Tolkien would have wanted his works to inspire Fan Fiction

Discussion in 'The Glittering Caves' started by Mithrandir-Olor, May 16, 2015.

  1. Mithrandir-Olor

    Mithrandir-Olor Registered User

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    I'm not 100% sure this si the right board for this. But here it is.
    http://jaredmithrandirolorin.blogspot.com/2015/05/tolkien-would-have-wanted-his-works-to.html

    I don't know where to find the quote now, but I'm pretty sure he had said he wanted in time other writers and artists to add to his mythology. He knew full well no great mythology is formed entirely from the mind of only one person. And I include in that both adding to the continuity and creating alternate continuities.

    As massive as what he left us is, there is also much room to expand, even without continuing the story past the reign of Aragorn's son. And if you do go past that the options are endless.

    I think he would have wanted people with different backgrounds and experiences and perspectives then him to explore Arda in ways he couldn't. So yes I think that includes women writers adding a female perspective. Both further developing the female characters he already provided and creating more of them. That is part of my defense of how lacking his handling of women was.

    I think there is room even to expand Arda beyond just Middle-Earth, Numenor and Beleriand, and explore other less western (white) civilizations. The Southorns and Easterlings get a bad wrap as seemingly just pawns of Morgoth and Sauron. But Tolkien did leave more then enough hints that their being in that situation is not really their fault. I love Faramir's speech at the end of disc one of The Two Towers extended edition. In the book Sam said it, but I think that's one of the things the movies improved, Tolkien had described Faramir as the most like himself, and as those words as coming from Tolkien's experience as a WWI solider.

    I think it's also plausible to create all new Civilizations for Arda. Both outside Middle Earth and maybe even within in. During the second age we know next to nothing about the humans who lived in Middle Earth rather then Numenor. Then there is the fact that the lands of Middle Earth did exist during the First Age, but the story of the First Age is entirely further west. Why not invent some matriarchal Amazon like tribes for Arda, both within Middle Earth and without. Some Edain (white) Amazons who could make sense coming from an offshoot of Haleth's tribe, and some ethnic ones too.

    And the Dwarves (who had 7 clans but we only really ever see one) are equally as open. The Dwarves seem far less likely to have ever had a matriarchal tribe, but the feminine side of the Dwarves is still entirely open for new writers.

    Now it may seem difficult to believe a devout prudish Catholic like Tolkien would ever be Ok with Homosexuality being explored in his mythology. But he also talked about Applicability, that a story should be interpreted beyond the Author's intent, even in conflict with it.

    And you know what, I think it's telling that Tolkien never condemned Homosexuality at any point in his Legendarium (Lewis did with the Hardcaslte character in The Hideous Strength). In-spite of how G rated his writing was when it came to Sex, he did address sex acts he viewed as wrong. Eol and Ar-Pharazon are both Rapists in at least one version of their tales.

    And Incest is explored, most famously with The Children of Hurin. But what most annoys me about Tolkien's sexual morality is how harsh he is even to relationships between First Cousins. The Bible not only never condemns it but even encourages it to an extent. For the most part being grossed out by Cousin relationships is entirely modern. But Tolkien not only codifies it as wrong in Elvish law, but has it at the root of Meaglin becoming the Elvish Benedict Arnold.

    So that he considered Same-Sex love less worth condemning then Cousin love, is interesting. Tolkien also enjoyed a Lesbian Nrse Story.

    Everyone has talked endlessly about the things in Tolkien that can be interpreted as male Homoerotisism. But since Tolkien never passes the Bechel Test, actual relationships between women are virtually non existent. So we have to look elsewhere for an excuse to interpret a character as Lesbian.

    Tolkien may not have been aware of it, but it is now well known that Virginity in the ancient mythologies Tolkien drew on was often code for Lesbianism. The most popular Tolkien character to see as possibly Lesbian by virtue of her seeming aversion to men is Tar-Ancalmine. Unfortunately she seems to make a very problematic stereotype whatever orientation you give her.

    The top two women in Tolkien I like to interpret as Monosexually Lesbian are Haleth and Tar-Telperien. Both were leaders of their people who made a point of never being married.

    Haleth as an early First Age human I don't even visualize as a Medieval person. The Human tribes during the First Age I see as Ancient, but not Greeco-Roman Ancient, more like the Ancient pre-civilized Celtic and German/Norse tribes. Haleth however seems to me like exactly the kind of woman who would wind up being a lover of Artemis. Since I see some of Artemis in Nessa, I wind up shipping them togather. But there is also room to invent for her a human lover from her tribe, or have her meet an Elf. A human from another tribe seems unlikely as I think she was always pretty far away from them.

