Saturday, January 10, 2004

An Orcish Perspective



Experts in source-criticism now know that The Lord of the Rings is a redaction of sources ranging from the Red Book of Westmarch (W) to Elvish Chronicles (E) to Gondorian records (G) to orally transmitted tales of the Rohirrim (R). The conflicting ethnic, social and religious groups which preserved these stories all had their own agendas, as did the "Tolkien" (T) and "Peter Jackson" (PJ) redactors, who are often in conflict with each other as well but whose conflicting accounts of the same events reveals a great deal about the political and religious situations which helped to form our popular notions about Middle Earth and the so-called "War of the Ring.".

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This tendency to distort the historical record recurs many times in T. Indeed, many scholars now believe the so-called "Madness of Denethor" in T (which depicts Denethor as a suicide) is, in fact, a sanitized version of the murder of Denethor by Aragorn through the administration of poison (possibly distilled from a plant called athelas ).

In contrast to T, the PJ redaction of Aragorn is filled with self-doubts and frequently rebuked by PJ-redacted Elrond. Probably this is due to PJ's own political and religious affiliations which seek, in particular, to exalt the Elvish claims to supremacy against Numenorean claims.

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we can only guess at what the Sauron sources might have revealed, since they must have been destroyed by victors who give a wholly negative view of this doubtlessly complex, warm, human, and many-sided figure. Scholars now know, of course, that the identification of Sauron with "pure evil" is simply absurd. Indeed, many scholars have undertaken a "Quest for the Historical Sauron" and are searching the records with growing passion and urgency for any lore connected with the making of the One Ring.

~From LOTR: A Source-Criticism analysis by Mark P. Shea.

I had a similar thought while watching the movies. Wouldn't it be interesting to see some of the Orc or troll material? Find out what the Orc chieftain thought about all this fuss over jewelry? Perhaps further elaboration is deserved, when I haven't just spent ten hours driving across three states.

Link from Making Light

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