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Old 03-08-2011, 07:04 PM   #81
Morthoron
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Originally Posted by Dakęsîntrah View Post
Morthoron, the Kalevala is quite fascinating indeed.

However, are you aware of how many parallels I can glean from other ancient texts regarding "life-blood?"

Now when...and et cetera, ad infinitum, ad nauseam...

A sword may "speak" to Turin, not in the anthropomorphic sense, but, as an extension of his flaming spirit (Curufinwë), it is the innate "conscience" - just as your conscience does not "speak" to you anthropomorphically, it is that sense of instinct which is godlike, because everything subsists into the One, as the balance between Chaos and Order, boundary and limitlessness. The Creation narrative of the Ages. Therefore, Eru does "speak" to Turin via the divine energy within the blade. The blade is a product of the "theme" - the divine energy that sustains the cyclical balance - a product of chaos, the meteorite, providentially shaped by Eöl, the Dark.
Occam's razor, Dakęsîntrah, Occam's razor. Rather than bludgeon us with reams of addled arcana and mythopoeic minutiae, Tolkien, as a linguist, would tell you in the most basic terms that "life-blood" is an anglicized translation of a kenning transcribed by Lönnrot while it was sung (usually in duet with the singers alternating verses). The measured beats of the singing was enhanced in the Kalevala by it distinct alliteration and occasional kennings, separate but not unlike the Skaldic tradition. For instance, the Sampo, the mill that miraculously grinds out wealth, has a kenning "kirjokansi" (that is, "bright-covered" or "multi-colored").

In the case of his own text, Tolkien removes the kenning, and once again he rains on your hypothetical parade:

"Hail Gurthang! No lord or loyalty dost thou know, save the hand that wieldeth thee. From no blood wilt thou shrink. Wilt thou therefore take Túrin Turambar, wilt thou slay me swiftly?"

And from the blade rang a cold voice in answer: "Yes, I will drink thy blood gladly, that so I may forget the blood of Beleg my master, and the blood of Brandir slain unjustly. I will slay thee swiftly."


To think that Eru (or whatever Mother Goddess nonsensical addenda you wish to extrapolate) would say "I will drink thy blood gladly" is preposterous, and Turin rightly denotes the bloodthirsty nature of Gurthang, which was said to sing as it slew its victims. There is no divinity in the action, nor in the faithlessness of the sword -- a faithlessness emphasized several times in the story.

P.S. Besides, as Tolkien was an ardent Catholic, and since this whole long-winded and indulgent thread hinges on his religious beliefs in one way or another, then God (or his literary pseudo-counterpart, Eru), would not condone a suicide and certainly not facilitate the act through a weapon of sin. Even in a fantasy, it makes no sense.
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Last edited by Morthoron; 03-08-2011 at 10:39 PM. Reason: Had an epiphany
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:55 PM   #82
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Who, or what, was this Supreme Being? In what sense was He-She the Creator of the Universe and mankind?

Put out of your mind all those images of God as an Old Man with a beard. That’s just absurd. Consider instead the evidence from the world’s oldest civilisations – Egypt and Mesopotamia. Here, in the creation myths, the Great God, or Goddess, personifies the formative cosmos. He, or she, is identified with the death of the old cosmos; with the fall of the sky and the seeding of the earth; with the chaos of the primeval earth and waters; with the separation of the heavens from the earth; and with the new-born Sun, Moon, and stars. In short, the God and Goddess personify the entire myth of creation and the entire created Universe.
I would disagree.

It is thought, and I don't have my source (H. G. Wells?) that God is simply the tribe's Alpha Male and Alpha Female glorified. If we are walking back gods into prehistory, we may see that each small tribe of humans has a leader, selected for strength etc, who keeps the tribe surviving (poor leaders' tribes are eaten, and so do not live on to write history). As our hominids become more sentient, they began to remember, and tell stories of leaders deeds, both past and present. These stories of course are stretched, and over time (who even has a calendar?) become the basis of god's doings.

Clever leaders perpetuate mysticism, as it makes holding power much easier. And when one tribe meets another, this god belief can give an advantage to one tribe over the other. And so on.

In contrast, in Tolkien's world characters can look back as things were actually better in the past. Their ancestors were stronger, smarter, better. Cults could appear to worship these ancestors. A character that stays around too long, like Sauron who should have exited the stage in the Second Age, are thought to be gods by the Third Age inhabitants.

So I don't think that creation plays much of a part, except as one more thing to add to 'our' leader's resume.
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:59 PM   #83
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Bethberry, it's quite simply really. When religion is separated from myth, as it has been done by the Church over the centuries, it becomes propaganda; that which is pervaded by dogma. Dogma divides like a sword because it seeks to use political coercion to convert masses. Therefore, myth becomes "faith."
Leaving aside for now that word "Therefore", which I do not believe logically follows from the previous sentences nor leads to its own clause . . . .

I beg your pardon? How on earth (or Middle-earth) does this relate to my point? What relationship has "the Church" had to Buddhism?

I think I need to reiterate our discussion so far:

I responded to your post #62 in which you (apparently) quoted (no quotation marks) from Allan Alford to the effect that "the primary element in religion" [is] the Supreme Being (or God)".

I pointed out that this might not be the case, as Buddhism, which is widely regarded as a religion, has no supreme being. (If we can't agree on first principles, then there's little chance for understanding.)

You denied it was a religion, and called it an ethical philosophy and you accused some Buddhists of worshipping Buddha and ascribed to them the act of "practicing coercive dogma" as a result of this practice. I pointed out that this statement is incorrect: Buddhists do not worship the Buddha, and so they cannot have this coercive practice.

You have replied that this coercive practice comes from the Church, by which I assume you mean the Holy Roman and Catholic Church. But when has "the Church" ever had any leading or commanding role in the development of Buddhism? What's the connection? You're pulling things out of the air and yoking them together when they have no logical or historical relationship with each other.

My initial point was to suggest that not all your facts are agreed upon. That is, you make authoritative statements that in fact are not true and have not been proven true. They are truely not as authoritative as you assume them to be.

Your entire theory is like this: illogically linking ideas, making deductions that are untenable, making flying leaps of comparisons, and I might add not using words correctly. (In addition to the "therefore" I mentioned above, in post #63 you claim that "modern linguistics" defines myth assynonymous with lies, but this is incorrect: Linguistics deals with grammar, morphology, phonology. It is the discipline of lexicology that studies the specific practical meaning of words. )

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In prehistory, myth was not, nor ever was intended to be divided from ritual (that which is conceived by experience, ie, religion. It was merely a passion and resurrection play that mirrored the cyclical nature of the cosmos.
I have no clue what the first sentence here means. (Haven't you just tried to argue that religion is propaganda, and so therefore not "conceived by experience"?) Nor how it relates to my point that religions use rituals whereas philosophies do not.

