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Old October 8 2009, 04:15 AM   #16
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Re: A Middle Earth Question

Funny enough the origin of the orcs was never set in stone by Tolkien. He went back and tried to revise it (along with the origin of Middle Earth to fit more in line with what was known of astronomy in the 20th century) several times due to his discomfort of the idea of the orcs being all evil and yet having sentience and free will. The orcs being marred elves was one of the theories along with them being marred humans, corrupted maiar of some form or souless creations on the order of simulcrums,
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Old October 8 2009, 06:33 AM   #17
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Re: A Middle Earth Question

QCzar wrote: View Post
This question always makes me wonder about the Avari. About what they were and how they lived. Tolkien lavished so much attention on the other elves (esp. Noldor), yet these scarcely warrant a footnote. Just how elf like are they? I presume they probably have more in common with Silvan people than any others we've seen, but how much?

Tolkien says they remained wild, but what exactly does a "wild" elf look like in ME? I wonder if they wore face-paint while out boar hunting or had wicked tattoos like the Maori.

Some fans have speculated that many (if not all) of the Avari may have been corrupted by Melkor/Morgoth and became the basis for the Orcs, but passing mention is made of them during the Noldor's grievances in Beleriand and this is likely thousands of years after the coming of orcs. Thus it seems unlikely that all of them (if any) were twisted into those vile creatures.

I wonder if the Noldor thought lowly of them. Maybe they are where the rumor of them being befouled originated. The Noldor being prejudiced isn't exactly out of character for them. If that were the case, it may have influenced tales of the Avari passed down in Eldar legend, thus casting them as shadowy figures. Kinda like how people treat gypsies.

I wonder what they were doing during the War of the Ring.

I wonder about the Avari a lot, I guess. It's fun to speculate, since we'll likely never know.
I thought the Silvan (such as Legolas) was part of the Avari, but maybe Legolas and Thanduial was Sindarian. I can't really remember. But I think most of the elves of Mirkwood where silvan
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Old October 8 2009, 04:59 PM   #18
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Re: A Middle Earth Question

paudemge wrote: View Post
I thought the Silvan (such as Legolas) was part of the Avari, but maybe Legolas and Thanduial was Sindarian. I can't really remember. But I think most of the elves of Mirkwood where silvan
Part of, yes. The primary difference being that Silvan elves were under the thrall and influence of the Eldar and so can not be accurate representations of what Tolkien calls "wild elves". Though, in fairness, Tolkien had written that, at least in some occasions, they (Silvan/Avari) cannot be told apart. Which may provide some clue to their guise.

Which is why I mentioned that the Silvan elves are the ones they must have the most in common with. But I don't think they are one in the same. A real world example would be the stark differences between Celtic peoples that had regular contact with the Roman Empire and those that did not.

Legolas and Thranduil (and presumably most of the house of Oropher) were Sindarin/grey elves, and it was not uncommon for wood elves to be ruled by other kindreds (as in Lorien with Galadriel and Celeborn). Thus, Legolas being a princely figure from the start, he also makes a poor example from which to extrapolate what the Avari must have been like.

Still, I'd like to think that they aren't too different from the wood elves. In fact, I'm not even sure the distinction is all that relevant by the time the Fourth Age rolls in (the Eldar having largely faded into irrelevance). Nevertheless, I wonder. Tolkien's world is so complete that any mysteries in it truly inspire a longing for answers, even if those answers can only be derived through speculation.

And there are few things more mysterious in Middle Earth than "the Unwilling".
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Old October 8 2009, 07:30 PM   #19
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Re: A Middle Earth Question

Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post
Manticore wrote: View Post
Actually, IIRC, the dwarves managed to recolonize Moria in the 4th Age.
Dennis L. McKiernan's The Silver Call was written originally as a Middle-Earth story about the reconquest of Moria. When his publisher couldn't get the rights from Tolkien's estate, he filed off the serial numbers, and his fantasy world of Mithgar was born. If you read it, and squint just so, the book works as a tale of the Fourth Age.
You have to squint? I thought it was smacking me over and over in the face.

