A Light in Dark Places by Amy Van De Casteele

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A Light in Dark Places by Amy Van De Casteele

Post by the paperboy » Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:23 am

An article about JRR Tolkien's work, and its influence on the article's author, Amy Van De Casteele.

http://www.winterwind-productions.com/f ... rk_places/
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Re: A Light in Dark Places by Amy Van De Casteele

Post by majestic » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:00 pm

Time to wait for the usual anti-Tolkien trolls to rear their ugly faces with armed for the fray with nary a criticism other than "Booooooring".

Oh, and nice article, obviously, although I really like the Silmarillion much more than Lord of the Rings. :D
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Re: A Light in Dark Places by Amy Van De Casteele

Post by choyrt » Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:27 pm

I have to read this as soon as I get a chance. This is good content.

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Re: A Light in Dark Places by Amy Van De Casteele

Post by Joseph » Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:41 pm

majestic wrote:Time to wait for the usual anti-Tolkien trolls to rear their ugly faces with armed for the fray with nary a criticism other than "Booooooring".

Oh, and nice article, obviously, although I really like the Silmarillion much more than Lord of the Rings. :D
Ah yes, the mighty majestic who labels the opinions of all who disagree with him as trolls. ;)

Taste is subjective as you well know. As I've said before, I read Dickens, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy for pleasure. Tolkien, like Melville, I just can't get into. Great story ideas, just not great writing for my tastes. Gorth's view on Tolkien, expressed a week or two even before I knew we were getting this article fits my own. Tolkien is a brilliant historian, lore master and world creator, just not a particularly great novelist.

As for the Orlando Bloom bit in the article... Well, I think the episode of the show "Extras" covered that perfectly. :D

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Re: A Light in Dark Places by Amy Van De Casteele

Post by choyrt » Fri Sep 20, 2013 5:40 pm

Joseph wrote:
majestic wrote:Gorth's view on Tolkien, expressed a week or two even before I knew we were getting this article fits my own. Tolkien is a brilliant historian, lore master and world creator, just not a particularly great novelist.
This nails my perspective perfectly... but I fucking love Moby Dick.

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Re: A Light in Dark Places by Amy Van De Casteele

Post by Joseph » Sat Sep 21, 2013 1:13 pm

Oh, I love the story of Moby Dick. I just hate the novel. I once met someone who gave up on it at the exact spot I did: When Melville droned on and on about the logger who cut down the tree that became the door/door frame to Ahab's cabin. Yep. Clearly paid by the word back then.

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Re: A Light in Dark Places by Amy Van De Casteele

Post by Michael S Collins » Sat Sep 21, 2013 1:33 pm

I've never read Moby Dick as I find Melville's shorter stuff quite dirge like. And I don't mind "paid by the word" either - many of Dickens pieces seem akin to that and his stuff is great.

I did try reading Tolkien, but got done in by the seemingly 1000 pages on Tom Bombadil.

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Re: A Light in Dark Places by Amy Van De Casteele

Post by majestic » Sat Sep 21, 2013 9:43 pm

Joseph wrote:Ah yes, the mighty majestic who labels the opinions of all who disagree with him as trolls. ;)
In my humble opinion that simply is because I am always right, which is why I really appreciate talking to myself - it's one of the rate occasions I can converse with someone who is my intellectual equal... :wink:

This case is a tad different however. Tolkien pretty much produced the modern basis for almost all fantasy cliches. Lord of the Rings is actually an above average novel - yes, not perfect - but it is a far cry from boring or bad. As I stated before, I consider The Silmarillion his better work (which is pretty much world building with a storyline).

I often hear, among LotR critics, that the characters are boring or unrealistic ("bland" I believe was the word you used). They're the avatars of good fighting against the personified evil - they have to be, because otherwise they would fall prey to the ring, like Boromir did. Insofar you might as well complain that Ultima IV's player character is too much of a paragon of virtue or reading an ancient greek drama and then complaining that it had a deus ex machina ending.

To me that simply looks a bit too much like trolling - adopt a viewpoint that is largely contrarian to a (somewhat) established opinion simply because one can. I've done that plenty of times myself and I love to troll Halo fanboys because they love a sub-par shooter on a console (well, and actually, the level design of Halo was objectively terrible, so I do have a valid point to make once they've taken the bait).

It's quite simple, really. You preface your posting by saying tastes are different and that you enjoy Tolstoj and whatnot (as if that would lend credence to your opinion because you obivously can find Lord of the Rings boring because you don't find other long-winded, extremely detailed books not boring. :razz:). I could say that, say, War and Peace is mighty boring because it's far too realistic to be of any entertainment value. If I want to see real life I can leave my little flat and experience it. I certainly don't need to read it for pleasure.

