Thursday, December 18, 2003

Gimli vs. Aragorn

A Satan's Anus link takes me to Andrew Sullivan, where Sullivan's written a post titled "Gimli Gets It," quoting actor John Rhys-Davies, whose sentiments are very much in contrast to the spin Viggo Mortensen has imparted in his own interviews. Mortensen (Aragorn in the LOTR series), as the entire world knows by now, is very much anti-war and has been highly critical of the Bush Administration from the beginning. Here's what Rhys-Davies says (I quote Sullivan's snippet in full):

I'm burying my career so substantially in these interviews that it's painful. But I think that there are some questions that demand honest answers. I think that Tolkien says that some generations will be challenged. And if they do not rise to meet that challenge, they will lose their civilization. That does have a real resonance with me... What is unconscionable is that too many of your fellow journalists do not understand how precarious Western civilization is and what a jewel it is.

How did we get the sort of real democracy, how did we get the level of tolerance that allows me to propound something that may be completely alien to you around this table, and yet you will take it and you will think about it and you’ll say no you're wrong because of this and this and this. And I'll listen and I'll say, "Well, actually, maybe I am wrong because of this and this."

[He points at a female reporter and adopts an authoritarian voice, to play a militant-Islam character:] ‘You should not be in this room. Because your husband or your father is not here to guide you. You could only be here in this room with these strange men for immoral purposes.'

I mean ... the abolition of slavery comes from Western democracy. True Democracy comes from our Greco-Judeo-Christian-Western experience. If we lose these things, then this is a catastrophe for the world.

I think Viggo Mortensen is a talented actor. He was the only good thing about "GI Jane." And I've enjoyed his portrayal of Aragorn. I think Rhys-Davies, however, is a magnificent actor-- the job he does as Gimli, having to portray a character through a ton of heavy makeup and special effects that shrink him, is nothing short of brilliant. Gimli's role isn't as large as Mortenson's or Elijah Wood's, but he's a stand-out in the series. I also happen to think that Rhys-Davies is on the right track here, and if Mortensen were to examine Aragorn more carefully, he'd realize that Aragorn, were he a real-life individual, is a man who'd share John Rhys-Davies' opinions.

Sullivan provides a link to the Rhys-Davies interview, here for the asking.


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