The Lord of the Rings

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Kingkool
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The Lord of the Rings

Post by Kingkool » April 11th, 2012, 11:46 pm

I love both the books and the movies. This is my attempt to start any type of conversation behind the philosophy in it. Would mankind ever let his greed blind him to the obvious treachery being handed to him? Are all wanderers not lost? Does all that is gold not glitter? What would be the modern day equivelant of the one master ring? Would a person like a hobbit really be the best one to entrust such a task to? Don't be limited to just these topics, come up with your own.
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Grendel
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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Grendel » April 12th, 2012, 1:35 am

There's an excellent review here that goes into the philosophy behind the book.

http://historyplanet.wordpress.com/2010 ... the-rings/

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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Belinda » April 12th, 2012, 4:37 am

I enjoyed the review, Grendel, thanks. Particularly vignette of high Toryism as expressed through the Sam Gamgee character.

What we need to be on guard against is the magic without which the narrative would not work. I mean magic such as the rescuing eagle Windhover and the horse Shadowfax.Those are seductively attractive characters yet are no window on life as it is. The magic horse and the magic eagle are not true to life but Gollum is true to life because as the reviewer says, Gollum has lost something terribly important,loss is what happens in life, and Gollum is one tragic result of how drastic loss can destroy personality.
To develop histories and societies of a magnitude as he does shows he a great scholar, dreamer and collator of lore.
That's true especially the development of the Elvish language. I have always been especially intrigued by how Elvish seems intrinsically beautiful, while Orcish is ugly.Why is this so?
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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Kingkool » April 12th, 2012, 10:13 am

Thank you for the link Grendel. It was very entertaining. However, I don't agree with this statement:
book ultimately ends with one of the great endings in fiction, possibly no other book has ever matched this magnitude of anti-climax. As the book draws to a close, the reader is expecting a grand final confrontation between Sauron and Frodo, is expecting the mighty sorcerer to perhaps offer Frodo a dilemma of joining him to rule the world, or at the very least we get to meet him and he fights Frodo and Sam. But no Sauron never materialises, remains an absent landlord to his empire and Frodo and Gollum and Sam are left to alone to finish the book in a squabble rather than a crescendo. If it was all going to be this easy, one wonders what all the fuss was about at the start of the book.
Throughout the books, Tolkien focused on the power of the Ring. It had a will of it's own, and for the most part controlled who it's holder was. The Ring was the real enemy. Sauron needed the ring, the ring did not need Sauron. If they had simply killed Sauron, the ring would have found a new dark lord. When the ring was finally destroyed, it was only by accident. Smeagol had the ring on the edge, and Frodo tackled not to try to destroy the ring, but to get it back, and keep it for himself. He accidental knocked Smeagol over the edge, into the lava. And Smeagol chose to die with the one ring rather than live without it. No creature had the power to let the ring go

-- Updated April 12th, 2012, 9:17 am to add the following --
Belinda wrote:I enjoyed the review, Grendel, thanks. Particularly vignette of high Toryism as expressed through the Sam Gamgee character.

What we need to be on guard against is the magic without which the narrative would not work. I mean magic such as the rescuing eagle Windhover and the horse Shadowfax.Those are seductively attractive characters yet are no window on life as it is. The magic horse and the magic eagle are not true to life but Gollum is true to life because as the reviewer says, Gollum has lost something terribly important,loss is what happens in life, and Gollum is one tragic result of how drastic loss can destroy personality.
To develop histories and societies of a magnitude as he does shows he a great scholar, dreamer and collator of lore.
That's true especially the development of the Elvish language. I have always been especially intrigued by how Elvish seems intrinsically beautiful, while Orcish is ugly.Why is this so?
It said that Orcs were once elves, but fell to the evil of Sauron. I would think that something that turned so terrible would bring every aspect of themselves with them. I don't think I was ever more terrified of a character in a movie than of the orc that shouted, "find the halfling!" and killed Boromir.

On a related note, do you think "halfling" is a derogatory term?
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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by A Poster He or I » April 12th, 2012, 11:24 am

I have always been especially intrigued by how Elvish seems intrinsically beautiful, while Orcish is ugly.Why is this so?
Having once pursued a minor in linguistics, I'm aware of the study of phonaesthetics that explores this phenomenon. Elvish uses lots of diphthongs and mid-vowels (e and o) whereas Orcish has no diphthongs and is confined to the primary vowels (a, i, u). Elvish also uses velar stops (k, g) infrequently and, as far as I recall, does not use any velar fricatives (kh, gh). Velar sounds prevail in Orcish. Orcish also allows abrupt consonantal clusters such as we hear in words like "nazg" and "Lugburz" whereas almost all consonant clusters in Elvish involve the so-called liquid consonants l and r.

