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Old 01-08-2019, 05:39 PM
Cuckoorex Cuckoorex is offline
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Things that still bug me about the Lord of the Rings (movies specifically)

No, I'm not going to go on an don about why the eagles weren't employed for the quest earlier, that's been done to death.

Also, of course "it's fantasy, there's magic and all that and you're concerned about ____??" is a stupid reply to questions such as these. We're trying to figure out how things would work within the context of the fantasy world, and in this case the general laws of physics and so forth seem consistent with the ones we are familiar with. Dropped things tend to fall, etc. That being said...

The two main head scratchers I have at the moment:

1. Are the Balrog's wings merely vestigal? I mean, they ARE pretty small compared to the mass of the creature, so I would say sustained flight would probably not be a possibility, but he also does seem to try flapping the wings as he and Gandalf are falling, so maybe he sought to slow his descent? Makes me wonder if he could do "assisted hops" over short distances. Do the books address this at all?

2. In the preamble to Fellowship of the Ring, Galadriel is telling the story of how Sauron was defeated via finger-chop, and then she says that over 2,500 years had passed in peace since that time until the time that she's telling the story... so 2,500 years pass and swords, bows, and armor pretty much look and function the same? The greatest technological advance seems to be that Saruman found a way to make a crude bomb? Maybe I'm spoiled by the relatively rapid advancement of technology in recorded history, but wouldn't you think that there would have been *some* progress over the past 2,500 years?
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Old 01-08-2019, 05:58 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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We're trying to figure out how things would work within the context of the fantasy world, and in this case the general laws of physics and so forth seem consistent with the ones we are familiar with.
Never assume this in almost ANY sf/fantasy. There is no eagle capable of carrying an adult human hundreds of miles through the air and I'm pretty sure there is no way to design an eagle that could do so. Animals can't just scale up willy-nilly to giant-size and continue to work the same .

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1. Are the Balrog's wings merely vestigal?
Balrog wings are the perpetual slap-fight of Tolkien nerds everywhere. There is nothing indicating they actually exist at all - the community is divided on whether Tolkien was making a literary allusion or speaking literally when he described the one balrog he did. Heck we don't even know if all balrogs looked the same - we're talking fallen angels here, not a species of nasty beast. For all we know each one looked unique.

If they flew they levitated by magic, end of story. It's impossible to make a flying dragon work without magic as well.

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Maybe I'm spoiled by the relatively rapid advancement of technology in recorded history, but wouldn't you think that there would have been *some* progress over the past 2,500 years?
No. Eru Ilúvatar hates indoor plumbing. The work of Morgoth it is.

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Old 01-08-2019, 06:40 PM
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Maybe I'm spoiled by the relatively rapid advancement of technology in recorded history, but wouldn't you think that there would have been *some* progress over the past 2,500 years?
Well, we stuck with stone tools from about 10,000 BC to about 3,000 BC, then with bronze from about 3,000 BC to about 1,000 BC.

The overwhelming majority of technological progress is not merely in recorded history, but in the last few centuries of recorded history.
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Old 01-08-2019, 06:53 PM
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The treatment of Denethor bothers me the most. In the books, from my memory, he was a tragic but still very well-meaning and brave leader, who was actually strong enough, morally speaking, to resist Sauron's temptations and entreaties. And he ordered the signal fires to be lit, unlike resisting them in the movie. Yeah, by the climax of the battle his spirit was broken, but it was after many brave and strong stands... he wasn't an insane, doddering fool. Just a strong and brave but very sad man, who had tried his very best, but fell apart when tragedy after tragedy struck, and overreached by trying to use the Palantir to help win the war.

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Old 01-08-2019, 06:58 PM
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On balrog wings: At one point, Tolkien says something like "shadows spread around it like two great wings", and later, he refers to the shadows as "wings", without the "like". This can be interpreted as the "wings" just being metaphorical for the shadows, or as meaning that the creature has literal wings, but either way, it's clear that it can't fly (at least, not in that form), because it falls to its death (as does at least one other balrog, in The Silmarillion).