This aside about the nature of religion does not relate closely to the topic of this thread nor to the more topical point which Morth and Nerwen make, but it seems emblematic to me of the difficulty in accepting your claims.
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Old 03-08-2011, 09:38 PM   #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakęsîntrah
However, are you aware of how many parallels I can glean from other ancient texts regarding "life-blood?" etc.
Look, I'm afraid you're doing it again. "Let me list every possible symbolic, mythological and pseudo-scientific conjectural association with such-and-such that I know of," is all very well as an exercise, but it's largely irrelevant when it comes to making a point in an argument. It is not enough to state that someone, somewhere, has linked meteoric iron with the life-blood of the gods, or whatever it is you're getting at here– what you need to show is a.) that Tolkien was making this association and b.) that he intended by this to show that Turin's sword spoke with the "voice" (actual or not, as you please) of Eru.

After six posts and over 9,000 words (literally, not just as an internet meme), you have not done this.

EDIT:X'd with Alatar and Bęthberry.
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Old 03-10-2011, 03:53 AM   #85
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Galadriel55,

I am sorry if I have confused you about putting Curufinwë in the parentheses. Spirit of Fire is a titular name; I was applying this metaphorically to Turin's personality.

Morthoron,

Occam's Razor? You do know the principle lacks divine fiat in the realm of scientific endeavor, right?
Believe me, I have considered starting from a succinct hypothesis and afterwards, theory, but there's this thing about working your way down from a sand-house roof.

Sand-house rooves collapse easily, but everyone likes to gather at the flat-top roof for tea parties and basking in the sun!

Everyone is reluctant to leave the sand-clad roof and join the couple new neighbors who sit in their stone-house with a stone floor foundation.

For the sake of Morthoron and most mainstream scholarship's obsession with Occam's Razor, the 14th century man of simplicity - I have used a parable.

Those who quit sipping tea on the sand-house may find a stone-house, but they must first leave the sand-house to get there. It takes quite a lot to come down from your presuppositions.

But those with a comprehensive theory must present comprehensive evidence. I believe I have done this so far. Now, the threads must get thinner and thinner as I round out my workable theory.

And of course its nice to know that "life-blood" is an anglicized translation of a kenning transcribed by Lönnrot while it was sung..."

But somehow you seem to miss the far more ancient texts which already mention "life-blood" - The Sumerian, Akkadian, and Egyptian texts all predate Tolkien's Norsemen, and your pal alatar's implied bias of Scandinavian supremacy:

"In contrast, in Tolkien's world characters can look back as things were actually better in the past. Their ancestors were stronger, smarter, better."

Yes, as time passed, humans progressed in knowledge; but with knowledge came more opportunity for corruption.

"Tolkien removes the kenning, and once again he rains on your hypothetical parade:"

Really? Seemingly throughout all my "addled arcana and mythopoeic minutiae" you have missed my explanation of the occultic ritual of drinking blood. Your quotes of Gurthang support my hypothesis in this instance quite well.
There are tons of ancient texts and depictions of victims who are massacred as the main centre of ritual sacrifice. Shall I present them to you? Here I must tend to resist the complex of evidence and give you simple. Hmm, I never did tend to like Hobbits as simple-folk. Totally oblivious to ruin and rebirth. It's a good thing Frodo learned to "just leave" for the "Undying Lands," that of complex immortality...

Nevertheless, the blade of Turin corresponds quite well, I think, as a divine medium of sacrifice, that made of meteorite, just as altars/temples of sacrifice were made of the same substance in some cases.

And again, Morthoron, you fancy to have Eru speaking anthropomorphically. The "speaking" is the functional/relational action of the sword that defines it; therefore, it "speaks." It has a spirit of its own. And "spirit" ought to be justly defined as that which is simply action defined by function/relation. And who might be the sword relating to in which it is thoroughly defined? Turin Turambar.

Gurthang is in many ways, the object of the tribal deities who consumate or manifest the Name of Eru, the Hidden One in physical locality; and blood sacrifices to them mirror the cosmic interplay that is Eru.

Tolkien was aware of the distinction between the Biblical Hidden YHWH and the manifest tribal god El Elyon.

Bethberry, if you make the claim that something isn't logical, please be logical and offer supplementary evidence for it. If we wish to talk about grammar, then so be it. But Morthoron would like you to apply Occam's Razor first, please.

The "Church" example was intended to be a separate illustration from Buddhism. But tell me, what do you have in Buddhism that are the near equivalent of "churches?" (Without going back to the Anglo-Saxon etymology of "God" and "church").

"(If we can't agree on first principles, then there's little chance for understanding.)"

That's a logical fallacy. Why? Because your presuppositions are the root cause of your first, or second principles, and so on.

"Buddhists do not worship the Buddha, and so they cannot have this coercive practice."

As I have said before, "faith" is only a byproduct of religion when dogma seeps through. So, who do Buddhists put their "faith" in?

Let me see if your can counter the paradox of faith and reason.

"...in post #63 you claim that "modern linguistics" defines myth assynonymous with lies, but this is incorrect..."

Incorrect assumption. I was referring to modern field of linguistics studying the grammar, morphology and phonology in ancient myth texts with the aim of discerning meaning and consistency between historical text and archaeomythology.

Furthermore, cosmomythology rarely involved practical pursuits in meaning.

"I have no clue what the first sentence here means."

I'm trying to help you.

"Haven't you just tried to argue that religion is propaganda?"

You are confused again. I am not bashing religion; only when it is filtered through coercive "faith" systems. True religio-myth is based upon experience via reason.

"...use rituals whereas philosophies do not."

You must have missed the etymology of the word "ritual." Philosophies are founded upon reason based on experience.

Nerwen,

It is hard for one to really talk to someone who: claims someone is spouting out "pseudo-scientific conjectural association" - when in fact the one with this hasty conclusion, I dare say, has barely ventured into thoroughly testing the claims. Your reply is too soon, judging by this standard.

"...what you need to show is a.) that Tolkien was making this association..."

Do you honestly even care why 1) Tolkien even dared to associate Gurthang with meteorite? And 2) the multiple associations with blood sacrifice to the blade? I would suggest doing an extensive study of ancient near eastern cosmic ritual with fallen meteorite. Hey, and you even have the Islamic Ka'aba Meccans to speak about their "Black Stone"!

