Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

"Past Watchful Dragons" update

Expand Messages
  • Amy H. Sturgis
    Greetings! This is an update to let you know that the Past Watchful Dragons : Fantasy and Faith in the World of C.S. Lewis website at
    Message 1 of 13 , Mar 22 12:11 PM
    • 0 Attachment
      Greetings!

      This is an update to let you know that the "'Past Watchful Dragons': Fantasy and Faith in the World of C.S. Lewis" website at http://www.belmont.edu/cslewis has been thoroughly updated with detailed conference information. Please note that online registration and ticket sales begin on April 1, 2005.

      Thank you!


      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      Amy H. Sturgis, Ph.D.
      Interdisciplinary Studies
      Belmont University
      sturgisa@...
      http://home.mindspring.com/~ahsturgis/
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      "I look East, West, North, South, and I do
      not see Sauron, but I see that Saruman has
      many descendants. We Hobbits have
      against them no magic weapons. Yet, my
      gentlehobbits, I give you this toast: To the
      Hobbits. May they outlast the Sarumans
      and see spring again in the trees."
      -J.R.R. Tolkien, from a 1958 speech
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Mike Foster
      Amy, Still taking calls for papers or looking for panelists? If you have a panel on Tolkien & Lewis, and a spot unfilled, cd. you count me in, please. Cheers,
      Message 2 of 13 , Mar 22 1:10 PM
      • 0 Attachment
        Amy,
        Still taking calls for papers or looking for panelists? If you have a
        panel on Tolkien & Lewis, and a spot unfilled, cd. you count me in, please.

        Cheers,
        Mike


        Amy H. Sturgis wrote:

        >Greetings!
        >
        >This is an update to let you know that the "'Past Watchful Dragons': Fantasy and Faith in the World of C.S. Lewis" website at http://www.belmont.edu/cslewis has been thoroughly updated with detailed conference information. Please note that online registration and ticket sales begin on April 1, 2005.
        >
        >Thank you!
        >
        >
        >~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        >Amy H. Sturgis, Ph.D.
        >Interdisciplinary Studies
        >Belmont University
        >sturgisa@...
        >http://home.mindspring.com/~ahsturgis/
        >~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        >"I look East, West, North, South, and I do
        >not see Sauron, but I see that Saruman has
        >many descendants. We Hobbits have
        >against them no magic weapons. Yet, my
        >gentlehobbits, I give you this toast: To the
        >Hobbits. May they outlast the Sarumans
        >and see spring again in the trees."
        >-J.R.R. Tolkien, from a 1958 speech
        >~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        >
        >
        >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
        >Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
      • ahsturgis
        Hi there, Mike! We re accepting paper and/or panel submissions through May 1, so there s time left for anyone who is interested. And we would love to have you
        Message 3 of 13 , Mar 22 4:38 PM
        • 0 Attachment
          Hi there, Mike!

          We're accepting paper and/or panel submissions through May 1, so
          there's time left for anyone who is interested. And we would love to
          have you participate. It would be a great treat!

