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We can continue the discussion of "The Hobbit", but let's start adding to the discussion with LOTR discussions. I have just begun reading the trilogy again. It's been awhile since I read it before so I may be a bit rusty in the discussions until I get a bit farther into it.

A few fairly easy questions to get the ball rolling:

Did you like the latest film version of the book? Other film versions?
Did you have any problems with the film?
Did you notice any (major) inconsistencies between the book and the movie?


I know these are mostly discussions of the film rather than the book, but give me awhile. If you've got better discussion topics, have at it.

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Did you notice any (major) inconsistencies between the book and the movie?

I don't know if this is a major inconsistency, but I thought the point-of-view change was interesting. The books are told from the point of view of the hobbits, so it dwells a lot on luxuries. They describe almost every campsite, and what they have for dinner, etc. Obviously, they made the movie an action movie, which loses a lot of the humor that the hobbit POV gave us.

I liked the movie. It looked amazing, even though they changed up the story so they could give Liv Tyler more screen time in the first movie.
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Did you notice any (major) inconsistencies between the book and the movie?

I don't know how major this one is either, but the thing that jumped out at me was how "the world" looked when Frodo put on the ring. From the books, it seemed there was really no difference in perception for the person wearing the ring. He was just invisible, but he did not see things any differently. In the movie, putting on the ring made the "real" world barely perceptible to the wearer (or at least to us watching the movie). It did make putting on the ring more dramatic, but it bothered me a bit.

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We, (Mean MawMaW) haven't seen the movie yet. Both of us have some problems with sitting that long so we are waiting (patiently?) till we can get in the home version. Then we can take breaks when we feel like it but I (not MawMaw) am eager to see it. I just finished the book "Nigger" by Kennedy, it was interesting but not as good as it could have been, (there could have been discussion of the viewpoint that if you let a word hurt you, you are then giving me a weapon that you don't need to give up) ... there was good discussions on the many varied usages of the word .... more accepted by black people than by white ... lots of good background, tho' ... all in all it's worth reading. I still don't have my library unpacked, about 40 boxes, so I may look for the LOTR and use that for bedtime reading.
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Greetings,

I haven't my copy with me at work, but when Frodo puts on the ring during the attack on Weathertop (Amon Sul),( book I, the chapter a Knife in the Dark), (I may be wrong) (and upon his recovery in Rivendell) he describes that his perceptions are altered: Aragorn and the other hobbits' battle cries seem far away, while the Nazgul are so much clearly visible and beckon him to join them.

Gandalf explains that by putting on the ring, he is now half in the world of the wraiths, half in the real world, thus he more clearly sees the nazgul and doesn't perceive the real world as well.

I don't recall any description of Frodo's experience when he slipped on the ring at the Prancing Pony in Bree.

Did you notice any (major) inconsistencies between the book and the movie?

Yes.

On the positive side, they cut out Bombadill. I've always felt this whole section just didn't fit. His existence is never satisfactorily explain either in TOLR or in the Simlarillion. In the book, he is a usefull excuse to throw in some songs, and more warm fuzzy feelings towards the hobbits. But in the hard and fast pace of a movie, he would just be a useless distraction.

They dropped Glorfindel and handed his job to Arwen. This is so-so. Glorfindel is a walk on part anyway, so tightening up the cast and consolditating walk on parts into one character isn't so bad.

But Aragorn is pictured as the heir who has renounced his heritage.


Whereas in the book, he is the king in waiting, itching for the right time to claim his heritage. Instead of being a King who is the reluctant Ranger, the movie has him as a Ranger who is the extremely reluctant King.

Will they cut out the "Paths of the Dead" from book III ? In the book, Aragorn resigns himself to tread the paths of the dead since it comes part and parcel with the role of Isildur's heir and rightfull King of Gondor.

Since the movie Aragorn does not carry Narsil reforged,(it was always in Rivendell as a museum piece) and has renounced his heritage, (see the dialogue between Elrond and Gandalf as to whom to trust in the coming fight with Sauron) how can he come to terms with his duty on the paths of the dead ?

In the book, Aragorn makes a big point about his ownership of the Broken Narsil and that one of the key events leading up to claim of kingship is the reforging of the sword.

