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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Middle-earth TV Series Discussion:
Will Amazon invent female characters?
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Mar 14, 2:05pm

Post #26 of 41 (430 views)
Dwarf-women in Dwarven Society [In reply to] Can't Post

I imagine that Dwarf-wives tended to rule their households--sometimes with an iron gauntlet! The men were off to war or mining or crafting, leaving there wives in charge of raising the children and keeping their homes in order.

Dwarf-women who did not marry undoubtedly took up other pursuits such as crafting and maybe even agriculture or animal husbandry of some form. It is said that Dwarves tended not to grow or raise their own food, but that could not be entirely true, especially when trading partners were scarce. I am envisioning underground mushroom farms or hidden dales in the mountains where ponies, goats or sheep graze.

"I reject your reality and substitute my own." - Adam Savage


Mar 14, 2:13pm

Post #27 of 41 (435 views)
Indeed. [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
He wrote a lot less on pre-Hobbit third age (Angmar, Kin-Strife) in the sense that we have but the briefest of outlines in the Tale of Years, with no actual stories or unfinished tales written during those events. To adapt this would really be almost pure 'fan-fiction'.

Don't overlook Appendix A which provides brief histories of Arnor and Gondor and their rulers, fleshing out "The Tale of Years" at least to some extent. We even learn a little about the Númenórean kings.

"I reject your reality and substitute my own." - Adam Savage


Mar 14, 2:15pm

Post #28 of 41 (433 views)
True! [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, thanks for reminding me about Appendix A!

The truth is that Tolkien's descriptions, even his tiny morsels, are often so rich in detail that the imagination just gets ramped up.

Consider, for instance, this description of Númenórean imperialism from the Akallabeth:

“Thus it came to pass in that time that the Númenóreans first made great settlements upon the west shores of the ancient lands; for their own land seemed to them shrunken, and they had no rest or content therein, and they desired now wealth and dominion in Middle-earth, since the West was denied. Great harbours and strong towers they made, and there many of them took up their abode; but they appeared now rather as lords and masters and gatherers of tribute than as helpers and teachers. And the great ships of the Númenóreans were borne east on the winds and returned ever laden, and the power and majesty of their kings were increased; and they drank and they feasted and they clad themselves in silver and gold.”

Chen G.

Mar 14, 4:08pm

Post #29 of 41 (406 views)
Not all Dwarves lived under the mountains [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
I am envisioning underground mushroom farms or hidden dales in the mountains where ponies, goats or sheep graze.

Both the descriptions of Erebor and Moria's eastern gate seem to suggest that not all Dwarves lived under the mountain: they will have had mansions outside of the gates, which is probably where food was raised and gathered.

Mari D.

Mar 14, 8:24pm

Post #30 of 41 (367 views)
Yaaaay! :D [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
If there must be romance, let there be Treebeard & Fimbrethil

That would be boldy original :-)
They might also do courtship differently.

... non-native English speaker, so if you reply to one of my posts feel free to help me improve by quoting + correcting the quote in CAPITAL letters :-)

... Thanks everyone for your kind answers to my many questions! It's a delight for me to read them.

(This post was edited by Mari D. on Mar 14, 8:26pm)


Mar 14, 8:37pm

Post #31 of 41 (364 views)
Fimbrethil, Warrior Entwife [In reply to] Can't Post

Character is what we do on the internet when we think no one knows who we are.

Mari D.

Mar 14, 8:59pm

Post #32 of 41 (364 views)
Entwife gardens ... it'd make for a more gender-equal depiction [In reply to] Can't Post

Let me explain this a bit ...

So, we've had women as love interests for men for a very long time in movies, and men as warriors. And then feminism comes in its says: the women must equal so now let's have them be warriors as well.

But I do believe that there's certain tendencies that are stronger among the female population and others stronger among the male population. Saying that as a woman myself. And I'm not the most typically female woman. I do strongly confirm that your gender should not be a corset.

