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  1. loremisstressre's Avatar
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    #201
    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">Well that makes much more sense, I have very often committed "write-tos", even to the point of leaving out an entire half sentence on something I was writing to a friend...but it's funny that even the Master can have "pronoun trouble" as Daffy Duck might put it...and it reminds me ofa tale I was once told, that Einstein was writing a proof and he divided by zero (the one thing that you CANNOT do in math)...and alowly student pointed out the error, and the great man testily tried to prove that he didn't make a mistake, and only mis-wrote...and then preceeded to go right back and divide by zero again! And the poor kid had to say something...and then Einstein had to admit that he had blown it altogether.

  2. halfir's Avatar
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    #202
    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">
    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">
    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">And thanks Findegil for that helpful post- I was about to say that Tolkien appeared to have made a mistake but it sounds more like theletter as printed omitted that important side-note.
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  3. Saruman's Avatar
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    #203
    Halfir -

    Just read your extremely enticing and informative passages on Elladan and Elrohir. Thank you! I've always wanted to learn more of them...

  4. halfir's Avatar
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    #204
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  5. Elladan and Elrohir
    A few comments regarding the Peredhil brethren:
    Going over the Sea
    When considering the eventual fate of the brethren, I think the starting ought to be what is published in The Lord of the Rings concerning the Choice of the Peredhil:
    But to the children of Elrond a choice was also appointed: to pass with him from the circles of the world; or if they remained, to become mortal and die in Middle-earth.LotR, appendix A I (i)
    The implication here would seem to be that Elrond's children would have to either leave at the same time as Elrond (or possibly before Elrond) or they would become mortal — the delaying of their choice is here covered by the alternative, ‘or if they remained’ (if they do not leave at the same time as Elrond, then they do remain). Against this we should of course hold the statement Halfir quotes from the letters to the effect that the choice could be delayed.
    It is also relevant to consider the predecessors to the statement from appendix A:
    But to the children of Elrond a choice was also appointed: to pass with him from the circles of the world; or if they wedded with one of Mankind, to become mortal and die in Middle-earth. For Elrond, therefore, all chances of the War of the Ring were fraught with sorrow.The Peoples of Middle-earth, part 1 chapter IX ‘The Making of Appendix A’
    This implies, of course, that Elladan and Elrohir could stay as long as they wanted as long as they didn't wed someone of mortal blood.
    The point here is not so much to argue for or against any particular position, but to illustrate the contradictions inherent in the texts. We can be fairly sure that Tolkien's own position did change, perhaps frequently. There is definitely a change between the drafts for appendix A and the published version, and the letter to Peter Hastings from September 1954 may represent some transitory position between the ‘wedded with one of Mankind’ position of the drafts and the ‘pass with &lt;Elrond&gt; from the circles of the world’ position given in the published book. We do know that Tolkien was working on this particular part of appendix A at least as late as March—April of 1955 — the published version is, in other words, most likely written several months after that letter. My personal position is that we simply cannot tell. We can offer a few snap-shots, but in the end we cannot say for sure what was Tolkien's final intention with the published text: as Halfir has pointed out previously, the text of the appendix could be read to allow delay (albeit I would argue that such a reading is less natural — the appearance of remaining as the alternative makes ‘remaining for a while before leaving with’ a rather strained reading, in my humble opinion).

