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Old 09-11-2000, 07:23 PM   #1
Mister Underhill
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I’ve noticed that many here on the Downs (myself included) first encountered LOTR during impressionable formative years (usually early adolescence), at a time when many of us were struggling, consciously or unconsciously, to construct a view of the world that made sense to us. LOTR is a tale with a strong, uncompromising, clearly defined moral element. So I’m wondering... what credit (if any) do you give to JRRT’s work in shaping your own moral system/personal philosophy/worldview? Do you think you would be a different man or woman than you are today if you hadn’t read the books? Can three or four books change a person’s life?
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Old 09-11-2000, 08:26 PM   #2
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/nenya.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: LOTR and your Weltanschauung

According to a recent survey on an http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/academic/...iles/intp.htmlINTP</a> http://www.egroups.com/group/intplist</a> (public archives, look around the past few days for the poll) on eGroups, the answer to that is yes. As I read the books first late last year and early this year I haven't yet had time to notice any changes it may have brought on in me. I would be so bold as to say it hasn't changed my moral structure. But I'm just stubborn, and I had a similar preexisting stucture.

What's a burrahobbit got to do with my pocket, anyways?</p>Edited by <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000062>burrahob bit</A> at: 9/11/00 10:50:15 pm
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Old 09-12-2000, 06:20 PM   #3
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/nenya.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: LOTR and your Weltanschauung

LOTR definitely played a key role in shaping my world view. I read it first as an early teen. Not only was I trying to define my own identity, I was reading it against the backdrop of society in crisis. In the books, I saw both contrasts and parallels to the world around me during the torturous final years of Vietnam and the menace of the constitutional crisis that was Watergate.

The books taught me much about the value of life, the nature of friendship, and the obligation that each of us has to resist evil (within ourselves and the world) and do what we were meant to do.

Although there are several portions of the book that were especially important to me, the exchange between Gandalf and Frodo in Chapter 2 affected me the most. Gandalf confronts Frodo with the words: &quot;Deserves death. Indeed he does. And many who die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Do not be so quick to take what you can not give.&quot; Tolkien's phrases have the power to haunt your soul and that exchange was critical in shaping many of my beliefs and attitudes, such as mercy and tolerance that those beliefs require.

Gandalf's words &quot;many that die deserve life&quot; was even more poignant for me because my last birthday gift from my dad was a hardcover set of LOTR. Six weeks after my 20th birthday, he died. Then I really understood how life hangs in the balance and how as mortals we can not judge truly who should did and who should leave.

Frodo's spiritual journey from quickly judging and condemning Gollum to judge and condemn Gandalf to acting with pity, compassion and wisdom toward Saruman also had a profound impact on me. His transformation rivals any of the stories of the saints (of any religion) and is touched with the same spirituality found in the truest of these. It pointed me towards the necessity growth in wisdom and compassion.







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Old 09-14-2000, 03:45 AM   #4
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/nenya.jpg" align=absmiddle> re

i agree with mwcfrodo on the dialouge between gandalf and frodo. the line &quot;many that die deserve life&quot; has also had a great impact on me. i think that gandalf is a very wise character, almost a teacher of life/moral values... but maybe thats what a wizard's supposed to be.
anyway i really love the LOTR and i think if i hadnt read it when i was 14-15 (now im 1<img src=cool.gif ALT="8)"> maybe i would have been too &quot;hasty&quot; with some of the decisions i made since that time.
i think this topic is very interesting and id like to read some more postings on it <img src=smile.gif ALT="">

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Old 06-25-2001, 11:29 AM   #5
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re: Weltanschauung

Speaking of musty old threads, this one died a quick death and sank rapidly (and ignominiously) into the archives when it first opened -- but I thought I'd give all the new members a crack at it. We seem to have a more philosophical bunch these days.

