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Tolkien Estate HATES these movies?
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Aug 20 2012, 7:27pm

Post #226 of 245 (6727 views)
Why would that cause me offense? [In reply to] Can't Post

I did, after all, say almost exactly what you did (below):

But yes, I would say most here on TORN either like or love them.

So, we're in agreement. Smile

(This post was edited by Shelob'sAppetite on Aug 20 2012, 7:27pm)


Aug 20 2012, 7:56pm

Post #227 of 245 (6615 views)
Well, there are Frodo's verses... [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
but wait; Gandalf's comments on the far country come from the movies, not from JRR. In LotR, as you'll recall, the dream of the 'far green country under a swift sunrise' comes to Frodo in the house of Tom Bombadil. (FotR, 'A Knife in the Dark) - and then the narrator reminds us of this dream, at very nearly the end of the book.

If nothing else, the first lines of the song from the film are reminiscent of Frodo's take on "Roads Go Ever Ever On" and of the song he sings when he, his cousins and Sam bed down for the night on their way out of the Shire.

"Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house." - Aragorn


Aug 20 2012, 8:04pm

Post #228 of 245 (6596 views)
Christopher Tolkien was actively involved in the creation of LOTR, too. [In reply to] Can't Post

Read JRRT's bio sometime. He would send chapters of text to Christopher while he was stationed overseas. And he had a large part in creating all the maps, too.

So he was heavily involved long before the film rights were sold.

"BOTH [political] extremes are dangerous. But more dangerous are team fanboys who think all the extremists are on the OTHER side." (CNN reader comment)

It is always those with the fewest sensible things to say who make the loudest noise in saying them. --Precious Ramotswe (Alexander McCall Smith)

Tol Eressea

Aug 20 2012, 8:12pm

Post #229 of 245 (6604 views)
Further to Rosie's post: here's a link [In reply to] Can't Post

- to a page listing Christopher's works.




Aug 20 2012, 8:32pm

Post #230 of 245 (6587 views)
Careful - I may resemble that comment :) [In reply to] Can't Post

Many I know are as you state, but also many are quite open minded. Sometimes I catch myself being stubborn and an "old codger", but try to not be that way.

Anyway - I chuckled and had to respond.


Aug 21 2012, 12:45pm

Post #231 of 245 (6602 views)
"Then it was late in coming" [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
as has been said, people in the Undying Lands are alive, and Frodo lives out his life there. BTW - as I recall, Frodo doesn't go to Valinor, but to Tol Eressea.

In The Lord of the Rings itself, there is no reason to believe that Frodo is granted anything beyond a vision of the Undying Lands. As far as we are concerned, Frodo has left this world never to come back.
In letter 154, and as late as letter 246 (an unsent draft dated 1963), the suggestion that he would reach the Undying Lands is qualified, as opposed to the categorical assertion that even if he does immortality would not be bestowed upon him.

As far as I know, only in a footnote to the 1967 unsent letter to "Mr. Rang" the idea that Frodo lived for some period of time in Eressea appears for the first time. But this was a tangential footnote, and the letter was never sent - which in my opinion would carry a lesser weight than a sent one, just as a draft published in The History of Middle-earth carries less weight than the published The Lord of the Rings, even if it doesn't contradict it in no place. This might have been, as Christopher put it elsewhere, "an ephemeral idea".
Nevertheless, there is no doubt that towards the end of Tolkien's life, he did view Frodo as going to a kind of healing, or purgatorio - as shown in the 1971 letter to RL Green (325). But at the very least, ten years after publishing The Lord of the Rings he wasn't so sure.

What you recall is probably the footnote to the Mr. Rang letter (no. 297) in which JRRT stated that Galadriel's lament for Lorien was a prayer that Frodo shall be received at Tol Eressea, not Valinor; and that her prayer was granted, and also the personal ban over her lifted (there is something similar in Unfinished Tales, which I forgot to check last night before my connection broke down). The place in Eressea specifically was because of his statement (whose sources go back one of the outlines in The Book of Lost Rings) that she was banned forever from Valinor.
However, this does not fit in with the actual lament, which concludes "Farewell! Maybe thou shalt find Valimar" - Valimar being the city of the Valar; which quite spoils a beautiful conception.
In the 1971 letter, Frodo is granted a sojourn in Aman.

