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Seaside Loafer
Feb 7, 2012

Waiting for a train, I needed a shit. You won't bee-lieve what happened next



Effectronica posted:

Going further along this road, Aragorn mentions taking long journeys below the equator and far into the east in FOTR. It seems quite possible that these were essentially diplomatic missions to various neutral or anti-Sauron groups that would be in place to negotiate quick peace with Gondor once he took the throne.
I dont read it that way. I see it as him being a sort of roaming hero, getting into adventures and learning about the world.

His ancestry during this time was super top secret, no one except the other rangers, the top elves and gandalf knew who he was.

You can add that to the list of cool stuff JRR might have written, adventures of young strider

All we know is he was a big name captain of gondor 60 years ago, and the same in rohan.

Seaside Loafer fucked around with this message at 10:45 on Feb 19, 2013

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Ape Gone Insane
Dec 10, 2010



I think the Bombadil theories that have the most merit are him being an unnamed spirit that came down into Arda or him being a consequence of the discord in the Music between Eru and Melkor/Morgoth. The same going for Ungoliant.

Effectronica posted:

Going further along this road, Aragorn mentions taking long journeys below the equator and far into the east in FOTR. It seems quite possible that these were essentially diplomatic missions to various neutral or anti-Sauron groups that would be in place to negotiate quick peace with Gondor once he took the throne.

How far into the east would you take this to be? I know the point of the Blue Wizards being dispatched was so that they could journey into the East in attempts to aid the war against Sauron too.

On that note, I love that despite all the meticulous detail and world-building, there's the idea of the Blue Wizards journeying off to the east and we have little to none insight into their adventures and what became of them or how differently things would have played out if they had failed in their tasks.

Seaside Loafer
Feb 7, 2012

Waiting for a train, I needed a shit. You won't bee-lieve what happened next



Ape Gone Insane posted:

I think the Bombadil theories that have the most merit are him being an unnamed spirit that came down into Arda or him being a consequence of the discord in the Music between Eru and Melkor/Morgoth. The same going for Ungoliant.
Yes thats the way I take it. He is a spirit that popped down to earth while everyone else was arguing politics.

euphronius
Feb 18, 2009





I understand Bombadil as evidence that the Elves understanding of the gods and creation of the world (as transmitted fictionally through JRRT's works [which are all from the POV of elves {and closely associated men}]) is incomplete (and thus somewhat flawed.)

Relatedly we don't have a good explanation or understanding of Orcs because the Elves didn't care about Orcs. And we don't know about the East and South because the Elves never lived in the South and lived in the East like 8 billion years ago and left.

Seaside Loafer
Feb 7, 2012

Waiting for a train, I needed a shit. You won't bee-lieve what happened next



euphronius posted:

Relatedly we don't have a good explanation or understanding of Orcs because the Elves didn't care about Orcs. And we don't know about the East and South because the Elves never lived in the South and lived in the East like 8 billion years ago and left.
Orcs are explained, they are elves and men captured by morgoth in the early days and corrupted and breeded.

euphronius
Feb 18, 2009





That is a theory at least. Even in the Silmarillion it is presented as probable but not known for sure. It does however fit the Elvish racial supremacy themes of that lore nicely though (i.e., Orcs are a "corrupted" version of Elves)

edit

Let me put it another way: regardless of how Orcs were actually created (in this fictional world) the Silmarillion story of their creation is exactly what you expect the Elves to say about them.

euphronius fucked around with this message at 15:07 on Feb 19, 2013

Seaside Loafer
Feb 7, 2012

Waiting for a train, I needed a shit. You won't bee-lieve what happened next



Its in black and white in early sil. I cant be arsed to punch up the text but its something like 'as the firstborn dwelt beside the lake sometimes some of them would wonder afield and not come back, they were taken by servants of morgoth', something like that.

euphronius
Feb 18, 2009





I don't think it is black and white in Silmarillion. Even if it were, you would be taking a fundamentalist and literalistic approach to the Silmarillion which I don't think I would do. In my opinion the (fictional) veracity of the collected stories in that book varies.

Edit

Here is the passage

quote:

But of those unhappy ones who were ensnared by Melkor little is
known of a certainty. For who of the living has descended into the pits of
Utumno, or has explored the darkness of the counsels of Melkor? Yet this
is held true by the wise of Eressëa,
that all those of the Quendi who came
into the hands of Melkor, ere Utumno was broken, were put there in
prison, and by slow arts of cruelty were corrupted and enslaved; and thus
did Melkor breed the hideous race of the Orcs in envy and mockery of the
Elves, of whom they were afterwards the bitterest foes. For the Orcs had
life and multiplied after the manner of the Children of Ilúvatar; and naught
that had life of its own, nor the semblance of life, could ever Melkor make
since his rebellion in the Ainulindalë before the Beginning: so say the
wise. And deep in their dark hearts the Orcs loathed the Master whom
they served in fear, the maker only of their misery. This it may be was the
vilest deed of Melkor, and the most hateful to Ilúvatar.

