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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Elthir on Wed Mar 09, 2016 6:55 pm

{{{For example, Tom Shippey tried to paint Tolkien's use of "goblin" as being a careful choice to represent Hobbit-speakers, while all others used orc... but it doesn't work in my opinion. Shippey not only disregarded The Hobbit to make his theory work, but used a secondary source that did not list all the instances of goblin in The Lord of the Rings. And he appears to simply skip over Gimli's use of the word.

What you're saying sounds good, but what do the actual examples bear out? For instance what is the subtle difference in meaning when the translator chooses to have Gimli use "goblins" after escaping from Moria? Or when he has the narrator use "goblin-soldiers" to refer to Saruman's dead Uruks? There are but two examples of orc in the entire Hobbit, and while one might suggest that orcs are larger, how do we explain that the very largest of these creatures are referred to as goblins in both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings?

"Orc. This is supposed to be the Common Speech name of these creatures at that time; it should therefore according to the system be translated into English, or the language of translation. It was translated 'goblin' in The Hobbit, except in one place; but this word, and other words of similar sense in other European languages (as far as I know), are not really suitable. The orc in The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, though of course partly made out of traditional features, is not really comparable in supposed origin, functions, and relation to the Elves. In any case orc seemed to me, and seems, in sound a good name for these creatures. It should be retained." JRRT, Nomenclature [for translators]

Tolkien himself basically says here: even though you should, by rights, be translating every instance of orc with goblin... don't. Retain it. My orcs are different from traditional goblins, and in any case I like the sound of orc. Please leave "orc" where you find it in The Lord of the Rings.

Of course the two words are different in sound and possible interpretation. For example (again) the word hund "sounds larger" to me than "dog", more formidable, but that doesn't mean Tolkien is trying to tell the reader that a hund is actually larger or more formidable than a dog, within his world. And since "goblin" seems more whimsical (to me), and perhaps more Hobbity to some, I think this is one of the main reasons people think Tolkien reserved it for Hobbits. But he didn't, and he knew it.

And if he did, why then say that the Hobbits used the word orc in Frodo's day. It's not an especial word they alone used. You could still say that the translator intended the effect by employing "goblin" for them, but in my opinion better to carry it through then, and set up a scenario like Kuduk (Hobbit) and Banakil (Halfling). But we don't have that, and we don't even have the word "goblin" reserved for Hobbit usage. Rather we have the wide sweeping, general: orc sometimes translated with "goblin" (mostly translated in The Hobbit of course).

If you look at the external history of the word orc you'll see how it changed from an actual Elvish word... to a translation (noting the Old English word)... to a Westron word (to simplify the matter here). Nothing wrong with changing your mind in private papers, but after the books have a readership, to my mind Tolkien wanted a consistent way to explain "what existed" in print, no matter the motive behind the two Hobbit orc references written years ago (years ago to JRRT), before the "translation conceit" was published.

That said, I would agree that JRRT considered when to use "goblin" instead of orc in The Lord of the Rings, but so far I can't find any patterns as to some purpose beyond the need of the moment, or let's say the flow of the sentence. It's an available alternate, like "Eldar" for "Elves". Again, sure the words themselves are different, but if we get into that territory to say there's a difference in the choice of the two words, then we're going beyond what people mean when they say...

... as I do, that there's no difference whatsoever between an orc and a goblin. Not in size, not where they live, not concerning who orders them around (arguments I've seen in the past). And I add that it's not a given that Tolkien used "goblin" as representative of a specific Hobbit word.

I'm not sure I've heard any other specific claims about why one word is employed here, the other there... if there is one I would like to hear it, but I'm going to want to see something more specific with respect to the goblin (or orc) examples in the books.}}}


Last edited by Elthir on Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:13 pm

{{I agree that the two words are interchangeable- and I would not without a lot of research readily discount the notion Tolkien used it on occasion for reason of metre or just sound.
But to take your Gimli example above. As you have noted yourself in the ears of an English speaker the word goblin tends to carry more whimsical connotations, I would say Gimli's use of it here is meant to denote his feelings about the orcs, he is belittling them as one age old enemy to another. Tolkien is using goblin here to say something about Gimli's feelings towards them. Not because goblin means something different from orc, its just a translating of orc, but for the secondary connotations the word brings which orc does not convey to a modern ear. }}}

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Elthir on Wed Mar 09, 2016 8:14 pm

{{{Elsewhere Gimli uses orc, so why has he chosen this moment to belittle them? Maybe he just did, but as I imply above with the Hobbits, this seems undermined when we know... as Tolkien himself tells the reader (and only makes sense)... that Gimli could not have said the word goblin...

