The Lord of the Rings

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Belinda
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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Belinda » May 17th, 2012, 4:27 am

Groktruth wrote:
That is, life is the process of steady increase in comprehending Him better and better.
But please remember that Galadriel in her wisdom refused the Ring of Absolute Power. The only person fit to carry it was the common little hobbit. No one person, no one perspective, no one ring should rule them all. Therefore 'He' cannot be comprehended better and better infinatum because there are limits to comprehension. Even for Galadriel!
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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Jklint » May 17th, 2012, 2:13 pm

There comes a time when it's time to know and to know those things that cannot be learned. Is that such a mystery!

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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Belinda » May 18th, 2012, 3:34 am

Smack self! I meant infinitum!
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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Groktruth » May 29th, 2012, 12:05 pm

Belinda wrote:Groktruth wrote:
That is, life is the process of steady increase in comprehending Him better and better.
But please remember that Galadriel in her wisdom refused the Ring of Absolute Power. The only person fit to carry it was the common little hobbit. No one person, no one perspective, no one ring should rule them all. Therefore 'He' cannot be comprehended better and better infinatum because there are limits to comprehension. Even for Galadriel!
I tend to think that wielding a ring of absolute power is what puts limits to comprehension. The more I meditate on "not by power, nor by might, but by My Holy Spirit" the opener my mind seems to get. Watching things get done "in the Spirit" is always surprising, as matters are dealt with in a completely original manner. And out of any control I might have.

But, rings of power are out there, and getting them to the mountain of doom is a dirty job, that someone has to do. I fully accept Tolkien's counsel that a healthy love of simple natural pleasures, hobbit life, gets one through such when they come to you. If Frodo had refused, maybe Gandalf would have been elected, but destroyed when, as even with Frodo, the temptation to grasp the ring for power became too great. The trick is to recognize when one is so drafted. And to trust that one's foundational reluctance and focus on good beer, songs, laughter and gardens, will fortuitously prevail at the end. That one's mind will stay open.

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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by A Poster He or I » May 30th, 2012, 4:21 pm

The trick is to recognize when one is so drafted. And to trust that one's foundational reluctance and focus on good beer, songs, laughter and gardens, will fortuitously prevail at the end. That one's mind will stay open.
I concur. It might be interesting to imagine who the Council of Elrond would have selected to carry the Ring to Mount Doom if Frodo had not volunteered, or had refused if picked. I feel it would eventually become apparent that no one is suitable except a hobbit to carry out the task, mostly because hobbits were the only race not specifically invested in what the Ring represents, coupled by their resilience to outside pressure.

Prior to Frodo volunteering, notice that as the debate ensues in the Council of Elrond, despite Boromir's arguments for giving the Ring to Gondor, the only person that the Council seriously considers giving the Ring to is Bombadil! Why? Because Bombadil demonstrated that he is resilient to the Ring and also that he is not invested in its potential for power, just like a hobbit. Moreover, Bombadil is ultimately rejected due to Gandalf's belief that Bombadil would eventually just lose it or throw it away. It is interesting that nobody suggests the same of Frodo.

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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Belinda » May 31st, 2012, 4:36 am

Moreover, Bombadil is ultimately rejected due to Gandalf's belief that Bombadil would eventually just lose it or throw it away. It is interesting that nobody suggests the same of Frodo.
Could this be because Bombadil is a solitary person who is found in the company of ponies and so on.? Frodo by contrast is a very social and friendly being who would have been reared from infancy in a solid human community and would have responsibility thus bred into his bones.

Feral children have been found, and the one who was reared by monkeys did after rehabilitation retain a special love and understanding for monkeys that was not diminished. Perhaps Tolkien is wrong about the human community being very much more solid than those of other social species.How can we ever know if this is the case? As a Christian Tolkien would have been convinced about the moral superiority of humans, or the moral possibilities anyway.

