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peregrine 12-18-2001 03:52 PM

Question to Tolkien
Hello Barrow-Downs Folk,
if you could ask Tolkien ONE question about Middle-Earth which would clear up the greatest amount of speculation or controversy, what would it be?

This is not meant to be a "who would you like to have a dinner conversation with" type question, it's more of an attempt to identify a question the answer to which would clear up the most unclear parts of his creation.

Having posed the thought here, and putting up with it floating through my head for ages, I still can't think of ONE really good question, but i guess I should provide an example.

How about - exactly what were the one ring's powers?

Marileangorifurnimaluim 12-18-2001 07:23 PM

Two questions, of equal import:
Balrog, wings or not?
Which way should we hang the toilet paper?

Sorry, I know you meant this to be more serious, but think of the circular discussion it would save - !

-Maril [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

[ December 18, 2001: Message edited by: Marileangorifurnimaluim ]

Mister Underhill 12-18-2001 07:40 PM

Let's see...

Balrog Wings? Do I really need to ask? Of course they have wings!

Day-walking trolls? Think that one's been tackled too.

The Bridge of Khazad-dm? No-brainer!

Tom Bombadil? Zzzzzzzzz.

Gandalf = Manw? C'mon!

Hmm... I can't think of a single question! Maybe I'd ask him to recommend a good pipe weed since he left so few unanswered questions in his work. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

The Barrow-Wight 12-18-2001 08:02 PM


Balrog Wings? Naw
Day-walking trolls? In every Age
Tom Bombadil? Hippie Freak
Gandalf = Manw? Gandalf = Magneto!

Mister Underhill 12-18-2001 08:04 PM

Clearly, the one-question limit is not going to work out for the Wight.

The Barrow-Wight 12-18-2001 09:30 PM

What do you mean? I gave no questions.... only answers!

Mister Underhill 12-18-2001 09:48 PM

This can only be addressed by haiku verse:

Wings! Bridge! Bedevil!
Bother trolls! O Bombadil!
Barrow-Wight, alas

Witch King of Angmar 12-18-2001 10:37 PM

That was quite lovely, if I do say so myself.

I'd ask him if Sam was gay? Or just "dedicated" to his "Master"?

Orald 12-18-2001 10:51 PM

Were the Druedain your answer to Neanderthal Man?

And let's see, oh yes, who is your favorite character and why?

And I agree with BW on Balrog wings and the Trolls. However, Tom Bombail is clearly not a Hippie-Freak, he is the Witch-King in disguise.

[ December 19, 2001: Message edited by: Durelen ]

Marileangorifurnimaluim 12-18-2001 11:03 PM

Witch-King, I wish someone had the nerve to post that as a topic:

(Frodo) stood up, and it looked to Sam if he was clothed in flame: his naked skin was scarlet in the light lamp above.

..Frodo lay back in Sam's arms.. Sam felt like he could sit like that in endless happiness; but it was not allowed.
[img]smilies/eek.gif[/img] [img]smilies/eek.gif[/img] [img]smilies/eek.gif[/img]

Alas, we may have to wait for the next installment of "Dude, Where's My Ring?" for anyone to touch that ten foot pole.

The Barrow-Wight 12-18-2001 11:29 PM

I must respond in haiku:

Oh wings, where art thou?
darkness wide-spreading
high arching bridge collapsing
tangled in shadows

obloquy 12-19-2001 12:21 AM

Sam married Rosie Cotton for crying out loud.

Marileangorifurnimaluim 12-19-2001 12:22 AM

Wings like shadows
Darkness follows
Vestigial useless
Fallen in abyss

Mister Underhill 12-19-2001 01:43 AM

I just thought of a question for the prof! Who is more helluva tough, Sauron or Mr. T?


Shoot. We already know the answer to that one, too, dont we?

Wings or no wings, man!
That fool Balrog sure will fly
When T throws his butt

Elrian 12-19-2001 01:59 AM

I pity the fool! 2 days with Murdock would do it in. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

peregrine 12-19-2001 05:05 PM

posing limited, wishy questions is always a risk i see, but it can be funny. i guess the balrog question would be my pick too. The answer wouldn't help to clear up a lot of other questions, but it would clear up a lot of debate.

as for frodo and sam, they're just good friends - not that there's anyhting wrong with it.