On another note, it's my impression that the CT bashing comes from his daring to dislike the Jackson films. Nothing gets fans going better than a perceived betrayal.
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Old October 8 2009, 08:25 PM   #20
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Re: A Middle Earth Question

Actually there's something to be said for CT's point of view also. While I applaud Jackson's movies as a tour de force, a landmark achievement and a bunch of other superlatives, there is a lot of stuff which is "Not Tolkien" about them also - and I'm not just talking about the reworking of the stories or additions/subtractions - which (I think) is where CT comes from.

CT's viewpoint from what I've read of his views are to somehow crystallize JRRT's views. His editorial work is done with that in mind. He won't as an example, make Aragorn a reluctant King, just to give him a "cinematic arc" or even a "thematic arc" to make the story "better/coherent" etc. There's much to be said for his approach to editing on JRRT's work.

When I read PG Wodehouse's unfinished book (in my teens, which was earlier than when I read JRRT), I didn't like it because it was basically unfinished/unpolished and the story wasn't fun. I had imagined it similar to (say) Curtain: Poirot's Last Case but it was nothing like that. It was just an unfinished book, meticulously put together. You can get a feeling (if you're so inclined) as to how PGW 'worked' and 'created' his book. CT's ideas are to present to the world JRRT's ruminations (and re-ruminations) on ME. It is very admirable work. imho. He isn't interested in being an independent author and and write his own stories set in ME. He is basically interested in revealing JRRT's thoughts in as coherent and condensed a manner as possible. Which is the reason for his "beef" with the movies. And I think Jackson was right in taking liberties in order to make the movies as successful as possible. However much I would have preferred somebody to "stick closely" to the book. Which is also the reason why FOTR is the best of the three movies for me. It shows to me that it is "achievable" to think of a "true" LOTR in today's or future times.

Re the Avari, I think they would have led solitary lives, growing closer to nature - seldom seen by men.

I also "imagine" that ME is the "precursor" to most of the other (good) fantasy books I've read. And that the Avari (or those Elves who choose to stay behind and do not go to Valinor and the Undying lands) will with the passage of time become the Elves that we see in some of the other books. The Iluvatar and Mandos mythology will get lost/forgotten over the ages and get replaced with whatever mythology I'm reading in the book. In essence, they become the Qar that we see in Tad William's Shadowmarch (I'm all excited about the third part coming out in early 2010) and they are also the Sithi/Norn from his Memory, Sorrow and Thorn tri/quadro-logy
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Old October 9 2009, 12:00 AM   #21
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Re: A Middle Earth Question

coolghoul wrote: View Post
Actually there's something to be said for CT's point of view also. While I applaud Jackson's movies as a tour de force, a landmark achievement and a bunch of other superlatives, there is a lot of stuff which is "Not Tolkien" about them also - and I'm not just talking about the reworking of the stories or additions/subtractions - which (I think) is where CT comes from.
I completely agree. I really liked Jackson's movies (especially FOTR), but there were a lot of things they did that either didn't work or just felt wrong (mostly in TTT and ROTK).

But at least Jackson isn't like Philippa Boyens, who openly admitted on the FOTR commentary that she felt they actually improved on Tolkien's story in some parts.
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Old October 9 2009, 02:05 AM   #22
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Re: A Middle Earth Question

coolghoul, I find it unlikely that any of the Quendi endured for that long, as according to even the most liberal reading of Tolkien's writings on the subject, they would have wasted away long before then. It implies that they (presumably Avari/Silvan elves) would've become something more akin to spirits, if that. If anything of them would survive into modern times, it would most likely be creatures not unlike the various Fae (fairies, elves, gnomes, trolls, etc.) of west European mythology. Or perhaps nature/tree spirits as exists in Pagan and Animist belief systems.