When the fellowship leaves Rivendell, the book Aragorn makes a big show that Anduril (Narsil reforged) is coming and out to fight Sauron.

In the movie, no mention of the reforging of Narsil and that Aragorn really cares about it. Boromir is the only caracter that shows any interest in the broken sword, and his interest in it is limited to that of a museum display.

In the book, after the sack of Isengard by the Ents, Aragorn also lays claim to Orthanc's palantir as Gondor's rightfull king and weilder of the sword that cut off the ring; and uses the palantir to challenge Sauron. (later in one piece of dialogue, this encounter is describes also a bluff: he hints that he possibly has the ring and with the sword, he is out to get him) As a consequence, Sauron launches his assault on Minas Tirith sooner, emptying out Mordor just about the time Frodo enters, allowing Frodo a better chance of reaching Mount Doom, across the deserted plains of Mordor.

In the movie, Aragorn doesn't have Narsil reforged nor has any interest in being King of Gondor. How will he find the interest, courage and guts to take the Palantir and make Sauron quiver with fear ?

In the book Aragorn meets up with Eomer and they forge a strong friendship fully realising that each other is a King in waiting.

How will the second movie handle the Eomer-Aragorn relationship given that Aragorn wants nothing more than to be a Ranger ?

In the book Princess Eowyn of Rohan gets the hots for the future King of Gondor. Yet Aragorn makes Eowyn understand, sorry, I want to marry Arwen and Elrond will only let me marry her if I'm King of Gondor. It's been nice. We should do lunch.

This noble rejection pushes Eowyn to seek a glorious death in battle. This desires leads her to play a key role later during the Battle of Minas Tirith in killing the Nazgul King.

Why would Princess Eowyn get the hots for the unambitious albeit charismatic Ranger of the North ? He is now beneath her; being spurned by a quitter/backwoodsmen isn't the stuff to push someone to seek a noble death in battle, even if he does have a nice 2 day old 5 O'clock shadow.

The way I see it, the movie Aragorn will have one heck of a change of heart somewhere in the first reel of Movie II. This is the only way to reconcile the many duties Isildur's heir must accomplish and align itself with the wandering noble bum he is in Movie I.

(Will he be on a horse on the Road to Damascus and Isildur will appear in a vision Saying Aragorn, Aragorn, Why hast thou forsaken me ?)


Cheers,
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I haven't my copy with me at work, but when Frodo puts on the ring during the attack on Weathertop (Amon Sul),( book I, the chapter a Knife in the Dark), (I may be wrong) (and upon his recovery in Rivendell) he describes that his perceptions are altered: Aragorn and the other hobbits' battle cries seem far away, while the Nazgul are so much clearly visible and beckon him to join them.

Gandalf explains that by putting on the ring, he is now half in the world of the wraiths, half in the real world, thus he more clearly sees the nazgul and doesn't perceive the real world as well.


This may be my bad. I just finished reading the Hobbit, and Bilbo is never described as being half in and half out of the world. At first he doesn't even realize he is invisible. I haven't even gotten back into the text of LOTR this time and it's been a decade or two since I last read it. You are probably right and the movie is probably more correct on this point than I gave it credit for.

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I haven't my copy with me at work, but when Frodo puts on the ring during the attack on Weathertop (Amon Sul),( book I, the chapter a Knife in the Dark), (I may be wrong) (and upon his recovery in Rivendell) he describes that his perceptions are altered: Aragorn and the other hobbits' battle cries seem far away, while the Nazgul are so much clearly visible and beckon him to join them.

<snip>

The way I see it, the movie Aragorn will have one heck of a change of heart somewhere in the first reel of Movie II. This is the only way to reconcile the many duties Isildur's heir must accomplish and align itself with the wandering noble bum he is in Movie I.


I pretty much agree down the line. But, even thu Tom B. was an irritating character, I think the movie should have given him a nod. Even farmer Maggot got a mention.

Most of the movie changes didn't bother me much. This is an awfully long story to fit into three films. But they did sacrifice a lot of character development to keep the picture running. The friendship between Legolas and Gimli was totally ignored, the near adoration Gimli has for the Lady of the wood was cut completely, even Sam's extreme closeness to Frodo was played down.

I'm guessing the sword will be re-forged in a big Hollywood production when Aragorn reaches Gondor. I also suspect they'll have to keep the "paths of the dead" for the third movie...who could resist those special effects?

