Thursday, February 28, 2013

Prophecy heightening drama

So I had chapter two in class today, and the two moments I chose both had hints of future events which I felt heightened the dramatic impact quite a bit. The part where Turgon is being urged to flee is pretty dramatic just because of the moment itself, but I felt the added part where Maeglin heard the words and "did not forget them" heightened the drama of the moment. I haven't read further in the book but I'm guessing it's significant? Even if it isn't, that part portrays the intensity of the moment.

I also chose the moment at the end when Morgoth worries about Turgon escaping and seems to know that his ruin will come from him. This sounded prophetic to me, but again, I haven't read any further in the book yet so I don't know.

Were there any other moments where Tolkien hinted at the future that you guys felt added to the drama? I'm guessing this doesn't just happen in chapter two.

Heightened Drama from Chapter One of Children of Hurin

How Tolkien Creates a sense of heightened drama: Chapter 1 (The Childhood of Turin)

I didn't really get around to fully sharing my ideas on the event of Turin giving Sador his Elf-wrought knife. Turin and Sador, an old woodman who cut his foot, become good friends after the death of Turin's sister, Lalaith. For his birthday, Turin receives a very nice Elf-made knife from Hurin, which he promptly gives to Sador, which made Turin very happy ("[his] heart was a warmth like the warmth of the sun upon the cold earth that sets growth astir"). However, Hurin and Morowen find out about the gift and are not quite so pleased. There is an element of foreshadowing when Hurin tells Turin, "An honest hand and a true heart maw hew amiss; and the harm may be harder to bear than the work of a foe." Tolkien uses this passage and the descriptive language to help the reader fully understand Turin's character, and also gives the reader a sense of foreboding of what is to come.

I haven't read the past the assigned reading yet, but I am very anxious to find out what happens to Turin, and how his kindness and selflessness might be his downfall.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Is the whole worth more than the sum of its parts?

I found the quote we were trying to think of in class today.  Gandalf comes to Orthanc, and Saruman says that he is Saruman of Many Colours instead of White because White can be broken.  Gandalf replies "In which case it is no longer white...And he that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom," (Fellowship p. 252).  What do you all think of this statement?  Does deconstructing a thing (a piece of literature for instance) ruin it?  I feel like that is what we do all the time when we write essays.  We pick out individual pieces of evidence to support our argument.  Perhaps Tolkien only meant that we can focus too intently and zoom in too far, making a comprehensive view impossible.  How can we then balance the two?

Monday, February 25, 2013

The easy win

I noticed that when reading the various alterations that people had written for their assigned sections of the Silmarilion that they most often included people who were not as evil as they should have been or were otherwise altered to give the story a better and quicker ending.  That made me think, why do we instinctively desire characters to be good, or go against their character to do "the right thing"? 
I forget where I read it, but I once read that the true brilliance of a story lies not in its heroes, but in its villains.  This is perchance on of the true greatness's of Tolken's works, in that he has true evil characters that are more that death and destruction, and have a appearance of being a person.  So, what do people think about evil being to true decider of a good story and plot?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Constructed Languages

After our class I thought I'd see whether I really could create a language. I found this really neat website with a "Language Construction Kit": http://www.zompist.com/kit.html I also discovered a message board for hobbyists who construct languages and cultures: http://aveneca.com/cbb/

The thought and effort that go into these projects really impress me. I also think it would be a novel way to learn about linguistics and anthropology in the first place.

Would any of us be interested in doing something like this? 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Learning Created Languages

For me, the most surprising part about Thursday’s class discussion was when I found out that some schools actually offer elvish language classes. Sure, I know that there are groups out there for learning Quenya, Klingon, Na’vi, etc. . . . but an elvish course? Why do you suppose that learning created languages is becoming more popular? Does being able to hear the language in a movie or TV show make it more appealing to learn than say, only being able to read it in a book?          
In case you’re curious, here is a link to some Quenya materials on the University of Bergen’s website: http://www.uib.no/en/search?q=Quenya&fromarea=&sort=text&x=0&y=0

The Wresting of the Silmaril(s)

This is my attempt at rewriting the story of Beren wresting the Silmaril from the Iron Crown of Morgoth. My apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien.

