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 Post subject: Some questions
PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2014 11:33 pm 
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Hi!

In this thread I want to throw out several miscellaneous questions concerning mainly the books (and partly the films).

Book questions

A. The second and third installments of “The Lord of the Rings” mainly take place in winter, late February and early March from what I recall. I do not recall Middle-earth being covered in snow though. Does Tolkien ever mention snow or freezing temperatures in “The Two Towers” or “The Return of the King”? If not, how does Tolkien explain the relatively warm weather in Rohan/Gondor during that period? Abnormally warm winter? Southern latitudes (though it has to be said, winters can be harsh in Southern Europe too)? Global warming (looking at you, Saruman)?

B. Is it true that Tolkien conceived the Rohirrim as “Anglo-Saxons with horses” because of the defeat at Hastings, where the English lacked any cavalry and thereby lost to the Normans?

C. When Tolkien first came up with the term “hobbit” did he think of them as inhabiting the same universe as his First Age heroes (Túrin, Beren, etc.) from the start, or was this a later idea?

D. If redemption is a main theme of “The Lord of the Rings” why do all major “evil” characters fail to do so when given the chance(Wormtongue, Saruman, Gollum)?

Film questions

E. When the Hobbit films were announced for the first time there were plans for a bridge-film. Is it still possible for the producers to make such a film independently from “The Hobbit”, say in five, six years’ time? Or do they infringe on any rights that way? I am neither in favor or in opposition to such a project as of now, but given the financial success of “The Hobbit” I think the possibility exists for such a production (do not worry, those of you who dislike PJ as a director, I think we can rule him out for that one).

F. Which invented scene from the films (LOTR and Hobbit) do you consider closest to Tolkien, as in if you had not read the books for quite some time and recently saw the film you would think it was straight from the source material? On the other hand, which scenes from the book could be labelled “typical Hollywood/PJ inventions” if one were not really familiar with the source material? Rereading “Helm’s Deep” and Éowyn’s battle with the Witch-King made me chuckle a little bit: I could imagine people on Facebook et al. (Mind you, I do not put PJ’s critics on this site in this category) criticizing PJ for inventing “that silly and nonsensical game of Legolas and Gimli counting their kills during battle” or lambasting the writers for creating “that Mary-Sue character called Éowyn who serves as a crypto-feminist to appease the political-correct critics”. :)


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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2014 12:16 am 
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A. There is a reference to snow when Aragorn and Gandalf finds the scion of the White Tree:

"Then Aragorn turned, and there was a stony slope behind him running down from the skirts of the snow; and as he looked he was aware that alone there in the waste a growing thing stood. And he climbed to it, and saw that out of the very edge of the snow there sprang a sapling tree no more than three foot high. Already it had put forth young leaves long and shapely, dark above and silver beneath, and upon its slender crown it bore one small cluster of flowers whose white petals shone like the sunlit snow."

And when Éowyn and Faramir were looking out from the Houses of Healing:

"But she now shivered beneath the starry mantle, and she looked northward, above the grey hither lands, into the eye of the cold wind where far away the sky was hard and clear."

And several references to the cold when Sam and Frodo were in Mordor:
"Then he made his way stealthily to the outlet of Shelob’s tunnel, where the rags of her great web were still blowing and swaying in the cold airs."

"Out of the north from the Black Gate through Cirith Gorgor there flowed whispering along the ground a thin cold air."

"At last he groped for Frodo’s hand. It was cold and trembling. His master was shivering.
‘I didn’t ought to have left my blanket behind,’ muttered Sam; and lying down he tried to comfort Frodo with his arms and body."

"But even while he spoke so, to keep fear away until the very last, his eyes still strayed north, north into the eye of the wind, to where the sky far off was clear, as the cold blast, rising to a gale, drove back the darkness and the ruin of the clouds."

And the mustering of the Riders of Rohan:

"Now all the great assembly was falling into shadow, and yet, though the night-chill blew cold from the heights no lanterns glowed, no fires were lit. Watchmen heavily cloaked paced to and fro."

And Gandalf and Pippin's approach to Minas Tirith:

"It was twilight: the cold dawn was at hand again, and chill grey mists were about them. "

etc.

B. I don't really have anything to say about this one.

C. This one requires either a short answer or a long one. The short answer is yes and no. There was reference to Lúthien and Beren in the early stages of the first draft of The Hobbit. And Tolkien explicitly stated that his unpublished Silmarillion tales were an influence on the writing of The Hobbit. But it really wasn't meant to be part of his mythology. My opinion is that he liberally used characters and places from his mythology to broaden the tale that he was inventing to amuse his children, without much thought as to how that would be thought of in the future. After all, he wasn't writing The Hobbit to be published.

