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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Wrong! Wrong! (just kidding)


Dec 28 2012, 10:09pm

Views: 1468
Wrong! Wrong! (just kidding) [In reply to] Can't Post

But isn't that what the internet is for, telling other people they're wrong, and being rude about it to boot? *sigh*

My laments aside, that's quite thought-provoking, both your post and the one from 2008. Good and evil are quite clear in LOTR, but chaos and lawfulness aren't so clear, especially when people make exceptions to the law they help to uphold, as Faramir and Eomer do in your examples. Tolkien seemed to like exceptions to laws: Gandalf criticizes Denethor's servants for obeying his will to burn him and Faramir, while Beregond is clearly a hero for breaking the law. Then later he's judged by Aragorn, who obeys the law in finding him guilty, but rewards him when he's supposed to punish him, which is breaking the law in a way, but it's all for Good. I'm sure we could come up with a lot more examples of that.

For orcs in general, I remember on first read being both confused and disturbed that the Cirith Ungol orcs did nothing to rescue one of their own kind, Ufthak, who was captured by Shelob but remained alive for days. When they found him, they laughed at him, "no good interfering with Her." Can you imagine anyone in the Fellowship leaving someone else behind like that? Even when they thought Frodo was dead, they took his body because they didn't want the orcs to defile or eat it. Anyway, it seems that orcs are Neutral Evil, which explains their behavior pretty well.

Dwarves, in general, are Lawful Neutral. They obey their own laws, but will fight on the side of either good or evil, except for Durin's line.

I'm puzzled by the chart listing Galadriel as Neutral Good. Aside from her temptation by the Ring (which she famously overcame), it seems to me that she obeys the rules. I guess she was part of Feanor's rebellion, but the Lorien-Galadriel we see seems the Lawful type. She even formed the White Council. What am I missing?

Gandalf--yes, operates outside all the laws of other peoples, but inherently good. That nails him.

Treebeard--not so sure he's a True Neutral. He makes it clear to the hobbits that he's not on anyone's side, because no one's on his, but once he gets worked up, he seems to be good and even respectful of others' rules. He's not really as neutral as he claims, since he consents to help the Rohirrim at Helm's Deep without haggling with Gandalf, and later helps protect Rohan when it's invaded and its army had gone to Gondor--no one was even around to ask him then.

I like the classification of the Mouth of Sauron--fits him perfectly. Ditto Bombadil.

Gollum--not so sure. I suppose I hesitate to call him purely evil, since he's so tormented and crazy, but he seems a lot more evil than good. Maybe it's the debate between amoral and immoral; he's the former, but still, he seems to take pleasure in the pain of others, and I think of sadism as evil.

Wouldn't Wormtongue be Chaotic Evil? He seems to break every rule there is: betraying his official lord, Theoden, and stealing from others, while lusting inappropriately after Eowyn. Then with Saruman, he breaks a couple of rules: throwing the palantir at Gandalf, and then killing Sharkey in the Shire. Oh, and that's after he broke the law against eating other people like Lotho. He didn't create mass evil on the scale of Sauron, but I'd put him in the same class.

So what about some others?
  • Elrond--Lawful Good. I think all the Elves are in LOTR.
  • Denethor--Lawful Neutral. I wouldn't call him purely evil.
  • Barliman Butterbur--Lawful Good?
  • Lotho--Lawful Neutral?
  • The Shirriffs--same as Lotho?
  • Bill Ferny--True Neutral. He seems to make trouble for its own sake, which makes Good people treat you as an outcast, but if he could betray the Nazgul to Frodo somehow for a pot of gold, I think he would.
  • Eowyn--True Neutral? I say that because she disobeys Theoden with her Dernhelm ruse (breaks the rules), and she doesn't seem loyal to any Good cause and is pretty much out for herself.
  • Feanor--Chaotic Neutral or Chaotic Evil? I think I'd say he was evil, partly because Mandos bluntly said he was, and because he did a lot of bad things that he knew were wrong. I don't think it makes him good that he fought Morgoth, anymore than Sauron fighting Morgoth would make Sauron good. Still, there is some good in Feanor, and Tolkien gives some consideration to him:

his father was dearer to him than the Light of Valinor or the peerless works of his hands; and who among sons, of Elves or Men, have held their father of greater worth?

But that has never let him off the hook in my mind. I vote evil.

Great post--keep them coming!

Subject User Time
Discuss the "Allignment" of various characters (might be fun) noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Dec 28 2012, 7:21pm
    Wrong! Wrong! (just kidding) CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Dec 28 2012, 10:09pm
        Movin' up, movin' down noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Dec 28 2012, 10:44pm
            Rating the Ring and Boromir CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Dec 28 2012, 11:44pm
        Regular elvish trick noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Dec 28 2012, 10:56pm
        My RP background is not D&D Escapist Send a private message to Escapist Dec 28 2012, 11:48pm
            Which law? noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Dec 29 2012, 9:06am
                Rulers? noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Dec 29 2012, 10:35am
                Law and culture Escapist Send a private message to Escapist Jan 1 2013, 8:05pm
                    Such as the Mafia CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 1 2013, 9:01pm
    Not much is lawful... Mim Send a private message to Mim Dec 29 2012, 5:19pm
        How awful to be lawful? noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Dec 29 2012, 10:17pm
            Not totally convinced Mim Send a private message to Mim Jan 1 2013, 7:55pm


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