Howard, Tolkien and Lovecraft Comparative Studies (II)

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toothill man

Mongoose
but point is that the power akin to a old one would very quickly blow away any remaining humanity so gaining another old one to the ranks :shock:
 
Yes, but I'd be a benevolent Goddess working to help cleanse the less fortunate of the weaknesses they bear. I swear. Sort of like Galadriel with the One Ring. 8)
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
Don't forget that the dwarves (in the Lord of the rings) were so afflicted by greed that they weren't corrupted by the ring. This reflects well in Bilbo at the end of the story just before the battle of five armies.
 
toothill man said:
but point of the ring was even the most powerful elf alive which she was would be doomed if she took the ring :shock:

Tolkien and I disagree on the nature of Power. Power changes a person yes- but to only evil ends? I don't think so. You lose your innocence true, but no one is meant to be innocent again.

If Galadriel took the ring she'd no longer be the elf maiden Galadriel- but she's become someone capable of destroying Sauron without such massive loss of life the War of the Ring inflicted on the combined Free Races. Also is it good to ask someone weaker than you to bear the burden of saving you if you can do it yourself? Using Frodo aas a whipping boy for the sins of the Free Races might be terribly Catholic but I just see it as sadistic. Bear your own burdens people. Pay your own prices.
 

GregLynch

Mongoose
It's more a question of where that power comes from. The One Ring was created by Sauron and thus forever tainted by the corruption of its maker. Galadriel, as strong as she was, could never overcome that corruption. She could, however, wear and wield the Ring of Adamant w/o trouble. Its power was not corrupt.

Tolkien places great importance on where things are from and who made them - as well as the intentions of the maker. The legacy - for want of a better word - of an item seems to matter more than the item's power. I'll wager that (for the silliest example possible) wearing Sauron's socks could cause you significant problems (aside from the Itching of the Enemy), whereas Earendil's socks would be forever clean and April-fresh.

Now I think I'll go back to work and try to pretend I never wrote anything about Sauron's footwear.
 
I'd say though that even corrupt power can be purhed of its taint and remade in a new maker's image. Think of it this way- if Sauron is the source of the ring's corruption than destroying him would remove the taint's source. The corruption would fade and the ring wpuld align itself to the nature of its new owner. Galadriel may or may not have been powerful enough to do this- she never tried to so we'll never know. And even if the ring did change her I can say since I worship a Dark Lady in RL I might enjoy the 'new' Galadriel. 8)
 

Mark Dunder

Mongoose
The One Ring's power came from Sauron's evil spirit that was imbued in it. But, unless someone was able to switch their spirit with Sauron's evil spirit in the ring, Sauron would eventually return, as long as the One Ring survived. Also, the nature of the ring and it's power, would probably not be the same, if someone managed to switch the essenses.

All the other rings became powerless when the One Ring was destroyed.

I always thought that was clear. Am I wrong about this?
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
GregLynch said:
It's more a question of where that power comes from. The One Ring was created by Sauron and thus forever tainted by the corruption of its maker. Galadriel, as strong as she was, could never overcome that corruption. She could, however, wear and wield the Ring of Adamant w/o trouble. Its power was not corrupt.

Tolkien places great importance on where things are from and who made them - as well as the intentions of the maker. The legacy - for want of a better word - of an item seems to matter more than the item's power. I'll wager that (for the silliest example possible) wearing Sauron's socks could cause you significant problems (aside from the Itching of the Enemy), whereas Earendil's socks would be forever clean and April-fresh.

Now I think I'll go back to work and try to pretend I never wrote anything about Sauron's footwear.
I like your example and I think you are not far from the truth.
I have though a question for you.
Sauron makes love to Galadriel using a condom (of course). Would you say then that the artefact is both corrupted and blessed depending on the side you present it?
 
dunderm said:
The One Ring's power came from Sauron's evil spirit that was imbued in it. But, unless someone was able to switch their spirit with Sauron's evil spirit in the ring, Sauron would eventually return, as long as the One Ring survived. Also, the nature of the ring and it's power, would probably not be the same, if someone managed to switch the essenses.