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Old 03-10-2011, 06:49 AM   #86
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and your pal alatar's implied bias of Scandinavian supremacy:
Huh? And I didn't even know Morthoron was in reality Pallando.

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Quote:
"In contrast, in Tolkien's world characters can look back as things were actually better in the past. Their ancestors were stronger, smarter, better."
Yes, as time passed, humans progressed in knowledge; but with knowledge came more opportunity for corruption.
Sure. My point is that when you are moving back into prehistory, please do not forget to consider anthropology and biology.

Quote:
There are tons of ancient texts and depictions of victims who are massacred as the main centre of ritual sacrifice. Shall I present them to you? Here I must tend to resist the complex of evidence and give you simple. Hmm, I never did tend to like Hobbits as simple-folk. Totally oblivious to ruin and rebirth. It's a good thing Frodo learned to "just leave" for the "Undying Lands," that of complex immortality...
Also note that some instances of 'blood sacrifices' are one tribe slandering another.
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:40 AM   #87
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[....Snip....]Really? Seemingly throughout all my "addled arcana and mythopoeic minutiae" you have missed my explanation of the occultic ritual of drinking blood. Your quotes of Gurthang support my hypothesis in this instance quite well.
I don't believe I "missed the explanation"; rather, I ignored the superfluity and got to the point. You implied it was Eru's voice speaking through the divine metal of the blade. I proved quite conclusively how that could not be the case. And in a much more succinct manner.

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[...snip...]And again, Morthoron, you fancy to have Eru speaking anthropomorphically. The "speaking" is the functional/relational action of the sword that defines it; therefore, it "speaks." It has a spirit of its own. And "spirit" ought to be justly defined as that which is simply action defined by function/relation. And who might be the sword relating to in which it is thoroughly defined? Turin Turambar.
Ummm...no, Dak, I don't "fancy to have Eru speaking anthropomorphically" -- as a matter of fact, I don't believe Eru spoke at all. The Elves of that time could imbue their spirit into an item, and so could a Maia such as Sauron; hence, the Silmarils and the One Ring had a semblance of life (not actual life), just as Anglachel/Gurthang had in its cold blade the spirit of Eol, dark and full of malice. Melian sees that right off. She doesn't say "Hey, that's Eru's benevolent aura eminating from that ebon blade". No, Melian the Maia, who would certainly know Eru on an interpersonal level, says explicitly:

"There is malice in this sword. The dark heart of the smith still dwells in it. It will not love the hand it serves, neither will it abide with you long."

No Eru. No divinely wrought blade. Tolkien removes such inferences from the Kalevala altogether. Tolkien certainly wouldn't condone suicide, an act of desperation and a mortal sin in Catholicism, and he certainly wouldn't have Eru acting as the instrument of suicide.

All the rest of your lengthy exposition is mere conjecture on your part. Unless you can quote Tolkien directly in that regard, it remains "addled arcana and mythopoeic minutiae".

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Bethberry, if you make the claim that something isn't logical, please be logical and offer supplementary evidence for it. If we wish to talk about grammar, then so be it. But Morthoron would like you to apply Occam's Razor first, please.
Simplicity, particularly in a forum discussion, is divine, Dak. When one starts meandering down lengthy corridors of obscure research and starts typing thesis papers for a cultural anthropology class, one loses the reader and the gist of the entire discussion.
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:39 AM   #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dak
Galadriel55,

I am sorry if I have confused you about putting Curufinwë in the parentheses. Spirit of Fire is a titular name; I was applying this metaphorically to Turin's personality.
F.Y.I.,"Curufinwë" does not mean "Spirit of Fire" at all. It is Fëanor's other name: "Curu (skill, skilful) + Finwë (his father's name).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dak
Nerwen,

It is hard for one to really talk to someone who: claims someone is spouting out "pseudo-scientific conjectural association" - when in fact the one with this hasty conclusion, I dare say, has barely ventured into thoroughly testing the claims. Your reply is too soon, judging by this standard.
By "pseudoscientific" I refer to what is to be found at the other end of those links you provided. If you object to the expression, I will change it to "quasi-scientific". That stuff is very, ah, let us say, alternative. Not to mention quite un-testable, at least in the case of the neo-Velikovskyan astronomy links. To be fair, I suppose it might be at least theoretically possible– although the evidence has certainly eluded mainstream science– to prove that the ancient Egyptians were really nuclear physicists. It might also be possible to test some of the claims made for "Etherium", "Aulterra", and the other interesting collections of pills in jars that are being sold at the end of your third link (although it seems the FDA has not seen fit to do so as yet).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dak
Do you honestly even care why 1) Tolkien even dared to associate Gurthang with meteorite? And 2) the multiple associations with blood sacrifice to the blade? I would suggest doing an extensive study of ancient near eastern cosmic ritual with fallen meteorite. Hey, and you even have the Islamic Ka'aba Meccans to speak about their "Black Stone"!
And I would suggest you provide reasonable proof that J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of the text in question, intended these associations– including your latest with the Ka'aba, of all things! I have asked you for this several times now. Unless you can do this, no piece of folklore you invoke can logically support your claim in any way whatever.

Look, Dak, as with tumhalad before you, you're just saying the same thing over and over– while– wilfully or not I couldn't say– misinterpreting or just plain ignoring the points made by others. It is getting more than a little tiresome, and I am at a loss as to what you're trying to accomplish.
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:04 PM   #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron
Simplicity, particularly in a forum discussion, is divine
Morth, you don't suppose that Occam's razor is doing any sacrificial blood-letting, do you? Dare one suggest that the razor might be of meteorite origin?


Quote:
Originally Posted by alatar
My point is that when you are moving back into prehistory, please do not forget to consider anthropology and biology.
Yes, and please do not make claims about religion and mythology that are Euro-centric.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerwen
I would suggest you provide reasonable proof that J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of the text in question, intended these associations
That's probably an erroneous presupposition getting in the way of first principles, Nerwen. This Cryptic Aura has been warned about hers and so she's going off to meditate upon them.

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But tell me, what do you have in Buddhism that are the near equivalent of "churches?" (Without going back to the Anglo-Saxon etymology of "God" and "church").
I don't have anything in Buddhism as I've never contributed to any of its texts or oral traditions.

You know folks, I hesitate to say this, but this thread looks like it is turning into another canonical discussion.
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:26 PM   #90
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You know folks, I hesitate to say this, but this thread looks like it is turning into another canonical discussion.
Not so much canon as cannon, as in fodder.
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:55 PM   #91
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'There's glory for you!'

