Discussion in 'Debates' started by Anduril, Dec 25, 2003.
Absolutely, Rob! I'm in full agreeance with you.
I can't believe it.
One of the greatest literary masterpieces of all time is now getting disected over whether or not it has racist undertones.
Give me a break why does this crap turn up all of the time.
It's a fantasy book for gods sake, written by a genius who was probably far too engrosed in working his mind over creating the bench mark for all other fantasy books thereafter to be judged by ,that he probably wouldn't have noticed what colour skin his postman had and would probably not have even cared let alone included any of that garbage in his books ,either overtly or covertly.
Can we put this issue to bed now please.
People always try to find reasons to call things racist really, its pretty annoying.
I'm currently beginning work on my university undergraduate dissertation; specifically addressing the question of racism, race relations, and facism in Tolkien's works, focusing mainly on Lord of The Rings, as well as Tolkien's other works (particularly the Hobbit, the Silmarillion, and the Children of Húrin), so have read this thread with great interest.
I personally, not just as a fan of his works, but also after reading and rereading his letters and works, doubt that he was a racist. However, Lord of the Rings was perhaps reflecting race relations and xenophobia in post-war England, with increased immigration from the old colonies, as there is a notion that foreigners and foreign powers destroy or poison cultures (for example, the destruction of Moria, and the destruction of the records (literature? culture?) of its inhabitants, implicitly by Orcs). As for racism, the characters within the novel appear to live with racist attitudes, and some live in almost mini-facist states (i.e. it is law in Lothlorién that Gimli as a dwarf, must walk blindfolded, or be killed, which is ignored only when it is in Elrond's wishes that he go unblindfolded). The characters also stereotype eachother by race, and they value eachother by race (elves as most valued, orcs as least valued).
That's just my opinion in a nutshell. Tolkien was not racist, but he did present fears and insecurities of mass immigration into post-war England, and tapped into people's fears of losing their culture.
I just think it's unfortunate that some choose to judge his works without researching his own views and beliefs.
Anyway, Tolkien promos the union of some different races on the book... At this world, at this time, they don't have more races, and this is okay, and completely normal. Some countries in the world, in the past, had no asians, no black people... Some another had no white people... The races are mixing every time more, now.
To say that Lord of the Rings is racist is the most stupid thing [well, almost] that I've ever heard. So what, now any story that doesn't contain one representative of every race is going to be racist? When Tolkein was so obviously writing a story inspired by old Britain, where there were only white people etc everything everyone else has already said etc
um, yeah. I think that such a claim is stupid, and so what if the easterners happen to be the bad guys of a story? there have been plenty of wars in the east and the west and with the west against the east. Westerners are portrayed as the bad guys just as often...
I can't even read the article so I shouldn't be commenting but nevermind just having my say
no, at least not intentionally so, and unintentionally only after reinterpretation by others. Tolkien was a scholar and an enlightened linguist, and fought in a war side by side by many people quite different from himself, so would have been for the most part quite open-minded for a person from his time period. it should be noted that it was pre-civil rights movement also, so more credit to him
No. Although if there is predisposition, all interpretations are viable...at least for the interpreter.
What exists in LoTR is a strong segmentation of classes. Tolkien wasn't an adept of the idea of democracy as we have it.
I would say that the idea of racism is present in the books, but I'm not saying that Tolkien was rascist. The segregation between the elves and dwarves, the half-insults in the name half-ling, and the Elves opinions of Man-kind, saying they were doomed if it was left up to Men to restore Middle Earth, are all clear evidence of discrimination between races, or species if you please.
Indeed there is the idea of racism but not in bad way... Cause all these bad behaviors between the races can give meaning to the main idea of Lord of the Rings. The idea that this book was written in WW2 and that even the smallest person in the earth could turn the result of the war...
So... Metaphorically.. Frodo is Hitler?
No Frodo is the soldier that fought against the Nazis. with just a weapon his heart to survive and to protect his familly!!!
People did speculate that LotR was inspired by WW2, but we have proof that Mordor, Barad Dûr and the map of Middle-Earth are inspired from places near the river Ribble (UK), which runs into the Lune, that when looked at on a map, is exactly the same Gulf and river as that of the Lhûn (Lune) of M-E
LotR could be racist in a way, because when Gollum speaks of the South, he says that there are men with dark skin that he doesn't like (preconceived), and Frodo does find them bizarre, which could be nearing racism
and all the good guys are from the northwest, and the REALLY good guys are in the far west
but seriously, didn't tolkein say nothing in there's supposed to be symbolic anyways?
I'm surprised the much more obvious problem with Tolkien and his LotR hasn't come up... sexism.
Worse still are the movies which had a opportunity to fudge the story and make it a wee bit more modern, but unfortunately failed to do so.
There's always going to be symbolism if you're scouting for it... could the Red Eye of Sauron actually symbolize a vagina, and are the Two Towers actually penises? I hope not.
problem with both arguments is the fact that it's supposedly set in "ancient times". Examine the state of racial tolerance and gender equality during those times.
uh yeah, ancient times where trees talk and move about, the dead spring back to life, and magic rings rule the world... it's fantasy, the writer can fashion anything they wish. The state of racial tolerance and gender bias in LotR are vestiges of the writer. Tolkien was either incapable or perhaps unwilling to write otherwise.
A Song of Ice and Fire is also based on a historical mainly West environmental world, though in the story this is mostly called the North and the South. North being the Wall and South, King's Landing and such. While I'm mostly familiar with only the tv series, in other words the adaption of the first book, there is no hint of sexism or racism in it. You have strong female characters, especially someone like Daenerys. Yes, you have savages in the East. But in the end they're no actual villains. Even the men of the West side of the Sea can show more evil traits in their personality.
In the LotR, there is not that much sexism really; Eowyn, though not aloud to fight, is still given the task of looking after the people of Rohan. Though not exactly LotR, Sauron's chief ally was female (the vampire). And Galadriel is probably the most powerful mage along with Gandalf.
@Sparrow: You're just making fun of things from the films; the description of the eye in the book has nothing to do with a vagina, and Tolkien based the historical levels of LotR on what happened after 1066, because much of what happened then is lost to historians, so he came up with a story of what happened then. He was much more capable of writing anything, than you appear to be capable of writing anything useful up till now,
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