Saturday, April 16, 2011


Lineage is important in Lord of the Rings, just from character’s introductions (I am…. son of....). In LOTR (as established in class), Tolkien plays with the idea of noble lineage determining who a character is and what he/she is capable of. This idea fits perfectly with Aragorn, but not so well with characters like Sam.What do these inconsistencies reveal about Tolkien’s view on lineage? Is Tolkien incorporating something like the phrase “it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from” as another theme to his works? And how does it relate to the time period? (Post-World War II?) I see this play on lineage as a well-timed encouragement towards equality. What do you guys think (just to take this a step further than we did in class)?

As a somewhat related addition: Doesn’t this play on lineage kind of happen with Balin in King Arthur, as well? King Authur is the only one who can pull the sword from the stone, yet Balin is the one who can pull a sword (different sword) from a sheath. I do not think Balin has noble lineage, yet he accomplishes great feats (although many misfortunes).

1 comment:

Luthien said...

I would totally say that the inconsistencies are due to Tolkien furthering the idea that you can be a "nobody" (or someone very small and unimportant) and still be noble and brave. And, yeah, I hadn't really thought about Balin being an example of this, too! So it's not even a newer idea, I guess - that of being poor/from an unimportant family and yet being able to do great things.