    Scholarship
    In the latest issue of Tolkien Studies (volume 7), Sherrylyn Branchaw has a paper titled ‘Elladan and Elrohir: The Dioscuri in The Lord of the Rings’. As the title suggests, Branchaw argues that the brethren are, to a large degree, inspired by the Greek Dioscuri (both the ‘normal’ Dioscuri, Castor and Pollux, but also the Theban Twins who rescued their mother from slavery.
    Given that Tolkien knew the classics quite well (it is easy, perhaps particularly for a Dane such as myself, to forget that he was well versed in other mythologies than those of the north), I think it is quite likely that the Greek twins are part of the ‘soup’ from which Tolkien drew Elladan and Elrohir. I doubt that it was conscious, but I suppose we will never know.
    Unfortunately Sherrylyn Branchaw does not give us any indications on how the identification of the classical twins as a likely source (one of several, I'd say) for Elrond's twin sons can help us understand the peredhil brethren better. To me simply identifying something as a likely ingredient of that particular draught of soup (perhaps even a prominent ingredient) is not enough in and off itself — to qualify as relevant scholarship it should also offer something that will make us better understand their part of the story.
    We might, of course, reflect on this ourselves: is there anything in the stories of any of the classical twins that might help us understand Elladan and Elrohir better? The classical myths are, for instance, not entirely in agreement on whether Castor and Pollux (or Kastor and Polydeukes) were mortal or immortal. In some versions one was mortal and the other immortal, in some other versions both were mortals, while a third group has them end up being both, spending every other day as immortals on Olympos among the Gods, and the other days as mortals in Hades among the dead. Finally there are versions that make both twins immortal. This, at least, appears to be even more confusing than the fates of Elladan and Elrohir (for whom nobody that I know of have suggested different or alternating fates). And while I would be reluctant to suggest that this confusion for the Dioscuri explains Tolkien's indecision, it is not inconsistent with his doubts either — had the fate of the Dioscuri been clear, then, insofar as Branchaw is right in identifying them as a source for Elladan and Elrohir, I would also have expected less indecision and doubt about Elrond's sons.
    If anyone has something to add, that will help us understand Elladan and Elrohir based on the classical twins (the Dioscuri as well as others), I will certainly be very interested to hear about it.
    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 ...

  6. N.E. Brigand's Avatar
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    #206
    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">Branchaw does note that both the Dioscuri and the sons of Elrond share an ambigous immortality, but I agreewith you that the essay, while it finds some intriguing connections between the brethren, would be improved by showing some value to identifying Castor and Polydeuces as a source beyond "the ability of Tolkien to bestow a rich and detailed heritage upon even the most minor of characters" (145).Also, given that the passage in Tolkien that most strongly suggests he had the Dioscuri in mind when creating the half-elven brothers was not used in LOTR, maybe he had abandoned an early idea, and so that"detailed heritage" Branchaw sees might not be there after all. In which case, Branchaw's study would be useful mainly as a comment on Tolkien's writing methods. Still, there may be something to the angle you propose; as I mentioned here on a different forum,I think Branchaw might have considered why Tolkien created three sets of half-elven twins whose names start with "El" -- especially as she goes to the trouble of discounting the possibility that other brothers in Tolkien'slegendarium derive from the Greek twins.

  7. halfir's Avatar
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    #207
    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">Troelsfo and N.E. Brigand. Thanks so much for your contributions- a very worthy addition to the Elladan/Elrohir discussion. You have both been tribbed.Edited by: halfir
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  8. PredictableSurprise's Avatar
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    #208
    I will have to say that Glorfindel is the most interesting of the above listed characters, something about an elf that can hold off the Ring Wraiths, who also was almost the elf to accompany the Fellowship until Legolas came along, and is possibly a reincarnated elf frommillenniumsearlier just begs for a book devoted solely to him


    It is over, the world of men will fall and all will come to darkness.

  9. halfir's Avatar
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    #209
    <DIV =WebWizRTE topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" marginwidth="1" marginheight="1">PredictableSurprise a warm welcome to the Plaza and especially the Lore Forums.Enjoy.
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  10. fingolfin502's Avatar
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    #210


    AHHH I FIND GORBAG AND SHAGRAT VERY INTERESTING CHARACTERS IN THE WHOLE LOTR PLOT, PLAINLY BECAUSE THEY ARE ORCS!! I'VE NEVER HEARD OF ORCS HAVING SUCH CAPACITY OF DISCUSSION, I ALWAYS THOUGHT THEY WERE STUPID AS DOGS AND HAD NO IDEA WHATSOEVER OF LIFE BUT TO JUST WANDER AND LIVE TO FIGHT AND EAT AND SURVIVE!! SOO I GUESS THERE;S STILL A DEGRADATED PART OF THEIR ELVISH PAST IN THEIR BRAINS, I MEAN THEY CAN STILL REASON..