I guess you could imagine that what Gimli actually says here is a belittling sort of thing, so JRRT chose "Goblin"... but then again the line is: 'Not a sound but the wind,' he said. 'There are no goblins near, or my ears are made of wood. It is to be hoped that the Orcs will be content with driving us from..."

It just seems more of a "we aren't being chased" moment to me, possibly Tolkien using goblins and Orcs just to have different terms in the narrative here.

In any case to me this is not a subtle difference between an orc and a goblin, this, if the intent is as you interpret, is a way to express Gimli's feelings about Orcs. What I was responding to earlier was mostly your: "... and that orc and goblin are used purely as suits the speaker- some refer to all of the race as goblins, some as orcs, and some folk use orc to mean only bigger ones, some use goblin to denote smaller-"

That seemed to say that some have a special word for these creatures, and that by Tolkien's translation choice, he is indicating this. Or that some use one word to denote size, and that Tolkien's translation choice indicates this.

Well, in my opinion, we need some sort of consistency to say either of these things is true. That's why Shippey needs to toss out The Hobbit, and that's why he needs to skate over Gimli's use of "goblin" here, and that is why he tries to explain a usage by one of the Rohirrim, trying to make a Hobbit connection... consistency can illustrate Tolkien planning such things with care.


Granted I seemed to discount any and all other reasons for Tolkien to use "goblin" sometimes, but I'm trying to convey that, generally speaking, there's no fancy reason with respect to the kinds of distinctions people always bring up in these chats: size, where they live and so forth...

I wouldn't dismiss something like what you note here (although I'm not sure I agree with this particular example though), but again that doesn't seem to be about orcs being different from goblins in an internal way, or that the Dwarves had a special word for these creatures denoted by "goblin"}}}
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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Elthir on Wed Mar 09, 2016 8:35 pm

{{{by the way I added two paragraphs to my last post Petty...

... just in case you may have read only the unedited version. I saw a green line... then it vanished}}}

Very Happy

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Mar 09, 2016 8:41 pm

{{{To take your quoted line - 'Not a sound but the wind,' he said. 'There are no goblins near, or my ears are made of wood. It is to be hoped that the Orcs will be content with driving us from..."

One could argue that Tolkien choose to use goblin here because the first part of the sentence denotes a thing of no threat (its also coupled with a joke), whilst Tollien chose to use the more threatening sounding orc for the second half of the statement to denote a potential threat.

Where you see only a variation of term, I see the writer, and by conceit here the translator, using the secondary meanings of the word goblin to an English speaking audience, and the lack of secondary meaning outside the context Tolkien has supplied for in orc to create a more structured purpose serving the narrative.

Regarding the point about different people and usage of the two words I would say the Rohirrim use of goblin is suggestive of the fact that up until the raids to steal black horses and Sarumans turning they had, like hobbits mainly become a thing for fireside tales in Rohirrim, their borders being to well protected for chancing raiders, far enough from the orc caves of the mountains and protected by Gondor to the south. In his case the use of goblin helps to convey the Rohirrim world view. And though I would need to go check all the instances, I suspect the use of the word orc by the Rohirrim will be in situations where the 'harsher' sounding term is appropriate to driving some undercurrent in the narrative or the character using it.

Though I will concede you that its a point which can only be taken so far. But I still feel Tolkien's choice of which to use, when, by whom and where are there for the secondary meanings attached and in service of character and narrative. }}}}


{{{added in response you bloody adding things to your response Mad Bloody Lore Masters and there extra Lore Mad  I would not claim that Gimli had a special dwarf word that was supposed to be indicted, but he could have used a different emphasis on the same word, to subtlety alter its meaning which a direct translation could accurately convey the single surface meaning of, but would lack the secondary meaning intended by Gimli in his emphasis, but which could be conveyed by having a 'softer' and 'harsher' term, 'goblin' and 'orc'}}}

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Elthir on Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:29 pm

{{{My main point for adding the second two paragraphs is to say I don't dismiss, in general, what you are saying in your last few posts.

