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Quiet desperation [userpic]
LotR/Silmarillion/Tolkien question
by Quiet desperation (lexin)
at June 6th, 2015 (05:23 pm)

I don't know where it's going, but I'm trying to commit fanfic. At last! It may never go anywhere, but at least I'm writing again after a long dry spell.

However, I have a question.

Elves who've done evil...the only one I can think if who tried to commit a murder was Eöl, in his attempt to kill Maeglin.

The Sons of Fëanor swore that stupid oath (it was seriously stupid) but I don't see that as evil, just unwise and misguided.

Were there any others? Anyone I've missed?

Quiet desperation [userpic]
To perhaps spark some discussion
by Quiet desperation (lexin)
at January 1st, 2009 (12:34 am)

current mood: amused

Should you bamf into Middle Earth, what skills do you think you might bring? That is, if any?

(This post is brought to you by the person idly reading the GAFF forums, possibly even for the last time.)

Quiet desperation [userpic]
Orcs and gooseberry bushes?
by Quiet desperation (lexin)
at July 7th, 2008 (06:03 pm)

current mood: curious

You know what I've been wondering about lately? The science behind orc creation. The difficulty is that I never took biology; when I was young I was deeply squeamish and having realised that biology involved dissections, I took physics. That out physics master was a looker while the biology master was a complete creep only helped my decision.

Now, as far as I recall we know very few things about them:
(1) the late Professor generally favoured the view that they were the twisted result of Morgoth's experimentation with elves. Sometimes he said men, but usually the reference is to elves;
(2) we've never seen a female orc;
(3) there are occasional references in the books to them being bred in pits, but we don't know (that I'm aware of) whether this is literal truth or an insult.

Jackson, obviously, plumped for the literal but there are some references ("Scourging of the Shire") to men with an orcish look about them which argues a more...normal conception and birth for at least some orcs.

What we don't know is what Morgoth's experimentation consisted of, and many weirdnesses are possible from MPREG to genetic skullduggery of some kind, depending on how "advanced" you imagine Morgoth's abilities to be.

Now, Fëanor was advanced enough to create the Silmarils, and I think it's likely that Melkor was at around the same level. If you take the 'hard sf' theory that Vingilot is a space vehicle, a Silmaril is pretty advanced - it's powering a ship in geo-stationary* orbit around that planet. If Morgoth could do that, I'm sure he could start to manipulate genes to create clones and 'improvements' such as breeding speed and ability to withstand pain.

Obviously the 'hard SF' view of the creation of orcs isn't a widely held viewpoint, so what does everyone else make of it?


* Geo-stationery orbit -- hovering above pencils?

Quiet desperation [userpic]
Fannish 5
by Quiet desperation (lexin)
at May 16th, 2008 (04:08 pm)
Tags: ,

current mood: curious

From the fannish5, "In what five fictional locations would you love to live?"

First response to this question has to be 'Oh, heck, there are so many.'

(1) Rivendell. Not, as some might prefer, Lórien. I think Lórien, from the description in the books, involves too much climbing about.

(2) Hogwarts. OK, it involves even more stairs than Lórien, but perhaps we could make arrangements for my rooms (for in my mind I am a professor rather than a student) to be somewhere on the lower couple of floors. Or install some kind of magical lift? I can't see Tolkien's elves having a lift but it seems well within the abilities of Rowling's wizards.

(3) Roke Island. Again, I see myself as a teacher rather than a student.

(4) Talking of ability to build lifts, how about the Lonely Mountain? Of course this would have to be post-dragon. Or even the Dwarrowdelf at its height? I do think of all the places on Middle-Earth, the dwarf cities get the shortest shrift and I'd like to see them.

(5) The most difficult choice as there are so many left. The Chalet School of Elinor Brent-Dyer? Oxford as described in "Gaudy Night"? (Though obviously sans the murderer.) I think Oxford has to win out, I'm not sure I could cope with the constant company of even fictional teenage girls.

So, for those of you who don't follow fannish5, and to keep this vaguely on topic, where on Middle-Earth would you like to live? Why?

Where are the aphorisms of Anórien?
by legionseagle (legionseagle)
at September 12th, 2007 (08:35 pm)

This is based upon an original post in my own journal, but much enriched (and expanded) by the comments I received to it.

