The new semester is already a few weeks old and I still owe you a more detailed entry about my classes than this one. I promise to be good girl and do that soon. But I have to tell you now how amazed I still am by all the possible interpretations of The Lord of the Rings and fantasy literature in general.
You know, I've learned mostly to read fantasy as myths or fairy tales. I don't believe dragons exist, but I do believe that evil exists. Bad things like hate, fear, and dispair. And good stuff, too, eternal love which can conquer all evil and... Well, that's pretty much it, the good stuff. When it comes down to what I believe in fairy and fantasy stories it's simply this: there is a deeper truth. No dragons, but something more which you cannot grasp if you look for a scientific explanation why fire leaves the moster's mouth when it is angry.
Wellllll. I'm now taking a seminar in literary criticism in which we take a very political approach and it was so amusing today to discuss an interpretation of Tolkien's stories of Middle-Earth in which the author kind of claimed that the races of elves and men commited a genocide on the orcs and uruk-hai. Without mercy they slaughtered them until the very last to win the senseless war of destruction. Further, the author argued that the novels offered a very rassist worldview in which the superior race is the one with the pure blood, namely the elves. They did such awful things in The Silmarillion, these brutal collonizers! Now, Tolkien wants to promote such a way of thinking and living! He is evil! Fantasy literature is evil, too! Burn these books! BURN THEM!!!
You get my point, right? ;-)
I think it's good that I'm not getting too frustrated with such polemically charged arguments anymore, but merely amused. I've heard all this a couple of times before and I know what I think about it (see above, the deeper truth). Instead, I have room left in my head to consider the author's examples more closely and find out that he's actually not too far off with them, but just missing so much more, which makes his argumentation not very convincing. He has a point, however, when he suggests that it pays off to look closely how nature intervenes in The Lord of the Rings. Have you ever thought about the rivers, mountains, and forrests which can always tell friend from foe and know who they will let pass and who not? Nicely spotted, don't you think?
So much room for interpretation... But which pays off the most? Who knows...