Media previews

For discussion of Amazon's new television show "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power"
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Voronwë the Faithful
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Re: Media previews

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It being my site doesn't give me the right to make someone else feel bad. Again, that was not my intention, and if I had known that would happen I would have stayed silent.
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Re: Media previews

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Eldy wrote: Fri Aug 12, 2022 7:44 pm
Stranger Wings wrote: Fri Aug 12, 2022 7:37 pmI personally always saw it as having primarily a metaphorical meaning, rather than a literal one. The willingness to let go of the temporal world, rather than grasping onto it, during one’s life as well as in the moment of death.
Voronwë the Faithful wrote: Fri Aug 12, 2022 7:42 pmThere is nothing in the quote that you cite (or in anything else that Tolkien wrote that I am aware of) that suggests that the Númenórean's before Tar-Atanamir (or Aragorn) took some affirmative action that caused their deaths, rather than simply accepted death.
"A good Númenórean died of free will when he felt it to be time to do so." (Letters, p. 205 fn)

"It was also the Elvish (and uncorrupted Númenórean) view that a 'good' Man would or should die voluntarily by surrender with trust before being compelled (as did Aragorn)." (Letters, p. 286 fn; emphasis in the original)

How does one die voluntarily before being compelled without making an affirmative choice to do so? What is metaphorical about this?
I think the "choice" is simply a choice to let go of the fight against coming death, and simply choose to die of natural causes/ allow it to happen. Essentially, choose to put your sword down and let the wave take you, to horribly mix metaphors. And on reflection, I think you're correct that implicit in this perspective (and explicit in the Eldar perspective on the matter), would be a judgment against those who fight against the coming of death. Essentially, the opposite view to Dylan Thomas' "Do not go gentle into that good night...Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Let's keep in mind that death can be an intensely personal subject, however. And there is nothing wrong with either accepting Tolkien's (or the early Númenórean's or the Eldar's) view on the matter, or not accepting it.
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Re: Media previews

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An indie wire journalist seems to like the show…

https://twitter.com/theatomchode/status ... welgS9ZP3g
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Re: Media previews

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Was the preview shown of the first two episodes? First I have heard of it.
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Re: Media previews

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So how many episodes are we getting on Sep 2?
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Re: Media previews

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Voronwë the Faithful wrote: Sun Aug 14, 2022 2:40 pm Was the preview shown of the first two episodes? First I have heard of it.
There have been early press screeners (probably sent out rather than at a location). There is another entertainment journalist who also tweeted that she saw the first two episodes “and that’s all I can say!” Though she then went on to recommend that audiences tune in on Sept 2, which some say implies she enjoyed it. But I can’t find the tweet at the moment.

ETA: Seems her tweet was removed?
Last edited by Stranger Wings on Sun Aug 14, 2022 10:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Media previews

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'Lord of the Rings’ TV Writers: Show Not Just “Vaguely Connected” to Tolkien
Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power showrunners and cast discussed creating their shows immense world and comparisons to HBO’s Game of Thrones at the Television Critic Association’s semi-annual press tour Friday.

But the congenial panel’s most lean-forward moment might have been when a reporter called the highly anticipated fantasy show only “vaguely connected” to author J.R.R. Tolkien’s work compared to The Lord of the Rings movies, which were “based on actual printed materials.”

“I just want to sort of quibble with the ‘vaguely connected,'” said Patrick McKay, who is showrunner on the series along with J.D. Payne. “We don’t feel that way. We feel like deep roots of this show are in the books and in Tolkien. And if we didn’t feel that way, we’d all be terrified to sit up here. We feel that this story isn’t ours. It’s a story we’re stewarding that was here before us and was waiting in those books to be on Earth. We don’t feel ‘vaguely connected.’ We feel deeply, deeply connected to those folks and work every day to even be closer connected. That’s really how we think about it.”
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Re: Media previews

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Inanna wrote: Sun Aug 14, 2022 5:21 pm So how many episodes are we getting on Sep 2?
So far I am aware, just the first.
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Re: Media previews

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Oooh. Noice.
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Re: Media previews

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Eldy wrote: Fri Aug 12, 2022 9:12 pm
Voronwë the Faithful wrote: Fri Aug 12, 2022 8:35 pmWe seem to be talking past each other here, so I'm not going to continue, other than to repeat that by definition calling it "suicide" requires that the person take some action that causes their death, rather simply accepting death. You seem to have a different definition.
In the Primary World, if a person "accepts death," they don't die right away, unless they were already at death's door. The acceptance of death has no immediate causal relationship with dying.

According to Tolkien, Númenóreans who "died of free will" were able to choose the time of their death ("when he felt it to be time to do so"). I think this indicates that their choice led to their death in short order—I call that a causal relationship. And yes, I think making a choice that directly results in an earlier death than you'd naturally have is, in effect, suicide. I should probably stress that, for me, that's not the same as calling it morally wrong.

