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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Tolkien and the rewrite of the Ring Cycle

I'm always a bit cautious taking David Goldman's assertions at face value, because his Jewish hyperautomonomania occasionally leads his otherwise astute commentary astray into absurdities. That is why, despite not having any information at all on the subject, I tend to suspect his claim that Tolkien "despised" Wagner is at least part projection on his part.

But it is certainly interesting to observe the amazing number of structural, plot, and character similarities between The Ring of the Nibelung and The Lord of the Rings, in an old Spengler article linked at Castalia House today.
Tolkien well may have written his epic as an “anti-Ring” to repair the damage that Wagner had inflicted upon Western culture…. Tolkien himself despised Wagner (whom he knew thoroughly) and rejected comparisons between his Ring and Wagner’s cycle (“Both rings are round,” is the extent of his published comment). But the parallels between the two works are so extensive as to raise the question as to Tolkien’s intent. The Ring of Power itself is Wagner’s invention (probably derived from the German Romantic de la Motte Fouque). Also to be found in both works are an immortal woman who renounces immortality for the love of a human, a broken sword reforged, a life-and-death game of riddles, and other elements which one doesn’t encounter every day. 
Now, I don't know how anyone with even a modicum of musical talent or appreciation could fail to revere Wagner. His is my favorite writing music, and if his Nibelungenlied fell short of his vision of a Gesamtkunstwerk, it is still one of the great artistic accomplishments of Man. Which is not to say that his Teutonic interpretation of the Norse sagas is necessarily the optimal one; Middle Earth is considerably far more relatable to the more optimistic, less doom-obsessed Anglo-Saxons and their descendants.

And, we have to recall that Tolkien was scarred by England's two wars against Germany, and was writing in the shadow of the latter. But no one delves so deep into the work of an artist he despises, or knows it so well. I do despise Scalzi as an author, which is why I stopped reading his work after the second straight debacle. I don't despise George R. R. Marin - as an author, you understand - because even though ASOIAF has lost the plot and devolved into a near-parody of the earlier books, there are still enough echoes of very good epic fantasy that I will finish reading whatever portion of the series he manages to finish.

At the risk of engaging in some projection myself, I think Tolkien was doing very much what I am doing with Arts of Dark and Light, which is appreciating something, seeing its flaws, and imagining how it could have been done better. And it should be no surprise that The Lord of the Rings exceeds Arts of Dark and Light; Wagner certainly makes for a higher and more challenging bar to clear than Martin.

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124 Comments:

Anonymous Viidad February 15, 2017 11:18 AM  

Wagner is also one of my favorites. Stirs my German blood.

Blogger demo February 15, 2017 11:21 AM  

I just finished reading das Nibelungenlied for my German Lit class and, never having heard of it before, had remarked how much it reminded me of fantasy authors I have read up to this point (haven't read yours yet). I wondered how much, if at all, Tolkien and others had patterned their books on this work? GRRM and his penchant for killing everyone, etc...

Anonymous VFM #6306 February 15, 2017 11:31 AM  

If the Nibelungenlied did fall short of his vision of a Gesamtkunstwerk, it did only because of technological limitations of the day.

It can, today, certainly be far more fully realized as a complete immersion due to technology, and given the right design master(s), could be exactly what Wagner had in mind. The only reason it isn't a digital theme park today is because, well, it is pretty damn grim.

Wagner is also one of my favorites. Stirs my German blood.

Take the good silver out of that goblet of Merkel right now, Viidad.

Anonymous acushla February 15, 2017 11:35 AM  

Well I think we just have to separate Tolkien and Wagner, who in spite of the superficial similarities were doing VERY different things. Not to be unnecessarily cold, but Tolkien was a very great prose stylist who achieved something very extraordinary in early 20th-cent lit (to tell you the truth, I'm not a fan of SF/F all that much, but I revere Tolkien as a writer). Wagner on the other hand was the greatest artist of his era. If you dispute this, then I invite you to come to my hometown and be soundly punched in the face. I believe Tolkien's achievement was truly extraordinary, but I don't make comparisons with Tolkien and Wagner simply because there was a ring involved. It's like arguing the differences between Mozart and Schubert simply because they both sometimes wrote in the key of D minor.

Blogger Dave February 15, 2017 11:39 AM  

If you're not reading the Castalia House Blog daily, you're really missing out. There is an ongoing controversy concerning blue, pink, and red SF&F and the Silver Age and the Bronze Age. You will see some of your favorite authors posting and commenting regularly on that topic and others.

Blogger pyrrhus February 15, 2017 11:40 AM  

Tolkien was influenced by the war, and maybe by Wagner, but his source of inspiration was folklore and English 'magic', brought to bear to save civilization... Prof. Charlton is an expert on Tolkien, and his group the Inklings. He has never mentioned any purported hatred of Wagner.

Blogger VD February 15, 2017 11:40 AM  

It's like arguing the differences between Mozart and Schubert simply because they both sometimes wrote in the key of D minor.

That's completely false. No one questions that a novel is not a piece of music. Your IQ has to be pretty low to think that is relevant to this discussion. The point is whether LOTR was, to some extent, an inspired reshaping of the Nibelungenlied. The unusual amount of synchronicity indicates that this was at least partly the case.

It doesn't lessen Tolkien's achievement, but it does make his work a little less original than one might otherwise believe.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr February 15, 2017 11:41 AM  

It's no secret that authors will steal plot elements from other authors. It's not plagiarism if you give what you stole a good, solid twist.

Anonymous Gecko February 15, 2017 11:46 AM  

I thought I had read somewhere that Tolkien and Lewis attended the opera annually, and that one year they were so used to it that they accidentally showed up in informal clothing. At the very least, I am confident they attended it once.

I recently picked up a copy of "The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun" that Christopher released. I haven't read it yet, but I suspect Christopher may delve a bit into this subject. At the very least, J.R.R. Tolkien was intimately familiar with the tales that influenced Wagner and viewed them in a favorable light.

IMHO, Tolkien's tale of Turin Turambar - The Children of Hurin - has much more in common with the Völsunga saga and Nibelungenlied.

Anonymous Gen. Kong February 15, 2017 11:48 AM  

What the man was able to convey with a few amazingly orchestrated chords and arpeggiation (opening of Götterdämmerung) is nothing short of astonishing. It paints sonic background for all of what follows. Wagner was the one who invented the 'Tristan chord' for the first of the two operas - Tristan und Isolde - composed while taking a break from the Ring cycle. It's actually fairly rare for an opera composer to provide his own libretto in such a way.

