Actually, this isn’t really about Aragorn at all. It’s more about details and worldbuilding, but Viggo is pretty much the shit when it comes to getting into character, so I thought I’d use him as an example. (Although in an unrelated note, it looks like they’re trying to fit Aragorn into the two forthcoming Hobbit movies in some fashion…or maybe not, since there appear to be rumors of Viggo quitting acting before they film them. Boo!)
But anyway, it’s no big secret that Viggo is a method actor (and a damnably good one). I seem to recall reading a magazine article or two back when LotR first came out, and one of his interviews talked about realism. i.e. in Aragorn’s case – the dude was out living in the woods with the greasy hair and the unwashed bod and the dirty underwear and all that – and it actually makes a lot of sense that the actor might attempt to take that down a more realistic bent. Which worked out well – since the pretty was left to the elves. (Hey, they’ve got pointy ears and can walk atop snow drifts. Who’s to say they don’t have flush toilets and showers in those treehouse huts?)
Still, it’s kind of hard to take the rough-shod action movies seriously when the camera pans down and shows the bottom of a character’s boots and they barely look scuffed up. (Case in point – Transformers 2 – which thanks to Connor, I’ve now seen about 30 times. Literally, the best special effect in the movie? Megan Fox’s white pants. You know. The ones that stay white as she runs 2 or 3 miles in the desert, after being “jumped” from the airplane graveyard in Arizona to Egypt. And no, there is *no* airplane graveyard at the Air and Space Museum out here on Rt. 28. Oh noes! The movie people *lied* to you. I live here. I know wtf I’m talking about. We have grass here. No grass in those shots. No, I’m not a geek.)
Okay, yes. I’m a geek.
It’s a small thing, but then, worldbuilding is based on small things. If you don’t get those tiny details right, I think it makes the entire story crumble a bit. As a reader, if I’m asked to suspend disbelief for a fantasy world, I’m more than willing to do so, but I need cohesiveness.
In some ways, I think it might actually be easier to write up an entirely new fantasy world than it is to write up a paranormal or an urban fantasy. As least in a solid fantasy world, the reader is dependent completely upon what they read – they have no real preconceived notions. But in an Urban Fantasy, the only way to really make the fantasy elements pop is to get those mundane details down. The realism has to be “real”, because if it’s not, the reader is going to question my ability to write a good story. If I can’t be bothered to do my research to find out what color a Greyhound bus is really supposed to be, how can I be trusted to keep the fantasy elements of my story straight?