Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

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J. T. SHEA
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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by J. T. SHEA » May 27th, 2010, 2:59 pm

Mira's suggestion of Gollum's redemption is fascinating. Watching the movies (I have not yet read the whole story) I hoped Gollum might be redeemed and was quite dismayed he wasn't (as I saw it at the time).

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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by Mira » May 28th, 2010, 4:05 pm

J.T. - thank you! :)

I don't know if I'm right in my interpretation, but it's fun to think about. I do think that the dual failures of Gollum ( broke his oath) and Frodo (reached his limit) leading to the downfall of Evil, makes Tolkein's point that the ring is too dangerous to exist, and elevates the book to greatness. It would be a very different story if Frodo just made it to Mt. Doom, threw the ring in and went home. :)

So......re. reading the books. When is it your turn to trudge up Mt. Doom with Frodo and Sam? :)

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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by Matthew MacNish » June 25th, 2010, 1:39 pm

Bryan Russell/Ink wrote:I like it for thematic reasons. And I think it's one of the things that so many of the copycats missed. Tolkien had a Dark Lord, embodiment of evil, sort of villain, which set up the whole Good vs. Evil conflict. All the copycats grabbed this and ran with it. But they all seemed to miss the second half of what Tolkien did, and that was to explore the human nature of evil, too. I mean, the One Ring, really, is all about sin and its seductiveness. Do you take up the Ring for yourself or destroy it? And no one is perfect. Frodo is not some embodiment of goodness, and in the end he actually fails. The Ring falls because of Gollum (luck, fate, the will of God/the Valar). And so I think, in a sense, the toppling of Sauron ends the capital "G" Good versus the capital "E" Evil conflict, and the return to the Shire suggests the ongoing good versus evil conflict which we can never escape, not even in glorious little Hobbiton.

It's why, I think, so many of the stories that followed after Tolkien's lacked the same depth and resonance.
You make a great point Bryan. On the surface the novel makes it seem as though Tolkien believed that good and evil, right and wrong were simple - black and white. Yet it is that secondary conflict in the Shire - and the subsequent leaving behind of Middle Earth at the Grey Havens that hints that it is not so.

Also the fact that Melkor (Morgoth) can never be destroyed, sort of biblical, but of course that is never mentioned in the Trilogy.

Nathan will you ever consider reading The Silmarillion or The Unfinished Tales? IMHO the Silmarillion is the better of the two.

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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by Nathan Bransford » June 26th, 2010, 6:28 pm

Matthew Rush wrote: Nathan will you ever consider reading The Silmarillion or The Unfinished Tales? IMHO the Silmarillion is the better of the two.
Probably not for some time - I don't even usually re-read books by the same author, so reading four in a row was quite a commitment. For my job I need to be as widely read as possible and that means I'm usually one-and-done when it comes to individuals authors.

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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by Rhonda » July 26th, 2010, 8:25 pm

Nathan Bransford wrote: I don't even usually re-read books by the same author, so reading four in a row was quite a commitment. For my job I need to be as widely read as possible and that means I'm usually one-and-done when it comes to individuals authors.
Your job seemed cool until I read that. I like to read as much as I can of an author I like. Oh well. Guess I'll just continue my stint as a stay at home mom.

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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by Matthew MacNish » July 28th, 2010, 10:07 pm

Rhonda wrote:
Nathan Bransford wrote: I don't even usually re-read books by the same author, so reading four in a row was quite a commitment. For my job I need to be as widely read as possible and that means I'm usually one-and-done when it comes to individuals authors.
Your job seemed cool until I read that. I like to read as much as I can of an author I like. Oh well. Guess I'll just continue my stint as a stay at home mom.
At least he didn't say never. And let's face it, even for us Tolkien fanatics there is no question that The Silmarillion, cool as it is, is not the story the Trilogy is. Or the Hobbit for that matter.

Nathan I'm glad you've gotten rid of one of those - what did you call them in that post - gap books?

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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by knight_tour » July 29th, 2010, 2:40 am

Matt, I used to agree with you, but it seems that as I have gotten older my tastes have changed. I now think the Silmarillion is the very best of Tolkien's books. I love all of them, but there is something exquisitely beautiful about the Silmarillion, at least if you read it correctly. It is a lot of work, as you need to check each name or place on the map when you don't know it (which is often). That is the only way that one can really understand it all. It is written more as a history than a tale, so I completely understand why younger people (myself included when I was young) don't like it so much.