But I do think it's not logical to just say: To focus more on women in movies they must become like men typically were, warriors.
In other words: We can only value and cherish the traditional male attributes.
And so if we wanna focus on women they need to adopt these traditionally male attributes.
In other words, if the women become male enough, then we care about them and show them on screen.
See the flaw in the logic?

Not sure how easy it comparatively is to make characters interesting without focusing on fighting (or love stories) - but I'd like it if movie writers actually found ways to create fascinating scenes out of e.g. the gardening of the Entwifes. Or other things that might be more traditionally feminine.

IF IT'S POSSIBLE of course.

I once thought about the question if all interesting novels need to be rooted in conflict. Thinking it further: Do all TV series need to revolve around military conflict? That would mean: No interesting story without fights. No fights without warriors, ergo: Women if they should have a lot of screen time and be strong need to be warriors. That's what it could translate to all too easily.

I think in the real world there's more ways to be strong than fighting. But do they translate onto screen well?

Can someone raising children DAY after DAY and putting their time and energy into it, and working hard to care for them, lead teach them values and introduce the world to them, can that make an enthralling narrative? Maybe difficult.
Can someone standing strong in the face of temptation, or court intrigue, make a fascinating story? Maybe yes.
Can someone smartly solving an important riddle make a female character shine? Yes (Hermione).
Can someone give a speech about something like starlight and fascinate us? Yes.

So I think there might be ways of writing scripts so that interesting, strong female characters don't need to all be warrior queens. They can show other qualities than strength in battle. And why should only that be valued? They can be smart, they can be sensitive, they can be peacemakers, they can be enduring, and they can with dignity own their (inner and outer) beauty without it being the reward for the male lead.

A host of female warriors could feel very 21st century worldview indeed (although I find the idea of the female dwarven armies quite fun).

Even though overall I am glad for the change in trends, because I am interested in what female strength can look like.

It's just that for a 2nd age series, me, I prefer it to be faithful to the "music" of the source material over the music of modern social trends. If there's ways to invent new, "modern" things that however fit seamlessly within the music and the spirit of the 2nd age, without appearing anachronistic, great.

But if not: I do value the good in social trends, but I think as a human being with some knowledge of history (and we all should have that from school), we should be able to understand different settings as well, and enjoy series that take place in these settings.

... non-native English speaker, so if you reply to one of my posts feel free to help me improve by quoting + correcting the quote in CAPITAL letters :-)

... Thanks everyone for your kind answers to my many questions! It's a delight for me to read them.

(This post was edited by Mari D. on Mar 14, 9:12pm)

Mari D.

Mar 14, 9:25pm

Post #33 of 41 (347 views)
Sorry that this got a bit long ... [In reply to] Can't Post

it seems I often have so much to say (or think I do Tongue)

The length is not meant to signify a paramount importance of this aspect, just that I wanted to treat this aspect with some of the complexity it deserves.

Also, I ran out of time to correct all the typos properly so please don't correct them here thanks Smile

... non-native English speaker, so if you reply to one of my posts feel free to help me improve by quoting + correcting the quote in CAPITAL letters :-)

... Thanks everyone for your kind answers to my many questions! It's a delight for me to read them.

(This post was edited by Mari D. on Mar 14, 9:26pm)

Mari D.

Mar 14, 9:31pm

Post #34 of 41 (344 views)
Just to say my post was not in reaction to your post I only saw yours afterwards :D [In reply to] Can't Post

Just saying so you don't think I was rantin' at you or something. *smiles*

uncle Iorlas

Mar 14, 9:53pm

Post #35 of 41 (336 views)
Difficult nut to crack. [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree that a more fully feminist writing approach--and more modern and civilized overall--would point the camera at any number of legitimately dramatic situations that arise in our peacetime lives, and nudge warfare out of the everlasting spotlight.

