Moral Underpinnings (was: Legolas)
- In a message dated 2/15/2002 10:16:32 AM Pacific Standard Time,
> This is an example of the kind of moral underpinning to Tolkien that isYes, I certainly will. How could I not? The moral underpinning *is* the
> lacking in so much post-Tolkien fantasy. It's what makes Tolkien stand
> apart, but I think that a lot of his readers don't realize that, which is
> why they're capable of thinking, or half-thinking, that some sort of
> personal emotional tie between Elrond and Isildur is necessary to explain
> this. Yeah, it can be fun to write - and many fantasy authors would write
> that scene that way, with or without homoerotic elements - but either way
> it's alien to Tolkien, and I hope you'll bring out that aspect of him in
> your class.
story. And the piece of fanfiction I mentioned *does* deal with the moral
elements too -- in fact, I'd say it deals with them primarily, since the
author has Elrond recognize that to destroy Isildur would be to succumb to
the ring's evil himself. And that's dead-on, since the issue of how any of
us confront evil without being corrupted by it is central to Tolkien's work.
(Another example of this in the books, of course, is Frodo's refusal to take
revenge upon Wormtongue in the Shire . . . although he then conveniently gets
killed anyway. I'll be curious to see if and how Jackson treats this in the
All of the fanfiction I've read and *enjoyed* (versus the hack stuff) does
deal with moral elements. A fan writer named Victoria Bitter, for instance,
has written a funny and eloquent piece called "Relief" in which Legolas
teaches Pippin (who's pining for Merry) some of the ways of the world -- and
also delivers a deeply moving lecture about how mortals, who are so fleeting,
have to tell the people they love that they love them while they still can.
That ties directly into Tolkien's "All we have to decide is what to do with
the time that is given us" (which I was very glad to see the film
emphasize!), and it's also hauntingly relevant after 9/11.
Yes, a lot of post-Tolkien fantasy doesn't deal with moral issues . . . well,
a lot of pre-Tolkien fantasy didn't, either. But a lot of fantasy in both
categories does, and a lot of fanwriting (of all sorts) does too.
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