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Old 08-27-2002, 03:11 PM   #1
Davin
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Tolkien YOUR Problem(s) With Tolkien's Books

It seems to me that people are always ranting and raving away at how they didn't like parts of the FotR movie, and how they would do stuff differently, and so on and so forth. What I was wondering was if any of you, the 'hardcore' Tolkien fans, disliked anything in the books themselves. Is there anything that you didn't like or agree with? Is there anything that you would have liked to have had written differently? Are there any problems you had with the way they were written?

I am curious to see what you people don't like about the books. I will post a few things I don't like later.
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Old 08-27-2002, 03:23 PM   #2
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I'm reading the Silmarillion now and it's quite confuzing becouse of all the names that are in it... True, I'm reading it in English (becouse it hasn't been translated to Slovene) and maybe that's why I'm sometimes so confuzed. But I still think that the book is very good and that LotR and Hobbit (haven't read other Tolkien books yet) are very good too. They just sometimes go into details too much... I mean Tolkien describes some characters very fully and it's sometimes boring to read the long description of the character. Ok, I'm complicating things now... I better go to bed [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

[ October 11, 2002: Message edited by: Artilien ]
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Old 08-27-2002, 03:28 PM   #3
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Some of the Silmarillion and the bits of HoME that I've read, are somewhat confusing, although this is obviously explained by the fact of them being edited by someone other than the author from unfinished writings.
But despite that, I can't think of anything that I can honestly say I dislike, or would want changed, except perhaps to ask for more!

Sorry, just thought of one thing, and it's very minor and personal, I've never really been able to get into the story of Tunin Turambar, no idea why. Not that there's anything wrong with it ,it's just me.

[ August 27, 2002: Message edited by: Ravenna ]
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Old 08-27-2002, 03:38 PM   #4
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The only thing I really disliked (in lotR) was the ending. To have Sam simply say "well, I'm back," was not very satisfying (to me, anyway). Tolkien said in one of his letters that he might end it with Sam reading the Red Book to his kids, and that is how I would really preffer LotR to end.
Okay, I am done. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
~M
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Old 08-27-2002, 08:00 PM   #5
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For me, and especially for younger readers, just the language is kind of hard to understand. This is especially the cas with books like the Silmarillion, but even in LOTR Tolkien uses words that we don't usually use or puts them in different orders, it makes it seem older and harder to read. I personly think that this works well because it is sort of like history.
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Old 08-27-2002, 08:51 PM   #6
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I didnt like how Eowyn used older speech. That is the best I can explain it. She would say things like Thee and other old speech words. I know why Tolkien did this to represent that she was using a higher/nobler type of speech, but I still didnt like it.

And, maybe I am alone in this, but I got a little bored when there would be 3 long paragraphs describing places they were in. This happened only in FOTR that I remember. It seemed like for a long row of chapters there was alot of place description. I like to read more about characters and their interaction and what will be happening, so I would get impatient with Tolkiens inspired landscape descriptions. But, like I said, this only happened in FOTR and in all of his other writing that I have read I like the land descriptions. They are an important part of the book, but too much is bad for me.

[ August 27, 2002: Message edited by: Elendur ]
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Old 08-27-2002, 10:32 PM   #7
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I actually have no qualms on how the books were written. I get rather confused with the books because there are several versions on how the stories went. I tend to forget that Tolkien played around with ideas before creating the scenario he wanted. I tend to like some of his earlier works, such as the ones in BoLT.

I sometimes forget that some of his works that are considered canon... and those that arent. But I like them all, its a matter of which version I like better.
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Old 08-28-2002, 11:36 AM   #8
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Morquesse - You can read two of Tolkien's "alternate endings" in "Sauron Defeated: HoME Volume 9".

Personally I loved how the book ends, heartbreaking as it is. But many people do prefer a more "Bilbo Baggins" type ending - "And he lived happily ever after to the end of his days."
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Old 08-28-2002, 11:46 AM   #9
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What really do not like about Tolkien's writing is that he never had a complete background for anything. There is alway debate over something very major and minor items( such as who are orcs, was tom a maiar, two glorfindels). Granted, all author have gaps in detail, but there should not be gaps like that. It is even to the point of have relating stories contradicting each other( as mentioned in beginning of Silmarillion).

Tolkien did have a start on background, but it seemed not to be his strength in writing. It also seemed that he could not make up his mind what he wanted to do, too many cool ideas.
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Old 08-28-2002, 01:00 PM   #10
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Silmaril

I do agree with you there, Eor--there seems to be a lot to debate about in Tolkien's works. Though I don't necessarily view that as a problem--I LOVE doing stuff like that. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

Just in passing--gathered my own conclusion on why there were two Glorfindels and Haldirs. They were the same people, respectively. I read somewhere that when elves are slain in battle they dwell in the Blessed Realm a bit, then return to Middle Earth, a little like reincarnation, I guess. So the same Glorfindel that died in combat with a Balrog in Gondolin was the same elf that helped Frodo across the river. (Arwen stood in for him in the movie). How this came about--whether he was actually "reborn" or was just put back into Middle Earth as is is another debate entirely.