That said, the easier way to make that happen is to start from scratch, or if you like, to dig up older stories that actually reflect this focus to begin with. Or at least... closer to that ideal than this book. In Tolkien we have a writer whose discomfort with writing women is so profound that of his seven or eight walking and talking peoples, only three have any observable female presence at all. No mention of female orcs that I know of, let alone trolls. Female dwarves redundantly obscured: the'yre very rare, also they don't get out much, also even if you saw one they look just like the males and only dwarves can tell the difference. And then ents: we haven't seen any of our own mothers and sisters and daughters for a couple thousand years and they may well be extinct.

Having more female characters named, giving them something to say and decisions to make, and yes even having a few engage in the ambient war story, is perfectly practical, almost as easy as leaving everything male. But the changes you're talking about are structural. You might set a different kind of story in one of the emptier spots in the timeline, although even then you'll face a lot of disappointment from audiences expecting doom and glorious soldiery.

(This post was edited by uncle Iorlas on Mar 14, 9:54pm)


Mar 14, 11:18pm

Post #36 of 41 (317 views)
No problem! // [In reply to] Can't Post

no text

Character is what we do on the internet when we think no one knows who we are.


Mar 15, 12:23am

Post #37 of 41 (308 views)
It's not about warriors. But it is about conflict. [In reply to] Can't Post

Not all conflicts are about physical force. I agree that it verges on the absurd to constrain "strong women leads" to women who have trained in combat - but I suspect we're talking about certain genres here, including fantasy and super-hero and military films. Tolkien, of course, overlaps with two of those.

But in the scenarios you speculate about, in which a film focuses on traditional female situations and qualities, I would say they would work perfectly well - if the writer comes up with a believable and dramatically effective conflict. Childcare is pretty boring to watch, and conflicts worthy of a screenplay are usually pretty contrived, but that's the price of admission. Resisting temptation, court intrigue, problem solving, and artistic creation, all without a focus on a romantic male counterpart, are perfectly valid scenarios for female-based stories - assuming that the all-important conflict is provided.

Interestingly enough, Tolkien's Second Age stories have a couple of such dramatic conflicts for non-warrior women. To the degree that they vary from the stock 'fantasy' storylines of wizards and warriors, I wonder if the filmmakers, and the LotR audience coming to the films, will want to watch them no matter how well written, simply because they won't feel like what the audience has been conditioned to associate with "Tolkien".

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Mar 15, 12:56am

Post #38 of 41 (307 views)
and in addition [In reply to] Can't Post

There's the fantastic Letter 131, which Tolkien wrote around 1951 to Milton Waldman of the publishing house, Collins.

This letter provides a wonderful synopsis of his Secondary World creation, spanning the entire First, Second and Third Ages. The 8 pages dedicated to the Second Age features Tolkien setting out, systematically, the key themes and developments of this period, including rare and in some cases unique elaboration:

- Sauron's initial repentance at the end of the War of Wrath; residual good motives and eventual tyranny.

- the concept of a "second fall or at least 'error' of the Elves", wanting to stay in Middle-earth, despite the renewed summons to Valinor; their hubris in forging the Rings of Power.

- One of the longest passages on what the Rings of Power actually do for the bearer - namely prevent decay, and enhance the natural powers of the individual wielder. It also describes the invisibility power as "more directly derived from Sauron". There's also rare exposition on the One Ring, setting out that "even if he [Sauron] did not wear it, that power existed and was in 'rapport' with himself: he was not 'diminished'."

- The scary description of Sauron's domination of much of Middle-earth as "a great Kingdom and evil theocracy".

- The rise and fall of the Númenóreans, including references to their morbid "cult of the dead", and becoming in Middle-earth "cruel and wicked lords of necromancy, slaying and tormenting men".

