Star Wars vs LotR (and a smidgin of NGE)

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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Tue Jul 08, 2008 1:03 pm

Gamer_2k4 wrote:Well, the biggest difference between LoTR, Star Wars, and NGE is that the first two have universal appeal. Everyone likes movies. Everyone likes books. Everyone likes adventure stories.
Nothing has universal appeal. I've met plenty of people who don't like Star Wars and don't care about LotR. I guess you might say that within their genres (sci-fi and fantasy) and mediums they have a very wide appeal, and beyond that they're among the select few where many non-genre/medium fans enjoy them.

Gamer_2k4 wrote:However, NGE is a bit different. First of all, it's an anime. Many people look at any sort of animation as juvenile, which puts up a barrier right away.
Yes, which is what I was saying in my first post.

Gamer_2k4 wrote: The next problem is that NGE isn't just animation, but it's bad animation. So before they even get to the content, people have a reason to dislike NGE.
Lolwut? NGE's animation is excellent. Even by today's standards it doesn't pale in comparison with modern anime. The excellent animation was one of the initial draws when it was first released. And the art and designs, while I guess subjective, I think are still among the best and most iconic within the medium.

Gamer_2k4 wrote:But let's say they get past that. Hey sweet, a mecha anime! Only problem is, the action parts are disproportionately offset by the emotional parts. Almost none of the characters are likable, and there's a ton of complicated backstory. Toss in all of the religious references, and you get that "pretentiously deep" feeling mentioned in another thread. Heck, I even saw someone complaining that he didn't like how NGE was "pushing religion on him."
Yeah, the fact that it's anime and the fact that it also attempts to work on a much higher artistic level than the vast majority of animation strives to creates a tricky combination for people who aren't accustomed to either. The problem is that it's often too "much" for the typical anime fan and too different for the more serious film/literature fan. Now, that's a generalization and not always true, because after introducing several cinephiles to NGE I've found that they have a tendency to love it. But the common trend was that none had heard about it until I told them. So there's also that niche-ness that doesn't help.

Gamer_2k4 wrote:You have a poorly drawn
NOT poorly drawn. Not by any anime standards that I can figure.

Gamer_2k4 wrote:complete with children who don't act like children, parents who don't act like parents,
Actually, I think one of NGE's greatest features is that the characters DO act like real people. Not all people are brave, heroic, and psychologically sound.

Gamer_2k4 wrote:all tied together with some garbage "who am I" nonsense that would make Nietzsche proud and everyone else shake their head.
It's not really nonsense if you get what it's referencing. Existentialism has been around for more than a century now - it's not that new or difficult to grasp.
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Postby Gamer_2k4 » Tue Jul 08, 2008 1:36 pm

Eva Yojimbo wrote:
Gamer_2k4 wrote:You have a poorly drawn
NOT poorly drawn. Not by any anime standards that I can figure.


Okay, I'll grant that the art itself looks more realistic than it could. The character proportions are right, for example. But there are all sorts of issues with the animation, such as reused scenes, long, lingering shots (Episode 4 or 5, for example, where Shinji is supposed to board the train and doesn't. He and Misato spend about 5 minutes staring at each other afterwards), standard anime mouth motion and stiff movements, etc.

I understand that that sort of thing may be common among anime, but that still doesn't make it good quality. I watched Akira the other day and was amazed that everyone was constantly in motion, and that dubbing was actually difficult because of realistic mouth movement. I admit that I misspoke when I said that NGE was poorly drawn, but I still think that "poorly animated" is a fair criticism.
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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:25 pm

Gamer_2k4 wrote:'ll grant that the art itself looks more realistic than it could.
The purpose of anime/animation is NOT to look realistic. It's to be expressive.

Gamer_2k4 wrote:But there are all sorts of issues with the animation, such as reused scenes, long, lingering shots (Episode 4 or 5, for example, where Shinji is supposed to board the train and doesn't. He and Misato spend about 5 minutes staring at each other afterwards), standard anime mouth motion and stiff movements, etc.
See, I don't see these as "issues" or "flaws" but intentional artistic designs. The reused scenes are actually much less than people make out to be. NGE, all together, likely uses much more frames of animation than the vast majority of TV anime even does today. If you watch the majority of the second half the editing and animation is VERY fast. In order to use that many frames that only last a second or less is very lavish for an anime TV show.

