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Old 10-04-2002, 12:41 AM   #1
HerenIstarion
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Sting Nasty Millers

I was planning to make a profound research upon the subject, but get lost in flow of events IRL. Still more it's interesting to watch the development of discussion then give anything ready-made. So, here is the statement to be discussed:

all millers in JRRT's works are nasty up to some degree

as a back up - Ted Sandyman and the Miller of Farmer Giles of Ham

possible reason: two millers (White Ogre and Black Ogre, if I recall correctly) feared by Ronald and Arthur in childhood

go ahead folks
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Old 10-04-2002, 01:03 AM   #2
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Yes.
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Old 10-04-2002, 01:04 AM   #3
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They represent a modernization that Tolkien disliked.
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Old 10-04-2002, 04:06 AM   #4
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In his characterisation of the elder Sandyman, Tolkein is reflecting the way millers have been seen since the Middle Ages. In literature and in folk-song, millers are aways shown as mean, greedy, self-important and willing to cheat their customers.

It's in the younger Sandyman that Tolkien shows his dislike of modernisation.
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Old 10-04-2002, 04:18 AM   #5
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Milling in general has a strange connotation to it in Faery-tales. Has anyone read the tale of the Salt-mill? It runs like this: one of those salt-grinders that people used - the diecast metal ones - is found by a fisherman, and it can do amazing things, like grinding out food, or gold, or salt. The problem is, if you don't know the magic words to stop it, it will grind till kingdom come. And so the villan in the tale discovers, to his chagrin....
Sometimes this tale is also called "How the Sea became Salt" and you can guess how it got that way! Evil mills and evil millers!

As I recall, I was watching the tale of Tolkien's life, and it seems he spent some time near his home watching the local miller grinding bones in his mill. After a while the miller would be covered with fine white dust, making him look big and scary. JRR called him the Ogre! Apparently the man was rather grumpy about having kids hanging around his mill.
That, I think, is partly where JRR got his ideas for evil millers, not to mention the idea of industrialization as a modern evil.
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Old 10-04-2002, 10:53 AM   #6
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From the Miller's point of view, you can see why a miller might appear grumpy and mean to the local children. A mill was probably the biggest piece of machinery in most towns, and the most dangerous! Huge cogs, churning water, great stone wheels. What child could resist such a place? A miller must have had to be constantly on his toes to keep curious youngsters from wandering in and causing a potential tragedy.

And there is the thought that the "occupational hazards" of milling might have had something to do with a miller's dispostion. The phrase "Mad as a hatter" came from the fact that hatmakers used to use mercury in the processing of hats, leading to gradual insanity. It can only be speculated what the breathing of mill dust did to the health of mill workers. Let alone the ungodly noise! And if they were getting the occasional dose of deadly ergot in the mix...yeah, I'd probably wind up being mean and strange as well.

Eeeeeek! It's the Miller! [img]smilies/eek.gif[/img]
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Old 10-04-2002, 11:03 AM   #7
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*wonders if anyone caught the Miller's Tale in the Erebor/ Lonely Mountain dwarf's post on the AAwtK RPG*

*observes Chaucer rolling over in grave*

Bird, when I read about Tolkien's great delight with the mill in Carpenter's biography, I cringed thinking of how dangerous the site could be for kids. You're right.

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Old 10-04-2002, 12:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
*wonders if anyone caught the Miller's Tale in the Erebor/ Lonely Mountain dwarf's post on the AAwtK RPG*
Yes.

*scurries away*
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