Edited by: Mister Underhill at: 6/25/01 1:30:47 pm
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Old 06-26-2001, 06:23 AM   #6
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/nenya.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: re: Weltanschauung

Reading the Silmarillion, confirmed my own view on religion - its just a collection of tales from the old days, which tells about creation and moral values.
I could just as well belive in Iluvatar, Manwë &amp; Co. as I could belive in God, Allah, Budda, Christ... - not that I do! <img src=roll.gif ALT=":rollin">

Anar kaluva tielyanna!</p>
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Old 06-26-2001, 07:46 AM   #7
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/nenya.jpg" align=absmiddle> Silmarillion and the Bible

Actually, reading Tolkien's works, especially the Silmarillion, had an odd side effect for me. After re-reading the major works several times, I began to learn an appreciation for epic storytelling over enormous periods of time.

As a result, I learned how to read and appreciate the Bible better! I wonder how many people realize how similar the structure is between the Silmarillion and the Bible (particularly the old testament)?

In addition, each history ends with a well-expounded story, focusing in on a great pivotal ending point: LOTR, which focuses on the final triumph of good over Melkor &amp; Sauron, and the New Testament which focuses on God's victory of Satan.

Even Tolkien's works of backup material, including Unfinished Tales, HoME, etc. are matched by equally compelling Biblical supporting books known as the apocrypha! I definitely owe Tolkien a debt of thanks for my passion for religion and religious history!

- Maglor

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Old 06-26-2001, 01:05 PM   #8
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/nenya.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Silmarillion and the Bible

The one part of LotR that has had the most profound effect on me is the rejection of the ring by Faramir at Henneth Annun.He shows that greatness can sometimes be achieved by just sticking to your principles and not falling into temptation. He knew that he must simply stick to the tasks allotted to him and do them to the best of his ability instead of meddling in affairs that were perhaps beyond his abilities to control.
A very simple lesson, but a very important one I think you will agree.

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Old 06-26-2001, 09:24 PM   #9
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/nenya.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re:

LoTR instilled in me a love for epic fantasy with all the right components-heroism, beauty, morality, courage, love-all of it. And as a result I look for those things in real life too and appreciate them as greatly as I did Sam rescuing Frodo or Faramir rejecting the Ring or Eowyn killing the Nazgul. There were important lessons throughout the book. One of my favourites was the one illustrated by Legolas and Gimli's friendship. You can overcome all differences of any kind to come togther as friends.

"But why?" he asked in bewilderment, looking upon Death. "Why?" he asked again. </p>
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Old 06-27-2001, 05:50 PM   #10
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/nenya.jpg" align=absmiddle> Tolkien and world-view

In short for me M-E formed wy world-view for many years.
I grew up in a complacent suburb of ugly houses surrounded by oakforests and ever increasing sprawl. I sensed deeply that the society around me was a 'finger of mordor '. and that w/ out resisitance and a determination to understand what life was about , society would sweep me away.

The combination of LotR/Silm/UT and spending more of my senior year [ in HS] in the forest than at school [literally] much of it reading Tolkien and Walden had a radical effect on me. I wanted to research immortaility and being as elf-like as possible. It encouraged me even at the time to read the Bible and the apocrypha [esp. the Shepherd of Hermas] as I knew these were sources/ideas that JRRT found key. It took me another 15 years to come full circle to Orthodox Christianity and editing a new Silmarillion - I kind of see that as workpaying my debt to M-E.



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Old 06-27-2001, 11:09 PM   #11
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/bluepal.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Tolkien and world-view

I would have to say that Tolkiens writings did in fact alter or shape my worldview. The most telling sign of this is that I adopted his anti-technological theme (if you will). From first readings I agreed with his portrayed views of the destruction wrought by human-kinds andvances. While there are arguements for and against advance (Damn Environmental Economics) I have from that point percieved most of it as 'evil'



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Old 07-03-2001, 05:24 PM   #12
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/nenya.jpg" align=absmiddle> LOTR and your Weltanschauung


I reat LOTR when I was 12 or 13. It changed me in a profound manner. It may have even saved me.

I had been very athletic, but when my father died when I was eleven, and we moved to a new town, I spent my time reading and re-reading LOTR. I daydreamed of Frodo and his companions, making up new adventures for most of them, making up new characters.

I began winning awards in creative writing and poetry though I had no interest in writing previously. I took extra credit courses in English in high school and college. I became an English tutor and went on to study other languages like French, Russian and Italian. I might think that it was LOTR that made me think in terms of academics rather than athletic pursuits. I went on to work as an International Studies Specialist at the University of Washington in Seattle.

