CotW Silm Ch 4 Of Thingol and Melian

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Taemon

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Nov 30, 2005, 7:01:20 AM11/30/05
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A bit soon after the last chapter but we're not busy anyway and this
way we can keep to the schedule. For the schedule, see
http://parasha.maoltuile.org/. We still need volunteers!

Of Thingol and Melian

Not even two pages, this shortest chapter, yet full of riddles for us
to discuss. Let's start with the first sentence.

"Melian was a Maia, of the race of the Valar."

The index tells us that the Valar is the name "given to those great
Ainur who entered into Eä at the beginning of time". The Ainur are
"the first beings created by Ilúvatar, the 'order' of the Valar and
Maiar, made before Eä". Maiar are "Ainur of lesser degree than the
Valar". So how can a Maia be of the race of the Valar? Do we have a
special Vala-type of Maiar? It seems that Maiar and Valar are not the
same.

Second sentence.

"... there were none more beautiful than Melian"

Later, Lúthien was the most beautiful. Later still, Arwen. What is it
with Tolkien and women who are the most beautiful? It's a minor
detail, but one is starting to wonder where the women
are who are not the most beautiful. We don't get to hear how Thingol
looks like. Methinks he must have been quite the stud.

Third sentence. No, kidding! Fifth sentence.

"She was akin before the World was made to Yavanna herself"

I do not understand this sentence at all. Akin to what? Does "akin"
mean something else then "being kin to"? What does "the World was made
to Yavanna" mean?

Enter Thingol. He walks through the woods on his way to his pal Finwë
when he comes along Melian. Rather, he hears her singing and is
immediately sold. He follows her voice, comes to a glade and there she
is. Does this story sound familiar? Apparently, being the most
beautiful and meeting the love of your life while you are singing in
the woods runs in the family. I love the romance of it all and the
fact that it is probably rooted in Edith singing and dancing for John
once but to be honest, after three times it gets old.

Thingol sees Melian and his original "wonder and desire" gets replaced
by love. Nice! It doesn't say whether Melian loves him back but we
might assume so because they proceed with standing and gazing for
*years*.

A word on love at first sight. It's not only that it happens a lot in
Tolkien's work, it seems that it is the only way people fall in love.
Do we know of a love that grows, develops? The story of Aldarian and
Erendis comes to mind, "The Mariner's Wife" from Unfinished Tales.
But... that isn't a very romantic story. Not romantic at all. Then
there is Eöl and his shamble of a marriage. Or was it even a marriage?
Not much love involved, anyway.

There is only one case I know of in which love at first sight didn't
work out, and that was with Éowyn and Aragorn. And, of course, that
one was originally supposed to work out.

I must say that Tolkien has some very Platonian views on love. It is
all very abstract and courtly and idealistic. People meet, immediately
know they are meant for each other and stay together for the rest of
their lives without a fight, without doubts and usually without sex (I
still think babies are brought by the stork in Tolkien's universum).
When I talked about this with a friend she wondered about Edith's role
in this. What was she like, in love, in sex, in all the messy aspects
of normal human relationships? But it's almost impossible to find
something about Edith apart from her being mentioned as "wife of".

I don't like it. It is all too clean, too perfect, too sure. I cannot
relate (and I have a sound relationship). What are your ideas? And are
there exceptions in Tolkien's work other then the ones I mentioned?

Back to Thingol and Melian. No hurry there - they are still staring at
each other while "long years were measured by the wheeling stars about
them; and the trees of Nan Elmoth grew tall and dark". Can you imagine
how long that is? What is the meaning of this passage? Clearly it
couldn't have happened like that because Thingol was an elf, and elves
have bodily needs. Is it symbolic? Does it stand for Thingol removing
himself from the world and the people he came from? Choosing love and
abandoning everything else? Somehow, that doesn't sound right. Because
Tolkien was not too fond of symbolism and if he wanted Thingol to
abandon anything he would probably just have said so. Not to mention
the fact that Thingol became a great king afterwards. So what does
this passage mean?

In the meantime, his people look for him as he is their leader. This
disturbs me. He leaves them, abandons them, drops his responsibility
on the very spot. This is not how a leader should act. I understand he
couldn't ask for Melian's phone number, but he could have asked her to
come along while he did what he had to do. Instead he disappears,
having his people think he is lost or dead or worse and leaves his
brother Olwë to take over.

We don't get to hear anything about that and I think that leaves a lot
of questions unanswered. How did the Teleri react when they heard he
was alive and well? Why did the Eldar chose him as their king? What
did his mother have to say about all this? (If he even had one.)

Nex it says about Melian that "of her there came among both Elves and
Men a strain of the Ainur who were with Ilúvatar before Eä". Again, I
am at a loss as to what this means. What does "of her came a strain of
Ainur" say? That she gave birth to them? But the Ainur were "the first
beings created by Ilúvatar" so that can't be it. And there weren't any
humans around before Eä so the second part makes no more sense to me
then the first. Please enlighten me.

Well, I spent a lot more words on this chapter than there are words in
the chapter, but then, it is full of mystery.

T.

Chris Kern

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Nov 30, 2005, 8:46:23 AM11/30/05
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I thought we had agreed to bump the schedule up a week. The Chapter 2
thread is still missing responses from some important contributors
(not that they have to respond, of course, I'm just saying...) and
Chapter 3 hasn't gotten a single response yet. I think going slower
for more quality responses is better than charging ahead at full speed
and ending up with single-digit response threads.

-Chris

Message has been deleted

Taemon

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Nov 30, 2005, 9:32:05 AM11/30/05
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Chris Kern wrote:

> I think going slower
> for more quality responses is better than charging ahead at full
> speed
> and ending up with single-digit response threads.

I don't disagree. This is what Christopher and I sort of decided upon.
I wouldn't mind much either way but I think rescheduling might be
better.

T.


Taemon

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Nov 30, 2005, 9:36:31 AM11/30/05
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Alison wrote:

> On Wed, 30 Nov 2005 13:01:20 +0100, "Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl>
> wrote:
>> "She was akin before the World was made to Yavanna herself"
>> I do not understand this sentence at all. Akin to what? Does "akin"
>> mean something else then "being kin to"? What does "the World was
>> made to Yavanna" mean?

> This sentence could be rearranged thus: "Before the World was made,
> she was akin to Yavanna herself". Akin to means kin of, related to.

Commas! I missed the commas! (comma's? No? Truly not? "Commas" looks
stupid to my Dutch eye).

"She was akin, before the World was made, to Yavanna herself", is that
what you mean? That makes more sense but still... wasn't she kin to
Yavanna afterwards, too? :-)

> I'm in complete agreement with you over the idealistic, sexless
> nature
> of Tolkien's portrayal of love. Judging by one of the Letters, his
> doesn't seem to have been like that. I think it has more to do with
> the treatment of male/female relationships in the kind of heroic
> saga
> which he was emulating.

I don't think it's very passionate.

>> Nex it says about Melian that "of her there came among both Elves
>> and
>> Men a strain of the Ainur who were with Ilúvatar before Eä".

> It means that her descendants carried the "bloodline" of the Ainur
> "who were with Iluvatar before Ea", i.e. before the world was
> created.

So... "of her there came both Elves and Men a strain of the Ainur, who
(the Ainur) were with Ilúvatar before Eä". Not very clear writing, I
say.

T.


JimboCat

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Nov 30, 2005, 9:37:17 AM11/30/05
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On Wed, 30 Nov 2005 13:01:20 +0100, "Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote:

>Of Thingol and Melian
>
>Not even two pages, this shortest chapter, yet full of riddles for us
>

>Second sentence.
>
>"... there were none more beautiful than Melian"
>
>Later, Lúthien was the most beautiful. Later still, Arwen. What is it
>with Tolkien and women who are the most beautiful? It's a minor

It's like Galadriel and Arwen: Eomer and Gimli bury the hatchet when
they agree to disagree on who is most beautiful. An anonymous narrator,
however, can say six contradictory things before breakfast.

>"She was akin before the World was made to Yavanna herself"
>
>I do not understand this sentence at all. Akin to what? Does "akin"
>mean something else then "being kin to"? What does "the World was made
>to Yavanna" mean?

Try it like this: "She was ([from way, way back] before the World was
made) akin to Yavanna (herself [i.e. yes, _that_ Yavanna])"

>A word on love at first sight. It's not only that it happens a lot in
>Tolkien's work, it seems that it is the only way people fall in love.
>Do we know of a love that grows, develops? The story of Aldarian and
>Erendis comes to mind, "The Mariner's Wife" from Unfinished Tales.
>But... that isn't a very romantic story. Not romantic at all. Then
>there is Eöl and his shamble of a marriage. Or was it even a marriage?
>Not much love involved, anyway.

We don't see much man/woman love, though one that comes to mind as a
slow development is Turin and his sister. Tragic, of course, in that
case.

Most of the slowly-developing love is between comrades-in-arms.
Legolas/Gimli, Eomer/Aragorn, etc. Probably goes back to JRRT's
experience in the War.

>Back to Thingol and Melian. No hurry there - they are still staring at
>each other while "long years were measured by the wheeling stars about
>them; and the trees of Nan Elmoth grew tall and dark". Can you imagine
>how long that is? What is the meaning of this passage? Clearly it
>couldn't have happened like that because Thingol was an elf, and elves
>have bodily needs.

Not, perhaps, while they stand entranced by the eyes of a Maia.
Remember, Yavanna (was it Yavanna?) put every living thing in Arda into
a long preservative sleep after the destruction of the Lamps. Seems to
be no problem to me. Love is so powerful that it obviates such base
physical needs.

>Is it symbolic? Does it stand for Thingol removing
>himself from the world and the people he came from? Choosing love and
>abandoning everything else? Somehow, that doesn't sound right. Because
>Tolkien was not too fond of symbolism and if he wanted Thingol to
>abandon anything he would probably just have said so. Not to mention
>the fact that Thingol became a great king afterwards. So what does
>this passage mean?

I take it as simply literal truth. They stared into each others' eyes
for years without moving.

>In the meantime, his people look for him as he is their leader. This
>disturbs me. He leaves them, abandons them, drops his responsibility
>on the very spot. This is not how a leader should act. I understand he
>couldn't ask for Melian's phone number, but he could have asked her to
>come along while he did what he had to do. Instead he disappears,
>having his people think he is lost or dead or worse and leaves his
>brother Olwë to take over.

I don't think he made a conscious choice. I don't think he *had* any
choice in the matter. "Love at first sight" is like that (at least in
Tolkien).

