Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Ser Scot A Ellison

Tolkien 4.0 (A dark and hungry sea lion arises)

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, SeanF said:

And, Denethor's views are actually entirely reasonable.  If I were in this world, I would be arguing along the lines of Denethor rather than Gandalf.  I would think that sending the Ringbearer to Mordor was an act of appalling folly.  I would view Aragorn's claim to the throne as being like some descendant of Charlemagne telling me, the President of France, that he was the rightful king.

It's an interesting question: if Sauron had caught Frodo, and reclaimed the Ring... would Gandalf be culpable? Tolkien would say No, but I'd imagine that Denethor (and George RR Martin, for that matter) would disagree.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, ASOIAFrelatedusername said:

That king being Earnur. The claim of Aragorn's line was rejected a thousands years prior to the events

It wasn’t “rejected” it was bypassed by selecting a new king.  Gondor wasn’t so apolitic as to tell the King of Ardethain to “go jump in a lake”.  They explained as diplomatically as they could that they looked to the line of Anarion for their kings and spoke of renewed ties of friendship between the North and South Kingdoms.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

It's an interesting question: if Sauron had caught Frodo, and reclaimed the Ring... would Gandalf be culpable? Tolkien would say No, but I'd imagine that Denethor (and George RR Martin, for that matter) would disagree.

Denethor was a conservative.  He was doing what he thought he must to defend his people.  He was willing to sacrifice whomever he thought he must to do his duty to Gondor.  He did, in the end after believing his last son had died, surrender to despair and madness.  But he did it after many years of service and faith to his people.

It’s part of the reason I hate, with a white hot burning flame, Peter Jackson’s interpretation of Denethor as carpet chewing crazy man and all around moronic asshole.  Denethor was a really interesting character.  Jackson turned him into a one note shithead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, ASOIAFrelatedusername said:

That king being Earnur. The claim of Aragorn's line was rejected a thousands years prior to the events

Right. Though worth noting that the claim was rejected under a false premise, namely that Isildur was not High King after his father’s death. As Tolkien wrote, the Steward and Council of Gondor refused to respond when Arvedui pointed out that fact.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, Ran said:

Right. Though worth noting that the claim was rejected under a false premise, namely that Isildur was not High King after his father’s death. As Tolkien wrote, the Steward and Council of Gondor refused to respond when Arvedui pointed out that fact.

Yup, they dodged as diplomatically as they thought they could get away with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Ran said:

Right. Though worth noting that the claim was rejected under a false premise, namely that Isildur was not High King after his father’s death. As Tolkien wrote, the Steward and Council of Gondor refused to respond when Arvedui pointed out that fact.

Neither Isildur (after leaving Gondor) nor his descendants exercised the office of High King though if I recall correctly. The premise is not really false.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, ASOIAFrelatedusername said:

Neither Isildur (after leaving Gondor) nor his descendants exercised the office of High King though if I recall correctly.

Isildur was definitely recognized as High King, and Valandil his son used the title of High King in Arnor, as distinct from his cousin Meneldil, who was King of Gondor. The only thing Valandil didn't seem to do is attempt to press the point that the high kingship meant that Meneldil should consult with him and whatnot.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Denethor was a conservative.  He was doing what he thought he must to defend his people.  He was willing to sacrifice whomever he thought he must to do his duty to Gondor.  He did, in the end after believing his last son had died, surrender to despair and madness.  But he did it after many years of service and faith to his people.

It’s part of the reason I hate, with a white hot burning flame, Peter Jackson’s interpretation of Denethor as carpet chewing crazy man and all around moronic asshole.  Denethor was a really interesting character.  Jackson turned him into a one note shithead.

Agree totally. Jackson's Denethor is particularly awful for wasting the  talents of John Noble, who could have been great in another adaptation. Peter Vaughan in the BBC Radio play gave a version much closer to the book, and the narrator is there to conclude the character with the memorable line:

Quote

"And it was said that ever after, if any man looked in that Stone, unless he had great strength of will to turn it to other purpose, he saw only two aged hands withering in flame."

 

Edited by dog-days

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As always on this subject, I agree about the awfulness of the film depiction and my admiration for Denethor. I don’t think, up to the pyre, I would have done differently.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Ran said:

Except the President of France doesn’t have it as part of their official role to await the return of an heir of Charlemagne to be a true king. It’s explicit that the Stewards in general, and Denethor in particular up until his despair (as recounted by Faramir’s recollection of Boromir questioning his father) saw their awaiting the return of the rightful king to be a foundational aspect of their role.

I suppose then it's like inter-war Hungary, a kingdom without a king. 

That said, Aragorn's claim to Gondor is not really very strong, based upon descent and bloodlines.  It's three thousand years since his ancestor ruled Arnor and Gondor.

 OTOH, the fact that Eru wants him to be King of Gondor is the strongest claim of all, but Denethor does not know this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Hereward said:

As always on this subject, I agree about the awfulness of the film depiction and my admiration for Denethor. I don’t think, up to the pyre, I would have done differently.

I agree with all of that.  I just don't understand why Denethor was portrayed the way he was.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

It's an interesting question: if Sauron had caught Frodo, and reclaimed the Ring... would Gandalf be culpable? Tolkien would say No, but I'd imagine that Denethor (and George RR Martin, for that matter) would disagree.

I would hold him culpable for gross incompetence, unless I knew he was an archangel, fulfilling God's will on Earth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/11/2021 at 2:13 AM, The Marquis de Leech said:

Just finished my first full re-read of The Lord of the Rings in many years (and my first since I started doing my own writing). Apart from Books I and VI, it is notable how fast-moving the book is, and even those can move when they want (fun fact: Farmer Maggot appears in the space of three pages). One can see the flaws, however: Merry's decision to serve Theoden because Theoden was polite to him feels extremely forced. Frodo disappears throughout swathes of his own book, while keeping Saruman off-stage (save for a flashback) until his actual defeat feels like a questionable structural decision.

