i Nili o i Ardanole Newsletter:
Your source for Lord of the Rings Updates, Poetry, Art, Parody and Satire.
Issue 3, Volume 1. June 7th/8th, 2003.
Primary Contributor and Reporter: Xara.
Additional Contributing Writer(s): Frodo Baggins, Esq.
In this issue:
Featured Article: Lord of the Stress by Xara.
Did You Say Stress? by Frodo Baggins, Esq.
Tolkien's Women by Xara.
Dwimmerlaiky by Perian.
In every issue:
Quote(s) of the Week.
Letters to the Editor.
Lord of the Stress
Whilst I was contemplating how best to complete my essay on the life of a star (that is an actual heavenly body, not a super-star...although I suppose in some cases the one could be used to describe the other) and still have time to do my history research...the idea occurred to me that if I was now under stress over so trivial a matter as homework, how much stress would say someone like Frodo, or Aragorn be under in the Lord of the Rings? This idea, as most ideas do, quickly generated into a burning, insistent need to research the matter further and before I knew it, the cosmic science essay lay forgotten and I began to write this article.
The only problem was, I didn't have anything to write about! There was no shocking news about how Aragorn used to be sick before every battle because of the anxiety, no exclusive revelation about Frodo's constant panic attacks and attempts to eat the Ring in a semi-state of madness as a result of the stress of it all. Nothing of the sort! Did they not then feel some strain over the enormity of the responsibility that was laid upon them? Of course! Well then, why don't I have anything to write about? And the answer is of course that I do. Ladies and gentlemen, elves and dwarves (and hobbits), without further ado I will reveal to you just how much stress was involved in the War of the Ring!
To properly demonstrate to you the impact of stress on characters in the War of the Ring I need first to properly explain what stress is. Stress can be positive or negative. In the positive sense, stress can compel us into action. It is the force that turns thought into deed. On the other hand, it can influence your emotions, leading to feelings of distrust, rejection, anger and depression. Now that you can recognise the symptoms, already you will begin to see how much of an impact it had on the characters in the story.
Of the many instances of positive stress in the books, without a doubt the most memorable was when Frodo was compelled into volunteering for a suicidal mission under the terrible stare of Elrond Half-elven, who is withering at the best of times. It seemed like a pretty stupid decision at the time but we all know that he made the right decision, judging by the end result! Positive stress was present throughout the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It influenced Aragorn into having a mind-battle with the Dark Lord, made Sauron release his orc armies earlier than he had planned, gave Sam the idea that he could defeat a big scary giant spider, even made the ents in their unhaste make war on Isengard. What would have happened if everyone had been too laid back and relaxed to worry about the impending doom of Middle Earth? Not a lot I can imagine!
But stress didn't make anything easier for them, quite the contrary in fact! Think of Frodo's depression throughout his quest, this cannot be entirely attributed to the influence of the Ring! And Sam's distrust of Gollum, Denethor's eventual madness, Boromir's attempt to take the Ring, Eowyn's discontent. In that respect stress was on Sauron's side, and we all know how he used it to his advantage!
So there you have it, stress, that word we so often associate with exams rather than mythology and fiction, played an important role in our beloved Lord of the Rings trilogy! Which reminds me...that essay is due tomorrow! Argh!!!
Apologies. Due to unforeseeable circumstances (namely a temporary collapse into his memories of Galadriel due to the stress of going to the Gamgee family reunion,) Mr. Baggins has completely overlooked the fact that he was supposed to be writing a sub-feature article for us this week.
Mr. Baggins will return next week with his unique views and commentary.
Thank you. -ed.
Since Lord of the Rings was first published, many questions have been asked about it's content. Is it an allegory? Is it racist? (I would add that I strongly disagree with both of those points but as I have already stated words to that effect many times since having read the books I will not subject you to that well rehearsed argument). But among these questions, perhaps a less controversial one but no less frequently asked is of course, why are there so few women characters in the Lord of the Rings? Peter Jackson asked it...and compensated for it. Many critics of Tolkien have asked it. Almost all female and a considerable amount of the male readers have asked it too. Some say it's because Tolkien was sexist, others say he simply couldn't write female characters, but those who were closest to him, and those who have greatly researched his life, say it was neither of these.
I have spent much time considering just how to put the next bit, it seems surprisingly difficult to explain even though it's quite simple. Although I do not for a moment think that Tolkien was immature, I think I shall dub his lack of female characters as "Little Boy Syndrome." Tolkien had nothing against women in general, he was just a little boy at heart and just didn't want to play with them. This is evident throughout Tolkien's life and works. Tolkien's life is continually marked by his initiating 'boy's clubs' with his friends in which they would meet regularly and chew over high-brow male conversational fodder. The first of these little clubs he started when he was at King Edward VI Foundation School on a scholarship called the T.C., B.S. (Tea Club, Barrovian Society). Made up of the brightest boys in the school the club included Christopher Wiseman, Robert Gilson and Geoffrey Bache Smith. They would meet every afternoon and discuss ancient languages and mythology over tea.
