A cool feature of LotR...

13 views
Skip to first unread message

Chris Wright

unread,
May 26, 2004, 2:31:37 PM5/26/04
to
...is that characters aren't prone to, or encouraged, to show great sympathy
for others who can't help themselves -- they don't pander to and abet
weakness. I got that sense from the wiser characters like Gandalf, Saruman,
Elrond, Boromir and so on. They don't always care for, or care to know,
about troubles of others, and are satisfied to do what they can to help, but
aren't going to bend over backwards to comfort the pitiful and the ignorant
when there are more pressing matters.

I was wondering if there was anyone else who got this from reading LotR, or
if it's just my meanness showing through. =P


aelfwina

unread,
May 26, 2004, 4:29:06 PM5/26/04
to

"Chris Wright" <cjwri...@shaw.ca> wrote in message
news:do5tc.600119$Ig.11698@pd7tw2no...

Excuse me? What book did you say you read? This is a book whose author
clearly stated that one of its main themes was pity and mercy. I could see
Saruman making your list, but not even Boromir--someone who *died* defending
those weaker than himself. Gandalf admired pity over almost any other
virtue, and Elrond was a healer, for heaven's sake!
Oh, well, maybe you're a troll; if you are that's all you get from me. If
you're not, then maybe you should read the book again.
Barbara

>
>


AC

unread,
May 26, 2004, 4:30:30 PM5/26/04
to

Chris is just yanking some chains again. He may deny it, and maybe he
doesn't even realize it, but he has a trollish streak to him.

--
Aaron Clausen
mightym...@hotmail.com

Alan Reynolds

unread,
May 26, 2004, 4:41:48 PM5/26/04
to

"Chris Wright" <cjwri...@shaw.ca> wrote in message
news:do5tc.600119$Ig.11698@pd7tw2no...


Um, no. Way off the mark, IMHO.

Of the list above, Boromir acted this way because he was corrupted by the
Ring ; but he was'nt always like that.He was brought up to believe that the
strong should look after the weak - there's reference to how he looked after
his kid brother when they were boys; and later he took pride in his prowess
as a fighter, taking care of his people. That's how he saw it, I reckon. His
natural instinct was to protect the weak. Look at his concern for the
hobbits on Caradhras, and how he carried them, two at a time, to safety.
Then there's his death.Not defending his homeland; not gloriously leading
his army against the massed ranks of his enemies, but killed in a short
skirmish, defending the small and helpless hobbits as he saw them. He
looked for a 'good' death in battle, to be remembered in song. But for all
he knew, no-one would hear of his last fight, for, to his way of thinking,
how would the others survive if he did'nt? Denethor said as much to Pippin
in _Minas Tirith_.

You may be thinking of Gandalf's words to Theoden in The King of the Golden
Hall_: "take courage Lord of the Mark..... No counsel have I to give to
those that despair". But of course we know that Gandalf was sent to Middle
earth because of his compassionate nature - see _The Istari, in _Unfinished
Tales_. And mind his words to Denethor: "I too am a steward. Did you not
know?" And there is reference to G's helping the hobbits of the Shire
during the Fell Winter; many died, but not so many as would have died if
Gandalf had not been there to help.

Saruman was meant to have been a steward, but he was corrupted and fell.
Elrond was a steward in a way; preserving a place of refuge for many years.

You did'nt mention Aragorn. He was'nt soft. Witness his capture of Gollum,
single handed. Without a companion to share the watches, Strider had to tie
Gollum with a choke chain in order to control him and render him less lethal
on their long journey to Mirkwood. But also, he cared for the people under
his protection.He and the Rangers kept watch on the Shire, and Bree, and
kept danger away, yet was treated with contempt by the Bree-landers, and the
Hobbits did'nt know of them at all.

As for the pitiful and ignorant; you can't get much more pitiful and
ignorant than orcs, yet Gandalf says "As for me, I pity even his (Sauron's)
slaves."


Alan


Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
May 26, 2004, 6:52:46 PM5/26/04
to
Alan Reynolds <alanan...@rochford78.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
> "Chris Wright" <cjwri...@shaw.ca> wrote

>> ...is that characters aren't prone to, or encouraged, to show great


>> sympathy for others who can't help themselves -- they don't pander
>> to and abet weakness.

<snip>



> Um, no. Way off the mark, IMHO.

I agree. I liked the examples you gave, Alan. Particularly this one:

> And there is reference to
> G's helping the hobbits of the Shire during the Fell Winter; many
> died, but not so many as would have died if Gandalf had not been
> there to help.

Where does that come from? A HoME volume?

> As for the pitiful and ignorant; you can't get much more pitiful and
> ignorant than orcs, yet Gandalf says "As for me, I pity even his
> (Sauron's) slaves."

Well said!

Christopher

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

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
May 26, 2004, 7:05:47 PM5/26/04
to
aelfwina <aelf...@cableone.net> wrote:

> Excuse me? What book did you say you read? This is a book whose
> author clearly stated that one of its main themes was pity and mercy.

That is true, but I heard on one of the DVD documentaries that "when
pressed" Tolkien admitted that the book was really about death. The
overarching theme of the book is death (and life). I guess the quote is
in 'Letters'.

[...]

Yes, here we are:

Letter 186 (1956): "The real theme for me is about something much more
permanent and difficult: Death and Immortality: the mystery of the love
of the world in the hearts of a race 'doomed' to leave and seemingly
lose it; the anguish in the hearts of a race 'doomed' not to leave it,
until its whole evil-aroused story is complete."

