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Yet in those days all the enemies of the Enemy revered what was ancient, in language no less than in other matters, and they took pleasure in it according to their knowledge. The Eldar, being above all skilled in words, had the command of many styles, though they spoke most naturally in a manner nearest to their own speech, one even more antique than that of Gondor. The Dwarves, too, spoke with skill, readily adapting themselves to their company, though their utterance seemed to some rather harsh and guttural. But Orcs and Trolls spoke as they would, without love of words or things; and their language was actually more degraded and filthy than I have shown it. I do not suppose that any will wish for a closer rendering, though models are easy to find. Much the same sort of talk can still be heard among the orc-minded; dreary and repetitive with hatred and contempt, too long removed from good to retain even verbal vigour, save in the ears of those to whom only the squalid sounds strong.
-J.R.R. Tolkien, Return of the King, Appendix F

Come on, Professor, don't hold back; tell us how you really feel!

Actually, I know exactly what he's getting at here. I've sat through enough conversations that ran along the lines of "Well shit! What the fuck does that motherfucker mean by posting this goddamn crap?" that I find them very dull these days. I have a few writer friends in particular who have a tendency to think that emotional outbursts (regardless of whether they're joy, despair, or anger) somehow seem more "real" when liberally laced with swear words, no matter what the context or who's making the outburst.

Anyway, I finally finished rereading Lord of the Rings from stem to stern, including every passage of elvish poetry and all the appendices (both of which I skipped for the most part when first reading it). Return of the King is actually the fastest read of the bunch, it seems, although I really, really got tired of the "They looked to him And Lo! he was as if a man transformed. For behold! the glory of the Eldar was upon him. And Lo! the writer cannot finish a paragraph without inserting fifteen archaic interjections. But behold! They really get on the reader's nerves after a while!" I think the point at which I got closest to throwing the book across the room was when the people of Gondor started spontaneously shouting "Praise them with great praise!" all over the place.

What it boils down to, I have come to the conclusion, is that I derive much more enjoyment out of the study of "Middle Earth lore" than I do from actually reading Tolkien's writing. I love the setting and the history of Middle Earth, and I enjoy the plot of Lord of the Rings even when the book drives me up the wall. If LotR had been written by Robert E. Howard, the fantasy genre would be dead to me 'cause it would be impossible to improve upon it.

Lucky for me then, I guess, that it wasn't. ;) If and when I start doing my novel-writing with serious intent, that may be one of the ways I approach my work -- to see if I can produce "Lord of the Rings as written by Robert E. Howard". That won't be my end-point, of course, but it's not a bad launching platform.

-The Gneech

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
klepsydra
May. 22nd, 2007 06:03 pm (UTC)
What it boils down to, I have come to the conclusion, is that I derive much more enjoyment out of the study of "Middle Earth lore" than I do from actually reading Tolkien's writing. I love the setting and the history of Middle Earth, and I enjoy the plot of Lord of the Rings even when the book drives me up the wall.

If Tolkien were alive I suspect he'd be pleased to learn this. He never really saw himself as a novelist, did he? More as the creator of a fantastically detailed world which just happened to be detailed in novels because that was the most convenient way to disseminate his creations.
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