The bolding is mine to highlight the dodgy language used. This origin story is only a theory of the Elves within their own collection of histories. In other words, it is a theory to the Elves in the fictional world.

This is not even getting into the issues the JRRT was redoing the origins of the Orcs when he passed.

euphronius fucked around with this message at 15:24 on Feb 19, 2013

Levitate
Sep 30, 2005

HEY LITTLE SIDNEY WANT TO SEE MY CANNOLI?


euphronius posted:

I read it as Gandalf talking him into it.

Wasn't this more of a movie thing? At least in the LotR, he didn't have to be convinced to claim his birthright, and I feel like he was raised with knowledge of who he was and knew all along what he would do, but in the movies they made him into the reluctant king type.

As for Orcs and the reliability of the Silmarillion's history, I guess it depends on if you're reading it as a history written by the Elves or written by an omniscient author. I'm not sure how Tolkien intended it to be, I've always read it as a definite history and not just a collection of stories that may or may not be true. Whatever floats your boat I guess

euphronius
Feb 18, 2009





Even if you take it as written by an omniscient author, the text indicates clearly that the origin of Orcs is not known for certain (by the Elves. The Orcs may know).


VVVV a decent summary from wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orc_%2...osed_by_Tolkien

Seaside Loafer
Feb 7, 2012

Waiting for a train, I needed a shit. You won't bee-lieve what happened next



euphronius posted:

This is not even getting into the issues the JRRT was redoing the origins of the Orcs when he passed.
Do expand if you have time.

rypakal
Oct 31, 2012

He also cooks the food of his people


Seaside Loafer posted:

Do expand if you have time.

In the Book of Lost Tales days, orcs were corrupted men. Then in the rewrites before The Hobbit they became corrupted Elves, and remained that through the Lord of the Rings. But late in his life, Tolkien wished to correct several spiritual issues with his legendarium. One of those was the fact that Orcs were technically Children of Iluvatar but seemed wholly evil, without the possibility of choosing to be good.

Ape Gone Insane
Dec 10, 2010



Has anybody read The Last Ringbearer?

quote:

An alternative retelling of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, as told from the point of view of Sauron's forces, based on the proverb: "History is written by the victors." Critics have called The Last Ringbearer "a well-written, energetic adventure yarn that offers an intriguing gloss on what some critics have described as the overly simplistic morality of Tolkien's masterpiece."

Infringement issues aside, it sounds interesting.

Salon article on the book: http://www.salon.com/2011/02/15/last_ringbearer/

cultureulterior
Jan 27, 2004


Ape Gone Insane posted:

Has anybody read The Last Ringbearer?

Infringement issues aside, it sounds interesting.
I have. It is- wierd. The most compelling subplot I would say is that of Aragorn. It's a pity it changes so much of canon.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



cultureulterior posted:

I have. It is- wierd. The most compelling subplot I would say is that of Aragorn. It's a pity it changes so much of canon.
Reading this summary, what I want to know is how he justified or explains Sauron creating the Ring, then. Or for that matter how the wonderful and scientific and rationalistic and all those other good things empire deals with being led by an entity from outside of the world who was, specifically, present at the creation of the world by God, although I expect they just never come up. I also wonder if he noticed that the Elves ditched early in the Fourth Age (other than the ones who never got their asses over the mountains). To be fair most of that poo poo is in the Silmarillion - except the last part.

I wonder how Tolkien reads in Russian, really. I know he had trouble with being translated, due to his stuff being so English-y. e: I was just thinking 'maybe he was working from the movies' but he couldn't have, this came out in '99.

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

Nessus posted:

Reading this summary, what I want to know is how he justified or explains Sauron creating the Ring, then. Or for that matter how the wonderful and scientific and rationalistic and all those other good things empire deals with being led by an entity from outside of the world who was, specifically, present at the creation of the world by God, although I expect they just never come up. I also wonder if he noticed that the Elves ditched early in the Fourth Age (other than the ones who never got their asses over the mountains). To be fair most of that poo poo is in the Silmarillion - except the last part.

I wonder how Tolkien reads in Russian, really. I know he had trouble with being translated, due to his stuff being so English-y. e: I was just thinking 'maybe he was working from the movies' but he couldn't have, this came out in '99.

And, let's be fair, even in the most favorable possible reading, Tolkien is bourgeois as gently caress. You can mount a fairly valid reading of Bilbo Baggins as an idealized avatar of western class privilege. I can totally understand why a non-western, non-capitalist, non-english-speaking author might have a fairly radical reaction to the Lord of the Rings.

Don't get me wrong here -- I had several episodes over the holidays where people asked me innocent questions like "what did you think of the new Hobbit movie?" and half an hour later I realize I've just given a roomful of people an extended presentation on Rhadagast, the Two Blue Wizards, exactly how Aragorn and Elrond are related, and the surprisingly weak validity of Aragorn's claim on the throne of Gondor. But.

