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The Hateful Propaganda of Middle Earth

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Think Pieces | November 21, 2013 | Comments ()


16773-the-lord-of-the-rings.jpg

There has been a disturbing trend regarding the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, in which this work of propaganda has been not only taken at face value, but its lies propagated further through the films of this generation’s Goebbels, one Peter Jackson.

Let us peruse the claims made by these stories, and highlight the contradictions within them that point to their primary role as propaganda for the brutal and violent reign of the war criminal Aragorn.

We are presented with a world of dubious economic reality, asked to believe that most of the lands are deserted and unpopulated, despite the presence of cities and towns that inexplicably have stable food supplies despite the apparent demonstration through the wanderings of the protagonists that the countryside is empty of farms of any kind. And that highlights a larger problem. Arnor, the western half of Middle Earth is lawless, completely depopulated, and contains absolutely no real rule of law. The absence of population is explained as the result of the destruction of the western kingdom some thousand years before the events of the story.

This is untenable for many reasons. If there is no population, where do the trade goods in the cities come from? Where does the food come from? Why are there maintained roads through the countryside? For instance, the bourgeois hobbits have exquisite homes despite never working, access to prodigious amounts of food with no apparent large scale farming, and ready supplies of narcotics. Goods such as these do not simply materialize out of thin air. And while I’m sure that apologists of this propaganda might have manufactured talking points on this subject, I will posit a question that they cannot answer.

Why does Bree have an inn?

Inns exist for travelers to stay at. But if these lands are empty, then there would be no need for an inn. The answer is that the emptiness of the land is a lie. It is empty of the socioeconomic classes of people whom the propagandist finds acceptable, and the rest have been washed out of the story.

We find a similar population problem elsewhere: Rohan boasts absolutely no sustainable economy as it is presented in the text. Neither does Gondor. The pseudo-feudal structures of these societies would require great masses of peasants to support the tip of the pyramid, which is the only concern the propagandist has at all. But why leave the peasantry out? Such people might be disagreeable to an apologist for medieval propaganda, but great trouble is exercised to describe these lands being empty of people other than the elites, leading me to conclude that this was not an omission due to taste, but due to a central concern of the books. That is, the peasant population has been intentionally written out of these stories.

Let us also note that in the course of this story, nominal protagonists are taken prisoner by the forces of evil at least twice, while not a single soldier is allowed to surrender by the so-called forces of good. Yet descriptions are presented repeatedly of battles in which the forces of either Gondor or Rohan pursue fleeing enemies and execute them to the last man. While one cannot expect such backwards civilizations to be signatories to the Geneva Conventions, one can at least hold them accountable for the unwritten rules of warfare going back thousands of years.

Indeed, the casual contempt the “men of the west” have for even the possibility of ethnic peace is disturbing to say the least. In the appendices of this triumph of propaganda, it is made clear that the new king spends a goodly chunk of the rest of his life hunting down and massacring en masse the populations of orcs and other undesirables in his newly conquered territories. The inability of this text to even acknowledge the fundamental humanity of the enemies of its heroes is quite disturbing, and clearly the product of a deranged and possibly fascist military dictatorship built upon racial purity.

On at least two different occasions in the course of this series of novels and its prequel, the final member of a species is murdered in its home by our nominal protagonists. The last of the dragons, and the last (as far as anyone knows) of the Balrog. While the propagandist labors to argue that the lands controlled by these native beasts has been stolen from dwarves, even he must admit that in the case of the Balrog, the dwarves delved too deep and woke the creature. Thereby demonstrating that in fact it was the dwarves infringing on the territory of the Balrog. And really, this is taking the propagandists’ argument too seriously anyway. Rather than investigating the possibility of rehoming these creatures to a safer location, or acknowledging that perhaps the survival of a species might be have its own importance, the propagandist instead argues for the annihilation of these noble species.

As a further point, note that the nominal antagonists of these stories, Sauron and Saruman, both have built their power bases upon a core of industrialization powered by loyal subjects willing to fight and die for their vision of the future. The protagonists are agrarian without apparent agriculture. Even the lowly soldiers of these armies of “good” are landowning elites. So who works their lands?

Orcs.

Though, I am loathe to use that vile racial epithet that is the only surviving record of this noble people handed down to us.

These inconsistencies and bits of evidence point to the only real conclusion that can be drawn. A violent uprising of an alliance of rural peasantry and a burgeoning industrial middle-class was brutally suppressed by the protagonists of these books. Vastly outnumbered in the field, they nevertheless won the war through the combination of assassination and ethnic cleansing, and justified their actions through this monumental work of propaganda.

Please, do not dishonor the memory of the silent dead by continuing to pass on these lies.