Letter 203 (1957): "But I should say, if asked, the tale is not really
about Power and Dominion: that only sets the wheels going; it is about
Death and the desire for deathlessness. Which is hardly more than to say
it is a tale written by a Man!"

Letter 208 (1958): "Though it is only in reading the work myself (with
criticisms in mind) that I become aware of the dominance of the theme of
Death."

Letter 211 (1958): "It is mainly concerned with Death, and Immortality;
and the 'escapes': serial longevity, and hoarding memory."

Though, of course, pity and mercy are central to this theme of death.

Chris Wright

unread,
May 26, 2004, 9:43:08 PM5/26/04
to

"AC" <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:slrncb9vj6.2g4....@alder.alberni.net...

I won't dignify your comments, aelfwena and AC, with retort.


Chris Wright

unread,
May 26, 2004, 9:46:46 PM5/26/04
to
Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

I did indeed forget about Aragorn. I tend to confuse the book Aragorn and
Boromir with the film Aragorn and Boromir. But I do so intentionally. The
subtle differences between the characters and their portrayals can be very
interesting and instructive.


Chris Wright

unread,
May 26, 2004, 9:53:37 PM5/26/04
to

"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
news:fp9tc.3746$TK.36...@news-text.cableinet.net...

> aelfwina <aelf...@cableone.net> wrote:
>
> > Excuse me? What book did you say you read? This is a book whose
> > author clearly stated that one of its main themes was pity and mercy.
>
> That is true, but I heard on one of the DVD documentaries that "when
> pressed" Tolkien admitted that the book was really about death. The
> overarching theme of the book is death (and life).

Yes, and I think that's one of the reasons that the likes of Gandalf and
Elrond aren't always willing to help, instruct, defend the weak. To use
their time that way would be to invite ruin upon all of the Middle-earth, by
of course allowing Sauron to conquer and generally strengthen his position.

One of my favorite lines from the film series is spoken by Saruman.

"Time? -- What time do you think we have?"


AC

unread,
May 26, 2004, 10:23:19 PM5/26/04
to
On Thu, 27 May 2004 01:43:08 GMT,
Chris Wright <cjwri...@shaw.ca> wrote:
>
>
> I won't dignify your comments, aelfwena and AC, with retort.

If the shoe fits, Chris.

--
Aaron Clausen
mightym...@hotmail.com

Chris Wright

unread,
May 26, 2004, 10:33:36 PM5/26/04
to

"AC" <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:slrncbak8n.1ug....@alder.alberni.net...

> On Thu, 27 May 2004 01:43:08 GMT,
> Chris Wright <cjwri...@shaw.ca> wrote:
> >
> >
> > I won't dignify your comments, aelfwena and AC, with retort.
>
> If the shoe fits, Chris.

What does that mean anyway?


Troels Forchhammer

unread,
May 27, 2004, 3:46:35 AM5/27/04
to
in <fp9tc.3746$TK.36...@news-text.cableinet.net>,
Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:

>
> aelfwina <aelf...@cableone.net> wrote:
>>
>> Excuse me? What book did you say you read? This is a book whose
>> author clearly stated that one of its main themes was pity and mercy.
>
[...]

> The overarching theme of the book is death (and life).

<snip>

> Though, of course, pity and mercy are central to this theme of death.

Barbara did say "one of" ;-)

But yes - death is possibly the 'overarching' theme, but pity and mercy,
and in particular exercising pity and mercy without hope of personal gain
and even against rational judgement, is not only another central theme in
the books, but an all-important quality for the final success of Frodo's
quest.

I sometimes wonder to what extent Tolkien was thinking of the whole
mythology when he spoke of death being the 'real theme' - at least it
seems to me to be far more central when looking at the Silmarillion and
the LotR as a whole, than it is for each of the books alone - to me, that
is.

The idea that the characters don't display sympathy for the weak and
helpless is nonsensical (I almost wrote something stronger there) - just
take Gandalf's assertion "And for me, I pity even his slaves." Finding
more examples is a question of reading the book.

The characters who do not display virtues such as compassion, pity and
sympathy are the 'bad ones': Saruman, Denethor and, of course, Sauron and
cohorts.

--
Troels Forchhammer

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would
be a merrier world.
- Thorin Oakenshield, 'The Hobbit' (J.R.R. Tolkien)

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
May 27, 2004, 3:53:14 AM5/27/04
to
in <c92vh8$mb4$1...@newsg3.svr.pol.co.uk>,
Alan Reynolds <alanan...@rochford78.freeserve.co.uk> enriched us
with:
>

<snip>

> Um, no. Way off the mark, IMHO.


My full agreement on that!

> You did'nt mention Aragorn. He was'nt soft.

[...]

Other examples for Aragorn is sending Rangers to the ships at Pelargir to
calm the slaves, and not least how he treated with the 'deserters' oh the
march to the Morannon: "[he] looked at them, and there was pity in his
eyes rather than wrath; for these were young men from Rohan ...".

Of course the whole chapter 'The Houses of Healing' is basically one long
display of mercy and pity from Aragorn.

--
Troels Forchhammer

++?????++ Out of Cheese Error. Redo From Start.
- (Terry Pratchett, Interesting Times)

Chris Wright

unread,
May 27, 2004, 11:13:40 AM5/27/04
to

"Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in message
news:K7htc.17437$g4.3...@news2.nokia.com...

