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Nitpicker's Corner: What do you like least about LotR? And why?
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mae govannen
Tol Eressea

Apr 21 2007, 6:31am

Post #76 of 89 (114 views)
'Aragorn's completely unnecessary [In reply to] Can't Post

near-death Warg experience.':
Well, this was apparently the only way that several other nice elements could be introduced, such as the beautiful scene with Arwen, kind of coming out of her body to give him back 'The Breath of Life' and call upon him the blessings of the Valar; or also Brego's coming to take him; or the nice moment when, back at Helm's Deep, Legolas gives him back the Evenstar he had lost during the struggle with that especially ugly Warg... All that with great music too, including the theme accompanying Aragorn's gallop towards Helm's Deep, rather short, but that could indeed revive a dead body!...
I must say I love those special touches that do add depth to the story - making it even discretely multi-dimensional with the Arwen's kiss episode, inspired by a few words in the book - so I don't mind at all Aragorn's near passing... although of course I knew very well all the while that he would somehow come out of it, and so I had no real anguish whatsoever over his fate... Sly
I agree with you, though, that for the poor person totally new to the story, those multiple apparent deaths must have been not very credible in the end... Mad Wink

'Is everything sad going to come untrue?'
(Sam, 'The Field of Cormallen', in 'The Return of the King'.)

mae govannen
Tol Eressea

Apr 21 2007, 7:29am

Post #77 of 89 (108 views)
Agree with you on this... and [In reply to] Can't Post

I do appreciate the underlying 'religious' dimension, and even what Tolkien saw as especially Catholic elements... although I am myself no Catholic or Christian anymore (no specific religion, in fact, but spirituality, yes!).
Without that and generally the human virtues that are focused on (all deeply soul-based), LOTR and all the rest would still be a great story, but more like a simple thriller or something like that, and not so valuable in my eyes and for me personally. Smile

'Is everything sad going to come untrue?'
(Sam, 'The Field of Cormallen', in 'The Return of the King'.)

The Shire

Apr 21 2007, 10:28am

Post #78 of 89 (125 views)
Hmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

Can't say I loved the Arwen scene. Partly because Liv Tyler annoys me, but also because it just didn't make sense within Tolkien's world--since when could Elves give people the 'breath of life' from afar? The Brego thing was nice, as was the Evenstar moment, but I didn't feel either was necessary to the story, or worth the detour. Both Aragorn's relationship with his horse and with Legolas could have been portrayed in another, booklike, way, no? Still, I take your point--there was more to his near-death experience than 'just' his near-death experience and PJ et al did at least make it, as you say, multidimensional.

I guess I'm just a bit jealous of 'extra' scenes. I love some of them, but they have to be pretty good to justify a departure from the book when precious screen minutes are at stake. :)

He is a very shallow critic who cannot see an eternal rebel in the heart of a conservative. --GK Chesterton

There is not really any courage at all in attacking hoary or antiquated things, any more than in offering to fight one's grandmother. The really courageous man is he who defies tyrannies young as the morning and superstitions fresh as the first flowers. The only true free-thinker is he whose intellect is as much free from the future as from the past. --GK Chesterton


Apr 21 2007, 2:00pm

Post #79 of 89 (166 views)
textual basis [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
since when could Elves give people the 'breath of life' from afar?

Appendix A does say:
    "... Arwen remained in Rivendell, and when Aragorn was abroad, from afar she watched over him in thought ..."

I'm sure this is the basis for the filmmakers' invented scene. Since Tolkien doesn't make clear what this "watching over" consisted of, they used their imaginations. Though in general I quite agree with you in wishing they'd cut fewer book scenes to include inventions, this is one I don't mind.

Túrin Bears Gwindor to Safety
by Ted Nasmith

mae govannen
Tol Eressea

Apr 22 2007, 6:42am

Post #80 of 89 (95 views)
This is indeed the passage I had in mind, [In reply to] Can't Post

and I seem to remember somewhere in the supplements someone explained that this was the basis for the Arwen 'from afar' scene, which I personally find a most beautiful rendition of JRRT's enigmatic but inspiring two lines.