'I don't know what you mean by "glory",' Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't — till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'

'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

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Old 03-10-2011, 02:14 PM   #92
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'There's glory for you!'

'I don't know what you mean by "glory",' Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't — till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'

'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

~Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
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Old 05-14-2011, 11:21 PM   #93
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Huh?

My God, people...I think Tolkien would appreciate this discussion about as much as he appreciated hippies making LOTR into something other then what he originally intended. Granted, Tolkien's work is intellectual, but it is not intellectualism.

One of the biggest tragedies is approaching his works or ending his works in something other than the faerie that birthed it. We all appreciate the in depth discussion (I certainly love the finer points of Tolkien) but some of this is insane. His works were meant to be left somewhat open ended. Tolkien himself said,

"A precise account, with drawings and other aids, of Dwarvish smith-practices, Hobbit-pottery, Numerorean medicine and philosophy, and so on would interfere with the narrative [of the Lord of the Rings], or swell the Appendices. So too, would complete grammars and lexical collection of the languages. Any attempt at bogus 'completeness' would reduce the thing to a 'model', a kind of imaginary dolls house of pseudo-history. Much hidden and unexhibited work is needed to give the nomenclature a 'feel' of verisimilitude..."

There was a never a sequel to the Return of the King or a detailed look into life in the Uttermost West after the Third Age (and only some glimpses in his other works) for good reason: the minute you try to define (or intellectualize too much) eternity, you lose it. Tolkien stayed just on the borders (or beyond for short amounts of time) of faerie or heaven or The West or whatever else you want to call it, because he understood this. It is in the midst of the struggles of life in Middle Earth that we hear rumor of the Light in the West, the Undying Lands, or we encounter briefly those who have dwelt in the Light, that stir our heart for greater and eternal things. Eternity is in our hearts, but we cannot comprehend it. That is the desire that Tolkien awakens in us. The pain of loss, the greatest joys, the deepest longings. His stories are littered with characters that embody these, and we CANNOT trade that in for intellectualism...although it is hard after so many years of being a Tolkien fan and longing for Middle Earth and the West myself...the heart must always remain central in Tolkien, even if it is painful and at other times, joyful beyond words. Intellectualizing is not a substitute. We quickly lose the spirit that Tolkien imparted in his writings. The simplicity of Tolkien is his genius, the ability to cut straight to our hearts.
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Old 05-15-2011, 09:30 AM   #94
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Originally Posted by leapofberen View Post
"A precise account, with drawings and other aids, of Dwarvish smith-practices, Hobbit-pottery, Numerorean medicine and philosophy, and so on would interfere with the narrative [of the Lord of the Rings], or swell the Appendices. So too, would complete grammars and lexical collection of the languages. Any attempt at bogus 'completeness' would reduce the thing to a 'model', a kind of imaginary dolls house of pseudo-history. Much hidden and unexhibited work is needed to give the nomenclature a 'feel' of verisimilitude..."
I'll second what Leap says above, as well as the quote.

I'd add, though, that different people find enjoyment in different aspects of Tolkien's works. There are a fair number of people posting here who approach things from an intellectual perspective. Me, I'm a role player. In attempting to live in Tolkien's world, I have to fill in the gaps somewhat, but don't any of the filling in seriously.

I'd like to chase the feel, values and culture of a given Tolkien nation, knowing that each culture is different, and different people will have different interpretations. I've worked with others who appreciate realistic interpretations of periods weapons and armor. There are seemingly some who care a lot about getting hair and eye color right.

I'm a bit dubious about taking stuff unpublished in Tolkien's lifetime seriously when it conflicts with or reduces the feel of the published works. His vision for his reality was constantly changing, yet some embrace the unpublished work as canonical.

I'd be dubious about declaring any interpretation as correct, or thinking adversarial debate constructive in finding a best and final canon answer. "Much hidden and unexhibited work is needed to give the nomenclature a 'feel' of verisimilitude." If so, perhaps the hidden and unexhibited was supposed to remain hidden and unexhibited.

I'm tempted to suggest the idea expressed by another famous fictional wizard. 'Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.' That takes it to far. Tolkien shouldn't stay entirely behind the curtain. Still, some of the fantasy is done with smoke and mirrors. There is supposed to be smoke and mirrors. Precisely locating the placement of the smoke bombs and mirror placement helps how? Dragging the wizard out from behind the curtain might not be entirely optimal.

Of course, I do it too, spelling out in too much detail why I'll embrace this interpretation of magic or that extrapolation of elven culture. I just don't try to claim mine are the only possible interpretations.
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Old 05-15-2011, 12:31 PM   #95
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My God, people...I think Tolkien would appreciate this discussion about as much as he appreciated hippies making LOTR into something other then what he originally intended.
Maybe... but I think he would have appreciated the spirited and well-argued defense of his work against esoteric crackpottery made by some of my colleagues here. (And I'm sure he would have been positively delighted at seeing Morth, of all people, stress his catholicism!)

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Eternity is in our hearts, but we cannot comprehend it. That is the desire that Tolkien awakens in us. The pain of loss, the greatest joys, the deepest longings. [...] .the heart must always remain central in Tolkien, even if it is painful and at other times, joyful beyond words. Intellectualizing is not a substitute.
Agreed in so far as I'd say that if Tolkien's work didn't move our hearts, all discussion of it would be an idle (if possibly still amusing) exercise - which, by the way, is true of all great works of art IMO. On the other hand, I don't see why, being so moved, we shouldn't apply our intellect (which is not the same as intellectualism) to discussing how and why it moves us.

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I'd add, though, that different people find enjoyment in different aspects of Tolkien's works. [...]
I'd be dubious about declaring any interpretation as correct, or thinking adversarial debate constructive in finding a best and final canon answer.
[...]
Of course, I do it too, spelling out in too much detail why I'll embrace this interpretation of magic or that extrapolation of elven culture. I just don't try to claim mine are the only possible interpretations.
I don't think anybody else here was seriously making that claim. That's the beauty of Tolkien's work world - it appeals to so many people on so many levels, whether they be roleplayers or textual scholars, linguists, theologians or fan-fiction writers or whatsoever. Yet, without you thinking you're right and trying to convince me I'm wrong, what's the point of having a discussion and a forum for it? That's not saying we'll ever arrive at a 'best and final canon answer' - thank Eru, Middle-earth is big enough for all of us to be wrong.
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:30 PM   #96
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blantyr and leapofberen both–

The thing is, that when a person has made definite claims regarding the "true meaning" of a writer's work, I think it quite reasonable that others may wish to challenge those claims, and point out the lack of evidence for them. In this case, the claims are in my opinion far-fetched indeed, and seem to me to have more to do with the poster's own intense preoccupation with some sort of quasi-Gnostic mysticism.

