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Ser Scot A Ellison

Tolkien 4.0 (A dark and hungry sea lion arises)

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1 minute ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

What make Leto a “bad guy” then?

I'll take 'Lack of a beard like Michael Moorcock' for $500, Alex.

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Moorcock's actually the author by whom I have read the most individual books (some fifty-six). When he's on form, he's very good - I love Stormbringer. When he's bad, he's very bad - the less said about The Revenge of the Rose, the better. The sad thing is that, as time has gone on, he has increasingly felt the need to hit the reader over the head with his messages. His objections to Tolkien in Epic Pooh might be summarised as "Tolkien has political opinions I disagree with. Therefore, he's bad" - in short, not worth bothering with.

Also, if Tolkien's plot holes are an issue, one can get very... thorough... with critiquing Moorcock. But plot holes honestly don't matter to writing, except as insofar the reader notices them. I suspect Moorcock (never one for consistency) would agree.

Anyone calling Moorcock the Father of Dark Fantasy clearly doesn't know their genre history very well. Clark Ashton Smith, anyone? Moorcock's biggest contribution was being a forerunner of deconstructionist fantasy (not of Tolkien, but of Robert E. Howard), and introducing various tropes. Soul-drinking swords, for instance. Oh, and the conscious Jungian and Freudian symbolism. 

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21 hours ago, BloodyJollyRoger said:

Michael Moorcock meant most of the characters don’t change. They return home and alive.

I'm guessing you love The Silmarillion then?

(Moorcock also likes Harry Potter... where Harry lives happily ever after).

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2 hours ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

I'm guessing you love The Silmarillion then?

(Moorcock also likes Harry Potter... where Harry lives happily ever after).

I don’t love the Silmarillion.

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35 minutes ago, Ser Drewy said:

Perhaps a good book requires several on-screen rapes as well as endless death? :idea:

But Moorcock doesn't do on-screen rapes. He has rapist characters (both as protagonists and as villains), but it isn't on-screen.

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12 hours ago, BloodyJollyRoger said:

Leto isn’t a good guy.

So 'Dune' is definitely a bad book then by your standards. Paul, Guerney, Jessica, Chani, Stilgar - all alive!

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18 hours ago, Galactus said:

While I think it's not *entirely* fair, Tolkien's kind of conservative-catholic ecologism has certain touchpoints with certain types of fascism, so that charge largely depends on how far you stretch "crypto-"

 

This is the thing really. While it's a terrible essay and the extent of Moorcock's criticism unfair, not everything he says about LotR is wrong. It's just that he skates over what could be interesting criticisms of the baked-in classism and a deeper engagement with some potentially fair points about how Tolkien's nostalgia for the green shire isn't based on genuine environmentalism but a simple fear of the modern (though in Epic Pooh itself Moorcock's framing of that argument is as pointlessly reductive as the position he's arguing against, what with him sneering at people who prefer to holiday in sunny countries). And he does that skating in order to give more space to petty criticisms of the writing and laughable misrepresentations of the 'happy' ending and what Tolkien really meant by escapism.

In fact it's also pretty clear that not only has Moorcock not properly read LotR, he also hasn't properly read On Fairy-Stories,  The fragment quoted from the essay is used to argue that Tolkien is saying pretty much the exact opposite of what that essay is actually about, especially when talking about escapism. When Tolkien says fairy stories are escapist, he is already countering the definition of escapism that Moorcock later used to try to slate him:

 

Quote

I have claimed that Escape is one of the main functions of fairy-stories, and since I do not disapprove of them, it is plain that I do not accept the tone of scorn or pity with which “Escape” is now so often used:a tone for which the uses of the word outside literary criticism give no warrant at all. In what themisusers are fond of calling Real Life, Escape is evidently as a rule very practical, and may even beheroic. In real life it is difficult to blame it, unless it fails; in criticism it would seem to be the worse thebetter it succeeds. Evidently we are faced by a misuse of words, and also by a confusion of thought.Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, whenhe cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls? The world outside has not become less real because the prisoner cannot see it. In using escape in this waythe critics havechosen the wrong word, and, what is more, they are confusing, not always by sincere error, the Escapeof the Prisoner with the Flight of the Deserter. Just so a Party-spokesman might have labelled departurefrom the misery of the Führer'sor any other Reich and even criticism of it as treachery. In the same waythese critics, to make confusion worse, and so to bring into contempt their opponents, stick their label ofscorn not only on to Desertion, but on to real Escape, and what are oftenits companions, Disgust,Anger, Condemnation, and Revolt.


Tolkien also at no point suggests that, even though he believes the happy ending is a necessary part of a true fairy story, sadness and loss shouldn't be present even at that ending. And hell, he isn't even talking about LotR there - all the essay is about is defining fairy stories as a narrative form, one that lotr by his own definition only parlty fits.

 
There's lots of valid ways to criticise LotR and Tolkien, but constantly just referring back to Moorcock to do so just suggests a person doesn't really understand what they are at all.

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10 hours ago, Vaughn said:

So 'Dune' is definitely a bad book then by your standards. Paul, Guerney, Jessica, Chani, Stilgar - all alive!

I’m a fan of Dune, and The Foundation book series. It is just only in fantasy.

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22 hours ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

But everyone dies. Your criteria for great art!

Lord Of The Rings is trash. 3 Books just to throw a ring into a Volcano.

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10 minutes ago, BloodyJollyRoger said:

Lord Of The Rings is trash. 3 Books just to throw a ring into a Volcano.

A failed attempt to throw a ring into a volcano.

As opposed to an emo-dude with a Freudian fixation on a phallic object? See I can play this too.

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26 minutes ago, BloodyJollyRoger said:

Lord Of The Rings is trash. 3 Books just to throw a ring into a Volcano.

Honestly, no matter how hard you try to make throwing something into an active, broiling volcano boring... it's not. :P

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1 hour ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

A failed attempt to throw a ring into a volcano.

As opposed to an emo-dude with a Freudian fixation on a phallic object? See I can play this too.

Lord Of The Rings is basically a walking simulator in book form.

 

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2 hours ago, BloodyJollyRoger said:

Lord Of The Rings is trash. 3 Books just to throw a ring into a Volcano.

Just view the whole thing from Sauron's perspective then - an epic tale how the hero plotted and schemed for centuries and all of his (?) plans were ruined by three halfings. He had those Numenorean immigrants on the ropes and the g__ d___ elves were finally moseying off the West. He was set to rule over the world of orcs and men with unchecked power but no, it all ends in total ruin.

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3 minutes ago, Vaughn said:

Just view the whole thing from Sauron's perspective then - an epic tale how the hero plotted and schemed for centuries and all of his (?) plans were ruined by three halfings. He had those Numenorean immigrants on the ropes and the g__ d___ elves were finally moseying off the West. He was set to rule over the world of orcs and men with unchecked power but no, it all ends in total ruin.

I did..I felt bad for the guy.

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Just now, The Marquis de Leech said:

One book, cut into three by the publisher due to a paper shortage in post-war Britain.

In a bookstore they sold separate when I got them. 

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