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Ser Scot A Ellison

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

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46 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

Yeah, although I don't by into that epic pooh bullcrap, I don't think LotR is that bleak. Now, The Simil...ilil....hold on how do you spell that?. Yes. The Silmarillion That's some dark fucked up shit.

I also find the people who seem to object to Tolkien purely based on his religion then try and cry "death of the author" to be, well, what? That's not how that works.

The majority of the Christian stuff of Tolkien is in the Silmarillion. Which is some bleak dark shit as you say.

Also, taking from mythologies (and I say that as a theist) is fine EXCEPT when its Christianity?

Wth is that about?

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PFft, well, Bakker probably shouldn't have filled his work with all that sexism then.

21 minutes ago, C.T. Phipps said:

The majority of the Christian stuff of Tolkien is in the Silmarillion. Which is some bleak dark shit as you say.

Also, taking from mythologies (and I say that as a theist) is fine EXCEPT when its Christianity?

Wth is that about?

People are weird.

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17 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

PFft, well, Bakker probably shouldn't have filled his work with all that sexism then.

People are weird.

Well, I am not using Bakker as an example, just what he has to say on the subject of finding what you want. If you want to, you can surely find it in most books, whatever it is you go into looking for. Sure, plenty of sexism in TSA and I'm sure it is indeed the intention of the author, also.

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I've read the Hobbit and LotR, once. I think the books portray a bleaker ending then what you see in the films, for sure. I guess if you go into LotR looking for Christian allegory, it is definitely there, as I've seen many people make the case for it. But, like someone said upthread, religion isn't even brought up in the books. I just always thought it to be a story about never giving up and Good prevailing over Evil, with that mindset. The original fellowship journey, if you will. 

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To quickly address the earlier point about Tolkien's pessimism - most people in 1913 thought (with some justification) that everything was getting better and better. We know what happened. Tolkien was 21 years old in 1913, saw his friends get massacred on the Western Front, then spent the next few decades watching an apparent slide into barbarism (see his letters from 1945, where he is horrified at his fellow citizens calling for the complete extermination of all Germans).

Nor is current "prosperity" really inconsistent with Tolkien's work. I mean, the Numenorean Empire at its height was able to humiliate Sauron (and in his unpublished stuff, there's implied steel ships and long-range artillery), even if it ended up as a brutal colonial Empire that invoked (literally) the wrath of God. Tolkien never disputes the ability of Men (or Elves) to come up with clever technology, only our maturity in applying it. True Evil in Tolkien's worldview was about "domination" (either of others, or of the environment).  

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Honestly, I repudiate the idea that Tolkien portrayed the ending of the Lord of the Rings as sunshine and rainbows OR some bleak pessmistic "everything which was good is only going to worse." Tolkien was a better writer than that and he's the reason that he's the Gold Standard of FantasyTM which only Martin has really gotten close to approaching. No, Tolkien plays a "Good" ending with COST. Even then, I'd argue the ending is ambiguous.

Gondor is going to become a revitalized nation under a incredibly well-equipped King (which isn't actually a change because Denethor is probably the singularly most talented and well-equipped individual after Aragorn. Eomer and the Rohan are going to enter a new age of peace with the Gondor. The Hobbits aren't going to be enslaved.

However, the elves have left Middle Earth and the Dwarves have lost Moira. There's not going to be a revitalizing of them. The dwarves are going to fade away in relevance every bit as much as the elves, eventually disappearing into their mountains and dying out. The Ents are also nicely fucked. Tolkien was a smart enough writer that he didn't have them find the Ent-Wives. No, they're dead and while he doesn't really elaborate on it, they're doomed to die out too. Hell, even the Scouring of the Shire has its point as it shows the Hobbits DON'T get away unscathed and have a brief civil war. They're closer to being humans now with all of their ugliness and wars.

Life goes on and gets better for some people and it gets shittier for others.

It's an authentic ending because the world doesn't enter a new Golden or Dark Age but just another stage of life with lots of new complicated parts. The only real ending I think which matches it is actually The First Law Trilogy where nothing is really resolved except the immediate problems.

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13 hours ago, C.T. Phipps said:

?

