Howard, Tolkien and Lovecraft Comparative Studies

Status
Not open for further replies.
Since we seem to be expanding the range of this discussion I am going to have to say I don' t like Leiber's work. It's not just that he's sexist- and he is- it's that he has mastered the ability to create endless run on sentences that say absolutely nothing for pages at a time. Is he still getting paid by the word these days? Also I like to have a little more characterization and perhaps even dialogue. Even the main characters seem like cardboard cutouts.....

Good imagination for sorcerous stuff though, even if a little overdressed.

Also, what did everyone think of the old Thieves World books- the old ones in the 70s or so when Lynn Abbey and Robert Aspin were still married not the new ones which are a pale shadow of the original? I am looking forward to buying the new TW sourcebook when I have the time to track it down and th emoney to buy it.....
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
Concerning thieves' world I found this review : http://www.enworld.org/reviews.php?do=review&reviewid=2545105
 

urdinaran

Mongoose
I Love Thieve's World !!! Awesome set of books, and lots of stuff that can be used in a Conan campaign, especially in an urban setting.
 
Well from the review I'll have to pick TW up. I can see a lot of crossover between the Mongoose system to the TW one. I see one honking good hybrid game coming on in the near future- they better get some support for the old Sanctuary as opposed to the 'cleaner, lighter' version being published today......
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
One thing we forgot to mention is that orcs aren't a race per se. They were created from the elves after their soul and body were tortured and disformed by Morgoth.
Thus we can say that Tolkien also created abominations.
 

GregLynch

Mongoose
toothill man said:
were balrogs also deformed good guys stuck that way for siding with the great evil

Very true. And trolls were made from tormented ents, just as orcs were made from elves.

I believe Melkor did actually build dragons from the ground up, though.
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
toothill man said:
were balrogs also deformed good guys stuck that way for siding with the great evil
no, they were those maiar spirits which followed Morgoth in its fall. The evil in them transformed them.
 

toothill man

Mongoose
any ideas of the root monsters or myths used by howard as lovecrafts are well known would be intreasted in what howard found and what he made up 8)
 
The King said:
toothill man said:
were balrogs also deformed good guys stuck that way for siding with the great evil
no, they were those maiar spirits which followed Morgoth in its fall. The evil in them transformed them.

One of Tolkien's major mythological points was that evil could not create new things but merely twist things that were once good. Trrebeard echoes this sentiment in The Two Towers.
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
Raven Blackwell said:
The King said:
toothill man said:
were balrogs also deformed good guys stuck that way for siding with the great evil
no, they were those maiar spirits which followed Morgoth in its fall. The evil in them transformed them.

One of Tolkien's major mythological points was that evil could not create new things but merely twist things that were once good. Trrebeard echoes this sentiment in The Two Towers.
Exactly; To develop further, in the Silmarillion, Morgoth is evil because he want to impose his view over the other Valars and refuses to submit to Iluvatar's thought. Iluvatar is the only creator while the other are just accompanying him and the result of his will. Deprived from Illuvatar's thought, Morgoth can't do much (everything is a relative thing of course).
Gollum is also a proof of this transforming evil. He was a hobbit and became a monster.

Tolkien's view is very monotheistic view where only God create life while the others are servants and nothing more. It is interesting to note that this antagonistic view resulted in Satan creating unlife.

Another point which isn't developped very much is the Void. We only learn that Morgoth is lured by the void and that Ungolianth (which Morgoth fears and it is the only creature that he fears) comes from there and is represented as darkness incarnate.
 

toothill man

Mongoose
what would howards take be on this he has a black hearted female pirates who eat babies for lunch go mushy over the hero,love craft has monsters that are so much bigger than us to know them is too be insane :shock: while tolken has a clear vision on evil ie saurman dies and is not really given a place to redeem himself is howard view about redemption more like lovecraft or tolkien and please give examples,
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
I agree there.
I was impressed how "feeble" people are condemned in Tolkien's world: Saruman as you told, but also Boromir and Denethor. Though he is a good and brave steward, he can't accept the death of his elder son and the fact that the King has made himself known to take the throne. Thus he looses simultaneously his son and his power.
The same is true for Gollum, once a hobbit who redeems himself as he falls in the volcan with the ring.
 

