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speaking of Denethor, I thought the whole Minas Tirith episode was pretty unnecessary. It may form an integral part of the book, but i personally got a bit bored during the whole bit. And the part about Denethor being a traitor was just too weird.
Anyway, getting back to the topic, sometimes Tolkien tries to make things too detailed. Because he's creating his own world, he feels it's his responsibility to give every miniscule speck of information....which is good in a way, but who actually cares how Sam got the rope, he just has it now and must save Frodo.
I don't think you're insulting Tolkien at all Yummy. I think you're right on the money with that bit. I always thought it was pretty obvious that all that crap with forgetting the rope got added in after he'd come up with the whole cliff bit, so as to add yet more unneccessary detail (which we all love anyway).
I figure the bit about the rope was just to add some more insight into Sam. And Denethor was never traitorous; he just had his own view of how things should be done.
Ok, maybe the rope wasn't the best example b/c I missed the foreshadowing in FOTR. However, my point was the Tolkien seems to come up with these important elements as he goes along without much advanced planning. Plastic agreed with me on that. And I agree with Plastic that it doesn't matter b/c it's all in the fun of the book.

Actually, I'm glad that Tolkien added so much unnecessary stuff to his books. I love that this book just keeps going and going and going like the Energizer Bunny. It's such a sad feeling to finish a great book and wish that you could continue the book forever. That's how I felt after reading The Talisman (Stephen King and Peter Staub) and the Sword of Shanara (I know it's a complete Tolkien rip off, but I loved it, and didn't know back then that it was emulating the original).
The bit with the rope always reminded me of my grandfather's stories, "but of course they had met in Gdansk years before ...what? I never mentioned them getting to Gdansk? Well then let me tell you..." and you just had to settle in and wait for the end of the tangent. But the tangents were usually fun, and if not you could always tune them out. Same with Tolkien- if you need to, you can skip some bits.
Hmm, it does look like you're right about the rope bit, Yummy, I never thought of it that way. But then - and correct me if I'm wrong - I thought Tolkien edited some parts of LoTR after the first publication, and from his letters thingy, it looked that he agonised over every single word before putting it down on paper. I find it strange that he would have been as careless as that. But then I thought that Sam keeping the rope from Frodo was somewhat in character - after all, Sam was supposed to be full of surprises.
I read a bit of Tolkien's foreward when I started FOTR, and yes, he did go back and edit the books b/c of criticism or commentary received from fans. And the rope was forshadowed (according to Chika), but I find these little bits of convenient explanations all over this book, and I don't think he ever reviewed the book to remove them.

Am I wrong to think that sort of writing a bit immature? Is that the wrong word to describe it?

but, don't get me wrong, I think he came up with something fantastic, and for its scope, maybe it was just too much to expect that much cohesion, but still. . .

(does anyone think I'm just being nitpicky?)
Of course you're not being nitpicky - at least I don't think so. It's just that I never really thought about it before, that's all. I agree about the rope but not about Denethor though. Are there any more examples that you can remember?
Frankly, no specific examples, but I remember remarking to myself about it all the way through FOTR.
I suppose you're right about the rope thingie, Yummy, but like Plastic said, Tolkien is a very detailed man, and if you check it, there's not much in LOTR that doesn't make sense when you've read it over and over and over and over again. Tolkien was just too perfectionist for that. Smile Smilie

I don't really recall the Denethor sequence, but I'm re-reading LOTR, so I'll come to that soon, I hope. I'm in the Old Forest now, my home... Big Smile Smilie