All this is fascinating, but I did not mean to make a statement about whether Frodo himself actually reached the other side.
"The Lands of the Living" is a Biblical phrase (Ps. 116:9; see also Ps. 27:13), which clearly means this world as we know it - which Frodo is clearly leaving. If you do not like the "purgatorio" of the Letters, think of Niggle's Workhouse. Are people there dead? No. Are they living? Not as we know it.
A rough parallel would be Beren after returning from death to Ossiriand - which Tolkien insists "and was never seen by mortal men again", i.e., has not really returned to the life he was born to. Even this is not quite parallel, as Beren progeny after being resurrected do jojn the world of Men again, which Frodo never achieves.

Okay, end of digression. Back to mutual bashing. Unsure

"This chapter seems to be full of movement—slowly and deliberately (then less so) down hills; scrambling up trees-- then up, up, and away into the Eagles’ eyrie; and down, down back to the ground.
Flora, fauna, food, fear, and flight are featured..."
- batik

The weekly discussion of The Hobbit is back. Join us in the Reading Room for a somewhat less clever discussion of Out of the Frying Pan-into the Fire!

Grey Havens

Aug 21 2012, 2:42pm

Post #232 of 245 (6536 views)
Ingrates? [In reply to] Can't Post

In my mind, Frodo and Bilbo reach Valinor and live to whatever end of days they desire to endure as long as they stay there. For if the capricious Valar treat those who were "meant to carry the ring" like so much hired help who sit at a separate table for meals by not letting them onto Valinor proper, or they treat them as disposable by not "bestowing" immortality (I prefer to believe immortality is intrinsic to the land and not the Valar who bestow it), then the Valar are truly snobbish ingrates who do not deserve my respect for treating their agents against Sauron in such a poor manner.

(This post was edited by JWPlatt on Aug 21 2012, 2:46pm)


Aug 21 2012, 4:45pm

Post #233 of 245 (6546 views)
Well, the Valar have a history of mucking things up... [In reply to] Can't Post

Not very good stewards of Arda, based on their benign and sometimes intentional neglect of their charges.

They drag the Eldar off to Valinor for the express purpose of protecting them, but allow Melkor to walk freely amongst them (even though individual Vala saw through his facade). Of course, they did not root out all of their foes when Melkor was captured and let Sauron rebuild the evil empire, then they get all up in arms when Melkor causes havoc and murder and the Eldar wish to leave, then ban them completely when Feanor causes civil war (not condoning Feanor's actions, mind, merely the lackadaisacal approach of the Valar that led up to the Kin-strife). Meanwhile, the Two Trees are destroyed and the Valar offer only a half-hearted chase of Morgoth and then give up.

The Valar then ignore Arda for most of the 1st Age, allowing Morgoth to crush the Eldar and Edain, totally corrupt the rest of Mankind, and generally make Arda a living hell. But lo! They reconsider and send an army to defeat Morgoth, but only at the last possible moment and only when Earendil returns a Silmaril. But what happens? Well, once again they neglect to capture Sauron and he goes right back to his evil ways, subverts most of mankind once again and goes about creating the One Ring. The Valar do nothing.

But not learning from their original mistake, the Valar once again remove a race from Arda and create Numenor so that the Edain can ostensibly be happy and safe. Of course, this all backfires once more as Sauron (who somehow escapes the Valar's attention at every turn) deludes Ar-Pharazon and causes him to attack Valinor. At this point, the Valar are completely at a loss and hopelessly muddled. They surrender their governance to Eru who, with obvious irritation at being interrupted from his usual cosmic itinerary, decides to destroy Numenor utterly - which amounts to slapping the Valar upside their heads for their bad judgment.

