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Author: Subject: The Lord of the Rings

True Peach





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  posted on 8/20/2002 at 09:13 AM
What's up, brother Butch? I read in a news item on the main page that you're a big LOTR fan. Way cool. You've got me beat in the numbers, I've only seen the movie five times (2x in the theatre and 3x on DVD so far), and I've read the trilogy five times.

What did you think of the Ralph Bakshi animated version (or half-version)?

Are there any other fantasy series that you're particularly fond of? I recommend Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn to everybody, and the currently underway A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin may be the best thing I've every read in the genre after Tolkien.

Thanks for your thoughts,

 

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True Peach



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  posted on 8/24/2002 at 10:37 AM
Droog, try the Stephen R. Donaldson six-set Thomas Covenant books. Very creative and VERY dark.

 

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  posted on 8/24/2002 at 05:49 PM
Check out the Elrik series.Peace
 
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True Peach



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  posted on 8/26/2002 at 04:12 PM
Read all the Covenant stuff, and the Mirror stuff, and all of the Thermopyle and all of the Elric stuff, and the Chronicles of Corum, and the Dancers at the End of Time, and whatever else I could find by those two (Donaldson and Moorcock). Who else ya got?

I'm serious . . . Go pick up "A Game of Thrones" by George R.R. Martin. I would put this series above absolutely everything else out there including, perhaps especially, Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind.

 

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  posted on 8/30/2002 at 01:29 PM
I don't really consider The Lord of the Rings fantasy anymore. It is probably the best ever written in that genre, but it is so much more. It is the myth of our times. Tolkien was raised in the English countryside and saw what the industrialization of society was doing to the world and it's environs. The ring, on one of it's most basic symbolic levels, is machines and mechanization. I believe it is also atomic power. At the beginning of the movie I couldn't help but notice the resemblance the destruction of Sauron had to an atomic explosion. On a personal level the ring is whatever is the demon in each of us that we most dislike. Are we gonna just live with it, hide it and pretend it doesn't exist, or face our demons and destroy it? After my 10th reading a few months ago I set it down and (I am not one that's easily moved to emotional outbursts) and cried for quite some time. As I grow and learn the story and all of it's parts touch me and teach me more and more about myself and the world around me every time I read it. Other "fantasy" books that I have enjoyed are the Donaldson books, Leguinn's Earthsea trilogy as well as some of her other novels, the Dune series and and anything by Asimov (I know this may be considered sci-fi but it is also fantasy. Nothing else even approaches Tolkien though in the impact it's had on my life. [Edited on 8/30/2002 by Butch Trucks][Edited on 8/30/2002 by Butch Trucks]
 

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  posted on 8/30/2002 at 01:42 PM
Hey Butch, I really enjoy "high end" science fiction, and Isaac Asimov is at the top....... some real meat there....... Tolkien is unbelievable..... I've reread several of his books, but still a neophite compared to you guys. Must be something to this trilogy thing.Thanks for sharing.
 
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  posted on 12/26/2002 at 12:00 PM
I never was much of an avid reader in my youth, but luckily, my son is. He's such a cool kid in that respect. He sees much more than the surface story in these fantasy/sci-fi books and movies he's into. He's a big Tolkien fan and like Butch mentioned, rereads the books to find the deeper meanings. I'm glad he has that kind of insight at 14 years old.
He was even explaining the spiritual aspects of the Matrix movies to me once, and figured that out about Star Wars when he was about 9 or 10. He's definitely a wise soul for his age, and I think this will serve him well later in life. Luckily, he's got a good sense of humor.....not too serious all the time.
I've turned him on to some Eastern philosophy lately...along with comparisons among religions of the world. To me, this type of "spiritual" education is as important as what they teach in schools.

 

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  posted on 12/26/2002 at 02:16 PM
Butch makes a great point about The Lord of the Rings and its environmental message. On a symbolic level, I really do think that our major choice as a civilization comes down to Mordor vs. The Shire. Which one do YOU want to live in? Take your time, I'll be under a tree smoking some of the finest pipe-weed in the Southfarthing.
 
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  posted on 12/28/2002 at 11:27 PM
I hadn't looked at the books that way before...Peter Jackson seemed to emphasize the environmental theme in the recent Two Towers film, and I liked that choice. Perhaps you could review the movie for us, Butch?

 

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True Peach



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  posted on 1/2/2003 at 10:31 AM
"Looks like meat's back on the menu, boys!"

I caught The Two Towers twice over the break, and was not dissapointed in the least - I also watched the extended DVD of the Fellowship of the Ring, which has about a half-hour of deleted scenes re-inserted in their proper places. Probably the most important of these scenes was Galadriel's "giving of the gifts" to the fellowship.

The Two Towers was awesome, man, that's all I can say about it . . . I don't want to spoil anything for those who are planning to see the movie, but what the you-know-who's do to the you-know-what was simply mesmerizing.

And then there's the other you-know-who, the little one, not the big ones. Digital or not, that acting performance is gathering serious praise. The actor responsible was INCREDIBLY intimate with the character - he became you-know-who.

