The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
The Queer History of LotR


Feb 24, 10:57am

Views: 4542
The Queer History of LotR

Just wanted to share this video essay. It's well researched and I thought it could spark some interesting conversation.


Mar 1, 4:23pm

Views: 4323
I almost ignored this....but....the YouTuber does at least

acknowledge such themes were not intended by JRRT. Of course, one can read anything into a book and if that makes it more real to you than great. His reading is quite humorous.

(This post was edited by Eruonen on Mar 1, 4:27pm)


Mar 1, 4:51pm

Views: 4316
This was a very well researched, I give Verilybitchie a lot of credit for doing a thorough job.



Mar 1, 8:42pm

Views: 4309
Agree, the clickbaity title is deceiving...

I should have mentioned in the original post that the video's contents are more interesting than the title and introduction suggest.

Really interesting learning that Tolkien borrowed the fairy books before his lecture and the influences Andrew Lang may have had on the Professor's writing.

(This post was edited by QuackingTroll on Mar 1, 8:43pm)


Mar 28, 8:18pm

Views: 3618
I enjoyed it too, thanks

Yes, the bit about Laing and his fairy stories as possible prompts for LOTR, including Eowyn's story is good.

For the rest, then of course I'm in agreement with people finding readings that work for them, but realising that a critic who has found a workable reading shouldn't jump to the conclusion that this is 'obviously' what Tolkien meant readers to see. And of course I agree with the argument that trying to shackle everyone to some single "True Meaning Of Tolkien" (often in reality, just that critic's prefered view of things) is a very limited viewpoint. Nice to find someone else espousing these things that I've argued several times on this forum. Maybe we're even right! Smile And a quote from Ursula Le Guin to make the point too [melts].

Good too, to see someone bring up that, even by the time Tolkien published LOTR, let alone now he was pretty old -fashioned (or 'an old fart' as VB puts it Smile). Where did the old fart get his formative experiences? I would of course agree that World War I was an important influence; and I think one could also look back a little further. Rather than being the last (and by far the longest-form!) of the War poets, Tolkien just seems so Edwardian to me. I expect it is all that Boy Scouty hiking around and woodcraft, Staying Cheerful and Doing Your Best.

But that difference makes no difference to Verilybitchie's point that modern critics going for a 'gay reading' need to recalibrate their gaydars to the different nature of background gaydiation of early 20th Century middle-class England. Another nod from me.

That was a very gender-segregated society whether young men were in the army on active service, or were adolescents or boys at boarding school. Either way, pretty much all significant friendships in childhood and young adulthood would have to be same-sex -- for lack of any other options, for one thing. Were some of those relationships totally gay? Doubtless. Were some platonic but with a frisson of homoeroticism (acknowledged or not)? Most likely. Were some straight? Of course. Can a careful, dilligent critic or biographer sort all that out, and do they even need to? I don't know. Plain as a Pikestaff, it is not, Mr Gamgee.

"I am not made for querulous pests." Frodo 'Spooner' Baggins.

Hamfast Gamgee
Tol Eressea

Apr 3, 10:27pm

Views: 3325
The Captain in Ghosts.

I'm not sure how relevent this is, but in the UK there is a sitcom called ghosts I don't know if anyone else has watched it. In it there is a ghost called the Captain. He comes from world war 2 and there is a discussion about whether he is gay or not. The show never comes right out and says so, possibly the Captain is not sure himself after al it was illegal in the forties in the UK and so he might have had difficulty finding out. But anyway, Tolkien might have been aware of people like him in his circles in Oxford.