>We don't get to hear anything about that and I think that leaves a lot
>of questions unanswered. How did the Teleri react when they heard he
>was alive and well? Why did the Eldar chose him as their king? What
>did his mother have to say about all this? (If he even had one.)
>
>Nex it says about Melian that "of her there came among both Elves and
>Men a strain of the Ainur who were with Ilúvatar before Eä". Again, I
>am at a loss as to what this means. What does "of her came a strain of
>Ainur" say? That she gave birth to them? But the Ainur were "the first
>beings created by Ilúvatar" so that can't be it. And there weren't any
>humans around before Eä so the second part makes no more sense to me
>then the first. Please enlighten me.

It means that her children/grandchildren/etc were descended from
(surprise!) the Maia Melian, as well as from their various Elven and
Mannish forebears. Blood (in Tolkien) will tell: all those descendents
had some sort of specialness due to this ancestry.

Jim Deutch (JimboCat)
--
"I think most scientists are more comfortable with unanswerable
questions, and thinking about them, than with unquestionable answers,
and *not* thinking about them." - Jay Banks

Message has been deleted

Gary Thompson

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Nov 30, 2005, 11:03:54 AM11/30/05
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JimboCat wrote:
> On Wed, 30 Nov 2005 13:01:20 +0100, "Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote:
>
> >"... there were none more beautiful than Melian"
> >
> >Later, Lúthien was the most beautiful. Later still, Arwen. What is it
> >with Tolkien and women who are the most beautiful? It's a minor
>
> It's like Galadriel and Arwen: Eomer and Gimli bury the hatchet when
> they agree to disagree on who is most beautiful. An anonymous narrator,
> however, can say six contradictory things before breakfast.
>
I think it's instead akin to an effect mentioned in a passage from C.S.
Lewis' Perelandra. I can't remember the exact quote, but the gist is
that among the preternaturally beautiful, the one you are standing
before is the most beautiful. Thus, Melian _was_ the most beautiful
woman in Arda. So too were Galadriel, Lúthien, and Arwen.

Derek Broughton

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Nov 30, 2005, 10:35:52 AM11/30/05
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Alison wrote:

> On Wed, 30 Nov 2005 13:01:20 +0100, "Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote:
>

>>"Melian was a Maia, of the race of the Valar."

...


>>how can a Maia be of the race of the Valar?
>

> All the Ainur are of one "race". Some of them entered into Ea after it
> was created by Illuvatar. Some are more powerful (for want of a better
> word) than the others, and they are the Valar. The other Ainur who
> entered in Ea with the Valar are called the Maiar. Melian is a Maia.

Read it as "a Maia, of the [same] race [as] the Valar".

>>Third sentence. No, kidding! Fifth sentence.
>>
>>"She was akin before the World was made to Yavanna herself"
>>
>>I do not understand this sentence at all. Akin to what? Does "akin"
>>mean something else then "being kin to"? What does "the World was made
>>to Yavanna" mean?
>

> This sentence could be rearranged thus: "Before the World was made,
> she was akin to Yavanna herself". Akin to means kin of, related to.

Tolkien's known for being sparse with commas. Read it as "akin, before the
World was made, to Yavanna".
--
derek

Steve IA

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Nov 30, 2005, 12:24:34 PM11/30/05
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What about (my favorite LOTR chick) Eowyn and Faramir? He, maybe, was
guilty of LAFS, but she needed a figurative /dope-slap/ to the forehead
to catch on.

Steve
Soutiowa, USA

bre...@court30.freeserve.co.uk

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Dec 1, 2005, 10:38:08 AM12/1/05
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bre...@court30.freeserve.co.uk

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Dec 1, 2005, 10:38:47 AM12/1/05
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bre...@court30.freeserve.co.uk

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Dec 1, 2005, 10:39:28 AM12/1/05
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bre...@court30.freeserve.co.uk

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Dec 1, 2005, 10:50:24 AM12/1/05
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Oh dear poor Eowyn. Yes she needed a slap. How could she fail to
receive the signals that Faramir was sending out to her?

I am saddening by the way they were both portrayed in the movie but
Faramir came off the worst by a long shot. He was a very sad man
denied his mother's love from birth and then denied his father's love
and understanding as he grew up. He was not really interested in war
and fighting but learning, then he realised that maybe the only way to
win his fathe over was to try and behave as Boromir would have done.
"If I should return, think better of me father." Denethor replied
that "it will depend on the manner of your return" in other words be
victorious as your brother would have been or else! Denethor accused
him of being a "Wizward's pupil" and so he was in a way because of his
love of Lore.

He was ever unsure afterwards until he met Eowyn and then he was sure
of winning her love. Although it took her some time because of her
loneliness in her past.

Lacking one parent, never mind two, can have this efect on all of us.

bre...@court30.freeserve.co.uk

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Dec 1, 2005, 10:58:38 AM12/1/05
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Does anyone think that there will ever be a movie of the Hobbit and how
accurate wil it be to the book?

John W. Kennedy

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Dec 1, 2005, 12:48:08 PM12/1/05
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bre...@court30.freeserve.co.uk wrote:
> Does anyone think that there will ever be a movie of the Hobbit and how
> accurate wil it be to the book?

See <URL:http://www.thehobbitfilm.com/>.

--
John W. Kennedy
"But now is a new thing which is very old--
that the rich make themselves richer and not poorer,
which is the true Gospel, for the poor's sake."
-- Charles Williams. "Judgement at Chelmsford"

Davémon

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Dec 2, 2005, 5:48:06 AM12/2/05
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John W. Kennedy arranged shapes to form:

> bre...@court30.freeserve.co.uk wrote:
>> Does anyone think that there will ever be a movie of the Hobbit and how
>> accurate wil it be to the book?
>
> See <URL:http://www.thehobbitfilm.com/>.


Is it just me, or is anyone else sick of the visual treatment of Tolkiens
work being so standardised?

Tolkiens work seems to have been overshadowed by 'fanasy art' kitch since
the 80's, and really PJLOTR takes it to its photo-realistic conclusion.
Tolkien himself had Cor Blok's work on his walls, not airbrushed fairies.

Cor Blok:
http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/translations/dutch/images/A3afr.jpg

Or perhaps the visual style could be taken directly from the visual side of
the cultures that inspired Tolkien?

12th Century chess-pieces:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_chessmen

...which inspired Oliver Postgate and Peter Fimin to make Noggin the Nog:
http://www.dragons-friendly-society.co.uk/

Or perhaps even the work of a visual fantasist who was a contemporary of
Tolkiens?

Lotte Reinigers Prince Achmed.
http://www.milestonefilms.com/movie.php/achmed/
which is the closest thing to what I see in my head when I read the
Silmarillion.

To my mind, there is more than one way to see Tolkiens worlds, and more
than one way to make a movie.

And as much as I enjoyed PJLOTR, please, don't let Jackson get his hands on
the Hobbit, it could be the waste of a great opportunity.


--

Davémon
http://www.nightsoil.co.uk/

JimboCat

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Dec 2, 2005, 11:56:14 AM12/2/05
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I like that! It's an equally good or perhaps even a better explanation,
overall.

OTOH it doesn't quite cover the Gimli/Eomer thingy (above). And what
about poor Paris? Would he have gotten out of the whole problem by
saying "both are most beautiful"? I kinda doubt it... Goddesses would
be a bit impatient with an "Elven answer" (that is "both no and yes") I
suspect.

Jim Deutch (JimboCat)
--
Precept Eight:
"Acquiescence to the demands that bullshit proliferates may enervate my
soul, but it also recapitulates my ontogeny." - Alexei Waters

Peter Andersen

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Dec 2, 2005, 2:29:08 PM12/2/05
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> I like that! It's an equally good or perhaps even a better
> explanation, overall.

I'll second that.

> OTOH it doesn't quite cover the Gimli/Eomer thingy (above). And what
> about poor Paris? Would he have gotten out of the whole problem by
> saying "both are most beautiful"? I kinda doubt it... Goddesses would
> be a bit impatient with an "Elven answer" (that is "both no and yes")
> I suspect.

They were all the most beautiful! (And I'm telling you 'cause I know)
Besides I don't do elven answers: sssurre honneyppie, yyouu'ree sttill tthe
[hiccups] niftiest lill' thingk arrounddy!!

Gimly and Eomer were just mesuring private parts. Let's just leave it at
that :)


--
____________________
Peter Andersen


Taemon

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Dec 3, 2005, 5:10:02 AM12/3/05
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JimboCat wrote:

> On Wed, 30 Nov 2005 13:01:20 +0100, "Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl>
> wrote:
>> A word on love at first sight. It's not only that it happens a lot
>> in
>> Tolkien's work, it seems that it is the only way people fall in
>> love.
>> Do we know of a love that grows, develops?

> We don't see much man/woman love, though one that comes to mind as a
> slow development is Turin and his sister. Tragic, of course, in that
> case.

Yes, I had forgotten that one. Beautiful and truly romantic, until the
inevitable crash.

> Most of the slowly-developing love is between comrades-in-arms.
> Legolas/Gimli, Eomer/Aragorn, etc. Probably goes back to JRRT's
> experience in the War.

True! Good point! So... he COULD do it, he only choose not to where
romantic love is considered. What do you all think, was that a
conscious decision on his part? Or did he involuntarily shy away from
it?

>> Back to Thingol and Melian. No hurry there - they are still staring
>> at each other while "long years were measured by the wheeling stars
>> about them; and the trees of Nan Elmoth grew tall and dark". Can
>> you
>> imagine how long that is? What is the meaning of this passage?
>> Clearly it couldn't have happened like that because Thingol was an
>> elf, and elves have bodily needs.
> Not, perhaps, while they stand entranced by the eyes of a Maia.
> Remember, Yavanna (was it Yavanna?) put every living thing in Arda
> into a long preservative sleep after the destruction of the Lamps.
> Seems to be no problem to me. Love is so powerful that it obviates
> such base physical needs.

Base physical needs? Eating? Sitting down? I don't buy it. This was
not a preservative sleep, they were standing up and watching. Maybe a
Maia could do such a thing, _before_ she dressed herself in flesh. But
once you acquire a body, you acquire bodily needs. Gandalf had to eat
and sleep. So I don't think Melian could do that, let alone Thingol.

T.


Taemon

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Dec 3, 2005, 5:16:52 AM12/3/05
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Gary Thompson wrote:

> I think it's instead akin to an effect mentioned in a passage from
> C.S. Lewis' Perelandra. I can't remember the exact quote, but the
> gist is that among the preternaturally beautiful, the one you are
> standing before is the most beautiful. Thus, Melian _was_ the most
> beautiful woman in Arda. So too were Galadriel, Lúthien, and Arwen.

