1. Joined
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    17 Jul '07 20:43
    Originally posted by Nemesio
    In The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien fused his ardent Catholicism with a deep, nostalgic love for the unspoiled English landscape.
    Say what?!

    I know this qualifies as thread drift but I don't see the Catholicism in The Lord of the Rings. I see a lot of pre-christian heathen aspects (i.e. Norse/Teutonic Mythology) to it such as Dwarves, Elves, Runes, Odinic like figure in Gandalf, etc.

    If anything Tolkein had a hard on for things non-Christian.
  2. tinyurl.com/ywohm
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    17 Jul '07 21:42
    Originally posted by Ullr
    Say what?!

    I know this qualifies as thread drift but I don't see the Catholicism in The Lord of the Rings. I see a lot of pre-christian heathen aspects (i.e. Norse/Teutonic Mythology) to it such as Dwarves, Elves, Runes, Odinic like figure in Gandalf, etc.

    If anything Tolkein had a hard on for things non-Christian.
    You mean you missed the part where Gollum left the swamp during the riddles to go hear confessions? And how Aragorn had to disappear for a while because he had to go to Mass? Which version did you read?
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    18 Jul '07 06:30
    I personally think that Hogwarts resembles a Benedictine monastery. None of the teachers have a romantic life, they seem to be celibate. The teachers have devoted themselves to teaching the rudiments of their knowledge to the youth and to defeating evil. There just seems something so monastic about the need to withdraw to a secluded area to accumulate knowledge (even if of magic) and avoid temptations (to do evil).

    Though I suppose these monastic themes could be found in all of human culture, even the secular.
  4. Standard memberNemesio
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    18 Jul '07 06:33
    Originally posted by pawnhandler
    You mean you missed the part where Gollum left the swamp during the riddles to go hear confessions? And how Aragorn had to disappear for a while because he had to go to Mass? Which version did you read?
    Rich!
  5. Standard memberNemesio
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    18 Jul '07 06:341 edit
    Originally posted by Ullr
    If anything Tolkein had a hard on for things non-Christian.
    You know, I just sort of glossed over that part taking for granted that it's correct.

    I'm no slouch on Roman Catholicism (Ivanhoe's and Lucifershammer's opinions notwithstanding), and
    I'm trying to think of something specific to the RCC that is reflected in LOTH, and I can't think of one.

    Hmmmmm.

    Nemesio
  6. Cape Town
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    18 Jul '07 07:45
    Originally posted by Nemesio
    You know, I just sort of glossed over that part taking for granted that it's correct.
    I'm no slouch on Roman Catholicism (Ivanhoe's and Lucifershammer's opinions notwithstanding), and
    I'm trying to think of something specific to the RCC that is reflected in LOTH, and I can't think of one.
    Hmmmmm.
    Nemesio
    I seem to remember Tolkien specifically stating that he tried to keep religion (and the moral issues surrounding world war 2) out of the book.

    For me the total absence of the God concept in the Lord of the Rings is a large part of its beauty. None of the characters seem to believe in any form of deity(s).
    For me, the Narnia Chronicles always leave me thinking "If Aslan is so powerful etc then why doesn't he help out a bit more?" Sometimes his lack of action is simply criminal.
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    18 Jul '07 07:46
    Originally posted by Nemesio
    You know, I just sort of glossed over that part taking for granted that it's correct.

    I'm no slouch on Roman Catholicism (Ivanhoe's and Lucifershammer's opinions notwithstanding), and
    I'm trying to think of something specific to the RCC that is reflected in LOTH, and I can't think of one.

    Hmmmmm.

    Nemesio
    One of Tolkein's main aims in LOTR was to create a folklore. He was disappointed that England has no indigenous folklore, taking what it has from Celtic, Norse and other. I'd say that rather than mirror current spiritual traditions he was creating new ones (in as much as they existed in Middle Earth), if anything the origins were pagan and wiccan, rather than the dogmatic constructions of the RCC.
  8. Standard memberPalynka
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    18 Jul '07 10:00
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    For me the total absence of the God concept in the Lord of the Rings is a large part of its beauty. None of the characters seem to believe in any form of deity(s).
    I have to disagree.

    The creation myth in Ainulindale (Silmarillion) is one of the most beautiful works of Tolkien, in my opinion. Myth was a significant part of Tolkien's work and in this myth the presence of deities was fundamental (e.g. the elves leaving Middle-Earth to be with the Valar).

    I think that Tolkien's work would be immensely poorer if the divine aspects of myth were not present.
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    18 Jul '07 10:461 edit
    Originally posted by Palynka
    I have to disagree.

    The creation myth in Ainulindale (Silmarillion) is one of the most beautiful works of Tolkien, in my opinion. Myth was a significant part of Tolkien's work and in this myth the presence of deities was fundamental (e.g. the elves leaving Middle-Earth to be with the Valar).

    I think that Tolkien's work would be immensely poorer if the divine aspects of myth were not present.
    I never got round to reading the Silmarillion so I missed that bit.
    Is there any mention of the Valar being deities?

    There were certainly ghosts implying a belief in some sort of soul but I don't remember if it says where they went after Aragorn released them. Its been a few years (>10 actually) since I read Lord of the Rings.