The ring itself was an atrefact of magical technology- itacted as an amplifier for the portion of Sauron's soul n it. Now if Galadriel defeated Sauron and banished it from the One Ring and replaced it with her own power than it would amplify her power of nature making her a virtual pagan Goddess of the Wyld. The portion of Middle Earth she controlled would reflect the nature of her soul as Lothlorien did just on a larger scale.

I can't think that'd be a bad thing.


All the other rings became powerless when the One Ring was destroyed.

Also a little odd- if the Elvish Rings weren't connected to the One Ring why did their batteries short out too? Tolkien's metaphysics might not be accurate.

I always thought that was clear. Am I wrong about this?

What I am questioning is whether or not Tolkien himself was right when he wrote the book. He thinks Power is evil by nature and it will always Corrupt the user. I think Power amplfies both the strength and flaws of the person who bears it. Thus is person works to purify their soul of corruption than Power in their hand will not be corrupt.
 

Damien

Mongoose
Also a little odd- if the Elvish Rings weren't connected to the One Ring why did their batteries short out too? Tolkien's metaphysics might not be accurate.

The magical rings made by Celebrimbor and the Mírdain of Eregion in the middle years of the Second Age, made unwittingly under the secret guidance and tutelage of Sauron. Most famous among them were the Three Rings of the Elves, Narya, Nenya and Vilya, the Rings of Fire, Water and Air. These were the only three made outside the influence of Sauron, though they too fell under the power of his One Ring.
~ Encyclopedia of Arda


It may seem strange, but it seems that even though Sauron didn't directly create the rings - his taint was on them due to his involvement with their making. It's not outside believability. Sauron was aware of them and designed his own Ring to control all others. They were all linked by the common denominator - Sauron.

Whether or not it's -accurate- isn't really up for debate. It was Tolkien's creation - however he decides it works is accurate. A more appropriate way to put it is - does it make sense?



The ring itself was an atrefact of magical technology- itacted as an amplifier for the portion of Sauron's soul n it. Now if Galadriel defeated Sauron and banished it from the One Ring and replaced it with her own power than it would amplify her power of nature making her a virtual pagan Goddess of the Wyld. The portion of Middle Earth she controlled would reflect the nature of her soul as Lothlorien did just on a larger scale.

But that's not how it works in the mythos. Galadriel could possibly throw down Sauron (however unlikely that is), but the evil -inherent- in the Ring would taint her victory and turn her to evil ends as well. It is about the corrupting power of EVIL, not the corrupting power of POWER.



What I am questioning is whether or not Tolkien himself was right when he wrote the book. He thinks Power is evil by nature and it will always Corrupt the user. I think Power amplfies both the strength and flaws of the person who bears it. Thus is person works to purify their soul of corruption than Power in their hand will not be corrupt.

Of course Tolkien was 'right' - it's his creation. It's right so long as he says that that's how his world functions.

Also, I don't see any evidence that Tolkien believed power itself was a corrupting force. It was the source of the power that mattered. There are plenty of areas in Tolkien's myth where power did not corrupt.

Eru was all-powerful, and all-good.
The Valar were power, and all-good (with one exception).
Aragorn attained a position of basically globe-spanning kinghood, and remained good.
The Elvish Rings granted power and did not corrupt their wearers.
Gandalf had great power and remained true and incorrupt.
Fingolfin was good and incorrupt, though he wielded great power as the High King of the Noldor.
Anduril, Glamdring, Ringil.. items of power that were not evil or corrupting.

The Ring, on the other hand, was -created- in evil. It was evil. Plain and simple. No amount of good intent or happy circumstance would be able to remove that taint.


In your world, Raven (and in mine!) good and evil may be subjective - concepts in greyscale. In Tolkien's world evil and good are tangible realities. If something is evil, it is evil. That's how his mythos is set up. The Ring is an influence of corrupting evil, because it was created by evil, for evil purposes. It was made to dominate other things - a concept itself that is evil in Tolkien's mythos.

Whether you (or I, or Johnny Depp, or Gore Vidal, or Robert Howard, etc) agrees with that assessment is irrelevant. That is the particular cosmic set-up of Middle-earth. The Ring was evil and could therefore only be used for evil, and would invariably turn good to evil if good attempted to use it.

