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How about some UNfavorite Tolkien quotes?
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Bracegirdle
Tol Eressea


May 16 2014, 1:33pm

Post #1 of 27 (484 views)
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How about some UNfavorite Tolkien quotes? Can't Post

Or at least quotes that pique the funny-bone.

As Gandalf and the Three Hunters arrive at Edoras, Tolkien is showing us the strangeness of Rohirric,
A couple that tickled me:


Quote
“Stay, strangers here unknown!”

“Hail, comers from afar!”


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Darkstone
Immortal


May 16 2014, 2:04pm

Post #2 of 27 (323 views)
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"A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities." [In reply to] Can't Post

"Little by little, one travels far."

"Always remember, it’s simply not an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons."

"Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!"

"Not all who wander are lost."

******************************************
Philosoraptor sez:

What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it’s supposed to be.


(This post was edited by Darkstone on May 16 2014, 2:13pm)


demnation
Rohan

May 16 2014, 4:23pm

Post #3 of 27 (299 views)
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At least three of those five [In reply to] Can't Post

are things that Tolkien never wrote or said. But maybe you knew that already. Wink

"It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule." Gandalf, "The Last Debate."


Darkstone
Immortal


May 16 2014, 5:07pm

Post #4 of 27 (289 views)
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Yep [In reply to] Can't Post

That's why they're my "unfavorites"! Wink

******************************************
Philosoraptor sez:

What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it’s supposed to be.


squire
Valinor


May 16 2014, 6:24pm

Post #5 of 27 (289 views)
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"...a little ring, the least of rings..." [In reply to] Can't Post

And then his fell voice was lowered, and he would have sweetened it if he could. “As a small token only of your friendship Sauron asks this,” he said: “that you should find this thief,” such was his word, “and get from him, willing or no, a little ring, the least of rings, that once he stole. It is but a trifle that Sauron fancies, and an earnest of your good will.
(LotR II.2)

I think Tolkien's villain-speak is his weakest, or rather least-convincing, mode. This is the worst of a bad lot.



squire online:
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Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
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squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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Bracegirdle
Tol Eressea


May 16 2014, 9:12pm

Post #6 of 27 (276 views)
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The least of rings . . . [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
And then his fell voice was lowered, and he would have sweetened it if he could. “As a small token only of your friendship Sauron asks this,” he said: “that you should find this thief,” such was his word, “and get from him, willing or no, a little ring, the least of rings, that once he stole. It is but a trifle that Sauron fancies, and an earnest of your good will.
(LotR II.2)

I think Tolkien's villain-speak is his weakest, or rather least-convincing, mode. This is the worst of a bad lot.

I can only partially agree with your quote. Yes, it seems to us, and, most likely, to those present that these words of the rider from Mordor are easily seen through as deceitful. But we must consider that these are the words (or at least a paraphrase thereof) of pure evil (Sauron). Because this evil thinks differently than the Free People his thoughts and words seem to us (at times) absurd. Therefore wouldn’t Tolkien’s “villain-speak” mimic the abstruse words of Sauron; and could we not divert this “least-convincing” mode to Sauron (or his emissary), not Tolkien.

I know I haven’t made myself too clear here. So an example of the thinking of evil might be the Main Reason the Ring was destroyed: Being that Sauron’s least worry was that someone would attempt to destroy the Ring; he just couldn’t conceive of such. Therefore Aragorn’s wresting the Orthanc Stone to his own will, the march of The Army of the West and etc. threw Sauron’s Eye outward, and he mustered his forces to the Isenmouthe and Morannon, clearing out Gorgoroth – giving Frodo and Sam their only slim chance.

(But if you’re talking more along the lines of wording and sentence structure. . . nevermind; that may be just a matter of personal preference.)
Cheers

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Aunt Dora Baggins
Half-elven


May 17 2014, 12:33am

Post #7 of 27 (258 views)
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"No niggard are you, Eomer..." [In reply to] Can't Post

I know, I know, I'm perfectly aware of what the word means. But it makes me wince every time anyway.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



squire
Valinor


May 17 2014, 12:59am

Post #8 of 27 (251 views)
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It ain't easy ghostwriting the Evil Overlord with a straight face [In reply to] Can't Post

Good call on the question of whether this is bad dialogue by Tolkien, or bad dialogue by Sauron (via his emissary) rendered well by Tolkien. I agree that the lines' cheesiness is supposed to show us that Sauron arrogantly assumes he can fool everybody about anything, even the fact that he desperately wants the hobbit's ring more than he wants anything else the dwarves can give him.