Personally, my take is that balrogs really do literally have wings, composed of literal shadow. Keep in mind that they are not ensouled bodies, but embodied souls: That is to say, what a balrog really fundamentally is, is a spirit, which can sometimes put on a corporeal form in much the same way we'd put on a suit of clothes. I see no reason why an incorporeal spirit couldn't have parts literally composed of shadow. But while wings of shadow might enable a spirit to fly, they're not so good for supporting flesh and blood.
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Old 01-08-2019, 07:21 PM
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Well, we stuck with stone tools from about 10,000 BC to about 3,000 BC, then with bronze from about 3,000 BC to about 1,000 BC.

The overwhelming majority of technological progress is not merely in recorded history, but in the last few centuries of recorded history.
Yes, but once we got to a certain level, we kept moving. The army we saw in the prologue was past that pre-technological level.

No society has ever started along the path of technological progress and then stopped for twenty-five hundred years.
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Old 01-08-2019, 07:28 PM
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On balrog wings: At one point, Tolkien says something like "shadows spread around it like two great wings", and later, he refers to the shadows as "wings", without the "like". This can be interpreted as the "wings" just being metaphorical for the shadows, or as meaning that the creature has literal wings, but either way, it's clear that it can't fly (at least, not in that form), because it falls to its death (as does at least one other balrog, in The Silmarillion).

Personally, my take is that balrogs really do literally have wings, composed of literal shadow. Keep in mind that they are not ensouled bodies, but embodied souls: That is to say, what a balrog really fundamentally is, is a spirit, which can sometimes put on a corporeal form in much the same way we'd put on a suit of clothes. I see no reason why an incorporeal spirit couldn't have parts literally composed of shadow. But while wings of shadow might enable a spirit to fly, they're not so good for supporting flesh and blood.
The best argument for or against wings was a post on Reddit that I liked so much that I bookmarked it. The critical piece...

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Imo it’s more than just “unclear,” it’s a distinct and careful choice. The text is intentionally vague to imply the shifting hyperreal nature of the supernatural creature, and to imply that it is a diseased artifact of corrupted natural forces. Balrogs are unsettling and uncanny. Ambiguity is unsettling ...


... Balrogs have wings like a mountain range might be seen to have wings or teeth or something, if the light were right. They have wings poetically speaking. You may perceive them to have wings, and since they are supernatural creatures, perception is as close to “reality” as you’re going to get as to try to comprehend the thing. If and when Balrogs have wings, they are actually composed of shadow itself, as the Balrog is. Nothing is more of a shape-shifter, in real life, than shadow and flame.
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Old 01-08-2019, 08:17 PM
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Yes, but once we got to a certain level, we kept moving. The army we saw in the prologue was past that pre-technological level.

No society has ever started along the path of technological progress and then stopped for twenty-five hundred years.
Technological progress is not inevitable. After the Roman Empire fell, we lost the knowledge of how to make concrete, for over a thousand years. The Tasmanian aborigines lost the knowledge of shipbuilding. The Japanese voluntarily gave up firearms for several centuries. The Chinese became the world's greatest naval power with Zheng He's "treasure fleets", then mostly abandoned blue-water sailing.

The Third Age was not a time of progress; it was a time of decline. Making palantiri was beyond Elrond's and Galadriel's abilities. The Numenorean technology that built Orthanc was beyond the abilities of Denethor's generation.
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Old 01-08-2019, 09:49 PM
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Yes, but once we got to a certain level, we kept moving. The army we saw in the prologue was past that pre-technological level.

No society has ever started along the path of technological progress and then stopped for twenty-five hundred years.
Men of the West were most in tune with the Elves and the Valar, who are more of nature and magic than technology, so they are probably less likely to go the technological development route from a philosophical perspective. Not to mention the bother of their cities constantly being sacked by Witch Kings and the like.

Men of the East and South are under the sway of Sauron. Sauron himself may well be happy to see technological progress, but only at his behest and direction.

And he might be smart enough to understand the lesson that the one "invulnerable" demon from the Buffy episode learned the hard way.
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Old 01-08-2019, 11:00 PM
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Keep in mind that one of Tolkien's major themes was nature vs. technology, so he had to make the good guys pretty much consistently feudal-level, and leave the technological advances to the bad guys. He wasn't trying to be anthropologically correct; he was spinning an allegory.
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Old 01-08-2019, 11:12 PM
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My time problem is stuff like...."and then Gandalf went to check up on that ring thing and was gone for SEVENTEEN YEARS."
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Old 01-08-2019, 11:32 PM
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My time problem is stuff like...."and then Gandalf went to check up on that ring thing and was gone for SEVENTEEN YEARS."
Inter library loan times were also worse much worse in the third age.
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Old 01-08-2019, 11:50 PM
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There was technological progress, just not in weaponry, and not in an armed police state like Gondor, the North Korea of the West.

