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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Female Characters in the Hobbit;
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Kyriel
Forum Admin / Moderator


Apr 28 2010, 9:57am

Post #26 of 69 (2243 views)
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They actually really did this in the LotR movies, you know [In reply to] Can't Post

A lot of the Rohirrim extras were women with beards. I thought that was pretty cool.

Of course, they weren't meant to be female Rohirrim; they were just background horsemen/women.


Those left standing will make millions writing books on the way it should have been. --Incubus


Kyriel
Forum Admin / Moderator


Apr 28 2010, 10:03am

Post #27 of 69 (2282 views)
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Do you ever get the feeling [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien was a charter member of the...





Those left standing will make millions writing books on the way it should have been. --Incubus


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Apr 28 2010, 11:29am

Post #28 of 69 (2195 views)
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There were also female Orcs.// [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Kangi Ska

There is no place like the Shire...There is no place like the Shire...There is no place like the Shire...

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.


Man on Fire


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Apr 28 2010, 11:34am

Post #29 of 69 (2268 views)
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Quite the opposite. [In reply to] Can't Post

He grew up in an age when the relationships between men and women were quite different. It was not hate but a very Victorian respect for women.

Kangi Ska

There is no place like the Shire...There is no place like the Shire...There is no place like the Shire...

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.


Man on Fire


macfalk
Valinor


Apr 28 2010, 1:46pm

Post #30 of 69 (2207 views)
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Kyriel [In reply to] Can't Post

Just because there were no main character in The Hobbit which was female doesn't make him a woman-hater.

Tolkiens time was different from ours.


GAndyalf
Valinor

Apr 28 2010, 8:54pm

Post #31 of 69 (2171 views)
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<Somewhere, my "baby sister" is smiling broadly>// [In reply to] Can't Post

 

"Be good, be careful, have fun, don't get arrested!"
---Marcia Michelle Alexander Hamilton, 7 Nov 1955 - 19 Nov 2009

sample


geordie
Tol Eressea

Apr 28 2010, 10:08pm

Post #32 of 69 (2211 views)
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This is one of my hobby-horses [In reply to] Can't Post

- Tolkien was no mysogonist, and at the same time the lack of female characters in TH and LotR has little to do with the times in which he lived (which, by the way, include some of _my_ 'times', as his lifetime and mine overlapped a little!)

To say that Tolkien was influenced by his times is almost to try and excuse him; to imply that he couldn't help it, poor soul; he was 'a product of his times' I hear some say. Which, it seems to me, is to suppose that he couldn't think independently. He could. Take for instance his work at Oxford. Oxford University was seen at the time as a mainly male establishment, yet Tolkien's students included many women, many of whom later became friends of himself and his family. Take Elaine Griffiths, for example. Elaine was instrumental in the publication of The Hobbit; she was also later head of St Anne's College, Oxford, and one-time Chair of the English faculty.

To give an idea of the male-female ratio at the time The Hobbit was published - there was a book for sale recently which was signed by eleven members of a group called the 'cave'. An informal group of teachers in the English school at Oxford, formed to help usher in Tolkien's proposed changes to the curriculum. Tolkien and Lewis were the founders, and after its success, the group continued to meet on a social basis, much like the Inklings. Except that, of eleven signatories in this book (given as a joke 'prize' for best reading at one of their meetings), five were women - including at least two (Whitelock and Everett) who were acknowledged as experts in their respective fields.

Tolkien was not 'a product of his times' in his attitude towards women; no more than in his approach to professing his subject at Oxford, nor in writing his fiction. Tolkien was, well: Tolkien.

Smile


(This post was edited by geordie on Apr 28 2010, 10:10pm)


squire
Half-elven


Apr 28 2010, 10:24pm

Post #33 of 69 (2180 views)
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The Council meeting of 2851 was held at Rivendell [In reply to] Can't Post

as is mentioned in passing in "The Hunt for the Ring" in Unfinished Tales. As for the Council meeting of 2941, in the year of The Hobbit's adventures, all we know is that it was held anywhere but Rivendell - since on Gandalf's return to Rivendell from the East he has to fill Elrond in on the whole Dol Guldur adventure of the "Council of White Wizards".



squire online:
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Patty
Immortal


Apr 28 2010, 10:41pm

Post #34 of 69 (2171 views)
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And weren't some of the elven warriors at Helm's deep female, too? / [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Permanent address: Into the West



Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Apr 28 2010, 10:46pm

Post #35 of 69 (2164 views)
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Not sure about that, but someone will know.// [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Kangi Ska

There is no place like the Shire...There is no place like the Shire...There is no place like the Shire...

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.


Man on Fire


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Apr 28 2010, 11:52pm

Post #36 of 69 (2175 views)
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Don't dis Dat [In reply to] Can't Post

Professional women musicians unite!