  11. halfir's Avatar
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    #211
    <DIV =WebWizRTE leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" marginheight="1" marginwidth="1">Hi fingolfin502- welocme to the Plaza and to the Lore Forums. Enjoy. As a point of Plaza protocol it is preferable if you do not capitalize every word- that somewhat 'shouts' at your Readerrs and is thus considered discourteous. Look at the general way in which posts are made by others and try and follow that example.
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  12. Speaking of minor characters, there was an interesting discussion in Amon Henno. 225 about Halbarad; ‘Halbarad Dúnadan: an unsung hero’ byAngela Nicholas.
    Angela Nicholas does a very thorough survey of the (very little) available evidence about Halbarad, and though I think some of her conclusions do stretch the evidence rather thin, other conclusions, such as e.g. that Halbarad was likely a close-ish relative of Aragorn, seem to me on firmer ground. Unfortunately I don't seem to be able to find my copy of this issue of Amon Hen, so I can't give a better summary than this— sorry.
    But whether one agrees with Angela Nicholas' inter- and extrapolations from the evidence, this four-page (attesting her thoroughness) article can still be recommended to anyone interested in the minor characters of The Lord of the Ringsand particularly their relationship with the main characters.
    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 ...

  13. halfir's Avatar
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    #213
    <DIV =WebWizRTE marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">Thanks for the reference- you have been tribbed.Edited by: halfir
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  14. skulb's Avatar
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    #214


    Quote Originally Posted by Nyxs Slave
    Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Frodo, Sam, Merriadoc, Peregrin, Gandalf.

    I would add Gollum, the Ring and Sauron to that tbh. You can`t write a good story without both a protagonist and an antagonist:)


  15. Arandur of Gondor's Avatar
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    #215
    Actually, I never though that Beregond it's a true minor character.Ok, I'm a fan of this loyal Minas Tirith guard but...Always I have though that minor characters in LOTR are almost cameos, almost fun, like Ioreth or Quickbeam. Bergil is a minor character, because his part in the story it's very marginal.But... without Beregond's act, would Pippin and Gandalf save Faramir from his father's madness?I don't think so, because they'd have the time if Beregond didn't keep back the guards loyal to Denethor. Beregond is an active character, not so other cameos.Moreover, Beregond passes on an important message, he represents (for me) a sort of a discovered freedom of a citizen, and no more a subject, that refuses to do something that he believes unbearable, like Faramir's murder, refusing to recognize the autority of his own king (=Steward) if his own command are against his own conscience. Tolkien gives to us a beautiful example of "true" justice in Middle-earth, when there is the judgement of King Elessar about Beregond's "crime". And in the Lord of the Rings's sequel, The New Shadow,that was plot in Gondor in the 4th Age and remains incomplete, the protagonist was Borlas of Per-arduin and was Beregond's second son
    Sorry for my bad English.......

