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Re: [mythsoc] CJRT Interview/article in Le Monde

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  • Alana Joli Abbott
    I think this is a lovely post, Gerry, and I agree that the more people who find Tolkien s writings, through whatever impulse, the better! -Alana ... -- Alana
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 12, 2012
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      I think this is a lovely post, Gerry, and I agree that the more people who find Tolkien's writings, through whatever impulse, the better!


      On Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 11:10 AM, Gerry Blair <gerryblair68@...> wrote:

      Hello All

      Wow What controversy! I am not what I consider to be an extremely educated, sharp thinking person, (nor would many of you consider me so either, I think) and perhaps I have no place weighing in on this at all. Yet I shall stick my nose out and offer my two cents. I first read “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” while a freshman in high school back in the late sixties. I'll admit the impetuous for that was the peace free love hippie movement of the time that I know Professor Tolkien detested, which yes I pretty much was a part of. I lived in a small town on an island in the North West corner of the state of Vermont, USA ; yep we were pretty isolated and pretty country. Professor Tolkien’s work certainly struck a chord with me then, and of course still does now. I actually recall going to the woods near my home with some cheese, grape juice, and my copy in hand to try and catch the feel of the magic that is Middle-earth, at the time I easily could have believed I would catch a glimpse of some elf moving about in the shadows of the forest. When the books were finished I had such a feeling of regret that I had used up all the magic, and in 1973 when I heard of the professor's death I thought what a shame that the world had lost such a great man. I even foolishly thought some day I may have had the chance to meet him to tell him how wonderful I thought his work was. Yes my sadness was genuine. The only other works at the time that ever came close to giving me these same feelings of magic were the stories of Merlin by Mary Stewart.

         My life went on, I remain a simple country man here in Vermont , and I don't think I would ever want to be anything but. When the films came out I did not go see them in the theaters. I normally don't ever believe a movie can be as good as a book. I still don't, certainly Mr. Jackson's films will never rival the professor's work. Why should they, aren't they only after all an imitation for the masses? Yet the buzz went on about how great these imitations were, so I broke down and got copies of the DVD s and watched them in the comfort of my own home. Certainly they were entertaining and it had been a long time since I read the books, rest assured I had read them more than once who among us who know and love these stories could not? This I will say though, perhaps very likely because of their imperfection I picked up my old friends again and began reading. I had to get that real feeling again; I had to once again experience the parts that are in Tolkien's work and not in Jackson 's. To experience the real magic that professor Tolkien created and imitations can only hope to mimic.  

            I wonder what the professor would think. I should think he would react much the same as his off spring, and perhaps desire to look the other way. I also wonder if he were familiar with the words of a fellow Etonian Charles Caleb Colton "Imitation is the sincerest of flattery". In this sense perhaps it's OK the movies were made, perhaps it's OK if they get people thinking about a mind so keen and creative that could create the world of Middle-earth.

            Back to my own personal experience since the movies I have really found Tolkien again. I have read much more of his work besides his fantastic fiction. I have read his essay "On Faërie Stories" admittedly a difficult read for me yet entirely worth while and enlightening. I have become involved. Over the past several years I learned about, and have participated in the annual Tolkien Conference at the University of Vermont put on by Professor Vaccaro of the English department, and contributed to by amazingly brilliant Tolkien Scholars, including all the student contributions from young people who also obviously share a passion for Tolkien’s work. I cannot help but wonder how many of these may have been introduced to Middle -earth via the big screen.

            I guess what I am trying to say is that I have to agree that the aspects of grabbing a great work with such appeal to create an industry of money making films, games, toys, costumes and on and on, seems like the dirtying of the Shire by Sharky and his cronies, the ugliness of the industrialization and polluting of Birmingham or any other once pristine and beautiful country side. Like the loss of farmland and agrarian society, and it’s simpler more beautiful way of life, as seems to be happening here in my own home state does seem so wrong. Yet for people all over the world to think about nature, beauty, the constant struggle of good against evil. The destruction of environment, so many of the things I think Professor Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien abhor as any decent man should. If something good can be brought to the world by bringing people to read Tolkien’s work through exposure to a movie perhaps it canl be a power for positive thought and keep some of us on the straight road to a better world. This is probably just a lot of crap but hey it’s only two cents worth.


      Gerry Blair


      Alana Joli Abbott, Freelance Writer and Editor (http://www.virgilandbeatrice.com)
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