Parts of LOTR lore that you don't really get

Are there any aspects of Tolkien’s world that you just can’t seem to get behind?

For me, it’s the longevity of Elves (and other long-lived races) and their relationships with Man (and other short-lived races). I just don’t see how someone who has lived thousands and thousands of years could care at all about an individual who will be around for, essentially, a cup of coffee. With all your millenia of training and experience, why would you pay them any attention at all? How can you ally yourself with someone who is not even a toddler by comparison, or give up your immortality and marry one? The concept of preferring to be with your loved one over living a lifetime without him is romantic, I guess, but come on now. You’ll get over the kid.

Also, bearded dwarf ladies.

When you essentially live forever (they are reborn when they die with a few notable exceptions) and were there first, beings who die and stay dead at all are a novelty, regardless of how long they are around for. In fact, this ability to die and leave the world is a special gift from Eru.

Not to mention their coming was foretold to you as a big deal. Humans may not stick around, but they are important.

I guess I don’t get why the people of Gondor love Aragorn so much. The stewards of Gondor have ruled for 1000 years, and apparently done a good job. Now, all of a sudden, everybody dumps them and picks some foreigner who’s lived all his life outside Gondor, and doesn’t have any experience ruling a state just because of who his ancestors are and he can do some magic tricks?

While some Elves did give up immortality, there were only about four or five in all of history, and one was half-elven. It’s not like ti happened everyday. And the elves were a little… sensitive to grief, and might well not survive it.

First off, Aragorn was already a war hero - for Gondor(!) - in the past. Second, they have been basically telling themselves legends and hoping and praying the kings will return. Finally, when he does show up, he comes with an army have defeated Sauron’s allies in Gondor’s rear. Quite an entrance, neh?

Tom Bombadil (yes the obvious answer).

Also, the Steward has just gone nuts and burned himself alive while the enemy was at the gate. Folks might be thinkin’ “Ehh, maybe it’s time for a change.”

And Gondor had been sunk into nostalgia for quite a while now, with people thinking back to the ‘good old days’ all those millenia ago.

A bonafide ruler of royal blood (containing as it does the lineage of Beren and Thranduil, Melian, and Tuor and Idril, legendary mortals, elves, and even a maia) is gonna turn heads.

Okay. I never read the books. Tried to get through LOTR, and couldn’t stand it. Loved the movies. I cast no aspersions on the books and consider my dislike of them a personal failing.

That being said, where the hell are the elves going? What’s the undying land? Is it another planet? Another plane of existence? Another continent? Where is it? Why doesn’t the Eye have dominion over that place if it’s on the same planet?

Because mortals are the other children of Iluvatar, and they are not bound to Fate, as are the Elves. And whenever mortals show up, elves get their worldview majorly shaken. So they pay attention.

Hey, you can find folks with joneses for them just by googling! :smiley:

The Undying Lands, where the Valar and Maiar reside. They created the world under the tutilage of Eru (God) way back when, and came down into the world to help achieve it, and to fight Melkor, the renegade Valar.

They had a nice piece of real estate in the western part of the world (named the Undying Lands, cuz the folks who lived there didn’t die), and called a lot of the elves to move in with them, back in the day. Many elves made the move, lots stayed in Middle earth though.

When Melkor stirred up trouble, lots of the elves that lived in the Undying Lands moved out, marching back to Middle Earth to do battle with Melkor and his lieutenant, Sauron. This led to lots of battles, lots of legends, and eventually to Melkor’s defeat.

The nice men who fought alongside of the brave elves were given a lovely island (numenor) between middle earth and the Undying Lands to live on. These folks were ruled over by their king, who had both elven, Maiar, and mortal blood in his veins.

But the king’s descendants got unruly, and deluded by Sauron, tried to seize the Undying Lands, thinking they’d be immortal. They got whacked instead, the world was changed, and made round, and the Undying Lands removed from the world. Elves could still sail there, though. And elves could leave middle-earth whenever they chose, to sail to these lands. Men only ended up sailing around the world, ending back where they came from.

Non-rebellious Numenorians (the "faithful’) escaped the island’s sinking. They set up Gondor and Arnor back in Middle Earth, and were led by a descendant of Numenor’s first king, who was Elendil, father of Isildur (elendil was the descendant, that is). They fought Sauron there too, as did Elendil’s descendent, Aragorn.

Anyway, when elves have their mortal bodies destroyed, their spirits go to the Undying Lands, where they eventually get re-issued bodies, and then go hang with their friends, but they’re pretty much restricted to the Undying Lands.

Men, on the other hand, leave creation for points unknown when their bodies get destroyed. Hence “the gift of death”.

Clear now? As mud, I’m sure! :wink:

Avalon, basically. It was removed from the circle of the world after the invasion fleet from Atlantis almost landed. Now, even if you try to sail far enough Westward, you are bound by the circle of the world. Only Elves and the occasional other person with special dispensation from Jehovah are allowed to go there.

Read the darn books.

Well, Avalonnë (AKA Tol Eressëa) was the easternmost part of the undying lands, yes. But it was just a tiny bit, sort of like Long island is to North America.

Where did Bilbo get his clock?

I’m not going to start talking about Lyonesse, much as it is dear to my heart… That would confuse the poor illiterate even more.

He probably bought it. Clockwork is apparently not unknown.

But machines and gears and levers and cogs and stuff are bad. The highest pinnacle of technology we should aspire to is the water-wheel, and even millers are pretty suspect characters.

And the Steward is dead and his Heir wants Aragorn to be King.

In general, I don’t think the Elves did care much at all about Men. In Arwin’s particular case, she fell in love with Aragorn, so of course she’s going to care about him. He’s also not just any man, but part Elf himself (if only distantly) and extremely long lived. In fact, she’s his great-great…-great aunt. And I don’t get the feeling that the undying lands are all they’re cracked up to be. :slight_smile:

Can you explain the Fate part, oh great doctor? :slight_smile:

I don’t remember getting that impression from the book, and as for the movie–well, I think PJ meant to imply that heavy industrialization and the destruction of nature (i.e. today’s world) is bad. For all we know, Bilbo’s clock could’ve come from some quaint little clockmaker’s shop in Hobbiton.

I’d like to know more about the Blue Wizards (and Radagast), but I don’t think I’m ever going to.