    Tar-Telperien, I have seen two people in the Fandom community already say she is Asexual in their head canon. That is an equally valid interpretation from what little we are told about her. But I really want to see a High Fantasy story about a Lesbian Queen, with a lover probably from a lower class. Possibly drawing some inspiration from Berenice and Mesopotamia (free cookie if you know what I'm referencing). And as far as room for that in Tolkien goes, Tar-Telperien is the best option.

    All three Queens of Numenor get a bad wrap. I feel like Tar-Telperien is the easiest to defend. Her condemnation is entirely in her foreign policy. Crap was going on in Middle Earth between Sauron and The Elves, and she choose to stay out of it. In real life that is exactly the foreign policy I prefer as a Ron Paul voter, The U.S. should stay out of wars fought on other Continents. It's hard to apply that to a fantasy setting where one of the Geo-Political entities is a literal Fallen Angel. And I'm sure Tolkien had the WWII era American Isolationists in mind when he wrote characters like this. But I for one will not condemn her for refusing to take her people to a war that did not really involve them.

    She is also notable for being the only Ruling Queen who's known to have had a brother. Speculation on that has been done elsewhere. What I note here is the fact that her brother's son became her successor, and we do not know a name or identity for the mother of that son. I think it's possible that if Tar-Telperien was exclusively Homosexual, but had a lover who was Bi/Pansexual, or at least more open to male-female intercourse for the purpose of reproduction then she was. I could see her marrying her lover to her brother.

    I do indeed consider the possibly of actual legal Gay Marriage in Arda unlikely, For the Elves Hetero-Intercourse and Marriage are the same thing. We've seen in Fantasy and maybe History also examples of something like the above suggested arrangement with men. A man in a royal gay male paring marrying his lover's sister. Like Renly and Loras on Game of Thrones.

    The Tolkien women who have loved men could certainly still be Bi. But there is one more character I want to discus who's Sexuality is entirely up for debate.

    Nienor Niniel, daughter of Hurin and sister of Turn Turambar. Her relationship with her brother came about about from the dragon Glaurung's manipulation of events, an argument can be made it tells us nothing about her actual Sexual Orientation.

    You may be thinking "all he did it seems was wipe her memory?". The key thing I think in Tolkien's mind was that their ignorance of their relationship to each other caused their natural sibling bond to be misinterpreted as romantic. It didn't at all happen simply because she thought Turambar was Hot.

    I found one Fan Fiction once were Niniel had a romantic relationship with Nellas before she went to search for Turin. Then she survives her jump into the water, Nellas tracks her down and they raise the baby together.
     
  2. Galin

    Galin Registered User

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    Hmm, it seems you are referring to this quote...

    ... but that's not only about the early mythology, and ends with "absurd", to my mind it seems conspicuously lacking a reference to writers or authors. While some might interpret the quote more loosely, I think Tolkien's "wielding paint and music and drama" is rather specific; although admittedly one would have to write a play, as in a story to be performed on stage, which I think Tolkien means by "drama".

    I guess one could interpret that JRRT had already implied other writers (with respect to publishing stories in books) in the sentence before this (leaving many things sketched), but if so, I'm not sure how this squares with Tolkien's later negative reaction when a fan tried to write a sequel to The Lord of the Rings.

    In any case I doubt Tolkien was against fan fiction. I think he was ultimately against other writers publishing stories about Middle-earth, which in his day did not include "publishing" on line in any event. That's my guess. What he would have to say about fan fiction being, in some cases, not simply a private thing, or relatively private fun between a couple of friends, but sometimes "available to anyone" on line is... well... hard to know.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2015

  3. Alcuin

    Alcuin Registered User

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    “Leaf by Niggle” rather more than hints at the notion that others will finish out the Tree, don’t it?
     
  4. Galin

    Galin Registered User

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    Hmm, I haven't read it in a while, so maybe there is some line I've forgotten, but for now, based on my general memory of the tale and my interpretation of it, I would say that Niggle, after death, finds his creation to be taken up and made real, and more complete, by God.

    To me it's about the art of the Subcreator echoing the Creator. In Letter 153 Tolkien briefly explained: "I tried to show allegorically how [subcreation] might come to be taken up into Creation in some plane in my 'purgatorial' story Leaf by Niggle." In the world of the living however, even Niggle's leaf (in the museum) ends up being destroyed.

    That's just my interpretation of course, or as I say, my memory of it based on my last reading. In any case, here's the reference I remembered about a fan's proposed sequel to The Lord of the Rings...

    In the letter itself, Tolkien seems to think that if copyright law protected invented proper names, it could have been a way to stop this fan from publishing his story. Somewhat related is the second letter (below), in which Tolkien appears to generally desire that copyright could protect names.

