Tolkien in General

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by jon on Fri Mar 11, 2016 3:16 am

I would also tend to think that most of these passages illustrate how interchangeable the two words are.  Also, tLotR is generally more the high medieval epic.  Hence, the word Orc is frequently preferred for stylistic reasons - but I suppose that point has been belabored enough.  Petty's point, tho, illustrates what Tolkien or other critics have constantly said about the work - that it's a meeting of the comfortable modern (in the form of hobbits) with a high-epic past.  The use of language, of course, is going to reflect that.

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by jon on Fri Mar 11, 2016 3:22 am

Regarding Petty's point 7) - here it is the narrator himself speaking to the modern audience.

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Elthir on Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:49 pm

jon 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?

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.

Apology accepted for laughing at my two whole paragraphs which were two whole sentences that I easily added to the existing post. That said, I'm not convinced you were "just" doing that, as here you forgot to quote the very next sentence from your original post, where you wrote...

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

Oh wait... forgive me too jon, for a moment there I thought you were trying to rewrite history by editing out the concluding line from this section of your post back in the thread, but I see now you were just apologizing for something specific in that part of the post, and explaining that that's "just" what you were doing there.

Apology accepted then... you know, for the laughing.

And sorry to forumshirers for simply not ignoring this... but considering what disingenuous means I could use the irony supplement.

warning: this post itself contains irony. Don't over supplement!
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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Elthir on Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:18 pm

Very interesting Petty... yeah sorry I couldn't give better context, but I was going for brevity back when I posted these elsewhere.

I looked the examples up the old fashioned way... but I must admit I missed one or two for a while and someone who could do a word search found the rest for me. So maybe that's it? Do we trust technology?

Smile

I missed Sam's comment, for one. How silly of me. But also I had looked for these earlier... my response only seemed fast 'cause I had listed them before.
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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by jon on Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:37 pm

Nice try Elthir.

The two whole paragraphs were of course from your own post above:

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

which, as I had said,

jon wrote:you hadn't yet made the dynamic that you outlined below that post clear.

...nor had you yet made the dynamic that you outlined here clear, the fact that it was just two sentences, which you've noted here for the first time.

And you oh so conveniently disregarded that latter part of my post above,

jon wrote:you hadn't yet made the dynamic that you outlined below that post clear.

when you say

Elthir wrote:...as here you forgot to quote the very next sentence from your original post, where you wrote...

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

You've really taken it out of context and twisted it around, haven't you?

Yes, Elthir,

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

and you seem to be the king of that realm, don't you?  Half-truths and manipulation work very well for you.

And I do not apologies to anyone for this argument.  Elthir is acting like slime and he needs to be called out in public and beater like a dog for such behavior - which is pretty much what he deserves.

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Elthir on Fri Mar 11, 2016 2:01 pm

Back to Tolkien and goblins...

David H wrote: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...)

Good addition David. Tolkien did reference G-Mac twice in his letters, where he notes (letter 144): "... They are not based on direct experience of mine; but owe, I suppose, a good deal to the goblin tradition (...), especially as it appears in George MacDonald, except for the soft feet that I never believed in.'

And (letter 151): "Your preference of goblins to orcs involves a large question and a matter of taste, and perhaps historical pedantry on my part. Personally I prefer Orcs (since these creatures are not 'goblins', not even the goblins of George MacDonald, which they do to some extent resemble). Also I now deeply regret having used Elves, though this is a word in ancestry and original meaning suitable enough."

I like the comment about the feet.

I think GMac's goblins had hard heads, if I recall correctly, which is interesting... or maybe not... (or especially not if I don't recall correctly)... cnsidering that Azog had "... a huge iron-clad head" [Appendix A], and the Great Goblin was described as having a huge head as well.

Okay that's not very compelling for obvious reasons... but it's not nothing. Maybe Very Happy
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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by David H on Fri Mar 11, 2016 3:57 pm

Interesting Elthir! That's more of an acknowledged MacDonald pedigree than I'd expected to be found. May I ask what the dates of those two letters are and to whom they were written?