I like your take on the movie Aragorn versus the book Aragorn. I definitely liked the guy in the book better. He had some real backbone and aimed to get what he wanted. I very much approved of the guy in the book who worked and waited, and grabbed his opportunity when it came (And he's a good guy). The guy in the movie is a wimp. He's going to be the Hollywood hero who doesn't want the power he's given, and doesn't deserve it. If given a choice between a good guy who worked his butt off to get a position of power, and a good guy who just happened into it (or got born into it)...give me the worker every time.

Of course, with all that said, they'll get my money for the next installation.

l1soul

And BTW, isn't Frodo awfully young. Sam, Pippin, and Marydoc are supposed to be young hobbits but I thought Frodo was suppose to be nearly 40!

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Greetins,

And BTW, isn't Frodo awfully young. Sam, Pippin, and Marydoc are supposed to be young hobbits but I thought Frodo was suppose to be nearly 40!

In the book, Bilbo leaves when he is 111 and Frodo is 33 making the infamous number 144.

And the year Frodo leaves is 17 years later, when he is 50. The same age as when Bilbo leaves on his first adventure. The only "rationalisation" is that Frodo has been owner of the ring since he was 33 and just come of age in terms of Hobbit life. And the ring stretches the owner's lifespan. Thus Frodo would not look a day older then 33 for a hobbit, which could be equaled to 21 in human terms. Pippin and Merry are in their tweens, under 33. Thus teenagers in human terms.

For Glup, we are both right. I've got the book with me and allow me a few quotes:

From the chapter: A knife in the dark;

"... at last he slowly drew out the chain, and slipped the Ring of the forefinger of his left hand.

Immediately, though everything else remained as before , dim and dark, the shapes became terribly clear. He was able to see beneath their black wrappings..... (after being stabbed) Even as he swooned he caught, as through a swirling mist, a glimpse of strider leapeing out of the darkness with a flaming brand of wood..."

(the bold is mine.)

From the chapter "Flight to the Ford"

"...Suddenly to his horror Sam found that his master had vanished; and at that moment a black shadow rushed past him and he fell. He heard Frodo's voice, but is seemed to come from a great distance, or from under the earth..."

From the chapter "Many meetings", Gandalf is talking to Frodo:

"You were in gravest peril while you wore the Ring, for then you were half in the wraith-world yourself, and they might have seized you. You could see them and they could see you."

Cheers,


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Tolkein claims that WWII did not influence the basic story line of LOTR, but most of the story was written while the war was going on. Do you see parallels between LOTR and what was happening in the world at that time, WWII,etc? Examples?
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"Do you see parallels between LOTR and what was happening in the world at that time, WWII,etc? Examples?"


I don't have any proof, but certainly the Holocaust must have had an influence as to a dark dread of evil. I know that I was aware of it. Even as a small child, one heard whispers of a Terrible Dark Evil in the world.
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Greetings,

Glup's post 603

I don't see any great parrallels. Whatever is present strikes me more as coincidence or minor.

From England/Oxford, Germany lies to the East and has been the dominant continental enemy since the mid 19th century. Mordor is the traditional home of Sauron and lies to the East of Gondor, Arnor and the remaining lands of the Elves.

The lastest rise of Sauron in Mordor can be loosely seen as the rise of the third Reich.

But I'm having a hard time finding solid similarities beyond this.

The Elves: they are now few, distant and withdrawn. A spent power.

The Dwarves: They also are few, very separate, independant but loyal to the cause of the west without being in a position to lead or play a significant role.

The Hobbits: Apart from having a ring bearer, the hobbits don't weigh in heavily.

Rohan: A growing Power of Man. Not as cultured or refined as the Numenoreans of Gondor. It is a bit of a stetch to draw a solid parallel to the USA. But I'm open to the idea. But the fit isn't perfect in my mind.

Gondor: A declining culture of noble man. Could certainly be seen as the Post Edwardian British Empire.

But what of the Wizards Gandalf and Saruman ? What of the rings?
The three, nine and the one are part of the story. Only the dwarvish rings are out of the picture.

The A-bomb was too closely guarded secret for Tolkien to have the one ring as the A-Bomb. Besides, the allies used the bomb instead of destroying it.