I don't know if I would have been inclined to pursue a career in academics or not had I not read LOTR, but I rather think not. I beleive that I would have gone into Horticulture and Landscape Design as a profession, rather than an avocation as it is now. But I'm more grateful for the entertainment that LOTR has brought me in endless hours of imagination.

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Old 07-03-2001, 06:50 PM   #13
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/nenya.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: LOTR and your Weltanschauung

I read LOTR in Jr. high, and it has changed my life. I like to read books now, and my view on life is completely different. I used to be kinda a jock, but now I am interested in more fantasy related stuff and computers. (it sounds a lot sadder than it really is. LOTR isn't the only factor. I was changing anyways.) It helped me realize who I was, and was/is excellent entertainment that has changed me and the way I think.

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Old 07-05-2001, 06:55 PM   #14
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/nenya.jpg" align=absmiddle> Weltanschauung

I strongly think that LOTR had a great effect upon my writing style. I also think that it gave me an internal sense of nobility and justice, or at least, strengthened my resolution.

I know that it changed the way I dressed in Jr. High, and it drew me closer to those that shared the same interest in hobbits and JRRT's writings in general. It added to my sense of whimsey. I spent a lot of time chuckling with family over Pippin's antics.

We used to read the Hobbt and then LOTR aloud to my sister when she was small. She then went on to read Shakespeare at an early age, then studied Shakespeare in London where she became someone that other students selected to read/perform with.

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Old 07-05-2001, 08:21 PM   #15
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/nenya.jpg" align=absmiddle> Weltanschauung

LOTR certainly made me more interested in all things British. I was more interested in Oxford when I visited in 1984.
Previously, I had an entirely different idea of elves.


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Old 07-19-2001, 01:10 AM   #16
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/sting.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: LOTR and your Weltanschauung

LOTR really saved me. I first read it when I was 12 or 13 and it didn't quite open to me then. But then when I was 14 I read it again and lo! a magic gate opened and led me to another world. That was really good, because I was having a hard time at school, I was bullied around etc and my days were misery. So I entered Tolkien's world and that was my hiding place, the only thing that kept me sane for the next two years.

Now I'm twenty-one and I am reading LOTR again, probably for the seventh (or so) time. I don't know what I'd be if I hadn't read the books. They've taught me compassion, patience, pity and mercy. &quot;Deserves death. Indeed he does. And many who die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Do not be so quick to take what you can not give.&quot; That's a quote I use frequently. I guess I've become a pacifist too. I don't know whether LOTR is that much in my daily life any longer now that my life is back on track, but all the characters have become my close friends and it sometimes feels just like Elbereth is watching me with a smile on her face...

Weirdo? I guess I'm not the only one. Middle-Earth lives in my heart and imagination, and is as true to me as this world I live in.

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Old 07-15-2002, 01:13 AM   #17
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Time for the yearly refresh of this old chestnut, just because I hate to see a good topic title go to waste.
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Old 07-15-2002, 10:26 AM   #18
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I have to confess that when I first read Tolkien's 'The Hobbit' and then went on to the Trilogy, I was a young, college student of the '60's, & honestly quite shallow in my thinking. Though, as I recall, I thought my self quite intellectually adept. Reading Tolkien, at that time, was also part of my 'image' as a member of the nascent counter-culture that was growing in response to the Viet Nam War and the policies of the U.S. government.

Those first readings of the books for me were simply great adventure stories written exceedingly well. I do remember appreciating at that time the incredible love of language and its use that Tolkien poured onto every page.

It has only been as I've continued to read the books, and expanded the reading to the works edited by his son, that I've really begun to appreciate the depth and breadth of his vision in writing them.

This is what has affected me the most in my outlook on life - that there is the possibility of being so enthused or taken by an idea that it can be the driving force of one's life and its accomplishment the rod by which one is measured.

[ July 15, 2002: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 07-15-2002, 10:42 AM   #19
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Mister Underhill -- This is a great topic!

