Jump to content

SeanF

Members
  • Content count

    17,028
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by SeanF

  1. SeanF

    Tolkien 2.0

    The war is as total as say, the War in the Pacific. People who get taken captive by the soldiers of Sauron and Saruman are killed outright (if they're lucky) enslaved and/or tortured (if they aren't.) The free peoples certainly have committed bad deeds. RBPL has commented on Numenorean imperialism, and driving the Dunlendings from their lands. The Rohirrim hunt the Woses for sport. The war of the Orcs and Dwarves was genocidal on both sides. But, the Gondoreans and Rohirrim at least sometimes take prisoners (eg the Dunlendings at Helms Deep). Aragorn warns the Uruk Hai to flee, at Helms Deep. The Silvan Elves of Mirkwood are "reasonably well-behaved even towards their worst enemies" (this comes back to bite them when they allow Gollum some leeway). Gandalf, Frodo, and Bilbo all show pity and mercy towards their enemies, and this is shown as being good thing. Aragorn takes no reprisals against Harad, after the War is over, and gives Mordor to Sauron's slaves. No doubt, there were also cases of massacres and cruelty on the part of Sauron's opponents, but it's pity and mercy, not genocide, that's applauded in the story.
  2. SeanF

    The Realm of the Elderlings by Robin Hobb

    I think it would adapt well for TV. Has anything by Robin Hobb been made into a series, or film?
  3. SeanF

    Tolkien 2.0

    If you prefer, we can call Isengard a police state. The text states that Saruman has quarters for his slaves, and that slaves till the land around Isengard. In all likelihood, some slaves are humans, some are orcs (less fierce orcs are frequently called Snaga by the Uruks). Tolkien says that Saruman emulated the experiments that Morgoth carried out to breed orcs, so we can assume that something very nasty was going on. If enslavement and torture were taking place, rape must also be likely. But, all tyrants have to give some people the chance to profit from serving them voluntarily. For the Dunlendings, it's the chance to recover their lost lands. For the stronger orcs, the chance to give free reign to their desires (eating man-flesh, for example). You're right that many of the Rohirrim absolutely detest Dunlendings, orcs and half orcs, and no doubt would cheerfully exterminate them on the spot. That's the nature of total war. It's also clear that people who are truly morally good shouldn't behave like that. Aragorn offers the Uruk Hai the chance to escape, and Erkenbrand gives mercy to the Dunlendish captives.
  4. SeanF

    The Realm of the Elderlings by Robin Hobb

    Fitz could have saved everyone a lot of trouble if he'd slipped something into Regal's drink.
  5. SeanF

    Tolkien 2.0

    The text relates that Saruman kept slaves, and humans don't willingly mate with orcs, so it's not hard to infer what was taking place (and why it arouses such disgust). It's quite possible that Saruman bought captives, or levied a tribute of slaves from the Dunlendings, in return for his help in regaining their lost lands. As well as a fortress and industrial centre, Isengard was a concentration camp. Edit; When I first read LOTR, Orc-human rape didn't occur to me (I was 12). I thought that Saruman was carrying out loathsome medical experiments on captives, like the ones in Auschwitz or Manchuria.
  6. SeanF

    Tolkien 2.0

    I couldn't agree more. Unless the author is actually bashing me over the head with his or her opinions (Ayn Rand being a case in point) I don't see how their political or religious opinions have any bearing on the merit of their works. Would LOTR be a better book if Tolkien had been a secular socialist, rather than a conservative Catholic? I've no reason to believe so.
  7. SeanF

    Tolkien 2.0

    It's very much a deus ex machina in the film. In the book, Legolas reckons that the Army of the Dead can't actually inflict harm, but their impact is down to the unreasoning terror they inspire in the Corsairs. Once the Corsairs flee their ships, Aragorn sets free their slaves, and they row to Minas Tirith, along with a few thousand soldiers from South Gondor.
  8. SeanF

    Tolkien 2.0

    I think it was HelenaExMachina who came up with the nickname, to describe the Army of the Dead that suddenly materialise from Aragorn's ship, and swarm all over Sauron's army.
  9. SeanF

    Tolkien 2.0

    Wormtongue is so obviously creepy and depraved in the films that you wonder why he'd be trusted with a farthing, let alone the government of Rohan. Treebeard was made as thick as nine planks (no pun intended). Denethor was simply horrible. The Soap Bubbles of Death meant there was never any need for men to actually fight to defend Minas Tirith. The last hour of ROTK was a hideous cut and paste job. And yet.....I really enjoyed the Mines of Moria, Gollum and the passage of the Dead Marshes, the Battle of Helm's Deep (apart from Eomer's cavalry charging over a cliff) the flight to Rivendell, Chirstopher Lee as Saruman, the really nightmarish portrayal of Minas Morgul, and overall, I found the series enjoyable.
  10. SeanF