In order to find a debate on the use of the passive so as to comment on hedda62's fascinating post which draws an extended and subtle analogy between Integrated Pest Management (for gardeners) and editing one's literary works*, I visited linguaphiles where, serendipity coming to the fore again, I happened across
this post and in particular the following lovely turn of phrase from solri:

In his account of his taking of the Ring from Sauron, Isildur writes "It was hot when I first took it, hot as a glede, and my hand was scorched, so that I doubt if ever again I shall be free of the pain of it." Now by "hot as a glede" he obviously means something like "hot as a Balrog's arse," (as opposed to "hot as Lúthien Tinúviel") but what exactly is this glede?

Now, I'm not worried about the whole "what is a glede?" business, because I know you all know that anyway, but it did occur to me to wonder (once again) why is it no-one in Middle-Earth ever uses phrases like "hot as a Balrog's arse"?

Admittedly, I can't see it as being the sort of phrase which would trip off Isildur's tongue (mind you, as someone who's had a third degree burn, I can't see myself immediately sitting down to write with the hand affected, either, and if I were going to do so it might have read something like "Dear Diary. Oh, shit! I have a horrid suspicion that I may have acquired an Artefact of Doom. No good will come of it. And why can't these famed bloody Healers of Gondor manage something as simple as a burn poultice, for Mandros' sake?").

But why don't some of the characters actually speak more or less like people speak, just sometimes? (Actually, on the occasions when they do, the Professor says they're being "orcish", a remark which, frankly I consider both snobbish and - well, orcist). Specifically, where are the puns of Middle-Earth? The double-entendres? The over-strained analogies and shaggy dog stories? Given that everyone agrees Tolkien is a master of language, why doesn't he let the words come out to play occasionally?

I suppose I ended up thinking about it because I picked up a very, very belated comment to the Oeconomy of Middle-Earth recently. The commentator**, referencing On Fairy Stories used Tolkien's doctrine that one of the purposes of Fairy Story's was Escape as the basis for a strong challenge to the essay, asserting in the process that poverty, class conflict, mental deficiency or other "real life" issues did not exist in Middle-Earth, and that it was wrong to try to bring them there.

Actually, I think Tolkien wasn't saying that. His notion of "Escape" was the gloriously impossible "With one bound Jack was free" possibility that exists in fantastic literature - he describes it, incidentally, as "the escape of the prisoner, not the flight of the deserter" - rather than a refusal to accept that Jack had anything he might have reasonably wanted to escape from in the first place. On that basis, Sam's transformation from gardener's boy to Hero (also; Mayor of the Shire, paterfamilias of a large, healthy and (in the person of Elanor) aristocratically-connected brood, and no doubt winner of the Mrs Joyful prize for raffia work) is - quite properly - Escape. But it's more of an escape if alternatives - for example, the fate of the Gaffer, only saved from outright starvation during the Saruman period in the Shire by the surreptitious charity of neighbours, despite his long years of honourable toil - are, in fact, real.

But I think that perhaps focusses where the distinction lies between two groups of - equally sincere - Tolkien fans. I don't think those of us who wonder why people in Tolkien picking up something akin to a red-hot coal use the most archaic terms possible to describe the experience, rather than saying "Shit! That was hot! Hotter than the Cracks of Doom after a Chicken Phal with extra chillis!" love LOTR the less. It's just that perhaps we have more focus on the spaces between the words. And there are sometimes some bafflingly wide spaces.

Because - there must have been some jokes in Middle-Earth. But where?

*A post to which Sam Gamgee, I suspect, would relate more closely than Christopher Tolkien, who seems to have spent the last four decades dredging out all his father's rough drafts, discarded ideas and definitely, but definitely Rotten-From-the-Outset-Concepts-Recognised-as-Such-by-the-Author and publishing them in hardback at a most respectable price per. Does anyone know the Quenya for "For crying out loud, lad, get yourself a proper job"?
** whose comment, regrettably, I have been unable to find so as to cite, so I apologise for any innaccuracies caused by misremembering or misinterpreting it

gandalfs_appren [userpic]
Bookverse Improbabilities
by gandalfs_appren (gandalfs_appren)
at August 29th, 2007 (04:45 pm)

crowdaughter suggested I post these remarks here. So I looked y'all up and now I'm testing the waters!

I've said for a long time that it's never wise to look too closely at the plot details in LotR: Tolkien wasn't writing a character-driven plot, he made it up as he went along, and even when he made major changes, he kept a lot of the original. So here's the conundrum that hit me recently:

In the inn at Bree, Strider tells Frodo that he was spying on the Hobbits and Tom Bombadil when they appeared on the road. So why doesn't Strider pop out from behind the bushes and introduce himself? Bombadil is supposed to know about the Rangers, right? (At least he has mentioned them to Frodo, and Strider talks as if he knew Bombadil as well.) Wouldn't that have saved a whole lot of  trouble?