I first read LotR when I was finishing high school in the mid sixties. Right after that I left to go away to college. It was a time of incredible upheaval. Everyone was questioning everything. I had friends who died in the Vietnam War, and others who ferried people across to Canada who were philosophically opposed to the War and preferred to leave the country rather than fight.

I myself felt like a fish out of water. I grew up in a working class neighborhood, and was the first in my family to go away to college. My parents were loving but could not understand why they had a daughter who was extremely academic and fascinated with strange subjects like medieval history and the legends of King Arthur.

What does LotR have to do with all this? It was a place I could go to be myself. It was a world where moral choices seemed simpler and more direct than those I faced when I turned on the evening news. It gave me strength to make my own decisions, to realize I was different from many around me in my neighborhood. At the same time, it reminded me that they too were decent and caring people, and that ultimately we were all in this thing together.

And finally, at a time when I was questioning organized religion, it hinted at a way that there could be a world with a framework of ethics and even underlying spirituality which did not insist on rigid beliefs. This far I could go, and it felt comfortable. In later years, as I studied Tolkien and his Letters, he helped me to realize that I needed to find my own formal path, different from that of my parents or this author, but one which made sense in my heart and brought me closer to the Light.

The books also instilled in me a real love of story, of things in history, because, on some level, I thought of it more as history than literature. I eventually majored in history and went on to earn a doctorate in medieval English history.

Was it the only book to do this? No, but it and one other, "The Once and Future King", were certainly the most important ones.

I feel I was lucky to have found these writings long before there was an internet or film adaptations. For they were part of my growing up and helped make me who I am today.

sharon, the 7th age hobbit
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Old 07-15-2002, 10:59 AM   #20
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Tolkien

I honestly have no idea what my life would have been like without LotR. I have no basis for comparison; as I've said before, my father first read it to me when I was five. I literally cannot remember a time when Tolkien's work was not part of my life.

It's impossible for it not to have had an effect, but I couldn't tell you what exactly it was, for the most part. I have alternately loved and hated his portrayals of his female characters, raged and appreciated various things in the books . . .quite honestly, growing up in a Zen Buddhist/non-worshipping semi-agnostic Protestant household, these books were possibly the closest thing I had to a religious text (much to my grandmother's dismay).

So in the end, asking me what life would be like without Tolkien is similar to asking me what my life would have been like had I been born male.
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Old 07-15-2002, 10:59 AM   #21
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In '68, when I was 8, my 16 year-old brother, already a Tolkien fanatic, read "Riddles in the Dark" to me one night. I was hooked. I read The Hobbit for myself right away. The first part to really capture my imagination was the windswept wilderness between Hobbiton and the Trollshaws. It was magical to me. Both my brothers had our mother sew cloaks for them, and they walked around in those cloaks and very worn leather boots, smoking long-stemmed pipes with various kinds of pipe-<ahem>-weed in them; the older even made himself a makeshift sword out of aluminum, with rune-marked scabbard. They styled themselves as Rangers, and acted the part. This is what I watched right in front of my nose until 1970-71 when they went off to college. I started LOTR shortly after The Hobbit, but I was still pretty young for it and did not finish until I was 13. Yet having started so young, and having two older brothers who were frankly fanatics about Tolkien, Middle Earth had more to do with my outlook than my parents, my faith, my education, everything. As a result, and being introverted, I was largely shut off from my peers until I finally found others who lived for Middle Earth the way I did (late high school, and in the context of RPG). For a long time I held onto the notion that Middle Earth actually does exist somewhere. I do hug trees. I grieve when I see trees slaughtered for the sake of a new residential development. I am most at peace in the woods, far away from the trappings of civilization. I also love history. Tolkien bred that in me, too. He made it live. I could go on and on...

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Old 07-16-2002, 07:41 PM   #22
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Have you ever seen a butterfly hatch? I did, several months ago. I saw it crack it's coccon and crawl out, airing it's beautiful black wings before it finally lifted up into the wide sky. This birth, this change, like a pheonix from ashes, is very much the change the books had in me.

