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Minas Tirith Forums » The Ivy Bush » Why are Tolkien's works so great to you? (Page 1)
Author Topic: Why are Tolkien's works so great to you?
Gothmog35
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In my life, personaly, they are theraputic, I can just relax and escape into the beautiful world of ME. They also have created a legacy that I will pass down to my children.His works truly are timeless.
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Valcurudîn
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I would say something like that. Tolkien's books are a refuge for me. I can just let everything else go, and disappear into ME. Same goes for most books I read, but Tolkien's writing is exeptional in such matters.
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Arathoron
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It may sound easy and stupid, but I would say the same thing. You just can relax and live in the beautifull world of Middle-Earth and just forget everything. Also is it verry good written (probably not like my sentences) and the descriptions are so complete that you can imagine how life would be there, I only hope that they keep those descritions in the movie.
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Perfalaswen
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Well for me it is b/c he writes his fantasy so realistically. His great descriptive writing, along with his creation of different languages and history for the different races for Middle-Earth is for me simply amazing.

Also the qualities of his characters (esp. person's like Aragorn, Frodo and Gandalf) are very admirable and believable and, inspire me to be a better person in many ways.

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
Children, children, don't forget
There are elves and fairies yet;
Where the knotty hawthorn grows
Look for prints of fairy toes.
Where the grassy rings are green
Moonlight dances shall be seen.


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Roll of Honor Mad Uncle Rupert
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Okay, what everyone else said, and:

The Lord of the Rings is a story about restrained, not the obscene, use of power. You find all of these powerful critters walking around, and the smart ones never show their hand. Gandalf doesn't just blow things away. Galadriel doesn't take the ring. Everytime somebody throws his weight around, he gets his butt smacked. Like Saruman.

That kind of story touches everyone, because it's about bullies and tyrants getting their due.


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Arathoron
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I never looked at it that way Uncle, thanks for charing that. A new world opened for me.
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Lord of Dor Daedeloth
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I think, the books are just excelent! All the names, the places and of course the story, everything is just great.
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Anárion
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I guess I have to say it's an escape for me too. Where I can get away from the stresses of real life and loose myself in the world Tolkien created. I could litteraly start reading the fellowship of the ring and keep going all the way to Return of the king withought stop if noone bugged me.

When I read other books, I read them for fun, or becuase they are cool, or just have an interewsting story. But when I read lord of the rings..or anything by Tolkien it's more like I am actually in Middle Earth, there with Frodo and Sam and Aragorn on their journy.


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longbow
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I first read the books in 1971 after my tour in Viet Nam. To me at that time there was no good in the world and no real bad either. You just did what you had to.
These books helped become human once more. I would finish reading the book and start over the same day. Just the beauty and sound of the words as written blew me away. J.J.R. Tolkien helped save my life. That is the Gods truth.

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Star
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Hate to follow your post longbow, I can't top it so I won't try. I consider LOTR therapeutic as well, it helps one resolve good and evil. It also soothes me enough that I can sleep, I'm a terrible insomniac and sometimes it's the difference between functioning and enduring the third sleepless night in a row.

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
This is the end my friend,
My only friend the end...

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Cernunnos
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I wish some of the hostile critics who whine snobbishly about Tolkien's lack of 'realism' or such like nonsense cd read yr post, Longbow. I read it as a child, without yr traumatic experiences, but to me its reality was one of the strongest things about it.

[ 12-11-2001: Message edited by: Cernunnos ]


-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
Whereas the light perceives the very heart of the darkness, its own secret has not been discovered.


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longbow
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I found in the books all of the feelings I went through. I know Prof.Tolkien served in W.W.1 and some of what he felt found it's way into LOTR. I connected with the overwelming fear and sence of isolation that Frodo and Sam faced on their long march into Mordor. They were in a hostile land with only themselves to count on. Shared hardship and danger realy bring people close together.
Tolkien understood these feelings. I almost wrote him about the profound impact his book had on my life but sadly I never did.
When I went back to school LOTR was one thing that my fellow students and I had in common. I was 21 years old and they were 18 or 19 but we could all talk about why we loved the book so much.I was not so much an outsider. I never had the trouble some other vets had in school. I know these great works of art had a great deal to do with my fitting back into a peaceful society.
Well that is my story. I am glad I am not an old poop that let this great new technology pass him by. I am glad I found this site and hope to come back often and speak of happier times.

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Roll of Honor Bethberry
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With greetings, Mad Uncle Rupert, I concur that Middle Earth teaches the restraint of power. Perhaps I might add, the restraint of self-control as well, which leads to the respect for all life.

* nods head courteously*

Bethberry

[ 12-03-2001: Message edited by: Bethberry ]


From: the Bonfire Glade in the Old Forest | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Bethberry
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Amen, my good longbow.

You are an eloquent witness to the Grace which attends in Middle Earth. I hear the songs and stories of my mother Goldberry in your witness.

May I invite you to share a table with Gandalf the Grey and myself at the King's Inn (at the Prancing Pony) some evening?

