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Could Gollum have been cured?
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Ashkan1984
The Shire


Mar 6 2008, 10:00am

Post #1 of 78 (336 views)
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Could Gollum have been cured? Can't Post

In LOTR, Gandalf stressed that Gollum might be cured, though his hopes for his return was not much. Do you think if Gollum had not fallen into the cracks of Doom, he would have been cured after the Ring was destroyed? Do you think he experienced any freedom from the Ring (after finding it and before his death)?


SilentLion
Rivendell

Mar 6 2008, 1:27pm

Post #2 of 78 (159 views)
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Gollum was so bound up with the Ring that even his cure would have resulted his death [In reply to] Can't Post

I think Gollum had fallen so far and done so many evil deeds under the influence of the Ring, that even if the slim hope of repentance was fulfilled, he could not have been fully healed. Remember Frodo was almost saintly in his behavior and endurance, but he was still injured beyond the hope of recovery in Middle Earth. Gollum had killed many innocents in his long sad life. The best hope for his redemption would have been an ending like Boromir, where he dies accomplishing some good in partial attonement for his past actions. I think think Tolkien pondered some other possible endings that involved Gollum taking the Ring and purposely jumping into the Crack of Doom with intent to destroy it, but rejected that partly because of the morally troublesome implications of suicide, even in a noble cause. I suppose about the best ending I could imagine for Gollum would be his dying defending Frodo from the Nazgul at the crack of Doom and falling in with the Ring, but that would just be a bit too sacherine. I don't think I could imagine a happily-ever-after ending for Gollum.

In the end, Gollum didn't repent, but the pity showed to him by most of the major characters in the book enabled the Ring to be destroyed. It was important to Tolkien that almost all of his evil characters receive a clear opportunity to repent, but very few actually take advantage of that opportunity. Boromir was quite exceptional in the respect, in that he was one of the few characters that had actually fallen, but repented and died a noble death.


Farawyn
Rohan


Mar 6 2008, 1:59pm

Post #3 of 78 (151 views)
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No. [In reply to] Can't Post

I think his mind would have snapped. Tolkien shows us a moment in Gollum's life when he shows some sanity, or clarity- when he looks at Frodo when he is asleep and resembles a very old, very tired Hobbit, but it was just a moment, and then it was gone. Perhaps if the Ring was destroyed earlier? I don't know.
And no again, I don't think he experienced any freedom. Even in that one moment where we see him watching Frodo, he is wistful and regretful because of the Ring.

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Owlyross
Rohan


Mar 6 2008, 4:24pm

Post #4 of 78 (154 views)
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I see that differently... [In reply to] Can't Post

I see that as the moment where the Gollum and Smeagol sides are in conflict... It could go either way, as it is, Sam wakes abruptly and snaps at him, and the Gollum side wins the debate, but I do think that at that moment, he could have started to make the road to recovery thanks to the kindness and mercy shown to him by Frodo... Which would inevitably end with death once the ring was destroyed, as he was what, 600 years old at that point?

Gollum wasn't innately evil, I don't believe that for one moment. What I do believe is that he was twisted and warped by the ring, along with so many years of isolation that he never saw kindness... Even Aragorn, famed for his kindness and mercy implies that he was cruel to Gollum... Frodo is the first person to show him love and pity in more than 500 years, and that must have meant a lot, it took a while to sink in, and as it turned out, Sam ruined it by telling him off. But would the ring ave ben destroyed if Gollum had turned to good? Who knows...

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."
Benjamin Franklin
The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.
Horace Walpole (1717 - 1797)


FarFromHome
Valinor


Mar 6 2008, 4:46pm

Post #5 of 78 (160 views)
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That moment when Sam accuses Gollum of "sneaking" [In reply to] Can't Post

It really is the make-or-break moment for Gollum, isn't it? Frodo's extraordinary kindness has won Gollum back from what looked like certain damnation. But this is the moment of truth. Sam says nothing to Gollum that isn't the truth - he accuses him of "sneaking" which is exactly what Gollum's been doing. In fact he hasn't just been "sneaking off" as Sam thinks, he's actually been "sneaking"/"snitching" on the hobbits by tipping off Shelob. Like Faramir earlier at the Forbidden Pool, Sam represents Justice while Frodo represents Mercy. When faced with a just accusation, Gollum is unable to confess and repent. That is what is required for salvation, and although Gollum comes close enough to taste salvation, it remains beyond his reach.