Hobbits have mantelpiece clocks and are rocking 18th-Century-style fashions, after all. Clever Hobbitses...
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Old 01-08-2019, 11:53 PM
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Inter library loan times were also worse much worse in the third age.
And the less said about the state of Minas Tirith's microfiche archives, the better!
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Old 01-09-2019, 12:08 AM
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Technological progress is not inevitable. After the Roman Empire fell, we lost the knowledge of how to make concrete, for over a thousand years. The Tasmanian aborigines lost the knowledge of shipbuilding. The Japanese voluntarily gave up firearms for several centuries. The Chinese became the world's greatest naval power with Zheng He's "treasure fleets", then mostly abandoned blue-water sailing.
I stand by what I said. Technology moves. Yes, sometimes one type of technology is abandoned but other technologies are developed.

Europe didn't have a thousand years of stagnation. It fell and then it started rising back up again. There was new technology in the eleventh century that didn't exist in the ninth century and new technology in the thirteenth century that didn't exist in the eleventh century. There was no point when technology just stood still. And that was as true in Asia and Africa and Australia and America as it was in Europe.
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Old 01-09-2019, 12:18 AM
Smapti Smapti is offline
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Europe didn't have a thousand years of stagnation.
Europe also didn't have a civilization that had been propped up by actual magic and divine influence, then suddenly disappeared. The fall of Numenor, the Ainur secluding themselves from the rest of Arda, and the Elves gradually departing for the west left a technology vacuum that the artifice of Man simply couldn't hope to match.
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Old 01-09-2019, 02:31 AM
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Well, we stuck with stone tools from about 10,000 BC to about 3,000 BC
More like 200,000 BC to 3,000 BC.

Fantasy stories about civilizations lasting tens of thousands of years are not particularly uncommon.

In Tolkien, the Orcs and Goblins live in the mountains and rough places and "breed" (ie, live normal lives) for several generations (basically until they're overpopulated) and then descend on Human lands in great numbers (migration). Sometimes they win and civilization is set back. Not all that different than the real world history of barbarians (origination anywhere from Ukraine to Mongolia) migrating in waves into Europe and burning the place down.

By some estimates, Gondor had a population of maybe one million. Rohan anywhere from 300,000 to 600,000. These were not great nations. They had been in slow decline and persistent combat for those thousands of years and gunpowder just wasn't a thing on Middle Earth. No gunpowder, no guns, no cannon, no rockets and you're stuck with bows and swords.
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Old 01-09-2019, 03:01 AM
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and gunpowder just wasn't a thing on Middle Earth.
Except fireworks was totally a thing - not just Gandalf, which you could argue was magic, but also Dwarf-made (IIRC), and the Hobbits seemed very familiar with them.

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Old 01-09-2019, 03:12 AM
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but also Dwarf-made (IIRC)
Scratch that, I was conflating Gandalf's fireworks with the Dale-made toys given away so I did not RC. Although the point about general Hobbit familiarity with fireworks stands.
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Old 01-09-2019, 05:52 AM
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My time problem is stuff like...."and then Gandalf went to check up on that ring thing and was gone for SEVENTEEN YEARS."
As the Wizards were sent to Middle-Earth to give aid against Sauron, I'd have though in the 2000 years they were there they'd have read everything written about Sauron and all the rings ever created. What were they doing during this time? Also, didn't they receive some form of briefing from the Valar before they got on the boat to Middle-Earth? (I know Sauruman was the person looking into the ring, but in 2000 years all of them should have been able to write multiple Phd thesis' on the subject)
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Old 01-09-2019, 07:18 AM
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Everyone assumed the Ring was lost until the events of The Hobbit, what reason would Gandalf have for researching it before then - he trusted Saruman to share any pertinent info.
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Old 01-09-2019, 07:19 AM
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Presumably men and elves and dwarves (and even orcs) went from stone tools, simple knives and spears to bows, ornate armor, elvish swords which are the equal of Wolverine's claws, siege weapons, furnaces, forges; so did they just suddenly stop? Once you get to the level of furnaces and forges, do you just stop? No gliders, no steam powered vehicles, nothing?

