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Moral Underpinnings (was: Legolas)

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  • SusanPal@aol.com
    In a message dated 2/15/2002 10:16:32 AM Pacific Standard Time, ... Yes, I certainly will. How could I not? The moral underpinning *is* the story. And the
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 15, 2002
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      In a message dated 2/15/2002 10:16:32 AM Pacific Standard Time,
      dbratman@... writes:


      > This is an example of the kind of moral underpinning to Tolkien that is
      > 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.
      >
      >

      Yes, I certainly will. How could I not? The moral underpinning *is* the
      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
      third film.)

      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.

      Susan


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