> in <c92vh8$mb4$1...@newsg3.svr.pol.co.uk>,
> Alan Reynolds <alanan...@rochford78.freeserve.co.uk> enriched us
> with:
> >
>
> <snip>
>
> > Um, no. Way off the mark, IMHO.
>
>
> My full agreement on that!

You know, I've always known this newsgroup to be generally quite rude,
snobbish, and insular, but I'll ignore that for now and return to this issue
at hand.

My point was not that these wise characters I spoke of weren't all very
merciful and sympathetic -- they were incredibly merciful sympathetic, and
that certainly seen and written about by Tolkien as being a very, very good
thing, and certainly to the extent that you could construe 'mercy to be the
overarching theme of Lord of the Rings' (whatever the hell that means). My
point was that they didn't always let their merciful, sympathetic tendencies
get in the way of attending to more urgent matters than abetting the weak
and foolish (e.g. the hobbits, Theoden), namely the defeat or at least
meaningful, helpful resistance to Sauron.


@mindspring.com Bruce Tucker

unread,
May 27, 2004, 11:53:47 AM5/27/04
to
"Chris Wright" <cjwri...@shaw.ca> wrote

> Yes, and I think that's one of the reasons that the likes of Gandalf
and
> Elrond aren't always willing to help, instruct, defend the weak. To
use
> their time that way would be to invite ruin upon all of the
Middle-earth, by
> of course allowing Sauron to conquer and generally strengthen his
position.

I think the mistake you may be making is failing to distinguish between
instances where Gandalf et al do not help or defend those who are
capable of helping or defending themselves, instead insisting that the
latter do so, and instances where they do help and defend others who are
actually unable to fend for themselves. It is true that one theme of the
book is that they (Gandalf in particular) are not there to fight battles
or look after people who can't be bothered to fend for themselves even
though they're capable. Aragorn, of course, makes a joke of it with
Merry in the Houses of Healing.

Where the good characters or the Wise are impatient with or less
indulgent towards the weaker characters, it seems to me to be less a
matter of failing to help, defend, or instruct them as a matter of
conflicting priorities, and a judgment that what the latter desire is
not in anyone's best interest, even their own were they in a position to
understand. Elrond, for example, doesn't think Merry and Pippin's desire
to stay with Frodo should override the need to send more skillful or
powerful aid with the Fellowship, or that they really know what they're
undertaking; Gandalf doesn't think satisfying Pippin's idle curiosity
about the palantir is a good idea; no one wants Merry bouncing along
behind his saddle like so much baggage on the ride from Rohan to Minas
Tirith.

But in the first and last cases the hobbits' wishes are granted, and in
the second Gandalf's response to Pippin's failing is compassionate
rather than punitive or dismissive, and in all three instances it turns
out much better for everyone in the end that the weaker characters were
treated with respect and understanding and allowed to play their part in
the unfolding of events.

The recurring theme seems to me to be not that the good guys act like
hard-nosed objectivists, but rather that situations are set up where
there are clear reasons why they logically should be, but someone always
relents and allow human concerns for the weaker characters to override
the pragmatic considerations, and in the end those decisions always turn
out to be the right ones. (Well, one could argue about the decision to
spare the fallen Saruman and leave him to wander at large, but in
Tolkien's moral world I suspect that killing him or chaining him up or
otherwise punishing him without any competent authority to do so would
have had worse and less easily healed consequences.)

--
Bruce Tucker
disintegration @ mindspring.com


Stan Brown

unread,
May 27, 2004, 2:16:59 PM5/27/04
to
"aelfwina" <aelf...@cableone.net> wrote in rec.arts.books.tolkien:

>"Chris Wright" <cjwri...@shaw.ca> wrote in message
>news:do5tc.600119$Ig.11698@pd7tw2no...
>> ...is that characters aren't prone to, or encouraged, to show great
>sympathy
>> for others who can't help themselves -- they don't pander to and abet
>> weakness.
>
>Excuse me? What book did you say you read?

Chris has made it clear in the past that he discusses the book
that's in his head, not the one Tolkien wrote.

Hey, if it worked for Peter Jackson ...

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Cortland County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com
Tolkien FAQs: http://Tolkien.slimy.com (Steuard Jensen's site)
Tolkien letters FAQ:
http://users.telerama.com/~taliesen/tolkien/lettersfaq.html
FAQ of the Rings: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/ringfaq.htm
Encyclopedia of Arda: http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.htm
more FAQs: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/faqget.htm

@mindspring.com Bruce Tucker

unread,
May 27, 2004, 2:17:40 PM5/27/04
to
"Chris Wright" <cjwri...@shaw.ca> wrote

> My point was not that these wise characters I spoke of weren't all
very
> merciful and sympathetic -- they were incredibly merciful sympathetic,
and
> that certainly seen and written about by Tolkien as being a very, very
good
> thing, and certainly to the extent that you could construe 'mercy to
be the
> overarching theme of Lord of the Rings' (whatever the hell that
means). My
> point was that they didn't always let their merciful, sympathetic
tendencies
> get in the way of attending to more urgent matters than abetting the
weak
> and foolish (e.g. the hobbits, Theoden), namely the defeat or at least
> meaningful, helpful resistance to Sauron.

You mean like when Aragorn didn't let a foolish diversion to hunt for
two hapless and silly hobbits who were probably dead anyway get in the
way of the urgent matter of protecting and guiding the Ringbearer or the
equally urgent matter of fulfilling his oath to go to Minas Tirith and
bring Anduril to its defense in the hour of its greatest need?

