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Ser Scot A Ellison

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

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1 hour ago, SeanF said:

I think that's the only thing that allowed her to travel back to Valinor.  At the moment she rejected the Ring, I don't think she had any certainty that she would be allowed back to Valinor, making it a remarkable act of self-sacrifice.

Galadriel's predicament must have been terrible.  On the one hand, if Sauron found the Ring, she alone among Elves would be doomed to remain on Middle Earth;  sooner or later she would be captured, and face an eternity of torment at his hands.  On the other hand, her fate would not be much better if the Ring was destroyed.  The power of the Elven rings would fail, and she and Lorien, and all of its people would dwindle to nothing.

And, Frodo gave her the chance to save herself, her people, her works, to avenge her brother, and to rule the world, by offering her the Ring.  She wouldn't even have to take it by force.  I'm pretty sure in her position, I'd have said "Thank you very much, Frodo."

I'd forgotten that Finrod Feleagund was her brother killed by Sauron. And based upon "the Silmarillion" we are shown what lengths Noldoran Elves will go over family honor and the opportunity to avenge a loved one.  

Yeah, she truely would have loved having the One Ring and the opportunity to give Sauron a peice of Elvish Justice.

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3 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

I'd forgotten that Finrod Feleagund was her brother killed by Sauron. And based upon "the Silmarillion" we are shown what lengths Noldoran Elves will go over family honor and the opportunity to avenge a loved one.  

Yeah, she truely would have loved having the One Ring and the opportunity to give Sauron a peice of Elvish Justice.

Out of interest, would you, like me, have gratefully accepted the One Ring, in her position?

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2 minutes ago, SeanF said:

Out of interest, would you, like me, have gratefully accepted the One Ring, in her position?

I cannot say.  If I knew and understood the evil it encompassed and knew what it would do to me, maybe not.  But it would also depend on how hot my anger was at the moment it was presented to me.  I would hope if I was calm and rational I would say no, if I were not... bad things could follow.

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The Lord of the Rings plays straight a lot of tropes which Tolkien's other superior work subverts and arguably is the worse for it but this is like measuring, "Usani Bolt was slightly slower in this race." Tolkien's greyest and most nuanced characters were motivated by greed, revenge, and constantly were at each other's throats. Oh and the leader was a coward and bungler until he had a near-insurmountable advantage he used to great effect as a classical antihero.

I, of course, speak of the Hobbit.

THAT was full of grey characters.

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7 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

You say that as though all Elves would be turned off by one of their own wielding Earthly power and using it to give Elves the rightful place they lost at the end of the Elder days.  Yes, Galadriel with mastery over the One Ring would be a "Lady of Darkness" but she would be "their Lady of Darkness".  We see right now how some are attracted to "powerful people" who promise to smack the right asses.

I imagine some of them would welcome a chance to reassert their dominance over Middle-Earth, although I suspect that more would flee in horror. After all, these are the people who (if Glorfindel is to be believed) are willing to risk the destruction of the Three to end the reign of Sauron. Remember that the enmity between Sauron and the elves goes back a long, long time, and some of those elves probably remember the destruction of Eregion and the siege of Barad-dur.

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1 hour ago, TrackerNeil said:

I imagine some of them would welcome a chance to reassert their dominance over Middle-Earth, although I suspect that more would flee in horror. After all, these are the people who (if Glorfindel is to be believed) are willing to risk the destruction of the Three to end the reign of Sauron. Remember that the enmity between Sauron and the elves goes back a long, long time, and some of those elves probably remember the destruction of Eregion and the siege of Barad-dur.

Tracker,

Yet how tempting would it he to restore the glory and power of the Firstborn.  To foster a Renaissance for Elvish culture and art.  To allow the Three to be used for the purpose for which they were created without Sauron's touch or direct involvment.  By allowing Frodo to continue the quest this opportunity was lost.

Tell me why that isn't "morally grey".

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The other thing about letting Frodo continue... she had no idea that the Quest would succeed (or even that it could - you're literally asking the impossible from Frodo). Ignoring everything else, she could have rationalised taking the Ring as "better I have the Ring than Sauron, because the Quest is impossible."

The most rational response to the Ring in the entire book is, I think, Denethor's suggestion that the Ring be hidden and not used, so that when Sauron gets his hands on it, it won't matter because the war will be over by then, with everyone else dead.

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3 minutes ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

The other thing about letting Frodo continue... she had no idea that the Quest would succeed (or even that it could - you're literally asking the impossible from Frodo). Ignoring everything else, she could have rationalised taking the Ring as "better I have the Ring than Sauron, because the Quest is impossible."

The most rational response to the Ring in the entire book is, I think, Denethor's suggestion that the Ring be hidden and not used, so that when Sauron gets his hands on it, it won't matter because the war will be over by then, with everyone else dead.

That is coldly rational and the quest was, at best a desperate gamble.  I can understand why some would choose otherwise.

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10 minutes ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

The other thing about letting Frodo continue... she had no idea that the Quest would succeed (or even that it could - you're literally asking the impossible from Frodo). Ignoring everything else, she could have rationalised taking the Ring as "better I have the Ring than Sauron, because the Quest is impossible."

The most rational response to the Ring in the entire book is, I think, Denethor's suggestion that the Ring be hidden and not used, so that when Sauron gets his hands on it, it won't matter because the war will be over by then, with everyone else dead.

I think the war was lost primarily because of Saruman. With Saruman and Isengard plus the Rohan, Sauron's military might was capable of being checked as we see with the Necromancer being defeated. However, turning Saruman removes the White Council's ability to defeat Sauron directly and also a massive military ally.

