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J.R.R. Tolkien



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Original post

Posted by Sekhmet, 02.08.2006 - 14:22
A discussion was going on in the "Now Reading" thread about Tolkien and his work and IMO the man also deserves his own thread
There's so much to discuss about him...

First, his books of course!! Considered as the father of the fantasy genre, he created a whole new mythic world, a connected body of tales, fictional histories, invented languages, and other literary essays about an imagined world called Arda, and Middle-earth, identified as an 'alternative' remote past of our own world. His work includes the famous Lord of the Rings trilogy, bit also the Silmarillion, the Hobbit, the Book of Lost Tales,... (for a detailed bibliography ask Wiki ). Let's discuss his writings

Then the adaptation by Peter Jackson. I personnaly loved the movies due to actors and special effects, but I think the story was messed up to adjust to every kind of public and I disliked it. In particular the big part played by Arwen and her romance with Aragorn was seriously getting on my nerves...

There are also serious discussions about Tolkien... Like this argument I had with a friend about Tolkien being a racist or not. I was bringing up that point: An undercurrent of the Lord of the Rings seemed to focus on racial purity. The elves were supposed to have the purest blood, followed by the Numenorians, followed by common men, and then down to Orcs. Remember the scandal when Aragorn married Arwen? She was seen as tainting her bloodlines by marrying a "mere" man. Remember the scandal when Faramir married Eowyn? He was said to be diluting the precious Numenorian blood lines. There were also frequent mentions to the "thinning" of the Numenorian blood lines.
Does this obsession with "my race is purer than yours" show that Tolkien was a racist who believed in racial superiority?
Well, the question was worth asking IMO (obviously since I asked it ), but I think he wasn't... Because despite the differences between "races", the relationships between Arwen and Aragorn (love between an elf and a man), or Legolas and Gimli (friendship between an elf and a dwarf, races so different), or Gandalf and the hobbits proves that he doesn't believe in racial purity. Feel free to discuss it too
29.03.2010 - 22:30
Valentin B
Iconoclast
Does anyone here know if the guy wrote the song lyrics in the books too?
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30.03.2010 - 03:35
tulkas
el parcero
Written by Valentin B on 29.03.2010 at 22:30

Does anyone here know if the guy wrote the song lyrics in the books too?

Yes, he did. Just as he invented the languages, he wrote the songs and poems.
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love is like a jar of shit with a strawberry on top
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06.07.2022 - 09:50
F3ynman2000
Nocturnal Bro
Well, time to reawaken a discussion thread that's been dead for 12 years.

I love Tolkien's fantasy works to death and I find every little part of the Lord of the Rings well written and obviously very carefully considered. HOWEVER, out of all the fantastic writing and self-consistent world building, there is ONE part that always irks me when I read it: the Ringwraiths (or Nazgul)!

Now, they are throughout the book (yes, LoTR is one whole book) referred to as Sauron's "most terrible servants". Granted, Tolkien says at one point that their greatest weapon is fear, not necessarily physical prowess. But at other points they are said to be masters of sorcery and great warriors. They have the Black Breath, they have poisoned Morgul Blades, they can raise the dead (think of the Barrowwights) and we see the Witch-King actually shatter Frodo's sword using simply his mind (at the ford to Rivendell).

The issue for any author that introduces powerful villains is that they aren't allowed to kill the heroes. Therefore, it makes sense to have the Nazgul be always one step behind our Hobbits as they leave the Shire. The Nazgul don't know the terrain and are relying on their horses for sight. This is good for the author because he can keep the villains and heroes separated. After all, if the Nazgul had the Hobbits cornered, there would be no way of escape for the Hobbits, RIGHT?!

Well, exactly this scenario happens at Weathertop. And here is where, in my opinion, the biggest plot hole begins.

The Hobbits are cornered on Weathertop. What do they have to their defence? Aragorn and magic blades from the Barrows that can harm the Nazgul. When five of the Nazgul approach, all the Hobbits drop to the ground in fear. Only Frodo stays standing, before he actually lunges at the Witch-King, slashing with his magic sword. The Witch-King stabs Frodo with the Morgul blade and we cut to black. When Frodo wakes up, we learn from Aragorn that the Nazgul just ran away. WHAT?! Are you kidding me?

That's right: there wasn't a fight between Aragorn and the Nazgul like in the Peter Jackson movie. The Ringwraiths, the Dark Lord's most terrible servants, had stabbed Frodo, outnumbered our heroes 5 to 1 (all the Hobbits were in no state to fight), were so close to their master's ring... and yet just ran away, confusing even Aragorn.