This behaviour continued into Oxford. Tolkien and his university friends would delight in sitting up late in each others' rooms discussing literature and language. It was almost like a battle, of intellect and wit. In 1916, Tolkien married his long love Edith, and also enlisted in the army, something which he had long intended to do but postponed until he had finished his education. It was an experience that would change his life and perception of the world. During his school years Tolkien had taken delight in the company of his peers, now, he depended on them for his life, and they depended on him for theirs. It was in the trenches in World War I that Tolkien began to write the first tales of Middle Earth, and it is of little surprise that they involved the comradeship of men in battle or times of hardship, it was happening all around him. During the war, Tolkien lost all but one of his friends in the T.C., B.S. This, coupled with the early deaths of his mother and father, served to create Tolkien's often pessimistic view on life, which also made it's way into his works.
After the war, Tolkien went back to his wife, whom he had long idolised during his college years in which they were separated and the war, and started a family. But Tolkien had not forgotten those good times back at King Edwards' and Oxford, far from it. Without a doubt the most famous of Tolkien's male academic clubs began during this time of his life. The Inklings, met each Tuesday and Thursday night at a pub in St Giles called the Eagle and Child (the room in which they met later became something of an Inkling museum and a great tourist attraction) and discuss language and literature, and often read excerpts of their own work. The Inklings consisted of C.S. Lewis, W.H.L. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien (of course), Charles Williams and occasionally other friends were invited.
Although many people have speculated as to the presence of homosexuality in Tolkien's life and works, this is not the case. In fact, in his later years Tolkien claimed he didn't even know what homosexuality was until he enlisted in the army. The fact is that Tolkien, like many men of his generation simply enjoyed each others company and considered that woman would spoil the dynamics of it. This is evident throughout Tolkien's work, with the male companionship and female idolisation. In Tolkien's work the women are beautiful and flawless, he has them on a pedestal for the men to stand below and admire, in all their beauty, wisdom, courage, greatness and all round loveliness, a rather naive perception some might say yet it is the world that Tolkien created. I might also add for anyone who remains skeptical that Tolkien was a very loving and devoted husband.
by Perian, with thanks to John and Lewis.
In hauberks Rohirrim abode
And ire flew nimble in the wade:
Amid the steel-foliage groves
Stood one gallumphing maid.
"Beware the Dwimmerlaik, my lord!
The hands that smite, the robes that catch!
Beware the Nazgul's steed, and hoard
Your gilt halls with a latch!"
She took her nylon hose in hand:
Long time the formless foe she sought -
So rested on a fallen man,
And sat awhile in thought.
And, as in fluffish thought she stood,
The Dwimmerlaik, with crown of flame,
Came wafting in his toasty hood,
And blabbered as it came!
One, two! Some goo! Merry went through.
The lady's heels went clicker-clack!
She left it dead, and with the head
It did not have, went back.
"And hast thou slain the Dwimmerlaik?
Or did Halfling in joy?"
You saved the day! Hurrah! Hooray!
Too bad you're not a boy."
In hauberks Rohirrim abode
And ire flew nimble in the wade:
Amid the steel-foliage groves
Lay one harrumphing maid.
Quote of the Week:
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve..."
Faerie: (noun) Also known as "The Perilous Land" Faerie is a land of elves in the West of England. Sometimes guessed to be in a similar location to The Grey Havens.
Hauberk: (noun) From Middle English, a hauberk is a chain-mail jacket designed to protect the neck and upper body.
Eo: (noun) From Anglo-Saxon; Horse. Seen in names such as Eowyn, Eomer, and Eored.
Letters to the Editor.
May I first say that I am greatly enjoying both reading and participating in your newsletter, although I am becoming increasingly alarmed by the tendency of the last line of an article or paragraph to split itself in two and only display the top half, which makes it certainly very interesting to try and read! I was very interested in your suggestion that we are afraid of the dark because of an ancient fear of night predators, something which hadn't occurred to me before but makes absolute and perfect sense! Keep up the good work oh newsletter editor and I hope you get more letters to the editor from different people this time! I for one would be interested to hear the feedback of other subscribers such as myself!
Thank you for your letter. I am afraid I cannot explain the whys of the splitting paragraph. *Lifts eyes screenward.* Computers work in wondrous ways.
Yes, night predators have been a problem throughout history... from nocturnal cats to Nazgul to Gollum... It is only natural that we have a tendency, being weaker of vision and skill during the night, should have an inherent dread of darkness.
I am afraid that as of yet we have, other that the occasional "Hehe!" letter, mute subscribers. A situation which I mean to remedy by all means at my disposal (short, perhaps, of hiring the Dark Lord to do foul things to unmentioned portions of them).