I see no parralel for Aragorn. Post war England did not return to the Edardian or Victorian greatnest. Churchill came out of the political wilderness and assumed his leadership very early in the War. Aragorn assumes full leadership only after the Battle of Minas Tirith. And his ascension heralds a return to much of the previous greatness of Gondor.

Cheers
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I certainly don't think he intended the whole story to be an allegory, with each group representing an actual party in the modern world.

I do think he couldn't avoid being affected by the war. He wrote a story about a world war that hadn't started, but could no longer be prevented. The side of "good" thought they destroyed the evil, but found out too late that they were underestimating them.

Doesn't that sound a lot like the situation Europe was in at the time? The war was looming, and everyone could see it couldn't be avoided. The only thing to do at that point was to choose which side you'd be on. The allies crushed Germany in WWI, and thought they'd left it powerless, but she came back as strong as ever.

As I said, I don't think he was trying to re-tell the story of WWII, but he was obviously affected by it. As far as the ring goes, I think the story just wrapped itself around it. Tolkein wrote the Hobbit, and the ring was a focal point of that book. I don't think he intended it to be the focal point of the world at that point -- if he'd planned the whole story out, he wouldn't have had to change Bilbo's story (by the way, I hadn't realized he'd actually changed the text. Very interesting.) I think he just wanted to build on the Hobbit, and was affected by his life at the time. I think the ring just represents evil in LOTR, not any particular technology.
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Did you like the latest film version of the book? Other film versions?

I enjoyed the movie. I never saw the cartoon version.

Did you have any problems with the film?

I though they could have cut down on some of the action scenes and developed the characters more (make them more "human"). It wouldn't have taken much. Like I thought the relationship between Sam and Bill, the pony could have been more emphasised. Also the part where Legolas agrees to be blindfolded with Gimli in Lothlorien is an important scene which starts the friendship between the two. I also thought that Pippin and Merry were very undeveloped and it wasn't really apparent why they bothered to come along at all.

I am still not sure whether it was a good idea to show Shauron at the beginning. I would have preferred to leave him to my imagination.

I thought Aragorn was too superheroish. In the book, the attack at weathertop was with only a few Nazgul and it is believable that he drove them off. However, in the movie he was up against all 9 and drove them away. Makes you wonder what the big deal is about the Nazgul. They came across as pretty lame.

Did you notice any (major) inconsistencies between the book and the movie?

In the book, I recall that Frodo left at the end invisible. Sam saw the boat moving away by itself and realised what was happening. However, in the movie Frodo was visible. I don't know why they changed that as I thought the original concept is better.

I didn't like the orcs running down the columns in Moria. They are meant to be humanoids not spider creatures.



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Greetings,

I never saw the cartoon version. You didn't miss much in my opinion. In contains most of book I, added the battle of Helm's deep and the Meeting of the Ents from book II. Aragorn is an american Indian who runs around the wilderness in short pants.


I thought Aragorn was too superheroish. In the book, the attack at weathertop was with only a few Nazgul and it is believable that he drove
them off.


In the book only 5 are at Amon Sul, of which 2 hang back while the King of the Nazgul and 2 others advance. Thus Aragorn faces 3 Nazgul.

I was checking off the details as I watched the movie, and I don't recall that the movie shows all 9 at Amon Sul. But you may be right.

Is anymone planning to see the movie soon ? If so, count the nazgul in the scene.

In the book, I recall that Frodo left at the end invisible. Sam saw the boat moving away by itself and realised what was happening. However,
in the movie Frodo was visible.


Your right. If I recall, in the book when Sam jumps in the water, and Frodo finally turns around to fetch him, the dialogue reads" Take my Hand Sam (or something close) and Sam points out that he can't see it.

Cheers,
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"The A-bomb was too closely guarded secret for Tolkien to have the one ring as the A-Bomb. Besides, the allies used the bomb instead of destroying it."

Since when can you use an A-bomb(or for that matter, any bomb) without destroying it?
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Greetings,

Since when can you use an A-bomb(or for that matter, any bomb) without destroying it?

In the world of Middle Earth, the use of a ring of power doesn't destroy it.

