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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
"L" is also for "Letters"

Elwen
Lorien


Mar 25 2010, 1:37pm


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"L" is also for "Letters" [In reply to] Can't Post

"The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien" was one of the most informative and rewarding reading experience I've had. Finally, here was a glimpse of the man whose works had so affected me. It was hard to decide what to focus on. I therefore have share with you three excerpts, two short and amusing, and one longer, more serious discourse.

From Letter 210 to Forest J. Ackerman regarding the film 'treatment' of Lord of the Rings

.....20. The Balrog never speaks or makes any vocal sound at all. Above all he does not laugh or sneer....Z may think that he knows more about Balrogs than I do, but he cannot expect me to agree with him.

If only he had mentioned whether it should have had wings.....This entire letter is hilarious and exasperating at the same time. You feel the Professor's frustration with the filmmaker's need to "improve" upon his work, and yet some of the changes are so ridiculous, you can't help but laugh as he picks them each apart.

From Letter 219 to Allen and Unwin (A cat breeder had asked permission to register a litter of Siamese kittens using names from Lord of the Rings)


My only comment is that of Puck upon mortals. I fear that to me Siamese cats belong to the fauna of Mordor, but you need not tell the cat breeder that.

A man after my own heart.

And finally:


Letter 246, to Mrs. Eileen Elgar: Tolkien addresses Frodo’s “failure” at the Cracks of Doom. It is a long letter, of which I have only posted excerpts, but it is fascinating, as well as appropriate this March the 25th.

“Very few (indeed so far as letters go only you and one other) have observed or commented on Frodo’s ‘failure’. It is a very important point. …….

….Frodo indeed ‘failed’ as a hero, as conceived by simple minds: he did not endure to the end; he gave in, ratted. I do not say ‘simple minds’ with contempt: they often see with clarity the simple truth and the absolute ideal to which effort must be directed even if it is unattainable. ….

….I do not think that Frodo’s was a moral failure……
…..We are finite creatures with absolute limitations upon the powers of our soul-body structure in either action or endurance. Moral failure can only be asserted, I think, when a man's effort or endurance falls short of his limits, and the blame decreases as that limit is closer approached.


Nonetheless, I think it can be observed in history and experience that some individuals seem to be placed in 'sacrificial' positions: situations or tasks that for perfection of solution demand powers beyond their utmost limits, even beyond all possible limits for an incarnate creature in a physical world – in which a body may be destroyed, or so maimed that it affects the mind and will. Judgment upon any such case should then depend on the motives and disposition with which he started out, and should weigh his actions against the utmost possibility of his powers, all along the road to whatever proved the breaking-point.

Frodo undertook his quest out of love - to save the world he knew from disaster at his own expense, if he could; and also in complete humility, acknowledging that he was wholly inadequate to the task. His real contract was only to do what he could, to try to find a way, and to go as far on the road as his strength of mind and body allowed. …."


The letter continues for multiple pages. Thoughts? Comments? Are you one of those who thought Frodo failed? Did you enjoy the Letters? What were your favorite insights into the Professor?



My own thought is that we as mortals, would have no option but to fail. This is beyond the scope of what we are able to do. Frodo failed, yes, but he also succeeded, because his mercy for Gollum ultimately saved him, and Middle Earth.