Baaah. Cop-out! History told by the victors! "It is said Melian was
the most beautiful" - by Melian, I bet! I'm sure it is also said that
she was bald, and three feet tall, and had eyes the colour of clay.
Warts. A sagging belly. Long nose-hair. A hunchback. Her one boob was
smaller than the other. She had smelly feet, with long nails. Yeah,
she looked like a toad. And don't get me started on Thingol, who
really was called Greymantle because of his smoking habits.

T.


Taemon

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Dec 3, 2005, 5:18:46 AM12/3/05
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Steve IA wrote:

> Taemon wrote:
<snip>
(Could you snip a bit more?)


>> A word on love at first sight. It's not only that it happens a lot
>> in
>> Tolkien's work, it seems that it is the only way people fall in
>> love.
>> Do we know of a love that grows, develops?

> What about (my favorite LOTR chick) Eowyn and Faramir? He, maybe,
> was
> guilty of LAFS, but she needed a figurative /dope-slap/ to the
> forehead to catch on.

What, that?

E: Gods, I'm so depressed.
F: Can I speak my mind?
E: Yeah, sure.
F: I think you're hot.
E: Really?! Let's get married!

Nope. Sorry :-)

T.


ste...@nomail.com

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Dec 3, 2005, 10:46:12 AM12/3/05
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In rec.arts.books.tolkien Taemon <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote:
> JimboCat wrote:

>> Most of the slowly-developing love is between comrades-in-arms.
>> Legolas/Gimli, Eomer/Aragorn, etc. Probably goes back to JRRT's
>> experience in the War.

> True! Good point! So... he COULD do it, he only choose not to where
> romantic love is considered. What do you all think, was that a
> conscious decision on his part? Or did he involuntarily shy away from
> it?

There is no slow development of the Legolas/Gimli relationship.
One chapter they are rather indifferent to each other, and then
they are suddenly best of friends. Eomer/Aragorn is also
"love at first sight', or so says Eomer.
"Since the day when you rose before me out of the green
grass of the downs I have loved you, and that love shall
not fail."

Stephen


Chris Kern

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Dec 3, 2005, 12:42:19 PM12/3/05
to
On Wed, 30 Nov 2005 13:01:20 +0100, "Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl> posted
the following:

>Back to Thingol and Melian. No hurry there - they are still staring at
>each other while "long years were measured by the wheeling stars about
>them; and the trees of Nan Elmoth grew tall and dark". Can you imagine
>how long that is? What is the meaning of this passage? Clearly it
>couldn't have happened like that because Thingol was an elf, and elves
>have bodily needs. Is it symbolic? Does it stand for Thingol removing
>himself from the world and the people he came from? Choosing love and
>abandoning everything else? Somehow, that doesn't sound right. Because
>Tolkien was not too fond of symbolism and if he wanted Thingol to
>abandon anything he would probably just have said so. Not to mention
>the fact that Thingol became a great king afterwards. So what does
>this passage mean?

According to the Grey Annals, the time that Thingol spent staring at
Melian was approximately 220 years. There is no indication that this
is to be read symbolically. The GA passage says "Hand in hand they
stood silent in the woods, while the wheeling stars measured many
years, and the young trees of Nan Elmnoth grew tall and dark."

I think we simply have to accept this as a mythical story that doesn't
have a real-world explanation for it.

-Chris

Yuk Tang

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Dec 5, 2005, 6:14:04 PM12/5/05
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"Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote in
news:3vd987F...@individual.net:
> JimboCat wrote:
>> On Wed, 30 Nov 2005 13:01:20 +0100, "Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl>
>> wrote:
>>> A word on love at first sight. It's not only that it happens a
>>> lot in
>>> Tolkien's work, it seems that it is the only way people fall in
>>> love.
>>> Do we know of a love that grows, develops?
>> We don't see much man/woman love, though one that comes to mind
>> as a slow development is Turin and his sister. Tragic, of course,
>> in that case.
>
> Yes, I had forgotten that one. Beautiful and truly romantic, until
> the inevitable crash.

And it's something that I'm covering. Makes up for missing out on the
Nirnaeth, but I'm surprised no-one plumped for it before I did. I'm
just hoping I can do it justice.


--
Cheers, ymt.

Yuk Tang

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Dec 6, 2005, 5:11:11 PM12/6/05
to
Chris Kern <chris...@gmail.com> wrote in
news:f2m3p1lupbdeuckj4...@4ax.com:
>
> According to the Grey Annals, the time that Thingol spent staring
> at Melian was approximately 220 years.

It took that long for the impact to register on Thingol's brain.
Judging by Celeborn, quick-wittedness obviously runs in the family.


--
Cheers, ymt.

Chris Kern

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Dec 6, 2005, 5:53:41 PM12/6/05
to

Sources

The text is mostly drawn from QS (where this appears as a chapter with
this exact title), but there may be some lines taken from the the
Annals of Aman or the Grey Annals as well.

Tradition

This is a very old story in the mythology, going back all the way to
the Tale of Tinuviel in the Lost Tales, and it survived essentially
without change into the latest versions. Melian was not a Maia in the
older versions (since the concept of Maia did not exist until later),
she was simply a "fairy" or "fey" from the gardens of Lorien. Also
Thingol, in the older myths, had not been to Valinor. But other than
that the story is pretty much exactly the same as when Tolkien wrote
it back in the 1910's(?).

I'll get to the source/tradition for chapter 3 and 5 later; it's
finals week now so I don't have a whole lot of time.

-Chris

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Dec 9, 2005, 3:38:48 AM12/9/05
to
JimboCat <10313...@compuserve.com> wrote:
> Gary Thompson wrote:
>> JimboCat wrote:
>>> On Wed, 30 Nov 2005 13:01:20 +0100, "Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl>
>>> wrote:
>>>
>>>> "... there were none more beautiful than Melian"
>>>>
>>>> Later, Lúthien was the most beautiful. Later still, Arwen. What is
>>>> it with Tolkien and women who are the most beautiful? It's a minor
>>>
>>> It's like Galadriel and Arwen: Eomer and Gimli bury the hatchet when
>>> they agree to disagree on who is most beautiful. An anonymous
>>> narrator, however, can say six contradictory things before
>>> breakfast.
>>>
>> I think it's instead akin to an effect mentioned in a passage from
>> C.S. Lewis' Perelandra. I can't remember the exact quote, but the
>> gist is that among the preternaturally beautiful, the one you are
>> standing before is the most beautiful. Thus, Melian _was_ the most
>> beautiful woman in Arda. So too were Galadriel, Lúthien, and Arwen.
>
> I like that! It's an equally good or perhaps even a better
> explanation, overall.

I like that explanation as well, though I also like the "rhetorical
superlative" explanantion, which says that Tolkien was prone to saying
things were the best, oldest, tallest, worst, and so on, without
carefully checking to see whether they really were - kind of like poetic
licence. In other words, Tolkien might not let mere plot details get in
the way of a good sentence, and the atmosphere of the moment being
decribed.

Actually, that's not quite true. Tolkien did often say "x is best, save
for y" (where he is using 'save' in the sense of 'except', using it to
add an afterthought to modify his superlative comment). Some good
examples are:

"[Frodo in Moria] ...could see more in the dark than any of his
companions, save perhaps Gandalf." (A Journey in the Dark)

"[Legolas in Lothlorien] It was a Balrog of Morgoth, of all elf-banes
the most deadly, save the One who sits in the Dark Tower." (The Mirror
of Galadriel)

"[The coming of the Nazgul-lord to the Gates of Minas Tirith] ...all
fled before his face. All save one. There waiting, silent and still in
the space before the Gate, sat Gandalf upon Shadowfax..." (The Siege of
Gondor)

"[The Nazgul] ...still flew high and out of sight of all save
Legolas..." (The Black Gate Opens)

"[Arwen on Bilbo] ...he will not again make any long journey save one."
(Many Partings)

Tolkien seems to use this "all save something" device a lot. It seems
like an "all this" flourish with one hand, and then a restraining
"except this" with the other hand.

Gandalf (as an Istar) and Legolas (as an Elf) are most often the
exception to the rules. We see Gandalf compared at different times to
both Aragorn and Denethor, and we are told that though Aragorn and
Denethor initially seem to have the greater power, it is in fact Gandalf
who has the greater majesty and true power.

Which brings me to Aragorn's coronation scene. The text says: "Tall as
the sea-kings of old, he stood above all that were near..." For some
unknown reason, I've felt like this should be another "all save
something" moment. I've always wanted to insert a "save something" here
(usually Gandalf - but then maybe he was no longer _near_ Aragorn...
:-) ), but I suppose that in reality, as this is Aragorn's moment, he
really does stand supreme here, at least among those who remained close
by. And in any case I suppose "that were near" is a modifying clause
that reduces the superlative here.

And it is not only in LotR that Tolkien uses this "all save something"
device. It occurs in /The Silmarillion/ as well:

"...of the many messengers that in after days sailed into the West none
came ever to Valinor - save one only: the mightiest mariner of song."
(Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor)

"None have ever come back from the mansions of the dead, save only Beren
son of Barahir..." (Of Men)

"...the Sindar had the fairer voices and were more skilled in music,
save only Maglor son of Feanor..." (Of the Sindar)

"[The Lay of Leithian is said to be the] longest save one of the songs
concerning the world of old..." (Of Beren and Luthien)

So in the cases where there is a superlative, but no "save" clause,
should we say that Tolkien left out the "save" clause because the
superlative is genuine and nothing is better/older/wiser/etc? Or, if
there is doubt, is it OK to say that it is this "rhetorical
superlative"?

> OTOH it doesn't quite cover the Gimli/Eomer thingy (above). And what
> about poor Paris? Would he have gotten out of the whole problem by
> saying "both are most beautiful"? I kinda doubt it... Goddesses would
> be a bit impatient with an "Elven answer" (that is "both no and yes")
> I suspect.

Isn't that yes, yes, and yes? There were three goddesses weren't there,
that Paris had to choose from? Aphrodite, Hera and Artemis.

Christopher

--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Dec 9, 2005, 3:44:14 AM12/9/05
to
Chris Kern <chris...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Sources
>
> The text is mostly drawn from QS (where this appears as a chapter with
> this exact title), but there may be some lines taken from the the
> Annals of Aman or the Grey Annals as well.
>
> Tradition
>
> This is a very old story in the mythology, going back all the way to
> the Tale of Tinuviel in the Lost Tales, and it survived essentially
> without change into the latest versions. Melian was not a Maia in the
> older versions (since the concept of Maia did not exist until later),
> she was simply a "fairy" or "fey" from the gardens of Lorien.