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Old 08-28-2002, 01:23 PM   #11
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'Vana~~I read that somewhere! Somewhere... Anyway, I personnally agree with Glorfindel being the same Glorfindel who died in battle with the Balrog, but Haldir I don't agree with. I think Haldir was named after the other Haldir. You know, like us humans name our children after famous people, maybe elves did the same thing. Maybe, I'm going to look into that.

Anyway, what I didn't like about the book was Galadriel. Yes, I didn't like Galadriel. She scared me... a lot. I didn't like her because she could almost read minds and she could communicate mind-to-mind. I didn't like that at all, I felt really bad for the Fellowship.
Also on the subject of Galadriel, I didn't like the fact that Legolas and Aragorn could withstand her mind-torment longer than the others. Yes, they're used to it(Aragorn having been to Lorien before and Legolas being an elf), but it bothered me. I don't know why. I've read and reread that scene and all the others with Galadriel and I still don't really understand why I don't like Galadriel. Maybe it's her attitude... [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 08-28-2002, 01:25 PM   #12
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I know I shouldnt be saying this...but I didnt agree with the ending of LotR...it left too many things open, that was probably the point...
Did anybody else feel this way???
-he's still the greatest author ever!!

[ August 28, 2002: Message edited by: Keeper of the Feet of Melkor ]
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Old 08-28-2002, 01:29 PM   #13
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I guess when I first read the LotR I wasn't crazy about really descriptive chapters such as 'The Old Forest'.
But now I tend to read only 1 or 2 chapters at a time and because I savour the words more I like the descriptions more.
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Old 08-29-2002, 05:44 AM   #14
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Morquesse, I agree with you about the ending being not quite...enough.
I also find quite cheesy some parts that are supposed to be humorous - like when Gandalf is relieved that the hobbits left with Strider and 'curses and blesses' Barliman.
Birdland, could you kindly elaborate on the alternate endings to LOTR or provide a link for those not fortunate enough to own HoME -like me [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img]
Thanks a lot.
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Old 08-29-2002, 01:58 PM   #15
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Eol, what are you talking about? This guy created an entire world, complete with religions, countries, a history and several species of sentient beings. I think he did an amazing job on creating the background.

One of the things I don't like is that after Boromir, none of the origional fellowship dies. I would have liked to see one of them have a dramatic death in ROTK.
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Old 08-29-2002, 02:10 PM   #16
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I am not sawing what he did create is not a background. What I am talking about is the details of the backgrounds as the examples given above.

True he did create a world, but it is not complete in the sense as it probably could have been given him the chance. He never got to finish it.
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Old 08-29-2002, 03:43 PM   #17
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i dont really have ne thign to complain about b/c tolkiein is such a great write that instead of looking at flaws see the goods parts about it ........but since its me and im just a confused person there isnot enough of this book and i almost wish that the book would not end and it almost seems as there really was a ME and that u could also see gimli,legolas and aragorn and gadalf 4 they were great ppl but i would liek to see galadriel .......shes scarey but not as bad as ppl make her to be and gilmli describes she was a beautiful person and i wonder how all of a sudden there was water o nmordor when sam asked 4 it .....(b/c of galadriel) but how did she know of what his thoughts were .....then y didnit she jsut guess the thoughts of sauron and make it easer 4 ppl.ne ways but he books are great and if ne one has a link about the silarlarion (i cant spell) please post it up .
thanks alot - thinavarial
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Old 08-29-2002, 05:17 PM   #18
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thinavarial not to draw the attention away from the topic, what is the deal with your sig? I thought the wights specified that you could only have about three lines of text....
If you have not read it, read the Thread :** ANNOUNCEMENT - NEW BARROW-DOWNS FORUM POLICIES ** in The Books forum.

As to the Silmarillion on line, there use to be a link, an excellent site with full text, but the site was shut down [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img] . Though if you just wish to have a general idea of the book, I have Silmarillion Cliffnotes on my homewebsite which you can click on on the author webpage icon. Hope it helps!

[ August 29, 2002: Message edited by: Eol ]
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Old 08-30-2002, 12:11 PM   #19
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I personally don't think there's anything wrong with LotR, of course, i haven't read TTT and RotK. Maybe i should come back when i have. [img]smilies/tongue.gif[/img]

oh wait!!!! omgosh! how could i forget?! Tolkien did one thing and only one thing wrong, and that was not making a portal that's only allowed to be used by his fans to take them directly to ME, and as soon as u stepped out, u would land wherever u wish and was whatever race u desired! ok. yeah rite, but if only that was true.... [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img]
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Old 08-30-2002, 02:43 PM   #20
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My one and only gripe about Tolkien's books: the history of the Ents. I'm reading along, just DYING to find out how Frodo, Sam, Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas are all doing, and I suddenly have to attend an Entmoot. Whee.

