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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
tolkien's linking of physical beauty with merit

Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Mar 18 2013, 2:05am


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tolkien's linking of physical beauty with merit Can't Post

 
one of the things that both bothers me and beguiles me about tolkien's middle earth is his linking of physical beauty and merit.

true, not every being that has physical beauty is good (annatar, melkor) nor without flaw (feanor, galadriel, thingol), but it is a theme.

he also links height to might and worthiness. thingol (the tallest of all the children of iluvatar, and, if i'm recalling correctly from the text, the mightiest. galadriel, the mightiest of all the female elves is also the tallest, or at least as tall as a male elf.

the vanyar are seemingly the eldar closest in step with the valar, and they are all blond. the royal house of the teleri goes a step further, their hair is silver / silver-blond. (and it is certainly not true that blond hair is more beautiful than any other.)

he speaks of the elves as having the greatest portion of beauty, and of being the tallest race. they are also the closest to the valar, and able to live with them in valinor. they are considered the wisest of the races and the most talented.

yes, beauty is beguiling. so it is understandable that the described beauty of luthien would cast a spell on the reader, as well as beren. but i often think it is not a good thing at all that tolkien makes such a strong connection with beauty and merit. or height and merit.

what say you?

cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel

(This post was edited by Maciliel on Mar 18 2013, 2:07am)

Subject User Time
tolkien's linking of physical beauty with merit Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Mar 18 2013, 2:05am
    Blonde elves are fairly rare. Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Mar 18 2013, 4:34am
        but rarity does not negate the (general) correlation tolkien makes between beauty/merit and (to a lesser extent) blond/merit Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Mar 18 2013, 11:20am
            I thought the love imin Send a private message to imin Mar 19 2013, 2:09am
    I agree with you... Arannir Send a private message to Arannir Mar 18 2013, 2:01pm
        Another agreement CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Mar 18 2013, 3:57pm
            Tall Tales Of The Tall PhantomS Send a private message to PhantomS Mar 21 2013, 3:37pm
                Phantom S ElendilTheShort Send a private message to ElendilTheShort Mar 22 2013, 11:41am
            history and fairy tale traditions Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Mar 21 2013, 11:23pm
        yes, i do find that contrast intriguing Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Mar 21 2013, 11:15pm
    I understand your issue. sador Send a private message to sador Mar 18 2013, 4:20pm
        "Fair" = "beautiful" (not just light-colored). Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Mar 18 2013, 10:41pm
            Good point Elizabeth SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Mar 22 2013, 4:08am
        fallen worlds / proximity to grace Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Mar 21 2013, 11:31pm
            We cross-posted here! Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Mar 21 2013, 11:41pm
                x-post! Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Mar 22 2013, 12:19am
                    ***Bows!**** Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Mar 22 2013, 1:45am
    Aragorn at Bree Hamfast Gamgee Send a private message to Hamfast Gamgee Mar 19 2013, 3:04pm
        Yes Indeed IdrilofGondolin Send a private message to IdrilofGondolin Mar 19 2013, 5:35pm
            I like where you are going here Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Mar 21 2013, 11:38pm
    or is it merit, then beauty? telain Send a private message to telain Mar 19 2013, 10:53pm
        beauty Nerven Send a private message to Nerven Mar 21 2013, 12:44am
            yes... telain Send a private message to telain Mar 21 2013, 5:07pm
            small correction: silver-blond Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Mar 21 2013, 11:37pm
        oh, carp -- Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Mar 22 2013, 12:26am
    I'm not sure aout the height thing... dik-dik Send a private message to dik-dik Mar 21 2013, 9:51am
    Try crossing average height by country, Plurmo Send a private message to Plurmo Mar 21 2013, 6:19pm
        ... Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Mar 21 2013, 11:58pm
    by the way, +thank you+ Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Mar 22 2013, 12:06am
        Re: dik-dik Send a private message to dik-dik Mar 22 2013, 11:41am
            grace Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Mar 23 2013, 4:01am
                Associating physical attractiveness with virtue- widespread human error noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Mar 30 2013, 5:13pm
                    Description of Frodo: Tall and fair: sound familiar? CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Mar 30 2013, 6:38pm
                        So we can have Grace Jones guarding the citadel, then? :) // noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Mar 30 2013, 6:41pm
                            She's pretty darn intimidating. Which explains why the Nazgul wouldn't land there.// CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Mar 30 2013, 6:43pm
    beauty is subjective... Brennil Caladiel Send a private message to Brennil Caladiel Apr 30 2013, 2:00am
        agreed that beauty is subjective Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel Apr 30 2013, 2:23am

 
 
 

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