Subject User Time
It's Tolkien Reading Day! Post your ABCs of Tolkien here. N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Mar 25 2010, 3:48am
    C is for Cerin Amroth... GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 25 2010, 3:57am
        Wow - nicely done! NottaSackville Send a private message to NottaSackville Mar 25 2010, 11:57am
            <Bows low> GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 25 2010, 1:24pm
                GREAT ELEPHANTS! GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 25 2010, 3:27pm
                    No problem - it's a common mistake NottaSackville Send a private message to NottaSackville Mar 25 2010, 3:53pm
                        But you did so... GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 25 2010, 4:56pm
        A question Kangi Ska Send a private message to Kangi Ska Mar 27 2010, 1:42am
            Yep.// Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Mar 27 2010, 3:01am
            As Lady Elizabeth says... GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 27 2010, 3:18am
                It *raises* the question... Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Mar 27 2010, 4:09am
                    <chuckle> GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 27 2010, 5:57am
                    A good poet is aware of all levels of meaning in his work. Kangi Ska Send a private message to Kangi Ska Mar 27 2010, 2:32pm
                        But he never tells us... GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 27 2010, 3:56pm
                            A guess... Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Mar 27 2010, 6:20pm
                            A good poet offers the poem not its meaning Kangi Ska Send a private message to Kangi Ska Mar 27 2010, 6:26pm
                                (smile) GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 27 2010, 7:07pm
                                    Simbelmyne or Evermind in ths common tongue Kangi Ska Send a private message to Kangi Ska Mar 27 2010, 7:16pm
                                        Thank you! GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 27 2010, 7:21pm
                                            Yes it is about time I reread the Silmarillion. It has been a couple years.// Kangi Ska Send a private message to Kangi Ska Mar 27 2010, 8:09pm
                                    The Heart of Elvendom on earth Kangi Ska Send a private message to Kangi Ska Mar 27 2010, 8:03pm
                                        Am I to understand then... GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 27 2010, 8:21pm
                                            A bit more difficult to explain Kangi Ska Send a private message to Kangi Ska Mar 27 2010, 8:41pm
                                                Cool! GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 28 2010, 1:44am
                                                The perilous realm FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Mar 31 2010, 4:22am
                                                    Nicely said! // Voronwë_the_Faithful Send a private message to Voronwë_the_Faithful Mar 31 2010, 2:33pm
                                                        No. Night Wolf Apr 1 2010, 4:58pm
                Perhaps the place chose them. // Kangi Ska Send a private message to Kangi Ska Mar 27 2010, 2:22pm
    T is for Tolkien Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Mar 25 2010, 4:10am
        Very "British"... GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 25 2010, 3:25pm
            British wit Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Mar 26 2010, 1:16am
                "Frank-ness" GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 26 2010, 1:32am
        well... batik Send a private message to batik Mar 26 2010, 1:11am
            re: coffee Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Mar 26 2010, 1:14am
    X is for X-Ray vision ... NottaSackville Send a private message to NottaSackville Mar 25 2010, 4:12am
        LOL at #5 :-) // Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Mar 25 2010, 4:16am
        Interesting question! FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Mar 25 2010, 7:21am
        E is for Emission Theory Darkstone Send a private message to Darkstone Mar 25 2010, 3:46pm
            Interesting - good to know I wasn't alone... NottaSackville Send a private message to NottaSackville Mar 25 2010, 3:54pm
        I think.... GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 25 2010, 4:54pm
        Light of eyes White Gull Send a private message to White Gull Mar 26 2010, 2:00pm
        The answer to Smaug's powers... Kangi Ska Send a private message to Kangi Ska Mar 27 2010, 2:05am
    P is for Peregrin Took! fairelvenlady Send a private message to fairelvenlady Mar 25 2010, 4:46am
        Give or Took... GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 25 2010, 5:20pm
    K is for Kirith Ungol Modtheow Send a private message to Modtheow Mar 25 2010, 5:32am
        corrected link Modtheow Send a private message to Modtheow Mar 25 2010, 12:33pm
        Tolkien - word pictures. Istari68 Send a private message to Istari68 Mar 25 2010, 4:16pm