In order to compensate for this extravagance, Anno alternates between extremely fast and dense editing and long, static shots. The static shots act as a contrast - a way to allow the mind to rest on something and ponder what's been seen. The "long take" technique is explored more fully in ep. 4 where beautifully drawn scenes composed of mostly long shots linger not because of budget or lazy animation, but as an artistic choice. Ep. 4 is the ep. that most clearly recalls classic Japanese and Asian art, where aesthetic flow is emphasized over linear action.

Gamer_2k4 wrote:I understand that that sort of thing may be common among anime, but that still doesn't make it good quality.
What makes it high quality is how it's all applied. It's using a limitation of anime (the fact that you can't animate every scene at 24 frames per second) as an artistic strength. Anno makes it work FOR the anime instead of against it. And to focus on the little reused animation and the static shots (which do serve an artistic purpose beyond "budget saving") and ignore the rest of the lavish animation and art strikes me as terribly biased.

Gamer_2k4 wrote:I watched Akira the other day and was amazed that everyone was constantly in motion,
Yes, but more motion doesn't equal better. Even with all of Akira's movement perhaps its greatest strength is minutiae of the art given to the environment. If anything, the "more motion/action equals better" is a very Western mentality when it comes to an approach to art. An "all of the frame must be filled at every second" idea. But classic Eastern art is actually very different in its approach to all mediums. For visual arts for instance, much Eastern art chooses to leave stretches of canvas blank so the void speaks as loudly as the "filled in" parts. Look at classic Asian film where events and action are sacrificed for aesthetic, emotional flow and a focus on minutest details (Ozu, Naruse, and the Taiwanese New Wave directors).

NGE is a near perfect blending of Western storytelling techniques without losing or sacrificing its roots in Eastern artistic sensibilities. I guess some people just don't recognize or appreciate it.


This topic can be split if you want to discuss it more.
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Postby NemZ » Wed Jul 09, 2008 12:13 am

Indeed, many of the films that movie critics hold up as classic examples of ace cinematography include lingering shots, slow pans with little action, etc. What's more, the deeper the subject of a film the more it's pace needs to be slowed to give the audience a chance to ponder what is happening.

On the other hand, people constantly complain about action flicks that go too much in the other direction, the worst example of which is the dreaded 'shaky cam' that made the latest Bourne movie practically unwatchable.
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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Wed Jul 09, 2008 12:35 am

One thing I love about NGE's use of film language is how it moderates classical composition, pacing, and long takes with its rapid-fire editing, condensed action, and combination of static images with quick, often non-sequitor dialogue. You can almost see the progression from a classical style (Welles, Kurosawa, Ozu, etc.) to a more radical approach (Godard, Eisenstein, Vertov, etc.) as the series goes along. Even though both extremes are utilized throughout to a degree, the earlier episodes are much more classical in their approach, and then when the narrative and characters start to unravel the radical influences begin dominating.

Also, I don't hate the "shaky cam" technique, I just think it's often overused and misapplied. Examples of it being put to great use are in City of God, Children of Men, and many of Godard's films (and TV's Firefly).
Last edited by Eva Yojimbo on Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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We're all adrift on the stormy seas of Evangelion, desperately trying to gather what flotsam can be snatched from the gale into a somewhat seaworthy interpretation so that we can at last reach the shores of reason and respite. - ObsessiveMathsFreak
Jimbo has posted enough to be considered greater than or equal to everyone, and or synonymous with the concept of 'everyone'. - Muggy
I've seen so many changeful years, / to Earth I am a stranger grown: / I wander in the ways of men, / alike unknowing and unknown: / Unheard, unpitied, unrelieved, / I bear alone my load of care; / For silent, low, on beds of dust, / Lie all that would my sorrows share. - Robert Burns' Lament for James

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Postby Gamer_2k4 » Wed Jul 09, 2008 1:01 am

Eva Yojimbo wrote:This topic can be split if you want to discuss it more.