In general, I try to be clear that I don't consider my views to be the last word on any given matter, particularly since I take "heretical" stances on a number of legendarium-related topics. But it's frustrating to try to have a conversation with someone who insists it's "100% clear" their interpretation is correct, and that the alternative is "completely antithetical to Tolkien's core beliefs," when they refuse to elaborate on their points or offer interpretations of any of the quotes I've provided, other than repeating the original point practically verbatim. It's not my intention to say that people can't legitimately disagree with me, but when that sentiment is seemingly not returned—and if you are going to fall back on patronizingly implying that I don't know the meaning of the word suicide—I see little point to talking about Tolkien here.

I understand that by replying to a thread after you've said you're leaving, this post runs the risk of coming across as a petty attempt at getting in the last word. Maybe it is, but I'm already stressed and strung out from IRL stuff this month, and not in a mindset to keep quiet in response to snide jabs at either my intelligence or my honesty. Which is probably a sign that I shouldn't be on forums at all right now.
For what its worth, I agree with you Eldy, and was equally frustrated at you, V, for talking past her points instead of addressing them. I tend to stay out of these discussions because I don't have the encyclopedic knowledge of the rest of you, but I can read and understand a well written theory, and I would agree with Eldy that its insulting to suggest or imply that because you disagree with her, that she therefore does not understand what Tolkien was saying. Also, I feel its a little passive aggressive to suggest that because she doesn't seem to understand what you have made so perfectly clear and obvious, that therefore you'll say no more.

Now because I know you long enough, I know that was not your intention, but I feel its only right to let you know, that that's how it reads. It would be an awful shame to lose Eldy's contributions because she feels she's being patronized.
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Re: Media previews

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Further up thread, Voronwë made a genuine apology and did state that it wasn’t his intention to make anyone feel bad. Online text communications can sometimes come across as harsher than we intend. I also really enjoy Eldy’s contributions here, and I know Voronwë does too. I don’t think he meant to patronize, and we should leave it at that (and between Voronwë and Eldy).

On the substance of the discussion, I think the disagreement is rooted in different interpretations of the following:

According to Tolkien, Númenóreans who "died of free will" were able to choose the time of their death ("when he felt it to be time to do so").

To me, Tolkien was not implying that perfectly healthy people could (and were encouraged to) choose to die by will. I believe he was simply saying that elderly Numenoreans, when they feel their life drawing to a close, could choose to resist the coming of death until they were ready to let go - and thus allow death to take them at the time of their choosing. To me it rings more like “OK, I am going to take myself off dialysis because there is no joy in life anymore.” And this is why I also focus on the “beyond the end of joy” line.

To me, Tolkien was in some ways saying the opposite of what the “suicide” interpretation suggests. He was saying that they had control over their final days and the manner of their passing, meaning that by force of will they could stay alive until they were ready to let go…at which point, they would die.

I arrive at this conclusion conscious of Tolkien’s known thoughts on life and death, of course, and of what I understand to be some of his core beliefs. While at the same time understanding how one might interpret the text as implying a cultural encouragement of suicide among the elderly.
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Re: Media previews

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Stranger Wings wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 10:32 am To me it rings more like “OK, I am going to take myself off dialysis because there is no joy in life anymore.” And this is why I also focus on the “beyond the end of joy” line.
Which is called assisted suicide in our world. I'm just saying I see Eldy's point. Not trying to pick a fight (Voronwë is well used to me by now :) )
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Re: Media previews

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Alatar wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 11:08 am
Stranger Wings wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 10:32 am To me it rings more like “OK, I am going to take myself off dialysis because there is no joy in life anymore.” And this is why I also focus on the “beyond the end of joy” line.
Which is called assisted suicide in our world. I'm just saying I see Eldy's point. Not trying to pick a fight (Voronwë is well used to me by now :) )
That is called “assisted suicide” in some countries, not the whole world. :)

But seriously, I was referring to a person deciding themselves to forego systems/ treatments that are keeping them alive, but in a hellish state. And in so doing, choose to allow their bodies to die. That’s a rough analogy used for effect, but it’s essentially what I think the Númenórean practice is about: rather than committing suicide before one’s time, it’s about accepting one’s time and then having the ability to time the final crossing/ passing in a way favorable to the individual.

Did Numemorean society in those days frown on those who persisted beyond the end of joy? It seems they may have. But I didn’t get the impression that the culture was geared towards encouraging the elderly to take themselves out before they became a burden, or anything like that.

Anyway…elves with short hair, huh? What do y’all think? :wooper:
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Re: Media previews

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Eldy knows how much I value her input here. I don't need to belabor the point.
Stranger Wings wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 10:32 am To me it rings more like “OK, I am going to take myself off dialysis because there is no joy in life anymore.”
While I agree with the rest of what you say, I think that even this analogy misses the point to some extent, because I don't think that the Númenórean story is meant to be taken as a direct comparison to any real world situation. The willingness to accept death and not fight against it at the end of their natural (but compared to other humans, including us, extremely extended) lifespan goes along with the granting of that extended lifespan. The Numenoreans were granted a return to the lifespan of old before Morgoth put a shadow on the gift that Eru granted to Men. Refusing to accept that gift willing was a sign of a return of the Shadow imposed upon the Gift by Morgoth, which is why it led to a shrinking of their natural life-span.

