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Thoughts.

Curious
Half-elven


Apr 19 2009, 10:51pm


Views: 346
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Thoughts. [In reply to] Can't Post

Does anyone else see a connection between Tolkien’s original version and Bobbie Gentry’s song, “Ode to Billy Joe”?

They both contrast mundane activities and conversations to dramatic undercurrents and secrets, although the secrets in "Ode to Billy Joe" seem less magical and beautiful and more human and tragic.

With one notable exception described below, all of the other readings came from LOTR, including passages from “The Shadow of the Past”, “A Knife in the Dark”, “The Ring Goes South”, “A Journey in the Dark”, “Lothlórien”, two selections from “Farewell to Lórien”, “The Riders of Rohan”, “The Passge of the Dead Marshes” (a credible imitation of Andy Serkis), “The Black Gate Is Closed”, “The Stairs of Cirith Ungol”, “The Siege of Gondor”, “The Ride of the Rohirrim”, “The Steward and the King”, “The Grey Havens”, and “The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen”. Vaccaro’s two selections were from “The Road to Isengard” and “The Battle of the Pelennor Fields”. And weaver did very well by some paragraphs of “The Old Forest”.

If you had to choose one passge to read aloud from the LOTR chapters listed above, what would it be?

The last part of The Siege of Gondor.

If you had to choose one Tolkien passage not from LOTR to read aloud, what would it be?

Fingolfin's battle with Morgoth.

[W]hy does Tolkien, when referring to the story of Beren and Lúthien in LOTR, downplay that tale’s happy aspects? And what does this say of his views on the uses of tragedy? What do you think?

I don't buy the premise. I don't think Tolkien downplays the happy aspects of Beren and Lúthien's tale in LotR, or portrays it as a tragedy. Rather, I think it is presented by Strider, and remembered by Sam, as an uplifting tale, because Beren never thought he would actually get the Silmaril yet did, and also because Beren and Luthien do end up together in heaven. As in LotR, there is a strong note of melancholy in Beren's tale, but I see it as essentially an uplifting and happy tale, in which Beren and Lúthien triumph and come together. I see the strongest note of melancholy coming from the Elves, who mourn their loss of Lúthien.

Along the way, she identified two parallels between LOTR and The Silmarillion that I don’t think I’ve seen addressed before, first between “The Council of Elrond” and “Of Beren and Lúthien”, and second between “The Choices of Master Samwise” and “Of Túrin Turambar”.

Do you see any connections there?

I see a sharp contrast between Thingol's behavior with Beren and Elrond's behavior with Aragorn. And I see Sam repudiating Turin's choice of suicide.

His paper considered alternatives to the usual gender roles in The Silmarillion. Can you think of some examples?

Other than Haleth, few women lead warriors into battle, but there are many strong female characters, including Varda and the other female Valar, Arien (the Maia who pulls the Sun), Melian, Galadriel, Luthien, Haleth, and Morwen.

“Have we lost our innocence or gained an insight?”

For me it is clear that Tolkien himself did not intend Frodo and Sam's relationship to be sexual. And to me it seems sad that some readers and critics cannot accept an intimate non-sexual relationship between two male characters. Nor, by the way, do I see the characters in LotR as asexual and juvenile -- rather, I see a "fundamentally Catholic" fantasy in which sex is for procreation only.

What is the effect of Eärendil’s story on the characters and readers of LOTR?

It seems like another uplifting tale.

Could Elves be said to represent the female aspect of humanity?

I don't think so, no.

How do people in cultures where intimate gestures between male friends are more commonplace than they are in the English-speaking world respond to the relationship of Frodo and Sam?

I wouldn't know, but I would suggest that in Tolkien's time intimate gestures between male friends may have been more commonplace than they are now.

The first scheduled presenter was absent, so we missed her paper on “similar images between Éowyn in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and Portia in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice”. (Do you think the characters are in any way alike?)

It's been a while since I've studied Shakespeare's play, but Portia does pretend to be a male out of necessity, and makes a pretty powerful male before giving up the disguise to become a wife. Portia is more a lawyer than a warrior, though, as I recall. And there are disturbing, possibly anti-Semitic aspects to Portia's triumph over Shylock.