I realize I suggested Tolkien liked orc and began to use it despite his own scenario (being Westron it should be translated), and employed goblin for no fancy reason... but I was thinking of fancy reasons that make orcs distinct from goblins in some way (and you had included size and so on).

I see now that you aren't making that kind of argument. For instance, what you say about Tolkien's line (Gimli's line) could be true -- what I think could also be true... or maybe a third person will have some variant interpretation. But what you're saying is not about Tolkien as translator trying to convey a subtle difference between an "orc" and a "goblin" as creatures within his world.

Particular interpretations of why Tolkien chose goblin over orc -- to do things like you are submitting -- can be example specific. But also tough to prove. I don't think you have to prove these kinds of interpretations... I'm not sure anyone can prove or disprove them... but if and when someone tells me that Tolkien used "goblin" to illustrate smallness, that they do not serve Sauron, that they live under mountains, or hate sunlight more than "orcs", even that "goblin" illustrates Hobbit usage, internal distinctions like these...

... well those are the fancy kind of things I meant. And for these kinds of things, I think we need a measure of consistency in the examples to be compelling.}}}
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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Mar 09, 2016 10:39 pm

{{I guess what I am trying to say when it comes right down to it is that I think that everyone used the word orc, but what that word meant, the cultural/social baggage of it was more specific person to person and race by race, and Tolkien could use goblin or orc where he wanted to denote any such distinction. So whilst is not making any racial distinction between goblin and orc, he is I believe making cultural distinctions - not among orcs- but among those observing and reacting to them (which is much more interesting) and it is primarily character and narrative driven with occasional uses where it is purely for ascetic, balancing or variation reasons which muddy the waters but as valid writing technique uses of it in this way don't negate the possibility of the more specific uses}}}

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Elthir on Wed Mar 09, 2016 11:16 pm

{{{That's nicely put Petty. And of course Tolkien chat is more than proving or disproving an argument. I just wanted to make sure we weren't talking past each other.

In general I would add that if we look at the matter externally, The Lord of the Rings was in origin, a sequel to The Hobbit, which used goblin almost exclusively, and as Tolkien went along over the years, goblin began to dwindle, or in revision, be replaced by orc. This would seem to illustrate a general change in preference, one term for the other, and goblin disappears for The Return of the King (only to appear in a draft appendix, which reference was later revised away).

Of course JRRT did leave thirteen goblin references in (unless I've missed one or more), and they or some of them could be more purposeful than variation or sentence flow, as you say. I would be interested to see where you might go with some of them, and which, if any, you put down to mere variation. Concerning the Rohirrrim for instance, if I recall correctly the only example of a Rohir using the term is Gamling's "goblin-men" compound: "But these creatures of Isengard, these half-orcs and goblin-men that the foul craft of Saruman has bred, they will not quail at the sun,' said Gamling." Helm's Deep

Or if you need a good buckie-filled vacation from the subject by now, I fully understand Very Happy}}}
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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by jon on Thu Mar 10, 2016 3:16 am

Elthir wrote:Hmm, to my mind some read the passage you quoted as suggesting orcs are larger or more formidable than goblins. That's been my experience over the years anyway.

I think Tolkien wrote both the Hobbit descriptions with the idea in mind that orcs were more formidable than goblins... but he abandoned the concept, and it hadn't been implemented with consistency in any case.

Regarding consistency, JRRT's late idea makes what these passages suggest (or might arguably suggest) take a back seat to the matter of translation.

Well... when I originally read this specific post of yours above I thought that you were alluding to an argument that could be made that the quote in question meant that orcs were not goblins (i.e.: the same species) and were simply creatures that were larger and more formidable than goblins.  At that point I became completely incredulous.  Thanks for clarifying.  Sorry about that Elthir!  Didn't mean to bag on ya!