'Is everything sad going to come untrue?'
(Sam, 'The Field of Cormallen', in 'The Return of the King'.)

(This post was edited by mae govannen on Apr 22 2007, 6:43am)

mae govannen
Tol Eressea

Apr 22 2007, 7:09am

Post #81 of 89 (112 views)
About the extra scenes, I generally agree, but for those ones [In reply to] Can't Post

that we have been talking about just now, they are among my top favorite scenes, so for me they were definitely 'worth the detour', to use your nice expression!
And what other kind of situation than Aragorn being in serious danger would require such a direct intervention 'from afar' by Arwen? (I love Liv Tyler as Arwen, really, and in that scene, as in that very dramatic one just after, back in Rivendell, with her father, I find her great, in her acting as much as in her looks.)
The attack from the Wargs isn't such a bad idea at all, I would also say: such a potentially deadly attack by those Wargs is not an invention of the script-writers, it is actually in the book, only at a different moment and a different place, which couldn't be the same in the film, so they put it here when it has a most dramatic effect, given that the whole Rohan population on its way to Helm's Deep is in danger, and with them our dear Three Runners now riding along with them.
The whole long exodus to Helm's Deep would have been a bit boring to watch without a few Wargs disturbing it, don't you think?Sly
And it is very plausible that Saruman, not being stupid, would definitely have tried his best to disturb indeed that exodus! Evil

'Is everything sad going to come untrue?'
(Sam, 'The Field of Cormallen', in 'The Return of the King'.)

mae govannen
Tol Eressea

Apr 22 2007, 7:12am

Post #82 of 89 (82 views)
LOL!... [In reply to] Can't Post


'Is everything sad going to come untrue?'
(Sam, 'The Field of Cormallen', in 'The Return of the King'.)

mae govannen
Tol Eressea

Apr 22 2007, 9:39am

Post #83 of 89 (95 views)
Did Tolkien ever say he had been inspired by the 950s? [In reply to] Can't Post

Or is that something you yourself see as a possibility?

And some other questions to you:
- Is 'pestilence' in English something different than, say, 'plague'? Because if you look in the past history of those peoples, in the Count of Years at the beginning of the Third Age there is the Great Plague indeed, which many people die from, including Hobbits.
- As for slavery and poverty, don't we see them also in Middle-earth?... But only in those parts of the world where Sauron himself rules, or where the rulers are those Men who don't care about the Light, prefer the ways of Sauron, are his voluntary allies and rule their own people like he does his Orcs. In the other parts, where the Free Peoples of M-e live, although there are rulers and a hierarchy and a feudal system, it is one which is more enlightened and just than the ordinary one, and doesn't like cruelty for its own sake.
It seems to me this is precisely the whole central difference that is there between the various peoples existing in M-e at that time - which may resemble in many ways the historical 950s in Europe, but belongs nevertheless to a far more remote past where the presence of the Elves, although fading, brought in still an altogether higher dimension, the High-Elves particularly being still a conscious bridge between the Valar, the Undying Lands and their Light on the one hand, and the other peoples born in M-e and having had no contact with that Light, on the other hand.
Among the Men, as descendants of the Numenorean Kings of old, and so, of those three Tribes of Men who sought the West for its Light, befriended the Elves in Beleriand, and fought along with them and the Valar against Morgoth, only the Dunedain of Elendil's lineage brought in to some extent something of the same more 'luminous' nature, one could say.
Other Numenoreans, during the long period after they started abandoning their blessed friendship with the Elves (and with the Valar through them), turned into cruel raiders of Middle-earth, then Kings ruling for power there and slave-makers themselves, under the influence of Sauron himself at first, and then of the Nine Rings he gave them, which turned them gradually into his Ringwraiths.

