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.
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