I also seem to remember that, as the term fey implies, Gwendeling(?) was
a more dangerous creature than Melian. I seem to remember that she was
much more like a witch and more prone to enchant people, than Melian
was.

> Also Thingol, in the older myths, had not been to Valinor. But other
> than that the story is pretty much exactly the same as when Tolkien
> wrote it back in the 1910's(?).

Was he called Singollo or something, which became his epithet in the
published story?

Christopher Kreuzer

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Dec 9, 2005, 3:50:53 AM12/9/05
to

Was that not more Eomer instantly recognising the kingliness of Aragorn?
Developing into the love of a loyal subject for his king? [Something you
would expect to see in a heroic saga.] Or was it more the sword-brother
type of love? Or even just recognising a kindred spirit?

There are similar things said about Ecthelion and Thorongil:

"[Ecthelion] had the aid and advice of a great captain whom he loved
above all. Thorongil men called him in Gondor, the Eagle of the Star..."
(Appendix A)

Christopher Kreuzer

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Dec 9, 2005, 4:04:26 AM12/9/05
to
JimboCat <10313...@compuserve.com> wrote:
> On Wed, 30 Nov 2005 13:01:20 +0100, "Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote:

<snip>

>> Back to Thingol and Melian. No hurry there - they are still staring
>> at each other while "long years were measured by the wheeling stars
>> about them; and the trees of Nan Elmoth grew tall and dark". Can you
>> imagine how long that is? What is the meaning of this passage?
>> Clearly it couldn't have happened like that because Thingol was an
>> elf, and elves have bodily needs.
>
> Not, perhaps, while they stand entranced by the eyes of a Maia.
> Remember, Yavanna (was it Yavanna?) put every living thing in Arda
> into a long preservative sleep after the destruction of the Lamps.
> Seems to be no problem to me. Love is so powerful that it obviates
> such base physical needs.

Yes. Though the wheeling stars bit reminds me of what Gandalf said when
he returned after his battle with the Balrog and told how he lay on the
top of the mountain:

"There I lay staring upward, while the stars wheeled over, and each day
was as long as a life-age of the earth." (The White Rider)

>> Is it symbolic? Does it stand for Thingol removing
>> himself from the world and the people he came from? Choosing love and
>> abandoning everything else? Somehow, that doesn't sound right.
>> Because Tolkien was not too fond of symbolism and if he wanted
>> Thingol to abandon anything he would probably just have said so. Not
>> to mention the fact that Thingol became a great king afterwards. So
>> what does this passage mean?
>
> I take it as simply literal truth. They stared into each others' eyes
> for years without moving.

I agree.

>> In the meantime, his people look for him as he is their leader. This
>> disturbs me. He leaves them, abandons them, drops his responsibility
>> on the very spot. This is not how a leader should act. I understand
>> he couldn't ask for Melian's phone number, but he could have asked
>> her to come along while he did what he had to do. Instead he
>> disappears, having his people think he is lost or dead or worse and
>> leaves his brother Olwë to take over.
>
> I don't think he made a conscious choice. I don't think he *had* any
> choice in the matter. "Love at first sight" is like that (at least in
> Tolkien).

Not only the love bit, but the doom. In chapter 5 we are told of Elwe
that a "high doom was before him." I reckon if you ask Mandos about any
of this, he would say "It is doomed" (surprise!)

Which reminds me of Yuk Tang's comment about how the story gets
"meatier" later on, with the Silmarils and the Wars of the Jewels, and
how Mandos was a party-pooper. These first few chapters are indeed
setting the scene. As soon as other people start talking, and Mandos
zips his trap (after uttering his famous curse), things get even more
interesting, but the style of these first few chapters can seem 'remote'
and 'high'.

But actually, I _like_ the flowery poetic language of the narrator here
and elsewhere in these first few chapters. Tolkien's 'high' style, with
rhetorical flourishes and philosophical diversions about the fate of
Elves and Men, and extended legendary accounts of the beginning of days.
How do other people react to this sort of writing?

Christopher Kreuzer

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Dec 9, 2005, 4:24:01 AM12/9/05
to
Taemon <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote:

> Alison wrote:
>
>> On Wed, 30 Nov 2005 13:01:20 +0100, "Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl>
>> wrote:
>>> "She was akin before the World was made to Yavanna herself"
>>> I do not understand this sentence at all. Akin to what? Does "akin"
>>> mean something else then "being kin to"? What does "the World was
>>> made to Yavanna" mean?
>> This sentence could be rearranged thus: "Before the World was made,
>> she was akin to Yavanna herself". Akin to means kin of, related to.
>
> Commas! I missed the commas!

Yes. Commas would help here. Most of the time, having read the story
before, I sort of understand how the sentence should flow, and can
insert the appropriate pauses. But there are some sentences that still
trip me up. I read them and then, when they come out all wrong, have to
go back and re-read it, pausing in the right places to recognise the
clauses and sub-clauses that are densely packed into Tolkien sentences
(at least in this book).

<snip>

>>> Next it says about Melian that "of her there came among both Elves
>>> and Men a strain of the Ainur who were with Ilúvatar before Eä".
>>
>> It means that her descendants carried the "bloodline" of the Ainur
>> "who were with Iluvatar before Ea", i.e. before the world was
>> created.
>
> So... "of her there came both Elves and Men a strain of the Ainur, who
> (the Ainur) were with Ilúvatar before Eä". Not very clear writing, I
> say.

The important sense of the sentence is:

"...of her there came among both Elves and Men a strain of [those] who
were with Iluvatar before [the world was made]."

Tolkien uses the terms 'Ainur' and 'Ea' to name these concepts.

When reading these sort of sentences, you have to remember that they are
not always very focused, and are often very rambling. The point of the
sentence might not be fully clear until the end, but the sense should
then become clear. Re-reading the sentence several times, and looking at
the context should help. I often find myself re-reading whole sentences
and paragraphs to make sure I've understood it properly.

The next sentence is a good example of a rambling one:

"In after days he became a king renowned, and his people were all the
Eldar of Beleriand; the Sindar they were named, the Grey-elves, the
Elves of the Twilight and King Greymantle was he, Elu Thingol in the
tongue of that land."

The sentence goes from talking about Thingol being renowned, to a
linguistic ramble about the Sindar, giving two other terms for them, and
two other terms for Elwe Singollo, eventually ending up with the name
Thingol that he will be mostly known by hereafter.

In that sentence though, the commas and semi-colons help break it up
into clauses and make clear what is going on. When the commas aren't
there, you have to wing it a bit!

ste...@nomail.com

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Dec 9, 2005, 8:32:30 AM12/9/05
to
In rec.arts.books.tolkien Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
> ste...@nomail.com <ste...@nomail.com> wrote:
>> In rec.arts.books.tolkien Taemon <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote:
>>> JimboCat wrote:
>>
>>>> Most of the slowly-developing love is between comrades-in-arms.
>>>> Legolas/Gimli, Eomer/Aragorn, etc. Probably goes back to JRRT's
>>>> experience in the War.
>>
>>> True! Good point! So... he COULD do it, he only choose not to where
>>> romantic love is considered. What do you all think, was that a
>>> conscious decision on his part? Or did he involuntarily shy away from
>>> it?
>>
>> There is no slow development of the Legolas/Gimli relationship.
>> One chapter they are rather indifferent to each other, and then
>> they are suddenly best of friends. Eomer/Aragorn is also
>> "love at first sight', or so says Eomer.
>> "Since the day when you rose before me out of the green
>> grass of the downs I have loved you, and that love shall
>> not fail."

> Was that not more Eomer instantly recognising the kingliness of Aragorn?
> Developing into the love of a loyal subject for his king? [Something you
> would expect to see in a heroic saga.] Or was it more the sword-brother
> type of love? Or even just recognising a kindred spirit?

No matter which you choose, it was not slowly developing.
Eomer's words are plain as day.

> There are similar things said about Ecthelion and Thorongil:

> "[Ecthelion] had the aid and advice of a great captain whom he loved
> above all. Thorongil men called him in Gondor, the Eagle of the Star..."
> (Appendix A)

That is quite different as it gives no time frame. It does
not say that Ecthelion loved Aragorn at first sight, whereas
Eomer clearly says that he loved Aragorn at first sight.

Stephen

Christopher Kreuzer

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Dec 9, 2005, 2:00:55 PM12/9/05
to

Just to play devil's advocate, he could, possibly, have come to
recognise some time later that he loved Aragorn, and only then realising
that he loved him from that moment he first saw him.

I mean, they didn't spend 220 years looking in each other's eyes. :-)

Eomer's first words to Aragorn were:

"Who are you, and what are you doing in this land?"

Then:

"...he drew his sword and stood face to face with Aragorn, surveying him
keenly, and not without wonder. At length he spoke again."

Part of what he said was:

"...there is something strange about you, Strider."

And then:

"He bent his clear bright eyes again upon the Ranger."

Whatever friendship then develops between them, I would say it is only
an instinctive recognition that Aragorn is a good man that Eomer
perceives at first (much like Faramir immediately perceived that Frodo
and Sam were honourable people). The later "loved at first sight" is
just overblown rhetoric, said in the context of two allies renewing
bonds of friendship (it is said when Aragorn is receiving people in the
Hall of Kings in the days after his coronation). Surely Eomer is just
saying that the league between Gondor and Rohan shall never fail - while
also acknowledging the strong friendship between the two rulers of the
realms.

>> There are similar things said about Ecthelion and Thorongil:
>
>> "[Ecthelion] had the aid and advice of a great captain whom he loved
>> above all. Thorongil men called him in Gondor, the Eagle of the
>> Star..." (Appendix A)
>
> That is quite different as it gives no time frame. It does
> not say that Ecthelion loved Aragorn at first sight, whereas
> Eomer clearly says that he loved Aragorn at first sight.

Ah, but it doesn't say that he _didn't_ love him at first sight! :-) And
anyway, I'm now arguing that Eomer meant something subtly different.

Count Menelvagor

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Dec 9, 2005, 10:20:52 PM12/9/05
to

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
> JimboCat <10313...@compuserve.com> wrote:
> > On Wed, 30 Nov 2005 13:01:20 +0100, "Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote:

> > Not, perhaps, while they stand entranced by the eyes of a Maia.
> > Remember, Yavanna (was it Yavanna?) put every living thing in Arda
> > into a long preservative sleep after the destruction of the Lamps.
> > Seems to be no problem to me. Love is so powerful that it obviates
> > such base physical needs.
>
> Yes. Though the wheeling stars bit reminds me of what Gandalf said when
> he returned after his battle with the Balrog and told how he lay on the
> top of the mountain:
>
> "There I lay staring upward, while the stars wheeled over, and each day
> was as long as a life-age of the earth." (The White Rider)

now i'm horribly reminded of when people get knocked out in comic books
and see stars wheeling around.


