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Old 09-16-2014, 07:39 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Formendacil View Post
The "enchantment" that the Lord of the Rings puts on us is much like the golden eggs of nursery rhyme fodder. Both are beneficial to us, and bring a great deal of joy into our lives. However, how is it possible for a goose to lay golden eggs? In the fable, which I no longer fully recall (*ashamed*), the owners of the goose kill her to get at the eggs, and thus obviously ending the enchantment.

And it seems to me that to over-examine the cracks and holes in the book's enchantment is tantamount to killing the goose. In doing so, are we perhaps ending any future benefit, any future enchantment?
In the ongoing series of Formendacil-rereads-old-threads, this one hit me like a tonne of bricks, because although I did not remember its specific content (there is some spicy literary discussion in here, from the days when the Elves still stormed Angband!), I remembered this reaction, viscerally.

It's also interesting, reading some of the posts, that I have come to appreciate other positions. Most notably, Heren Istarion's point about Tolkien having been a major conduit through which he learned English. Although a born-and-bred English speaker (albeit of the prairie Canadian sub-dialect), I read Tolkien at a young enough age and reread him and reread him enough times that I don't I stand in an objective position at all when it comes to being pulled out of the art: the enchantment ISN'T, as a rule, broken for me, because it's become bound up in who I am.

That said, nine years ago when last this thread walked the earth, I had a very queasy reaction to all this "goose-killing." Part of that, perhaps, was the reaction of a precocious 18-year-old to the possibility that people knew a lot more than him (it pains me no end to read old posts I have left, even knowing they were in the main well-received at the time), but it was also, I think, a case of a devotee fearing for the beloved.

That gets us back into all sorts of previously-covered ground on this thread, but the interesting thing is that, by joining the Barrow-downs in the first place--and I joined for the Books discussion first and foremost, though other things came after--I was already subjecting Middle-earth to the scalpel. And in the years since, I have amassed a small collection (woefully incomplete) of academic-ese laden books about Middle-earth and even written in that vein myself.

For a while, I think it DID make reading The Lord of the Rings a more arid experience. In other words, for a few years there (not coincidentally the same years I was previously most active on this forum), knowing too much about the context and the parallels and the movie mish-hashes and the Tumblr memes did, in fact, break the enchantment. But the enchantment has reasserted itself and become the richer.

In other words, it's a disconcerting and jolting experience to realise you might have been growing up. By the same token, it turns out, Eighteen-year-old-Self, that growing up DOESN'T mean breaking the enchantment.
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