          Thanks,
          Amy

          --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Mike Foster <mafoster@d...> wrote:
          > Amy,
          > Still taking calls for papers or looking for panelists? If you have a
          > panel on Tolkien & Lewis, and a spot unfilled, cd. you count me in,
          please.
          >
          > Cheers,
          > Mike
          >
          >
          > Amy H. Sturgis wrote:
          >
          > >Greetings!
          > >
          > >This is an update to let you know that the "'Past Watchful
          Dragons': Fantasy and Faith in the World of C.S. Lewis" website at
          http://www.belmont.edu/cslewis has been thoroughly updated with
          detailed conference information. Please note that online registration
          and ticket sales begin on April 1, 2005.
          > >
          > >Thank you!
          > >
          > >
          > >~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          > >Amy H. Sturgis, Ph.D.
          > >Interdisciplinary Studies
          > >Belmont University
          > >sturgisa@m...
          > >http://home.mindspring.com/~ahsturgis/
          > >~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          > >"I look East, West, North, South, and I do
          > >not see Sauron, but I see that Saruman has
          > >many descendants. We Hobbits have
          > >against them no magic weapons. Yet, my
          > >gentlehobbits, I give you this toast: To the
          > >Hobbits. May they outlast the Sarumans
          > >and see spring again in the trees."
          > >-J.R.R. Tolkien, from a 1958 speech
          > >~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          > >
          > >
          > >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
          > >Yahoo! Groups Links
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
        • Hugh Davis
          I have now seen _Revenge of the Sith_, and I have some comments which I thought were appropriate with this group. My musings revolve around how this episode
          Message 4 of 13 , May 27, 2005
          • 0 Attachment
            I have now seen _Revenge of the Sith_, and I have some comments which I
            thought were appropriate with this group. My musings revolve around how this
            episode fits into the overall saga more than about just this film. I will
            note that I did enjoy the film. It wasn�t exactly the movie I�d hoped for
            after all these years, but I�m not sure it had much of a chance in that
            regard. In fact, I�m not sure the production of the prequels isn�t by
            default an anticlimax, working as they do against fans� collective
            imaginations.

            There seems to be a discordance in the Jedi saga (as opposed to a
            disturbance in the Force), which may turn out to be a fault connected to the
            original trilogy. Obviously, the span of time between the two trilogies can
            only be as long as Luke�s age in Episode IV, yet that hardly seems to be
            enough time for the universe�s attitude about and view of the powers of the
            Jedi to change in the way it does. In the original film, the notion of these
            Jedi and the respect for their powers is at a low level (particularly as it
            suggests they are a fairly small part in a gigantic universe, while the more
            recent films have enhanced their prominence and power). At best, there is a
            twenty-year gap between _Revenge of the Sith_ and _A New Hope_ (using the
            subtitles), and it should probably be more like 18 years or even fewer; even
            though Mark Hamill was 25-26 when Ep. IV was made and released, Luke
            Skywalker is clearly written to be younger. Therefore, not many years pass
            between the two trilogies, but Ben Kenobi is clearly in at least his mid-60s
            when found on Tatooine, looking possibly even older, even though Obi-Wan in
            _Revenge of the Sith_ is only in his mid-30s. Now, I know a degree of
            suspension of disbelief should be expected, but this is not the only
            discrepancy (and, besides, Lucas has faced fans nitpicking his films for
            years, so he should expect some questions).

            (I�ve read some fans who have already addressed the difference in Kenobi�s
            and Yoda�s perceived ages, pointing out that their strains to conceal the
            identity of the twins and their own locations ages them more than the normal
            passage of time. However, Obi-Wan does not look haggard in _A New Hope_, as
            one would expect from such accelerated aging. In fact, he is a healthy,
            well-composed man.)

            (Another issue of aging: in _Return of the Jedi_, the spirit of Anakin is
            shown in the blue fire of the Jedi, alongside the spirits of Obi-Wan and
            Yoda. This spirit is clearly an older man, perhaps in his 70s, alongside two
            other elder statesmen. Was Anakin aged that much by the Dark Side? I know
            the struggle is presumed to have ruined him, but this image in blue, again,
            does not look haggard or exhausted. I know the DVDs replaced Sebastian Shaw
            with Hayden Christensen�s face, so perhaps Lucas has acknowledged the
            distinction. I think one problem I have with the prequels comes forth
            here�Anakin is supposed to be a tragic figure, finding redemtption in
            _Return of the Jedi_, but the story, as shown in the films, does not give
            him the chance to become tragic. In my mind�s eye version of events, after
            seeing the original trilogy, I pictured a much older man than Christensen
            being tempted to the Dark Side, almost Macbeth like in his latent
            corruption. In the mid-1990s, a rumour surfaced that Kenneth Branagh would
            play Obi-Wan [perhaps driven by Star Wars fan Branagh himself, who admitted
            a desire to direct one of the films], and there was then speculation on
            other Shakespearean actors to play Anakin, feeling the weight of the
            character would have to conveyed by a veteran performer with that sort of
            theatrical background. I think that would have helped intensify the
            performances and strengthened the character. I�ll stop this rant before I
            end up complaining that he didn�t cast a Brit to play Anakin.)