> Not only the love bit, but the doom. In chapter 5 we are told of Elwe
> that a "high doom was before him." I reckon if you ask Mandos about any
> of this, he would say "It is doomed" (surprise!)

he was quite the lapidary wit, was he not? even melkor admitted as
much.

Count Menelvagor

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Dec 9, 2005, 10:24:50 PM12/9/05
to

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
> Taemon <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote:
> > Alison wrote:

> When reading these sort of sentences, you have to remember that they are
> not always very focused, and are often very rambling. The point of the
> sentence might not be fully clear until the end, but the sense should
> then become clear. Re-reading the sentence several times, and looking at
> the context should help. I often find myself re-reading whole sentences
> and paragraphs to make sure I've understood it properly.

one that used to give me mild trouble, not so much for syntactical
complexity, as for the weird use of words, was "his cat, he calls her,
though she owns him not." i used to think that should be, "he owns her
not." but he's not using "own" in the usual sense.

Michael Hellman

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Dec 10, 2005, 5:01:18 PM12/10/05
to

"Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote in message
news:3v5iknF...@individual.net...

>A bit soon after the last chapter but we're not busy anyway and this
> way we can keep to the schedule. For the schedule, see
> http://parasha.maoltuile.org/. We still need volunteers!
>
>
>
> Of Thingol and Melian
>
> Not even two pages, this shortest chapter, yet full of riddles for us
> to discuss. Let's start with the first sentence.
>
> "Melian was a Maia, of the race of the Valar."
>
> The index tells us that the Valar is the name "given to those great
> Ainur who entered into Eä at the beginning of time". The Ainur are
> "the first beings created by Ilúvatar, the 'order' of the Valar and
> Maiar, made before Eä". Maiar are "Ainur of lesser degree than the
> Valar". So how can a Maia be of the race of the Valar? Do we have a
> special Vala-type of Maiar? It seems that Maiar and Valar are not the
> same.

Are Valar and Maiar not both of the race of the Ainur?

>
> Second sentence.


>
> "... there were none more beautiful than Melian"
>
> Later, Lúthien was the most beautiful. Later still, Arwen. What is it
> with Tolkien and women who are the most beautiful? It's a minor

> detail, but one is starting to wonder where the women
> are who are not the most beautiful. We don't get to hear how Thingol
> looks like. Methinks he must have been quite the stud.

Well, they were all related, weren't they? It's in the genes, you know.

>
> Third sentence. No, kidding! Fifth sentence.
>

> "She was akin before the World was made to Yavanna herself"

See response to first sentence.

>
> I do not understand this sentence at all. Akin to what? Does "akin"
> mean something else then "being kin to"? What does "the World was made
> to Yavanna" mean?
>

> Enter Thingol. He walks through the woods on his way to his pal Finwë
> when he comes along Melian. Rather, he hears her singing and is
> immediately sold. He follows her voice, comes to a glade and there she
> is. Does this story sound familiar? Apparently, being the most
> beautiful and meeting the love of your life while you are singing in
> the woods runs in the family. I love the romance of it all and the
> fact that it is probably rooted in Edith singing and dancing for John
> once but to be honest, after three times it gets old.
>
> Thingol sees Melian and his original "wonder and desire" gets replaced
> by love. Nice! It doesn't say whether Melian loves him back but we
> might assume so because they proceed with standing and gazing for
> *years*.
>

> A word on love at first sight. It's not only that it happens a lot in
> Tolkien's work, it seems that it is the only way people fall in love.

> Do we know of a love that grows, develops? The story of Aldarian and
> Erendis comes to mind, "The Mariner's Wife" from Unfinished Tales.
> But... that isn't a very romantic story. Not romantic at all. Then
> there is Eöl and his shamble of a marriage. Or was it even a marriage?
> Not much love involved, anyway.

Well, Eowyn wasn't exactly hot for Faramir at first. But JRRT does seem to
rely heavily on destiny. It does tend to simply things.

>
> There is only one case I know of in which love at first sight didn't
> work out, and that was with Éowyn and Aragorn. And, of course, that
> one was originally supposed to work out.
>
> I must say that Tolkien has some very Platonian views on love. It is
> all very abstract and courtly and idealistic. People meet, immediately
> know they are meant for each other and stay together for the rest of
> their lives without a fight, without doubts and usually without sex (I
> still think babies are brought by the stork in Tolkien's universum).
> When I talked about this with a friend she wondered about Edith's role
> in this. What was she like, in love, in sex, in all the messy aspects
> of normal human relationships? But it's almost impossible to find
> something about Edith apart from her being mentioned as "wife of".
>
> I don't like it. It is all too clean, too perfect, too sure. I cannot
> relate (and I have a sound relationship). What are your ideas? And are
> there exceptions in Tolkien's work other then the ones I mentioned?

He also doesn't mention anything about the characters using the bathroom,
getting colds or suffering the agony of psoriasis. He hits the high points.
How many couples of standing would you guess had pre-marital sex in
Victorian England? Or post-marital, for that matter! >-/

>
> Back to Thingol and Melian. No hurry there - they are still staring at
> each other while "long years were measured by the wheeling stars about
> them; and the trees of Nan Elmoth grew tall and dark". Can you imagine
> how long that is? What is the meaning of this passage? Clearly it
> couldn't have happened like that because Thingol was an elf, and elves

> have bodily needs. Is it symbolic? Does it stand for Thingol removing


> himself from the world and the people he came from? Choosing love and
> abandoning everything else? Somehow, that doesn't sound right. Because
> Tolkien was not too fond of symbolism and if he wanted Thingol to
> abandon anything he would probably just have said so. Not to mention
> the fact that Thingol became a great king afterwards. So what does
> this passage mean?
>

> In the meantime, his people look for him as he is their leader. This
> disturbs me. He leaves them, abandons them, drops his responsibility
> on the very spot. This is not how a leader should act. I understand he

> couldn't ask for Melian's phone number, but he could have asked her to


> come along while he did what he had to do. Instead he disappears,
> having his people think he is lost or dead or worse and leaves his
> brother Olwë to take over.
>

> We don't get to hear anything about that and I think that leaves a lot
> of questions unanswered. How did the Teleri react when they heard he
> was alive and well? Why did the Eldar chose him as their king? What
> did his mother have to say about all this? (If he even had one.)

Yeah, Tolkien does have a tendency toward the extreme. I remember thinking
the same about Thrain when he learned of Thror's death. He sat unmoving for
seven days. I seriously doubt that I could sit unmoving for seven hours.
But, hey, I don't have a dwarven constitution either.

>
> Nex it says about Melian that "of her there came among both Elves and
> Men a strain of the Ainur who were with Ilúvatar before Eä". Again, I
> am at a loss as to what this means. What does "of her came a strain of
> Ainur" say? That she gave birth to them? But the Ainur were "the first
> beings created by Ilúvatar" so that can't be it. And there weren't any
> humans around before Eä so the second part makes no more sense to me
> then the first. Please enlighten me.

Since she was an Ainu, she was with Iluvatar before Ea. Her offspring would
constitute such a 'strain' (no pun intended). I think it just means that
she was one of the few Ainur to have progeny.

>
> Well, I spent a lot more words on this chapter than there are words in
> the chapter, but then, it is full of mystery.
>
> T.
>
>
>
>


Michael Hellman

unread,
Dec 10, 2005, 5:08:44 PM12/10/05
to

> And as much as I enjoyed PJLOTR, please, don't let Jackson get his hands
> on
> the Hobbit, it could be the waste of a great opportunity.
>
>
> --
>
> Davémon
> http://www.nightsoil.co.uk/
>

If we've learned anything in the last decade, we've learned that any movie
made can be re-made. PJ's certainly wasn't the cinematic treatment of LOTR
that I've been waiting for all my life, but it has, at least, brought the
work back to the attention of the public at large. And, while the films
were in the theatres, all three books were, albeit briefly, back on the best
sellers' list.


Robert Kolker

unread,
Dec 10, 2005, 6:32:37 PM12/10/05
to
Michael Hellman wrote:

>
>
> If we've learned anything in the last decade, we've learned that any movie
> made can be re-made. PJ's certainly wasn't the cinematic treatment of LOTR
> that I've been waiting for all my life, but it has, at least, brought the
> work back to the attention of the public at large. And, while the films
> were in the theatres, all three books were, albeit briefly, back on the best
> sellers' list.

A motion picture that really does justice to LOTR is too expensive to
make. To carry the burden of the novels the motion pictures would have
to be something like 30 to 50 hours in length (total for the three
parts). Forget it. It is not going to happen.

1. It is too expensive.

2. The back-story (The Silmarillion) is too complex to incorporate into
an LOTR film, properly done.

3. No professional actor is going to dedicate the -years- it would take
to make such a movie series. As it was Peter Jackson had his cast sign
up for 1.5 years of very hard work. That effectively took them out of
circulation for other parts.

4. Except for a few afficienados no general audience is going to sit
still for that length of time (even in separate sittings).

Bob Kolker

Kevin K

unread,
Dec 10, 2005, 11:53:56 PM12/10/05
to
On Sat, 10 Dec 2005 23:32:37 UTC, Robert Kolker <now...@nowhere.com>
wrote:

One thing to consider is that at some point, avoiding some worldwide
disaster, technology continues to improve. With the history of movies
being remade, someone, sometime, will be able to have a fully produce
a fully digital version of the movies. They may even be able to do it
with the equivalent of a home pc, given enough talent.

The early versions may steal sets, etc, from other movies, and not be
fully legal, but still ... :)

--

Raker

unread,
Dec 11, 2005, 9:54:47 AM12/11/05
to

"Kevin K" <kev...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:KIRoJuEXw9g9-pn2-qzyILedKqufZ@ecs...
And when that happens, the creators will be subject to the same criticism
that Jackson has been.

Let's face it, none of us sees Middle Earth the same way. And I doubt very
much that any of us see it the same way that Tolkien did.

But that's OK. Tolkien's effort was, in essence, to create a Saxonesque
mythology. And mythology is never the creation of one person, but of an
entire society. We all, I suspect, interpret and envision very different
things regarding, say, Greek mythology.

Todd


Davémon

unread,
Dec 12, 2005, 5:13:35 AM12/12/05
to
Raker arranged shapes to form:

> And when that happens, the creators will be subject to the same criticism
> that Jackson has been.
>
> Let's face it, none of us sees Middle Earth the same way.