No, wait, that's the book - perhaps I'm thinking of the movie, where -
oh. Nevermind. ;-)

Perhaps it would help if you provided some examples for discussion.

Jim Deutch

unread,
May 27, 2004, 4:01:01 PM5/27/04
to
On Thu, 27 May 2004 15:13:40 GMT, "Chris Wright" <cjwri...@shaw.ca>
wrote:

>My point was not that these wise characters I spoke of weren't all very
>merciful and sympathetic -- they were incredibly merciful sympathetic, and
>that certainly seen and written about by Tolkien as being a very, very good
>thing, and certainly to the extent that you could construe 'mercy to be the
>overarching theme of Lord of the Rings' (whatever the hell that means). My
>point was that they didn't always let their merciful, sympathetic tendencies
>get in the way of attending to more urgent matters than abetting the weak
>and foolish (e.g. the hobbits, Theoden), namely the defeat or at least
>meaningful, helpful resistance to Sauron.

I think what grates in your posts on this subject is that you seem to
be trying very, very hard to find in JRRT some kind of support for
your own personal political/social agenda. Why should it surprise (or
even please) you to find that Gandalf didn't sit down and weep so much
for all the poor, misguided orcs that he would forget to carry out his
responsibilities? That is the *point*? What's the point of such a
point???

Jim Deutch (Jimbo the Cat)
--
Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

Chris Wright

unread,
May 27, 2004, 4:14:29 PM5/27/04
to
A very interesting post, thanks. =)


Chris Wright

unread,
May 27, 2004, 4:24:45 PM5/27/04
to

"Stan Brown" <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote in message
news:MPG.1b1ffaa5d...@news.odyssey.net...

> "aelfwina" <aelf...@cableone.net> wrote in rec.arts.books.tolkien:
> >"Chris Wright" <cjwri...@shaw.ca> wrote in message
> >news:do5tc.600119$Ig.11698@pd7tw2no...
> >> ...is that characters aren't prone to, or encouraged, to show great
> >sympathy
> >> for others who can't help themselves -- they don't pander to and abet
> >> weakness.
> >
> >Excuse me? What book did you say you read?
>
> Chris has made it clear in the past that he discusses the book
> that's in his head, not the one Tolkien wrote.

Well, it's not so much the book in my head that I prefer to discuss, it's
issues brought to light by thinking about Lord of the Rings, in either form.
Like I've said earlier, I find it useful to talk about LotR not just as
cannon, but the combination of the films and the novel. I suppose that I
take bits of each that I appreciate, and work with both. Is that so
inappropriate to this forum?


@mindspring.com Bruce Tucker

unread,
May 27, 2004, 4:53:44 PM5/27/04
to
You're welcome. :-)

Naryldor

unread,
May 27, 2004, 5:31:38 PM5/27/04
to
"Chris Wright" <cjwri...@shaw.ca> wrote in
news:h8stc.603305$oR5.168057@pd7tw3no:

> Well, it's not so much the book in my head that I prefer to discuss,
> it's issues brought to light by thinking about Lord of the Rings, in
> either form. Like I've said earlier, I find it useful to talk about
> LotR not just as cannon, but the combination of the films and the
> novel. I suppose that I take bits of each that I appreciate, and work
> with both. Is that so inappropriate to this forum?

I'll start saying that I liked the movies, but IMHO the movies can be
liked for the movies themselves and for bringing ME alive, but not for
accurately telling the story in the book, too much for my liking is
unnecesarily altered beyond the reasonable compromise of movie
adaptations.

Having said that, I'll tell you that discussing the books and the movies
as a whole thing is IMHO a quite unaccurate aproach because of the
alterations of the movies story mentioned before. Therefore,
inapropiete would not be the word, unaccurate or wrong would be closer
to the mark.

As for the matter in discussion, well, I can't think of a single
character not counted among the "bad guys" that don't help the others in
one way or another, a few examples:

Elrond allowed his two songs to entangle in an almost hopeless battle
when he could have ordered them to fly to the Havens in spite of their
desire to participate.

I don't know if defeating the Witch King is a pressing matter acording
to your reckoning, but Gandalf let him go to save a crazed old man and
his wounded son who was at death's door while hundreds died in the
Pelennor fields and Eowyn and Merry confronted alone the Nazgul.

Boromir, being an experienced warrior knew (I think) that confronting a
horde of orcs alone would be the end of him, and yet he made the
ultimate sacrifice for two punny hobbits in spite of the great need that
Minas Tirith had of his strengh and leadership.

etc.

etc.


--
"La cosa más bella que podemos experimentar es el misterio.
Es la fuente de cualquier arte y ciencia verdaderos".
ALBERT EINSTEIN

Javier Caselli Fernández
aka Naryldor (javicase...@yahoo.es)

Alan Reynolds

unread,
May 27, 2004, 5:34:26 PM5/27/04
to

I foolishly wrote:

> > And there is reference to
> > G's helping the hobbits of the Shire during the Fell Winter; many
> > died, but not so many as would have died if Gandalf had not been
> > there to help.

And Christopher correctly queried:


>
> Where does that come from? A HoME volume?