You can hear how all this affects you phychologically just by comparing the Elvish "Ai laurië lantar lassi surinen" to Orcish "Ash nazg thrakatuluk." The Elvish sentence sounds like water flowing over stones, while the Orcish sentence sounds like you're trying to cough up phlegm.

Similar sorts of phonaesthetic "rules" explain why most humans find the Romance languages (French, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish) to be "prettier" than Teutonic languages like German, Dutch or English.

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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Kingkool » April 12th, 2012, 6:17 pm

From the standpoint of the author, he made it so that elves were these beautiful creatures, even stating in the book that they were the most fair race. One would expect their tongues to be as beautiful as their faces.
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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Steve3007 » April 12th, 2012, 6:35 pm

The Silmarillion, Tolkein's prequel to the Lord of the Rings, explains the origin of the Orcs as "fallen elves" in a kind of creation mythology. It's often compared to the Old Testament. Heavy going.

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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by A Poster He or I » April 12th, 2012, 6:55 pm

Philosophically, I feel that LOTR cannot be properly analyzed unless its story is placed in its proper context amidst the entire history of Middle Earth as documented in Tolkien's more comprehensive work, The Silmarillion. In such a full context, I would say the story of Middle Earth is all about the ramifications of what can be called the Fall from Grace. LOTR is then the final chapter of that bigger story and is specifically concerned (on a thematic level) with the possibility of renewal via sacrifice.

As much as I admire Peter Jackson's movies, I feel he seriously mishandled Tolkien's major themes of sorrow and loss embodied in the Elves and the possibility of renewal embodied in Elves' and mortals' choice to sacrifice everything that the Elves had made possible in favor of the Unknown. It is actually a very existential theme. Jackson gave these themes such short shrift that we are left with merely 3 magnificent films of grand adventure topped with the bittersweetness of departure. Tolkien deserved better.

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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Kingkool » April 12th, 2012, 10:58 pm

A Poster He or I wrote:Philosophically, I feel that LOTR cannot be properly analyzed unless its story is placed in its proper context amidst the entire history of Middle Earth as documented in Tolkien's more comprehensive work, The Silmarillion. In such a full context, I would say the story of Middle Earth is all about the ramifications of what can be called the Fall from Grace. LOTR is then the final chapter of that bigger story and is specifically concerned (on a thematic level) with the possibility of renewal via sacrifice.

As much as I admire Peter Jackson's movies, I feel he seriously mishandled Tolkien's major themes of sorrow and loss embodied in the Elves and the possibility of renewal embodied in Elves' and mortals' choice to sacrifice everything that the Elves had made possible in favor of the Unknown. It is actually a very existential theme. Jackson gave these themes such short shrift that we are left with merely 3 magnificent films of grand adventure topped with the bittersweetness of departure. Tolkien deserved better.
The average movie-goer isn't interested in the themes, and overall intelect that went into the plot. They usually want a shallow, black and white, good and evil story with some twists and turns sprinkled here and there. Great quality, visually appealing, explosions, large fight scenes, ect.. That is Peter Jackson's telling of The Lord of the Rings in a nut shell, and yet I can't wait for the two Hobbit movies to come out.
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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Grendel » April 13th, 2012, 9:27 am

Belinda wrote:I enjoyed the review, Grendel, thanks. Particularly vignette of high Toryism as expressed through the Sam Gamgee character.
Thanks

I feel the Sam Gangee bit is the real metaphor of the book. It's remarkable how appealing conservative values are to legions of book and film fans when they're unwitting to the fact they're actually being fed conservatism because it's hidden behind fantasy veil.

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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by A Poster He or I » April 13th, 2012, 9:31 pm

The average movie-goer isn't interested in the themes, and overall intelect that went into the plot. They usually want a shallow, black and white, good and evil story with some twists and turns sprinkled here and there. Great quality, visually appealing, explosions, large fight scenes, ect.. That is Peter Jackson's telling of The Lord of the Rings in a nut shell, and yet I can't wait for the two Hobbit movies to come out.
I also eagerly await the Hobbit movies. I just also imagine what could have been. Jackson could have pulled it off too if he had just made one change: re-imagine the entire Lothlorien sequence in the first film to be more like the book instead of the seemingly menacing place it is in the movie. It is in Lothlorien that Tolkien makes clear to readers what is really at stake for the Elves and we get to see an image of the world that was. As it is, Lothlorien is the one area of LOTR that I feel Jackson really botched. And it didn't have to be so: audiences would have welcomed a timeless image of Elvendom that was, with no impact to their need for shallow gratification.

