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  1. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #1
    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">Those who have access to Project Muse can see Tolkien Studies 9 now. The rest of us have to wait till September. Meanwhile, here's a preview of the contents, thanks to Lingwe:
    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">http://lingwe.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07...-volume-9.html
    "I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses."

  2. Saranna's Avatar
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    #2
    O help! I'm gonna get reviewed by Rateliff! Wonder if it will hurt? (As you can tell, I'm new at this.....)


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  3. John's a nice guy, Saranna. He really doesn't bite. I suppose that I should note that the "Law and Arda" essay listed in that ToC is by yours truly.


  4. Artanaro's Avatar
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    #4


    Are these articles/reviews free on Project Muse (more curious than daunted by paying a few dollars)? It seems like I have access but am currently at work/on lunch so I don't particularly want to try downloading anything.




    Edited by: Artanaro
    "And as she knelt before him her tears fell upon his feet like rain upon the stones; and Mandos was moved to pity, who never before was so moved, nor has been since."

  5. Saranna's Avatar
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    #5
    I spotted that, Voronwe! How could I not with a title like that?


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  6. Artanaro, for users, if you've got access to Project Muse, it doesn't cost anything to see the articles. I do believe (I could be wrong) that it still costs the publisherevery time someone looks at one of their articles of Muse, so I tend to prefer to download the articles one single time and read them as PDFs, rather than constantly opening the HTML pages on Muse's site. (Sometimes I also put them on an e-reader, since the screen is nicer to read from.)



    Saranna, don't worry, you get some nice words from Rateliff! Some critical commentary too, of course, but of the constructive sortIt'll probably be a couple of months before I'm by a decent library and will be able to read your essay for myself, but I'm certainly encouraged to check it out

    Edited by: Lord of the Rings
    It is laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination.

  7. Saranna's Avatar
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    #7
    That's kind, LOTR - constructive is what we all want, especially when we are noobies. Thanks Mr. R!


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  8. Saranna's Avatar
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    #8
    Well, I've seen a copy sent by the editor, Janka. Fine by me, a very balanced review as far as I'm concerned. It would be for others to say how they feel, of course, but I would call that and excellent piece of reviewing.


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  9. I got my contributor's copy in the mail today (actually it came last week, but I was out of town). A very nice review indeed, Saranna. His comments about your essay were quite complimentary, on the whole, calling it"one of the highlights of the whole collection" while also offering some nice constructive criticism. I would certainly be pleased if I were you.Over all, there is lots of good stuff in the volume, although it is by far the thinnest issue that I have seen. I'm sure that the changes with the editors must have had some influence on that. Still hoping to hear any reactions to my paper that people might have had.



    Edited by: Voronwë_the_Faithful

  10. Saranna's Avatar
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    #10
    I am indeed pleased Voronwe! My copy is not here yet, however


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  11. Saranna's Avatar
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    #11


    Having at last negotiated the labyrinthine ways that are 'How to pay for TS9 if you don't like paying on-line' AND made a space to read the volume, I must agree with Voronwe that there is a lot of good stuff in it. However, what he really wants to know is what we think of 'Law and Arda' so for now at least I will concentrate on this.