Damn! I knew someone would pick up on that ref; taken as it was from
somewhere at the back of my memory. I've found one of the references anyway,
but not where I thought it was, for I'd got my winters mixed up. It was'nt
the Fell Winter of TA 2911, but the Long Winter of TA 2758-9,
where in the Tale of Years (App. B) it is said, "Gandalf comes to the aid of
the Shire-folk". I have'nt found the other ref. I seem to remember,
(I think it's in Unfinished Tales), where it is said that Gandalf was among
the Hobbits of the Shire, and was moved by their selfless behaviour to each
other, through times of great famine. (Or words to that effect)

Alan

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
May 27, 2004, 9:28:28 PM5/27/04
to
Alan Reynolds <alanan...@rochford78.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:

> I've found one of the references
> anyway, but not where I thought it was, for I'd got my winters mixed
> up. It was'nt the Fell Winter of TA 2911, but the Long Winter of TA
> 2758-9

It's so easy to get the Fell and Long Winters mixed up... :-)

Myself, I confuse the dates of the Kin-strife and the Great Plague...

ste...@nomail.com

unread,
May 27, 2004, 9:54:36 PM5/27/04
to
Chris Wright <cjwri...@shaw.ca> wrote:

: Well, it's not so much the book in my head that I prefer to discuss, it's


: issues brought to light by thinking about Lord of the Rings, in either form.
: Like I've said earlier, I find it useful to talk about LotR not just as
: cannon, but the combination of the films and the novel. I suppose that I
: take bits of each that I appreciate, and work with both. Is that so
: inappropriate to this forum?

What you are discussing is still something in your head, and nowhere else.
You are picking bits of the movies and bits of the books but you are
the only one who knows what you are talking about. It is not so much
inappropriate as confusing and somewhat futile. What is the point of
discussing something that in your head? Noone else can really join in
the conversation.

Stephen

Chris Wright

unread,
May 28, 2004, 7:05:03 AM5/28/04
to

"Naryldor" <naryldo...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:Xns94F6EF55D...@130.133.1.4...

> "Chris Wright" <cjwri...@shaw.ca> wrote in
> news:h8stc.603305$oR5.168057@pd7tw3no:
>
> > Well, it's not so much the book in my head that I prefer to discuss,
> > it's issues brought to light by thinking about Lord of the Rings, in
> > either form. Like I've said earlier, I find it useful to talk about
> > LotR not just as cannon, but the combination of the films and the
> > novel. I suppose that I take bits of each that I appreciate, and work
> > with both. Is that so inappropriate to this forum?
>
> I'll start saying that I liked the movies, but IMHO the movies can be
> liked for the movies themselves and for bringing ME alive,

You're absolutely right. The films give realism Middle-earth, they flesh
them out.

And when we see Boromir, the man, rather than Boromir, the character in the
book, we, or at least I, see that he is not one that would would be
corrupted by the Ring. He is a proud man indeed, and the Ring would seek to
tempt his pride and ego into doing things that would lead to Sauron's
victory of course.

But realistically, when I see Sean Bean, a very good man by all rights, in
my estimation, in the role of Boromir, I think and firmly believe that
Boromir would have been able to resist the ring often enough, and strongly
enough, and with the aid of people of Gandalf and Aragorn, who are keenly
aware of Isildur's fate, and would remind him of it, that it would not
result in Sauron's victory, but rather the destruction of Sauron, or at
least his corporeal banshiment from Middle-earth, which can be regarded as
victory if ever one were to consider anything a victory.

A key thing to see is that the book Boromir serves the interest of Tolkien's
story-arc. Sean Bean's Boromir serves no one's interest except for the pure
enjoyment of the audience, and for him in acting the role, of course with
some monetary compensation for his time and effort as well, but that's
almost entirely incidental.


Chris Wright

unread,
May 28, 2004, 7:05:54 AM5/28/04
to

<ste...@nomail.com> wrote in message
news:c9664s$1s8k$1...@msunews.cl.msu.edu...

Uh, actually, they can and have. What you mean is, you feel you can't join
in in the conversation. =P


Chris Wright

unread,
May 28, 2004, 7:14:02 AM5/28/04
to

"Bruce Tucker" <disintegration @ mindspring.com> wrote in message
news:c95bc5$s6v$1...@mailgate2.lexis-nexis.com...

> "Chris Wright" <cjwri...@shaw.ca> wrote
>
> > My point was not that these wise characters I spoke of weren't all
> very
> > merciful and sympathetic -- they were incredibly merciful sympathetic,
> and
> > that certainly seen and written about by Tolkien as being a very, very
> good
> > thing, and certainly to the extent that you could construe 'mercy to
> be the
> > overarching theme of Lord of the Rings' (whatever the hell that
> means). My
> > point was that they didn't always let their merciful, sympathetic
> tendencies
> > get in the way of attending to more urgent matters than abetting the
> weak
> > and foolish (e.g. the hobbits, Theoden), namely the defeat or at least
> > meaningful, helpful resistance to Sauron.
>
> You mean like when Aragorn didn't let a foolish diversion to hunt for
> two hapless and silly hobbits who were probably dead anyway get in the
> way of the urgent matter of protecting and guiding the Ringbearer or the
> equally urgent matter of fulfilling his oath to go to Minas Tirith and
> bring Anduril to its defense in the hour of its greatest need?

I just read that part of the book today, carefully.

I find that it Aragorn's decision serves the story-arc of Lord of the Rings
more than serves my personal sense of what Aragorn would have really done in
the situation. He does make Boromir believe that he will travel directly to
Minas Tirith to aid in the cause, before Boromir dies. Would his care for
protecting all things good and beautiful in Minas Tirith, and in fufilling
his pledge to a dying Boromir, take precedence over his attachment to a pair
of hobbits? I think not. In fact I would seriously fault Aragorn for his
priorities.