Also; Saruman throws a fireball at Gandalf when confronted at the start of Return of the King, right? But he never thought to use that against the Ents? Maybe he rolled a zero.
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Old 01-09-2019, 07:30 AM
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Tim Morris makes a good point about Tolkien's disdain for tech and industry. Might be key to understanding his choices.
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Old 01-09-2019, 11:18 AM
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2. In the preamble to Fellowship of the Ring, Galadriel is telling the story of how Sauron was defeated via finger-chop, and then she says that over 2,500 years had passed in peace since that time until the time that she's telling the story... so 2,500 years pass and swords, bows, and armor pretty much look and function the same? The greatest technological advance seems to be that Saruman found a way to make a crude bomb? Maybe I'm spoiled by the relatively rapid advancement of technology in recorded history, but wouldn't you think that there would have been *some* progress over the past 2,500 years?
You barely even scratch the tip of the iceberg here regarding this issue.

The First Age lasted at least 5000 years (some writings by Tolkien stretch that out to an absurd 60,000+ "years of the sun"). For most of 450 "years of the trees" the Firstborn Children of Ilúvatar (the elves) exist (the equivalent of at least 4500 "years of the sun") essentially unchanged in basic technology (presumably given to them by the Valar/Maiar). For the last 600 "years of the sun", they are joined in Middle-Earth by the Second Born Children, men, who presumably learn their technology from the elves.

The Second Age lasts 3,441 years. During that time, weapons technology appears to have changed little (bows and swords). Ship building technology is improved dramatically by the Númenoreans, then halts at the point where they are sailing in large versions of what we might equate to Spanish Galleons. The Númenoreans have the ability to manipulate and shape rock/stone to create tremendous statues, cities, and towers, by a method never discussed in the literature of Tolkien.

The Third Age lasts 3,021 years. In that time, weapons change hardly at all (the invention of crude gunpowder appears to occur near the end of the age, prompted by the efforts of Saruman (see the explosion at Helm's Deep, for example). The ability of the remnants of the Númenorean civilization to engage in massive stone-working is slowly lost, as the civilization itself dwindles over time.

So that's a total of at LEAST 10,000 years of essentially unchanged weapons and living technology.

Remember: the whole Middle-Earth thing is Tolkien's attempt to create a mythos for England. Mythology isn't exactly great at being realistic about the growth of civilizations. Indeed, technological advance in some mythologies is frowned upon (see, for example, Prometheus and Pandora). Shouldn't be too shocking that Professor Tolkien, who was influenced as a young boy by the slow industrialization of his childhood home area to dislike modernization through technology, would create an essentially technologically stagnant culture for his mythos.
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Old 01-09-2019, 11:20 AM
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Right. It was Mordor and the Orcs who were despoiling Middle Earth with furnaces and industry, not Men.

Besides which, as I note, the population base was absurdly small. Technology is largely a function of Economies of Scale.
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Old 01-09-2019, 12:10 PM
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Huh, it never occurred to me that the ambiguity about wings might have been intentional: My general conception of writing is an author with a clear idea in mind, who attempts (with varying degrees of success) to convey that idea to the reader. But it absolutely is effective, and Tolkien is just the sort of author who might realize that.
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Old 01-09-2019, 12:44 PM
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In fiction like Lord of the Rings, you can have a kingdom that exists more or less unchanged for 3000 years. In real life that could never happen. Yes, there have been empires that lasted a thousand years. But these empires are never static things. The Roman Empire of 200 BC was very different than the Roman Empire of 44 BC, which was very different than the Roman Empire of 200 AD, which was very different than the Roman Empire of 476 AD, which was very different than the Roman Empire of 1071 AD, which was very different than the Roman Empire of 1453 AD.

Or consider how Renaissance painters depicted Bible stories. Those ancient Israelites and Romans were often dressed and featured just like local people, despite the fact that the painters must have known that people from faraway lands don't look or dress like your next door neighbors. But those things weren't relevant to the painters.