D. I don't consider "redemption" to be a main theme of the Lord of the Rings, so it is not a problem as far as I am concerned.

E. Yes, it is still possible, so long as they either use material based on the LOTR appendices or make them up themselves, and don't use material from UT, the Silmarillion, etc. I doubt Jackson would be involved, but I would not be surprised if the studio tries to milk it nonetheless.

F. From LOTR, the scene between Aragorn and Galadriel that appears only in the FOTR EE. From The Hobbit, the lovely Feast of Starlight scene between Tauriel and Kili.

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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2014 4:09 am 
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On B., my understanding is that Tolkien meant the Rohirrim to be proto-Anglo Saxons mixed with a bit of the Goths of the plains. The deep history of the Rohirrim includes character with clearly Gothic-inspired names, so there's that. I think of them as Germanic peoples of the European plains that would eventually diverge into Saxons, Angles and Jutes (and perhaps have had dalliances with Gothic peoples), and later enter England, and lose their horses (and eventually become modern Englishmen - aka hobbits).


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 Post subject: Re: Some questions
PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2014 10:52 am 
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B. Is it true that Tolkien conceived the Rohirrim as “Anglo-Saxons with horses” because of the defeat at Hastings, where the English lacked any cavalry and thereby lost to the Normans?


Well, in my opinion the Rohirrim are more than "Anglo-Saxons with horses". Their history and their relationship with Gondor has a lot in common with the history of the Goths. Of course, their status quo at the time of LotR has a lot in common with the Anglo-Saxons, but the entirety of the picture is not simplified to a specific race.

Likewise, the issue of the loss at Hastings is much more complex than one side having cavalry and the other not.

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C. When Tolkien first came up with the term “hobbit” did he think of them as inhabiting the same universe as his First Age heroes (Túrin, Beren, etc.) from the start, or was this a later idea?


Just what Voronwë said.

Quote:
D. If redemption is a main theme of “The Lord of the Rings” why do all major “evil” characters fail to do so when given the chance(Wormtongue, Saruman, Gollum)?


I too do not consider it a main theme, but it still is a persistent theme throughout Tolkien's legendarium imo.
So I disagree about Gollum failing to redeem himself when given the chance. He was about to be redeemed at Cirith Ungol, only a single chance. But it was only because of Sam he did not end up in the right path. It was not really his own fault there. I do not see this as an example of Gollum failing to be redeemed but ill luck.
True, Wormtongue and Saruman did not redeem themselves. But IIRC the surrendered Easterlings- bad guys as well - were forgiven by Elessar, and they redeemed themselves by improving the land of Mordor. Growing green and building massive buildings and sculptures.
Same is the fate of the Dunlendings I think.


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E. When the Hobbit films were announced for the first time there were plans for a bridge-film. Is it still possible for the producers to make such a film independently from “The Hobbit”, say in five, six years’ time? Or do they infringe on any rights that way? I am neither in favor or in opposition to such a project as of now, but given the financial success of “The Hobbit” I think the possibility exists for such a production (do not worry, those of you who dislike PJ as a director, I think we can rule him out for that one).


Personally, I think the occupation of Moria by Orcs followed by the feud between Azog (the real one), Thror, Nar etc and finally Balin and co capturing it. This all would make a pretty good film. That and the rescue of Gondor by Eorl and his riders would make interesting films.
Of course it will depend on who makes it, and while I am sure PJ will not be directing it, there's a complete chance that he might produce it.


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F. Which invented scene from the films (LOTR and Hobbit) do you consider closest to Tolkien, as in if you had not read the books for quite some time and recently saw the film you would think it was straight from the source material? On the other hand, which scenes from the book could be labelled “typical Hollywood/PJ inventions” if one were not really familiar with the source material? Rereading “Helm’s Deep” and Éowyn’s battle with the Witch-King made me chuckle a little bit: I could imagine people on Facebook et al. (Mind you, I do not put PJ’s critics on this site in this category) criticizing PJ for inventing “that silly and nonsensical game of Legolas and Gimli counting their kills during battle” or lambasting the writers for creating “that Mary-Sue character called Éowyn who serves as a crypto-feminist to appease the political-correct critics”. :)


Closest to Tolkien;

FotR: the conversation between Aragorn and Galadriel
TTT: "Where is the horse and the rider?".
RotK: Gandalf's talk to Pippin about death and Valinor.
AUJ: Gandalf's "it is the small things ..." speech. Bilbo's simple speech about helping the dwarves to reclaim thier kingdom.
DoS: Starlight conversation.

