Jun 29, 2:27pm
Bravo, squire, I enjoyed reading that.
Bravo! I note that if we think in way #2...
Thinking about your way-of-thinking #2 (in which Men, elves, hobbits, dwarves etc. are each a different "aspect of the human spirit and sensibility") it's then satisfying to note that the Downfall of the Lord Of The Rings and the Return Of The King is achieved by those aspects working together. That includes not only the contributions made deliberately by elves, Men, dwarves, etc. but the unintended contributions of the negative aspects of humanity (as represented in this scheme by characters such as Saruman and Shagrat, Gorbag and Gollum).
My thought having read way-of-thinking #1 is that many other fantasy writers have made that explicit - people from our world visit Narnia (or Elidor, or many other worlds) and turn out to be or have some missing ingredient needed in the fantasy world. But nobody from 'our world' ends up in Middle-earth in an equivalent way. Through-the -lookingglass or Through-the -wardrobe visitors are also handy for exposition, because they plausibly need explanations for much that readers need to know. Hobbits form Middle-earth's nearest equivalent, I suppose they are certainly usefully clueless about the world outside the Shire.
Hobbits perhaps seem more familiar than they would if really encountered. I think you're right, squire, about the child-like aspects of hobbits being important here. Also it's partly, I think that those of us who've already read The Hobbit think we're already Hobbit-friends when we stat LOTR If we haven't, then the vaguely Victorian world of The Shire is perhaps more familiar to the audience than the mostly Medieval men of Rohan or Gondor. I mean 'familiar' both in terms of our own culture, and what literature Tolkien might have expected his initial readers to have read (Nineteenth-century authors such as Austen, Elliot, Dickens and so on having perhaps figured more in their reading than Beowulf or the Germanic or Norse epics). Maybe that's why we don't need to wait for the appearance of Men at Lakeland or at Bree to see someone we recognize.
"Yes, I am half-elven. No, it does not mean that I 'have one pointy ear' "
Sven Elven, proprietor of the Rivendell convenience store.
(This post was edited by noWizardme on Jun 29, 2:36pm)