    Curiously this is the second piece on Law that I have come across in a short time; at 'Return of the Ring' I heard Murray Smith on 'Legal bother; law and related matters in The hobbit.' This is a close study that reveals a strong interplay of ideas of law,justiceand morality throughout the Hobbit, and asusualTolkien plays it both for laughs and forseriousness. A good deal of legal background about contracts and contractual obligations, governance and ethics came out in the talk, and I found it fascinating, especially the point that it is this weaving in of modern legal terminology that helps to give The hobbit its sometimes curiously modern air, as against Tolkien's other works. Smith's assessments and conclusions are very interesting and we must still hopethat the Proceedings of the conference will be published.
    Voronwe covers The hobbit, but goes much further to survey whatever he can of legal matters in the wider legendarium, together with related moral andethicalpoints. 'Law and Arda' is divided into
    <ul>[*]Introduction[*]The hobbit[*]LotR[*]Elder days[*]Conclusion[/list]First Voronwe points outthe two main legal motifs in The hobbit—one contractual and the other criminal [...]. He and Smith could have a congenial conversation about the contractual, but Voronwe perhaps emphasises the criminal law aspects morestrongly. There is a deeply interesting discussion of whether and how the contract between Thorin &amp; Co and 'Burglar Bilbo' is actually valid and binding. Then the section goes on toconsiderthe criminality of Bilbo's various actions; taking the troll's purse, taking the ring,takingthe cup and taking the Arkenstone. Voronwe crystallises here for us the complexity of these issues and how Tolkien interplays crime, justice, law and intention. Then—again like Murray Smith—he examines the bit of legal folderol that is the presumption of Bilbo's death and the auctioning of his goods. In conclusion of this section he says thepresentationof legal themes in [The Hobbit] largely parallels the real world without always being smoothly incorporated into thesecondaryworld.
    The section on LotR is much shorter, noting that one of the many ways in which the opening of the book echoes the end of the previous one is the matter of Bilbo's elaborate will leaving Bag End to Frodo. However, as the tone of the work grows darker, real crime raises its head, notably in Boromir's violent assault and battery on Frodo at Amon Hen. The contractual agreement betweenFrodoand Gollum that enables the journey of the Ring to Mordor is covered, and evilbehaviourof Grima. All through these incidents, and others, Voronwe points out the dominance of mercy and a kind of natural justice thattranscendsthe law in Tolkien'sthinking, as it isevidencedin the outcomes for these characters.
    The section on the elder days notably covers the trials of Melkor and Feanor, and others; it gives close attention, as is natural, to The laws and customs among the Eldar. Voronwe elucidates much about this important work, and particularly the extent to which Manwe seems to be the voice of Tolkien in theexpressionof the stature of Justice. It is not by justice that Arda can be healed, since justice operate within the marred world; only Eru canultimately heal the creation.
    In the conclusion Voronwe calls his article a brief overview of a complicated subject. I am conscious that this post is a brief andprobablyinadequate summary of some of its main points, but I recommend it heartily and hope my example will lead to more, and more incisive, commentary from others.

    Edited by: Saranna
    Remembering halfir by learning more each day



  12. I'm so pleased that you found the paper interesting, Saranna! I hope I get a chance to check out Murray Smith's paper at some point. One more reason (out of many) to hope for a proceedings of the Return of the Ring conference.It was really serendipitious that my paper was coupled with Amelia Rutledge's paper on Justice and Healing inFinwe and Miriel's story, which covers some of the same material that I touched on, in greater detail. She had originally delivered that paper at Kalamazoo a couple of years ago and while I was not there, I was so intrigued by the title that I tracked her down and asked if she would share it with me. A very excellent analysis of one of Tolkien's most important stories, and one fairly little known since it is mostly not included in The Silmarillion.


  13. Saranna's Avatar
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    #13
    Yes, that was lucky, if there be such a thing! I wish we used this kind of thread more to share our reactions to recently-published articles, it seemsunnecessaryto wait until Mythlore reviews TolkienStudiesor Tolkien Studies reviews Mythlore.


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  14. Troelsfo's Avatar
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    I have bought entirely too many new books since summer (what with the Return of the Ring and an early birthday present to myself . . .) and so I have not yet come to Tolkien Studies IXin general. However, following this I went and read Voronwë's article— just to be able to join the conversation