  16. halfir's Avatar
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    #216
    <DIV =WebWizRTE leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" marginheight="1" marginwidth="1">, that refuses to do something that he believes unbearable, like Faramir's murder,
    <DIV =WebWizRTE leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" marginheight="1" marginwidth="1">
    <DIV =WebWizRTE leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" marginheight="1" marginwidth="1">Yet he has to kill an innocent man- the porter - to achieve his objectve in saving Faramir. There are no easy options in olkien's ME.
    <DIV =WebWizRTE leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" marginheight="1" marginwidth="1">
    <DIV =WebWizRTE leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" marginheight="1" marginwidth="1">And a warm welcome to the Plaza and especially the Lore Forums- enjoy.
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  17. Arandur of Gondor's Avatar
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    #217
    Quote Originally Posted by halfir
    , that refuses to do something that he believes unbearable, like Faramir's murder,Yet he has to kill an innocent man- the porter - to achieve his objectve in saving Faramir. There are no easy options in olkien's ME.And a warm welcome to the Plaza and especially the Lore Forums- enjoy.
    Thank you for the welcome
    It's true what were you saying, the porter was innocent, but he tried to stop him, sword in his hand, just like the other guards loyal to Denethor; and Beregond, as himself said, "This deed I shall ever rue, but a madness of haste was on me, and he would not listen" (The Pyre of Denethor)It seems that Beregond had going mad too, like the guards and the porter, because of Denethor's folly. Perhaps, King Elessar put most of blame on the mess that took place in Rath Dìnen, as Gandalf suggested: "Ill deeds have been done here; but let now all enmity that lies between you be put away, for it was contrived by the Enemy and works his will. You have been caught in a net of warring duties that you did not weave" (The Pyre of Denethor) Here, the Wizard seems to speak to all, Beregond included. And Pippin said too, only just gone out from Rath Dìnen: "So many dreadful things have happened in the City" (The Houses of Healing)But Gandalf seems to condemn more the servants loyal to Denethor, than Beregond, who is really worried and repentant of his own deeds (it wasn't so easy for him, you're right, but he was ready to risk death for save Faramir,and to be condemn by Aragorn). In fact, Gandalf says in addition on this: "But think, you servants of the Lord, blind in your obedience, that but for the treason of Beregond Faramir, Captain of the White Tower, would now also be burned."We don't know if the guards loyal to Denethor were condemned by Aragorn too. But Aragorn punishBeregond with exile. For follow Faramir in Ithilien, certanly. But what if Beregond wouldn't leave Minas Tirith? It was Aragorn's mercy and the matter of Beregond's happiness to be "forced" to do that doesn't matter to him, it was chance(officially)."And then Beregond, perceiving the mercy and justice of the King, was glad, and kneeling kissed his hand, and departed in joy and content" (The Steward and the King)
    Maybe one of Denethor's sin was to not show mercy to anyone (includedhimself)?

  18. halfir's Avatar
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    #218

    <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">Indeed mercy does not appear to have been a quality that was much possessed by Denethor- inclding for himself as you shewdly observe. And Denethor was not a charcter that Tolkien thought highly of cf. Letter # 183
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">Denethor was tainted with mere politics{he} despised lesser men
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">See alao my archived thread Tainted with mere politics
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive2/di...D=46&amp;Topic ID=56813
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" topmargin="1" leftmargin="1" ="WebWizRTE">N.B There seems to be an access problem with this url but it is, as far as I know., correct.Edited by: halfir
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  19. Arandur of Gondor's Avatar
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    #219
    I'm sorry, your link doesn't work
    In fact Tolkien didn't seem to love "modern" characters and their ways to excel on the others. Denethor had a politic plan that would to be compare to Sauron's plan, if Denethor wasn't to the "side of Good"; defeating Sauron he'd move away from his office all possible claims by the King that was returned (Denethor would appear to be Gondor's saver, and not Aragorn), and then "shall there be two cities of Minas Morgul, grinning at each other across a dead land filled with rottenness" (The Forbidden Pool)
    Tolkien doesn't want that victory, and neither does Faramir, Denethor's son, nor Aragorn, nor Gandalf and the Council of Elrond, that in fact decided for the destruction of the One Ring, whereas Boromir, the other son of Denethor,want that victory to all costs, in the shape he would have it, probably he wasn't seeing the reason for all those cares.The characters who Tolkien loves the most, on the contrary, wanted the victory ofthe "absolute Good", as I call it; the victory on Sauron without resort to his own methods ("the Ring would have seized and used against Sauron; he would not have been annihilated but enslaved, and Barad-dur would not have destroyed but occupied" Foreword to second edition). Denethor was a deep disenchanted with all this matter, like Mercy (Tolkien says, in fact, that peoples like Easterling or Southrons would not have had it easy in the new world ruled by Denethor),perhaps because of his own depression, and his consequent lack of Hope.
    These two quote by Denethor are really interesting:"He [Sauron] uses others as his weapons. So do all great lords, if they are wise, Master Halfling. Or why should I sit here in my tower and think, and watch, and wait, spending ever my sons?"It seems that Denethor is imitatingSauron! And without any pity or hope for others (for him, the End is quite near), even his own sons (Faramir has already gone for get killed), proud of his own "wisdom". That remembers me much of Saruman: "...and made it [Isengard] better, as he thought, being deceived -for all those arts and subtle devices, for which he forssok his former wisdom, and which fondly he imagined were his own, came but from Mordor" (The Road to Isengard)Perhaps he's only a cynical person for necessity, always because of his lack of Hope, that makes him unable to think different. Boromir, tempted by the Ring, had said the same to Frodo: "Gandalf, Elrond (...) for themselves they may be right, they would come to grief perhaps. Yet often I doubt if they are wise and not merely timid. But each to his own kind.(...) The fearless, the ruthless, these alone will achieve victory" (The Breaking of the Fellowship) And Denethor sald to Faramir:"Ever your desire is to appear lordly and generous as a king of old, gracious, gentle. That may well befit one of high race, if he sits in power and peace. But in desperate hours gentleness may be repaid with death" (The Siege of Gondor)
    Both father and son say almost the same words. Boromir haven't pity of Frodo, and he assaults the Hobbit; Denethor lost his pity for his son, and sends him to a desperate war mission. I think that the lack of pity is lack of humility:
    "What a pity that Bilbo did not stab that vile creature [Gollum], when he had a chance!""Pity? It was Pity had stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy; not to strike without need. And he has been well rewarded, Frodo. Be sure that he took so little hurt from the evil, and escaped in the end, because he began his ownership of the Ring so. With Pity.(...)Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends." (The Shadow of the Past)
    Faramir seems to follow Gandalf words to words with Frodo at Henneth Annun. Gandalf, not Denethor. With lack of pity and humility you arrogate the right to say to other what they are, and what they have to do (isn't it the power of the Ring?). But Boromir and Denethor were both desperate when they become so. In my opinion, Hope has always great importance in Lord of the Rings. When you have lost it, most of the time you'll die in two-three chaptersIn fact, the very first thing Gandalf does with them (I think about Théoden, Saruman, Denethor, he wasn't at Amon Hen with Boromir, unfortunately), is trying to give them Hope again.

