Fanboys love nothing more than to bitch and moan when some nitpicky detail of a novel they love doesn't make it into the final cut of the movie ("They left Peeves the Poltergeist out of Harry Potter? Now everything is just ruined!"). But the thing is, sometimes those changes happen for the right reasons. Below are honest-to-God insane elements of best-selling novels you definitely don't remember from the movies:
6The Lord of the Rings - The Ridiculous Tom Bombadil
Tolkien's Lord of the Rings defined the fantasy genre so hard that it'd have been stupid for all the other fantasy writers in the world not to rip him off, but it's also probably one of the least-cinematic novels you'll ever find this side of Ayn Rand. See, as we've already pointed out, Tolkien wasn't actually a novelist at all; he was a stodgy old linguistics professor with an awesome pipe habit who basically wrote the books as a support system for his made-up Elf languages.
Via Wikimedia Commons
Even in military uniform, he looks like the world's biggest nerd.
A fake language dictionary disguised as an epic fantasy novel, as you can imagine, doesn't exactly lend itself to the big screen. So, for the sake of streamlining the story, a lot of elements had to be tweaked or outright abandoned. For example, the book version drags on for six chapters after Gollum takes his swan-dive into the volcano, and before it's over, we see Saruman acting like a small-time mafioso in the Shire before ending up on the wrong end of a shiv. So, yeah -- the infuriating multiple endings in Return of the King: That's real. But what they left out was much weirder, such as the part where Merry and Pippin almost get eaten alive by an angry tree but are saved by a dancing, prancing forest-dweller who calms down the tree by singing to it and then lures the bewildered hobbits back to his secluded shack in the woods.
Meet Tom Bombadil:
Via Wikimedia Commons
Also known as "Holyfuckingbeard!"
Tom enjoys long walks in the woods, wearing a blue coat with stylish yellow boots, singing, flitting about like a wood-nymph-hobo and rescuing wayward travelers from angry trees. Oh, and when he talks, he sounds like this:
"Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo!
Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal the willow!
Tom Bom, jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo!"
In Chapter 7, Tom takes the hobbits (who inexplicably don't run in the opposite goddamn direction the second he opens his mouth) back to his home, where they are greeted by Tom's shockingly hot blonde wife, who serves them what "seemed to be clear cold water, yet it went to their hearts like wine and set free their voices."
Who's up for seconds?
Then it's off to bed for the hobbits, who are ominously warned, "Heed no nightly noises!" which has to be the most terrifying piece of bedtime advice you can possibly hear from a man whose facial hair looks like it has unspeakable sexual appetites of its own. Frodo, predictably, is plagued by terrible dreams all night and wakes up to Tom shouting, "Ring a ding dillo! Wake now, my merry friends! Forget the nightly noises! Ring a ding dillo del!"
"Ring a ding dello! The darkness demands tears and shrieking sacrifice! Ring a derry dol!"
Later, Tom shows up again to save the hobbits from a Barrow-wight, which is totally cool except that in the process, the hobbits mysteriously end up losing most of their clothes. "You won't find your clothes again," said Tom, "bounding down from the mound and laughing as he danced round them in the sunlight." Then he instructs them to "Cast off these cold rags" and "run naked in the grass!"
"I ... I guess we sort of have to, huh?"
Originally, Tom Bombadil has nothing to do with Lord of the Rings; Tolkien first wrote about him years earlier, portraying him as a sort of nature-spirit. He lifts out of the story so easily that even people who have read Lord of the Rings tend to forget about him. Who Tom is and why he lives in the woods are never fully explained; he's supposed to be "oldest and fatherless," so theories are that Tom may be God, or some kind of avatar of Middle-earth. You can read Lord of the Rings as an allegory for World War II, in which case Tom Bombadil represents the spirit of pacifism and noninvolvement. Which, as we all know, makes for bitching action movies.
In Tolkien's own words: "Tom Bombadil is not an important person -- to the narrative. I suppose he has some importance as a 'comment.' I mean, I do not really write like that: he is just an invention (who first appeared in The Oxford Magazine about 1933), and he represents something that I feel important, though I would not be prepared to analyse the feeling precisely. I would not, however, have left him in, if he did not have some kind of function."
"Or maybe it was all that pipe weed."
There you have it: The writer himself isn't prepared to commit to an answer about why the fuck this happened.
5The Godfather - Sonny's Huge Penis
The Godfather forever changed the way the world looked at gangsters, the way gangsters looked at themselves and the way Marlon Brando looked at a plate of pasta.
"He made me a snack I couldn't refuse, which is to say, literally any kind of omelet."
For the most part, Francis Ford Coppola made a faithful adaptation of Mario Puzo's novel. Every important element was there: the wedding, the murders, Michael's exile, the themes of family and destiny, Sonny's comically oversized schlong ...
Sonny Corleone (James Caan) is the aggressive, hot-tempered older brother of Michael and, in the novel, has a massive dick. And his penis isn't just casually thrown in there -- it's violently thrust into every nook and cranny of the book over and over again, like a big, invasive, impossible-to-ignore ... giant dick in a book. Frankly, that's better than any analogy we could come up with. Puzo never missed an opportunity to mention it in the least-mature terms possible ("Did you hear, Sonny's dick is so big that hookers charge him double! Did you know, Sonny's tool is so huge that his wife thanks God he's having affairs!"). And so on. Sonny Corleone had a huge dick, and Mario Puzo believed it was important for you to know, in this story about family and power and corruption.
All 42 shots hit him right in the cock.
Remember how early in the film you see Sonny hooking up with some nameless bridesmaid? It's OK if you've forgotten; it was just a quick, throwaway scene that happens within the first 10 minutes. A quick, throwaway scene that, incidentally, was a major subplot of the novel, thanks to Sonny's elephantine member. It is this monstrous schlong that leads Sonny to hook up with the bridesmaid (Lucy Mancini). They're a good fit, Sonny and Lucy, but mostly because Lucy happens to have an impossibly huge vagina, making her a perfect muse for Sonny's angry flesh python. Puzo's treatment of their romance is both subtle and tender:
"... she couldn't help reaching out to touch his naked body, hold him, make love to him as if those special parts of his body were a plaything, a specially constructed, intricate but innocent toy revealing its known, but still surprising ecstasies. At first she had been ashamed of these excesses but soon realized that they pleased her lover, that her complete sensual enslavement to his body flattered him."
Please don't think too hard about this one.
When Sonny dies, the book continues to follow Lucy, who, remember, only existed because her closet-size vagina could accommodate Sonny. Her association with Sonny's junk upgraded her from nonexistent to supporting. Puzo was really invested in Lucy Mancini and her abnormal genitals, and he wanted to give them both a happy ending. So the second half of the book follows a heartbroken Lucy to Las Vegas, where she falls in love with a charming blond doctor (who, of course, can't compete with the memory of Sonny's world-destroying dick).
Keep in mind, this subplot involves no major characters in the story whatsoever. Michael is still in Sicily, Don Corleone is back in New York ... it's just Lucy and Jules the doctor, living out the most uncomfortable Harlequin romance novel ever written. The closest connection to a living member of the Corleone family is when Jules casually mentions that Fredo keeps catching syphilis. By the end of the novel (about greed, a family of gangsters and the American Dream), Jules performs reconstructive surgery on Lucy's vagina to take it from ultra-freak-giant to standard-vagina-size. With Sonny's dong gone, so goes the only chapel worthy enough to accept it.
"Wait! Wait! Save his cock, for science!"