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Tolkien would have wanted his works to inspire Fan Fiction

Mithrandir-Olor

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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.
 

Galin

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

"Do not laugh! But once upon a time (my crest has long since fallen) I had a mind to make a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large and the cosmogonic, to the level of romantic fairy-story -- the larger founded on the lesser in contact with the earth, the lesser drawing slendour from the vast backcloths -- which I could dedicate simply to: to England; to my country. It should possess... (edited for brevity) ... it should be "high", purged of the gross, and fit for the more adult mind of a land long now steeped in poetry. I would draw some of the great tales in fullness, and leave many only placed in the scheme, and sketched. The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama. Absurd.’

JRRT, letter to Milton Waldman
... 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.
 
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Galin

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

12 December 1966 Tolkien writes to Joy Hill, sending the young writer's proposal for a continuation of The Lord of the Rings. He describes it as an "impertinent contribution to my troubles" and asks about the legal position. He has informed the writer that he is forwarding his letter and enclosures to Allen & Unwin. Tolkien suggests that a letter from Allen & Unwin might be more effective than one from himself. He once received "a similar proposal, couched in the most obsequious terms from a young woman, and when I replied in the negative, I received a most vituperative letter" (Letters, p. 371).

Hammond And Scull, Chronology
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.

"I do not know what the legal position is, I suppose that since one cannot claim property in inventing proper names, that there is no legal obstacle to this young ass publishing his sequel, if he could find any publisher, either respectable or disreputable, who would accept such tripe."

JRRT, letter 292
Tolkien seems annoyed here, to me :)

'I wish that 'Copyright' could protect names, as well as extracts. It is a form of invention I take a great deal of trouble over, and pleasure in; and really it is quite as difficult (often more so) as, say, lines of verse.'

JRR Tolkien, 1964, letter 258, to Rayner Unwin
 

jallan

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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.
 

Azrubêl

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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.
 

CirdanLinweilin

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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.
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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I feel like it would be twisting Tolkien'works and ideas and his whole world to fit a certain modern agenda. I don't like it. I would enjoy a story of for example a lesbian queen if it's well written, but not in Middle Earth. If Christopher Tolkien would approve certain authors to write fan fiction I would like that, but not random people adding everything to the story that fits their agenda.

As for virginity being a code for lesbianism in medieval texts: for sure Tolkien knew about it, but he deliberately wrote his universe in a way that his characters are medieval without the dark side of the middle ages. So for example there are knights but no crusaders raping women. There is religion but no inquisition. And for sure lesbianism was not something Tolkien approved since he was Catholic.
 
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Squint-eyed Southerner

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Also agree , although I wince a little at seeing lesbianism considered part of a "dark side".

The OP's gender is not identified, so I'm going to say "she" here; anyway, she missed another possible character: Queen Beruthiel -- though she wouldn't be my first choice as a role model for. . .well, much of anything, really.

But Slash fanfic has a long history; I doubt anything we do or say here is going to slow it down. Each to their own.
 

Squint-eyed Southerner

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Oh, OK, NT, point taken, and I guess I would agree, though as a long resident of Oxford, he undoubtedly knew, and interacted with, gay people, and was probably aware that at least some of them were gay.

CL, I think maybe the model for that last pic may be an actress; I could be mistaken, though; she reminds me eerily of an old girlfriend. She did like my cat.

BTW,since people are liking the pics, an Image search for "Queen Beruthiel" will.bring up LOTS more.
 
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