Split away if you'd like...I can't promise much more than reiteration and elaboration, but I do know that I have a comment on shaky cameras.

Unfortunately, I think I already made my point, and until someone else responds to it, I don't have much more to add to the current topic. =/
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Postby devil_eAter » Wed Jul 09, 2008 3:41 am

Not many people even know what Neon Genesis Evangelion even is in my town. Only one person in my town watched it though and liked it.

In respnse to people hating it because it is confusing, I don't think it is that confusing really. I see it as dark, psychological, intelligent, and well done. But not that confusing. When I first saw EoE I was a little confused. I didn't catch certain things originally such as some symbolism, but I still ultimatly understood it. I think films such as those by David Lynch are more confusing. Serial Experiments Lain is the most confusing anime I watched.
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Postby Gamer_2k4 » Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:13 am

Oh yeah, I should probably address the other points you made, Yojimbo.

Eva Yojimbo wrote:Nothing has universal appeal. I've met plenty of people who don't like Star Wars and don't care about LotR. I guess you might say that within their genres (sci-fi and fantasy) and mediums they have a very wide appeal, and beyond that they're among the select few where many non-genre/medium fans enjoy them.

It's easier to like because of the film format. I'd guess the majority of Star Wars fans have never read the books, and I'm almost positive that the majority of LotR fans have never read those books. But the movies were spectacular for each, and that's often enough to make fans of people.

But beyond that, what criticism can you put on the two works? From a literary perspective, Star Wars was written in the "epic story" format, one that's been tried and true for thousands of years. Also, it's popular because of the action, something that NGE appears to promise but doesn't really live up to. (There's action, but it's by the bye, instead of being the central point of the show.)

LotR is a lot like NGE in a few aspects. It's about a quest to save the world from a "third impact" (note that they're in the Third Age, so if we consider the whole deal with Melkor the "first impact" and the forging and subsequent removal of the One Ring the "second impact", then contact with Sauron and the ring would be the "third impact"), laid on the shoulders of a child-like person who really doesn't want to do the task. They both have religious symbolism as well.

But you know what? Frodo doesn't want to it, but he's not a whiny little tool like Shinji. He buckles down, pushes his personal feelings aside, and does what it takes to get the job done. Granted, LotR isn't as psychological as NGE, but it still demonstrates the feelings and emotions of various characters as they go through different trials. Only difference is, Tolkien managed to do this without making the characters thoroughly unlikable. LotR is every bit as deep as NGE, maybe more so, and really one of the only possible criticisms of it is that it's "too wordy."

Eva Yojimbo wrote:
Gamer_2k4 wrote:complete with children who don't act like children, parents who don't act like parents,
Actually, I think one of NGE's greatest features is that the characters DO act like real people. Not all people are brave, heroic, and psychologically sound.

Right, but in any given scenario, not all children are going to be emotionally unstable people with no parents to speak of, who are begging for meaning in their lives. And arguably, while depression IS a legitimate human emotion, it's not really a legitimate emotion to attribute to a 14 year old. I said this in another thread, but it bears repeating: They're kids! They should be playing with Legos or riding bikes or something!

The point is, having legitimate human emotions does not mean that you're a normal human being. Do people have problems? Of course. But not all people have debilitating emotional issues, despite what NGE appears to show.

Eva Yojimbo wrote:
Gamer_2k4 wrote:all tied together with some garbage "who am I" nonsense that would make Nietzsche proud and everyone else shake their head.
It's not really nonsense if you get what it's referencing. Existentialism has been around for more than a century now - it's not that new or difficult to grasp.

My comment about Nietzsche didn't come out of the air. I know about existentialism and what it entails. The quest for meaning and all that stuff. Isn't it ironic, then, that Shinji tries to find his "essence" by piloting an Eva, and realizes at the end that he's had it all along? That his value is in his existence, such as it is, instead of as the result of anything he's achieved? Isn't that the opposite of existentialism?
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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Wed Jul 09, 2008 12:50 pm

Ok, I'm officially requesting split now. Probably from This Post on.