    Certainly the books do not promote a "One God" concept and as such should not have been given as a counter example to Harry Potter by Lev Grossman and I strongly suspect that Lev Grossman did not read the Lord of the Rings or hoped that his readers hadn't.
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    18 Jul '07 11:25
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I never got round to reading the Silmarillion so I missed that bit.
    Is there any mention of the Valar being deities?

    There were certainly ghosts implying a belief in some sort of soul but I don't remember if it says where they went after Aragorn released them. Its been a few years (>10 actually) since I read Lord of the Rings.

    Certainly the books d ...[text shortened]... spect that Lev Grossman did not read the Lord of the Rings or hoped that his readers hadn't.
    Well I think the Silmarillion was written after TLOTR (although he may have sorted out the backstory before) and I don't think there's much reference to the Valar at all in TLOTR.

    However, the Silmarillion does have a single chief God, Ilúvatar who created the Valar as lesser gods and guided them in the creation (through song) of the world and all its peoples. One of the Valar, Melkor, rebelled and became the first 'dark lord'. The whole thing feels much more Norse than anything else.

    --- Penguin.
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    18 Jul '07 12:07
    Originally posted by Starrman
    One of Tolkein's main aims in LOTR was to create a folklore. He was disappointed that England has no indigenous folklore, taking what it has from Celtic, Norse and other. I'd say that rather than mirror current spiritual traditions he was creating new ones (in as much as they existed in Middle Earth), if anything the origins were pagan and wiccan, rather than the dogmatic constructions of the RCC.
    Or possibly to bring back the folklore that was. In a way LOTR seems to be somewhat of a lament about lost culture (i.e. the elves leaving middle earth) No question he drew heavily upon Norse/Teutonic mythology. Go read the Poetic Eddas , Snorri Sturlisson's Edda, Beowulf, etc. and you'll see the many similarities. Dwarves, Elves, Trolls, etc. I think one very old story that influenced Tolkien was The Saga of the Volsungs which is a thoroughly "heathen" tale.

    Also in Norse Mythology the part of the universe that we mortals live in is referred to as Midgardr (translation meaning "Earth" in Old Icelandic) and was thought to sit in the middle of the 9 worlds. Similar to Middle Earth no? The world to the West of Midgardr was known as Vanaheim (home of the very elflike clan of deities know as the Vanir) and may have some correlation to the land that the Elves retired to at the end of LOTR.

    Once slight correction to what you've said. Wicca had nothing to do with it. Wicca is a modern invention. A "new age" religion if you will that was invented by Gerald Gardner and become publicly know in 1954 when he published the book "Witchcraft Today" well after Tolkien's writings were underway. And Gardner was more influenced by the work of Aleister Crowley, the Golden Dawn, etc. than anything.

    Also it appears that Tolkein did begin writing the Silmarillion before LOTR but it was not released until afterwards.

    http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ngbeyond/rings/timeline.html
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    18 Jul '07 12:08
    Originally posted by Palynka
    I have to disagree.

    The creation myth in Ainulindale (Silmarillion) is one of the most beautiful works of Tolkien, in my opinion. Myth was a significant part of Tolkien's work and in this myth the presence of deities was fundamental (e.g. the elves leaving Middle-Earth to be with the Valar).

    I think that Tolkien's work would be immensely poorer if the divine aspects of myth were not present.
    I completely agree with you.
  13. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    18 Jul '07 12:131 edit
    Originally posted by Ullr
    Also it appears that Tolkein did begin writing the Silmarillion before LOTR but it was not released until afterwards.

    http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ngbeyond/rings/timeline.html
    In 1916, while languishing in hospital, apparently.

    I've read a critic who argued that TLOTR is a modernist work comparable to Ulysses undeservedly neglected by his colleagues but embraced by the public. Critics, eh?

    (I came across another view, I forget where, that Elves are idealised Ancient Hebrews...
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    18 Jul '07 16:52
    Originally posted by Ullr
    Or possibly to bring back the folklore that was. In a way LOTR seems to be somewhat of a lament about lost culture (i.e. the elves leaving middle earth) No question he drew heavily upon Norse/Teutonic mythology. Go read the Poetic Eddas , Snorri Sturlisson's Edda, Beowulf, etc. and you'll see the many similarities. Dwarves, Elves, Trolls, etc. I think one ...[text shortened]... until afterwards.

    http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ngbeyond/rings/timeline.html
    Witchcraft of unidentified origins then.
  15. Standard memberColetti
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    18 Jul '07 20:051 edit
    Originally posted by Nemesio
    ...

    Rowling's work is so familiar that we've forgotten how radical it really is. Look at her literary forebears. In The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien fused his ardent Catholicism with a deep, nostalgic love for the unspoiled English landscape. C.S. Lewis was a devout Anglican whose Chronicles of Narnia forms an extended argument for Christian faith. N he answer is easy: God....
    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1642885,00.html
    I'm wondering if the same things could be said about L. Frank Baums' books like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz? One could not remotely say that his books contained any notion of God or Christianity. And I don't recall any popular craze for the books of Tolkien or C.S. Lewis, like there was for Baums.
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