30 January 2004

How to stay slim the Middle Earth Way

Right, so this evening I saw The Return of the King for a second time. It's definitely a film that improves with repeat viewings. The multiple endings weren't nearly as annoying this time, and I was able to appreciate the film much more without constantly wondering how Jackson was going to adapt certain things.

I also, unfortunately, noticed a couple of glitches, notably near the end when the remnants of the Fellowship ride out on front of the Black Gates of Mordor. There was one shot there, with Aragorn in sharp focus and Gandalf and Pippin blurred behind him, where it was blatantly obvious that Pippin was not actually played by Billy Boyd, but by a tiny Thai girl.

But that's not important. No, far more significant is the real secret agenda behind the film.

Have you noticed the fact that Sam is a bit, shall we say, plump? Indeed Gollum constantly refers to him as 'the fat hobbitses'. Well, how is this? After all, he treks hundreds of miles and doesn't appear to lose an ounce. He's as generously upholstered after walking across the world as he was back when he used to potter in Frodo's garden. And what does he live on? Bread. Nothing but Lembas bread. You know, the stuff that appears to be toast camoflaged to resemble dolmades. Magic elf toast, I call it, to the annoyance of my more devout friends.

Bear with me on this. There is a point.

Who's the skinniest person in the films? Gollum, of course. And what does Gollum eat? Fish. He's a meat eater, without a doubt, but in practice just eats fish. Well, you know the flashback scene at the start of Return of the King, where we see Gollum five centuries earlier, when he was known as Smeagol? Smeagol was definitely a lot, well, more robust than Gollum. What happened to him? Well, that's very clear. Smeagol killed his friend, stole the ring, and was scorned by his people; he fled into the mountains and 'forgot the taste of bread'.

Think about it. Sam eats Lembas and is fat. Smeagol ate bread, and was robust, but gave up all those carbs for a diet of pure protein and fat, and became the supremely slim Gollum.

Yes, the Jackson films are a cunningly disguised advert for the Atkins diet. Jackson clearly discerned something in Tolkien's work that generations of fans and academics had failed to pick up.

Gollum even smells funny. That's probably bad breath from the ketones he's been producing for centuries.

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