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Author Topic: J.R.R. Tolkien  (Read 49886 times)

Offline Hierath

Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #60 on: September 11, 2012, 12:01:21 PM »
The Sillmarillion is :

"And Lo! The elves did go forth from Somewhereorother and verily they travelled across many lands until they did reach Somewhere Better. And then they laid down their burdens and rejoiced, for the land was rich in trees and grass and yummy cupcakes, and there did they linger for many a year...."

for about 300 pages.  If you like that sort of thing you'll like it.
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Offline Seven

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Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #61 on: September 11, 2012, 12:06:06 PM »
I think that omitting women from a story is a subtle prejudice of exclusion and reinforces several negative ideas:

Men can't sympathize with women characters, but women can do so with characters of both genders.
(1) you are demonstrably, provably incorrect.
(2) Now who's sexist?

The rest of your post isn't even worth my time.

Offline xiagan

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Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #62 on: September 11, 2012, 12:16:24 PM »
I've never actually read the Silmarillion. Has anyone else? I've heard from some people that it is incredibly dull and others that it is incredibly exciting. Help me out...
I read it, but needed a few attempts to finish it.
It would be way more easy to read/follow if all the characters had only one name and not three different ones.
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Offline shep5377

Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #63 on: September 11, 2012, 12:17:43 PM »
I'm ok with the debate - this is a really meaningful topic, and it is good to discuss.

[MOD VOICE]Just keep it friendly. We're all on the same side; we love fantasy and want to read the best in it. That's why we're here.[/MOD VOICE]

On Tolkien...

I've never actually read the Silmarillion. Has anyone else? I've heard from some people that it is incredibly dull and others that it is incredibly exciting. Help me out...

I've tried. Dear Lord did I try. When I was a fledgling fantasy reader I thought it vitally important that I read it, but I couldn't get into it, no matter how often I tried.

Offline Lionwalker

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Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #64 on: September 11, 2012, 12:18:51 PM »
The Sillmarillion is :

"And Lo! The elves did go forth from Somewhereorother and verily they travelled across many lands until they did reach Somewhere Better. And then they laid down their burdens and rejoiced, for the land was rich in trees and grass and yummy cupcakes, and there did they linger for many a year...."

for about 300 pages.  If you like that sort of thing you'll like it.

I must admit I have never tried to read the Silmarillion. Whenever I looked at it in the shop, I would flick through the first pages, see all the notes, flick onwards, and the notes just didn't seem to stop! ...then I realised the notes were the book. :)
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Offline Lor

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Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #65 on: September 11, 2012, 12:55:24 PM »
I think that omitting women from a story is a subtle prejudice of exclusion and reinforces several negative ideas:

Men can't sympathize with women characters, but women can do so with characters of both genders.
(1) you are demonstrably, provably incorrect.
(2) Now who's sexist?

The rest of your post isn't even worth my time.
[MOD VOICE] OK, either everyone steps away and cools off, or this thread is getting locked down. People are being rude and taking things far too personally.[/MOD VOICE]
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Offline Francis Knight

Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #66 on: September 11, 2012, 02:33:34 PM »
I read the Sillmarrilion yonks ago. Yeah the style is...hmm..biblical almost?

But holy crap, is it dark! Tragedy abounds (be still my beating heart - I love a bit of tragedy). Makes all this modern 'dark' fantasy look like a walk in the park, especially when you consider the time in which it was written. Okay, that makes me sound old, but yeah, it's a dark, dark story.

If you can't take the style, try Children of Hurin for a taste of (part of) the story. No spoilers here, but..well...and written in the what, 30s? I say!
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Offline Jonathan Campbell

Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #67 on: September 11, 2012, 03:12:51 PM »
When the movies came out, my little brother bought / was bought a guide to Middle-Earth, which I promptly devoured. When I bought the Silmarillion for myself, I realized a lot of the guide was taken directly from that book.

Overall, I enjoyed it. Really did. It is a classic tome of worldbuilding and makes Middle-Earth a much richer place. I think if you are planning some serious worldbuilding with your story, you should at least give it a look.

Offline J. Mark Miller

Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #68 on: September 11, 2012, 04:09:23 PM »
On Tolkien...

I've never actually read the Silmarillion. Has anyone else? I've heard from some people that it is incredibly dull and others that it is incredibly exciting. Help me out...

I've read it several times. It is, in fact, my personal favorite of Tolkien's works. It's understandably not for everyone.

