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Re: [mythsoc] Digest Number 785

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  • Trudy Shaw
    ... From: Steve Schaper To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Sent: Monday, December 31, 2001 5:16 PM Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Digest Number 785 ... Well, I d be more
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 31, 2001
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Steve Schaper
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, December 31, 2001 5:16 PM
      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Digest Number 785


      >> Thanks Carl, I also don't like the
      >> way they said "Mordor", based on how I think "in the
      >> land of Mordor where the shadows lie" and "for into
      >> darkness fell his star, in Mordor where the shadows
      >> are' should sound.

      >Maybe they were getting Za'ha'dum and Mordor mixed up, just as Aragorn resembled another Ranger. . .
      Well, I'd be more inclined to link Za'ha'dum with Khazad-Dum. I used to watch Babylon 5 with notepad handy so I could jot down all the Tolkien allusions. It seemed to be a tribute rather than plagierism, as one of the Technomages once quoted the "Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards..." line, attributing it to "a wise man of your planet [earth]." (And thanks for helping me figure out just who it is that Viggo Mortensen reminds me of!)


      >> I would have to agree with Michael that a more vocal handful of Christians
      >> is reviling Potter and making Christians in general appear to be rather
      >> silly (if not worse) just by general association.
      >> ya-da-da, when these people have never so much as read a chapter. They just
      >> heard it somewhere...

      >Yeah, and they will not listen, either. -Very- frustrating.

      >> In "A Knife in the Dark" there is the attack on Weathertop, where
      >> Gandalf defends himself against the Nazgul.

      >If spiritual warfare is magic, many an elderly lonely, praying widow is a mage of great power.

      During the last few days, I've run across several articles and letters to the editor relating to the difference between Rowling and Tolkien as seen by some conservative Christians. My hypothesis (not enough evidence to make it a theory) is that the difference isn't so much the amount or type of "magic," as it is its source. The perceived danger of getting involved in the occult, etc., has always been fear of connecting with an evil power--purposely or unwittingly.

      Much of what can be called magic in Middle-earth can just as well be called prayer, spiritual warfare, Providence (in the strict sense of the word), or even the communion of saints (and angels). Even within LotR, there are hints of Tolkien's broader cosmology, and since the publication of The Silmarillion readers have been able to trace the source of any Middle-earthly power for good back to its source in Eru/The One.

      I'm sure most of the anti-Potter lobby, if questioned, would agree that an inborn talent is a gift from God that should be trained and put to use for good, but Rowling just isn't as explicit about "her" magic having its source in God as Tolkien is.

      --Trudy



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Christine Howlett
      I would have to disagree that LOTR is explicit about the source of the magic at all; in fact I believe the word God (deity, etc.) is not used once, and I do
      Message 2 of 6 , Jan 2, 2002
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        I would have to disagree that LOTR is explicit about the source of the magic
        at all; in fact I believe the word God (deity, etc.) is not used once, and I
        do not recall a single passage where a character can be said to have
        prayed - even in extremis - to any creator power. That would have to be
        something read back into the book from knowing Tolkien's devotion. This is
        one more reason why I find it inexplicable (as others here do) that the same
        people who like Tolkien can find Rowling evil, because in both cases the
        'magic' is an inherent quality of the characters who possess it, as much as
        their skin or eye color, or a quality built into the inanimate objects by
        people who possess that skill.
        Christine

        Trudy Shaw wrote:

        > Much of what can be called magic in Middle-earth can just as well be
        called prayer, spiritual warfare, Providence (in the strict sense of the
        word), or even the communion of saints (and angels). Even within LotR, there
        are hints of Tolkien's broader cosmology, and since the publication of The
        Silmarillion readers have been able to trace the source of any
        Middle-earthly power for good back to its source in Eru/The One.
        >
        > I'm sure most of the anti-Potter lobby, if questioned, would agree that
        an inborn talent is a gift from God that should be trained and put to use
        for good, but Rowling just isn't as explicit about "her" magic having its
        source in God as Tolkien is.
        >
        > --Trudy
        >
      • Trudy Shaw
        ... From: Christine Howlett To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2002 4:49 PM Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Digest Number 785 ... at all; in fact
        Message 3 of 6 , Jan 2, 2002
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          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Christine Howlett
          To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2002 4:49 PM
          Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Digest Number 785


          >>I would have to disagree that LOTR is explicit about the source of the magic
          at all; in fact I believe the word God (deity, etc.) is not used once, and I
          do not recall a single passage where a character can be said to have
          prayed - even in extremis - to any creator power. That would have to be
          something read back into the book from knowing Tolkien's devotion. This is
          one more reason why I find it inexplicable (as others here do) that the same
          people who like Tolkien can find Rowling evil, because in both cases the
          'magic' is an inherent quality of the characters who possess it, as much as
          their skin or eye color, or a quality built into the inanimate objects by
          people who possess that skill.
          Christine



          This would be true looking at just LotR, which gives only very vague hints. But the people judging the books today have easy access to Tolkien's wider cosmology which, to a large degree, explains those "hints." It may not seem to make logical sense that this would affect a decision about whether to allow your child to read _specifically_ LotR--but I think it does make some people more comfortable knowing that everything can be traced back to a creator whose name translates as "Father," even if he's not explicitly mentioned in LotR itself. Could this possibly be connected with a tendency for _some_ of these people to take other things (e.g., the Bible) more literally than "mainstream" Christians?