Ltlconf

Mongoose
Hello Folks,

I can't really give a informed opinion on Lovecraft or Howard's world views, but as I'm a devout old fashioned Catholic I feel somewhat more comfortable crawling into Mr. Tolkeins. Mind you, this is strictly opinion.
Boromir can be considered redeemed by his realization of the wrongness of trying to gain the ring (sinfullness if you will) and thus spends his life in a valient attempt to save Merry and Pippin, and nearly suceeds. The lack of success is not a factor, rather the ATTEMPT, the INTENT is what matters. In the end Boromir is redeemed both by his selfless actions and sacrifice that comes out of them. Boromir actually would have been redeemed by the first but his sacrifice serves as warning as well. All realize that the Fellowship must divide as the Ring is too powerful a temptation to resist.

Denethor is condemned for multiple failings. His pride, his arrogance, his lack of faith, and his lack of love for his youngest son. He cannot concede that anyone should lead but him, and denies all advice and council. He refuses to follow law and tradition feeling himself above such and wishes to claim the throne as his. This is a great sin as this is a sacred trust. He has looked into the heart of darkness and lost faith in the victory of good over evil, he despairs. Boromir never despaired and rather than see his son's sacrifice as noble one and to built upon (as does Faramir), he sees it as further proof of impending defeat. His lack of love for his youngest, Faramir, is likely his greatest failing. Faramir is at the very least his brother's equal and obviously beloved of Boromir. His father refuses this and destroys himself ultimately. He commits the sin of denying Faramir his due, sending him on impossible missions and then condemns him death on one such for the inevitable failure of another. Wracked with insanity over his realized guilt at Faramir's supposed death he then commits suicide, yet another sin. Sadly, Denethor could have saved himself at any time but refused to see his own failings through lack of faith and hubris.
Gollum seeks redemption and nearly sees it, then sinks back into evil due to his inability to admit he is at fault for his own condition (he did murder his brother in cold blood after all). Hobbits seem very resistant to the One Ring yet Smeagol murdered his brother right off and submitted to the Ring almost as soon as he found it. You have to wonder of the state of his soul from the start.
He does not see redemption in the end, he tries to kill Frodo and take the ring. When he suceeds in the latter, he dies from stumbling into the volcano while dancing his victory jig. Fitting; he dies with the one thing he loves more than himself.
Saruman is brought down by pride and ambition. In the end his own spite at his failure condemns him. he refuses to admit he commited any wrong but failure in his plans. One cannot be redeemed if one does not seek it. Saruman flatly refuses any redemption from the start when given the option.

Opinion, mind you all based on my understanding of the Seven Deadly Sins, the Catholic view of redemption, and how one achieves or misses it. Tolkein was a devout old guard Catholic and as religoius as CS Lewis, just less obvoius about it. So thus I'm working this from that angle, I could be way off.
 
IMHO-

Oh, I'd say you are right in the money about Tolkien. It's just that he had the faith in somethign greater than himself where Howard and Lovecraft had none- being more of a skeptical point of view. In Howard's worlds the possession of power was the end of itself- morality was either passive or non-existant. Lovecraft's world reflected a fatalism that saw the world as empty of greater meaning and he projected this into the uncaring creatures of his Mythos- personification of an uncaring universe. Frankly I am surprised it was Howard and not Lovecraft who committed suicide. According to the final correspondance Lovecraft wrote in his last two years he had begun to sccept the imperfect world around him, but died of ill health and malnutricion before much came of it. Howard on the other hand shot himself rather than accept the world about him. Who knew HPL had the stronger resolve to live?

Tolkien on the other hand lived to a ripe old age. Faith and love of a good family helps.
 

Ltlconf

Mongoose
Hello Folks,


Howard never believed he had real power over his life it seems, from what others have written here and on other threads anyway. Lovecraft's life also seems to have been pretty bleak from what others have noted. I'll not even claim to be a scholar on either though.
It's interesting to point out that Tolkein fought in WWI, a truly horrifc war from a combatents point of view (likely the most horrific ever) and then lived through WWII. He never lost faith, rather it deepened. He even seemed to have it confirmed by WWIIs outcome (Good rose up and destroyed a great Evil. Simple true, but apt in a way). Not only did he have his faith, but amazingly he never lost it despite all he saw and went through.
War, I think, does that, based on my admitedly personal experience. It either destroys your faith utterly, or confirms it. More often it may even help you find it. Weird, but there it is. That happened alot to my elders in their day as well as to me and those around me. It seems the old saying "There's no such thing as a atheist in a foxhole" is not entirely a cute saying.
I think that's why war is such a central theme in Tolkein's work. It's the ultimate crucible: it either makes man reach greatest potential and inner nobility, or sucumb to darkness and his weaknesses. And it all depends on one's choices and actions. As Catholics also believe in free will as well as never-ending spiritual struggle, it seems a plausible idea to me. Again only my opinion.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top