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21522Re: [mythsoc] Re: religion in Tolkien

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  • scribbler@scribblerworks.us
    Oct 16, 2010
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      There'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
      > religion.
      > 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.
      > DB
      > -----Original Message-----
      >>From: icelofangeln <solicitr@...>
      >>Sent: Oct 16, 2010 9:42 AM
      >>To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      >>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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