And, um, no.  I'm not making that argument myself.  Although I would make the argument that "the orcs of the mountains, big goblins, go along at a great speed stooping low with their hands almost on the ground..."  ...whatever that means!

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by jon on Thu Mar 10, 2016 3:58 am

Elthir wrote:{{{by the way I added two paragraphs to my last post Petty...

... just in case you may have read only the unedited version. I saw a green line... then it vanished}}}


Ha!  And why is that Elthir?  You can't just clarify in your next post but have to go back to alter one of your previous posts?  Does anyone else do that?  Why would you do that except to save face and make your original arguments seem better than they actually were?  You can't live with your mistakes?  Or you can't stand leaving a post that's vague and unclear?  I don't do that!  No one else here does, do they?

Well... if you feel you must.  But it seems pretty disingenuous to me and not very honest...

Petty wrote:I guess what I am trying to say when it comes right down to it is that I think that everyone used the word orc, but what that word meant, the cultural/social baggage of it was more specific person to person and race by race, and Tolkien could use goblin or orc where he wanted to denote any such distinction. So whilst is not making any racial distinction between goblin and orc, he is I believe making cultural distinctions - not among orcs- but among those observing and reacting to them (which is much more interesting) and it is primarily character and narrative driven with occasional uses where it is purely for ascetic, balancing or variation reasons which muddy the waters but as valid writing technique uses of it in this way don't negate the possibility of the more specific uses

Beautiful distinction Petty.  Great stuff.  I tend to agree with you here but only vaguely and I'm not sure it could be implied in every or even most uses - but these are just impressions on my part.  I'd also tend to think that this very dynamic does exist but more on an instinctual level w/Tolkien.  Great writer.  Great instincts.

Also there's the thought that always kicks around in the back of my mind that Tolkien tends to be thoughtful about avoiding the "purposeful domination of the author" - never trying to belabor one specific definition or another but to try and leave as much room for the mind and imagination of the reader to wander as possible.  I think this is also why he paints with such large brush strokes (not just here  but in all of his mature works) - in order to let the mind wander free.  (I also tend to think that the people who don't like Tolkien have a problem with this: it makes his works seem bland to them when, truth be told, they really are people with not much imagination.)  I would imagine Tolkien was never thinking specifically about his use of the word "goblin" - but, again, I think it's his instinct as an author to perceive points like the distinction you made above but not to belabor them.

Fantastic discussion by the way.  Elthir, your research and knowledge is to be commended!

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by David H on Thu Mar 10, 2016 4:29 am

jon wrote:

Ha!  And why is that Elthir?  You can't just clarify in your next post but have to go back to alter one of your previous posts?  Does anyone else do that?  Why would you do that except to save face and make your original arguments seem better than they actually were?  You can't live with your mistakes?  Or you can't stand leaving a post that's vague and unclear?  I don't do that!  No one else here does, do they?


Sure people do that, and we often see crossposts during editing like this here. If I type something spontaneously, then go back and read it to discover that it says something different than I intended, I'll quickly edit it to improve the clarity. It's just a courtesy to the people who might bother to read what I'd written. Everybody appreciates clarity, don't they? confused

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by azriel on Thu Mar 10, 2016 8:53 am

Awh Davey ! I read your posts Smile Orcs are everywhere, they are the silent minority that is fast becoming a majority. Im reading Terry Pratchett at mo & he has Orcs in that....& Goblins....but no Hobbits ??

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by halfwise on Thu Mar 10, 2016 12:28 pm

David H wrote:
jon wrote:

Ha!  And why is that Elthir?  You can't just clarify in your next post but have to go back to alter one of your previous posts?  Does anyone else do that?  Why would you do that except to save face and make your original arguments seem better than they actually were?  You can't live with your mistakes?  Or you can't stand leaving a post that's vague and unclear?  I don't do that!  No one else here does, do they?


Sure people do that, and we often see crossposts during editing like this here. If I type something spontaneously, then go back and read it to discover that it says something different than I intended, I'll quickly edit it to improve the clarity. It's just a courtesy to the people who might bother to read what I'd written. Everybody appreciates clarity, don't they? confused


Yep, you don't expect everyone to have read what you've written immediately, so back you go to make it better. Often you don't notice a flaw until you see it in the final mode, but sometimes much later if not in a conversation.