            However, my greater concern/thought for the effect of the latest trilogy: In
            Eps. IV-VI, the universe at large seem to have forgotten the Jedi & Sith. An
            Imperial officer challenges the idea of such superstitious mumbo jumbo until
            Vader proves his power on the Death Star, choking him through the Force.
            Similarly, Han Solo questions the truth about such legends when Obi-Wan
            begins instructing Luke about the Force. This universe-spanning ignorance
            (or at least doubt) has fallen in under 20 years, while the Jedi are clearly
            very public in Eps. I-III. Their power may be waning, as they discuss in
            their Council meetings, but the Senate of hundreds of planets knows about
            them and counts on their support and protection when needed. I suppose one
            could argue the Emperor has pushed for this, causing people to forget the
            Jedi (presumably the best means of salvation from the Evil Empire), but why
            also hide the powers of the Sith? Most doubt the actual existence of Vader�s
            powers, and few likely have seen the Emperor�s powers in action, but why
            make them secret? Wouldn�t the Empire hold power and maintain threats over
            more people if everyone knew the two most powerful beings, the only Sith or
            Jedi left, were at the command of the Imperial world? Instead, few remember
            these powerful knights. This seems to me to be a misstep. Lucas has built
            the world of the active Jedi up so much in his prequels that it seems odd to
            think they are so quickly lost to the mists of time in such a short span. In
            _A New Hope_, Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing as one of the best characters
            Lucas ever created) stops Vader�s �force choke� of the officer by simply
            telling him �That�s enough,� and Vader accepts the reprimand. When Leia
            first sees Tarkin, she says she was wondering �who was pulling Vader�s
            leash.� Clearly, while Lord Vader is threatening and dangerous, Tarkin holds
            power and control. The world of that film is one in which Jedi and Sith have
            powers they can use, but they are not the end of all power, as they seem to
            be presented in the prequel set of films.

            The fact that their power is so great and intense is partly the fault of
            actually telling the first three episodes, and because of the spin-off
            �Clone Wars� animated series (which I recently caught on the Cartoon Network
            in a marathon of the short episodes), for it is in the dramatizations of
            earlier events that the power and strength of the Jedi are so fully
            demonstrated. The Jedi are athletic, acrobatic, and agile, flipping and
            somersaulting through fights and leaping high in the air as they duel with
            their light sabers. Aside from a couple of flips by Luke in _Return of the
            Jedi_ (one to get up to the Emperor, the other off the plank in the
            destruction at Jabba�s palace), there are very limited acrobatics in the
            original trilogy. In swashbuckling style, Luke and Leia twice swing across a
            crevice by a rope in Eps. IV & VI, respectively, but, had those scenes been
            shot in the style of the first three episodes, I think Luke would have
            simply leapt from one edge to the other, perhaps flipping mid-air along the
            way. Even at the peak of his powers, Luke seems less animated than Obi-Wan
            does in _Phantom Menace_, when he was still a Padawan learner.

