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Eä Tolkien Society Meeting Notes for September 2017

by Hawke published Oct 15, 2017 10:40 PM, last modified Oct 15, 2017 10:46 PM
Here are the meeting notes from the Ea Tolkien Society's monthly September meeting, thanks to Brian!

Video from that meeting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lExPMgx6N5U

Eä Tolkien Society Meeting of the Inland Northwest

September 16, 2017

Smial Notes

Attended: Hawke, Chris, Corey, Wesley, Stephanie


1. Mae Govannen! Hawke introduces the meeting.

2. Decision of how much to cover today. No notes due to Secretary’s mistake.

3. Hawke noted that this month marks the anniversary of Tolkien’s death
(Sept. 2, 1973, at Bournemouth, England). Wesley noted that Sept. 22 is
also Frodo and Bilbo’s Birthday.

4. Discussion about Tolkien’s birth in South Africa and early life in
Birmingham.

5. Corey introduces Stephen R. Lawhead essay.

6. Discussion points:

• First exposure to Tolkien

• How many languages Tolkien created

• Lawhead’s praise for The Lord of the Rings

• Thoughts about reading LOTR without peer pressure/with

• Thoughts about reading level for today’s audience (1990’s = 8th grade
level, 2017 = 4th grade level). Multimedia competition for mind. Today
young people are familiar with movies but many have not read Tolkien.

• Humphrey Carpenter biography; Lawhead read about the Inklings and the
“informing spirit of their work”.

• Lawhead began to write fantasy.

• Reference to Christopher Tolkien possibly retiring from writing/editing
his father’s work in his 90’s… Anne McAffrey stopped at 90. Mentored
Mercedes Lackey and others.

• Terry Pratchett requested that no one finish his work for him. Directed
his unfinished work to be destroyed.

• Frank Herbert’s son Brian Herbert carried on his work.

• Discussion of carrying on another writer’s work… the pitfalls.

• Mentoring younger writers: Brendan Sanderson.

• Lawhead: “I did not think in terms of great literature… I set out to
please myself… yet the lessons I learned from Lewis and Tolkien penetrated
deep into my psyche; deeper than emulation, deeper than imitation. In short
it was not Tolkien’s style or subject matter that influenced me, but the
integrity of the work itself.”

• Hawke’s pet peeve: authors who claim to imitate Tolkien but do not start
with languages. Everyone else tries to create languages for their world…
Tolkien created a world for his languages.

• Chris: Bill Gates created primitive computer in the 70’s called Altair
1000, and he created a language for it. So from creating languages, Gates
made a world.

• Corey: Not many people starting genres like Tolkien. What other figure
has the same shadow as a genre-shaper?

• Debate begins on authors and derivative works. Asimov as genre-shaper. Is
Lewis’ work science fiction or a fantasy writer trying to write science
fiction?

• Tolkien’s reference (Letter 294) to Asimov. He enjoyed reading Asimov
very much.

• Corey remembered an obscure science fiction novel that Tolkien and Lewis
liked. [Secretary: it was Voyage to Arcturus, by David Lindsay]

• 1966 Hugo Award went to Asimov’s work, beating out LOTR.

• Stephanie: Asimov’s books are featured in 9 of the Dewey Decimal sections.

• Chesterton (influence on Inklings) had friendship with H.G. Wells.

7. Started reading Tolkien Letter 144 (from 1954).

Discussion points:

• Applicability, not allegory.

• Tolkien’s explanation of languages and races material which will become
the Appendices in LOTR vol III.

• JRRT as a kind of sociologist.

• The Three Rings’ powers would dwindle when the One was destroyed.

• Galadriel & the Kinslaying.

• The nobility of Elves or men? What did Tolkien mean on first page of
letter? It’s the blood of Elves among men... noble families (Numenoreans,
and specifically the Gondorian and Arnorian royal lines).

• Debate: the Woses… noble savages?

• Origin of men and how they were corrupted not described per se. They came
into Elvish history. More debate. Only ones not corrupted? They never
served Morgoth. Every other race has examples of those succumbing to
darkness and those who resisted.

• Also death is the gift of Illuvatar to men. Men succumb easily to the
fear of Morgoth, etc.

More rabbit trails… or was that the Hares of Rhosgobel?

8. Next meeting of the Ea Tolkien Society will be Saturday, October 21,
2017, from 1-3 pm at Hawke’s house.

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