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quote:
Originally posted by ZoneSeek:
Orcs, even as a created race, were simply racist, and ripe for subversion.

See, I don't get this. Apart from the fact that they're from Mordor and they're evil, what makes orcs racist? Is it that they're naturally corrupt and violent and gross, implying that the author thinks that genetics is destiny?


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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

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Posts: 48708 | Location: Concord, NH, USA | Registered: July 20, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There's a canon Warcraft story that I wanted to get, Of Blood and Honor, sort of an Androcles + Shylock story. Why not honorable orcs? Star Trek did it first by retconning the Klingons, but the Warcraft orcs do it better.

Even granting that orcs have violent tendencies and are esthetically unpleasant, they're still sentient beings with free will, and killing an orc is still murder.
 
Posts: 2627 | Location: Manila | Registered: October 15, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by ZoneSeek:
Maybe one could argue that LotR is of its time, but stories have Moved On.
Well, to an extent, yes, it is a product of it's time. But so is everything, and the point of LotR, unless I'm very much mistaken, is that it is a harking back to a lost age. It springs directly from Tolkien's knowledge of the sagas and Anglo-Saxon mythology. It would be just as appropriate to argue that it was already a thousand years out of date in the 1940s. After all, it's not like the 1940s were a sterile era for writing in general. To criticise LotR for not being modern enough is to misunderstand that it's a conscious calling back to those epics.


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*is currently impressed*
 
Posts: 8147 | Location: London, England | Registered: July 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The "Why no honourable orcs in Tolkein?" is of a kin to "Why no cell phones in Neuromancer?" or, perhaps more accurately "Why no non-evil TLGB people in the Eddas?"

Tolkein was writing a fairy tale, albeit an epic one, and in fairy tales, heritage is destiny. If you are descended from a line of kings, then you are kingly. If you are descended from a race of purehearted people, then you are purehearted. If you are descended from orcs, then you are bloodthirsty, cruel and selfish.

I have no problem with honorable orcs or drow (although if they have two scimitars and a mystical cat, they can go hang) or giants, but that's not what Tolkein's for.


__________
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
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i think this thread is really interesting!

i wish i had something worthwhile to contribute....

*relurks*
 
Posts: 411 | Registered: May 11, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Wigber
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Always Chaotic Evil


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Bah! Humbug!
 
Posts: 1056 | Registered: June 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Curse you for linking to tvtropes! There goes my productive lunch hour . . .


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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
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hahaha seriously!

i just spent my entire afternoon reading about magnificent bastards
 
Posts: 411 | Registered: May 11, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Dweller in Darkness:
Tolkein was writing a fairy tale, albeit an epic one, and in fairy tales, heritage is destiny. If you are descended from a line of kings, then you are kingly. If you are descended from a race of purehearted people, then you are purehearted. If you are descended from orcs, then you are bloodthirsty, cruel and selfish.
But this is where Tolkien, in my opinion, seperates himself from the horrible legions of imitators that did lead to the stulification of fantasy for damn near 40 years. In these imitations, giving the evil character a quirk of some kind or making the heroes a bit 'darker' substituted for any sort of genuine examination of heroism and power.

Yes, Tolkien is over-sentimental, writes cloyingly and so on. But the conception of corruption, power and evil aren't as simplistic as people tend to think. What about the effects of the power of evil on the characters who fall prey to it. Boromir and Denethor are good men brought down by their own virtues twisted. Also, the power of the black riders and the ring on Frodo are very good facsimilies of depression.

That said, the predestination so prevalent in fantasy and the reactionary nature of it does irk me, and is why your mievilles are such a breath of fresh air.


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*is currently impressed*
 
Posts: 8147 | Location: London, England | Registered: July 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Part of the reason I've stopped reading Mieville is that with every single character or situation that comes up, I found myself wondering, "What hidden motive does THIS character have?" or, "How will this scene resolve in a manner that makes it different from the way it's handled typically? And my answers were about 60% right. When the innovative stuff gets as predictable as the traditional, I've just signed off of fantasy for a bit.


__________
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
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quote:
Originally posted by ZoneSeek:
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.

Having been in the same boat I've recently decided to revisit JRR - I loved the books as a boy, my dad read me the whole of LotR out loud and I read it many times back in the day. But I realised that I hadn't actually read the book for so many years, just listened to the BBC 13 hour radio play or seen the films. And I started with the Silmarillion and now I'm into the LotR - I've not got a copy of the Hobbit to hand, otherwise I'd do that to.

And I have to admit, I'm bowled over by just how good Tolkien actually was. I wrote here in this very thread about his shortcomings as a writer, and for the most part I take them back. At some points his style and presentation is, frankly, awesome. I've read a lot of battle scenes and mythic attempts during my time, and I honestly haven't read better. When you add in the absolute surety of theme, the consistent treatment of the world, the nature of good and evil and the recurrent themes I find myself pleased that there is a *reason* why Tolkien casts such a long shadow.

Reading through the thread has been interesting.


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Posts: 8147 | Location: London, England | Registered: July 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I just finished a little known (and little) book by Tolkien, SMITH & WOOTTON MAJOR & FARMER GILES of HAM. The allegories and the puns--he is a master! Layers of an onion--that's what it feels like to me when I read him. He is not trying to preach to me--more like Aesop--to teach by showing me examples. This book does not have the grandiose spectre of LOTR, but perhaps says the same, just in a humbler way.
 
Posts: 1 | Registered: April 29, 2016Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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