Thread: Elementals
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Old 02-11-2017, 11:52 AM   #5
Haunting Spirit
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 84
Balfrog has just left Hobbiton.

"I am not 'perturbed', nor do I find any evidence of 'worrisome servility' at play there."

I suspect Ms. Seth's remark was directed at Goldberry using a term of address for Tom as "Master". And no less than thrice – capitalized each time. Something you obviously missed.

In this day and age – a wife calling a husband 'Master' will be deemed by many as servile. However Ms. Seth left it to the reader to decide how much servility by specifically qualifying it as: 'a degree of servility'

As to:

"To make matters worse, comic relief was added of the strangest kind in belittling the power of the Ring.

I don't see that scene as 'comic relief' "

The hobbits themselves describe part of the Ring episode with Tom as being “comical”. Thus quite reasonably - the reader is entitled to think in the same manner.

"Really though, the author of the piece seems to misread some elements of the book to the extent that I question her conclusions about the material."

Hope you can appreciate that there are other points of view to your critique. An open-minded reader ought to be able to understand that. After refuting these (frankly unwarranted) criticisms – my suggestion is that you take another read of TLotR and also take time to digest Ms. Seth's essay more carefully. Who exactly is guilty of mis-reading? I'll happily engage in further debate – if you so wish.


I consulted with Ms. Seth on the “small error” and she totally agrees and much appreciates your gracious way of pointing it out. PE 14 is as rare as hen's teeth – unfortunately her source turned out to be unreliable – and she is grateful for your input. The essay has been updated (hopefully satisfactorily) but essentially its thrust remains unchanged.

I did ask her if she had a view on:

"Regarding the note Ms. Seth cites about Tolkien abandoning the concept in Scheme D that mermaids =*Oarniin order to have them be "earthlings, or fays? — or both", my first idea is to wonder whether this might be interpreted as shifting from friendly sea-spirits who love/rescue Earendel to being associated with rocks/shoals/sandbars that their associated fays might lure sailors into. "Enchantment of his sailors" in that same note certainly brings sirens and their dangers to my mind."

Her opinion was that she understood your feelings – but in her mind it was difficult to equate mermaids as creatures of the sea with them also being, in a sense, coastal 'earthlings'. She felt her argument was valid and justifiable because of Tolkien's rare use of the term 'earthlings' and where it was used in an unmistakable sense – it was within a hierarchy of types of being.
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