          As I said, this is just a theory (if that). And even in _theory_ I'm not arguing for the _validity_ of judging the books this way. It's just that from the articles/letters to the editor I've been reading lately, it seems this may be where some people are coming from.

          As far as reading things in from Tolkien's devotion, some fundamentalist Christians do seem to put great store in the way an author lives his or her life, having a tendency to judge a book on whether the author "can be trusted." To simplify this greatly, too, the thought would be that if someone is a dedicated Christian there's less chance that a spirit of evil would be able to slip into their thinking and writing (possibly without the author even realizing it), because Christ is protecting them from evil influences.

          Again, it's a mindset many of us wouldn't see as logical, but I do think it exists. (Well, guess I should say I know it exists, because I've known people who've thought this way--what I'm not sure of is whether it's a partial answer to the Rowling/Tolkien dichotomy.)

          --Trudy
          P.S. Yeah, I know my singular and plural pronouns are all screwed up here, but I'm too tired to try to figure out other ways to word the sentences. I hope they're understandable. 8-)



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • dianejoy@earthlink.net
          Quoting Trudy:
          Message 4 of 6 , Jan 3, 2002
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            Quoting Trudy:

            << Again, it's a mindset many of us wouldn't see as logical, but I do think it exists. (Well, guess I should say I know it exists, because I've known people who've thought this way--what I'm not sure of is whether it's a partial answer to the Rowling/Tolkien dichotomy.)>>

            I was given a copy for Christmas (by just such a literalist friend) of *Harry Potter and the Bible* by Richard Abanes. He quotes Sherwood Smith as one of those who don't think HP is very high quality literature. But Abanes refers to Sherwood as "him." I am tempted to contact his e-mail and inform him that Sherwood is a female. If this is the character of his research . . . . Glancing at the book, I noted that his summaries of the HP books aren't bad, but they are superficial He refers to Dudley as a babe---I'm sure he was older, but I may not be remembering the *beginning* of the book well. I'll have to refresh my chancy memory. ---djb


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          • Christine Howlett
            ... magic ... and I ... is ... same ... as ... hints. But the people judging the books today have easy access to Tolkien s wider cosmology which, to a large
            Message 5 of 6 , Jan 3, 2002
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              > ----- Original Message -----
              > From: Christine Howlett
              > To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
              > Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2002 4:49 PM
              > Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Digest Number 785
              >
              >
              > >>I would have to disagree that LOTR is explicit about the source of the
              magic
              > at all; in fact I believe the word God (deity, etc.) is not used once,
              and I
              > do not recall a single passage where a character can be said to have
              > prayed - even in extremis - to any creator power. That would have to be
              > something read back into the book from knowing Tolkien's devotion. This
              is
              > one more reason why I find it inexplicable (as others here do) that the
              same
              > people who like Tolkien can find Rowling evil, because in both cases the
              > 'magic' is an inherent quality of the characters who possess it, as much
              as
              > their skin or eye color, or a quality built into the inanimate objects by
              > people who possess that skill.
              > Christine
              >
              >
              >
              > This would be true looking at just LotR, which gives only very vague
              hints. But the people judging the books today have easy access to Tolkien's
              wider cosmology which, to a large degree, explains those "hints." It may
              not seem to make logical sense that this would affect a decision about
              whether to allow your child to read _specifically_ LotR--but I think it does
              make some people more comfortable knowing that everything can be traced back
              to a creator whose name translates as "Father," even if he's not explicitly
              mentioned in LotR itself. Could this possibly be connected with a tendency
              for _some_ of these people to take other things (e.g., the Bible) more
              literally than "mainstream" Christians?
              >
              > As I said, this is just a theory (if that). And even in _theory_ I'm not
              arguing for the _validity_ of judging the books this way. It's just that
              from the articles/letters to the editor I've been reading lately, it seems
              this may be where some people are coming from.
              >
              > As far as reading things in from Tolkien's devotion, some fundamentalist
              Christians do seem to put great store in the way an author lives his or her
              life, having a tendency to judge a book on whether the author "can be
              trusted." To simplify this greatly, too, the thought would be that if
              someone is a dedicated Christian there's less chance that a spirit of evil
              would be able to slip into their thinking and writing (possibly without the
              author even realizing it), because Christ is protecting them from evil
              influences.
              >
              > Again, it's a mindset many of us wouldn't see as logical, but I do think
              it exists. (Well, guess I should say I know it exists, because I've known
              people who've thought this way--what I'm not sure of is whether it's a
              partial answer to the Rowling/Tolkien dichotomy.)
              >
              > --Trudy



              Okay, then what we're really saying is not that LoTR is explicitly
              Christian/religious, but that it is by an author who is well-known for his
              Christian stance. That I can see (not agree with but understand), that
              certain people would assume that a book is safer because written by someone
              'in their line' so to speak. I just hope they don't pick up Graham Greene
              (or who's the fellow who writes the blood-and-guts thrillers with religious
              titles? He's Catholic, too) on the same assumption. Oddly enough, when I
              picked up LoTR in the 70's, I had no idea who Tolkien was, nevermind that he
              was a Christian. But I was always a broadminded reader! Gosh, Robert
              Capon's novels would knock their socks off, and he's a very devout
              Episcopalian....
              Christine
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