragorn is depicted by Yeskov as a ruthless Machiavellian schemer who is ultimately the puppet of his wife, the elf Arwen. Sauron's citadel Barad-dur is, by contrast, described as 'that amazing city of alchemists and poets, mechanics and astronomers, philosophers and physicians, the heart of the only civilization in Middle-earth to bet on rational knowledge and bravely pitch its barely adolescent technology against ancient magic.'"
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LotR Rewritten From a Mordor Perspective

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  • Great book (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KiloByte (825081) on Monday February 21, 2011 @08:17AM (#35266950)

    It's a great book, I've read it ten years ago, in the Polish translation.

    Quoting Wikipedia: "fear of the vigilant and litigious Tolkien estate has heretofore prevented its publication in English". Tell me again, how exactly copyright encourages creation of new works?

    • Re:Great book (Score:4, Insightful)

      by giuseppemag (1100721) <giuseppemag@@@gmail...com> on Monday February 21, 2011 @08:26AM (#35267028)
      It is published in English for free, and so far no litigations have happened. In this copyright is simply stopping this guy from taking *commercial* advantage of the huge amount of work done in creating the setting for his story.

      This said, if they decide to go after this book after all then they should be hanged by their testicles...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mysidia (191772)

      Quoting Wikipedia: "fear of the vigilant and litigious Tolkien estate has heretofore prevented its publication in English". Tell me again, how exactly copyright encourages creation of new works?

      It enables authors to profit, by actually having a market, which encourages publishers to pay authors and authors to write books, without banning any technology -- especially now; without copyright, there'd be not enough profit in publishing books.

      After limited times, meaning a short amount of time, the durat

      • After limited times, meaning a short amount of time, the duration of the copyright expires, and new works can be made based on the old work. This is how copyright avoids stifling new works -- old works' copyright expires. This promotes progress in the arts and sciences because there is now not much (if any) profit in rehashing old works.

        Is that fantasy or sci-fi?

  • Banewreaker (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ShakaUVM (157947) on Monday February 21, 2011 @08:24AM (#35267006) Homepage Journal

    If y'all are interested in this kind of fiction, Jacqueline Carey did a really good duology on it in her Banewreaker series.

    She's mostly known for steamy fantasy/romance novels (the Kushiel series), but she does a very good take on a LOTR-analogue world in which the Sauron equivalent is shown as the good guys. Or not good guys, precisely, but as more or less a guy wanting to be left alone, with the Gandalf-equivalent instigating the "good" races to destroy him in his Mordorish fortress. You really end up hating the good guys by the end of the series. =)

    I highly recommend it.

    http://www.amazon.com/Banewreaker-Sundering-Book-Jacqueline-Carey/dp/0765305216 [amazon.com]

    • [quote]If y'all are interested in this kind of fiction, Jacqueline Carey did a really good duology on it in her Banewreaker series.

      She's mostly known for steamy fantasy/romance novels (the Kushiel series), but she does a very good take on a LOTR-analogue world in which the Sauron equivalent is shown as the good guys. Or not good guys, precisely, but as more or less a guy wanting to be left alone, with the Gandalf-equivalent instigating the "good" races to destroy him in his Mordorish fortress. You really en

      • by ShakaUVM (157947)

        Sounds great, thanks for the tip! :) All too often everything is depicted really black-and-white, with the "good" guys being stainless, righteous, wonderful and adorable beings and the "bad" guys as loathsome bastards with no morals or regard for anyone but themselves. That is actually part of the reason I liked the Watchmen movie too: the "good" guys themselves are quite loathsome and easy to dislike and thus sets quite a different tone for the whole movie. I actually really hope for more movies and books

    • where good and evil can sometimes swap places in the minds of the reader if not the populace in the story. Many of his books were recently reprinted in large paper back format making the stories accessible to many. His The Black Company series is a great story where the mercenaries start working for the bad guys but eventually end up for working for the good guys and even team up again with the bad guys. A nice back and forth. The one good point throughout is that being the good guys doesn't mean your n

    • Re:Banewreaker (Score:4, Informative)

      by david.given (6740) <dgNO@SPAMcowlark.com> on Monday February 21, 2011 @09:58AM (#35267762) Homepage Journal

      Also, don't forget to check out Mary Gentle's Grunts, which is told from the point of view of the orcs... and who are definitely the bad guys. Oh yes.