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by halfwise on Fri Mar 11, 2016 4:00 pm

Jon wrote:And I do not apologies to anyone for this argument. Elthir is acting like slime and he needs to be called out in public and beater like a dog for such behavior - which is pretty much what he deserves.


Oh come off it, Jon. I might suggest at this point that Elthir's not the one who's earning a name-calling here.

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Mar 11, 2016 4:20 pm

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

I would not call it soft and menacing- rather, as that was an off the cuff way of putting it, on reflection it might be better to think of them as having secondary meanings and not.

Although orc does have a root word, somewhere in Anglo-saxon I think- but I am sure our resident Lore Master can correct me on that if not- its unlikely to be known to the expected reading audience. The only real meanings the reader has for understanding orc are those provided by Tolkien in the text.

Goblin on the other hand has a ton of useful context sensitive secondary meanings- from ugly, small, large, squat, fierce, evil, untrustworthy, and a bunch of connotations to childhood nursery tales, especially in the time frame Tolkien grew up in and was writing for.

So for example, in the Merry quote Elthir gave above, which is reflecting on what Fatty's nanny told him as scary tales in the nursery its not that goblin is the soft option, its that by soft I mean it is using one of these secondary meanings which is not necessarily from the nasty evil end of the goblin meanings spectrum- in this case its used for the fairytale, childhood association to reflect the subject matter.

Had Tolkien used orc here, the 'hard' version, or more accurately the version lacking secondary meanings, the reader would not have had the personal connection to childhood tales featuring orcs- because they didn't exist until Tolkien created them- that they do for goblin.

And we know Tolkien thought this way about words as he mentions somewhere about his choice of the word wraith specifically for its other linguist connotations of being a twisted thing. Compared to his choice of wraith and its reasoning goblin is easy stuff; deciding to use it whenever a secondary meaning is desired to be invoked in the reader.

'Elthir is acting like slime and he needs to be called out in public and beater like a dog for such behaviour - which is pretty much what he deserves.'- Jon

Come off it Jon, is there some previous here between you two I am unaware of or something? As I see nothing in this debate to come close to warranting that sort of statement, or ever where my personal and forum dealings with Elthir are concerned- Elthir has always seem straightforward, forthright, technically minded and gifted, and with a mile wide mischievous sense of humour- a perfect mix in fact for Lore Master of this particular Tolkien forum.  Nod
Whatever it is that has got you so annoyed I am not seeing it at all}}}}}

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Elthir on Fri Mar 11, 2016 5:33 pm

David H wrote:Interesting Elthir! That's more of an acknowledged MacDonald pedigree than I'd expected to be found. May I ask what the dates of those two letters are and to whom they were written?

Sorry David, I have to remember to date things... looks like 1954 for both ... letter 144 April, letter 151 September. Considering that I went back to the book to get the letter numbers, I've no idea why I simply didn't add the dates!

Petty raised the interesting matter of OE. In letter 144 Tolkien also writes that as far as he is concerned Orcs "... is derived actually from Old English orc "demon", but only because of its phonetic suitability." (note "eotenas ond ylfe ond orcneas" in Beowulf for instance, "giants and elves and monsters", although I'm not expert enough in OE to dig deeper here). Anyway basically OE appears to be the inspiration.

Tolkien also wrote the interesting note (Quendi And Eldar, late 1950s-ish): "The word used in translation of Q. urko, S. orch, is Orc. But that is because of the similarity of the ancient English word orc, "evil spirit or bogey", to the Elvish words. There is possibly no connection between them. The English word is now generally supposed to be derived from Latin Orcus."

Hmm, and about the same time (Words, Phrases, and Passages), Tolkien actually noted the Westron word orka,  with "orc" seemingly being an "adaptation" of that. My guess is that Tolkien later simplified things... Orc can itself be Westron; it's not all that different from Sindarin for example. Of course orc could still be called a translation, it's just a translation into Westron (if used that way)... although admittedly the Old English inspiration makes this nicely muddled, if so...

... not to mention that in The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien used OE to translate some actual Rohirric!
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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Elthir on Fri Mar 11, 2016 6:05 pm

LOL... oops...