Steven Lloyd Wilson is a hopeless romantic and the last scion of Norse warriors and the forbidden elder gods. His novel, ramblings, and assorted fictions coalesce at www.burningviolin.com. You can email him here and order his novel here.



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • alistz

    What about Star Trek next generation. They had a black Vulcan..what is up with that?

  • Zeus McGuinness

    I didnt read any of this but i disagree. Lets get going to the cinema because the hobbits coming out and its time for a family movie experience.

  • e jerry powell

    It's almost Keynesian.

  • rio

    Funny enough, Tolkien was adopted by the neo-fascist movement in the 70s/early 80s in Italy, they even had workshops called Camp Hobbit.

  • Fireplace Girl

    This is silly.

  • ahamos

    Presumably you would apply the same Balrog argument to the Dark Elves of Thor 2: Asgard Boogaloo?

  • Rowen

    Jacqueline Carey attempted to answer some of these questions in her Sauron Is an Emo God of Sex books.

  • TenaciousJP

    Sounds like someone with through the Automatic Film Thesis Generator link from a few days ago and actually wrote up the subject he was given.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    Why is the Shire so heavily guarded by Gandalf and the rangers before the Ring was even discovered? The Shire is the narcotics supplier of Middle Earth.

  • The_Ghost_of_Bo_Crowder

    Tolkein completely failed to mention the war between Los Hobbitses and the Westmarch Cartel.

  • Kate the Greatest

    Should say I am "loath," not "loathe." Loath is an adjective, loathe is a verb. Otherwise, this was a highly enjoyable piece.

  • Hobbits have plenty of farms. To wit: Farmer Maggot (great name) was constantly fighting off vegetable thieves like that little bastard Frodo Baggins. And according to the movie, the croplands last to the edge of the woods. There is good indication that foraging is a regular source of food. For those hobbits living on the water, there is also fishing (and finding of rings, but that's neither here nor there).

    There are definitely some peasants in Rohan, because they send their bedraggled children to warn the elites that bad stuff is going down in small towns. Also, I would argue that almost all of Rohan is peasants, with few of them living in the actual capital. I am going to assume they are more about hunting than farming, but I suspect those towns from whence came the aforementioned bedraggled children probably do subsistence farming.

    How Gondor survives is a mystery. There's no indication that any of its provinces have a wealth of farms, but that may simply be because nothing else happens in those places. (How many of you city folk think about farming communities, much less check them out?) I would guess that some within the walls have small gardens, and the lower levels probably hold some livestock, but it does seem like a stretch that Minas Tirith could be provisioned without obvious agricultural areas. You couldn't even say that Orcs were working the land, because the land is completely *empty* around Minas Tirith. At least we know they trap rabbits near Osgiliath, as well as forage for supplies and direct lost hobbits on their way to Mordor.

    The elves subsist on music (and absinthe, apparently), though why the latest movie suggests they're vegetarians is beyond me. Not all long-hairs are vegans, yo. Anyway, we know the elves can take care of themselves, and they're so wispy it doesn't take much to fill them up anyway.

    What I really want to know is how the hell Mordor fed all their armies? I mean, there's only so many captured people you can roast up, and the rest of the place is a toxic wasteland. Maybe that's why they attacked the West. They were hungry.

  • Afferbeck

    The Orcs were created by Melkor using kidnapped Elves, tortured and twisted and brainwashed til they met the Dark Lord's liking. If the Elves truly were a lovely race, surely they would wish to rehabilitate their abused brethren? Dragons were bred by Melkor to be mighty and fearsome beasts, to burn people and thatched-roof cottages... much like dogfighters breed pitbulls. Straight up case of animal cruelty right there. Balrogs were Maiar that Melkor brought into his employ with promises of power and wealth and stickin it to the stuffy Valar. And all they got in return was slaughter and sleeping in a mountain with a bunch of weirdy beardy dwarves. And what was Melkor's fate? Simply kicked out of the planet without having to face up to his crimes. Like a big banker jetting off to magical Tahiti after riding his company down the toilet.

  • Giroux IA

    Well, Tahiti is a magical place...

  • They should totally start using that as a marketing tool.

  • Some Guy

    and here I thought this was all going to be about Peter Jackson and his apparent refusal to hire black people to act in the LOTR movies.

  • The Hobbit is essentially one giant propaganda piece advocating the redistribution of wealth. Smaug pulled himself up by his clawstraps to earn that gold, and a bunch of lazy potsmoking peasants who never worked a day in their lives waltzed in there and took it. THANKS OBAMA!

  • profession: none, or starlet

    It was 'clawstraps' that did me in. I salute you, sir.

