Tolkien in General

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Post by halfwise Sat Jul 17, 2021 9:26 pm

Verlyn Fleiger wrote a couple of books that looked at different aspects of this: the role of music in a metaphysical sense; the way that meaning splinters with time. But a comprehensive overview of the underpinnings of Middle Earth would be very much appreciated.

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Post by Forest Shepherd Sat Oct 23, 2021 4:42 pm

I started on the Carpenter biography. It's far more general than Garth's Tolkien and the Great War, and focuses less on Tolkien's writing, and I'm finding it rather less interesting for this reason. Still, Carpenter has a pleasant writing style, and I'm learning some little tidbits I did not know.

I was confused by the mention of a postcard that Carpenter claims that Tolkien picked up in 1911 while on a backpacking trip in Switzerland. It's a depiction of some kind of mountain-spirit, and Tolkien wrote on the back "The Origin of Gandalf". But apparently it was not painted until the late 20s, and not printed as a postcard until 1935. Just one of those little confusions in life where we misremember or misplace mementos I suppose.

Der Berggeist, Joseph Madlener
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Post by Mrs Figg Sat Oct 23, 2021 6:48 pm

That looks more like Tom Bombadil.
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Post by Forest Shepherd Sat Oct 23, 2021 9:00 pm

Mad

Nah-ah, Tom has big yellow boots, a blue coat, and an old hat with a feather in it!

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Post by Mrs Figg Sat Oct 23, 2021 10:05 pm

well this guy looks more like Tom than Gandalf. Wink
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Post by halfwise Sun Oct 24, 2021 1:36 am

You're a bit wacked. Tom doesn't have a long pointy beard (neither does Gandalf, but it's closer). Tom is too hyperkinetic to sit stroking a fawn.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sun Oct 24, 2021 7:04 am

{{ I can imagine Tom petting a fawn, look how careful and patient he is with his lillies. }}

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Post by Mrs Figg Sun Oct 24, 2021 11:03 am

That picture is far more Spirit of Nature than Wizard imo. The bright colours are more what Tom would wear, Gandalf wore grey, and I can imagine that Tom would like to talk to fawns.
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sun Oct 24, 2021 4:49 pm

{{ Well the painting is of a mountain spirit from German myth, so in that sense its closer to Tom than Gandalf in that it sems to depict a nature spirit of some sort.
Appearence wise I'd gues is more what Tolkien was focusing on, the beard seems shorter than I always pictured Gandlaf's, but then all the books give I think on beard length is that it was long. And how long is a piece of string? (or beard?)
Another artist called Garland did a homage to the original with Gandalf- }}

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Post by halfwise Sun Oct 24, 2021 4:54 pm

The pointy beard doesn't do it for me.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sun Oct 24, 2021 4:57 pm

{{ Seems to harsh to me for Gandalf, not soft enough- I could envision Saruman having a piointy beard like that though}}

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Post by halfwise Sun Oct 24, 2021 4:58 pm

Forest Shepherd wrote:

I was confused by the mention of a postcard that Carpenter claims that Tolkien picked up in 1911 while on a backpacking trip in Switzerland. It's a depiction of some kind of mountain-spirit, and Tolkien wrote on the back "The Origin of Gandalf". But apparently it was not painted until the late 20s, and not printed as a postcard until 1935. Just one of those little confusions in life where we misremember or misplace mementos I suppose.

The Hobbit came out in 1937, so it's possible but a bit of a stretch. Tolkien may have seen the painting earlier then picked up the postcard years later, recognizing it; though it seems he wasn't much of a traveller. The backpacking trip though related would clearly not be when he got it.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:34 pm

{{ So I was nosing through Letters and in Letter 183 Tolkien is defending his work against those critics who say its simple in terms of good v evil with no nuance. Its a very interesting Letter in general, towards the end of the letter he states that-

'In LotR's the conflict is not basically about 'freedom', though that is naturally involved. It is about God, and His sole right to divine honour.'

Tolkien goes on to argue that Sauron if he wins would 'have demanded divine honour from all rational creatures and absolute temporal power over the whole world.'

And then comes the really interestng bit to me-

'So even if in their desperation 'the West' had bred or hired hordes of orcs and cruelly ravaged the lands of other Men as allies of Sauron, or merely to prevent them from aiding him, their Cause would have remained indefeasibly right.'

Wondering if folks would agree with this asessment that pretty much any means justifies the end if the end is preventing Sauron setting himself up for worship in replacement of the True God.
It is certainly to a degree a sense of perhaps Tolkien having seen in his own experiences of war that sometimes very bad things were done but they led eventually to a good outcome, sacrifices made, even acts outwith the state of war that would clearly be deemed evil, yet all rewarded by God in victory and peace for the 'right' side in the end. }}

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Post by halfwise Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:58 pm

'In LotR's the conflict is not basically about 'freedom', though that is naturally involved. It is about God, and His sole right to divine honour.'

Shocked I certainly never got that from it!

I don't think the way he framed the world set it up for scorched earth policies either. His heroes aren't the type, and I think the fact that he made most of the battles against orcs tells me he was trying to avoid the issue.

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Post by Forest Shepherd Mon Dec 06, 2021 8:44 am

Sat down to read more of the Carpenter biography of Tolkien at 8:30, and find myself finishined with the book at half past twelve. It's put me into rather a melancholic frame of mind. Tolkien's life as put forth in the novel is surprisingly unhappy somehow. Or perhaps it seems so because the details of the end of it are freshest in my mind.

I must get to sleep. But one last thing is that I think in a few weeks' time I will be ready for the long-delayed re-reading of the LotR. It has been well over a decade since I last read it all the way through, which is far too long for a self-described fan. Time flies.

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Post by Forest Shepherd Tue Jan 04, 2022 8:49 am

Happy, one day late, Birthday! 130 yesterday, would have been.

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