Hieronymous Alloy fucked around with this message at 15:25 on Feb 20, 2013

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



Hieronymous Alloy posted:

And, let's be fair, even in the most favorable possible reading, Tolkien is bourgeois as gently caress. You can mount a fairly valid reading of Bilbo Baggins as an idealized avatar of western class privilege. I can totally understand why a non-western, non-capitalist, non-english-speaking author might have a fairly radical reaction to the Lord of the Rings.

Don't get me wrong here -- I had several episodes over the holidays where people asked me innocent questions like "what did you think of the new Hobbit movie?" and half an hour later I realize I've just given a roomful of people an extended presentation on Rhadagast, the Two Blue Wizards, exactly how Aragorn and Elrond are related, and the surprisingly weak validity of Aragorn's claim on the throne of Gondor. But.
Sure, he certainly seemed to be fond of an idealized English society (if not completely blindly). But I think his work takes on a different tone, even without reading all his letters and poo poo, when you find out he was a WWI vet.

rypakal
Oct 31, 2012

He also cooks the food of his people


Nessus posted:

Sure, he certainly seemed to be fond of an idealized English society (if not completely blindly). But I think his work takes on a different tone, even without reading all his letters and poo poo, when you find out he was a WWI vet.

He also pokes no small amount of fun at Bilbo's idealized English upper-class self. And a bit at Frodo. Sam is, I think, where Tolkien's true heart lay.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



rypakal posted:

He also pokes no small amount of fun at Bilbo's idealized English upper-class self. And a bit at Frodo. Sam is, I think, where Tolkien's true heart lay.
Sam is certainly the real hero, but Sam also plods along looking stupid for large sections of the book (even if he also kills an orc without even a magic sword, yet), calls Frodo 'Master,' and the way in which he shrugs off the allure of the Ring has definite airs of 'Well shucky darn I know my place in the world and it sure ain't as a king.' I do think the archetype of Sam is strongly rooted in the turn of the century British/English society of Tolkien's day and was, in that context, understood and certainly lacked the coercive elements that - say - American slavery had.

But! Nonetheless, to a casual glance it's some durpy hobbit calling the upper class/upper middle class hobbit 'master' and spending most of the time doing all the poo poo-work. While I think even by the text alone it is clear that Sam is not Frodo's slave, he is certainly Frodo's servant, and is content with his role and loves his master. This is an idea that might well have very different freight in a social context where that reads 'lackey' or 'Stephen the house slave' more than 'oh he's Frodo's butler.'

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

Nessus posted:

Sam is certainly the real hero, but Sam also plods along looking stupid for large sections of the book (even if he also kills an orc without even a magic sword, yet), calls Frodo 'Master,' and the way in which he shrugs off the allure of the Ring has definite airs of 'Well shucky darn I know my place in the world and it sure ain't as a king.' I do think the archetype of Sam is strongly rooted in the turn of the century British/English society of Tolkien's day and was, in that context, understood and certainly lacked the coercive elements that - say - American slavery had.

But! Nonetheless, to a casual glance it's some durpy hobbit calling the upper class/upper middle class hobbit 'master' and spending most of the time doing all the poo poo-work. While I think even by the text alone it is clear that Sam is not Frodo's slave, he is certainly Frodo's servant, and is content with his role and loves his master. This is an idea that might well have very different freight in a social context where that reads 'lackey' or 'Stephen the house slave' more than 'oh he's Frodo's butler.'


I think this is a really good way of framing the discussion, yeah. At the same time and in the same nation where Tolkien was writing The Lord of the Rings, P.G. Wodehouse was achieving wild financial success with the Jeeves and Wooster stories, which basically portray the British upper class as total nincompoop incompetents utterly reliant on their "masterful" servants.

The discussion of social class and Tolkien can get really interesting in a lot of different ways. Like the race issue, there's a surface reading that's can be taken as deeply offensive if you look at it from the wrong angle, but there are opportunities for much more nuance. Unlike the race issue, though, you don't have to just go "welp, Tolkien knew Orcs=Evil was bad and he was working on fixing it, also, Sam has sympathy for a Southron once" -- Tolkien writes a lot about class, clearly has an idealized vision of class relationships of mutual support, clearly had his opinions of class interaction shaped deeply by his trench experiences; at the end, Sam inherit Bag End, after all. It's all right there in the text, without resorting to authorial-intent arguments or esoteric letters.

edit: I'm not endorsing the "tolkien was a racist" or whatever -- I just think that line of argument is boring. Yes, there are racist elements in the text, yes, Tolkien tried to fix and limit them, the argument is over whether he failed or succeeded. The class issues are more complex, subtler, more interleaved throughout the text (from "Proudfeet" on), and I think more a matter of Tolkien's subconscious than conscious mind. With race, Tolkien was consciously putting in passages like Sam's sympathy for the Southron because he knew someone would call him a racist if he didn't; with class, Bilbo just mouths off one-liners like "Of course he does, he's a Baggins!" and the text rolls right on without a thought. There's just so much there!

