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LOTR: the Title

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  • Stolzi@aol.com
    In re-reading some Tolkien lately, it strikes me as strange that the title proposed for the work, and accepted by its author and by ourselves, the readers,
    Message 1 of 8 , Feb 21, 2003
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      In re-reading some Tolkien lately, it strikes me as strange that the title
      proposed for the work, and accepted by its author and by ourselves, the
      readers, should be in actuality the title of the principal villain!


      Diamond Proudbrook
    • darancgrissom@sbcglobal.net
      ... From: Stolzi@aol.com To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Sent: Friday, February 21, 2003 4:01 PM Subject: [mythsoc] LOTR: the Title In re-reading some Tolkien
      Message 2 of 8 , Feb 21, 2003
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        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Stolzi@...
        To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Friday, February 21, 2003 4:01 PM
        Subject: [mythsoc] LOTR: the Title


        "In re-reading some Tolkien lately, it strikes me as strange that the title
        proposed for the work, and accepted by its author and by ourselves, the
        readers, should be in actuality the title of the principal villain!"


        Diamond Proudbrook
        Just got that now heh? Isn't there an essay on that somewhere in Shipley's Author of the Century. After I read LotR for the first time I spent a great deal of thought pondering the title, and the actual main subject of the story. When you think about it there is no clear hero; Aragorn, and Frodo share that role, and cases can be made for most of the fellowship. The clearest role in LotR is the Villian. Sauron is the Lord of the Ring, the only one that can bend it to his will. He looms over the entire story from beginning to end, so dosen't that make him the central character. Don't foget that when Bilbo and Frodo write it all down in the end their only common theme is that of the Ring. I think in another sense Tolkien is also trying to make a point about us. That those who bear the ring are mortally wounded, and can never again be as we were. This goes to Joseph Campbell and the Heroes Journey. When you fight evil, to defeat it, you must take a little of it into you in order to understand its weakness.



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • David S. Bratman
        ... Yes, it s a consistent practice of Tolkien s. The Hobbit, Farmer Giles of Ham, Smith of Wootton Major ... all named for the principal villain. Or, at
        Message 3 of 8 , Feb 21, 2003
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          At 04:01 PM 2/21/2003 , Stolzi wrote:
          >In re-reading some Tolkien lately, it strikes me as strange that the title
          >proposed for the work, and accepted by its author and by ourselves, the
          >readers, should be in actuality the title of the principal villain!

          Yes, it's a consistent practice of Tolkien's. The Hobbit, Farmer Giles of
          Ham, Smith of Wootton Major ... all named for the principal villain. Or,
          at least, that's what the Amalgamated Union of Dragons and Retired Chefs
          tells me. <g>

          David Bratman
        • Stolzi@aol.com
          In a message dated 2/21/2003 7:36:06 PM Central Standard Time, ... A natural matchup, what with the dragons interest in grilling :) and in fine virgin olive
          Message 4 of 8 , Feb 21, 2003
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            In a message dated 2/21/2003 7:36:06 PM Central Standard Time,
            dbratman@... writes:


            > the Amalgamated Union of Dragons and Retired Chefs

            A natural matchup, what with the dragons' interest in grilling :) and in
            fine virgin olive oil... wait a minute, it wasn't olive oil? whoops...

            Diamond Proudbrook



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • tghsaw
            ... I think of it like Time magazine s Person of the Year : They don t try to pick the person who was *best* that year, but the one who most affected the
            Message 5 of 8 , Feb 22, 2003
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              > Date: Fri, 21 Feb 2003 19:01:27 EST
              > From: Stolzi@...
              > Subject: LOTR: the Title
              >
              > In re-reading some Tolkien lately, it strikes me as strange that the title
              > proposed for the work, and accepted by its author and by ourselves, the
              > readers, should be in actuality the title of the principal villain!
              >
              >
              > Diamond Proudbrook
              >


              I think of it like Time magazine's "Person of the Year": They don't try to
              pick the person who was *best* that year, but the one who most affected the
              world. Hitler has gotten the title, for example ("Man of the Year" back
              then, of course). Without Sauron, there wouldn't have been a story. Even
              Saruman's relatively low-scale villainy wouldn't have had a basis without
              the Enemy.

