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Old 03-08-2003, 03:50 AM   #1
davem
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: In the home of lost causes, and forsaken beliefs, and unpopular names,and impossible loyalties
Posts: 4,256
davem is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.davem is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Sting 'Its about death, the inevitability of death'

That was Tolkien's thought on what LotR is about, given in a BBC interview. Does everyone agree? Or do we think Tolkien was mistaken about his work? Maybe we ignore that aspect, & read it as an escape.
This really ties in with his essay on Beowulf, that its about men fighting 'the Long Defeat' (as Galadriel put it), till the inevitable end, death (or 'till the Dragon comes' in Tolkien's phrase).
I don't want to make this initial post too long, as I'd rather just use it to spark off a discussion - I'm not too sure of my own feelings.
Do we read LotR from a position of 'knowing better' than the characters, if we're religious, that is, or do we respond to their plight - 'Hope without guarantees'. Just do what's right, because its right, without certainty of victory. Is there some part of us that feels that Tolkien was right, that in this world all we can do is 'Fight the Long Defeat, till the Dragon comes'. Put aside Tolkien's own faith for a moment - what we respond to isn't Tolkien's own beliefs, but to the world he created. Is it that simple philosophy, 'Do what's right, simply because its right, each moment, in each thing. Forget trying to bring about some great victory over 'Evil', because the danger in that is that you start thinking 'The end justifies the means'.
Death is inevitable, & there's no (humanly achievable) victory in this world, only immediate choices between doing what's right & what's wrong.
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