  20. halfir's Avatar
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    #220
    <DIV =WebWizRTE leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" marginheight="1" marginwidth="1">
    <DIV leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" ="WebWizRTE">the victory on Sauron without resort to his own methods
    <DIV leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" ="WebWizRTE">Indeed, and on several ocasions in the Letters he refers to the fact - in terms of WW2 - that there are orcs on both sides!
    <DIV leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" ="WebWizRTE">
    <DIV leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" marginheight="1" marginwidth="1" ="WebWizRTE">And I'm sorry about the non-working link. I have tried to find the thread in the Archives but without success so possibly it got 'lost' in one of our server moves.Edited by: halfir
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  21. Arandur of Gondor's Avatar
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    #221
    Quote Originally Posted by halfir
    the victory on Sauron without resort to his own methods Indeed, and on several ocasions in the Letters he refers to the fact - in terms of WW2 - that there are orcs on both sides!
    Is it possiblethento find Elf (=good person) to the wrong side?:O

  22. Dorwiniondil's Avatar
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    #222
    Maeglin?
    I am no longer young even in the reckoning of Men of the Ancient Houses.

  23. Arandur of Gondor's Avatar
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    #223
    Quote Originally Posted by Dorwiniondil
    Maeglin?
    Maybe... But with "Elf" I mean "good person", I didn't allude to the race

  24. halfir's Avatar
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    #224
    <DIV =WebWizRTE leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" marginheight="1" marginwidth="1">One can be on the side of 'good' and still adopt orcish behavior seems to me the point that Tolkien is making in the Letters. cf:
    <DIV =WebWizRTE leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" marginheight="1" marginwidth="1">
    <DIV =WebWizRTE leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" marginheight="1" marginwidth="1">Not that in real life things are as clear cut as in a story, and we started out with a great many Orcs on our side Letter # 66
    <DIV =WebWizRTE leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" marginheight="1" marginwidth="1">
    <DIV =WebWizRTE leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" marginheight="1" marginwidth="1">In real (exterior) life men are on both sides; which means a motley alliance of orcs, beasts, demons, plain naturally honest men,and angels. But it does make some difference who are your captains and if they are orc-like per se.Letter # 71
    <DIV =WebWizRTE leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" marginheight="1" marginwidth="1">
    <DIV =WebWizRTE leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" marginheight="1" marginwidth="1">
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.



