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Female characters in the Lord of the Rings
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noWizardme
Half-elven


Jun 7 2013, 7:46am

Post #51 of 71 (709 views)
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Tolkien sees the good in many kinds of people [In reply to] Can't Post

He doesn't have a small group of young, fit, attractive, talented heroes (male and female) in a world of fools or stick characters. There are several characters who are wise if not conventionally academically clever: Gaffer, Maggot, Butterbur. And ioreth, as has already been discussed! There's probably a message in Gandalf's regard and understanding for these people (I imagine that Saruman would only respect book- learning).

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


Maciliel
Valinor


Jun 7 2013, 11:33am

Post #52 of 71 (697 views)
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eowyn's choice [In reply to] Can't Post

 
although on some levels i have issues with the author's choice (rather than eowyn's), tolkien's decision to have eowyn put down the sword and move towards a more peaceful existence is in line with how tolkien saw the power of females, his descriptions of the nature of female elves (nissi) and male elves (neri), and the incompatibility of death and healing.

on the "of maeglin" chapter discussion thread, i excerpted a bit from morgoth's ring that describes this...

tolkien's thoughts on death and healing and males and females

in that context, i can see how the author's choice for eowyn makes sense with his overall view that arms, death, etc. are sometimes necessary, but are intrinsically at odds with life and healing.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jun 7 2013, 12:18pm

Post #53 of 71 (700 views)
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The lost woman (well, female) of 'The Hobbit' [In reply to] Can't Post

In the early, unpublished version of the chapter "Flies and Spiders", the giant spider that Bilbo slays before naming his sword Sting, is described as a she. Presumably, others among the Mirkwood spiders are also female.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jun 7 2013, 12:36pm

Post #54 of 71 (701 views)
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Tolkien vs. Hollywood [In reply to] Can't Post

In terms of integrity, Tolkien includes female characters who have their own story to tell and fit naturally into the fabric of the story. I contrast that with many contemporary Hollywood movies which seem to awkwardly insert strong, smart women as an afterthought to balance the gender numbers and deflect feminist criticism, and their roles are usually shallow. You can almost predict in a formula-driven movie when the token female Amazon or scientist will pop up and do something brave or brilliant, then disappear again, or else morph into the sexy object of the hero's attention. Hence Tolkien vs tokenism.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jun 7 2013, 1:19pm

Post #55 of 71 (684 views)
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Yes, there does seem something depressingly checkbox driven.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, there does seem something depressingly "checkbox driven" about a lot of female roles in popular media. A bit depressing if that is what is thought to be necessary to avoid criticism. Even more depressing if it generally succeeds.

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jun 7 2013, 1:34pm

Post #56 of 71 (671 views)
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BTW - the discussion thread Silmarilion Discussion: Chapter 16 -- "Of Maeglin" has a lot of relevant stuff to this conversation [In reply to] Can't Post

BTW - the discussion thread Silmarilion Discussion: Chapter 16 -- "Of Maeglin" has a lot of relevant stuff to this conversation. Many of the people in this conversation are also in that one already, but if not, worth checking it out!

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 7 2013, 1:37pm

Post #57 of 71 (680 views)
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I agree! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
He doesn't have a small group of young, fit, attractive, talented heroes (male and female) in a world of fools or stick characters. There are several characters who are wise if not conventionally academically clever: Gaffer, Maggot, Butterbur. And ioreth, as has already been discussed! There's probably a message in Gandalf's regard and understanding for these people (I imagine that Saruman would only respect book- learning).




JRRT had a great love of the value in the salt-of-the-earth, daily wisdom of everyday life. I think there is indeed a message in Gandalf's view of the value in such folk: his wisdom in recognizing inner value while disregarding trappings of power, and his own humility that he brought from Valinor. And the most important, I feel, to the larger picture is Gandalf's faith in the ways of Eru - that even the smallest or most mundane individual has value and purpose; he recognizes that he is not the only being to be able to make good happen. He does not have the failing of faith as does Saruman, by turning away from the Song and only relying arrogantly only on one's own motivations or skills to achieve the desired end.