As for the environmental issues, yes, those are quite obvious, and didn't the secondary bad guy say something like . . . "middle earth will burn beneath the fires of industry," or something?

I could discuss these books/movies all day long.

"We could let HER do it . . ."

 

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  posted on 1/3/2003 at 11:35 PM
Interesting that you refer to Saruman as the "secondary" bad guy. Remember that he was leader of the Council, THE White Wizard, and as such is directly responsible for anything not under Sauron's direct control (and even THAT is arguable). His turn towards evil was a choice freely made; he was not coerced, only convinced that Sauron's rule was inevitable. The fact that he made plans to divert the Ring to Isengard proves his evil is far deeper than mere traitor to Good, he is also a traitor to Sauron, his master. He is far from a secondary evil, Grima Wormtongue is a better example of that, I think. No, Saruman's "stature" as a bad guy is on a par and is level with that of Sauron's.

 

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  posted on 1/5/2003 at 04:30 PM
The reason I'm reluctant to relegate Saruman to that position is partly because of his treachery to both sides. Yes, Saruman was swayed by Sauron, but in the end he abandons ALL loyalty and opts for his own dominion over all things. If you've read the books, you know how much farther he takes his version of spite.

 

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  posted on 1/6/2003 at 02:29 PM
Yeah, Saruman may have decided to make his play and challenge Sauron for control of middle earth if and when he had the ring in hand, but no-one ever lets us forget that the ring has only one master. Anyone else who thinks they can bend the ring to their own will is mistaken. Saruman is a wise fool, in that regard. He's blinded by his own arrogance.

I'll have to stick by my initial assessment. Middle earth as two evils (towers) to worry about. One a major problem, the other an intermediate problem, or, primary and secondary bad guys.

 

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  posted on 1/6/2003 at 10:03 PM
All right then, given that logic, who is the primary good guy?
Give supporting arguments.

 

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  posted on 1/7/2003 at 11:45 AM
Darn you, Cliff, making me think.

Well, I'll address this later, when I have a bit more time. Here's a preview:

Gandalf - the Christ figure
Aragorn - Peter (the rock)
Frodo - the Virgin Mary
The Vallar - the Spirit of God

And yes, I will come back with textual evidence, from both LOTR and the New Testament. And before too many of you consider me a loon, Melkor's (who's name was changed to Morgoth) vanity, uprising, and banishment were almost identical to Lucifer's (changed to Satan) - which doesn't necessarily support what I'm implying above, but certainly indicates that biblical struggles were very much on Tolkien's mind during a good portion of his work.

Till then, peace.

 

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  posted on 1/7/2003 at 06:08 PM
Not bad, thus making Saruman = Judas?

 

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  posted on 1/8/2003 at 03:33 PM
I read the LOTR books over my semester break. At one point i looked online for maps to help clarify where things were, etc. And I found one that was really interesting... it had middle-earth and behind it was an outline of europe. about 95% of the middle-earth map identically matched that of eastern europe. http://lotrmaps.middle-earth.us/maps/r3t_M125.gif (for the map) Before I even saw this map i was thinking about comparisons between Sauron and Hitler (Stalin too after seeing the map) and it made a lot of sense. Mordor is in the heart of Russia and Isengard is closer to the boundary fo the iron curtain. I doubt this is very much a coincidence. I also found Butch's anaylsis interesting... one aspect I hadn't considered before. oh well, back to College.

 

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  posted on 1/8/2003 at 05:57 PM
Yeah. There was something on just a few days ago, a National Geographic special of some sort, that dealt with the realities behind the fiction. Some time was spent on how the two World Wars shaped Tolkien's thinking and his work.

Okay, I'm not going to quote chapter and verse, but here is what I was thinking when I made the connections above.

Gandalf sacrifices himself willingly so that the others may escape, live. He "passes through fire and death," and is essentially reborn, and purified. He has shed the gray and attained the white, akin to shedding the flesh and attaining divinity. Upon his return, take note of the way he "cast out" Saruman from Theodin.

Before he goes to face the Balrog, Gandalf passes the mantle of leadership to Aragorn-called-Strider. Aragorn is the hope of the future of mankind . . . the rock (like Simon-called-Peter).

Frodo . . . Frodo . . . would people stone me if I said that he's not really that important? He may have been chosen by the ring, or by fate, or whatever, to be the bearer of the ring, but he is not the master of the ring. What is important is the ring itself, and whether or not it survives or is destroyed. Mary was a vessel God used to carry out his will. She wasn't asked. She was told. She was the bearer of the Messiah, but she was not the Messiah. The job she had was important, but she as a person was not. Same with Frodo.

The Eldar, elves to you mortals (I said Valar, in my previous post, and misspelled it, to boot. This was incorrect), as the Spirit of God, I think I said. Hmmm. Maybe I shouldn't have said that. Anyway, here's what I was thinking . . . the elves are superior to mortals, in most respects - and that was what the Illuvatar intended all along . . . I think the Children of the Dawn (elves) and the Children of the Dusk (men) was how they were referred to. They had a more direct connection to the Valar - Angels, basically.

to be continued.

