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RE: [mythsoc] Tolkien beats Rowling?

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  • Janet Croft
    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
    Message 1 of 5 , Nov 30, 2001
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      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.)

      Janet

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Stolzi@... [mailto:Stolzi@...]
      Sent: Friday, November 30, 2001 9:13 AM
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      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)


      Diamond Proudbrook


      The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org

      Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • David S. Bratman
      ... I regret whenever someone uses a good author as a club to bash another good author, even if the first author is clearly better. Voldemort s motivation may
      Message 2 of 5 , Nov 30, 2001
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        At 07:12 AM 11/30/2001 , Brian M. Carney wrote:

        >The Battle of the Books
        >No contest. Tolkien runs rings around Potter.

        I regret whenever someone uses a good author as a club to bash another good
        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,
        >actually. If it's about a war in Tolkien's lifetime, it's about World War I.

        But Brian Carney wrote:

        >That Tolkien, who wrote "The Lord of the Rings" during World War II and
        >published it shortly after, saw this as a message for his times was made
        >plain in his foreword to the second edition.

        Seeing a message in it for a later time is not at all incompatable with its
        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.

        David Bratman
      • Stolzi@aol.com
        In a message dated 11/30/01 11:00:06 AM Central Standard Time, jbcroft@ou.edu ... I noticed those hints, too, this time through.
        Message 3 of 5 , Nov 30, 2001
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          In a message dated 11/30/01 11:00:06 AM Central Standard Time, jbcroft@...
          writes:

          > 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.

          I noticed those hints, too, this time through.
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