Is Dak free to hold those views? Of course. Are you two free to hold whatever opinions you may hold? Of course. But when a person states a point of view or a belief over and over and over, I consider it a fair assumption that that person does in fact wish to promote it. He should, anyway, be prepared to accept that others may put up counter-arguments. If A is free to state an opinion, B is free to do so also, even if that opinion is in conflict with A's. (To do Dak justice, I don't think– though I may have missed it– that, when things started to go against him, he fell back on claiming that he was just saying what he thought, not trying to push his views on anyone else etc., etc.)

Also– what Pitch said. It's a discussion forum, all right? You two may not approve of the practice of critiquing and analysing books (or films, or paintings) altogether and feel that it's a form of "breaking a thing to find out what it is". Well and good. But you must admit it is a fairly widespread one, yes?
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Old 05-16-2011, 10:34 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by leapofberen View Post
One of the biggest tragedies is approaching his works or ending his works in something other than the faerie that birthed it. We all appreciate the in depth discussion (I certainly love the finer points of Tolkien) but some of this is insane. His works were meant to be left somewhat open ended. Tolkien himself said,

"A precise account, with drawings and other aids, of Dwarvish smith-practices, Hobbit-pottery, Numerorean medicine and philosophy, and so on would interfere with the narrative [of the Lord of the Rings], or swell the Appendices. So too, would complete grammars and lexical collection of the languages. Any attempt at bogus 'completeness' would reduce the thing to a 'model', a kind of imaginary dolls house of pseudo-history. Much hidden and unexhibited work is needed to give the nomenclature a 'feel' of verisimilitude..."
One thing I've learned in all my years of debating Tolkien cosmology, esthetics, chronology, etc. is never trust a Tolkien comment or take it out of context, because he is often contradictory. Take the Tolkien quote you used above. For an author who supposedly claimed that "Much hidden and unexhibited work is needed to give the nomenclature a 'feel' of verisimilitude" certainly didn't follow his own proviso.

Most authors write a book and move on; Tolkien, however, left enough written background material so that his son, Christopher, could edit and publish The Silmarillion, The Unfinished Tales, the twelve-volume History of Middle-earth and The Children of Húrin. Add to that The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien and various other supplementary publications, and it is quite evident that Tolkien did not blithely rely on "smoke and mirrors" when creating his universe; on the contrary, he expanded, tinkered and continued revising his work until the end of his life. The depth and breadth of his singular, obsessive work leads me to one conclusion: had Tolkien lived another decade, we'd have several other volumes of Elvish minutiae to delve into.
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Old 05-16-2011, 10:53 PM   #98
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Also, leap, I see that in your other posts you have in fact put forward "canon"-based analytical arguments, and have gone so far as to cite HoME in support of them. A double standard, surely?
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Old 05-17-2011, 01:43 AM   #99
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@ Pitchwife: I like the way you think. Very well balanced. I enjoy the creative discussions.

@ Nerwen: You sound mad. Of course, what I post is only what I think. I just love to explore the different aspects of Tolkien with others, and if you felt I was trying to proselytize, please forgive me. As it is a forum, I didn't think of reiterating my position of "I think" and "I feel." My natural take in creative discussions is to build on what each says and see where it takes us, not to hurt feelings or offend. Although it happens, regrettably. I think I found one post especially frustrating, which set me off. Yes, I can see that I used some "definite" language. Oops... I am sorry if you were offended or otherwise. It was not my intent to make claims that others feel are intrusive or "definite." Of course, that doesn't mean we don't/can't feel differently...and feel strongly. I appreciate what you said, and I can see where you see that it might seem I am trying to "promote" my own way of thinking. Probably my word choice, my bad. Nonetheless, it seems that most of us on here have "intense preoccupations" anyhow, judging by a lot of the posts. That isn't a bad thing necessarily, in any case.

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blantyr and leapofberen both–

The thing is, that when a person has made definite claims regarding the "true meaning" of a writer's work, I think it quite reasonable that others may wish to challenge those claims, and point out the lack of evidence for them. In this case, the claims are in my opinion far-fetched indeed, and seem to me to have more to do with the poster's own intense preoccupation with some sort of quasi-Gnostic mysticism.

Is Dak free to hold those views? Of course. Are you two free to hold whatever opinions you may hold? Of course. But when a person states a point of view or a belief over and over and over, I consider it a fair assumption that that person does in fact wish to promote it. He should, anyway, be prepared to accept that others may put up counter-arguments. If A is free to state an opinion, B is free to do so also, even if that opinion is in conflict with A's
I haven't countered or stated anything over and over yet, only expressed how I felt once in this particular thread (and how I thought Tolkien might feel too...whoops.) And of course you are free to challenge if you wish, I don't think I stated otherwise. Totally prepared. Gnosticism can be such a broad thing with many different schools of thought...not sure what you are getting at there. And I don't like breaking things...but its all good. Also, please explain the double standard...I am not sure if I understand what you are getting at...would like to know though. You can message me if you feel its more personal and drifts too much from the thread. I don't want the thread to turn into something other than it was intended. Thanks for your feedback, I enjoy being around so many people who are passionate and knowledgeable about Tolkien and his works.

@ Morthoron: I can't say I disagree with anything you said here. I too wish Tolkien had lived another decade (or two) and put out much more material. I am aware that Tolkien was quite obsessive and often, contradictory. What a great man.


I remember reaching the end of Tolkien's most prominent works, particularly The Hobbit, LOTR and the Silmarillion, and feeling so sad that it was over. But they changed my life. My only recourse was to eventually go back and start over and read it with fresh eyes and heart again. The simplicity (the heart) of Tolkien is what kept things alive and real for me, and I think that is what I am getting at in my initial post...though I understand how others might have interpreted what I said for worse. It is ALWAYS sad (and happy) for me at the end of his stories. Like The Return when Tolkien writes,
"And he sang to them, now in the elven-tongue, now in the speech of the West, until their hearts, wounded with sweet words, overflowed, and their joy was like swords, and they passed in though out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness."
The Field of Cormallen scene. That's it right there. So for me no amount of debating or dissecting does the trick...just going back again and again...that is just me though, at the moment. Tolkien was a master of Faerie story, and I just feel it needs to be...handled with care, "lest the gates should be shut, and the keys be lost." That's just me. Though I LOVE the debate and dissecting too.