I sometimes wonder what would have happened if Frodo had woken instead of Sam, and if Gollum had been led by Frodo's kindness to confess to his treachery and then to try to help the hobbits get through Cirith Ungol. Perhaps Frodo would have been spared the wound that makes it impossible for him to remain in Middle-Earth. And yet, perhaps without the whole mithril coat-inspired fight it would have been impossible to get past the Tower without being caught, and the quest would have failed. There's no way of knowing what might have happened. Gollum would still have had to die when the Ring was destroyed, but could Frodo have been saved to live out his natural life? I wonder if Sam ever thought about that when he remembered this moment, as he must have done many times in the course of his life?

...and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew,
and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth;
and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore
glimmered and was lost.


Darkstone
Immortal


Mar 6 2008, 5:48pm

Post #6 of 78 (150 views)
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Dunno [In reply to] Can't Post

Gollum is an addict, and addicts will use any excuse for recidivism. I think it's really unfair to blame Sam. If it hadn't have been Sam snapping at him it would have been something else.

I should know. I was a smoker for years. I quit many times, often for extended periods, yet somehow always found an excuse to start smoking again. But whatever excuse I used, in all cases it was really my addiction that was the cause. So it is with Gollum.

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”



Beren IV
Gondor


Mar 6 2008, 7:47pm

Post #7 of 78 (131 views)
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Gollum would have turned to dust [In reply to] Can't Post

I think he says so himself.

Now, here is the next question: was Gollum damned?

Within LotR, there is almost no evidence to support the idea that Men (including Hobbits) go onto a Heaven-like afterlife upon their deaths, and in fact there is quite a bit of evidence to the contrary: the barrow-wights, and the ghosts of the Dead Marshes both imply that Elves, Men, and Orcs are alike and equal in death, and that in dying they don't go to some other, better world (and usually the implication is that there is no appreciable afterlife).

Outside of LotR, there is quite a bit of implication, although nothing explicit that Ilúvitar has some gift to Men, that they go somewhere when they die. Tolkien, as a Catholic, believed that there was a Heaven - but he also believed in a Hell. So, here is the question: supposing that the religion such as it is in Arda is just another prospective on the Catholic cosmology, would the Judgement hold Gollum responsible for the awful things that he did while under the influence and temptation of the Ring?

Once a paleontologist, now a botanist, will be a paleobotanist


Ashkan1984
The Shire


Mar 6 2008, 7:54pm

Post #8 of 78 (121 views)
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The two concepts of evil [In reply to] Can't Post

If I'm not mistaken, Shippey considers two aspects for evil in "The Road to Middle-Earth"; an internal aspect and an external one and the latter should be faced physically. I think Gollum can be viewed as possessing both these aspects. But I'm not sure which aspect of Gollum's evil the Ring was connected with.


FarFromHome
Valinor


Mar 6 2008, 10:02pm

Post #9 of 78 (154 views)
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I don't blame Sam either [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I think it's really unfair to blame Sam. If it hadn't have been Sam snapping at him it would have been something else.



In fact, I think Tolkien himself says somewhere that the spark of Gollum's repentance was too weak to stand up to the first challenge. As you say, that first challenge just happened to be from Sam.

But still, I do wonder whether Sam might have blamed himself. And the reason I wonder this is that I think Sam must have written this account himself (assuming we follow the conceit that the Red Book was written by Frodo and Sam at all). Only he could have remembered after the event just what the look on Gollum's face had been. So he worked out, too late, what Gollum had been up to. And then he wrote it in the Red Book.

...and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew,
and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth;
and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore
glimmered and was lost.


Darkstone
Immortal


Mar 6 2008, 10:05pm

Post #10 of 78 (141 views)
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Oh, good thought! [In reply to] Can't Post

But still, I do wonder whether Sam might have blamed himself. And the reason I wonder this is that I think Sam must have written this account himself (assuming we follow the conceit that the Red Book was written by Frodo and Sam at all). Only he could have remembered after the event just what the look on Gollum's face had been. So he worked out, too late, what Gollum had been up to. And then he wrote it in the Red Book.