After that, though, I became much fonder of the Ents.
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Old 08-30-2002, 03:09 PM   #21
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I love the ents, they are just too cool! I am participating in an RPG and my group will be traveling by Fangorn. Maybe they will get to see some Ents.
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Old 08-30-2002, 11:52 PM   #22
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1420!

I really wish that Tolkien would have written more on the blue wizards. I wonder what purpose they served. [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img]
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Old 08-31-2002, 04:45 PM   #23
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Well, I don`t have any problem with LotR , or the Hobbit. I wouldn`t alter a single word.
But I do have a big problem with the Silmarillion. It`s the deep sadness that lies over it, that`s bothering me. Especially the tragic story of Turin Turambar which ends in complete dispair and disaster. How did Hurin, who was only valiant and faithful, deserve such a dreadful fate ? Where are the pity and mercy of the valar in his case ? I just can`t find any meaning in this story...

In LotR, courage, loyalty and pity are rewarded, and there is a balance between sadness and hope, and a meaning behind it all.
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Old 09-01-2002, 04:10 AM   #24
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Wow you guys go where angels and Tolkien fans fear to tread. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

Eol I disagree that the "mystery" about details in ME detracts from the stories. It's in keeping with the spirit of myth and legend, and ancient history, that there would be disputes over these kinds of things. You go with the best evidence you have to "settle" the disputes. If there are unanswered questions, that just adds to the mystery. "Unexplained vistas" is something that Tolkien embraced and is one of the great charms of the books, IMO.

Re. sadness in the old myths...yep they are indeed, but there is also great beauty portrayed in the Sil and the other stories of the older ages. I don't think there is a question of "deserving." Not all who suffer deserve to, right? But they are pretty tragic. "The Mariner's Wife" in Unfinished Tales is a tearjerker, too.
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Old 09-03-2002, 04:47 AM   #25
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I have only one problem with Tolkien's fiction: he didn't finish enough of it. Even though he was a busy man with many calls on his time, I think that he let himself down in never completing a definitive version of his mythology, notwithstanding that what remains is still a remarkable achievement. I think it's a pity that so many of his best poems and stories trail off into scribbled notes, and that repeated setbacks and attacks of uncertainty kept interrupting the progress of their revision.

Ironically enough, though, the very incompleteness of Tolkien's mythology lends it a peculiar realism. The world's natural myths aren't contained in conveniently definitive stories, but told and retold in many forms that vary in their completeness, and which often contradict each other. In this respect, their lack of completeness is an advantage, but I still feel that what we have is a pale reflection of what might have been.
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Old 09-03-2002, 09:38 AM   #26
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I would have to agree with Squatter about the incompleteness of Tolkien's work. I would need to consider the same for my own work, as shoulder understand that it will never be complete no matter how hard I work at it.

Tolkien's work gained a sense of immortality because of its incompleteness. Even though Tolkien is long since dead, his stories will live on as though they were new everyday. I can only hope my stories will do the same and not fade as my life disapears in the world of indifference.
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Old 09-05-2002, 04:32 PM   #27
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Silmaril

I think Tolkien did a great job and who am I to complain. But I was a little disappointed with the ending of The Hobbit. The whole way through the book, you start imagining this gigantic dragon battle and then its like oh, he's dead. I was expecting Bilbo to fight him and win or at least the Dwarves to fight him. I just started The Two Towers and at times it does seem like there is a whole lot of information to soak in, understand, and remember.
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Old 09-06-2002, 04:40 AM   #28
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I can certainly understand many of the replies here. When I was young just trying to make it through LOTR was painstaking.
The "endless" descriptions of lands and fauna were not what I was looking for at that age. Neither did I understnd the need for explanations of routing or numbers of days travelled.

Now that I have read The Sil and The Unfinished Tales, and several other non-LOTR related works by Tolkien, and have a bit of a grasp on Nordic/Islandic sagas, as well as a few lessons in Irish Gaelic and many years of camping as both a Medievalist and English Civil War restorationalist, I know why he wrote the way he did.
I have come to understand the need for his explanations, his characters' modes of speech, and much of the history of Middle Earth.
I relish every word these days, recognising the fact that I am reading a man's life work. When I open The Red Book, it's Tolkien's soul that I hold in my hands, it's his heart that I read in the lines.
I am greatful to both Rankin-Bass for their creation of The Hobbit cartoon that got me interested, and to my hippy/yippy Uncle George, who gave me the LOTR trilogy for Christmas when I was very young. it has been a wonderful journey that I will cherish and honor for the rest of my days.
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