    Tolkien seems annoyed here, to me :)

     
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  5. jallan

    jallan Registered User

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    I don’t find that Mithrandir-Olor’s linking to a another site with an article by a certain JaredMithrandir-Olorin to be of any value. If Mithrandir-Olor and JaredMithrandir-Olorin are identical or not, then linking to a duplicate article adds no value to this site. Our moderator dapense posts elsewhere: “Let me make this clear. I have a zero tolerance policy concerning SPAM on this site. No links whatsoever to non-Tolkien related sites. NONE WHATSOEVER!!!” So does one article make this source a Tolkien-related fansite? If not, then let’s see this “zero policy.”

    Mithrandir-Olor is definitely incorrect in his idea that Tolkien would have appreciated others adding to his legendarium, without his own official permission. Tolkien expresses his total loathing for Morton Grady Zimmerman’s proposed film treatment in letter 210 in Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. He also expresses his dislike for the BBC radio adaptation of The Lord of the Rings in letters 175 and 176, writing, “I think they are not well done, even granted the script and the legitimacy of the enterprise (which I do not grant).”

    I have read nothing by Tolkien that suggests that he disagreed with current British copyright law on this or any matter.

    Mithrandir-Olor states about cousin-love: “For the most part being grossed out by Cousin relationships is entirely modern."

    That is certainly not true. In Christianity first and second cousin marriages were banned at the Council of Agde in AD 506, though dispensations sometimes continued to be granted. By the 11th century, with the adoption of the so-called canon-law method of computing consanguinity, these proscriptions had been extended even to sixth cousins, including by marriage. But due to the many resulting difficulties in reckoning who was related to whom, they were relaxed back to third cousins at the Fourth Lateran Council in AD 1215.

    Only in 1917 did Pope Benedict XV reduce this to second cousins. According to Roman Catholic canon law passed in 1983 second cousins may now marry freely but first cousins require special dispensation.

    Protestant and Anglican denominations generally allow first cousins to marry freely. But in the U.S. the legality of marriage depends on State law which varies.

    Mithrandir-Olor’s interpretation of “entirely modern” seems to me to be merely idiosyncratic.

    Mithrandir-Olor states, “Tolkien also enjoyed a Lesbian Nrse Story.” This would be a more believable story if Mithrandir-Olor provided a source that could be checked. Tolkien did admit a strong liking for the Theseus novels of Mary Renault in Letter 294, Mary Renault being well known as an open believer in same-sex and living in a same-sex relationship with a nurse. Perhaps this is what he is posting about.

    Mithrandir-Olor states, about Niënor/Níniel, “that an argument can be made it tells us nothing about her actual Sexual Orientation.” Weak! An argument can also be made that it tells us nothing about whether Niënor/Níniel is attracted to Turin because she is subconsciously aware that Turin is her brother or because she finds him hot, or both. Any argument may be made by someone.
     
  6. Azrubêl

    Azrubêl Drúadan

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    I cannot see Tolkien having any appreciation or tolerance for fan fiction. I think he would appreciate people integrating his mythology into the broader framework of the faerie as they come in contact with the faerie in their own lives, which is ENTIRELY distinct from making fan fiction about his universe. I don't think he would lose any sleep over the fact that people are doing so, but I see no context for him having any tolerance for such stuff as fan fiction. It would probably annoy him, if anything.

    As for the rest of the OP, are we reading the same Tolkien??? I see nothing but unvalidated speculation and consistent misunderstanding of the way that race, gender, and sex are presented in Tolkien's work.
     
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  7. CirdanLinweilin

    CirdanLinweilin The Wandering Wastrel

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    I'm asking the same question. I can't believe what I'm reading! For me, it utterly angers me when people put their *modern* views on a work of fiction that they didn't write, and didn't create, and doesn't contain the message they think it contains.

    I don't see him enjoying most modern takes on his work,

    Especially if he suddenly found Legolas in a relationship with Aragorn.

    or Gimli.


    I see him hacking and shredding that to pieces, angrily and with very sharp scissors.

    We have to respect the author and his views on the work and his *vision*.

    Therefore, we can't assume what we believe today is in his work.

    If you want to do your own fantasy story, that's perfectly fine. I just don't like when people do it with another author's work, Passed authors can only roll in their graves so many times! :D

    I can imagine Tolkien rolling a complete 360 just at this conversation!


    As an aside, I wouldn't want fan-fiction done on my work if it
    wasn't in line with the vision and or message of my work.

    I know I can't control my audience, but I would kindly just disregard most of it.

    Call me a curmudgeon, but hey, it's my fantasy.

    After copyright dries up, I wouldn't want someone to continue it if it completely destroys the message of the story, I'll probably put into my will that only trusted family members and or friends with a gift for writing can continue it (Can I do that?) but hey, that's me.

    CL
     

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