[LMB] Re: LOTR, Modern Fantasy, and Chalion

Tony Zbaraschuk tonyz at eskimo.com
Sun, 30 Dec 2001 23:05:08 -0800


Andrew wrote:
>The biggest problem I have with Tolkien is the elgaic tone James
>enjoys.  It is completely contrary to my mindset that things are getting
>worse.  

And yet, Tolkien is more subtle than that.

There is a mourning for what is lost, for the fading of strength and
wonder and glory from the world.  Who could not weep for Lorien, or
at the passage of the last ship out of the world of Men?

New things arise.  You cannot have forever the things that were --
if you try, you end as Denethor, destroying what you cannot keep for
your very own.  (A subtle moment; I've been re-reading LOTR for two
decades, and I only noticed this last month: Denethor's desire to keep
all things unchanged, to have what his fathers had before him, is the
Elves' desire to keep Middle-earth unchanged... and, fair as it may
be, that is a wrong desire; we see where it leads on the Steward's
pyre.)

There is regret for what was lost; there must be, for beauty passed
away, and tales no longer told, and songs no longer sung.  But a
new Age is dawning, and new things with it...


Tony Zbaraschuk

-- 
"The King with half the East at heel is marched from lands of morning;
 His fighters drink the rivers up, their shafts benight the air,
 And he that stays will die for naught, and home there's no returning."
 The Spartans on the sea-wet rock sat down and combed their hair.--A.E. Housman