So, besides being useful for story purposes –leaving Frodo available for an adventure– why does Frodo never marry?

We know that Frodo expects to follow Bilbo some day, and to have his own adventure. He keeps putting it off, but the expectation is always there, and perhaps it is that element of foresight or foreboding that keeps him from marrying.


Quote
So when he had eaten and drunk, and the damsel was still there, he looked on her and saw that she was sad and drooping of aspect; and whereas she was a fair maiden, Ralph, now that he was full, fell to pitying her, and asked her what was amiss. “For,” said he, “thou art fair and ailest nought; that is clear to see; neither dwellest thou in penury, but by seeming hast enough and to spare. Or art thou a servant in this house, and hath any one misused thee?”



…I thought that Williamson was building a connection to the interaction of two LOTR characters in particular (Does it remind you of anything in particular from LOTR?)

Sure, it reminds me a little of Aragorn's first impression of Eowyn.

...several good insights on ways in which Túrin is, as he calls himself, “blind” and “lost”. How so, do you think?

Turin cannot tell friend from foe, cannot recognize love when women are throwing themselves at him, always seems to be going in the wrong direction, always sees himself as the victim, and of course on top of it all cannot see that the woman he marries is his sister. And Turin is horrible at reading signs and paying attention to divine portents. He even ignores a direct message from Ulmo, sent through elves in Cirdan's service. Tuor, on the other hand, distinguishes himself early by his ability to read and follow signs and portents from Ulmo.

What connections are there between Sir Orfeo and The Children of Húrin? How does the fantasy of Mervyn Peake relate to that of Tolkien and Morris?

I have no idea, I'm afraid.

And who chose the titles for the LOTR DVD-chapters – was it Peter Jackson? Was it post-facto? Does anyone know why this title was chosen?

Again, I have no idea.

I don’t think Tolkien describes the Ring-chain actually digging into Frodo’s neck – so why did Jackson & co. film it that way?

I don't know.

Chance also made a connection, I’m not sure why, between the famous joined-hands image in the film’s Mount Doom resolution (and in the Anduin in FOTR, though Chance missed it) to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. Is there anything to this?

Again, I have no idea.

Is there another literary antecedent of “In the Company of ——” , that would explain both Jackson and LaBute, as well as the Angela Carter story (and Neil Jordan film), The Company of Wolves? Is film-Saruman’s creation of orcs from slime meant to be a parody version of God’s creation of man? Does the emergence of the Uruk-hai derive from Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula film?

I don't know, I don't know, I don't know.

Do any of the other essays in the forthcoming collection [Queer Movie Medievalisms] interest you?

Vaguely, although I'm skeptical of looking for hidden homosexual subtexts. On the whole, before 1970 I think films treated homosexuals either as objects of ridicule -- sissies -- or as perverted sinners who deserved to die. It hasn't been much better since, although some movies do treat the subject intelligently. On the other hand, it is also possible to find a homosexual subtext where none was intended. Just because two males have an intimate relationship does not mean they must be sexually attracted to each other.

Is there an opposition in Middle-earth between becoming and decay?

If I understand what is meant by those terms, then yes, I suppose so. Morgoth's taint is responsible for decay in Middle-earth it seems, for where it is absent -- in the Undying Lands -- there is no decay. Men, on the other hand, are always becoming, but never seem to quite get there, as Gimli concludes in his conversation with Legolas. It all comes to naught in the end, presumably because of the forces of decay.

What is the relationship between Arwen and the banner?

I'm sorry, I have a hard time reading anything deep into the banner.

Can the Dead see Arwen’s design on the banner in the darkness when it is first unfurled?

I'm guessing they could. But more importantly, they saw Aragorn revealed on the spirit plane, as did the Black Riders and Sauron.

What is Ilúvatar’s role in the dialectic of Middle-earth?

I think Ilúvatar’s role goes beyond logic and philosophy.

Is there a connection between the names “Tinúviel” and “Undómiel”?