But my criticism is based on the idea that, in the end, the author is responsible for everybody's dialogue. The problem with speeches like this one is they tend to make a modern reader laugh out loud - in a book where one doesn't laugh out loud when the equivalent Good Characters make equally unlikely speeches about the Free Peoples and Saving the World. Having his readers laugh inappropriately is, I would guess, not Tolkien's desire. I think the problem is the one he takes on from the start: personifying absolute Evil in a living, individual being. He walks a delicate tightrope in not letting us actually meet Sauron throughout the book, correctly judging that the sense of menace would dissolve in proportion to our exposure to his actual dialogue, mannerisms, appearance, etc. A good example of the problem is seen when in the later books, we actually meet the Orcs (Book III with Merry and Pippin, Book IV-VI with Frodo): they are transformed from creatures whose deeds freeze the blood in the retelling, to repulsive soldiers and thwarted gangsters. Sauron their Evil Overlord (the trope alone defines the problem!) can only fall even further from abstraction to mundanity with every encounter in the book - which are, thankfully, rare.

How could the dialogue be improved? I don't know!* All I can think is that at some point Sauron had some skill at deception. We may posit (as I think you are doing) that when he finally lost his "fair appearance" in the Downfall of Numenor he also lost his ability to deceive those of good heart. The book seems clear on this. But we are left with the question of why then, a full Age of being and seeming totally EVIL later, he even tries - that is, of why he (who Gandalf says is "very wise and weighs all things to a nicety", with Power as his only scale) is unconscious of the contradiction between the fear that Power inspires, and the loyalty that Honesty compels. Why not deal in Power, when he has it, can use it, knows the fear it inspires, and knows his enemies understand it also? Why bother to speak obvious lies in a voice that "he would have sweetened if he could"?

*For instance, in the case of the emissary to Thrain, I think we expect Sauron to simply demand the surrender of Bilbo, if the dwarves know his whereabouts. If the hobbit had stolen the "trifle that Sauron fancies", surely Sauron as King and Lord would want the thief for punishment, not just the return of the worthless but sentiment-laden bauble. The dwarves, not being fools and themselves grudge-holders, would understand this demand perfectly and would hardly even see it as suspicious. They wouldn't admit to knowing Bilbo's location, but they might not have become so suspicious of the obviously false story about the little Ring as to send Gloin and Gimli to ask Elrond for an explanation!



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 & 4th TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion and NOW the 1st BotR Discussion too! and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Bracegirdle
Tol Eressea


May 17 2014, 4:23am

Post #9 of 27 (223 views)
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Evil is as Evil does. -Forrest Gump's mama [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Were the words of Sauron’s agent cheesy to the point of “laughing out loud”? I wonder? I didn’t.
Did Sauron have this message delivered to the Dwarves knowing full well they would see through it? I wonder? Even Dain did not dismiss the “offering” offhand –
“I say neither yes nor nay. I must consider this message and what it means under its fair-cloak.”.
(I’m not saying that Dain didn’t see the deception, but why the delay in sending this guy packing?)
I see this meeting as Sauron simply covering every base possible (no matter how absurd) in his frantic effort to find The Ring.

Yes, Tolkien is responsible for ALL the dialogue of his characters, but it has always been my tendency (sometimes vaguely) to put the blame on the speaker (often imprecise) in attempt to protect the (actual) writer.

You ask if this dialogue could be improved and admit that you don’t know. Neither do I.
But upon reading the book I too thought these passages a little (just a little) “cheesy”, and the message/offering beyond deviously obvious.

But, nevertheless, I did not “laugh out loud”; but I DID “laugh out loud” at “Hail, comers from afar.”.
(All the male members of my family have a strange sense-of-humor).

Sorry for the short response.


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


May 17 2014, 12:00pm

Post #10 of 27 (231 views)
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Tolkien's description of the Men from Far Harad [In reply to] Can't Post

In RotK, during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields:

Quote
[From] out of Far Harad [came] black men like half-trolls with white eyes and red tongues.



I know that Professor Tolkien did not mean the line to be offensive, but it does not read well from a modern perspective.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


Bracegirdle
Tol Eressea


May 17 2014, 2:16pm

Post #11 of 27 (223 views)
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OMG. . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Black men with white eyes!

