Of Giants in the first Hobbit Movie and Confusion between CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien and a Maladroit Malapropism in Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections

Looks like there will be giants in the first Hobbit movie, An Unexpected Journey:

From the book: “When [Bilbo] peeped out in the lightning-flashes, he saw that across the valley the stone-giants were out, and were hurling rocks at one another for a game, and catching them, and tossing them down into the darkness where they smashed among the trees far below, or splintered into little bits with a bang.” Looks like that has inspired a scene here – we see a later glimpse of such a giant rolling headlong down the mountain past a ledge where the terrified company cower.
Empire, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Trailer Breakdown

Stone Giants, The Hobbit
Stone Giants, The Hobbit

And this leads me to something that Jonathan Franzen wrote. In the same year that The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was released (2001), following years of hype about the filming of J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous trilogy, Franzen penned this line in The Corrections:

Caroline did not entirely approve of Narnia – C.S. Lewis was a known Catholic propagandist, and the Narnian hero, Aslan, was a furry, four-pawed Christ figure.
– Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections (2001), p. 141

Now J.R.R. Tolkien might rightly be described as “a known Catholic propagandist”, but C.S. Lewis was Protestant. He was baptised and grew up Anglican and, after a short bout of unbelief, reaffirmed his allegiance to the Church of Ireland (the Irish version of the Church of England). Much to the dismay of his friend and fellow author, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, Clive Staples Lewis rejoined the Prods.

In addition to this apparent confusion of Tolkien for Lewis, I also found a malapropism in The Corrections – a possible side-effect of Franzen being a first-rate wordsmith, as all this play in the rhythms and sound of language might make one prone to slipping in an accidental homophone. On p. 203, “an access of ANHEDONIA” should be “an excess of ANHEDONIA”. I’d go on, but I wouldn’t want to be accused of being pedantic and nerdish.

Readers of Remnant of Giants should be aware that, unlike in The Hobbit, there are no giants in Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections. There is a talking turd, which is certainly Rabelaisian; but none of the big fellas.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s