So it seems to me that Tolkien didn't ignore the evils that can come along, not only the feudal system, but ANY system of governance, in ANY Age of this world; he did describe them in his M-e too, but as exactly what they truly are when one goes to the bottom of it: inevitable consequences of the Dark Influence, the avoidance of such evils in governance being always on the contrary a clear result of some opening of the other rulers to the Light, whether through the Elves, or Aragorn the Dunedain, or Gandalf, direct emissary from the Valar.
In the same way, it is quite true that in normal wars there is almost always the usual trick of the rulers to 'demonize' the enemy, but one shouldn't see the War of the Ring in that way, for it was NOT a 'normal' war, and in that specific case the main enemy, Sauron, just like Morgoth before, had indeed demonized himself all right, and his main troops, the Orcs, poor zombie-like denatured beings, were almost as devoid of any personal existence and will-power of their own as the Ring-Wraiths.
As for the few tribes of Men (Southrons etc) who had allied themselves to Sauron, not only no one 'demonized' them, but it is in front of one of them fallen that Sam in the book, Faramir in the films, expresses understanding and compassion. And those who surrender in the end are quite well treated.
So in the kind of showcase that M-e is in a way for Tolkien, we can see how NOT to demonize people... but also how to recognize those who have become actually demons, big or small; those ones are too far gone, and so cannot be expected to change, at least not through any mercy of their human enemies, however loving and kind. It's left to Eru Himself to see what the fate of those ones might be in the end.

'Is everything sad going to come untrue?'
(Sam, 'The Field of Cormallen', in 'The Return of the King'.)

(This post was edited by mae govannen on Apr 22 2007, 9:41am)

mae govannen
Tol Eressea

Apr 22 2007, 2:06pm

Post #84 of 89 (78 views)
And I agree with you here!... :-D / [In reply to] Can't Post


'Is everything sad going to come untrue?'
(Sam, 'The Field of Cormallen', in 'The Return of the King'.)


Apr 25 2007, 11:09pm

Post #85 of 89 (73 views)
You're right, [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien doesn't ignore historical evils, but instead attributes all such evils to the Enemy and his agents. In general such evils are found in distant lands under the domination of the Dark Lord; when rarely found in free lands it is because of the infiltration of the Enemy or his agents. Demonizing the Enemy in Middle-earth makes sense, because the Enemy really is the source of all evil! But I question whether the wisdom of Middle-earth is at all applicable to the Primary World, or instead is simply a pleasant fantasy.

And no, Tolkien never said in so many words that he was inspired by the 950s. I deduced that theory based on various other statements, as well as his biography. And I don't mean to be precise about the decade that inspired him -- I just wanted to contrast it with the 1950s. He was perhaps the world's leading expert on the Anglo-Saxons of pre-Norman England; how could that era not influence him?

mae govannen
Tol Eressea

Apr 26 2007, 9:27am

Post #86 of 89 (83 views)
Yes, for sure it not only influenced him, [In reply to] Can't Post

