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Post by Eldorion on Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:48 am

In response to Arwen's queries from the Intro thread. Smile

Arwen_Evenstar wrote:Thanks for all the welcomes, you guys! You sure know how to make a girl feel loved! :)I feel like I fit in here already! Very Happy

And as for my questions (feel free to reference me to another thread, of necessary) -
1) Were Gimli and Legolas gay?
2) Did Frodo metaphorically die at the end of ROTK? Did he literally die?
3) Why didn't Arwen and Aragorn go to the Grey Havens as well?
(Excuse me if they're actually very simple questions. My brain is a piece of work, I'm telling you.)

Thank you! Smile

1. Tolkien never says that Gimli and Legolas are gay, though there are certainly plenty of parts of the books that have homoerotic connotations to many readers, and Gimli and Legolas' relationship is one of them.  There's no record of either of them marrying and they leave Middle-earth together after Aragorn's death (see also answers #2 and #3).  So it's easy to see where the speculation comes from (although it's worth noting that Gimli's love for the Lady Galadriel is heavily emphasized, this is never stated to be a romantic love).  That said, I don't think Tolkien would have subscribed to this theory.  Middle-earth is a famously prudish setting, and while it's not quite as sexless as its critics sometimes claim, I don't think Tolkien intended Gimli and Legolas' relationship to be seen as sexual or romantic.  One of the most important and consistent themes in the books is friendship and companionship, particularly the bonds that are forged by experience a tough times together, but close male friendship doesn't necessarily make two guys gay.

2. The question of death and immortality in Tolkien's writing is a complicated one, though it's a topic better suited for another post (I can elaborate on it later if you like).  For now, let it suffice to say that Frodo did not die at the end of ROTK ... though he would die eventually.  Basically, there is a continent to the west of Middle-earth (though in Frodo's time it's not part of the regular Earth anymore and is a semi-separate plane of existence) which is the home of many Elves and also the angelic guardians of the world, known as the Valar, who were appointed by God to take care of the universe.  This continent is known as the Undying Lands because most of its inhabitants are immortal, though living there does not in and of itself bestow immortality upon people (the Grey Havens is a port from which people depart to go to the Undying Lands).  Normally, mortals (including humans, hobbits, and dwarves) are not allowed to go to the Undying Lands, but exceptions are sometimes made.  One such exception was made for the Ring-bearers in recognition of their sacrifices for the cause of defeating Sauron and the deep physical and psychological wounds they suffered in the process.  Frodo was allowed to spend the rest of his life in the peaceful realm of the Undying Lands, but he would eventually die and his spirit would leave the physical universe to whatever fate awaits the souls of humans and hobbits (Tolkien deliberately does not say what this fate is).

3. As mortals (Aragorn being born one, Arwen becoming one by choosing her human heritage over her Elvish side), Aragorn and Arwen wouldn't have been allowed to go to the Undying Lands because they didn't have a special exception made for them.  To be sure, they both made major contributions to the fight against Sauron, but Aragorn's job continued after Sauron's defeat because he had to repair the Kingdom of Gondor and rebuild the old Kingdom of Arnor (where his ancestors had ruled).  Aragorn's activities after LOTR are described in Appendices A and B, which can be found at the back of most editions of Return of the King.  Arwen, through her father Elrond, was of mixed human and Elvish heritage, so she could have gone to the Undying Lands (via the Grey Havens) if she had chosen the fate of the Elves for herself.  However, she chose the fate of humans so that she could be with Aragorn in both life and death, and after their passing both of their souls left the physical universe for whatever fate awaited them (see above).

These are just my answers, of course, so further responses, discussion, and nitpicking is more than welcome. Very Happy
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Post by Arwen_Evenstar on Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:01 am

Haha thanks very much! I did read the Appendices, and am now working on the Silmarillion, but some things just didn't click, I suppose.

As for the Legolas/Gimli thing, I understand what you're saying, and I agree absolutely that there can be close friendships of the same sex without being homosexual. I almost think that Tolkien did it so that if you wanted to think they were gay, the evidence was there.. But if you didn't want to, there isn't exactly enough evidence to prove anything. I have to say I err more on the non-gay, just because I don't want that picture inside my head. Haha. Very Happy

As for #2, that makes a lot of sense. I was under the impression that Bilbo and Frodo (and later Sam) became immortal by going to the Undying Lands, because they had been ringbearers.
(On that note, in your personal opinion, where do you think they went? The humans/hobbits, after they died? O_O)

And lastly. I didn't know if Aragorn (and Arwen as his consort) would gain admission into the Grey Havens, because they had been part of the Fellowship. I know that Aragorn, and later Arwen, died, but I didn't know if the Grey Havens were also a form of heaven? (Again, that was before I knew that Frodo/Bilbo/Sam only went there for the rest of their mortal lives, then passed on.)

