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The strangest thing anyone has ever said about Tolkien

demnation
Rigger

Jul 20 2013, 5:23am

Post #1 of 23 (703 views)
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The strangest thing anyone has ever said about Tolkien Can't Post

http://www.slate.com/...rveillance_best.html

The Eye of Sauron is everywhere!

The above article only brought out one reaction in me: Crazy

But it also got me thinking: What is the craziest/strangest/most confusing thing you have ever heard anyone say or write about Tolkien and his work? A bizarre theory about Tom Bombidillo ? A comparison with another author that doesn't make much sense? A weird theory of your own, perhaps? Please share!

My Sam Gamgee is indeed a reflexion of the English soldier, of the privates and batmen I knew in the 1914 war, and recognized as so far superior to myself- J.R.R. Tolkien


Cirashala
Boatswain


Jul 20 2013, 7:38am

Post #2 of 23 (384 views)
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a review [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it was a comment someone had written on imdb way back, but I am not positive.

You might not believe this, but someone actually was so clueless about LOTR that they were absolutely CONVINCED that Tolkien ripped of J.K. Rowling!

Seriously. Not. Kidding.

They go on to point out the similarities in the characters from each novel, and how Tolkien's characters are so similar to hers that he cannot have even begun to hope that his book had any originality whatsoever.

The poster out and out accused Tolkien of plagiarism, and IIRC said something along the lines of if he cannot come up with his own story he should leave well enough alone and let fantasy be written by REAL authors.

I neglected to mention to them that Tolkien's book was published long before J.K. Rowling was even born.

Of course, I was probably just too busy laughing hysterically on the floor at the nice little reminder that there are most definitely still complete moronic idiots in this world to comment! Laugh

But don't worry-several people beat me to it Wink

Half Elven Daughter of Celethian of the Woodland Realm


noWizardme
Sailing Master


Jul 20 2013, 10:54am

Post #3 of 23 (326 views)
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On this site somewhere, I muse that I can't think of a Tolkien character whose name ends in -o. D'oh!// [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


geordie
Sailing Master

Jul 20 2013, 5:03pm

Post #4 of 23 (316 views)
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Tolkien lived in the Himalayas [In reply to] Can't Post

- that's the wierdest thing I've read about Tolkien. Look here -

http://www.asia-planet.net/nepal/regions.htm

quote:

POKHARA
The secluded town of Pokhara lies 200km (125 miles) west of Kathmandu in the centre of Nepal on Lake Phewa. No other place in the world commands such a view of the Himalayas. It is a starting point for mountaineers and trekkers, and was at one time the home of JRR Tolkien.





Werde Spinner
Rigger


Jul 20 2013, 5:38pm

Post #5 of 23 (299 views)
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Lol, what? [In reply to] Can't Post

That has to take the cake. Seriously, what? Crazy

"I had forgotten that. It is hard to be sure of anything among so many marvels. The world is all grown strange. Elf and Dwarf in company walk in our daily fields; and folk speak with the Lady of the Wood and yet live; and the Sword comes back to war that was broken in the long ages ere the fathers of our fathers rode into the Mark! How shall a man judge what to do in such times?"

"As he ever has judged. Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house."


Werde Spinner
Rigger


Jul 20 2013, 5:41pm

Post #6 of 23 (293 views)
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Hmmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

I have heard several, but as Cirashala already got the ludicrous one about someone thinking the Professor plagiarized off of J. K. Rowling (methinks, if anything, it was the other way around... Angelic), I shall have to mention something different.

So I shall have to say that I saw where someone commented that they thought the author of The Hobbit had written it only to cash in on the success of The Lord of the Rings and had heard that he would be on the commentary of the EE DVD's, so they hoped to listen to it and see if that was so. ???

Beyond that, a classmate of mine once said he thought there were better science fiction writers than Tolkien. I kind of wanted to throw my eraser at him. Wink

Forgive them, the ignorant, o Professor, for they do not know what they do...