    Was this a proper review, I would spend most of my space on what the article is— what ground it covers and what it has to say about this, but given that this is not a proper review and Voronwë is around to give a better summary than I might, I will largely refrain from that (Saranna has also already given an excellent summary of the article), and instead I will focus on those other aspects of reviewing — what the article is not, what it could have been, etc.
    I very much like the introduction with it's combination of Tolkien's own ideas about Secondary Belief (requiring ‘the inner consistency of reality’) in ‘On Fairy-stories’ and Owen Barfield's ideas of ‘legal fiction’ — I could wish that there had been more space to elaborate on the latter as the explication is necessarily very short (getting, at least for me, itself ‘tenuous, elusive, and difficult of expression’ (certainly not an uncommon situation for me when trying to understand Barfield ).
    The discussion of the legalities in The Hobbitis quite thorough — quite possibly because these seem more firmly rooted in the legal system of the real world, and less perfectly incorporated in the sub-creation, which allows that they are also more easily (and expansively) analysable on Primary World legal terms. I think Voronwë makes his point quite well here (which Saranna has already quoted).
    The discussion of The Lord of the Ringsis, as Saranna notes, much shorter, but still a couple of pages. This seems to me both too long and too short. It is, and here I think Voronwë would agree with me, far from being a thorough and satisfying discussion of law in The Lord of the Rings, but it is, in my view, still too long to serve merely as a stepping-stone between the discussions of legal aspects of The Hobbitand the legal aspects of Tolkien's Silmarillion legendarium. Here it would, I think, have been better to restrict the discussion to the two or three points that are referred to later — or perhaps even to forgo coherent discussion of The Lord of the Rings and merely take up such points as become relevant while dealing with the larger legendarium as they do become relevant.
    If we should one day be so lucky that Voronwë will expand on the analysis of law in The Lord of the Rings, one thing that I would very much like to see (and please enlighten me if such an analysis is already extant) is a discussion of the way that our three Ring-takers, Isildur, Sméagol, and Bilbo, all resort to a spurious legal claim to support their claim to the Master Ring: the claim of weregild (which, at least in the ancient Danish regional laws, didn't work as Isildur seems to apply it), the claim of a birthday present, and the claim of a prize (my impression is that, even in the original version, Bilbo's claim to the Ring as the prize of the riddle-contest was voided by his acceptance of Gollum's service as a substitute).
    It is, however, in the discussion of law in the elder days that the article finds its true stride. Following the discussion requires some knowledge of the evolution of Tolkien's legendarium from the earliest effort (in The Book of Lost Tales) to the late writings in what Christopher Tolkien speaks of as the second phase of the later Quenta Silmarillion (the ‘LQ2’ texts to which ‘Laws and Customs among the Eldar’ belongs), but I think it is entirely justified to presuppose a familiarity with these works in a journal such as Tolkien Studies. The evolution of incidents such as the capture and imprisonment of Morgoth, the trial and exile of Fëanor, and the inquiry into the death of Thingol's counsellor (following a confrontation with Túrin) are all touched upon, and here, too, the discussion could probably benefit from a bit of expansion — I agree with Voronwë that “[i]t is instructive to look at the development of these stories over the course of the writing of the legendarium,” and I would like to take a more thorough look at this development
    The late text, ‘Laws and Customs among the Eldar,’ justifiably receives much attention, as Voronwë says it is ‘perhaps the most meaningful discussion of a “legal fiction” in the Elder Days,’ and Tolkien uses the statute of Finwë and Míriel to launch into a wide-ranging discussion of many aspects of Elvish society, giving the text a degree of profundity that recalls Christopher Tolkien's comments in the foreword to The Silmarillion:
    Moreover the old legends ('old' now not only in their derivation from the remote First Age, but also in terms of my father's life) became the vehicle and depository of his profoundest reflections. In his later writing mythology and poetry sank down behind his theological and philosophical preoccupations: from which arose incompatibilities of tone.
    The ‘Laws and Customs among the Eldar’ is an example of this, and Voronwë's point about the difference between Justice and Healing is well made, though I would argue that there is a measure of healing also in one of the examples he discusses from The Lord of the Rings, particularly the case of Aragorn's doom over Beregond, and this may point at the pivotal role that Men is promised in the fulfilment (and healing) of the world.
    Some of this may seem overly critical, but that is far from the case (Bilbo's comments in The Hobbitregarding good days being quickly told apply here as well ). Say rather that Voronwë's article has made me wish for more, and made me wish to pursue in earnest some of the threads that he merely shows us. It is, in my opinion, characteristic of a good Tolkien article that it makes me see Tolkien's work from a new angle and to wish to explore it some further from that angle, and Voronwë's article does just that. Thank you!

    Edited by: Troelsfo
    Troels Forchhammer, physicist, Denmark
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  15. Troels, it doesn't seem overly critical to me at all! I very much appreciate your comments. As Saranna points out, I myself state that my paper is only a brief overview of a complicated subject; there is so much more that could be explored. You've done a good job of pointing out some of those areas. Perhaps this thread will continue to be a vehicle to explore some of them!


