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Re: [mythsoc] Digest Number 785

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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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