Jehanne: liked that part about you're grandfather's stories, reminds me of my own... Smile Smilie
You said if you need to, you can skip some bits (in Tolkien's books, that is). If you want to, you can, but then you haven't read the book... Big Smile Smilie
There are many imperfections and improbable turns of events in the books of Tolkien. However, we usually do not mind them. Why?
Many Tolkien fans stress that his books make them feel that they saw it all with their own eyes. In other words, Tolkien writings are able to induce in our brain a sort of trance, we feel "transported" to another reality. It may be a dreamlike state in terms of brain physiology... And did you remark that when dreaming you are strangely uncritical about the logic of events? You remain the same person, able to feel and to make decisions... and yet you
are not astonished at all when you see a a car becoming a dragon and following you down the street!
Yes when reading Tolkien we are simply under a potent spell!...
Wow! Like that explanation, Eryan! Seems you're the only one talking sense here! Big Smile Smilie

The events do sound rather improbable considered afterwards, but when you're reading, you've been through so much already, I guess you just take them on as well. Smile Smilie
Thank you Tom! Smile Smilie Big Smile Smilie Big Smile Smilie
What a pleasure, being praised by Tom Bombadillo himself!
(Tom Bombadil herself...)

Big Smile Smilie
Yes!!!!!!
I realised my mistake when reading other threads in this Forum... I'm so sorry!
No problem! Just glad you understand my saying. And Eryan: what an explanation, but you're absolutely right! Smile Smilie
Mad Smilie ...fine artist and writer?
Mad Smilie ...fine writer?
fantastically overrated postAuthorID??
Let's third that! Cool Smilie An absolutely fantastic fabulous fantasy fpostAuthorID. Animated Wink Smilie
****ing fantastically fabulous postAuthorID? Big Laugh Smilie

[Edited on 11/11/2002 by TomBombadillo]

[Edited on 14/11/2002 by Valedhelgwath]
Yes, Tolkien was a truely fine, fabulous, fantastic, and my favorite postAuthorID! Big Smile Smilie
We here at Planet-Tolkien.com, are not interested in Tolkien bashing, his critics have done enough of that. That said, we have nothing against putting up the occasional strawman to be knocked down, as long as it is done in a civil manner; and please refrain from baiting our less mature members into using inappropriate language. Shaking Head Smilie

Thank you,

Moderator Smilie
I said it before, and I'll say it again: I'll try... Animated Wink Smilie Animated Wink Smilie
I must 2nd that Nell.
I fourth that! Orc With Thumbs Up Smilie
:girn:

Ok, let's move on now shall we? Animated Wink Smilie

To get back on topic:

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Well, of course he\'s making it up as he writes it, but sometimes there are moments when he conveniently explains something after the fact and I find that kind of writing a little immature.


I suppose it's true, but it's d@mn difficult to write a book, let alone a book like LOTR! And think about it: if he would have said in Lothlorien that the Elves gave Sam some rope, or that Sam put some in his pack, you'd have thought: why's he adding all this? Silly little details. Just my personal opinion, of course, but if he would have added an explanation for everything, I think the book would have been twice as thick.
The rope was stowed in the boats they got from LothLorien, Since Sam was into ropes and is always bleating on about his uncle Andy he would have most likely nicked some of it, he did after all pillage the body of his master in the pass of Cirith Gorgorth and was in the employ of one first class burgular Bilbo Baggins.
Denethor wasn't a Traitor he was just pushed over the edge by the strain of having to rule a kingdom in utter turmoil, the thought of both his children being slaughtered and the fact that Sauron would have been misguiding him.

I do however understand the point if the conveniant explainations although I think it is more common place in the Hobbit but this is most likely due to the fact that this is a childrens book as opposed to an adult read and the very first book of this genre, therfopre resulting in the fact that he would have to explain the reasons, creatures and the kingdoms and terrain.
I don't think it's insulting to respectfully criticize Tolkien's work but I'm not sure I understand the nature of these particular comments. Please let me know if I'm on the wrong track.

