Thursday, October 1, 2015

Fall of Arthur Presentation

What was the most surprising or interesting fact, idea, comment you learned from Group 4's presentation on Tolkien's The Fall of Arthur?


Aulë said...

I thought it was interesting that this tale is based off of a French story about King Arthur, since Tolkien was so passionate about a "British mythology." One almost wonders if was trying to take back the story in a sense and make it British again.
I also noted that this is, once again, a story Tolkien left ultimately unfinished, and it seems that there are quite a few of those, for example an entire book called "Unfinished Tales"... Did Tolkien just not have enough time to finish these stories, was he a perfectionist about his stories, or was it a combination of both? He did spend all that time fiddling with the differences between "elves" and "gnomes", after all.

Nessa said...

I thought it was so interesting that this group looked at the themes of lust, pride, and deception. Excepting pride, which was discussed in the Children of Hurin, these themes were not discussed by any other group. Tolkien seems to have strayed out of his usual writing comfort-zone in this text, which reminds me a bit of his art. It seems he was never content with what he knew and was good at; he was always stretching himself to look at new concepts and to write in new ways. The Fall of Arthur made me realize just how different each of our texts were, even though the ultimate goal was to draw connections.

Lórien said...

The most interesting aspect of this presentation, at least to me, was the fact that Tolkien seems to be returning to and attempting to revitalize the old Anglo-Saxon legends while still borrowing heavily from the French. Stylistically, it struck me as much more like the early Arthurian legends. It was definitely more focuses around what would have been seen as more "English" themes and values. The plot-line and characters are borrowed heavily from the French but he seems to have managed to breed out some of the "Frenchness" which was incorporated into the Arthurian legends in the second half of the medieval period.

Yavanna said...

I was fascinated by the discussion on the influences different mythologies and these other works had on Tolkien's central mythos. We spoke highly of the Norse/Scandinavian mythologies as being more important than others, and I agree when it comes to more direct story analogies. There seem to be parts from these other works and myths that Tolkien took, almost directly, and placed in his novels.

But I think it is also true that the 'spirit' of Arthurian legend transferred over more than the spirit of nordic myths. The norse myths were often more about the supernatural hero, their victory and their eventual defeat. It focuses on the necessity of warfare to frame a person's worth, whereas Arthurian legend often espouses peace. It focuses on finding noble, difficult paths that promote the greatest good.

Think Tolkien was able to reframe the events of Norse mythology to better sculpt to this idea which he believe was more 'noble'.

Manwë said...

One thing that I found most interesting about this presentation was the introduction to the discussion of the naming of swords. I thought it was cool that the group could introduce this topic then the other two groups (Children of Hurin, Kullervo) also had instances of named swords and were able to elaborate on the idea within their own presentations. One thing that I always wondered about in some stories was the idea that the sword already had a name or connotation that was in some way negative, yet people want to use it anyway- usually ending up badly. The story that comes to mind is when Melian explicitly tells Hurin and co not to touch the sword because it’s cursed but they don’t listen and all end up dead- at this point you really should listen to Melian! Another example is that of The Cursed Muramases- a set of swords driven by bloodlust and if not satisfied then the wielder would be murdered or commit suicide, people thought this was great and strove to use them anyway- which, in legend, ended in death.