God in Lord of the Rings

Ungoliant
Posts: 993

God in Lord of the Rings

Post#1 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

I genuinely don't understand why a lot of people seem to want to see religious metaphors/analogies in books. Don't get me wrong, Yummy - am not about to start ranting here - but I feel that great books should be able to stand on its own without any religious, cultural or political props.

I personally get put off by books and postAuthorIDs - unless they're very well written - that promote a certain brand of organised belief or thought. An postAuthorID is just a storyteller - he/she should be invisible throughout the entire narration. I believe that the postAuthorID fails the minute the reader notices his/her existence.

It is also a sign of respect that the postAuthorID gives to his readers when he allows them to enjoy the story, debate the finer details and formulate their own conclusions without the reader having felt that he or she was somehow forced into accepting a certain way of thought.

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TomBombadillo
Posts: 2746

God in Lord of the Rings

Post#2 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

But there is no God in Lord of the Rings. Or are we still discussing it?
I'm glad you didn't delete my post for once, but I don't know what you've left out... :) No big loss then...
Is there anyone here who believes that there is some kind of a God in Lord of the Rings? I mean, not that I dispise you then, but let's get back to topic again. We were discussing about... what again? :)
Denial is not a river in Africa.

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PlasticSquirrel
Posts: 3577

God in Lord of the Rings

Post#3 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

I saw the title of this topic, and I was getting all ready for one of my anti-religious rants, and then it goes and becomes a genuine question. And one I know the answer to as well. It is because of his religion, that Tolkien did not include any religious references in his work. He did not wish to commit heresy by creating his own false gods as such. I mean yeah you've got Illuvater and the Valar, but they're really just creators and noone goes around worshipping them.
Tolkien felt it better to let the story just be without religion than try and force his own into it, or to try and invent a rival one. WHich is a good job really seeing as how Jedi Knight is now an oficial UK religion because of a load of nutty fans. I think Tolkien would have gone spare if that had been his creation.
http://www.plasticsquirrel.co.uk for all your bizarre music and musings needs

Yummy
Posts: 83

God in Lord of the Rings

Post#4 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Well I'm glad I didn't incite any rantings on your part. :D Thanks for the reponse, it explains a great deal.

My mom is a CS Lewis fan and went to see FOTR expecting to find religious analogies and metaphors, but was disappointed. I told her it's not that obvious, except that the characters operate in a world where honor and duty are paramount. But then again, honor and duty are not exclusively Christian. I think she expected it to be a little more like the Tales of Narnia.

My folks disappointed me by not liking the movie. I'm not sure what they expected, but my dad said it wasn't his cup of tea - he's more of a Bond fan, likes reality fantasy in that way.

My mother seems interested in reading the books, but I'm afraid she'll be put off by the first 200 pages or so of Fellowship. It was rather hard for me to get through, mostly b/c I work all day and passed out after two pages, and Tolkien is rather dense. I suspect the same will happen to her, but I'll give her my copy andwe'll see how she does.

She did say that in the ladies room after the movie, one women exclaimed that she couldn't believe she spent three hours at a movie with no ending! That bothers me a little. To me that's like visiting Rome or Florence without reading up on the city to find out why it's so great and what to visit. She should have investigated the movie a little before seeing it, so she wouldn't have experienced the disappointment of a missing ending.
But you can't protect everyone from themselves. Too bad. :)

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grondmaster
Posts: 25451

God in Lord of the Rings

Post#5 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Tolkien hinted that there was a higher postAuthorIDity waching over things via some of Gandalf's statements; however, as Plastic Squirrel said Tolkien didn't want any formalized religions gumming up the works. I think 'The Lord of the Rings' is a much better story for it; while 'The Chronicles of Narnia' would have no substance were it not for their underlying religious content.

You might have your mother start out reading 'The Hobbit' first; it is an easier start. Then when she gets to 'The Fellowship of the Ring', the first couple of chapters will pull together.

Yummy, I'm not being judgmental here as I know nothing about the personalities involved, but if your parents were as cluless (only concerning what to expect in the movie) as you imply, maybe you should have helped prepare them a little. If I'm out of line here, I apologize in advance.

And you might tell your parents that if they really wanted to see the story's ending, as do all the rest of us, they also must wait to see the final two installments during the holidays of 2002 and 2003. :)

'Share and enjoy'

chikakat
Posts: 729

God in Lord of the Rings

Post#6 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

this is like the 3rd time I've tried to reply to this thing, and each time I've been completely incoherent and given up...this time I'm not giving up, so if I'm still incoherent, sorry in advance.

I think there was some little bit of a higher power in LotR, especially in some situations with Frodo, where he more or less invoked Elendil's name to ward off evil things...I know Elendil wasn't like God, but still, it struck me as relevant.

I agree with Ungoliant...I can't stand it when books have overtly religious overtones...'course, that's probably mostly becuase of my 10 years of religious ed...it's a depressing thing to be told you're going to Hell every Monday night...I hated having religion forced down my throat.

Yummy
Posts: 83

God in Lord of the Rings

Post#7 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Grondi - no offense taken. I tried to prepare them, but my mom and I got waylaid on a discussion of God in the books that I didn't get a chance to explain the basic story to her. My fault. But also, it wasn't she who complained about the lack of an ending, she was just repeating what the woman in the bathroom said.

It's a great idea to start her with the Hobbit, and I'll do that.

As far as religion goes, I disagree with the comments made here, so far. I cannot think of a single society that does not believe in some form of higher being, and when you create a world that is basically populated with humanoids operating in sort of an English mirror world, I find it odd that they do not have religion or a higher postAuthorIDity into which they put their faith, especially the men (as opposed to the elvish peoples).

I'm not saying that one of our religions should have been in the books, but I think it's an element that is missing from Tolkien's world.

But, I completely understand why Tolkien didn't do it, considering what PS explained.

I do disagree about religion in books however, and I think Dune is an example of a book where religion takes on a significance that has meaning to the characters but doesn' t promote the religion itself. I think Frank Herbert admitted to himself that in a world of humans, there will always be some form of religion, and with great foresight, the religion in Dune is a combination of Christianity and Islam - I've always thought that was fascinating and quite prophetic, especially considering world events.




Yummy
Posts: 83

God in Lord of the Rings

Post#8 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Oh, and Ungoliant, I don't search for God in every book I read, but in these books I was curious simply because I know a little about Tolkien's background at Oxford as an Inkling and as a great friend of C.S. Lewis. That's the reason for my query. It was a purely intellectual question. :)

Boring
Posts: 289

God in Lord of the Rings

Post#9 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

As far as religion goes, I disagree with the comments made here, so far. I cannot think of a single society that does not believe in some form of higher being,


hihihihihi I'm such a society :D

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PlasticSquirrel
Posts: 3577

God in Lord of the Rings

Post#10 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Me and you both buddy :D
And as to religion in Dune, I thought Herberts treatment of the subject was perfect. Every religious aspect brought to the book was genuinely flawed by the people who carried out the rituals, as in our own religions. Even the Lady Jessica who starts out as really quite nice, turns into a right b*tch when she becomes a reverend mother, and as for Muad'dib himself, oh dear, where do I start!
http://www.plasticsquirrel.co.uk for all your bizarre music and musings needs

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