I don't know.

Is anyone turned on in The Lord of the Rings?

Sure. Rosie and Sam. Aragorn and Arwen. Eowyn and Faramir. The ones who get married, in other words.

When does Sam blush in the story, and why? I'm not sure. I do remember him getting embarassed about what he saw when Galadriel looked at him, and I've always thought he was about to mention Rosie, but was too embarassed. But blushing does not necessarily reveal sexual attraction.

For an appetizer, would you have selected the crab cake, or the duck lollipop?

The duck, for sure.


Subject User Time
Tolkien 2009 in Vermont – a report N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Apr 19 2009, 5:58am
    Thoughts. Curious Send a private message to Curious Apr 19 2009, 10:51pm
    Just a few thoughts. Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Apr 20 2009, 1:02am
    A few answers, some to the point sador Send a private message to sador Apr 20 2009, 10:14am
        FFH it was! N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Apr 20 2009, 10:31pm
            Woah! FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Apr 21 2009, 8:57am
    A few answers (second installment) sador Send a private message to sador Apr 20 2009, 1:32pm
    Quack, quack ... visualweasel Send a private message to visualweasel Apr 20 2009, 5:45pm
        Yes, Gríma too, good catch. And how about lust for the Ring? Or other lusts? Curious Send a private message to Curious Apr 20 2009, 5:56pm
            Onward turning... Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Apr 20 2009, 9:46pm
                Tolkien had a higher regard for Curious Send a private message to Curious Apr 20 2009, 10:58pm
                    True, but ... visualweasel Send a private message to visualweasel Apr 21 2009, 1:56pm
                        We don't get to know Arwen. Curious Send a private message to Curious Apr 21 2009, 2:45pm
            Ring Writhes Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Apr 20 2009, 9:49pm
        Those who argue that are, of course, wrong Voronwë_the_Faithful Send a private message to Voronwë_the_Faithful Apr 20 2009, 10:54pm
    Blushing in the metaphorical dark, I'll give a lame answer (or two) squire Send a private message to squire Apr 20 2009, 11:08pm
        I would love to hear Ian McKellen read that passage! It reminds me Curious Send a private message to Curious Apr 21 2009, 5:43am
            What a great clip! visualweasel Send a private message to visualweasel Apr 21 2009, 1:52pm
    **stands up straight, salutes NEB..**. weaver Send a private message to weaver Apr 21 2009, 6:06am
    Ah, Springtime in Vermont dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Apr 22 2009, 12:42am
        Duck lollipop Curious Send a private message to Curious Apr 22 2009, 1:46am
            Quack! dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Apr 22 2009, 2:11am
        More than UUT Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Apr 22 2009, 3:44am
            Yes, we did. Eowyn of Penns Woods Send a private message to Eowyn of Penns Woods Apr 22 2009, 4:18am
            You did already sador Send a private message to sador Apr 22 2009, 6:38am
            When exactly did the wind change? Curious Send a private message to Curious Apr 22 2009, 3:25pm
                Thank you for the generous summary! // Dreamdeer Send a private message to Dreamdeer Apr 23 2009, 7:17pm
            I think there may be some magic FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Apr 22 2009, 4:23pm
    Almost OT Luthien Rising Send a private message to Luthien Rising Apr 22 2009, 9:24pm
    I feel like I had been there myself! Modtheow Send a private message to Modtheow May 7 2009, 12:10am
        Nice to see you around the place! squire Send a private message to squire May 7 2009, 1:07am
            feels like home Modtheow Send a private message to Modtheow May 7 2009, 1:30am
                Guten Tag! Sally, baby, here she comes! squire Send a private message to squire May 7 2009, 5:43am
                    It's all true! // Modtheow Send a private message to Modtheow May 10 2009, 12:56am
        welcome back! weaver Send a private message to weaver May 7 2009, 1:37am
            I will definitely try to go next year // Modtheow Send a private message to Modtheow May 10 2009, 12:58am
        *Peers around WMU's computer lab* N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand May 7 2009, 9:16pm

 
 
 

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