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Old 05-01-2021, 06:31 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Estelyn
The first pages introduce two of the main characters - Giles and Garm - as well as the antagonist of the first adventure. After a few pages, Agatha joins them. Considerably later, the villagers, the King and his knights join them.

Which characters do you enjoy most? How do you like the abundance of Latin names used? What opinion do you have of the talking dog? Do you enjoy the parodic humour?
As for the characters - so far Farmer Giles reminds me of Farmer Maggot, the same archetype of a no-nonsense, steadfast farmer who doesn't back down in the face of danger, being either very brave or very stupid - or perhaps a bit of both - in standing up to a magnificient foe. (I see Legate made this same point, so we are in agreement!)

About the humour - to be fair, I don't think I ever got it. I don't have the context for whatever Tolkien is making fun of, so to me, the story comes of either serious but odd, or frivolous without a bigger point to make. The element of parody is sadly largely lost on me - and I dare say for many other readers less versed in English literature and history than Tolkien himself (a majority of us, I suppose).

Originally Posted by Rune
I think this scholarly approach is one of the reasons I still find Tolkien so fascinating. It is escapism, but it also speaks to the part of me that loves academia. Like Tolkien I prefer history, even if this history is imagined.
It certainly gives his work a lot more depth and a unique flair. And unlike with so many others of his ideas, not many later fantasy authors have tried to mimic it (or if yes, then rather lazily). The only other truly scholarly fantasy author I've come across is Susanna Clarke, whose novel Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell has footnotes throughout, referencing an imaginary history of magic in England in a wonderfully dry, academic manner. I would certainly recommend the book to anyone who loves the scholarly side of Tolkien's writing, even though it's certainly not even trying to be of equal depth as Tolkien's Middle-Earth Legendarium. I think it is rather comparable to Farmer Giles indeed - it blends actual English history and mythology with made up stories, but it doesn't create a whole new world with its own history and historiography.

Originally Posted by Kuruharan
Which brings us around to an important, and ironic, point...which Gildor might have made. For all the seeming physical and cultural isolation and parochialism of the Middle and Little Kingdoms, they retained evidences of wider experiences of the world.
I think this might have been the most interesting point to come out of the grand linguistic debate, and I think it's a rather clever little jab from Tolkien.

Originally Posted by Legate
I have one more remark about the first adventure. So we have painstakingly analysed the "real historical period" of when this takes place, figured out that it goes maybe into around 7th century or somesuch, and then we have Giles using a muskette. Um...? Talk about "suspending disbelief", Mr. Tolkien!
Yes, this confused me too. Certainly one of the humorous elements of the story that reveal it's tongue-in-cheek, but again, I feel like I lack the context to fully appreciate it. To be honest, sometimes reading Farmer Giles feels a little like reading someone else's inside joke. But I guess that's what it is, to a degree. (Even though, I guess you could say all writing is the author's "inside joke", but here it is perhaps more evident than usual.)
Like the stars chase the sun, over the glowing hill I will conquer
Blood is running deep, some things never sleep
Double Fenris

Last edited by Thinlómien; 05-01-2021 at 06:36 AM.
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