For the analogy to fit, the allies would have renounced to use and destroyed the means to make and use the bomb, just like the destruction of the One ring prevented any further use of the ring and with Sauron reduced to a powerless spirit, the ability to make more rings of power was also lost.

Cheers
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With the palantir, of course, Tolkien foretold the coming dominance of Microsoft Netmeeting. Sauron = Bill Gates?
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But Aragorn is pictured as the heir who has renounced his heritage.


Whereas in the book, he is the king in waiting, itching for the right time to claim his heritage. Instead of being a King who is the reluctant Ranger, the movie has him as a Ranger who is the extremely reluctant King.


You've hit upon what I feel will turn out to be one of the most significant changes from the books to the movies.

In the books, Aragorn doesn't have any character development. He starts out as an uber-cool dude who knows what he wants, and he ends up as an uber-cool dude who's got what he wants. Can't have that! Must have character development! So Jackson makes Aragorn a reluctant heir with some self-doubt. We'll see Aragorn develop confidence in his ability to rule over the next two movies.


Will they cut out the "Paths of the Dead" from book III ? In the book, Aragorn resigns himself to tread the paths of the dead since it comes part and parcel with the role of Isildur's heir and rightfull King of Gondor....

In the movie, no mention of the reforging of Narsil and that Aragorn really cares about it. Boromir is the only caracter that shows any interest in the broken sword, and his interest in it is limited to that of a museum display.

In the book, after the sack of Isengard by the Ents, Aragorn also lays claim to Orthanc's palantir as Gondor's rightfull king and weilder of the sword that cut off the ring; and uses the palantir to challenge Sauron. (later in one piece of dialogue, this encounter is describes also a bluff: he hints that he possibly has the ring and with the sword, he is out to get him) As a consequence, Sauron launches his assault on Minas Tirith sooner, emptying out Mordor just about the time Frodo enters, allowing Frodo a better chance of reaching Mount Doom, across the deserted plains of Mordor.


My guess is that both of these will be recast as character development opportunties for Aragorn. The Paths of the Dead - he will have to acknowledge that he is the true heir, etc. Jackson will probably conflate the re-forging of the sword with the palantir and Aragorn's decision to wield it will be symbolic of his decision to graps the kingship.


Why would Princess Eowyn get the hots for the unambitious albeit charismatic Ranger of the North ? He is now beneath her; being spurned by a quitter/backwoodsmen isn't the stuff to push someone to seek a noble death in battle, even if he does have a nice 2 day old 5 O'clock shadow.


Dude. Have you seen Aragorn? He is totally hot, even if he is filled with angst. What I am saying? He's hot, AND he's filled with angst, AND he's the long-lost secret heir to a kingdom.

Also, my guess is that by that time Aragorn will have more fully resigned himself to his duty. This was forshadowed in Boromir's death sequence.

-mapletree, hates Liv Tyler
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Do you see parallels between LOTR and what was happening in the world at that time, WWII,etc? Examples?

I've heard people compare the Shire chapters at the end of the book to the state of England after the war with rationing, etc. I also read a forward by Tolkein where he vehemently protested that paralleles existed.

-mapletree
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My wife reports that as a teenager she actually fell for a guy's line that he was Aragorn and she was his Arwen.

I think Tolkien was not interested in character development of Aragorn, though he did it somewhat with Boromir, the Hobbits and others. He thought of Aragorn as an archetype, a hero of a lost style of writing, right out of Beowulf and norse legends and so forth. These sagas were not big on character development. Gandalf is a different sort of archetype, a Christ figure, which was also important to Tolkien and his circle, which included C.S. Lewis. Tolkien was a Catholic, quite religious, and his notion of Middle Earth as a world where man is fallen is quite interesting. The Elves, I've read, are like angels, they do not share original sin, and that is why they must leave the world for the west. We can debate what it means about Frodo's decision at the end of the book.

The ring of power is not the atom bomb, except in the sense that notions of power and its corruption are universal. It's all about sin.
This is a book with deep religious themes, and if you look at it too closely, the religion is a little wacky. It is amusing that a deeply conservative work became beloved by counterculture types in the 60's. I think a new generation is ripe to reinterpret it, especially with the
movies. I think the themes that will resonate most will be Tolkien's deep environmentalism, which is actually reactionary and opposed to the advances of technology and civilization. What Saruman does to the shire is a very important thing: He takes the natural world and destroys it.
The movie emphasizes this when it shows him ripping up all the trees,
and I think this environmental message will be even bigger in the next two movies.