Chris Wright

unread,
May 28, 2004, 7:15:23 AM5/28/04
to

"Jim Deutch" <10313...@compuserve.com> wrote in message
news:40b647c7....@news.compuserve.com...

> On Thu, 27 May 2004 15:13:40 GMT, "Chris Wright" <cjwri...@shaw.ca>
> wrote:
> >My point was not that these wise characters I spoke of weren't all very
> >merciful and sympathetic -- they were incredibly merciful sympathetic,
and
> >that certainly seen and written about by Tolkien as being a very, very
good
> >thing, and certainly to the extent that you could construe 'mercy to be
the
> >overarching theme of Lord of the Rings' (whatever the hell that means).
My
> >point was that they didn't always let their merciful, sympathetic
tendencies
> >get in the way of attending to more urgent matters than abetting the weak
> >and foolish (e.g. the hobbits, Theoden), namely the defeat or at least
> >meaningful, helpful resistance to Sauron.
>
> I think what grates in your posts on this subject is that you seem to
> be trying very, very hard to find in JRRT some kind of support for
> your own personal political/social agenda.

But of course. =) I wouldn't call it an 'agenda' so much as 'values', mind
you.

> Why should it surprise (or
> even please) you to find that Gandalf didn't sit down and weep so much
> for all the poor, misguided orcs that he would forget to carry out his
> responsibilities? That is the *point*? What's the point of such a
> point???
>

I don't know how best to respond to that, nor do I care to respond to it.


Chris Kern

unread,
May 28, 2004, 8:49:31 AM5/28/04
to
On Thu, 27 May 2004 20:24:45 GMT, "Chris Wright" <cjwri...@shaw.ca>
posted the following:

> I suppose that I
>take bits of each that I appreciate, and work with both. Is that so
>inappropriate to this forum?

Yes, if "inappropriate" is defined as "counter to the regular way that
things are done". There's no absolute rule that says you can't mix
film, book, and your own conceptions, but it's rarely if ever done.

-Chris

Chris Kern

unread,
May 28, 2004, 8:51:29 AM5/28/04
to
On Fri, 28 May 2004 11:14:02 GMT, "Chris Wright" <cjwri...@shaw.ca>
posted the following:

>I find that it Aragorn's decision serves the story-arc of Lord of the Rings


>more than serves my personal sense of what Aragorn would have really done in
>the situation.

Your "personal sense" apparently doesn't fit with what Aragorn
actually is in JRRT's book. How do you expect JRRT to have written
Lord of the Rings following all your notions of what you think the
characters should have been? As we've said before, we're here to talk
about Lord of the Rings and the work of JRRT.

-Chris

Chris Wright

unread,
May 28, 2004, 10:22:07 AM5/28/04
to

"Chris Kern" <chris...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:qcdeb0d4mpog3gqv1...@4ax.com...

> On Fri, 28 May 2004 11:14:02 GMT, "Chris Wright" <cjwri...@shaw.ca>
> posted the following:
>
> >I find that it Aragorn's decision serves the story-arc of Lord of the
Rings
> >more than serves my personal sense of what Aragorn would have really done
in
> >the situation.
>
> Your "personal sense" apparently doesn't fit with what Aragorn
> actually is in JRRT's book.

Of course. When I talk about Lord of the Rings, one of things I like to do
is to try and inject a healthy dose of realism into and see what happens. =P

> How do you expect JRRT to have written
> Lord of the Rings following all your notions of what you think the
> characters should have been?

For starters, you certainly don't kill off Boromir. The storyline held
little real, palpable interest for me after that point. That's not to say I
didn't take great value from reading the rest of it, twice, though the first
time, when I was thirteen, I skipped over large chunks of the later
chapters. The second time I read it was around the time of the release of
The Fellowship of the Ring, the film version. I did that to make sure Peter
Jackson's vision of Middle-earth did not corrupt my vision of it. It didn't
for about 1/6th of the movie trilogy: between Rivendell and Amon Hen. The
rest is unacceptably crappy.

> As we've said before, we're here to talk
> about Lord of the Rings and the work of JRRT.

I imagine many of us here also are willing and happy to talk about the
cinematic interpretation as well! I for one am.


Chris Wright

unread,
May 28, 2004, 10:32:19 AM5/28/04
to

"Chris Wright" <cjwri...@shaw.ca> wrote in message
news:jWHtc.608208$oR5.241674@pd7tw3no...

Ah yes, and all scenes with Christopher Lee are wonderfully faithful to the
character and book, I find.


AC

unread,
May 28, 2004, 4:46:45 PM5/28/04
to
On Fri, 28 May 2004 14:22:07 GMT,
Chris Wright <cjwri...@shaw.ca> wrote:
>
> "Chris Kern" <chris...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
> news:qcdeb0d4mpog3gqv1...@4ax.com...
>> On Fri, 28 May 2004 11:14:02 GMT, "Chris Wright" <cjwri...@shaw.ca>
>> posted the following:
>>
>> >I find that it Aragorn's decision serves the story-arc of Lord of the
> Rings
>> >more than serves my personal sense of what Aragorn would have really done
> in
>> >the situation.
>>
>> Your "personal sense" apparently doesn't fit with what Aragorn
>> actually is in JRRT's book.
>
> Of course. When I talk about Lord of the Rings, one of things I like to do
> is to try and inject a healthy dose of realism into and see what happens. =P

Trolling is spelt "T-R-O-L-L-I-N-G" Chris. I've never heard it spelt
"healthy dose of realism".