"I had forgotten that. It is hard to be sure of anything among so many marvels. The world is all grown strange. Elf and Dwarf in company walk in our daily fields; and folk speak with the Lady of the Wood and yet live; and the Sword comes back to war that was broken in the long ages ere the fathers of our fathers rode into the Mark! How shall a man judge what to do in such times?"

"As he ever has judged. Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house."


Otaku-sempai
First Mate


Jul 20 2013, 5:59pm

Post #7 of 23 (314 views)
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That was a troll - seriously, not kidding... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I think it was a comment someone had written on imdb way back, but I am not positive.

You might not believe this, but someone actually was so clueless about LOTR that they were absolutely CONVINCED that Tolkien ripped of J.K. Rowling!

Seriously. Not. Kidding.



The person may or may not have been an idiot, but I guarantee that he/she knew better than to seriously think that Tolkien could have plagiarized Rowlling. The level of detail in the post just reflects his/her dedication to his/her...um..."craft".

I didn't find the article cited by the OP all that outrageous. Tolkien likely wasn't deliberately being predictive--I don't think that the author of the article understood Tolkien's distaste for metaphor--but he may have been unconsciously on to something.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Jul 20 2013, 6:07pm)


Magpie
Captain


Jul 20 2013, 6:04pm

Post #8 of 23 (275 views)
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not that strange but... "Is that the guy who writes the Harry Potter books?" // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


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IdrilofGondolin
Rigger

Jul 20 2013, 7:06pm

Post #9 of 23 (301 views)
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Saw This Once on a Message Board [In reply to] Can't Post

That Tolkien was influenced by Helena Blavatsky. The poster was convinced that her belief system Theosophy was adopted by Tolkien and was evident throughout his works. You can't make this stuff up.


elaen32
Gunner


Jul 20 2013, 7:50pm

Post #10 of 23 (274 views)
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Well, I've been to Pokhara [In reply to] Can't Post

and there certainly was no mention of the good Professor anywhere!Wink Maybe it was from the 1960's, when there were a lot of hippy JRRT fans in Nepal- they all thought that the Himalayas were the Misty Mountains or something?Crazy The article you quote clearly misses out the operative word "fans"!!


Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work



Aunt Dora Baggins
First Mate


Jul 21 2013, 8:08am

Post #11 of 23 (282 views)
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A woman wearing elf ears once said this to me: [In reply to] Can't Post

"I loathe Tolkien. He uses too many words."


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



acheron
Gunner


Jul 21 2013, 2:12pm

Post #12 of 23 (281 views)
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from an amazon one-star review of LOTR [In reply to] Can't Post

"There were too many adverbs"

For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much -- the wheel, New York, wars, and so on -- while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man, for precisely the same reasons. -- Douglas Adams


Maciliel
Sailing Master


Jul 21 2013, 4:25pm

Post #13 of 23 (239 views)
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that review [In reply to] Can't Post

 
... must have been written by stephen king (who is exceedingly on-record as advising eliminating adverbs to improve one's writing).


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo


squire
Quartermaster


Jul 21 2013, 10:30pm

Post #14 of 23 (226 views)
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Yes, the Slate piece was by no means over the top [In reply to] Can't Post

It isn't very sophisticated in its handling of the range of surveillance states and the ideological differences behind the various theories of state surveillance, but I think Tolkien's Sauron and Mordor do take a good deal from the European tradition of state omnipotence and omniscience that climaxed in the totalitarian regimes of the 1930s and 1940s. I've observed at some point that the orcs' dialogue, quoted in this piece, is as much taken from British versions of state and labor politics, as it is a parody of Stalinism or Nazism; which angle the authors have simply updated to make the point that the U.S. is not necessarily immune from the same tendencies (and wasn't, either, back in the days of the Un-American Activities Committee when Tolkien was writing). What I've never seen is anyone take on the 19th-century Catholic Church as an alternate version of a totalitarian surveillance state in order to see how it might match some of the Sauron/Mordor themes in LotR. The reason, I suppose, is that everyone knows Tolkien was a devout and defensive Catholic who would have been horrified to see his Mother Church so misinterpreted.