But Sauron gets away again and causes another age of grief! So, what do the Valar do? Well, they don't want to piss off Eru again, obviously, so they take a more unobtrusive approach, sending the Istari to be their goodwill ambassadors. Naturally, this goes awry as well as only one Istari out of five actually keeps to the program (a horrible ratio from a business sense).

So you wonder at the Valar's attitude thereafter?

Please visit my blog...The Dark Elf File...a slighty skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.

(This post was edited by Morthoron on Aug 21 2012, 4:48pm)


Aug 22 2012, 2:15am

Post #234 of 245 (6521 views)
If he only had a vision [In reply to] Can't Post

of the Undying Lands then that means that he died on the trip there which would seem an untimely and strange coincidince. If this was Eru's plan then it is reasonable to assume that Bilbo would also die on the trip. This would be a meagre reward from Eru for their effort and pain. I do not see sound reasoning for it. If they only get a glimpse of the Undying Lands why not let them die in peace in their Shire instead? Why can they not reach the Undying Lands yet Gimli can. The whole notion of going to the Undying Lands is well established in the published appendices.

JW, the Valar were not ingrates, they simply could not withold Illuvatars Gift to mortals, only he could decree any such change, and who is to say that Frodo or Bilbo would choose that fate if given the opportunity. They show an understanding of the great matters of fate in a similar fashion to many of those deemed much wiser than them, there is nothing in their character to suggest they would not welcome the gift as nobly as Elessar Telcontar did.


Aug 22 2012, 2:44am

Post #235 of 245 (6500 views)
nice commentary [In reply to] Can't Post

Lots of wsll written editorials

I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve!


Aug 22 2012, 7:35am

Post #236 of 245 (6563 views)
Read 154 [In reply to] Can't Post

and I cannot see what is qualifying the fact apart from possibly the word "supposed" but even considering the inclusion of that word, the rest of the letter describes in too great detail the facts of.such a sojurn that it seems inevitable that the journey did happen in it's fullness for Frodo, Bilbo, Sam and Gimli.


Aug 22 2012, 7:52am

Post #237 of 245 (6503 views)
This is a complicated question [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
If this was Eru's plan then it is reasonable to assume that Bilbo would also die on the trip.

Of course! Bilbo's last version of his walking-song seems clearly indicative of it:


The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.'

At least on one level, The Road is a metaphor for life; and Bilbo is clearly turning aside.

(This idea is expressed far better than I can by prof. Shippey in Author of the Century, but I think I understood it so even before reading his book.)

Note also that Bilbo's final words (in the book) are joy that he beat the Old Took by living to 131 years. Clearly time after embarking doesn't count, and Bilbo has no expectations of it.

This would be a meagre reward from Eru for their effort and pain. I do not see sound reasoning for it.

Eru is never mentioned before appendix A, and the Valar are only twice, and very opaquely. The whole strength of The Lord of the Rings is that like in the real world, we might have faith but we do not know. Had we explicitly known how Frodo is rewarded, the book would lose much of its tragic point.
Even in the Silmarillion, we do not know that Eru Himself rewards mortals for their effort and pain, and definitely not how He does it. Knowing that He is good and cares for elves and men, we can trust and believe that He does; but if so - why in Aman, of all places? This sounds more like the Elves and Valar want to keep the Ringbearers for themselves a bit, before they leave for their ultimate destiny. Even in the later letters, in which Tolkien stated that Frodo did live for some time in the Undying Lands, he called it a "purgatorio" or more pleasantly "healing".

By the way, one of the reasons hostile critics dissed The Lord of the Rings as "trash" was by their perception that no real sacrifice or pain is involved; all the good characters (except for Theoden) live happily ever after, like in any children's fairy-tale.

And as a last note - have you ever read Leaf by Niggle? One of Tolkien's short stories, which I personally love (although not everyone has a taste for religious allegory). In it, a clear vision is not a "meagre reward" but a Gift.

In Reply To
If they only get a glimpse of the Undying Lands why not let them die in peace in their Shire instead?