Hieronymous Alloy fucked around with this message at 03:49 on Feb 21, 2013

Seaside Loafer
Feb 7, 2012

Waiting for a train, I needed a shit. You won't bee-lieve what happened next



Just a product of his time I guess.

There are masters and servants and the south men, often described as 'swarthy' are the bad men.

Doubt there was any intent there thats just the way the middle class worldview was in England in JRR's time.

Seaside Loafer fucked around with this message at 03:51 on Feb 21, 2013

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



Hieronymous Alloy posted:

I think this is a really good way of framing the discussion, yeah. At the same time and in the same nation where Tolkien was writing The Lord of the Rings, P.G. Wodehouse was achieving wild financial success with the Jeeves and Wooster stories, which basically portray the British upper class as total nincompoop incompetents utterly reliant on their "masterful" servants.

The discussion of social class and Tolkien can get really interesting in a lot of different ways. Like the race issue, there's a surface reading that's can be taken as deeply offensive if you look at it from the wrong angle, but there are opportunities for much more nuance. Unlike the race issue, though, you don't have to just go "welp, Tolkien knew Orcs=Evil was bad and he was working on fixing it, also, Sam has sympathy for a Southron once" -- Tolkien writes a lot about class, clearly has an idealized vision of class relationships of mutual support, clearly had his opinions of class interaction shaped deeply by his trench experiences; at the end, Sam inherit Bag End, after all. It's all right there in the text, without resorting to authorial-intent arguments or esoteric letters.

edit: I'm not endorsing the "tolkien was a racist" or whatever -- I just think that line of argument is boring. Yes, there are racist elements in the text, yes, Tolkien tried to fix and limit them, the argument is over whether he failed or succeeded. The class issues are more complex, subtler, more interleaved throughout the text (from "Proudfeet" on), and I think more a matter of Tolkien's subconscious than conscious mind. With race, Tolkien was consciously putting in passages like Sam's sympathy for the Southron because he knew someone would call him a racist if he didn't; with class, Bilbo just mouths off one-liners like "Of course he does, he's a Baggins!" and the text rolls right on without a thought. There's just so much there!
What is of some note is that Sam is the only 'common' hobbit. The Bagginses seem mostly remarkable because of Bilbo, and even then it's clear they're related to the Tooks, who are the badass boss hobbits, so it's just that Frodo comes to it by his mother, who seems to have been noteworthy enough for Gandalf to notice. Merry and Pippin by contrast were definitely in the hobbit aristocracy, even if that aristocracy mostly meant that their house was bigger and they probably stood more rounds of beer than had stood for them.

Notice also how whenever they're rolling around in Gondor the locals all assume that Merry and Pippin must be lords in their country - and while Tolkien credits this to their speech not having the polite forms, it is also literally the case. Pippin is a Took and seems to be on close terms with the head Took, and I think Merry was in a similar position with the Brandybuck people. Had they never left the Shire they would have been pretty high on the totem pole, and their actions stack up pretty well to everyone else's; the two of them arguably defeated Saruman, and Merry (along with Eowyn of course) killed the witch-king.

Frodo by contrast doesn't seem to do much other than "keep going."

Even looking in other societies he presents, the text seems to imply that divisiveness is usually due to the Plot of the Bad Guys. This seems to be at least somewhat the case, although it does seem to be sort of back-handedly acknowledged that the Dunlendings had claim to the lands the Rohirrim were living on. However, the monarchical trappings seem to work largely because there actually is virtue involved; Aragorn may be the distant heir of Isildur but he didn't seem to lust after the kingship, and I remember dimly that in the Two Towers he says he had honestly been planning to guide Frodo into Mordor.

Nessus fucked around with this message at 04:05 on Feb 21, 2013

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

Seaside Loafer posted:

Just a product of his time I guess.

There are masters and servants and the south men, often described as 'swarthy' are the bad men.

Doubt there was any intent there thats just the way the middle class worldview was in England in JRR's time.

Yeah, I'm not trying to ding Tolkien for this stuff. I think it's pretty clear that he was trying to wrestle with class on a fairly deep level, or there wouldn't be so much about class in the text; Sam wouldn't be the ultimate hero of the book & move into Bag End at the end if Tolkien hadn't had some fairly long thoughts about what an idealized British class structure would look like.

Nessus posted:

What is of some note is that Sam is the only 'common' hobbit. The Bagginses seem mostly remarkable because of Bilbo, and even then it's clear they're related to the Tooks, who are the badass boss hobbits, so it's just that Frodo comes to it by his mother, who seems to have been noteworthy enough for Gandalf to notice. Merry and Pippin by contrast were definitely in the hobbit aristocracy, even if that aristocracy mostly meant that their house was bigger and they probably stood more rounds of beer than had stood for them.