Bethberry

[ 12-03-2001: Message edited by: Bethberry ]


From: the Bonfire Glade in the Old Forest | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Mad Uncle Rupert
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Thank you, Bethberry. I agree.

*bows*

And thank you, Longbow, for your words and your service to your people.

*bows deeply*

I am at your service


From: Playing softball with the Nazarenes | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gandalf the Grey
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Greetings to longbow, Mad Uncle Rupert, and Bethberry,

longbow: I stand in simple admiration of you for the loyal service as warrior you gave to your native land.

Mad Uncle Rupert and Bethberry: Your viewpoint is similar to my own. (And yes, please do feel welcome (longbow too) to join me at table or fireside at an Inn ... here's hoping we can find a civilized one in these dark times * slight grin *)

One goal of the Fellowship was that each adventurer rely on and bring to it the best efforts of his own unique character, rather than boasting of name or reputation, or wielding power on a careless whim without thought to consequences. Proper focus had to be kept on the success of the Quest.

For example: Yes, being the Utmost High So-and-So (fill in the blank with various assorted regal titles), or having slain an uncountable number of foul monsters while having hung upside-down and blindfolded over a cliff makes for an excellent story around the campfire during the night watch or while sharing drinks in the comfort of an Inn ... and such tales can provide much merriment.

But in order for great deeds to be done, Men (Elves, Dwarves, or any other race you care to name) must put such things aside, come together in unity, and concentrate on just doing the small and sometimes unpleasant or demanding details without the emphasis being on one's own self-importance. This requires sacrifice, and sacrifice = heroism.

Thank you for the opportunity to add my two pieces of mithril to your fine discussion.

At your Service,

Gandalf the Grey


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longbow
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Thank you all for the warm welcome you have given me. The fair people that make up Middle Earth are always kind to the strangers they meet on their travels. I would be glad to enter into any conversation with any of you. It would be my honor.
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Roll of Honor Bethberry
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Greetings All,

*nods to longbow and Mad Uncle Rupert in particular*

So, Gandalf the Grey, would you further agree that LOTR is great not only because sacrifice=heroism, but because the work demonstrates in vividly human terms the reward of that sacrifice?

Bethberry


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Nyneve
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The words of Tolkien take me into another time and place, like it does for many of you here. I can travel with the Fellowship across the lands of Middle Earth meeting the Elves, Dwarves and Races of Men that inhabit the land.

Mad Uncle Rupert, Bethberry, Gandalf the Gray and longbow, each of your points are valid indeed and all contribute much in talking about the complex and subtle themes that are woven throughout Tolkien’s writings. But so far no one as touched on what has impacted me so much about the story; friendship. The pure and simple friendship that existed between Frodo and Sam.

Since first reading the Hobbit and LOTR, long ago (about the same time as longbow ), that is what has always stuck in my mind and stays with me to this day. The loyalty and friendship between these two as they traveled together, facing hazards not dreamed of while in the safety of the Shire, totally blows me away. Friendships like this are scarce, whether in the real world or in the writings of other authors.


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Gandalf the Grey
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Bethberry: I'd very much agree. It's so important that each of the members of the Fellowship are recognized and rewarded in line with their uniquely individual talents, inclinations, personal dreams, favored tastes in an intricately intimate way which upholds the respect and worth of each person valued for himself, and with much pageantry and music. The personal touch and the amount of caring and effort to make the celebration so meaningful to each one is far superior to the vague and corporate and ultimately boring "and they all lived happily ever after."

Nyneve: Actually, I agree with your point infinitely more than with the point I had been earlier discussing with Mad Rupert and Bethberry about the restraint of power. Friendship to me as well has been what's caught my attention in the Fellowship of the Ring, and in fact the reason why I came to Minas Tirith was in the hopes of making friends ... real friends, not just typing back and forth to be valued only as "words on a screen" like what tends to happen all too often in the realm of the internet. So as for what you say, I can only echo your words. * bows *

Gandalf the Grey

[ 12-04-2001: Message edited by: Gandalf the Grey ]


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Nyneve
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And now the direction of this thread may be turning in a different direction and for that I apologize in advance to Gothmog35.

Like in the Fellowship, IMHO friendship is not something made nor gained, but something given freely, without thought for what will be given in return. It is a trust in your fellow man, a trust that is sometimes taken for granted both in real life and in this vast realm of the internet.

Sometimes all that is needed is a common bond to bring people together, a common bond such as the high regard we all share for the works of Tolkien.


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Roll of Honor Bethberry
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Greetings Nyneve,

*offers hand in making your acquaintance*

I think you have expressed very well the significance of community and of trust in friendship. What you are saying speaks, I think, to longbow's profound experience when he first read Tolkien: to make us feel a part of the human community. This seems to me to still answer the initial question as well as demonstrate what Tolkien felt was an essential function of fantasy, to satisfy the human need for fellowship.

