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4893Re: [mythsoc] Digest Number 785

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  • Trudy Shaw
    Jan 2, 2002
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Christine Howlett
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2002 4:49 PM
      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Digest Number 785

      >>I would have to disagree that LOTR is explicit about the source of the magic
      at all; in fact I believe the word God (deity, etc.) is not used once, and I
      do not recall a single passage where a character can be said to have
      prayed - even in extremis - to any creator power. That would have to be
      something read back into the book from knowing Tolkien's devotion. This is
      one more reason why I find it inexplicable (as others here do) that the same
      people who like Tolkien can find Rowling evil, because in both cases the
      'magic' is an inherent quality of the characters who possess it, as much as
      their skin or eye color, or a quality built into the inanimate objects by
      people who possess that skill.

      This would be true looking at just LotR, which gives only very vague hints. But the people judging the books today have easy access to Tolkien's wider cosmology which, to a large degree, explains those "hints." It may not seem to make logical sense that this would affect a decision about whether to allow your child to read _specifically_ LotR--but I think it does make some people more comfortable knowing that everything can be traced back to a creator whose name translates as "Father," even if he's not explicitly mentioned in LotR itself. Could this possibly be connected with a tendency for _some_ of these people to take other things (e.g., the Bible) more literally than "mainstream" Christians?

      As I said, this is just a theory (if that). And even in _theory_ I'm not arguing for the _validity_ of judging the books this way. It's just that from the articles/letters to the editor I've been reading lately, it seems this may be where some people are coming from.

      As far as reading things in from Tolkien's devotion, some fundamentalist Christians do seem to put great store in the way an author lives his or her life, having a tendency to judge a book on whether the author "can be trusted." To simplify this greatly, too, the thought would be that if someone is a dedicated Christian there's less chance that a spirit of evil would be able to slip into their thinking and writing (possibly without the author even realizing it), because Christ is protecting them from evil influences.

      Again, it's a mindset many of us wouldn't see as logical, but I do think it exists. (Well, guess I should say I know it exists, because I've known people who've thought this way--what I'm not sure of is whether it's a partial answer to the Rowling/Tolkien dichotomy.)

      P.S. Yeah, I know my singular and plural pronouns are all screwed up here, but I'm too tired to try to figure out other ways to word the sentences. I hope they're understandable. 8-)

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