I hope that made at least some sense, and thank you so much for answering! Smile

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Post by David H on Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:27 am

I'd just like to add that I think part of what makes Tolkien's Middle Earth seem so real is that, despite the extreme detail that he has put into the story, he intentionally chose to leave a lot of unanswered and unanswerable questions, like after death and sex lives.  I think a lot of the charm is in leaving these questions open.
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Post by Arwen_Evenstar on Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:37 am

Very, very true.. But there can't be any harm in tossing around ideas, can there? Very Happy

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Post by David H on Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:46 am

None at all! Very Happy 
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Post by Eldorion on Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:23 am

The question of what happens after someone boards a ship at the Grey Havens touches on some of the spiritual and mythological points of Tolkien's work, and so it is definitely a confusing and complicated subject. Razz

Arwen_Evenstar wrote:(On that note, in your personal opinion, where do you think they went? The humans/hobbits, after they died? O_O)

The short answer to this is that I think there is some sort of heaven waiting for men -- a heaven in the sense of life everlasting and being near to God, so much closer to the typical Christian sense of the word than the Undying Lands are -- but that the more important factor is Tolkien's refusal to elaborate on this point. The long answer is going to have to wait until tomorrow afternoon when I can flip through my books for quotes and compose a longer post, though. Laughing
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Post by bungobaggins on Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:57 am

Eldorion wrote:1. Tolkien never says that Gimli and Legolas are gay, though there are certainly plenty of parts of the books that have homoerotic connotations to many readers, and Gimli and Legolas' relationship is one of them. There's no record of either of them marrying and they leave Middle-earth together after Aragorn's death (see also answers #2 and #3). So it's easy to see where the speculation comes from (although it's worth noting that Gimli's love for the Lady Galadriel is heavily emphasized, this is never stated to be a romantic love). That said, I don't think Tolkien would have subscribed to this theory. Middle-earth is a famously prudish setting, and while it's not quite as sexless as its critics sometimes claim, I don't think Tolkien intended Gimli and Legolas' relationship to be seen as sexual or romantic. One of the most important and consistent themes in the books is friendship and companionship, particularly the bonds that are forged by experience a tough times together, but close male friendship doesn't necessarily make two guys gay.

Well, Tauriel surely put these rumors to rest. Rolling Eyes Good to know that Leggy has a case of the not-gays.

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Post by Bluebottle on Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:58 pm

Eldorion wrote:The question of what happens after someone boards a ship at the Grey Havens touches on some of the spiritual and mythological points of Tolkien's work, and so it is definitely a confusing and complicated subject. Razz

Arwen_Evenstar wrote:(On that note, in your personal opinion, where do you think they went? The humans/hobbits, after they died? O_O)

The short answer to this is that I think there is some sort of heaven waiting for men -- a heaven in the sense of life everlasting and being near to God, so much closer to the typical Christian sense of the word than the Undying Lands are -- but that the more important factor is Tolkien's refusal to elaborate on this point.  The long answer is going to have to wait until tomorrow afternoon when I can flip through my books for quotes and compose a longer post, though. Laughing

Both elves and men go to the Halls of Mandos and the Halls of Waiting at death in Tolkiens mythology. But while the elves remain tied to the earth, Men faces what is sparingly called a "different fate."

It's interesting in Tolkiens work that giving men mortality and this different fate was meant as a gift and a blessing from Ilúvatar. Though it was seldom seen as such. And evil forces, like Sauron and Morgoth, used it to turn men agaist the Valar. Most strikingly perhaps with the fall of Númenor.

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Post by azriel on Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:45 pm

Well, Tauriel surely put these rumors to rest. Questions and Answers Icon_rolleyesGood to know that Leggy has a case of the not-gays.............
So, Bungo, are we saying that the wooden 'Hank the plank' had a Twig on, hopefully for the ladies ?  Wink  Smile

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:33 pm

On the question of Legolas and Gimli I have made this case somewhere before, but I will summarise my points-


Gimli first becomes close to Legolas in Lothlorien, after Galadriel has looked into their inner most desires and brought them to mind.

Gimli's infatuation with Galadriel could be no different than the large gay following modern female artists have, such as Madonna.

There is one Legolas line which, if you have a dirty mind like me, can sound, ambiguous, at Helms Deep when Legolas tells Gimli he is 'glad to have you standing by with your stout legs and hard axe."