              --Trudy
            • Rachel Murphy
              Just thought I would throw in a thought here, although I ve been just been a reader on the list so far. My mom had a good thought about this subject recently,
              Message 6 of 8 , Feb 25, 2003
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                Just thought I would throw in a thought here, although I've been just been a reader on the list so far. My mom had a good thought about this subject recently, regarding the title. I think "the Lord of the Rings" is very enigmatic, and not merely named for the villain, Sauron. Frodo is the heart and soul of the story, and perhaps Tolkien is throwing out the question, "who is the Lord of the Rings"? After all, when you think about what happens at the end, and poor Frodo's inability to give up the Ring at Mount Doom--pitiful as it sounds, and as little as his will was involved in it, being tired, famished, pulled downwards by the power of the Ring,etc.--he was in some way claiming to be the Lord of the Ring. And the Ring was bitten from Frodo's hand, the way it was cut off from Sauron's. Dark as it sounds, there are a few parallels! Who is the Lord of the Rings?

                (Ah, but this brings in the beautiful theme of mercy and forgiveness that Tolkien brings up in his letters, which is a whole other subject but would be worth discussing at some point!!)

                --Rachel
                ----- Original Message -----
                From: tghsaw
                To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Saturday, February 22, 2003 5:39 AM
                Subject: [mythsoc] Re: LOTR: the Title




                > Date: Fri, 21 Feb 2003 19:01:27 EST
                > From: Stolzi@...
                > Subject: LOTR: the Title
                >
                > In re-reading some Tolkien lately, it strikes me as strange that the title
                > proposed for the work, and accepted by its author and by ourselves, the
                > readers, should be in actuality the title of the principal villain!
                >
                >
                > Diamond Proudbrook
                >


                I think of it like Time magazine's "Person of the Year": They don't try to
                pick the person who was *best* that year, but the one who most affected the
                world. Hitler has gotten the title, for example ("Man of the Year" back
                then, of course). Without Sauron, there wouldn't have been a story. Even
                Saruman's relatively low-scale villainy wouldn't have had a basis without
                the Enemy.

                --Trudy



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                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • David S. Bratman
                Sometime between 1937 and 1954, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote: Hurray! cried Pippin, springing up. Here is our noble cousin! Make way for Frodo, Lord of the Ring!
                Message 7 of 8 , Feb 25, 2003
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                  Sometime between 1937 and 1954, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote:

                  "Hurray!" cried Pippin, springing up. "Here is our noble cousin! Make way
                  for Frodo, Lord of the Ring!"
                  "Hush!" said Gandalf from the shadows at the back of the porch. "Evil
                  things do not come into this valley; but all the same we should not name
                  them. The Lord of the Ring is not Frodo, but the master of the Dark Tower
                  of Mordor, whose power is again stretching out over the world! We are
                  sitting in a fortress. Outside it is getting dark."
                  "Gandalf has been saying many cheerful things like that," said Pippin. "He
                  thinks I need keeping in order."


                  At 07:15 AM 2/25/2003 , Rachel wrote:
                  >Just thought I would throw in a thought here, although I've been just been a
                  >reader on the list so far. My mom had a good thought about this subject
                  >recently, regarding the title. I think "the Lord of the Rings" is very
                  >enigmatic, and not merely named for the villain, Sauron. Frodo is the heart
                  >and soul of the story, and perhaps Tolkien is throwing out the question,
                  >"who is the Lord of the Rings"? After all, when you think about what
                  >happens at the end, and poor Frodo's inability to give up the Ring at Mount
                  >Doom--pitiful as it sounds, and as little as his will was involved in it,
                  >being tired, famished, pulled downwards by the power of the Ring,etc.--he
                  >was in some way claiming to be the Lord of the Ring. And the Ring was
                  >bitten from Frodo's hand, the way it was cut off from Sauron's. Dark as it
                  >sounds, there are a few parallels! Who is the Lord of the Rings?
                • Ernest Tomlinson
                  ... From: Rachel Murphy To: Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2003 7:15 AM Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: LOTR:
                  Message 8 of 8 , Feb 25, 2003
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                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "Rachel Murphy" <frodo_underhill@...>
                    To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2003 7:15 AM
                    Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: LOTR: the Title


                    >> After all, when you think about what happens at the end, and poor Frodo's
                    inability to give up the Ring at Mount Doom--pitiful as it sounds, and as
                    little as his will was involved in it, being tired, famished, pulled
                    downwards by the power of the Ring,etc.--he was in some way claiming to be
                    the Lord of the Ring.

                    Yup. It bears remembering, also, that even before Frodo's crucial failure
                    on Mount Doom, he was already talking a bit as though he were the Ring's
                    master. In one scene with Gollum, Frodo tells him matter of factly that in
                    the last resort, he will put on the Ring and command Gollum to leap off a
                    precipice. Moreover, in the scene where Frodo, hidden, sees the Lord of the
                    Nazgul at the crossroads, Frodo thinks to himself that he is not ready to
                    challenge him--not _yet_. Thus the deadly notion of claiming the Ring was
                    already in Frodo's mind, long before he says on Orodruin, "The Ring is
                    mine!"

                    Ernest.
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