And of course, Tolkien himself didn't believe in "progress". Take for example the Elves. Far from advancing in technology, it takes all their strength merely to preserve, for a time, what they already have. The days when new things were created are over and done with, and the best you can do is hold on to those things until they are inevitably destroyed.

And note that this is a very medieval outlook. The Medieval people didn't believe the world was getting better, or that technology was progressing. Instead they thought things were degenerating and getting worse. That view wasn't accurate, but it was a commonly held view. And then along came World War I, which for many people of the time confirmed that all the so-called progress of the 19th Century was an illusion and all we had done was dream up better ways to destroy and kill.
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Old 01-09-2019, 12:51 PM
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Europe also didn't have a civilization that had been propped up by actual magic and divine influence, then suddenly disappeared. The fall of Numenor, the Ainur secluding themselves from the rest of Arda, and the Elves gradually departing for the west left a technology vacuum that the artifice of Man simply couldn't hope to match.
If you start invoking "a wizard did it" you can explain away anything.

But it doesn't mean I have to believe it's a realistic depiction of a human society.

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Tim Morris makes a good point about Tolkien's disdain for tech and industry. Might be key to understanding his choices.
This is the real explanation. Middle Earth did not change over thousands of years because it didn't exist over thousands of years. The only changes Middle Earth experienced occurred between 1936 and 1955.
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Old 01-09-2019, 02:36 PM
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It might be worth pointing out that, for most of Middle Earth's history, the dominant race was one that could easily live for tens of thousands of years. Even in our world, people can be reluctant to adopt technology different from what they grew up with: Advance largely comes as new generations grow up with the new technology. We're not talking someone saying "Swords were good enough for my great-great-grandpa, and so they're good enough for me". We're talking some elf saying "Swords were good enough for me, and so they're good enough for me".
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Old 01-09-2019, 02:43 PM
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My time problem is stuff like...."and then Gandalf went to check up on that ring thing and was gone for SEVENTEEN YEARS."
He probably got stuck following an ever deepening series of hyperlinks, I know that happens to me every time I look up something Middle-Earth related.
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Old 01-09-2019, 03:07 PM
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...Even in our world, people can be reluctant to adopt technology different from what they grew up with...
This has always been my personal take on it. With very long life comes introspection and complacency, and the elves were never prolific enough for economies of scale to be a catalyst for rapid progress.

The dwarves were much more ambitious, but never prolific. Whenever it seemed they were 'delving too deep' with their massive cities, they inevitably ran afoul of dragons and balrogs that would stomp them back to subsistence survival (perhaps a metaphor for Tolkien's tech disdain).

Hobbits had pipeweed, 'nuff said.
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Old 01-09-2019, 03:18 PM
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2. In the preamble to Fellowship of the Ring, Galadriel is telling the story of how Sauron was defeated via finger-chop, and then she says that over 2,500 years had passed in peace since that time until the time that she's telling the story... so 2,500 years pass and swords, bows, and armor pretty much look and function the same?
You can fan-wank this as a side-effect of the Three Rings of Power. Possibly the Nine too. Just as they staved off the decay that the Elves would feel, so they stifled technological progress.
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Old 01-09-2019, 03:49 PM
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Right. It was Mordor and the Orcs who were despoiling Middle Earth with furnaces and industry, not Men.
Mordor had as many Men working for it as Orcs.
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Old 01-09-2019, 03:58 PM
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"As Iluvatar is my witness, I thought Balrogs could fly!"
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Old 01-09-2019, 04:25 PM
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Yes, but once we got to a certain level, we kept moving. The army we saw in the prologue was past that pre-technological level.

No society has ever started along the path of technological progress and then stopped for twenty-five hundred years.
It could be argued that Egypt at least tried.
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Old 01-09-2019, 07:36 PM
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Everyone assumed the Ring was lost until the events of The Hobbit, what reason would Gandalf have for researching it before then - he trusted Saruman to share any pertinent info.
'Know your enemy". And that you had 2000 years to kill... Or did sitting in the pub in Bree take up most of that time?
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Old 01-09-2019, 08:17 PM
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If you start invoking "a wizard did it" you can explain away anything.