I'm not sure the job of a film-maker is to make a film that everyone
immediately recognises, but to interpret the work through their own visual
language.

> And I doubt very much that any of us see it the same way that Tolkien did.


We do know that Tolkien hung the work of Cor Blok in his house, we do have
Tolkiens own drawings, and more importantly we have the visual languages of
the cultures he's referencing. None of these is the kind of stylisticly
homengeneous, easily digestable 'fantasy art' kitch that PJLOTR gives us.

>
> But that's OK. Tolkien's effort was, in essence, to create a Saxonesque
> mythology. And mythology is never the creation of one person, but of an
> entire society. We all, I suspect, interpret and envision very different
> things regarding, say, Greek mythology.
>

Both the Greek and Saxon cultures have their own visual languages, which
could be clearly referenced by a film-maker/animator. Surely to partake in
the same mythmaking as Tolkien, the film-maker should have gone to the same
cultural sources of inspiration and not meerly ape the current fashions in
'fantasy art'?

BTW: as the Hobbit is essentially episodic, would it not make a better TV
series than a movie?

--

Davémon
http://www.nightsoil.co.uk/

Raker

unread,
Dec 12, 2005, 9:21:00 AM12/12/05
to

"Davémon" <"davémon"@nospam.com> wrote in message
news:o7jlctqklkq$.19d2jokabu2qz$.dlg@40tude.net...

> Raker arranged shapes to form:
>
>> And when that happens, the creators will be subject to the same criticism
>> that Jackson has been.
>>
>> Let's face it, none of us sees Middle Earth the same way.
>
> I'm not sure the job of a film-maker is to make a film that everyone
> immediately recognises, but to interpret the work through their own visual
> language.

I think that was my point. Jackson has come under a great deal of criticism
because he created a movie that differed with the images that writers on
this group have.


>
>> And I doubt very much that any of us see it the same way that Tolkien
>> did.
>
>
> We do know that Tolkien hung the work of Cor Blok in his house, we do have
> Tolkiens own drawings, and more importantly we have the visual languages
> of
> the cultures he's referencing. None of these is the kind of stylisticly
> homengeneous, easily digestable 'fantasy art' kitch that PJLOTR gives us.

This seems to contradict your earlier point: If it's his job to create the
movie as he sees it, he may find inspiration from the images Tolkien had,
but he doesn't have an obligation to conform to that.


>
>>
>> But that's OK. Tolkien's effort was, in essence, to create a Saxonesque
>> mythology. And mythology is never the creation of one person, but of an
>> entire society. We all, I suspect, interpret and envision very different
>> things regarding, say, Greek mythology.
>>
>
> Both the Greek and Saxon cultures have their own visual languages, which
> could be clearly referenced by a film-maker/animator. Surely to partake in
> the same mythmaking as Tolkien, the film-maker should have gone to the
> same
> cultural sources of inspiration and not meerly ape the current fashions in
> 'fantasy art'?

Not at all. Myths through history have been constantly revised to keep
current with the mores and standards of the existing culture. Besides, while
Saxon visual art may remain, its mythology has long since succumbed to
influences from the Celts, the French and others.


>
> BTW: as the Hobbit is essentially episodic, would it not make a better TV
> series than a movie?
>

One of the challenges in that concept is the notion of television series. As
I understand British TV, very successful series can be very short-lived, a
half-dozen or dozen episodes, and maintain artistic integrity. In American
TV, if it makes money, it gets renewed (with the idea of making the magic
100 episodes that makes it viable for syndication.) My concern in the
business that is entertainment is that if The Hobbit is successful as a TV
series, producers would start making stuff up to string out the series well
past the original storyline. I would rather avoid that temptation.

Todd


Derek Broughton

unread,
Dec 12, 2005, 10:26:39 AM12/12/05
to
Raker wrote:

>
> "Davémon" <"davémon"@nospam.com> wrote in message
> news:o7jlctqklkq$.19d2jokabu2qz$.dlg@40tude.net...
>>

>> BTW: as the Hobbit is essentially episodic, would it not make a better TV
>> series than a movie?
>>
> One of the challenges in that concept is the notion of television series.
> As I understand British TV, very successful series can be very
> short-lived, a half-dozen or dozen episodes, and maintain artistic
> integrity. In American TV, if it makes money, it gets renewed (with the
> idea of making the magic 100 episodes that makes it viable for
> syndication.) My concern in the business that is entertainment is that if
> The Hobbit is successful as a TV series, producers would start making
> stuff up to string out the series well past the original storyline. I
> would rather avoid that temptation.

Not _all_ American TV is that way. The "miniseries" is common enough.
Often they really are mid-season replacements that the producers hope will
be picked up as regular series, but many of them are intended to be
fixed-length, no renewals.
--
derek

JimboCat

unread,
Dec 12, 2005, 12:09:45 PM12/12/05
to
Robert Kolker wrote:

>A motion picture that really does justice to LOTR is too expensive to
>make. To carry the burden of the novels the motion pictures would have
>to be something like 30 to 50 hours in length (total for the three
>parts). Forget it. It is not going to happen.

You keep asserting this, but that doesn't make it any more true. Fifty
years ago, only a major music company could put an LP on the market.
Today, any kid with a computer can make his own CD and sell it on the
Internet. The same is going to happen, eventually, with animated video
(it's already starting to happen now, though they're mostly cheesy
Flash animations). I expect within the next fifty years there will be
*dozens* of new animated versions of LOTR -- copyright or no -- and
that at least a few of them will be 30 to 50 hours in length. Most of
them will be garbage start to finish, of course...

Jim Deutch (JimboCat)
--
"A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing
left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." - Antoine de
Saint-Exupéry

Davémon

unread,
Dec 12, 2005, 12:58:04 PM12/12/05
to
Raker arranged shapes to form:

> "Davémon" <"davémon"@nospam.com> wrote in message
> news:o7jlctqklkq$.19d2jokabu2qz$.dlg@40tude.net...
>> Raker arranged shapes to form:
>>
>>> And when that happens, the creators will be subject to the same criticism
>>> that Jackson has been.
>>>
>>> Let's face it, none of us sees Middle Earth the same way.
>>
>> I'm not sure the job of a film-maker is to make a film that everyone
>> immediately recognises, but to interpret the work through their own visual
>> language.
>
> I think that was my point. Jackson has come under a great deal of criticism
> because he created a movie that differed with the images that writers on
> this group have.

My problem with PJLOTR isn't that it's different from what I imagine, but
that its the same as what most contemporary 'fantasy art' looks like.

Pure visuals aside, even the voice acting completely rips off the BBC radio
4 dramatisation. Other than plot and some dialogue, nothing in the PJLOTR
is original or taken from Tolkien, or from returning to Tolkiens sources.
It all feels very third-hand.

>>> And I doubt very much that any of us see it the same way that Tolkien
>>> did.
>>
>>
>> We do know that Tolkien hung the work of Cor Blok in his house, we do have
>> Tolkiens own drawings, and more importantly we have the visual languages
>> of
>> the cultures he's referencing. None of these is the kind of stylisticly
>> homengeneous, easily digestable 'fantasy art' kitch that PJLOTR gives us.
>
> This seems to contradict your earlier point: If it's his job to create the
> movie as he sees it, he may find inspiration from the images Tolkien had,
> but he doesn't have an obligation to conform to that.
>

No my point is his POV is largely defined by all the "fantasy art" he has
seen. I'm just saying that there are more authentic sources than gift-books
and role playing games boxes and more interesting ways of presenting the
stories than resorting to hyper-realism kitch.

>>>
>>> But that's OK. Tolkien's effort was, in essence, to create a Saxonesque
>>> mythology. And mythology is never the creation of one person, but of an
>>> entire society. We all, I suspect, interpret and envision very different
>>> things regarding, say, Greek mythology.
>>>
>>
>> Both the Greek and Saxon cultures have their own visual languages, which
>> could be clearly referenced by a film-maker/animator. Surely to partake in
>> the same mythmaking as Tolkien, the film-maker should have gone to the
>> same
>> cultural sources of inspiration and not meerly ape the current fashions in
>> 'fantasy art'?
>
> Not at all. Myths through history have been constantly revised to keep
> current with the mores and standards of the existing culture.

We're not actually talking about a living mythology. Tolkiens work is
fiction, and doesn't serve the social functions of real myth (i.e. a story
that serves to explain the world view of a people).

I agree PJLOTR revised Tolkiens work to the aesthetic lowest common
denominator, and in that way presents a story to a post-literate audience
in ways a book, or sophisticated film (or animation) could never do.

>>
>> BTW: as the Hobbit is essentially episodic, would it not make a better TV
>> series than a movie?
>>
> One of the challenges in that concept is the notion of television series. As
> I understand British TV, very successful series can be very short-lived, a
> half-dozen or dozen episodes, and maintain artistic integrity.

I also think a british production house (either independant, or BBC) would
probably be able to treat it better than an american company. There also
seems to be some quite strong Australian childrens TV output.


--

Davémon
http://www.nightsoil.co.uk/

Yuk Tang

unread,
Dec 12, 2005, 2:13:23 PM12/12/05
to
Davémon <"davémon"@nospam.com> wrote in
news:1u114lkdimxds$.1uhmte5b...@40tude.net:
>
> My problem with PJLOTR isn't that it's different from what I
> imagine, but that its the same as what most contemporary 'fantasy
> art' looks like.

Such as?


> Pure visuals aside, even the voice acting completely rips off the
> BBC radio 4 dramatisation. Other than plot and some dialogue,
> nothing in the PJLOTR is original or taken from Tolkien, or from
> returning to Tolkiens sources. It all feels very third-hand.

Blame Hollywood for placing British theatre acting on such a
pedestal, that 'quality' must inevitably follow such a pattern. Have
you seen the HBO-funded series 'Rome'? It was made for a primarily
US audience, but it drew almost entirely from British and other
European actors, because the American audience feels more comfortable
with them in weightier roles.


> No my point is his POV is largely defined by all the "fantasy art"
> he has seen. I'm just saying that there are more authentic sources
> than gift-books and role playing games boxes and more interesting
> ways of presenting the stories than resorting to hyper-realism
> kitch.

One would have that Howe and Lee would be among the most popular
interpreters of Tolkien around, apart from Tolkien himself.


> We're not actually talking about a living mythology. Tolkiens work
> is fiction, and doesn't serve the social functions of real myth
> (i.e. a story that serves to explain the world view of a people).

And there I was thinking that Tolkien wrote the ME stories as an
alternative English mythology.