This entire site may be in BIG trouble. Bigotry abides?


Quote
"There now!" he laughed, flicking at their legs. “Where there's a whip there's a will, my slugs."

Clearly assault with a deadly weapon.

Quote
Nine he gave to Mortal Men, proud and great, and so ensnared them . . .and they became Ringwraiths. . .

Clearly "brainwashing " with the aid of torturous devices.

Quote
”….they’ve been and dug up Bagshot Row and ruined my taters!”

Malicious illegal seizure.

Quote
So they took her [Lobelia SB]. Dragged her off to the Lockholes, at her age too.

Illegal imprisonment.

Quote
”Take Sandyman’s mill now. Pimple knocked it down…”

Illegal property destruction.

Quote
…the stone door swung back with one big push, and they all went inside. (The stone-trolls cave).

B&E (that’s Breaking and Entering to you neophytes).

And so It seems the list of Tolkien’s improprieties knows no bounds.Unsure


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


May 17 2014, 4:44pm

Post #12 of 27 (215 views)
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I think most folks here realize that Tolkien was no bigot. [In reply to] Can't Post

Without context, though, those passages describing the black men of Far Harad do suggest racism to those people who are specifically looking for evidence of bigotry. It is an inevitable consequence of the changing perspective of readers over time. All eras include people of progressive thought who do not share the prejudices of their contemporaries. Tolkien's letters reveal him to be such an individual. However, to deny that the cited description hasn't aged well is to be in denial. It is not as though I think that they should be excised or rewritten. I do not. I only state that we need to see it in the context of Gondorean soldiers who have never seen black Southron warriors who might engage in practices (tattooing, war paint, scarification, chewing roots that dye the mouth bright red) that make them look more fearsome in battle.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


Bracegirdle
Tol Eressea


May 17 2014, 7:34pm

Post #13 of 27 (212 views)
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OMG ... again! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I think most folks here realize that Tolkien was no bigot

TONGUE-IN-CHEEK... TONGUE-IN-CHEEK My part was written as a little (apparently very little) humor only.

Get it?

Goodness me! and bebother the misinterpretation!

>>>>THIS SPACE FOR HIRE<<<<
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(This post was edited by dernwyn on May 17 2014, 11:10pm)


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


May 17 2014, 11:25pm

Post #14 of 27 (194 views)
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Yeah, I understand that... [In reply to] Can't Post

but I read a lot of books as a child, many of them archaically written, so I was exposed to most of these words in their native sense. I made the original connexion of their meanings to the old-sense, and was genuinely surprised when they were used in a pejorative form. Why would you ever call someone a bundle of sticks? So I suppose that I look past the pejorative in literature, but I completely respect others' sensibilities.

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?


Aunt Dora Baggins
Half-elven


May 17 2014, 11:43pm

Post #15 of 27 (182 views)
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"Bundle of sticks..." :-D [In reply to] Can't Post

When I was a kid, the "Wood-gatherer's Pledge" that I memorized for Camp Fire Girls had that word in it. Apparently it's been updated since then.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


May 17 2014, 11:53pm

Post #16 of 27 (175 views)
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My childhood, and that of my siblings were full of things like that... [In reply to] Can't Post

Words were innocently used in their 'genuine sense', but produced uproarious results when they came from an elementary student. Slang was an especially interesting experience for my parents and the adults in my social circle. I also remember being the only child that could read the passages in books about donkeys without dissolving into giggles or feeling naughty.

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?


demnation
Rohan

May 18 2014, 3:34am

Post #17 of 27 (174 views)
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I have a whole chapter! [In reply to] Can't Post

Though I count LOTR as one of my favorite books, I must confess that I find "The Old Forest"chapter to be one of the most unpleasant reading experiences of my life. The funny thing is is that stylistically the chapter works really really well. Tolkien wants you to feel what the hobbits feel: and sense of suffocating lethargy and confusion. So, successful in its intent, but that doesn't mean I have to like it!

"It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule." Gandalf, "The Last Debate."


Bracegirdle
Tol Eressea


May 18 2014, 4:38am

Post #18 of 27 (185 views)
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Could it be simply because of. . . [In reply to] Can't Post

Tom Bombadil?

Probably the least favorite of Tolkien's characters on many lists.

