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The Children of Hurin is out and about...
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Apr 13 2007, 2:59pm

Post #51 of 53 (95 views)
Thanks for that. My take on it, as Reading Room [In reply to] Can't Post

denizens might anticipate, is that the landscape and weather are very much characters in LotR, and that Tolkien is obsessive about wind direction, clouds, mist, stars, sun, moon, rivers, streams, forests, grass, wastelands, hills and mountains because they are part of a subtext only fully appreciated by those who have read The Silmarillion and know that there are minor spirits and Higher Powers associated with all of these elements of the weather and land. He hints at this throughout LotR, but never makes it explicit.

As for the fox, there are other sentient beasts in LotR; we just don't get inside their heads. I find it an appropriate reminder that the animals are characters in LotR, even if they don't get up on their hind legs and serve dinner as in The Hobbit. Animals spy for the enemy, but also aid the good guys, sometimes without the good guys realizing it. We know about the Eagles and horses, of course, but there are also birds along the Anduin who seem significant, and in Hollin and Ithilien the animals speak by their silence. And the passage about the fox fits nicely with the passage in the Grey Havens, where only the animals notice the passage of the elves.

I think the biggest flaws in Tolkien's prose are his long passages of exposition. Even Tolkien thought the Council of Elrond was too long, for example, and admitted that he was often better off when he did not explain everything to the reader. As it was, he exercised remarkable restraint, holding back far more than he explained; but even more restraint might have been better. I also think Bombadil is a flawed character because he is so flamboyantly powerful. Restraint would have helped there, as well. And I have some quibbles with the handling of Weathertop, and with a few too many "Lo"s and "Forth the Three Hunters" from Aragorn, and of course some of the poetry is merely passable.

But there are many more passages that take my breath away, and others that seem ordinary at first, but that I have appreciated more and more after multiple readings. I believe Tolkien when he says that no word went unconsidered. The whole thing fits together like a vast puzzle, and to take one word or sentence or paragraph away might have caused Tolkien to rewrite many passages throughout the book. Indeed I recall a comment from Lewis that Tolkien either ignored criticism or rewrote everything from the beginning because of it.

(This post was edited by Curious on Apr 13 2007, 3:00pm)


Apr 13 2007, 3:50pm

Post #52 of 53 (75 views)
Behold! [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
a few too many "Lo"s and "Forth the Three Hunters" from Aragorn

He's promising yet another post to cover that topic:.

    My critique in this post was on prose style, not speech style, so I'll stop short of critiquing Aragorn's speeches that begin with "Behold!" and save that for another post, where we may find some of the elements of Tolkien's writing that are most objectionable to modernist critics.

Flight to the Ford
from LordofthePeeps.com


Apr 13 2007, 3:58pm

Post #53 of 53 (83 views)
I saw that. [In reply to] Can't Post

But I thought I would just note all my nitpicks at once.

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