But it doesn't mean I have to believe it's a realistic depiction of a human society.
In the case of Middle-Earth, though, odds are pretty good that a wizard did do it (or at least some sort of magical and/or divine being).
  #38  
Old 01-09-2019, 09:59 PM
Cuckoorex Cuckoorex is offline
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Some more thoughts/problems on Lord of the Rings, specifically Return of the King:

During the attack on Gondor, the orcs are getting nowhere using a battering ram to try to break down the gates. One orc tells the commander that nothing can break down the gate. The commander turns, as if stymied, and then seems to all of a sudden remember, "Oh, wait! We have that giant-ass flaming wolf-head battering ram that we've been hauling for miles! Let's use that!" And the orc army of course knows of it, they chant its name. Why wouldn't they use that from the start? What were they saving it for?

Gollum leads Frodo to Shelob's tunnel, where eventually he gets stung and paralyzed. Um, was he NOT wearing the Mithril chainmail shirt?? How the hell can a spider's stinger, even a giant spider's stinger, pierce Mithril??

I feel the arrival of the army of the dead feels like someone used a cheat code. They're so swift and efficient at taking down all enemies, including oliphants, that the scenes of Aragorn and company fighting seem almost superfluous. Yeah, I get that with every orc killed they save lives, it's just that from a story standpoint it makes the climax kind of, well, a bit of a letdown. I enjoyed watching the battle for Helm's Deep more.

I'm with Gimli when he suggests that they keep the army of the dead in their service. I get that it's the honorable, kingly thing to do for Aragorn to release them, but technically the war wasn't over yet.

Finally, the Eowyn/Faramir romance angle makes zero sense to me and at the very least seems rushed and shoehorned. I can buy Eowyn's attraction to Aragorn, but not to Faramir. They've barely spoken!
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  #39  
Old 01-09-2019, 10:31 PM
Chimera Chimera is offline
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Gollum leads Frodo to Shelob's tunnel, where eventually he gets stung and paralyzed. Um, was he NOT wearing the Mithril chainmail shirt?? How the hell can a spider's stinger, even a giant spider's stinger, pierce Mithril??
Shelob is mythic.

"But still, she was there, who was there before Sauron, and before the first stone of Barad-dűr; and she served none but herself, drinking the blood of Elves and Men, bloated and grown fat with endless brooding on her feasts, weaving webs of shadow; for all living things were her food, and her vomit darkness."

Quote:
I feel the arrival of the army of the dead feels like someone used a cheat code. They're so swift and efficient at taking down all enemies, including oliphants, that the scenes of Aragorn and company fighting seem almost superfluous. Yeah, I get that with every orc killed they save lives, it's just that from a story standpoint it makes the climax kind of, well, a bit of a letdown. I enjoyed watching the battle for Helm's Deep more.
Well yes, the green scrubbing bubbles of the movie were a bit much.

Quote:
Finally, the Eowyn/Faramir romance angle makes zero sense to me and at the very least seems rushed and shoehorned. I can buy Eowyn's attraction to Aragorn, but not to Faramir. They've barely spoken!
They spent a few months together as everyone healed up from the battle at Minas Tirith and continuing through Aragorn and the army's grand tour of Mordor's environs (that whole 'distract Sauron from Frodo' thing).
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Last edited by Chimera; 01-09-2019 at 10:32 PM.
  #40  
Old 01-09-2019, 10:33 PM
DSYoungEsq DSYoungEsq is offline
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Originally Posted by Cuckoorex View Post
Some more thoughts/problems on Lord of the Rings, specifically Return of the King:

During the attack on Gondor, the orcs are getting nowhere using a battering ram to try to break down the gates. One orc tells the commander that nothing can break down the gate. The commander turns, as if stymied, and then seems to all of a sudden remember, "Oh, wait! We have that giant-ass flaming wolf-head battering ram that we've been hauling for miles! Let's use that!" And the orc army of course knows of it, they chant its name. Why wouldn't they use that from the start? What were they saving it for?
Doesn't happen in the books, of course. It's Grond from the start there.
Quote:

Gollum leads Frodo to Shelob's tunnel, where eventually he gets stung and paralyzed. Um, was he NOT wearing the Mithril chainmail shirt?? How the hell can a spider's stinger, even a giant spider's stinger, pierce Mithril??
He gets bitten, not stung, and on the back of the neck (in the book). No mithril there.