Gandalf and Denethor verbally sniping at each other is just brilliant though. Gandalf has had his own way thus far,.. and now runs into an antagonist who is Smarter than the Average Bear.

I've never really understood the complaints about LOTR being 'slow' (or Tolkien being tediously descriptive, for that matter) since the book has always read as very on-the-move to me. We're always going somewhere, experiencing something, or being told interesting things. And compared to many contemporary fantasy series' Rings is downright accelerated in its pacing. I think the only arguably 'filler' part is Tom Bombadil, and even he at least serves some function in the text. 

For me, the weirdest bit in the book is when Gildor is told about the Nazgul and Gandalf's unexplained absence at the Woody End, but for some reason is like “Oh my God! You must flee, Frodo! Run away! Run to the hills, don't let them catch you! Anyway, I've got stuff to do, hope you and your friends don't die! Bye!” it's just a bit... odd considering the graveness of the situation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOTR is wonderful. The most skillful writers can vary their pacing, and voice, and he does! Still, I heard some business people complimenting the leader for not having a “ council of Elrond”.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Ser Drewy said:

I've never really understood the complaints about LOTR being 'slow' (or Tolkien being tediously descriptive, for that matter) since the book has always read as very on-the-move to me. We're always going somewhere, experiencing something, or being told interesting things. And compared to many contemporary fantasy series' Rings is downright accelerated in its pacing. I think the only arguably 'filler' part is Tom Bombadil, and even he at least serves some function in the text. 

For me, the weirdest bit in the book is when Gildor is told about the Nazgul and Gandalf's unexplained absence at the Woody End, but for some reason is like “Oh my God! You must flee, Frodo! Run away! Run to the hills, don't let them catch you! Anyway, I've got stuff to do, hope you and your friends don't die! Bye!” it's just a bit... odd considering the graveness of the situation.

The book is fast-paced, and as you say, especially compared to a lot of fantasy authors. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Ser Drewy said:

I've never really understood the complaints about LOTR being 'slow' (or Tolkien being tediously descriptive, for that matter) since the book has always read as very on-the-move to me. We're always going somewhere, experiencing something, or being told interesting things. And compared to many contemporary fantasy series' Rings is downright accelerated in its pacing. I think the only arguably 'filler' part is Tom Bombadil, and even he at least serves some function in the text. 

For me, the weirdest bit in the book is when Gildor is told about the Nazgul and Gandalf's unexplained absence at the Woody End, but for some reason is like “Oh my God! You must flee, Frodo! Run away! Run to the hills, don't let them catch you! Anyway, I've got stuff to do, hope you and your friends don't die! Bye!” it's just a bit... odd considering the graveness of the situation.

Oh, Gildor is my least-favourite character for that very reason. He's there at the Grey Havens three years later, so he's hardly in a rush... would it have killed him to accompany Frodo to Rivendell, or at least Bree?

(Tolkien's Quendiphilia grates a bit on occasion, and this is one of those occasions).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gildor's remarks about not being able to give advice because of Frodo's cageyness, and his concern of meddling in the affairs of Gandalf, strike me as the answer to it: while he knew the situation was serious, he believed that had his help been wanted it would have been asked for. So while he makes sure to send word out -- word that ends up helping them, ultimately -- he and his companions go on their way.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/11/2021 at 12:07 PM, Ran said:

Except the President of France doesn’t have it as part of their official role to await the return of an heir of Charlemagne to be a true king. It’s explicit that the Stewards in general, and Denethor in particular up until his despair (as recounted by Faramir’s recollection of Boromir questioning his father) saw their awaiting the return of the rightful king to be a foundational aspect of their role.

I'm not sure we can pretend that the rule of the Stewards 'until the king returns' ever referred to a scion from Isildur's line - or any heir of Elendil for that matter. It seems to have specifically referred to King Eärnur himself, who had disappeared at Minas Morgul and whose ultimate fate wasn't clear. Hence the Stewards started to rule 'until the king returns'. This sort of got a life of its own in prophecy and the hopes of the common people, but whoever decided that the Steward Húrin should rule Gondor and that his son should succeed him in that capacity didn't think 'the king' would magically pop up one day.

If anyone ever thought the heirs of Isildur in the North should rule Gondor then they should offered the crown to one of them ... but that never happened, indicating nobody ever thought of them as being 'kings in waiting who might return one day'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/14/2021 at 9:24 AM, Lord Varys said:

I'm not sure we can pretend that the rule of the Stewards 'until the king returns' ever referred to a scion from Isildur's line - or any heir of Elendil for that matter. It seems to have specifically referred to King Eärnur himself, who had disappeared at Minas Morgul and whose ultimate fate wasn't clear. Hence the Stewards started to rule 'until the king returns'. This sort of got a life of its own in prophecy and the hopes of the common people, but whoever decided that the Steward Húrin should rule Gondor and that his son should succeed him in that capacity didn't think 'the king' would magically pop up one day.

If anyone ever thought the heirs of Isildur in the North should rule Gondor then they should offered the crown to one of them ... but that never happened, indicating nobody ever thought of them as being 'kings in waiting who might return one day'.

I'm of the opinion that Gondor (post loss of the palantir in the North and so zero communication) had no idea that any heirs of Elendil survived. From a logical perspective why would any survivors not come to Gondor with Earnur after the destruction of Arthedain?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...