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Ser Scot A Ellison

Why Tolkien is not coddling his readers, why Tolkien is awesome

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3 hours ago, TrackerNeil said:

Particularly when the Numenoreans openly express to all and sundry their belief that you and your kind are lesser men. Ouch.

Pretty much, though I meant Gondor not Numenor.

Numenor had the unfortunate issue of being able to hand Sauron his butt.

Albeit, I think Tolkien left it open whether Sauron let himself be captured.

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2 hours ago, C.T. Phipps said:

Pretty much, though I meant Gondor not Numenor.

Numenor had the unfortunate issue of being able to hand Sauron his butt.

Albeit, I think Tolkien left it open whether Sauron let himself be captured.

I was referring to Gondor as well. Faramir is the one who runs through that, uh, specific hierarchy for Frodo and Sam. If someone said that kind of thing today, we'd call him a white supremacist. (Or alt-right, if you prefer.)

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1 hour ago, TrackerNeil said:

I was referring to Gondor as well. Faramir is the one who runs through that, uh, specific hierarchy for Frodo and Sam. If someone said that kind of thing today, we'd call him a white supremacist. (Or alt-right, if you prefer.)

Very true.

Of course, again, the irony is that the Hobbits are longer lived than men and stronger willed. There's a lot of subversiveness to Tolkien which gets lost because people try to make Aragorn and the traditional fantasy heroes into the heroes when they're a distraction at best.

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On ‎12‎/‎26‎/‎2016 at 3:09 AM, TrackerNeil said:

I don't know...it seems to me that Sauron had to be using more than just the threat of retaliation; after all, if the Haradrim or Easterlings had simply abandoned Sauron, he would have been crushed by his many enemies and would have been in no position to feed anyone to Shelob.

As I recall, somewhere in the RotK appendices it's stated that Sauron inflamed the resentment of these peoples against Gondor, and I expect there was a good deal of resentment to inflame. The Numenoreans were clearly disdainful of the Haradrim, calling them "Men of Darkness" and putting them at the bottom of the human quality table. (I am still gobsmacked at the casual was Faramir explains the hierarchy of men to Frodo and Sam, as if he's discussing refrigerators.) Maybe if the kings of Gondor had tried to deal with these peoples not as inferiors but as equals, they could have prevented them allying with Mordor.

And Faramir is one of the more enlightened Numenoreans, since he comments approvingly about how the Stewards encouraged intermarriage between Numenoreans and non-Numenorean inhabitants of Gondor.  Pretty much every Numenorean thinks they're the best, even thousands of years after Numenor fell.

I would guess that Umbar and its hinterland would always have been hostile to Gondor, given that it's a haven for Black Numenoreans and renegades from Gondor.  Likewise, those parts of the Harad that are ruled by Black Numenoreans.  And Gondor would always have been a prime target for people looking for fertile lands to settle.  But, certainly, the attitudes and behaviour of the upper classes of Gondor must be a major impediment to peaceful co-existence.

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On ‎12‎/‎26‎/‎2016 at 3:26 AM, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

Correct - I explore that in my "Why serve the Dark Lord" essay. Sauron harnessed human support with a combination of anti-imperialist appeals and millennia of propaganda and cults.

If Shelob kept the Orcs in line, the faux-word of God (and blind hate) kept the others in line.

Another excellent essay.  The grievances that the Dunlendings, Easterlings, Druedain, and Haradrim have against Gondor and Rohan aren't something I'd ever given much thought to, but they are real.  That's not to say that their aims and methods in the War of the Ring are justified, but they have had wrongs done to them in the past. And, given that it's not just something we can infer, but explicitly stated within the text of the story, we should assume that Tolkien meant us to take this point.

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5 hours ago, SeanF said:

Another excellent essay.  The grievances that the Dunlendings, Easterlings, Druedain, and Haradrim have against Gondor and Rohan aren't something I'd ever given much thought to, but they are real.  That's not to say that their aims and methods in the War of the Ring are justified, but they have had wrongs done to them in the past. And, given that it's not just something we can infer, but explicitly stated within the text of the story, we should assume that Tolkien meant us to take this point.

Yes. Especially the Rohirim come across as assholes towards the Dunlendings. Tolkien implies massacres and maybe even genocide (IIRC that was in Unfinished tales). When Saruman gets the support of the Dunlendings, there is a reason. 

And yeah, the imperial period of Numenor...even as a teenager (or maybe especially because of that) I had a major dislike for them, more than for Sauron. As 15/16 year old I was very "social justice" minded and when people conquer other people because of "we are better than you and we have culture and you are primitives" that did trigger something in me. Late Numenor gave me an uncomfortable "Herrenmenschen" vibe. My mistake back then was to misinterpret Tolkien.

The deeper you look into middle earth, the more nuances. 

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From a PR point of view, Sauron made one major mistake: to use the orcs as fundament of his power base. From a rational and strategic pov I can understand him but it was a PR disaster. 

Orcs are by their nature repulsive and warmongering criminals. It is very hard to submit to your rule when those are the backbone of that rule. 

We should keep in mind that Sauron unlike Morgoth wanted to be looked upon as a benevolent ruler. That his mortal enemies, the Noldor elves and Numenorean aristocracy, paint a different picture...well what do you expect? According to the Brits, the Germans ate Belgian children in WW1 ;)

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2 hours ago, Arakan said:

From a PR point of view, Sauron made one major mistake: to use the orcs as fundament of his power base. From a rational and strategic pov I can understand him but it was a PR disaster. 

Orcs are by their nature repulsive and warmongering criminals. It is very hard to submit to your rule when those are the backbone of that rule. 

We should keep in mind that Sauron unlike Morgoth wanted to be looked upon as a benevolent ruler. That his mortal enemies, the Noldor elves and Numenorean aristocracy, paint a different picture...well what do you expect? According to the Brits, the Germans ate Belgian children in WW1 ;)

In any totalitarian dictatorship, you need people who are capable and willing to inflict the nastiness necessary to keep the public in line. There's also a good deal of difference between appearing as a benevolent ruler versus actually being one. In the case of the orcs, I also note their status as the brutes is as much due to the fact they've been twisted and brutalized from their prior elvish state into servants of Morgoth then Saruman. They are completely loyal due to the fear engendered in them and for once, they do not have to have another side or reason to make sure they stay under Sauron's thumb.

You don't just throw away that kind of resource, especially when you can throw them into the maw of your enemies.

I admit, though, I tend to think of the orcs as just another slave race of Saurons and not fundamentally different from men other than how their culture has been shaped.

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