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O.k., what the heck is 'Lord of the Rings'?


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#1 of 38 OFFLINE   Inspector Hammer!

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Posted August 31 2001 - 05:53 PM

Call me clueless, but everywhere I turn on the forum it's 'Lord of the Rings' this, and 'Lord of the Rings' that.

What on earth is it? I do know that it's supposed to be as popular as 'Star Wars' though, but that's all I know. So, what is it, and what is it about? I'd really like to get involved in all these 'this' and 'that' discussions. Posted Image

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#2 of 38 OFFLINE   Hendrik

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Posted August 31 2001 - 06:44 PM

...ahh... I would not dare call you 'clueless' ... but where have you been these past... oh... fifty-odd years?...
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#3 of 38 OFFLINE   Inspector Hammer!

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Posted August 31 2001 - 07:06 PM

O.k. so i'm not clueless, just uncultured! Posted Image

WOW, it's been around that long huh!? Well, I guess i've just never been in a position to ever hear about it before. Did they teach it in school or something, because if they did, that would explain my ignorance, I never paid attention. Double Posted Image Posted Image

But my question still stands, what is it? If the history is too rich to go into, at least give me a short but pointed summery so I can get at least a passing knowledge of the storyline.

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#4 of 38 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted August 31 2001 - 07:10 PM

[quote]

But my question still stands, what is it? If the history is too rich to go into, at least give me a short but pointed summery so I can get at least a passing knowledge of the storyline.

[quote]A group of short people takes a seeming eternity to get rid of one unwanted piece of jewelry. Posted Image
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#5 of 38 OFFLINE   Jeff Kleist

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Posted August 31 2001 - 07:21 PM

LOTR is the genesis of the modern fantasy tale. Everything from Dungeons and Dragons to Willow to DragonSlayer to every other fantasy piece owes its genesis to this story. Read it before the movie comes out, you won't be sorry

#6 of 38 OFFLINE   Geoffrey_A

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Posted August 31 2001 - 11:42 PM

But read "The Hobbit" first, it helps a great deal. ------------------ Geoff Now with Kung-Fu grip and realistic facial hair!
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#7 of 38 OFFLINE   Mike Broadman

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Posted August 31 2001 - 11:59 PM

Lord of the Rings is a trilogy of fantasy novels written a few decades ago. The story takes place after the events of another book called The Hobbit. Story: Frodo Baggins, a hobbit, must travel to the land of the ancient enemy to destroy the One Ring. This ring was created by the Dark Lord to control the other rings of power scattered throughout the land. He is guided by a wizard named Gandalf and a host of other characters. By the second book, the story splinters off into different stuff happening at the same time. I don't want to give away more in case you read it. The author: JRR Tolkien was a scholar who understood language, history, and mythology as well as literature. Legend has it that he set out to invent a language. Since each language needed a mythology behind it, he started to create that, too. He wrote down notes about the creation of the world, gods, elves (who spoke his new language), men, and dwarfs. One day, he came up with an idea about hobbits. He started to write what would eventually become The Hobbit and showed it to his peers, who encouraged him to complete the story. He decided to set the story in the same world as the mythology he had outlined previously. This led to him beginning work on the Lord of the Rings, which used The Hobbit as a starting point but allowed him to flesh out his original world. However, the story of the Lord of the Rings takes place thousands of years after the mythology stuff, which focused on the creation of his world. The result is a very rich fictional universe in which the characters act out their stories, because, in fact, this world actually had a history. After his death, Tolkien's son released some his father's most important notes about the early mythology in a volume called The Silmarillion, as well as releasing scores of books after that. In order to create a believable, interesting world, Tolkien invented languages, plant life, maps, histories, calendars, etc. The books can be read as simply an entertaining story and can also be looked at much deeper. It works on many levels. The influence: Most people credit Tolkien with creating the modern fantasy genre of novels. Wizards, dragons, magic, etc set in a medieval type setting is the standard fantasy fare. LotR is often used as a model by which epic stories are told. Star Wars is a good example. Adaptations: An animated film was made using rotoscoping and odd animation in the 70s (I think). It only covers the first book and half of the second as they never got a chance to make the sequel which would have covered the rest. Also, two children's cartoon films were made, one about The Hobbit and one about the last novel in the trilogy. Opinions on these films vary greatly. LotR fans have been waiting for a big screen adaptation. This Christmas, the wait is over. A big budget blockbuster covering the first novel in the trilogy will be released starring Elijah Wood, which will be followed by two more films covering the rest of the trilogy. Recommendations: If you like good fiction and epic story telling, the books are worth reading. The more you're into mythology, ancient / medieval history and fantasy, the quicker you may get attached to it, but these are certainly not requirements. A love of good stories and magic is all you need. Start with the Hobbit (very easy to read, almost a children's book) to get a taste, then dive into Lord of the Rings. If you're interested in mythology, check out the Silmarillion after having read those.

