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Topic: Does it take a vvar ?

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Hobbit from Hobbiton - Rank 4
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Date: Sep 11, 2009
Does it take a vvar ?

Hi all

It's me..

Ok I'm gonna stick my neck out on this ( 20" thick &  tanned)...

LOR is up there ith the greatest vvork of fiction of all time...

About, the man...did it take , living and parcipitating in the darkest hours of inspire such a piece ?

To fight in vvorld 1 and VVhose son fought in vvorld 2...vvas it this apocalyptic setting , that inspired LOR ?

Please remember that the UK vvas on its knees for years.....and looked to the vvest..(USA).

As a final and postmen...never vvanted to fight each other.

Borders are just dotted lines on a dravving....BOOMSHANKA !

Love Light and Peace
Loremaster Elf of Mirkwood - Rank 4
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Date: Sep 12, 2009
Does it take a war....what a deep question....on so many levels. Filli. We do know that a lot of the imagery in the LOTR is from his war time experiences. The scene from the Dead Marshes in the chapter "The Passage of the Marshes" comes from his war experience. In the marshes are faces that seem to be floating near the surface of the water, but Gollum says that they cannot be reached....touched as if it was some kind of trick or curse but there by Sauron. When Tolkien was marching towards the front during the Battle of the Somme the road they used was newly built. It was raining hard and the footing was uneven....strange. He looked down and what he saw were bodies floating to the surface of the road. The road had been built over the shallow graves of soldiers.

Another scene that deals with the horrors of war Tolkien handles in the chapter "Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbits". Sam and Frodo are in the company of Faramir and the Rangers of Ithilien when the Southrons come through and there is a battle.

"Then suddenly straight over the rim of their sheltering bank, a man fell, crashing through the slender trees, nearly on top of them. He came to rest in the fern a few feet away, face downward, green arrow-feathers sticking from his below a golden collar...."
It was Sam's first view of a battle of Men against Men, and he didn't like it very much. He was glad that he could not see the dead face. He wondered what the man's name was and where he came from, and if he was really evil of heart, or what lies or threats had led him on the long march from his home; and if he would not really rather have stayed there in peace."

The Elves call their struggle against Sauron and his evil "the long defeat". Tolkien states that evil did not end with the distruction of the One Ring. That in the Fourth Age Men would become bored with peace and turn to violent pursuites. So maybe it did take war and the insights it gave him into the human behavior that made his writings so true to life....and compassionate for the simple life and the longing of places that knew no stife as the Shire was before the coming of the RIng.

I'll not bid the stars farewell
Rohirrim of Edoras - Rank 4
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Date: Sep 12, 2009

As a warrior/hunter I know that the insesant battle for peace within oneself is both tiresome and everlasting. Be you on your knees or from a striking point of power there is always a battle with in oneself. You have felt it, Bear and Anorlas have as well. To wonder what makes a hero, a legend or just a decent stand that you can sincerely look back on and not think poorly of your pain is folly and futile. The question must endure so that we do not become as the sheep that you and I hold in pity and wonder at the same time. If your kneck is 20" thick, like yours, or 10" thick, like mine we still stick them out. With no less zeal one or the other. That is the fabulous thing about being human. It can not be escaped or explained away. The man is the man. Who are you? What would you have done?

The winds of heaven do not blow gentle.
Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Date: Sep 19, 2009
RE: Does it take a war ?

Tolkien Forums >JRR Tolkien himself forum>Does it take a war ?
I have kicking this around for a week.
Does it take a war to do what?  Produce a best seller?  Create a fantasy masterpiece?  Or, as implied, to be driven so deep by your nightmares that the haven of academia and fantasy are the only safe places left?

"About, the man...did it take... living and participating in the darkest hours of inspire such a piece ?" (Tolkien Forums  > J.R.R. Tolkien himself forum > Does it take a war ? > Filli > September 12th, 2009)
As others have pointed out certain passages seem to come from Tolkien's memories of the World Wars.  But the same passages; "the scene from the Dead Marshes in the chapter 'The Passage of the Marshes'," (Tolkien Forums  > J.R.R. Tolkien himself forum > Does it take a war? > Anorlas > September 12th, 2009) are graphic enough that the corpse bloated rice paddies of Vietnam rise in my memories.  Could it be that this is more than a memory?  Tolkien uses it to show Frodo being mesmerized by the dead and almost drowned in the the film rescued by the unlikely hand of Gollum who reprimands Frodo with the injunction "...don't follow the lights." In the book it is Sam who tries to keep Frodo on track through the marshes...with Gollum's explanation; "Yes, yes," said Gollum. "All dead, all rotten.  Elves and Men and Orcs.  The Dead Marshes.  There was a great battle long ago, yes, so they told him when Smeagol was young, when I was young before the Precious came.  It was a great battle.  Tall Men with long swords, and terrible Elves, and Orcses shrieking.  They fought on the plain for days and months at the Black Gates.  But the Marshes have grown since then, swallowed up the graves; always creeping, creeping." (The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, Book Four, Chapter II - "The Passage of the Marshes", pg 628)
Sam calls to get there little group out of the marshes. Gollum gives a warning as they move on; "Yes,yes," said Gollum. "But slowly, very slowly.  Very carefully! Or hobbits go down to join the Dead ones and light little candles.  Follow Smeagol!  Don't look at lights!" (ibid)
If ever there was a metaphor for post traumatic stress disorder this is it.
Yes!  Tolkien was influence by the carnage of war...The Dead Marshes in his imagination could be drawn consciously or unconsciously from the flooded body bloated trenches at the Somme.

