LOTR & Polymorphism

In a video interview on GameSpot (posted 14/11/05), a developer of The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II PC game said that “the first Lord of the Rings PC game to incorporate the book rights from Tolkien Enterprises as well as the NewLine cinema rights that EA has traditionally held.” The single-player campaign centers on the War of the North, which was not explored in the films. The developer says the wars were much larger and heavily invovled the elves and dwarfs. The events take place concurrently with the events in the films. Now, this is another wonderful example of how a storyworld is distributed over the media channels, over arts types and is not just an adaptation. Now, it is a kind of adaptation of the scenes in the book. It is not a faithful adaptation to try and redeliver Tolkien’s content. It is a use of the storyworld, events and characters to extend the ways in which audiences can experience Tolkien’s world and Peter Jackson’s rendition in the films. Although the events are covered in the books (though not all, it is a game and so the player will be creating events within the storyworld) they are not in the films. This means, for the un-book-initiated, it is a new part of the LOTR world. I also like that the events run concurrently to the events in the film. So, the parallel plots running in the book are now spread across mediums and arts types, not just abstractly in the reader’s mind. There is now a discourse (how the story is told) and device (how the story is experienced) difference. This is the polymorphic narrative paradigm. I cannot wait to get all these works into a visualisation software to show how the narrative universe works over the media channels, over time, across authors, etc.

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