Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Love, Sex, and LotRO

My first column for the fine folks of the LotRO RP Haven is up.

You, of course, are morally obligated to read it. It's the Christian thing to do.


russell said...

Tinwe, and his love Meltintalle, have never quite got to the stage of getting married.

The premise of waiting until the time was right has led to a very long wait.

But it is central to their story, which grows apart and together, and makes them interesting.

Anyway, a very fine article, and rightly describes Tolkien's view of love and Marriage in his world.

Doctor J said...

The wait may not be as long as it seems. While I don't know the details of Tinwe's relationship, if he met Meltintalle in the game, then there's no way they could know each other for more than a couple of months. (The Epic Quest begins in mid-September and lasts until no later than December.)

As I recall, the usual length of time for courting among Elves is one year. (That is from "Laws and Customs of the Valar".)

russell said...

There story goes back a few years outside of the story of LOTRO. It goes back to another MMORPG with a tolkien style elves.

In any case, all elven characters are older than the timeframe of the game.

What happened in the past drives what they do today.

I don't think we exactly set when they drifted apart. But within the lore of LOTRO, Tinwe put down his bow sometime in the first age and wandered most of the second and third.

Anonymous said...

You do a deft job here of not falling prey to "Dwarves rush in where Maia fear to tread" on this subject.

I would say that, and it would seem that you would have a better sense of this than I given your literary background, that eroticism and sex (but not romantic love) are largely missing from LotR because it belongs, ironcially, to the form of the "romance" and the Legendarium is composed of myth, epic, and legend.

Again, this seems to confirms your axiomatic insistence that if you want to rpg in JRRT's world, you have to play by the "rules" (i.e. in Austen's words the "sense and sensibilities" inherent to it)

Two other points to consider:
LotR is really the recovered "Redbook of Westmarch" as compiled by Hobbits (Biblo, Frodo, and the Gamgees) with background info coming from folks like Elrond. As such an esteemed book, I doubt that even earthy hobbit sensibilities would see fit to write about such things in print. I'm sure they'd be a bit more lax at Shire's pub tables.

Second, I'm a bit wary about laying JRRT's own personal views about matters of physical intimacy (which may or may not arguably be at work in this opus--I think not personally) at the foot of his Roman Catholic religiosity. It would seem simply to reflect more with the mindset of post-Reformation (thus both after Henry VII and Thomas More, two rather lusty "good Catholic" fellows, apart from Showtime's depiction) Protestant Victorian-Edwardian England which also effected English Catholic mores of the day. Tolkien, as a product of that late 19th century prim and proper culture would have as much if not more influence on his feeling and view of sexuality than his Roman Catholicism. Though, he did spend a good deal of time as boy among celebate priests....I won't go there, ok.

The bottom line for me has to do with I guess of all the authors of the modern epoche, JRRT's would seem to have been the most intentional (whether he succeeded or not is another and speculative matter) at trying to not only leave his personal life "behind" (or so deeply deeply buried as to be utterly indectable) when writing, but the entire Primary World of his day as well.

So, I'm heisitant to say that Eru and the Valar has Roman Catholic (sexual) mores. However, there is not way that JRRT would have allow the mores of the Second to contradict the Primary. They would most likely be analogous, no?

Anon, Self-Appointed Guardian of the Legendarium (actually am just too lazy to sign in)

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