1. Stammis

    Stammis Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2015
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    145
    Location:
    Sweden

    Lets talk about Lord of the rings

    Discussion in 'Discussion of Published Works' started by Stammis, Jul 22, 2018.

    The Lotrs is the kind of story I aspire to make; it's unique, charming and vastly imaginative. Thus, I want to really understand how to was made and what is clear is that what propels the story forward is the ring.

    Would you say that the underlying theme in the story is greed? If boiled down far enough.

    This might not necessary have been Ronald Tolkien's intent but this is how I interpret it. What do you think?
     
    zoupskim and 123456789 like this.
  2. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    4,796
    Likes Received:
    4,648
    I don't think writers do or should think of theme all that often. Things like that just seem to happen when you are focusing on other things. That's my take on it. And it's fine to want to know as much as you can about a story, but I'm not sure how that's going to help you with your own story. Know that you are creative and have a unique and vast imagination. Tap into that at least simultaneous to directing the work of others.
     
  3. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    23,827
    Likes Received:
    20,805
    Location:
    El Tembloroso Caribe
    As regards how it was made, I think one of the key elements of that world is that it's not monolithic. That's the failing of most Fantasy or Sci-Fi. Whole worlds filled with just one culture, or The Good Culture™ vs The Bad Culture™. Since Middle Earth is a metaphor for the England of Tolkien's day, it's fuller, richer, more complex, messier, which makes it more real and engaging.

    No. Not for me. For me the underlying theme of this story is love. Like the cultures themselves, love is a multifaceted thing. In the end, it's the love of Samwise and Frodo that saves the day. They're in love with one another in a way that English is sadly ill-equipped to express. In English, when we say "in love" we automatically think of romantic love. Samwise and Frodo are in love with each other in a different way, through agape, not eros, but English doesn't have a word for that kind of being in love. Ask any mother about the first time she held her baby, how she fell in love with that baby, which is also not a romantic love. Since our language is poor at expressing this, it's super easy to see a not-so-hidden romance between Sam and Frodo, instead of acknowledging a different kind of "in love". Anyway... love saves the day, and it's also what puts things in peril to begin with, because love can have ugly facets too.
     
    zoupskim likes this.
  4. Stammis

    Stammis Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2015
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    145
    Location:
    Sweden
    I think theme is immensely helpful to create a foundation for your story. I'm a writer with far too many ideas, and being able to boil down to a single theme keeps me on track in an otherwise chaotic story that has no purpose which creates a weak ending. Without theme, it's just life, in my opinion, and that's not what fantasy is.
     
    izzybot likes this.
  5. Stammis

    Stammis Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2015
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    145
    Location:
    Sweden
    I think I understand what you are saying, but story is conflict, and without the ring, there's no conflict.

    I guess there are more than one theme then; there is love, greed, and friendship, when I thin about it. I read a biography of Ronald Tolkien and he valued his friends immensely, friends that he lost in WW1 and new ones he gained afterwards. There's a theory that Samwise is based on (I don't remember the term) a sort of servant British officers had to take care of their needs. He had a deep relationship with this person. Though, I'm not at all qualified to talk about this, it's very interesting how experiences shape author's stories.

    I actually fear that I lack these sort of strong experiences to make a fulfilling tale of my own.
     
  6. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Messages:
    3,405
    Likes Received:
    2,927
    There are two core themes of the story:
    1. Good cannot destroy evil (Frodo fails to throw The Ring into Mt Doom, as would have anybody else who'd tried), but evil destroys itself (the Ring accidentally dropped itself into Mt Doom by goading Frodo and Gollum into fighting over it while both were precariously close to the edge)
    2. People who are Black or Arab (the racial inspiration for the orcs in the story) are biologically-corrupted savages to be dehumanized and slaughtered en masse by the biologically-nobler white people (the racial inspiration for the humans, dwarves, and elves) whose nationalistic infighting is allowing the darker-skinned savages to pick their nations off one by one until they set aside their differences to unite against their true racial enemy.
    Spoiler alert: not a fan of the second part :bigmeh:
     
  7. Stammis

    Stammis Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2015
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    145
    Location:
    Sweden
    Yeah, in this PC world, that is how you would see things, wouldn't you? Despite the fact that Ronald Tolkien clearly stated that he based his fantasy world around western Europe and Norse and British Mythology, guess which kind of people lived in those areas?

    And also, about black being evil, are you saying Darth Vader is racist too? Give me a break. Darkness has always been evil, no matter where you come from.

    Also, also, about the two themes you stated: sounds to me you are pulling facts from your ass just so it would fit your political views.

    Don't bring that shit to this discussion, it's disgusting.
     