It's sort of like the Christian concept of magic. Christians believe (and have believed for centuries) that magic is evil. No matter how or why you're using it - it will still be evil and you will be evil for using it. Whether you personally believe that is true is wholly immaterial. That's how their belief system operates.

Same for Tolkien - his mythos operates under the worldly rule that evil can only be used for evil, regardless of who is using it and why.






The One Ring's power came from Sauron's evil spirit that was imbued in it. But, unless someone was able to switch their spirit with Sauron's evil spirit in the ring, Sauron would eventually return, as long as the One Ring survived. Also, the nature of the ring and it's power, would probably not be the same, if someone managed to switch the essenses.

That's actually not accurate. Sauron would not come back. If someone was powerful enough to take the Ring and overthrow him - Sauron would be destroyed and the remnants of his spirit consumed by the new wearer. But the evil inherent in the Ring and in Sauron's 'leftovers' would corrupt and ruin the new wearer, making them another Dark Lord, not Sauron, but also no longer the person that they were when they first took the Ring.
 
It may seem strange, but it seems that even though Sauron didn't directly create the rings - his taint was on them due to his involvement with their making. It's not outside believability. Sauron was aware of them and designed his own Ring to control all others. They were all linked by the common denominator - Sauron.

Whether or not it's -accurate- isn't really up for debate. It was Tolkien's creation - however he decides it works is accurate. A more appropriate way to put it is - does it make sense?

To me no. Power stems from one stems from source- Creation itself. It is possible to use a system of magic that was created by the corrupt to do good if one knows what they are doing. For example I'm very good at using technology to destroy technology.....

Of course Tolkien was 'right' - it's his creation. It's right so long as he says that that's how his world functions.

So it's as flawed as he is......stuck in a simplistic moral dualism he never resolved in his own life.

Also, I don't see any evidence that Tolkien believed power itself was a corrupting force. It was the source of the power that mattered. There are plenty of areas in Tolkien's myth where power did not corrupt.

Yes, but they were all sort of passive weren't they? Sat around and let evil grow while the fretted about small details, singing and discussing philosphy watching things wind down and fall apart. A little ruthlessness might have come in handy to keep the world in balance.

In your world, Raven (and in mine!) good and evil may be subjective - concepts in greyscale. In Tolkien's world evil and good are tangible realities. If something is evil, it is evil. That's how his mythos is set up. The Ring is an influence of corrupting evil, because it was created by evil, for evil purposes. It was made to dominate other things - a concept itself that is evil in Tolkien's mythos.

So restraining a person from commiting suicide- which is overriding their will- is evil in Tolkien's world? Imprisoning or killing people who commit crimes- thus denying them some or all of their free will- is evil?

Whether you (or I, or Johnny Depp, or Gore Vidal, or Robert Howard, etc) agrees with that assessment is irrelevant. That is the particular cosmic set-up of Middle-earth.

Wich is why it fails in the end- everyone of Power leaves it and Men turn evil and into us because Tolkien's Good is too Good. It can't abide actual reality....

It's sort of like the Christian concept of magic. Christians believe (and have believed for centuries) that magic is evil. No matter how or why you're using it - it will still be evil and you will be evil for using it. Whether you personally believe that is true is wholly immaterial. That's how their belief system operates.Same for Tolkien - his mythos operates under the worldly rule that evil can only be used for evil, regardless of who is using it and why.

Which is why the world is so messed up. This society is their creation and
as flawed as they are. It also won't last either. Thank goodness.
 

Damien

Mongoose
To me no. Power stems from one stems from source- Creation itself. It is possible to use a system of magic that was created by the corrupt to do good if one knows what they are doing.

In the real world, perhaps. In a fantasy world with entirely different 'cosmic balance' where Gods are real and evil is tangible - then your assessment may not be so accurate.

