21522Re: [mythsoc] Re: religion in Tolkien
- Oct 16, 2010There's so much wrong with Carter's real understanding of world-building,
that it deserves separate discussion. Heh. Maybe even a Mythcon paper.
Still, as much as I now, with the benefit of my education, can take apart
Carter's observations on Tolkien and fantasy world-building, I still have
to admit that but for him, I would not have encountered a whole flock of
fantasy novels. And seriously, I think his oversight of Ballantine's
fantasy line helped establish the sub-genre as viable in the marketplace.
But yes, he missed a lot in Tolkien - and was rather limited in his views
of what "religion" would look like.
> I don't think that is John's post you are replying to. I think it was
> mine. John was the one asking for recommendations of books on Tolkien and
> Carter's inability to notice Tolkien's characters' invocations of the
> divine probably is a result of his having read, and written, too much
> hulking barbarian fiction in which the "by Crom!"-type oaths swarm in the
> air like bees. It isn't even the most imperceptive thing he says; a few
> pages earlier, he complains of Tolkien's "essential shallowness ... lack
> of real philosophical or psychological depth ... failure to explore the
> nature of evil." This has to rank among the top three or four most
> imperceptive remarks about LOTR ever made.
> Thanks for mentioning the worship of Melkor imposed on Numenor in its
> decay. From an internal, character-based perspective, that experience
> should adequately explain _why_ the later Numenoreans in Gondor do not
> worship any false gods. They've seen what happens when you do that, and
> they're not making that mistake again.
> -----Original Message-----
>>From: icelofangeln <solicitr@...>
>>Sent: Oct 16, 2010 9:42 AM
>>Subject: [mythsoc] Re: religion in Tolkien
>>Just to add a couple of points to John's post- not that I'm saying
>> anything that others haven't said before, just reminding folks of them -
>> Carter apparently didn't read very carefully.
>> "None of the many characters, not even the heroic warriors, so much as
>> swears by his gods. Obviously because they _have_ no gods."
>>Clearly Carter missed "Mumak! May the Valar turn him aside!" In fact,
>> backing up what John says, there are numerous examples in LR of a 'noble
>> paganism' founded (in the fictional context) in actual knowledge of
>> divine truth. "It is indeed a fundamentally Christian and even Catholic
>> work, unconsciously in the writing, consciously so in the revision." A
>> Elbereth Gilthoniel surely shouldn't have escaped Carter's notice, a hymn
>> of praise to a divine being with unmistakable echoes of Mary Queen of
>> Heaven. Nor should he have missed the rather obvious implications of the
>> dell on Mindolluin.
>>And although Carter couldn't have known this in 1973, Tolkien certainly
>> does include organized temple worship- evil, naturally. At least twice
>> (the Akallabeth and the Tale of Adanel) we see Melkor-cults with fanes
>> and human sacrifice; and Sauron is a God-King to his slaves, or at least
>> a hierophant, Vicar of Melkor on Earth. In the Akallabeth in particular
>> this is in intentional contrast to the non--organized non-temple worship,
>> but worship all the same, associated with the summit of the Meneltarma.
>>The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.orgYahoo! Groups Links
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