>
>> How do you expect JRRT to have written
>> Lord of the Rings following all your notions of what you think the
>> characters should have been?
>
> For starters, you certainly don't kill off Boromir. The storyline held
> little real, palpable interest for me after that point.

What a pity that this newsgroup does.

<snip>

--
Aaron Clausen
mightym...@hotmail.com

Chris Wright

unread,
May 28, 2004, 5:01:09 PM5/28/04
to

"AC" <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:slrncbf99l.1ps....@alder.alberni.net...

> On Fri, 28 May 2004 14:22:07 GMT,
> Chris Wright <cjwri...@shaw.ca> wrote:
> >
> > "Chris Kern" <chris...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
> > news:qcdeb0d4mpog3gqv1...@4ax.com...
> >> On Fri, 28 May 2004 11:14:02 GMT, "Chris Wright" <cjwri...@shaw.ca>
> >> posted the following:
> >>
> >> >I find that it Aragorn's decision serves the story-arc of Lord of the
> > Rings
> >> >more than serves my personal sense of what Aragorn would have really
done
> > in
> >> >the situation.
> >>
> >> Your "personal sense" apparently doesn't fit with what Aragorn
> >> actually is in JRRT's book.
> >
> > Of course. When I talk about Lord of the Rings, one of things I like to
do
> > is to try and inject a healthy dose of realism into and see what
happens. =P
>
> Trolling is spelt "T-R-O-L-L-I-N-G" Chris. I've never heard it spelt
> "healthy dose of realism".

LOL a desperate attempt to devalue what I write. I care not though, you are
entitled to your opinion.

Still, I find a great deal of appeal in the notion that "Middle-earth is for
those who can't handle real life". All things said, I'd much rather live in
Middle-earth than this current earth. =)

>
> >
> >> How do you expect JRRT to have written
> >> Lord of the Rings following all your notions of what you think the
> >> characters should have been?
> >
> > For starters, you certainly don't kill off Boromir. The storyline held
> > little real, palpable interest for me after that point.
>
> What a pity that this newsgroup does.

Not at all, I'm willing and very interested in working through our
differences in opinion though.


the softrat

unread,
May 28, 2004, 8:31:18 PM5/28/04
to
On Thu, 27 May 2004 20:01:01 GMT, 10313...@compuserve.com (Jim
Deutch) wrote:

>On Thu, 27 May 2004 15:13:40 GMT, "Chris Wright" <cjwri...@shaw.ca>
>wrote:
>>My point was not that these wise characters I spoke of weren't all very
>>merciful and sympathetic -- they were incredibly merciful sympathetic, and
>>that certainly seen and written about by Tolkien as being a very, very good
>>thing, and certainly to the extent that you could construe 'mercy to be the
>>overarching theme of Lord of the Rings' (whatever the hell that means). My
>>point was that they didn't always let their merciful, sympathetic tendencies
>>get in the way of attending to more urgent matters than abetting the weak
>>and foolish (e.g. the hobbits, Theoden), namely the defeat or at least
>>meaningful, helpful resistance to Sauron.
>
>I think what grates in your posts on this subject is that you seem to
>be trying very, very hard to find in JRRT some kind of support for
>your own personal political/social agenda.

I believe that you forget that 'Mr. Wright' is fundamentally a troll,
extremely sociopathic, or both.


the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--
When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane. --
Steven Wright

Stan Brown

unread,
May 28, 2004, 10:27:43 PM5/28/04
to
"AC" <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote in rec.arts.books.tolkien:

Doesn't 'sim' have kill files? It's amazing what they can do for the
blood pressure!

Chris Wright

unread,
May 29, 2004, 2:53:27 AM5/29/04
to

"the softrat" <sof...@pobox.com> wrote in message
news:nbmfb0p41fh3re1jk...@4ax.com...

> On Thu, 27 May 2004 20:01:01 GMT, 10313...@compuserve.com (Jim
> Deutch) wrote:
>
> >On Thu, 27 May 2004 15:13:40 GMT, "Chris Wright" <cjwri...@shaw.ca>
> >wrote:
> >>My point was not that these wise characters I spoke of weren't all very
> >>merciful and sympathetic -- they were incredibly merciful sympathetic,
and
> >>that certainly seen and written about by Tolkien as being a very, very
good
> >>thing, and certainly to the extent that you could construe 'mercy to be
the
> >>overarching theme of Lord of the Rings' (whatever the hell that means).
My
> >>point was that they didn't always let their merciful, sympathetic
tendencies
> >>get in the way of attending to more urgent matters than abetting the
weak
> >>and foolish (e.g. the hobbits, Theoden), namely the defeat or at least
> >>meaningful, helpful resistance to Sauron.
> >
> >I think what grates in your posts on this subject is that you seem to
> >be trying very, very hard to find in JRRT some kind of support for
> >your own personal political/social agenda.
>
> I believe that you forget that 'Mr. Wright' is fundamentally a troll,
> extremely sociopathic, or both.

If you all can do is name-call, then you're weak, ignorant, and fucking
pathetic.


John Jones

unread,
May 29, 2004, 10:34:28 AM5/29/04
to
"Stan Brown" <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote in message
news:MPG.1b21bf2c...@news.odyssey.net...

