Archive for the ‘Seen on TV’ Category

LOTR LOST comboSeptember 22 has long been celebrated as “Hobbit Day” since it’s both Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday and is also the date when the The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) starts. In a circular twist, Peter Jackson opens and ends The Hobbit movie trilogy on this day.

September 22 is also the date, in 2004, when Oceanic 815 crashed into waters unknown, in the pilot of the series LOST.

Eerie. I can’t understand why more hasn’t been made of this—on fan sites, media, or Twitter. It seems an astoundingly important connection between these two great sagas. (Spoilers Alert!)

Both are mythical stories which involve epic quests. Although LOTR opens with Bilbo’s birthday party, Frodo doesn’t actually begin his journey until the next day. Still, it is on the twenty-second when he acquires the Ring and that is what kicks off the action.

There are many other parallels. Each tale revolves around a group of disparate characters brought together by circumstance. In LOTR, the rise of Sauron and the discovery of the Ring prompts the formation of the Fellowship and ultimately takes these characters across Middle-Earth. A plane crash maroons the LOST characters on an uncharted island, desperate to make the best of it.

Both groups are terrorized by baddies (orcs, Nazgul, Uruk Hai in LOTR; the Others, Charles Widmore’s assassins, the Dharma Initiative on LOST), supernatural forces (Sarumon’s winter, dark magic in Moria and Mordor, Sauron’s eye in LOTR; the Smoke Monster, electromagnetic powers, the time shifts in LOST), and by a supreme villain (Sauron in LOTR; The Man in Black, though some might argue Ben, in LOST). Gandalf the White serves as a guide and leader in Middle-Earth. Likewise, on LOST, the guardian Jacob is always shown in white or light-colored clothing (well, when he is on the Island).

LOTR trilogy poster

Each also features an unlikely hero who struggles to escape that role. Frodo wishes the Ring had never come to him and tries to give it to Galadriel then to Aragorn. Jack refuses to embrace faith (or fate) and just wants off the Island. Yet, each perseveres and ultimately saves the world: Middle-Earth in the case of Frodo, and our planet (not just the Island) in Jack’s. However, neither can return to the world he has saved, as they are both changed and damaged by their missions. Frodo sails into the West with the Elves. Jack sacrifices himself and dies on the Island.

Oddly, despite the September 22 connection and the fact that LOST show runners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse professed admiration for Tolkien, there are almost no references to the author or his works. There were a few television promos that featured Gandalf’s quote, “not all who wander are lost.” This tease had me on the lookout for Tolkien Easter eggs, to no avail. It’s strange because episodes were rife with allusions to Alice in Wonderland, The Chronicles of Narnia, the novels of Charles Dickens, Lord of the Flies, Star Wars, and other favorites of Darlton. Charlie Pace sports a tattoo in Elvish and sometimes wears a t-shirt featuring the White Tree of Gondor, but that is because Dominic Monaghan acted as Merry Brandybuck in the LOTR movies.

Kate Austen, though, makes it off the Island to kick some orc butt in The Hobbit trilogy as Tauriel. Seriously, she was like the same character, which I loved.

Other than that, there is only a musical theme entitled “Down the Hobbit Hole” which plays when Jack and Locke (aka the Man in Black) lower Desmond down to the Source in the finale. But this is also a riff on Alice in Wonderland (Down the Rabbit Hole), and it’s a bit of a mislead because Desmond enters a creepy cave full of skeletons and gloom, whereas Tolkien assures us that hobbit holes are nothing like this.

“Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”

He writes in The Hobbit and goes on to describe a cosy dwelling with polished brass, paneled walls, tiled floors, comfortable chairs, and lots of coat hooks as “the hobbit was fond of visitors.”

In the end, it may be that the choice of September 22 for the crash of Oceanic 815 was a merely a coincidence of the network programming schedule. Or perhaps—like so many other unexplained happenings on LOST—it was engineered by “the Island.”

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The Hobbit: My Own Unexpected Journey

LOST Under the Dome

Happy Hobbitversary! 75 Years On

A Tolkien Travesty: Nobel Jury Not so Noble

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Under-the-Dome-tvFrom the first pages of Stephen King’s Under the Dome, I started to feel that tingly thrill of anticipation that I used to get from watching LOST. Maybe it’s the fact that (spoiler alert!) both stories begin with a plane crash. Or maybe it’s because I knew that King was a big fan of the show. Like LOST, King’s novel offers an amalgam of mystery, supernatural wonder, and suspense—brought to life by a group of indelible characters who mix it up in their new isolated world.

Uncle Stevie also tosses in some overt nods to LOST. Reverend Lester Coggins describes God, as “he who traveled as a pillar of smoke by day” (p. 159). When Rusty can’t sleep, his mind wanders to Desmond, whom he misquotes as saying: “Don’t mistake coincidence for fate” (p. 285). It was actually Mr. Eko who said that. Later Locke repeats the phrase, and Jack says it again in the final season. (Still, Losties will note that Desmond played several very key and ‘fateful’ roles in the LOST journey.)

This crux of coincidence versus fate was a driving force in LOST and a major point of friction among the characters, notably Locke and Jack. With this quote, King sets this up nicely as a similar theme in Under the Dome. By small circumstance, people got trapped in or outside. Barbie just missed a ride south, the Fire Department was away at a parade, and even families are divided.

LOSTI also jumped each time Lissa the librarian fiddled with her ankh necklace (p. 430). The Egyptian ankh (known as the key to life or the key to the Nile) is a repeated symbol in LOST (the Hatch counter; the statue; Jacob gives one to Hurley). However, I couldn’t quite figure this reference out in Under the Dome. Unlike Jacob or Hurley, Lissa doesn’t play a significant role in the fate of those trapped, nor is she one of the more developed characters.

Also, and this may just be me, I wondered if Horace the corgi was named for Horace on LOST? The story is being told from Horace’s point-of-view when we get the most tantalizing LOST tidbit, that Andrea often sat “watching shows like The Hunted Ones (a clever sequel to Lost)” (p.694). I dropped my book (really!) and immediately began to Google, hoping Uncle Stevie had some intel on more LOST. But alas, this is only a fiction, a wish perhaps, on his part.

But now we get Under the Dome on TV. Could this be the heir apparent to LOST? Creator Brian K. Vaughn and Exec Producer Jack Bender are both LOST alums. King is also deeply involved and has cited Game of Thrones as an example of their approach.

I was a bit surprised that the format is a not a miniseries, but an ongoing show. After all, it was King who challenged the LOST team to end the show at its peak—regardless of ratings. They took that message to heart and worked out a deal with ABC to conclude LOST at the end of the sixth season.

UTD dogHopefully, King, Vaughn, and Bender will ultimately follow King’s own advice. Meanwhile, there were approximately 500 pages cut from the original draft of the  novel, so there are plenty of new story lines to explore.

Indeed, the pilot opened with so many changes from the novel that those of us who read the book found ourselves ‘lost.’ (I’m intrigued, but there has been such an outcry, that King has written a response to his Constant Reader.) Extra fun though, imho, Frank Lapidus is reincarnated as Sheriff Duke Perkins. My hopes are high for Under the Dome on TV. Now if only they would somehow bring in Desmond!

Are you watching Under the Dome on TV? What do you think?


Under the #DomeAlong

Under the Dome Update: Left Hanging

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More Under the Dome:

Under the Dome, the book

Under the Dome, TV show

Under the Dome, trailer

Stephen King Website

Stephen King Wiki

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