  25. I may be imagining things (it would not be the first time I have remembered something that didn't exist), but I seem to remember somewhere an even clearer statement from Tolkien that one canhave good people fighting for the wrong (or even evil) side, but that these good people do not redeem the cause they fight for.



    (Some further searching of the published letters . . .)Edit: Once again I am grateful for the excellent index that Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull has made for the letters!
    There are also conflicts about important things or ideas. In such cases I am more impressed by the extreme importance of being on the right side, than I am disturbed by the revelation of the jungle of confused motives, private purposes, and individual actions (noble or base) in which the right and the wrong in actual human conflicts are commonly involved. If the conflict really is about things properly called right and wrong, or good and evil, then the rightness or goodness of one side is not proved or established by the claims of either side; it must depend on values and beliefs above and independent of the particular conflict. A judge must assign right and wrong according to principles which he holds valid in all cases. That being so, the right will remain an inalienable possession of the right side and justify its cause throughout.&lt;...&gt; Similarly, good actions by those on the wrong side will not justify their cause. There may be deeds on the wrong side of heroic courage, or some of a higher moral level: deeds of mercy and forbearance. A judge may accord them honour and rejoice to see how some men can rise above the hate and anger of a conflict; even as he may deplore the evil deeds on the right side and be grieved to see how hatred once provoked can drag them down. But this will not alter his judgement as to which side was in the right, nor his assignment of the primary blame for all the evil that followed to the other side.The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Humprey Carpenter (ed.), no. 183‘Notes on W. H. Auden's review of The Return of the King’ Rewriting, (rewriting, probably done in 1956)
    So Tolkien evidently did think also that it was possible for good people to be on the wrong side, regardless of whether he wrote about it or not. I do not remember any specific individuals, but I think that something of this kind is very strongly implied several times in The Lord of the Rings. We have the Dunlendings that were deceived by Saruman and who were grateful for the mercy shown to them by the Rohirrim after the Battle of the Hornburg, we have Sam's speculations about the dead Southron, and we have the reaction of many of the Men under Sauron's command to the fall of Barad-dûr. In all these cases I think it is strongly implied that men have been deceived or merely ordered to fight for the wrong side, even if they are themselves, as individuals, honourable and good people.
    I suppose it is not unreasonable to ask, when looking at it with through the eyes of modern ethics, why Tolkien did not seize the opportunity to actually showsomeone in the service of Mordor (whether Man, Orc or some other beast) to show some mercy— there are, after all, several occasions where such a scene could have been inserted rather effortlessly into the story— but I think that such is, as I said, an application of modern ethics to a story that is, for all its modernity, still making a deliberate effort to employ a medieval narrative perspective (an early medieval, possibly even dark ages perspective at that). If we think of the The Lord of the Ringsas deliberately following a medieval model of heroic narrative perspective, then I think that we can better appreciate the very large amount of moral ambiguity, of grey-scales, that Tolkien does manage to insert into the story. And remember that he also did personally believe what Haldir quoted:‘it does make some difference who are your captains and if they are orc-like per se.’

    Edited by: Troelsfo
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    The love of Faery is the love of love: a relationship toward all things, animate and inanimate, which includes love and respect ...

  26. I think the situation described in that letter comes across more fully in certain writings where Tolkien was portraying a more human conflict where one side wasn't headed directly by a demonic figure. I'm thinking especially of The Wanderings of Húrin, where it's clear that (despite the murky moral situation) Manthor's 'side' is basically 'right' and the Halad's 'wrong' - but nonetheless there are some who 'held to their loyalty' and sided with the Halad.