I don't write fiction but it seems to me that if I was writing a story, it would be natural to go back in the text and fill in things that need to serve as foreshadowing or explanation of future circumstances in the story (Grampa style! nodding to Jehanne). A writer can't possibly keep a handle on Tolkien's level of detail without doing so can they? Is this the criticism? That this is too easy to do or that it is too convenient for all these things to fall into place when we read it, such that he must have done that? If this is the problem, then I would say that there would be an equal amount of complaint if all this stuff just sprung up out of nowhere, such as "Well, Frodo, seein's how we need some rope, I just happen to have some..." without any leading up. I confess, I'm not sure if the complaint in this thread is about doing that or NOT doing it, that maybe he should have.

In my opinion, the rope thing doesn't stand out too much as either foreshadowing or conveniently obtained to serve in another part of the story. I'm not sure that describing the hobbits' gear is really a foreshadowing of the use of the items packed, anymore than when you pack for a trip, you expect to use most of the things you have with you, plus some that you take along, just in case. However, when the item does serve a purpose, it does conveniently give a nod to Sam's tendency to be prepared, etc. I mean, we learn about Sam's pots and pans as much as the rope with about as much foreshadowing. The fact that the hobbits are carrying certain things, and do indeed use them from time to time, is no surprise, is it, and is that what you guys are talking about as foreshadowing?

Quick sidetrack...when I think of foreshadowing, I always think about sitcoms... when someone leaves an item behind? and the camera zooms in on it as the characters walk away, blissfully unaware...that's when we are supposed to be thinking, UH OH. They are probably going to be sorry they didn't remember to grab that, or...GUESS what will be lost later in this story?

Anyway, we find several times that the characters are having to pack and repack, and re-evaluate their gear. They make room for whatever they have accumulated from their last bit of hospitality, and ditch things they don't need. I personally find this very insightful and not the least bit superfluous as a detail. Among other things, I think what each person is carrying tells us a lot about who they are, or what their race is like, in addition to what they think is important, and how good a planner they are. We also learn how desperate they are at any given time, what with food dwindling and having to pack light so they can move fast, etc. And it's interesting to note what they decide to keep and what they abandon at each inventory...in particular for the hobbits, I think this kind of symbolizes what they are holding on to inside, what is important about getting the Ring to Mordor, and what they are sacrificing about themselves or their needs to get the job done. I think this is the purpose served by Tolkien's going on about their stuff, hoping to give insight about the characters...just as we make certain assumptions about people based on what they own. How many celebrity fridges have we seen...what is MTV Cribs about, and why are peoples' closets and purses so intriguing if not this principle?

Two things...one really funny and one very sad, that illustrate my point about this re-sorting of their possessions. I thought it was very amusing when Sam finally ditched his beloved pots and pans, I think he threw them in a volcano or whatever, destroyed them anyway...I could totally relate to Sam shuddering to think of the Orcs using his pans and preferring to watch them melt!! And the opposite of when Sam had to let go of Bill the pony, I think because he wouldn't go into Moria.

Sorry...what was the question?

[Edited on 3/3/2003 by musicimprovedme]
i'm not sure if u have discussed it before, but has any of u read the norwegian poetic Edda? i think in english it's called the Elder Edda. i picked it up about a year ago and what astonished me ,was that there were names such as Gandalfrr, Gimli and others...
it was a bit of a dissapointment, to be honest. i've always thought that he made those names up by himself.
Yes I read it about thirty years ago when after finishing LotR and The Hobbit and I was looking for something more to read in the same vein as Tolkien's works, This was before the Silmarillion and the rest of young Christopher's edited editions were published and before I found JRRT's books of short stories and poems.

The Elder Edda was a good read, but of course IMHO, it can't compare to Tolkien even were it recited aloud, in the oral tradition of the saga-tellers of olde.
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speaking of Denethor, I thought the whole Minas Tirith episode was pretty unnecessary. It may form an integral part of the book, but i personally got a bit bored during the whole bit. And the part about Denethor being a traitor was just too weird.