Bilbo has left the Shire forever (well, he will pass through on his way to the Havens). And Frodo cannot find peace in it any more.
However, dying in the Shire of having nothing left to live for, is being fatalistic in the opposite direction. I am not arguing that Frodo did not get to Valinor. He set out on his last, ultimate Quest. Whether he succeeded or not is a matter of faith. And I contend that leaving this to faith is exactly what makes The Lord of the Rings more meaningful, and more 'true' than Lewis' The Last Battle.

(Where is Curious? He could say this far better than I can.)

In Reply To
Why can they not reach the Undying Lands yet Gimli can.

Not quite! Regarding Gimli, the end of appendix A is very careful:

Here follows one of the last notes in the Red Book.
We have heard tell that Legolas took Gimli Gloin's son with him because of their great friendship, greater than any that has been between Elf and Dwarf. If this is true, then it is strange indeed: that a Dwarf should be willing to leave Middle-earth for any love, or that the Eldar should receive him, or that the Lords of the West should permit it. But it is said that Gimli went also out of desire to see again the beauty of Galadriel; and it may be that she, being mighty among the Eldar, obtained this grace for him. More cannot be said of this matter.

Also the end of appendix B has only "with him, it is said, went Gimli the dwarf" - even his embarking is a mere rumor, and nothing is said of his arriving there. The same thing goes for Sam:

1482... On September 22 Master Samwise rides out from Bag End. He comes to the Tower Hills, and is last seen by Elanor, to whom he gives the Red Book afterwards kept by the Fairbairns. Among them the tradition is handed down from Elanor that Samwise passed the Towers, and went to the Grey Havens, and passed over Sea, last of the Ring-bearers.

Once again, there is only a family tradition that he Sam left for he Havens. Of course, they can say no more.

In Reply To
The whole notion of going to the Undying Lands is well established in the published appendices.

Well, I've cited the sources. I think they are purposedly ambiguous, and also that therein lies their beauty.

A last thing which needs mentioning is the whole idea of being sent over the Sea as a holy mode of dying, one which Tolkien took very seriously in his retelling of the legend of King_Sheave - to which he returned twice, both in The Lost Road and in The Notion Club Papers.

"In the morning Bilbo misses breakfast. – is this the most unbelievable part of this chapter?"
- Elven

The weekly discussion of The Hobbit is back. Join us in the Reading Room for a somewhat less clever discussion of Queer Lodgings!


Aug 22 2012, 7:59am

Post #238 of 245 (6484 views)
"supposed" is a very strong qualifier [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
even considering the inclusion of that word, the rest of the letter describes in too great detail the facts of.such a sojurn that it seems inevitable that the journey did happen in it's fullness for Frodo, Bilbo, Sam and Gimli.

I don't think so. The rest of the letter tries to explain what would happen to them had they reached the Undying Lands, and whether this could be reconciled to all that is known to the contrary.
It shows what a powerful impact this story has upon the believing mind. Call it the Middle-earth version of speculative theology. Are the Primary World parallels less detailed or well-imagined?

"In the morning Bilbo misses breakfast. – is this the most unbelievable part of this chapter?"
- Elven

The weekly discussion of The Hobbit is back. Join us in the Reading Room for a somewhat less clever discussion of Queer Lodgings!


Aug 22 2012, 8:11am

Post #239 of 245 (6503 views)
i have never read it as such [In reply to] Can't Post

'there may be certain rare exceptions or accommodations (legitimately supposed? there always seems to be exceptions); and so certain 'mortals', who have played some great part in Elvish affairs, may pass with the Elves to Elvenhome. Thus Frodo (by the express gift of Arwen) and Bilbo, and eventually Sam (as adumbrated by Frodo); and as a unique exception Gimli the Dwarf, as friend of Legolas and 'servant' of Galadriel.

I took that to mean frodo, bilbo, sam and gimli all at some point get to elvenhome not just have a vision of it. Though i know like you say from the appendices there is more uncertainty about Gimli.


