Wizards and a defense of Gandalf
#21
(09-30-2010, 02:40 AM)charlesh Wrote: Great analysis. It was only recently that a friend pointed out to me that Tolkein showed Gandalf as the type of an angel.

To be fair though, as my favourite book is The Silmarillion (and the only book I own of Tolkien), which explains all the background, I do not actually remember what is in the books Tolkien published. This book was published after his death and Tolkien never intended to publish it as far as I know. So, the original books may be very ambiguous, despite referencing this background piece, and by themselves, may not contain all that is needed to make them as wholesome as I seem to think. The films are even more ambiguous (the actor playing Gandalf did not actually know the background of the character, and almost nothing is explained, such as why Gandalf returns after death, why Gandalf doesn't do anything to directly aid humans and why Men shout "death!" as a war cry).

I cannot judge the works as they stand because of my focus on the works. Another fundamental question is "Can a Catholic create a literary work which involves imagining God to act differently to create an entirely fictional setting for a story to take place?". I would create this thread, but I do not want to be accused of anything. Maybe later. Now that I think about it more closely, I cannot answer that yet.
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#22
(09-30-2010, 10:16 AM)Herr_Mannelig Wrote: "Can a Catholic create a literary work which involves imagining God to act differently to create an entirely fictional setting for a story to take place?".

As with many things I would say intent is key.  If a Catholic cannot create a work that involves God acting differently, then fiction would be out of the question entirely - whether the author changes the method of creation (symbolically or otherwise) or changes how God allowed things to play out (say, whether or not the Allies won World War II), the way the Will of God has expressed itself in reality has been changed within the setting of said work.
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#23
(09-30-2010, 10:16 AM)Herr_Mannelig Wrote: To be fair though, as my favourite book is The Silmarillion (and the only book I own of Tolkien), which explains all the background, I do not actually remember what is in the books Tolkien published.

I believe the parts relevant to this were in one of the appendices to Lord of the Rings, yes.
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#24
(09-30-2010, 09:47 AM)Herr_Mannelig Wrote:
(09-29-2010, 11:15 PM)dark lancer Wrote: So basically something is evil or not based on what appellation is used and in what context.

Sort of. It is the appellation which is judged though. So, more appropriately:

"the subject of an appellation is evil or not based on context".

So, in the right context, a demon can be good if for some reason this term refers to something for whatever reason which is not what we would call a demon (ie, fallen angel). The spoken word "demon" (it uses an alternative spelling though which originally referred to the same thing as "demon" though) can also refer to some types of software...I'm not sure why (for the curious and geeky...it refers to a Unix programming which runs in the background (more precisely, it has to be a child of init, but if you know what that means, you already know what I'm writing about)).

So, the fact that Tolkien used the Anglo-Saxon word "Wizard" to refer to an angelic being in human form does not make the being evil. Tolkien uses words of different backgrounds for linguistic reasons.

Then what about Forgotten Realms in which demons are one of three types of evil creatures who dwell not on Earth (or Toril) but in ventral planes not unlike Hell, angels live with the Good gods in heaven-like realms, and wizards cast spells that have practical purposes?
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#25
(09-30-2010, 09:50 AM)Herr_Mannelig Wrote:
(09-29-2010, 11:01 PM)dymphna17 Wrote: What a nerd.  You were really bored today, weren't you?

I kid, I kid.  ;) :P ;D

Geek. And it was last night.

I wasn't particular bored. I like to write and I think a lot, so the post does not reflect any abnormal reflection of mine. It is just one I chose to share.

I was just teasing you.  :cheers:  You started an interesting thread.
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#26
(09-30-2010, 01:33 PM)dark lancer Wrote:
(09-30-2010, 09:47 AM)Herr_Mannelig Wrote:
(09-29-2010, 11:15 PM)dark lancer Wrote: So basically something is evil or not based on what appellation is used and in what context.

Sort of. It is the appellation which is judged though. So, more appropriately:

"the subject of an appellation is evil or not based on context".

So, in the right context, a demon can be good if for some reason this term refers to something for whatever reason which is not what we would call a demon (ie, fallen angel). The spoken word "demon" (it uses an alternative spelling though which originally referred to the same thing as "demon" though) can also refer to some types of software...I'm not sure why (for the curious and geeky...it refers to a Unix programming which runs in the background (more precisely, it has to be a child of init, but if you know what that means, you already know what I'm writing about)).