As Morgoth and his host lay in swoon throughout the depths of Angband, Beren drew forth Angrist and cut from the Iron Crown the starlit jewels. As the final Silmaril was severed from its bonds, the knife Angrist fulfilled its doom and the blade melted away, disintegrating into nothingness. With the Silmarils in their possession, Beren and Luthién fled the fortress of Anbgand. But Carcharoth had since awoken from the spell of Luthién and sprang upon them as they approached the dread gate of Morgoth's stronghold. Luthién's strength was fading and her powers were of no avail. The mighty fiend easily swept her aside and she collapsed, gravely wounded from the harrowing blow. Beren grasped the Silmarils in his hands and met the onslaught of the dire beast. The enemies clashed together with the force of a great tidal wave and battled each other relentlessly, neither giving any quarter. Weaponless, the pair clashed together time and time again. But the power of the Silmarils overcame the malice within Carcharoth and in his victory, Beren smote the ruin of his foe upon the cursed ground. He swept Luthién into his arms and bore her swiftly away from that evil place.

Initially, I had wanted to re-work the story to the point that Beren was able to unite the races of Arda and overthrow the evil of Morgoth. Because this victory was accomplished without the direct assistance of the Valar, Manwë would see fit to exert the full power of the Valar, banishing the spirit of Melkor from Middle-earth for eternity. However, there would be a grave mistake made in the process of Melkor's final punishment. History repeats itself and Sauron is treated mercifully as Melkor was after his first defeat. He bides his time, allowing his malice to smolder. As his master before him, Sauron betrays the trust of the Valar and Children of Ilúvatar, escaping and rising to power in Morgoth's stead. Unfortunately, this would have taken way too much time and space on the blog. Perhaps I'll get a chance to complete it in some type of creative project...

Friday, February 22, 2013

LOTR Guitar Covers

Ok, we might not all like the movies, but I think the music from the movies is incredible. I found this guy that covers a bunch of the songs on his acoustic guitar. It's so beautiful I had to share!

Rohan Theme:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlSm9jDdw6Y

"Misty Mountains" (from The Hobbit):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HecXZb0inLE

The Shire Theme:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwNS9CFHAWw

17 Again clip

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcjAH57Eoik

This is the elvish scene from 17 Again! I highly suggest you watch the whole movie ;)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Battle Under the Stars

So here is what I wrote in class. It is in reference to the Battle-Under-Stars in the beginning of chapter 13. In an effort to sound as Tolkien-like as possible I took some of his sentences out of context and used them for my own version. I also just left some sentences untouched if they were not parts that I changed...
       Now the flames of that burning were not only seen by Fingolfin, whom Feanor had deserted in Araman, but also by the Orcs and Watchers of Morgoth. The host of Morgoth, aroused by the tumult of Lammath and the light of the burning at Losgar, came through the Mountain of Shadow and assailed Feanor on a sudden. The assault came swiftly ere the Noldor's camp was full-wrought or put in defense. 
      Thus began the Second Great Battle in the Wars of Beleriand. Dagor-Nuin-Giliath is is named, The Battle Under the Stars. The Noldor, out numbered and taken unawares were swift to the defense. The Noldor's swords were long and terrible and deadly with anger. The Noldor fought valiantly for the Light of Aman was not fully dimmed in their eyes. 
      Ere the Noldor could claim victory, Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs entered upon the field of battle. Scores of elves Gothmog sent to the Halls of Mandos and many more were to follow. Feanor, a formidable warrior, was too busy leading his forces against the Orcish hoards to face the Balrog therefor, in his stead he sent his sons lead by Maedhros, to slay Gothmog. Feanor witnessed in terror as the beast devoured his sons with ease. Maedhros was the last to burn after wounding the Balrog with a thrust of his blade that barely missed the beast's molten black heart. Feanor, ripe with rage moved towards the beast quickly. The Balrog made not effort to flee and instead bathed in the pleasure that he felt from murdering Elvish royalty and the coming chance to destroy another, greater adversary. 
      Feanor wasted no time with customary banter and instead assaulted upon the monster with all the fury he could muster. Gothmog had been wounded by the prince kin slayer and was slow to react.
Feanor moved with the strength, speed and violence that could only come from one who wanted revenge more than his own life. The Balrog, in his arrogance found himself no longer fighting, but instead trying to survive his fight with this great elf. As Feanor slashed on, the Balrogs whip slowed and his flame began to dim. The deceitful Balrog knew he had no chance of besting Feanor so he took a knee and begged for mercy. After the murder of his sons Feanor had no mercy to give, but he paused in his fury so as to savor the execution of Gothmog. As Feanor paused the feigning Balrog raised his sword and smote the kin-slayer through his heart. Feanor stood pale for a moment, then fell limp to the cold ground ere he joined his sons in the Halls of Mandos. 
     Upon the extinguishing of the son's of Feanor, the Noldor despaired with anguish they not felt since the coming of Melkor and the great spider. In their sorrow  and due to their great vacancy of leadership the Noldor were defeated by the merciless hosts of Morgoth. The Orcish...