"Hollywood-y" scenes from the book:
Éowyn falling for Faramir when Aragorn refuses her love. (even though I love that section)
Aragorn marrying Arwen. (the typical hero gets the girl ending)


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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2014 8:53 pm 
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On F: Theodred's funeral. Not in the book, but pure Tolkien. One of PB and J's best scenes in terms of capturing the spirit of Middle Earth.


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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2014 11:18 pm 
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Which invented scene from the films (LOTR and Hobbit) do you consider closest to Tolkien


The barrel roll. Totes.

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 Post subject: Re: Some questions
PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 1:03 am 
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Beutlin wrote:
A. The second and third installments of “The Lord of the Rings” mainly take place in winter, late February and early March from what I recall. I do not recall Middle-earth being covered in snow though. Does Tolkien ever mention snow or freezing temperatures in “The Two Towers” or “The Return of the King”? If not, how does Tolkien explain the relatively warm weather in Rohan/Gondor during that period? Abnormally warm winter? Southern latitudes (though it has to be said, winters can be harsh in Southern Europe too)? Global warming (looking at you, Saruman)?


Tolkien gave Middle Earth the same mild temperate climate as his native England, and England is generally not snow-covered in winter. Geographically it is actually impossible – Britain is an island warmed by the Gulf Stream, whereas Middle Earth is a large continent and would have more extreme continental weather, like Eastern Europe or North America. I think that Tolkien might actually have acknowledged this issue at some point. Certainly if the Shire is at the same latitude as England (as I believe that Tolkien acknowledges) and it is hundreds of miles from the sea it would have a climate more similar to Montana or Saint Petersburg than England.

Beutlin wrote:
B. Is it true that Tolkien conceived the Rohirrim as “Anglo-Saxons with horses” because of the defeat at Hastings, where the English lacked any cavalry and thereby lost to the Normans?


I don’t think that these things are related.

Beutlin wrote:
D. If redemption is a main theme of “The Lord of the Rings” why do all major “evil” characters fail to do so when given the chance(Wormtongue, Saruman, Gollum)?


This is an interesting point, but like the others here I do not believe that redemption is the main theme of LotR. Tolkien, towards the end of his life, stated that the main theme was ‘death’, but I think you can go more broadly and say it is something along the lines of accepting your own place in the world – accepting mortality, accepting that the power offered by the One Ring is beyond you, accepting that you do not have the right to control the fate of others, etc. Others may have a different opinion.


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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 2:09 am 
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PtB wrote:
On F: Theodred's funeral. Not in the book, but pure Tolkien. One of PB and J's best scenes in terms of capturing the spirit of Middle Earth.
I actually thoughf this was in the book. Well, I haven't read TTT in a year or so. So that fits your criteria I think. I also have no problem with Frodo trying to take the Ring from Gollum at Sammath Naur. The presentation of the scene was very Tolkien-esque for me. And I don't really like the hand of providence in Gollum's fall.

Oh, and Bard from DoS is a very Tolkien character. I much prefer him over the book counterpart.


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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 2:23 am 
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D. I also don't think redemption is a major theme. Mercy, perhaps, which prompts the good guys to keep offering it to the evil. However, if redemption is a theme, then the message is that it is only achieved in death. Even the mostly good but briefly fallen characters don't survive the process. See Boromir, Denethor, Túrin. For Frodo, death sentence was replaced by exile. Even Faramir, who was only briefly tempted, had to undergo the near death experience.

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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 3:49 am 
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"Redemption through heroic deeds that lead to death" is certainly an element of Tolkien's stories (Boromir, Thorin, etc), but I'm not sure that makes "redemption" a major theme. Tolkien certainly seems to be telling us, however, that a "heroic death" is one way, in a story, for a character to be redeemed for past sins.


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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 6:26 am 
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I can't think of any other way a character redeemed himself or herself, but then I'm hazy on Silm.


E. makes me wonder how much room for invention the movie makers have under license. Can they take a few paragraphs from the appendixes and make up an entire movie based on them?

F. My favorite invented scene was in FOTR EE, Boromir teaching the hobbits the swordfighting. That was adaptation at its best - a brief scene to show what Tolkien tells us, of the attachment of the younger hobbits to Boromir and the bonds of friendship that tied the fellowship.

I also quite like the warg attack in TTT, which is nearly as dramatic as the omitted werewolf fight in the books.

