Tag Archives: Books

We Are Fanor?

dawnfelagund:

Or Thoughts on Reading Moral Ambiguity into the Characterizations of the Fëanorians

[Crossposted to the Heretic Loremaster]

Several weeks ago, I got irritated at a piece about The Silmarillion in a well-known blog that cast Fëanor in the role of the unmitigated villain. It was a rare show of negativity for me, and I almost didn’t post it because of that. But I did, and I’ve been thinking about why this particular interpretation of Fëanor as some evil entity irritates me to the point of uncharacteristic venom (especially since I’ve been known to roll my eyes at people who can’t be arsed to go out to vote because it’s raining but will tip over cars because of a football game or encourage teenagers to self-harm because they don’t like their fan fiction).

… … …

I feel like to reduce Fëanor (or his sons) to villains flattens one of the most interesting questions posed in The Silmarillion to where it isn’t even worth asking: What causes a person to “fall”? ….

… … …

But to acknowledge that a character like Fëanor is capable of villainous actions without existing purely as a villain is a scary proposition for a lot of people, I think. We like to imagine people like Fëanor as somehow different from us in their capacity for evil deeds. We—those of us who are good by nature—would never rob, murder, and betray our fellow humans like that. There is something extraordinary and wrong in the nature of Fëanor that he can and does.

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Beautiful and insightful. I’m not sure where I’m going with this, but it seems like our capacity for selective retention, and thus the rather interesting (but thoroughly exasperating) side effect of the spawning of fanon, is related to this phenomenon Dawn Felagund mentioned.

I believe, unless one’s comprehension ability is genuinely that low, that inside us there is a need to rationalise and compartmentalise, label things so our brains can process and accept or make sense of things. Often it seems this involves “othering” behaviour we have negative ideas of, or do not want to be associated with. It can even be behaviour, states or traits we feel, for some reason, unable (or perhaps the more appropriate word is reluctant) to try for, or attain personally (”Wow, he/she must have super willpower to lose that weight at all. I can never do what he/she did.”).

On the other hand, the romantising, elevation, and “pedestalling” of characters we like (or want to like, or wish to cast into perfection), that need to whitewash bad behaviour, is just as prevalent.

But is the world ever really so black and white? Honestly, the moral ambiguity of the Silmarillion characters is what makes it so interesting for me. The vagueness of Thranduil’s character arc and background amidst the opulent foundation of the Silm is what makes him so appealing to me.

Before anyone start making a swiss cheese imitation out of this post, I’ll just say this: I am well aware of the irony of being both a book!canon fan and a fan fiction writer. It may seem like semantics to some, but to me there is a very clear distinction between knowing and using canon to create a fan fiction, and spawning fanon and corrupting canon. I just hope I never develop blindspots and fall into the fanon trap, or if I did, to recognise I got in a hole and find ways to get out of it.

We Are Fanor?

The Valar are not gods, Fëanor is not a hero and the Doom was not a curse

The Valar are not gods, Fëanor is not a hero and the Doom was not a curse:

beguilingblackness:

Let me start this by saying that my opinion is the final say on the matter and that any who disagree will be drawn and quartered… Of course not, you’re all allowed to disagree with the Lord of Darkness, Master of the World and King of Men. Nothing bad will come of it 🙂

Very interesting read, both the source and esbonline‘s addendum. I just like to say: History is written by the victor. =)

The Valar are not gods, Fëanor is not a hero and the Doom was not a curse

bookorithms:Perfection is a bookstore with cats in it. These…

bookorithms:

Perfection is a bookstore with cats in it. These adorable felines live at David Mason Books in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Ah yes. As the good sir, Mr. Albert Schweitzer said: “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.”

(image source)

I’m greedy and needy. So I say we need the perfect triumvirate (in no particular order): cats, books, music.

bookorithms:Perfection is a bookstore with cats in it. These…

Let’s Begin at the Beginning (Silmarillion Slow Cooker)

STM-Silm-20150202The page-a-post Silmmie readalong has completed the Ainulindalë read.

And I’ve been wondering how do I exploit participate without over-committing on time I don’t quite have. Apart from adding my random ramblies to the posts, I’ve decided I’m going to collate each chapter’s posts into corresponding meta posts for my chapter notes. (Stroke of genius, if i may say so myself.)

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cybergeisha:More Realistic Titles for The Silmarillion Oooh, the…

cybergeisha:

More Realistic Titles for The Silmarillion

Oooh, the feels! LoL!

Elves definitely behave badly. As do Men, Dwarves, an (ex) Valar and a lot of his fanclub members. 😛

cybergeisha:More Realistic Titles for The Silmarillion
Oooh, the…

Thranduil’s Scars

Thranduil’s Scars:

elf-esteem:

An essay with pictures about Thranduil’s scars, Elven magic, Elven healing, and Tolkien’s lore vs. the movie.

So, I’ve seen fans posting about Thranduil being blind in his left eye; I frowned 😡 and decided to try to help clear the air. Tolkien would have wtf’d the whole thing, if he ever wtf’d,…

 

Even with just this bit, I had to laugh and agree all at once. Bless elf-esteem for her detailed and thorough essay. The premise goes beyond movie!Thranduil’s scars to the physical constitution of Elves themselves. Just perfect meta on the scars of movie!Thranduil. Canon-heads should be chuffed as kitties after an indulgence of cream.

Beautiful rendition of Thranduil’s scar vanity. (Source: xi zhang’s art station site)

They make for a great visual, but really, as elf-esteem puts so succinctly:

We, the fans, in this case, are the thick-skulled Dwarves that Jackson was pandering to because actually understanding the subtleties of Elves, which Tolkien spent years explaining, is ‘complicated’ without reading the explanations.

Sadly, within the strangely compressed, and yet drawn out spiel of the movie!Hobbit, devices that shock and awe seem par for course (sometimes even favoured) by the powers that be.

Yet, where did the powers pluck the interesting bits from?

Where else?

Canon. Book canon that is.

If you’re one for it, it does preclude those scars as they were presented in the movie.

Look, everyone who watched the movies know Sauron’s almighty. But when even Sauron’s boss, who’s another level of almighty, couldn’t rid himself of the gimp he got in a fight with an Elf, lesser beings (among whom Elves figure, and among whom Thranduil number – shocking, I know) aren’t going to suddenly leapfrog him and self-regenerate and live forever young all at once. (Being able to do BOTH is the exclusive province of these guys.)

Even though it lacks the visual drama of those scars, still canon has its own distinctive allure. It reaches to Ages far, far back and long, long ago.

Nothing wrong with being exclusively movie-devout, but as a movie-firster myself, I contend that anyone intensely interested in Thranduil could do far worse than attempt the effort to (at least try) understand the character’s true origins.

Admittedly, Thranduil himself doesn’t grace the works much at all, but the peripherals still informs who he was. In itself, it is richly textured and much more interesting than the headcanon spawning visual drama of those scars. elf-esteem’s comprehensive essay is a GREAT start. Besides, reading’s always FUN, what more Thranduil studies? =)

Thranduil’s Scars

Men, Hobbits, and Framing, Or How Tolkien Still Couldn’t Start the Silmarillion (Part 2)

STM-Silm-20150130Men, Hobbits, and Framing, Or How Tolkien Still Couldn’t Start the Silmarillion (Part 2).

The follow-up to The Wandering Elf-friend, Or How Tolkien Couldn’t Start the Silmarillion (Part 1).

Continuing on details about the gestation of the Silmarillion. It’s fascinating, the changes, and unchanges, the manuscript got through the years.

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