Note that I'm not disagreeing with you where it concerns the real world or perhaps even my own imagined worlds. But only where it concerns someone else's world. He created his world in a specific way. The fact that it may not seem realistic or sensible to you is no more to the point than the fact that I think the entire mythos behind the Forgotten Realms is insanely idiotic, or that I feel the Cthulhu Mythos is dreary and unreasonably stilted against mankind. That's how it was -set up-.


To argue about whether it makes sense from a real world perspective is not going to bear any edible fruit, if you follow me.



So it's as flawed as he is......stuck in a simplistic moral dualism he never resolved in his own life.

Only as stuck as you are in a world of absolute grey.

Individual taste and worldview, that's all. Tolkien had his, you have yours, I have mine, Gore Vidal had his. . .

Again, Middle-earth was designed around a particular worldview. The fact that you disagree with that worldview is not cause to say the world is nonsensical - only that you simply don't agree with how it functions. There's a world of difference, no pun intended.


Yes, but they were all sort of passive weren't they? Sat around and let evil grow while the fretted about small details, singing and discussing philosphy watching things wind down and fall apart. A little ruthlessness might have come in handy to keep the world in balance.

I don't disagree.

But ruthlessness wasn't part of Tolkien's view of goodness. And in the end, it was that unshakable honour to do only the right thing (as 'the right thing' exists in a world of moral absolutes) that saved Middle-earth (Aragorn, Frodo, Sam, Gandalf, etc).

Once more, that's just a particular worldview - that good triumphs because it is incorruptable and true. Is it idealistic and fairly simplistic? Sure. Is it worth bashing it just because it doesn't adhere to our own, probably much darker, worldviews? I don't think so, personally.


So restraining a person from commiting suicide- which is overriding their will- is evil in Tolkien's world?

I would say there's a difference between physical restraint and domination. Domination, in Tolkien's mythos, is more mental and spiritual. Restraining someone is a physical act. I imagine that, according to Tolkien's view of domination, if you controlled someone's mind in order to step them from committing suicide - that that act WOULD be evil.

Do I agree? Well actually, I do agree with that. But I'm not against suicide and I'm a proponent of absolute free will where it does not affect the free will of others.

That said, whether you agree with it or not is, again, immaterial. Tolkien set it down a certain way according to how he wanted his cosmic forces to work.


Imprisoning or killing people who commit crimes- thus denying them some or all of their free will- is evil?

Again, this would be restraining, not dominating.


Wich is why it fails in the end- everyone of Power leaves it and Men turn evil and into us because Tolkien's Good is too Good.

That's a nice theory. . . but it ignores the fact that good -does- triumph in Tolkien's world. Do men fall from grace? Yeah. It happens. Men also do great good and eventual triumph by that.

Simplistic and idealistic - yes. Worthy of scorn? No.


It can't abide actual reality....

But it isn't reality. It's a fantasy world that functions, on a cosmic level, entirely different from how the real world functions.


Which is why the world is so messed up. This society is their creation and
as flawed as they are. It also won't last either. Thank goodness.

I only meant to use that as an example. Can we please, for the sake of the thread and my sanity, refrain from bashing other people's religions?
That's right - a Satanist that does not want to cloud this thread with Christian-bashing. I'll consider it a personal favour.
 

Mark Dunder

Mongoose
We all have free will, if we impose our will on others, that could be considered "evil." Many of us don't see it this way, particularly if we believe in doing so we are saving others from doing something evil.

If our "intent" at the time of creation of anything, is to impose our will on someone, that thing or technology may be considered to have an evil purpose. At some point you must determine for yourself what is evil. Water is not evil, drowning someone with water is evil. An object that has no will, cannot be evil or good. The One Ring has a will, and that will is evil in Tolkien's world.
 

GregLynch

Mongoose
Damien said:
The magical rings made by Celebrimbor and the Mírdain of Eregion in the middle years of the Second Age, made unwittingly under the secret guidance and tutelage of Sauron. Most famous among them were the Three Rings of the Elves, Narya, Nenya and Vilya, the Rings of Fire, Water and Air. These were the only three made outside the influence of Sauron, though they too fell under the power of his One Ring.

Thanks for listing them - I realized right after my post that I'd actually written 'Ring of Adamant'. Damn movies. :)
 
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