Witch King of Angmar 12-19-2001 10:00 PM

I believ that Sam was the Witch King in disguise, now that puts a whole new twist on things don't you think.

Tom was really Morgoth trying to reclaim his former power.

Elrian 12-20-2001 01:49 AM

Tom Bombadil could have been Maglor in disguise. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

silme-ranaa 12-25-2001 09:28 AM

I'd ask him if Sam was gay? Or just "dedicated" to his "Master"?[/QB][/QUOTE]

i'd ask him that and if Legolas and Gimli were secret love birds?

Elendil 12-25-2001 07:57 PM

Which way to hang the toilet paper? I read it's different for men and women. I also see that the Barrow-Wight apparently held up his haikus and now is overflowing. What I would like to ask Tolkien is how he thinks about the way people think about what he has written and all the ideas they attribute to his books. Cool haikus though!

red 12-25-2001 08:32 PM

Silme, I'm sure you were just kidding because it is hardly possible for anyone to wonder such a silly thing. But just in case... There is no need to wish Tolkien were alive to have this answered. The answer is quite obvious to anyone with half a brain. There are no gay relationships in Tolkien's books. Tolkien was far more intelligent and moral to advocate such a revolting notion.


Marileangorifurnimaluim 12-25-2001 10:24 PM

Tolkien is 'too moral' to suggest anything gay? Therefore gay = immoral..? And how is that? Surely you mispoke. I would say that in the context of the LotR it was not Tolkien's intention to suggest it. I assume that's what you meant, and your words were hoom, hmm, "hasty"? Predjudice of any kind has no place in the Lord of the Rings, not even the justified predjudice between elves and dwarves.

obloquy 12-25-2001 11:00 PM

Perhaps Tolkien actually adhered to the morals he read in his Bible.

"Predjudice of any kind has no place in the Lord of the Rings, not even the justified predjudice between elves and dwarves."
I would say that there is equally less place for the depravity that our world has grown to accept. Prejudice based on actions is not the same as prejudice based on appearance or descent. You don't call it "prejudice" to be sickened at the thought of a murderer because you know that person is capable of, and has committed, acts that you believe are wrong. Granted, being gay and being a murderer are not the same, but there's a principle here.

I know what to expect from this post, but just remember that the ideals you hold to -- accept everyone no matter who they are, what they believe, or what they do -- should apply equally to me as they do to those whose actions I disapprove of. I don't hate people who do what is bad -- everyone sins; I hate what is bad.

I am not attacking anyone. Your post, Maril, appeared to condemn red's beliefs as being completely unacceptable. Is that not the very "prejudice" that you would fight to eliminate?

silme-ranaa 12-25-2001 11:39 PM


Originally posted by red:
<STRONG>Silme, I'm sure you were just kidding because it is hardly possible for anyone to wonder such a silly thing. But just in case... There is no need to wish Tolkien were alive to have this answered. The answer is quite obvious to anyone with half a brain. There are no gay relationships in Tolkien's books. Tolkien was far more intelligent and moral to advocate such a revolting notion.

Begging your pardon,i disagree that's it's hardly possible for anyone to wonder at that.Fact is,many have wondered at that and i never thought about it until somebody else suggested it to me.I apologise if u think i have been rude for suggesting such a thing.

Marileangorifurnimaluim 12-26-2001 12:48 AM

If I seemed less than tolerant towards Red, I apologize. But Red is blunt and prefers that others be the same, unless I miss my guess. Came across as more testy than I intended because I'd just had an argument with a friend.

Obloquoy, the trouble you're referring to is moral pluralism, a PC enforcement of any action, speech or mind-attitude being okay when viewed from a certain perspective, creating a world without moral boundaries or consequences.

With moral pluralism any kind of personal moral code can be considered inimical to somebody's set of beliefs, somewhere, so it all has to be discarded.

For what? The lowest common denominator generated by a vast socio-political network?

That idea is the opposite of idealism, and I shudder to think of the result if people don't strive to be their own personal best but allow the common morality to rule. Ugh.

So I wasn't referring to Pop-Morality. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

I was referring to something simple. Something Tolkien brings up a lot and which makes the story so compelling for me.

He so clearly presents how idealism, morality and tolerance can coexist, not by moral pluralism (which is the death of ideals) but by placing the responsibility for the ideal on the individual (example Frodo) and offering tolerance to others (example telling Frodo essentially not to hate Gollum). It's a pretty clear message.

