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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about death of the author w/r/t Tolkien, and how much I deeply, if unconsciously, rely on the concept in the creation of my own stories. Because I do strive, still, to create fic that is (mostly) canon-compliant, even if in many respects I’m going in with the specific agenda to subvert and undermine said canon. And I love the freedom to do that within the Tolkien legendarium, because all the texts we have are established in-universe as being secondary sources of a sort. And as any seasoned history major will tell you, secondary sources are imperfect, and fallible, and thus any inherent “rules” of this mythology are open to vast interpretation.

I find this incredibly freeing. I love the notion of wiggling through the cracks Tolkien left and wedging out a more powerful, fulfilling world in which the women of Middle-Earth are named, powerful, and diverse beings. ALL women, ordinary women, not just the queens and the warriors and the ‘man-hearted.’

But then, of course, no matter howe we choose to interpret the texts, it remains an entire legendarium created by a conservative old man, and the texts reflect that in so many cases that you couldn’t list them on two, much less twenty hands. So I’m also reluctant to fully declare death of the author, because it’s too easy. It lets Tolkien off the hook, and that’s not something that I want to do. He was sexist, he was racist, and that needs to be acknowledged when grappling with the grosser aspects of his legendarium. I don’t want to ignore or discount that even as I’m striving to undermine it and wedge myself between the cracks.

So, I suppose, take both of those contradicting thoughts I’m having into account as I roll out this Dúnedain Matriarchy Manifesto. I recognize that this is hardly the first time these conversations have been had, and I owe a great debt to the fabulous people who have discussed these issues in many forums before me. At the same time, I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen it discussed with regard to the women of the Dúnedain specifically, and I do want to bring that front and center here.

Aaand the rest of this goes behind a cut. )
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Last night on Tumblr someone asked me to include my "top five [subject of choice]," so I did my top five LOTR movie moments...but as today happens to be the anniversary of Tolkien's birth, I thought it would be fitting to post my top five Tolkien book moments here! As the trilogy is still what I've read the most, they wound up all coming from there...

1."But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn I am, Éomund's daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him."

2. "'Then tie me on the back of [a horse], or let me hang on a stirrup, or something,' said Merry. 'It is a long way to run, but run I shall, if I cannot ride, even if I wear my feet off and arrive weeks too late.'"

3. Not going to quote it in full, but the song that Aragorn sings in The Departure of Boromir ;_;

4."'Come!' said Aragorn. 'If I am still to lead this company, you must do as I bid. It is hard upon the Dwarf to be thus singled out. We will all be blindfolded, even Legolas. That will be best, though it will make the journey slow and dull.'"

5."'He said that if I had the cheek to make verses about Ëarendil in the house of Elrond, it was my affair. I suppose he was right.'"

None of these are wholly profound, but they all stuck out to me when I first read these books over a dozen years ago, and they've stayed with me ever since.

What about you all? What are your top five Tolkien moments? (they don't have to be quotes...I only did that because I've got the books on hand because of the snow day and it's far more eloquent from the horse's mouth :P)

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