Where does it say that Denethor was a traitor?
He was loyal to Gondor.....He might have become insane in the end and burned himself and attempting to burn his son.....But think about that he was in a lonely tower for a lot of years fighting with Sauron mentally but finally the evil of Sauron won and he "thought" that what he saw in the Palantirí was actually gonna happen!
I think what you may be referring to as traitorous was the servant/guard whatever guy who left his post when Denethor went nuts and was about to set Faramir and himself on fire in the family tomb...in order to keep his colleagues from going through with the King's instructions to shoot the flaming arrows. That guy's son was a friend to the hobbit (Merry or Pippen, can't remember who went where) that was serving in the court. I don't have my book handy or I would look it up, does anybody the details (that is, names) I am talking about?
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I think what you may be referring to as traitorous was the servant/guard whatever guy who left his post when Denethor went nuts and was about to set Faramir and himself on fire in the family tomb...in order to keep his colleagues from going through with the King's instructions to shoot the flaming arrows. That guy's son was a friend to the hobbit (Merry or Pippen, can't remember who went where) that was serving in the court. I don't have my book handy or I would look it up, does anybody the details (that is, names) I am talking about?


MIM I wasn´t implying that someone was traitorous but Sauron was.....the man you are referring to is Beregond who later became the Guard of Faramir and it was with Peregrin Took he was befriended.... Meriadoc "The Magnificent" Brandybuck was a Rohan soldier....he had sworn alleigance to Rohan and Peregrin had sworn alleigance to Gondor!

[Edited on 14/3/2003 by Aulë]
Alue is right: Happy Elf Smilie Beregond, father of Bergil, had abandoned his post and shed blood in the Hallows to save Faramir's life; therefore, rather than being condemed to death, he was stripped of his position in the Guard of the Citadel and exiled from the city, but made Captain of Faramir's White Company where he would serve Faramir in Enyn Arnen, in honour and in peace.

And Denethor wasn't a traitor either, he just got caught up in one of Sauron's snares (via the Palantir) and having lost his favorite son and then when the other son, whom he had sent off with instructions that almost said, 'don't come back alive' actually came back almost dead, he was filled with remorse and went off the deep end (insanity) and tried to take the easy way out (sewer-side). Elf With a Big Grin Smilie
Yes Grondy exactly my point!!
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Yes I read it about thirty years ago when after finishing LotR and The Hobbit and I was looking for something more to read in the same vein as Tolkien's works, This was before the Silmarillion and the rest of young Christopher's edited editions were published and before I found JRRT's books of short stories and poems.

The Elder Edda was a good read, but of course IMHO, it can't compare to Tolkien even were it recited aloud, in the oral tradition of the saga-tellers of olde.


i have to ask- have you read the 'Beowulf'?
Hey Beowulf is extremely good!

I read it a long time ago and I remember it being very good......but I want to read it again!
Yes I read a translation of Beowulf as a Sophmore in High School and again at University. I tried reading it in the original language, but could only understand about every fourth word. Still a good story. I should try and find Tolkien's translation and give that a go, seeing as how it has been forty years plus since my last reading of the tale.
Gut Grondy....do that....and I will read it again myselfBig Smile Smilie
so is it just me, or has he put some pieces from the Beowulf to his own tales too? i think they mentioned a thing called the Brisinga-necklace in Beowulf. Thats quite similar to the Nauglamir. and maybe it's just due to the illustrations that i saw before i even started reading the BW, but i keep associating Grendel with Gollum.
again, in the norse mythology, there is a wolf called Fenrir and Anfauglir always reminded me of it. (and visa versa).
somehow, the Scandinavian mythology seems almost as interesting as the myths of Arda.
Bewwulf IS a good read! it's wonderful, though i find it to be a bit sad.
Hi Meril and welcome to Planet-Tolkien....well to answer your question....yes he was INSPIRED by the tale Beowulf....in fact if he hadn´t read it he would´ve probably not have written LOTR because Beowulf was the chief inspiration.....
do you know where can i find more about that certain subject? it's facinating!
i know that he was inspired by it, but i'd like to know more. another Tolkien-related subject to expolre... Juggling Smilie
No can´t remember! But you could try H. Carpenters biography of J.R.R. Tolkien!
Tolkien had quite a few writers blocks while writing LotR, and it's no wonder with all the intrict plot weavings he has. I believe he says somewhere that before publication he practically re-wrote the whole story backwards. I would hate to do that to any of my stories, what monatony! This is probably when he added in the 'foreshadowing'. It probably also is responsible for the little details you picked up Yummy. No I don't think you're being nit-pickity, I understand how details can bog people down, though it is not the case for me.