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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by Matthew MacNish » July 29th, 2010, 6:15 pm

knight_tour wrote:Matt, I used to agree with you, but it seems that as I have gotten older my tastes have changed. I now think the Silmarillion is the very best of Tolkien's books. I love all of them, but there is something exquisitely beautiful about the Silmarillion, at least if you read it correctly. It is a lot of work, as you need to check each name or place on the map when you don't know it (which is often). That is the only way that one can really understand it all. It is written more as a history than a tale, so I completely understand why younger people (myself included when I was young) don't like it so much.
Well don't get me wrong - I do love it, a lot. But it's not as fun to read as a real story. Each story in it is beautiful in it's own way, especially the creation myth and the tale of Beren and Luthien, but to me it's more academic, almost like the Bible in a way. It's difficult for me to articulate exactly what I mean, but I will say that I would absolutely love if each story within it had it's own trilogy. With it's own set of deep characters and fully fleshed out plots. I particularly think that the fall of Gondolin would be a tragic but beautiful tale.

I've read the whole thing through 4-5 times, but only once as an adult. The War of the Ring Trilogy I have read at least 15 times. I used to read it every spring when I was young - probaby 8 years straight or so from like fifth grade on. As far as I'm concerned it's the most entertaining story ever. Now that I'm trying to become a writer I realize that technically Tolkien had many faults, but weak writing here and there takes nothing from the overall tale, at least not for me. The themes of good vs. evil, nature vs. industry, loyalty vs. betrayal, progress vs. tradition, love, humility and forgiveness that are told in such a way that as a young child I could grasp them and as a discerning adult can still be spellbound by them raise it above all other stories for me.

Some of it has to do with memory and emotion. I think each person (or at least each person who becomes addicted to reading) has a story that touches them in a special way at a certain point in their life ... and nothing else will ever compare to that connection. I could go on for a while about all of this but am rambling.

Any word out there on when the New Line Special Extended Editions will be released on Blu-Ray? I can't justify buying a player until they do.

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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by Bryan Russell/Ink » July 29th, 2010, 6:36 pm

Matthew Rush wrote:It's difficult for me to articulate exactly what I mean, but I will say that I would absolutely love if each story within it had it's own trilogy. With it's own set of deep characters and fully fleshed out plots. I particularly think that the fall of Gondolin would be a tragic but beautiful tale.
I know completely what you mean. I love the Silmarillion, but I always ached to realize these in fully realized stories. And I've always wanted to novelize the story of Beren and Luthien myself. It just screams out for it. But the book, really, is a fabricated mythology, written in the "tell" fashion typical of such myths. But oh, how I wanted some of them to be "shown".
The Alchemy of Writing at www.alchemyofwriting.blogspot.com

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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by Matthew MacNish » July 29th, 2010, 11:47 pm

Bryan Russell/Ink wrote:
Matthew Rush wrote:It's difficult for me to articulate exactly what I mean, but I will say that I would absolutely love if each story within it had it's own trilogy. With it's own set of deep characters and fully fleshed out plots. I particularly think that the fall of Gondolin would be a tragic but beautiful tale.
I know completely what you mean. I love the Silmarillion, but I always ached to realize these in fully realized stories. And I've always wanted to novelize the story of Beren and Luthien myself. It just screams out for it. But the book, really, is a fabricated mythology, written in the "tell" fashion typical of such myths. But oh, how I wanted some of them to be "shown".
Oh my dear Bryan, I always knew there was a reason we connected so. Also what's his name? The human warrior who meets the dwarf on Amon Rudh? Shit I have to look it up, I'll be right back ... doh! Turin. God I can't believe I brainfarted that. Anyway I would LOVE to read his full story. That one wouldn't even have to be a trilogy as long as it was around 200,000 words or more.

There are like about 20 amazing novels waiting to happen in those legends. It's really sad because I get the feeling that Tolkien had intended to flesh these stories out more. I've only read a couple of those paperbacks that were compiled by Chris from his father's notes but it seems as if there are volumes upon volumes of tales he wanted to tell about that world ... it's so sad, and yet it's kind of bittersweet because like a great song that gets played out on the radio, if all those stories had made it to print it would have weakened the power of the originals ...

I'll leave you with John Howe's incredible rendition of Amon Rudh:

http://www.john-howe.com/portfolio/gall ... ode=search

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Re: Start with THE HOBBIT or FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?

Post by knight_tour » July 30th, 2010, 1:50 am

I always wanted to write the fleshed out version of the battle where Morgoth's hordes overwhelmed the defenders around Angband. Since it was never realistic to actually write it, knowing it couldn't get published, I used this idea in my own book (Matt, you would know it as Geldrath's storyline). It isn't quite as cool as it would have been. Anyhow, I detailed how I would have written it in this blog post - http://tedacross.blogspot.com/2010/02/f ... lkien.html

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