Kyriel
Forum Admin / Moderator


Apr 29 2010, 10:27am

Post #37 of 69 (2222 views)
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Oh, for crying out loud, y'all [In reply to] Can't Post

It. Was. A. Joke. Crazy Tongue


Those left standing will make millions writing books on the way it should have been. --Incubus


Darkstone
Immortal


Apr 29 2010, 1:35pm

Post #38 of 69 (2160 views)
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Run, Kyriel. Go. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll distract them.

******************************************
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Sometime hours and hours hence:
In The Green Dragon two ales could buy
And drank the one less filling I
And that has made all the difference.
- The Ale Less Filling, by Robert Frostymug


Annael
Immortal


Apr 29 2010, 2:59pm

Post #39 of 69 (2165 views)
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I dunno [In reply to] Can't Post

some of his letters express less than admiration for his women students.

The way we imagine our lives is the way we are going to go on living our lives.

- James Hillman, Healing Fiction

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


Patty
Immortal


Apr 29 2010, 3:47pm

Post #40 of 69 (2133 views)
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Hey, maybe we really will see a Female Village Elder this time. / [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Permanent address: Into the West



Darkstone
Immortal


Apr 29 2010, 4:45pm

Post #41 of 69 (2140 views)
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Yeah [In reply to] Can't Post

I recall in Mary Renault's biography she described how Tolkien treated female students.

Renault also defied his advice regarding the publication of her first novel, Purposes of Love, which was considered pretty naughty for the time. He wasn't too pleased.

******************************************
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Sometime hours and hours hence:
In The Green Dragon two ales could buy
And drank the one less filling I
And that has made all the difference.
- The Ale Less Filling, by Robert Frostymug

(This post was edited by Darkstone on Apr 29 2010, 4:55pm)


geordie
Tol Eressea

Apr 29 2010, 4:57pm

Post #42 of 69 (2133 views)
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Which letters? [In reply to] Can't Post

- which students? - and what does he have to say, specifically?

Smile


geordie
Tol Eressea

Apr 29 2010, 4:59pm

Post #43 of 69 (2121 views)
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Yes, I know [In reply to] Can't Post

Smile - but it's still a good topic starter.

Wink


Darkstone
Immortal


Apr 29 2010, 5:12pm

Post #44 of 69 (2135 views)
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For example [In reply to] Can't Post

 
”The woman is another fallen human-being with a soul in peril. But combined and harmonized with religion (as long ago it [chivalry] was, producing much of that beautiful devotion to Our Lady that has been God’s way of refining so much our gross manly natures and emotions, and also of warming and colouring our hard, bitter, religion) it can be very noble.” (Letter 43)

”You may meet in life (as in literature) women who are flighty, or even plain wanton—I don’t refer merely to flirtatiousness, the sparring practice for real combat, but to women who are too silly to take even love seriously, or are actually so depraved as to enjoy ‘conquests’, or even enjoy the giving of pain—but these are abnormalities, even though false teaching, bad upbringing, and corrupt fashions may encourage them. Much though modern conditions have changed feminine circumstances, and the detail of what is considered propriety, they have not changed the natural instinct. A man has a life-work, a career (and male friends), all of which could (and do where he has any guts) survive the shipwreck of ‘love’. A young woman, even one ‘economically independent’ as they say now (it usually really means economic subservience to male commercial employers instead of to a father or a family), begins to think of the ‘bottom drawer’ and dream of a home, almost at once.” (Letter 43)

”If they [women] have any delusion it is that they can ‘reform’ men. They will take a rotter open-eyed, and even when the delusion of reforming him fails, go on loving him. They are, of course, much more realistic about the sexual relation. Unless perverted by bad contemporary fashions they do not as a rule talk ‘bawdy’; not because they are purer than men (they are not) but because they don’t find it funny.”(Letter 43)

******************************************
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Sometime hours and hours hence:
In The Green Dragon two ales could buy
And drank the one less filling I
And that has made all the difference.
- The Ale Less Filling, by Robert Frostymug


GAndyalf
Valinor

Apr 29 2010, 5:13pm

Post #45 of 69 (2121 views)
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Given Lorien's proximity to Dol Guldur... [In reply to] Can't Post

And given that it was probably "on the agenda" before the Council met, I'd venture a guess that's not documented but at least logical that it was in Lothlorien.

"Be good, be careful, have fun, don't get arrested!"
---Marcia Michelle Alexander Hamilton, 7 Nov 1955 - 19 Nov 2009

sample


geordie
Tol Eressea

Apr 29 2010, 5:21pm

Post #46 of 69 (2126 views)
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Uh-huh, but [In reply to] Can't Post

I thought that's what you were thinking of. The thing is, this isn't a letter about Tolkien's women students; nor even a letter about women in general (believe it or not). In context, it's a 'fatherly advice' letter from Tolkien to his son Michael, during the war. Michael had been in hospital, and was contemplating marriage to his nurse. Tolkien thought that he was a bit young for this; and what with there being a war on (and the fact that this was all a bit sudden and all) he was a bit chary of the idea. As it happens, things seem to have worked out in the end.

