Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Lord of the Rings 2016

In a discussion of the candidates and our responses to them, I realised that my view of Hillary had changed over the last year or two.  I had seen her as Boromir or Denethor, retaining some good characteristics, but over time mostly overthrown by ambition, until all morality was clouded or bent.  Dangerous, but understandable.  In the last year I think that has changed.  I now see her as Smeagol, utterly overthrown by temptation (his, for small-scale dominance; hers, ambition) and dangerousness just barely fathomable.

Pitiable, yes. Were she not poised to wreak great havoc on all of us we could perhaps stand back and see her thus, a poor, wretched creature, a Gollum. Grima*, perhaps, not Shelob.  We think of that only because of the gender connection, I think, which is unfair to her. She did not want absolute domination over a small place - her aim was higher. I don't rate her as Saruman - she never rose that high to fall equivalently low. The feminists who defended her as a victim of a horrible sex-offending husband may be picking up some of this pitiable quality - not acknowledging that Smeagol had choices for many centuries (and one huge choice for evil early on) until he finally had no choices at all.

Tolkien - and Lewis, Alexander, plus all the Arthurian legends, contrast how the power to destroy is common; the power to create much rarer and more difficult.

*Though I can think of a dozen Grimas around her, so that can't be it.

8 comments:

Christopher B said...

I wonder if PJ O'Rouke still thinks she's "wrong within normal parameters".

Assistant Village Idiot said...

The same question has occurred to me.

Boxty said...

Maybe Hillary is Wormtongue to Bill's Saruman? Bill was a king that turned into a grifter and I bet Hillary would love to slit his throat right about now.

Sam L. said...

You only recently realized this? Perhaps you've been too caught up in your work. It's been obvious for much longer.

Grim said...

Who is Trump, then? A Boromir? A man whose power descends from his father(s), and who has never quite lived up to it in spite of his constant efforts? A man deeply invested in pride for his country, for his and its accomplishments, but aware that those things are mired in the past and sliding out of existence in the face of rising threats? A man who can give into temptation to try to overmaster the weak, even those under his protection, convinced that he knows better than they what they should want to do?

Boromir was a very tragic character, but I remarked on the last re-reading how much time was spent on his funeral. He received very high honors from Aragorn, from Legolas, from the whole company. They took a lot of time with it, indeed, even though orcs were running off with some of their companions. It's an interesting moment in the story, one that says something about what Aragorn et al value in spite of a kind of betrayal.

Or perhaps you favor another analogy for Trump? And what of McMullin? My best analog to him is one of those knights of Dol Amroth who would counsel Gandalf and Aragorn to stay behind the walls, defend what seems strongest even though we know now that it is not strong enough, for as long as possible. The deadly risk of the Morranon! It is too great a chance to take, on so forlorn a hope -- a kind of faith in guiding providence that must, at last, seem irrational.

Sam L. said...

I read those books, but retain little.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Heroic fantasy, with the woodland humanish creatures or beast-fable, are something people either like or they don't, I've found.

Edith Hook said...

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

You're not alone in noting parallels to LOTR. I can see HRC as Sméagol and Wormtongue as the Media. I came across a play on words for the above phrase, substituting email for ring.