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Old 04-19-2005, 09:43 AM   #1
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Tolkien Farmer Giles, Thane of Glamis

I was reading through Tolkein's lesser works the other day and came up with a startling, if somewhat disturbing discovery concerning Farmer Giles of Ham. The rise of Farmer Giles to kingship, almost coincides with the rise of Macbeth.
A basic summery of the story of Macbeth is. A loyal servant wins a battle, and meets an evil supernatural element which fills his head with delusions of Grandeur. He then rebels against the King and establishes himself as king.
The same summary could be used for "Farmer Giles of Ham." Even though the former focuses on MacBeth's fall and the latter on Giles' rise, you could say they are, esentially, the same.

Farmer Giles and Macbeth both has "battles," you might say, before their dream of kingship. Macbeth with the Norwegians and Giles with the Dragon. THe supernatural elements that give them the notion of kingship are for MacBeth, the weird sisters, and for Giles, the Dragon. THe both rebeled against the king, Macbeth by murdering him, and Giles be garrisoning the bridge with the dragon, defeating the king's knights, and declaring Ham the capital of a new kingdom. Although both tales end differently for the subverter, are either of them truly in the right?

It is interesting to note that throughout the story, even after the dragon allies himself with Farmer Gile's, Tolkein still retains that the dragon is Evil. With this in mind it could be said that Gile's himself, though a generous ruler, is, himself, perverted by the dragon's promises, and thus, becomes, semi-"evil" himself?

So the question here is, is Giles himself in the wrong for refusing to give the king the treasure and demanding the crown, and what is the deeper meaning Tolkein is trying to get across?

Last edited by arcticstorm; 05-04-2005 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 04-19-2005, 09:55 AM   #2
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Interesting that the topic would appear today as I just read the book for the first time Sunday. Anyway, I do not think they are the same. Giles did not give the money to the king because he did not think the king deserved it. He thought it was more deserving to those who had been harmed by the dragon. Also his rise was I think mostly just a propmotion as he proved to be a good ruler. It said in the book that before he became a prince he sent taxes to the king. Besides that he did not usurp the kings place he mostly just declared that part of the country indepedent from the rest of the country.
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