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16645RE: [TolkienDiscussions] The LotR Tarot

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  • Rob
    Sep 2, 2006
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      <<I also don't understand 'secondary world'. Does this mean if JRRT had
      written pornography, it would have been OK with his Roman Catholic self, as
      long as the setting was Middle Earth?>>

      I don't understand why the concept is so difficult to grasp, but I also like
      how you've pointed out the kind of Catch-22 of Tolkien's stance.

      I also assume you (Pippin) were not raised as a Catholic or Christian
      Protestant.

      In an effort to clarify the position that Tolkien, as a Catholic, would not
      be kosher with an LotR tarot deck I will say that to C.S. Lewis tolkien
      justified writing about a mythology that, though reminiscent of and
      influenced greatly by his Roman Catholic background, was clearly also very
      reminiscent of pagan pantheons by saying that all mythologies in literature
      and world religions were echoes of the true mythology
      (Catholicism/Christianity). So yes, in a way Tolkien is setting up a double
      standard by making it all right to write about a non-Christian mythology in
      an adventure story, but he is also divorcing the realm of fiction from the
      realm of day-to-day "real life."

      If I wanted to I could, if I were really interested in "true crime" type
      stories, write tales with a serial killer as my protagonist. That does not
      mean I think serial killers are heroes or that I want people in real life
      becoming serial killers or emulating their lifestyle. That is a broader
      example of what we're talking about, but the principle is the same. Tolkien
      was okay with writing about a non-Christian mythology (though I, and many,
      many others would argue that the entire cosmology of Tolkien's is in fact
      Christian behind its face) in the fictional realm. But he would not be okay
      with someone using his works to promote a non-Christian philosophy in real
      life. If someone were to "fall away from God" because of reading the LOTR I
      think Tolkien would struggle with that, personally. It is for this reason
      that I doubt Tolkien would have okayed the idea of a tarot deck using his
      LOTR characters.

      Obviously the executors of the estate felt differently or just didn't give
      the matter much thought or the thing just slipped past them at the time.
      Certainly if Christopher Tolkien were here and arguing that his dad would
      have been fine with a tarot deck I'd have to accept his judgement on the
      matter. But I really do have to wonder if he was ever even aware of the
      thing to begin with.

      If you aren't getting the dichotomy yet, I don't know that I can make it any
      plainer. However, if you do read Tolkien's letters, you will find letters
      bearing directly on these kinds of matters, especially the ones where he
      talks to his sons about religion and the nature of reality, etc. You really
      get to know the man's mind a lot by reading his letters.

      Rob
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