January 18, 2020, 12:14:09 PM

Author Topic: J.R.R. Tolkien  (Read 48629 times)

Offline Elfy

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Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #75 on: September 12, 2012, 12:11:45 AM »
I tried the Silmarillion years ago, but I just couldn't muster the interest to continue with it. It was a little like the source books that come out for popular series and TV shows now. I may be wrong here, but wasn't a lot of the work in the Silmarillion borne out of what Tolkien wrote in the trenches during WW I to keep hold of his sanity?
And props to Francis for discovering a word. I now have to find a use somewhere for pedestalised.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline Fellshot

Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #76 on: September 12, 2012, 02:27:15 AM »
I had someone helpfully mark out all the parts in the Simarillion where something interesting happened. I liked the fights between elves and balrogs, but I find it among the dullest driest reading I have ever run across in any subject. I suppose if one is in the midst of trench warfare it could be meditative.

The notes on language are interesting and I love the look of Tolkein's art and calligraphy.

Offline BrianAnderson

Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #77 on: September 12, 2012, 03:20:00 AM »
The first time I read The Simarillion I was a young teen. Holy cow, did I ever have a hard time getting through it. I read it again as an adult, and though it remained a tough , rather dry read, I enjoyed gaining a more complete picture of Tolkien's world.
From time to time, I re-read the The Lord of the Rings. I find it useful as a writer to read how he describes landscapes and creatures. Whatever you think about his stories, it's difficult to deny that he could really paint a picture with words. I tend to leave out unnecessary description in my work, so I try to get the most out of what I include. I don't try to write like Tolkien, but when you examine the details you can see how the landscapes flow and move, and that's what I'm after when trying to improve my style. The fact is that he could have been highly effective with far less, but I must admit I'm glad he didn't.

Offline Jian

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Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #78 on: September 12, 2012, 08:34:50 AM »
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...

Seconded. I have the same difficulty portraying my female character, but it helps if you let her kick a man in their privates. It's hard to think of someone as weak if they make someone thrice their size cry and call out to their mothers for help, after all. ;)
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Offline pornokitsch

Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #79 on: September 12, 2012, 10:10:43 AM »
Cross-promotional mayhem! I got to guest post over at Jo Fletcher Books, so, thanks to this -  I was stuck thinking about Tolkien's influence...

Feel free to leave comments telling me how wrong I am...

Offline xiagan

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Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #80 on: September 12, 2012, 10:29:27 AM »
Cross-promotional mayhem! I got to guest post over at Jo Fletcher Books, so, thanks to this -  I was stuck thinking about Tolkien's influence...

Feel free to leave comments telling me how wrong I am...
You're not. It's very well done. :)
"Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis." (Laplace)

Offline pornokitsch

Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #81 on: September 12, 2012, 10:52:55 AM »
Thanks! Although that spoils the fun. Next time I'll add a note talking about how he invented steampunk and electricity.

Offline xiagan

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Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #82 on: September 12, 2012, 11:30:22 AM »
Thanks! Although that spoils the fun. Next time I'll add a note talking about how he invented steampunk and electricity.
That'd be great! I think it's really possible to find something steampunkish in there. ;)
"Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis." (Laplace)

Offline Francis Knight

Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #83 on: September 12, 2012, 11:35:40 AM »
I went to comment and got sidetracked by an older post Marc did about covers and commented on that instead....

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


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Offline Jian

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Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #84 on: September 12, 2012, 12:04:33 PM »
Thanks! Although that spoils the fun. Next time I'll add a note talking about how he invented steampunk and electricity.

Good post. And I'm pretty sure Rudyard Kipling invented electricity, and steampunk was invented by Seth Grahame-Smith, though. But otherwise, good stuff. xD
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Offline J. Mark Miller

Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #85 on: September 12, 2012, 02:33:07 PM »
Cross-promotional mayhem! I got to guest post over at Jo Fletcher Books, so, thanks to this -  I was stuck thinking about Tolkien's influence...

Feel free to leave comments telling me how wrong I am...

Good show!

Offline Fellshot

Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #86 on: September 12, 2012, 06:03:11 PM »
Thanks! Although that spoils the fun. Next time I'll add a note talking about how he invented steampunk and electricity.
That'd be great! I think it's really possible to find something steampunkish in there. ;)

If you did, the shades of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne would have to pop up and smack sense back into you. Followed closely by Ada Lovelace (I heard she has a gun that shoots badgers at her foes).  ;D

The industrialized Shire might qualify as proto-steampunk in some of the setting elements, but since none of the technology, science, or social structure ever gets examined, it's missing the substance and thematic elements.

Although... If you really want someone to go stir up trouble at that article, I could write something about how Tom Bombadil is so wonderful and the best character JRR ever wrote. Such deplorable things shouldn't be taken up without substantial bribery though. :P

Offline pornokitsch

Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #87 on: September 13, 2012, 07:23:10 AM »
Although... If you really want someone to go stir up trouble at that article, I could write something about how Tom Bombadil is so wonderful and the best character JRR ever wrote. Such deplorable things shouldn't be taken up without substantial bribery though. :P

That'd be hilarious. Has anyone since Tolkien liked Tom Bombadil?

Offline Jian

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Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #88 on: September 13, 2012, 08:14:19 AM »
Although... If you really want someone to go stir up trouble at that article, I could write something about how Tom Bombadil is so wonderful and the best character JRR ever wrote. Such deplorable things shouldn't be taken up without substantial bribery though. :P

That'd be hilarious. Has anyone since Tolkien liked Tom Bombadil?

I have to say that I fell asleep twice during the Tom Bombadil Arc. Couldn't get past it. xD
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Offline Elfy

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Re: J.R.R. Tolkien
« Reply #89 on: September 13, 2012, 08:52:08 AM »
Although... If you really want someone to go stir up trouble at that article, I could write something about how Tom Bombadil is so wonderful and the best character JRR ever wrote. Such deplorable things shouldn't be taken up without substantial bribery though. :P

That'd be hilarious. Has anyone since Tolkien liked Tom Bombadil?

I have to say that I fell asleep twice during the Tom Bombadil Arc. Couldn't get past it. xD
I liked the version Harvard Lampoon did in their parody Bored of the Rings, his name was Tim Benzedrino.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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