I think that is what I was getting at in my initial post. To me, Middle Earth was, and is real. I think it is for all of us, in our hearts. Yet I am still holding out within the design that it really is tangible.

Ok, so that was my heart to heart in what could be a hostile situation...*sigh*oh well. thanks for your feedbacks, I appreciate it.

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Old 05-17-2011, 03:49 AM   #100
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leapofberen– My comments about "stating things over and over" and about "quasi-gnostic mysticism" refer to Dakęsîntrah, not to you, in case that was the source of your confusion.

If not, well, I thought I was being straightforward, but here it is another way. You jumped into this thread and started attacking us in what I can only call a pretty darned hostile fashion for arguing with Dakęsîntrah's interpretation of Tolkien's work, and especially for asking him to provide evidence for his remarkable claims. This is because, for you, this is "intellectualising" and destroys the book's illusion of reality. I mean, what can I say? Yes, leap we like to discuss books in our book discussion forum. Further, we like to discuss them as books, that is, as works of fiction. Again, this is a pretty normal thing to do, and I think you were quite out of line getting angry about it.

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And of course you are free to challenge if you wish, I don't think I stated otherwise.
Ahem. Maybe I'm totally out, leap, but it seems to me the entirety of your first post was you expressing your anger and contempt at the analytical, evidence-based style of debating used by myself and others.

By the way, I said you had a double-standard because I see you have yourself argued in this way on another thread. That's a minor point however.
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:10 AM   #101
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It occurs to me that we are perhaps both missing something. leap and blantyr, how much of this thread did you read before you posted? Do you have any idea what we were arguing about?
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:32 AM   #102
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It occurs to me that we are perhaps both missing something. leap and blantyr, how much of this thread did you read before you posted? Do you have any idea what we were arguing about?
I had been skimming it. I have my own personal views on the subject. A creator might be judged by his creation. A judgmental god might well be judged according to the same standard that he judges others by. If a god, through inaction, allows gross evil to continue, some of the responsibility for that evil belongs to the god.

I might even extrapolate such thoughts into The Lord of the Rings. I see divine influence as well as the free will of the 'children' effecting the story. To me it is proper that powers make it at least possible for the children to find a good resolution.

But I also see a basic difference between the morality and values of the First and Second Age stories, unpublished in Tolkien's lifetime, and TH and LotR. The former works seem coupled with the old medieval epic tragic traditions, which hold that the greed and pride of the great leads to disaster for everybody. (One might not be able to criticize the nobility, but one could make up stories about heroes and gods which show one's opinion of bad lords.) TH and LotR are far more Christian in portraying benevolent if hidden divine assistance guiding history and preventing the worst tragedies.

I was and remain dubious about applying study of First and Second age divinity and morality to the Third Age. The basic themes of the works are different. In order to help my own suspension of disbelief, I'd like to think that everyone immortal learned from their mistakes in the First and Second Ages, that they operated with different goals, rules and methods in the Third Age. Instead of sending armies or wielding great magics to reshape the world, they'd send five wizards with instructions to be subtle. Magic and intervention became must less blatant. The divine powers and the wisest of the Wise were capable of making mistakes, recognizing mistakes, learning and growing.

(Which is in good part why Goldie walked away from Al. Goldie is a minstrel who knows all the old songs. Prolonging conflict out of a sense of pride just isn't a good idea.)

All of the above opinions, I think, are viable, but I'm not going to attempt to prove that my way of looking at things is the same as Tolkien's, or that my interpretation of the story is more plausible than many others. Myth and legend might properly be like that, and be treated like that.

Anyway, I'm far more a fan of TH and LotR than the First and Second Age writings. I have an emotional and perhaps irrational dislike for the academic perspective that holds the First and Second Age stuff as canon, as cleanly trumping interpretation of the Third Age stuff. As the strict Old Testament God of laws and judgement morphed into the more loving and forgiving God of the New, I see Tolkien's divinities as learning, growing and changing too.
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:44 AM   #103
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blantyr–

No, I mean did you understand that in the latter part of this thread we have been arguing, not about the original subject, but about Dakęsîntrah's
claims regarding the supposed esoteric symbolism of... um... anything and everything? I ask, because neither of you sounds as if you do.
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:59 AM   #104
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I have an emotional and perhaps irrational dislike for the academic perspective that holds the First and Second Age stuff as canon, as cleanly trumping interpretation of the Third Age stuff.
And who exactly do you think has been putting forward this position?
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Old 05-17-2011, 09:42 AM   #105
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And who exactly do you think has been putting forward this position?
I have spent a good deal of time on the Fourth Turning web site, a forum that discusses a modern theory of cyclical history. (Little to do with Dakęsîntrah's ancient cyclical perspective. These cycles last about four score and seven years.) I learned there to discuss ideas rather than name names. I'd be pleased to discuss ideas, but am not inclined to call people out, to turn things personal and partisan.

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blantyr–

No, I mean did you understand that in the latter part of this thread we have been arguing, not about the original subject, but about Dakęsîntrah's
claims regarding the supposed esoteric symbolism of... um... anything and everything? I ask, because neither of you sounds as if you do.
No, I sort of glazed out with his first two long posts. He went on too much of a tangent for me. I guess it was enough of a tangent that the academic perspective would have to dominate.

I can see something of a cyclical pattern in Tolkien if I squint and tilt my head sideways. The Fourth Turning cycle theory suggests a major crisis every four score and seven years. Tolkien has a crisis at the end of each Age. Both might be viewed better as a spiral than a circle, as at the end of each crisis the culture has gown and adjusted. Rather than return to where one once was one ends up standing on the shoulders of the giants that navigated the crisis. Toynbee in A Study of History presents another cyclical perspective, of civilizations that rise and fall. Huntington's Clash of Civilizations works on a similar scale.

But these are historical rather than mythic cycles. None of them apply very well to Tolkien. Way tangential.

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Old 05-17-2011, 10:19 AM   #106
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I learned there to discuss ideas rather than name names. I'd be pleased to discuss ideas, but am not inclined to call people out, to turn things personal and partisan.
As a matter of polite discourse, it is always a good thing to avoid ad hominem attacks, and simply focus on the topic at hand--but if you're going to jump into an argument (or discussion, if "argument" sounds divisive rather than logical to you), it helps to know what ideas you're debating against... and the whole thread is a matter of public record. While it's laudable to avoid saying "Downer X is a blithering idiot" and "Downer Y is clearly an idiot," there is nothing wrong at all with saying "Downer A, Downer B, and Downer C all seem to be arguing from an intellectualist perspective--insert quotations here--and I think they're missing the boat with regards to the proper spirit of Tolkien--insert quotation from Tolkien here."