Notice also how whenever they're rolling around in Gondor the locals all assume that Merry and Pippin must be lords in their country - and while Tolkien credits this to their speech not having the polite forms, it is also literally the case. Pippin is a Took and seems to be on close terms with the head Took, and I think Merry was in a similar position with the Brandybuck people. Had they never left the Shire they would have been pretty high on the totem pole, and their actions stack up pretty well to everyone else's; the two of them arguably defeated Saruman, and Merry (along with Eowyn of course) killed the witch-king.

Frodo by contrast doesn't seem to do much other than "keep going."


Yeah, that's a good catch; now that you mention it, but Merry and Pippin are "princelings" of the Hobbits. Bilbo's basically the top of the middle class; it's never really clear where his initial family money actually comes from, before the Smaug gold, but it's clear that Bag End is the nicest, best, most finely-appointed, best-located hobbit hole in all of Hobbiton, and Hobbiton is the most economically developed town in the Shire. He's the hobbit equivalent of a Vanderbilt descendant.

Hieronymous Alloy fucked around with this message at 04:05 on Feb 21, 2013

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



Hieronymous Alloy posted:

Yeah, that's a good catch; now that you mention it, but Merry and Pippin are "princelings" of the Hobbits. Bilbo's basically the top of the middle class; it's never really clear where his initial family money actually comes from, before the Smaug gold, but it's clear that Bag End is the nicest, best, most finely-appointed, best-located hobbit hole in all of Hobbiton, and Hobbiton is the most economically developed town in the Shire. He's the hobbit equivalent of a Vanderbilt descendant.
I suppose the message that comes out of all of this is that wanting or seeking out power over others, in general, is a Bad Thing; however, power over others is a thing that either is necessary or will just come about anyway. Perhaps a sort of theory that there is going to be a natural class structure but hopefully and ideally, what will happen is that the good drift into the Bag Ends and Mayorships, while the bad drift down to live in a cottage with their relatives elsewhere.

Similarly, Aragorn and Boromir are broadly similar, but Boromir has a lot of bluff, hearty and pragmatic traits which leads to him trying to mug a hobbit and paying for it by having to fight a few dozen orcs on his own. Aragorn could have done what Boromir did, and would probably have been more successful at it, too -- but he didn't, because he's not an rear end in a top hat.

Bongo Bill
Jan 17, 2012

From my point of view, the Jedi are evil. But what really is... evil?

The governance of the Shire is also relevant to this topic, I think. The Shire is ruled by two divided authorities - the Mayor, who's an elected position, and the Thain, a hereditary office originally appointed by and at one time serving the King of Arnor. I think the Thain has always been a Took; after his return from abroad, Pippin becomes the Thain. Sam, meanwhile, is elected Mayor five or six times in a row on account of his heroism. (It is noteworthy that Aragorn, as king, declares the Shire perpetually off-limits to Big People, but the position of Thain continues to exist.)

One could certainly find details in this state of affairs relevant to the question of the origins of class in Middle-Earth. The sequence seems to be: somebody Is Awesome -> they Do Something Great and are recognized for it -> the proof of their greatness is rewarded with power, wealth, and social advancement -> power is inherited. It all is implied to come from some transitive quality of virtue, courage, and competence, but it happens on small scales and large. The Edain assist the Elves in the war against Morgoth, proving their valor, and they're rewarded with Numenor, which is the height of power in all the world. Earendil and Elwing sailed across the Sea to end the war, and they and their sons were rewarded with the chance to choose their fate; among their descendants were the kings of Numenor and the Dunedain, on down to Aragorn. This was granted by the Valar, so that means Aragorn literally rules by divine right; he inherited Elros' longevity, which was given to him as a blessing, so arguably that blessing was inherited. The variable longevity of the kings of Numenor and of Gondor in proportion to their observance of kingly virtues can be interpreted as a way to quantify how much Manwe approved of them!

Well, maybe that's a bit much.

sassassin
Apr 3, 2010
Bench press was, is and will never be a great chest builder.

Hieronymous Alloy posted:

Yeah, that's a good catch; now that you mention it, but Merry and Pippin are "princelings" of the Hobbits. Bilbo's basically the top of the middle class; it's never really clear where his initial family money actually comes from

Pretty sure it's mentioned at the start of the Hobbit that Bag-End was build out of the treasure from some previous Took adventure.


Really enjoy those theories on Tom Bombadil. The 'oh he's just an old spirit' interpretations are so boring.

Just wish there were similar theories re: the wizards.

sassassin fucked around with this message at 14:30 on Feb 21, 2013

Levitate
Sep 30, 2005

HEY LITTLE SIDNEY WANT TO SEE MY CANNOLI?


I think it's explicitly spelled out in the Silmarillion what the wizards are, and why they're in middle earth

(They're Maiar who were sent by the Valar to Middle Earth to help protect against Sauron, who was also a Maiar that was corrupted by Morgoth)

Ape Gone Insane
Dec 10, 2010



sassassin posted:

Really enjoy those theories on Tom Bombadil. The 'oh he's just an old spirit' interpretations are so boring.