So, the fact that Tolkien used the Anglo-Saxon word "Wizard" to refer to an angelic being in human form does not make the being evil. Tolkien uses words of different backgrounds for linguistic reasons.

Then what about Forgotten Realms in which demons are one of three types of evil creatures who dwell not on Earth (or Toril) but in ventral planes not unlike Hell, angels live with the Good gods in heaven-like realms, and wizards cast spells that have practical purposes?

What about it? Are you asking me to judge a work I have never read, even as I specifically stated I am not even judging the Lord of the Rings on this thread?
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#27
(09-30-2010, 04:58 PM)Herr_Mannelig Wrote:
(09-30-2010, 01:33 PM)dark lancer Wrote:
(09-30-2010, 09:47 AM)Herr_Mannelig Wrote:
(09-29-2010, 11:15 PM)dark lancer Wrote: So basically something is evil or not based on what appellation is used and in what context.

Sort of. It is the appellation which is judged though. So, more appropriately:

"the subject of an appellation is evil or not based on context".

So, in the right context, a demon can be good if for some reason this term refers to something for whatever reason which is not what we would call a demon (ie, fallen angel). The spoken word "demon" (it uses an alternative spelling though which originally referred to the same thing as "demon" though) can also refer to some types of software...I'm not sure why (for the curious and geeky...it refers to a Unix programming which runs in the background (more precisely, it has to be a child of init, but if you know what that means, you already know what I'm writing about)).

So, the fact that Tolkien used the Anglo-Saxon word "Wizard" to refer to an angelic being in human form does not make the being evil. Tolkien uses words of different backgrounds for linguistic reasons.

Then what about Forgotten Realms in which demons are one of three types of evil creatures who dwell not on Earth (or Toril) but in ventral planes not unlike Hell, angels live with the Good gods in heaven-like realms, and wizards cast spells that have practical purposes?

What about it? Are you asking me to judge a work I have never read, even as I specifically stated I am not even judging the Lord of the Rings on this thread?

There's the set-up for that all-powerful 'argument by analogy' again.

It doesn't appear you're going to give it room to even be set up. I, for one, am not familiar with Forgotten Realms, but if Dark Lancer provides some information on it perhaps a decision could be made . . .
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#28
(09-30-2010, 05:11 PM)INPEFESS Wrote: There's the set-up for that all-powerful 'argument by analogy' again.

It doesn't appear you're going to give it room to even be set up. I, for one, am not familiar with Forgotten Realms, but if Dark Lancer provides some information on it perhaps a decision could be made . . .

Yes, but it is totally out of place. This thread is specifically about the concept of "wizards", linguistics and Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings.

I searched for it to make sure it wasn't an element of the Lord of the Rings I missed, but I responded as if as I originally planned even given my new knowledge. It isn't a book even, but part of a game. It has no connection to this thread except using the word "wizard" and the only relation to this thread is summed up at the end of my post. Although wizard normally refers to something which would be evil, words have no inherent meaning.

That question would be better fitting on another thread (if one were wanting to post it on an existing thread) such as the one about Witchcraft and the intercession of demons and fantasy http://catholicforum.fisheaters.com/inde...991.0.html

I do not think that I even need to address it because I never intended to judge the Lord of the Rings itself, but determine general principles to follow. I will probably not be able to begin to judge any individual works.

I will say that for games (especially computer games), the external design of the game may not be that important as they are normally just interfaces for a more fundamental problem. A game like chess for instance could be played with pieces which wizards (as indeed exist as I just googled: http://www.chesssets.com/chess-sets/collector-sets/wizardchessset.cfm?TID=FP220&source=channel_intelligence_gbase&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=FP220 ) but the shape or name of the pieces really doesn't matter for the actual game of chess. Mutable elements such as games are harder to judge definitively because of this element. One has to determine not only the nature of the externals, but what the game actually is.
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#29
A little more on games...this isn't to say games get a free pass because they normally all do boil down to a mathematical or sociological problem. It would probably depend on how integral the story is for the externals. Some games use elements which could be magic, but are explained in various ways just to keep the story. Bioshock features biological mutations for throwing fire and doing other things. Portal has a Portal gun. Call of Duty has machine guns. It wouldn't necessarily make these elements good or bad if the external pixels were changed. This isn't to say any are in fact good, but that it isn't necessarily bad by the standards I have found.
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#30
Maybe I shouldn't partake in these discussion because this level of hairsplitting makes me physically ill.

My point is that Tolkien isn't that different from the HP books in terms of morality. That has been my point in all three threads. You haven't provided anything to convince me otherwise.
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