The Hollywood Tolkien ... can't think of much. Maybe Gandalf the White revealing himself. Actually, PJ omitted some of the more flamboyant moments in the book, such as Aragorn out-badassing an entire eored (Will you aid me or thwart me? Choose swiftly.)

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‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 12:05 pm 
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I also liked the TTT warg attack. More than the entirety of the Helm's Deep sequence, actually...


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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 1:03 pm 
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Frelga wrote:
E. makes me wonder how much room for invention the movie makers have under license. Can they take a few paragraphs from the appendixes and make up an entire movie based on them?


Yes.

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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 3:26 pm 
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Voronwë the Faithful wrote:
Frelga wrote:
E. makes me wonder how much room for invention the movie makers have under license. Can they take a few paragraphs from the appendixes and make up an entire movie based on them?


Yes.


Uh-oh.

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‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 3:29 pm 
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Doesn't mean they will. But they could.

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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 5:02 pm 
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Although Gollum himself was not redeemed, his very weakness/evil was redeemed by the part it played in the ultimate destruction of the Ring. Even his worst choice aided the triumph of good.

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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 7:26 pm 
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Hi there!

Sorry for not responding sooner. I am really busy writing my final paper at the moment.

A. Thank you Voronwë, for your numerous citations. I always assumed the snow upon Mindolluin was due to the high altitude. And most of your citations remind me of cold nights, and not of winter. Regarding Lord Morningstar’s comment that Middle-earth’s climate aligns with the conditions in England: I always assumed that was only true for the Shire. The rest of Middle-earth, at least in my imagination, corresponded more with certain parts of Continental Europe. So when I think of Rohan for example, I tend to picture the Pannonian Plain. It is the only area in Europe where nomadic people with horses can keep up their way of life (Huns, Avars, Magyars, Mongols, etc.).

http://img.album.de/files/images/big/14 ... 090918.jpg

B. I cannot remember the source for this hypothesis about the Rohirrim. I must have been either one of the videos from the Extended Edition of TTT, or a separate documentary about Tolkien. The theory was voiced by a Tolkien scholar; that I am sure of. As a professor of Old English I assume Tolkien was not so fond of the introduction of so many French words into the English language after 1066. Smaug’s voice commented that the defeat at Hastings cannot be singled down to the lack of cavalry. While it is certainly true that other factors were involved, it was the absence of cavalry on behalf of the English which made their defeat so disastrous.

D. The wording of that question was somewhat subpar. I myself do not consider redemption a major theme of “The Lord of the Rings”. I just heard plenty of people voicing that opinion. Whereas redemption might not be a theme of the book, mercy certainly is. Mercy does not necessarily have a teleological outcome in the book though.


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 Post subject: More questions
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 7:55 pm 
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G. Why did J.R.R. Tolkien not release “The Silmarillion” in his lifetime? Were there ever any plans to release it? Was the posthumous release of “the Silmarillion” done according to Tolkien’s will?

H. On February 6th, 2014, Voronwë wrote that Christopher’s views were different from his father’s, and that this influenced his work (http://newboards.theonering.net/forum/g ... 276#712479). Could you expand on that? Did all of Tolkien’s children leave the Church? Does leaving the church here mean opting out of the Church or not going to church anymore? Why did Christopher Tolkien turn away from Catholicism? Was this due to his strict Catholic upbringing (which is a mere assumption of mine)?

I. I once read on Wikipedia (I know, not a proper source) that Tolkien was not happy with some changes of the Second Vatican Council? What were his main issues with the reforms?

J. When reading “The Quest of Erebor” in my copy of the Annotated Hobbit recently, I came to the conclusion that this Thorin reminded me more of film-Thorin than the Thorin from the Hobbit-book. Am I the only one who thinks so? Oh and why did Tolkien not include that story in the LOTR appendices? I would have preferred it to some of the calendars. :)

K. Which places you have come across in your life have reminded you the most of certain locations in Middle-earth?

L. Which scenario for future film adaptations do you consider most likely to happen in the near future (10-20 years)?
1. A remake of “The Hobbit”/”The Lord of the Rings”
2. A spinoff film set in the Third Age, which concerns for ex. Aragorn or Earl?
3. A Silmarillion film?
4. A TV series


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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 8:16 pm 
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. I cannot
remember the source for this hypothesis about the Rohirrim. I must have been either one of the videos from the Extended Edition of TTT, or a separate documentary about Tolkien. The theory was voiced by a Tolkien scholar; that I am sure of.


I think that might by Shippey.

Not fully sure however.


