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Re: [mythsoc] it's not in Tolkien

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  • Larry Swain
    Not that I count as a Tolkien Studies scholar, but I do this as well, though surprisingly this semester there were only 2 students out of 20 who had seen any
    Message 1 of 84 , May 5, 2007
      Not that I count as a Tolkien Studies scholar, but I do this as well, though surprisingly this semester there were only 2 students out of 20 who had seen any of the movies, and as I could tell from the essays, none of them watched the movies instead of reading the books (not that they all read all the books either, but that's another problem.)

      > Mike Foster gave a good reply when asked how he, as a teacher of Tolkien
      > studies, responds when student papers include facts that are only true of
      > the Jackson films and not of the book. He tells them, "This came from the
      > movie you saw, not from the book you were supposed to read."
      > It's about time to start keeping track of so-called Tolkien scholars who do
      > the same thing. It's especially egregious when they're writing just about
      > Tolkien, but those who are comparing Tolkien and Jackson have a particular
      > obligation to keep track of which one said what.

      > The most common seems to be the identification of Aragorn as a >reluctant hero.

      And much more importantly not just reluctant hero, but certainly unwilling to even consider being any kind of leader of anything. In Jackson's movies, one wonders about Aragorn's background and reputation if he's this reluctant.

      > But I have another candidate for an equally widespread confusion, this one
      > even more insidious because fewer people realize that applied to Tolkien
      > it's an error. I've seen it several times now, and its latest appearance
      > is the most appalling yet.
      > In the new issue of _Mythlore_, the journal of the Mythopoeic Society -
      > _Mythlore_, which really ought to know better - is an article by Allison
      > Harl contrasting the use of the visual gaze of evil watchers in Tolkien and
      > Jackson. FIrst she discusses "The Gaze in the Book" (p. 62-65), then "The
      > Gaze in the Movies" (p. 65-69). OK, that's clear enough. But on p. 63,
      > when she's still discussing the book, she writes, "In his disembodied
      > state, Sauron is reduced to a single large, unblinking eye".

      Ah ha! Although this is a sad and common misunderstanding in the books that pre-existed the movies and continues to vex some readers. Inexcusable in a work of scholarship, but not really a misunderstanding due to the movies.

      > Did anyone, before Jackson, ever mistake the phrase "The Eye of Sauron" for
      > meaning that Sauron was physically a disembodied lump of vitreous matter?

      Yes, not in scholarship that I know of, but students as well as readers have done so pre-Jackson films.

      My own favorites are more obvious: that Arwen lay sick and dieing waiting for...well what? Aragorn to succeed? The Ring to be destroyed? To spite her father who in the movies has no hope for mankind? And of course, because elision of these scenes in my view changes the entire tenor of the books and loses the principle themes and makes LoTR into a mere fantasy "destroy the evil wizard" story, the loss of chapters The Old Forest, In the House of Tom Bombadill, and Fog on the Barrow Downs and their mirror chapters Homeward Bound, The Scouring of the Shire, and most of the chapter The Grey Havens. Oi! But as I said, those are more obvious than the one you bring out here.

      Larry Swain

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    • William Cloud Hicklin
      ... which a man from our present day ... hamburger. The futurians ... German city of Hamburg. Were you ... Kennedy being a jelly doughnut? ... LOL!
      Message 84 of 84 , May 25, 2007
        --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, David Emerson
        <emerdavid@...> wrote:
        > >There was once a science-fiction story in
        which a man from our present day
        > >wakes up in the distant future and asks for a
        hamburger. The futurians
        > >reply, "A hamburger is a citizen of the
        German city of Hamburg. Were you
        > >cannibals in those days?"
        > Does this have something to do with John F.
        Kennedy being a jelly doughnut?
        > emerdavid

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