    John-Wayne likes this.
  8. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    17,677
    Likes Received:
    19,864
    Location:
    Scotland
    Tolkien was writing LOTR during WWII, and it affected his perceptions of the story a great deal. Much of the story was written during a period when Hitler seemed to be winning, and there was no way to predict the end of the conflict. People were very frightened, and while they were grimly determined to keep fighting, the outcome was anything but assured. I think that feeling of fear comes across very strongly in the book.
     
    zoupskim and I.A. By the Barn like this.
  9. Stammis

    Stammis Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2015
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    145
    Location:
    Sweden
    I guess it was... I'm not sure of the timeline, he wrote on and of for many decades, after all. Ronald also stated that Hitler basically ruined Norse mythology with his ideology, so there's also that.
     
    jannert likes this.
  10. Nariac

    Nariac Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2018
    Messages:
    537
    Likes Received:
    778
    Location:
    England
    Saruman was basically a steampunk-wizard Hitler who invented gunpowder (the blasting charges at Helms Deep) and was into genetic engineering to create the perfect life form. (Uruk-hai)

    He was a much more awesome villain than Sauron.
     
    zoupskim likes this.
  11. Goodey

    Goodey New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2018
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    3
    I think the main theme is lust for power and how dangerous it is. As jannert mentioned, the book was being written during th WWII and during it tens of millions of people were killed because of the cruelty and ambitions of just one man.
     
  12. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    23,827
    Likes Received:
    20,805
    Location:
    El Tembloroso Caribe
    As regards the provenance of the underlined portion above, it's not a theory, it's Tolkien's own words. In a letter to H. Cotton Minchin, April 16, 1956, he states it outright. Below is the final page of that letter, in his unmistakable hand. It's the paragraph just before his signature. (there are two post-script paragraphs afterwards).

    It reads:

    My ‘Samwise’ is indeed (as you note) largely a reflection of the English soldier—grafted on the village-boys of early days, the memory of the privates and my batmen that I knew in the 1914 War, and recognized as so far superior to myself.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Messages:
    20,698
    Likes Received:
    24,043
    Location:
    East devon/somerset border
    Yeah the orcs and the wraith riders are the forces of Nazism .. its got bugger all to do with white supremacy. Tolkein saw a dark force spreading across Europe in the form of the third reich … the outnumbered men, elves and dwarfs who stand against it are the British and Allies
     
    John-Wayne, zoupskim and jannert like this.
  14. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    17,677
    Likes Received:
    19,864
    Location:
    Scotland
    I think they kind of morphed into that, although I also think he didn't quite intend it to, at least when he began writing the story. But he has said, subsequently, that for a long time during the war he couldn't really write because it affected him so much, and that it seemed to be a very dark period. I think that really comes across in the story. Not so much that it was dark, to serve his plot, but that he truly wasn't sure how it was going to turn out.

    It's been interesting living here in the UK and talking to ordinary people who lived through 'the war.' They were truly frightened for a long time, because Hitler seemed unstoppable—and for a while, they felt they were on their own. There is a bit of resentment that still lingers in the attitudes of older folks here, about how long it took the Americans to actually get involved. Of course there were reasons that the USA held back (mainly having to do with NOT wanting to get sucked into another European conflict like they had done only 30-ish years before.) But it left Britain feeling pretty isolated. They were getting bombed every night, cities were partly destroyed, lots of civilians died. There is a bit of resentment that the 'Yanks' just swanned in at the last minute and then took credit for the victory afterwards.
     
    zoupskim likes this.
  15. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Messages:
    20,698
    Likes Received:
    24,043
    Location:
    East devon/somerset border
    Of course to be fair some Americans were involved much earlier - vis the 22 American pilots in the battle of Britain, and later a greater number in the eagle squadrons... there may have been more because a fair number crossed into Canada and claimed to be Canadian on signing up - with the connivance of both Canadian and British authorities.

    But yes in 1940/41 it did feel like Britain was fighting with its back to a wall … and that comes across in LOTR in the middle period where it seems like the forces of the light can't possibly win
     
  16. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2018
    Messages:
    134
    Likes Received:
    182
    His name is actually, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien

    The Hobbit was written first,
    The Silmarillion puts the whole lot in context.

    I'm not a fan of the films. They are very epic to be sure but they bastardize so many threads of the story it's,,, very sad.
    It's also very sad that so many people who haven't read the book before seeing the film will have such poor visualizations of the elves, various places and characters such as Elrond, (where DID they get that guy from?),
    Although I do think Gollum is a work of genius. Oh, and the shire is nicely depicted.
     
    jannert likes this.
  17. John-Wayne

    John-Wayne Madman Extradinor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2017
    Messages:
    3,169
    Likes Received:
    4,978
    Location:
    Badlands
    So on Topic:

    Personally, I found Fellowship (the book) and the movie to be a bit boring. but to be fair I read Fellowship as part of a class assignment and not out of my own enjoyment, so I may have to go back and read it again. The movies I didn't care for but the Book, which Ironically is something as someone who enjoys high-fantasy should enjoy. The first movie was okay.

    When I write, I don't really think about themes, but they seem to materialize on their own as I go. So I couldn't tell you the themes of my books, but if anyone read them, they might guess at what should be it's theme. LOL. When it comes to reading, I also don't think about themes, I just read and enjoy, maybe it comes subconsciously. :p

    Off Topic:

    What... Is this one of those products of the ultra sensitive modern society, where everything is problematic, everything is sexists, everything is racists. and you need to point it all out. If so I never got any of this when I watched the movie. Considering the Origins of the orcs, it speaks more to corruption, of the soul, Turing good people evil. Into a twisted, monstrous form. Are we going to really have this argument with everything comes out.