Gamer_2k4 wrote:It's easier to like because of the film format.
True as well, but even within film people have preferences; comedy, action, romance, sci-fi/fantasy, etc.

Gamer_2k4 wrote:I'd guess the majority of Star Wars fans have never read the books, and I'm almost positive that the majority of LotR fans have never read those books. But the movies were spectacular for each, and that's often enough to make fans of people.
Are you suggesting the hardcore LotR fans are fans... because of the films? You do realize that the films would never have been made (you're talking about the most ambitious film project ever undertaken) without the absurd popularity of the books.

Gamer_2k4 wrote:But beyond that, what criticism can you put on the two works?
Apart from their nil thematic substance... not much. What I mean to say is they're perfectly crafted stories meant to entertain. But in terms of art as a means of expression to say something relevant about... well, anything, they're pretty void. And anything that is there is just a result of their archetypal nature.

Gamer_2k4 wrote:something that NGE appears to promise but doesn't really live up to. (There's action, but it's by the bye, instead of being the central point of the show.)
Again, NGE going against the mold. Choosing to subvert genre/medium/type expectations, and for artistic purposes no less!

Gamer_2k4 wrote:They both have religious symbolism as well.
Tolkien clearly stated that there is no symbolism or allegory intended in LotR.

Gamer_2k4 wrote:But you know what? Frodo doesn't want to it,
Frodo's much more accepting of his epic quest in the books.

Gamer_2k4 wrote: but he's not a whiny little tool like Shinji.
He's also not a 14 year old human boy.

Gamer_2k4 wrote:He buckles down, pushes his personal feelings aside, and does what it takes to get the job done.
Yes, which is the classic "hero" archetype. Either a chosen one or a nobody is destined/picked to undertake an epic MacGuffin quest, and along the way is allowed to perform many heroic acts and grow and become a better/stronger person from the trials and toils - because afterall, isn't that what we idealize life as?

Again, NGE goes against the mold for artistic purposes. It chooses to depict what the vast majority of teenagers are: selfish, irresponsible human beings who think of themselves first and who have a ton of problems as it is with being caught between childhood and adulthood and all those raging, confusing hormones.

Gamer_2k4 wrote: Granted, LotR isn't as psychological as NGE, but it still demonstrates the feelings and emotions of various characters as they go through different trials.
One thing that bugs me about LotR, even more so now on second reading, is the homogenized personalities of the characters. So the feelings are all very base and simple ones. Nothing you don't see in even the lowest form of fiction.

Gamer_2k4 wrote:Only difference is, Tolkien managed to do this without making the characters thoroughly unlikable.
I always like the criticism of NGE that it's characters are "unlikable". Nevermind that a big majority of the best novels and films that deal in character studies deal with very unlikable people. Another anime pioneering step for Anno and NGE.

Gamer_2k4 wrote:LotR is every bit as deep as NGE, maybe more so,
LotR is deep on the created mythological level and not much more. No, I don't want it to seem like I'm shortchanging it, because Tolkien's feet of imaginative creativity is one of the most remarkable accomplishments in the creative arts. That said, on a thematic, substantial, and formal level it doesn't even approach the depth of NGE.

Gamer_2k4 wrote:and really one of the only possible criticisms of it is that it's "too wordy."
Indeed. One thing Tolkien loses that served him so well on The Hobbit was a whimsical wit and extremely economical storytelling. Granted, LotR is meant to feel more epic, but too much of it seems like filler just there to make it seem that way.

Gamer_2k4 wrote:but in any given scenario, not all children are going to be emotionally unstable people with no parents to speak of, who are begging for meaning in their lives.
Well, we're not talking about "all children" but children in their particular (or very similar) situations. And given the well established situations, I think most any sane person can agree their actions are extremely normal.

Gamer_2k4 wrote:And arguably, while depression IS a legitimate human emotion, it's not really a legitimate emotion to attribute to a 14 year old.
Are you f'in kidding me? Teenagers are, by the very definition, extremely moody. Again, it's the hormonal thing. They overreact to situations as it is, but give them troubled pasts (which IS a common thing), and then put them under emotional stress like no normal kids have to deal with (imagine being 14 and being sent to war), and again, their descent into depression is not only normal, but arguably foreseeable by any logical stretch.