    "Ha, hmm, my friends, let us go for a walk!"... batik Send a private message to batik Mar 25 2010, 5:54am
        sidestepping the quiz for a comment on the word Quickbeam Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Mar 25 2010, 1:57pm
            Wow! GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 25 2010, 5:32pm
            My son is Rowan Kangi Ska Send a private message to Kangi Ska Mar 27 2010, 3:15pm
        Hmmmm.... Darkstone Send a private message to Darkstone Mar 25 2010, 7:38pm
    T is for Thursday! sador Send a private message to sador Mar 25 2010, 6:10am
        How subversive, satirical and sharp of you SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Mar 25 2010, 7:49pm
    E(ä) is for Eärendil Night Wolf Mar 25 2010, 7:15am
        Interesting SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Mar 25 2010, 9:13pm
    B is for Beowulf SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Mar 25 2010, 9:35am
        worthy of study Modtheow Send a private message to Modtheow Mar 25 2010, 5:56pm
            I'm glad we agree! SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Mar 25 2010, 9:18pm
        Scholarly... GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 25 2010, 6:01pm
            Thank you SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Mar 25 2010, 10:33pm
            Yes but don't forget... FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Mar 26 2010, 4:52am
                (laughs) GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 26 2010, 1:30pm
                    I have to agree FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Mar 26 2010, 2:05pm
                        Cool stuff! GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 26 2010, 4:14pm
                Would that be a stoat? N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Mar 26 2010, 5:51pm
                    Whoops! FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Mar 27 2010, 1:13am
                        Regardless of the typo SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Mar 27 2010, 3:38am
    F is for Fëanor Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Mar 25 2010, 10:03am
        In pity for Feanor... GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 25 2010, 6:39pm
            Thank you! Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Mar 25 2010, 8:05pm
    I is for Ioreth dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Mar 25 2010, 10:15am
        I think it says a lot... Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Mar 25 2010, 2:07pm
            Yes, a favourite SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Mar 26 2010, 3:42am
                Intriguing idea indeed! GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 26 2010, 1:33pm
                Concurring with GAndy dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Mar 26 2010, 3:43pm
        Ioreth is a fun character. fairelvenlady Send a private message to fairelvenlady Mar 27 2010, 8:26pm
        A little learning... FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Mar 28 2010, 1:01am
            From a medieval history syllabus... GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 28 2010, 1:51am
                my own favorite quote sevilodorf Send a private message to sevilodorf Mar 28 2010, 5:43pm
    L is for Lothórien drogo Send a private message to drogo Mar 25 2010, 10:19am
        through a high window Modtheow Send a private message to Modtheow Mar 25 2010, 5:49pm
            I'd never thought about it that way Oiotári Send a private message to Oiotári Mar 25 2010, 9:36pm
        Nasmith, for me. Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Mar 25 2010, 10:46pm
        Thanks for those links! Aunt Dora Baggins Send a private message to Aunt Dora Baggins Mar 26 2010, 1:00am
        Middle-earth in HD... batik Send a private message to batik Mar 26 2010, 9:16pm
        I guess it depends FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Mar 29 2010, 1:09pm
    J is for Josef Stalin Pryderi Send a private message to Pryderi Mar 25 2010, 11:36am
        It seems, SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Mar 25 2010, 9:32pm
            He does seem to dislike "globalisation" doesn't he?... Pryderi Send a private message to Pryderi Mar 25 2010, 11:01pm
    'D' is for Denethor Hamfast Gamgee Send a private message to Hamfast Gamgee Mar 25 2010, 11:38am
        Denethor, son of Ecthelion GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 25 2010, 6:57pm
    W is for Woses! Tweezers of Thu Send a private message to Tweezers of Thu Mar 25 2010, 12:22pm
        always something new Modtheow Send a private message to Modtheow Mar 26 2010, 12:20am
            Oh, yes! Even after 44 years (gasp!)... Tweezers of Thu Send a private message to Tweezers of Thu Mar 26 2010, 4:58pm
        Ack - they're everywhere! NottaSackville Send a private message to NottaSackville Mar 26 2010, 12:24pm
            Another example! Flame-eyed Elves! Tweezers of Thu Send a private message to Tweezers of Thu Mar 26 2010, 5:36pm
    "L" is also for "Letters" Elwen Send a private message to Elwen Mar 25 2010, 1:37pm