Answer: When Tolkien wrote that dialog, Strider was Trotter, the Rangers as Numenoreans didn't exist, and Tolkien didn't know where Gandalf was, either. But he just carried forward the scene as written. Looking beyond, if Strider had taken charge before the Hobbits got to Bree, that whole scene in the taproom wouldn't have happened--Strider would have had them keeping quiet in their private rooms. And where's the fun in that?

that is, no good answer. The point, however, is that LotR is best understood from the perspective of legend. It's neither consistent, nor should it be made into a dogma. The story was written fluidly, and it can be interpreted fluidly, changing with the time and place. (this applies to all the M-e tales, of course.) "Canon" is really a violation of Tolkien's larger intention. Which is not to say that he wouldn't be horrified at some of the things we fanfic writers come up with.

Anyway, that's my answer to those who object to my Aragorn as a violation of Tolkien's character. He isn't Tolkien's character. He's a figure in a legend, just as much as King Arthur or Sir Lancelot.

Of course, the ultimate improbability in the Tolkien universe is why nobody would give those Silmarils back to those murdering maniacs. Elwing would rather throw herself off a cliff. WTF?

Quiet desperation [userpic]
A quotation from a friend which I thought appropriate to this comm...
by Quiet desperation (lexin)
at July 8th, 2007 (04:05 pm)

current mood: amused

Quoted with permission from a locked post of legionseagle's. The context for this was an idea for a set of courses for writers, where they'd discover how difficult it is to:

  • swim in cold water in your clothes; and

  • open an average wooden door by shoving it with your shoulder.

"And, of course, as I thought of overnight, once the business became established enough to have dedicated premises, we'd institute the "BBHouse" "BB" in this case standing for "Bilbo Baggins" so that would-be writers of bucolic and pastoral fantasy who want to have characters with "rooms and rooms of clothes" and seed-cake promptly at 5.00pm can get a feel for just how high maintenance an 18th/early 19th century gentleman's lifestyle is with only the technology available in Middle-Earth (excluding, of course, the notorious exploding express train of Bywater, which given the general technological level around I think we shall have, in the words of Captain John Walker, DSO to put down to an "icythyological gerfuffle").

"I imagine this will lead to the exploration of new and more exciting jungles of fantasy intrigue, as the hoary old Artefacts of Doom plot is ditched to explore how every woman in Middle-Earth came out for Morgoth the moment he had the intelligence to demonstrate to them a modern washer/dryer."

I'm sure we can come up with a few more things which it would be useful to know!

Quiet desperation [userpic]
Examination questions
by Quiet desperation (lexin)
at May 8th, 2007 (01:09 pm)

current mood: contemplative

Sharpen your 2B pencils, ladies and gentlemen, there is on the web the "definitive Tolkien examination".

The compiler suggested a time limit of thirty minutes, but I'd suggest three hours is more like it - five questions from section one and one from section two. Remember to plan your work before starting and post answers as a comment to this entry.

Good luck!

The test - suggest you open in a new window!

Quiet desperation [userpic]
Interesting article on Salon
by Quiet desperation (lexin)
at April 30th, 2007 (03:34 pm)

current mood: confused

Why can't gay dwarves get married in Middle-earth?

I came across this article on Salon.com thanks to a link on ithiliana's journal and I thought I'd draw it to your attention.

To give it some context the sub-head is, "Video games have been ahead of the real world in accepting same-sex marriage. Why doesn't a new online "Lord of the Rings" game allow it?"

I don't know how many of us here are gamers - I'd looked at the blurb for that game on Amazon.co.uk and it occurred to me that if it were a Playstation 2 (or 3) game, I'd be interested, but as it's for the PC, I'll give it a pass. I only game on a games console, not on the PC, but that's me.

Quiet desperation [userpic]
Admin: News!
by Quiet desperation (lexin)
at April 16th, 2007 (11:51 am)

current mood: cheerful

As of today we are a paid account!

Quiet desperation [userpic]
A question about orcs...
by Quiet desperation (lexin)
at April 8th, 2007 (09:59 pm)

current mood: thoughtful

Bouncing off from this discussion:

What sort of home life do orcs have? And do whatever significant others orcs have miss them when they're murdered by the heroes?