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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Belinda » April 14th, 2012, 3:15 am

Grendel wrote:
Belinda wrote:I enjoyed the review, Grendel, thanks. Particularly vignette of high Toryism as expressed through the Sam Gamgee character.
Thanks

I feel the Sam Gangee bit is the real metaphor of the book. It's remarkable how appealing conservative values are to legions of book and film fans when they're unwitting to the fact they're actually being fed conservatism because it's hidden behind fantasy veil.
If Frodo is a one-dimensional Christ, then Sam Gamgee is a one-dimensional portrayal of faithfulness and commitment. In this case is Sam Gamgee still a Tory value?

A Poster He or I, thank you very much. I understand now. This linguistic aesthetic theory leads to the other theory about which landscapes are intrinsically appealing to humans.The Shire appeals to me but Lothlorien with its magnificent trees even more. I wonder if anyone likes Rivendell very much and why, it seems to be an embattled place. *********Kingcool in #1 asks:
What would be the modern day equivelant of the one master ring?
I would like to read others' answers to this question. My answer is that the one ring is absolute knowledge and certainty. I wrote earlier that Gollum was destroyed by his loss, but if the loss was the loss of absolute certainty he would have had no need to be destroyed if he had had the flexibility of say, Aragorn, or Arwen to deal with life as it presented itself.

I think that LOTR takes after The Pilgrim's Progress.
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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by A Poster He or I » April 14th, 2012, 11:57 am

You're welcome, Belinda. And I agree 100% that the modern-day equivalent of the master ring is dogmatic certainty. As we see in our lifetimes the global state tentatively forming, driven by economics, we sense more and more how critical it will eventually be for political/ideological differences to be bridged. As global unrest grows, and the stakes of failure to achieve a global state increase, the pressure to neutralize the obstacles of dogma will grow, while those committed to fundamentalist beliefs will become even more entrenched and certain, driven by their own faith to resist. The choice to give up the ring must happen from within.

Regarding Rivendell, technically it cannot be an embattled place because it is one of the 3 Elvish realms protected by one of the 3 Elvish rings (Elrond bears Narya, while Galadriel bears Nenya which protects Lothlorien. The Grey Havens were historically protected by Cirdan The Shipwright's ring Vilya, but he gave that ring to Gandalf when Gandalf first arrived in Middle Earth from Valinor). Of course, if Sauron had retrieved the One Ring, none of the 3 rings could have withstood an assault from armies led by the Master ring. For my taste, Rivendell seems too confining, sealed in a mountain valley, while the Grey Havens sound gloomy. I'll take Lothlorien.

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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by Steve3007 » April 14th, 2012, 7:31 pm

I have one more thing to say on this subject: Tom Bombadil. What was that about?

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Re: The Lord of the Rings

Post by A Poster He or I » April 14th, 2012, 8:02 pm

Personally, I take Bombadil as a lesson to everyone that the One Ring does not have mastery over everyone: those whose innate power matches it are immune to it in some manner and they do not disappear when they wear it. In the entire story there are only 2 such entities who wear it and don't disappear (or succumb to its power): Sauron and Bombadil.

Sauron actually is the Ring in some sense, having let his own will animate the device in the first place, so that makes sense. But Bombadil's immunity is of another kind. Bombadil is obviously what The Silmarillion describes as a "Maia" (no other creature could predate history such as he, and have such power as he does over his domain) so in terms of actual "species," Sauron and Bombadil are equals since Sauron is also a Maia according to the Silmarillion. From there I like to speculate that Bombadil's childlike sensibilities and utter lack of guile are the result of unparalleled wisdom from truly having "seen it all" across the ages. In effect, Bombadil is an unwitting Buddha.

Tolkien's ideas on Evil are very Christian-influenced, and perhaps the greatest insight of Christianity about Evil (even if it did steal it from Zoroastrianism) is that Evil is impotent as a purely external force: it must be invited from within one's own will to gain any foothold. Bombadil's utter lack of desire for domination--indeed his apparent inability to even understand domination despite his incredible power, allows no foothold for the Ring. Anyway, that's how I like to interpret it.

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