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”



FarFromHome
Valinor


Mar 6 2008, 10:12pm

Post #11 of 78 (130 views)
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Guilty as charged [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
would the Judgement hold Gollum responsible for the awful things that he did while under the influence and temptation of the Ring?



I believe that, as Tolkien laid out the problem, Gollum would have been damned because he began his ownership of the Ring with murder, before it had really got a hold on him. After that beginning, he never had a chance to free himself from it, but because he fell into its power of his own will, he is responsible for what followed - just as a drunk driver who kills a child is guilty, even if in his drunken state he wasn't in control of his actions. Gandalf makes a lot of the fact that Gollum murdered to get the Ring, while Frodo took it up as a duty, for the good of others. That means that Frodo's own actions when under its influence would not be judged so harshly - although apparently Frodo judges himself harshly anyway.

I think Gollum could have redeemed himself, like Boromir, by giving his life freely in the service of others. But first he had to repent, which he failed to do.


...and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew,
and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth;
and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore
glimmered and was lost.


Farawyn
Rohan


Mar 6 2008, 10:50pm

Post #12 of 78 (120 views)
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The funny thing is [In reply to] Can't Post

that it seems Hobbits are more resitant to the Ring. I would think Gollum wouldn't start off his "relationship" with the Ring with murder, and be able to withstand it the way Bilbo and Frodo have. This truly says something about the nature of Gollum's character even before finding the Ring.

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N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Mar 6 2008, 11:17pm

Post #13 of 78 (135 views)
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Yes, very nice! [In reply to] Can't Post

Curious has rightly observed before that this crucial incident in LotR is one that is unobserved by the possible writers, and thus that it upends the narrative conceit of the book. I like your solution very much.

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SmeagoloftheStoors
Lorien


Mar 7 2008, 8:21am

Post #14 of 78 (110 views)
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As per [In reply to] Can't Post

Considering the nature of the ring it's self, I think that after so long under it's influence that Gollum's life was the ring. His addiction drove him to seek it, and I think it's destruction would have left him in a listless exsistance. I think that he probably might have lived a sad and hate filled life had he not went with it, and probably would have swore death on Frodo. Or he would have ended up dieing from a broken heart, if you choose to be more romantic about it. As for the concept of Cure/salvation, well that is dependant on your veiws. True there were the two aspects of Smeagol that had to have conflicted with each other, but ultimatly the darker part had been almost nurtured by his life and therefore was the stronger part of his collective character. I believe that there is hope for every one, but sometimes it all comes down to the desire of the said person. You can only change if you really want to. And I think Smeagol's mind was on the ring and Frodo's kindness was just like morophine to a dieing man, it just gave him some comfort before death. As for any would be damnation, I'm not certain of the religious aspects of ME. There are spirits, and such, but as for heaven and hell, I don't know. If there was I think he would have been denied acces to heaven based on his character as written. However I think that there was a slight, ever so slight mental abnormality that gave the ring a head start. It's decisions like that that make me glad I'm not God.

Eglario Valar!


Farawyn
Rohan


Mar 7 2008, 1:35pm

Post #15 of 78 (103 views)
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What would Gollum's life been like if he had never found the Ring? // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

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Curious
Half-elven


Mar 7 2008, 3:18pm

Post #16 of 78 (126 views)
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Tolkien speculated that Gollum's soul could have been saved. [In reply to] Can't Post

I have my doubts about that, though. Still, it would have been rather cold of Gandalf to dismiss Gollum as easily as an orc. Indeed, the way orcs are dismissed as irredeemable is a serious problem for Tolkien, one he never quite solved. But what could he do? He wanted a story with classic monsters, and classic monsters are not typically redeemable.

Gollum, on the other hand, is a more modern monster, a monster with a heart and a soul, a monster who used to be human, and sometimes seems like he could be human again. In some ways he is more horrifying than the orcs because of his humanity. Still, in a world of moral absolutes, it is hard to see how a murderer (and rumored baby-eating cannibal) could be saved. In a post-Christian world, everyone becomes redeemable. Even mortal sins can be confessed and absolved. But Tolkien set LotR in a pre-Christian world.

