Re: [mythsoc] Tolkien beats Rowling?
- This guy thinks _The Lord of the Rings_ is about World War II. Well, no.
actually. If it's about a war in Tolkien's lifetime, it's about World War I.
The book's plot was firgured out before World War II started. But to say
that it's "about" any single event in Tolkien's life is already to trivialize
- Interesting -- but the writer speaks only of the first Harry Potter book. I
don't think Rowling is likely to completely achieve Tolkien's depth, BUT I
would hesitate to dismiss the series as shallowly black and white before
it's all written. And Harry is not being set up as a pure good character.
He has his temptations and weaknesses, and given how Rowling likes to drop
easy-to-ignore clues about later plot elements, I think she'll be making a
lot more out of his wand sharing its ancestry with Voldemort's and of the
fact that the sorting hat wanted to put him in Slytherin. Voldemort wants to
enslave both the magical world and the muggle world, IIRC; this isn't so
different from what Sauron wants to do, really, but then with Sauron we move
into the realm of Maiar, and Voldemort hasn't been represented as anything
other than a human (...yet. Who can say where JKR will go with it?).
Given that, though, it is indeed interesting that more fuss is not made
about the Philosopher's Stone. But on the other hand, we are seeing events
from Harry's perspective. The adults at Hogwarts certainly do make a lot of
fuss about it, guarding it carefully and eventually destroying it. In one of
Dumbledore's lines that didn't make it into the movie, there is some musing
about mortality. Harry lacks Frodo's age and maturity and doesn't really
understand it. (I kind of wonder -- did this columnist base his criticism of
the Harry Potter books on the movie?? Tsk, tsk.)
From: Stolzi@... [mailto:Stolzi@...]
Sent: Friday, November 30, 2001 9:13 AM
Subject: [mythsoc] Tolkien beats Rowling?
The Battle of the Books
No contest. Tolkien runs rings around Potter.
BY BRIAN M. CARNEY
[An interesting analysis of the good-vs-evil battle in the two books]
Find this story at http://www.opinionjournal.com/taste/?id=95001537
(May require registration)
The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
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[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- At 07:12 AM 11/30/2001 , Brian M. Carney wrote:
>The Battle of the BooksI regret whenever someone uses a good author as a club to bash another good
>No contest. Tolkien runs rings around Potter.
author, even if the first author is clearly better.
Voldemort's motivation may be sketchy, but so was Sauron's half-way through
LOTR, which is where we are in the Harry Potter saga. In fact, much of
Sauron's motivation was explained neither in LOTR nor The Silmarillion, but
is more fully explored only in Letters and some of the late HoME texts.
So far, Voldemort seems to be driven by a demon similar to that which drove
Shakespeare's Richard III. And if Carney wants to call Shakespeare a
shallow author, he should go right ahead. (Rowling's character depiction
of Voldemort, especially in _Goblet of Fire_, is the worst thing she's
written, but that's not the issue here.)
Perhaps not so much in the first book, and certainly not in the film (one
instance - chasing Draco on the broomstick - is glossed over and mishandled
in the film), but Harry faces many interesting moral dilemmas, particularly
when facing a conflict between following the rules and doing what appears
to be the right and honest thing. One may disagree with Harry's
conclusion, but Rowling is not shying away from moral principles, and
indeed (especially in a couple instances in _Goblet_) facing up to them
with some subtlety, it seems to me.
Wendell Wagner wrote:
>This guy thinks _The Lord of the Rings_ is about World War II. Well, no,But Brian Carney wrote:
>actually. If it's about a war in Tolkien's lifetime, it's about World War I.
>That Tolkien, who wrote "The Lord of the Rings" during World War II andSeeing a message in it for a later time is not at all incompatable with its
>published it shortly after, saw this as a message for his times was made
>plain in his foreword to the second edition.
being inspired by an earlier time, and is actually a requisite of the work
having a meaning beyond the immediate and of having what Tolkien called
applicability. Indeed, Carney in his next sentence goes on to say that
Tolkien "savaged" the WW2 analogy: in other words, it's NOT about World War
II. Nor is Carney saying that this is the only message: his previous
paragraph discusses Tolkien's universal principle, and the quoted sentence
demonstrates its applicability. Perhaps Carney should have mentioned World
War I as well, but it's a short article, and his topic is not either
author's inspirations, but their applicability.
- In a message dated 11/30/01 11:00:06 AM Central Standard Time, jbcroft@...
> I think she'll be making aI noticed those hints, too, this time through.
> lot more out of his wand sharing its ancestry with Voldemort's and of the
> fact that the sorting hat wanted to put him in Slytherin.