  16. Troelsfo's Avatar
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    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">Voronwë, I am happy that you feel that way — compared to a normal review, it is rather more critical (rather more about what your article is not and not so much about what it actually is). Also, I would love to explore some of these aspects here.
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">Reading your introduction about the English Common Law tradition (and the differences to, IIRC,French law) made me wonder about Danish legal tradition and the codification in the 13th century regional laws (such as e.g. the Code of Jutland, Jyske lov). The Danish system appears to be built on Civil Law principles, but I'm not entirely sure if the interpretation of these cases depend on the distinction between Common Law and Civil Law.
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">I would start, then, with the legalities of the claims that the Ring-takers use to strengthen their claim to the Master Ring once they had taken it up.
    Then I heard Bilbo's strange story of how he had “won” it, and I could not believe it. When I at last got the truth out of him, I saw at once that he had been trying to put his claim to the ring beyond doubt. Much like Gollum with his “birthday present”. The lies were too much alike for my comfort. Clearly the ring had an unwholesome power that set to work on its keeper at once.
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">The Lord of the Rings, book 1, ch. 2 ‘The Shadow of the Past’
    Gandalf is here speaking of two of the known Ring-takers, but the pattern of attempting to puttheir claim beyond doubt is also, I believe, seen when Isildur took the Ring from Sauron as told by Elrond
    “This I will have as weregild for my father, and my brother,” he said; and therefore whether we would or no, he took it to treasure it.
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">LotR, II, 2 ‘The Council of Elrond’
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">Since we know the truth of the matter — we know the details of how each of these three Ring-takers (I use this to distinguish these from Sauron and Frodo), and we know that their claim is in every case void (here, as in the remainder of this post, I am making certain legal assumptions that are based more on my knowledge of Danish Civil Law than any knowledge of English Common Law, so I would be grateful if someone will point out my inevitable mistakes, thank you!)
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">What I think is interesting here is that Gollum's claim, though the one that has the least connection to realities, is also the one that seems to me the more solid when based on it's own narrative: basically Gollum, by calling the Ring his ‘birthday present’ is claiming that Déagol did give the Ring to him, and if we accept that Déagol, by finding the Ring, had a legitimate claim to it, then he also had the right to pass it on to Sméagol, whose claim is then firm — as long as we don't question the narrative.
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">In Bilbo's case, we shouldn't question the narrative too much either, because Bilbo, too, constructed a narrative in order to put his claim beyond doubt. However, even if we accept the narrative, as it is presented in the first edition of The Hobbit, I think there are problems with Bilbo's claim. As Voronwë points out in Tolkien Studies Bilbo was obliged to hand back the Ring when he discovered that the ring he had found actually belonged to Gollum. The implication here is that Bilbo's claim rests fully on the idea of ‘finders keepers’ which seems to me an erroneous application or understanding of English Common Law. In other words, even if we do accept Bilbo'sfirst narrative (which, as we also know, is a lie), Bilbo's claim to the Ring is void!.
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">Curiously, I think Bilbo's claim is actually stronger in the ‘correct’ story — here, as Voronwë points out in the article, Bilbo at least has the excuse of necessity: once Bilbo realizes that the ring that he found was actually Gollum's property, Bilbo needs the ring to escape the tunnels (the problem is that Bilbo, at that time, doesn't know that).
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">This leads me to Isildur. Now, the practice of weregild is firmly established — indeed in the Code of Jutland there are careful instructions specifying how this should be adjudicated at the þing (full weregild is thrice eighteen mark silver). The problem here is that, at least as far as I know of the weregild system (which is, however, mainly based on the Danish Civil Law system), Isildur was not entitled to weregild in this case! First, this is a case of war — in times of war, men get killed and there is no question of weregild. Secondly the system of weregild is meant as an alternative to killing: by killing Sauron, Isildur voids any claim that he might have had (outside war) to any compensation for his dead family: indeed, if a man kills after the weregild has been paid, he is himself in dire straits with the law.
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">The last Ring-taker is master Samwise, who takes the Ring from Frodo when he believes Frodo to be dead (very dire necessity here), and who (albeit not entirely willingly) hands the Ring back when he gets the opportunity. Sam, therefore, is entirely in the clear. That is — one might also count Déagol, but while it seems probable that he had no intention of ever making any attempt at discovering whom the owner might be, he doesn't appear to do anything strictly illegal, and his claim to the Ring, for the short period he had it, was, I believe, entirely legitimate.
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">The instances with Sméagol, Isildur, and the ‘correct’ story about Bilbo were all invented for The Lord of the Ring and they all serve to exemplify the characterization of the Master Ring that Gandalf is giving already in the second chapter, ‘The Shadow of the Past’ (see above). This makes them follow the pattern that Voronwë asserts of legal matters being used to illustrate matters that are themselves‘tenuous, elusive, and difficult of expression’: the unwholesome power of the Master Ring.
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">This link to the One Ring, however, cannot really be the case with the first edition story of Bilbo in The Hobbit. Here the story must serve some other purpose — since the reader generally roots for Bilbo, the purpose might be to illustrate the distinction between the legally and the morally right. Edited by: Troelsfo
    Troels Forchhammer, physicist, Denmark
    The love of Faery is the love of love: a relationship toward all things, animate and inanimate, which includes love and respect ...

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