Have you read this? http://km-515.livejournal.com/1042.html

Seaside Loafer
Feb 7, 2012

Waiting for a train, I needed a shit. You won't bee-lieve what happened next



See I dont think the Maiar who teamed up with Melkor were 'corrupted', they joined his side of thier own free will during the creation songs.

Although one of the most scary bits in unfinished tales is where Sauron has the last king of Numenor under his control and tells him the true god (melkor) is locked in the night and all we have to do is let him out everything will be gravy!

Levitate
Sep 30, 2005

HEY LITTLE SIDNEY WANT TO SEE MY CANNOLI?


I think Sauron didn't join up during the song of creation though, he was one of the Valar's crew (the smith, can't remember his name. edit: Aulë) before turning spy for Morgoth

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



Seaside Loafer posted:

See I dont think the Maiar who teamed up with Melkor were 'corrupted', they joined his side of thier own free will during the creation songs.

Although one of the most scary bits in unfinished tales is where Sauron has the last king of Numenor under his control and tells him the true god (melkor) is locked in the night and all we have to do is let him out everything will be gravy!
I've been reading the Silmarillion lately so what I recall in my half-dazed, elf-sodden mind is:

A bunch of Maiar went with Melkor at first because he was pretty cool and had sick bass in his car. After the Valar kicked Melkor's teeth in the first time, a lot of these guys rejoined the Valar, no harm no foul, and lived on as normal.

Many of them did not, and many of them took physical form. The way it seems to work is that a Maia (the Valar are really just the biggest of the Maia) can take physical form but if he gets too hosed up or killed or does certain tricks, he locks himself in - there's definitely a recurring theme that there are some things you can only do once, and which can't be undone or redone. Different Maia also vary in strength. So when Joe Maia becomes a Balrog he may eventually be unable to STOP being a Balrog, even if he's still a badass Balrog. It's not a decision he can take back.

This system continues throughout most of the Silmarillion stuff.

Sauron starts out as a Maia and a very powerful one, and rolls around turning into werewolves and poo poo. It is noted when he gets into a dog fight with Huan that he bails out rather than get killed hard enough to become a sort of unpleasant shadow, which appears to be what happens when a Maia is for-real killed. He wanders off to sulk after Melkor gets owned, but retains his ability to alter his form freely. Somewhere around here he makes the Ring. After the Numenorians run off his Orcs and sundry other dudes, he goes to Numenor and (to his great surprise) is nearly caught up in the downfall of the island. He manages to get away but is 'hurt' sufficiently that he can no longer assume pleasant forms.

The only thing that seems to really break this rule is Gandalf. However, Gandalf 'incarnated' for a specific assigned mission and this may not operate the same way as it would if he had, say, decided to become an old hobbit-fancier on his own account. He didn't come back, he was SENT back, and it also sounded more like he died of exhaustion rather than being ripped into wizard chunks; perhaps this is a factor, who can say. He also was perhaps thinking of others and doing something good for the world by dealing with the Balrog, while (say) Saruman seems to have largely hosed up in the course of becoming Sauron Junior, and after Gandalf tells him to go gently caress himself, he deliberately continues his campaign of being an rear end in a top hat to people.

The moral of this story is that if you're a Maia, don't be an rear end in a top hat, or you're going to end your exciting career of seeing the world made and coming into everything in it by getting stabbed by some dude in Hobbiton.

Here's a question: was Smaug a Maia? On the one hand it seems dimly implied that dragons did reproduce and were living things, if horrible ones; on the other hand, Melkor 'made' them and most of his 'made' supermonsters seemed to be Maia in death-metal forms, not actual 'created' animals, with the exception of the orcs.

Seaside Loafer
Feb 7, 2012

Waiting for a train, I needed a shit. You won't bee-lieve what happened next



Nessus posted:

Here's a question: was Smaug a Maia? On the one hand it seems dimly implied that dragons did reproduce and were living things, if horrible ones; on the other hand, Melkor 'made' them and most of his 'made' supermonsters seemed to be Maia in death-metal forms, not actual 'created' animals, with the exception of the orcs.
Id go with Glaurung being a maia so subsequently all descendants, including smaug are semi-demi-gods, bred in Utumno.

sassassin
Apr 3, 2010
Bench press was, is and will never be a great chest builder.


That's the article I was talking about.


Personally I found Gandalf and co. more interesting when I didn't know they were supposed to be demi-gods sent to do specifically what Gandalf ended up doing.

'He was a Maia' is the answer to every mystery regarding Gandalf, and it's all rather disappointing.

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

sassassin posted:

Pretty sure it's mentioned at the start of the Hobbit that Bag-End was build out of the treasure from some previous Took adventure.