As for Gollum's body, I think Gollum correctly guesses (in speaking with Sam on Mount Doom) that if the Ring had been unmade, Gollum's body would have turned to dust, just as the Nazgul winked out. But I don't think Gandalf was referring to Gollum's body when he talked about a cure. Noted that when told about Boromir's death Gandalf was happy that Boromir was saved before the end. But Boromir died, so how was he saved? His soul, unlike Gollum's, was saved.


Curious
Half-elven


Mar 7 2008, 3:27pm

Post #17 of 78 (117 views)
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Sam did forgive Gollum in the end. [In reply to] Can't Post

Sam had his chance to execute a helpless Gollum on Mount Doom, and passed it up. "Pity stayed his hand." Good thing, too, as it turned out.

I like your speculation about the authorship of a passage no one observed, but, as I have said before, I find it much simpler just to accept that LotR is not a memoir. There are too many passages written from the perspective of the omniscient narrator, and none written in the style of a memoir. Plus, where did Frodo keep his notes? Still, there's nothing wrong with elaborating upon Tolkien's fanciful conceit, as Tolkien himself liked to do.


FarFromHome
Valinor


Mar 7 2008, 4:55pm

Post #18 of 78 (122 views)
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Sam apologized to Gollum [In reply to] Can't Post

within seconds of making his accusation:

"Sorry." he said. "I'm sorry, but you startled me out of my sleep. And I shouldn't have been sleeping, and that made me a bit sharp..."

I think Sam's antagonism towards Gollum is less that is often thought. His words are clumsier than Frodo's, but they are sometimes warmer and more human (as in this apology). And he's the one who at least twice invites Gollum into the conversation of the hobbits, the most recent when he asks him about wanting to be a hero or a villain, just before this scene.


In Reply To

I find it much simpler just to accept that LotR is not a memoir.



It's definitely simpler. But we are reminded a number of times that LotR is a memoir. And Sam is clearly a storyteller in the making, as we saw just before this scene, when he analyses the role of the characters in a story, and decides that Gollum would be "good in a tale."

However, Tolkien doesn't insist - as in so many things, the reader is left to decide for himself how he wants to interpret the story.


...and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew,
and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth;
and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore
glimmered and was lost.


Dreamdeer
Valinor


Mar 7 2008, 4:55pm

Post #19 of 78 (110 views)
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Replying to everyone at once, or trying to... [In reply to] Can't Post

Hobbitlike, Gollum did keep "one corner of his mind free", but that corner went insane. So could he be cured? Not physically--at this point he would die without the Ring. Not psychologically--he would die long before he could ever regain sanity. But spiritually? He retained that capacity, and Gandalf had every right to hope for it.

Alas, the real problem wasn't Sam's rudeness, although I do not entirely absolve my favorite character in this--the scene warns us that we never know what brink a person already stands upon before we give them a thoughtless push. The real problem was Shelob, and his worship of her. Since he abased himself before her, ever her shadow lay upon his mind, "darkening his thoughts". When he recoiled from Sam, he went from resembling an old, weary hobbit, to a remorseless spider. Shelob-worship cut him off from the grace that could have saved him. He had only partial culpability for what the Ring made him do, but full culpability for bowing down before her foulness.

Remember, this wasn't just a big bug--she was Ungoliant's daughter! Ungoliant had been greater even than Sauron--she nearly defeated Morgoth singlehandedly! Only her own petty greed destroyed her in the end. Shelob is kind of the anti-Luthien, the evil child of a fallen maia, but possessed of a whole lot more power than merely her brute strength. She wove spells in her webs. She vomited darkness.

So, Gollum, of his own free will, made the choice to revere this kind of negative power, to surrender himself to it. He did not merely sweet-talk his way out of her lair, they had a relationship. He offered Frodo up to Shelob as his sacrifice to her--in effect, sacrificing his chance at redemption. But before he worshipped her, he did have a chance.

