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Tolkien

Re: Tolkien
January 13, 2014, 02:17:10 AM
Uh but what about the scouring of the Shire?

After the journey is done, those simple hobbits return great warriors and heroes, and find their homeland invaded.

Then they cleanse it. This was removed from the movie entirely, not even hinted at. Frodo just comes home. The scouring is one of the most important parts of the book in my opinion. So no, it isnt the old-liberal Whig/Tory kind of values at all, but the spirit of -what would be called here- an almost pagan heroism (even though Tolkien was Christian).

The simple hobbits did have something the rest lacked maybe, but it wasnt their simplicity itself was it? None of the hobbits were recruited for their ability to grow turnips etc. but dragged into things they didnt think they could do... but did.

Re: Tolkien
January 13, 2014, 10:00:12 AM
I think you are all right.  I find different levels of interpretation of different aspects of the story.  I do think it has political liberal thinking in it, I think it has pagan heroism, I think it also has Catholic views mixed in a superficially Pagan-like belief system.

Really happy how this thread turned out.  I've ended up reading more interesting views than I intended initially.

I was going to share this link in the thread initially but I decided to make it simple and just ask for Metal bands singing about themes of the Tolkien universe.

In here he defends and explains the nature of fantasy.
http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/12/05/j-r-r-tolkien-on-fairy-stories/

Bonus: some drawings by Tolkien.
http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014/01/03/tolkien-artist-illustrator/

Re: Tolkien
January 13, 2014, 10:10:25 AM
The ass chapping part for me isn't the fantasy, it's that the fantasy is all you see being represented from supposed "Tolkien inspired" work.

Re: Tolkien
January 13, 2014, 04:26:35 PM
Funnily enough, Burzum took the supposed binary (good vs evil) moral conflict of Tolkien's story and turned it on it's head, whilst primarily being inspired by the same deep sense of fantasy that Tolkien seemingly was. Do you think Tolkien would still uphold the same political, social or religious affiliations if he were around today? Or is it more so the dominant attitude of an era filtering through the work of an artist.

Re: Tolkien
January 13, 2014, 08:08:57 PM
Quote
is it more so the dominant attitude of an era filtering through the work of an artist.

I believe so.  He was a linguistics teacher.  A great writer.  But his thinking definitely did not escape the attitude of his own people at the time that he lived . Even reading LOTR as a teenager I rolled my eyes at finding some of these things buried in the story.  Even the geographic distribution of Numenor being the "isle of the west by the main continent" , and the land of Mordor being to the South-East of it.  Then you have Sauron recruiting dark-skinned minions from more primitive Eastern/South-Eastern cultures.  Come on...
Plus what other people on this thread mentioned before: all the bourgeois English middle class metaphor of the Hobbits (which is more of a direct reference than a clever allusion) portrayed as the real, only yet unseen hope of Middle Earth.

Re: Tolkien
January 14, 2014, 04:16:39 AM
Quote
is it more so the dominant attitude of an era filtering through the work of an artist.

I believe so.  He was a linguistics teacher.  A great writer.  But his thinking definitely did not escape the attitude of his own people at the time that he lived . Even reading LOTR as a teenager I rolled my eyes at finding some of these things buried in the story.  Even the geographic distribution of Numenor being the "isle of the west by the main continent" , and the land of Mordor being to the South-East of it.  Then you have Sauron recruiting dark-skinned minions from more primitive Eastern/South-Eastern cultures.  Come on...


Come on... what exactly? I dont see any problem with these at all, hell they give the story a bit of colour. The dwarves are Scots, the elves are Welsh, the hobbits peasant englishfolk, just like the movies! Where else would you recruit dark skinned minions anyway if you lived in the North and dark skinned minions were rare?

Re: Tolkien
January 14, 2014, 07:35:14 AM
Quote
Come on... what exactly? I dont see any problem with these at all

Neither do I.
I don't have a big problem with it.  I just tend to dislike when messages are in metaphors but are TOO obvious.
I don't want to start a historico-political discussion, but I also dislike the simplification of the past as "Nazi Germany was the embodiment of (self-made) pure evil (Sauron), with people similar to "us" but twisted through tortures and deprivations (the orcs were allegedly once elves, just as the perverted German people were once great, according to Tolkien)." 

As literature I have no problem with it. I just disagree with that bit of the allegory. 
I like the fact that he really went out of his way to mix Paganism in with Monotheism.  I do think that he is saying that behind all the different gods that the peoples have worshiped there is only one great god (Eru in the Silmarillion).

Re: Tolkien
January 14, 2014, 07:53:10 AM
Funnily enough, Burzum took the supposed binary (good vs evil) moral conflict of Tolkien's story and turned it on it's head, whilst primarily being inspired by the same deep sense of fantasy that Tolkien seemingly was. Do you think Tolkien would still uphold the same political, social or religious affiliations if he were around today? Or is it more so the dominant attitude of an era filtering through the work of an artist.

Yes he would because the conditions of the time of his writing have only exacerbated themselves.

However, given that the boomers gave into priviledge and industrialization, it's entirely possible that Saruman would be welcomed into the shire. It is a tough prediction to make as the books are heroic not defeatist.

Re: Tolkien
January 14, 2014, 03:21:03 PM
Funnily enough, Burzum took the supposed binary (good vs evil) moral conflict of Tolkien's story and turned it on it's head, whilst primarily being inspired by the same deep sense of fantasy that Tolkien seemingly was. Do you think Tolkien would still uphold the same political, social or religious affiliations if he were around today? Or is it more so the dominant attitude of an era filtering through the work of an artist.

Yes he would because the conditions of the time of his writing have only exacerbated themselves.

However, given that the boomers gave into priviledge and industrialization, it's entirely possible that Saruman would be welcomed into the shire. It is a tough prediction to make as the books are heroic not defeatist.

If his writing can envisage such qualities as honor, heroism and nobility in a culture and can appreciate the tiniest and most unique distinctions between different races and languages then I think he would be disgusted with the direction western civilization has taken, especially from the time of his death until now. Though he was probably very much guarded by the comforts of ideological and academic circles even in his own time.

The elves are Welsh

Are you kidding me? It's got to be the Finns right? Seriously though it's also possible that the different 'races' in his story are more like character or behavioural traits that could arise within any nationality, but become dominant with the shifting of the sands of time. It would match up with his condemnation of the blanket-generalization of NS racial dogma.

Re: Tolkien
January 14, 2014, 04:46:49 PM
The elves are Welsh
Are you kidding me? It's got to be the Finns right?

Was kind of thinking of the Celts/Britons (had to keep it within Britain). I suppose Finns works a lot better, but yes I was in fact kidding you.

Fantasy dwarves almost always having broad Scottish-ish accents is very funny to me for some reason.