Creation vs making

So i know we talk a lot about this in class so i thoyght i would write blog post about it.  I wanna know what people think about why Tolkien uses creation, making, then subcreation, in most of his works. Why in that order and why call the various levels of things that appear one of those three specifically?  What is the purpose and the message thta he is tryng to get across?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

FEANOR RULES MIDDLE EARTH

I got really excited about the assignment in class today. Hence, the all caps title.  Here's what I wrote...I'll discuss afterwards.

"And though the Valar believed the oath would be Feanor's downfall, they underestimated him.  As he created the brightest jewels, he also possessed the brightest spirit of any of the elves - a spirit to rival the being of the Valar.  And stronger Feanor ever became because he also knew evil and hatred as the Valar of Valinor could not.  Rage and passion drove Feanor, and he defied Mandos and all of the Valar for he did not soon come to the Halls of Mandos.  Feanor thrived on his hatred of Morgoth, driven ever to avenge the loss of his father, Finwe, the only one that Feanor had ever truly loved.  And so arose the challenger of Morgoth:  Feanor at whom Morgoth directed all of his malice out of fear.

All around Feanor, his sons and kinsmen fell.  Each death only served to stoke the flame of Feanor's heart, until he was too great and terrible to behold.  And at last, he marched alone and unhindered to the very gates of Morgoth's fortress.  And before the vast Thangorodrim, Morgoth and Feanor battled, striving in mind and body.  But Feanor, possessing the light of the Valar, the flame of the Noldor, and the hatred of Morgoth, threw his foe beneath his feet."

Maybe somewhat dramatic.  But how crazy would it be if because of the range of Feanor's emotions and experiences, he combined them all to become greater.  Think Gestalt's "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." I don't know if Feanor would be a good ruler or if he would be overcome by Morgoth's evil - kind of like the Black Breath of the Nazgul.  Maybe his pride would consume him.

While writing this, the first choice I made was to let Feanor live.  I think he's an incredible character, but like many tragic heroes, his tragic flaw is pride and that leads to his downfall. (I like to entertain the idea that Tolkien also really liked Feanor because he calls him "the mightiest of the Noldor" and talks a lot about his burning spirit). Because of my appreciation of Feanor - and trying to stick with his character - I had Finwe's death be his motivating factor in overcoming Morgoth, not the Silmarils. Maybe part of Feanor's obsession with the Silmarils stemmed from a love of his father? Who knows. I'm going to pretend it did. Also, I chose to write Morgoth's defeat because I think Feanor's rule would bear interesting consequences for the rest of the history of Arda.
Full Alternative Story for the Silmarillion, Chapter 16, page 137:

... Eol took Turgon's hand. "I acknowledge your law, yet it pains me that I should not return to my own land. Yet, I wish not to be punished under your law, thus I must remain. I only wish to be with my wife and son, even if these, my enemies, did slay my kin and now hold me against my will."
   Then Turgon spoke in a mighty and stern voice from his throne. "Eol, you have, with the union with my sister, become my own kin and one with our people of this land. The quarrels past are no longer between you and I. My word  is law - it is very wise that you should choose life in abiding in this kingdom rather than death attempting to flee."
   Eol looked into the eyes of King Turgon, and reluctantly bowed his head while silence echoed off the walls of the massive hall. Eol's eyes blazed red with frustration, yet he made no aggressive movements.
   Aredhel looked upon Eol with wonder. She felt relieved at his unexpected compliance, yet quietly disappointed by his presence. She extended her hand to Maeglin, who also remained silent.
   Therefore Eol lived in Turgon's kingdom, and kept a close watch on Maeglin as he grew older. Yet so close was Eol's eye on Maeglin that seldom could Maeglin depart from his father's watch. Maeglin grew quietly into a keen, dark elf, much like his father. He kept in shadows and quiet and wished to leave Turgon's land.

This version doesn't fit very well with Eol's character, as Eol was very stubborn and proud. However, this would have changed Maeglin's trajectory very much.
It was also quite difficult to write like Tolkien, even using the outline of what he had already written. He has a very unique style that is nearly impossible to fake.

Did others encounter similar issues writing alternative stories?