I went and checked.

quote:

The exact date that Bag End came into existence is unknown, but we do know that it was excavated by Bilbo Baggins' father Bungo, after he had married Belladonna Took: 'Bungo, that was Bilbo's father, built the most luxurious hobbit-hole for her (and partly with her money)...'. The latest possible date for the building of Bag End is III 2926, the year of Bungo's death, but the context of the text quoted here seems to suggest that Bungo built it rather earlier than this.

So the money for Bag End came from Belladonna Took. She was the eldest daughter of Gerontius, "The Old Took," shire-thain and great-nephew of "Bullroarer" Took.

So basically yeah it's inherited wealth/nobility all the way down. Bilbo is distaff-side nobility, basically.

I feel like it's vaguely implied somewhere that the owner of Bag End also owned (rented out as landlord?) the homes of Bagshot Row, but I can't really pin that down.

SHISHKABOB
Nov 30, 2012

I am gently caressed by my SAnta


Fun Shoe

Hieronymous Alloy posted:

I went and checked.


So the money for Bag End came from Belladonna Took. She was the eldest daughter of Gerontius, "The Old Took," shire-thain and great-nephew of "Bullroarer" Took.

So basically yeah it's inherited wealth/nobility all the way down. Bilbo is distaff-side nobility, basically.

I feel like it's vaguely implied somewhere that the owner of Bag End also owned (rented out as landlord?) the homes of Bagshot Row, but I can't really pin that down.

Sam and the Gaffer definitely live on Bagshot Row, so that sounds likely.

Unless they definitely don't and I'm totally misremembering.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



sassassin posted:

That's the article I was talking about.


Personally I found Gandalf and co. more interesting when I didn't know they were supposed to be demi-gods sent to do specifically what Gandalf ended up doing.

'He was a Maia' is the answer to every mystery regarding Gandalf, and it's all rather disappointing.
I dunno, Maiar are still people and characters. I can agree it takes away the mystery, of course. Hell, looking at the books you can get an idea of how Gandalf would have failed; it would have been more like Radagast, and he would have made many wonderful fireworks shows, and doubtless been a great friend of the Shire, and... welp.

Hogge Wild
Aug 21, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


Pillbug

Nessus posted:

Sam is certainly the real hero, but Sam also plods along looking stupid for large sections of the book (even if he also kills an orc without even a magic sword, yet), calls Frodo 'Master,' and the way in which he shrugs off the allure of the Ring has definite airs of 'Well shucky darn I know my place in the world and it sure ain't as a king.' I do think the archetype of Sam is strongly rooted in the turn of the century British/English society of Tolkien's day and was, in that context, understood and certainly lacked the coercive elements that - say - American slavery had.

But! Nonetheless, to a casual glance it's some durpy hobbit calling the upper class/upper middle class hobbit 'master' and spending most of the time doing all the poo poo-work. While I think even by the text alone it is clear that Sam is not Frodo's slave, he is certainly Frodo's servant, and is content with his role and loves his master. This is an idea that might well have very different freight in a social context where that reads 'lackey' or 'Stephen the house slave' more than 'oh he's Frodo's butler.'

For a long time I couldn't get why a tough guy like Sam fawned over Frodo and took orders from him even after they left the Shire and Sam wasn't Frodo's gardener anymore. Then I read that Tolkien made Samwise act like the batmen did in the Great War. He himself served as a communications officer and had a batman of his own like the rest of the British officers. German World War 1 veteran and author Ernst Jünger compared his batman to a medieval squire. It makes a lot more sense if you think their relationship as an officer and a soldier or as a knight and a squire.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



Hogge Wild posted:

For a long time I couldn't get why a tough guy like Sam fawned over Frodo and took orders from him even after they left the Shire and Sam wasn't Frodo's gardener anymore. Then I read that Tolkien made Samwise act like the batmen did in the Great War. He himself served as a communications officer and had a batman of his own like the rest of the British officers. German World War 1 veteran and author Ernst Jünger compared his batman to a medieval squire. It makes a lot more sense if you think their relationship as an officer and a soldier or as a knight and a squire.
Yeah, this is one of the oddities which I imagine will have to be explained in passing in future annotated editions. Don't the Gondorites (Gondorim? Gondorians?) start straight up calling Sam Frodo's squire in the denoument part of RotK?

Hogge Wild
Aug 21, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


Pillbug

Nessus posted:

Yeah, this is one of the oddities which I imagine will have to be explained in passing in future annotated editions. Don't the Gondorites (Gondorim? Gondorians?) start straight up calling Sam Frodo's squire in the denoument part of RotK?

You have quite a memory:

Lord of the Rings posted:

‘Nay, cousin! they are not boys’, said Ioreth to her kinswoman from Imloth Melui, who stood beside her. ‘Those are Periain, out of the far country of the Halflings, where they are princes of great fame, it is said. I should know, for I had one to tend in the Houses. They are small, but they are valiant. Why, cousin, one of them went with only his esquire into the Black Country and fought with the Dark Lord all by himself, and set fire to his Tower, if you can believe it.
I hope you are using it for something more important than hobbits.