Quiet desperation [userpic]
"The curious incident of the dog in the night-time"
by Quiet desperation (lexin)
at January 7th, 2007 (08:47 pm)

current mood: enthralled

Aficionados of Sherlock Holmes will identify this as a quote from "Silver Blaze", where Holmes draws an inference from the lack of activity of the said dog which leads him to certain conclusions about the identity of a murderer and a sheep abuser. This led me to thinking (as one does) about incidents in other books where no action was taken, what, if any, conclusions it is possible we can draw from them.

Question one

The first of those questions is what I would call, if I may, 'The startling incident of Denethor's servants.' It strikes me as being interesting that it took Pippin to act when Denethor purposed to burn Faramir and himself on a pyre. Why? Did it not occur to the servants to whom Denethor gave his orders that being involved in something like that just might be a mistake which could rebound back on them in the future? Or were they either so stupid (or so well-trained) that they did not think to question him?

Each possibility casts light on the way society operates in Gondor, and each one a different light. If the servants are too stupid to realise what is happening, the question which has to be asked is it usual in Gondor to employ servants quite as dimwitted as that? Or is it Denethor's choice? If Pippin can see that Faramir isn't dead, surely others could see it too - lovely as Pippin is, I don't get the impression he is that much brighter than average. Equally, if the servants have been trained to the point where it is impossible for them to question the actions of their employer, what does that say about how Gondor operates?

Question two

In The Hobbit, Elrond sees Thror's map but does not give Thorin and his party any up-to-date information about conditions on the far side of Mirkwood which we discover later in the book has changed since the dragon came. That would argue to me that while Lórien and Rivendell exchange information (and presumably trade) between themselves, information from Mirkwood has been scarce to non-existent.

If Elrond knows the situation at the other side of Mirkwood, why does he not tell the dwarves of it? And if he knows where Thranduil is, and considers it possible that the dwarves may meet him, why does he not furnish them with some sort of letter of introduction?

I am sure there are questions of omission which others can come up with.

Quiet desperation [userpic]
An article worth reading
by Quiet desperation (lexin)
at December 18th, 2006 (01:47 pm)

current mood: busy

And while I'm here... There is a fascinating article by seawasp here about THE SYMMETRY of CORRUPTION:
An Examination of the History of the One Ring subsequent to the "War of the Ring", and the Implications Thereof for the Future of Civilization

Quiet desperation [userpic]
Community for your attention
by Quiet desperation (lexin)
at December 18th, 2006 (11:39 am)

current mood: cheerful

See if your clutter may be someone else's treasure and vice versa! Reduce the amount of stuff you need to throw away by finding like minded fans who may be looking for the very item you are now eyeing with a view to throwing it away.

fan_freecycle operates on a minimum of rules, allowing you to dispose of unwanted items (or indeed obtain items you want) all for free! Well almost free - you may have to find postage.

Worth a look if your house is full of stuff.

Not that mine is. Not at all.*

* Part of that may be a lie.

dreamflower02 [userpic]
JRRT's style
by dreamflower02 (dreamflower02)
at November 14th, 2006 (11:00 am)
current song: the DH on the phone

Tone and Style?

How important is that to you when you read fic? And how important when you write it? Some musings, cut for length, and a poll…

Read more...Collapse )

Isha [userpic]
by Isha (isha_libran)
at October 16th, 2006 (04:13 pm)

current mood: nervous


Hey, there. *waves*

I'm posting this here because it's my first LOTR fic, and I was a little unsure if it was AU-ish or not. So, I'd really love the concrit. *looks hopeful*

All feedback is welcome, I promise.

Title: Bliss
Ship: Arwen/Aragorn
Word count: 804
Timeline: Post the War of the Ring
Rating: Very G

For the first time in her long, long life, she felt envy.

Could I have all comments/feedback at the entry, if you guys don't mind? Thanks muchly.

Quiet desperation [userpic]
Flashslash - community
by Quiet desperation (lexin)
at September 20th, 2006 (10:15 pm)

current mood: creative

Back in the mists of ancient time (August 23rd) I posted about an experiment run by gloriana in which people post creative shorts (any fandom) written in eight minutes. She's now set up a community called flashslash to go on doing it more comfortably. I commend it to you - it's fun and a good way of exercising those writing muscles.

Quiet desperation [userpic]
Rec. to post
by Quiet desperation (lexin)
at September 7th, 2006 (08:09 pm)

current mood: impressed

anna_wing calls [here] for proper villains who have a clear sense of their aims in life.