Some of the silliest Tolkien criticism I've read tries to assert that his languages are simply adaptations of similar-sounding words from real-world languages; there was one that said that Tom Bombadil must be Aule the Vala of smithcraft, and so Goldberry was his mate Yavanna; and I've always cherished the memory of the scholar who said that a critic can't write knowledgeably about Tolkien until he or she knows the works thoroughly - at which point Poof! they become "Tolkien scholars" who by definition lack any sense of objectivity about the author's literary quality, and so high-quality Tolkien criticism is impossible.



squire online:
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grammaboodawg
Captain


Jul 22 2013, 2:31am

Post #15 of 23 (202 views)
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That Tolkien's LotR is mostly about death. [In reply to] Can't Post

Say what? I've been reading LotR for years, and I never thought of it being "mostly about death". Many endings, yes... but not death. I also had someone say, "Oh yeah... he wrote those Potter books." *spasm* It's time for some Ice Cream!


4th draft of TH:AUJ Geeky Observation List - May 1, 2013



sample

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West."

I'm SO HAPPY these new films take me back to that magical world!!



TIME Google Calendar
TORn's Geeky Observations Lists (updated soon)


squire
Quartermaster


Jul 22 2013, 6:49am

Post #16 of 23 (193 views)
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Well, that was Tolkien speaking about his own work... [In reply to] Can't Post

...and it's notorious that authors are their own worst critics. Nevertheless, he expressed this particular idea several times in his letters in the late 1950s, after the book had been reviewed and read by people he had no influence over.

I like the way he puts it in Letter 203, in November 1957:
But I should say, if asked, the tale is not really about Power and Dominion: that only sets the wheels going; it is about Death and the desire for deathlessness. Which is hardly more than to say that it is a tale written by a Man!
That is a pithy crib of his first attempt to express his own discovery of this idea, over a year earlier, in Letter 186 (April 1956):
I do not think that even Power or Domination is the real center of my story. It provides the theme of a War, about something dark and threatening enough to seem at that time of supreme importance, but that is mainly 'a setting' for characters to show themselves. The real theme for me is about something much more permanent and difficult: Death and Immortality: the mystery of the love of the world in the hearts of a race 'doomed' to leave and seemingly lose it; the anguish in the hearts of a race 'doomed' not to leave it, until its whole evil-aroused story is complete.
He went on to elaborate a bit more, in April 1958 (Letter 208):
It is only in reading the work myself (with criticisms in mind) that I become aware of the dominance of the theme of Death. (Not that there is any original 'message' in that: most of human art & thought is similarly preoccupied.) But certainly Death is not an Enemy! I said, or meant to say, that the 'message' was the hideous peril of confusing true 'immortality' with limitless serial longevity. Freedom from Time, and clinging to Time. The confusion is the work of the Enemy, and one of the chief causes of human disaster. Compare the death of Aragorn with a Ringwraith. The Elves call 'death' the Gift of God (to Men). Their temptation is different: towards a faineant melancholy, burdened with Memory, leading to an attempt to halt Time.
Clearly Tolkien is taking the widest possible view of his own work here; he's not just being morbid. As he notes, most of human art, philosophy, and religion attempts to contemplate Death, its meaning, and its relation to how we choose to live our lives before it comes to us. So it's almost trite to claim that as his theme, until he explains that his particular vehicle for exploring the meaning of Death and Deathlessness is his contrast between Men and Elves in The Lord of the Rings, and their varying responses to mortality and immortality; specifically, their attempts to wield Power to thwart their fates. The Men seek Power to postpone Death; and the Elves seek Power to extend Life. The vehicles of these attempts are, in this reading, the Rings of Power and the One Ring above all.

