Page 1 2 3 
Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
JRR Tolkien
 Login/Join
 
Companion to owls
Member
Picture of cloverheart
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by aitapata:
my two cents : I don't think the plot is always important. I think words can be utilized without making much logical sense, but can be used to evoke an emotion or an impression of a memory...


Well, that's poetry for me... Smile
i.e. OF COURSE you can use words in whatever way you like! The thing that really bugs me about what you say, ZoneSeek, is that you keep talking about "rules". Literature and storytelling have no rules. There are more or less established ways of doing it, and ways you might like more or less, but no one says you should do things this way or the other (I get the impression that in the US that's what agents do, and I don't like it).
In the LotR DVD extras, someone was commenting on how a modern agent/editor would NEVER let Tolkien publish his novel the way he did. They said for example, the Council of Elrond introduces too many characters that don't show up again and is way too long and has no action. The descriptions are too long. There is a whole book in which we know NOTHING about the ring-bearer, then we know NOTHING about the rest.
And I thought, THOSE were the things that made the book so damn good, for me. I loved the Council, because you get all sorts of explanations and previous history that are vital to the atmosphere of the book, and the fact that you don't know what is up to the other characters for so long creates a suspense that kept me wide awake until dawn every night during my 10th Summer.


(About women in LotR, I remembered an odd fact -the first time I read it, for some reason I assumed when Tolkien said "Rangers" he referred to both men and women. I got no idea why I thought of that, maybe becaus eI wanted to be in? Anyways, for me, both men and women rangers fought on the Pelennor Fields Big Grin)


 
Posts: 11802 | Location: home? | Registered: June 19, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
Saw this article on China Mievilles site, the rest of the article is Tolkien specific

Quote

China says:

"Two untrue things are commonly claimed about fantasy. The first is that fantasy and science fiction are fundamentally different genres. The second is that fantasy is crap.

It's usually those who claim the first who also claim the second. The idea is that where SF is radical, exploratory and intellectually adventurous, fantasy is badly written, clichéd and obsessed with backwards-looking dreams of the past - feudal daydreams of Good Kings and Fair Maidens."

-----

Now I like LotR but it is a bit insipid for me. Literature always tells us about the time and place it was written, and the writer, and for me the book is too much of a comforter. You can hear the voice of a man who dreams of a time when life was simple, people knew their place and everything in the garden was rosy.

Tolien was interested in the Epics but whats missing from his work is the blood and lust that the Vikings had. They would go and slay Grendel but then murder their brother for his wife, they were venal and fallible. They showed the heroes of legend were just as likely to mess everything up as they were to save it.

In LotR the characters are cardboard cutouts and you can guess their 'character arcs' from the beginning.
 
Posts: 2732 | Location: The London | Registered: January 22, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Administrator/Colporteur
Member
Picture of Dweller in Darkness
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by ZoneSeek [Keeper of the Blades]:
Gah, this is MY side. Screw Joyce. I want a good, intelligible yarn. Come on, I cited Pratchett as a good writer. So, _what_ makes a story good? Experimental writers like Joyce, Pirandello, they break the rules and that's why I don't like them.

Well, there's no universal set of laws that govern what makes a good story, at least none any two people have been able to completely agree on. I mean, it's now to the point where you can't even say, "A good story has stuff happening to people and people doing stuff." Then all the stream-of-consciousness adherents start jabbering, and I'm forced to once again reload my shotgun.

As for what I think makes a good story - two things.

1. Keep me awake. With a toddler in the house, this is a tougher task than most writers are up to. Now, you don't need much plot and intrigue to keep me awake, mind, what keeps me conscious most easily is the creative application of language. MAke the story flow in an interesting way, and I'll keep reading.

2. Don't dawdle. What your writing had better be important to the story or, once again, I'm going to fade out and fall asleep. Yes, Tolkein looks like he goes down a lot of rabbit trails in his books, but I can see where he's going with them, and it always comes back to the main story that he's trying to tell.


__________
AJGraeme
"Why are there ghosts in the kitchen punching each other in the balls?" - Aidan, "Being Human"
"Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried."
- G.K. Chesterton

My moderator voice is red.
 
Posts: 48708 | Location: Concord, NH, USA | Registered: July 20, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Companion to owls
Member
Picture of cloverheart
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Joe_3heads:
Tolien was interested in the Epics but whats missing from his work is the blood and lust that the Vikings had. They would go and slay Grendel but then murder their brother for his wife, they were venal and fallible. They showed the heroes of legend were just as likely to mess everything up as they were to save it.