Anyway, the fact of real life is that it is humans to whom the responsibility falls to destroy the Ring. It is also true that to rear a child to have a responsible attitude to others ( and to God, if you like) is what matters if anyone at all is to be the ring bearer.
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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by A Poster He or I » May 31st, 2012, 11:45 pm

In effect then, it seems as though the choice of who should be Ringbearer was based on a sense of who could be most responsible toward the mission's objective, and that this attribute overrode such considerations as strength in body, prowess in arms, wisdom in mind, or foreknowledge of the road one would take. Ultimately, the choice was right but the inherent risk seems, on the surface, completely unacceptable.

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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Kingkool » June 1st, 2012, 11:26 pm

A Poster He or I wrote:In effect then, it seems as though the choice of who should be Ringbearer was based on a sense of who could be most responsible toward the mission's objective, and that this attribute overrode such considerations as strength in body, prowess in arms, wisdom in mind, or foreknowledge of the road one would take. Ultimately, the choice was right but the inherent risk seems, on the surface, completely unacceptable.
You are right. However to give the ring to anyone but one who was able to destroy the ring would have meant complete failure. The only creature able to let the ring go was a Hobbit (sort of), even if a hobbit wasn't nesscesarily the most physically fit to do it.
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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Belinda » June 2nd, 2012, 4:37 am

A Poster He or I wrote:In effect then, it seems as though the choice of who should be Ringbearer was based on a sense of who could be most responsible toward the mission's objective, and that this attribute overrode such considerations as strength in body, prowess in arms, wisdom in mind, or foreknowledge of the road one would take. Ultimately, the choice was right but the inherent risk seems, on the surface, completely unacceptable.

The hobbit was weak and inefficient like us. But what we can do and what the hobbit did was engage the support of other creatures that were more able in physical strenth, Earthly power and intellectual wisdom, together with Tom Bombadil's natural ponies who carried the hobbits.The hobbits contributed humility.
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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by A Poster He or I » June 2nd, 2012, 11:25 am

...to give the ring to anyone but one who was able to destroy the ring would have meant complete failure. The only creature able to let the ring go was a Hobbit (sort of), even if a hobbit wasn't nesscesarily the most physically fit to do it.
...what we can do and what the hobbit did was engage the support of other creatures that were more able in physical strenth, Earthly power and intellectual wisdom, together with Tom Bombadil's natural ponies who carried the hobbits.The hobbits contributed humility.
So the only one with the power to destroy the ring must employ companions who are unfit to destroy the ring, with nothing but trust to hold those companions to their task. Again, very risky. And indeed, two of those companions--namely, Boromir and Gollum, fail to uphold that trust and try to take the Ring from Frodo.

I find myself considering that Gandalf must have foreseen that Frodo would be alone at the end of his task. Had events at the Great River (where the Fellowship was separated) gone differently, Boromir, Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas might have made it to Mount Doom...and then what would have happened? Would each of them succumb, unable to bear the unmaking of the Ring? Even Frodo himself failed, technically speaking: the Ring ended up being unmade from a combination of Gollum's treachery and Frodo's resistance to Gollum, not resistance to the Ring.

We see core Christian values of humility and trust holding things together while the Ring is a crucible: Each creature of free will who encounters it has their humility and their trust tested, emerging stronger from the ordeal if they hold up (Galadriel) or broken if they cannot (Boromir, Gollum). Frodo's outcome of the test is ambiguous to me. His will left him at the end but only after long subjection as no greater man could have borne, and when the Ring was gone, he felt himself freed, yet he never fully recovered.

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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Belinda » June 2nd, 2012, 4:19 pm

The others are unfit to destroy the Ring because they are mythical characters. They are mythical in the sense that they symbolise simple qualities, while the hobbits are all more or less human and display varieties of human strengths and failings. Gollum was once Smeagol a hobbit , and he was not a well behaved hobbit like Frodo. I think that it is because Smeagol/Gollum is so naughty and human that most people feel an attachment to him, because he is so downright greedy and horrible as we all can be. The final destruction of the Ring is therefore accomplished by the fight between good and evil within the human. The human dies his inevitable death having lost his soul in the process of the journey towards death (Gollum) or lost his health and strength fighting the good fight(Frodo).