But I don't do that. Why? Because War and Peace is a historical novel and later on a philosophy piece, falling quite and well under literary realism - some might argue that it's the high point of the entire genre.

TL;DR:

So there I went on a HUGE tangent and I don't even know what my point was. Oh, why, yes. We all have our tastes and opinions and we're all free to post them. It's just that those formed on a basis of a wrong assumption or expectation that I somewhat dislike. That, and obvious trolls (*cough* Captain Jesus here and Fluffy *cough*).

So back to Lord of the Rings, it can easily be argued that it's too long, and that might even be true. Especially in the beginning there are chapters that could be cut without anyone noticing (and they did disappear in the movie, interestingly enough).

To argue that the novel is bland and lacks character development and interpersonal conflict is well, a tad silly. It's like watching Pacific Rim and then complaining that the movie had no discernable plot. Wrong movie for that.

edit:

Three quarters of this post are meant to be humorous and in good fun (I enjoy internet debating). You're all free to decide which parts are, and which aren't and respond accordingly. Just take everything with 64.79891 milligrams of salt. :haha:
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Re: A Light in Dark Places by Amy Van De Casteele

Post by Joseph » Sun Sep 22, 2013 3:58 am

majestic wrote:
Joseph wrote:Ah yes, the mighty majestic who labels the opinions of all who disagree with him as trolls. ;)
In my humble opinion that simply is because I am always right, which is why I really appreciate talking to myself - it's one of the rate occasions I can converse with someone who is my intellectual equal... :wink:
Ok. I'll bite. And I'll play "majestic" style with multi-quotes instead of my usual replying to the whole tl;dr in a few short sentences. Oh, and while we're at it, since we established in another thread that several of us active posters were all "gifted children" we can dispense with the duelling IQ score comparisons...
majestic wrote:This case is a tad different however. Tolkien pretty much produced the modern basis for almost all fantasy cliches. Lord of the Rings is actually an above average novel - yes, not perfect - but it is a far cry from boring or bad. As I stated before, I consider The Silmarillion his better work (which is pretty much world building with a storyline).
Yes. He did. But if not him, someone else would have sooner or later. Nothing new under the sun and all that. And yes, it's above average if "average" is Stephen King, Anne Rice, Tom Clancy, et al.
majestic wrote:I often hear, among LotR critics, that the characters are boring or unrealistic ("bland" I believe was the word you used). They're the avatars of good fighting against the personified evil - they have to be, because otherwise they would fall prey to the ring, like Boromir did. Insofar you might as well complain that Ultima IV's player character is too much of a paragon of virtue or reading an ancient greek drama and then complaining that it had a deus ex machina ending.

To me that simply looks a bit too much like trolling - adopt a viewpoint that is largely contrarian to a (somewhat) established opinion simply because one can. I've done that plenty of times myself and I love to troll Halo fanboys because they love a sub-par shooter on a console (well, and actually, the level design of Halo was objectively terrible, so I do have a valid point to make once they've taken the bait).


I don't recall using the word bland in reference to any of the characters. And I wouldn't know squat about Ultima or Halo. Never played either, never will but as far as characters, development, narrative, paragon this, archetype that... sure, fine, whatever. Wait. What? Who? Why are you off on this tangent again? Oh, yes, because Tolkien isn't my cup of tea so I must be enlightened by mighty majestic. Well, respect your elders, child. And highbrow trolling is still trolling. :razz:
majestic wrote:It's quite simple, really. You preface your posting by saying tastes are different and that you enjoy Tolstoj and whatnot (as if that would lend credence to your opinion because you obivously can find Lord of the Rings boring because you don't find other long-winded, extremely detailed books not boring. :razz:). I could say that, say, War and Peace is mighty boring because it's far too realistic to be of any entertainment value. If I want to see real life I can leave my little flat and experience it. I certainly don't need to read it for pleasure.

But I don't do that. Why? Because War and Peace is a historical novel and later on a philosophy piece, falling quite and well under literary realism - some might argue that it's the high point of the entire genre.
My bad for mentioning other verbose authors (long winded and boring authors to some) that I do like. I'm simply so used to having to over-explain and qualify my posts on other larger forums that I was, out of habit, pre-emptively striking down the "you just can't handle anything that isn't simple mass produced sci-fi tie-in fiction" counter. But since we are all such a clever lot around here (minus certain glaring exceptions that will probably never even read this thread) I should have realised I didn't need to pre-qualify my statement.
majestic wrote:TL;DR:

So there I went on a HUGE tangent and I don't even know what my point was. Oh, why, yes. We all have our tastes and opinions and we're all free to post them. It's just that those formed on a basis of a wrong assumption or expectation that I somewhat dislike. That, and obvious trolls (*cough* Captain Jesus here and Fluffy *cough*).