Fëanor's Oath

In The Silmarillion, "Of the Flight of the Noldor" (Chapter 9 ), Tolkien writes:

The SilmarillionThen Fëanor swore a terrible oath. His seven sons leapt straightway to his side and took the selfsame vow together, and red as blood shone their drawn swords in the glare of the torches. They swore an oath which none shall break, and none should take, by the name even of Illúvatar, calling the Everlasting Dark upon them if they kept it not; and Manwë they named in witness, and Varda, and the hallowed mountain of Taniquetil, vowing to pursue with vengeance and hatred to the ends of the World Vala, Demon, Elf or Man as yet unborn, or any creature, great or small, good or evil, that time should bring forth unto the end of days, whoso should hold or take or keep a Silmaril from their possession.


An earlier version of this oath from around 1925 appears in The History of Middle-earth, volume 3, which says:
Be he friend or foe  or foul offspring 
of Morgoth Bauglir,  be he mortal dark 
that in after days  on earth shall dwell, 
shall no law nor love  nor league of Gods, 
no might nor mercy,  not moveless fate, 
defend him for ever   from the fierce vengeance 
of the sons of Fëanor,  whoso seize or steal 
or finding keep   the fair enchanted 
globes of crystal  whoso glory dies not, 
the Silmarils.  We have sworn for ever!

How does Fëanor's Oath haunt the rest of The Silmarillion? Why is the concept of making and/or breaking an oath or vow so important in Tolkien's works?

Marriage, Remarriage, Love and Couples

In The Silmarillion, Tolkien insists on presenting a variety of love relationships between males and females. We have the love and then marriage between Thingol and Melian, Beren and Lúthien's protypical story of heroically romantic love, the Valar joined as male/female couples, Finwë's marriage first to Miriel and then Indis. What do you make of the variety and themes Tolkien includes in these love relationships? Why is the frequent joining of a "lesser" male to a somewhat superior female such an important theme in Tolkien's works?

Free Will, Fate, Choice

We touched on this in class, but I'd like to encourage you to discuss this more fully here.

In Christian theology, evil (Satan/Lucifer's fall, etc.) is the price of free will. In orthodox Catholic doctrine especially, humankind (and the angels, too) must have the ability to choose between the two poles of evil and good in order to achieve grace. Free will itself is dependent upon the choice between good and evil. In such a schema, fate is an operation of free will, not a predestined fact. By allowing free will, God must not only allow evil to exist as a choice, but He/She must also be removed from the choices free will must make in order to operate. In addition to choice, chance is another means by which both the divine and humankind can connect, interact, and even counteract each other in such theological frameworks.

How does Tolkien weave these theological concepts into his works? How are these concepts expressed more directly in The Silmarillion than in The Lord of the Rings?

Tumblr

This is just because I want to share all the Silmarillion things I've been recently reblogging on Tumblr because I have all these feels. Also I am doing one of those "30 Days" memes for the Silmarillion, and I'd like to challenge any other tumblr users to do it to.

Here's all the things tagged "Silmarillion" from my blog. And most of it is wildly inappropriate, so fair warning. Also, I'd like to follow anyone else's Tumblr if you want to include a link to your blog. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Art Is . . . ?


In Tolkien’s lecture “On Fairy-Stories,” he defines art as the “operative link between Imagination and the final result, Sub-creation.” According to this definition, the making of art depends upon the artist’s urge to portray novel ideas, which are anchored in the artist’s mind. Do you suppose then that Tolkien would have considered photographs or portraits of real people to be true “art,” or do you think that a photographer’s or painter’s ability to see such subjects would prevent those works from bearing the name of true “art”?      

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Janet Croft and Chronicles of Narnia

Tonight's lecture by Janet Croft was enlightening and great clarification regarding several of the topics we touched on in class this week.  What I found most helpful was her discussion of the necessary elements for Faerian drama.  Here they are, paraphrased (and I may have missed one or two):

1)  The dramas don't take place in the realm of everyday life.
2)  The senses are satisfied, and the experience feels real (i.e. the happenings in Faerie are not "irrational" for that world)
3)  The participant in the drama joins a world already in progress.
4)  The participant must enter with the correct mindset, the right frame of mind.
5)  There is a clear before and after of the drama.

Another intriguing point made by Ms. Croft was her observation that often in Faerian drama, the protagonist/participant seems perfectly fitted to the trials and temptations throughout the stories which serve to mold him and grow him in his apparent weaknesses.