Quiet desperation [userpic]
Admin: Changed layout
by Quiet desperation (lexin)
at September 2nd, 2006 (07:51 pm)

I have changed the layout...let me know what you think. (Remembering that at the moment this is a free account so some options are not available to us.)

If you want a link to your website/LJ where you have your stories posted, please leave a note of of the URL and I'll add them.

Quiet desperation [userpic]
When AU becomes character abuse
by Quiet desperation (lexin)
at September 2nd, 2006 (06:40 pm)
current mood: peeved

Unlike some LotR writers and readers, AU (alternate universe) as a concept doesn't generally bother me. The proviso is that whatever story is being presented has sufficient backstory to make it 'play' - to allow me to suspend disbelief for the duration. It's partly for that reason I really enjoy pieces like Ripper101's MPREG,"The Curse of Elrond" and Draylon's two stories, "Captain of Mordor" and "Nazgul's Prey" whereas I know very many LotR readers and writers will throw up their hands in horror.

Now, I can't say that I didn't have sufficient warning that "The Two Lords of Imladris" by chaotic_binky (NC17) probably was not going to be completely to my taste. Nobody could mistake the meaning of the warning, "Severe angst, slash, marital violence, AU" after all.

Having said that, skimming the piece with one eye covered still gave me the heebies. That Elrond - Elrond - could abuse his partner is so far from the idea I have of the character that I couldn't suspend even a fraction of my disbelief. Not even an itsy bitsy teeny bit, for in "The Hobbit" we're specifically told that Elrond is,"as noble and as fair in face as an elf-lord, as strong as a warrior, as wise as a wizard, as venerable as a king of dwarves and as kind as summer".

It seems to me that whatever your AU - however A your U - that quote needs to be taken into account, and if a writer is going to stray from it she needs to include some reason why this is so - like the story (which I haven't read, sorry crowdaughter) where Elrond is being influenced by the Ring.

It's not enough, it seems to me, to throw out something so contradicted by canon and just call it "AU" as an excuse.

OK, rant over for the moment. Thoughts, comments?

Quiet desperation [userpic]
Story rec... "Nazgul's Prey" by draylon
by Quiet desperation (lexin)
at August 28th, 2006 (07:41 pm)

current mood: embarrassed

It's not often I go onto adultfanfiction.net and come away feeling I can recommend a story wholeheartedly, but nevertheless I do so now: "Nazgul's Prey" by Draylon. Read more...Collapse )

Quiet desperation [userpic]
Interesting experiment in fiction writing
by Quiet desperation (lexin)
at August 23rd, 2006 (10:06 pm)

current mood: cheerful

gloriana [here] is setting up a writing experiment - inspired by four words you write for 8 minutes, no more, no less and see what transpires. You can either post or not post the result to her journal. It's not too serious, but is designed (I think) to keep the writing muscles in trim. The most recent one is [here]. Read the first post for the rules, and decide beforehand whether you're going for the first or second four words.

Anoriell [userpic]
Open to constructive criticism
by Anoriell (anoriell)
at August 6th, 2006 (09:38 am)

current mood: nervous

I sat in front of my keyboard for quite a while, nervous, wondering how to begin this post... afraid to expose myself to criticism. I can be a damn sensitive fool, who ofttimes takes things way too personally. 'Reason more to get on with it', I told myself. :o) Indeed! It's time. Should I ever wish to evolve as a writer, this is what I need to do; a definite pivotal step towards literary growth.

Ok, enough said and on to the fics. They were all written for LJ's 50passages challenge, where a pairing/character was chosen and stories are written according to prompts (quotes from Tolkien's LoTR books). I chose "The Peredhil".

I will be linking to them in groups, since some follow the same storylines, despite use of different prompts.

Thanks to all those who will venture forth and read any of my fics; your feedback (especially constructive criticism) is most appreciated. I need to know if I'm on the right track, as a writer.



Quiet desperation [userpic]
Worth noting
by Quiet desperation (lexin)
at July 16th, 2006 (03:48 pm)

current mood: energetic

See this post on fanficrants about levels of truth in fandom. It says more succinctly that I have ever managed what is 'canon' and what isn't.

Quiet desperation [userpic]
Admin: Navbar
by Quiet desperation (lexin)
at July 12th, 2006 (01:49 pm)

As most people seem to dislike it, I have turned off the navbar. Let me know if it reappears.

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