No Hobbits? Just so, and certainly a reason to doubt the Prof's own certitude. It's worth remembering that in the late 1950s he was beginning to focus once again on the Silmarillion, now cast as a prequel to his successful romance of the Third Age. I think at this point in his life he was really trying to put together what he'd finally done with LotR and what he'd spent the previous 30 years doing with the Sil. The 'Death and Deathlessness' theme works best, I think, when applied to his entire legendarium, more than it does specifically to The Lord of the Rings; in the letters quoted above, I think he's retroactively applying a heck of a lot of subtext to LotR, which the average reader should certainly be forgiven for missing in favor of themes like Power, Sacrifice, War, and Nobility.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


grammaboodawg
Captain


Jul 22 2013, 2:42pm

Post #17 of 23 (176 views)
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Now THAT makes more sense!! [In reply to] Can't Post

 
I've never heard/read it explained so clearly!


Quote



desire for deathlessness // attempts to wield Power to thwart their fates. The Men seek Power to
postpone Death; and the Elves seek Power to extend Life.




Seriously... I appreciate this so much! What a great examination. I've always heard this reference of Death as a theme when it was referred to in it's simplest form... that I took as "death and dying".

*cuts, pastes* This is also going between the pages of my LotR. THANK YOU!



4th draft of TH:AUJ Geeky Observation List - May 1, 2013



sample

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West."

I'm SO HAPPY these new films take me back to that magical world!!



TIME Google Calendar
TORn's Geeky Observations Lists (updated soon)


Sunflower
Quartermaster

Jul 23 2013, 3:28am

Post #18 of 23 (115 views)
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Agreed [In reply to] Can't Post

Can't think of anything to add to your brilliant analysis, Squire, expect to say--you don't know how many times in the past month, ever since Mr Snowden gave the world his revelations, I have found myself thinking, "The NSA ain't got nothing on Mordor"--but it feels strange to actually experience in a figurative way, a fleeting feeling of what Frodo felt on Amon Hen. I feel simeontaneously more vulnerable, knowing I am being watched--and yet, more than ever, I appreciate how 'knowledge is power', and have the feeling that the NSA has made a mistake 'putting all its eggs in one basket', so to speak...someday their program might be turned against them. Just as the Hobbits (and Gollum, in his way) turned the Weapon of the Enemy against him.

Above all, the darker the world seems, we must not wholly give in to despair....not even we beleagured Americans.


(This post was edited by Sunflower on Jul 23 2013, 3:29am)


Sunflower
Quartermaster

Jul 23 2013, 3:32am

Post #19 of 23 (117 views)
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Heh [In reply to] Can't Post

Why does "Amadeus" come to mind--"Too many notes"?Smile


Ethel Duath
Quartermaster


Jul 25 2013, 4:20am

Post #20 of 23 (81 views)
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Haw!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

And she was wearing elf ears!?

(What did you say? Once you could breathe again that is . . .)


Aunt Dora Baggins
First Mate


Jul 25 2013, 8:03pm

Post #21 of 23 (57 views)
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I don't think I ever did catch my breath. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Ethel Duath
Quartermaster


Jul 25 2013, 8:15pm

Post #22 of 23 (54 views)
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It would make a good episode [In reply to] Can't Post

of the Twilight Zone--dual realities and all. "The Muddled Ears" or something. Smile


Elwen
Able Seaman


Aug 1 2013, 5:24pm

Post #23 of 23 (61 views)
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"I don't see why everyone keeps saying JRR Tolkien, I mean, everyone knows his son wrote all the books." [In reply to] Can't Post

That was the strangest I've ever heard. Mr. Elwen was highly amused by the aghast look on my face when I heard someone say that in a conversation leading up to the movies. I tried the polite correction approach, but when the speaker refused to back down, Mr. Elwen saw a storm brewing and suggested we change the subject.

Before kids, exercising with LOTR meant listening to the soundtrack while I ran.

After kids, exercising with LOTR means having an all out dance party with the little ones to the "Break the Dam Release the River" disco mix form the Lego game.

 
 

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