>>>>THIS SPACE FOR HIRE<<<<
Contact Messrs. Grubb, Grubb, and Burrowes.
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Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


May 18 2014, 1:17pm

Post #19 of 27 (158 views)
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I truly wasn't sure [In reply to] Can't Post

I could not tell if you were being serious (if sarcastic) or humerous, so I went with my gut feeling. Sorry for misinterpreting your meaning.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


Bracegirdle
Tol Eressea


May 18 2014, 6:19pm

Post #20 of 27 (136 views)
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No problem Otaku -- We good ! [In reply to] Can't Post

Often my sometimes sarcastic/whimsical/off-handed comments can be misinterpreted. It seems especially prevalent, on occasion, to try and figure where someone is coming from on this forum, (probably most especially if sarcasm is used) and it takes a post or two to express original intent.

I just love to talk “Tolkien” and recall several months ago a nice lady put a picture with caption on “Pinterest” (my wife is into this). I believe it was a picture with a Tolkien quote from “The Song of Earendil”, with a valediction “–JRR Tolkien”. Being the trouble-maker that I am I commented (tongue-in-cheek to me only apparently) that Bilbo Baggins wrote that poem. She wrote back (in somewhat of a huff) that Tolkien wrote ALL of The Hobbit and LOTR and I was sorely mistaken.
So I wrote back giving several instances of who wrote what; and where Tolkien mentioned that he was simply the recorder/translator/reporter of The Redbook of Westmarch. Of course, in the end, I had to admit my true intent, which was to simply throw out a piece of bait and see who bites. (Ah.. mean guy.) And we had a (mostly) nice conversation and parted on very friendly terms. **Guess I drifted OT, did I not?**

>>>>THIS SPACE FOR HIRE<<<<
Contact Messrs. Grubb, Grubb, and Burrowes.
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Joe-Mathews
Rivendell


May 18 2014, 6:31pm

Post #21 of 27 (133 views)
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Guns?!? [In reply to] Can't Post

There is this baffling line describing the Battle of Five Armies in The Hobbit which make me double-take every time I read it:

"The roar of his (Beorn's) voice was like drums and guns; and he tossed wolves and goblins from his path like straws and feathers."

In a Middle-Earth without guns or cannons, referencing guns pulls me out of the narrative every time. I lay the blame on the editor for not asking Tolkien to reconsider that line.

As far as I can tell, not even gunpowder is used anywhere in the Middle-Earth books. PJ added in tTT movie as Saruman's magic blasting agent. In the book is was a "blast of Sorcery" or a "blast of fire".

'There is some woe that lies upon you... Why will you not tell me more?'
'For that woe is past,' said Galadriel; 'and I would take what joy is here left, untroubled by memory. And maybe there is woe enough yet to come, thought still hope may seem bright.'


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


May 18 2014, 6:54pm

Post #22 of 27 (131 views)
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Blame it on the "Narrator". [In reply to] Can't Post

The 'narrator' (translator?) of The Hobbit adds a number of references that would have been unknown to Bilbo Baggins ("pop-gun," "locomotive"). Some of those were excised from later printings, but some still remain.

Explosive "black powder" was not unknown in Middle-earth and was probably an invention of Saruman the White. Gandalf used it to produce fireworks. Saruman eventually produced the bomb or grenade that allowed his troops to breach Helm's Deep.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


demnation
Rohan

May 18 2014, 8:54pm

Post #23 of 27 (119 views)
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Nope. I love Tom Bombadil [In reply to] Can't Post

He is, in fact, one of my favorite characters.

"It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule." Gandalf, "The Last Debate."


Bracegirdle
Tol Eressea


May 18 2014, 10:08pm

Post #24 of 27 (115 views)
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Well then how about. . . [In reply to] Can't Post

Old Man Willow?

Just trying to guess if there’s one singular thing that makes this chapter an “unpleasant reading experience” for you as you say

Quote
that stylistically the chapter works really really well. Tolkien wants you to feel what the hobbits feel: and sense of suffocating lethargy and confusion. So, successful in its intent


>>>>THIS SPACE FOR HIRE<<<<
Contact Messrs. Grubb, Grubb, and Burrowes.
Hole #14, Bywater Pool Road


sherlock
Gondor


May 21 2014, 4:00pm

Post #25 of 27 (82 views)
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Tom Bombadil [In reply to] Can't Post

Never bothered me until I heard people say negative things about him here. The next time I read FOTR I thought "yeah, he is a bit silly". When I read that chapter to my husband I always changed the poem to read "bright blue his jacket is, and his teeth are yellow". Blush

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