Just a quick question and a couple of things to think about today for Tolkien month.
Does faddism make it harder to take something–a work like Lord of the Rings, for instance–seriously?
When we went to The Return of the King, we stood in line next to a very fine lady dressed like an Elven princess. I think. In any case, she had two enormous blond braids, a crown, and a velvet gown. It was purple. She was taking the movie very seriously and obviously having fun doing it.
I can’t remember an essay I read, and I’ve been trying to find it, but I can’t. The author of the essay essentially states that the existence of the LOTR “fanboys” (and girls: Professor Drout makes a point of saying that Tolkien is almost single-handedly responsible for ushering in the era of gender equality among fantasy readers) is proof that the books aren’t to be taken seriously.
Why? If you’ve been reading this blog for long, you know I’m obsessed with Cormac McCarthy, but the lack of The Road or Blood Meridian reeanactors isn’t what makes the books worth taking seriously.
Books like LOTR, TV series like Star Trek, and movie franchises like Star Wars seem to me to be perfectly suited for hardcore fans–fans who want to take things a step further and reenact battles and wear cloaks and learn Elvish and attend Comic Con, etc.
Why are they drawn to such extremes? I don’t know. It doesn’t bother me that other people do, however. It makes me smile.
None of those things take anything away from the texts or the programs themselves. If we go back to Roland Barthes’ Death of the Author essay, nothing would matter but the text anyway. Not the author, and certainly not other readers.
What say ye? Have any of you bought any LOTR paraphernalia from SkyMall?
I haven’t, but I’m still a passionate fan. Are any of you reading this from an office with LOTR swords on the walls?
October’s almost here. Have you joined the book club?