Than to love and be loved by me.
She was a child and I was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.” —Edgar Allan Poe (via living-in-outer-space)
China Mieville; Joe’s going to hate me for this, but I can’t help but side with Mieville here. I always found Lord of the Rings (and, to a lesser extent because it pretty much is a fairy tale rather than strict fantasy literature, The Hobbit) to be exceptionally dry material, and such a comprehensive world that it’s a shock when it just doesn’t do anything. (via chris)
FALSE. FALSE. First of all, let me tackle “his belief in absolute morality.” Faramir, clearly a beloved character of Tolkien, says that those who are “enemies” are often people who are misled are forced by threats, and that they are not truly evil of heart. Yes, some characters are blatantly evil, but many are also morally gray. Denethor was an awful Steward, and a worse father, but he clearly suffered from madness due to fear. Grima is not a totally evil character; he expresses many conflicted human emotions. Tolkien uses Gandalf to explain how much we cannot truly judge the morality of others. Gandalf says that Gollum, flawed and tormented as he is, could play an important role in the outcome of the story, and he arguably plays the most important role.
Secondly, regarding the glorification of war, I cannot express how ridiculous this accusation is. Tolkien, a survivor of WWI, at no point expresses a boyish love for war. I believe he understands the horrors of war much more than Mieville does. Any mildly competent human being who reads The Lord of the Rings recognizes Tolkien does not glorify war when he discusses The Dead Marshes or the destruction of Rohan. He appreciates war for what it protects and saves, not for the violence and suffering it inflicts.
Mieville makes the most understandable argument when he says that Tolkien has a love for hierarchical status quos, but I believe he fails to understand something very important here. Tolkien loves Aragorn, not just for his status as the true king, but as the leader who possesses the best traits for the kingship. Denethor, a failed leader, is not a failure just because he is a Steward, but because he is a fearful and selfish man. Also, Mieville is a major supporter of Marxism, and I don’t think he is in any position to condemn Tolkien for his belief in a certain status quo.
Lastly, blaming Tolkien for the cliches of elves and rings in current fantasy literature is like blaming The Beatles or Led Zeppelin for bands like Nickelback. So Mieville, I suggest you keep your idiotic comments to yourself until you write a masterpiece like The Lord of the Rings.