        (Soft, benevolent smile for Frodo) GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 25 2010, 7:17pm
    O is for Olórë Mallë Oiotári Send a private message to Oiotári Mar 25 2010, 2:33pm
        Roverandom? GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 25 2010, 7:23pm
    R is for Rosie Rosie-with-the-ribbons Send a private message to Rosie-with-the-ribbons Mar 25 2010, 3:27pm
        (laughs) Getting two in at once? GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 25 2010, 7:29pm
            Yep Rosie-with-the-ribbons Send a private message to Rosie-with-the-ribbons Mar 26 2010, 9:23am
                Wish I had your impishness! GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 26 2010, 4:50pm
                    Muchos gracias Rosie-with-the-ribbons Send a private message to Rosie-with-the-ribbons Mar 26 2010, 6:59pm
                        It's not too far off... GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 26 2010, 7:14pm
                        Close enough... GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 26 2010, 7:21pm
                    Marido Oscuro, lol... Evernight Send a private message to Evernight Mar 26 2010, 7:03pm
                        <Takes his lumps> GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 26 2010, 7:16pm
    G is for Gandalf Nerdanel Send a private message to Nerdanel Mar 25 2010, 6:01pm
        At a guess... GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 25 2010, 7:35pm
        laughter Modtheow Send a private message to Modtheow Mar 26 2010, 2:33am
    S is for Smith of Wootton Major. Evernight Send a private message to Evernight Mar 25 2010, 6:08pm
        (Daubs tears) GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 25 2010, 7:44pm
        "Why is Faery important? How important is it to you?" SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Mar 26 2010, 4:12am
    A is for Arkenstone! entmaiden Send a private message to entmaiden Mar 25 2010, 6:53pm
        Because you asked... GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 25 2010, 7:51pm
        It just so happens Oiotári Send a private message to Oiotári Mar 25 2010, 8:57pm
    Z is for Zirakzigil weaver Send a private message to weaver Mar 25 2010, 8:29pm
        "I need no map," said Gimli... N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Mar 25 2010, 9:20pm
            Aha! More Z's! weaver Send a private message to weaver Mar 25 2010, 9:46pm
            On living rock. Pryderi Send a private message to Pryderi Mar 25 2010, 11:34pm
            Zis monument, carved into ze hillside - it is zuspicious, no? squire Send a private message to squire Mar 26 2010, 1:53am
    U is for Uolë Kúvion, the Man in the Moon Dân o’Nandor-on-Anduin Send a private message to Dân o’Nandor-on-Anduin Mar 25 2010, 10:43pm
        How charming... SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Mar 26 2010, 2:48am
    E is for Erendis acheron Send a private message to acheron Mar 26 2010, 12:39am
        I really like this story Modtheow Send a private message to Modtheow Mar 27 2010, 1:49pm
    V is for Voronwë Voronwë_the_Faithful Send a private message to Voronwë_the_Faithful Mar 26 2010, 2:12am
        One of the amazing things about the depth of Tolkien's writing - NottaSackville Send a private message to NottaSackville Mar 26 2010, 12:48pm
            I remembered... GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 26 2010, 4:55pm
    H is for Halfling! aranelthehobbit22 Send a private message to aranelthehobbit22 Mar 26 2010, 2:21am
        No worries SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Mar 26 2010, 2:30am
    Thank you GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 26 2010, 2:40am
    M is for Morwen Saelind Send a private message to Saelind Mar 26 2010, 2:54am
        The saddest... GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 26 2010, 3:18am
            M is for Morwen Saelind Send a private message to Saelind Mar 26 2010, 3:48am
    'H' is for, hip, hip, hooray, everyone! Altaira Send a private message to Altaira Mar 26 2010, 3:33am
    N is for Niggle Finding Frodo Send a private message to Finding Frodo Mar 26 2010, 4:11am
        Whoops! Finding Frodo Send a private message to Finding Frodo Mar 26 2010, 2:33pm
        Niggle and Tasks... GAndyalf Send a private message to GAndyalf Mar 26 2010, 4:33pm
    Y is for Yggdrasil. N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Mar 26 2010, 6:42am
        How did drasils turn into wargs? NottaSackville Send a private message to NottaSackville Mar 26 2010, 3:47pm
    A is for N.E. Brigand - NottaSackville Send a private message to NottaSackville Mar 26 2010, 12:28pm
        Seconded! sador Send a private message to sador Mar 26 2010, 12:31pm
        Thirded! entmaiden Send a private message to entmaiden Mar 27 2010, 12:09am
        All in favour Modtheow Send a private message to Modtheow Mar 27 2010, 1:57pm
            And a big thank-you from me, too Lily Fairbairn Send a private message to Lily Fairbairn Mar 28 2010, 6:03pm
    Wow! This is great! Compa_Mighty Send a private message to Compa_Mighty Apr 4 2010, 7:52pm

 
 
 

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