I was a geek, a loner, and afraid of dang near everything- including me. Lord of the Rings, and the other books, taught me not to fear, to love everything, even myself. I wasn't afraid to love the way I did, or express myself in my writing, and it taught me a great respect for everything. History class, great streatches of trees or a solo oak, the way smoke unfurls from a tea cup, the way I can make my friend's eye's sparkle when I laugh- I can laugh now! The works have greatly changed me, and for the better, I'd like to think.
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Old 07-17-2002, 09:48 AM   #23
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Consider me the odd man out. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

Read The Hobbit as a young teen, enjoyed it immensely, came to the final page, said "That was nice" ... and from there, returned to drowning myself in vast quantities of science fiction: Asimov, Bradbury, etc. and in the pop culture, Star Trek and Star Wars. (Loved the cameraderie between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy ... loved the cameraderie among Luke, Leia, Han, Obi Wan.)

First read LOTR as an adult a couple of years ago based on a suggestion by an e-mail pen pal whom I'd met in an X-Files forum. Was involved in role-playing games for years and years, not realizing it was Tolkien-based. In a strange twist of irony, in college I began playing a computer game called "Moria." Completely unaware of what Moria was, I spent countless hours going up against the Balrog.

As for which books influenced me during my formative years? Having read and reread my children's Bible and wanting more, I was introduced to Butler's Lives of the Saints at about age seven or eight. The story of Our Lady of Fatima also had a profound influence.

So no, I do not credit JRRT with shaping my moral system / personal philosophy / worldview. Reading The Hobbit at a young age ... as worthwhile and entertaining a book it was, had no discernible effect on me. I would say that the books that molded (not so much changed) my life were the ones mentioned earlier: the Bible, and Butler's Lives of the Saints.

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[ July 17, 2002: Message edited by: Gandalf_theGrey ]
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Old 08-28-2003, 06:21 PM   #24
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Mister Underhill,

I still love this thread so I'm cranking it up again to see what newer members have to add.

sharon
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Old 08-28-2003, 11:14 PM   #25
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I am not that new of a member, but with yer permission, Sharon... [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

I first started reading Tolkien as a senior in high school, right around the time of the fabled "senior slide" (College admissions were behind me, and I was ready to cut loose). The first time around, I feel that the books instilled in me a sort of new appreciation for epics, if you will.

What's really interesting is that during the living hell of freshman year, I looked back upon Sam & Frodo's struggle in Mordor more than once, and somehow these particular two characters, the ones that I didn't think I was too fond of (as compared to some other ones like Gandalf and Tom), were the ones who gave me the most inspiration to keep going.
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Old 12-11-2003, 09:14 PM   #26
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Tolkien

Ah, a truly fundamental and important question. I can't believe this thread only has one page so far!

At first reaction, I would say that no, the Lord of the Rings has not shaped my moral code. That would be mixing cause and effect. I am drawn to the books because I share similar feelings to Tolkien and his characters on many themes. Gandalf as the wise teacher, Frodo and Sam as tenacious "everymen", Faramir and Aragorn as ideal, morally incorruptible leaders. These are all ideals near and dear to me, but I choose to think that I had these already without the books.

However, I must admit that I first read the Lord of the Rings when I was about 10 years old. So it is quite likely that it was one of the sources that helped to shape my beliefs in how the world, and more realistically, myself should be. Of course the influence a book has is not nearly as palpable as that of family. My mother and particularly my grandmother were far more important in shaping my moral code, but I don't underestimate the impact that a great book, movie or even TV series (The Simpsons) can have.

The most important thing that Tolkien has gifted to me is a faith in the written word, and an aesthetic appreciation for language. The words he uses, the sentences, and the sounds of each word are so important in the Lord of the Rings. There was never a more finely crafted piece of literature. Even the great masterpieces have their literary flaws, and few writers would painstakingly review the way JRRT did.

