The Lord of the Rings - A General Discussion Thread

A chapter by chapter as well as general discussion of Tolkien's masterpiece
Riv Res
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Re: The Lord of the Rings - A General Discussion Thread

Postby Riv Res » Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:02 pm

Yes!! :caffeine: What she said!
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Merry
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Re: The Lord of the Rings - A General Discussion Thread

Postby Merry » Thu Mar 27, 2014 4:02 pm

True! But the sons were victorious only after their fathers died in this battle, so their losses were great. This battle also was fought against the Easterlings (which always makes me think 'little Easter people', which isn't quite right! #-o ). So it reminds me of the scene when Faramir wonders if they were really bad people in the first place and what Sauron had done to get them to fight. But they were the attackers at Dale/Erebor and so this was a battle of self-defense.
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Re: The Lord of the Rings - A General Discussion Thread

Postby Philipa » Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:31 pm

Wise words Merry. The theory of men fighting a war they don't really want to be there on the battle field is one that is the human condition. I hate wars and very much dislike the men that send other to them, but here I was wrapped up in the moment of liberation. See, I'm human too.
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Re: The Lord of the Rings - A General Discussion Thread

Postby Merry » Sat Mar 29, 2014 4:51 pm

Many years ago, when I was teaching high school, one of my fellow teachers wouldn't allow her children to read Tolkien because she thought that he was too violent and that the slaughter of orcs was a moral issue, since they are sentient beings. I could sort of see her point. I am not a pacifist, though. I agree with the just war theory, which allows self-defense (real self-defense, not pre-emptive strikes); this is what I think Tolkien held, too, and we can see this in his works. Still, the violence is much more a part of the movies than the books, which is troubling. I've argued about this before, but the line from movie Aragorn at Helm's Deep, something like 'Show them no mercy, for they will show you none,' is particularly troublesome and anti-Tolkien. (And I think Viggo should have known better!)
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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
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Riv Res
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Re: The Lord of the Rings - A General Discussion Thread

Postby Riv Res » Sat Mar 29, 2014 9:58 pm

Merry wrote:I've argued about this before, but the line from movie Aragorn at Helm's Deep, something like 'Show them no mercy, for they will show you none,' is particularly troublesome and anti-Tolkien. (And I think Viggo should have known better!)


I agree on both counts ... PJ's script and Viggo. :wink:

Also ... didn't Tolkien consider the Orcs/Goblins/Uruk-hai all to be sub-human species and refers to them in his writings with the pronoun 'it' to drive home the point. Perhaps that is why the violence and maybe why Viggo didn't hesitate to 'show them no mercy'. Perhaps, also it was Tolkien's horrible war experiences that prompted him to make them sub-human, but methinks it was more of a Nordic mythology thing for him to do so. :-s
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Re: The Lord of the Rings - A General Discussion Thread

Postby Merry » Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:58 pm

I guess I don't expect PJ to have this kind of moral vision. :wink:

A couple people (one of them is Auden) do ask Tolkien in the letters about his idea of orcs, but it doesn't seem to be about the morality of killing so many of them. Rather, it's about the consistency with Tolkien's religious beliefs about a race that is fundamentally evil by nature. He sometimes evades the question, stating that he's not writing Christian allegory and that people are taking this all too seriously. But he also mentions that orcs were not made evil, that they are rational incarnate creatures, but were ruined later on. I do think he evades the questions a bit here.

But, again, I don't think he thought killing in self-defense, especially when so outnumbered, was wrong. Only pure pacifists think this; I don't agree with them, but I respect their thinking. And you're right: this type of heroic story does need an enemy we don't care much about, and they arose during times in history when human rights weren't much thought about!
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Re: The Lord of the Rings - A General Discussion Thread

Postby Riv Res » Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:20 pm

Has anyone ever done a study or analogy of the One Ring compared to today's nuclear weapons?

1. Regardless of how each were made, they were made to wield power through the threat of destruction.
2. Each one was/is coveted (precious) as a source of power.
3. Each one was/is altogether evil (tell me one good thing that ever came from a nuclear weapon).


Just wondered if there was an analogy of the two out there. :-k
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Re: The Lord of the Rings - A General Discussion Thread

Postby Merry » Tue Aug 12, 2014 5:01 am

Hi, RR--nice to see you!