Also, Tolkien's Catholicism aside, has anyone noticed the Lord of the Rings is one of the least religious worlds in fantasy? There ARE no organized religions in Middle Earth.

Organised religion seems to have unpleasant connotations in Middle Earth, being associated with the cults of Morgoth and Sauron.

But, the free peoples are certainly not irreligious.  They all  take the existence of Eru and  the Valar pretty much for granted.  And, quite clearly, the will of Eru is plainly at work in the World.

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6 hours ago, C.T. Phipps said:

Gondor is going to become a revitalized nation under a incredibly well-equipped King (which isn't actually a change because Denethor is probably the singularly most talented and well-equipped individual after Aragorn. Eomer and the Rohan are going to enter a new age of peace with the Gondor. The Hobbits aren't going to be enslaved.

Why do you think Aragorn was well-equipped to be king? He's certainly brave and trustworthy, but so was Robert Baratheon when he overthrew Aerys Targaryen. By his own admission, Aragorn is an "ill chooser", and strong decision-making abilities seem much more relevant to the role of ruler than courage or integrity. 

Sure, Aragorn was a worthy warrior, but again, so was Robert. I'm not saying the Heir of Isildur would be a bad king, but I don't necessarily think he'd be an incredible one, either. 

(I may be initiating thread drift here, and if so I'll withdraw the comment.)

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4 minutes ago, TrackerNeil said:

Why do you think Aragorn was well-equipped to be king? He's certainly brave and trustworthy, but so was Robert Baratheon when he overthrew Aerys Targaryen. By his own admission, Aragorn is an "ill chooser", and strong decision-making abilities seem much more relevant to the role of ruler than courage or integrity. 

Sure, Aragorn was a worthy warrior, but again, so was Robert. I'm not saying the Heir of Isildur would be a bad king, but I don't necessarily think he'd be an incredible one, either. 

Aragorn gave Mordor to Sauron's former Slaves and made peace with the Haradrim.  We don't get many details of the sasuage making parts of Aragorn's reign but the Appendices make clear he did well (textual not based on Tolkien outside his books saying X happened later ;) )

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2 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Aragorn gave Mordor to Sauron's former Slaves and made peace with the Haradrim.  We don't get many details of the sasuage making parts of Aragorn's reign but the Appendices make clear he did well.

But what about the orcs--were they pardoned, or were they killed? And would that be all orcs, even the babies? And how was this peace with Harad forged? I think these are sort of "happily ever after" things, but I'm with GRRM; I want to know specifics before I pass judgment.

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11 hours ago, Michael Seswatha Jordan said:

That not I really care about this, but i find it absurd to say authorial intent does not matter. .

 

As a Tolkien fan and one who has read Letters of Tolkien, I am also of the opinion that not taking what the author himself has to say on the matter into account, is a false position to take. Of course he himself is more equipped than anyone to take about intention and content. Especially Tolkien, since he is an author who took the time to explain things at length.

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26 minutes ago, TrackerNeil said:

But what about the orcs--were they pardoned, or were they killed? And would that be all orcs, even the babies? And how was this peace with Harad forged? I think these are sort of "happily ever after" things, but I'm with GRRM; I want to know specifics before I pass judgment.

I would imagine that Orcs were probably left to their own devices, so long as they avoided Gondor or Rohan, or any allied state.   Aragorn is a remarkably merciful man, for his time and place, perhaps unrealistically so.  The Dwarves certainly had no compunction about carrying out genocide of Orcs (and presumably, vice versa).

For once, I think that Saruman was telling the truth, when he told the Dunlendings that the Rohirrim burned their captives alive (we know from the text that they hunted the Druedain for sport).  The ethnic hatred that existed between the Rohirrim and Dunlendings must have been intense.  The presence of Aragorn and Gandalf may have prevented very cruel revenge being taken against prisoners.

 

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34 minutes ago, TrackerNeil said:

But what about the orcs--were they pardoned, or were they killed? And would that be all orcs, even the babies? And how was this peace with Harad forged? I think these are sort of "happily ever after" things, but I'm with GRRM; I want to know specifics before I pass judgment.

I... believe I've asked that question myself in a thread I started years ago.  We don't know.  I suspect the orcs faded along with the Elves and the Dwarves.  We aren't given any evidence of punitive expeditions against them.  Therefore, I go with faded from existence.  Based upon inferences from the text.

