Who is Tolkien in Middle Earth?

Discussion in 'J.R.R. Tolkien : The Creator of Middle-earth' started by Firawyn, Aug 24, 2008.

  1. Firawyn

    Firawyn Verbatim et litteratim.

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2003
    Messages:
    2,304
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    Educator.
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Over the years, I've met many writers, and a very large percentage of them usually put an element of themselves, be it just a side or main character, into their stories. Unless anyone can provide evidence that says Tolkien absolutely did not put himself in his stories, I'd like to discuss who in each of his stories, Tolkien is, in your opinions. I haven't put too much thought into this yet, I just thought about it and decided that it would make for some interesting discussion.

    Let's start with Lord of the Rings, as it is the most popular of his works.

    Who do you think Tolkien is? :)







    PS...To the Mods, I think this is the right place for this thread, but feel free to move it if you feel it's better elsewhere.
     
  2. Confusticated

    Confusticated Registered User

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2002
    Messages:
    4,448
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    USA
    Without ever having met him, off hand no one character jumps out at me as being JRRT. But, I could mention some areas where little aspects of himself are seen in people. From LotR you have Elrond's loremastery. There are other loremasters not found in LotR too. The Hobbits' pipe-smoking, and Bilbo Baggins himself I think must contain a lot of Tolkien because of the degree to which this character was filled out so perfectly. And though I can't explain why I think this, I think of Gandalf when I do look for a single character. One could even parallel Gandalf's role of going among the people to awaken a fire and guide them subtly and secretly towards certain ends, with the effect that these stories have on some people. Maybe some readers find the hope or faith that Gandalf handed out when they read these stories.

    His stories are as good as they are because of JRRT's level of genius and dedication in putting all his heart into his work, along with his imagination and intelligence of course. He strikes me as completely genuine in all of it - he wrote about what he understoood, and though he was a good man who could write about the good guys, he also understood the motives behind the behavoirs that do evil. Understood them better than the average guy, and his stories are better for this.

    But there is something else I think that should be said. The first thing to my mind was the Elves' love of language. They tended their language as if it were an art. Since his created languages were something of a spine on which the over-all lengendarium was built and it got so that language and story ended up build for eachother, one could argue that they are the most important element in all of his words. I wouldn't necessarily agree with that statement, but the languages were at the very least vital. I think the Elves serve as something of a in-story facilitator for all of this. Within the context of the stories, the Eldar were credited with JRRT's beloved work. Since he eventually assigned this work of art of his very own to be theirs, deemed them fitting of it and built them for it, you could say that they represent at least a part of JRRT. Kind of the sub-subcreators.

    Of course there are other cases of characters being credited with his work, such as the other loremasters I mentioned above. Rumil, and Pengolodh the scribes, and Bilbo and anyone who took down in writing all the histories and tended them. And any time when a character spoke a poem or song, JRRT was putting that creative part of himself into that character like a wrapper. The different parts of him showing through in the variety of poems, and being spoken by those characters probably most like in personality or circumstance to the part of JRRT from which came the song. In some cases I think these characters were experiencing or feeling something he related to. One good example of this must be Beren's song of Luthien.

    And not even in his works of art but any thoughts or philosophies he had himself that were given to characters to speak in dialog. A glaring example of this is when the elf Finrod spoke with a human named Andreth about the very nature of Men, and of God's dealing with and ultimate plan with them. Surely some of his own thoughts made it into the text? But of all of these things given to characters, the Elves were given the most precious ones in the languages, in my opinion.

    To some degree he gave a part of himself to all of these, and all the other good people of Middle-earth for us to see.
     

  3. Illuin

    Illuin Fire On The Mountain

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,016
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Tolkien said;

    “The basis for this world [Middle-Earth] was not characters nor stories, but the imaginary languages I have been involved with since I was a boy. The invention of languages is the foundation. The stories were made to provide a world for the languages, rather then the reverse.” [Middle-Earth] insertion mine

    This is amazing to me, because of my awe of the tale; but to him, the story was simply a vehicle that carried his invented languages.

    In another quote Tolkien says; "As far as any character is 'like me', it is Faramir".

    This quote leads me to believe that Tolkien would not have given a “thumbs up” review of Jackson’s “The Two Towers” film adaptation :D.
     
  4. YayGollum

    YayGollum Conscience of TTF

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2001
    Messages:
    5,538
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    Unit secretary, ward clerk, health unit coordinato
    Location:
    Columbia, South Carolina, the United States of Nor
    Dang. I would have gone with the evil thief Bilbo Baggins and called the case closed. The guy calling himself a hobbit except for the feet. The character being a writer, an unlikely hero, and getting one of the nicer endings. But then, I doubt that he would have based the guy too much on himself. He probably made him a lot more entertaining for the children. :rolleyes: Faramir is one of the more sickeningly perfect characters of Tolkien's, so he probably just meant ideal personality-wise?
     

  5. HLGStrider

    HLGStrider All Knowing Magic Cat

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2001
    Messages:
    7,805
    Likes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    mommy, writer, Marine wife
    Location:
    Moving on the whim of the military
    Home Page:
    I always thought Bilbo . . . but just because he resembled Bilbo in certain traits doesn't mean he would closely relate to him.