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jun 7 2013, 2:39pm

Post #58 of 71 (669 views)
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Personal influence [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
JRRT had a great love of the value in the salt-of-the-earth, daily wisdom of everyday life. I think there is indeed a message in Gandalf's view of the value in such folk: his wisdom in recognizing inner value while disregarding trappings of power, and his own humility that he brought from Valinor. And the most important, I feel, to the larger picture is Gandalf's faith in the ways of Eru - that even the smallest or most mundane individual has value and purpose; he recognizes that he is not the only being to be able to make good happen. He does not have the failing of faith as does Saruman, by turning away from the Song and only relying arrogantly only on one's own motivations or skills to achieve the desired end.

I can say that this theme running through the book had a profound personal influence on me as a teenager. Gandalf was one of the most powerful and important people in MEarth, yet in place of the scorn of Denethor and Saruman for lesser people, he sought the value in everyone, not just the rich, powerful, glamorous types. He was a great role model for me.



Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 7 2013, 3:05pm

Post #59 of 71 (653 views)
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I second that inspiration! // [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
I can say that this theme running through the book had a profound personal influence on me as a teenager. Gandalf was one of the most powerful and important people in MEarth, yet in place of the scorn of Denethor and Saruman for lesser people, he sought the value in everyone, not just the rich, powerful, glamorous types. He was a great role model for me.


Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jun 7 2013, 3:14pm

Post #60 of 71 (649 views)
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Can you "third" something? // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 7 2013, 3:23pm

Post #61 of 71 (646 views)
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Of course you can! // [In reply to] Can't Post

SmileAngelic

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Faenoriel
Tol Eressea


Jun 7 2013, 3:48pm

Post #62 of 71 (662 views)
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Tolkien as an positive influence in life [In reply to] Can't Post

is something I and probably many others can understand... though the notion that your father was a less positive influence than a dead writer is sad to hear.

Perhaps we could make a thread of its own about this?

But every word you say today
Gets twisted 'round some other way
And they'll hurt you if they think you've lied


Off to an adventure in Republika e Shqipėrisė. Will be back 16.6.


Faenoriel
Tol Eressea


Jun 7 2013, 3:49pm

Post #63 of 71 (643 views)
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This // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

But every word you say today
Gets twisted 'round some other way
And they'll hurt you if they think you've lied


Off to an adventure in Republika e Shqipėrisė. Will be back 16.6.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jun 7 2013, 4:13pm

Post #64 of 71 (678 views)
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Real Life medieval women... [In reply to] Can't Post

Here's something interesting I was pleased to find again. Terry Jones (yes the Monty Python comedian, but also a keen Medievalist) did a series about Medieval Lives.

Here's his show about the role of women in Britain in the Middle Ages (which included on occasion defending your castle, abducting the young knight you fancied, or running a brewery). There's a bit of Pythonesque fooling about, but unless that is unbearable stay tuned, he knows his stuff. It's an interesting insight for fantasy readers (& indeed, writers)

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jun 7 2013, 4:19pm

Post #65 of 71 (640 views)
Shortcut
And I will be eager to read your essay... // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jun 7 2013, 4:35pm

Post #66 of 71 (634 views)
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Would be a great thread. Should it be in RR or on Main? // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Faenoriel
Tol Eressea


Jun 7 2013, 7:46pm

Post #67 of 71 (621 views)
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Main. Feel free to make it.// [In reply to] Can't Post

 

But every word you say today
Gets twisted 'round some other way
And they'll hurt you if they think you've lied


Off to an adventure in Republika e Shqipėrisė. Will be back 16.6.


