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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
**Hobbit Discussion Inside Information** Part 1 Bilbo earns his reward
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Twit
Lorien

Jun 10 2009, 10:21am

Post #76 of 96 (121 views)
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Thank you [In reply to] Can't Post

I knew that historically that was the way it was, reading the books I hadn't connected the Dwarves to this, although now, reading this thread I can see all of your points of view.
I haven't read any thing other than Silmarillion, LotR and (now) The Hobbit, so know nothing except what I read here.



Didn't some more Puritan cultures only make what they needed rather than have lots of pretty? It's right though, most people like the pretty because it shows there is excess to be spent on something that isn't vital for survival.
I think from a 'religous' point of view, for some people having only what you absolutely need is what shows you to be a stronger, better human being, closer to (the) god (s). (Nuns and Monks? Lent, pilgrimages?)
Also if the culture is traditionally nomadic, it surely makes sense to take a less is more approach, besides keeping things from the rest of your group or tribe could mean some people go hungry - and even here hoarding food during WW2 was a crime.

I think Tolkein would have known about fanatics, it is incredible to think he wouldn't have - this kind of thinking has been around for thousands of years.


Darkstone
Immortal


Jun 10 2009, 1:18pm

Post #77 of 96 (138 views)
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Letter 202: "Art or cash." [In reply to] Can't Post

And those travelling scods who recited Beowulf did so for food and a bed.

******************************************
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.



Curious
Half-elven


Jun 10 2009, 1:31pm

Post #78 of 96 (137 views)
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The men under Sauron (and Saruman) are different. [In reply to] Can't Post

The Dunlendings, Easterners, and Southerners seem to be braver than the orcs and other monsters. And they seem truly deceived by Saruman and Sauron. The Dunlendings have legitimate grievances against the Rohirrim. When Theoden clashes with the king of the Southerners, it is a fair fight between equals, and Theoden's opponent shows no cowardice. When Sam sees a dead enemy soldier in Ithilien, he looks at him as a man, not a monster.

The monsters, on the other hand, are monsters. But even they are capable of self-deception, and believe that they have legitimate greivances, although they don't.

I think Tolkien was quite aware that his monsters were different from human enemies in the Primary World. That's what I mean by idealization; Middle-earth is not a utopia, but evil is mostly externalized in armies of monsters, and the free peoples are mostly good people. The War of the Ring is a Good War in a much less ambiguous way than even World War II.


Curious
Half-elven


Jun 10 2009, 1:42pm

Post #79 of 96 (134 views)
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Or girls. [In reply to] Can't Post

Lots of bands form to attract girls. Or boys, as the case may be.


FarFromHome
Valinor


Jun 10 2009, 2:13pm

Post #80 of 96 (126 views)
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It's not a dichotomy [In reply to] Can't Post

You can have art and cash. Tolkien got both (I mean by making money on his books), and so did those scods. Some people are lucky enough to love their jobs, and get paid for something they would gladly do for nothing, because it fulfills them. The people at the top of any profession pretty much always feel this way - you can't rise to excellence if your heart's not in it.

Sometimes you have to choose one or the other, it's true, and this happened for Tolkien in terms of the movie rights. He didn't think he could get anyone to make his movie out of love for his story and the desire to expend their own creativity on it. He assumed they would make it just to earn money - as just another job on the endless conveyor belt of Hollywood. So he sold out.

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled, the sigh and murmur of the Sea
upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



Darkstone
Immortal


Jun 10 2009, 2:42pm

Post #81 of 96 (125 views)
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It's a continuum. [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien seems to have been aware that LOTR had commercial possibilities while he viewed The Sil as a bit more problematical.


He didn't think he could get anyone to make his movie out of love for his story...

I don't see how he could have missed Forrest J. Ackerman's extreme enthusiasm for the story.

******************************************
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.



N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jun 10 2009, 2:45pm

Post #82 of 96 (127 views)
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The treatment gave him pause. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
I don't see how he could have missed Forrest J. Ackerman's extreme enthusiasm for the story.