Here is a statement Tolkien made about this point in his famous essay "On Fairy-Stories":

"The magic of Fairie is not an end in itself; its virtue is in its operations: among these are the satisfaction of certain primordial desires. One of these desires is to survey the depths of space and time. Another is ... to hold communion with other living things."

Tolkien in the essay was specifically talking about animals (in terms of beast tales) but the general tone of his essay of course includes human fellowship such as you are discussing.

Sincerely,
Bethberry

[ 12-05-2001: Message edited by: Bethberry ]


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Roll of Honor Thorondor
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Greeting to all in this wonderful thread. So many things I feel moved to add....

Firstly, a bow to longbow and Nyeneve. Always glad to meet fellow...ah, how to put this.."mature" readers. I too first read Tolkien in '71 (I was trying to survive high school, I missed 'Nam by virtue of a lucky birthday). Remarkable, isn't it that 30 years later we are still reading these books and learning from them.

And I second Nyeneve's point about the friendships. I'm not sure I saw this in my early readings, but more and more I am moved by the loyalty and love amongst the fellowship, especially between Frodo and Sam. I don't know if its a result of repeat readings, or my advancing age, but this relationship strikes me as one of the more remarkable aspects of the story.

Since reading a biography of Tolkien eight or so years ago, I am aware of his service in WW1, and the personal losses he suffered at the time. There can be no doubt that that experience shapes and drives much of the emotional arc of this story. Tolkien has given hints of this in his comments and letters. We could do quite a long thread on just this subject, I expect.

I hate to admit it but it took me some time to fully "get" that Sam and Frodo know that they are on a one way trip; a suicide mission. They don't speak about it in such terms, but, of course, that's how they would behave. Tolkien had personal knowledge of how people behave when they are about to go over the wall of the trench, and charge into no-man's-land and the machine guns beyond. Sam and Frodo wondering what stories folks will tell about them in days to come, or whether they'll be remembered at all, or the moments immediately after the destruction of the ring; these are difficult scenes to read without choking up.

Another reason these stories are so special concerns the unique nature of the principle heros. The classic tales, and most of the Sil, feature heros that are...well, "heroic", in the traditional sense. LOTR is different (and very 20th century, IMHO) in that the heros are such unlikely folks. Little people (literaly and figuratively), agrarian, unassuming, and peaceful, and somewhat anachronistic in their world. They are pulled, somewhat unwillingly, out of their happy homeland and thrust into a global struggle for power and domination (kinda like Tolkien and his pals in WW1). We identify with the hobbits, and thier courage, persistance, and loyalty reflects back on us, and we love them for it.

Finally,Tolkien knew well that the classic myths and folk stories have deep meanings and messages that keep them alive and relevant through the ages. He sought to write a story with similar virtues. He was also a man of "values", to use the modern term, a man with strong beliefs. As he worked to craft and fine-tune the stories he was not only trying to make them work as "story" (although that happened), he sought to make them work as "myth". He succeeded. Some of the debates on these boards can be pretty trivial (Balrog wings?), but many are not. Tolkien did not fill his story with witty puzzles for fans to figure out, he filled them with meaning. Denethor's fall, Boromir's redemption, Frodo sparing Gollum's life; these are more than plot devises. They carry important meaning and are worth thinking about. How many books, outside of the major religious tracts, can justify 30+ years of reading, study and enjoyment?


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Roll of Honor Bethberry
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*shuffles in with a weary sigh and takes a seat on the wooden bench, looking for a stool on which to rest her hot, tired feet, leaning her elbow on the plank table, and reflecting on how attractive are the simple creature comforts of the Hobbit homes back in the Shire*

*coughs quietly*

It seems that several 'mature' readers are finding their way to the Ivy Bush. I hope this doesn't mean we will end up with an 'old folks' home' instead of an inn here. * grins*

Bethberry

[ 12-05-2001: Message edited by: Bethberry ]


From: the Bonfire Glade in the Old Forest | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Mad Uncle Rupert
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*sliding a stool over for Bethberry and adding another log to the fire*

(Gandalf, I promise to behave)

It is wonderful to hear such talk in this dark age!

I agree that friendship is an important part of the story, as well as our own lives. I have tried, over the years, to be the best friend I can to my fellows, and importantly, not expect the same in return. Of course, it is a joy when you get what you give, but nothing beats the joy of knowing you are a good friend. Almost nothing. If, by chance, a friend goes to great lengths for you because he knows you would do it for him, THAT is the greatest joy of friendship.

Also, the Fellowship teaches us that friendship transcends all boundries, be they race, religion, or whatever. If even a Dwarf and Elf can be made fast friends, why not black and white?

I am enjoying the fact that words like Honor, Loyalty, Duty, and Virtue, used so liberally in Tolkien's work, are now used freely in our society again. It seems like yesterday when such terms were considered "trite".

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
Keep Minas Tirith Clean

"My dignity...she is gone..."


From: Playing softball with the Nazarenes | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Create a New Topic  Reply to this Topic Minas Tirith Forums » The Ivy Bush » Why are Tolkien's works so great to you? (Page 1)
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