Aug 22 2012, 8:52am

Post #240 of 245 (6456 views)
For myself [In reply to] Can't Post

there seems to be too much discussion about the subject of several mortals departing, with commentary on each person occuring more than once, for it not to be fact within the myth, whereas JRRT would have dismissed it out of hand and clarified that none of them made it to the Undying Lands if that was the case. I feel it is reinforced by writings on specifics such as the plan for Frodo by Arwen, Gandalf and Cirdan. I cannot argue against the fact that he may have died before getting there, but it seems unlikely and tragic to the point of cliche. Furthermore he is still relatively young and apart from intermittant physical pain bought about by the damage to his soul, he seems in generally good health, withdrawn yes, diminished yes, but not at deaths door.

JRRT also writes about Frodo as a means of providence so Eru's influence is considered present.

(This post was edited by ElendilTheShort on Aug 22 2012, 8:59am)


Aug 22 2012, 9:20am

Post #241 of 245 (6485 views)
I will say [In reply to] Can't Post

that your comments have made me consider the matter further in replying, and I do agree with your notion that the fact it is not spelt out, there is no welcome for Frodo in Eressa that is written about, keeps it a matter of faith, the event is remote, untouched, unreachable for the reader apart from in their imagination and it adds a great deal of emotional and spiritual value to the last text about what Frodo sees.

Grey Havens

Aug 22 2012, 4:06pm

Post #242 of 245 (6448 views)
Literary Cowardice [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll disclaim first that this might not apply to Tolkien, but for literature in general that a good number of vague notions of faith are literary cowardice in the unwillingness to turn it into the tangible. In other words, the author does not want to attempt any greater description for lack of knowledge or experience of it or not wanting to be wrong in the end or offend sensibilities of possibly religious critics.

I have found many a story that are disappointing, for example, because it turns out the evil one is fighting is a minion or agent of the devil - not the devil himself. Why not go for the root? It would be a braver move by the author. If I recall correctly, The Exorcist is guilty of this. If not, others are. One story which is not guilty of such cowardice is Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Bastards because it not only goes after agents of Adolf Hitler, but Hitler himself, as a fantasy independent of our own reality. That was brave.

It is therefore unremarkable at best to me that one should avoid, for example, Frodo's description of the peoples, life and land of Valinor upon reaching it just as The Scouring of the Shire was an epilogue to the War of the Ring. Perhaps the authors of stories like this simply feel they are not capable or worthy to their own satisfaction that they can imbue the text with that certain emotional and spiritual value. Or they are afraid of it and this idea of leaving things to imagination or faith is just a rationalization.

(This post was edited by JWPlatt on Aug 22 2012, 4:13pm)


Sep 5 2012, 5:15pm

Post #243 of 245 (6640 views)
Yes, he has [In reply to] Can't Post

Or at least FOTR; he wrote a lengthy and very negative commentary on it which he has shared with some of us.


Sep 5 2012, 5:34pm

Post #244 of 245 (6419 views)
Zimmerman treatment retread [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
The Oscar and BAFTA winning screenplay whichIs incredibly poor quality in the context of your personal taste?


In the context of my knowledge and understanding of the books- which PJ, Fran and Philippa never understood; the screenplays fell apart because they naver understood in the least the nature of the Ring, of Sauron, of the Nazgul, nor of Tolkien's conception of evil; nor had a clue as to the actual Denethor/Faramir dynamic; nor could PJ ever restrain himself from his "that would be sooo kewl self-indulgences.

JRRT's famous letter where he guts Zimmerman's attempt at a screenplay applies almost as well here. "Another scene of screams and meaningless slashing."

You are aware, aren't you, that the Academy Awards are voted on by idiots?

Grey Havens

Sep 5 2012, 5:57pm

Post #245 of 245 (6582 views)
Nature [In reply to] Can't Post

You mention a nature of things that Peter, Fran and Philippa never understood. I'd be very interested in your understanding of those natures; what they are. Maybe in a new thread for discussion about their natures? It could be enlightening.

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