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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 2:49 am 
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Holbytla wrote:
I maintain that it is Aragorn who is the protagonist of the story, and that the hobbits (while important) are secondary characters. The story can be construed as a culmination of the Akallabêth.

And I suppose if you want to get right down to the roots, it is a final ending of the War of Wrath.

It seems to me that the hobbits are central to this act of the story, but not on the broader scope of it.


This reminds me of Frodo's and Sam's discussion on the way to Cirith Ungol, when Sam says they're in the same tale as Beren and Lúthien of old, and Frodo says they're just in a different part of it.

But we do get ahead of ourselves. :)


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 6:08 am 
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A bit, perhaps. But I'm not conceding that particular point to Holby. To me the story has meaning insofar as it's conveyed by the experiences of the hobbits. I hear what he's saying about Aragorn, and the larger tale; but it's both larger and more remote. I can't stop seeing Aragorn's story as something written on a wall behind the events that I experience as real. When Aragorn's story moves me is when and where it moves the hobbits.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:56 pm 
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Morwenna wrote:
Holbytla wrote:
I maintain that it is Aragorn who is the protagonist of the story, and that the hobbits (while important) are secondary characters. The story can be construed as a culmination of the Akallabêth.

And I suppose if you want to get right down to the roots, it is a final ending of the War of Wrath.

It seems to me that the hobbits are central to this act of the story, but not on the broader scope of it.


This reminds me of Frodo's and Sam's discussion on the way to Cirith Ungol, when Sam says they're in the same tale as Beren and Lúthien of old, and Frodo says they're just in a different part of it.

But we do get ahead of ourselves. :)


I think there is very scant evidence to suggest that Aragorn is the protagonist of LOTR. IMO, that's revisionist history!

He may be a protagonist in the context of the broader sweep of the Third Age, but LOTR's context, as a story in its own right, is primarily that of the Shire, and the victory of its humble representatives over arrogance, pride and domination. In this framework, which Tolkien gives us, the hobbits take the lead.

But if we wanted to take a bigger picture look at it, a second candidate for "protagonist" would have to collectively be the elves. It's a story about their fading, and the victory of the mundane over the faery, as much as it is a story about power and humility.

IMO, Aragorn's path to the kingship is a rather marginal part of the story. He's basically just a band aid on a mortal wound - merely buying mankind a few more years before slipping into darkness.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:43 pm 
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That's an interesting take on his role, and a rather gloomy one. Probably, though, Tolkien would agree. In certain moods, I find his work Quite gloomy! There is hope, but, knowing his Catholicism, the hope is a religious one, not a temporal one.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:01 pm 
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Given that Tolkien himself said that LOTR was primarily about Death and the desire for deathlessness, I think he would agree that it is quite gloomy!

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 7:14 pm 
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I remember the first time I tried to read LotR in (roughly) sixth grade, having loved The Hobbit. I couldn't get through this chapter, and I was pretty upset when I realized Bilbo wouldn't be the main character. Fortunately, I gave LotR another shot about a year later.

I like it much more now. There's a lot of good comic bits here - Bilbo's snarky gifts, his speech, Hobbit culture in general, "It was a compliment and therefore not true." I've occasionally people say Tolkien lacked a sense of humor, but it's pretty obviously wrong I think.

Gandalf the Grey is has more of a dark edge in the books, doesn't he? Threatening to blow Frodo's door down, even if we assume he's not really serious! And he hints at torturing Gollum in the next chapter too.


Last edited by kzer_za on Sun Jan 12, 2014 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 7:27 pm 
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People who say Tolkien is humorless probably haven't read his books. I find humor to be one of his strong points!


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:08 pm 
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Do people say Tolkien is humorless? :scratch:

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:25 pm 
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yovargas wrote:
Do people say Tolkien is humorless? :scratch:


I haven't heard that very often myself. Though I do recall someone on the radio commenting on the LOTR films, and arguing that Tolkien himself is responsible for all the humorless doom and gloom that pervades the films...


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:35 pm 
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yovargas wrote:
Do people say Tolkien is humorless? :scratch:

I have seen/heard people occasionally say this at least about LotR, yes. I think they usually have the more mythic/heroic sections in mind, which are more serious. But one of the keys to understanding LotR is that it's a mythic story told through modern Hobbit eyes.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:29 pm 
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Then again, humor doesn't always translate across the Atlantic or across time or even across occupational or social classes. And then there are those who scoff at the Shire chapters without noticing the humor.

There's less excuse, though, for missing the humor in Gandalf's exasperation with Pippin, for instance! But that would mean that some people refuse to find humor in tense or unhappy situations. If so, they are the poorer for it; humor certainly occurs in such situations in real life! If it didn't, I think everyone would be suicidal.


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