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  1. - Top - End - #481
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: OOTS #1215 - The Discussion Thread

    Also notably, nobody has said that LotR or the Hobbit are confusing.

    The main plot and themes aren't too difficult to grasp. Appreciating ever last detail is a daunting challenge, but that's not what separates those you like the stories from those who don't.

    We can analyze LotR as being to things:
    1) The relaying of a plot
    2) The portrait of a world.

    Those two things complement each other, but Tolkien clearly valued the second much more than the standard novelist. Tolkien spends four pages talking about trees, not as filler, but because he has four pages worth of things to say about trees.

    There are things to be said in favor of literature with a laser focus, but LotR is clearly the kind of story that stops to smell the roses.

  2. - Top - End - #482
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: OOTS #1215 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Quizatzhaderac View Post
    Also notably, nobody has said that LotR or the Hobbit are confusing.

    The main plot and themes aren't too difficult to grasp. Appreciating ever last detail is a daunting challenge, but that's not what separates those you like the stories from those who don't.

    We can analyze LotR as being to things:
    1) The relaying of a plot
    2) The portrait of a world.

    Those two things complement each other, but Tolkien clearly valued the second much more than the standard novelist. Tolkien spends four pages talking about trees, not as filler, but because he has four pages worth of things to say about trees.

    There are things to be said in favor of literature with a laser focus, but LotR is clearly the kind of story that stops to smell the roses.
    I only read them very long ago, when I was fairly young, but I do recall the descriptions being very tediously long at parts. I came upon an analyis more recently, though, that explained one such passage, and the messages it was conveying. It made sense, and perhaps I wouldn't find it so dreary if I were to read it again. Poetic, really, with the walls of text actually building monuments of subtext.
    Attention LotR fans
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    The scouring of the Shire never happened. That's right. After reading books I, II, and III, I stopped reading when the One Ring was thrown into Mount Doom. The story ends there. Nothing worthwhile happened afterwards. Middle-Earth was saved.

  3. - Top - End - #483
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: OOTS #1215 - The Discussion Thread

    It's entirely possible for literature to be both tedious and worthwhile, and avoiding tedium is not a universal goal. While many might find themselves laboring with Tolkien's style, I would be rather surprised if most of them think Tolkien should have gone about it differently.

  4. - Top - End - #484
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: OOTS #1215 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Lethologica View Post
    It's entirely possible for literature to be both tedious and worthwhile, and avoiding tedium is not a universal goal. While many might find themselves laboring with Tolkien's style, I would be rather surprised if most of them think Tolkien should have gone about it differently.
    LotR is pure fiction, though, it doesn't have a lot to "say" outside of its own universe. It's entertainment. If you find it tedious, you aren't enjoying it and it hasn't fulfilled its purpose. I wouldn't recommend someone slog through the books just for the sake of having read them.

  5. - Top - End - #485
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: OOTS #1215 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemarc View Post
    LotR is pure fiction, though, it doesn't have a lot to "say" outside of its own universe. It's entertainment. If you find it tedious, you aren't enjoying it and it hasn't fulfilled its purpose. I wouldn't recommend someone slog through the books just for the sake of having read them.
    That's quite a hot take on literature! I think you'll find most people don't share your opinion.

  6. - Top - End - #486
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    Default Re: OOTS #1215 - The Discussion Thread

    Oh! I have my own two cents!

    Entertainment is a considerable factor for much of literature. It keeps the audience around long enough to portray the message, if there is one. And even if there isn't a specific one, it reflects the desires and thoughts the author has about the real world and thus different works resonate differently with different people.
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  7. - Top - End - #487
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: OOTS #1215 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Kornaki View Post
    That's quite a hot take on literature! I think you'll find most people don't share your opinion.
    It was no kind of take on literature whatsoever. It was a take on the Lord of the Rings, a work I greatly enjoy.

  8. - Top - End - #488
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    Default Re: OOTS #1215 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Lethologica View Post
    It's entirely possible for literature to be both tedious and worthwhile, and avoiding tedium is not a universal goal.
    My first try, for a high school assignment, at Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury was both tedious and frustrating. Thankfully, I had a good teacher to help me over the rough spots. When we read it in college for a literature class, the experience was completely different for two reasons. One, I had read it before, and two I had become better at handling complex literature by that time. I was better able to appreciate what Faulkner was doing at that point.
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  9. - Top - End - #489
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    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: OOTS #1215 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Lethologica View Post
    It's entirely possible for literature to be both tedious and worthwhile, and avoiding tedium is not a universal goal. While many might find themselves laboring with Tolkien's style, I would be rather surprised if most of them think Tolkien should have gone about it differently.
    It's also entirely possible for literature to be compelling in some aspects and tiresome in others, with neither requiring the other. Being great does not require being perfect, with anyone who criticizes the imperfections being just an impudent knave who's too stupid to recognize greatness.

    Les Miserables is widely considered to be one of the greatest works of literature - but Victor Hugo's flaws were sometimes just as great as his strengths. One telling example: Because his beloved cousin Marie had taken the veil, he interrupted the story at a dramatic high point for fifty pages to first describe the details of life in a semi-fictional convent and then personally rail against the idea of convents. His editor begged him to take it out, but he refused.