Also, I like to think that, especially as I have grown older, wiser and more cynical (this happens as you come to a deeper understanding of the way this world works), Lord of the Rings and Star Wars have allowed me to keep faith. Lucas and Tolkien by resurrecting old mythologies have shown us stories that contain brave, selfless acts, and show us that human beings can accomplish a great deal. Some people may think it's sad that I have to turn to fiction to find these things. I don't adhere to any religion, because I have seen too much prejudice and hatred generated as a result of peoples' different beliefs. Also, for every story of people doing good in this world there are a hundred where evil, heinous crimes are being committed. The moral structure inherent in the Lord of the Rings is important to people like me.
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Old 12-11-2003, 09:23 PM   #27
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Quote:
Can three or four books change a person’s life?
Absolutely! Even one book could change a person's life, depending on the book. 90% of books that I read change my outlook in some small way.

Books that have greatly influenced my views include:

Yes, No and Po by Edward de Bono

Nuclear Free: The New Zealand Way by David Lange

The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon

Poor Fellow, My Country by Xavier Herbert
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Old 12-12-2003, 07:25 AM   #28
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I first read LotR in my early teens in the early 70's. I agree with mwcFrodo that reading the book against the backdrop of an ongoing war certainly had an affect on my life. However I believe that most of our experiences in early life tend to help make up or moral character.

More than any other writings (other than the Bible) Tolkien's writings have given me some good lessons in life that I strive to live by:

1. Frodo - Though you may be frightened, dig deep for your courage and keep trying.
2. Gandalf -- None of us has the right to judge another.
3. Aragorn -- Stick to your beliefs and tread your own path though the journey may take longer than you wish.
4. Sam -- Be loyal to your friends.
5. Elves -- Remember and treasure your traditions. Honor the world around you and suffer no hurt to nature. Enjoy what you are given.

Seems like it should be easy to stick to those rules, but sometimes it is harder than you would think.
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Old 12-12-2003, 01:29 PM   #29
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I usually don't go in for these human interest type threads, but somehow this one has interested me.

Did LotR shape my world view? Like doug*platypus, I have to say that my first reaction is no. As a matter of fact, I have a rather different view of things, in some respects, than that presented in LotR. I am not religious; I tend to look at the world in purely rational, scientific terms. So I can detect no real conscious influence of Tolkien's writing on my personal philosophy, except in the area of literary theory.

But I suspect there may be an unconscious influence. I first encountered Tolkien when I was very young; my mother read The Hobbit to me when I was about five or six, and this was soon followed by The Lord of the Rings. I don't really remember hearing them for the first time very well; and I can't remember a time before I knew their plots (it's similar for me with the original Star Wars movies). So it's sort of as if those books were just innate parts of my mind, part of the basic vocabulary out of which I constructed all my concepts of the world.

So maybe Tolkien has shaped my view of life in ways that I'm not conscious of. I suspect, at the very least, that he had a profound impact on my literary taste, causing me to reject modern and post-modern literary theory instinctively.

As for the general question of whether books can change one's life - I must say that I have never encountered a work of fiction that has had a profound effect on my personal philosophy. I've encountered works of fiction that I've thought are profoundly good or that touch upon profound issues, but I can't recall ever actually having my view of one of these profound issues changed by such a work. However, I've read a few works of non-fiction that have profoundly affected my life - some popular science books in which I first encountered quantum mechanics years ago, some early works of Marx (no, I'm not actually a communist or a socialist), some papers and books by Carnap, Schlick, and Wittgenstein.

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Old 12-12-2003, 03:28 PM   #30
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Mr. Underhill, what a great thread. Fascinating to read how many lives are shaped by the Legendarium...

Listing my major cultural influences, I'd say 5% (perhaps less) "Once and Future King", 10% "Chronicles of Narnia", 20% "Star Trek" (including my dad's deep critical analyses of Kirk's decisions) and the rest-- about 65%?-- Tolkien.

I read the trilogy at 12 or 13 yrs of age.

Elves, elves, elves. Lothlorien was The Place to Be, Rivendell was pretty good too; and there one found Virtue, Holiness, Truth, Honesty, Justice, Sincerity, Love of what is Good. The natural beauty, the harmony with nature, and the singing (in the trees! under the stars!) didn't hurt either. Aragorn, and Frodo, and Faramir, showed such integrity, I always admired and trusted them. Gondor showed valor as did Rohan.

