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3900Re: A stupid question

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  • Michael Martinez
    Sep 8, 2001
      --- In mythsoc@y..., Stolzi@a... wrote:
      > In a message dated 9/8/01 12:16:26 AM Central Daylight Time,
      > michael@x... writes:
      > > The Lord of the Nazgul was also the Witch-king of Angmar, the
      > > Lord of Morgul, and the Captain of Mordor.
      > > Robert Foster provides a full
      > > list of his titles in THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO MIDDLE-EARTH.
      > So, what we need here is a bureaucratic organization chart :)
      > Mordor, being horrendously evil, is bound to have a bureaucracy :)

      You say that in jest, but you strike closer to the mark than you
      realize. Mordor did indeed have a bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is one
      of those features of human society which rely upon what Tolkien
      called "The Machine". The Machine is the coercion we result to when
      we want to have our way, whether it be with the landscape (such as
      cutting down trees, dredging rivers, etc.) or with people (by
      organizing them, and assigning them numbers, etc.).

      When Frodo and Sam get caught up with the marching Orcs in Mordor,
      one of the sergeants demands to know their numbers. Presumably,
      Sauron's armies had some sort of serial number system (and I suppose
      one could infer from that one passage that Tolkien may have detested
      the dehumanization that modern armies inflict upon their recruits).

      I think the concept of The Machine is fascinating, and is one of the
      least understood themes in Tolkien's book. Christopher Tolkien
      explains it very eloquently in "JRRT: A Film Portrait", which was
      produced by the Tolkien Trust in 1992 and includes interviews with
      the surviving Tolkien children, Tom Shippey, Verlyn Flieger, and
      Queen Margrethe of Denmark.
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