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so is it just me, or has he put some pieces from the Beowulf to his own tales too? i think they mentioned a thing called the Brisinga-necklace in Beowulf.


Ok I just have to be pedantic here...Brisingnamen (sp?) is the necklace of Freya in Norse Mythology. She got it from the dwarves. I know the necklace you speak of here, but it's not called Brisignamen in my Beowulf translation...still you make an excellent point here. Sorry to be picky. Wink Smilie
What the… So Angry Smilie

Elfstone is about to fly into a blind rage, but then he recalls one of his favorite episodes of Seinfeld, and utters the magical words “serenity now, serenity now” to himself, and then counts to ten.
Shaking Head Smilie

Okay for starters I realize that Yummy started this thread a couple of years back, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have ever even looked in here if it wasn’t for Samwise posting in here today, but get a grip will ya!

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Would I insult Tolkien if I suggested that sometimes it seems like he\'s making up the story as he goes along?


To answer the question, even though I believe that Yummy's no longer around, I think Tolkien would be very offended by this remark. Tolkien certainly wasn’t making up the story as he went along. He put more time, thought, and effort into his writing than probably any writer ever has! He agonized over every single detail, and there wasn’t one word committed to print that wasn’t the product of careful, calculated consideration! For the love of Eru, LOTR was almost 11 years in the making!

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Am I wrong to think that sort of writing a bit immature? Is that the wrong word to describe it?


With all due respect, IMHO I would have to say that to even suggest that Tolkien’s writing is immature in anyway, is completely, and utterly ridiculous, and again I would have to say, that based on what I know of Tolkien as a person, he would be very offended by this remark. I would most definitely have to say that word is most assuredly the wrong word to use to describe whatever Yummy was trying to say. Tolkien’s writing, and style, was amongst the most sophisticated, and mature writing in the entire history of the English language!

Now about this rope thing, I can’t believe that this was even brought up, but as Ross has already pointed out (thank you Ross) in this thread, that wasn’t something that was just conveniently made up, it was explained in FOTR, specifically in the chapter Farewell to Lorien.

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We here at Planet-Tolkien.com, are not interested in Tolkien bashing, his critics have done enough of that.


Amen Grondy, amen!!!

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i think in english it's called the Elder Edda. i picked it up about a year ago and what astonished me ,was that there were names such as Gandalfrr, Gimli and others...it was a bit of a dissapointment, to be honest. i've always thought that he made those names up by himself.


Tolkien did make up almost all the names himself! True he was influenced by other stories, and mythology from other cultures, but the vast majority of the names he created come directly from the original languages he created. Here is a direct quote from Tolkien’s letter to Milton Waldman written in 1951,
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Out of these languages are made nearly all the names that appear in my legends. This gives a certain character (a cohesion, a consistency of linguistic style, and an illusion of historicity) to the nomenclature, or so I believe, that is markedly lacking in other comparable things. Not all will feel this as important as I do, sense I am cursed by acute sensibility in such matters.


Ladies and Gentlemen of PT, I rest my case!
Elf Smilie
And well-rested too Elfstone. I agree with you. Tolkien would be much flattered if he read your post. Wink Smilie
I agree, Elfstone.