Welcome to the Mordorfone network, where we put the 'hai' back into Uruk

Thor 'n' Oakenshield

Mar 15, 2:15am

Post #39 of 41 (284 views)
I agree [In reply to] Can't Post

The Entwives are a great example of characters with interests and skills that are separate from both the love interest role (since they desire none), and the warrior woman role (since they are not). And they need neither role - they are representative of this quieter, more peaceful time in Middle-earth's history, when the Free Folk believed that after Morgoth they could live better, happier lives. They are tragic figures, certainly: one thing, though, if they do show the Entwives - I hope they don't show the fates of all of them. Maybe a few, but not all: that question is an open mystery that I'd like to stay open.

"We are Kree"


Mar 15, 2:44am

Post #40 of 41 (281 views)
Oh yes! [In reply to] Can't Post

That letter is a golden beauty isn't it? A minefield.

I quote from it often, and I sincerely hope that the screenwriters are able to use it as their linchpin for the tone of the show. In it, Tolkien writes (among a great many other things that you've mentioned):

"The three main themes (of the Second Age) are thus The Delaying Elves that lingered in Middle-earth; Sauron's growth to a new Dark Lord, master and god of Men; and Numenor-Atlantis...

Thus, as the Second Age draws on, we have a great Kingdom and evil theocracy (for Sauron is also the god of his slaves) growing up in Middle-earth. In the West lie the precarious refuges of the Elves, while Men in those parts remain more or less uncorrupted if ignorant...

Meanwhile Númenor has grown in wealth, wisdom, and glory, under its line of great kings of long life, directly descended from Elros, Earendil's son, brother of Elrond...

In the first stage, being men of peace, their courage is devoted to sea-voyages....Mostly they come to the west-shores of Middle-earth, where they aid the Elves and Men against Sauron, and incur his undying hatred. In those days they would come amongst Wild Men as almost divine benefactors, bringing gifts and knowledge, and passing away again – leaving many legends behind of kings and gods out of the sunset.

In the second stage, the days of Pride and Glory and grudging of the Ban, they begin to seek wealth rather than bliss. The desire to escape death produced a cult of the dead, and they lavished wealth on tombs and memorials.

They now made settlements on the west-shores, but these became rather strongholds and 'factories' of lords seeking wealth, and the Númenóreans became tax-gatherers carrying off over the sea evermore and more goods in their great ships. The Númenóreans began the forging of arms and engines...

A new religion, and worship of the Dark, with its temple under Sauron arises. The Faithful are persecuted and sacrificed. The Númenóreans carry their evil also to Middle-earth and there become cruel and wicked lords of necromancy, slaying and tormenting men; and the old legends are overlaid with dark tales of horror. This does not happen, however, in the North West; for thither, because of the Elves, only the Faithful who remain Elf-friends will come...

The Second Age ends with the Last Alliance (of Elves and Men), and the great siege of Mordor. It ends with the overthrow of Sauron and destruction of the second visible incarnation of evil"

Any TV rating needs to give the screenwriters and directors sufficient latitude to explore these themes in accordance with Tolkien's vision - Sauron's "evil theocracy"; the imperial greed of the Numenoreans as they try to evade mortality through a "cult of the dead"; a Satanic religion involving human sacrifices and an overall setting defined by "dark tales of horror" in which the Numenoreans become "cruel and wicked lords of necromancy, slaying and tormenting men".

As Tolkien wrote elsewhere about the "older legends" (The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien p. 333):

Nearly all are grim and tragic: a long account of the disasters that destroyed the beauty of the Ancient World, from the darkening of Valinor to the Downfall of Númenor and the flight of Elendil. And there are no hobbits. Nor does Gandalf appear.

(This post was edited by Althoun on Mar 15, 2:48am)


Mar 17, 4:26pm

Post #41 of 41 (161 views)
Most likely we'll see women both in romantic and dramatic roles [In reply to] Can't Post

They are likely to invent both male and female characters, possibly borrowing names from Tolkien in other contexts.

Most likely they will also modernize the approach to the role of women in society, compared to how Tolkien wrote it.

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