Quote:
I feel the arrival of the army of the dead feels like someone used a cheat code. They're so swift and efficient at taking down all enemies, including oliphants, that the scenes of Aragorn and company fighting seem almost superfluous. Yeah, I get that with every orc killed they save lives, it's just that from a story standpoint it makes the climax kind of, well, a bit of a letdown. I enjoyed watching the battle for Helm's Deep more.
They don't fight oliphaunts in the book; they don't really fight, per se. They simply sweep all their enemies before them as they are overcome with the terror of facing the dead. Remember; they aren't at Minas Tirith, only with Aragorn until Pelargir.
Quote:

I'm with Gimli when he suggests that they keep the army of the dead in their service. I get that it's the honorable, kingly thing to do for Aragorn to release them, but technically the war wasn't over yet.
Aragorn doesn't have a choice, really. The Dead are only bound to serve him until they atone for failing to appear when called by Isildur. This they do adequately by sweeping away the armies of Corsairs and other Southrons raiding the southern lands of Gondor.

Quote:
Finally, the Eowyn/Faramir romance angle makes zero sense to me and at the very least seems rushed and shoehorned. I can buy Eowyn's attraction to Aragorn, but not to Faramir. They've barely spoken!
Eowyn spends a long time with Faramir in the Houses of Healing following the departure of Aragorn and the Host of the West. They regularly walk together along the ramparts, while awaiting the results of the upcoming battle. The march of the Host to the Black Gate takes close to two weeks, IIRC. Then, when the Ring is destroyed, and she is asked to come to the Field of Cormallon, she refuses to go because it is Eomer who asks, not Aragorn. And it is after that at some point that Faramir forces her to face the fact that she's been falling in love with him, and should give up her desire for the handsome and puissant Aragorn. So it's not exactly something that happens after they've "barely spoken".
  #41  
Old 01-10-2019, 12:52 AM
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'Know your enemy". And that you had 2000 years to kill... Or did sitting in the pub in Bree take up most of that time?
The Ring was considered lost, but Sauron was still around - battling him and his minions, and training up generations of Last True NumenoreansRangers takes time.
  #42  
Old 01-10-2019, 01:35 AM
dtilque dtilque is online now
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Balrog wings are the perpetual slap-fight of Tolkien nerds everywhere.
My headcanon is that Balrogs were not all the same. Some had wings, some did not. I refuse to get into arguments about it.

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Well, we stuck with stone tools from about 10,000 BC to about 3,000 BC,
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Originally Posted by Chimera View Post
More like 200,000 BC to 3,000 BC.
The earliest stone tools are about 2 million years old. However, there was no single technology of "stone tools". They improved (very slowly) over the millennia as well as became specialized for various uses.
  #43  
Old 01-10-2019, 03:51 AM
Cuckoorex Cuckoorex is offline
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To those who are admirably recounting the story points from the books; I have tried on a few occasions to read the books without success; it feels like doing a book report on the book of Numbers from the Bible sometimes. I do get that there is likely a fuller and more sensible explanation for some of these issues in the books, but I'm approaching the story from the standpoint of one who has only familiarity with the cinematic adaptation. Regardless of how many months Eowyn and Faramir spend getting to know each other, even in the extended version the impression one gets is that it has to be less than a couple of weeks at best before they're holding hands and staring into each other's eyes; this is compounded by the interspersed scenes of Frodo and Sam at Mt. Doom, which make it seem like it's a matter of a day or so at best from the end of the battle at Gondor to their arrival at the fiery pit itself; I get that isn't the case at all. This is more a criticism of the choices the filmmakers made, how it comes across to the uninitiated viewer. But I get the impression that a fully faithful adaptation of the books would probably take something like twelve movies.
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  #44  
Old 01-10-2019, 10:26 AM
DSYoungEsq DSYoungEsq is offline
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Look at Faramir and Eowyn this way:

Eowyn isn't really in love with Aragorn (hell, she hardly knows HIM!*). She just thinks he's the studliest guy she's ever seen, AND, he's gonna be a major king, not like her extended family, who rule out of a small, greasy hut by comparison to what she's heard about Minas Tirith. She THINKS she's in love with him, but she's more in love with the idea of him.