  • BWeaves

    I thought the Shire was pretty much all farms? And Bree has an Inn mostly for people to drink in the pub part, and perhaps rent a room when they couldn't stumble home?

    However, I do find it surprising that both capital cities of Rohan and Gondor were not surrounded by farms. I also would have thought Isengard would have been surrounded by farms, too.

  • The Kilted Yaksman

    Bree has an inn because it is near the crossing of The Greenway and The Great East Road, both of which have regular traffic.
    In the book it's pretty clearly stated that the lands between the city of Minas Tirith, and the ruins of Osgiliath, is covered with farms and small villages. Peter Jackson was the one that turned it into characterless grasslands.

  • BWeaves

    You're right. It's been a while since I read it.

  • I stand corrected on my earlier statement regarding the provisioning of Minas Tirith. It has been a long time since I read the books.

  • Biblo's Invisible Hand of the Market

  • Maddy

    Possible random tangent but this kind of thing is why A Song of Ice and Fire is a better series for me, because it has an internal logic and grounded realism that doesn't fall apart when you think about it. I saw an interview with GRRM where he stated that he it always bothers him when there's a single line at the that states that Aragorn ruled wisely - but what was his economic policy? Would everyone consider him a good ruler? Lord of the Rings was my first introduction to fantasy but I always liked the Hobbit better as an interesting story - Bilbo is more interesting to me than Frodo.

    Anyway - yay for the 99% against the 1%!

  • The Bean

    To me, both series suffer from a fear of technological advancements. It's been thousands of years since the last dragon? The society has functioned in (relative) stability throughout that entire time and not one person has come up with indoor plumbing or the printing press?

  • Giroux IA

    Well, the Elves literally wanted it that way. As noted by Tolkien himself, “They wanted to have their cake and eat it: to live in the mortal historical
    Middle Earth because they had become fond of it … and so tried to stop its
    change and history, stop its growth, keep it as a pleasaunce.”

  • The Bean

    Well, if we go by the any sufficiently advanced technology will appear as magic adage, and the magic using elves have a stake in keeping the rest of middle earth in the dark.

  • Giroux IA

    Kind of like the notion that the Jedi are inherently qualified as negotiators, generals, and (unelected) influential government advisors. 'Cause, you know, they're Jedi. And Jedi are just plumb better than regular folks, right?

  • meadowdancer

    Yep.

  • You couldn't even call them neutral ambassadors since they're sworn to the protection and continuation of the Galactic Republic.

    Also, as users of the Force, they wield a power far deadlier and dangerous than any blaster -- and do so without any regulation beyond their own.

    Basically, the Jedi are JSOC.

  • Giroux IA

    They are supposed to be JSOC, but the "leaders" still thought it was a good idea to lauch a frontal assault on Genosia. Only the (sort of) badest of the bad-ass Jeedai had the instinct to sneek in the back door and nearly end the battle with a few flicks of the wrist. But I guess drop ships all stuffed with "Dollys" had to happen.

  • Giroux IA

    Jedi = WMD

  • Aragorn Shrugged

  • History is a lie written by the victors to soothe their conscience to the horrors they have visited upon others and ensure that their positions of power remain unchallenged by any would-be opponents.

    (That said, the Goebbels comparison is a bit much).

  • BlackRabbit

    A Wizard Did It.

  • AudioSuede

    Damn it, SLW, you're my favorite.

    "Why does Bree have an inn?

    Inns exist for travelers to stay at. But if these lands are empty,
    then there would be no need for an inn. The answer is that the emptiness
    of the land is a lie. It is empty of the socioeconomic classes of
    people whom the propagandist finds acceptable, and the rest have been
    washed out of the story."

  • It's pretty obvious that Bree is a crossroads, because there are a mix of races living in the town, and lots of businesses. If I recall correctly, it's the last town where hobbits are generally found. After that, you're in the territory of men. But I could be wrong. It's been a dog's age since I read the books.

  • Evan Pierce

    No, you're correct, Bree is a bit of a crossroads for Arnor, it's kind of the cultural hub of the area as the whole entire place is sparsely populated.

  • Giroux IA

    Great piece discussing this very thing:

    http://www.salon.com/2002/12/1...

  • BlackRabbit

    I'd also suggest http://kunochan.com/sauron/?p=..., just for fun.

  • Giroux IA

    Perfect! I didn't want to get any work done today, anyhow.

  • BlackRabbit

    And just for giggles: http://km-515.livejournal.com/...

  • Giroux IA

    This propagandized history was written by the victors. I suppose any survivors of Mordor (or any accounts written by Orcs during the Genocide of The Rings) would tell a different tale.

  • e jerry powell

    As is so often the case.

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