Yes, I agree. Tolkien's epic is not like the "real" ones in that sense, his characters lack the "flaws" and "uglinessess" that make other heroes interesting.
But for me Tolkien's is an epic that says something -whereas "real" epics are only about glorifying heroes of the past. To me, Tolkien wrote an epic that is entertaining and that makes a nice story, but also makes you reflect on important issues like, as I said, power and the use we can make of it, hope and friendship, enviromental issues, attitudes towards life (when he depicts the hobbits, I see it less as some pretty image to content the senses than as a statement "if we all appreciated simple things like sunshine on a bright dawn and freshly plcuked berries the world would be a better place"). And I suppose it's more effective to make such statements if your characters are noble and just and all that -not that it can't be done otherwise, but I think the "fairness" (in all senses) of the characters helps that messages to come along. And don't forget you got "ugly" or mixed characters, albeit few (Gollum, for example, is the star: it's the most wretched thing, but it has some of the most moving and beautiful moments in the novel). Man, I even felt sorry for She-Lob when she gets stung like that...


 
Posts: 11802 | Location: home? | Registered: June 19, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freebird YAHR!
Member
Picture of Polop
posted Hide Post
Just to make a point on the things discussed before, once we had a presentation in class and a girl was discussing Moby Dick, she aimed at the point as how sexist it was since no women were aboard the ship, but those were the times and a women on board was meant to be bad luck...So I just wanted to say about Tolkien and Women that in the story they cant even play a bigger role, since the settings dont allow them men are fighters and kings, women are queens...
And to the political as far as I know Tolkien was never interested in politics and mostly critics try to find it in his own work and as far as I know he denied being politicaly inspired...


Some are born for endless flight, some are born for endless night
 
Posts: 1277 | Location: In the heart of Europe | Registered: March 08, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Runs with wolves, yahr!
Member
Picture of Lady Jasmine
posted Hide Post
Y'know, I'm ashamed to say I've never read any Tolkien. I always feel like i'm committing some hideious crime by not having done so - but I just haven't ever gotten around to it..

I did watch the first movie, and was bored to tears through most of it...a bit to "travel travel fight fight" for me I suppose..

I guess the books would be better, they usually are, but the movie pretty much turned me off of the series...


*******


~You're in the Moulin Rouge babe! Your next month's rent depends on it!~

~We'd be so lost...if we weren't 'us'"~
 
Posts: 4138 | Location: Enchanted Mists | Registered: May 26, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Administrator/Colporteur
Member
Picture of Dweller in Darkness
posted Hide Post
The books are a lot more involved, and while there's still an awful lot of fighting, there's a lot more poetry and singing, a much greater sense that this is an epic journey through prose rather than great sweeps of the New Zealand landscape.


__________
AJGraeme
"Why are there ghosts in the kitchen punching each other in the balls?" - Aidan, "Being Human"
"Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried."
- G.K. Chesterton

My moderator voice is red.
 
Posts: 48708 | Location: Concord, NH, USA | Registered: July 20, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
stole the last root beer
Member
Picture of Mischief the Polarbear
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by mishka:
He even went back and rewrote the Gollum scene from The Hobbit once WWII started, so he could make LOTR a more political work. (Gollum was originally supposed to be a more comical character.)


no way!

he re-wrote that part of the story, because when he first wrote the hobbit he didn't know the nature of the ring, and had gollum giving up the ring.

Once he realised how twisted Gollum was, and how powerful the ring was, he realised he had to change it...


~~~~~~~~~~~~
(terms and conditions apply)
 
Posts: 8804 | Location: where do you think, you idiot? | Registered: April 08, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
stole the last root beer
Member
Picture of Mischief the Polarbear
posted Hide Post
the characters may be cardboard cut outs... at least many of the primary ones are. Legolas/Gimli/Aragorn etc. But Denethor, Boromir, Theoden, Gollum... i think its conception of evil and its effects are by no means simple.

His attitude to nature isn't just nature=good.
the nature of the rings themselves, the effect the rings have on characters, the corruption of knowledge and realpolitik.

the base is simple. the rest isn't


~~~~~~~~~~~~
(terms and conditions apply)
 
Posts: 8804 | Location: where do you think, you idiot? | Registered: April 08, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
I have read all your comments and there are some things that I agree on.. but on a whole there are more that I disagree with.. for one thing there are women in Tolkiens work.. not just in LOTR.. but also the Silmarillion. which is very much a part of the whole of the story of Middle earth.. in LOTR there are Goldberry.. and Arwen, Galadrial.. and Eowyn.. with the exception of Arwen and Goldberry the others are not weak.. Arwen does not plan much of a part in the story.. she is part of the first book then she shows up in the last book to marry Aragorn. but she loves him.. and gives up her immortality for him..