            Obviously, the duels in the most recently made films have been made with
            superior visual effects and more elaborately choreographed stunt work
            (compare the duel between Kenobi and Anakin with the fight between Ben and
            Vader), and while I can appreciate that time changed in filmmaking (after
            all, the same sort of thing happened with _Enterprise_ and _Star Trek_, as
            the producers found that modern cell phones are smaller and more discreet
            than the original series� communicators), the change in style does create a
            discrepancy. With each �Clone Wars� installment (and more are now being
            announced for an ongoing animated series, while Lucas also plans a
            live-action series set between the trilogies), writers/producers seek to
            create a thrilling battle, so the bar is raised for Jedi combat. Why then
            are the battlers so subdued by the time of the original trilogy? If the
            Force is a power which exists throughout the universe, with Jedi serving as
            wizards tapping into this magic, then shouldn�t a smaller number of Jedi
            mean more power for those few? Why, instead, are the remaining Jedi (first
            Ben and Luke, then Yoda and Luke, then just Luke) so grounded? If Luke is
            the chosen one (and Anakin/Vader the previously assumed chosen one), why
            does his skill seem so plain next to those who constantly levitate items,
            knock over droids, and fling others away with a wave of the hand? On the
            Dark Side, Darth Vader�s dueling seems pedestrian next to the intricate
            acrobatics of Darth Maul, and, while he does use the force, wizard-like, to
            bring guns or his saber to his hand, he never has the electricity of Count
            Dooku.

            On another thought: I know the structure is to go tutor to pupil: Yoda
            taught Dooku, who taught Qui-Gon, who taught Obi-Wan, who taught Anakin.
            While I grant that structure works from a very basic level, the original did
            fit into a nice (pop cultural) archetype itself, with the student rejecting
            the teacher. Given power by an elder council, Obi-Wan taught Anakin, but his
            pupil turned to evil, rejecting the way of good, so the next generation was
            turned to for redemption. This pattern pop culturally is seen in the
            original Captain Marvel comics, where the wizard Shazam (and Ben Kenobi
            definitely fits his type) was given powers by the Elders yet then found his
            first pupil, Teth Adam, reject the good path to become Black Adam, a
            villain. Shazam then found redemption with the hero Captain Marvel (and
            later the Marvel Family, which includes his �lost� twin sister Mary, much
            like Luke & Leia). I can also recall as a child enjoying finding this same
            pattern on the tv show _The Master_ (about an American-born Ninja, now
            training a new apprentice while fighting his old student) and on the cartoon
            based on _Dungeons & Dragons_ (the Yoda-like Dungeon Master once taught the
            archvillain Venger and now trains a team of children, including a brother
            and sister).

            Just my thoughts on the phenomenon that is the Star Wars universe. I think
            Lucas has the potential within his stories to tell what could even be
            mythopoeic, but he tends to reign in that potential in preference for
            spectacle.

            Hugh Davis
          • David Bratman
            Hugh Davis - It seems to me that you ve devoted more care and attention to studying the Jedi saga as an entity than George Lucas has. And that s the problem,
            Message 5 of 13 , May 27, 2005
            • 0 Attachment
              Hugh Davis -

              It seems to me that you've devoted more care and attention to studying the
              Jedi saga as an entity than George Lucas has. And that's the problem,
              isn't it?

              Both the complex backstory to the original films, and the comments that
              Lucas made at the time, gave the impression that he had drafted a full
              outline of the entire saga. But even the later parts of the original
              trilogy, let alone what has come since (to the extent that I know about
              it), give the opposite impression. To take just one classic example: I
              don't think that Lucas knew, when writing the original Star Wars, that
              Vader was Luke's father any more than Luke did. And if he was planning it
              all along, he still managed to write it as if it was a new off-the-wall
              idea that he threw in at the last minute, which is even worse. (Yes, I
              know that the screenplay for Empire was written by real screenwriters. Yet
              it still can't shed the air of amateur hackwork!)

              The things you're discussing here don't matter for a fun romp of a movie,
              which the first film was. But if you take it seriously, the best
              conclusion is that it's just something thrown together that isn't worth
              taking seriously. We got a few hack mythic tropes thrown into a blender
              without any consideration of whether they fit together. It's virtually the
              opposite of the genuinely mythopoeic, and not worth wasting your time over.

              David Bratman
            • Hugh Davis
              David, I grant I probably spent more time on this than needed, but isn t overthinking an occupational hazard? I honestly didn t spend too long on my writing,
              Message 6 of 13 , May 27, 2005
              • 0 Attachment
                David,

                I grant I probably spent more time on this than needed, but isn't
                overthinking an occupational hazard?