It's a great work because each generation will take it and interpret it in new ways. I think we've been locked into a certain interpretation for about 20-30 years and now that is changing. (Of course, the books have never had that much mainstream critical appreciation in recent years, although when they first came out W.H. Auden and others were big fans; Edmund Wilson hated Tolkien, and he was influential in the 50's, 60's and well into the 70's. I think it might be possible to see him with a fresh eye, although his influence lives on in Dungeon and Dragons, fantasy genre books, and computer culture.)










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Greetings,

Dude. Have you seen Aragorn? He is totally hot, even if he is filled with angst. What I am saying? He's hot, AND he's filled with angst, AND he's the long-lost secret heir to a kingdom.


My name is Bond. Aragorn doesn't make me hot. The best I can do is acknowledge that he has the best looking 2 day old 5 O'clock shadow.

If Aragorn the movie has his change of heart by the time he reaches Rohan, then yes I agree, Eowyn will need a fresh set of panties after meeting him: she's a noble looking for a politically advantageous and romantic marriage.

In the book, Eowyn would have had the same reaction had she met Aragorn at the council of Elrond in Rivendell. In the movie, had Eowyn nmet Aragorn at the council of Elrond she would have seen a nice looking Ranger, not the next King Of Gondor, straight out of the legends of Numenor: No need to change her underwear.


Cheers,
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The ring of power is not the atom bomb, except in the sense that notions of power and its corruption are universal. It's all about sin.

Once some saw Hitler, now perhaps some see Saddam or Bin Laden in the evil kingdom. And perhaps there is a comparison between the U.S. and its alliances with Frodo and his fellowship. The fellowship requires working through our many cultural and political differences to stand united against evil, as well as live together peacefully. And it is not enough to worry about the opposition's weapons. The ring's message could be that it will be a challenge for us to use or keep our destructive capabilities ourselves without turning into the same evil we oppose.

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think Tolkien was not interested in character development of Aragorn, though he did it somewhat with Boromir, the Hobbits and others. He thought of Aragorn as an archetype, a hero of a lost style of writing, right out of Beowulf and norse legends and so forth. These sagas were not big on character development. Gandalf is a different sort of archetype, a Christ figure, which was also important to Tolkien and his circle, which included C.S. Lewis.

I had a class on Tolkein's works many years ago. The comparison to Beowulf is very apt although maybe not for Aragorn. Gandalf's story of his fight with the Balrog (sp?) has many parallels with Beowulf's battle with Grendel. Unfortunately, I can't remember enough about either story to give you the details.

There are also several parallels between Frodo and Jesus. I actually wrote a paper on this very subject for this same class. Unfortunately, my college years are a blur and I can't remember what I wrote any better than what the professor presented.

Perhaps as I continue reading the LOTR, some of it will come back to me. I'll post more if something jogs my memory.
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The Elves, I've read, are like angels, they do not share original sin, and that is why they must leave the world for the west.

I seem to remember reading that the elves were based on the Irish fiery stories. The lady of the wood (sorry I can never remember the names of Tolkiens secondary characters) in particular seems to mirror the Queen of the 'Fair folk'. Beautiful, often kind, and very, very dangerous.

I was always struck by the scenes in the wood because magic was just a part of how things were. Time passed differently, simple ropes and cloaks were somehow made wonderful, and, if I remember correctly, the Lady barely understood what Sam meant when he talked of 'Elf Magic'. Thats how the 'Fair folk' acted in legend...they were just a powerful, frightening force of nature.

I too will enjoy hearing how a new generation interprets this tale. Since reading what has been posted here, I've dug my copy of LOTR out. I thought I'd skim thru it this weekend. I wonder if I'll like it as much as I did when I was a kid.
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Oh, sure, he stole liberally from all the old stories and archetypes, but he spun something new out of them.

And he really knew his old languages. It's interesting for example that the preferred English now is Elfs and Dwarfs, but he was so right that it should be with a V. We don't say wolfs.