> I agree PJLOTR revised Tolkiens work to the aesthetic lowest
> common denominator, and in that way presents a story to a
> post-literate audience in ways a book, or sophisticated film (or
> animation) could never do.

PJ used Tolkien's LotR to make a Hollywood film. He was
extravagantly successful in this aim, cf. the profits. He also tried
to adapt Tolkien's LotR to a different medium. In this, in the
opinions of many here, he has been extravagantly unsuccessful. IMO
he made a beautiful Middle Earth, but he's also entirely missed the
point of the book.


>>> BTW: as the Hobbit is essentially episodic, would it not make a
>>> better TV series than a movie?
>>>
>> One of the challenges in that concept is the notion of television
>> series. As I understand British TV, very successful series can be
>> very short-lived, a half-dozen or dozen episodes, and maintain
>> artistic integrity.
>
> I also think a british production house (either independant, or
> BBC) would probably be able to treat it better than an american
> company. There also seems to be some quite strong Australian
> childrens TV output.

Depends on what mode the BBC adaptation would be in. HBO can ignore
ratings completely, but the BBC, balancing the pressures of quality
productions and justifying its licence fee with popular programmes,
frequently makes stuff that is neither. That's why the big-name
productions by by reliables like David Attenborough are such
important cornerstones of the BBC schedule, with a guaranteed
audience assuming from the outset that their minds will be
challenged. I suppose a Tolkien adaptation might fall into this
category, but I wouldn't bet on it.


--
Cheers, ymt.

Derek Broughton

unread,
Dec 12, 2005, 2:52:15 PM12/12/05
to
Davémon wrote:

> My problem with PJLOTR isn't that it's different from what I imagine, but
> that its the same as what most contemporary 'fantasy art' looks like.
>

...


>
> my point is his POV is largely defined by all the "fantasy art" he has
> seen. I'm just saying that there are more authentic sources than
> gift-books and role playing games boxes and more interesting ways of
> presenting the stories than resorting to hyper-realism kitch.

Jackson, himself, says that - he actively sought out some of the best known
LOTR artists for his movie. How exactly that is unauthentic, I can't
figure. Just because Tolkien had certain art in his study doesn't make
_that_ authentic LOTR art either. It's not as if PJ hired the brothers
Hillebrandt :-)
--
derek

Davémon

unread,
Dec 12, 2005, 4:33:50 PM12/12/05
to
Derek Broughton arranged shapes to form:

> Davémon wrote:
>
>> My problem with PJLOTR isn't that it's different from what I imagine, but
>> that its the same as what most contemporary 'fantasy art' looks like.
>>
> ...
>>
>> my point is his POV is largely defined by all the "fantasy art" he has
>> seen. I'm just saying that there are more authentic sources than
>> gift-books and role playing games boxes and more interesting ways of
>> presenting the stories than resorting to hyper-realism kitch.
>
> Jackson, himself, says that - he actively sought out some of the best known
> LOTR artists for his movie. How exactly that is unauthentic, I can't
> figure.

IMHO Any aesthetic that attempts to create a photo-realistic representation
of the imaginary world, is by its nature non-authentic and illusionary.
Only the surface is revealed, not the essence of the narrative, emotions or
character.

> Just because Tolkien had certain art in his study doesn't make
> _that_ authentic LOTR art either.

Why not? What would your criteria for authenticity be? Mine is - an
affinity with the authors work ie. should be as entrenched in the medieval
periods art as Tolkien was in its languages - and still have a modern
sencibility.

> It's not as if PJ hired the brothers Hillebrandt :-)

IMHO PJ's result is not 100 miles away, more realism - less camp, but
pretty similar nontheless.

--

Davémon
http://www.nightsoil.co.uk/

Davémon

unread,
Dec 12, 2005, 4:42:48 PM12/12/05
to
Yuk Tang arranged shapes to form:

> Davémon <"davémon"@nospam.com> wrote in
> news:1u114lkdimxds$.1uhmte5b...@40tude.net:
>>
>> My problem with PJLOTR isn't that it's different from what I
>> imagine, but that its the same as what most contemporary 'fantasy
>> art' looks like.
>
> Such as?
>

Larry D. Elmore, Alan Lee, John Howe, Ted Nasmith, Chris Achlleos

>
>> Pure visuals aside, even the voice acting completely rips off the

>> BBC radio 4 dramatisation. It all feels very third-hand.


>
> Blame Hollywood for placing British theatre acting on such a
> pedestal, that 'quality' must inevitably follow such a pattern.

PJLOTR doesn't have lots of english actors. It has american actors doing
impressions of The Radio 4 series, and the only person to blame is the
person who made it.

>> No my point is his POV is largely defined by all the "fantasy art"
>> he has seen. I'm just saying that there are more authentic sources
>> than gift-books and role playing games boxes and more interesting
>> ways of presenting the stories than resorting to hyper-realism
>> kitch.
>
> One would have that Howe and Lee would be among the most popular
> interpreters of Tolkien around, apart from Tolkien himself.
>

I don't dispute that it's popular. I dispute that its little more than
kitch.

>> We're not actually talking about a living mythology. Tolkiens work
>> is fiction, and doesn't serve the social functions of real myth
>> (i.e. a story that serves to explain the world view of a people).
>
> And there I was thinking that Tolkien wrote the ME stories as an
> alternative English mythology.
>

The English don't treat LOTR as a mythology, the english live by the myths
of capitalism, celebrity worship, binge drinking, the old empire, and
winning WWII. We're not waiting for the king to return. But perhaps we
have a different understanding of what mythology and fiction is.

> IMO
> he made a beautiful Middle Earth, but he's also entirely missed the
> point of the book.
>

indeed, middle earth is part and parcel of the the narrative(s), not an
independant creation in its own right.

>
> Depends on what mode the BBC adaptation would be in. HBO can ignore
> ratings completely, but the BBC, balancing the pressures of quality
> productions and justifying its licence fee with popular programmes,
> frequently makes stuff that is neither.

Thats interesting, does HBO make childrens TV?


--

Davémon
http://www.nightsoil.co.uk/

Yuk Tang

unread,
Dec 12, 2005, 5:09:33 PM12/12/05
to
Davémon <"davémon"@nospam.com> wrote in
news:105x5wd96loy4$.1ep38xovt62tm$.d...@40tude.net:
> Yuk Tang arranged shapes to form:
>> Davémon <"davémon"@nospam.com> wrote in
>> news:1u114lkdimxds$.1uhmte5b...@40tude.net:
>>>
>>> My problem with PJLOTR isn't that it's different from what I
>>> imagine, but that its the same as what most contemporary
>>> 'fantasy art' looks like.
>>
>> Such as?
>
> Larry D. Elmore, Alan Lee, John Howe, Ted Nasmith, Chris Achlleos

So whose vision would you rather have, if not Lee's, Howe's and
Nasmith's?


>>> Pure visuals aside, even the voice acting completely rips off
>>> the BBC radio 4 dramatisation. It all feels very third-hand.
>>
>> Blame Hollywood for placing British theatre acting on such a
>> pedestal, that 'quality' must inevitably follow such a pattern.
>
> PJLOTR doesn't have lots of english actors. It has american actors
> doing impressions of The Radio 4 series, and the only person to
> blame is the person who made it.

Have you not noticed that Hollywood usually turns to Britain when
they want a bad guy or someone else with similar weight to play the
hero off against?


>>> No my point is his POV is largely defined by all the "fantasy
>>> art" he has seen. I'm just saying that there are more authentic
>>> sources than gift-books and role playing games boxes and more
>>> interesting ways of presenting the stories than resorting to
>>> hyper-realism kitch.
>>
>> One would have that Howe and Lee would be among the most popular
>> interpreters of Tolkien around, apart from Tolkien himself.
>
> I don't dispute that it's popular. I dispute that its little more
> than kitch.

So whom, or what would you rather have? It's one thing to say
something is bad, but what vision would count as 'good' in your eyes?
Errol Flynn and his tight green costumes?


>>> We're not actually talking about a living mythology. Tolkiens
>>> work is fiction, and doesn't serve the social functions of real
>>> myth (i.e. a story that serves to explain the world view of a
>>> people).
>>
>> And there I was thinking that Tolkien wrote the ME stories as an
>> alternative English mythology.
>
> The English don't treat LOTR as a mythology, the english live by
> the myths of capitalism, celebrity worship, binge drinking, the
> old empire, and winning WWII. We're not waiting for the king to
> return. But perhaps we have a different understanding of what
> mythology and fiction is.

So I guess that Tolkien should have borne these things in mind when
he started to write the Book of Lost Tales and the genesis of the ME
world. Note 'Tolkien wrote the ME stories as an alternative English
mythology', ie. that was one of JRRT's intentions. What you see as
genuine English mythology has nowt to do with authorial intentions.


>> IMO
>> he made a beautiful Middle Earth, but he's also entirely missed
>> the point of the book.
>
> indeed, middle earth is part and parcel of the the narrative(s),
> not an independant creation in its own right.

PJ missed the point of the book as much as you missed the point of
the above. In plainer words, PJ's creation is very pretty, but it
misses the philosophy and thinking behind Tolkien's creation.


>> Depends on what mode the BBC adaptation would be in. HBO can
>> ignore ratings completely, but the BBC, balancing the pressures
>> of quality productions and justifying its licence fee with
>> popular programmes, frequently makes stuff that is neither.
>
> Thats interesting, does HBO make childrens TV?

That's interesting, you've snipped the part where I discuss the
strengths and weaknesses of the BBC. And would the BBC make The
Hobbit specifically as a children's programme?


--
Cheers, ymt.

Yuk Tang

unread,
Dec 12, 2005, 5:20:29 PM12/12/05
to
Davémon <"davémon"@nospam.com> wrote in
news:1b543aiajilrv.3...@40tude.net:
> Derek Broughton arranged shapes to form:
>> Davémon wrote:
>>
>>> My problem with PJLOTR isn't that it's different from what I
>>> imagine, but that its the same as what most contemporary
>>> 'fantasy art' looks like.
>>>
>>> my point is his POV is largely defined by all the "fantasy art"
>>> he has seen. I'm just saying that there are more authentic
>>> sources than gift-books and role playing games boxes and more
>>> interesting ways of presenting the stories than resorting to
>>> hyper-realism kitch.
>>
>> Jackson, himself, says that - he actively sought out some of the
>> best known LOTR artists for his movie. How exactly that is
>> unauthentic, I can't figure.
>
> IMHO Any aesthetic that attempts to create a photo-realistic
> representation of the imaginary world, is by its nature
> non-authentic and illusionary. Only the surface is revealed, not
> the essence of the narrative, emotions or character.