As for heaven, hell, and damnation, and all that, Tolkien speaks of damnation as banishment to the Outer Darkness. Very few face that fate. Morgoth, of course, did. Maedhros and Maglor debated whether breaking their oath or keeping it would more likely condemn them to the Outer Darkness, or whether they had reached the point of no return and could not find salvation anywhere. But it does not seem to come up anywhere else. Even Turin, who ended his life in murder and suicide, apparently has some hope of redemption and will get a chance to strike a blow for good in the Final Battle, as will Feanor, whose mad evil thrust his sons into their untenable position in the first place. So, holding Feanor as much worse than his poor sons, I think Maedhros and Maglor merely guessed in fear, and would not be so banished.

What's the alternative? As a Catholic, Tolkien believed in purgatory. In his stories he represented this as the Halls of Mandos. Dead elves stayed there as long as Namo saw fit, undergoing re-education before being reincarnated. Men (and presumably hobbits) stay there until fit to make the great journey beyond. Dwarves have their own special hall apart, sometimes being reincarnated, sometimes awaiting the judgment of illuvatar. I imagine that Gollum would have a long stay, but there is always a possibility that he could finally be cured there. I think that Gandalf wanted to facilitate this post-death cure as much as possible by how he treated Gollum while alive.

Again, in the context of Tolkien's Catholicism, souls born before Christianity wait in Purgatory for Christ to someday descend into death for three days and free all who choose to follow him. Accordingly, some of Tolkien's notes make reference to a dark beach on the outskirts of Mandos's realm, under an endless night, where human souls huddle by fires in good cheer, encouraging each other, waiting for passage beyond, to something far, far better. Could Gollum make it to the beach in time? Not even Namo knows.

My website http://www.dreamdeer.grailmedia.com offers fanfic, and message-boards regarding intentional community or faerie exploration.


Curious
Half-elven


Mar 7 2008, 6:05pm

Post #20 of 78 (103 views)
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Not quite. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
But we are reminded a number of times that LotR is a memoir.


Without such reminders, would you ever guess that it was supposed to be considered a memoir, feigned or otherwise? Contrast it with Robinson Crusoe, a feigned memoir that reads like a memoir. Compare the very first sentence:


Quote

I was born in the Year 1632, in the City of York, of a good Family, tho' not of that Country, my Father being a Foreigner of Bremen, who settled first at Hull: He got a good Estate by Merchandise, and leaving off his Trade, lived afterward at York, from whence he had married my Mother, Relations were named Robinson, a very good Family at Country, and from whom I was called Robinson Keutznaer; but by the usual Corruption of Words in England, we are now called, nay we call our Selves, and writer Name Crusoe, and so my Companions always call'd me.


Now there's a memoir. Or how about Gulliver's Travels:


Quote

My father had a small estate in Nottinghamshire: I was the third of five sons. He sent me to Emanuel College in Cambridge at fourteen years old, where I resided three years, and applied myself close to my studies; but the charge of maintaining me, although I had a very scanty allowance, being too great for a narrow fortune, I was bound apprentice to Mr. James Bates, an eminent surgeon in London, with whom I continued four years.



How about Tristram Shandy?


Quote

I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were
in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they
begot me; had they duly consider'd how much depended upon what they were
then doing;--that not only the production of a rational Being was concerned
in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body,
perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind;--and, for aught they knew
to the contrary, even the fortunes of his whole house might take their turn
from the humours and dispositions which were then uppermost;--Had they duly
weighed and considered all this, and proceeded accordingly,--I am verily
persuaded I should have made a quite different figure in the world, from
that in which the reader is likely to see me.



Remembrance of Things Past?


Quote

For a long time I used to go to bed early. Sometimes, when I had put out my candle, my eyes would close so quickly that I had not even time to say “I’m going to sleep.” And half an hour later the thought that it was time to go to sleep would awaken me; I would try to put away the book which, I imagined, was still in my hands, and to blow out the light; I had been thinking all the time, while I was asleep, of what I had just been reading, but my thoughts had run into a channel of their own, until I myself seemed actually to have become the subject of my book: a church, a quartet, the rivalry between François I and Charles V.


LotR does not read, feel, smell, sound, or taste like a memoir. If we were not told that it is a memoir, we would never guess it. That's my whole point. The very fact that the author has to "remind" us it is a memoir is evidence that, in fact, it is not -- not even in the fictional sense, like all the fictional memoirs above.