A lengthy account on how World War I had an impact on Tolkien and his works can be found in a critical essay by John Garth. Garth breaks down this impact by divisions of "The Student", "The Soldier","Into Battle", "The Invalid", "Creative Output-1914-18", "Influence on Writing". (Garth, John; "World War I", J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia. Scholarship & Critical Assessment ed. 2007, Michael D. C.  Drout: editor)
Perhaps most relevant  to this thread is Mr.Garth's paragraphs under the heading "Influence on Writing."
"Tolkien said that his taste for fairy-stories was 'quickened to full life by war' and that the idea of perpetual conflict between good and evil was a 'conscious reaction' to the popular delusion that the Great War would end all wars.  He also wrote that the approaches to Mordor had been colored by the Somme battlefield landscape and Sam Gamgee was 'a reflection of the English soldier and batmen I knew in the 1914 war, and recognized as so far superior to myself.' However, his general reticence, combined with the tendency of early critics to see The Lord of the Rings as an allegory of the Second World War, delayed serious discussion of the First World War's impact until Hugh Brogan tackled it in 1989.  John Garth's biographical Tolkien and the Great War: Threshold of Middle-earth lays the ground for more informed discussion.
Tolkien might have written nothing of consequence if he had not been impelled by mortal peril...The First World War also furnished key themes such as mortality and immortality.  War probably contributed to his desire to create 'a national epic', and (as an era rich in rumor and new coinages) may have also helped to reveal to him the interdependency of language and mythology.  As C.S. Lewis first pointed out, war equipped him with the experience to write The Lord of the Rings. It showed him a world in fear and undergoing cataclysmic change; large-scale military actions; fellowships built and broken; individual heroism and despair; men, trees and villages destroyed with the aid of the machine.  In addition, Garth has argued that many 'fantasy' elements in Tolkien's work may be symbolist treatments of wartime experience, with Verlyn Flieger focusing on Tolkien's explorations of dream and exile.  Tom Shippen has emphasized Tolkien's place among other witnesses of war in the 20th century who abandoned conventional realism to express their concerns.  In a wider literary context, the pattern of Tolkien's 'fairy-stories', in which ordinary people become heroes and experience 'eucatastrophic' resurgences of inspiration against a backdrop of deepening despair, provides a striking contrast to the ironic, disenchanted work of (other) soldiers...
(Garth, John; "World War I", J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia. Scholarship & Critical Assessment ed. 2007, Michael D. C.  Drout: editor)
The volume of critical work on the analysis of  war's impact on Tolkien's work is staggering.
Just looking through the references provided in The J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia there were 75 different scholastic and critical cross references and articles.  After looking through 30 of these I estimate (conservatively) 300 pages are available on the topic.
Every one I reviewed said Tolkien was profoundly influenced by the wars.  In my review there was not one counter argument.

So Filli...whose neck is stuck out ( 20" thick &  tanned)...Does it take a war? Who knows?  I have not read every fantasy.
"About, the man...did it take... living and participating in the darkest hours of inspire such a piece ?" (Tolkien Forums  > JRR Tolkien himself forum > Does it take a war ? > Filli > September 12th, 2009)
As far as Tolkien's did.


Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit
Called or uncalled, God is present

Hobbit from Hobbiton - Rank 4
Status: Offline
Posts: 217
Date: Sep 19, 2009
RE: Does it take a vvar ?

Hey Bear

Nice reply....kind of sad.

The technoligical advances made during VVVV2 is staggering...
Such a cost...such a shame.

Adversity does bring out the best and the vvorst of us monkeys.

i recall reading, that prior to a large battle, J.R.R. vvas removed from the frontline, due to trench foot...very much like Bilbo having a bump in the head at the battle of the 5 armies.

vvvv1 vvas such a tragic time...mostly Great Great Great Grandfather...James Kelly died serving the Edinburgh Fusileers.

His name is in a book of rememberance at Edinburgh castle........the only thing that I knovv of that he died at vvar.....sad.

As a vve require vvar to advance...?
Do millions have to die , so that vve have the next vvvave of engines or medicines etc.

Is vvar an inherent aspect of our species for just that reason ?

Love Light and Peace
Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Posts: 2960
Date: Sep 21, 2009
You are going very deep here.

"As a we require war to advance?  Do millions have to die , so that we have the next wave of engines or medicines (etc.)?   Is war an inherent aspect of our species for just that reason?" (Tolkien Forums  > J.R.R. Tolkien himself forum > Does it take a war? > Filli > September 19th, 2009)
These questions are deep philosophical inquiries into the soul of man and the ultimate struggles of good vs. evil, and life vs. death, and the survival of each person, each nation, and our species.
Besides an abstract philosophical vein there is also the pragmatic personal one.
There are many perspectives that can give contradictory answers and still both be right.

Rather than run through all the philosophers and social theorists who would bury us in quotes,statistics, opinions, and theories...I found something which is far more eloquent and more of a true answer...And this is especially for you Filli...Because of the friendship and spirit you have brought here that has enriched us all...

This is from the last few scenes of the  Peter Jackson film; The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers...The Nazgul have attacked Osgiliath and Faramir finally understands the corrupting nature of the Ring and is about to let Sam, Frodo, and Smeagol continue on their quest...
"I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened. But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.
Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something."

"What are we holding on to, Sam?"
Sam: [He helps Frodo up and says:]  "That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it's worth fighting for."

I'll send this to you in a PM.  And I think that this my friend, is the best answer we can get!


Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit
Called or uncalled, God is present

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