About the similarities to actual mythology:

That is what makes Tolkien mythology so wonderful. He was making a sort of history for England, and so therefore took some well-known myths and Arda-ized them. Luthien makes a ladder out of her own hair--does that ring a bell? Turin marries his sister, not to mention all the other stuff that happens to him--Oedipus Rex, maybe? I have always admired Tolkien for being able to have hints of well known stories in his history, and yet having them be so unique.

Because Tolkien was urged by his publishers to create a sequel to The Hobbit he probably wrote chapter after chapter, and then went back and edited them. This gave him the opportunity to put details about what would be needed later. If I remember rightly (I might not), Sam said something about needing rope on the way from Rivendell to Lorien--something like "Rope--I knew I'd need it if I hadn't got it!" And then in Lorien the Lady gives him a rope, and he laments that he didn't learn how to make such elven rope.

Tolkien made the story up as he went along, as most every writer does--Tolkien originally had Bilbo meet the four hobbits in Bree, not Strider. And Frodo originally had four other companions, instead of three. Things change as the story progresses, and I don't know if Tolkien was even thinking about Denethor untill Boromir (or maybe even Faramir) was introduced.

Denethor is NOT a traitor--to even suggest such a thing is completely...well, it's absurd.

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And Denethor wasn't a traitor either, he just got caught up in one of Sauron's snares (via the Palantir) and having lost his favorite son and then when the other son, whom he had sent off with instructions that almost said, 'don't come back alive' actually came back almost dead, he was filled with remorse and went off the deep end (insanity) and tried to take the easy way out (sewer-side).


I couldn't have said it better myself, Grondy. I often felt sorry for Faramir, and for Boromir too--it's got to be difficult being your father's favorite, and knowing that your brother knows it.
Perhaps understanding our dear JRR's detailed writing is not so hard if you simply remember that each writer, an artist in his or her own right, sees the world around t hem and inside of their mind a little or quite differently than anyone else. For me, to criticize any writer is a nono. I can only criticize if the need presses, their misspelling of a word. Because like standing in a art gallery one sees as many different techniques as artists. It is only because of our personal perceptions and prejudices, what we h ave been taught and the perceptions and prejudices of our own instructors, etc that we come up with our opinions of whether something is good or not.Art in pictures or writing is no exact science.
therefore, if in creating this subworld Tolkien decided to be one of the oil painting masters who drew each and every leaf on a tree, the grass blade by blade, instead of a modernist who paints perhaps in globs of color to define something, what is that to us? It is nothing to criticize but to either , depending upon one's tastes, enjoy or not.
This is how Tolkien portrayed and brought to life his art. If you don't like a detailed piece of artwork, be it a painting , a sculpture, a book, then find the art work you DO like and just enjoy it. It is that simple.
In my opinion, and it is not worth anything to anyone perhaps but myself Smile Smilie, I would be horrified to think that any scrap , any scintilla of his detailing would be thought too much, the same way I would be horrified to think that a single layering over many layerings of color of a da Vinci, a Renoir would be too much. It is that person's and only that person's creation and therefore not my right or jurisdiction to even contemplating changing a thing.
I then have the right to shun it, not pay a a penny to purchase the work, not even acknowledge it, that alone is my privelege. Nothing more.
If all else fails, and you read the Lord of the Rings and think to yourself "gee, now how convenient it was for the author to put that in right there", you might stop and think about the music of the Ainur for a moment, and how Illuvitar "conveniently" weaved themes together, and how this is both a "history" of what Illuvitar did before physical creation of Arda came about, and at the same time a metaphor for each thing which happened in middle earth. Sam's well-preparedness and family interest in rope, meeting with the elve's skill and craftsmanship in that area, is more like a portrayal of providence working in the details of life than an example of immature writing on the part of Tolkien. What is it that Galadriel says? (or if it's not her, it's one of the "wise" characters): Perhaps our paths are alreadly laid out for us, but it is only we who cannot see them.
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