It is most clearly stated by Aragorn: "I am the last of the Númenoreans and the latest King of the Elder Days; and to me has been given not only a span thrice that of Men of Middle-earth, but also the grace to go at my will, and give back the gift.

Again, I'm sorry for the upset that I have caused, but I have long believed that this is the most important thing that Tolkien ever wrote, and I won't apologize for trying to explain why, poor though my efforts might be.
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Re: Media previews

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Stranger Wings wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 12:23 pmAnyway…elves with short hair, huh? What do y’all think? :wooper:
In the real world, the living cells at the base of each individual hair eventually die, causing the hair to fall out (and a new one to start growing). Tolkien is fuzzy on this point, but it is at least reasonable to speculate that elves, as immortal beings, also have immortal hair follicles. Which would imply that absent the occasional trim, over time an elf's hair length would inexorably approach positive infinity. So sure, I think it's perfectly reasonable to have a short-haired elf.
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Re: Media previews

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Voronwë the Faithful wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 2:44 pm Eldy knows how much I value her input here. I don't need to belabor the point.
Stranger Wings wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 10:32 am To me it rings more like “OK, I am going to take myself off dialysis because there is no joy in life anymore.”
While I agree with the rest of what you say, I think that even this analogy misses the point to some extent, because I don't think that the Númenórean story is meant to be taken as a direct comparison to any real world situation. The willingness to accept death and not fight against it at the end of their natural (but compared to other humans, including us, extremely extended) lifespan goes along with the granting of that extended lifespan. The Numenoreans were granted a return to the lifespan of old before Morgoth put a shadow on the gift that Eru granted to Men. Refusing to accept that gift willing was a sign of a return of the Shadow imposed upon the Gift by Morgoth, which is why it led to a shrinking of their natural life-span.

It is most clearly stated by Aragorn: "I am the last of the Númenoreans and the latest King of the Elder Days; and to me has been given not only a span thrice that of Men of Middle-earth, but also the grace to go at my will, and give back the gift.

Again, I'm sorry for the upset that I have caused, but I have long believed that this is the most important thing that Tolkien ever wrote, and I won't apologize for trying to explain why, poor though my efforts might be.
I agree completely. Really, it was just an attempt to create a real-world analog in response to the idea that the Numenoreans encouraged and practiced regularized suicide. The extended life span is key to the whole thing. Grasping for more life beyond that was seen rightfully as evidence of a desire for deathlessness. And the ability to “go at my will” and give back the gift, essentially means the ability to accept a death of a normal lifespan.

And I agree that it’s one of the most important things Tolkien wrote. The acceptance of death, and the desire for deathlessness, being conflicting poles that are at the heart of his work. Along with the opposites of hope and despair.
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Re: Media previews

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Amazon confirms that the white-haired hooded priestess from the trailer comes from Rhun:

https://time.com/6205023/sauron-the-rin ... -identity/
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Re: Media previews

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Dave_LF wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 2:59 pm
Stranger Wings wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 12:23 pmAnyway…elves with short hair, huh? What do y’all think? :wooper:
In the real world, the living cells at the base of each individual hair eventually die, causing the hair to fall out (and a new one to start growing). Tolkien is fuzzy on this point, but it is at least reasonable to speculate that elves, as immortal beings, also have immortal hair follicles. Which would imply that absent the occasional trim, over time an elf's hair length would inexorably approach positive infinity. So sure, I think it's perfectly reasonable to have a short-haired elf.
I believe Tolkien referred to these as “infinity follicles” in the Notion Club papers.
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Re: Media previews

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Can you imagine how quickly you'd get bored of a hairstyle if you had millennia...
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Re: Media previews

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Alatar wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 4:02 pm Can you imagine how quickly you'd get bored of a hairstyle if you had millennia...
OH! No thank you!

I certainly do not have the deep knowledge that many of you have on this subject but It has always been my understanding that Númenorean mortality is not comparable to human mortality. That Tolkien wrote of death as a 'gift' should be a clue. I have never read it as if people were taking their own life (ie: 'Falling on your own sword') but as having recognized (through a type of grace) that it is time to gently move on. If it were not one's time to move to what is beyond, it would not be granted, but if one were in a state of 'grace' they would not make this error. I have always presumed this part of Tolkien's fantasy myth was borne out of fear of decrepitude and lingering in infirmity, senility, and pain and choosing to die (with grace) in dignity and not taking advantage of the gift of a long life for purposes of personal power and greed. It has been my understanding that this abuse/greed is what eventually led to the 'grace' being withdrawn and lifespans diminished as a result.
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