    Tolkien 2.0

    I think RBPL is doing an outstanding job.
  11. SeanF

    Tolkien 2.0

    Also an interesting point about Eowyn in your essay. She is a national heroine, but in another sense, she is a deserter. Had she not killed the Witch King, things might have gone very hard for her.
  12. SeanF

    Tolkien 2.0

    Not to mention the wonderful, understated, response of Eowyn to the Witch King "Do what you will, I shall hinder you if I may, which was also omitted"
  13. SeanF

    Tolkien 2.0

    A great essay. Don't get me started on battle tactics in the films (which in general, I enjoyed, up until the second half of ROTK, which was a mess). 1. Eomer's cavalry charge over a cliff at the climax of the Battle of Helm's Deep, on top of armoured Uruk Hai wielding pikes. Instead of impaling said cavalry, they inexplicably break and flee; 2. Denethor (in the books) very sensibly evacuates non-combatants from Minas Tirith. In the film, they remain in the city to be slaughtered when Sauron's forces break in. 3. In the books, the Rohirrim destroy half the besieging army by taking them in the rear, by surprise. In the film, the besiegers have time to form up to receive the charge, but like their counterparts in Rohan, inexplicably break and flee. 4. What do cavalry do when faced with elephants? Use horse archers to shoot them down from a distance, according to Tolkien. Of course not in the film. They launch a suicidal charge against them. 5. The Soap Bubbles of Death in any case make the Ride of the Rohirrim completely pointless. 6. The Battle of the Morannon. Everyone breaks formation to charge an army that greatly outnumbers them. Tolkien understood battle tactics. Peter Jackson doesn't.
  14. SeanF

    Tolkien 2.0

    Yes, the Shire is obviously (and amusingly) anachronistic. It's basically nineteenth century rural Warwickshire in a prehistoric world.
  15. SeanF

    Tolkien 2.0

    Investment in pipeweed is plausible. But, I doubt if it would be safe, or sensible, just to keep his mother's money hanging round Bag End. Maybe there are moneylenders or friendly societies in the Shire, that take deposits and pay interest, but I'd have thought that real property is the safest form of investment. As to the Sackville-Bagginses, they've got plenty of money, but the house holds a special place in their hearts.
  16. SeanF

    Tolkien 2.0

    Bilbo has a fine house. According to The Quest for Erebor, he also owns many items of gold, silver, and crystal, so he's plainly well-off. But, none of this produces an income. And, he can afford to live well, and pursue scholarship, without having to earn a living. I always though of Bilbo as having similar social standing to Charles Ryder's father, or Soames Forsyte, the very wealthiest levels of the upper middle classes. I don't know if he owns an estate, and I doubt if shares or 3% consols exist in the Shire, so I would have thought that urban property is the likeliest source of his income. The idea that he owns the Hill and Bagshot Row, perhaps mills, inns, shops etc. seems plausible.
  17. SeanF

    Tolkien 2.0

    I thought it was very good, and of very high quality for a fan-made film. If I didn't know otherwise, I would have assumed that Peter Jackson had produced it. I have one question though. How did Gollum relieve himself, while he was being carried around in the sack?
  18. SeanF

    Tolkien 2.0

    I'll look it up. When I read LOTR for the first time, I remember being horrified by the mental image of Gollum slipping into houses to carry off babies to eat.
  19. SeanF

    Tolkien 2.0

    Movie Denethor was a travesty.
  20. SeanF

    Tolkien 2.0

    I imagine that in Valyria magic and technology went hand in hand. In truth, parts of Westeros do seem quite advanced technologically (say, like Western Europe in 1400). The castles owned by the Great Houses have hot and cold running water, privies, decent sewerage and so on, and places like Oldtown and Lannisport are very prosperous.
  21. SeanF

    Tolkien 2.0

    In both Tolkien and Martin, the past civilisations were more technologically advanced and politically powerful than the current civilisations, but it would be hard to argue that they were better. Numenor, even before Sauron corrupted At-Pharazon, had become very brutal towards the "lesser" men of Middle Earth; Valyria combined the worst aspects of the Roman Republic of the First Century BC with the worst aspects of Numenor (enslavement on a huge scale, genocide of the Rhoynish people, and human sacrifice to fuel their magic).
  22. SeanF

    Young Adult Books: Discuss!

    Talking of young adult books, this a very sad and disturbing case:- http://www.itv.com/news/anglia/2017-01-12/author-joked-homes-cesspit-was-a-good-place-to-hide-a-body-years-before-being-dumped-there/
  23. SeanF

    The Realm of the Elderlings by Robin Hobb

    Liveships is my favourite Robin Hobb trilogy so far (although the latest trilogy may turn out to be even better). There is a considerable amount of rape in the series, but handled very well, focusing on the impact on the victims (Kennit, Althea, Serilla) very believably, rather than on the act itself.
×