Down with Craftsmen!

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valedhelgwath
Posts: 4233

Down with Craftsmen!

Post#1 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

You beat me to that one, JonnieA. I thought about mentioning it myself last time I was on here. Although Aule, the greatest craftsman of all, made things for the pleasure of making and gave them away freely, his two greatest servants, Sauron and Saruman were totally different. Tolkien does seem to associate the skill of making with that of coverting and greed. It's something he uses as a weakness with the Dwarves too.

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virumor
Posts: 3567

Down with Craftsmen!

Post#2 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Maeglin

What did Maeglin make?
Give up the Halfring, she-elf...

Eryan
Posts: 845

Down with Craftsmen!

Post#3 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Oh no, some craftsmen are among the nicest Tolkien heroes!
Take only one of my favourite heroes, Sador, the only true friend of young Turin. A noble, compassionate man, full of wisdom and stoicism. I always felt that he was one of the heroes with whom JRRT identified himself.
And the painter Niggle from "Leaf by Niggle"? And Smith from Wooton Major? Also "alter egos" of JRRT himself!
No, I really don't think Tolkien was particularly prejudiced against craftsmen. On the contrary, he considered himself a craftsman, too!

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grondmaster
Posts: 25451

Down with Craftsmen!

Post#4 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am


Cirdan was a craftsman, he built ships, and I know that Tolkien didn't look down on him. So I don't think Tolkien was against craftsmen, he was just against what some of the craftsmen did with their creations.
'Share and enjoy'

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bugyfeanor
Posts: 668

Down with Craftsmen!

Post#5 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

I think it has to do with knowledge and the misuse of it; the situation is somewhat similar. The crafting itself is not an evil thing, yet when not done for the proper purposes, it leads only to pain and sorrow.
As for Aule, see what happens to Melkor when he makes the Orcs and all those other hideous species; that's just knowledge used in the worst way possible!

Namarie!
Evil may yet be good to have been ... and yet remain evil. (Silmarillion)

JonnieA
Posts: 54

Down with Craftsmen!

Post#6 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Maeglin didn't make any items worthy of note in themselves, but he did learn all that his father and the dwarves could teach him about mining and smithcraft.

I think Tolkien's attitude depends on whether he sees something as 'technology' or simple craftsmanship. So when Cirdan makes a ship, that is good old-fashioned handiwork - I don't suppose there's anything inherently threatening in building a ship. But if Eol makes a sword out of galvorn, or Feanor makes the Silmarils that is something else, it is moving the boundaries somehow and so it is dangerous.
This is shown even more strongly in Melkor's 'genetic engineering' of orcs, trolls, etc and in Saruman's great turning wheels etc in Isengard. I have read many articles on Tolkien that suggest that one of the themes of LOTR is the rejection of technology, perhaps prompted by his experience of industrialised warfare in WWI. This always seemed to be a very general idea until I was writing out a list of craftsmen from his work and one look at the list of names suddenly bought it home to me.

Eryan
Posts: 845

Down with Craftsmen!

Post#7 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Yes, and this dislike of industrialization is expressed at the very beginning of LOTR in the description of the Shire. Yet hobbits have umbrellas and write letter on paper... where in Middle Earth are then these factories which produce umbrellas and paper?! Unless the umbrella of Lobelia was a hand-made work of art! :)

JonnieA
Posts: 54

Down with Craftsmen!

Post#8 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

A very good point, Eryan. It does seem strange that 'humble' hobbits appear to posess some more advanced technology than the advanced elves (also the water wheel driving the mill) - perhaps Tolkien was thinking more in terms of cultural advancement, who knows?
To most readers an umbrella would seem mundane and down-to-earth, I suppose.

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Halo_Black
Posts: 496

Down with Craftsmen!

Post#9 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am


Feanor
Maeglin
Eol
Sauron
Saruman
Celebrimbor

Pretty much everything they make is either evil or leads to disaster.


We should all be thankful that Sauron was into metal work instead of pottery. Mount Doom would have made a wonderful kiln, I should know, I did a City&Guilds pottery course. (Don't know if I passed though...after we sent in all our work to be examened we never go a reply.)
Can you imagine it? The One Teracotta with Tastefull Brown Glaze to Rule them All!? :funnylaugh:

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bugyfeanor
Posts: 668

Down with Craftsmen!

Post#10 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Can you imagine it? The One Teracotta with Tastefull Brown Glaze to Rule them All!?


Lol, Halo, that's evil if u ask me! BWAAAAHAAAHAAA!!!
Evil may yet be good to have been ... and yet remain evil. (Silmarillion)

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