Gamer_2k4 wrote:They're kids! They should be playing with Legos or riding bikes or something!
Yes, but instead they're risking their lives to save the world by piloting analogs of their mothers against invading monsters.

Gamer_2k4 wrote:having legitimate human emotions does not mean that you're a normal human being.
I'd say it kinda does. Unless you want to define "normal human beings". "Well adjusted" is just often a way of saying "well programmed by external conflicts and able to ignore the paradoxes of external and internal paradoxes".

Gamer_2k4 wrote:But not all people have debilitating emotional issues, despite what NGE appears to show.
Go check out war veterans and see how well they adjust after the war. They've made films about that too. And then consider what the kids in NGE are going through is even more traumatizing.

Gamer_2k4 wrote:Isn't it ironic, then, that Shinji tries to find his "essence" by piloting an Eva, and realizes at the end that he's had it all along?
That isn't what Shinji realizes. He realizes that he can change his personal reality, and that he alone has the power to define "him". That is VERY existential, which essentially says that our personal realities are relative and we make our own meanings and purposes in life.

Gamer_2k4 wrote:Isn't that the opposite of existentialism?
The value in the fact of mere existence sounds like Sartre's Nausee.
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Jimbo has posted enough to be considered greater than or equal to everyone, and or synonymous with the concept of 'everyone'. - Muggy
I've seen so many changeful years, / to Earth I am a stranger grown: / I wander in the ways of men, / alike unknowing and unknown: / Unheard, unpitied, unrelieved, / I bear alone my load of care; / For silent, low, on beds of dust, / Lie all that would my sorrows share. - Robert Burns' Lament for James

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Postby Defectron » Wed Jul 09, 2008 3:19 pm

In respnse to people hating it because it is confusing, I don't think it is that confusing really. I see it as dark, psychological, intelligent, and well done. But not that confusing.


I never really understood why people dislike things for being confusing, with me the more confusing something is, the more I tend to like it.

Right, but in any given scenario, not all children are going to be emotionally unstable people with no parents to speak of, who are begging for meaning in their lives.


They didn't have mothers because the souls of their mothers were needed for the evangelions, this includes the mothers of children who weren't used. Shinji and Asuka are basket cases because of the extreme situations they've been through. If you went through crap like that when you were a kid you'd be messed up too. In other words the situation sculpts the person, not everyone is like the kids in NGE but not everyone has gone through extremely traumatizing experiences either.

And arguably, while depression IS a legitimate human emotion, it's not really a legitimate emotion to attribute to a 14 year old.


Hehehe...you don't need to be a certain age to get depressed.

Anyway I'll be the first to admit that that I don't really like most of the characters in eva, except for Misato and a few others. If I met Shinji I'd probably kick him in the balls, but despite this, NGE is my favorite anime next to FLCL. A character does not need to be likeable to have a good story. You can have a story about a character whose a complete and utter bastard, but it can still be a well told and meaningful story.
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Postby mrpanda » Wed Jul 09, 2008 3:57 pm

NGE is a masterpiece i dont think anyone here would disagree with mebut comparing it to the lotr books is absurd. lotr is on a compleatly different level in terms of symbolism mythology etc. The world the languages the places everythign is thought out to minute detail, there is almost no place for fanwanking.

Any true fan would of read the books and not just watched the movies, i managed to read them when i was 10 just before the movies and i can tell you that the movies cannot compare to the books.
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Postby Skullraper » Wed Jul 09, 2008 4:36 pm

What an injustice that LotR has been reduced to a film now compared to Star Wars. LotR is a work of literature! It was written before the standards of entertainment became so pitifully low. It stands apart from all the crappy fantasy that was crudely and shamelessly made in imitation of it. People can never really appreciate LotR unless they READ it and experience Tolkein’s words.
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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:59 pm

mrpanda wrote:lotr is on a compleatly different level in terms of symbolism mythology etc.
I'll give you the mythology part, not the symbolism (which it has none and isn't supposed to).

