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Scott Francis Baker


March 4th, 2007

Lord of the Rings confusion @ 08:53 am

I was reading Newsweek while eating my Corn Chex this morning and I found an interesting article in the book section. They asked Eric Foner what his five favorite books were. His number five choice:
"The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien, for its underlying message that the struggle to destroy the evil also destroys the good.
Now I'm trying to figure out what version of LOTR he read because that wasn't in the version I read. The entire story is about the Fellowship trying to preserve the good. They were defending Middle Earth against evil for all the little people who didn't even know evil was trying to take over. I suppose Boromir dies, and Frodo gets thrashed, but it was a war and there are always consequences in war. Overall though I'd say good did a lot better at the end of that book than evil did.
 
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From:ntang
Date:March 4th, 2007 05:36 pm (UTC)
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Well, I don't know if I'd agree with him entirely, but I don't think it's all *that* inexplicable. Bilbo is nearly corrupted, Gollum is destroyed, several key characters through the books die, Frodo is nearly lost himself, and is only saved because of Sam - and note that Sam was not there so much to destroy the ring or save the world as he was to be there for Frodo.

I think "destroys" in the phrase "destroys the good" is a little too strong, but I think the idea is not bad. They definitely were trying to preserve the good, but there's definitely a heavy cost to their decision and that is, I think, what he was referring to. The very choice to confront the evil nearly led to the destruction of everything. It doesn't mean it was the wrong choice, just that it had heavy consequences. I think it'd be accurate to say it destroyed their innocence, certainly. Maybe not destroyed the good, though.
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From:muerte
Date:March 4th, 2007 06:31 pm (UTC)
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It had some harsh effects on the Fellowship, and some of the towns where the battles were fought. But by and large I'd say most of Middle Earth is doing pretty well at the end of the trilogy. Thus good perserveres. I guess it's a question of how much good suffers as a result.
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From:davidfrey
Date:March 4th, 2007 08:53 pm (UTC)
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He is probably referring to symbolism more than anything. Frodo comes to mind; in the end, his victory was his own destruction. Sure in a literal sense he survived, but in a symbolic sense he was separated from everything he cherished and loved. If frodo is the symbolism for good, being that he represented purity more than any of the other characters in the fellowship, then it's reasonable to conclude that good sacrificed itself to preserve a balance in the world.
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From:muerte
Date:March 4th, 2007 09:52 pm (UTC)
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Again I think it depends on how you measure it. If good = Frodo, then ya totally he's right. But if good = all of middle earth, then I think he's wrong. Interesting view point though.
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From:mrwiz
Date:March 4th, 2007 10:13 pm (UTC)
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this thread is hella geeky.

we just need a little LARP action in here with some +5 swords of geekiness to go over the top.

keep up the good work! ; )

Scott Francis Baker