I wrote a number of replies to this, but in the end deleted it all in
bafflement. How on earth would you suggest using the cinematic
medium to reveal the essence of narrative, emotions and character and
be authentic and non-illusionary? One would have thought that photo-
realism would be an important part of any such attempt, but you
obviously disagree.

Methinks someone has been studying film or art theory and is itching
to try out these long words without any thought of how they hang
together.


>> Just because Tolkien had certain art in his study doesn't make
>> _that_ authentic LOTR art either.
>
> Why not? What would your criteria for authenticity be? Mine is -
> an affinity with the authors work ie. should be as entrenched in
> the medieval periods art as Tolkien was in its languages - and
> still have a modern sencibility.

I challenge you to find a way of making such a film palatable to a
modern audience. Or proving that Tolkien entrenched his languages in
the medieval period.


>> It's not as if PJ hired the brothers Hillebrandt :-)
>
> IMHO PJ's result is not 100 miles away, more realism - less camp,
> but pretty similar nontheless.


--
Cheers, ymt.

Christopher Kreuzer

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Dec 12, 2005, 6:24:01 PM12/12/05
to
Derek Broughton <ne...@pointerstop.ca> wrote:

<snip>

> Jackson, himself, says that - he actively sought out some of the best
> known LOTR artists for his movie. How exactly that is unauthentic, I
> can't figure. Just because Tolkien had certain art in his study
> doesn't make _that_ authentic LOTR art either. It's not as if PJ
> hired the brothers Hillebrandt :-)

Did you know they (the brothers Hildebrandt) had plans for a LotR film?

R. Dan Henry

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Dec 13, 2005, 12:50:45 AM12/13/05
to
On 12 Dec 2005 22:09:33 GMT, Yuk Tang <jim.l...@yahoo.com> wrote:

>So I guess that Tolkien should have borne these things in mind when
>he started to write the Book of Lost Tales and the genesis of the ME
>world. Note 'Tolkien wrote the ME stories as an alternative English
>mythology', ie. that was one of JRRT's intentions. What you see as
>genuine English mythology has nowt to do with authorial intentions.

Your first mistake is in indiscriminately clumping all of the tales of
Middle-Earth together. Those tales we're currently doing COTW on, the
stories of the Valar, the Silmarils, and the early days of Middle-Earth
are written as mythology, but _The Hobbit_ is a children's tale, brought
into the circle of Arda almost by accident, while LOTR is written as a
history, recorded largely by those who experienced first-hand. Tolkien
wrote in many different modes and ignoring those modes is your first
mistake.

The second mistake is failing to distinguish between Tolkien having
written with the intent of creating an English mythology and his
actually having achieved that. It's fairly clear that he himself
realized that his early work was unsuitable for this purpose and thus
tried to come up with more modern-audience-believable origins than "the
Sun is a fruit". He never finished this project even to his own
satisfaction. He certainly never published, nor has his posthumously
published work served as, a viable English mythology, capable of
becoming a central foundation of an Englishperson's world view.

--
R. Dan Henry
danh...@inreach.com

R. Dan Henry

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Dec 13, 2005, 1:00:55 AM12/13/05
to
On Mon, 12 Dec 2005 21:33:50 +0000, Davémon <"davémon"@nospam.com>
wrote:

>IMHO Any aesthetic that attempts to create a photo-realistic representation
>of the imaginary world, is by its nature non-authentic and illusionary.
>Only the surface is revealed, not the essence of the narrative, emotions or
>character.

Well, now, that's just the fundamental limitation of the filmed medium,
and even a non-photo-realistic approach (which pretty much leaves
animation or filmed theatre, including puppet shows) which is why I
think certain books, among them LOTR, are really unfilmable. Tolkien
accomplishes tricks that are only possible with words. No actor, nor any
computer-generated image, could ever live up to the descriptions of
Aragorn, for example. And the key movie method for expressing deeply
emotional scenes is manipulative music, which isn't so terrible in
itself, but is cheesy in comparison to well-written prose.

R. Dan Henry

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Dec 13, 2005, 1:04:46 AM12/13/05
to
On 12 Dec 2005 09:09:45 -0800, "JimboCat" <10313...@compuserve.com>
wrote:

>Today, any kid with a computer can make his own CD and sell it on the
>Internet. The same is going to happen, eventually, with animated video
>(it's already starting to happen now, though they're mostly cheesy
>Flash animations). I expect within the next fifty years there will be
>*dozens* of new animated versions of LOTR -- copyright or no -- and
>that at least a few of them will be 30 to 50 hours in length. Most of
>them will be garbage start to finish, of course...

Most will likely be mixed live action and animation (like PJ's movies,
only heavier on the animation for lack of a large cast) and at least
half a dozen will include light sabre battles. (At least one will start
as someone's light sabre battle project and warp into a LOTR adaptation
as it searches for a context for the fighting.)

Yuk Tang

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Dec 13, 2005, 2:51:05 AM12/13/05
to
R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com> wrote in
news:crnsp19d47m1mp0ia...@4ax.com:
> On 12 Dec 2005 22:09:33 GMT, Yuk Tang <jim.l...@yahoo.com>
> wrote:
>
>>So I guess that Tolkien should have borne these things in mind
>>when he started to write the Book of Lost Tales and the genesis of
>>the ME world. Note 'Tolkien wrote the ME stories as an
>>alternative English mythology', ie. that was one of JRRT's
>>intentions. What you see as genuine English mythology has nowt to
>>do with authorial intentions.
>
> Your first mistake is in indiscriminately clumping all of the
> tales of Middle-Earth together. Those tales we're currently doing
> COTW on, the stories of the Valar, the Silmarils, and the early
> days of Middle-Earth are written as mythology, but _The Hobbit_ is
> a children's tale, brought into the circle of Arda almost by
> accident, while LOTR is written as a history, recorded largely by
> those who experienced first-hand. Tolkien wrote in many different
> modes and ignoring those modes is your first mistake.

You'll find that I was responding to the OP's statement that LotR and
the ME world in general was not written as, and does not fulfill the
functions of a living mythology. I've written above that the Lost
Tales were the genesis (origin) of the ME world, and that an
alternative English mythology was one of his intentions. He dropped
the English part (except in his lasting interest in Rohan), but that
he continued to envision ME as a mythology can be seen in his
continuing efforts to reconcile Arda with our world. If Tolkien saw
his creation as merely a work of fiction, as the OP claimed, why
would he bother explaining the flat-earth/round earth distinction?


> The second mistake is failing to distinguish between Tolkien
> having written with the intent of creating an English mythology
> and his actually having achieved that. It's fairly clear that he
> himself realized that his early work was unsuitable for this
> purpose and thus tried to come up with more
> modern-audience-believable origins than "the Sun is a fruit". He
> never finished this project even to his own satisfaction. He
> certainly never published, nor has his posthumously published work
> served as, a viable English mythology, capable of becoming a
> central foundation of an Englishperson's world view.

Nonetheless, that was his original intention, and parts of the
original intention show through even to his later works. Certainly
enough to show that Tolkien was _still_ trying to create a mythology.
Whether he succeeded or not is another matter, but surely
adaptations, as what's being discussed here, should have authorial
intentions at their centre?

What I'm trying to point out is that the OP places his own
perceptions, rather than the author, as the artistic keystone of any
adaptation. I can see such a compromise as inevitable in trying to
gain an audience, but criticising the artistic validity of an
adaptation on these grounds is beyond my understanding.


--
Cheers, ymt.

Morgoth's Curse

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Dec 13, 2005, 4:05:19 AM12/13/05
to
On Sat, 3 Dec 2005 11:10:02 +0100, "Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote:

>JimboCat wrote:
>
>> On Wed, 30 Nov 2005 13:01:20 +0100, "Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl>
>> wrote:

>>> A word on love at first sight. It's not only that it happens a lot
>>> in
>>> Tolkien's work, it seems that it is the only way people fall in
>>> love.
>>> Do we know of a love that grows, develops?

>> We don't see much man/woman love, though one that comes to mind as a
>> slow development is Turin and his sister. Tragic, of course, in that
>> case.
>
>Yes, I had forgotten that one. Beautiful and truly romantic, until the
>inevitable crash.


>
>> Most of the slowly-developing love is between comrades-in-arms.
>> Legolas/Gimli, Eomer/Aragorn, etc. Probably goes back to JRRT's
>> experience in the War.
>
>True! Good point! So... he COULD do it, he only choose not to where
>romantic love is considered. What do you all think, was that a
>conscious decision on his part? Or did he involuntarily shy away from
>it?

I think it is important to remember that Tolkien was born and raised
in the waning days of the Victorian age. He was also raised by a
Catholic priest. These two factors influenced all of his writings and
doubtless his preference for romantic or courtly love rather than
sexually explicit relationships which are so prevalent in literature
today.

>>> Back to Thingol and Melian. No hurry there - they are still staring
>>> at each other while "long years were measured by the wheeling stars
>>> about them; and the trees of Nan Elmoth grew tall and dark". Can
>>> you
>>> imagine how long that is? What is the meaning of this passage?
>>> Clearly it couldn't have happened like that because Thingol was an
>>> elf, and elves have bodily needs.

>> Not, perhaps, while they stand entranced by the eyes of a Maia.
>> Remember, Yavanna (was it Yavanna?) put every living thing in Arda
>> into a long preservative sleep after the destruction of the Lamps.
>> Seems to be no problem to me. Love is so powerful that it obviates
>> such base physical needs.
>

>Base physical needs? Eating? Sitting down? I don't buy it. This was
>not a preservative sleep, they were standing up and watching. Maybe a
>Maia could do such a thing, _before_ she dressed herself in flesh. But
>once you acquire a body, you acquire bodily needs. Gandalf had to eat
>and sleep. So I don't think Melian could do that, let alone Thingol.

And yet you subscribe to the concept that Melian had sufficient power
to shield thousands of square miles of Doriath from the power of
Melkor, mightiest of the Valar? ;-)

Morgoth's Curse

Davémon

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Dec 13, 2005, 4:20:12 AM12/13/05
to
R. Dan Henry arranged shapes to form:

> On Mon, 12 Dec 2005 21:33:50 +0000, Davémon <"davémon"@nospam.com>
> wrote:
>
>>IMHO Any aesthetic that attempts to create a photo-realistic representation
>>of the imaginary world, is by its nature non-authentic and illusionary.
>>Only the surface is revealed, not the essence of the narrative, emotions or
>>character.
>
> Well, now, that's just the fundamental limitation of the filmed medium,
> and even a non-photo-realistic approach (which pretty much leaves
> animation or filmed theatre, including puppet shows) which is why I
> thin