 

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  posted on 1/8/2003 at 06:08 PM
In the Silmarrilion, I got the distinct impression that the Wizards were Valar sent to deal with first the Necromancer and after him, Sauron (who first was a servant of the Necromancer, then took over after he was destroyed.)

 

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  posted on 1/9/2003 at 09:49 AM
Some interesting points here. Frodo may not be as important as his mission, so to speak, but the same could be said for all of us. I am glad that the movies don't focus on him exclusively and make it more of an ensemble piece, but I really think Tolkien was trying to make an important point with Frodo. It's not always the "heroes" that save the day, regardless of what Hollywood might have us believe. Sometimes it's the "unimportant" types who, by sacrificing themselves to a higher good, become greater than themselves. Frodo may not be that impressive a figure, but if you judge him by his actions and accomplishments, we should all be so "unimpressive"!
 
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  posted on 1/10/2003 at 09:33 PM
I hear what you are all saying.

But can I interject - the amount of violence in the movies is APPAULING, and IMHO, should render them NC-17.

I mean, what 14 year old should really be watching that? What happened to letting ones imagination fill in the blanks?

Do we have to see death and destruction on that level.

I don't know enough about the stories to disagree with anything you guys, or Butch, said about its true meaning, etc., but the movies are so violent I would never watch even 1 minute of them if you gave me $1,000,000!!!

PeacHe

 

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  posted on 1/10/2003 at 10:14 PM
Read the books, Gimli and Legolas keep a tally on how many they've killed. Talk of removing heads is common as well as the description of all sorts of woundings.

 

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  posted on 1/11/2003 at 12:47 AM
The movies are very violent, as are the books. But that doesn't mean they aren't great stories, and I think it would be a shame to prevent kids from seeing them. After all, I know some people are seeing the movies, liking them, then reading the books, and others are reading the books to prepare for the movies. So, despite the old movies-vs.-books argument, if kids couldn't see the movies, perhaps fewer would read these books as well.

Shakespeare is often violent, too. While violence for its own sake is lame and stupid, I don't think there's anything wrong with using it as part of telling a story. I don't think anyone's really proven that kids become more violent as a result of seeing violent films to begin with...

 

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  posted on 1/11/2003 at 01:10 AM
Anyway: the following is from Tolkien's foreword to my (1973) edition of The Fellowship of the Ring.

"As for any inner meaning or 'message,' it has in the intention of the author none. It is neither allegorical nor topical. [...] The crucial chapter [linking LOTR and The Hobbit], 'The Shadow of the Past'...was written long before the foreshadow of 1939 had yet become a threat of inevitable disaster, and from that point the story would have developed along essentially the same lines, if that disaster had been averted. Its sources are things long before in mind, or in some cases already written, and litle or nothing in it was modified by the war that began in 1939 or its sequels.
The real war does not resemble the legendary war in its process or conclusion. If it had inspired or directed the development of the legend, then certainly the Ring would have been seized and used against Sauron; he would not have been annihilated but enslaved. [Perhaps Tolkien here is thinking of the Ring = nuclear power thing.] ... Saruman, failing to get possession of the Ring, would in the confusion treacheries of the time have...made a Great Ring of his own with which to challenge the self-styled Ruler of Middle-earth. In that conflict both sides would have held hobbits in hatred and contempt: they would not long have survived even as slaves.
...I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I think that many confuse 'applicability' with 'allegory;' but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purported dominion of the author. [My emphasis.]"

He goes on to admit that "an author cannot of course remain wholly unaffected by his experience," but says that he did not intend to apply anything too directly. And he makes one other interesting point: "it seems now often forgotten that to be caught in youth by 1914 was no less hideous an experience than to be involved in 1939 and the following years. By 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead."

He also says that the Scouring of the Shire is not a reference to the destruction in Britain after the war. But what he says about it may bring the environmental theme back: "The country in which I lived in childhood was being shabbily destroyed before I was ten, in days where motor-cars were rare objects (I had never seen one) and men were still building suburban railways." Maybe it's more a matter of the place being changed by time.

 

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  posted on 1/11/2003 at 07:53 PM
Kids grow up way, way too fast these days. And as far as I'm concerned, any story that requires as much violence as LOTR to tell is not worth $.02 to kids or anyone for that matter.

It desensitizes kids to violence, it gives them images of violence that haunt them for years, and why - to tell a story of globalization and its dangers, or whatever you all say it's about?

How about just teaching your kids to shop at local merchants, compost garbage, be vegetarian, recycle, help the less fortunate, etc? And then they'll just be good citizens from the beginning.

Why do we need a movie or book like this?

To be honest, the violent complexity of LOTR is so overblown, I can't understand why anyone would enjoy it anyway. But if you do, and that is of course your business, please, dear God, please, do not show it to someone under 18. Let adults choose for themselves, but don't poison kids with this any more than you would allow them to watch hard core porn at age 13.

PeacHe

 

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