... ah, I'll be right back with more information about the letters David... considering that you asked for more than dates... which part of your question fell out of my head somehow. I suppose earplugs could have helped keep that part in, but then the voices in my head can't get out that way either.

Ah... 144 to Naomi Mitchison (she had been reading page-proofs of the first two volumes of The Lord of the Rings). Letter 151 to Hugh Brogan.
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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by David H on Fri Mar 11, 2016 6:52 pm

Thanks for the further details. Both quotes do appear to indicate a strong McDonald influence in the beginning from which JRRT, while acknowledging the influence, is now making and effort to distance himself. I wish I had a copy of Princess and Goblin handy for comparison. I clearly remember the sound of huge feet flapping. Curious that JRRT "never believed in" them, as if it were an article of faith. scratch His descriptions of orc feet stomping may perhaps then be seen as an act of defiance against MacD.

Anyway, it does seem reasonable to suggest, especially with the second quotation, that differentiating his goblins from MacD's played a part in his use of the word orc, and may be the cause of some of the ambiguous distinctions between "goblin" and "orc" that have caused so much confusion, don't you think?

Elthir wrote:

Tolkien did reference G-Mac twice in his letters, where he notes (letter 144): "... They are not based on direct experience of mine; but owe, I suppose, a good deal to the goblin tradition (...), especially as it appears in George MacDonald, except for the soft feet that I never believed in.'

And (letter 151): "Your preference of goblins to orcs involves a large question and a matter of taste, and perhaps historical pedantry on my part. Personally I prefer Orcs (since these creatures are not 'goblins', not even the goblins of George MacDonald, which they do to some extent resemble). Also I now deeply regret having used Elves, though this is a word in ancestry and original meaning suitable enough."

I like the comment about the feet.



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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by halfwise on Fri Mar 11, 2016 7:00 pm

I seem to remember plenty of orc feet flapping in Tolkien. Didn't we hear them in the Goblin tunnels of the Hobbit? In the Tower of Cirith Ungol?

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by chris63 on Thu Aug 04, 2016 6:11 am

The Mountain Path by J.R.R. Tolkien


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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Elthir on Thu Aug 04, 2016 1:06 pm

In The Tower of Cirith Ungol for instance, Sam does hear the slapping of an orc's feet going up stairs, however when Sam is in a passage he hears the rap of his own feet too "which seemed to grow to an echoing noise, like the slapping of great hands upon stones." In The Hobbit, when fleeing the goblins, at one point the company could hear "even the flap of the goblin feet", and later some goblins put out their torches and slipped on soft shoes, following "swift as weasels in the dark, and with hardly any more noise than bats."

But anyway I'm not sure it's the flapping, rapping, or slapping necessarily, but that MacDonald's goblins are noted as having soft, vulnerable feet:

"But I could carry ten times as much if it wasn't for my feet."
"That is your weak point, I confess, my boy."
"Well, to be honest, it is a goblin weakness. Why they come so soft, I declare I haven't an idea."
"Specially when you head's so hard, you know, father"
"Yes, my boy. The goblin's glory is his head. To think the fellows up above there have to put on helmets and things when they go fighting. Ha! ha!"

And later in the story there is some foot stamping when fighting the goblins -- a character named Curdie, for example, lands a head blow with the blunt side of an axe (seemingly a pickaxe), but this is not as effective as stamping upon the feet of the goblins.

The goblin queen, however, trusted in her granite shoes!
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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by David H on Thu Aug 04, 2016 5:01 pm

Even before MacDonald, Charles Dickens' goblins had "pliable legs".
The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton, Pickwick Papers 1836 wrote:" You miserable man!" said the goblin, in a tone of excessive contempt. "You!" He appeared disposed to add more, but indignation choked his utterance, so he lifted up one of his very pliable legs, and, flourishing it above his head a little, to insure his aim, administered a good sound kick to Gabriel Grub; immediately after which, all the goblins in waiting crowded round the wretched sexton, and kicked him without mercy, according to the established and invariable custom of courtiers upon earth, who kick whom royalty kicks, and hug whom royalty hugs.