Also, I checked and the term for residents of Gondor is "Men of Gondor".




Here are the rest uses of "esquire" in LotR:

Lord of the Rings posted:

One of these was Ohtar, the esquire of Isildur, who bore the shards of the sword of Elendil;

Lord of the Rings posted:

Eomer and his esquire rode back to the rear.
Merry became Theoden's esquire and there were many instances where he was described as such so I didn't quote them.

Lord of the Rings posted:

Frodo gave way; and Gandalf, as if he were their esquire, knelt and girt the sword-belts about them, and then rising he set circlets of silver upon their heads.

Lord of the Rings posted:

But when, after the Standing Silence, wine was brought there came in two esquires to serve the kings; or so they seemed to be: one was clad in the silver and sable of the Guards of Minas Tirith, and the other in white and green.
It seems that only royalty and people treated as royals had squires. Never noticed it before.






Nessus posted:

I suppose the message that comes out of all of this is that wanting or seeking out power over others, in general, is a Bad Thing; however, power over others is a thing that either is necessary or will just come about anyway. Perhaps a sort of theory that there is going to be a natural class structure but hopefully and ideally, what will happen is that the good drift into the Bag Ends and Mayorships, while the bad drift down to live in a cottage with their relatives elsewhere.

Similarly, Aragorn and Boromir are broadly similar, but Boromir has a lot of bluff, hearty and pragmatic traits which leads to him trying to mug a hobbit and paying for it by having to fight a few dozen orcs on his own. Aragorn could have done what Boromir did, and would probably have been more successful at it, too -- but he didn't, because he's not an rear end in a top hat.
I agree with the first part; lust for power is the Worst Thing and good things happen for Good People in Tolkien's world. Hmm, after I wrote that I started to think that maybe it's not lust for power but Pride? Tolkien was a devout catholic after all, and pride is the most serious of the seven deadly sins. So, people who think that they are better than their station are sinful and should be punished.

I don't agree that the Boromir was an rear end in a top hat. While I like the movies, I think that the movie Boromir may look like a "hobbit mugger", but the Boromir from the books is deeper. One of the best sections of the book is his final scene with Frodo. First he acts quite normally and tries to make Frodo relax and counsels him to trust the power of Men, then he asks to see the Ring with a strange gleam in his eyes. Frodo's heart gets cold and he repeats that the Ring should not be used. This makes Boromir start his Hitleresque monologue:

Lord of the Rings posted:

Boromir got up and walked about impatiently. ‘So you go on’, he cried. ‘Gandalf, Elrond - all these folk have taught you to say so. For themselves they may be right. These elves and half-elves and wizards, they would come to grief perhaps. Yet often I doubt if they are wise and not merely timid. But each to his own kind. True-hearted Men, they will not be corrupted. We of Minas Tirith have been staunch through long years of trial. We do not desire the power of wizard-lords, only strength to defend ourselves, strength in a just cause. And behold! in our need chance brings to light the Ring of Power. It is a gift, I say; a gift to the foes of Mordor. It is mad not to use it, to use the power of the Enemy against him. The fearless, the ruthless, these alone will achieve victory. What could not a warrior do in this hour, a great leader? What could not Aragorn do? Or if he refuses, why not Boromir? The Ring would give me power of Command. How I would drive the hosts of Mordor, and all men would flock to my banner!’

Boromir strode up and down, speaking ever more loudly: Almost he seemed to have forgotten Frodo, while his talk dwelt on walls and weapons, and the mustering of men; and he drew plans for great alliances and glorious victories to be; and he cast down Mordor, and became himself a mighty king, benevolent and wise.
After this he tries to persuade Frodo for a few times more to come to Minas Tirith, and when Frodo continues to refuse him, he tries to take the Ring. Frodo uses the Ring to disappear and Boromir goes full Adolf and starts to run around and rant and rave about cursed halflings and Sauron until he literally falls flat on his face. Only then the Ring loses its control over him and he realizes what he has done.

So he wasn't an rear end in a top hat, he just wasn't strong enough to resist the Ring. Also, the first time we see Boromir, he is described as proud.

Hogge Wild fucked around with this message at 13:55 on Feb 22, 2013

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SHISHKABOB
Nov 30, 2012

I am gently caressed by my SAnta


Fun Shoe

I'm not so sure about pride being the thing that Tolkien is making out to be the "bad thing". I say this because I seem to remember a lot of situations where characters or groups of people are described to be "proud", but I never felt like it was necessarily in a bad way. Like I'm pretty sure that the Men of Gondor are in general described to be a proud people, and maybe also the Rohirrim.

I do think that when people become too sure of their ability to control the corruption of the ring then that would be an example of pride being a bad thing in the books.

That's all just from memory though and I could be misremembering the times when the words "pride" or "proud" were used, and what the contexts were.

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