Post by Desi Baggins on Jul 7, 2006 8:05:55 GMT -6
Wow so much info!!! I am preparing to leave on a week long camping trip so I don't have time to hunt around and look further, but keep up the work!
I know I have read or heard the dwarf/Jew thing before. I also know that if some one who is Jewish read the books they probably would not see the Dwarves "Jew like" since the comparison is to the stereotyping of Jews and not all Jews are like that or see themselves like that.
When I get time I want to go back and read those links on Dwarf/Human marriages. I had started a story on the roleplay thread and I was going to lead into the Hobbit character being part Hobbit and Dwarf, but I never did get very far on the story.
I am well aware that Tolkien vocalized a sort of dislike of "Celtic culture". But, Celtic culture does encompass Welsh and Scottish along with Irish. His love of Welsh language is well known. Tolkien worked with Celtic material: The Arthurian Cycle (he wrote a poem based on Arthur which may be published at some point), "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" and some other pieces. He wrote a poem "Imram" based on St. Brendan. He wrote an essay found in The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays called "English and Welsh" which Burns cites in a number of occasions. I am over simplifying but, according to Burns what is feminine in flavor is Celtic while the Norse influence is found in the areas we would term masculine: "[The Norse] have a capacity for 'malice, greed, destruction (the evil side of heroic life.' For all their glory in deeds they have a dragon and 'bestial' potentiality. (Burns cites Tolkien's essay on Beowulf in footnote here) And the Celts? Well, Celts have charm; the have sensitivity and imagination. They have an affinity for the spiritual and see beyond this world." pg 173-174 of Perilous Realms Celtic and Norse in Tolkien's Middle-earth I haven't finished reading this book. In fact, I started it a few months ago but put it down when I bought Hammond and Scull's Readers Companion to LotR .
I think if we wish to continue our discussion of Dwarvish things, it merits a separate thread. I'd like to explore their history, personality traits and culture throughout all of Tolkien's writing on M-e. I'm curious to find out if there is a positive or negative connotation to the comparison to Jewish culture. As of now, I don't know for certain when the Dwarves became more "good" in Silm. I suspect that it began to happen around the time of The Hobbit.
My first thought was "Rumpelstiltskin" also, for Dwarf/Human marriage. But, that dwarf wanted the first born child. He didn't care which.
Andorinha, why didn't you label the box in big, bold letters "Tolkien books" and packed them dead last? Good luck with the move!
Tom/Goldberry union: "The Adventures of Tom Bombadil" They seemed to have a flirtatious relationship in the beginning of the poem. At the end, he just takes her home with him. No bended knee "Will you marry me?" The only thing we know is that "her heart was fluttering" -- from fear or excitement?
Hmmm, yes, this topic has moved down many related branches and it may indeed be necessary to open separate threads for a discussion on: 1) Tolkien's Dwarves and the "Jewish" connections; 2) Tolkien's different patterns for courtship and marriage; 3) Tolkien's "professed" dislike of things Celtic, vrs his early affinity with the Welsh language as one of the bases for his Elvish tongues -- did he go deeply into Welsh mythology, or just pursue the linguistics? Some of his early pieces show Arthurian influences, but did he later (deliberately?) move away from Celtisms? I've just started Michael Drout's "Beowulf and the Critics," and he has some material for this question.
Ummm, yes, very hasty of me to just grab and pack by the shelf, closest to the door went first...
Last Edit: Jul 7, 2006 22:15:53 GMT -6 by Andorinha
"I've just started Michael Drout's "Beowulf and the Critics," and he has some material for this question."
There is a puddle of drool forming that is threatening to short out my keyboard. So far I haven't been able to locate a copy (of anything that he has been involved with) that is in my price range. But I am a regular reader of Drout's blog: wormtalk.blogspot.com/ Fan
I see Fanuidhol and Andorinha have really been busy the last week! I have to sit down and digest some of this bantering back and forth!
Regarding Dwarves though...how did they become petty to begin with?
Aulë created them to be strong and unyielding so that they could withstand Melkor's influence in the world. Remember Aulë was the Valar that made things of the Earth's substances. I can see how they would have a very deep appreciation of gems and fine ores.
I think the story of Mîm might tell us more about how they became petty. Exactly what does Tolkien mean by "petty" anyway? When I think of "petty", I think of unimportant or low status. Is that JRRT's meaning?
