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Old 07-21-2006, 11:55 AM   #18
Illustrious Ulair
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: In the home of lost causes, and forsaken beliefs, and unpopular names,and impossible loyalties
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davem is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.davem is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
The odd thing is that Pullman is so angry about LotR. Its not simply that he dislikes it - if he did he would just ignore it. It seems that he has set himself up as some kind of 'Dragon-slayer', & wants to destroy it, convince us its trivial, meaningless, bad. Yet he's not taking the 'Its all racist' tack, but rather the 'Its all pointless & silly' tack. Yet he refuses to explain why it speaks so deeply & powerfully so so many people.

It seems that his view is that unless a work of Art has a message to preach, it is valueless. He even values a book with a message he disagrees with (Lion, Witch & Wardrobe) more highly than a book with no 'message' (LotR). This is utilitarianism, materialism, taken to its extreme. If it has no practical use it must be destroyed. It is exactly the kind of 'Machine' thinking that Tolkien presents us with in Saruman & Sauron. I could see Saruman writing HDM In fact the 'message' of HDM could be summed up in Saruman's words to Gandalf in Orthanc.

Pullman's condemnation of Tolkien: "Hes interested in maps and plans and languages and codes. sums up his attitude perfectly - 'maps and plans and languages and codes' are unnecessary in his opinion - they serve no practical purpose, & hence are BAD THINGS. They do not communicate a message to the reader, so they are 'sinful' & 'irredeemable'. Pulllman's final 'vision' of a new world is one where other realities are forever cut off & people get down to practical things & forget all that 'fantasy' stuff - trying to access those other realities (those 'secondary worlds') is dangerous, a threat to the worlds' survival. Fantasy is not necessary is Pullman's message. He even stated in an interview that he was using fantasy to undermine fantasy. Lewis wasn't wrong to open the wardrobe for children - he was wrong because at the end he didn't have the Professor turn it into firewood & send the children back home to dodge the bombs, because the bombs are real, practical things.
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