With Gandalf the White, they might have had a chance of it again, especially with the Witch King destroyed.

Even so, the odds weren't good. Sauron had done an excellent job of weakening his opposition to extreme levels.

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RBPL,

and in Celebrimbor’s case, led to him being tortured to death and Sauron putting his body on a pole as a battle standard. How’s that for Adult Themes



Is that from HOME?

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One of the things I truly love about LOTR is the way in which Tolkien explores practically every possibility.

  • Gandalf's view - let's try to destroy the Ring. It's crazy, but it's the right thing, and something might turn up. At least we're not just setting up a new Dark Lord in White.
  • Denethor's view - trying to destroy it is suicide, using it is suicide. Let's hide it, and drag out the war a little longer.
  • Boromir's view - Manichean. Evil is external, and we must defeat Sauron by any means necessary.
  • Saruman's view - Evil can be reasoned with and controlled. 
  • The Tom Bombadil option - Evil is internal, so give it to Tom. He won't be tempted.
  • The throw it into the Sea option - let's kick the can down the road.
  • The send it over the Sea option - let's try for Divine Intervention

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8 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

RBPL,

 



Is that from HOME?

IIRC, it's Unfinished Tales.

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5 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

RBPL,

Is that from HOME?

Unfinished Tales, pp.307-308.

"Concerning the Three Rings, Sauron could learn nothing from Celebrimbor; and he had him put to death. But he guessed the truth, that the Three had been committed to Elvish guardians: and that must mean to Galadriel and Gil-galad. In black anger he turned back to battle; and bearing as a banner Celebrimbor's body hung upon a pole, shot through with Orc-arrows, he turned upon the forces of Elrond."

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31 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Tracker,

Yet how tempting would it he to restore the glory and power of the Firstborn.  To foster a Renaissance for Elvish culture and art.  To allow the Three to be used for the purpose for which they were created without Sauron's touch or direct involvment.  By allowing Frodo to continue the quest this opportunity was lost.

Tell me why that isn't "morally grey".

 

24 minutes ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

The other thing about letting Frodo continue... she had no idea that the Quest would succeed (or even that it could - you're literally asking the impossible from Frodo). Ignoring everything else, she could have rationalised taking the Ring as "better I have the Ring than Sauron, because the Quest is impossible."

The most rational response to the Ring in the entire book is, I think, Denethor's suggestion that the Ring be hidden and not used, so that when Sauron gets his hands on it, it won't matter because the war will be over by then, with everyone else dead.

IIRC, Tolkien's view was that in "real life", the free peoples would have used the Ring as a weapon of war against Sauron. Every rational argument is in favour of doing so.  It would certainly be too dangerous to allow Joe Bloggs to try using the Ring, but people like Gandalf, Elrond, or Galadriel could probably use it effectively.  Most of us, faced with the virtual certainty of defeat at the hands of Sauron (if not immediately, certainly in the foreseeable future) would be willing to run the risk that centuries from now, the new Ring Lord would become a tyrant.

It's an act of absolute faith to pursue Gandalf's strategy.

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While you could argue that some of the characters in LOTR are morally grey, cosmologically, evil is still an external force which can creep into the formerly righteous and corrupt them. There's never the slightest implication that there may be no such thing as good and evil and it's all a matter of perspective.

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9 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Gandalf as an analog of Kierkegaard?

:P

It's counter-intuitive, that the War of the Ring was won by an act of pity and mercy on the part of Bilbo, 80 years previously, and by acts of self-sacrifice and self-denial on the part of the powerful.  Off-hand, I'm finding it hard to think of another story like that.  There's nothing morally grey about that, but it's subtle, all the same.  It's not like a morality tale, in which acts of goodness are bound to generate good outcomes, and bad deeds generate bad outcomes.  For all that the protagonists knew, it might have been the will of Eru that Sauron should win.

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24 minutes ago, Weeping Sore said:

While you could argue that some of the characters in LOTR are morally grey, cosmologically, evil is still an external force which can creep into the formerly righteous and corrupt them. There's never the slightest implication that there may be no such thing as good and evil and it's all a matter of perspective.

WS,

The fact that evil is external in LOTR doesn't mean the characters are left without hard and morally ambiguous choices throughout the story.  That is the entire point of the discussion of why Galadriel had every reason to be genuinely enticed by the possibilities created by possession of the One Ring.

Is it not a "lesser evil" to allow the Elves of Middle-Earth to die or pass away from the world forever?  Yet that was the prospect that "victory" required.

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35 minutes ago, Weeping Sore said:

While you could argue that some of the characters in LOTR are morally grey, cosmologically, evil is still an external force which can creep into the formerly righteous and corrupt them. There's never the slightest implication that there may be no such thing as good and evil and it's all a matter of perspective.

If Evil were purely external, Gandalf should have used the Ring to defeat Sauron. If Evil were purely internal, they should have given the Ring to Tom Bombadil.

Evil in Middle-earth is simultaneously external and internal, a result of dealing with the Fallen World that is Arda Marred. 

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8 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

WS,

The fact that evil is external in LOTR doesn't mean the characters are left without hard and morally ambiguous choices throughout the story.  That is the entire point of the discussion of why Galadriel had every reason to be genuinely enticed by the possibilities created by possession of the One Ring.

Is it not a "lesser evil" to allow the Elves of Middle-Earth to die or pass away from the world forever?  Yet that was the prospect that "victory" required.

You're imagining a meta-fiction from Galadriel's perspective, not the story as told. In LOTR the ring is clearly evil and will eventually corrupt any user. Even as Galadriel envisions the consequences of taking the ring, there is no mention of the good uses she would put her power to, only how (literally) awesome it would make her.

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