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Old 06-20-2007, 09:03 PM   #12
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As Tolkien would say in his Foreward to LOTR the Scouring of the Shire is...

'an essential part of the plot, foreseen from the outset'.

The Lord of the Rings has to end with the hobbits, as it is hobbits as Mr. Simon argues:
For it was Hobbits that made it possible for The Lord of the Rings to succeed. Few modern Englishmen, and not many modern readers of any nationality, could easily identify with the heroic nihilism of Túrin or the romantic bravado of Beren, let alone with the high-minded loyalties and hatreds of the Elves. But almost anyone can identify with Bilbo, Frodo, or Sam. They mediate between the high style of archaic romance and the familiar conventions of the modern novel.
It is the hobbits that caused LOTR to be the hit that it was, and as Mr. Simon argues what ultimately led to 1,000's of readers being disappointed in The Silmarillion because there were no hobbits. I think Tolkien realized this in Letter 131 to Milton Waldman:
A moral of the whole is the obvious one that without the high and noble, the simple and vulgar is utterly mean; and without the simple and ordinary the noble and heroic is meaningless.
Tolkien sets up a complimentary balance between the 'high and noble' (the Aragorn's, Gandalf's, and Boromir's) and the 'simple and ordinary' (the Frodo's, the Bilbo's, the Sam's...etc). Without one the other is meaningless. You need the 'high and noble' to do the heroic and mighty dragon-slaying, monster-sparring and glorious battling. Yet you need the 'simple and ordinary' the ones 'who are not made for perilous quests' (as Frodo sees himself), to do the 'dirty' quests (the trudge through Mordor to destroy the Ring) that the high and noble won't do or even can't do.

In the end Sauron is defeated by the hobbits, by the simple and ordinary. Gandalf doesn't challenge him one-on-one, Aragorn doesn't duel him to the death (Gil-galad and Elendil already tried that), Sauron is defeated (for good) by Frodo and Sam's march through a desolate wasteland.

Therefor, as I agree with Tolkien, The Scouring is 'an essential part of the plot.' The Lord of the Rings is a story about the hobbits. It starts with them, Sauron is defeated by them, and it's only fitting that the story ends with them.
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