Semper Fi
Rohan

Jun 8 2013, 7:34pm

Post #68 of 71 (600 views)
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Great post, no cop out [In reply to] Can't Post

It`s funny that Eowyn`s choice (of free will) to become a doctor (healer = Mediaval doctor), in times when a princess didn`t need a profession or having one was unheard of, is seen as backwards in comparison to joining the army (aka progress). IMO, both were progressive but motive behind becoming a doctor (for that`s what she becomes) is healthier than the one that drove her into joining the war party (lots of depression and self-hurting tendencies). Eowyn chooses her long-term occupation after she heals mentally and phsycially whereas she went to battle while she was mentally rather unstable (death wish is one of symptoms of depression). Also, the battlefield stint was impulsive since she was told to stay behind (and thus preserve the lineage of kings should both Theoden and Eomer die in war). So when she tells Faramir that she doesn`t want to be the Queen it`s also coming to terms that she didn`t have the right mind frame for a Queen (staying behind to take reigns of the country).

OTOH, although we don`t know much about Arwen save that she was in love with Aragorn so much so she chose a mortal life, it`s possible that she was quite versed in political cunning which is why Aragorn chose her for his Queen. Beauty alone wouldn`t do the trick. The movies showed that fairly well - she did manipulate her father into sending Elven back-up to help Aragorn, she lured the Nazgul into thinking she`s fight them hand-to-hand only to unleash waters upon them, she initiated re-forging of the sword that offically acknowledged Aragorn as the true King. Not all was perfect but it showed there was more to her than looking pretty and pining for her man.

"RadagaStoner deserves no mercy!" Tauriel the Radagast Slayer


Na Vedui
Rohan


Jun 9 2013, 1:52am

Post #69 of 71 (591 views)
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Faramir muscling in on the action [In reply to] Can't Post

"Came along" was about it! There's a lovely bit in one of Tolkien's letters to Christopher Tolkien (6 May 1944):

"A new character has come on the scene (I am sure I did not invent him, I did not even want him, though I like him, but there he came walking into the woods of Ithilien): Faramir, the brother of Boromir - and he is holding up the 'catastrophe' by a lot of stuff about the history of Gondor and Rohan (with some very sound reflections no doubt on martial glory and true glory): but if he goes on much more a lot of him will have to be removed to the Appendices..."


Dirhaval
The Shire

Jun 9 2013, 8:48pm

Post #70 of 71 (576 views)
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female [In reply to] Can't Post

I read the books and noticed so many characters had a wife die young or both parents die or the mother.
Tolkien's parents died by the time he was twelve. He had two great friends die in the Banker War (calling it WWI somehow says that it as justified, since one follows zero and both are natural numbers). The war after was the Eugenics War.
I feel Tolkien thought often of those two friends never marrying. War is an inhuman act. It dehumanizes those fighting. Lord of the Rings had many fighting scenes; a place women should not be if else could be planned. Men bring death, women bring life.

Keep this in mind when you watch television and movies today. When two women are in dialogue, do they talk about a topic other then men? If so, how do you view the women as oppose two that just talk about men? Think about it.

War is not natural. Including women will make war a natural thing, something to plan, not to be prepared to avoid.
Tolkien was alive during the 1930s; he witnessed in England the affects of war on the women and widows. Who will heal a broken man upon victory? Who will heal a broken women?
Tolkien understood women very well. Since he know how to be a man.


(This post was edited by Dirhaval on Jun 9 2013, 8:49pm)


dubulous
Rohan

Jun 16 2013, 8:48am

Post #71 of 71 (533 views)
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True [In reply to] Can't Post

and there are also many characters who are brave and strong even though they don't look that way - hobbits of course being the most obvious example. In fact, while there are the obvious heroes like Aragorn, there's also a great appreciation for characters who are more than what could be assumed from their outward description. Heck, even Aragorn, when first introduced is a scruffy looking man who doesn't inspire much trust in the people around him.

Then there are also those, like Denethor and Saruman, who are supposed to be noble and wise but still succumb to weakness in the end.

To bring this back to the theme of female characters in LotR, I guess one of the reasons why I personally have never seen a problem in the lack of said female characters is that all of the characters are so varied in a very non-gender-specific way that while reading LotR for the first time, as a female reader, it frankly never even occurred to me how few in number the female characters were. I just saw a varierty of characters - not a bunch of male and/or female characters.

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