What wasn't affected by this during my teenage years? Not much. Art, music, writing... elvish or Gondorian, or Rohirric. I majored in physics because I wanted to be an astronomer; love of the stars, which came from the elves. Ballet and flute were a direct result of "Tinuviel was dancing there to music of a pipe unseen." Celtic music; harp (I made one from scrap lumber). The clothes I chose, the jewellry... what I listened to. Anything that reminded me of Tolkien musically: celtic I mentioned already. Judy Collins, Joni Mitchell haunted me with a few Tolkienish songs. Moody Blues and Tuesday afternoon. Tschaikovsky was especially ultra-cool because all of his music was obviously about elves and hobbits; you could tell just by listening. Anything that reminded me of Tolkien's elves and hobbits was intriguing.

Naturally I tried to find more books of that caliber. But of all the other realms I looked into, none ever really "held water" after Lord of the Rings. I kept hoping to find that integrity, love of truth and goodness, holiness, virtue. I tossed many fantasy novels aside in sheer disgust. Nothing came close.

Eventually, I found those things in The Gospels, and recognized there what I had loved from the first. And the more I read the Letters of Tolkien, the more I believe that that is exactly what he intended; that his sub-creation myth would point to what he called "The One True Myth": incarnation, death, resurrection, new creation.

In that (rather evangelical) sense, Tolkien was the most effective element drawing me toward the gospel and the savior. I hope someday I can tell him "thanks."

(Edit: do I think I would be a different person without Tolkien's influence? Vastly.)
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Old 08-31-2004, 06:21 AM   #31
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Old 08-31-2004, 11:46 AM   #32
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I would say that LotR has most definitely changed my view of the world. When I first read it I was going through that typical early-teen period of self-discovery and a whole lot of self criticism. I hated my life (now that I look back -- okay, it's not that far back! -- I can't even remember why) and was generally going through a difficult time. Around that time I had a major spiritual revelation that has changed my life so much for the better, and reading LotR then helped me shape my views. It has taught me tolerance, love, and respect for all people and for nature, which are key to my personal beliefs. It has also taught me that everything is fleeting, and even the most beautiful things must eventually pass away, so we should enjoy them while they are still here.

On a slightly more mundane basis, it has only served to increase my love for reading and my interest in poetry. It's exposed me to works such as Beowulf which inspired LotR, and has made me a much better writer.

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Old 08-31-2004, 11:47 AM   #33
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Tolkien

Well, I can't really say that Lord of the Rings has changed me. I read it when I was young (before the teen years), and I think it gave shape to the idea of nobility and self sacrifice. It was real to me, and I could see the beautiful things of our world fade like it did in Middle Earth.

I must say that it also got me hooked on fantasy...
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Old 08-31-2004, 12:08 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by sarimaarit
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Newly Deceased
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/sting.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: LOTR and your Weltanschauung

LOTR really saved me. I first read it when I was 12 or 13 and it didn't quite open to me then. But then when I was 14 I read it again and lo! a magic gate opened and led me to another world. That was really good, because I was having a hard time at school, I was bullied around etc and my days were misery. So I entered Tolkien's world and that was my hiding place, the only thing that kept me sane for the next two years.



</p>

If you make all ages about 2 years younger, I could have written that .......

It also nurtured an interest in language and meant I was about the only student in my cohort really enthusiastica bout the linguistics part of our studies! Also I started to appreciate trees more......

Gandalf's words about life and death changed my thinking on capital punishment.

" In Western Lands....." is associated for me with my mother's Sam-like and dauntless attitude to terminal cancer. Nuff said...
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Old 08-31-2004, 01:05 PM   #35
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This is a good thread to bring up again, 'specially for us newer BDers.

I agree with and recognise a lot of what's already been said here. Suffice to say, I can't imagine being without Tolkien. Even through the dark-ages of the 1990s when Tolkien was not cool I defended LOTR as my favourite book. It's been with me since I was 12 and as I've grown older I can see that a lot of the aspects I found within Tolkien semed to gel with and deepen pre-existing ideas or characteristics I had.

