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Lord of the Rings: 'Character depth'

Ăšlairi

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I was having a debate (as I usually always do) last night with a friend of mine who has read LotR and the Sil and says that it does not appeal to him. I asked him why and he said that it was because of the fact that Tolkien doesn't go as deep into the character as other authors. I considered this for some time, and I must say that in some ways that I agree with him. I have read countless books, and the main characters are deeply explored. I then told him that the reason Tolkien doesn't go in-deep into his characters is because of the fact that there are just so many characters to explore. I told him that I could name 100 LotR and Sil characters off the top of my head with no problems. That shows that Tolkien has countless characters to explore the characters of. Anyone agree with my friend as I do?
 
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Tolkien does use many carachters that is one reaosn but i think he doesn't go into thier individual deeply. but i think he shows sams growth of loyalty and courage and shows frodos developement of pain from the ring and shows gandalfs wisdom developing and merry and pippin developing and aragorn developing as a king from a wanderer. i think he shows how all his carachters develop thier personalitys instead of deeply going into a single carachter analysis he also shows gimli and legolas's friendship develope or sam and frodos, or theoden and merry, or pippin and denethor and faramir, again i think he develops personalities instead of depicting one main carachter very deeply and i like that in a sense it gives me a love of the book and the stroy instead of a love for the main carachter, like most books, you only feel for the one carachter. in this book i feel for everything that happens, somethings more than others but thats our human nature of taste.
 

Ăšlairi

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Mr. Sam Gamgee, that is exactly what I said to my friend and it stumped him. You must be a mind-reader. There was personality development in LotR which is common in most good books, and I suppose that is what made me love LotR. He couldn't think of anything to say, so he just walked off.
 

Rangerdave

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Both right.

Both sides of the argument are valid.
Granted, Tolkien does not make 'character development' his main concern, but so what.

LOTR and the Sil are written on epic scale. As such it follows the traditions of epic literature. Find deep character depth in the Iliad or Beowulf. I dare you.(take it from someone who has suffered through manditory classes on mythic lit)

In modern and post-modern literature, character and motive are the primary means of advancing the narritive. Whereas in pre-modern Literature (which Tolkien was most versed in) the plot and story are paramount.

So it really depends on whether you read Tolkien as a post-modern or classical reader.

Have a day
RD
 

Ăšlairi

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Great point Rangerdave! I have always been a 'modern and post-modern literature' reader until I read Tolkien. Now I am a bit of all of them! However, Tolkien's works I prefer above all.
 

Rangerdave

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Might I suggest the Prose Edda if you can find a translated copy.
(I assume you don't read Icelandic)

If you want a more modern adventure, check out Parke Godwin's Firelord and Beloved Exile (the best of the new Arthurian sagas)

Also by Godwin are Sherwood and Robin and the King
a wonderful retelling of the Robin Hood tale

each should be available in any descent public library

RD
 

Beleg Strongbow

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The reason tolkien didn't go into to much detail was because he had created so many things, so many a whole world. I'm sure you couldn't hassle the way he described his other things like language and places. You could really say that there were 9 main characters in the book. All of the fellowship. With Frodo and Sam at the head. To go into to much detail for 1 character would be unfair, you'd have 2 do it 4 all 9, they all play important parts and the story revolves around them, oh and sauron as well. Tolkien created soo so very much now i'm sure you can't hassle the amount of detail he goes into with sauron he has a whole history on him. Dating back many, many hundreds of years. While not going into 2 much detail in lotr and especially the sil it is because if he did it would be to long. In the sil who would you call its main character? Melkor probably then who??? It covers many hundreds of years and it would be impossible in anyones lifetime to cover everything in depth. He was also dead when it was brought out. XSo we don't know what could have beenh in it. While not going into to much detail in lotr and in the sil. You should get ur friend to read home and u.t that has heaps and heaps of info on many things. Most books have a standout character normally a good person, how many has tolkien have? Over hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years of history. U can't hassle the detail he put into many other things like language and places to name a few. Thats what i think.
Beleg
 

Ăšlairi

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Originally posted by Rangerdave
Might I suggest the Prose Edda if you can find a translated copy.
(I assume you don't read Icelandic)

If you want a more modern adventure, check out Parke Godwin's Firelord and Beloved Exile (the best of the new Arthurian sagas)

Also by Godwin are Sherwood and Robin and the King
a wonderful retelling of the Robin Hood tale

each should be available in any descent public library

RD
Well no, I am Australian and I have never read icelandic, but many thanks for the suggestions Rangerdave!
 