                I honestly didn't spend too long on my writing, although I think the pieces
                have been gestating over many years. After all, I was a child when those fun
                romps did first come out, and I engaged in speculation (both just within my
                mind and with friends) about those backstories. I think there's still great
                potential there, but Lucas' tinkering is whittling it away, sadly.

                I agree the original film was a fun romp, and even _Return of the Jedi_ is
                quite fun, if silly (but then again, the serials that gave Lucas his first
                inspiration are both silly and fun); the attempts to make the movies more
                serious (and more mythic) have drained much of the joy.

                I do think many of those who have belittled the prequels for being "too
                childish" or too silly are angry fans who have forgotten why they first
                enjoyed the films. They want to pretend the original films were more
                sophisticated.

                Hugh

                >From: David Bratman <dbratman@...>
                >Reply-To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                >To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                >Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Revenge of the Sith and the Jedi
                >Date: Fri, 27 May 2005 14:19:23 -0700
                >
                >Hugh Davis -
                >
                >It seems to me that you've devoted more care and attention to studying the
                >Jedi saga as an entity than George Lucas has. And that's the problem,
                >isn't it?
                >
                >Both the complex backstory to the original films, and the comments that
                >Lucas made at the time, gave the impression that he had drafted a full
                >outline of the entire saga. But even the later parts of the original
                >trilogy, let alone what has come since (to the extent that I know about
                >it), give the opposite impression. To take just one classic example: I
                >don't think that Lucas knew, when writing the original Star Wars, that
                >Vader was Luke's father any more than Luke did. And if he was planning it
                >all along, he still managed to write it as if it was a new off-the-wall
                >idea that he threw in at the last minute, which is even worse. (Yes, I
                >know that the screenplay for Empire was written by real screenwriters. Yet
                >it still can't shed the air of amateur hackwork!)
                >
                >The things you're discussing here don't matter for a fun romp of a movie,
                >which the first film was. But if you take it seriously, the best
                >conclusion is that it's just something thrown together that isn't worth
                >taking seriously. We got a few hack mythic tropes thrown into a blender
                >without any consideration of whether they fit together. It's virtually the
                >opposite of the genuinely mythopoeic, and not worth wasting your time over.
                >
                >David Bratman
                >
              • David Bratman
                No, Hugh. The problem isn t that you spent too much time on this. The problem is that George Lucas spent too little. DB
                Message 7 of 13 , May 27, 2005
                • 0 Attachment
                  No, Hugh. The problem isn't that you spent too much time on this. The
                  problem is that George Lucas spent too little.

                  DB
                • Hugh Davis
                  Well, thanks. I wish it were different, but I fear you re right.
                  Message 8 of 13 , May 27, 2005
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Well, thanks. I wish it were different, but I fear you're right.

                    >From: David Bratman <dbratman@...>
                    >Reply-To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                    >To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                    >Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Revenge of the Sith and the Jedi
                    >Date: Fri, 27 May 2005 16:42:07 -0700
                    >
                    >No, Hugh. The problem isn't that you spent too much time on this. The
                    >problem is that George Lucas spent too little.
                    >
                    >DB
                    >
                  • Matthew Winslow
                    ... Not to bludgeon this dying horse, but a film-critic friend of mine has posted some interesting quotes from Lucas from the time of the making of Empire.
                    Message 9 of 13 , May 28, 2005
                    • 0 Attachment
                      On 5/27/05, Hugh Davis <HughHDavis@...> wrote:
                      > Well, thanks. I wish it were different, but I fear you're right.