Blogger Cataline Sergius February 15, 2017 11:49 AM  

Any modern fantasy writer has to consciously accept or reject Tolkien as a paradigm.

There was a similar situation when Tolkien was writing the Lord of the Rings although in his case the paradigm was Wagner's.

He could either use it or reject but there was no third box that could be check-marked labeled "never heard of it." He was an educated man so Tolkien has to have known all about the Ring Cycle. He was therefore influenced one way or another by it.

Blogger JAU February 15, 2017 11:52 AM  

Vox, have you ever read George Bernard Shaw's critique of the Ring: The Perfect Wagnerite? My pet theory is that Tolkien's Ring was as much a rebuke to Shaw's attempt to de-transcendentalize Wagner as it was a response to Wagner himself.

Anonymous acushla February 15, 2017 11:53 AM  

What the Ring means in Wagner, and what the entire meaning of the characters are doing, and what the structure is, are completely different from what Tolkien was doing --which is great on its own terms. Also, David Goldman is a pompous ignorant arsehole.

LISTEN to the damn thing. Better yet, learn to play it, like I did. Then you get to know.


OpenID ar10308 February 15, 2017 11:56 AM  

When I was younger and more ignorant of Western European history aside from the World Wars, I thought Tolkien was heavily influenced by those wars as well.

However, as I've become more abreast of the modern threat of Islam to Europe and the incredible history of centuries of Muslim invasions in to Europe, I've noticed that Tolkien was far more influenced by those battles and those struggles than he was by the modern wars.
Example: The Battle of Helms Deep has lots of elements of the Siege of Vienna.
And the parallels go on and on.

Anonymous carnaby February 15, 2017 11:57 AM  

Oh Bwunehiwda, you're so wuvee.
Yes I know it, I can't help it.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr February 15, 2017 12:01 PM  

@15: Kill da Wabbit! With my spear and magic helmet!

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother February 15, 2017 12:07 PM  

Acushla,

That's a great idea. I'll drop everything right now on the advice of some weirdo on the Internet and learn how to play every instrument and part of the Ring Saga.

Blogger Ivaneus February 15, 2017 12:10 PM  

I am not familiar enough with Wagner to make any concrete analysis of how much Tolkien may have borrowed from his work directly. But I do know that the Professor was a philologist, who made his own translation of Beowulf while he was teaching at Oxford and generally had a great appreciation for Norse mythology, which is why he had Bilbo steal a goblet from Smaug similar to how a thief stole a goblet which awoke the dragon that claimed Beowulf's life.

Wagner's works also draw heavily on the Norse mythos so just from the source material there is undeniable overlap. But I also knw that earlier in his writing career Tolkien was trying to create a set of myhos for England and the British Isles in works such as "Smith of Wooton Major" or "Farmer Giles of Ham" and much of the Silmarillion had to be re-written when he eventually dropped this idea.

But the seeds where still there and between that and his own words in the famous intro to the second edition printing of LOTR, I believe Tolkien was not deliberately setting out to re-write/re-interpret Wagner's Ring Cycle. But that undeniable similarities arose due to leaning on similar source material as well as coloring from Tolkien's familiarity with Wagner's work.

It's still an interesting angle to explore though.

Anonymous Tipsy February 15, 2017 12:12 PM  

An important achievement of Tolkein: The weaving of Christ into The Lord of the Rings.

Blogger VD February 15, 2017 12:16 PM  

What the Ring means in Wagner, and what the entire meaning of the characters are doing, and what the structure is, are completely different from what Tolkien was doing --which is great on its own terms.

You're being obtuse. And Gamma. The fact that you can play an instrument or two is not an argument, nor will it change the obvious similarities between the two different works in two different mediums.

Blogger Sherwood family February 15, 2017 12:17 PM  

Tolkien was deeply immersed in the medieval world of the Germanic peoples. Including the Nibelungenlied. The Inklings used to get together to read the Norse and Icelandic sagas which recapitulate much of the same material. To say, however, that it was an effort to "redeem" Wagner's work seems like a stretch. More likely Tolkien was growing his own "plant" from the same "leaf mound" of legend that inspired Wagner's own oeuvre.

Anonymous GregMan February 15, 2017 12:18 PM  

aim was twofold: to create an English mythology equivalent to other European legendaria, and to do it within the context of a Christian world without Christ. There is nothing in his tales that directly contradicts the Christian worldview, even in his creation myth (Iluvatar = the Judeo-Christian God of the bible).

As an educated, cultured person, he could not have helped to be aware of Wagner, so it's not surprising there are similarities. Coincidence does not prove causation, as a statistician would say.

Anonymous acushla February 15, 2017 12:19 PM  

"I'll drop everything right now on the advice of some weirdo on the Internet and learn how to play every instrument and part of the Ring Saga."

Good for you, that's a great idea, it'll improve your health. Serious art is good for the soul.

"Wagner's works also draw heavily on the Norse mythos so just from the source material there is undeniable overlap."

Yeah, true, it's just that it's all different. I sometimes think that the people on this site, despite being most of them really truly intelligent, have a sort of blind spot where they can't take art seriously. You have to LISTEN.

Blogger Gaiseric February 15, 2017 12:26 PM  

Cataline Sergius wrote:He could either use it or reject but there was no third box that could be check-marked labeled "never heard of it." He was an educated man so Tolkien has to have known all about the Ring Cycle. He was therefore influenced one way or another by it.
Not only was Tolkien an educated man, but he was a professor of Anglo-Saxon and Norse literature, and thus was professionally and intimately and daily involved with the exact same immediate primary sources that Wagner used. Many of the correspondences between the two works could be chalked up to drawing on the same well... but not all of them.

Despite Tolkien's insistence that the only thing that Wagner's ring and his ring had in common was that they were both round, the One Ring does very closely mimic the Ring of the Nibelungen, which up to that point had no real antecedent in northern mythology. I think it very likely that he was deliberately reworking that aspect of Wagner into his own works, if nothing else.

And Spengler's insistence that Wagner was an anti-Semite (despite having a Jewish step-father and being a lifelong friend of Meyerbeer) and that Tolkien must have hated him (because... Hitler liked Wagner, so every right thinking person since must hate him, or something?) is special pleading. Curiously, the "anti-semitic" comments Wagner made was that Jewish music was superficial and shallow and made to sell rather than to be great art. I find it very likely that he was 100% correct in that assessment, of at least the works he was familiar with.

Anonymous bjornagain February 15, 2017 12:28 PM  

Wagner certainly did not invent the ring mythos. They were both drawing from the same deep well. The ring mythos in various forms is closely related to the grail stories and the magical folk tales of old Europe.

Blogger S1AL February 15, 2017 12:29 PM  

Tolkien borrowed elements from the same sources as Wagner. I didn't think there was any debate on that subject. And it's perfectly reasonable to think that Tolkien may have disliked Wagner's philosophy without regard to his music - much the way that VD loves the science fiction of a certain batty, overseas socialist, yes?

Blogger CCubed February 15, 2017 12:31 PM  

The Nibelunglied existed before Wagner wrote his cycle. Are any of the parallels pointed out in the original article actually Wagner embellishments?

If not, then you can't say that Tolkien was responding to Wagner. (I just realized I'm re-stating what Ivaneus said in #18.)

Anonymous BBGKB February 15, 2017 12:35 PM  

At least Harry Potter split the one ring into the one wand & the one invisibility cloak to rule them all.

Blogger Gaiseric February 15, 2017 12:36 PM  

CCubed wrote:The Nibelunglied existed before Wagner wrote his cycle. Are any of the parallels pointed out in the original article actually Wagner embellishments?

If not, then you can't say that Tolkien was responding to Wagner. (I just realized I'm re-stating what Ivaneus said in #18.)

The specific article of the Ring as a source of magical power that enables domination, yes. A unique invention of Wagner's, as near as I can tell. That's why Tolkien having a ring with basically the same properties, yet insisting that there's nothing in common between them, is not exactly believable. Even if he only subconsciously mimicked it, it's very hard to believe that he wasn't mimicking it.

Blogger Ron February 15, 2017 12:38 PM  

@acusla

If you dispute this, then I invite you to come to my hometown and be soundly punched in the face

Not only did that add nothing, it took everything from your comment. The rest was insightful, that was just obnoxious.

Blogger Cederq February 15, 2017 12:38 PM  

I can see acushla going the way of "Tad."

Anonymous BBGKB February 15, 2017 12:39 PM  

OMG I just realized the most powerful norse ring for a jew would be the one that produces multiple gold rings a day.

Anonymous Bellator Mortalis February 15, 2017 12:40 PM  

So who was the greatest hero in LoTR? I argue it was Sam. Not Gandalf, not Frodo, not Aragorn -- but Sam.

Blogger Natalie February 15, 2017 12:41 PM  

Oh mercy. Calling a musician an idiot with respect to art.

Over/under on Cushy tush doubling down and eventually getting spammed?

Anonymous Kentucky Headhunter February 15, 2017 12:44 PM  

@15 What's Opera, Doc?

Blogger VD February 15, 2017 12:45 PM  

And the gamma schtick is really worn out. Get a more grown-up psychology. Lawd knows you're smart enough to do that.

Adios, acushla. Go play with your little instruments.

Blogger Cederq February 15, 2017 12:46 PM  

Damn, that was quick, so quick even I am smarting...

Anonymous VFM #6306 February 15, 2017 12:47 PM  

Riiiiiight. Tolkien was obviously responding not to an immensely popular and inspiring and current opera of the day as he wrote his popular and inspiring and current story with the same imagery as the play.

Clearly he was just inspired by a loose collection of incohesive germanic myths and Beowulf is basically The Neibelung.

Egads.

And here I thought Bard shot and killed Smug!

Blogger Dexter February 15, 2017 12:48 PM  

First time I tried to read LOTR, I threw it away in disgust because it was such a blatant ripoff of Stephen King's The Stand.

Blogger Dexter February 15, 2017 12:50 PM  

OMG I just realized the most powerful norse ring for a jew would be the one that produces multiple gold rings a day.

Bilbo Bagginstein drove a Cadillac that not only stopped on a Ring of Power but picked it up.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera February 15, 2017 12:51 PM  

It's not surprising that there are similar tropes. They were both trying to channel the same literary tradition.

Blogger Natalie February 15, 2017 12:52 PM  

Bellator Mortalis wrote:So who was the greatest hero in LoTR? I argue it was Sam. Not Gandalf, not Frodo, not Aragorn -- but Sam.

I was about to agree with you, but now I'm wondering if perhaps Tolkien was being more subtle than that. I'd guess that Sam is a delta? Very loyal. Not the highest ranking man. Capable of great courage to his leader/cause.

Not even going to try and sort out the others, but it seems to me that we see heroism at all different levels among very different types of men. There isn't just "that one guy" who makes the mission work. Sam has to do his job. Frodo has to do his. Ditto Gandalf and Aragorn and Faramir and the rest of them.

Blogger Ivaneus February 15, 2017 12:53 PM  

@33 I agree with you. Sam is the true hero of the Lord of the Rings.

Blogger VD February 15, 2017 12:54 PM  

Damn, that was quick, so quick even I am smarting.

I told you my Gamma radar was good. Another reliable tell is using the subject as an excuse to talk about oneself and posture because expert. Which, of course, actually means familiarity, not genuine expertise.

I don't know if I can make it any more clear that I'm not interested in Gamma psychodrama, I don't particularly want them commenting here, and I'm not inclined to tolerate them or cut them any slack.

They do the same fucking thing every time, make everything personal, and can't resist the urge to challenge their social superiors every single time they see an opportunity. I don't have anything to do with them in real life, and I don't see any reason why I should put up with them here.

Blogger Dexter February 15, 2017 12:55 PM  

Example: The Battle of Helms Deep has lots of elements of the Siege of Vienna.

At the Siege of Vienna, the Ottomans dropped their pikes because the sun got in their eyes, and then they were easily crushed by a cavalry charge.

Blogger Dexter February 15, 2017 12:56 PM  

Sam has to do his job. Frodo has to do his.

Frodo's job:
- bitch about how heavy the Ring is
- get carried up Mt Doom like a sack of potatoes
- fail at the moment of truth

Blogger Ivaneus February 15, 2017 12:57 PM  

@43 Sam is based off the "batmen," British manservants/butlers of the nobility (officers) in WWI who would walk into no-man's land to retrieve a dropped porcelain teacup if asked to. And that's only mildly exaggerating.

Very Delta, but also very much into Tolkien's recurring theme of "the least is the most important/the true savior." Because who expects the guy pouring the wine to save the world?

Blogger Cataline Sergius February 15, 2017 12:58 PM  

I think that one of the big things that has to be remembered about Der Ring des Nibelungen was the year it was composed; 1848.

There was no Germany, just a bunch of German states and principalities chaffing under the Hapsburg hegemony. The one thing that proto-Germany had going for it was music. It was the one art form that they excelled at in all of Europe. Even the French (very grudgingly) admitted it.

Blogger Ivaneus February 15, 2017 1:01 PM  

@46 you forgot that he has to cry about how hard everything is and how much it all hurts.

"Muh feelz!"

Also remember that "Muh Feelz" were directly responsible for the whole "of the Nine Fingers" title . . .

Blogger Cederq February 15, 2017 1:03 PM  

VD, I learned my lesson from anklebiting a long time from you, I have been a faithful reader and it never fails I learn something from all of you every day.

Blogger James Dixon February 15, 2017 1:09 PM  

> The point is whether LOTR was, to some extent, an inspired reshaping of the Nibelungenlied. The unusual amount of synchronicity indicates that this was at least partly the case.

I think it more likely they were drawing from common sources, but my opinion is worth what you paid for it.

Blogger Dave February 15, 2017 1:14 PM  

Natalie wrote:Oh mercy. Calling a musician an idiot with respect to art.

Over/under on Cushy tush doubling down and eventually getting spammed?


I had the under. What do I win?

Blogger Ivaneus February 15, 2017 1:16 PM  

A thought just occurred to me, if Tolkien was doing a re-interpretation of the Nibelungenlied, why wouldn't he say so? In every case I've seen so far of an author doing a re-work they've been proud to say that they're doing a different or better take. And certainly he wasn't shy about saying that his translation of Beowulf was his own translation effort.

I can easily be wrong but I'll stick to the theory that Tolkien was not deliberately re-writing the Ring Cycle over the word of David Goldman that, "he totally was."

Anonymous Rather, Not February 15, 2017 1:17 PM  

If one wanted to correct a gap in their knowledge, understanding and experience of Wagner and the cultural foundations of western europe, is there a particular version that the Ilk recommend should be experienced?

This one? (PBS 1990, but a review mentions only one true to original intent rather than 're-interpretation' by someone unqualified to do so)

https://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Nibelungen-Complete-Levine-Metropolitan/dp/B00006L9ZT/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1487182347&sr=8-1&keywords=wagner+nibelungen+complete

Appreciate any help or alternate recommendation.

Blogger Gaiseric February 15, 2017 1:19 PM  

Cataline Sergius wrote:I think that one of the big things that has to be remembered about Der Ring des Nibelungen was the year it was composed; 1848.

There was no Germany, just a bunch of German states and principalities chaffing under the Hapsburg hegemony. The one thing that proto-Germany had going for it was music. It was the one art form that they excelled at in all of Europe. Even the French (very grudgingly) admitted it.

It was started in 1848 but wasn't finished until after the German Unification.

Of course, Wagner was directly involved in nationalist and democratic political movements, and was actually barred from Saxony for many years because of his involvement in the local Dresden wave of the 1848 Revolutions that swept all through Europe, so it's fair to say that German nationalism was a factor for him.

Probably yet another reason Spengler just has to believe that Tolkien disliked him, because German nationalism is nearly as evil as vague anti-semitism.

Blogger Thucydides February 15, 2017 1:21 PM  

I'm going to throw in with those who say Tolkien was drawing from the same well, not consciously (or not) imitating Wagner.

My epiphany was reading "Grendal" many years after reading LoTR, and realizing that the story had many parallels to the story arc of Theoden, King of Rohan. Tolkien was famous for his translation and commentary of Grendal, in fact, so it is quite clear he was drinking from the same well as Wagner and an entire host of lesser known (and probably forgotten today) artists.

It's all about having and creatively using good source material.

Anonymous Tipsy February 15, 2017 1:22 PM  

Dexter wrote: Sam has to do his job. Frodo has to do his.

Frodo's job:

- bitch about how heavy the Ring is

- get carried up Mt Doom like a sack of potatoes

- fail at the moment of truth


Actually, Frodo's key salvific act was affording mercy to the undeserving Gollum, an act without which the ring would not have been destroyed. Sam, on the other hand, wanted to lop his head off.

Blogger Gaiseric February 15, 2017 1:28 PM  

Saying Sam was the hero of Lord of the Rings is a bit like saying Bubo the mechanical owl is the real hero of the Harryhausen Clash of the Titans. He was loyal, indefatigable, and inspirational, and Frodo relied on his loyalty and support to complete his task, no doubt. But other than tag along and be the supportive cheerleader and comic relief, Sam didn't actually do much of anything at all.

Blogger Ivaneus February 15, 2017 1:28 PM  

@57 In fairness to Sam, he probably could've thrown the ring into the fire; Frodo needed a little push.

And to lose about 8 grams of guilt that were holding him back.

Blogger Ivaneus February 15, 2017 1:30 PM  

@58 Except for killing Shelob, taking the Ring so the Orcs (and therefore Sauron) didn't find it, and being ready to go finish the job by himself.

Blogger Silly But True February 15, 2017 1:31 PM  

"Who is really - gosh darn it, really for real -- the true hero of LotR" is a trick question: Every hero failed; there was no "true hero" (aka "true savior") that saved the world.

The world is saved only but for evil having been divided against itself. In this regard, Tolkien established the Lord Dark Helmet Worldview of Evil: Sauron fails because he - his side - is "surrounded by assholes."

Sure, we distinguish all of the heroes from this supposed secret savior. There are much heroics. Every member of the company of the ring is to be lauded for their actions. But none of them are the savior.

Lest we forget our presumed true hero - Samwise the True Savior?

At the moment of reckoning - Sam just toss the ring - he fails too.

That is the message of LotR: in this new dawning Age of Man, there is no one strong enough to save the world.

The best we can hope for is the fallen undoing themselves as good people struggle.

The true heroics now are to strive to not succomb to evil. This is the most pessimistically significant of the LotR themes driven by Tolkien's horrors of WW2.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr February 15, 2017 1:32 PM  

@46 Dexter:

Frodo's job was simple...get the Ring to Mordor. At whatever cost to himself - and Tolkien made it clear that Frodo came away with the ultimate PTSD case. Which I'd bet money was based partly on Tolkien's First World War experiences. People forget that Captain Tolkien was a fighting man before he became an Oxford don.

Blogger Silly But True February 15, 2017 1:37 PM  

WW1 rather.

Blogger Ivaneus February 15, 2017 1:38 PM  

@62. I cannot agree with you enough.

I get so tired of all this comparison of LOTR to WWII. Tolkien fought in WWI! He was at the Somme! And yet people skip right over The Great War and assume that it's all an allegory for WWII. Despite the fact that: He didn't participate in WWII, He was already well into writing LOTR throughout the war, and that all but one of Tolkien's childhood friends died in WWI.

Sure he wrote letters to Chris and they used metaphors from LOTR to talk about the War Chris was fighting in, but which one do you think really impacted John Tolkien more?

Blogger Jon D. February 15, 2017 1:40 PM  

Sooo.... speaking of GRRM's slowness and all that...

When's A Sea Of Skulls second half projected for? :)

Blogger Gaiseric February 15, 2017 1:47 PM  

Ivaneus wrote:@58 Except for killing Shelob, taking the Ring so the Orcs (and therefore Sauron) didn't find it, and being ready to go finish the job by himself.
Sam didn't kill Shelob (although I'll grant you; he did chase her off), and taking the ring and being ready to do something that ten minutes later he decided not to do makes him; again, loyal and admirable. But not a hero. And certainly not the hero of the whole story.

Blogger Ivaneus February 15, 2017 1:49 PM  

@61. Silly But True,

I don't think I can agree that Sam failed. At the moment of truth, Sam is first delayed by Gollum. Then Frodo claims the Ring for himself once Sam catches up, and then he gets coldcocked by Gollum before Frodo and Gollum have their fight.

Let's suppose that Sam got his wish and killed Gollum, maybe if Sam had been with Frodo at the Crack they would have managed to throw it in together. Or perhaps Sam would have been forced to fight Frodo, take the Ring, and throw it in. But we don't know. There's no basis to conclusively say that Sam "failed."

But on your broader point: it's open to interpretation. You can see it pessimistically, as you do and have explained. Or you can see it more positively, that it is the nature of evil that it always brings about its own undoing, that it is our responsibility to oppose it even though we do not have the strength in and of ourselves to destroy evil. But due to a higher order or higher power, we can stand with confidence that ultimately the evil shall pass.

Isn't that a lot like the way we fight the cultural war?

Blogger Ivaneus February 15, 2017 1:52 PM  

@66 Fair enough Gaiseric. I'll stick to my interpretation and you to yours.

Blogger FrankNorman February 15, 2017 1:54 PM  

32. BBGKB February 15, 2017 12:39 PM

OMG I just realized the most powerful norse ring for a jew would be the one that produces multiple gold rings a day.


Seven for the Dwarf lords in their halls of stone.

Anonymous Sam the Man February 15, 2017 1:59 PM  

# 62

That was what I was going to say. Sam was the loyal hard working, brave, not all that reflective soldier who was able to reintegrate back into civilian life, get married and become a productive citizen.

Frodo was the reflective chap who had to do some horrible things that left him crippled. Lost of those types were around after WWI in the UK. I would suggest a lot of the shell shocked guys that never really came back were reflected in Frodo character and final outcome.

You will not when Frodo came back to the Shire and had to fight he was up to it. What he could not adapt to was peace and good times.

I have wondered if at least in part the ring represented the power that a WWI captain held, which required him to send men to their death. Not a few reflective folks suffer survivors guilt, and I would guess Tolkien burying himself in creation of a fantasy world was part of his way of dealing with it.

Blogger Dave February 15, 2017 2:00 PM  

Jon D. wrote:Sooo.... speaking of GRRM's slowness and all that...

When's A Sea Of Skulls second half projected for? :)


On recent Darkstreams Vox has mentioned he's working on SJWADD.

Anonymous Athor Pel February 15, 2017 2:01 PM  

" 57. Anonymous Tipsy February 15, 2017 1:22 PM
...
Actually, Frodo's key salvific act was affording mercy to the undeserving Gollum, an act without which the ring would not have been destroyed. Sam, on the other hand, wanted to lop his head off."



Let's say Gollum gets whacked somewhere on the journey and we end up with only Sam and Frodo on Mt Doom. It's a pretty good bet what Sam would do when confronted by Frodo wanting to keep the ring and Gollum not being there to fight over it. Sam would destroy the ring. He'd tackle Frodo and take them both into the lava if he had to. It would be the only way to be sure.

Sam carried the Ring too. He gave it up when Frodo wanted it back. He demonstrated that he could give it up.

He loved Frodo but he knew what the Ring was at the personal level. It had to go, even if it meant Frodo had to die.

Neither of them expected to live after taking the mission. Specially not after getting into Mordor.

But having Gollum do the deed of destroying the ring while trying to get it back, very poetic.

Blogger VD February 15, 2017 2:01 PM  

At least we now know why Tolkien didn't just have the eagles drop the Ring in the fires of Mount Doom....

Blogger Some Dude February 15, 2017 2:06 PM  

Tolkien was very smart. He used mythology to make some very good points on the nature of evil. Read the silmarrilon. His description of sauron one of the einar i think it was called became a monster is very astute pschology.

Theres a very strong hbd element. Haradrim are arabs and orcs are....

So they fight under saurons watchful eye.

Wonder who saurons eye and the rings that bind them to his will might reflect.

That said there is no known tolkien writings of ant semitism. But perhaps they were memoryholed long ago by the thought police. Who knows.

Its just too apposite.

The dwarves are the asians.

Anonymous EH February 15, 2017 2:07 PM  

"The Ring of Power itself is Wagner’s invention"

Maybe so, but magic rings in the broader sense are a much older idea. Plato's "Ring of Gyges", which made its wearer invisible, is the earliest reference I have found.

Anonymous Sam the Man February 15, 2017 2:08 PM  

Some years ago when in high school I recalled reading a bunch of the old Norse tales (various versions of the same tales) and it stuck we how it seemed there was a common theme related to fighting men's view of themselves. It is a worldview sort of at odds with Western Christendom, or so it appears, kind of a celebration of conflict for conflicts sake, and yet at the same time a desires to fight for something bigger and greater than one's self.

That attitude seems to survived to this day, at least in a lot of young European culture based soldiers, they seem to be seeking battle for glory in service of a good cause, not all that different from their forbearers 2000 years ago. I think that is why the combat arms are full of white guys. Something in all that strikes a cord with these folks that does not have the same appeal to folks from south of the Mediterranean sea, or far east, southeast Asia or south America. I don't know enough Russians to know if that appeal is there, But I suspect it exists in at least some adulterated form.

Blogger Some Dude February 15, 2017 2:14 PM  

No the amerindians had a similar ethos under the aztecs. They even organised battles for the purpose of sport and using captured soldiers as sacrifices. Garland wars.

Greeks had a warrior culture as well. As do berbers and the samurai of japan.

I dont think its a white thing.

To be fair the blacks have a similar ethos today.

Blogger Some Dude February 15, 2017 2:15 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Some Dude February 15, 2017 2:20 PM  

The greatest hero was sam in my opinion.

Frodo didnt chose to receive the ring and quest. But sam opted to tag along. Both have no abilities unlike gandalf or aragorn.

The fellowship all have warrior training wih the exception of merry and pippin. But both avoided mt doom.

The last alliance of men and elves prologue is cinematic magic. The volcano is a magnificent backdrop to the fight.

Saurona alias is The Necromancer.

Anonymous Sam the Man February 15, 2017 2:29 PM  

Some dude:

I may be wrong but I think you are missing the point. The Northern Europeans want to fight and struggle, but underlying it is a cause to fight for that is noble and true. I would agree the ancient Greeks and Romans had it, but they were not much different, if the descriptions of the ancient are true (pale skin, eyes and hair).

The samurai have something close but it is different, theirs is a view of honor that is externalized while the European fighting mans is internalized. The external loss of face is unbearable to the Samurai, death is more bearable. To the European the withstanding a loss of honor for noble cause/principle is actually far more ennobling, while fighting for the right. Think Gotterdammerung. A subtle difference but a real one.

The Amerindians from my observations are just without a conscience. They like to fight perhaps, but it is a tribal thing based on gaining power by any means. There is honor in being a good fighter, but no allegiance to a higher truth than ones tribe.

The Blacks lack the concept of honor, to them it is all about being on top. To the extent they talk about it they are mimicking Europeans they are around, but it is not the same thing. I do not think many of them are capable of the abstraction.

The Ameridians, Blacks and Muslims want to be on top, the gaining of that is what matters. Not a lot of honor in any manner that a European or even samurai would recognize.

That is my impressions, I of course could be wrong, but that is how it appears to his observer.

Anonymous Pseudotsuga February 15, 2017 2:31 PM  

Thucydides wrote:I'm going to throw in with those who say Tolkien was drawing from the same well, not consciously (or not) imitating Wagner.

My epiphany was reading "Grendal" many years after reading LoTR, and realizing that the story had many parallels to the story arc of Theoden, King of Rohan. Tolkien was famous for his translation and commentary of Grendal, in fact, so it is quite clear he was drinking from the same well as Wagner and an entire host of lesser known (and probably forgotten today) artists.


Thucydides, are you confusing "Beowulf" with "Grendel"? The poem Grendel the monster appears in is titled "Beowulf." There is a novel titled Grendel, a reimagining of Beowulf from Grendel's view, but that's John Gardner's baby rather than anything to do with Tolkien. Tolkien did translate Beowulf (although that apparently wasn't available until recently), but he is much better known for an important critical article arguing for Beowulf as literary and therefore relevant to the modern world rather than a mere historical curiosity of interest to Anglo Saxonists and philologists like himself.

Tolkien was a philologist and a Germanic scholar (including Norse and Continental material), as well as having some familiarity with Celtic material. He was certainly familiar with the Nibelung material, but it wasn't part of his "English mythology" that he was constructing. The Germanic world shared some mythological and legendary roots with its offshoot English, but Tolkien was trying to reconstruct or create a branch that he felt was missing rather than "correct" or "revise" it.
Wagner was similarly creating a "nationalistic" art in reaction or resistance to the dominance of French and Italian influences in Opera (and much of art and politics) at the time. He was trying to find the German Soul, in the same way that the Brothers Grimm had done.
So they have that in common, but Tolkien wasn't re-doing or correcting Wagner or the Nibelungenlied.

Of all the famous operas created in the past 200 years or so, Wagner's Ring cycle is the only one I deliberately sought out to attend (after studying his work in Grad School years ago). I'm not an opera fan, or actually a Wagner fan, but that work... it's monumental to see all 4 operas live on stage, over the span of 4 nights. It's like the marathon of operas. The music, the staging, the ideas-- It's an experience like nothing else.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash February 15, 2017 3:13 PM  

Oh, FFS. Neither was working with original material. They BOTH deliberately and consciously were using Germanic myth. They drew from the same well.

It's like accusing GRRM of copying Stephen R. Donaldson.

Anonymous VFM #6306 February 15, 2017 3:35 PM  

Uhhh...GRRM himself has cited Donaldson as a positive influence on Song of Ice and Fire.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash February 15, 2017 3:37 PM  

VFM #6306 wrote:Uhhh...GRRM himself has cited Donaldson as a positive influence on Song of Ice and Fire.
Because as a Gamma, he hates Tolkein. Tolkein achieved heights Martin is incapable of.

Anonymous Neguy February 15, 2017 3:41 PM  

One SF Writer who did claim to take extensive inspiration from Wagner was Stephen R. Donaldson. There are some direct parallels to the Ring in it (the rune-carved Staff of Law, the ring itself, the Creator who can't use a tool, etc). He wrote an Author's Note about his relationship with Wagner in The Real Story.

Blogger James Dixon February 15, 2017 4:51 PM  

> OMG I just realized the most powerful norse ring for a jew would be the one that produces multiple gold rings a day.

Who do you think the giant with the goose that laid golden eggs in Jack and the Beanstalk was supposed to represent?

Blogger SteelPalm February 15, 2017 4:54 PM  

Heh, I remember coming across the idea that Tolkien was very heavily influenced by Wagner's Ring Cycle a few years ago. Being familiar with both works, I found it highly persuasive.

While it is of course impossible to ascertain, I find it easy to believe that Tolkien despised Wagner on a personal level or his beliefs, while admiring his great masterpiece, as Goldman writes.

As you note, how can any self-respecting white member of the British Empire who fought in both World Wars NOT despise a German touting Teutonic supremacy, who was a major love of the Third Reich?

And certainly, changing the evil Nibelung (Wagner's proxy for Jews) into the positive, likable dwarfs (Tolkien's proxy for Jews) is very strong.

But yes, I imagine that like every cultured Westerner, Tolkien was a fan of The Ring cycle as a great work. As are the overwhelming majority of Jews. Doesn't mean either likes Wagner anymore than our esteemed host likes Rape Rape Martin.

Blogger Martin February 15, 2017 4:59 PM  

Niebelungen Lied survives in both a norse version and a german version. Since the topic is originally the Roman Empire hiring the huns to genocide the Burgundians. Back before the viking age the norse told stories of the feats of their cousins on the continent. Back then they felt like country bumkins. During the viking age they started telling tales of their own exploits.

Blogger Dexter February 15, 2017 5:01 PM  

At least we now know why Tolkien didn't just have the eagles drop the Ring in the fires of Mount Doom....

I miss Scoobius Doobius.

Anonymous grobotnik February 15, 2017 5:09 PM  

@14
Yes and Gandalf is a basic stand-in for Pope Urban II who unites the kingdoms to fight Islam. The Norman conquest of England is also depicted when Gandalf and Aragorn take Theoden's castle, while it's hard to miss the Saruman/Sauron/Suleyman connection to Islam.

Blogger Martin February 15, 2017 5:14 PM  

14. The battle of pellenors plain is heavily inspired by the battle of the Catalunian fields. Theoden=Theodoric, Rhirrim = visigoths, Gondor=Rome, Orc=Huns.

Tolkien use alot of stuff from the era of migration. Since this became tabu after ww2 we who live today find this hard to discern.

Blogger VD February 15, 2017 5:18 PM  

While it is of course impossible to ascertain, I find it easy to believe that Tolkien despised Wagner on a personal level or his beliefs, while admiring his great masterpiece, as Goldman writes.

That's ridiculous. Despite copious papers, there is no evidence Tolkien despised Wagner, and Tolkien's evidence familiarity with the Ring Cycle tends to indicate the precise opposite. Goldman is just projecting his own irrational hatred.

As you note, how can any self-respecting white member of the British Empire who fought in both World Wars NOT despise a German touting Teutonic supremacy, who was a major love of the Third Reich?

Wagner didn't so much tout Teutonic supremacy as serve as a prime example of Teutonic musical supremacy. No other race can even approach their heights. And I very much doubt Tolkien would have known Hitler's taste in music, much less despised a dead composer for his fans. By that metric, we should all despise Tolkien.

Anonymous MongoJimmy February 15, 2017 5:21 PM  

Giddings and Hastings in JRRT: The Shores of Middle Earth (1982) argue the Master also borrowed heavily from what was considered pop culture at the time, e.g. The Thirty Nine Steps by Hitchcock and Lorna Doone by Blackmoor (1869) iirc. Allegedly Dün meaning West in Elvish was inspired/appropriated from the latter. He hated modernism in all its forms (they write) and found more enjoyment in what was considered lowbrow by academia.

As for the hero of the tale I nominate the OG Hobbit himself, Bilbo. It was his mercy toward Gollum, when he first found the RIng, that allowed him to live so the Quest could be fulfilled. Then again it is true every member on the side of Good were Heros in their own way and played their crucial role.

Anonymous Tipsy February 15, 2017 5:42 PM  

"Ever since I arrived at Cambridge as a student in 1964 and encountered a tribe of full-grown women wearing puffed sleeves, clutching teddies, and babbling excitedly about the doings of hobbits, it has been my nightmare that J.R.R. Tolkien would turn out to be the most influential writer of the twentieth century. The bad dream has materialized. At the head of the list, in pride of place as the book of the century, stands The Lord of the Rings."

- Feminist Icon Germaine Greer

Afterword: When I was living in England in the 90s, Germaine Greer was on a program called "If I were King". When asked what she law she'd enact, she said she'd make it mandatory that all males provide sperm samples to the state, after which they'd be vasectomized. If they wanted children, later they could apply to the state to have their sample used to impregnate their mates.

That, for me, was proof positive that feminism was, as R.S. McCain puts it, "a totalitarian movement to destroy civilization as we know it."


Anonymous MongoJimmy February 15, 2017 5:43 PM  

One could be argue Gollum/Sméagol is the hero of the piece. He hid the ring for six hundred years and tracked the cursed Baggins' all over Hell's half acre, even ended up finishing the job for him, dancing around like a damn jackass at Mount Doom.

Blogger Silly But True February 15, 2017 5:46 PM  

WWouldn'ttge true savior really be the failed parenting of a Hobbitsharking Gladden Fields Riverfolk who failed to teach young Smeagol that you shouldn't kill someone over jewelry?

Blogger SteelPalm February 15, 2017 5:50 PM  

@92

That's ridiculous. Despite copious papers, there is no evidence Tolkien despised Wagner, and Tolkien's evidence familiarity with the Ring Cycle tends to indicate the precise opposite. Goldman is just projecting his own irrational hatred.

Quite a bit stronger and more convinced than your statement in the post itself, huh? There, you noted that your assessment was made "despite not having any information at all on the subject". What changed?

Anyways, I don't know Tolkien's personal feelings either, as neither you nor Goldman do.

But I noted again the likelihood that any white member of the British Empire would have a severe hatred of Germans after having fought in both World Wars.

Perhaps I'm "projecting" here too, since I know the severe hatred every white Russian of that time period had for Germans. And to a large extent continues to have. But I doubt it was different for Brits.

Again, it is extremely common for someone to hate an author personally but to love their works.

Anonymous HairyPalms February 15, 2017 6:08 PM  

Hey look as our resident (((Chosen Person))) just lied... then doubled-down...

Spoiler alert: Projection is next.

Blogger SteelPalm February 15, 2017 6:14 PM  

@98

Haha. I'm honored you went to the trouble of signing up with a different username just for me! Humor me, idiot; what did I "lie" about?

Blogger Joe Keenan February 15, 2017 6:23 PM  

#14 You are correct regarding Tolkien being influenced by Christianty's conflict with Islam, please see, Guardians of the Fallen Kingdom for a tremendously provocative development of this (and other thesis). See also, Wagner and Tolkien Mythmakers, Tolkien and Wagner The Ring and Der Ring, for in depth examination of Wagner's probable influence on Tolkien. See also, Tolkien's Failed Quest (E-Book) for an amazing 20 page examination of Tolkien's work. I disagree with some of the authors contentions, but he makes some salient points

Anonymous MongoJimmy February 15, 2017 6:25 PM  

@96 Touché, Captain Blood..

Blogger Joe Keenan February 15, 2017 6:27 PM  

Tolkien did not despise Wagner, he despised Hitler co-opting his beloved "Northern Thing." As mentioned earlier, Tolkien attended The Ring with Lewis. He also did not despise Germans, he hated Nazis.

Blogger tublecane February 15, 2017 6:27 PM  

@53-You can't trust authors concerning their own works. They're not reliable.

Blogger Joe Keenan February 15, 2017 6:28 PM  

#14 You are correct regarding Tolkien being influenced by Christianty's conflict with Islam, please see, Guardians of the Fallen Kingdom for a tremendously provocative development of this (and other thesis). See also, Wagner and Tolkien Mythmakers, Tolkien and Wagner The Ring and Der Ring, for in depth examination of Wagner's probable influence on Tolkien. See also, Tolkien's Failed Quest (E-Book) for an amazing 20 page examination of Tolkien's work. I disagree with some of the authors contentions, but he makes some salient points

Blogger tublecane February 15, 2017 6:38 PM  

@7-"No one questions that a novel is not a piece of music"

Wagner wrote his own libretti. Which isn't what people pay to see, but that is more of an apples to apples comparison. Two literary retellings of the Song of the Nibelungs: one a novel (or three novels), the other four dramatic poems (plus a lot of music with dramatic implications).

Blogger Salt February 15, 2017 6:44 PM  

Nothing better than Wagner in the morning. Smells like victory. Or a little Excalibur.

Blogger 1337kestrel February 15, 2017 7:18 PM  

The bard shot first!

Blogger dienw February 15, 2017 7:22 PM  


Who do you think the giant with the goose that laid golden eggs in Jack and the Beanstalk was supposed to represent?

Wait a minute. Are you saying that Jack is Prometheus; but this time he is bringing the Jew gold to mankind?

Blogger VD February 15, 2017 7:54 PM  

Quite a bit stronger and more convinced than your statement in the post itself, huh? There, you noted that your assessment was made "despite not having any information at all on the subject". What changed?

I did some reading on the subject today.

I noted again the likelihood that any white member of the British Empire would have a severe hatred of Germans after having fought in both World Wars.

That really wasn't the case. Brits are not Russians, let alone Russian Jews. They don't have the same predilection for lasting hatreds and grudge-holding. They tend to have wary respect for Germans. So, I suspect you are projecting.

Remember, the Brits fought nearly everyone at one point or another.

Blogger S1AL February 15, 2017 8:31 PM  

The notion that Tolkien hated any ethnic group is absurd on its face. Such a man would not have written the ending of the trilogy as regards the Haradrim, or crafted the careful friendship of Legolas and Gimli.

Blogger Joe Keenan February 15, 2017 8:40 PM  

Oh, And the old quote regarding rings, "They are both round, and there the similarities end" was not Tolkien writing about Wagner's ring, it was Tolkien writing about an inept Swedish (?) translator of his work. See, letter 229. Vink does a masterful examination of this in her, Tolkien and Wagner - Myth makers.

Blogger Samuel Nock February 15, 2017 10:03 PM  

Really good exploration into Wagner's relation to the Germanic mythic tradition by Collin Cleary at Counter-Currents. Long, eight-part read, but worth it.

http://www.counter-currents.com/2013/05/wagners-place-in-the-germanic-tradition-part-1/

Blogger SteelPalm February 15, 2017 10:39 PM  

@109

I did some reading on the subject today.

Out of genuine curiosity, what did you read? This is a subject I'm interested in.

Blogger 1337kestrel February 15, 2017 10:44 PM  

The hobbits were the only ones humble enough to take the Ring to mount doom without attracting the attention of the eye.

Blogger Were-Puppy February 15, 2017 11:15 PM  

@22 GregMan

(Iluvatar = the Judeo-Christian God of the bible).
---

Now you've gone and done it

Blogger Dexter February 15, 2017 11:37 PM  

I noted again the likelihood that any white member of the British Empire would have a severe hatred of Germans after having fought in both World Wars.

Nah. My grandfather fought in the British Army in WW1 and his first son was killed in the Royal Navy in WW2. Decades later his attitude was pretty much "it wasn't personal, it was just business."

Now my grandma, pure female solipsist (AWALT), still hated the Germans because she was convinced every bomb they dropped on London was aimed directly at her.

Blogger wreckage February 16, 2017 12:05 AM  

Tolkien wasn't anti-german, he considered German to among the most beautiful languages. He was the mild pro-Jewish, pro-Jewish homeland type typical of good Englishmen at the time.

You see that in full cultural display with the dwarves: exiled, with a semitic or levantine language, apart from and mutually suspicious of the Men and Elves and horribly clan-introverted in their worldview, but broadly "good guys", in that they are one of the races that refuse to be dominated by the forces of evil.

Poetically enough, that's a very Norse ideal of virtue: not that you be nice, but that you refuse to surrender; the Dwarven drive to preserve their own culture and restore their homeland is just one example of how the reviled "alt-right" ideas were once not merely commonplace but heroic.

Anonymous Euryale February 16, 2017 7:54 AM  

Great post.

Blogger Gaiseric February 16, 2017 8:17 AM  

@117: I recently re-read The Hobbit, and the stereotypical Jew attitudes towards money and trustworthiness among the dwarves really stuck out to me this time; much moreso than any readings in the past when I was much less red-pilled with regards HBD. Although as you say, Thorin's folk were still repeatedly lauded as broadly "the good guys."

Blogger wreckage February 16, 2017 9:17 AM  

@119 you have to remember too, that the dwarf attitude to gold isn't itself a human emotion, it's fey, like elf grief or orc hate. I think Tolkien also likened the Elves to Israel at one point ( as per the promise to Abraham, "through you I will bless all nations", possibly also, again poetically, related to Numenor - Egyptian flavoured - betraying and spurning the Elves ).

So, don't read too much into the Dwarf attitude to gold; that's their mythic-creature nature, but certainly the clannishness, conflict and sense of separation was said by Tolkien to remind him of the situation of the Jew in Europe - and I believe, given his rejection of Nazism, that this was not intended as calumny to either the Jews or the Dwarves ;)

Blogger Gaiseric February 16, 2017 9:53 AM  

I'm not talking about just their attitude towards gold; their miserliness and general untrustworthiness as a background character trait came out quite strongly to me this time. And it wasn't a non-human emotion, it was an altogether too human emotion.

Anyway, having read The Hobbit many times in the past, I hadn't read it in quite a long time, and certainly last time I read it I hadn't been as red-pilled and fluent in HBD talk. It really stood out to me very differently, and I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't read it again.

Blogger SteelPalm February 16, 2017 4:37 PM  

@121

general untrustworthiness

Now here you're projecting. The dwarves are generally trustworthy in both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Blogger Joe Keenan February 16, 2017 5:48 PM  

@120 When God made that promise to Abraham, Abraham was a gentile.

Blogger Gaiseric February 17, 2017 3:02 PM  

SteelPalm wrote:@121

general untrustworthiness

Now here you're projecting. The dwarves are generally trustworthy in both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Again; read it again. I didn't catch it before, or it didn't mean anything to me. I did this time.

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