Tag Archives: books

The Eyes of Legolas

Tumblr User Explains Why Elves’ Eyes In Lord Of The Rings Shouldn’t Look The Way They Do, but in fact there is no problem.

In The Two Towers Legolas claims to clearly see the horsemen of Rohan at a distance of 5 leagues. How is this possible when you consider the curvature of the Earth? You can come up with some bizarre ideas about Elven anatomy which are not suggested in the books or seen in the movies. However, there is a an elegant answer based on the nature of Arda, Tolkien’s world. It was flat, not round, until the end of the second age. At that time the Valar made it round so that mortals could not access Valinor. But Elves could still go there. For them the Earth was still flat and they could sail the straight path to Valinor. Hence for Legolas the curvature of the Earth and the horizon did not exist and hence he could accurately see the horsemen 5 leagues away.

Another Hobbit

Exploring the People of Middle-earth: Lobelia Sackville-Baggins, an Unexpected Hero.

… Lobelia is one of only a few Hobbit women who are given more than a momentary glance in Middle-earth, and a compelling character in her own right. And what’s more, her narrative arc illustrates beautifully some of the more important lessons The Lord of the Rings has to teach, as she becomes an unlikely hero to those who had consistently refused to give her a chance.

This will only make sense if you have read the books. Peter Jackson did not include the Scouring of the Shire in the film version of The Return of the King.

Another one of Tolkien’s Sources

Mithra-ndir: Gandalf and the Roman cult of Mithras.

J.R.R. Tolkien described The Lord of the Rings as a fundamentally Catholic work. But a close reading of the epic novel reveals many more influences, including a connection between Mithras and the wizard Gandalf, whose Elvish name is Mithrandir.
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Good article about LOTR

Bent Out of Shape: The Ring of Power and the Wraithing of Humanity.

It runs against human nature to reject an advantage once we have it, but that’s what Tolkien’s heroes do again and again. It seems natural to long to wield power and to have great authority, but Tolkien uses a Ring and a concept—wraithing—to warn us against the terrible, corrupting force of absolute power.

Also

“And here is where I take a brief aside and beg you to please read the books if you have only seen the movies, because Peter Jackson utterly destroyed Faramir’s character in the movie.”

See Tolkien vs. Jackson: Differences Between Story and Screenplay. For myself, I had read LOTR many times before seeing the first movie. Hence when seeing the movies my mind automatically filled in the parts Jackson omitted, and corrected those he changed. The books come first, in more than one way.

Burning Libraries

A Saucy Roman History Book

We have Commodus killing animals (classical serial killer behaviour), and then getting himself strangled by a wrestler in a bath. We have Caracalla who allegedly enjoyed incest with his mother and certainly had his brother killed at a meeting arranged by this quondam lover: worst of all he wore a hood and a blonde wig and he gave Maximus several jobs. Macrinus got Caracalla’s mother to starve herself to death and then got himself killed in a temple. Then, best of all, what fun Suetonius would have had, there was Elagabalus ,,,, more Eurovision performer than Roman emperor. He divorced five women in his short life, married two men, worshipped a meteorite and used to hold competitions to see who could pimp themselves for the most money in the Imperial palace. He naturally took part.

Nate Silver and Nassim Taleb

I have read books by both Silver and Taleb in the last couple years. Both authors have significantly changed my thinking about the world.

The Signal and the Silence looks at Silver and Taleb. It is a good review. My only real question is about the opening section, where the fate of the 2011 Boston Red Sox is described as “the worst collapse in Major League Baseball history.” I still have not recovered from the 1969 Chicago Cubs.

Too many books

In Church this morning some announced that there was a group being formed to read and discuss the recent book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. I have heard good things about this and my first reaction was Sure, I should get the book, read it, and join the group. My second thought was Wait a minute, I am reading several books already. My third thought was Just how many books am I reading now? So I made a list. Here it is, in no particular order or organization:

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