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Elthir on Thu Mar 10, 2016 12:36 pm

jon wrote: Ha! And why is that Elthir?  You can't just clarify in your next post but have to go back to alter one of your previous posts?  Does anyone else do that?  Why would you do that except to save face and make your original arguments seem better than they actually were?  You can't live with your mistakes?  Or you can't stand leaving a post that's vague and unclear?  I don't do that!  No one else here does, do they?

Well... if you feel you must.  But it seems pretty disingenuous to me and not very honest...

Well, as I noted, I added two paragraphs to inject something. And after I had edited the post, I only then saw that Petty was already "now" online (the green tag), and I realized that he probably did not read the extra two paragraphs, and I wanted to be clear...

... I was confused for a bit in the thread -- Petty had (which I've rarely seen in goblin orc discussion) injected a new idea into the conversation, even though it's not about the differences between orc and goblin, which I've been so used to discussing, and which I initially thought he was still discussing, as well as the idea that "goblin" represented a word specific to some race of people.

Also, there is an edit button... for some reason Wink  

So I don't feel I've been disingenuous to alert Petty that I've added something to my post, considering the circumstances. There's a way that editing can be disingenuous in my opinion. I don't believe I'm guilty of this.

Petty has added a new element to the discussion, which is why I asked him if he might want to comment on other examples. If he does or doesn't, that's fine of course. Perhaps there is a thread that can be revealed by doing so, I don't know, but even if not it could still be interesting and new (to me). As I say I've been engaged with the examples in response to the many and ongoing claims (all over the web, for years now) that there's a difference between orc and goblin...

... and the sub claim that "goblin" denotes Hobbit usage similar to Tolkien's kuduk scenario (I've yet to find anyone claim it denotes a special word spoken by any other people). So far I'm not inclined to change my position about these claims.
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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by jon on Thu Mar 10, 2016 1:34 pm

David H wrote:Sure people do that, and we often see crossposts during editing like this here. If I type something spontaneously, then go back and read it to discover that it says something different than I intended, I'll quickly edit it to improve the clarity. It's just a courtesy to the people who might bother to read what I'd written. Everybody appreciates clarity, don't they?

Yeah, but there's a difference between doing the kind of thing you're talking about (I go back and correct spelling mistakes or will quickly edit something I've just posted just as you say) - between that and engaging in a vociferous and detailed debate as Elthir so commonly does and then going back a editing something far back in the thread.  Then the point of discussion and it's history become truly altered and twisted.  That's what I'm talking about.  And, no, I don't believe that engaging in such a practice makes for an honest debate by any stretch of the imagination and I do think it's disingenuous.

Hence Petty's very justified agravation:

Pettytyrant101 wrote:{{{added in response you bloody adding things to your response Mad Bloody Lore Masters and there extra Lore Mad  I would not claim that Gimli had a special dwarf word that was supposed to be indicted, but he could have used a different emphasis on the same word, to subtlety alter its meaning which a direct translation could accurately convey the single surface meaning of, but would lack the secondary meaning intended by Gimli in his emphasis, but which could be conveyed by having a 'softer' and 'harsher' term, 'goblin' and 'orc'}}}

That's what I was talking about.

The edit button does not "exist" for the sake of abuse or misuse, Elthir.  Would you think that a gun or a drug does?

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Elthir on Thu Mar 10, 2016 1:57 pm

jon wrote: Yeah, but there's a difference between doing the kind of thing you're talking about (I go back and correct spelling mistakes or will quickly edit something I've just posted just as you say) - between that and engaging in a vociferous and detailed debate as Elthir so commonly does and then going back a editing something far back in the thread.  Then the point of discussion and it's history become truly altered and twisted.  That's what I'm talking about.  And, no, I don't believe that engaging in such a practice makes for an honest debate by any stretch of the imagination and I do think it's disingenuous.

Well I edited the post quickly after posting it -- no one had responded to it yet, you can tell as no "edited by" appears in the post in question -- then I noticed that Petty had come on line during the quick edit... he hadn't been there when I first posted. It wasn't a post "far back in the thread" as you claim here.