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From Letter 244:

… to be Prince of Ithilien, the greatest noble after Dol Amroth in the revived Númenórean state of Gondor, soon to be of imperial power and prestige, was not a ‘market-garden job’ as you term it. Until much had been done by the restored King, the P. of Ithilien would be the resident march-warden of Gondor, in its main eastward outpost – and also would have many duties in rehabilitating the lost territory, and clearing it of outlaws and orc-remnants, not to speak of the dreadful vale of Minas Ithil (Morgul). I did not, naturally, go into details about the way in which Aragorn, as King of Gondor, would govern the realm. But it was made clear that there was much fighting, and in the earlier years of A.’s reign expeditions against enemies in the East. The chief commanders, under the King, would be Faramir and Imrahil; and one of these would normally remain a military commander at home in the King’s absence. A Númenórean King was monarch, with the power of unquestioned decision in debate; but he governed the realm with the frame of ancient law, of which he was administrator (and interpreter) but not the maker. In all debatable matters of importance domestic, or external, however, even Denethor had a Council, and at least listened to what the Lords of the Fiefs and the Captains of the Forces had to say. Aragorn re-established the Great Council of Gondor, and in that Faramir, who remained by inheritance the Steward (or representative of the King during his absence abroad, or sickness, or between his death and the accession of his heir) would [be] the chief counsellor.

From Morgoth's Ring (HOME X, p419):

But even before this wickedness of Morgoth was suspected the Wise in the Elder Days taught always that the Orcs were not 'made' by Melkor, and therefore were not in their origin evil. They might have become irredeemable (at least by Elves and Men), but they remained within the Law. That is, that though of necessity, being the fingers of the hand of Morgoth, they must be fought with the utmost severity, they must not be dealt with in their own terms of cruelty and treachery. Captives must not be tormented, not even to discover information for the defence of the homes of Elves and Men. If any Orcs surrendered and asked for mercy, they must be granted it, even at a cost. This was the teaching of the Wise, though in the horror of the War it was not always heeded.

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As for Aragorn's qualifications - the guy knows Gondor from his days as Thorongil (when he was Denethor's great rival). He's been practically everywhere ("even to Far Harad, where the stars are strange"), so he understands local and foreign customs. He's got the palantir of Orthanc, so he's not lacking information. He's big on devolving power, and respecting limits (he won't enter The Shire). Et cetera. Martin's criticism is misplaced - not least because Aragorn isn't the focus; the hobbits are, and we are told a fair bit about how they put The Shire back together after the Scouring.

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42 minutes ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

 

But even before this wickedness of Morgoth was suspected the Wise in the Elder Days taught always that the Orcs were not 'made' by Melkor, and therefore were not in their origin evil. They might have become irredeemable (at least by Elves and Men), but they remained within the Law. That is, that though of necessity, being the fingers of the hand of Morgoth, they must be fought with the utmost severity, they must not be dealt with in their own terms of cruelty and treachery. Captives must not be tormented, not even to discover information for the defence of the homes of Elves and Men. If any Orcs surrendered and asked for mercy, they must be granted it, even at a cost. This was the teaching of the Wise, though in the horror of the War it was not always heeded.

I imagine that Aragorn, Imrahil, Faramir would adhere to those rules.  Other men wouldn't.  Beorn was happy to nail an orc's head to his gate post, and The Hobbit mentions in passing that Orcs were hunted out of the Misty Mountains.

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1 hour ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

I... believe I've asked that question myself in a thread I started years ago.  We don't know.  I suspect the orcs faded along with the Elves and the Dwarves.  We aren't given any evidence of punitive expeditions against them.  Therefore, I go with faded from existence.  Based upon inferences from the text.

And (to just back a bit) why is giving Mordor to the slaves necessarily wise? Sure, it's good, but then so was much of what Danaerys did in Meereen, and that really hasn't worked out well for the people of Meereen. George Bush toppled a dictator, but in the judgment of many (me included) the consequences were far worse. To know if Aragorn's move was good, I'd need to know more about the specifics of the handover of Mordor, which, as you say, we don't know. So I'm going to withhold judgment as to the worthiness of Aragorn's reign.

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