I seem to remember reading that the elves were based on the Irish fiery stories
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Did anyone else notice that Tom Bombadil's speech was very poetic, even sing-song. I am not talking about his songs, but just his speaking voice. I found myself half singing his dialog. I did notice there was a heavy use of alliteration in his speech. Alliteration was common in old english poetry. I am wondering if anyone else noticed any other standard poetic devices in Bombadil's speech.

By the way, Tolkein's translation of the old english poem "Gawain and the Green Knight" uses alliteration (repeating consonants) throughout. To that end, he spells Gawain as "Wawain" at times, because the original old english 'G' was sort of a cross between a modern english 'g' and 'w'. He altered the spelling of Gawain/Wawain to keep the alliteration in each line.
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By the way, Tolkein's translation of the old english poem "Gawain and the Green Knight" uses alliteration (repeating consonants) throughout. To that end, he spells Gawain as "Wawain" at times, because the original old english 'G' was sort of a cross between a modern english 'g' and 'w'. He altered the spelling of Gawain/Wawain to keep the alliteration in each line.

Alliteration and poetic metaphor were the main characteristics of Old English poetry. None of this fancy rhyming stuff. Some of the metaphors I remember from Beowulf in college were calling joints 'bone-locks'; the ocean is called the 'whale-road'.

Several hundred years later, there was a renaissance of this type of poetry, and therefore much Middle English poetry is alliterative. "Gawain and the Green Knight" was written in the 14th century (as opposed to Beowulf, which is from the 8th century), and was written in Middle English. So it's really cool that he did that.

-mapletree, former linguistics major
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As I continue to work my way through the trilogy I have just got through the Battle at Helm's Deep. I don't know why but the end of this battle is one of my favorite parts of the book. I love when all seems lost and then they see a forest where there was no forest. The ents are some of my favorite characters. It seems like I am drawn to these older than old characters such as Bombadil and the Ents. Maybe it is their connection to the earth. I don't know.

What are some of your favorite characters, passages, scenes? Why?
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I think my favorite is when Gandolf shows up after having been thought dead.
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I can't remember the specific scene, but I do remember enjoying the battle scenes immensely. I think there was one scene when the goblins come pouring down through a pass where the language and imagery struck me. I guess it's time to re-read it again!

-mapletree
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I finally, FINALLY read this last year, after two decades of having it on my "to-read" list. I actually tried to read it as a teenager: thought it was stupid, kid-stuff. So last year at age 35 I gave it one last try, since it was my last chance to read it in a pre-movie world...

And boy, did I love it. I guess I can understand why as a teenager I thought it was kid's stuff, but now it seems taht I just completely missed the most important things - many of them are just sort of assumed and unsaid in the books. You almost have to have a feel for the very English tone of motivation (duty, love) and of some of the relationships (especially the gentleman-servant relationship between Frodo and Sam). I basically needed to do more reading then before I could get it. Anyway, LOTR is a lot more philosophically mature than I thought as a kid. One example that shows this is the ending, with who stays in Middle Earth and who goes back to the elvish land; also, the way the hobbits were changed by their experience in the war.

I think there is a big structural weakness in the story, though. This was a nagging thought I had throughout reading the books, and it never went away. There is no direct confrontation between the good guys and Sauron. The climactic scenes in Mount Doom are terrific, and they are urgently necessary in the sense that the whole story points to those moments. Yet when all is said and done, Sauron is never confronted. There are good reasons for this in the narrative, and I think it has a lot to do with Tolkein's message about evil: that you can confront its servants and defeat them in your time, but you can never entirely wipe out evil. You will always have to remain alert. Yet still, I think it is a weakness in the story. The most direct comparison is with Stephen R. Donaldson's first Thomas Covenant series: the whole story gains in power from Convenant's climactic confrontation with Lord Foul. I think LOTR is probably the better work - broader in vision, more mature philosophically, etc; plus Donaldson is utterly reliant on Tolkein's precedent for the entire genre he works in - but the example of the Covenant series really highlights what I see as the one structural defect of LOTR.

Terrific work. At the end, I was grateful I had managed to read it in a world that was still pre-movie.

Regards,

Jim
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Hey, I should have known someone who liked O'Brian will like Tolkein. I find a lot of people (just like O'Brian) can't tolerate the language. To them I say 'Phooey!' I enjoy reading stuff that slows me down. I'm a speed reader and I like a challenge now and then.

-mapletree
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