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Just updating while uploading - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Just updating while uploading
Looking for something to do while the various pages for my Tolkien fics upload. Including that goofy Merry/Buffybot thing... sigh. Hopefully, the Professor would understand that I was Just Kidding. :)

Of course, the non-challenge fics are exclusively Mary Sue territory--and created for the purpose of having a fictional argument with him--so he probably wouldn't have much love for me anyway. Frodo's wife and daughter, for example. Pippin's extremely clever cousin/future wife. I like my own Mary Sues. It's just other people's that are so horrendously annoying, naturally. (For a clue of how deep into Suedom these are, I took my writing name from one of them. Oh, not intentionally--I was writing "The Jewel of Brandy Hall" when I got sick of being IM'd on AoL, and I hadn't figured out how to turn it off yet, so I just made another screen name to hang out on, and grabbed the name of little Gala's mother, which was, at the time, Fern Withypoll. (She was very quickly changed to Lily once I realized that I did intend to put the story up, and in fact, when I wrote her story, "The Girl Who Aimed Straight," it seemed that Lily fit her better than Fern anyway. But I started writing fanfic at the FernWithy screen name, and the name stuck. It's a hobbit name.

Speaking of the argument, they began from a discussion on rec.arts.books.tolkien, regarding the question of whether or not Frodo was right to sail west, a question I still find quite interesting. It happens, narratively, right on top of Saruman telling him that he will have a short and sad life... and that happens narratively not far from Gandalf warning people that Saruman still had the power of his voice. Tolkien's letters seem to suggest that he didn't intend Frodo's choice to be wrong (hence my thought that I'm arguing with him), and yet the narrative is... suspicious. Why remind us about Saruman's voice, then have Saruman say such a thing, then have Frodo, for all intents and purposes, live it out to the letter?

Now, of course, I'm a canon lady-of-ill-repute... what am I doing arguing? Aren't I the one who always says that fanfic writers need to respect the original author's intent and theme?

I think the reason I like these stories--and despite their Sue-i-ness, I do like them--is that I was trying to respect the world while disagreeing with a choice made within it. I tried to take the argument into the world itself, rather than just changing the world to suit the way I wished it had been. (And yes, I just admitted it. I like my own stories. I am a humongous bighead.)

Ah. Upload finished. Going to sleep now.
6 comments or Leave a comment
ashtur From: ashtur Date: May 28th, 2004 06:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Hm, I hadn't ever thought about it that way, but on the other hand, I'd almost consider sailing west to be Frodo's "Yahbut" moment. That is to say..

"Yeah, I'm going to be sad here in this life.
Yeah, I'm going to feel the pains of my wounds...

I'm going to the Valar, the uttermost west, where my pains will be taken away and healed, and you will be nothing more than a little wisp of smoke after Wormtongue kills you, one that looks west but is not allowed to come any closer"

I guess it's just so much that I see the trip to the West to be Frodo's cheese (much as Gimili gets the caves, Legolas gets Fangorn Forest, and Aragorn gets *snicker* Arwen Evenditz), so his going there is a positive, a relief and release from the curse that Saruman foresaw.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 28th, 2004 10:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Except that it's also a metaphor for death, and of course, he loses everything he loved that made him himself--the Shire, Bag End, his friends. It always struck me as saying that the depression and combat fatigue which are a normal response to what happened are incurable, and that there's no reason to go on living once they've hit you.
ashtur From: ashtur Date: May 28th, 2004 10:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Maybe it's my theological background showing forth *gee*, but while it is a metaphor for death (to an extent, would take more musing to decide on the difference between going to the West and the Halls of Mandos), it is also a metaphor for heaven, which is (to me at least) a positive. There are certain ills of this world that cannot be healed here, and Frodo carries them. Both the weight and heavyness of the years with the ring (and the possession of and by it, in both senses of posess), and then also the long term effects of Weathertop, which was more than just a simple wound. I guess I just see it as a way of "passing from this veil of tears and going home, the real home" so to speak. That's why I think it's signifigant that Saruman's spirit wanted to go back, but was denied, but Frodo was able to go.

Of course, there is also JRRT's point in there that some people have to suffer to make a better world for others, even though they themselves would not be able to enjoy it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 28th, 2004 11:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Of course, that's absolutely what it is. And I'm all in favor of heaven; I just think that life is also precious and should be lived prior to trying heaven on for size.

there is also JRRT's point in there that some people have to suffer to make a better world for others, even though they themselves would not be able to enjoy it.

Yup. I think that's the part I was arguing with more than the heaven part (Frodo does keep Arwen's jewel and has the option to go to the West when he's very old). Yes, it's true that it's important that people are willing to sacrifice for what they may not be able to enjoy. They may have to die for the sake of something. But Frodo doesn't die. He becomes damaged. And I found it unbearably sad that instead of trying to help him, instead of reminding him of who he was and helping him love life again, despite the recurring depressive episodes, he just gave up and left life. It's metaphorical suicide, which last I knew was a mortal sin.
scionofgrace From: scionofgrace Date: May 28th, 2004 11:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, Tolkien had some odd views on death anyway. You know how in the Appendicis and the Sil, we learn that the Numenorean kings could "surrender" their life before they went senile. In fact, Aragorn was allowed to do that. Me, I still call it suicide. (Can't they just hand over their kingdom to their sons and then spend the last decade or so making weird demands of the servants?) But there you have it, it seems Tolkien was a bit fuzzy on the subject.

I think the other thing for Frodo was that no one in the Shire, except for Sam, understood what he'd been through. Military vets usually have other military vets to lean on after going through a war, but there wasn't a hobbit in the Shire that could even comprehend just how life-changing Frodo's adventure was. Sam was lucky, he's so Sam that he could adjust, and besides, he didn't suffer the Ring near so long. I agree, it is sad that he left. I'm just trying to offer some reasoning.
riah_chan From: riah_chan Date: May 28th, 2004 09:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh. My. Goodness. You do realize that yours were the first LotR fanfics that I ever read, way back before I had even heard of the movies coming out and that I still have a bookmark for it somewhere. Wow. I didn't realize that I'd been reading your stuff that long.

6 comments or Leave a comment