In other words, misty, spectral creatures seldom encountered by people deemed in complete command of their senses. Kind of like the Barrow Wights of their own time.
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Old October 9 2009, 03:05 AM   #23
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Re: A Middle Earth Question

coolghoul wrote: View Post
And that the Avari (or those Elves who choose to stay behind and do not go to Valinor and the Undying lands) will with the passage of time become the Elves that we see in some of the other books.
Funny idea and along that line the Melnibonians in famed Tolkien hater Michael Moorcock's Elric stories were also suppose to be a species of evil Elves.
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Old October 9 2009, 04:03 AM   #24
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Re: A Middle Earth Question

Skystalker wrote: View Post
coolghoul wrote: View Post
Actually there's something to be said for CT's point of view also. While I applaud Jackson's movies as a tour de force, a landmark achievement and a bunch of other superlatives, there is a lot of stuff which is "Not Tolkien" about them also - and I'm not just talking about the reworking of the stories or additions/subtractions - which (I think) is where CT comes from.
I completely agree. I really liked Jackson's movies (especially FOTR), but there were a lot of things they did that either didn't work or just felt wrong (mostly in TTT and ROTK).

But at least Jackson isn't like Philippa Boyens, who openly admitted on the FOTR commentary that she felt they actually improved on Tolkien's story in some parts.
See I agree with her. In some aspects (not saying the majority or a lot, but a few I feel are more rounded and developed then the books. Of course the reverse is also very true that the books in many, many forms out shine the films.

But there are elements of the films that I find superior.
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Old October 9 2009, 04:11 AM   #25
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Re: A Middle Earth Question

That's not the point. It was a pretty egotistical and disrespectful thing for her to say.
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Old October 9 2009, 04:12 AM   #26
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Re: A Middle Earth Question

QCzar wrote: View Post
coolghoul, I find it unlikely that any of the Quendi endured for that long, as according to even the most liberal reading of Tolkien's writings on the subject, they would have wasted away long before then. It implies that they (presumably Avari/Silvan elves) would've become something more akin to spirits, if that. If anything of them would survive into modern times, it would most likely be creatures not unlike the various Fae (fairies, elves, gnomes, trolls, etc.) of west European mythology. Or perhaps nature/tree spirits as exists in Pagan and Animist belief systems.

In other words, misty, spectral creatures seldom encountered by people deemed in complete command of their senses. Kind of like the Barrow Wights of their own time.

I really smiled when I read your comment - I strongly recommend that you try to read Shadowmarch. You might enjoy it.

The Shadows are a mysterious ancient race that now have retreated to the north. A mysterious 'Shadowline' separates the Qar (as they call themselves) from the humans. The Qar are living 'The Long Retreat' when one of their foremost warrior Yasammez ("The Scourge of the Shivering Plains" ) throws of the melancholy and decides that they will go down gloriously - other Qar who yearn to regain their mastery side with her. But even tho' the elderly blind Qar monarch has to permit this last attack, he has set other things in motion...

Later in book 2, some humans (unfortunate beings) cross the Shadowline - basically a mist or cloud - a living "breathing" thing and encounter what I think could be described as a misty, spectral, eerie, semi-alien world. There are creatures of flesh and blood but unlike any - they are all Qar. Some Qar are vaguely human, some cannot be recognized as anything but animals.

It's really good stuff!! Take a brief look at the Wikipedia entry - the plot summary is vague enough to not spoil *anything* in the book.
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Old October 9 2009, 06:21 AM   #27
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Re: A Middle Earth Question

^I might just do that. I also find the story of how the author created that universe and first published quite intriguing.
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Old October 9 2009, 12:09 PM   #28
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Re: A Middle Earth Question

Skystalker wrote: View Post
That's not the point. It was a pretty egotistical and disrespectful thing for her to say.
Why? Is Tolkien some untouchable God of literature? Can no one suggest that nothing he did is less than perfect?

If she thought aspects of the movies improved on aspects of his story, then she is perfectly entitled to say it, and quite clearly, people agree with her. If you dont then fine, but that doesnt make her egotistical or disrespectful.
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