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Was Tolkien just lazy, or what?

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NancyBrooke
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 10:16 am    Post subject: Was Tolkien just lazy, or what? Reply with quote

Doing the background work for my lastest Drabble Challenge response (SSP Very Happy ) it occurred to me again how many characters and stories in Tolkien are repeated or similar. And I'm only familiar with the Trilogy ...

Specifically (the obvious) Beren/Luthien and Aragorn/Arwen, but also Boromir I/Earnur/Boromir II are remarkable similar characters (macho, loving weapons not women, fighting essentially losing battles with the Witchking in/near Osgiliath ..., losing their lives to Evil (sort of)).

Can anyone think of any others and what do you think of them?

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DarkElfChilde



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I think if I had all of those characters, I wouldn't want to make up a new character (name, personality, etc.), but I don't think I would ever have so many in the first place because sometimes that's hard to keep track. Confused

That's my thoughts on it...


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TrissMarigold



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I'd say that history tends to repeat itself. As for the characters, Tolkien didn't flesh them out, we don't know much about most of them, just the basics. With so many personas created, Tolkien was probably running out of ideas Wink The repetitions show that those kinds of behavior, or character traits are not so rare. Although I think he didn't have that in his mind making so many Elvish/Human couples. I'm sure he wanted to point out the opposite, that it WAS rare. Rolling Eyes Oh well. Luthien/Beren, Aragorn/Arwen, Tuor/Idril, Mithrellas/Imrazor, man/elleth - I don't think that Tolkien liked the idea of a woman growing old at an ellon's side Wink , though the other way round seems ok.

First think that came to my mind, Embarassed and Iím really not that obsessed: Glorfindel and a Balrog, Gandalf and a Balrog, Ecthelion and a Balrog; they fight, they win, they die. But that just stresses, in my opinion, how hard it was to kill a Balrog, and at what cost. They are proud members of the "Balrog Slayer's Club" Very Happy.

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krazykataave



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with TrissMarigold; history is cyclic. Everything cycles back around given enough time.* I think he wanted to show that so he has similiar characters/storylines. Maybe to remind us that we are still connected to events and people in history? Just a thought.

Kat


*Just look at the 80s fashions that are coming back in. I hoped they were gone for good. Razz
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Eruanna



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 9:40 am    Post subject: Brave souls Reply with quote

Quote:
First think that came to my mind, Embarassed and Iím really not that obsessed: Glorfindel and a Balrog, Gandalf and a Balrog, Ecthelion and a Balrog; they fight, they win, they die. But that just stresses, in my opinion, how hard it was to kill a Balrog, and at what cost. They are proud members of the "Balrog Slayer's Club"


Don't forget that other elf male/mortal woman pair--Aegnor and Andreth!!

Then again you have characters taking on Morgoth and Sauron!

Don't forget the likes of Fingolfin, Gil-gilad and Celebrimbor... Brave souls...on the losing end of things... Sad

--Eruanna

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TrissMarigold



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 10:17 am    Post subject: Re: Brave souls Reply with quote

Eruanna wrote:

Don't forget that other elf male/mortal woman pair--Aegnor and Andreth!!
Oh right, I forgot about them. Embarassed I don't really remember too well what was their story... Confused

Can't forget Gil-galad
.

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LuthienTinuviel



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My honestly blunt insensitive opinion would be that Tolkien's a man, and y'know... they do have their...preferences, and although on a more male interest kinda way it's okay to have a ellon/woman pairings for characters though he didn't dwell on it because uh, it's only natural for him to want things that way.

I don't think I even get what I'm trying to say. Let me try again.

Bluntly speaking, Tolkien probably think that it's not fair for the ellon to have the lower end of the deal because it's the girl that's supposed to do all the weeping, fading etc while the male is expected to actually be strong and move on for all eternity for his tragic life...

Does it make any sense? Oh, well.

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Shanalir



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I get what you're saying, Luthien. Essentially, males, whether ellon or man or hobbit or what have you, are supposed to be strong and tough and macho. Fading and weeping after your love has died doesn't exactly fit in with all of that. Females, on the other hand, are supposed to be soft, and sweet, and yielding, and weepy..... You see where I'm going on that end. Rolling Eyes

Is that what you meant?

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telcontarr



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I think the fact that Tolkien repeated characters as Luthien/Beren and so on so often is besause he kind of saw his relationship to his wife like that of Luthien and Beren. There was her fathers disapproving, and she would go with him into the woods to dance and so on... Smile
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Tindomiel



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another cyclic thing I noticed is Elf twins: Amrod and Amras, Elured and Elurin, Elladan and Elrohir. And ALL of them are, surprise surprise, male. Maybe Tolkien never got his head round the idea of female twins, or maybe this is just another anomaly within the saga.

Getting round to the man/elf pairings, Andreth and Aegnor never got together. They were both in love, but neither thought it would work out and then Aegnor conveniently went off and got himself killed in battle (whether in despair is up for speculation). The only woman/elf pairing in Middle earth never happens, which I think is a real shame, whereas the other man/elleth combinations did, maybe showing the other way round just didn't work.

Quote:
Well, I think the fact that Tolkien repeated characters as Luthien/Beren and so on so often is besause he kind of saw his relationship to his wife like that of Luthien and Beren. There was her fathers disapproving, and she would go with him into the woods to dance and so on...


I agree!
I can't remember where I heard this, but apparently if you go to the graves of John and Edith Tolkien and look carefully at their headstones, you'll find the respective inscriptions Beren and Luthien underneath their names.

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Cressida



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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lazy? Far from it! I think the parallels and repetitions are brilliant and exciting. I think it's fun to compare and contrast and find echoes of one story in another. But maybe I'm just strange that way! Smile

LuthienTinuviel wrote:
Bluntly speaking, Tolkien probably think that it's not fair for the ellon to have the lower end of the deal because it's the girl that's supposed to do all the weeping, fading etc while the male is expected to actually be strong and move on for all eternity for his tragic life...

But out of all the lower male/higher female pairings in Tolkien, Arwen is the only one I can think of who "weeps and fades"--and even there, you could make an argument for her facing a difficult decision on her own, i.e. the choice to give up her life in mortal fashion. But of the others, Lķthien marches into Mandos to get Beren back; Melian quietly leaves Middle-Earth when Thingol dies; Idril may go to sleep until the ending of the world, but JRRT doesn't really seem to have settled definitively on what happened to her; Mithrellas disappears before ImrazŰr dies, probably not wanting to be around when it happens.
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Edlyn



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 5:36 pm    Post subject: Repetition of character types Reply with quote

I noticed the repetition of type years ago and attributed to the types that repeat themselves throughout the Old English/Anglo-Saxon chronicles and stories. Professor Tolkien's area of expertise in addition to languages was Old English literature (His translation of Beowulf is still my favorite in spite of how much I like Heaney's more recent translation).

So I don't believe it was necessarily laziness. YMMV.

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