In Tolkien's time homosexuality was illegal, and was conducted discreetly, male friends was often a euphemism.
Gimli and Legoas' relationship follows this pattern, at Lothlorien they go of alone together. After the war they likewise go off together touring the sights of ME.
But at the same time, they are increasingly seen in public side by side.

There have been close bonds and friendships formed between elves and other races in the past, none of them was granted the exception Gimli and Legolas were.

In general in Tolkien's stories gifts offered by Eru at the point of death are either passage across the sea, or a brief time alive again before fully dying.
In all cases those involved were lovers and love was the act for which they were rewarded.

I rest my case, they are as bent as a ten bob bit, as my grandfather used to say!  Very Happy

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Post by Ringdrotten on Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:56 pm

"In general in Tolkien's stories gifts offered by Eru at the point of death are either passage across the sea, or a brief time alive again before fully dying. In all cases those involved were lovers and love was the act for which they were rewarded." - Petty

This is the most interesting (and convincing) argument, much more so than the "hard axe" comment Laughing There's no avoiding a certain degree of bromance developing when you experience certain things together, though. I've no idea, and I guess Tolkien was the only one who ever had, but what does it matter. If they were gay, then voilá - Tolkien not only wrote the greatest fantasy story ever, he also wrote the best gay story Very Happy

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Post by David H on Wed Mar 19, 2014 4:12 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:In Tolkien's time homosexuality was illegal, and was conducted discreetly, male friends was often a euphemism.
Gimli and Legoas' relationship follows this pattern

I think this is the key though. At the time of writing, most gay relationships would have been indistinguishable from male friendship. It's a curiousity to me that in our current times we feel compelled to look deeper than that.
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Post by azriel on Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:25 pm

I couldnt care if your straight as a dye or like the company of your own sex ! its the person that matters. As long as your not rogering kids or buggering animals  Smile There's to much emphasis on people's way of life. "Be" & be happy I say.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:33 pm

At the time of writing, most gay relationships would have been indistinguishable from male friendship.- David

I wouldn't say indistinguishable, more that you would have to know the people for a long time before you maybe realised it was more than male friendship.

And whilst Tolkien was Catholic with a capital C and conservative with a small one he also lived in the rarefied, and generally more liberal world, of universities.
I would be surprised if statistically at least one of Tolkien's friends from within that sphere of public school boys was not homosexual.

For the record I believe their friendship reflects the sort of male bonding to be found in medieval literature, and in letters of the time which openly use words like 'love', 'longing' and 'missing' in same sex but non sexual relationships.
In a time of conflict, and in a time when conflict was up close and personal, and when going to war might be a ten year or more endeavour bonding of this sort would normally happen, add in the stress of fighting and that is accelerated.
And it is more to this sort of friendship that Tolkien was eluding.

Its just that there is also in my opinion just enough room left in the relationship as portrayed to raise some questions, and perhaps that does accurately reflect the discreet gay relationships with which Tolkien's generation were familiar, sometimes you were never quite sure.

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Post by bungobaggins on Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:40 pm

azriel wrote:Well, Tauriel surely put these rumors to rest. Questions and Answers Icon_rolleyesGood to know that Leggy has a case of the not-gays.............
So, Bungo, are we saying that the wooden 'Hank the plank' had a Twig on, hopefully for the ladies ?  Wink  Smile

Well, he was really jealous of Kili. Rolling Eyes Maybe Leggy goes gay after Tauriel breaks his heart! Razz

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Post by azriel on Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:42 pm

Razz These pesky Elves ! they all look the same ! (long blonde hair, legs up to here !)  Laughing

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:03 pm

Another thought occurred to me where Tolkien maybe deliberately leaving the door open for a homosexual relationship- language.
Tolkien is absolutely meticulous in his use of language, and if you compare the relationship between Gimli and Legolas with that of Sam and Frodo, it is the Sam/Frodo relationship which conforms to the medieval type.

It is in that relationship you get the open declarations of love (non-sexual love) and in which the bond between two males in extreme circumstances can be forged as deep as any other form of love.
Yet we don't get this exploration in the Gimli/Legolas relationship, the sort of language that would place it in the same mold as the Frodo/Sam relationship is absent.

This could mean Tolkien was indicating through his subtle use of language that it was a different type of relationship. By necessity a more discreet one.

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Post by azriel on Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:15 pm

Well, as Aragorn pointed out to Eowyn,.... Its the beard !...... can turn an Elfs head that can !  Nod

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Post by Radaghast on Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:42 pm

The question is, if the homosexuality theory is true, why would Tolkien want to include it?

