If you’re anything like me, you’ve been marking down the days until the December 14th release of The Hobbit. As the premiere draws nearer, so also will the hype (and merchandise) increase, which leads me to this worrisome question: has The Lord of the Rings sold out? I'm not talking about the movies, which were fantastic, nor am I talking about the new Hobbit movie; they are works of art with their own merit. I am referring to the dark side of such popularity: the inevitable commercialization and exploitation of Tolkien’s masterpiece.
This loss of artistic integrity bears a blatant resemblance to another epic story gone down the drain. Star Wars, so beautiful in its first three installments, has utterly fallen apart; Lucas has missed no opportunity to rubber-stamp Darth Vader’s face onto any toy that could conceivably be sold to the masses. Sure, my own shelves are lined with Star Wars Legos from my childhood, but a certain line has been crossed when you see these available at any gas station.
But this is not a criticism of George Lucas; you can find those all over the internet. I just don’t want to see Tolkien’s Legendarium be dumbed down to the lowest common denominator and exploited until it’s worthless. Of course, there is already a ton of merchandise available, but, in my experience, Lord of the Rings products actually seem to be of decent quality and in limited selection. Tolkien’s son, Christopher, is the one to thank for protecting the integrity of the series; he is the literary executor of his father’s work, and the reason we are only now getting a movie of The Hobbit is because he only recently gave up on his legal objection to its production. Although he comes across as a cranky old man, I respect and agree with his desire to protect his father’s work from mass merchandizing and cheapening of his work.
Besides, just think of the counseling required for the kids who get Smeagol Pillow Pets this Christmas.
Post by rafikiwock!
Do you think LOTR has sold out? Will Frodo dolls soon be available at every gas station?
Image credit: http://www.thehobbit.com/index.html