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Re: CHAT: Tolkien (was Re: fantasy)

From:Grandsire, C.A. <grandsir@...>
Date:Thursday, November 25, 1999, 7:38
Ed Heil wrote:
> > Having just done some reading up on Tolkien FAQs about all this, let > me tell you what I found out: > > 1. Tolkien doesn't say anything one way or another about pointed > Elvish ears, but that's certainly a reasonable reading of the fact > that the words for "ear" and "leaf" are identical or nearly so in all > the Elvish languages. >
Not that much. "leaf-shaped" in Quenya comes from the root KAT. Not very much to do with LAS... And homonyms are possible...
> 2. In a letter giving instructions for the illustration of "The > Hobbit," he says that Bilbo's ears are not quite as pointed as Elvish > ears. While he is probably talking about stereotypical rather than > Quendi elves at this point, this seems to suggest that Hobbit ears are > a bit pointed, and if Hobbits' are, why not Elves? >
Then why not humans? My point is that if the Elves had pointed ears, why such a distinctive feature wouldn't be pointed out in LotR, whereas everything else (particularly the fact that Elves are a bit taller than humans, which is not that distinctive feature) is. If they had pointed ears, the only reason why such a distinctive feature would not be pointed out would be that it is *not* distinctive in LotR, that's to say that all the races of LotR would have pointed ears. A little too much for me I think. It's better to think that nobody had pointed ears. And don't forget that "The Hobbit" and LotR are two different kinds of books. "The Hobbit" is specifically a fairy tale written for children, whereas LotR is absolutely not.
> So I'd say that pointy elven ears are not exactly demanded by the > text, but they're hardly an atrocity (as making the elves tiny and > clothed in flower-petals would have been). >
It is, knowing how Tolkien despised the pointed ears of the elves of the folk view. He said it enough to consider that giving pointed ears to Elves in LotR is not a good idea, if only to respect his memory.
> 3. In several places Tolkien makes it very clear that Hobbits are > supposed to be a variety of human rather than a separate entity > altogether as are the elves and the dwarves. >
I think that Tolkien would have preferred a small inconstitency between The Hobbit and LotR by giving human ears to the Hobbits than giving pointed ears to Elves. But here it's my own and humble opinion.
> Ed >
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