You know, I think Tolkien's warning against allegory has scared people off of making such an analogy. He kind of warns us against it, in a veiled way, in the foreword to the second edition and a couple of the letters warn people against making the allegory, since he had written the Ring before the Bomb was known about. He did hate the Bomb, of course--letter 116 shows this.

But you may be interested in letter 135, written after England had conducted its own atomic bomb test in Australia in 1952:

"Mordor is in our midst. And I regret to note that the billowing cloud recently pictured did not mark the fall of Barad-dur, but was produced by its allies--or at least by persons who have decided to use the Ring for their own (of course most excellent) purposes." I'm certain that he meant the parenthetic remark as sarcasm.
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Re: The Lord of the Rings - A General Discussion Thread

Postby Riv Res » Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:52 pm

Oh my goodness!! But he certainly made the connection, did he not? I do remember that he did not like people using allegory when discussing his work. He must be turning in his grave. :lol:

Some friends and I were talking about the One Ring to other evening and that comparison came up. It seemed an appropriate one to me.
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Re: The Lord of the Rings - A General Discussion Thread

Postby Merry » Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:26 pm

I think Tolkien would have loved the idea of friends sitting around discussing his work.

The thing about allegory is always interesting to me, and a little confusing, maybe. In the famous foreword, he distinguished between allegory and applicability, saying that, in allegory, the writer is trying to force the reader to see the world as he does, but the freedom of applicability rests in the minds of the readers. So while he would say it was incorrect to think that the Ring = the atomic bomb, I don't think he would mind people thinking of ways that the Ring is like the atomic bomb and using the story as a cautionary tale about this kind of power.
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Re: The Lord of the Rings - A General Discussion Thread

Postby Riv Res » Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:52 pm

What it boils down to is that it is all about the power.

Gandalf has a way with words and this quote was the basis of our atomic discussion ...

For into the midst of all these policies comes the Ring of Power, the foundation of Barad-dur, and the hope of Sauron. Concerning this thing, my lords, you now all know enough for the understanding of our plight, and of Sauron's. If he regains it, your valour is vain, and his victory will be swift or complete: so complete that none can foresee the end of it while this world lasts. If it is destroyed, then he will fall: and his fall will be so low that none can foresee his arising ever again. For he will lose the best part of his strength that was native to him in his beginning, and all that was made or begun with that power will crumble, and he will be maimed for ever, becoming a mere spirit of malice that gnaws itself in the shadows, but cannot again grow or take shape. And so a great evil of this world will be removed.


When I think of Iran and North Korea and their desire to acquire atomic bombs, Gandalf's words become quite applicable.
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Re: The Lord of the Rings - A General Discussion Thread

Postby Merry » Tue Aug 12, 2014 6:11 pm

It was quite a risky thing for Sauron to put so much of his power into this Thing. He did it to increase his power, but if he hadn't made it, or if he had just relied on his natural military power during the War of the Ring, he would have won. But this kind of tyrant is never satisfied.

This should be a cautionary tale today, too.

Did you look at letter 116?
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Re: The Lord of the Rings - A General Discussion Thread

Postby Merry » Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:59 pm

I was thinking of Saruman today. (I know--what a Tolkien geek I am!) Tolkien tells us who he is by such statements as his mind is full of machinery, etc., he seems to be a sort of representative of a dangerous aspect of our culture, the over-reliance on technology and the disrespect for the nature world. But I was wondering today if this ever got more personal for Tolkien, if there was a public figure or politician he had in mind. I know this could get too simplistic, like Sauron = Hitler or something. But Tolkien was so ahead of his time in his warning about these things that I wonder if he had identified a person or persons like Saruman that he used in his creation.

Ideas?
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Re: The Lord of the Rings - A General Discussion Thread

Postby Riv Res » Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:06 pm

Interesting train of thought, Merry. I need to look something up. Stay tuned. :wink:
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Re: The Lord of the Rings - A General Discussion Thread

Postby MICHKA » Sat Sep 06, 2014 2:32 pm

Je pense que cela a déjà été suggéré, il est vrai que son personnage destructeur fait réfléchir aux dictateurs survenus dans le monde et sans doute, inconsciemment, Tolkien décrivait un de ceux-là, particulièrement nous pensons à Hitler et sa folie de ''solution finale'', l'extermination d'un peuple
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