Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Sociology of Middle Earth

It was bound to happen. Someone was bound to take the detailed years and dates of Tolkien's appendices from Lord of the Rings, etc., and make them into graphs and charts. Here's the link; go at it!

Two quick comments:

1.) Yes, the first chart proves a point, but I think it doesn't do much good to rail against the lack of women in Tolkien. He's kind of done writing, after all, not like you'll get him to write more for Arwen. He was kind of stubborn about that stuff. It's much more interesting to discuss Tolkien's roles for women in the context of the "saga" he was trying to write. In other words, the number of women in Lord of the Rings should be discussed in the context of the number of women in Beowulf or the Elder Edda. In that case I think you'll see Tolkien doing some very interesting things with the role of women, such as Eowyn (post-ring). But, yeah, overall it's a boy's story. (I'd like to see a chart like this for Jane Austen, although "weighted by lines given" would be even more interesting!)

2.) The distance graph is my favorite. For instance, it shows that about as much time was spent in the Hobbit as in the Lord of the Rings in total, for all events. In fact, more time was spent lounging around Rivendell in the latter! This gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, the source material for the Hobbit is rich enough to support three movies by Peter Jackson. We'll see.

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