Hence Petty's very justified agravation:

If you take it that way. I didn't.

And obviously the edit button does not exist for the sake of misuse or abuse.

I said it exists for some reason, and it does.
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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by jon on Thu Mar 10, 2016 2:18 pm

Elthir wrote:then I noticed that Petty had come on line during the quick edit... he hadn't been there when I first posted. It wasn't a post "far back in the thread" as you claim here.

I did not claim that you had done that in that particular post. I was simply making the point in general. You have a habit of making such false accusations, in case you hadn't noticed. I've noticed. I would also tend to think that that is not very honest.

Elthir wrote:And obviously the edit button does not exist for the sake of misuse or abuse.

Then my point is well taken.

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by David H on Thu Mar 10, 2016 2:37 pm

On the subject of goblins, when I was a kid I was read "The Princess and the Goblin"/"Princess and Curdie" as bedtime stories, so when I first read "The Hobbit" I put it in the same category, especially the goblin parts. When I read LotR much later, I found my mental image of goblins evolving from George MacDonald style to something very different.

Would anyone care to speculate how much influence MacDonald may have had on Tolkien's early writings? I seem to remember JRRT had read the GM books to his children when they were young, and it occurs to me that the appearance goblins in TH may have originally been an homage to GM that evolved over time into the orc/goblins we now know (leaving confusion behind them...)

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Elthir on Thu Mar 10, 2016 2:51 pm

jon wrote: I did not claim that you had done that in that particular post.  I was simply making the point in general.  You have a habit of making such false accusations, in case you hadn't noticed.  I've noticed.  I would also tend to think that that is not very honest.

Well, you used my name to make your "general" point, and a specific post was already under discussion... why use my name to discuss a general problem you have with editing, after already pointing to a specific post of mine to bring up disingenuous editing?

So yep, you're correct; you didn't specifically claim that the post you already attacked was "far back in the thread". Your post is quite suggestive however, and one can suggest a lot without making a specific claim. And as far as this "habit" remark, I'm not going to accept that claim.

Elthir wrote:And obviously the edit button does not exist for the sake of misuse or abuse.

Jon said: Then my point is well taken.

Sorry jon, what I did was exactly what you admitted to above (that I bolded).

And your "general" thoughts about what you find disingenuous about editing are noted, but it appears that you cannot fairly claim that about the post that started this whole digression.

And yes this post has been edited more than once. To take out some repetition, some poorly chosen words, and to shorten it. As far as I know you've yet to read it, or maybe won't. Oops, and even later again, correcting you to you've.


Last edited by Elthir on Thu Mar 10, 2016 9:00 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Mar 10, 2016 3:00 pm

{{{Blimey! Shocked Jon- great to have you about and posting again, but I fear you have presumed from a false position here, though I do appreciate the defence- but my crabbit annoyances about Elthirs additions Mad were intended purely tongue in cheek- I took no actual offence at Elthir adding to his post in such a fashion. In fact I altered two of my own posts at least twice prior to that before others had responded, as reading them back I felt in 1 instance I had not been very clear, and that in another I thought the wording was open to misinterpretation- so I edited both parts to better reflect what I had intended.
Its not at all uncommon on here at least for folks to do this. And I didn't see anything underhand or sneaky in what Elthir had done. But as I said that you mistook my false anger for the real thing is my fault not yours and I am very glad to have you in on the debate Jon.

Elthir- if I can find the time I will go on a hunt for goblins and orcs in LotR's and see how there usage stacks up i light of my theory of their usage- but don't hold your breath, I appear to not only be on the run but to be working 7 days out of 7 Evil or Very Mad When I do have time I am so exhausted i just want to stare blankly at things and sleep! No }}}}}

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Elthir on Thu Mar 10, 2016 3:16 pm

No problem Petty! If you ever feel like taking a look (maybe I'll also look at the examples with a different mindset than before, but I too can't promise anything) the following might help, although there's not much context here...

... it's just the way I rounded them up before. And I did it the old fashioned way, so I'm not sure this is all instances, but so far...