#8 of 38 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted September 01 2001 - 12:18 AM

With respect, LOTR is not the original 'fantasy' novel, simply an important milestone in a much longer sequence of books. E.g. there's the novels of William Morris which also touched on similar sorts of worlds. To properly understand the genesis of LOTR you need to look at what Professor Tolkein spent most of his professional life doing - working on early modern English and Anglo-Saxon literature. There's no need to look at the original scripts (which are *very* hard-going unless you have a gift for languages), the translations (often by Tolkein himself) will do. These will show you where a lot of the framework of LOTR came from. However, this shouldn't deter you from reading LOTR, which can be read as a rich, well-paced adventure story. Ideally, the Hobbit should be read first as it gives a lot of background detail, but many people (myself included) find it very twee. If you find yourself hating the Hobbit, it is perfectly possible to pick up LOTR without having read TH first. If you really get into Tolkein's stuff, there's an excellent biography of the man by Humphrey Carpenter.

#9 of 38 OFFLINE   Edwin-S

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Posted September 01 2001 - 12:36 AM

I could be wrong about this...but I think he borrowed from Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung also. ------------------
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#10 of 38 OFFLINE   Jim_C

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Posted September 01 2001 - 07:06 AM

I could be wrong but I don't think that most people believe that Tolkien was the first to ever come up with the idea of fantasy. I think that most credit him as the first author to create a deep, believable fantasy world, one that had a major impact on mainstream society. This world, as someone else has pointed out, has become the genensis of many, many other works of literature, art, music, and movies. It's an important piece of literature that just happens to be very entertaining at the same time. ------------------ You want to upgrade again?!!
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#11 of 38 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted September 01 2001 - 10:30 AM

Jim, there's a very good history of science fiction by Brian Aldiss called 'Billion Year Spree' (I think it was republished in a revised edition called 'Trillion Year Spree' but I may be wrong) which goes through just how many 'complete worlds' had been created before Tolkein put pen to paper (I'm not being crass about this, but what about all the Wizard of Oz books?). However, please don't think I'm attacking Tolkein - far from it.

FWIW, I used to work for a guy who in turn had been great pals with Tolkein towards the end of his life. Apparently Tolkein was genuinely bemused at the size of the cult following his books had. [I think it's worth noting that the LOTR cult was *huge* amongst students in the late 60s and 70s - rather akin to Star Wars to the next generation]. They grew out of his life time hobby of inventing languages (heavily based on Anglo Saxon dialects, Norse languages and Welsh, for those who know what they're looking for), and also draw heavily on the plots and traditions of european folklore. Incidentally, although there are considerable similarities between LOTR and the Ring Cycle, Tolkein always insisted these were coincidental. This may be in part because various loopy Nazi sympathisers thought they could exploit a Wagner connection [Wagner was rabidly anti-semitic and the Nazis saw his operatic output as an expression of some of their fruitier ideas], and Tolkein wanted to distance himself from this.

I do hope that anyone who hasn't read Tolkein isn't put off by these ramblings, because it sounds as if LOTR is some sort of weird academic treatise. There are clever things in it, but it really can be read just as an adventure story, and a very good one at that.

#12 of 38 OFFLINE   Jim_C

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Posted September 01 2001 - 10:54 AM

Okay, I'm with you Andrew. I just want to clarify that I'm looking from the point of view that LOTR was the first to have a significant Mainstream impact. I know how big Wizard of Oz was/is but I don't recall it having the depth that LOTR has. I'm not trying to lessen any other works believe me. I guess that I think that LOTR is to earlier fantasy works as The Beatles are to earlier rock and roll bands. Sure there were other rock bands before the Fab Four showed up but none of them had the impact that the Beatles did and continue to have. ------------------ You want to upgrade again?!! [Edited last by Jim_C on September 01, 2001 at 01:58 PM]
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#13 of 38 OFFLINE   Rob Gillespie

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Posted September 01 2001 - 11:19 AM

The back history for Middle Earth had been developing in Tolkien's mind for many years before he wrote The Hobbit. He didn't just create a world with characters, creatures and languages. He created a whole history for it too, right back to the very beginning - "There was 'Eru' - the one....". Those invented legends eventually became 'The Silmarillion', published shortly after his death. Had he had his way, it would be have been published much sooner, possibly before The Lord Of The Rings, but publishers wanted a good story rather than a history book.