As for Faramir, he's the first Númenorean she's ever really spent any time with. He's good looking, he's a hell of a fighter, and, unlike her dreamlover Aragorn, Faramir actually appears to have qualities she really prizes, though she's too caught up in the shield-maiden thing to accept that. If you don't think two people can fall in love with each other in a matter of a few days, I think you have a bit of an unrealistic viewpoint on love.
  #45  
Old 01-10-2019, 02:58 PM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is offline
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Look at Faramir and Eowyn this way:

Eowyn isn't really in love with Aragorn (hell, she hardly knows HIM!*). She just thinks he's the studliest guy she's ever seen, AND, he's gonna be a major king, not like her extended family, who rule out of a small, greasy hut by comparison to what she's heard about Minas Tirith. She THINKS she's in love with him, but she's more in love with the idea of him.

As for Faramir, he's the first Númenorean she's ever really spent any time with. He's good looking, he's a hell of a fighter, and, unlike her dreamlover Aragorn, Faramir actually appears to have qualities she really prizes, though she's too caught up in the shield-maiden thing to accept that. If you don't think two people can fall in love with each other in a matter of a few days, I think you have a bit of an unrealistic viewpoint on love.
I've heard that argument about Aragorn and I quibble with the part of "The idea of him".

Aragorn is the King. The heir of Isildur. Aragorn is a BFD. Aragorn IS the idea of him. He's legion. He contains worlds. You can't put Aragorn on a pedestal.

I also think he loves her. (Im not going to argue with the difference between 'love' and 'in love') What's not to love. Anyone would love her. "From the moment i met you, I've wished you nothing but joy" is a fancy way of saying you love someone.

BUT...of course he belongs to another. And he has a lot of duties.
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Old 01-10-2019, 03:04 PM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is offline
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Slightly related to my earlier "Gandalf pissed off for seventeen years":

Balrogs and Shelob are intelligent arnt they? Smaug certainly is.

So what the hell do they do in their downtime?? I guess I can see how Shelob has no further ambition than to venture out occasionally and catch an orc. And I GUESSSS Smaug really needs his beauty sleep. Like REALLY needs it.

But what the hell is the Balrog doing?
  #47  
Old 01-10-2019, 03:41 PM
dtilque dtilque is online now
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Slightly related to my earlier "Gandalf pissed off for seventeen years":

Balrogs and Shelob are intelligent arnt they? Smaug certainly is.

So what the hell do they do in their downtime?? I guess I can see how Shelob has no further ambition than to venture out occasionally and catch an orc. And I GUESSSS Smaug really needs his beauty sleep. Like REALLY needs it.

But what the hell is the Balrog doing?
The Balrog, Smaug and Shelob spend way too much time on the Evilnet. Lots of swapping of recipes for heroes and adventurers on Facecook, for example.
  #48  
Old 01-10-2019, 04:23 PM
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silenus silenus is offline
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But what the hell is the Balrog doing?
Shooting hoops for Villanova?
  #49  
Old 01-10-2019, 04:24 PM
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I can understand that the Eowyn-Faramir romance seems rushed on the big screen, but I'm not sure I can really fault the filmmakers for that. They had to cut a lot to fit the books into three movies, and what they didn't cut, they had to compress. They really didn't have time to spend on a romance between two third-tier characters. Similarly, I'm not upset by some of the things they cut entirely: Yes, I'd love to have seen Tom Bombadil, and the Scouring of the Shire, but those were things that could be cut out relatively cleanly, leaving more room for the things they couldn't cut.

As for the Army of the Dead, the book actually says that nobody even knows if their ghost-weapons would even have been effective: The sheer terror of them was so effective that nobody stuck around to test them.

EDIT: silenus, I was actually attending Villanova when I read that, and it was all the more ironic, in that, first, the biggest Balhog in the NCAA at the time was playing for our archrival, and second, our own star was the most team-oriented player in the NCAA.

Last edited by Chronos; 01-10-2019 at 04:26 PM.
  #50  
Old 01-10-2019, 06:44 PM
dtilque dtilque is online now
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As for the Army of the Dead, the book actually says that nobody even knows if their ghost-weapons would even have been effective: The sheer terror of them was so effective that nobody stuck around to test them.
Who would win: Army of the Dead vs. the Nazgul? Both used terror as their main weapon and were probably immune to it. And I suspect the Dead would not be bothered by mere physical weapons. So a stalemate, I guess.
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