So following these given elements - and likely spurred by the Tolkien/Lewis friendship - I think the Chronicles of Narnia fits the Faerian drama bill almost perfectly.  Obviously, the stories take place in Narnia, this mysterious, alternate world.  The experience feels real (at least to me): nothing that happens seems out of the ordinary for the world of Narnia.  The children dropped into Narnia always enter in medias res - the action is already underway.  For example, Eustace, Edmund, and Lucy drop into the ocean next to the Dawn Treader as it embarks on its voyage.  Most of the children involved enter Narnia with a perceptive and understanding mindset.  For example, Lucy finds Aslan most often when she completely believes in his existence. And finally, there is definitely a clear before and after to these stories.  Kids change, lives are saved, evil is overthrown, the children return to our world.

Then, of course, C.S. Lewis seems to mold the trials and tribulations specifically to grow his characters in their weaknesses.  I see this most obviously in Eustace in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  He's a brat from the beginning of the story - entitled, snobby, refusing the help of others - but after his stint as a dragon, when he sees what a burden he is to the others and finds ways to help the group, Eustace is a changed boy at the end of the story.

Feel free to disagree with me, but I want to know what you all think. And what other stories/movies, etc. can you think of that fit these requirements of Faerian drama?

Our Imaginations

So today in class we talked about imagination in my group (group two). Julie mentioned how everyone has their own fantasy, that each fantasy is different. It got me to wondering, how do you guys see the characters in Tolkien's works? How do you imagine them? Are you stuck with images from the movies because you saw them first, or do you have your own ideas about how Frodo should look? How do you think Tolkien's characters that haven't been in any movies would look? I'm not really asking for a dream-cast, unless you really have based their appearance on actors. Is there any character in the movies who looks especially different compared to your own vision of them?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

With our discussion of "On Fairy-stories," I could not help being reminded of my favorite video game of all time, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. There is something about the world of Hyrule which seems to be deeply related to the theme of subcreation within Tolkien's own works. It is a place of magic, adventure and mystery, with a creation story very similar to that of Middle-earth as told in the Silmarillion. After finishing the remainder of the reading for tomorrow's class, I realized that Escape is probably one of the primary reasons Tolkien's stories and places like the Kingdom of Hyrule mean so much to me. They allow me to leave myself behind in the confines of the 'real world' and enter Faërie, even if it is just for a short while.

"The Pot of Soup, The Cauldron of Story"

(Hopefully this picture shows up well enough for you all to see it! Let me know if it doesn't.)

So, I've seen and read things like this throughout the years of being both a Tolkien and Harry Potter fan (in fact, someone from the last Tolkien class even wrote a paper on the similarities and differences between these two stories), and while they make me laugh, sometimes it really bugs me that people make out J.K. Rowling to be this complete idea thief. I think both her and Tolkien are brilliant in their own ways, plus, learning more about what influenced Tolkien is showing me how much he himself pulled from other stories and traditions to create his own world.

So, I have lots of thoughts and questions about this: what do you think Tolkien would say to something like this - is it theft of his ideas, or an example of the "cauldron of story" in which the most resonant themes or motifs survive in multiple forms and stories? What is it about some of these themes/archetypes that have such an impact on readers of both Harry Potter and Tolkien? And would Harry Potter be considered a fairy tale by Tolkien's standards? What do you think he would say about it?

3 faces

Today in class we did not get to talk about the face that Tolkein said that there are three faces of faery stories.. So i was wondering what peoples opinions about these three face were.  Also I want to know if these remind anyone of anything.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tolkien's Opinion of Shrek


Upon reading Tolkien's On Fairy-Stories, I have noticed that Tolkien is fairly critical of many stories that are  often referred to as "Fairy-Stories." Tolkien reasons that certain stories are not true "fairy-stories" because they do not meet certain criteria, like creatures are simply used as "masks upon a human face" or because all the adventure occurred within a dream. 
As I was reading a question kept coming into my mind, it seemed like a silly question so I decided  not to post it here, but then Tolkien mentioned "Puss-in-Boots" (324) and I knew it was a sign. So here is my question...
Do you guys think Tolkien would have counted "Shrek" as a fairy-story? Why or why not?

Personally I am conflicted because the multiple fairy-story characters in Shrek make it difficult to judge. Some of the individual characters may meet the standard and some may not. I am not sure if Tolkien would look as the stories as a whole or make his judgment based off of if Shrek himself meets the standard. What do you guys think?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Warrior Values

I've thought some more about the values expressed in Tolkien's fiction compared to those in medieval heroic literature, about the things Tolkien's heroes do that might be dishonorable for a medieval hero (sneaking the Ring into Mordor, cheating in the riddle game as I think Megan mentioned). But it's clear that the ends don't always justify the means for Tolkien, either. The Ring could never be used for good.