Galadrial. she is strong.. coming with the Noldor during the rebellion.. and then staying in Middle earth even when she is finally given a chance to sail back home to Valinor.. she weilds one of the great Elven rings.. and in the end she choses to not take the ring from Frodo which is a very interesting thing..

Eowyn has been trained as a shield maiden.. and when Theoden leaves he leaves her in charge of his Kingdom.. that she chose to follow him into battle and in the end she along with Meriadoc is the one to defeat the witch King.

in the SIlmarillion there are more women that are important to the story.. Melian.. Luthien.. who faces Morgoth to help the MAN that she loved.. Morwen.. Idril.. etc etc.. there are many women in these books..

we make too much of a point of the sexist thing.. Tolkien was not trying to be sexist.. he was writing a story.. his lifes work.. and it is true that the story was a backdrop for his languages..

but.. and to my mind this is important.. Tolkien was not writing these stories necessarily for the public.. though they became very popular.. he wrote them.. as he said.."If they will not write the stories that we want to read.. then we shall write them for ourselves.. "

he did not put 3.4 women in his stories.. or 5.4 black people.. nor did he write the stories to make a political statement.. he also said he did not write them as a response to the things that were happening in WWII.. they are not for instance allagories..

they are just good stories.. and though I am sure that there are as I have read many that do not like Tolkien.. there are many that do.. which is why it was voted to be one of the most popular books of the 20th century.. next to the bible .. which by the way does not have many women in it as main character either..

I am a woman.. and sometimes I think we make too much of the lack of women in a story.. or of other races.. it is a story about a world that is very much like Europe.. but as I said before he was writing something that he wanted to write. that it became popular.. was just incidental.
 
Posts: 3 | Location: a place like middle earth | Registered: July 21, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
stole the last root beer
Member
Picture of Mischief the Polarbear
posted Hide Post
welcome Finafyr...

the arguements for Tolkien being sexist isn't that women don't figure, more about their role within the story.

Also, if we look outside the Lotr, his incredibly influential essay on Beowulf is nominally about the monsters, but while it addresses Grendel and the Dragon, it fails to deal with Grendel's mother at all.

women needn't be weak in the story for him to be sexist, merely to be confined to their place.

lets not forget that many sexists idealise women. the whole ethos behind LotR is very much an anglo-saxon ideal, fighting against hopeless causes, doing the right thing regardless of real-politik.

In that area, the role of the woman is as cup bearer, both literal and figurative.

The penalties to those that break this role is clear. Eowyn, in her urge to fight, is almost certainly doomed until redeemed by first Eomer then Faramir. Galadriel is powerful, but not a fighter. women that actually fight are very rare in Tolkien. they lie in different ways.

