Statistical Breakdown of Middle-Earth...

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Klaus, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. Klaus

    Klaus Vice Admiral Admiral

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  2. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    No wonder they were all doomed.
     
  3. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    Impressive counting, but not really significant beyond that except that it shows that Tolkien didn't care about representing women in his stories. I don't think there were really that few, just that he didn't write them (with the exception of Dwarves, where, iirc, he actually said women were much fewer than men).
     
  4. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    "The page isn't redirecting properly

    Firefox has detected that the server is redirecting the request for this address in a way that will never complete."

    :wah:
     
  5. Hound of UIster

    Hound of UIster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Samples are too small and skewed. Most of Tolkien's characters among the elves and also of the non-Hobbit-type men are usually the warrior and nobility class. If the story had a more domestic setting for Gondor, I suspect the numbers would be more even, but I doubt anyone would care about Aragorn and Arwen and also Faramir and Eowyn's domestic lives in Gondor after the War.
     
  6. ROBE

    ROBE Commander Red Shirt

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    Adventures of the washerwoman and the dirty shirts would make a boring story.
     
  7. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^
    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. Anyway:

    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.
     
  8. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    That's because Hobbits had personal lives. He didn't hate women or anything like that, they just didn't fit into his story. But the girl Sam likes, for example, is relevant to his characterization. It's a peaceful, non-martial society. I don't think Tolkien had anything against including women in his stories (there are a couple very significant ones).
     
  9. kythe

    kythe Commander Red Shirt

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    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. There was no Xena: Warrior princess (or similar fictional character in pop culture) to be an "example" for women.

    Yet Tolkien managed to work Eowyn into the published book, a female character who wanted more than the life of a caregiver and who was willing to go to extremes to attain her goal. The Silmarillion had several other strong female characters as well, like Luthien, but it wasn't published until after Tolkien's death in the late 1970's.
     
  10. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    I get tired of people using the Silmarillion in comparison to LotR, as if it's a single narrative of comparable merit. People don't use Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as a comparative narrative to James Bond books. Or do they? My god what have I done?
     
  11. kythe

    kythe Commander Red Shirt

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    What does Chitty Chitty Bang Bang have to do with James Bond? The Silmarillion and LOTR are by the same author about the same "world", that of Middle-Earth. LOTR actually fits into the Silmarillion, a summary of it is in the last chapter.
     
  12. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    You need to be able to step back and look with more critical eyes. It's not for no reason that the Silmarillion is a little-known postscript to LotR, except for a few misty-eyed diehards who think everything the great man wrote is great.
     
  13. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hm, pretty nice. I would love to see stuff like that for other works like Harry Potter, Star Trek or the Bible.
     
  14. Blip

    Blip Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Whether anyone thinks it's great or not is irrelevant. The work describes a different age in the same world. You may not find the Silmarillion to be interesting personally, but it's just as relevant in terms of giving background to Middle Earth as the TNG Technical Manual is to fleshing out aspects of the Enterprise-D and other Treknology.

    Why are you so intent on discounting it? :vulcan:
     
  15. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    Discounting it in what respect? Are you actually taking that 'statistical analysis' seriously?
     
  16. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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:
    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.
     
  17. Blip

    Blip Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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?
     
  18. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    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.


    I completely agree with this.
     
  19. Hound of UIster

    Hound of UIster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.


    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.

    But by then Tolkien had already finished LOTR.

    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.
     
  20. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Or there could be some confusion.


    Let's have some clarity.

    Take this argument for example:


    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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