__________

1) '... Elf fountains, goblin-barkers and thunder-claps.' (narration, A Long expected Party)

2) '... about goblins and wolves and things of that sort, I should say no.' (Merry speaking, The Old Forest)

3) 'He looks more than half like a goblin.' (Frodo thinking to himself, A Knife in the Dark)

4) 'There are no goblins near, or my ears are made of wood. It is to be hoped that the Orcs will be content with driving us from Moria.' (Gimli speaking, Lothlorien)

5) 'Now perhaps we can get away without those cursed goblins seeing us.' (Sam speaking, The Great River)

6) 'There were four goblin-soldiers of greater stature,...' (narration, The Departure of Boromir)

7) 'Upon a stake in the middle was set a great goblin head;...' (narration, The Riders of Rohan)

8] 'Then they yelled and dozens of other goblins had sprung out of the trees.' (narration, The Uruk-hai)

9) 'Round them were many smaller goblins.' (narration, The Uruk-hai)

10) 'O ho!' hissed the goblin softly.' (narration, The Uruk-hai)

11) '... and finding the body of the goblin...' (narration, The Uruk-hai)

12) '... these half-orcs and goblin-men...' (Gamling speaking, Helm's Deep)

13) '... man-high, but with goblin-faces...' (Merry speaking, Flotsam And Jetsam)
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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Mar 10, 2016 4:02 pm

{{{{Oooh I'm game I'll have a go- though this will be an off-the-top-of-my-head response!


1) '... Elf fountains, goblin-barkers and thunder-claps.' (narration, A Long expected Party)

Used for its secondary English meanings- which orc lacks, especially this early in the narrative- had they been called orc-barkers the reader would not have got the connection most likely. Its a party, it early on in the narrative, so Tolkien opts for the 'soft' option. And on a writing note goblin-barkers scans better. So it works all round for more than one reason.

2) '... about goblins and wolves and things of that sort, I should say no.' (Merry speaking, The Old Forest)

Used as the 'soft' alternative here- if memory serves Merry is referring here to the tales Fatty Bolger's Nanny used to tell him- orc would not have the secondary connotations with childhood stories and the nursery that is required here.

3) 'He looks more than half like a goblin.' (Frodo thinking to himself, A Knife in the Dark)

Here the softer version is used to keep the threat level down. Had it been  more than half like a orc the threat is too large for Bree, by making it goblin its reduces the danger level in how it sounds, and also makes it conceivable Frodo is using it in a slightly joky manner, that he was not taking the fact someone looked more than half like a goblin as a real serious thing- which goes narratively with them acting like they are on 'a hobbit walking party' as Butterbur puts it and with Aragorn's annoyance at how little they seem to realise the real danger they are in.
And lastly on a writing point using goblin here works as a conceal in the narrative, it foreshadows the later half orcs of the story and the connection between them and these men at Bree from the south without sign posting it.

4) 'There are no goblins near, or my ears are made of wood. It is to be hoped that the Orcs will be content with driving us from Moria.'

Covered that one in post above.

5) 'Now perhaps we can get away without those cursed goblins seeing us.' (Sam speaking, The Great River)

Sam is translated as using the softer version here as he trying to keep his courage up and be brave, he is in his own head making the orcs seem less dangerous, so Tolkien conveys this with goblin. Its also typical of Sam in that it doesn't afford the orcs any dignity, they are 'cursed goblins' a double insult if you like, both insulting and belittling them.

6) 'There were four goblin-soldiers of greater stature,...' (narration, The Departure of Boromir)

I think this is more of a unique case whose primary purpose is narrative driven. Its a more clear foreshadowing now the Uruk-Hai are about to enter full stage and is part of a linking mystery that includes the white hand symbol which points to Isengard.
So why no call them orc-soldiers? Because that would be too direct. Any good mystery story always tries to misdirect or conceal in some fashion the important clues.

7) 'Upon a stake in the middle was set a great goblin head;...' (narration, The Riders of Rohan)

Another one whose purpose I think is mainly in the writing. Here simple but always effective alliteration.

8] 'Then they yelled and dozens of other goblins had sprung out of the trees.' (narration, The Uruk-hai)

Mmm need more context for this one- I'll get back to you!