(This post was edited by Curious on Mar 7 2008, 6:12pm)


Curious
Half-elven


Mar 7 2008, 6:21pm

Post #21 of 78 (137 views)
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On the other hand, how about autobiography? [In reply to] Can't Post

While I cannot accept calling LotR a memoir, even in the fictional sense, because it just doesn't read like one, I could accept calling it a fictional autobiography. Autobiographies are not necessarily written in the first person, and the author often must research the details because they are not all drawn from his memory. Is that a good compromise?

Of course that doesn't really solve the problem of accounts that none of the surviving characters could have witnessed. For me it takes something away from the tale to suppose that Sam made up the account of Gollum's near-repentance based on evidence, speculation, and guilt, rational or irrational. I prefer to see it through the eyes of the omniscient narrator. But at least calling it an autobiography feels plausible.


(This post was edited by Curious on Mar 7 2008, 6:24pm)


Curious
Half-elven


Mar 7 2008, 6:41pm

Post #22 of 78 (91 views)
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Angband and Mordor are also Hell. [In reply to] Can't Post

I've always liked this quote from C.S. Lewis and thought it explained Tolkien's conception of hell in Middle-earth, as well:

Quote

The damned are successful rebels to the end, enslaved within the horrible freedom they have demanded. The doors of hell are locked on the inside.


That describes Angband and Mordor, to be sure. And even after those strongholds of evil fall, it may describe all the lost souls who refuse to heed the call to the Halls of Mandos. Even those banished to the Outer Darkness continue to conspire, and we learn in the Second Prophecy of Mandos that Morgoth will escape his prison.

I also think that Morgoth continues to hold power from the Outer Darkness, although it is a nihilistic or negative kind of power. All of Arda is Morgoth's Ring. Sauron considered amnesty but could not overcome the powerful oaths he had given Morgoth, which means that even at the peak of his powers Sauron continued to do Morgoth's will. Plus, the idea that Morgoth continues to have real power in the world forms a nice symmetry with my theory that the Valar take an active part in the world from distance.


FarFromHome
Valinor


Mar 7 2008, 6:42pm

Post #23 of 78 (101 views)
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It's a story [In reply to] Can't Post

A tale. It's not any modern form of literature. It was written in the third person because it had multiple authors, all adding the parts they knew about. And I would guess that none of them would have felt it inappropriate to edit bits written by others, if they had other knowledge to add or something to correct. It's part of the kind of shared-author literature that was normal for centuries - single, named authors were rare in the Middle Ages, just as single, named painters or masons were rare (where a single hand is recognized, they often have to be referred to as the "Master of such-and-such", because the artists themselves never thought to record their name).

I don't like the idea of comparing LotR to an autobiography at all, because autobiographies are by their very nature the personal views of a single author, who is writing specifically to give his own view. Medieval authors did not elevate the individual in this way, but assumed that the story was more important than they were. That's how LotR feels to me.

Which means that LotR doesn't come across as a 'memoir' in any modern form that we would recognize today. But still, Tolkien insists that the protagonists were the source of the story, not just in the framing elements but even in the story proper, where the Red Book makes several concrete and meaningful appearances.

...and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew,
and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth;
and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore
glimmered and was lost.


Curious
Half-elven


Mar 7 2008, 9:15pm

Post #24 of 78 (88 views)
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That's true of the Appendices and [In reply to] Can't Post

the Prologue, but is there any hint or pretense that the text was authored by anyone other than Frodo and Sam? As you say, "Tolkien insists that the protagonists were the source of the story."

If you reject autobiography as a compromise, I think I'll have to reject memoir even more strongly -- and indeed it sounds like you are rejecting it too, now. So it's not a memoir or an autobiography, but the protagonists are the source of the story.

How about a feigned history, then, which after all is what Tolkien called it? A history written, at least in the first instance, by key participants, but some histories are written by participants, from Theucydides to Churchill, and are distinguished from autobiographies. The idea of a "trained historian" seems fairly modern, after all.


Darkstone
Immortal


Mar 7 2008, 10:08pm

Post #25 of 78 (89 views)
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Well [In reply to] Can't Post

"Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China", by Jung Chang is a "memoir".

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The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”


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