But, this is not my idea of an example of Tolkien's attitudes to his students; female or otherwise. Not when taking the whole situation in context, that is.


(This post was edited by geordie on Apr 29 2010, 5:22pm)


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Apr 29 2010, 7:34pm

Post #47 of 69 (2138 views)
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Tolkien on female students. [In reply to] Can't Post

From the same letter -- the quote was handy thanks to Modtheow's July 2005 contribution to the RR Letters discussion:


Quote
The sexual impulse makes women (naturally when unspoiled more unselfish) very sympathetic and understanding, or specially desirous of being so (or seeming so), and very ready to enter into all the interest, as far as they can, from ties to religion, of the young man they are attracted to. No intent necessarily to deceive: sheer instinct: the servient, helpmeet instinct, generously warmed by desire and young blood. Under this impulse they can in fact often achieve very remarkable insight and understanding, even of things otherwise outside their natural range: for it is their gift to be receptive, stimulated, fertilized (in many other matters than the physical) by the male. Every teacher knows that. How quickly an intelligent woman can be taught, grasp his ideas, see his point – and how (with rare exceptions) they can go no further, when they leave his hand, or when they cease to take a personal interest in him.



Though as you say, the opinions of his female students like S.R.T.O. d'Ardenne and Mary Salu are at odds with this passage. Squire noted the same contradiction in his review of Douglas Anderson's J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia article on d'Ardenne. (And to that Encyclopedia, Modtheow herself contributed a couple articles relevant to this discussion, at least one of which cites the same letter.)

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Darkstone
Immortal


Apr 29 2010, 8:10pm

Post #48 of 69 (2146 views)
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Mary Renault [In reply to] Can't Post

In an interview for her biography she discusses at length Tolkien's treatment of her and other female students. Have you read it?

For his part Tolkien briefly mentions her in letter 249.

******************************************
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Sometime hours and hours hence:
In The Green Dragon two ales could buy
And drank the one less filling I
And that has made all the difference.
- The Ale Less Filling, by Robert Frostymug


FarFromHome
Valinor


Apr 30 2010, 1:20am

Post #49 of 69 (2128 views)
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Can you give us some details? [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
In an interview for her biography she discusses at length Tolkien's treatment of her and other female students.



It would be interesting to know something about Tolkien's treatment of female students and compare it to the behaviour prevalent at the time towards women in academia - there are some shocking details of the situation at Cambridge in James Watson's The Double Helix, for example.


They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



Darkstone
Immortal


Apr 30 2010, 3:05am

Post #50 of 69 (2124 views)
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According to Ms. Renault.... [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien sympathized greatly with his female students, and female students in general at Oxford. He would often invite them over to his home and tutor them. (He felt the other professors neglected females in classrooms and that females had a harder time of it in college.) This activity was something Edith could join in on, and it helped Edith out of her shell and into academic society. (Ms. Renault was a student of Tolkien in the 1920s.)

Ms. Renault also said Tolkien encouraged and supported women students who aspired to become writers, critiquing their manuscripts and writing them reference letters to publishers and agents.

Ms. Renault and Tolkien did have a dispute over the publication of her first novel, Purposes of Love. It was very racy for its time, and had hints of male and female homosexuality. Anyway, Ms. Renault wanted to use a male pseudonym, but Tolkien strongly objected, urging her to publish under her own name, or at least a female pseudonym. Indeed, she says that Tolkien strongly encouraged all the young aspiring female writers he came into contact with to reject the trend of the time for females to write under male pseudonyms and instead use their own names.

(Ironically, in the fifties many critics were convinced that she was a male writer writing under a female pseudonym!)

As for Tolkien, from Letter 294:

"There are exceptions. I have read all that E. R. Eddison wrote, in spite of his peculiarly bad nomenclature and personal philosophy. I was greatly taken by the book that was (I believe) the runner-up when The L. R. was given the Fantasy Award, 'Death of Grass'. I enjoy the S.F. of Isaac Azimov. Above these, I was recently deeply engaged in the books of Mary Renault; especially the two about Theseus, The King Must Die, and The Bull from the Sea. A few days ago I actually received a card of appreciation from her; perhaps the piece of ‘Fan-mail’ that gives me most pleasure."

Note that like most of Renault’s novels, The King Must Die and The Bull From the Sea dealt sympathetically with male and female homosexual characters.

Ms. Renault died in 1983, renowned as one of the 20th century's greatest authors of gay literature.

(Hmmm. Maybe Tolkien wasn’t such a misogynist after all.)

Still, I recall one famous female writer, I think it was Dorothy Sayers, sat down at the “Men Only” Inklings table and was politely but firmly asked to leave.

******************************************
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Sometime hours and hours hence:
In The Green Dragon two ales could buy
And drank the one less filling I
And that has made all the difference.
- The Ale Less Filling, by Robert Frostymug

(This post was edited by Darkstone on Apr 30 2010, 3:13am)

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