Arrogant of me, I suppose, to play Gandalf and point out moral direction. Without going into my life, it was, ahem, my job to do just that, for a very long time. Came with the job description it did.

What difference does it make that Frodo thinks Gollum should die? Not foresight of Gollum's part to play, though he suspected Gollum's path was tied up in the ring. Gandalf's wisdom was not founded on foresight, as Aragorn told Boromir. Nope, it was something truer.

Hatred takes many forms, and on a personal level Frodo had to watch the seeds of it. As I've stated elsewhere, the first stage of hatred is to dehumanize. While the path of wisdom and compassion is rooted in the understanding Gandalf described. It's impossible to condemn what you understand once you've "walked a mile in another's shoes." The Lord of the Rings hits some deep water, profound topics.

It's a very high standard he sets. Easy to say, hard to live.

I'm sorry you and Red are faced with a world where it's not always easy to have understanding or compassion. The are so many opportunities for even unintentional cruelty. Uniformity makes it simpler, so does only meeting good people that you approve it. The trick is to catch the seeds, early. But most people live soft lives and there isn't much chance to bring out our best as exemplified by say Frodo. I think harsh tests of that kind either brings out your best or your worst. If we lived in a vacuum of course it wouldn't matter as much, save for our own sake.

One of the most touching moments in the LotR when Lobelia is cheered, after being so maligned and disliked.

The attitude of condemning others is out of keeping of the spirit of Tolkien's works, make no mistake. "Even the wise cannot know all ends."

It's not the PC answer you expected I imagine.

(silme-ranaa, once again I've taken so long to post, someone has answered while I was writing. I didn't mean to ignore you. Actually, it was my English teacher in high school who pointed it out to me, but took me until adulthood to see where he could get such an idea. Though I did have friends who thought the same. You're no idiot, it's a fairly common observation. But a little touchy for some people as you can see!)


[ December 26, 2001: Message edited by: Marileangorifurnimaluim ]

Son of Gondor 12-26-2001 01:09 PM

Morals and prejudice aside, (Although I agree completely with obloquy)

We can judge whether or not Tolkien's work suggested homosexuality simply by examining his morals (no matter how much someone may disagree with him) and as a man as much to my understanding that held to Christian Biblical morals he would not have created his characters with gay relationships.

obloquy 12-26-2001 02:04 PM

Thank you, Maril. That was a reasonable reply, and you're right, I was expecting "PCism".

I do agree with you. Individuals should be accepted on an individual basis, with no thought to what sins (or what you believe to be sins) they may have committed in their private lives. God knows I wouldn't want other people to judge me on what I've done. The only aspect of this that I have a problem with is the idea shared by so many that only the views that accept pop-morality (or the lack of a higher standard of morality) should be voiced. Normally I wouldn't have bothered any of you with my views, and would have been content to let you discuss the gay implications you see in Tolkien's work. But I suppose I have a pet peeve with those who condemn another person's moral beliefs for not being tolerant enough of other people's moral beliefs. The hypocrisy of that is astounding and I see it all the time.

I realize, though, that this is not what you intended and I apologize. I suppose I must admit that all the recent talk (in several different threads) of gay relationships in Tolkien's books have been rather irritating to me. Which is exactly why I've tried to steer clear.

Here's to free speech. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

Turambar 12-26-2001 03:01 PM


[A]s a man . . . that held to Christian Biblical morals he would not have created his characters with gay relationships.
So because (1) JRRT was a Christian, and (2) the Bible condemns homosexuality, then (3) LotR could not portray anyone as gay.

I don't think that follows. The Bible also condemns murder, but Deagol is murdered. Or do you mean that, as two of the "good" characters, Sam and Frodo would never be portrayed as having a serios character flaw? But their depiction of these two is a little more nuanced than that. Let's face it, for the first 4 books Sam is quite often a numbskull, he doesn't really show his true virtues consistently until RotK.

That being said, I don't think that the passages quoted above necessarily show that Sam was supposed to be homosexual, any more than every male character in Shakespeare, who tells another man that he loves him, was supposed to be gay.

