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Old 05-21-2005, 07:28 AM   #79
A Mere Boggart
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Lalwendė is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Lalwendė is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Originally Posted by Bethberry
Also, I find that we tend to bring in this conceit of the Redbook to explain away many difficulties of the text--do we really at the time of reading say, 'Oh, this is the Redbook's writer writing here and not the story's usual narrator'--do we remember that all in the breathless excitement of reading--but I don't think we've ever really had a thread to examine this conceit closely. Frankly, I don't think it works here as a justification for radical changes to character's style of dialogue.
This is the only time I've used the conceit of the Red Book as an explanation, as it doesn't seem to be relevant all the time, or else another explanation can be found within the text; I prefer to use these where possible. For the same reason I don't like to use the argument of Deus Ex Machina to explain plot twists; I always feel there has to be a reason within the text for everything. Yet here the conceit does seem appropriate as we are talking not about a part of the plot or the history of Middle Earth, but the writing style, particularly the authorial voice, and the conceit of the Red Book is a part of that.

The other interesting thing is that on my early readings I never noticed the change in style as something strange or abrupt, and I only notice it now because it has been brought to my attention by other readers. For me, the change in style works without feeling in any way strange.
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