    If you're fascinated by convents and can't get enough of Hugo talking about them, more power to you. To each their own. But don't tell me with a straight face that if I find it tiresome (but read it anyway), I just don't understand how great Les Miserables is. Or that it's some sort of sin to think he could have pared it down with no loss to the story.

  10. - Top - End - #490
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    Default Re: OOTS #1215 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by arimareiji View Post
    It's also entirely possible for literature to be compelling in some aspects and tiresome in others, with neither requiring the other. Being great does not require being perfect, with anyone who criticizes the imperfections being just an impudent knave who's too stupid to recognize greatness.

    Les Miserables is widely considered to be one of the greatest works of literature - but Victor Hugo's flaws were sometimes just as great as his strengths. One telling example: Because his beloved cousin Marie had taken the veil, he interrupted the story at a dramatic high point for fifty pages to first describe the details of life in a semi-fictional convent and then personally rail against the idea of convents. His editor begged him to take it out, but he refused.

    If you're fascinated by convents and can't get enough of Hugo talking about them, more power to you. To each their own. But don't tell me with a straight face that if I find it tiresome (but read it anyway), I just don't understand how great Les Miserables is. Or that it's some sort of sin to think he could have pared it down with no loss to the story.
    [sarcasm]
    Next you're going to tell me you don't find Paris' sewer system deeply fascinating.
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    [/sarcasm]
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    the Vector Legion [is the IFCC's new pawns], mark my words. Way too much unfinished business there and they already know about the Gates.
    I'll take that bet.

  11. - Top - End - #491
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    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: OOTS #1215 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    [sarcasm]
    Next you're going to tell me you don't find Paris' sewer system deeply fascinating.
    Spoiler: shaking my head
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    [/sarcasm]
    I must confess, I also wasn't on the edge of my seat during "Everything I think I know about the battle of Waterloo", or "Aren't the origins and details of thieves' cant fascinating?". I'm an unwashed heathen. (^_~)

  12. - Top - End - #492
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: OOTS #1215 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by arimareiji View Post
    I must confess, I also wasn't on the edge of my seat during "Everything I think I know about the battle of Waterloo", or "Aren't the origins and details of thieves' cant fascinating?". I'm an unwashed heathen. (^_~)
    Well, the battle of waterloo is seven kinds of awesome.

    As for the passage on argot (not thieves' cant, that's British), simply mentionning that it existed was a slap in the face of the conventions of highbrow literature, so I'm giving it a pass.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    the Vector Legion [is the IFCC's new pawns], mark my words. Way too much unfinished business there and they already know about the Gates.
    I'll take that bet.

  13. - Top - End - #493
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: OOTS #1215 - The Discussion Thread

    Coupla people seem to be imputing things my previous comment did not say. Since I didn't say them, I don't really have any interest in responding.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemarc View Post
    LotR is pure fiction, though, it doesn't have a lot to "say" outside of its own universe. It's entertainment. If you find it tedious, you aren't enjoying it and it hasn't fulfilled its purpose. I wouldn't recommend someone slog through the books just for the sake of having read them.
    While I don't think reading for the sake of having read is a worthwhile reason to recommend any particular writing, I find this 'pure fiction' characterization to be far off the mark. Tolkien was writing (among other things) a playground for his languages, a mythology for his country, a reflection on his religion and his wartime experience - and yes, also stories that would entertain his children and sell in bookstores. It's not wrong to read LOTR for entertainment, or to find it less than satisfying on that score. But denying other reasons for it to be read, other things it has to offer, just seems incredibly reductive to me.

  14. - Top - End - #494
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    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: OOTS #1215 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Lethologica View Post
    Coupla people seem to be imputing things my previous comment did not say. Since I didn't say them, I don't really have any interest in responding.
    {scrubbed}
    Last edited by Peelee; 2020-10-04 at 09:18 AM.

  15. - Top - End - #495
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: OOTS #1215 - The Discussion Thread

    {scrubbed}
    Last edited by Peelee; 2020-10-04 at 09:19 AM.

  16. - Top - End - #496
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: OOTS #1215 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Lethologica View Post
    While I don't think reading for the sake of having read is a worthwhile reason to recommend any particular writing, I find this 'pure fiction' characterization to be far off the mark. Tolkien was writing (among other things) a playground for his languages, a mythology for his country, a reflection on his religion and his wartime experience - and yes, also stories that would entertain his children and sell in bookstores. It's not wrong to read LOTR for entertainment, or to find it less than satisfying on that score. But denying other reasons for it to be read, other things it has to offer, just seems incredibly reductive to me.
    Agreed. But some people find him tedious, and I wouldn't recommend him to those people. A really good book has all sorts of things to offer, but after all there are a lot of good books. If you don't enjoy LotR for its own sake you should probably look elsewhere.

  17. - Top - End - #497
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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: OOTS #1215 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Krakius View Post
    Maybe that April footnote really is as good as you say it is. But if you spend three pages talking about a minor detail of the world, then I'm probably going to be thinking "I'm sorry, didn't you have a story you were telling?", no matter how good it is.
    I agree with this sentiment.
    Not everyone wants to have their leisure time spent in a manner they consider wasted.

    At least it was a optional footnote and not something the reader was forced to slog through.
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