Mantauriel 03-10-2002 11:40 PM

Guys...remember that virtue is prevalent in the nature of almost all the protagonists, the Hobbits more than any. To even halfway apply homo intent on these heroes is almost perverse. This tale is JRRT's take on the last great battle...M.E. Armageddon, if you will. Maybe some of us are so jaded in our life experiences that we find such things as undying loyalty, faithfulness and love for great friends alien to our lives. What a statement for our generation. Read the tales and learn what JRRT knew about virtuous heroism, courage and resolve.

Mhoram 03-11-2002 12:59 AM

Who was Gil-Galad's father?

Amarinth 03-11-2002 11:05 PM

looking above, i'm reminded again why i like the barrowdowns forum. you guys up there sure churn up a lot of intelligent open discussions you don't normally get in other sites. i feel really privileged to belong here, absorbing all these ideas from you. i hope we all do keep this up. maril, am spending my life trying to be pc myself, but i sure did learn a lot from you from your post. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

btw, why oh why did the homosexual thingy between frodo and sam crop up in this board anyway?...there's a pertinent section way down there if i remember correctly (sam and frodo, by the master of puppets).

going back to the question, i would like to ask tolkien why he didn't consult with a geologist when he made the map of middle-earth! linear ridges of mountains squaring off mordor indeed! doesn't really matter though in the entire sheme of things...

every man's life is a path to the truth -- hesse

Haldir 03-15-2002 04:34 PM

if the Balrog DOES have wings,
how come he did NOT fly up when
he fell down in the Moria Mines ?!?

Enedhil 03-15-2002 06:01 PM


if the Balrog DOES have wings,
how come he did NOT fly up when
he fell down in the Moria Mines ?!?

Wings just ornamental - Balrog thinks it looks pretty.

When you live in the mines on your own for a veeeeery long time, you kinda forget that wings may just have gone out of fashion.

Then when Gandalf told him they were sooooo 2(000) years ago, he got cranky and yanked him downstairs to 'discuss the matter further'...

'Tis midnight in my fair land and the faeries have my mind... [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img] [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

[ March 15, 2002: Message edited by: Enedhil ]

Alaruid 03-31-2002 09:37 PM

Well, you guys seem to be talking about Balrog wings... hmm... sounds a lot like Buffilo Wings...Anyways, I'm going to get back to the topic: If I could asked Tolkien one Question, I'd ask why he didn't have more girls/women in the book. [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img] . I know there is Arwen, Galadriel, Eowyn, and Glorfindal, but they all don't have a REALY big impact in the story.

Lush 03-31-2002 10:05 PM

Glorfindel is male.

Ah, this reminds me of the topic:
I would, for what it's worth, corner J.R.R. and demand to know all about Glorfindel-did he really come back, and why, and how he liked his eggs in the morning, and whatnot.

Daegwenn 03-31-2002 10:49 PM

Ah darn, you stole the question I was thinking of...Is Glorfindel of Rivendel the Glorfindel of Gondolin? Why does he have reigns on his horse, Asfaloth, when elves are suppose to have ridden with none? Who did Elros marry or find ways to produce an heir to the throne? Oh! And this one! Are Aragorn and Arwen reincarnations of Luthien and Beren? I have lots of questions these are just some.


Amarinth 04-01-2002 06:08 AM

hey daegwenn-- may i answer some of them?

i saw a post somewhere here earlier saying that glorfindel was in fact the glorfindel of gondolin who was killed in the sack of the hidden kingdom, then released by mandos to reside (by his choice)in the house of elrond.

dunno about asfaloth, and elros, though, so can't play tolkien on these ones.

after they died, the fea or spirits of luthien and beren have departed across the outer sea, since they were ultimately both mortal. so neither could reincarnate, but it is kinda nice to think so [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

every man's life is a path to the truth -- hesse

Arwen Imladris 04-01-2002 01:03 PM

Tom Bombadil - Who, what, when, where, why...

And guys, I think that the gay thing has already been debated to death, it is getting rather old!

Arie 04-01-2002 01:31 PM

aahh yes a question to end all questions-but what is it?-well if Tolkien was really alive i would ask it but would i know how to?-am i not the philosopher to ask!?--lol do not i know exactly what your'e asking...NO i don't have a question-for they are all answered...

Shadowfax Clawson 04-01-2002 03:10 PM

I find if you have pets or small children in your house, it's in your best interest to have your toilet paper under the bottom. This way, if a pet/child decided to do a spinning trick on it, the paper doesn't shoot out all over the floor. However, I find over the top to me more convienent and asthetically pleasing.

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