but was the very basis particularly for the description he makes in his 'heroic romance' of the Rohan culture, wasn't it?
You are yourself much more of an historian than I am, so I will never dispute any of the parallels you may see between a certain period of history somewhere, and something similar described by Tolkien in his various books. I'll trust you on that!...
The only thing I was questioning was whether such similarities and the great knowledge Tolkien had of all those old cultures explain away all the very special inspiration he needed in order to write what he wrote.
I would say on the contrary that such similarities, although they are obviously there (and for a purpose, in what he from the start wished to constitute a whole Mythology for England), are merely the externalities needed for the expression and description of an essential underlying Reality, represented by him as still visibly present in our physical world in those Ancient Times, but also understood by him as being still there in our present world too, although not in a visibly embodied manner any longer.
It is actually that underlying, inner Reality which is the most important element of the two, the backbone so to say of the outer reality; to study it reveals the secret inner workings of the externalities and also the Divine Purpose of it all, now as in the times of Middle-earth - at least in Tolkien's eyes and, I must add, in my own eyes as well, to a large extent.
I'm not saying that, for example, the exact way he described the different destinies of the Elves and of Mortal Men was what he believed to be truly the case in the Primary World we live in. Of course not. This specific situation arose in the Secundary World he created, so that the question of Immortality versus Mortality could be looked at with more clarity.
But the evolutive Purpose behind it all, and how everything in the Story as it gradually developed does help in the end for this overall evolutive Purpose, was I think for him a way to reconcile without any problem the concept of Evolution with that of a Creator God, not only in his Secundary World, but also in the Primary one as well, and that's something pretty important, I would say.
This introduces at once in both realities another dimension, that of the Spirit and of our souls, whatever name may be given to that by Tolkien in his Secundary World. And so immediately this shifts the major importance of what is happening, from the outer events to the inner events and what they may mean in terms of evolutive results for both the individuals and the times concerned.
So, it seems to me we should certainly notice the outer similarities with some specific historical periods, whenever they are there, but at the same time we should be careful not to lose sight of the really important stuff: what enables us to discern through it all the workings of the forces and beings, originating from Eru, but working against his Plan, and on the contrary those forces and beings who work for his Plan - for that is what can help us in the Primary World as well, according to Tolkien at least: the famous 'applicability' principle that you don't see as very valid, but which I myself do... Smile
I hope what I have written here makes some sense to you too!... Laugh

'Is everything sad going to come untrue?'
(Sam, 'The Field of Cormallen', in 'The Return of the King'.)

(This post was edited by mae govannen on Apr 26 2007, 9:28am)


Apr 30 2007, 3:27pm

Post #87 of 89 (111 views)
Should Morwen have sought out Glaurung? [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree that the characters in the story, including Morwen's own daughter, view Morwen's decision to leave Doriath and seek out the dragon as rash, to say the least. Do you disagree?

As for Morwen's earlier decisions not to travel to Doriath while pregnant or with an infant daughter, there I believe Tolkien is quite sympathetic to her predicament.


Apr 30 2007, 5:29pm

Post #88 of 89 (150 views)
I won't argue with that. [In reply to] Can't Post

Even though I understand she was desperate to find her son, seeking out Glaurung on her own was rash and dangerous. And actually, on rereading the story in CoH, Tolkien does seem more sympathetic to Morwen than I remembered. I'm looking forward to learning how others perceive this in the upcoming CoH discussion. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading the story of Turin again.

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I wish you could have been there
When she opened up the door
And looked me in the face
Like she never did before
I felt about as welcome
As a Wal-Mart Superstore--John Prine


Dec 3 2010, 1:54am

Post #89 of 89 (122 views)
I know its quite late for this... [In reply to] Can't Post

I was looking for a discussion about orcs and i started reading this discussion ; it was only when i was half way through that i realized that this discussion is YEARS OLD!
but, i had read your coment on the whole predestination thing, and i thought i might be able to help you out a bit, being that im a traditional Catholic.
True Catholics dont believe in predestination, but we do believe that there is a Higher Power who has a plan for us. He simply reveals that plan or destination minute by minute, and we have a choice to follow it or not; we can even turn off or get lost on the right path for a while and then get back on track if we so wish.
So, all the suffering and toil of the characters is done of their own free will; people like Frodo and Aragorn are making the decisions to press forward. if Frodo decided not to carry the ring, for example, we have know idea how things would have turned out, because, in the actual story he chose to follow the right path. Things might have been just fine or they might have turned for the worse ; according to Catholics, though, God does not let evil succeed in the long run, so Sauron would have been defeated at some point ... ex. the whole Isildur incident.

When Tolkien uses the word fate, he is either talking about this destination discussed above that people can turn down, or he is talking about pagan fate, which is an inevitable destination. being he is a Catholic, the latter of the two is highly unlikely, though im not sure, being it is fantasy.
Hope this make things better for ya and i hope i explained it well enough. im horrible at explaining things. Smile

(This post was edited by Finduilas on Dec 3 2010, 2:02am)

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