He always said that there was no deeper meaning in his books that what was on the page. The stories were never meant to be a juxtaposition on the war nor allegorical (allegory being something Tolkien himself disliked greatly). The stories just exist for the sake of being read and enjoyed, but are written so beautifully, and with a rich sense of character, texture and importance.

"They each shouldered the heavy pack and the water skin which was their share, and turned from the light that lay on the lands outside, and plunged into the forest"

(from The Hobbit)

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#14 of 38 OFFLINE   Jeff Kleist

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Posted September 01 2001 - 12:59 PM

That's why I said MODERN fantasy, not fantasy in general BTW: What is "twee"? Jeff Kleist

#15 of 38 OFFLINE   Rob Gillespie

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Posted September 01 2001 - 02:16 PM

twee
adj. Chiefly British
Overly precious or nice.


(or should that be; overly precioussssssss! - sorry, couldn't resist)

The Hobbit was written mainly for a younger audience which is why it doesn't have the same dark tone and ominous nature of LOTR.

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#16 of 38 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted September 01 2001 - 10:14 PM

I agree with a lot of what's been said here. I do think that no one else had put together as rich a world as Tolkien did, before him, although some have done so since (e.g., Robert Jordan). Oz was certainly not as rich a world, but is a lot more interesting that people give it credit for. Wizard of Oz was just the first of 13 Oz books he wrote, and he developed quite a interesting history of the country (though nowhere near as rich as Tolkien). What's most interesting about Baum is that he certainly was writing on multiple levels, foremost to entertain children, but also to express his political views (similar to Gulliver's Travels and many other books). Baum was a firm believer in the silver standard (at a time when gold vs. silver was a major issue), and unlike the movie, the slippers in the book are silver and can do what gold (the yellow brick road) cannot. Dorothy represented everyday Americans. The Scarecrow was the farmers who had no brain because they were too stupid to organize politically. The Tin Woodman was industry which had no heart. The Cowardly Lion was William Jennings Bryan, and the Wizard some other politician I can't recall off the top of my head. The Wicked Witch of the West was drought, hence she was destroyed by water. The Winged Monkeys were Native Americans (there was a lot more about them in the book than in the movie). Etc., etc. ------------------ 13-time NBA world champion Lakers: 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1972, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000, 2001
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#17 of 38 OFFLINE   Inspector Hammer!

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Posted September 02 2001 - 03:08 AM

Thanks guys, i'll definatly have to check these books out! These sound like they're going to be truly great films too! Thanks. ------------------ "How can I heal, when I can't feel time?" Leonard from Memento
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#18 of 38 OFFLINE   Henry Gale

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Posted September 02 2001 - 05:52 AM

In 1969, during the great hippie Hobbit craze, the Harvard Lampoon published, Bored Of the Rings. Here's a sample: "We boggies are a hairy folk Who like to eat until we choke Loving all like friend and brother, And hardly ever eat each other. Ever hungry, ever thirsting, Never stop till belly's bursting. Chewing chop and pork and muttons, A merry race of boring gluttons. Gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble, Gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble. Boggies gather round the table, Eat as much as you are able. Gorge yourselves from moon till noon (Don't forget your plate and spoon). Anything edible, we've got dibs on, And hope we all die with our bibs on. Ever gay, we'll never grow up, Come! And sing and play and throw-up! Gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble, Gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble.
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#19 of 38 OFFLINE   Iain Lambert

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Posted September 03 2001 - 04:27 AM

And to clear up any confusion, any rumours that Babylon 5 is just tLotR with the serial numbers filed off are completely false. Posted Image
mmm, thats odd.

#20 of 38 OFFLINE   Frank Anderson

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Posted September 03 2001 - 04:49 AM

The first book in the series use to be required reading when I was in school. That is of course when reading was still required in school.

Frank

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