9) 'Round them were many smaller goblins.' (narration, The Uruk-hai)

Secondary meanings of goblin used to emphasis the smaller part.

10) 'O ho!' hissed the goblin softly.' (narration, The Uruk-hai)

Another one I need to check the fuller context of, but my instinct is to think it has to do with the two hobbits involved and from whose perspective we are getting this tale. Whilst goblin is not used exclusively by hobbits in Tolkien as a translational of orc, I think it is more commonly used by him than leaving it as orc. In which case goblin here is being used to reinforce that we are getting the tale of Merry and Pippin (remembering that as writer Tolkien has now embarked on the task of taking the reader on several separate story lines with different temporary leads, so there is work to be done in reassuring the reader and keeping them with the tale).

11) '... and finding the body of the goblin...' (narration, The Uruk-hai)

Another for which I need further context.

12) '... these half-orcs and goblin-men...' (Gamling speaking, Helm's Deep)

I'll get back to you on this one, as my thoughts on it depend on remembering if its Gamling or not who pulls up Eomer on the ramparts above the Gate over what the Wild Men are shouting.

13) '... man-high, but with goblin-faces...' (Merry speaking, Flotsam And Jetsam)

This one is for consistency of species I think. It mirrors Frodo's internal description of the half-goblin at Bree, making the connection in the readers mind to Frodo and that half-orc and so the ones at Isengard and so the realisation of how all those events were connected.


Need to ponder on some when I read the buggers back no doubt- but there you go for my off the cuff response to the challenge! Very Happy  Need more buckie now!  drunken }}}

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by halfwise on Thu Mar 10, 2016 11:53 pm

7-11 seem to me that in Petty's 'soft' versus 'menacing' theory should all have been 'orc' rather than 'goblin'.

Elthir, do you by chance have all of Tolkien in electronic format? How else did you find all these examples so quickly?

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by jon on Fri Mar 11, 2016 2:58 am

jon wrote:Ha!  And why is that Elthir?  You can't just clarify in your next post but have to go back to alter one of your previous posts?  Does anyone else do that?  Why would you do that except to save face and make your original arguments seem better than they actually were?  You can't live with your mistakes?  Or you can't stand leaving a post that's vague and unclear?  I don't do that!  No one else here does, do they?

Here I was just laughing at you for adding two whole paragraphs to a previous post when you could have just as easily made another.  In addition you hadn't yet made the dynamic that you outlined below that post clear.  Sorry about that Elthir.

jon wrote:Yeah, but there's a difference between doing the kind of thing you're talking about (I go back and correct spelling mistakes or will quickly edit something I've just posted just as you say) - between that and engaging in a vociferous and detailed debate as Elthir so commonly does and then going back a editing something far back in the thread.  Then the point of discussion and it's history become truly altered and twisted.  That's what I'm talking about.  And, no, I don't believe that engaging in such a practice makes for an honest debate by any stretch of the imagination and I do think it's disingenuous.

Honest, Elthir, I completely had in mind the dynamic I was talking about when I responded to David and was not making the accusation regarding the specific post previously under discussion.  And I still stand by that point.  I do understand, tho, people making additional edits before anyone else has responded.  That really doesn't bother me that much.

Elthir wrote:...and one can suggest a lot without making a specific claim...

Yeah, you ought to know there Elthir.  It's been charming, as usual.

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by jon on Fri Mar 11, 2016 3:11 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:great to have you about and posting again... glad to have you in on the debate Jon.

Great to be back and great to hear from you.  The topic really is a good one, at least the way you've framed it.  I very much agree with your position but, as I'd said, I think it's more on instinct with Tolkien than anything else.  It wouldn't surprise me tho if he'd hashed out some of these kinds of intellectual constructs in the back of his mind.

To your point 6) above I'd include the rustic and simple nature of Sam's character and the nature of the Shire in general - less "high" and noble, perhaps even more child like, which Sam personifies much more than the other characters.  I think that's the more important dynamic in play in that one particular passage.

Petty wrote:...though I do appreciate the defence...

Hey, ain't nobody gonna be pickin' on my favorite tyrant without me havin' a say.

Smile

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