    I don't know of too many other stories (finished or unfinished) by Tolkien that show such an almost saga-like conflict between humans so powerfully. In most of his works the 'bad guys' are working either for the Satan-figure or for his lieutenant - while there are clearly 'good people' who have been deceived on his side (as Troelsfopoints out), the 'higher ups' in Sauron's service would all appear to be people willing to work with 'the devil'. This might be part of why the 'Enemy' doesn't make too many laudable choices.
    It is laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination.

  27. halfir's Avatar
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    #227
    <DIV =WebWizRTE leftmargin="1" topmargin="1" marginheight="1" marginwidth="1">Thanks for that quote Troelsfo- I was ttime constrained when I wrote my post and couldn't remember where that much more illuminating quote came in the Letters- one I have used before but remembered poorly.
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  28. boromir06's Avatar
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    #228


    is it me or does anyone else think that imrahil (prince of Dol Amroth) should have been given a par in the film because he had a good few lines and a good part in the book
    A wolf that one hears, is worse than an orc that one fears

  29. boromir06's Avatar
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    #229


    agree with everything you said about barliman but when you mentioned Eomer thats where i disagree with you. when you read the book Eomer is the only willing rohan man to learn of the elves and talk to gimli about Galadriel
    A wolf that one hears, is worse than an orc that one fears

  30. boromir06's Avatar
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    #230


    i don't think people see faramir as a minor charictor even though he was only in one battle and was injured for the rest of them but i agree i would like to see what people would say about faramir
    A wolf that one hears, is worse than an orc that one fears

  31. boromir06's Avatar
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    #231


    Eomer doesn't have a predudice against the elves as it says in the books, infact he is quite open and wants to learn about them
    A wolf that one hears, is worse than an orc that one fears

  32. halfir's Avatar
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    #232
    boromir06: You might like to look at this thread

    A Father and His Son:Denethor and Faramir

    http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/archi...PagePosition=8

    also if you go to the sidebar on the Plaza Main Page and click on the Archives Link as well as a list of archives you will see a link to Plaza Google Custom Search. Click on that and when you are linked type in Faramir (or anything else you want to search for) and a whole host of earlier threads on your topic of interest will apppear.
    He that would foil me must use such weapons as I do, for I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble.

  33. Hanasian's Avatar
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    #233

    LotR - Minor Characters

    I know I'm late to the party, but I have enjoyed the read-through of this thread, despite the HTML coding errors really doing a number on my eyes.
    A couple minor comments....


    Quote Originally Posted by halfir View Post
    Given the very genuine differences of opinion regrading Eomer I have dropped him from the list and substituted Elladan and Elrohir.

    While differences will still remainAS TOr and minor I do not think they need detract from our discussion and its list of characters.

    Once we have completed this very substantial exercise we can review our options for extending our original list to encompass other characters.
    Please remember that this is a leARng thread- we seek to enable as wide a group of people as possible to enjoy an enhanced knowledge of Tolkien's minor LOTR characters.

    The discussion format will follow as below- thus we will start with the Hobbits once the Introductory thread is posted, which I will do tomorrow.

    In the meantime, those who need to,or wish to, can brush-up on the characters listed.

    Fruitful discussions everyone!

    Characters to be discussed -Final List

    Hobbits

    Gaffer Gamgee
    Ted Sandyman
    Lobelia Sackville Baggins
    Farmer Maggott
    Rosie Cotton


    Humans

    Barliman Butterbur
    Bill Ferny
    Hama
    Beregond
    Bergil
    Ioreth
    The herb-master


    Elves and Half -Elven

    Gildor Inglorion
    Arwen Undomiel
    Glorfindel
    Elladan and Elrohir
    Haldir


    Orcs

    Gorbag
    Shagrat
    An interesting list of Minor Characters! I really liked the informative writing on many of these, namely Hama, Elladan and Elrohir, and Shagrat and Gorbag (I wrote a short comedic tale of these two "setting up" after the war as brewers and tavern owners). Their humour really put some sort of life to Orcs in the LotR story.