    I must've gotten confused, because I remember a quote where Tolkien said he most related to Aragorn. It's been awhile since I read the Carpenter biography of him, though, so I'm probably just deflecting, Aragorn being my favorite character.

    And it should be noted that he had the names Beren and Luthien on he and his wife's gravestones.
     
  6. Bucky

    Bucky Registered User

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2001
    Messages:
    1,626
    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Near New Haven
    Home Page:
    Dang. I would have gone with the evil thief Bilbo Baggins and called the case closed.


    Man, As soon as I saw this thread, I said to myself, "Self, YayGollum's going to say, 'Gollum'"

    I'm shocked. :confused:




    This quote leads me to believe that Tolkien would not have given a “thumbs up” review of Jackson’s “The Two Towers” film adaptation

    You think so? :rolleyes:

    When I read Letter # 210, I was thinking 'Boy, I'd love to see Tolkien write a Letter on PJ's version':

    'Sauron is not a big eye on top of Barad-dur shing all over Mordor like a lighthouse. The text makes it quite clear that he had indeed reaquired his body by this time.'

    'Any (slightly) vailed inferrences to pipeweed being marijuana in the name of lame attempts at humor are highly offensive to me & must be removed. This gives the impression that Hobbits are drug addicts. Pipeweed was, is & always will be tobacco. The Hobbit, in fact calls it that several times.'

    Etc., etc., etc......

     
  7. Firawyn

    Firawyn Verbatim et litteratim.

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2003
    Messages:
    2,304
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    Educator.
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    For some off reason, Faramir was my first thought...odd.
     
  8. Illuin

    Illuin Fire On The Mountain

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,016
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0

    Um; I don't understand the context of your post.
    Are you being sarcastic; or perhaps posting in the wrong thread; or not noticing the word NOT within my phrase “NOT have given a “thumbs up” review”. Did Jackson allude to THC in the movies? If he did, I did not notice. It is indeed possible that I’m just missing satirical theme and humor embedded deep within your post :rolleyes:.
     
  9. Sulimo

    Sulimo Registered User

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Messages:
    238
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    geologist
    Location:
    Houston
    I think he is Treebeard. Even though I think he says somewhere that Treebeard was inspired by Lewis. I think that Lewis says in his essay The Dethronement of Power that he believes that Tolkien is Treebeard. Haven't read it in awhile so I will double check.
     
  10. Mithrandir-Olor

    Mithrandir-Olor Registered User

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Treebeard is C.S. Lewis (Like how Lewis based Ransom on Tolkien) at least his voice anyway.

    The Shire is based on the Lifestyle grew up with, and thus idealized. So any number of Hobbits could be him, particularly our 2 Took-Baggins hybrides, the Tooks and Bagginses I think represent opposing aspects of Tolkien's character. The Educated collage man, and the one who loves adventure.

    Faramire resisting the Ring so easily was very unrelaistic. If that's how Tolkien viewe dhimself, I guess it shwos even he had a bit of an Ego.
     
  11. Troll

    Troll Lorekeeper of Nardor

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2012
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Doctoral candidate in economics
    Location:
    East Lansing, MI
    Home Page:
    ^qft. Faramir is a two-dimensional goody-two-shoes in the novel, even though he had even more reason than anyone else to fall victim to the seduction of the Ring.

    I always thought that was a little arrogant, but touching nonetheless. I'd call Tolkien more of a Bilbo than a Beren, but it's his sandbox so I guess he gets to make the rules. :*p
     
  12. HLGStrider

    HLGStrider All Knowing Magic Cat

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2001
    Messages:
    7,805
    Likes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    mommy, writer, Marine wife
    Location:
    Moving on the whim of the military
    Home Page:
    I wouldn't say arrogant so much as romantic in the way sense of being over the top, illogical, and ridiculous, romantic in the way love struck people tend to be, ie, every teenage girl thinks she's Juliet just because her parents won't let her talk on the phone as long as she'd like with her new boyfriend. . .

    But Tolkien and Edith were to a certain extent star crossed lovers due to their different religious backgrounds and I'm sure he saw himself as every bit the defiant underdog hero willing to do anything for the sake of his love during their courtship and it is that sort of thinking that fuels the writing of stories like that of Beren and Luthien. While Tolkien never ended up having to have his hand bitten off by a giant, crazy wolf in order to win her heart, he probably listed it among the things he would be willing to do at some point which probably had a good deal to do with bringing about the story.

    After all, Beren and Luthien aren't a greater story because they loved more but because they faced more and over came it. Whose to say that if the stakes had been higher, Tolkien wouldn't have acted just as bravely as Beren?
     
  13. Meldon

    Meldon Registered User

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2012
    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Netherlands
    I always think of him as Sam, I have no reason, I just do.
     
  14. Prince of Cats

    Prince of Cats Among the Trees

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Messages:
    787
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Forests of the Great Lakes
    Tom Bombadil, of course! In the realm of Ea, Tolkien is eldest, fatherless :) He "knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless — before the Dark Lord came from Outside"
     

Share This Page