                      Not to bludgeon this dying horse, but a film-critic friend of mine has
                      posted some interesting quotes from Lucas from the time of the making
                      of Empire. From these quotes, it sounds more like Lucas caved in to
                      popularity and what he believed made a fun movie, rather than sticking
                      to his story as he originally conceived it. Had he done so, would we
                      have better films? Who knows.

                      http://filmchatblog.blogspot.com/2005/05/why-i-do-not-consider-star-wars.html


                      --
                      Matthew Winslow
                      mwinslow@...
                      www.xreal.org

                      Currently Reading: I, Jedi by Michael Stackpole
                    • David Bratman
                      ... Evidently this explains the Ewok-romp that was Return of the Jedi, but it doesn t explain Phantom Menace (and, as far as I can tell, its successors
                      Message 10 of 13 , May 28, 2005
                      • 0 Attachment
                        At 08:26 AM 5/28/2005 -0700, Matthew Winslow wrote:

                        >a film-critic friend of mine has
                        >posted some interesting quotes from Lucas from the time of the making
                        >of Empire. From these quotes, it sounds more like Lucas caved in to
                        >popularity and what he believed made a fun movie, rather than sticking
                        >to his story as he originally conceived it. Had he done so, would we
                        >have better films? Who knows.

                        Evidently this explains the Ewok-romp that was "Return of the Jedi," but it
                        doesn't explain "Phantom Menace" (and, as far as I can tell, its successors
                        which are in the same vein), which falls into the exact opposite error:
                        entirely pompous and no fun at all unless you're an auto-racing fan.

                        The quotes don't verify, but do tend to confirm, my original guess: that
                        Lucas didn't originally know that Vader was Luke's father any more than
                        Luke did.

                        David Bratman
                      • Hugh Davis
                        ... It might explain them in the sense that Lucas gave way to what he thought was fun and popular instead of well-considered. When Phantom Menace was released,
                        Message 11 of 13 , May 28, 2005
                        • 0 Attachment
                          >From: David Bratman <dbratman@...>
                          >Evidently this explains the Ewok-romp that was "Return of the Jedi," but it
                          >doesn't explain "Phantom Menace" (and, as far as I can tell, its successors
                          >which are in the same vein), which falls into the exact opposite error:
                          >entirely pompous and no fun at all unless you're an auto-racing fan.

                          It might explain them in the sense that Lucas gave way to what he thought
                          was fun and popular instead of well-considered. When Phantom Menace was
                          released, many compared the pod-racing with Quidditch games from Harry
                          Potter--perhaps Lucas thought he had found something similar to those, and
                          that is why he went for that part of the spectable.
                          >
                          >The quotes don't verify, but do tend to confirm, my original guess: that
                          >Lucas didn't originally know that Vader was Luke's father any more than
                          >Luke did.

                          David I think you are right about this. Personally, the idea that the
                          student turned on the teacher is a more expected archetype, and I think that
                          was his actual plan.

                          Hugh
                        • David Bratman
                          But Hugh, that may explain the drag, um, pod racing scene, but it doesn t explain the rest of the movie. Exciting? No it s _not_. It s dull. Dull. _Dull._
                          Message 12 of 13 , May 28, 2005
                          • 0 Attachment
                            But Hugh, that may explain the drag, um, pod racing scene, but it doesn't
                            explain the rest of the movie.

                            "Exciting? No it's _not_. It's dull. Dull. _Dull._ My God it's dull,
                            it's so desperately dull and tedious and stuffy and boring and
                            des-per-ate-ly DULL." - Monty Python
                          • Hugh Davis
                            Fair enough--I m not trying to defend it, by any means.
                            Message 13 of 13 , May 28, 2005
                            • 0 Attachment
                              Fair enough--I'm not trying to defend it, by any means.

                              >From: David Bratman <dbratman@...>
                              >Reply-To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                              >To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                              >Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Revenge of the Sith and the Jedi
                              >Date: Sat, 28 May 2005 12:47:33 -0700
                              >
                              >But Hugh, that may explain the drag, um, pod racing scene, but it doesn't
                              >explain the rest of the movie.
                              >
                              >"Exciting? No it's _not_. It's dull. Dull. _Dull._ My God it's dull,
                              >it's so desperately dull and tedious and stuffy and boring and
                              >des-per-ate-ly DULL." - Monty Python
                              >
                            Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.