So when it comes to war, what makes a tactic acceptable or unacceptable for Tolkien? How are Tolkien's heroes different? And as for that part of the heroic spirit Tolkien does seem to admire ("Heart shall be bolder, harder be purpose, more proud the spirit as our power lessens"), where can we find that expressed?

Languages

After reading Tolkien's "English and Welsh" lecture and feeling entirely inferior because I only speak one language fluently, I am interested to hear about my classmates' language experiences. What languages are you fluent in? What languages do you dabble in? What's your favorite thing about studying a "foreign" language?

I regret to say that I only really speak English. I've a basic knowledge of French and Spanish after studying both in school for a time. I am, however, fluent in Ubbi Dubbi (anyone who watched PBS's show ZOOM as a kid knows what I'm talking about!). My favorite thing about studying languages is the beauty of the sound of "the ordinary words for ordinary things" as Tolkien calls them. For some reason, Spanish and French names for common objects sound so much better to my ears!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Importance of Names

Throughout Tolkien's works, characters adopt or are given different names as part of their stories. Aragorn is not only named Strider, but also Estel and Elessar and Thorongil. What importance does onomastics, the study of names, play in Tolkien's works? Why does he give characters multiple names? Is there a difference or not in the way names are used or change depending on race in Tolkien, i.e. Elves and Men? And what about Hobbits? Are names of Hobbits by nature different than those of other races?

Elves Magic as Art

We talked in our classes about The Silmarillion a bit about the creative activities of Tolkien's Elves. In one of his Letters (#131 to Milton Waldman), Tolkien explains that for the Elves "Their 'magic' is Art, delivered from many of its human limitations: more effortless, more quick, more complete (product, and vision in unflawed correspondence). And its object is Art not Power, sub-creation not domination and tyrannous re-forming of Creation."

What do you make of Tolkien's efforts in this passage to equate art with magic as well as to distance this kind of art from the kind of power that is dominating and corrupting? Why might such concepts have been important to Tolkien? What do his words in the quote above tell us about his intentions for his stories?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Literature and language

So today I think we had a very interesting conversation about Tolkien's ideas on language and literature. I think the most interesting part was when we discussed how Tolkien believed languages needed to have literature in order for people to learn them. Isn't that why he created the Silmarillion, to justify and to have a basis for his language? I don't think anyone said that. Anyway, let's discuss further: why is literature necessary to language? Why is Middle-earth necessary to Tolkien's language? Or is it not necessary? I enjoy Tolkien's world and I appreciate how he incorporates his language into it, but I don't know if it's necessary.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Aule/Sauron, Melkor/Saruman

In class on Tuesday, we didn't get around to "Of the Enemies" in the Valaquenta.  This was my section so I'm going to post my questions here.

1)  It says that Sauron began as a Maiar of Aule before he gave his allegiance to Melkor.  Aule is characterized earlier in the chapter as "a smith and a master of all crafts, and he delights in works of skill, however small, as much as in the mighty building of old" (p. 20).  In what ways do you see these skills of Aule mirrored in Sauron?  I think an obvious example would be the forging of the rings.  Sauron had to have been incredibly skilled to make the Ring as powerful as it was. What other example can you all think of?

It's also interesting because Tolkien also writes that Melkor was jealous of Aule because they had similar abilities and interests.  Could this have driven Melkor's desire to "steal" on of Aule's Maiar?  Do you think Melkor could have been jealous of Sauron's skills?  Just hypothesizing - I have no idea as to the answers of these questions!

2)   My other topic is about the parallels between Saruman and Melkor. This idea comes from this passage about Melkor at the end of the Valaquenta: "Understanding [Melkor] turned to subtlety in perverting to his own will all that he would use, until he became a liar without shame.  He began with the desire of Light, but when he could not possess it for himself alone, he descended through fire and wrath into a great burning, down into Darkness.  And darkness he used most in his evil works upon Arda, and filled it with fear for all living things" (p.25).

This entire description kept reminding me of Saruman's corruption especially the part of being "a liar without shame" and "when he could not possess it [the Light] for himself alone." What do you guys think?  Can Saruman be seen as a lesser reflection of Melkor due to his selfishness and perversion of creatures (I'm thinking the Uruks here...)?