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Old 02-15-2022, 06:19 PM   #1
The Mouth of Sauron
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In these WOKE days, would Tolkien and the LOTR be banned?

Tolkien wrote sentences like: ".... Still, you may at the least disturb the Orcs and Swarthy Men from their feasting in the White Tower......". If he had written stuff like that today would LOTR have ever been published?
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Old 02-16-2022, 03:30 AM   #2
Huinesoron
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Originally Posted by The Mouth of Sauron View Post
Tolkien wrote sentences like: ".... Still, you may at the least disturb the Orcs and Swarthy Men from their feasting in the White Tower......". If he had written stuff like that today would LOTR have ever been published?
You're kind of asking three questions here:

1/ Would LotR be banned (after publication) for this? No, because it takes about five minutes to find out that the people actually banning books are the ones offended by "WOKE" books. Indeed, when it has been banned, it's been for promoting witchcraft and Satanism, which comes from the same segment of the population as those who think reading about people who aren't straight or white will somehow harm them.

2/ Would LotR be accepted for publication in 2022? Probably yes! Tolkien had already published a very successful children's story (The Hobbit), and had done so long enough ago that the children who read it would now be prime targets for marketing an adult book. It's a bit on the long side, but George R.R. Martin proves you can still get away with that. And despite what you may have heard, "WOKE" books still face an uphill climb to get published; it's mainstream, "Tolkienesque" fantasy which still dominates the market.

3/ Would Tolkien be asked to edit lines like the one you mention? Probably not! It depends on the editor, but "Swarthy Men" is not a Primary World slur, and is pretty clearly a deliberately archaic form of reference.

That said, a book where the enemy are literally just black people in a featureless horde would probably raise some eyebrows from editors. He'd maybe be asked to tone it down a bit - perhaps he could make it clear that the enemy armies are actually enslaved by the Dark Lord, and make sure that the heroes deal fairly with them after the war, perhaps by pardoning and releasing their Easterling prisoners, making peace with the kingdoms of Harad, and granting the inhabitants of Mordor all the most fertile lands of that realm as their own. Maybe he could even have his characters experience moments of sympathy and common-feeling with the enemy, or - it's a bit extreme, I know - make most of them non-human. (To avoid any implication that "non-human == black", it'd probably be best to make it clear that there are other human races out there; maybe this could go back to the "enslaved by the Dark Lord" concept?)

Oh, and if he could cut out all those lines about how his heroes whitely whited their way through with their incredible whiteness, maybe replacing his descriptions with the likes of "tall as a young tree, lithe, immensely strong... endowed with the still tremendous vitality of elvish bodies, so hard and resistant to hurt that he went only in light shoes over rock or through snow, the most tireless of all the Fellowship," that would be grand.

Fool of a Tolkien. If only he'd thought of that.

hS
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Old 02-16-2022, 02:51 PM   #3
James the Just
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To suggest that there is censorship of this sort is to spread misinformation. Your account has been suspended for violating terms of service.
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Old 02-17-2022, 08:58 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
Maybe he could even have his characters experience moments of sympathy and common-feeling with the enemy
Which he, in fact, even does at the moment when Sam in Ithilien looks at the dead Haradian and wonders whether he might have been, after all, a normal human being.

See? Woke! Woke! Tolkien was woke! Shame on him! Ban him, ban him for spreading his liberal-lovey-dovey-ideas that need to insert sentences like this into every book in order to hammer into their audience the bleeding-heart ideas that perhaps non-white people may be normal human beings, and not really evil at heart!
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Old 02-21-2022, 10:16 AM   #5
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Old 02-21-2022, 07:03 PM   #6
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Well said Huinesoron.

I always take note of the sleepers who love to throw 'WOKE' around.
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Old 02-22-2022, 02:05 PM   #7
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I'm going to keep it simple.

The reason I read fantasy novels (or really any fiction) is to escape the real world for a time. This is especially true with Tolkien. The last thing I want is tiresome politics impinging on what is intended as relaxation. I wish some didn't see every form of media as a means to advance an agenda.
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