Tolkien Discussion Group
May 26, 2010
Topic: Good Kings- continued
A good king knows he is the servant of the people, not their master. He does not seek personal power.
A good king can envision peace, can rule in peacetime (which is harder, because people become complacent), and prefers peace to war.
A good king has charisma, but a bad leader with charisma is doubly dangerous because he can more easily convince the people of bad ideas.
We discussed whether Hilter, in his early days, wanted to serve the German people.
Olwë was an example of a good king who did not take it as a personal failure when people did not follow him, or follow as fast as he wanted to move.
Elwë did not do well for his people when he forgot them in favor of Melian. After than episode, he was an example of a good king who was willing to take good advice.
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Sooo, good kings....
Fifi Wickentower: . . . We talked mostly last week about Denethor and Aragorn . . we had just started talking about what does make a good king.
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . OK. What does make a good king?
Shawn Daysleeper: Yes we identified a few things that make good kings
Fifi Wickentower: . . . We menioned, I believe, foresight and the need to put aside his own wishes, if needed for the good of all
Shawn Daysleeper: We also identified a good king has the abilty and desire to rule during peace, as well as during war
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Prefers peace, actually
Fifi Wickentower: . . . A good ruler needs to see as many sides as posible and be able to discern what is true and just and what is not. Yes . . . that is where Denethor fell short, perhaps.
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . It is hard to rule in peace, far harder. People become complacent
Fifi Wickentower: . . . He was unable to picture a future without war . . He was a great warrior king from a line of such
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Sometimes, after conflict for so long. all you know is war.
Shawn Daysleeper: We also mentioned willpower
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Definitely
Shawn Daysleeper: and benevolence and charisma
Fifi Wickentower: . . . One who understands rulers are made for people, not people made for rulers
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Fifi, I agree completely.
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . But charisma can be a two edged sword
Shawn Daysleeper: yes such as saruman's voice
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Have you ever seen the movie Excalibur? It is based upon the legends of King Arthur? There is a scene in the movie that I think is an undercurrent in Tolkien. As you know the land begins to wither, and Arthur himself is losing vitality, so the knights seek the Grail cup....and Percival, the "Holy Fool" is the one who retrieves the cup in the end...but only by answering the riddle... "what is the secret of the holy cup?" And the answer is that the land and the king are one.
Fifi Wickentower: . . . yes
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . If one becomes corrupt, so does the other. and Tolkien uses that theme.
Shawn Daysleeper agrees
Fifi Wickentower: . . . In olde times the king was sacrificed each year to ensure the harvest
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Yes, because the king was the people's servant. A lot of people want to rp kings because they perceive it will bring them power and honor. It does not. As we see in Tolkien.
Shawn Daysleeper: Aragorn, a ranger, becomes king of all men
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . and the question is why?
Shawn Daysleeper: He did not seek power.
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . A ranger, a loner...a person who has himself to depend upon...he becomes the good king.
Shawn Daysleeper: others sought power, and fail to become good kings
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . When I came to Arda with my group, I had never been a leader. And Phoenix gave me Olwë. Comet told me the following and I believe it sums up Aragorn, and I have tried to live by it here and in rl. "A king walks far ahead of his people and leads them. A GOOD king walks slightly ahead of his people and beckons them to follow. A GREAT king walks with his people, takes their hands, and they walk together."
Fifi Wickentower: . . . So humility
Shawn Daysleeper nods
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . He asks no more of them than he would do for himself, and often far less.
Fifi Wickentower: . . . nods
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . What makes a bad king?
Fifi Wickentower: . . . One who sees the people as there for his use, self-serving, arrogant
Shawn Daysleeper: lusts for power
Fifi Wickentower: . . . taking rather than receiving
Fifi Wickentower: . . . one who rules through fear
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Something to remember...I think...if I may ....about the historical background of Tolkien's writing....
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Remember that time period has been called "the loss of innocence."
Fifi Wickentower: . . . yes . . . WWI
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . The Great War, as WWI was called, changed word view. And a question that is sometimes asked...about Hilter...who was admittedly a despot...did he start out self serving? Was he seeking power to serve himself in the beginning or to serve the German people?
Fifi Wickentower: . . . He was appalled by the goings on in the world . . the desolation of war . . that is Mordor to me . . the way he protrayed his feelings about it
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . I agree. The belief in the innate goodness of man was sorely challenged.
Fifi Wickentower: . . . Hitler lost control at one point the the sociopaths he surrounded himself with took increasing control. Hitler also had a mystical side . . he had the Spear of Christ and other relics which he thought imbued his vision with righteous power
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . He did, indeed. I have been told that Hilter very much wanted to wage a "spiritual war" as well as a physical one. If he, indeed, started out as "the good king."....then lost that vision....perhaps Tolkien's work is also a warning to us in the form of the two rulers we have been discussing.