Debate works on the ability to refer to the person you are debating--not as an object of attack, but as the one who is articulating the argument you arguing against. If you don't think that you can charitably tell whose posts we ought to be keeping in mind when reading your arguments, it's very difficult to have any sort of precise idea what it is you're putting forward, since what you put forward is directly tied to what you're putting it against.
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Old 05-17-2011, 11:07 AM   #107
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@ Pitchwife: I like the way you think. Very well balanced.
...and apt to get me suspected in Werewolf for being wishy-washy.

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@ Nerwen: You sound mad.
No she doesn't - she's the voice of reason itself, only a little bit grumpy at times.

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You jumped into this thread and started attacking us in what I can only call a pretty darned hostile fashion for arguing with Dakęsîntrah's interpretation of Tolkien's work, and especially for asking him to provide evidence for his remarkable claims.
Actually, I don't see all that anger and hostility in leap's post - s/he was critical of the previous discussion, to be sure, but didn't make a hostile impression on me. I may of course not have gotten some nuances of language, not being a native speaker etc.

leap and blantyr, if you're interested in a discussion of the pros and cons of what I think you call intellectualizing, you might like to have a look at this thread.
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Old 05-17-2011, 01:41 PM   #108
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Actually, Pitch, I think to start a post - particularly your first ever post on a message board with "My God, people..." followed by an attack on posters you don't know and a reprimand that they are going against what the Professor would have appreciated, is hostile and frankly when I read it I assumed the poster was a troll.

Apart from saying stuff that just don't bear scrutiny (Tolkien did start a sequel to ROTK and those aren't the reasons he abandoned it - he simply thought it would be depressing and not worth doing) there was the diktat on how the work should be taken and describing not doing it the poster's way as one of the "biggest tragedies"....

Tolkien is very far from a simplistic writer - the more I read him the more I aprreciate the depth and complexity of his work, the care given to give characters an ideolect appropriate to their history.
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Old 05-17-2011, 02:29 PM   #109
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OK, Mith, if you put it that way, I see what you mean - but if leap behaved like a troll, s/he was being an independently thinking and articulate Olog with strong feelings about Tolkien that I don't fully agree with but can sort of sympathize with, and the ability to express them, and I don't see why there shouldn't be room for a few such specimens in this large zoo of excentric personalities, even if they don't arrive fully house-trained. To be honest, I rather liked leap's first post - which doesn't mean I have to agree with each and every statement therein.

But maybe, since I wasn't involved in the original discussion (although I followed it with interest), I should shut up now and not get even further off topic than we already are.
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Old 05-17-2011, 02:58 PM   #110
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Pitch, I think we are a "broad church", and we have many articulate, independent thinkers and surely we all care passionately about Tolkien else we wouldn't be here. If we were a bunch of sheep we possibly wouldn't have minded being told the error of our ways.... but I'm done before the Skwerls arrive.
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Old 05-17-2011, 03:58 PM   #111
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Anyway, I'm far more a fan of TH and LotR than the First and Second Age writings. I have an emotional and perhaps irrational dislike for the academic perspective that holds the First and Second Age stuff as canon, as cleanly trumping interpretation of the Third Age stuff. As the strict Old Testament God of laws and judgement morphed into the more loving and forgiving God of the New, I see Tolkien's divinities as learning, growing and changing too.
When Tolkien made his son Christopher his literary executor, he was implicit in his wish to have 1st and 2nd Age material published; as a matter of fact, it was certainly Tolkien's hope that The Silmarillion, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, would be published in his lifetime. Unfortunately, based on the vagueries of the publishing business, a sequel for The Hobbit (ie., The Lord of the Rings) overrode Tolkien's ardent wishes that his earlier histories be brought to light.

Therefore, your wish to adjudicate a separation of canonicity regarding such material is a matter of personal taste and not one necessarily held by most of the posters here, or of the majority of Tolkien scholars, for that matter. The ties that bind the new and the old were clearly necessary to Tolkien, who was vehement that the publishers include so much of his ancient history in the appendices of LoTR. In addition, references to the Ring of Barahir, Morgoth, Eärendil, Varda (Elbereth Gilthoniel), Gondolin, etc., make it clear that Tolkien purposefully set about to have the Third Age merely another epoch in a grander, more ancient tale of Middle-earth.
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Old 05-17-2011, 04:19 PM   #112
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As a matter of polite discourse, it is always a good thing to avoid ad hominem attacks, and simply focus on the topic at hand--but if you're going to jump into an argument (or discussion, if "argument" sounds divisive rather than logical to you), it helps to know what ideas you're debating against... and the whole thread is a matter of public record. While it's laudable to avoid saying "Downer X is a blithering idiot" and "Downer Y is clearly an idiot," there is nothing wrong at all with saying "Downer A, Downer B, and Downer C all seem to be arguing from an intellectualist perspective--insert quotations here--and I think they're missing the boat with regards to the proper spirit of Tolkien--insert quotation from Tolkien here."
There is nothing wrong with the above style of discussion. Still, I don't see it as the only possible style of discussion.

I don't know that any of us ought to consider ourselves keepers and defenders of the proper spirit of Tolkien. He wrote different works in different styles at different points in his career. I don't know that there is any single 'proper' spirit. I feel it is art, and that beauty in art comes to a great extent from the perspective of the observer. Even if there was a proper spirit of Tolkien, different aspects of it would resonate in different readers. If five blind hobbits were to stumble into an Oliphant, and we were to find ourselves involved in a rope / snake / fan / tree / wall sort of discourse, you might find me off the the side practicing my face palms. Tolkien's works are as complex and multi-faceted as any Oliphant.

And I fear I for one will base my perspectives from the art rather than academic sources. If I believe the magical conflict more blatant in the First Age than the Third, I'll work from examples rather than trying to access academic works looking for an appropriate quote. I've read and reread The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings often enough that my originals are falling apart, but I'm not into the First and Second Age stuff, let alone any of the professor's notes or letters.

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leap and blantyr, if you're interested in a discussion of the pros and cons of what I think you call intellectualizing, you might like to have a look at this thread.
The text was interesting and worthy. I can see how the thread ended with the cartoon, though.

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Old 05-17-2011, 05:24 PM   #113
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There are academic works on any issue that are paper-dry and "academic" in the worst sense of the term, strangers to life or literature. There are also idiosyncratic interpretations led by self-righteous hot-heads that maybe inspired but will leave most of the other people quite empty-handed - and there are emotional & individualistic viewpoints that serve mainly as spiritual masturbation for the one who writes them...