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Aug 06, 2016 10:57 am




{{{Have at him Elthir! Twisted Evil }}}

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by halfwise on Sat Aug 06, 2016 1:17 pm

He actually made a very good point that Frodo couldn't throw the ring in his home fire, so there was reason to believe he wouldn't be able to throw it in the Cracks of Doom. This had to play through Gandalf's mind at some point, but he seems to have forgotten it.

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Orwell on Sat Aug 06, 2016 1:45 pm

The Princess and the Goblin was a very good read. Must read it again one day. I didn't get through the Princess and Curdie - at least I can't remember getting through it.

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Aug 06, 2016 2:16 pm

This had to play through Gandalf's mind at some point, but he seems to have forgotten it.- Gandalf

{{{I dont think so. I think he knew form the start Frodo would fail the task, its why he sent Sam and why he was so pleased after his return to learn Sam had gone with Frodo.
From Gandalfs point of view its wasn't about dining someone who could resist the Ring and destroy it- the answer to that was no one could. What he was banking on was that Frodo had the right personality to resist the Ring, even by hobbit standards to get it to the one place it could be destroyed, then to hope for redemption for the effort from on High.
Gandalf as he is incarnate doesn't have the power, or the right to stop Sauron, but if he can get everyone fighting against him, but for the right reasons- self sacrifice in the name of giving Frodo at least a chance of getting there- then he hopes for good to come from it. In the end the deciding action though which allowed for it was Frodo's act of pity towards Gollum. If it had just been Sam with the Ring Gollum would at best be left tied up to die in a hole, and at worst dead in a ditch somewhere and redemption would never have happened. Its why Gandalf choose so well in hindsight.
Thats my take on it anyway.}}}

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Elthir on Sun Aug 07, 2016 5:26 pm

Stephen maybe should brush up on his Quenya plurals in an English context -- "a Maiar" isn't well grammar... I mean it's not goodly grammarized.

I know it's very picky... but he speaks to a large number of ears, as I assume he visits many televisions, preposition.
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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Huan on Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:09 pm

I spent a few days in Oxford recently and as Tolkien spent much of his life there I took the chance to visit a few of his local places of interest. Had lunch and a drink in The Eagle and Child pub where The Inklings (Tolkien, CS Lewis and a number of others) met on Tuesday mornings for many years. Sitting right where they used to meet was great. Also visited his old house, where much of his writing was done. I went to the botanical gardens where I heard Tolkien got a lot of inspiration for his Ents, but unfortunately his favourite tree known as "Tolkien tree" had been cut down a few years prior due to it being dangerously unstable. I also visited his and his wifes grave, which I mainly did because I wanted to see Beren and Luthien on their gravestone, which was so touching.

All in all, lovely to soak in some places and atmospheres that somewhat inspired my favourite writer.





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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Eldorion on Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:42 pm

Hey Huan! Allow me to offer a (belated) welcome to Forumshire. Smile I'm glad you decided to post and share your description/pictures of your trip with us. I've wanted to visit England for years and Oxford/Tolkien stuff is a big part of that so I'm a little jealous, but it looks very cool and I can only imagine how it feels.
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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by halfwise on Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:50 pm

I stopped by the Eagle and Child once, years ago; but the meeting room where the Inklings met was being used so couldn't go in there. I had a pint of something or other, wasn't as much into beer then as I am now, but it was good to stop by.

Good to meet you, Huan!  We had another Huan hanging around years ago, but he took Tinuviel and left.

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Re: Tolkien in General

Post by Huan on Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:03 pm

Hello there. I did have another account here a few years ago, but I couldn't remember what my username was and I happened to guess Huan correctly and it turns out I never posted on this account. Quite why I had 2 in the first place I am sure I do not know! I think it was called Carcharoth.

While in the pub I picked a random book from a random shelf (there were many shelves full of books dotted around the pub) and found within it a note from a stranger saying hello, asking how the reader was ect... And on the other side was someone answering it. Really added to the charm of the place!

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