      Hilarious and in incredibly bad taste.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 21, 2011 @08:37AM (#35267092)

    Available here:

    http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.sf.written/msg/697476f4e92d2483?dmode=source&output=gplain [google.com]

    >Seriously though, I have read Yeskov's novel some ten years ago, when it was
    >officially published in Poland. It caused a great turmoil among die-hard
    >Tolkien's fans, who considered it "blasphemous" - not because of the
    >copyright issue, but because the good and the evil were so thoroughly
    >reverted there. Those who remember Gaiman's "Snow, Glass, Apples" should
    >understand what I mean. Personally, I liked the book, but this reversal of
    >well-established stereotypes is its main merit. Without any references to
    >Middle-Earth it would have been just a second-rate spy story/political
    >thriller, like the many clones of Frederick Forsyth.

    For my part, I'd rather read a first-rate spy story / political thriller, irregardless of the trappings or lack thereof.

  • by NoZart (961808) on Monday February 21, 2011 @08:40AM (#35267116)

    If that is not the best practical "in soviet russia..." joke, i don't know what is.

  • ... that there should be more of these stories taken from the point-of-view of different characters. Wicked was incredibly clever, as was Ender's Shadow. I'd also like to see it done with movies. Perhaps an action film from the 'villain's' POV, or maybe it could follow a civilian who gets screwed over by every car chase and explosion.
    • Grendel by John Gardner is a brilliant re-telling of Beowulf from Grendel's point of view. Very deep. Nihilism, Solipsism. I highly recommend it if you're looking for a "from the villain's POV" with some philosophical, uhh, "isms."
  • Will someone please do this for Twilight from the view of Victoria? My *ahem* daughter needs more reading material....
  • by jav1231 (539129)
    It's not much different that current attempts to re-write history. But I digress. I find a Russian re-write interesting. As if to say, "You've all misunderstood the former Soviet Republic!?" Could be something subliminal.
  • by Paul Fernhout (109597) on Monday February 21, 2011 @09:50AM (#35267698) Homepage

    When I was a young child decades ago, Fred Rogers had the woman who played the Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz on his program. She explained how they did the scene where she melted. But she also tried to get kids to think about what things looked like from the Wicked Witch's perspective. Her sister was killed. The one keepsake was stolen. Her home was invaded. Finally, she is attacked just for defending herself and trying to get back her sister's property. And so on. It really shocked me in a good way, to think that things looked different from her point of view.

    Here is a FOSS project (Rakontu) my wife developed (I helped a small bit) to help people see situations from multiple perspectives.
        http://www.rakontu.org/ [rakontu.org]

  • I tried to read it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Monday February 21, 2011 @10:15AM (#35267948) Homepage

    I tried to read this a while back. I was really excited because I always was more interested in the lives of the Orcs than reading about the hicks of the Shire. My favorite scene in LotR is the two orcs talking to each other and expressing a desire to stuff this Mordor stuff and get lost in the world somewhere distant, where they can waylay passing travelers. It's the closest thing the Orcs get to being treated as characters. I was really disappointed with The Last Ringbearer. It really didn't make any sense, maybe because it was translated? I skipped ahead several times before just giving up. I had really wanted to like this book but it just didn't work.

    Of course, the whole thing ignores the fact that Sauron was evil, and he committed many evil acts in his thousands of years of existence prior to the events of LotR. Sauron was a total sociopath control freak. If he were alive today he'd be in charge of a corporation poisoning the public for profit. The entire point of his forging of The One Ring was slavery. Sauron crossed the moral event horizon and went full-on evil when he helped Morgoth destroy the land of Almaren, and that was in the First Age. Honestly, this review tells us a lot more about the reviewer that it does anything. Sample quote: "The novelist Michael Moorcock has attacked Middle-earth as a childishly rose-tinted vision of the Merrie Olde England that never was, as well as willfully blind to the hardships and injustice of preindustrial and feudal societies." WTF? It's a fantasy novel, people. It's something you read when you're not reading real books. Oh. I see. The reviewer has an axe to grind. "So I was horrified to discover that the Chronicles of Narnia, the joy of my childhood and the cornerstone of my imaginative life, were really just the doctrines of the Church in disguise." Yeah, surprise surprise, lady. No wonder she sees racial demonization, it's what she's looking for. Yet another writer who can't write anything original and instead can only parody others. That's the greatest failing of The Last Ringbearer. If the author had something to say, great! Say it. But jeez it's pathetic when the only thing you can do is attach another author's name to your work while criticizing the shit out of it. Am I the only one who is utterly sick to death of sequels, rewrites, spinoffs, and reimaginings? I suppose so if that's what everyone is buying. Can't argue with the market.

  • by Landshark17 (807664) on Monday February 21, 2011 @10:56AM (#35268294)
    You can read the story from the perspecive of Mordor if you like, but I'm still waiting for a version of the original LOTR that removes the offensive word "hobbit" and replaces it with the more politically correct, "large-footed halfling".

Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. -- Henry David Thoreau

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