> "AC" <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote in rec.arts.books.tolkien:
> >On Fri, 28 May 2004 14:22:07 GMT,
> >Chris Wright <cjwri...@shaw.ca> wrote:
> >> For starters, you certainly don't kill off Boromir. The storyline held
> >> little real, palpable interest for me after that point.
> >
> >What a pity that this newsgroup does.
>
> Doesn't 'sim' have kill files? It's amazing what they can do for the
> blood pressure!
>
Whilst I have killfiled Wright (amongst others), his nonsense keeps getting
through because people will answer him.
PLEASE don't feed the troll.

TeaLady (Mari C.)

unread,
May 29, 2004, 4:12:43 PM5/29/04
to
"Chris Wright" <cjwri...@shaw.ca> wrote in
news:EAntc.606227$Ig.227778@pd7tw2no:

> You know, I've always known this newsgroup to be generally
> quite rude, snobbish, and insular, but I'll ignore that for
> now and return to this issue at hand.
>


This is true of many newsgroups, more especially those who
survive the continual bombardment of trolls, clueless wankers
(I love that word, even tho I am USAn), spammers and so on.
It is, IMO, a means of preserving the intent of the group
without resorting to extreme moderation.

This newsgroup has been, IMO, very welcoming, quite polite
and, if a bit insular, not nearly so much as they could be.
And I bet I am not in anyone's top 10 favorite poster category
(altho I may have ascended to the bottom 20). It takes time
for anyone, save the very rare and extremely talented, to be
accepted in any sort of a group, even (or perhaps more so) a
newsgroup.

I don't think it is the fault of this group that you "know"
them as "generally quite rude, snobbish, and insular". As
light-hearted as they may be (and some are quite charming and
mirthful) they are quite serious about Tolkien, by right and
by charter.

Of course, this could be something I ought to keep my mouth
shut about, rather than waxing pedantic around my toes.

--
TeaLady / mari conroy

Chris Wright

unread,
May 29, 2004, 5:49:12 PM5/29/04
to

"John Jones" <jo...@jones5011.fsnet.co.uk> wrote in message
news:c9a9g9$fc9$1...@news5.svr.pol.co.uk...

I assure you, good sir, that I am no troll!


Chris Wright

unread,
May 29, 2004, 5:50:23 PM5/29/04
to

"TeaLady (Mari C.)" <spres...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:Xns94F8A4E...@130.133.1.4...

Well said, I agree with all that you say.

But, it doesn't have to be that way -- that people sometime tend towards
snobbery, insularity, and rudeness.


AC

unread,
May 29, 2004, 7:32:06 PM5/29/04
to
On Sat, 29 May 2004 21:50:23 GMT,
Chris Wright <cjwri...@shaw.ca> wrote:
>
> But, it doesn't have to be that way -- that people sometime tend towards
> snobbery, insularity, and rudeness.

And it doesn't have to be that you have to post things of an outright
inflammatory nature.

--
Aaron Clausen
mightym...@hotmail.com

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
May 29, 2004, 7:56:15 PM5/29/04
to
Chris Wright wrote:

> I assure you, good sir, that I am no troll!

I'd say a Rottweiler Puppy, or Tiny Yapper. Haven't decided which one
yet.

http://www.winternet.com/~mikelr/flame1.html

Check out the Ent entry!

Chris Wright

unread,
May 29, 2004, 8:03:44 PM5/29/04
to

"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
news:zq9uc.838$hp3.8...@news-text.cableinet.net...

I will not be baited into posting a picture of myself to disprove your
claims, if that is your intent. My desire for open-ness and full disclosure
does have its limits. =)


Chris Wright

unread,
May 29, 2004, 8:04:40 PM5/29/04
to

"AC" <mightym...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:slrncbi7bm.2v0....@alder.alberni.net...

> On Sat, 29 May 2004 21:50:23 GMT,
> Chris Wright <cjwri...@shaw.ca> wrote:
> >
> > But, it doesn't have to be that way -- that people sometime tend towards
> > snobbery, insularity, and rudeness.
>
> And it doesn't have to be that you have to post things of an outright
> inflammatory nature.

What's wrong with flames exactly-- perhaps you have never sat by a fire, or
used them to cook a meal?


Flame of the West

unread,
May 29, 2004, 8:51:07 PM5/29/04
to
Chris Wright wrote:

> Well, it's not so much the book in my head that I prefer to discuss, it's
> issues brought to light by thinking about Lord of the Rings, in either form.
> Like I've said earlier, I find it useful to talk about LotR not just as

> cannon, but the combination of the films and the novel. I suppose that I


> take bits of each that I appreciate, and work with both. Is that so
> inappropriate to this forum?

It's rather absurd in any forum since the books and movies disagree.
Is Faramir a wise and brave man or a jerk? Is Arwen a fairy-princess
type or Xena the Warrior Babe? Do Faramir and Éowyn get married or
are they just dates for Aragorn's coronation? Does Gollum fall into
the Crack of Doom because he stumbles or because he's fighting with
Frodo? Is Théoden ready to help Gondor the minute he is asked to,
or does he at first not want to help because he's annoyed that Gondor
didn't send an army to Helm's Deep (were they asked to BTW)? Is
Denethor a shrewd and powerful leader driven to insanity by Sauron, or
was he always a pathetic jerk who abused Faramir every chance he got?
Does Celeborn take ship with Galadriel or stay in Middle-earth awhile
longer? The answer to these questions depend on whether you're talking
about the book or the movie, but in the mixing bowl of your mind,
there's no telling which answer might emerge! How can anyone converse
with you on these things?


-- FotW

Reality is for those who cannot cope with Middle-earth.

Flame of the West

unread,
May 29, 2004, 9:03:04 PM5/29/04
to