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:49 pm

Perhaps just because he knew someone who was in such a relationship and in his own theology he thought the message that pure love was the closest thing to God within the mortal sphere was the important bit.
I dont think Tolkien ever spoke anywhere about his views on homosexuality so it is purely going on the possibilities in the text in the book.

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Post by David H on Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:04 pm

I think it's almost certain that he knew some homosexual academics, but I'd bet his view on the subject was something like "Not something we talk about." Which is why I question whether he intended to include it in the story.

He was quite clear that LotR was not an allegory for WWI or WWII, although it's clear that the wars had an influence. I suspect the male relationships he had known, whether sexual or not, had the same unintended influence.

Frodo/Sam was emphasized because he saw that as central to the theme. Legolas/Gimli are there to show a context of battlefield friendships, as are Merry/Pippin.

They're all snuggling at night to stay warm. Whatever else goes on under those elven cloaks is none of my business, I figure.
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Post by Radaghast on Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:41 pm

Interesting that Tolkien might have been tolerant of homosexuals, considering his faith.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:46 pm

As you say David Merry and Pippin reflect that sort of relationship, why repeat it again?
The difference with Legolas and Gimli is that they continue that same relationship, they spend much of the remainder of their days together. The become known as at the least a double act, because their races are normally opposed and because they both take post war roles in helping rebuild Gondor, and as Ambassadors of their respective peoples. And at the end they allowed to leave ME together.

I am not saying that Tolkien wrote them as a gay couple, only that he preferred the reader to decide what many factors mean to them, and it seems to me with Gimli and Legolas he leaves their relationship in particular open to interpretation.
But that in keeping with both the morality of the time and the manner with which sex is dealt with in his writing he sees no need to go in detail into that side of things.  (I have always seen Tolkiens view of sex in LotR's as being something that goes on a lot otherwise he wouldn't be able to put the family-trees together, and its the family-trees that are the really interesting bit.)

"Interesting that Tolkien might have been tolerant of homosexuals, considering his faith."- Rhadagast

Catholic is a very broad church, and whilst I would by no means place Tolkien at the liberal end of it he was intellectually not averse to the sort of thinking which might lead one to be a bit progressive in that regard.
His views on some of the sort of thinking displayed by hobbits; narrow minded, parochial, imbued with a sense of their own importance through application of small minded 'local wisdom'- that he disliked those traits in hobbits and indeed in the people he grew up around and based them on, does  demonstrate that he might not have had such an entrenched view as one might assume from his stuffy professorial appearance.

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Post by malickfan on Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:06 pm

I don't think Tolkien would directly try to hint at a homosexual relationship in his works-as has been pointed out he was quite conservative (religiously at least) his views on marriage and sex were pretty similar judging from what he wrote in Letters and regardless of whether he felt more tolerant that might perhaps be expected, wasn't Homosexuality illegal in the UK till 1968ish?

Whilst I certainly think there was some form of 'love' between Frodo and Sam, I think it was more influenced by Tolkien's experiences in the male dominated academic and military worlds, then any cultural believes he had, it's certainly open to debate, but it's not really something I see in the books myself.

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The Thorin: An Unexpected Rewrite December 2012 (I was on the money apparently)
The Tauriel: Desolation of Canon December 2013 (Accurate again!)
The Sod-it! : Battling my Indifference December 2014 (You know what they say, third time's the charm)

Well, that was worth the wait wasn't it  Suspect


I think what comes out of a pig's rear end is more akin to what Peejers has given us-Azriel 20/9/2014
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Questions and Answers Empty Re: Questions and Answers

Post by malickfan on Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:12 pm

I'm going to pose a question myself-I don't actually think it's explained anywhere in the books, but do you think Hobbits age at the same rate as Men?

If they come of age at 33, and commonly live past 100 in perfect health, do you think there is anything to indicate a different lifespan to men, is it simply the peaceful, active lifestyles they live in seclusion? All other races in Middle Earth seemed to dwindle as the years went on.

This probably doesn't have an canonical answer  Shrugging 

_________________
The Thorin: An Unexpected Rewrite December 2012 (I was on the money apparently)
The Tauriel: Desolation of Canon December 2013 (Accurate again!)
The Sod-it! : Battling my Indifference December 2014 (You know what they say, third time's the charm)

Well, that was worth the wait wasn't it  Suspect


I think what comes out of a pig's rear end is more akin to what Peejers has given us-Azriel 20/9/2014
malickfan
malickfan
Adventurer

Posts : 4536
Join date : 2013-09-10
Age : 27
Location : The (Hamp)shire, England

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