I think the film-scenario by Ackerman's associate Zimmerman made Tolkien wonder if they really liked LOTR afer all.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
We're discussing The Hobbit in the Reading Room, Mar. 23 - Aug. 9. Everyone is welcome!

Join us June 8-14 for "Inside Information".
+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=
How to find old Reading Room discussions.


Darkstone
Immortal


Jun 10 2009, 3:49pm

Post #83 of 96 (129 views)
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Was the Professor a "bleeder"? [In reply to] Can't Post

I've always wondered: If he despised the Zimmerman treatment so much then why did he take the time to respond at all?

Yes, he was critical and nitpicky, but then, they *did* ask for his critique and he was nice enough to use his valuable time to oblige and respond at length.

In college I had professors who covered my papers in red ink, finding lots and lots of nitpicky things wrong, yet in the end still gave me a good grade. We called them "bleeders".

So one could argue that Tolkien's response to the Zimmerman treatment was optimistic and encouraging.

******************************************
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


Jun 10 2009, 4:18pm

Post #84 of 96 (117 views)
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Yeah. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Tolkien seems to have been aware that LOTR had commercial possibilities while he viewed The Sil as a bit more problematical.



I think Tolkien undertook LotR for the money, as a "Hobbit sequel". But he didn't just churn out a generic sequel, he ended up making the best story he could, using all his skill and craft - resulting in something that was probably a harder sell than that Hobbit sequel would have been. Still, he did write it for the money, and there's no harm in that. In fact it sounds pretty much what squire descibes the dwarves as doing:



Quote
...the dwarves think of all their crafts as art made for a higher purpose - beauty and the joy of making - even when they subsequently sell it for food.



I don't think that is an "idealized" way depict a good craftsman's attitude to his craft. If he does his work out of the desire to make something beautiful, it's perfectly natural that he would want to sell it afterwards to someone who can enjoy it. That's probably the ultimate satisfaction for the good craftsman. It's "art for art's sake" that is the idealized side of the equation, I'd say.


In Reply To

I don't see how he could have missed Forrest J. Ackerman's extreme enthusiasm for the story.



I suppose there's a difference between enthusiasm and true understanding! Although he seems to have liked some of the imagery that Ackerman showed him, Tolkien thought the story was bad. So from his own point of view, he was choosing to allow a pot-boiler to be made in his name in exchange for cash. But I suppose that would just be like a dwarf allowing some untalented (from his perspective) workman to copy one of his designs. It doesn't really matter that much - the original craft remains unchanged.


They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled, the sigh and murmur of the Sea
upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



Darkstone
Immortal


Jun 10 2009, 4:38pm

Post #85 of 96 (123 views)
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Yeah [In reply to] Can't Post

I always like to think of Arthur Sullivan, who regarded his comic opera work with WS Gilbert as purely commerical, while his other work, such as his grand opera Ivanhoe, he considered his true artistic vision. Yet guess which work is now considered his greatest?

Similarly, which work is the one that brings the most people to the wonder of Middle-earth?

(Similarly there are the potboilers Dickens and Dostoyevsky dashed off because they were broke and needed money which are today considered works of absolute genius.)

******************************************
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.



Curious
Half-elven


Jun 10 2009, 4:54pm

Post #86 of 96 (120 views)
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"'No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.'" [In reply to] Can't Post

Samuel Johnson, from Boswell's Life of Johnson.


Curious
Half-elven


Jun 10 2009, 5:13pm

Post #87 of 96 (112 views)
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Gee, that's pretty close [In reply to] Can't Post

to what I believe. What were we arguing about again?


Darkstone
Immortal


Jun 10 2009, 5:14pm

Post #88 of 96 (112 views)
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What about a woman? [In reply to] Can't Post

Say, Emily Dickinson?

******************************************
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.



Curious
Half-elven


Jun 10 2009, 5:15pm

Post #89 of 96 (125 views)
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I'm afraid Johson [In reply to] Can't Post

was a man of his times when it came to women.

"'Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.'"

He would probably say the same about a woman's writing.