Sheesh, I'm the guy who sat down once and read all of William Durant's 11 volume The Story of Civilization and enjoyed it as much as many novels I've read.

To each his own.

As a side note, I felt like the female characters in The Silmarillion were stronger, but that's the opinion of a stereotypical white male. :P

Offline Francis Knight

Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #69 on: September 11, 2012, 04:19:26 PM »
Were they? Not sure, tbh.

I mean Nienor was renamed Niniel (Tear-Maiden). Not sure that's 'strong' !

Any particular examples that spring to mind for you as strong? (Especially as it's been a while since I read it). I promise not to bite you.
My tongue has been in my cheek for so long, I've eroded a new mouth.


Duellists Trilogy (as Julia Knight) coming soon from Orbit!

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Offline J. Mark Miller

Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #70 on: September 11, 2012, 05:30:58 PM »

Any particular examples that spring to mind for you as strong? (Especially as it's been a while since I read it). I promise not to bite you.

Well, while admittedly not strong enough for some, Lúthien immediately comes to mind. She did storm Morgoth's lair with Beren, and used her magic to make him fall asleep.

And while she may not have been as featured as her male counterparts, Galadriel was prominent in the Noldor's rebellion, and was the "only female to stand tall in those days."

Offline Francis Knight

Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #71 on: September 11, 2012, 07:35:06 PM »
See, now you're making me think (and I'm on day one of giving up the ciggies, so it hurts!). It was a long time ago...

Okay, pure subjectivity incoming

I always got the impression with Tolkien's females that they were...how can I put it? Rather limp in a lot of ways (with the exception of Eowyn and Rosie). And even if they weren't limp, they...It was all about how they looked so nice, with white limbs, all delicate and elfy and... etc. Luthien was pretty much defined by, and remembered for, loving some bloke.

This perception (and it could just be me, because we all see things differently) was somewhat heightened/reinforced when I read this (by JRRT himself, with regard to Luthien and Beren). Bolding mine.

Quote
It is Beren the outlawed mortal who succeeds (with the help of Lúthien, a mere maiden even if an elf of royalty) where all the armies and warriors have failed: he penetrates the stronghold of the Enemy and wrests one of the Silmarilli from the Iron Crown.

For me, the emphasis was on Beren being the hero, and yes Luthien helped him but...it was all about HIM, how she loved HIM and so did this stuff. That part I've bolded...that comes through for me, subtly but unmistakeably. She may have done awesome stuff, but she was still 'just a mere woman'. It's a...tone? And yes, subjective as hell. But there, it bugs me. I don't expect it to bug anyone else, and I wouldn't hold JRRT up as anything other than a product of his time. 

I'm probably not being very articulate here (need nicotine dammit!) and JRRT's works have certainly been an influence on me, and I love them, but that doesn't preclude them being problematic for me at times. At other times, ofc, I just say what they hey and enjoy reading them.
My tongue has been in my cheek for so long, I've eroded a new mouth.


Duellists Trilogy (as Julia Knight) coming soon from Orbit!

http://www.juliaknight.co.uk/

Offline J. Mark Miller

Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #72 on: September 11, 2012, 09:02:11 PM »
See, now you're making me think (and I'm on day one of giving up the ciggies, so it hurts!). It was a long time ago...

Okay, pure subjectivity incoming

I always got the impression with Tolkien's females that they were...how can I put it? Rather limp in a lot of ways (with the exception of Eowyn and Rosie). And even if they weren't limp, they...It was all about how they looked so nice, with white limbs, all delicate and elfy and... etc. Luthien was pretty much defined by, and remembered for, loving some bloke.

This perception (and it could just be me, because we all see things differently) was somewhat heightened/reinforced when I read this (by JRRT himself, with regard to Luthien and Beren). Bolding mine.

Quote
It is Beren the outlawed mortal who succeeds (with the help of Lúthien, a mere maiden even if an elf of royalty) where all the armies and warriors have failed: he penetrates the stronghold of the Enemy and wrests one of the Silmarilli from the Iron Crown.

For me, the emphasis was on Beren being the hero, and yes Luthien helped him but...it was all about HIM, how she loved HIM and so did this stuff. That part I've bolded...that comes through for me, subtly but unmistakeably. She may have done awesome stuff, but she was still 'just a mere woman'. It's a...tone? And yes, subjective as hell. But there, it bugs me. I don't expect it to bug anyone else, and I wouldn't hold JRRT up as anything other than a product of his time. 

