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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
"I do not care"

squire
Valinor


May 7 2013, 11:58pm


Views: 248
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"I do not care" [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien famously answered the criticism of "good author, bad biologist" when a correspondent objected that near-immortal elves mating successfully with mortal men seemed to go against every rule of organic life that we know. But his answer, I think, also addresses your objections about Dwarf sex-ratios (although I suspect you will not be surprised to read this):

I suppose that actually the chief difficulties I have involved myself in are scientific and biological—which worry me just as much as the theological and metaphysical ... I might answer that this ‘biology’ is only a theory, ... But I should actually answer: I do not care. This is a biological dictum in my imaginary world. It is only (as yet) an incompletely imagined world, a rudimentary ‘secondary’; but if it pleased the Creator to give it (in a corrected form) Reality on any plane, then you would just have to enter it and begin studying its different biology, that is all.(J. R. R. Tolkien, Letter 153)

So, the author wins; but you knew that. What I find interesting is that you said "with other races, i can get caught up in their 'realities,'". I personally find Ents far more disturbing as sentient humanoid creatures than I do the Dwarves; although I too am open to the absurdity of cross-breeding between Elves and Men. Over all, I suppose the reason that the question of Dwarven sex ratios has never upset me nearly as much as those I've just mentioned, is that none of it really comes up in the story. The Appendices are fun, but they contain a host of contradictions and troublesome ideas that Tolkien really didn't worry about, compared to the mighty effort he put into making the main narrative "real" and consistent within the confines of his fictional world. If we readers had ever met a Dwarf-woman in LotR itself, or even if any of the characters had expressed the slightest interest in the existence of Dwarf-women, I suppose that Tolkien would have put more time into making this particular construct believable.

I'm sorry you missed the heyday on this board of poster Beren IV, who was a biologist-turned-paleontologist. He made lovely work of issues like this. I can't find his classic series on the ecology of Arda, since it lives on the unsearchable Old Boards; but here is a later sample of the kind of thing he excelled at. Enjoy!



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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Subject User Time
Maybe Dwarf women hid themselves? Dis15 Send a private message to Dis15 May 6 2013, 10:00pm
    Good theory Dis... dik-dik Send a private message to dik-dik May 7 2013, 9:08am
    All very excellent points -- and your response helps me to Dis15 Send a private message to Dis15 May 7 2013, 2:27pm
        Insects CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG May 7 2013, 9:07pm
        Thank you! I like reading other people's views on this fascinating subject. dik-dik Send a private message to dik-dik May 7 2013, 9:50pm
    There are some very insightful posts here. Otaku-sempai Send a private message to Otaku-sempai May 7 2013, 10:57pm
    it's hard for me to think of female dwarves.... Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel May 7 2013, 11:06pm
        maybe i should say aule is a bad biologist. Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel May 7 2013, 11:09pm
            She could loaned him some rabbit DNA for them to breed like rabbits. // CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG May 7 2013, 11:18pm
                Oh no, not rabbits! LOL Dis15 Send a private message to Dis15 May 8 2013, 10:18pm
        "I do not care" squire Send a private message to squire May 7 2013, 11:58pm
            Ah, Beren IV... sador Send a private message to sador May 8 2013, 6:19am
                Yes, mythologies don't make sense for super-intelligent immortals who've talked with the gods squire Send a private message to squire May 8 2013, 10:03am
            This is way off topic, but I actually lost sleep over this last night: The Appendices Dis15 Send a private message to Dis15 May 9 2013, 4:10pm
                I greatly appreciate the Appendices CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG May 9 2013, 5:09pm
                Appendices! sam90 Send a private message to sam90 May 10 2013, 11:03pm
                    The Appendices Dis15 Send a private message to Dis15 May 14 2013, 3:46pm
                    A note on the Appendices in "Unfinished Tales" Dis15 Send a private message to Dis15 May 14 2013, 5:12pm
                        Oh, there are lots of contradictions CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG May 14 2013, 6:42pm
                            Thanks CuriousG. Your response helps. Dis15 Send a private message to Dis15 May 14 2013, 7:09pm
        Maciliel, I look at the strange and bizarre human mating rituals on this one planet, alone, Dis15 Send a private message to Dis15 May 9 2013, 3:36pm
    Looks like I have some homework Dis15 Send a private message to Dis15 May 8 2013, 10:40pm
    I hope dwarf women defy the rules Kaede Send a private message to Kaede May 9 2013, 4:13am
        I agree! I think that Dis Dis15 Send a private message to Dis15 May 9 2013, 3:11pm

 
 
 

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