But many academic texts are also profound, thought for, learned, inspiring and uplifting with all the supporting "evidence" and learning behind it, not to say that they can rally make a difference. There are also some more or less home-spawn "exotic-theories" that can actually affect many people and make them learn to see things in new ways - and at their best, even the purely personal and emotional views can open up new worlds for others to explore and to re-adjust their minds.


So let's not say academic discussion is bad as such, or that not having footnotes is bad, or that disagreeing is bad in itself.

Disagreement is the nurturing force of enlightenment - when it is argued about and not fought over with guns or fists - or bad rhetoric...

I think it a stupid or immature attitude when I hear people saying that they hate / love either classical music, hip-hop, techno, heavy rock, punk, mainstream pop, whatever... You can do any of those astonishingly great or blatantly bad. A lousy interpretation of Vivaldi is no better than commercially driven punk-rock. Dead Kennedys, Bach and The Who can all be good, while it is clear that Justin Bieber and Francis Goya mock music and those bling-guys are a disgrace to hip-hop...
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Old 05-17-2011, 05:52 PM   #114
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To be honest, I rather liked leap's first post - which doesn't mean I have to agree with each and every statement therein.
Well, that's your opinion, Pitch. Mine is that he was most extraordinarily rude.

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I learned there to discuss ideas rather than name names. I'd be pleased to discuss ideas, but am not inclined to call people out, to turn things personal and partisan.
My point is that, in fact, nobody (not even the thread starter) was maintaining the point of view you seem ascribe to us collectively. You see, sometimes names do help, blantyr. I also think it's a good idea, in general, not to leap blindly into a debate.

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I don't know that any of us ought to consider ourselves keepers and defenders of the proper spirit of Tolkien. He wrote different works in different styles at different points in his career. I don't know that there is any single 'proper' spirit. I feel it is art, and that beauty in art comes to a great extent from the perspective of the observer. Even if there was a proper spirit of Tolkien, different aspects of it would resonate in different readers.
An excellent point, and one I couldn't agree with more. On that note, perhaps you should think twice next time before you post in support of someone who is heavily laying down the law about what topics others may or may not discuss, and in what fashion?

EDIT:X'd with Nogrod.
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:07 PM   #115
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Still, I don't see it as the only possible style of discussion.
See, no one ever claimed it was the only possible style of discussion.
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:20 PM   #116
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Things get really disquieting on a thread when the discussion turns from disquisition to a dissertation on how one should discuss the discursive aspects of discourse, which I find is a disgusting digression.
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:23 PM   #117
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See, no one ever claimed it was the only possible style of discussion.
For that matter, nobody (except Dak, possibly) ever claimed that his or hers were (to quote you again, blantyr) "the only possible interpretations". Where exactly did you get that idea?

Now, I want you to understand this: I am a great believer in, and defender of, the right of readers to like what they like, dislike what they don't like, and generally approach books in any way they please, rather than having to interpret them in any one "official" manner.

However, once you move out of the realm of personal preference, I think it fair enough that you should be asked to support your statements.

Now, there are many things in Tolkien's work (as in many other writers' work, for that matter), that don't have a final, definitive answer. In fact, I believe most of us hold this as a basic assumption. But the thing is, often the value of a discussion lies not so much in its ultimate goal but in the interesting things that happen along the way. I really think this is something that people who disapprove of argument miss, just as much as those who are only interested in winning or losing.

Please don't think me hard line about this– I'm not saying every stray remark should be debated into the ground or that every statement must be proven from first principles. However, blantyr, the fact is that you have certainly not been shy about giving us your views, at length, on a considerable number of topics– have you? I ask you to consider how much practical difference there is, then, between saying your opinions should be above question, and maintaining you're always right?
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Old 05-17-2011, 09:44 PM   #118
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My God, people...I think Tolkien would appreciate this discussion about as much as he appreciated hippies making LOTR into something other then what he originally intended. Granted, Tolkien's work is intellectual, but it is not intellectualism.

One of the biggest tragedies is approaching his works or ending his works in something other than the faerie that birthed it. We all appreciate the in depth discussion (I certainly love the finer points of Tolkien) but some of this is insane.
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To me, Middle Earth was, and is real. I think it is for all of us, in our hearts. Yet I am still holding out within the design that it really is tangible.
Right on! What makes these half-baked academic types think they have the right to say anything whatever until they've made absolutely sure that it couldn't possibly upset anybody's swarfega-dish for any reason at all? Don't they realise that just by speaking of "The Lord of the Rings" as "a novel by J.R.R Tolkien" they're dealing a vicious slap in the face to those of us who regard it as a sacred text? Why, it's like attacking the Cult of the Sonorous Enigma! It's the greatest tragedy since the Pica regime!

Of course, there are those who might try to tell you that posting on an internet forum pretty much does for suspension of disbelief in Middle-earth anyway, but then some people will say anything. Why, I've even heard there are lunatics out there who claim my beloved homeland of San Serriffe is totally fictitious! How dare they!
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Old 05-18-2011, 05:15 AM   #119
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Exactly Mandos...Why did it take you so long to speak up? Have you been reading these posts? We have a lot of catching up to do in here!
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Old 05-18-2011, 05:47 AM   #120
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Please don't think me hard line about this– I'm not saying every stray remark should be debated into the ground or that every statement must be proven from first principles. However, blantyr, the fact is that you have certainly not been shy about giving us your views, at length, on a considerable number of topics– have you? I ask you to consider how much practical difference there is, then, between saying your opinions should be above question, and maintaining you're always right?
There is not so much difference "between saying your opinions should be above question, and maintaining you're always right," however I assert neither. I would expect healthy diversity in people's views about Tolkien's works. I expect the diversity of views on Tolkien says as much about the diversity of people holding these views -- about how various downers see things -- as about Tolkien. As people will see different things in random ink blots, people will be attracted to different aspects of Tolkien's work and fit the work into their own way of seeing the world.

Dakęsîntrah might stand as an example, with his interest in world mythology and comparative religion coloring his posts. To the extent that my interests and studies don't overlap his, my interest in and understanding of Tolkien are going to focus on different aspects and ideas. While Dakęsîntrah and I might plausibly be unusual or extreme cases, I'd suggest we all bring something of ourselves into what we find in Middle Earth.

This being the case, I might not be so interested in debate and proofs as some. I also read Tolkien more as art than as a formal and consistent academic system. As such, I might not be using the same tools as others.
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