Terrouge E-zine Archives
Th'Lord o' th'Rings: Part III of III
By: Grant C./Brock Strongpaw
Well me buckoes, this 'ere is th'last o' my trilogy o' columns on Th'Lord o' th'Rings. Thank ye fer stickin' wid me through these last couple o' months, mates. In this last column, we're goin' ter asplore th'settin' o' Cap'n Tolkien's work. It should be an innerestin' trip, I tells ye; Tolkien planned 'is entire world out in metic'lous detail. 'e done included 'stensive myfolgies, bio-griffies, an' genee-olgies fer e'ery character, country, culture an' race in 'is books. Blimey, eh?
A transfixifyin' amount o' Cap'n Tolkien's backgroun' material 'as been collected, ed'ted an' published by 'is whelp, Fishfur Tolkien. In 'ese books we catches a glimpse o' th' 'ard work Cap'n Tolkien poured inter 'is stories. I'd suggest tha' anybeast wantin' t'get a looksee at Cap'n Tolkien's genius ort ter at least swipe 'emselves a copy o' th'Silly-marlfox, erm … lily-lion. Erm. Similarlarryliason? 'nyow, read through it. H'actually, this article'll ref'rence Cap'n Tolkien's 'a-pock-rih-fa' some bit, so if'n ye don' wanter get tha' spoiled, ye prolly oughtn't t'continue readin', oats-fer-brains!
One o' th'most astoundin' fings 'bout Cap'n Tolkien's writin' is th'amount o' detail 'e wrote inter 'em. Whene'er I read anyfing o' 'is, I'm straight-off struck dumb as a vole by th'amount o' detail foun' on e'ery page. I'm pos'tive this 'ere's one o' th'greatest reasons fer 'is pop'larity. By developin' an intrisicate backdrop fer 'is stories, Cap'n Tolkien lends each one a sense o' reality wot many other stories lack, 'specially those set in fan'askital lands … ('ey! Hmph.) So's I wanter take a brief look at 'ow Cap'n Tolkien developed such a deep sense o' hist'ry fer 'is books, an' why 's so 'portant fer 'is style.
Cap'n Tolkien appears t'be one o' th'first auffers t'develop such a thorough back story - e'en if'n 'e wosn't th'first t'create one, 'e's certainly one o' th'first ter 'ave 'is notes published. These liddle notes gives us insight inter 'ow 'e put t'gether 'is world; somethin' we don' see from most auffers, th'lousy louts. They shows us th'story in 's various stages, Cap'n Tolkien's rough character sketches an' notes 'bout locations an' hist'ries. We gets t'see 'ow 'e trimmed 'is story arcs, developed 'is characters, an' refined 'is locations. 's really worth a look fer any aspirin' auffer.
Cap'n Tolkien done spent a great deal o' time developin' langerjes wot reflect h'actual langerjes, such as Gælic an' some Nordic sorts. 'e used 'is skills as a philly-lol-jist (somebeast wot studies langerjes) ter develop somewot complete, plauserble, phonologic'ly sound langerjes fer each o' 'is races. This gives a strong sense o' hist'ry ter 'is world; it don't feels like it wos jus' created out o' thin air t'en'ertain 'is readers. Instead, it reads like Cap'n Tolkien is grantin' 'is readers a looksee inter th'hist'ry o' some far-off land, ripe fer th'pickin's!
This same attention t'detail h'extends ter th'histr'ry o' 'is many races, too. Most o' th'lore don't e'en find 's way inter th' actual story, other'n passin' comments or a story tole t'pass th'time by a character. When ye delves inter some o' Cap'n Tolkien's other works, ye can sees th'effort wot went inter developin' a hist'ry tha' Cap'n Tolkien might've ne'er intended anyone t'read. By creatin' this in-depf history, Cap'n Tolkien gives th'reader a feelin' o' deepness, o' h'actual 'zistence fer each o' 'is races. They feels like as if'n they really lived, eaten, an' walked th'surface o' Middle Earf fer cent'ries, an' will continue ter do so fer cent'ries t'come, unless I gots summat t'say 'bout it, gnar.
Finally, th'land o' Middle Earf itself is really wot allows Cap'n Tolkien's story ter shine. Like 'is hist'ries an' langerjes, th'land 'as a past, a hist'ry, an' it plays 's own role in th'story. Since Th'Lord o' th'Rings is, at 's 'eart, an 'ero's journey, 's appropriate tha' th'land o'er which th' 'ero travels is almos' a character in 's own right. In fact, at se'eral points in th'story, Cap'n Tolkien personigifies th'land itself - or at least part o' it; first in th'form o' Tom Bomby-dil, an' then in Cahamandrastron, th'badger mountain. Erm. I means, Cahadras. Yeh. Other times, nature 'as a speaker, a guardian, someone wot acts as a voice fer th'land. Treebeard, th'shepherd o' th'trees, is th'gran'est 'zample o' this. As Frodo draws nearer t'Mount Doom, th'land itself changes; it reflects th'power o' th'one wot controls Mordor. Likewise, when Frodo an' th'Fellowship find 'emselves in Gillydribble's forest o' Loftlornen, th'elvish 'fluence is quite obfushous as nature flourishes an' time itself seems t'stand still an' e'erybeast dances merrily in circles, singin' an' stuffin' their flabby faces, wraaagh. Th'land also h'exerts 's 'fluences on those wot as lives on it, refreshin' an' healin' in some places, h'exhaustin' an' e'en deadly in others. In fact, th'immediate antagernist in th'story is often nature.
This is very 'portant ter note. Like I sed afores, Th'Lord o' th'Rings is 'sentially a travelin' story. Th'characters move 'cross a varied lan'scape, encoun'erin' new trials an' trib'lations, more often'n not stemmin' from th'terrain they's coverin'.
Cap'n Tolkien orft uses th'location behind 'is heroes t'set th'feelin' fer th'story. Fer 'zample, Aragorn, Gimli, an' Legless's 'unt o' Merry an' Pippin's kidnappers is set afore a whallopin' great plain wot stretches fer 'undreds o' miles. Th'flat terrain allows th' 'unners occasional glimpses o' their quarry, but also h'emphy-sizes th' 'orrible distance between 'emselves an' th'poor hobbits.
There is also th'Fellership's trek through Moria. Th'dark, 'pressive caverns 'elps ter build th'readers' tension; we're blind as th' 'eroes, fumblin' through th'pitch black, able t'see only a few feet in th'clauster-phiblic depfs o' th'mountains.
Th'land o' Cap'n Tolkien's Middle Earf is truly a livin', breafin' character, as much as any bein' in th'story. It 'elps an' 'inders th' 'eroes as it wills. In some places guardians rise ups ter fight evil an' defend th'just an' all tha' rot. In other places it 'as been twisted ter th'will o' th'Enemy, an' sets itself against th' 'eroes wid all 's force, rah, rah; nettles an' briars, stones an' ash, dangerous magma an' dauntin' mountains, har!
Th'settin' o' Th'Lord o' th'Rings lends as much ter th'epic feelin' o' th'tale as th'characters or storylines 'emselves. Any auffer would do well t'take Cap'n Tolkien's lead an' plan 'is or 'er story lots before writin' (somefing anudder o' my fav'rite writers, JK Rowlin', does wunnerfully) an' t'pay careful attention ter th'settin' as well as th'characters an' storyline itself. Now gimme all yer scones afores I guts ye!