Skullraper wrote:People can never really appreciate LotR unless they READ it and experience Tolkein’s words.
I think to get the full scale of the mythology the books are the only way to go. However, the films are an achievement almost as remarkable as the books. And there are many parts that work better visually than in print; The Battle at Helm's Deep is a good example. It's even more impressive put to visuals.

And for all the stupidity at comparing Star Wars to LotR, comparing the LotR movies to the books is also kinda silly. The same work in two different mediums trying to achieve two different things. Both are extraordinary achievements in their medium; 'nuff said.
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Postby Noephon » Thu Jul 10, 2008 3:47 am

Eva Yojimbo wrote:I'll give you the mythology part, not the symbolism (which it has none and isn't supposed to).


LotR actually does have a lot of symbolism, but it's intended to work on a level referential to older epic works such as Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Tolkien's symbolism isn't supposed to make any grand philosophical or religious point, but it's there.

I think to get the full scale of the mythology the books are the only way to go. However, the films are an achievement almost as remarkable as the books. And there are many parts that work better visually than in print; The Battle at Helm's Deep is a good example. It's even more impressive put to visuals.

And for all the stupidity at comparing Star Wars to LotR, comparing the LotR movies to the books is also kinda silly. The same work in two different mediums trying to achieve two different things. Both are extraordinary achievements in their medium; 'nuff said.


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Postby mrpanda » Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:22 am

Noephon wrote:
I think to get the full scale of the mythology the books are the only way to go. However, the films are an achievement almost as remarkable as the books. And there are many parts that work better visually than in print; The Battle at Helm's Deep is a good example. It's even more impressive put to visuals.

And for all the stupidity at comparing Star Wars to LotR, comparing the LotR movies to the books is also kinda silly. The same work in two different mediums trying to achieve two different things. Both are extraordinary achievements in their medium; 'nuff said.


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Seconded.

Forgive me if i posted anything wrong i havnt read the trillogy all the way through since i was 10 but i have dabbled at times.
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Postby Evangelion__x » Fri Jul 11, 2008 6:51 am

The LOTR trilogy is a masterpiece! Yes, it's not as deep as NGE, but that doesn't change the fact that they're one of the greatest books ever written. I don't think anyone can argue there.

I also hate it when people compare LOTR to Harry Potter... Harry Potter is such a reproduceable series to me. It's over hyped, IMO.

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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Fri Jul 11, 2008 7:56 am

Noephon wrote:LotR actually does have a lot of symbolism... Tolkien's symbolism isn't supposed to make any grand philosophical or religious point, but it's there.
Please, enlighten me. I've heard this before but I've yet to read a convincing case for it.
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Postby Gamer_2k4 » Fri Jul 11, 2008 8:53 am

Eva Yojimbo wrote:
Noephon wrote:LotR actually does have a lot of symbolism... Tolkien's symbolism isn't supposed to make any grand philosophical or religious point, but it's there.
Please, enlighten me. I've heard this before but I've yet to read a convincing case for it.

Well, despite what Tolkien may say, entire books have been written about a correlation between LoTR and Christianity. Things like Gandalf representing Jesus (he's a good, all-knowing guide with supernatural powers who fights a demon, dies, and comes back to life more powerful than before), Elves representing angels (pure beings who seem removed from the world, but are ideal guides and messengers), etc.
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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Fri Jul 11, 2008 8:58 am

Gamer_2k4 wrote:Well, despite what Tolkien may say, entire books have been written about a correlation between LoTR and Christianity. Things like Gandalf representing Jesus (he's a good, all-knowing guide with supernatural powers who fights a demon, dies, and comes back to life more powerful than before), Elves representing angels (pure beings who seem removed from the world, but are ideal guides and messengers), etc.
Sounds like vague similarities inherent in the archetypes to me. You could probably go back to pre-Christian mythology and find links stronger than this. And unlike in NGE, Tolkien, as far as I can discern, isn't providing any obvious references inviting such interpretations or searches for such links.
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Postby A = A » Fri Jul 11, 2008 1:09 pm

Star Wars isn,t a very good franchise;
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