Fifi Wickentower: . . . I'm not sure that he ever was the 'good king', though . . He was more determined from the start to create the perfect 'pure' race
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . That was part of why I posed the question.
Fifi Wickentower: . . . and being born of a Jewish mother . . well, conflict within himself. If he were the good king . . I don't think he would have gone that direction . . He never really had an egaliterean view
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Hilter would have never sacrificed himself for his people.
Fifi Wickentower: . . . No . . . but he wanted them to sacrifice for his vision of right and might
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Yet, though his charisma...look how he convinced others of his view. And how many believed in it.
Fifi Wickentower: . . . And all without questioning his authority. baaaahhhhh
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . What keep Aragorn from abusing his authority once he became king?
Fifi Wickentower: . . . He had Jiminy Cricket inside to give him counsel
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . hahahaha
Fifi Wickentower: . . . well - conscience
Shawn Daysleeper: self conciousness?
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . And remember...the story of the Noldor...how arrogance led to the Doom pronounced by Mandos
Fifi Wickentower: . . . Yes . . and isn't it ever so . .even in these ahem enlightened times. So like a cream . . a good leader will rise and may also be killed
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . I think Aragorn's time as a Ranger created a realization of himself and his awareness of responsibility.
Fifi Wickentower: . . . I do too and also he was close the the Eldar as well as having the bloodline of kings
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . I think...blushes...that Olwë was also an embedded, subtle lession about kingship.
Fifi Wickentower: . . . he could truly see a future without war . . a pastoral reward after all the years of war . . he could see a unification
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . As he led the Teleri to the undying lands...every place they stopped...some would remain behind... He could have tried to force his people to all move as one...to follow him without question.
Fifi Wickentower: . . . Olwë is an archetype . . absolutely
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . So a good king is also one who sees the need of the people first, and does not count as failure a lack of blind obedience.
Fifi Wickentower: . . . Olwë is good at not repeating what didn't work . . He lways seems open to trying . . he isn't identified only with his own self worth
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . And Elu, his brother. He was a good king who need how to take and listen to the advice of others...althought his start...was not so glorious. Remember his people had to wait on him...
Fifi Wickentower: . . . hmmmm
Shawn Daysleeper: yes
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . in the words of Ossy...
Ossy Portocarrero: When this happens... Elwë decides he wants to go back to see the Splendor of Valimar... and to see the other people who were there whom he kisses.
So he strides off into the woods.
He apparently does this ALL THE TIME
The Maia Melian (who is like Yavanna) is All. About. Song. When she's in Lorien singing people literally drop EVERYTHING to go listen to her... gawking with their jaws on the floor.. I mean EVERYONE. Animals, People, Other Ainur! They just RUN over and listen to her singing.
Fifi Wickentower: . . . uh oh
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . about Elu
Ossy Portocarrero: So.. all the nightingales flap after her when she wanders into the woods
She's teaching them bird song.. and tra-la-laing.. (A la Disney's Sleeping Beauty)
Shes walking around, with these birds fluttering around her
All of them singing away like it's normal
Elwë hears her singing right?
And does the stupid 'gawk' thing and just walks towards the noise... COMPLETELY FORGETTING EVERYTHING ELSE HE HAS EVER THOUGHT ABOUT
I mean, his PEOPLE, his LAND, visting the OTHER ELVES... VALIMAR
When he gets to where she is, singing away.. he can't even TALK to her.
He gets totally dumbstruck. He watches her sing for a bit.. and then she notices him
Their eyes meet
Romantic music plays
They walk towards each other, hands outstretched. (Slo-mo)
They touch... hands clasped together
And they just stand, like that... for oh.. years.
Meanwhile.. EVERYONE freaks out.
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . lol
Shawn Daysleeper nods
Fifi Wickentower: . . . yes . well . he did have a mild lapse
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . slightly. hahahah
Fifi Wickentower: . . . hahahah
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . But after that....does he become a good king?
Shawn Daysleeper laughs
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Ossy does Tolkien...it is hysterical.
Fifi Wickentower: . . . X rated
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . I ...um....left those parts out
Fifi Wickentower: . . . tysm
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . yvw
Fifi Wickentower: . . . LOL
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . Well....what would we like to talk about next week?
Fifi Wickentower: . . . Shawn, is there a subject you are intersted i?
Shawn Daysleeper: thinking
Fifi Wickentower: . . . Ael??
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . The coming of the elves from the Silmarillion?
Fifi Wickentower: . . . oh . . read a chapter??
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . it's chapter 3?
Shawn Daysleeper: sure :)
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . and Melkor
Fifi Wickentower: . . . sure . . it's been a few weeks since the dwarves and Aulë
AelKennyr Rhiano: . . ok...we will do that