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Well I guess your friend Ulairi didn't read the books in depth. The Silmarillion has too many characters and it's impossible to analyze them in depth. But I believe characters like Beren are analyzed deep. As for LOTR, well I disagree with your friend. Who has read the book and didn't feel the pain and the inner battle Frodo had to make? Who didn't uderstand the questions spinning in his mind and how hard his desitions where for him to make? Who didn't admire the loyalty of Sam and feel the pain he felt when he thought he lost his best friend? If this doesn't mean going deep in the characters then I quit! There are a lot of parts where Tolkien describes the characters talking to themselves, thinking and wondering. I agree it isn't i.e. like Dostogiefski's "Crime and Punishment" but this is a one character type of book.
 

Grond

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I'm with Anarchist on this one. By the end of LotR, I feel that I intimately know Aragorn, Frodo, Samwise and Gandalf. There is also significant character development in Faramir and Eowyn as well. I don't know Legolas very well, but Gimli reveals much about his inner feelings. Merry and Pippin also reveal much about their inner strength in reaching the point where they are the main catalysts for the "Scouring of the Shire".
 

Beleg Strongbow

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Originally posted by Grond
I'm with Anarchist on this one. By the end of LotR, I feel that I intimately know Aragorn, Frodo, Samwise and Gandalf. There is also significant character development in Faramir and Eowyn as well. I don't know Legolas very well, but Gimli reveals much about his inner feelings. Merry and Pippin also reveal much about their inner strength in reaching the point where they are the main catalysts for the "Scouring of the Shire".

Yes he does go in depth with characters but not not just in 1 character but the quite a lot.
 

Ăšlairi

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Yes, I agree also. But my friend doesn't believe that the characters in LotR weren't explored deeply enough, I told him because there were so many and he agreed. My friend is a person who thrives on literature that brings the main character to life, a book that explains every nook and cranny of the main character. Tolkien does not do this. He is based entirely on character development, and not the character itself. However, I told him to read 'The Hobbit', where I believe Bilbo is given great consideration by Tolkien. Tolkien can write in many ways, which makes him so brilliant. His books can be narrative (i.e. in the third person) or in the first person. The 'persona' of each character in LotR is given an overview, i.e. their background, who they are, what they have done, and then, before our eyes we see the character develop. We see Aragorn change from a mere ranger to a great King, we see Frodo turn from a meek hobbit to a brave and proud 'hero', we Sam Gamgee turn from a gardener to a hero also. This is what has always fascinated me about Tolkien, and will continue to do so.
 

Beleg Strongbow

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Originally posted by Ulairi
Yes, I agree also. But my friend doesn't believe that the characters in LotR weren't explored deeply enough, I told him because there were so many and he agreed. My friend is a person who thrives on literature that brings the main character to life, a book that explains every nook and cranny of the main character. Tolkien does not do this. He is based entirely on character development, and not the character itself. However, I told him to read 'The Hobbit', where I believe Bilbo is given great consideration by Tolkien. Tolkien can write in many ways, which makes him so brilliant. His books can be narrative (i.e. in the third person) or in the first person. The 'persona' of each character in LotR is given an overview, i.e. their background, who they are, what they have done, and then, before our eyes we see the character develop. We see Aragorn change from a mere ranger to a great King, we see Frodo turn from a meek hobbit to a brave and proud 'hero', we Sam Gamgee turn from a gardener to a hero also. This is what has always fascinated me about Tolkien, and will continue to do so.



Yes i agree i also think that turin gets a lot of detail in u.t.He is a literacy genius and although a lot of books are revolved around 1 character lotr isn't thats why it ain't in that much detail, although it is. (I think i'm messing myself up??):D :D :) :confused: :eek:
 
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I've read everything from shakespeare (romeo and juliet, the tempest, a misummer nights dream, julius ceaser, most of his famous stuff ) to chuck pallinik (fight club, survivor) and i always will read whatever i feel like reading at the time. point is i read alot and like whatever it is i like it doesn't really amtter if the author is a developer or a analizer or a story teller. if that certain book and its story or its point appeals to me then that makes it a good book by a good author some people only like analitical authors like you said your friends does, some people only like mordern day fiction with intricate plot twisting, and i like whatever it is that i like. different styles have thier good sides and thier bad so i try to get the most good by reading all of them. but i do agree alot with anarchist i sure felt for sam and frodo and felt the freindship between merry and pippin, and legolas and gimli, and eomer and aragorn and faramir. i think i got to knwo these carachters more than in most books.
 