That said, i am mainly laying out the arguements for Tolkien being sexist, i don't subscribe to this theory myself.


~~~~~~~~~~~~
(terms and conditions apply)
 
Posts: 8804 | Location: where do you think, you idiot? | Registered: April 08, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freebird YAHR!
Member
Picture of Polop
posted Hide Post
I consider the women in the story (or stories) strong, just since most of it takes places in war we are not able to see them that much as the male characters,in a way they are like behind the scenes characters (and without them the book wouldnt work) but anyway it doesnt matter since its written so good I really enjoy every time I re-read it...


Some are born for endless flight, some are born for endless night
 
Posts: 1277 | Location: In the heart of Europe | Registered: March 08, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
Why don't the Harad and Rhun join the battle?
The fight against Sauron is primarily the fight of the Elves and the descendents of the Edain. Even Rohan is coming to the aid of Gondor as a political ally. Harad and Rhun don't have political ties with the protagonists.
Women in LOTR: Galadriel is the greatest (only?) living elf in Middle Earth to have seen the Two Trees and is an important leader of her people.
J.R.R. Tolkien envisaged LOTR as a mythology for England, and quite frankly, that makes me want to be English.


(Which was very likely true.)
 
Posts: 24 | Location: Brisbane, Australia | Registered: May 01, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Blackairow
posted Hide Post
Majority of the arguing on this thred is based on indivual interitations of this story.

posted by zoneseek (Yes, there ARE rules on world-building and storytelling. Not rules as such, not laws. But there's a narrative contract, if you will. Certain things are not allowed, and if you break these rules, you weaken the story and possibly piss off the reader.)

no writer says to themseves "iam going to write a story that will please everyone so they will enjoy it." no a writer is going to say " I am going to write my story b/c i enjoy it." writers make there own rules b/c if every writer fallowed pre set rules every story would be the same.this is what would weaken a storey. what decides a storys fate is not by how many rules it fallows, but by how the reader is able to relate to the material and how it spaks the imagination. if someone is so anal retentive that the small thing bother them then they should find anuther book more to their liking.


Harry: Yeah I called her up, she gave me a bunch of crap about me not listening to her, or something, I don't know, I wasn't really paying attention.
-Dumb And Dumber
 
Posts: 15 | Registered: July 23, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
half the man he used to be
Member
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Ethereal:
Why don't the Harad and Rhun join the battle?
The fight against Sauron is primarily the fight of the Elves and the descendents of the Edain. Even Rohan is coming to the aid of Gondor as a political ally. Harad and Rhun don't have political ties with the protagonists.
Women in LOTR: Galadriel is the greatest (only?) living elf in Middle Earth to have seen the Two Trees and is an important leader of her people.
J.R.R. Tolkien envisaged LOTR as a mythology for England, and quite frankly, that makes me want to be English.


i'm responding to a 6 year old post, i must be bored!

i don't recall the people of rhun figuring in the story prominently but the haradrim did appear to fight for mordor. the implication in the story was that they were somehow inferior humans (along with the hill people of Rohan) to the people of Rohan and Gondor and thus predisposed to evil.

i definitely get a very "empire" kind of vibe off of LotR, not nasty overt racism so much as smug implied racism.

that being said, i LOVE the books very much, ever since i was a kid. it's just hard when you realize that what you loved as a kid in some ways represented a skewed and out-dated view of the world. i can still read the LotR, which is more than i can say about the chronicles of narnia with the calormenes as thinly veiled arabs
 
Posts: 411 | Registered: May 11, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of ZoneSeek
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Blackairow:
them then they should find anuther book more to their liking.


I'll agree with that part. LotR's impact is of course undeniable. That said, I haven't read the books in like 20 years. Though I can still hold my own with the fanboys on LotR trivia. These days I mostly stay with sf, but for fantasy I'll go with George R. R. Martin, China Mieville, Terry Pratchett, Gaiman.
 
Posts: 2627 | Location: Manila | Registered: October 15, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
quote:

"Tolkien is the wen on the arse of fantasy literature."
-China Mieville

Funny how young turks like Mieville and Michael Moorcock feel the need to piss on Tolkien - actually I think Moorcock's still doing it now he's become an old fart. Moorcock's hardly read nowadays and I suspect the same fate awaits China Mieville.
 
Posts: 120 | Registered: January 12, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of ZoneSeek
posted Hide Post
Twenty years isn't that long, I'm fairly confident that Mieville will still be read in 2 decades. Moorcock's Elric stories started almost 50 years ago and are still relevant now. And for the original Tolkein antipode, way before Moorcock there was Mervyn Peake.
 
Posts: 2627 | Location: Manila | Registered: October 15, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Administrator/Colporteur
Member
Picture of Dweller in Darkness
posted Hide Post
I don't think you can even meaningfully imply that Elric is as read as LOTR. I'm not saying that's right, but while Elric is no doubt highly relevant and influential on modern fantasy writing (funny you should mention Mieville in the same breath as he reminds me a lot of Moorcock), Tolkein is influential across a wider audience.


__________
AJGraeme
"Why are there ghosts in the kitchen punching each other in the balls?" - Aidan, "Being Human"
"Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried."
- G.K. Chesterton

My moderator voice is red.
 
Posts: 48708 | Location: Concord, NH, USA | Registered: July 20, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of ZoneSeek
posted Hide Post
Tolkien has wider reach, sure, I was saying "Moorcock's hardly read nowadays" isn't defensible.

Maybe one could argue that LotR is of its time, but stories have Moved On. Now there's the New Gritty wave, like Game of Thrones or R. Scott Bakker's Prince of Nothing series. Orcs, even as a created race, were simply racist, and ripe for subversion. Why *not* orc sorcerors, orc poets, orc philosophers? So people went and made better orcs, and Blizzard made the best version or the race, for me Thrall was the real hero or Warcraft. Warhammer has the worst orks, but even they're still more interesting than the original recipe.

I posted in Other Writers once about the non (or anti) Tolkein path in fantasy: Peake, Moorcock, Mieville, M. John Harrison, Jeff VanderMeer, etc. Pratchett's drifting from the Peake axis towards more Tolkienesque worldbuilding, but I still don't like the idea of maps of Discworld. :\
 
Posts: 2627 | Location: Manila | Registered: October 15, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
  Powered by Social Strata Page 1 2 3  
 


© YourCopy 2001