I was brought up on fairy stories and horrifying local folk tales, so I reckon it was only a matter of time before I discovered Tolkien. The first thing Tolkien inspired in me was the urge to read more fantasy, but it just did not match up, even though along the way I've discovered a handful of rare works which are wonderful. Probably due to me not being satisfied in the fiction I had read, I also read a lot about myths and legends, particularly in the British tradition. Leading on from this, I also developed a great interest in history and archaeology.

One thing I can certainly put down to Tolkien was my interest in language. Tolkien stimulated an unnoticed interest in linguistics and poetry which eventually culminated in me wanting to study English (even though I still think I would have been much better doing architecture or ancient history).

One of my parents constantly challenged all of us with discussions about politics, morals, philosophy and so on, and Tolkien deepened this questioning. Like the characters in ME, I don't have a specified religion, but I do have something which might be called faith, and I see not just right and wrong, but the 'grey' areas in between, as did Gandalf.

Tolkien hasn't influenced everything about me by a long way; there are many other things which have contributed to the way I think, but I can't deny the influence.
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Old 11-26-2004, 09:17 PM   #36
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...Up.
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Old 11-29-2004, 07:03 PM   #37
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Pipe I read the whole thread, but almost passed on replying...

...because I think that LotR had a deep effect on me, highly personal. But like one other person has posted, I think I recognized in the book a morality and an idealism that was already formed in me but longed for expression intellectually. That was satisfied upon reading, and confirmed upon various rereadings. I think that the book did have a strong positive effect on me.

I think the source of my preexisting worldview was the Bible, which I read quite a bit as a child, frequently on my own, not related to church or family requirements or expectations. I credit the Holy Spirit with speaking to me (to my spirit--no audible voices) often when I read the Bible, especially when meditating on it.

I read LotR first probably in about 8th grade (say at 13-14 years old). It was also a time of considerable Bible reading for me.
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Old 08-14-2005, 07:59 PM   #38
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This here thread being a perennial favorite of mine, up it comes. My latest update is that both Galadriel and Tom Bombadil (as in Bombadil Goes Boating, and chats with Farmer Maggot) have re-focused my view of (ready for this?) prayer and church planting. Yep. You never know what a good Faery-tale will give you a glimpse of....
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Old 08-14-2005, 08:11 PM   #39
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Helen, please do explain I love this topic, btw.

I have been back for the past couple of days and I am realizing again why I love the Downs so much.
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Old 08-14-2005, 08:24 PM   #40
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Delighted, Joy... thanks.

In "The Mirror of Galadriel", just before Frodo catches sight of Nenya, Galadriel describes how she is percieves the mind of the enemy, even as he strives to percieve her mind but cannot. The analogies/ applicability to spiritual warfare are pretty straightforward, and therefore the need for prayer is like Galadriel's vigilance-- to both protect and advance the kingdom, and protect Lothlorien. Lovely applicability. (Laurelindorinan-- Land of the valley of singing gold... Hmmm, worship. Fun!)

OK, on to Bombadil. Towards the end of Bombadil goes Boating is this section; I'll quote in full:

Quote:
Songs they had and merry tales the supping and the dancing;
Goodman Maggot there for all his belt was prancing,
Tom did a hornpipe when he was not quaffing,
daughters did the Springle-ring, goodwife did the laughing.

When others went to bed in hay, fern, or feather,
close in the inglenook they laid their heads together,
old Tom and Muddy-feet, swapping all the tidings
from Barrow-downs to Tower Hills: of walkings and of ridings;
of wheat-ear and barley-corn, of sowing and of reaping;
queer tales from Bree, and talk at smithy, mill, and cheaping;
rumours in whispering trees, south-wind in the larches,
tall Watchers by the Ford, Shadows on the marches.
I was struck by a sudden longing to **have** this; both the tight friendships, the merriment and celebration, and all the things-- pleasant and fearsome-- to talk about. And I realized that the first half-- songs, tales, dancing, laughing-- shows up in fellowship and celebration and worship, and the second half-- walkings, ridings, sowings, reapings, queer tales, talk, rumors, wind (!!!), watchers (!!!) and shadows (!!!) turns up in intercession and prayer, etc. This is all standard fare in the Kingdom.

Which brought several aspects of the new work into a sharp focus that otherwise would have been much fuzzier!
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