So back to Lord of the Rings, it can easily be argued that it's too long, and that might even be true. Especially in the beginning there are chapters that could be cut without anyone noticing (and they did disappear in the movie, interestingly enough).

To argue that the novel is bland and lacks character development and interpersonal conflict is well, a tad silly. It's like watching Pacific Rim and then complaining that the movie had no discernable plot. Wrong movie for that.
Yes. I do dislike opinions formed on wrong assumptions and expectations too. And I'm still trying to figure out where you got the gist that any of us were arguing anything about a lack of character development and interpersonal conflict. Did I miss something? Did I type something in my sleep that I have no recollection of? Are you somehow confusing something I once most likely, and entirely justifiably may have said about your beloved ST:TNG for something I don't recall anyone, myself or others, saying here about LotR? You must be. Colour me totally disliking your trolling... er... opinion. ;)
majestic wrote:edit:

Three quarters of this post are meant to be humorous and in good fun (I enjoy internet debating). You're all free to decide which parts are, and which aren't and respond accordingly. Just take everything with 64.79891 milligrams of salt. :haha:
In summation, all I can say is three of us in this thread are against you. If we take Gorth's comments from the thread a couple weeks back that would be four to one. So while majority doesn't rule, considering the level playing field as far as intellect and literacy... well, that's four of us genius types against one genius type. Maybe you can get Marcus on your side to bolster your crusade. :haha:

Say... this is fun!

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Re: A Light in Dark Places by Amy Van De Casteele

Post by Gorth » Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:24 am

Hey! You guys stop picking on Ultima IV. That makes Gorth sad... Image
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Re: A Light in Dark Places by Amy Van De Casteele

Post by Amy VDC » Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:35 am

Apologies for interrupting this debate... and apologies if I am inarticulate, am pretty ill at the moment... I just wanted to say that I wrote this article as a tribute to a man who I admire for many reasons, I wrote it from my own particular viewpoint and I wrote it to show how important literature can be to someone's life.... if you don't have the same feelings about Tolkien, that's fine... if some other work of literature does for you what Lord of the Rings does for me that's fine..... but I really don't want my article to be the cue for people to argue about Tolkien...... or indeed about anything at all. I would much prefer it to be the trigger for people to share their own literary loves and passions. To be positive, rather than negative or critical. As for whether or not Tolkien is a great novelist... I personally think he is and that's all that matters to me, because he - through his work - has helped me through some dark periods, and his work makes me feel that there is more beauty and poetry and magic to life and literature than we see on an every day basis. If you disagree with that it doesn't matter, because that is my own personal view and no one else is going to change it or colour it or corrupt it for me. I merely tried to share it here, and to prompt you all to think about your own favourite books/writers and the lessons they have taught you.

Well.....I must go now because tiredness is probably making me dissolve into nonsensical rambling... I apologize if it has. I hope you all have a lovely day, wherever you are... and Majestic, if you want to discuss the merits of the Silmarillion - I could happily do that for hours :-)
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Re: A Light in Dark Places by Amy Van De Casteele

Post by majestic » Mon Sep 23, 2013 2:09 pm

Gorth wrote:Hey! You guys stop picking on Ultima IV. That makes Gorth sad... Image
I wasn't picking on Ultima IV at all. I love the game, it just didn't age all too well. :look:
Amy VDC wrote: but I really don't want my article to be the cue for people to argue about Tolkien...... or indeed about anything at all.
Hm, lookie Joseph, Amy saved you from the massive post I was halfway through typing up. :haha:
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Re: A Light in Dark Places by Amy Van De Casteele

Post by Joseph » Mon Sep 23, 2013 2:32 pm

A post that would have been a complete waste of your time because I tend to only reply to yours once and move on. I'm simply can't take anyone who views TNG the way you do seriously. ;)

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Re: A Light in Dark Places by Amy Van De Casteele

Post by majestic » Mon Sep 23, 2013 4:21 pm

Joseph wrote:A post that would have been a complete waste of your time because I tend to only reply to yours once and move on. I'm simply can't take anyone who views TNG the way you do seriously. ;)
Of course. :razz:

PS: In order to have the last word, what I argued was that TNG was the better show than Voyager or that dismal failure called Enterprise - and since you put so much stock in numbers while discussing Tolkien, Nielsen ratings do seem to favor my side of the argument here. ;)
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Re: A Light in Dark Places by Amy Van De Casteele

Post by Joseph » Mon Sep 23, 2013 4:47 pm

Hmm. I think we've derailed this thread enough, especially considering the article's author being unfamiliar with all of us having known each other and bantered like this for... bloody hell, a decade... was our tour of duty at Black Isle really that long ago..?

Anyhow... to quote your hero, Picard... "This far! No farther!"

So... back on topic! All of you... us...

TNG still sucks.

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