Anyway, I agree with Fan that we should start a thread under Peoples of Middle-earth. I will get one started right now!
"You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him!"
RE Desi's "Was Melial looked down upon for marrying an elf?"
That is an interesting question. We are not really given much information about Melian -- she is a Maia, associated with the Vala Yavanna, seemingly with powers concerning the realms of nature, both animal and vegetable. She comes to Middle-earth, apparently by herself, and we are given no reason for her being there. She does not appear to have been one of the Istari, though she is of the same order, the Maiar. I wonder if she is a sort of Istari "forerunner" sent at the time of the awakening of Elves and Dwarves to keep an eye on their interactions with the birds, beasts, trees, etc? Making an "alliance" with one of the great Elf sires may have been more than a simple love match -- through her, a profound respect for nature might be more readily brought to blossom in the hearts of the young Elves.
She was "marrying beneath her status," but there seems to have been no other Maia with her to tell her so. In this case, the social pressure felt in other mixed marriages did not have a chance to occur, and maybe the Maiar, being more spiritual in their essences, were above such prejudices? But, of course the Dark Maiar, like Sauron and Saruman were filled with pride, and such types as these might have voiced some disapproval of Melian's choice, had they been around at the time.
Tolkien does develop this theme of marriage bigotry more fully in his connections between Elves and Men. Thingol does not look favorably upon Beren, and sets him impossible tasks to keep him from consumating his union with Luthien. "Unhappy Men, children of little lords and brief kings, shall such as these lay hands on you, and yet live?" (Sil. chpt 19, p. 167, hb version). Turin also had problems with "race bigotry" from at least one Elf, Saeros; and there may be a good deal more than protective paternalism in Elrond's reluctance to allow Aragorn and Arwen to marry until Aragorn has (like Beren) proven his outstanding qualities by achieving feats thought to be impossible. Would Elrond have demanded the same feats from a suitable Elf of high lineage, say, Glorfindel?
Last Edit: Jul 13, 2006 15:27:03 GMT -6 by Andorinha
Sometimes, ideas can come from the most unlikely sources. I picked up my daughter's "Elle" magazine and on the cover was this title for an article -- "The Case for Marrying Down: Why Younger, Less Successful Men Make the Best Husbands"
"How to avoid this kind of rut? You can either find a spouse with less social power than you or find one with an ideological commitment to gender equality. Taking the easier path first, marry down. Don’t think of this as brutally strategic. If you are devoted to your career goals and would like a man who will support that, you’re just doing what men throughout the ages have done: placing a safe bet.
In her 1995 book, Kidding Ourselves: Babies, Breadwinning and Bargaining Power, Rhona Mahoney recommended finding a sharing spouse by marrying younger or poorer, or someone in a dependent status, like a starving artist. Because money is such a marker of status and power, it’s hard to persuade women to marry poorer. So here’s an easier rule: Marry young or marry much older. Younger men are potential high-status companions. Much older men are sufficiently established so that they don’t have to work so hard, and they often have enough money to provide unlimited household help. By contrast, slightly older men with bigger incomes are the most dangerous, but even a pure counterpart is risky. If you both are going through the elite-job hazing rituals simultaneously while having children, someone is going to have to give."
So, I asked myself "How would Tolkien know that in order to have a "high powered" female, a "lower powered" male is a good choice? Then it hit me -- Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. I know that he was probably her single most important advisor, but she ruled and he didn't. Fan
Well, I guess Tolkien could not have read Elle magazine, so I was thinking, in agreement with you Fan, that Vicky and Bertie might have to do as the source.
But then, as I was reading a William Morris novel, The House of the Wolfings, 1888 -- said by JRRT himself to have been his inspiration for several Middle-earth themes and scenes -- I found that the human hero, Thiodolf met his bride in a gloomy forest. Nightengales are mentioned here, and larks and throstles figure in the whirlwind courtship. He sees her, she sees him -- BAM, true love! Birds singing in the background...
The fair maid turns out to be a minor goddess, or a wood sprite -- either way she is immortal, changes shape at will, and pretty much goes about her godly duties without let or hindrance from her chosen, mortal mate. They have a half-magical daughter, more beautiful than all the other women, with the unusual trait (unusual for the golden-haired Goths among whom she lives) of thick/ long, dark hair and grey eyes (Luthien?).