Now, I've searched the internet for an explanation for this crazy decision. Some say the Nazgul were spooked by the magic blades and Aragorn and had to regroup first to plan their next attack. Some say they were just going to wait for Frodo to enter the wraith world with his wound, so that he would willingly go to Mordor.

Granted, the Nazgul probably didn't expect Hobbits to be wielding weapons that can actually kill them, and they could have been impressed by the presence of Aragorn. BUT, they were willing to fight with Gandalf for an entire night on that hilltop, making the wizard eventually flee for his life. And, if they were waiting to strike again, why did they wait a whole fortnight before attacking at the ford?

There is no way in Hell that they would get so close to completing their mission (retrieving the One Ring that has been lost for a thousand years), and would run off because they're scared of some Ranger and a Hobbit with a knife? Plus, we see in the scene at the ford that the Witch King can actually shatter those magic blades! "Most terrible servants" my ass. Sauron should have disposed of them in Mount Doom and sent some Orcs instead.

The Ringwraiths were excellently built up as scary, mysterious entities, stalking our heroes through the night. But, in this scene on Weathertop, they lost all my respect. They could've been scared away in a bunch of better ways: have Gandalf and Aragorn team up to fight them, have Glorfindel and Elrond show up. Have some sacrifice like against the Balrog. Don't just have them run away after coming so close to their goal.

Well, that's my one issue with Tolkien's masterpiece. Sorry for the rant. I'd be really interested to see what you guys think.
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06.07.2022 - 10:49
24emd

Written by F3ynman2000 on 06.07.2022 at 09:50

When Frodo wakes up, we learn from Aragorn that the Nazgul just ran away. WHAT?! Are you kidding me?



I'm no Tolkien nerd. Bu this never bothered me, because I assumed the Nazgul had somehow figured out Aragorn was the heir of Gondor and that that scared him off??
No depth to my explanation, but that's what I always assumed... feel free to correct me
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Europower rules.
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06.07.2022 - 14:43
AndyMetalFreak
A Nice Guy
Written by F3ynman2000 on 06.07.2022 at 09:50


Well, that's my one issue with Tolkien's masterpiece. Sorry for the rant. I'd be really interested to see what you guys think.

That is the one scene that always seemed to bother me, it was the best opportunity the Nazgul's had at reclaiming the ring in the whole saga, they literally had the Hobbit's outnumbered, out matched, and cornered, with only Aragorn protecting them. I always thought to myself the film had slightly exaggerated Aragorn's combat skill in that scene.

But like you said, the actual story went that they simply left without a fight, rather than being fought off by Aragorn. I like to think it's because they thought they had the job done by stabbing Frodo with the Morgul blade, so they felt no need for combat, they just expected Frodo to pass over to the other side allowing the ring to simply fall right into Sauron's grasp, but we know this never planned out that way.

Perhaps the Nazgul were too incompetent to finish the job by killing them off, or maybe they were under strict orders not to harm anyone not bearing the ring, or maybe Aragorn's presence really did scare them off
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08.07.2022 - 10:45
F3ynman2000
Nocturnal Bro
Written by AndyMetalFreak on 06.07.2022 at 14:43

Written by F3ynman2000 on 06.07.2022 at 09:50


Well, that's my one issue with Tolkien's masterpiece. Sorry for the rant. I'd be really interested to see what you guys think.

I always thought to myself the film had slightly exaggerated Aragorn's combat skill in that scene.

Yeah I also think Aragorn wouldn't have a had the ability to fight all five of them. Like I said, even Gandalf had to flee. If they had Aragorn team up with Gandalf or Elrond or Glorfindel, I guess I could see it coming to a tie. But at least the movie gave more of a reason for the Nazgul to leave instead of them basically saying "well, our job here is done!" when they could just kill the Hobbits and take the ring.

Although, now that I think about it, they might not be allowed to touch the ring because maybe one of them could claim it for themselves. In one of Tolkien's letters he explains that if Gollum hadn't taken the ring from Frodo in Mount Doom and the Nazgul would've arrived to the volcano in time, the Nazgul would have acted as if they were obedient to Frodo, and wait for Sauron to show up himself to take the ring. So maybe Sauron generally gave them orders to not touch the ring, in which case the morgul blade might have been their only option.

I also talked to a friend about the scene on Weathertop, and she pointed out that since Weathertop was an ancient watchtower for Arnor in the war against Angmar, the place itself might have some defensive powers against the Nazgul. So that could also be an explanation why they had to flee.
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