    Interestingly, I see that some interesting minor characters were left off the list. They would be Halbarad and the other thirty Dunedain Rangers of the North who rode south with the Sons of Elrond. I for one would be interested in an in-depth look at the Dunedain of the North. I will have to get more familiar with the search engine on this site as I'm sure it has been covered somewhere.

    There is a bit added about Halbarad that was added by Troelsfo:

    Quote Originally Posted by Troelsfo View Post
    Speaking of minor characters, there was an interesting discussion in Amon Hen no. 225 about Halbarad; ‘Halbarad Dúnadan: an unsung hero’ by Angela Nicholas.

    Angela Nicholas does a very thorough survey of the (very little) available evidence about Halbarad, and though I think some of her conclusions do stretch the evidence rather thin, other conclusions, such as e.g. that Halbarad was likely a close-ish relative of Aragorn, seem to me on firmer ground. Unfortunately I don't seem to be able to find my copy of this issue of Amon Hen, so I can't give a better summary than this— sorry.

    But whether one agrees with Angela Nicholas' inter- and extrapolations from the evidence, this four-page (attesting her thoroughness) article can still be recommended to anyone interested in the minor characters of The Lord of the Rings and particularly their relationship with the main characters.
    I have to say I am unfamiliar with this write-up by Angela Nicholas! I will have to seek this out! Thanks for sharing this Troelsfo.
    Annalist, Physician, & Historian
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  34. Finduilas Faelivrin's Avatar
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    #234
    Quote Originally Posted by Hanasian View Post
    An interesting list of Minor Characters! I really liked the informative writing on many of these, namely Hama, Elladan and Elrohir, and Shagrat and Gorbag (I wrote a short comedic tale of these two "setting up" after the war as brewers and tavern owners). Their humour really put some sort of life to Orcs in the LotR story.
    I'd be interested in reading that short story, Hanasian! It could form the basis for a fun RPG as well.

  35. Puddleglum19's Avatar
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    #235
    As an interesting twist, Hasanian, you could even have Elladan & Elrohir continuing their crusade against Orcs (remembering ever their mother's captivity and poisoning at orc hands) by setting up as competitors, sworn to drive S & G out of business. Could even weave in that this is the reason why they (as Tolkien noted in a letter) delayed, for a while, their departure from Middle Earth.

  36. Hanasian's Avatar
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    #236
    Quote Originally Posted by Finduilas Faelivrin View Post
    I'd be interested in reading that short story, Hanasian! It could form the basis for a fun RPG as well.
    I'm in the process of gathering up all the various files and storage media I've used over the years on various computers going back twenty years (Geting a 3½" floppy drive working these days is a bit of a challenge). I believe it, or a draft of it was on one I reclaimed.


    Quote Originally Posted by Puddleglum19 View Post
    As an interesting twist, Hasanian, you could even have Elladan & Elrohir continuing their crusade against Orcs (remembering ever their mother's captivity and poisoning at orc hands) by setting up as competitors, sworn to drive S & G out of business. Could even weave in that this is the reason why they (as Tolkien noted in a letter) delayed, for a while, their departure from Middle Earth.
    Yeah, would be a good comedic RP. I pucture the sons of Elrond be more of a Mead Hall sort though.

    I keep saying I'm going to get involved in RP here on the Plaz. Maybe this year, ten years after I registered, it may happen.
    Annalist, Physician, & Historian
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  37. Puddleglum19's Avatar
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    #237
    Quote Originally Posted by Hanasian View Post
    Yeah, would be a good comedic RP. I picture the sons of Elrond be more of a Mead Hall sort though.
    That could just add to the colour of the story - The E&E Mead Hall trying to draw clientele from the local Taverns in general and the S&G Tavern in particular - while, at the same time, working to create a business model that encaptures the "Mead hall" feel in a place local folks will want to come and enjoy / frequent on an evening after a busy day in the fields (or whatever their daily grind/work is).

  38. Adrial Thanan's Avatar
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    #238
    More knowledge about Haldir, Shagrat, and Hama would def interest me
    "Mae govannen elen síla lúmenn omentielvo.. "

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