Boromir is in a different league from Gollum, because Boromir is the courageous trained fighting man archetype, obviously not suitable as Ring bearer, while Gollum is a failed human being.
Each creature of free will who encounters it has their humility and their trust tested, emerging stronger from the ordeal if they hold up (Galadriel) or broken if they cannot (Boromir, Gollum).
I don't remember this explicit in the text. Is this your interpretation, Poster, or is it in the text? I cannot remember anything of either humility or hubris in Galadriel or Aragorn for instance, I felt that they simply did what was to be expected of them because of what they were, rather like the old Greek gods.

Wouldn't it be lovely if Tolkien could speak to us !
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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by A Poster He or I » June 2nd, 2012, 5:52 pm

The final destruction of the Ring is therefore accomplished by the fight between good and evil within the human. The human dies his inevitable death having lost his soul in the process of the journey towards death (Gollum) or lost his health and strength fighting the good fight(Frodo).
I like this very much, Belinda.
Each creature of free will who encounters it has their humility and their trust tested, emerging stronger from the ordeal if they hold up (Galadriel) or broken if they cannot (Boromir, Gollum).
I don't remember this explicit in the text. Is this your interpretation, Poster, or is it in the text? I cannot remember anything of either humility or hubris in Galadriel or Aragorn for instance, I felt that they simply did what was to be expected of them because of what they were, rather like the old Greek gods.
It's my interpretation after you and Kingkool put the ideas of humility and trust into my head. I think the humility of Aragorn is pervasive thoughout the story. Here's a guy who is the Heir of Numenor himself, a legacy 5000 years old by the time LOTR starts, and he goes about as the weather-worn Strider, his kingdom in the grip of lesser men. He rises to the events so long foretold for him by the Elves only with the greatest reluctance, and the Ring is in his grasp from the moment "Mr. Underhill" and his silly entourage land in the Prancing Pony at Bree out of the pouring rain. Maybe he did do just what was expected of him, but I still feel it was his crucible, if not to claim the Ring, then at least to claim his destiny as King.

Galadriel is a far more powerful being than Aragorn, one of the few surviving High Elves from the Elder Days, who beheld the Light of Aman with her own eyes in Valinor before the Sun and the Moon were created. She secretly holds one of the Three Rings of the Elves. She admits to Frodo as they stand at her mirror-fountain that she covets the One Ring, and yet by her sheer wisdom she refuses it, consigning the Ring to its proper fate though she knows it means the deathblow to all Elvendom in Middle Earth. That's humility to me.
Wouldn't it be lovely if Tolkien could speak to us !
I imagine he'd get a jolly chuckle out of all the fuss over his grand yarn!

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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Belinda » June 3rd, 2012, 5:10 am

A Poster He Or I wrote:
It's my interpretation after you and Kingkool put the ideas of humility and trust into my head. I think the humility of Aragorn is pervasive thoughout the story. Here's a guy who is the Heir of Numenor himself, a legacy 5000 years old by the time LOTR starts, and he goes about as the weather-worn Strider, his kingdom in the grip of lesser men. He rises to the events so long foretold for him by the Elves only with the greatest reluctance, and the Ring is in his grasp from the moment "Mr. Underhill" and his silly entourage land in the Prancing Pony at Bree out of the pouring rain. Maybe he did do just what was expected of him, but I still feel it was his crucible, if not to claim the Ring, then at least to claim his destiny as King.
I am intrigued by your use of 'crucible' Would you enlarge upon this please? It sounds like a reference to the alchemy of the individual's life which forges him willy nilly. While I would say that this process happened to the hobbits of the story, I still view Aragorn as archetype of kinghood including the king in disguise as a humble wanderer. The myths of Jesus, Robert the Bruce in his cave, and Bonny Prince Charlie, probably many more, also fit the archetype of king in disguise. An archetype is not subjected to any changes of character during his or her life as real people are so subjected. Aragorn as Strider or as acknowledged king was always the same personality but only changed his superficial behaviour and his costume.

I don't see that hubris or humility applies to either Aragorn or to Galadriel because neither of them was subject to human uncertainties and fears.Aragorn's tenacious courage and Galadriel's wisdom were superhuman. I don't think the reader ever thought that Galadriel or Aragorn would die or would suffer apart from what their destinies allowed. By contrast Frodo and Sam were constantly harassed by Gollum,and by their frailty, so that their destinies were frequently in crisis.