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Ăšlairi

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Originally posted by Sam_Gamgee
I've read everything from shakespeare (romeo and juliet, the tempest, a misummer nights dream, julius ceaser, most of his famous stuff ) to chuck pallinik (fight club, survivor) and i always will read whatever i feel like reading at the time. point is i read alot and like whatever it is i like it doesn't really amtter if the author is a developer or a analizer or a story teller. if that certain book and its story or its point appeals to me then that makes it a good book by a good author some people only like analitical authors like you said your friends does, some people only like mordern day fiction with intricate plot twisting, and i like whatever it is that i like. different styles have thier good sides and thier bad so i try to get the most good by reading all of them. but i do agree alot with anarchist i sure felt for sam and frodo and felt the freindship between merry and pippin, and legolas and gimli, and eomer and aragorn and faramir. i think i got to knwo these carachters more than in most books.
Yes Sam, I have read basically all the books that you have listed also. Some of them I quite enjoyed, and in those book the characters are explored with the utmost depth, but in LotR they are not. I believe that Tolkien may have wanted to be a little different when he wrote LotR, and the fact that Tolkien had too many characters to analyze properly, so he stuck with a couple of characters, explored their character a little, but in my friends opinion not enough. LotR was already big enough as it was to make it more analytical of the characters. Can you imagine how big LotR would have been if Tolkien explored every character in proper depth?
 

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Ulari, I'm totally lost concerning your statements about Tolkien's characters. Frodo is one of the most developed characters I have ever come across in any novel. By the end of the RotK, I feel like I have become Frodo. I have seen him go from a frightened Hobbit entering adulthood at his own and Uncle Bilbo's birthday party to being a major player in one of the most suspenseful novels ever written. I have watched him grow into one of the greatest characters in the whole of Middle-earth and his feelings are as real and dear to me as any other character I've ever read.

Your friend is either jealous of our intimacy with the LotRs or he is ignorant and needs more schooling. As I said before in this post, Aragorn, Bilbo, Frodo, Samwise, Eowyn, Faramir and even Arwen if you read the appendices are all developed in an extraordinary way and I feel I know and can walk in each of their shoes. :)
 

Ăšlairi

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Originally posted by Grond
Ulari, I'm totally lost concerning your statements about Tolkien's characters. Frodo is one of the most developed characters I have ever come across in any novel. By the end of the RotK, I feel like I have become Frodo. I have seen him go from a frightened Hobbit entering adulthood at his own and Uncle Bilbo's birthday party to being a major player in one of the most suspenseful novels ever written. I have watched him grow into one of the greatest characters in the whole of Middle-earth and his feelings are as real and dear to me as any other character I've ever read.

Your friend is either jealous of our intimacy with the LotRs or he is ignorant and needs more schooling. As I said before in this post, Aragorn, Bilbo, Frodo, Samwise, Eowyn, Faramir and even Arwen if you read the appendices are all developed in an extraordinary way and I feel I know and can walk in each of their shoes. :)
Don't feel lost my dear Grond. I agree with you completely. I felt that Tolkien did go quite a bit in depth to some characters, especially Frodo, but I also have read many other novels in which the character is explored much further. LotR has always been the greatest book that I have ever read, but my friend believes that it was not very character-based. I have read nearly everything to do with LotR, save the Letters, so I am very learned on Tolkien, and I believe that shows in my posts, as does yours. My friend definitely does not need schooling again as he is two and a half times my age, he was my English teacher last year, so he knows his stuff about English. When I posted this thread, it was based strictly on opinion, and it has remained very opinionated. I love LotR with an inexplicable passion, and always will.
 

Ăšlairi

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BtW Grond, I seem to be having some problems with the threads that I frequently post in, like the 'Origins of the Istari' thread. A little help would be nice.
 

Beleg Strongbow

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As I said before in this post, Aragorn, Bilbo, Frodo, Samwise, Eowyn, Faramir and even Arwen if you read the appendices are all developed in an extraordinary way and I feel I know and can walk in each of their shoes. - By Grond





Originally posted by Ulairi


Don't feel lost my dear Grond. I AGREE WITH YOU COMPLETELY.



I was having a debate (as I usually always do) last night with a friend of mine who has read LotR and the Sil and says that it does not appeal to him. I asked him why and he said that it was because of the fact THAT TOLKIEN DOESN'T GO AS DEEP INTO THE CHARACTER AS OTHER AUTHORS. I considered this for some time, and I must say that in some ways THAT I AGREE WITH HIM.
As I said before in this post, Aragorn, Bilbo, Frodo, Samwise, Eowyn, Faramir and even Arwen if you read the appendices are all developed in an extraordinary way and I feel I know and can walk in each of their shoes.




Did u Change your mind Ulairi? Seems so

Has he been caught again?:D :p
 

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