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Old October 10 2012, 03:16 PM   #16
Kegg
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Re: Statistical Breakdown of Middle-Earth...

Frau Blucher wrote: View Post
I get tired of people using the Silmarillion in comparison to LotR,
The Silmarillion reads a bit like a prose compilation of myths or legends, and not at all like a modern novel. In that sense it's closer to the Prose Edda or the Bible then it is to a more regular work of fiction. It's still one of the more interesting genre books I've read and a testament to the depth of Tolkein's imagination.

I mean, yeah, I can get people not liking the Silmarillion because of its approach to content, or considering it a lousy book generally. But suggesting we don't dislike it simply because we're not being honest about it is a little disengenuous.

This said:
kythe wrote: View Post
Some of the women that are featured in the stories are very strong characters, for the times. LOTR was published during the 50's, when women were expected to be housewives and mothers.
The 1950s were a different time, but they were not somehow so different that Tolkein is in any way progressive, and stories with warrior women have been written literally for centuries prior to Tolkein. And frankly the only female character worth mentioning either way is Eowyn, as the rest have very little to no development.
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Old October 10 2012, 03:54 PM   #17
Blip
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Re: Statistical Breakdown of Middle-Earth...

Personally I couldn't give two hoots about the statistics, though it's certainly entertaining to see some of the charts (and the progression of the life expectancy of the various races of men is interesting to look at in terms of how it relates to their gradual decline; but then if you read the appendices you can see that anyway).

To eliminate any confusion, what I'm asking is: Why are you so keen to discount the Silmarillion?
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Old October 10 2012, 04:34 PM   #18
Deckerd
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Re: Statistical Breakdown of Middle-Earth...

Kegg wrote: View Post

I mean, yeah, I can get people not liking the Silmarillion because of its approach to content, or considering it a lousy book generally. But suggesting we don't dislike it simply because we're not being honest about it is a little disengenuous.
I never said that. I might have been a little dismissive with the 'misty eyed' comment but then this is me we're talking about here.


Kegg wrote: View Post
The 1950s were a different time, but they were not somehow so different that Tolkein is in any way progressive, and stories with warrior women have been written literally for centuries prior to Tolkein. And frankly the only female character worth mentioning either way is Eowyn, as the rest have very little to no development.
I completely agree with this.
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Old October 10 2012, 08:07 PM   #19
Hound of UIster
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Re: Statistical Breakdown of Middle-Earth...

Kegg wrote: View Post
^
Yes, because if there's one thing we know for certain, it's that telling the stories of female characters in a pseudo-medieval society is extremely boring... or wait, the exact opposite of that.
You don't seem to understand that many of these fantasy tropes were yet to be developed or were in their infancy at this time. Most of the material emphasizing female warriors came from the S&S side of the fantasy genre derived from the pulps of that era.


This is true, but the one gender imbalance that I noticed and found curious is that, while there are far more humans overall, there are more women hobbits mentioned than human women.
Because the lives of the hobbits are more fully described compared to that of the Dunedain, Dwarves and Elves. The background details of the Dwarves/Elves/Humans are more devoted to their history, theology and technology than to any personal details other than Aragorn's biography in the appendix.

The 1950s were a different time
But by then Tolkien had already finished LOTR.

but they were not somehow so different that Tolkein is in any way progressive, and stories with warrior women have been written literally for centuries prior to Tolkein. And frankly the only female character worth mentioning either way is Eowyn, as the rest have very little to no development.
And much of these same warrior women stories were derivatives of one another. Many of them were one stock character and Tolkien developed Eowyn -from them. It's only later in fantasy fiction that we see the current abundance of female fantasy archetypes and stock characters.

It just seems to me that you problem with him is that you want Tolkien to write with current sensibilities when that clearly isn't possibly.
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Old October 10 2012, 08:57 PM   #20
Kegg
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Re: Statistical Breakdown of Middle-Earth...

Hound of UIster wrote: View Post
It just seems to me that you problem with him is that you want Tolkien to write with current sensibilities when that clearly isn't possibly.
Or there could be some confusion.


Let's have some clarity.

Take this argument for example:

ROBE wrote: View Post
Adventures of the washerwoman and the dirty shirts would make a boring story.

Kegg wrote: View Post
Yes, because if there's one thing we know for certain, it's that telling the stories of female characters in a pseudo-medieval society is extremely boring... or wait, the exact opposite of that.
Hound of UIster wrote: View Post
You don't seem to understand that many of these fantasy tropes were yet to be developed or were in their infancy at this time. Most of the material emphasizing female warriors came from the S&S side of the fantasy genre derived from the pulps of that era.
As one can see in this argument, it actually begins discussing the merit of women's stories in settings like LOTR period, where the first person dismisses them as entirely worthless. I do not need to consider the perspective of Tolkein's stories to reject that out of hand because that's not even the issue here.

But besides which? As I just said upthread, women warriors. Not a new idea in fiction. Or history either. Swords and sorcery certainly was not making any innovations there.

But generally, about the idea that I wanted Tolkein to be different from what he is...

Look.

I love Wagner's Ring cycle. To the point I've sat through more than one production, something I can't say really of many other operas. But I'm not going to pretend that Wagner isn't anti-Semitic, because he is, or that one can very easily see his portrayal of the dwarves as anti-semitic, because one can.

Nor am I going to turn around and insist his portrayal of Brunnhilda, a warrior maid who gets to be a shield-maiden but once there's the threat of being involved with men is gradually domesticated is some kind of notable 'strong female character'.

There's unquestionably nasty things about Wagner that justify any hatred of him or his work even if one ignores his idolisation by the Nazis (and it's really hard not to) but the epic pomposity and grandiose vigour and titanic operatic struggles of it all still entertain me. I can acknowledge the former and the latter simultaneously.

Is Tolkein not as bad as Wagner? Sure. Is that an incredilby low bar to vault? Yeah. It is. Should I jump to the defence of anything that's dated in his work? No, because that's not really why I like Tolkein in the first place, is it?
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Old October 10 2012, 09:12 PM   #21
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Re: Statistical Breakdown of Middle-Earth...

This has become very confusing. People seem to be misinterpreting Kegg when he's been a lot more lucid than anyone else.
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