The presence of Gollum is similar in this respect to the evil that the author deliberately put into CS Lewis's Malacandra. The evil in The Lord of the Rings is not only trivial as Gollum is trivial but is also Sauron the evil which is thunderingly objective and viciously infectious..
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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by A Poster He or I » June 3rd, 2012, 1:15 pm

I am intrigued by your use of 'crucible' Would you enlarge upon this please? It sounds like a reference to the alchemy of the individual's life which forges him willy nilly.
Yes, except a crucible implies to me a focal point, where circumstance comes together and what comes out of the forge shows a noticeable discontinuity from what went in.
While I would say that this process happened to the hobbits of the story, I still view Aragorn as archetype of kinghood including the king in disguise as a humble wanderer. The myths of Jesus, Robert the Bruce in his cave, and Bonny Prince Charlie, probably many more, also fit the archetype of king in disguise. An archetype is not subjected to any changes of character during his or her life as real people are so subjected. Aragorn as Strider or as acknowledged king was always the same personality but only changed his superficial behaviour and his costume.

I don't see that hubris or humility applies to either Aragorn or to Galadriel because neither of them was subject to human uncertainties and fears.Aragorn's tenacious courage and Galadriel's wisdom were superhuman. I don't think the reader ever thought that Galadriel or Aragorn would die or would suffer apart from what their destinies allowed. By contrast Frodo and Sam were constantly harassed by Gollum,and by their frailty, so that their destinies were frequently in crisis.
Perhaps the difference between us here may be that it just doesn't occur to me while reading any style of "larger-than-life" fiction that I should not suspend disbelief and be fully invested in the characters as characters, regardless if they are archetypes or not. Galadriel and Aragorn certainly serve archetypal functions, yes. And I agree that the hobbits are not archetypes--that is why LOTR is really their story, despite the fact that the entire history and destiny of Middle Earth is implicated in that story. But the reader's engagement of Galadriel and Aragorn is through the experience of the hobbits. Almost every chapter in LOTR includes the vantage point of the hobbits regarding the events and people encountered. In short, the hobbits "de-mythify" the myth, and differentiate LOTR from myth.

Through Frodo's engagement of Galadriel (offering her the One Ring) we experiene Galadriel's conscience and we see it is filled with pain and sorrow and longing and ultimately the prevailing of her wisdom over all of it. I have no trouble being emotionally invested in her and her outcome. "I pass the test," she says. "I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel." It's heartbreaking! This woman who forged the destiny of the elves ever since she followed Feanor over the Grinding Ice into Middle Earth from Valinor thousands and thousands of years ago, now must hang it all up just so Men--Men who betrayed the Elves so many times--may claim the world unhindered.

And I can admire Aragorn's humanity for his vulnerability: Does he take up the path toward Kingship because it is his destiny? Because he feels he owes it to 39 generations of Numenoreans in exile? Because only one who will be King can command the Armies of the Dead? No, no, and no. He takes up the path toward Kingship for love of a woman. Arwen gave up her immortality for him, and the price to claim her as his is no less than the Kingship. Jeez, I'm ready to wipe the tears from my eyes...

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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Belinda » June 4th, 2012, 4:33 am

I do feel the story your way, Poster. I did enjoy it as a story with all characters as 'humans' . What I have been doing is trying to unpick the story to find out if Tolkien's Christianity has any good in it, and to find out if I myself can learn anything from it. I have not read The Silmarilion for years and found it heavy when I read it, but I will try to look at it again.

On a different note, plaudits to Kingcool for introducing and carrying on with the topic. I don't think that a story has been used in this way, philosophyclub, as a constant background to a conversation about aesthetics. It's easy to see now how aesthetics blends into ethics and religious philosophy and even theology.And also how a story can influence one's personal beliefs.

Also, whatever may have been Tolkien's intentions, as Poster implies he may be :lol: at our serious probings, I do believe that what we interpret from a text any text is quite a different thing from what the maker of the text intended. Bible believers NB.
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