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25 March 2011 @ 11:21 am
Wanting both to support activity on and celebrate Downfall of Sauron Day (March 25), I'm going to write a bit about culture and asexuality in Middle-earth.

The language of sexual orientation codifies (a)sexual feelings and practices shaped by a combination of biological drives and cultural construction. For example, men have always slept with men, but the prevalence and expression of this drive is strongly culturally conditioned, and it is somewhat misleading to refer to the relationship between two male lovers in Sparta as "gay."

Middle-earth is fictional space, constructed (in its original literary form) by rather a devout and quite heterosexual Catholic, who was raised among the trappings of late-Victorian morality. So we might argue that the reason Middle-earth presents as a strongly heterosexual culture in which everyone is a virgin until married (even if it takes millennia) is that it's shaped to the moral fantasies of its staid author and, thus, is simply unrealistic.

Fair enough, but we don't need to stop there, because Tolkien created a civilization whose inner coherence transcends its author's specific perspectives.

Fake cut the rest
Hi folks! Festival in the Shire is coming up in five days! The official countdown has begun. Woot!

How many of you are attending? I am traveling all the way from the States all by my lonesome (a friend of mine was initially going to go with me, but can no longer do so...booo). I'm looking to have a buddy or two out there.

I'm presenting a paper there and am starting to get nervous. eek.
28 June 2010 @ 10:10 pm

Finwe face study
by ~Sirielle on deviantART

And beloved son of his beloved father:

Not Maedhros, Feanor
by ~Sirielle on deviantART
I was drawing Maedhros, but Fëanor did it again and took his place.
A different style this time, a bit inspired by works of Ayami Kojima.
28 March 2010 @ 08:52 pm
Anyone else attending the Festival in the Shire in Wales in August?

I'm looking to room with someone to save on expenses.

27 February 2010 @ 06:02 pm
Might be useful for writers, too. Here:

Music: Gackt
14 September 2009 @ 06:08 pm
It suddenly occurred to me in my umptieth time of rewatching The Fellowship of the Ring that Gandalf's sword should also have been glowing in Moria (among other places). Sting was not the only elven-made weapon in the room. Glamdring was made in Gondolin and carried by Turgon. How the trolls ended up with it....

Also...how was Thorin Oakenshield tall enough to use an elven sword?
17 April 2009 @ 05:11 pm
He chose for himself from the pile a brooch set with blue stones, many-shaded like flax-flowers or the wings of blue butterflies. He looked long at it, as if stirred by some memory, shaking his head, and saying at last:

'Here is a pretty toy for Tom and for his lady! Fair was she who long ago wore this on her shoulder. Goldberry shall wear it now, and we will not forget her!'

Who is Tom talking about?
25 March 2008 @ 10:59 am
Happy Downfall of Sauron Day! This, in the LOTR-verse in my head, is anniversary 28.

This year finds me in California in the violently beautiful wine country spring. "In every spring," says Bilbo, "there is a different green." The greens assault on all sides here under the wide, dry sky. The oaks are leafing golden and the wildflowers scatter on the hills in blue, purple, white, yellow. The daffodils are fading, the lilacs approaching, the desert ceonothus blooming late and sweet. Paradise could not dredge up more beauty.

And such beauty, the human heart understands, can only exist side-by-side with the savage. This is the season when we murder the god because the flowers must be watered in blood. How funny this year that Easter arrived only two days before DS Day. All these stories are one--not the same story but the shifting leitmotif that echoes across a single tale. The percussion at the end of the Tori Amos's "Professional Widow" has almost the same feel as the end of The Rite of Spring. Maybe Northrop Frye would say they are the same archetype at different points on the musical wheel o' modes.

In every Mad Season, I think different things. This year my thoughts lie with the hated drivers of salvation: with Judas, with Gollum. Perhaps we hate their necessity. Perhaps they are our truest sacrificial lambs, the ones who surrender everything--life, reputation, humanity's good will, their own salvation--because the flowers must be watered. I can't sum it up better than to say, "What you have done will be the saving of everyone. You'll be remembered forever for this." Very nearly my favorite line from Jesus Christ Superstar.

One thing I've always loved about Elvish theology is its unabashed acceptance of the idea that God intended evil. Eru knew Melkor would revolt; every bit of it was part of his plan. And if you can still love God for that--as Ivan Karamazov couldn't--then you love him with something of the unconditionality with which, we are told, he loves you. If you love The Lord of the Rings, says Le Guin, then you love Gollum too, not because he's admirable or likable or redeemed, but simply because he is us. At the Cracks of Doom, there is no difference between Gollum and Frodo except that Gollum has 600 more years of abuse to crush him. I dearly love the brutality of The Lord of the Rings because it's honest. And it teaches humility, which, if pride is the greatest sin, is surely the greatest virtue. The virtue of Sam.
Feeling: gratefulgrateful

An interesting and well-written essay on the eating habits of hobbits, as deduced by the author.


I do disagree with her thoughts on the use of the word corn, however. The word corn is used as late as Regency times to refer to many types of grain, such as wheat, rye, oats, etc. How the word corn became almost exclusively the word for the Native American maize is a good question, indeed.

I beleive that Tolkien was using the older meaning of corn and the essay writer made a simple but easy to make mistake.
Feeling: hungryhungry
25 February 2008 @ 08:35 pm
Inspired by The Silmarillion. Cropped preview and link to the image:

Let the havens burn

Cross-posting to related communities.

I don't remember if art is accepted here (info says about icons only).