I'm probably not being very articulate here (need nicotine dammit!) and JRRT's works have certainly been an influence on me, and I love them, but that doesn't preclude them being problematic for me at times. At other times, ofc, I just say what they hey and enjoy reading them.

Oh, I agree. The tone is most definitely there. There are certainly deficiencies in his stories, as well as in his characterization, both female and male. Product of his time? Captive to what he felt might be accepted by the public? I really don't know. Doesn't excuse it perhaps, but it lends insight.

What happens when you write and were inspired by all the tales you heard when you were a little boy? When you're used to the knight in shining armor slaying the dragon and rescuing the princess? That's a little boy's dream. (A secretly most men's too.)

Honestly, sometimes I think (and I'm sure this will piss somebody off) there's an element of chivalry involved in the writing. I think there are some men from those days who felt that women should be honored and protected—put up on a pedestal as it were and preserved as much as possible from the blighted world. Sometimes this gets interpreted as "keep those womenfolk locked up for their own good" when that's not the intent. When you consider that Tolkien referred to his wife as his Lúthien, and you read how profound was his love for her, it gives you a different perspective on how he might have written Lúthien the way he did. Just a guess.

And personally, I don't think a character, male or female, has to be one of action (as in heroic action, fighting battles, etc.) to be a strong character. Maybe it's my own perception, but a character like Galadriel always seemed imposing to me. Her words of wisdom were always able to turn male conversation in the direction she desired. Her husband Celeborn was sometimes a bit hot-headed and would make rash pronouncements, only to have Galadriel say a few words and bring him back to level-headed reality. I always had the sense that while Celeborn was the lord of Lothlorien, it was Galadriel who was really running the show. She had wisdom far beyond just about every other character. Again, that's my personal perception.

Rather than rail against someone like Tolkien for his perceived deficiencies, perhaps we should look at those very deficiencies and ask ourselves how we can do better. That's not excusing the problem, but it is acknowledging that guys like him are dead and gone, and their writing is part of our shared literary past. Now it's our responsibility to create the world we ourselves hope for.

I'll admit, in one of my novels I'm working on, one of the main characters is a teenaged girl, and I struggle to portray her honestly. I struggle to make sure she is placed in peril without coming across as a constant victim unable to fight for herself. I need to put her in situations where she's in real danger, some of which she can escape from due to her own resourcefulness, but some where escape is impossible apart from the aid of her friends and those who love her. Doing authentically is a challenge, but a challenge I choose to accept.

Now I'm just rambling...

Offline Francis Knight

Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #73 on: September 11, 2012, 09:33:15 PM »

Honestly, sometimes I think (and I'm sure this will piss somebody off) there's an element of chivalry involved in the writing. I think there are some men from those days who felt that women should be honored and protected—put up on a pedestal as it were and preserved as much as possible from the blighted world. Sometimes this gets interpreted as "keep those womenfolk locked up for their own good" when that's not the intent. When you consider that Tolkien referred to his wife as his Lúthien, and you read how profound was his love for her, it gives you a different perspective on how he might have written Lúthien the way he did. Just a guess.


Yes...but by putting someone on a pedestal/thinking only to protect them, you aren't treating them as a person, but as an object. That's the problem. What if she doesn't want to be pedestalised? (Is too a word!). What if they want to see that blighted world and try to unblight it? Etc etc. It certainly is a form of 'locking them up for their own good', protect them because they are delicate little flowers (see the limpness, all about the beauty and white limbs etc)  and while intentions might be otherwise, it's the effect that is the problem. And the effect is, women are restrained from being people, but instead must always be 'perfect' in the eyes of their adorer. Sod that for a game of soldiers.

And with Luthien it is quite pronounced - she wasn't mourned for being a great person, but for being beautiful. Urghhh....

My tongue has been in my cheek for so long, I've eroded a new mouth.


Duellists Trilogy (as Julia Knight) coming soon from Orbit!

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Offline J. Mark Miller

Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #74 on: September 11, 2012, 11:21:46 PM »
Yes...but by putting someone on a pedestal/thinking only to protect them, you aren't treating them as a person, but as an object.

Agreed. There's the deficiency inherent in that style of chivalry. Pure motives, perhaps, but often the execution of those motives become in itself a kind of slavery which can be every bit as soul-crushing as the alternatives they are striving to protect against.