Forum: Deconstructing Denethor

Discussing: John Noble's thoughts on Denethor

John Noble's thoughts on Denethor

In all the extensive discussions I've seen here, I was surprised not to see any mention of this topic.  Here are a few quotes for your enjoyment and discussion.

On the essence of Denethor:   "The main thing about Denethor is that he's a father, which is something I can relate to very strongly. The approach I took was he's a powerful father, a good man, but he's inexorably drawn to his own destruction because of his grief."

On his relationship with Boromir:  "Boromir was Denethor's favorite son. He was a mirror of Denethor, a big, strong warrior. With the loss of Boromir, it was like Denethor had been killed himself."

On whether he loves Faramir:  "Of course, but Faramir's more similar to Denethor's late wife, and I think he resents the fact she's not there anymore, and that reflects on his relationship with that son."

On his bitterness: "Denethor is a man who is, quite literally, driven mad by grief and rage.  There's a lot of King Lear about this character- the leader who throws his family and kingdom away.  He's bitter becomes he never becomes King of Gondor, and Boromir inherited that bitterness.  Then his grief over Boromir's death makes him both hate and alienate Faramir, his youngest son.  It's an amazing descent to track as an actor."

I wish I had time to watch the commentaries again but I got finals coming up.  Any other quotes are welcome!



Re: John Noble's thoughts on Denethor

Well... I cannot say why this topic was not discussed here prior this date as I did not participate back then, but as my opinion goes, John Noble is talking about some guy who was incidentally named after Tolkien's Denethor, and as such is of little importance in any true Denethor discussion :-)

- But I must admit that I am a profound LOTR-movie-hater and my judgement in this is faaar from objective :-). Anyway:

1) It was not so much his grief but total despair, induced by the visions from the palantir.

2) Gandalf says somewhere that Boromir was, in fact, unlike Denethor and that Faramir resembled him more.

3) see  above; is it stated anywhere in the canon that Faramir took after Finduilas? - In his character, that is; physically, he looked much like Boromir.

4) I cannot see what there was to track about Denethor's descent since he wasn't exactly given much space. As for his bitterness about not being a king, I truly wonder where this idea came from, as well as the lack of action for defending Gondor. I've never been a fan of Denethor's but this went way too far even for my liking. And finally - I've always thought that the use of superlative indicates minimum three objects for comparison. Does the use of youngest imply that there was something about the last Steward's private life that we don't know of? :-))

Oh, my. I'm doing it again. Must be some kind of mental disorder that any time the movie is mentioned, I just cannot avoid ironic remarks. Um. Oh. Can't resist... /pushes the button/



Re: John Noble's thoughts on Denethor



Re: John Noble's thoughts on Denethor

I'm afraid John Noble's thoughts have nothing to do with the character Denethor as it was created by Tolkien. It is rather a justified and legitimate approach of an actor, who has to act a certain character according to the director's demands. In such a situation no actor can claim that he would prefere to act book-version, even if he wanted to. As for the Denethor of the films his thoughts are fitting and make sense, but...

Well, I think it's not the only "character violation" for the sake of making things easier to digest; I don't like it, but I think you can't blame it on the actor!



Re: John Noble's thoughts on Denethor

Well... it's certainly not John Noble I'm putting the blame on, he just happens to be, uhm, sort of messenger of bad news (and since, given the circumstances, he does his best, I will not call him Mouth of Jackson Wink)

As for "character violation" for the sake of making things easier to digest: that's something I'd very much like to discuss as there are a lot of such violations the reasons and outcome of I find highly dubious. For example:

Why does Denethor give in to such an extent that he neglects the defence of his realm? - His pasivity enhances the role of Gandalf and Pippin BUT it is a repetition of the motive that had already been used in Rohan and Fangorn. Besides, whereas Rohan was kept inactive by Wormtongue's machinations and there was at least some opposition from Éomer, in Gondor there is complete vacuum. In the country ever at war with Sauron, in the imminent danger of a massive atack, no one seems to be concerned with their lord's evident incompetence and no one makes a single attempt to make up for it.



Re: John Noble's thoughts on Denethor

Thanks Ygrain, you've just spoken from my heart!

Belitteling other important characters of the novel in order to make the members of the fellowship shine brighter is something I disliked, but truely risking the logic of the story just for such an effect is not tolerable. Sorry, but I don't even want to discuss it, I'm just convinced!

And I greatly enjoyed the "Mouth of Jackson"!Laugh out loud



Re: John Noble's thoughts on Denethor

risking the logic of the story just for (such) an effect

I am afraid that Jackson not just risked but right away sacrified the logic almost all through the film. "A piece of elvish glass does not make a king" - and I could add that "A bunch of visual tricks does not make a good film", at least not for me.

Nonetheless, I still like to think and discuss about how the changes in the film work (or rather don't work) and how they fit in the broader frame. You, Thanwen, have correctly pointed out the trend that non-Fellowship characters of the novel are being belittled for the sake of enhancing the Fellowship ones. For me, there is only one plausible explanation: the latter characters are poorly written and/or acted, otherwise such changes would have been unnecessary.



Re: John Noble's thoughts on Denethor

A general discussion on that topic might be quite interesting, and even though I might not have to add very sophisticated contributions, I would like to get further information to be able to understand the opinion of others and perhaps come to realise aspects I haven't noticed yet. But as this forum is about Denethor, would it not be necessary to open a different one?



Re: John Noble's thoughts on Denethor

I have never read the books others than some of the Appendices.  I'm not sure if that makes my perspective more limited but I didn't see see the minor characters being belittled to make the Fellowship characters shine.  Maybe I sound a bit naive but I think the EE's did a very good job with fleshing out some of the supporting characters.  I didn't see any character in the movie who was poorly acted either, even there might have been moments where the acting wasn't 100%.  The acting was a lot worse in the 1980 version of ROTK (see Frodo's unintentionally funny delivery of "I can't go on"  in "When There's a Whip, There Is a Way").



to Thanwen

I suppose you're right, general discussion should go somewhere else. - The fault for the digression is mostly mine, of course.

Back to the Denethor topic: does John Noble comment on Denethor's not-so-very-noble eating habits?



to Arwen Skywalker

I'm not sure that I'm getting your point here - do you mean that you have never read LOTR itself, or that you have not read the background material, e.g. History of Middle-Earth etc.? As for the latter, I have not, either :-) I am afraid, though, that the knowledge of the former is a pre-requisite for discussing the differences and their impact on the story. - But Thanwen is right, let's move this somewhere else.



Re: to Arwen Skywalker

I mean that I have never read LOTR itself, though I read some of the appendices at the end of ROTK. 



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