(This post was edited by Curious on Jun 10 2009, 5:15pm)


Dreamdeer
Valinor


Jun 10 2009, 11:26pm

Post #90 of 96 (103 views)
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Like, okay. Tremendous love, not so much. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
Sorry. "Tremendous love of the artifact" is seriously frowned on in my own culture. Yet another example of ubiquitous patterns of thought masquerading as reality.



If you wouldn't mind, I would be curious to learn why love of artifacts is so frowned upon in your culture. I don't understand that at all, and I always appreciate an opportunity to expand my own understanding of other people's cultures.



Well, I suppose everybody has things that they like. That's not so bad. It's the "tremendous love" part that sticks out. Love towards things? That seems so unbalanced. It sounds like putting things ahead of people, ahead of doing right. It sounds greedy and acquisitive, selfish and out of focus, oblivious to what's really important, distracted. Things won't hold your hand on your deathbed, or be there for you when you need to talk to someone.

Among lots of tribes, not just mine, if someone gets too wealthy they really ought to use some of that excess money to throw a big fiesta, so that the entire community can eat well, and distribute lots of gifts while they're at it. Now that kind of conspicuous consumption people can get behind! But if they hoard everything to themselves, it's seen as throwing things off balance.

Bilbo was right on target with his eleventy-first birthday. He threw a huge party for the entire community, redistributing wealth more evenly in a fun way. And he gave away many presents, especially for those who needed them the most. Mind you, he didn't utterly deprive his heir; Frodo made out well enough. But he left Frodo a lot better off than Lotho, whose father left him too many things and not enough love, to Lotho's ruination.

It goes back to the days before money. Say one person is an outstandingly strong hunter. He can't eat all of that meat himself, and shouldn't try. He can't easily carry all of the fur blankets and robes that he acquires. And besides, if he's getting to all the animals before the other hunters, they don't stand a chance of feeding their family. So something's got to give, and it's best to distribute things back into the community.

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!


Dreamdeer
Valinor


Jun 10 2009, 11:29pm

Post #91 of 96 (95 views)
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Very good point! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Process versus product?

Journey versus destination?


Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!


Dreamdeer
Valinor


Jun 10 2009, 11:32pm

Post #92 of 96 (94 views)
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There's art and then there's art [In reply to] Can't Post

Art for the giving is a good thing. Loving the art and hoarding it to yourself, that's different. I think you hit the nail on the head, with the example of the cathedral. It's sort of like how Feanor became possessed by his own handiwork, versus the innate virtue of the Silmarils themselves.

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!


Dreamdeer
Valinor


Jun 10 2009, 11:36pm

Post #93 of 96 (92 views)
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Sounds familiar. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
In my few attempts to write fiction I somehow started to feel naked, like I was baring my soul. Fellini once said "all art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster's autobiography."



I think Fellini is right. The trick is, after baring the soul in the first draft, to clothe it again in exotic locales and glamorous situations, so it doesn't seem like it's really about you, or anyone you know.

That doesn't mean that I approve of child soldiers, however. It's a metaphor. Problem is, in writing it looks like something I uphold.

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!


Dreamdeer
Valinor


Jun 10 2009, 11:41pm

Post #94 of 96 (97 views)
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I see the discrepancy now. [In reply to] Can't Post

I see nothing wrong with taking great pleasure in creating beauty and releasing it out to the world. It's just hoarding that's wrong.

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!


Dreamdeer
Valinor


Jun 10 2009, 11:48pm

Post #95 of 96 (95 views)
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I'm a Blockhead. [In reply to] Can't Post

Can I get a smiley for that?

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Jun 11 2009, 4:47pm

Post #96 of 96 (265 views)
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That's what I love about doing these [In reply to] Can't Post

chapters in sections. You really do just stop and get into each part of the story. In a way, being so well written that I know I start cranking along and miss those subtlties :) Reading outloud... I haven't done that in a while! GREAT IDEA!

I have my g'kiddies coming for a couple of weeks this summer. I think we need to each grab a copy and take turns reading!! ;)


sample

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West."
~Hug like a hobbit!~ "In my heaven..."

I really need these new films to take me back to, and not re-introduce me to, that magical world.



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