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 Post subject: Re: More questions
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 10:13 pm 
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Beutlin wrote:
G. Why did J.R.R. Tolkien not release “The Silmarillion” in his lifetime?


The short answer is that he simply wasn't able to complete it to his satisfaction. It had gotten to big, and too complicated, and he was too tired and worn out by his efforts and by life to complete a version that satisfied his own exacting standards. Too unanswered questions, too many branches in the road, and no Gandalf to lead him down the right one. One book that I would recommend reading if you can find a copy is Tolkien and the Silmarillion by Clyde Kilby. This very short book (90 pages or so) describes Kilby's experience coming to England (he was an American author and one of the first Inklings scholars) in order to assist Tolkien in completing The Silmarillion. I think that book would give you some good insight into the question of why Tolkien never finished the work, and it is well worthwhile otherwise.

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Were there ever any plans to release it?


Tolkien wanted to publish it before he ever started writing LOTR, but it was rejected by his publisher, who wanted a sequel to The Hobbit instead. After he completed LOTR he wanted the two works published together, and actually went to a different publisher (Milton Waldman, hence the famous Letter 131). When that fell through, Tolkien went back to Unwin and agreed to publish LOTR by itself. Once it became clear that LOTR was a success way beyond either Tolkien's or Unwin's wildest imagination, the publisher was keen to publish The Silmarillion as soon as Tolkien completed it. He just never did.

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Was the posthumous release of “the Silmarillion” done according to Tolkien’s will?


If by "Tolkien's will" you mean the legal document that Tolkien left expressing his posthumous wishes, absolutely, because he granted Christopher Tolkien the right to "publish edit alter rewrite or complete any work of mine which may be unpublished at my death or to destroy the whole or any part or parts of any such unpublished works as he in his absolute discretion may think fit and subject thereto." If you mean in a more general sense of whether the published book conformed to what he would have like it to have been, that is a much more complicated question. Charles Noad directly addresses this question (and very much answers it in the negative) in his essay "On the Construction of ‘The Silmarillion’," published in Tolkien's Legendarium: Essays on the History of Middle-Earth, edited by Verlyn Flieger and Carl F. Hostetter (and one of the truly crucial books on Tolkien, in my opinion). And, of course, the question is address at length in my own Arda Reconstructed.

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H. On February 6th, 2014, Voronwë wrote that Christopher’s views were different from his father’s, and that this influenced his work (http://newboards.theonering.net/forum/g ... 276#712479). Could you expand on that? Did all of Tolkien’s children leave the Church? Does leaving the church here mean opting out of the Church or not going to church anymore? Why did Christopher Tolkien turn away from Catholicism? Was this due to his strict Catholic upbringing (which is a mere assumption of mine)?


I don't have anything to add to what I said in the linked TORN post, other than to note that Tolkien's oldest son most very definitely did leave the church, as he was a Roman Catholic priest.


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I. I once read on Wikipedia (I know, not a proper source) that Tolkien was not happy with some changes of the Second Vatican Council? What were his main issues with the reforms?


I have nothing to add about this.

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J. When reading “The Quest of Erebor” in my copy of the Annotated Hobbit recently, I came to the conclusion that this Thorin reminded me more of film-Thorin than the Thorin from the Hobbit-book. Am I the only one who thinks so? Oh and why did Tolkien not include that story in the LOTR appendices? I would have preferred it to some of the calendars. :)


I very much agree that film-Thorin is much more similar to the Thorin of "The Quest of Erebor" and of the LOTR appendix A than he is to the Thorin of The Hobbit (just younger looking). And I think that is a very good thing. As for why it wasn't included, for whatever reason he decided that there wasn't room. But at least we still get to read it, in several different versions.

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K. Which places you have come across in your life have reminded you the most of certain locations in Middle-earth?


Redwood and Sequoia forests give me the feeling of Lothlórien, simply for the sense of awe that they generate. Also, when I look across Monterey Bay from Santa Cruz seeming the land out in the distance always makes me think of the Tol Eressëa.

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"And tales and rumours arose along the shores of the sea concerning mariners and men forlorn upon the water who, by some fate or grace or favour of the Valar, had entered in upon the Straight Way and seen the face of the world sink below them, and so had come to the lamplit quays of Avallónë."

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L. Which scenario for future film adaptations do you consider most likely to happen in the near future (10-20 years)?
1. A remake of “The Hobbit”/”The Lord of the Rings”
2. A spinoff film set in the Third Age, which concerns for ex. Aragorn or Earl?
3. A Silmarillion film?
4. A TV series


No opinion.

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Woods is most felt. Nice! it's gentle on your mind.


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