    So, is Thrall racists.

    Agreed, makes me wonder how "racists my books" will be considered. LOL. Since I have orcs, Catmen, Lizardmen... etc.
     
  18. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    17,677
    Likes Received:
    19,864
    Location:
    Scotland
    Yeah, I had a few reservations about the movie version myself, although I doubt it will ever be bettered. They did so much right, that I can forgive the few things they got 'wrong' in my opinion.

    Chief among them, I detested the horrible cariacature that was Gimli, with his fakey Scottish accent and clownish depiction as a pugnacious drunk who was slow on the uptake. As somebody who lives in Scotland—that stings. And the guy who played him, John Rhys Davies, is actually Welsh. So the fact that he adopted a Scottish accent for the role and played to several unflattering Scottish stereotypes must have been deliberate on the part of Jackson. I'm surprised he didn't make Legolas into a Leprechaun.

    I also HATED the scene at the Crack of Doom, with Frodo hanging over the abyss by his fingernails, etc. That did not happen in the book at all, and it completely ruined that climactic moment when Gollum seized the Ring, and inadvertently accomplished what Frodo had been attempting to do. The literal cliffhanger simply wasn't necessary, and it came across as stupid and melodramatic and anticlimactic. It ruined that part of the story for me, which, in the book, was the place where I actually put the book down and had to take deep breaths.

    I also detested the way the movie depicted Faramir, as being undecided about whether or not to betray Frodo. In the book, his initial reluctance came because he didn't know whether or not to trust Frodo, not because he wanted any part of the Ring. Once he knew Frodo was on the level, Frodo had his full support. That was the whole point, and the difference between Faramir and his brother Boromir. Boromir DID want the Ring and would have taken it if he could. Faramir could have taken it, but he wouldn't touch it with a barge pole. As Faramir was one of my favourite characters from the book, I truly was angry at Jackson & Co for making us doubt his character, and for making him swither and squirm before doing the right thing. I also missed seeing the Eowyn/Faramir relationship developing. I suppose they had to cut something, but watching how both of these people healed each other was a very satisfying part of the book for me—and they just hinted at it in the movie.

    I wasn't crazy about Bilbo, as he was portrayed in the Lord of the Rings by Ian Holm—he came across as being a bit too silly and childish, in my estimation. I certainly couldn't picture him winning a riddle contest against Gollum. It's the Bilbo in The Hobbit, played by Martin Freeman, whom I thought ...hey, THAT's Bilbo. There was stubborn weight and an ironic cast to his character that the other actor didn't really have—even though The Hobbit wasn't a patch on Lord of the Rings as a movie.

    I also had my reservations about Aragorn, at least initially, because he was physically not like I'd pictured him at all. However, Viggo Mortensen did such a fantastic job with the character, that I really can't fault it. However, when I read the book now and 'see' Aragorn in my mind's eye, I don't see Viggo Mortensen. I see somebody who looks a lot more like Clive Owen, who would have been my first choice for that role.

    I did love what the movie did to give the three main female characters, Arwyn, Eowyn and Galadriel something worthwhile to do ...especially Eowyn. I think the movie developed Eowyn's character really well. And I thought the other characters were all fantastic ...the main ones as well as the minor ones. I was delighted with all of the hobbits, and loved that Jackson gave the two 'generic' hobbits, Pippin and Merry, very distinct and endearing personalities. (And he let Pippin sing!) I thought Gandalf and Theoden were excellent, as was Saruman and Grima Wormtongue, Eomer, and Denethor—all played to perfection. And who can fault Sean Bean as Boromir? It was when I learned Sean Bean was going to play Boromir that I started to get excited about the movie. He was an example of perfect casting, as was Ian McKellen as Gandalf.

    Anyway, the movie will never replace the book in my estimation, but it made a pretty good job of it. However, like you, I feel bad that probably many people saw the movie and will never bother to read the books. They were and still are my favourite books of all time. Right time and right place for me, I guess.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2018
    John-Wayne likes this.
  19. John-Wayne

    John-Wayne Madman Extradinor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2017
    Messages:
    3,169
    Likes Received:
    4,978
    Location:
    Badlands
    Yes, I am quoting myself. LOL.

    But after posting my original post, I started to wonder. Corruption (more than greed) could be a theme of LotR, considering not just the corrupting power of the Ring, or Sauron using his ability to control others. But considering the conversation about Hitler and the Nazis. I know it's a bit cliched to do this but... if you consider that orcs are corrupted Elves (through magic) in comparison the Nazis are a pretty fucked up and corrupted form of humanity.

    And making a stand against corruption (which I suppose is sort of a theme of my own stories (if I had to guess what my theme is, :p ) ). Like the Allies vs Axis and standing up to the corruption that was the Nazis.
     
  20. Goodey

    Goodey New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2018
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    3
    I wonder if Tolkien would agree with anything we've written here :D
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice