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Post Posted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 6:00 pm 
 

You might be confusing the beginning of Fellowship of the Ring with the beginning of The Hobbit.


I know I am. I did that on purpose. Same author, though. Same boredom, too. Tolkien is not an exciting writer. Maybe the stories are great, but I prefer to hear them second-hand, because the original version puts me to sleep.

Then again, I really don't like fantasy books.


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Post Posted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 7:51 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:I don't know who Pullman is.

Is that a good thing?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/His_Dark_Materials

Check out the areas under "Controversy"....

Besides having The Church, God and religion as the bad guys, Pullman has gone on records saying both Tolkien and C.S. Lewis are idiots and their writings are crap (actually, it's a bit harsher than that, but I paraphrased...)

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Post Posted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 8:02 pm 
 

Where did you see his comments about CS Lewis and Tolkien?

I really enjoyed the Spyglass series, but if he's a Tolkien and Lewis basher, I won't buy another one of his books again.

To say that Tolkien is anything less than a literary genius is blasphemy, and should be dealt with accordingly (as in not putting more cash into Mr. Pullman's pocket!)


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Post Posted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 8:26 pm 
 

Center_Stage_Hobbies wrote:Where did you see his comments about CS Lewis and Tolkien?

I really enjoyed the Spyglass series, but if he's a Tolkien and Lewis basher, I won't buy another one of his books again.

To say that Tolkien is anything less than a literary genius is blasphemy, and should be dealt with accordingly (as in not putting more cash into Mr. Pullman's pocket!)


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His story is a rival to the narratives put forward by two earlier Oxford writers, J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" and C.S. Lewis's "The Chronicles of Narnia". Pullman loathes the way the children in Narnia are killed in a car-crash. "I dislike his Narnia books because of the solution he offers to the great questions of human life: is there a God, what is the purpose, all that stuff, which he really does engage with pretty deeply, unlike Tolkien who doesn't touch it at all. ‘The Lord of the Rings' is essentially trivial. Narnia is essentially serious, though I don't like the answer Lewis comes up with. If I was doing it at all, I was arguing with Narnia. Tolkien is not worth arguing with."


Actually he's said a lot more on the subject, once he realized it was getting traction in the press and with fans. Essentially, he realized bad mouthing Lewis and Tolkien was getting him pub, and attention whore that he is, he continued.....

http://www.christianitytoday.com/movies/commentaries/fearnotthecompass.html

It's interesting that a man of such extraordinary imagination would have so little regard for the storytellers whose work his style resembles. Pullman scoffs at the stories of Tolkien and Lewis. He says, "The Lord of the Rings is just not interesting psychologically; there's nothing about people in it." And his scorn for Lewis's fantasy world has been widely documented. Pullman has said, "I hate the Narnia books. I hate them with a deep and bitter passion, with their view of childhood as a golden age from which sexuality and adulthood are a falling away." He has called the series "one of the most ugly and poisonous things" he's ever read.


There's lot more examples.  Frankly I don't really care what he thinks anyway, as it's very obvious reading any interview with him that he's shrewdly used his 15 minutes by attacking two great fantasy writers in the hopes of appearing "cutting edge" and "different".  Sheesh.

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Post Posted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 10:04 pm 
 

I don't think Tolkien needs me to protect him.  

Some people like Tolkien and some don't.  Michael Moorcock is an example of a well known writer who finds Tolkien less than interesting.  Certainly, he had some quirks as a writer that a 21st century reader might find irritating.  

In my experience, the later in life one comes in contact with Tolkien the less likely one is to be entranced with his work.

Tolkien had some habits that would not be tolerated today in an unpublished writer.

When he went to write the Lord of the Rings books, he was already an incredibly successful children's author.  Otherwise, he might not have gotten a reading...or an editor might have taken a hatchet to some of the slower-moving scenes in the epic.

I haven't read Pullman's comments on Tolkien and C. S. Lewis.  Isn't he the guy who wanted to create a secular Narnia setting (The Golden Compass) and kill off God.

For a person like that, the powerful Christian overtones in The Lord of the Rings would not be pleasant reading.

Writers like Pullman and Mercedes Lackey owe Tolkien a great deal.  For one of them to bash his work is interesting irony.


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Post Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 6:59 am 
 

when i was a lot younger, the narnia novels were amazing. they have always stayed in my mind over the years as a damn good read - something that fired my imagination. even today my kids love them too and thats all i could ask for.

tolkein on the other hand, yes i agree, can be sometimes a very difficult read. but you also have to remember, this stuff was also written 50 years ago, a time when literacy skills are totally different to what they are now. for stories to stand the test of time for that long, and being no1 in the biggest most popular novel of the 20th century, speaks mere volumes anyway, without others criticising.

frankly i didnt realise that this pullman was saying what he was, which is actually interesting. i have that spyglass novel in the back. didnt realise it was him. i have picked that up about 50 times to try and read it, but just cant get into it - to be honest, for me, its a pile of shite. but hey what do i know?

i also wasnt too fussed on the golden compass either. it was ok. just kinda meh.

i am sure the tolkein estate just view these comments with something approaching amusement.

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Post Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 9:31 am 
 

FormCritic wrote:Tolkien had some habits that would not be tolerated today in an unpublished writer.


Gygax both a: trash-talked Tolkien after being forced to remove Hobbits & Ents from D&D; & b: had some excessively wordy writing habits of his own that would not be tolerated in an unpublished writer.

  

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Post Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 3:50 pm 
 

sauromatian wrote:
Gygax both a: trash-talked Tolkien after being forced to remove Hobbits & Ents from D&D; & b: had some excessively wordy writing habits of his own that would not be tolerated in an unpublished writer.


Gygax's efforts to distance himself from Tolkien have been pretty comical.  Gygax has always maintained that D&D sprang from his interest in miniatures wargaming combined with the American pulp fantasy genre that developed parallel to (and even somewhat prededed) Tolkien.

I can see why he'd want to distance himself, both for creative and financial reasons....but Dungeons and Dragons owes a great deal to Tolkien and there is no reason to deny it.

Gygax's own fiction books range from light pulp to stinky bad.  If, however, one considers the impact of the Dungeon Masters Guide....


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Post Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 4:21 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:Gygax's own fiction books range from light pulp to stinky bad.

That's charitable ... his writing is God-awful.

FormCritic wrote:I don't think Tolkien needs me to protect him.

Or any of us, really.

It's easy to forget that Tolkien's legacy would have been secure had he never written a single piece of fiction. At the height of his academic career, he was considered one of the foremost linguists in the world ... he had reached the absolute pinnacle of his area of expertise and was respected throughout the world for his amazing talents. The fact that he also enjoyed writing fiction is just a bonus.

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Post Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 4:38 pm 
 

killjoy32 wrote:when i was a lot younger, the narnia novels were amazing. they have always stayed in my mind over the years as a damn good read - something that fired my imagination. even today my kids love them too and thats all i could ask for.


It is ironic that Tolkien found his friend's Narnia novels to be irritating and a bit threatening.

Tolkien hated the mixed genres, talking animals and jumbled history of the Narnia books.  Tolkien also strongly disliked the heavy-handed symbolism characteristic of the Narnia books, not to mention the uneven writing.  

Tolkien was also a bit alarmed that Lewis, who was the driving force behind his completion of the Lord of the Rings books, would meddle so easily in fantasy and publish multiple books before Tolkien could finish his epic.  Lewis would dash off a novel, send it to the editors and turn to a new project.  Tolkien would re-write everything from the beginning, by hand.


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Post Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 5:09 pm 
 

Gleemax ... still in alpha testing as 2008 rapidly approaches.

http://www.gleemax.com/Comms/Login/Default/default.aspx

Seriously, the jokes basically write themselves at this point.

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Post Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 6:56 pm 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:Gleemax ... still in alpha testing as 2008 rapidly approaches.

http://www.gleemax.com/Comms/Login/Default/default.aspx

Seriously, the jokes basically write themselves at this point.

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Post Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 1:36 am 
 

FormCritic wrote:Tolkien hated the mixed genres, talking animals and jumbled history of the Narnia books.


That's funny, since the world of Narnia is basically one historical place, the Caucasus & Caspian Sea in the Christian/Islamic era. Middle Earth draws from many disparate sources, ultimately depicting the slow migration of the Indo-European languages.

As speculative historical fiction it works fine, since that's what the historian does- the different sources are analyzed. An old text found in a monastery might record a much older pagan legend. Middle Earth uses this relationship, seeming at one moment to be set in the neolithic, then next the Crusades.

The study of myth in the century before Tolkien was dominated by the idea that the Celtic underclass of the British Isles preserved an entire ancient religion in children's folktales. He uses this in the Man in the Moon song Frodo sings at Bree, supposing the nursery rhyme to involve an atypically-male moon deity.

  

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Post Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 5:02 am 
 

sauromatian wrote:That's funny, since the world of Narnia is basically one historical place


One example of the jumbled ideas Tolkien hated was the appearance of Father Christmas in the first book.  Santa Claus literally shows up to pass out presents.  Anthromorphic animals, satyrs, werewolves and every other Narnian creature from various folklores mixed up together...it all struck Tolkien as stupid.  It was completely different from Tolkien's method of layered linguistics and carefully blended elements of Norse mythology.

Tolkien specifically disliked Celtic themes and avoided Celtic languages in his writing.  That is one reason why Tolkien tells us, straight out, that Frodo's song was foolish and his behavior was unwise.  The song stands out from others in the story in that it is a folk song/nursery rhyme that would better fit in the pages of Bored of the Rings.

Frodo's song about the Man in the Moon is an example of a part of the book that could have and should have been cut by an editor.  The inclusion of songs was one element over which Lewis and Tolkien strongly disagreed.  The trilogy is practically a musical, with characters bursting into song at unlikely moments....which is one reason why the trilogy is so ripe for parody:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cp-fox4d ... re=related


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Post Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 5:58 am 
 

FormCritic wrote:Frodo's song about the Man in the Moon is an example of a part of the book that could have and should have been cut by an editor.


It needs the Bakshi treatment to be appreciated in its full horribleness:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lJJr0lDQiQ
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Somewhere in the archives of a Tolkien forum are the plans I drew up of exactly how a re-edit should take place. It's something fans would resist as contrary to the nature of the work, but it could be done without removing actual details.

The basic narration [describing what the characters are doing] is meandering & repetitious. If they walk across a room, he takes 100 words to say it. A good 10-20% of the text could be carefully trimmed this way without losing anything of substance.  

The detailed bits should have been judiciously trimmed before publication, but the opportunity was missed [although had the editors been given the freedom to do so, they would have undoubtably gone too far]. Nowadays, anything removed would turn out to be some jerk's favorite part, & nobody would be satisfied.

  

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Post Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 8:03 am 
 

Just wanted to share a pretty cool moment just now.  I heard something outside my window, so as I go check to see out another if it was someone the garage motion sensor light flicks on.  So looking out at that I see a doe.  It seems to regard the light little, then slowly makes its way around my house to the hedges, where it seems to start eating (now explains the deer tracks I've had on that side of the house) but the cool thing is it leaps over the fence, and its not alone. I see 3 others roaming the back yards of my neighbors and the deer just seem to hop over fences and go about their way.
And I live in a city, course not downtown.  Course I'm sure those in more rural settings see deer more often, just to witness them moving about the neighborhood seems pretty cool. Guess its the little things in life :)

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Post Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 8:39 am 
 

Nice! Did you get any digital pictures?
I have not seen any large wildlife in my neighborhood for a few years now (other than drunken university students!).


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Post Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 10:19 am 
 

jasonw1239 wrote:Nice! Did you get any digital pictures?
I have not seen any large wildlife in my neighborhood for a few years now (other than drunken university students!).


Didn't even think about that, just watched it all happen.

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