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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
At your first viewing, what was your impression of Thorin's angry speech/hug/apology at the end?
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Na Vedui
Rohan

Mar 26 2013, 11:46pm

Post #101 of 105 (96 views)
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Man-hug hunt [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Elenorflower and ShireHorse - You started an interesting hare here; I got wondering about Dark Age man-hugs and went back to Beowulf, which I guess is kind of a "horse's mouth" for Tolkien. You're both right, in a way! They don't hug at the drop of a hat, but there is one lovely one when Beowulf has done his stuff with Grendel and Grendel's mother for King Hrothgar and is about to go home. It's a moment of emotion: Hrothgar is not only grateful for what Beowulf has done, he also has a premonition that they won't meet again. I don't know Old English, so this is from Seamus Heaney's translation:
"and so the good and grey-haired Dane,
that high-born king, kissed Beowulf
and embraced his neck, then broke down
in sudden tears...
... And such was his affection
that he could not help being overcome:
his fondness for the man was so deep-founded,
it warmed his heart and wound the heartstrings
tight in his breast..."

Oddly enough, the relationship of the two is not unlike that of Thorin and Bilbo. Beowulf is not a subject of Hrothgar's but an independent party who undertook a job of work for him.


marillaraina
Rohan

Mar 27 2013, 12:13am

Post #102 of 105 (84 views)
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Shirehorse [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
In medieval times, men would often hug and even kiss. It's only in the modern era that men have become self-conscious about physical contact, Americans more so than Europeans. There are even rules for how to do a man-hug in the States so that your actions won't be misinterpreted:

The How of the American Man Hug

1. Begin with a traditional firm handshake

2. Keeping your hand clasped with your buddy, wrap the left arm around the shoulder of your friend.

3. Slap your friendís back two times. The back slap is key. Somehow hitting your fellow man makes the hug more manly.

4. Release embrace.

How sad is that? At least in rugby and soccer, the men can feel free to express themselves without any lip-curling from the spectators.


I have to agree, it's relatively recently that hugging and physical affection became somehow "unmanly"(I'm not saying there weren't pockets here and there when it went in and out of style but I mean overall). Heck even just reading some old letters between male friends pre-20th century, all sorts of what would now be considered "flowery" terms of affection could appear.

Another thing that was pointed out in some my medieval lit courses was that because life could often be short and difficult, people tended to not worry that much about "stiff upper lipping" it and you can kind of see it in a lot of the literature too.


Na Vedui
Rohan

Mar 27 2013, 12:42am

Post #103 of 105 (83 views)
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To hug or not [In reply to] Can't Post

I wonder how and when the change came about ? This is partly guesswork, though I am pretty sure about 2, 3 and 4, having seen enough clues in literature of the times

1. the Enlightenment: rationality comes to be valued above emotion and the latter is associated with women's "inferiority", then comes

2. Romanticism and related movements - reaction to the above - emotion and its expression (even to excess) are highly valued for a while, but then

3. Nineteenth century imperialism sets in and the whole ideology of "superior" and "inferior" races is worked up - demonstrative emotional behaviour comes to be associated with "them" (and women, still) and stiff-upper-lip restraint with "us" i.e. white "Anglo-Saxon" men (although the Memsahibs could be honorary men in this respect!), then finally

4. Freud and the psychologists get going, everybody starts pop-psychologising their neighbours, or worrying that their neighbours are pop-psychologising them, and suddenly it feels very dangerous to do anything that might be construed as a clue to what you are "really" like.

So kudos to Tolkien for not being afraid to show affectionate relationships between men, eh?


ShireHorse
Rohan

Mar 27 2013, 4:41pm

Post #104 of 105 (68 views)
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Enjoyed your analysis, Na Vedui, [In reply to] Can't Post

and also your Beowulf quote which I think is quite significant. I HAVE read Beowulf in its original, LOL, but I had forgotten that extract.

It's really interesting to observe how men and women have acted, as far as physical affection in public is concerned, down the ages. I remember reading how a foreign ambassador came to England during the Tudor period and was quite shocked at how the wives of the men he visited would give him a smacking kiss on the lips when he met them.

By the Victorian period, even touching fingers with a gloved hand was considered as far as a "lady" would go. But I do think that men hugging and kissing in recent years is associated with a fear of being accused of "gayness". Even women seemed to become more circumspect when they hugged other women as the 20th century advanced and I distinctly remember a time in my youth when young women began to withdraw physically from other women for fear of what other people might think or say about their relationship.

But, I still maintain that man-hugs are more acceptable outside of the States at the moment and that they were certainly prevalent amongst the warrior class of earlier societies.

However, I would like to point out that this particular hug in AUJ was not an idea of Tolkien's but of PJ/Boyens. But, being Kiwi with all that rugby background, I'm sure it came naturally to them.


Na Vedui
Rohan

Mar 27 2013, 5:18pm

Post #105 of 105 (86 views)
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Hugs and stuff [In reply to] Can't Post

I think you're right, and the 19th century them and us-ing included a class element too (ladies' behaviour v "common" women), plus the increasing Victorian primness around drawing attention to the facts of life.

Yes, the Thorin/Bilbo hug is movieverse rather than Tolkien, but it's not out of keeping - I was thinking of things like the tenderness in Sam's relationship with Frodo, and Bilbo crying his eyes out when Thorin dies, and the very clear bonds of affection between the various hobbits themselves, and with Gandalf, and so on - all a million miles away from heap big macho man who daren't show any feelings in case people think he is gay, or weak. "My dear Frodo" - just imagine Azog saying that!!

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