I am such a nerdling it’s ridiculous.
I just got an email from the department library saying they’ll be closed over the Easter Weekend and legitimately thought ‘oh, crap, what am I going to do this weekend then?’
Indis, Idril (half), Elenwë and Amarië of the Vanyar
“Peabody,” he said. “Will you come here?”
He had seated himself on the sofa, a large structure in the Turkish style, with a quantity of soft pillows. I had chosen a straight-backed chair and taken up a book.
“No, thank you, Emerson, I prefer this chair.”
Emerson rose. Picking up the chair, with me in it, he carried it to the end of the sofa and set it down with a thud. “I bow you your wishes, my dear Peabody.”
The Snake, the Crocodile, and the Dog by Elizabeth Peters
those left behind: DO YOU HAVE FEELINGS ABOUT MINYARIN AVARI BECAUSE I CERTAINLY DO AND YOU SHOULD TOO [listen]
gazpacho the wizard of altai mountain || turisas sahti waari || blackmore’s night under a violet moon || enya sumiregusa || nightwish elvenpath || finntroll rök || fellowship a verse to elbereth gilthóniel || epica the divine conspiracy || enigma adiemus || patricia kaas une fille de l’est
I was really hoping you’d publish whatever your answer was going to be tbh THIS IS RIDIC AND AMAZING OMG
Yeah, that was an opportunity I was not passing up.
FRENCH MEDIEVAL LITERATURE IS THE BEST THOUGH FOR CRACKY SHIT LIKE THIS. Which is why I just LOLLLLL forever when stuff like “medieval scholarship” gets held up as a reason why we should be all serious, stodgy and victorian. Like, they literally doodled butts in their manuscripts and 90% of the Old French corpus is elaborate awesome puns on genitalia, and you have people re-writing each other’s shit all the time because they prefer their own characterization/shipping preferences/whatever.
Literally, people were just as ridiculous back then - it was just more difficult to get published.
OH GOD I CAN’T REMEMBER THE NAME WHICH IS A SHAME BECAUSE HOLY CRAP
as ridiculous as this sentence is, I have read multiple medieval weird french vagina stories. There’s one really horrible one where this guy punishes his wife by covering her in vaginas so that everyone will know she’s promiscuous (I think?) Pretty sure that’s “Les Quatre Souhaits de Saint Martin”. (But there’s also one of a husband who’s crap in bed and gets covered in different sized penises so idek, I think the two of them should pair up).
ANYWAY, there’s another one where there’s this super sassy vagina which starts talking to a handsome knight, and the woman stuffs cotton in it to get it to shut up – which, if I remember correctly, was a metaphor for sexual desire. But it basically consisted of the vagina shouting things like “hey boys, can I get yo numbah?” and the woman sort of frantically hushing it.
OLD FRENCH LITERATURE IS FUCKING WEIRD, THOUGH. Weird and awesome.
Even though I really love the Tolkien community on tumblr, I feel like more often than not his work/characters are taken completely out of context and bastardized into something else to fit peoples’ fancies. On the one hand, the beauty of…
I very rarely see any of the meta that you referred to, so please point me to it!
there’s more to Tolkien than JUST shipping. I would never shame anyone for anything that brings them joy and does not harm anyone else; I was merely saying that a more intellectual look at Tolkien’s worth is no less important than shipping and that I wished I could find more of it on tumblr.
University of Arda is a good collection of Tolkien-based discussions. And I don’t know about you, but I have seen plenty of fascinating discussions arise from the discussion of tumblr’s cracky headcanons or reading and writing fanfic, and it actually didn’t matter much whether those were shippy or gen-based, and to single out shipping in particular as somehow inherently lesser actually is a distinction that both confuses and frustrates me, because this is an argument that gets slapped around every so often. What in the world does it matter whether the story contains a romantic and/or sexual relationship in terms of the themes and topics that are treated? Beren and Lúthien is a romance and contains some of the most personal and profound themes Tolkien established in his works.
And I fully acknowledge that not all fic may not be en par with Tolkien’s own ideas, but then not everyone is an Oxford Don or even intends to engage on that level (e.g. in PWPs, short for Plot? What Plot? or Porn Without Plot depending on the acronym you prefer), but on the flipside fic also frequently serves a transformative rather than an affirmative function and is itself a vessel to criticize the text. I write femslash not just because I enjoy it, but because a world that values patriarchal ideas and heteronormativity (18% female characters, 0% explicitly queer ones of any description, “strange and hard fates” for Elves who don’t marry) is not something I want to reflect in my writing, and that’s only the top layer I’m actually comfortable sharing here. There are authors who write fascinating character insights and/or downright literary fanfiction, cultural exploration way beyond Tolkien’s (very kindly put) extremely narrow focus, and yes, plenty of that happens in shippy fic. It’s not lesser by default.
Even on the extreme end of crackships, I’m not sure they’re quite as inferior to intellectual discussion as seems to be implied by the term “bastardization”. Crackships are, I think, both affirmative and lovingly depreciating of fandom’s emphasis on shipping in general, and something of an in-joke about shipping as a concept. Which, while not everyone’s cup of tea, I think they serve a role in fandom by reinforcing the idea of pushing boundaries within fic (something which is by its very nature transformative), and by poking fun at the concept as a whole. If you’re going to be using words like “bastardizing” the characters, I think that’s a pretty bold statement – not everyone’s fic is everyone’s cup of tea, and there are very valid criticisms to be made of some of fandom’s popular tropes, preferences for m/m over f/f pairings, preferences for excluding characters of colour from popular ships and so on, the fact that it’s not an exact duplicate of the original text isn’t one of them.
Like Vefanyar said, shipping doesn’t automatically mean people aren’t engaging (or actively disagreeing) with themes within the text. And tbh, I think what rubs me the wrong way most about your initial post is the comment about how Tolkien would be appalled by his “fans” (which you put in quotes). Tbh, I don’t give a fig if he’s appalled by his fans (who, even if they are posting things you don’t agree with are still fans), given his work is full of sexism and racism, and there are plenty of reasons to want to write things not 100% in keeping with the text. If I wanted a sausage fest, I would just re-read the books and not write anything.
Fandom’s greatest capacity is for transformation, I think – that’s certainly what most fic does, whether you agree with what it’s being transformed into or not. It’s also something very much in keeping with Tolkien being a medievalist, as medieval narratives were often worked and reworked over and over again by different authors, exploring different aspects of the themes, and occasionally going in some very, very strange directions (ye olde disagreement over the parentage of Mordred, and that time Chrétien de Troyes fucked up all the Guinevere/Arthur shippers with his sudden Guinevere/Lancelot and everyone started jumping ship, the fact that nobody could agree on a consistent characterization ever, and I’ve yet to see any crackfic as weird as that medieval French thing about the talking vagina).
Maybe you just need to find some more meta-centric blogs to better suit what you’re looking for out of fandom - and University of Arda is probably a good place to start. If you want a more academic look at Tolkien’s writing, Corey Olsen runs quite a few podcasts that look at Tolkien’s work in the context of Medieval literature, as well as thematic analysis of both the books and the films, and I think he has a message board if you want discussion.
oh my god I literally just had one of those moments where I figured out how to get past the block I was having with this essay and it suddenly all just came together.
Unfortunately it involves doing statistics, but thank god at least it makes sense