Best Selling RPGs - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

Séadna

Legendary Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2018
Messages
5,394
Reaction score
10,199
Is Tom supposed to be Tolkien’s version of Gaea?
Tolkien was never explicitly clear, but that's the closest we get to what Tom is in Tolkien's letters.
He's also supposed to function as a device that no matter how important you think some conflict or issue is there is always somebody for whom it's irrelevant or is unaffected.
 

Nobby-W

No, I have not got an onlyfans site.
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
4,595
Reaction score
7,945
They were probably less no more or less arrogant, opinionated and aloof than any other Oxford don of the time. It pretty much comes with the role. Had an ex that went to Oxford and some of the stories she told about the professors there...
There is a sort of Oxbridge attitude. They're elite schools and to get in you have to either be connected or pass some fairly stiff entrance exams. There are a few firms in the city that have a thing for Oxbridge grads, and somebody I worked with (talking about a major insurer) once commented about their hiring profile "There just aren't enough 28 year old Oxford grads to go around." I've met a few other folks comment on the attitude in different contexts as well.

It's not always justified, though. Once place I worked had a COO who proudly announced that he had been captain of the rowing team on his Linkedin profile. He was pretty lightweight intellectually and a sucker for narcissistic supply and just turned a blind eye to a fabulously toxic empire builder. However, he projected self-confidence well and looked good in a suit, which is what really mattered.
 

Gringnr

Chief of the Boat Feels
Joined
Jan 9, 2019
Messages
2,803
Reaction score
4,648
I’m a big Tolkien fan, though really haven’t spent much time recently with Middle-earth. Quite a while ago I (and many others) worked on an unofficial rpg called Hither Lands. The One Ring was so good, it kind of took the wind out of my sails.
I remember The Hither Lands RPG from back in my days at TBP, it garnered quite a bit of excitement at the time

There's a site I stumbled upon years ago that has a few unofficial Middle-Earth RPGs...


Nit sure how many of those links are still active, but I'm sure those files exist somewhere on the 'net...
 

TristramEvans

The Right Hand of Doom
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
20,390
Reaction score
49,072
I'm afraid my ultimate conclusion is that I would only run another Middle Earth game for a group of friends who were as big of fans as I am, which seems like an unlikely event to ever take place. I just can't handle again dealing with a group treating the setting like D&D.
 

Lofgeornost

Vulpine Again!
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
755
Reaction score
1,821
Though I am a fan of Lord of the Rings, I think I may prefer The Hobbit as a background for gaming, both for its tone and for the way it leaves things open for a wider variety of possible adventures.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Joined
Jul 9, 2020
Messages
3,463
Reaction score
6,772
I'm afraid my ultimate conclusion is that I would only run another Middle Earth game for a group of friends who were as big of fans as I am, which seems like an unlikely event to ever take place. I just can't handle again dealing with a group treating the setting like D&D.
I'd love to see something PbP here on the Pub that was populated by big Tolkien fans (I would consider short fans too, I'm not heightist), that's the only way I see that working even a little for me.
 

Mankcam

Coiner of Thread-Falls, & Inadvert Founder of Swo'
Joined
Sep 24, 2017
Messages
2,556
Reaction score
5,530
Anyone read this? I have it on my Audible list but I fear it may spend too much time playing defense of the Inklings literary reputation and so be too uncritical and apologist.

For instance, the real Lewis was a mixture of the admirable and the distasteful and he could be uneven as a writer, I think he improved as he got older, but most of those who write on him are loathe to discuss those complexities. Similarly Tolkien is too often presented as saintly, which sets off my bullshit detector as his relationship with Lewis suggests he had a more dogmatic mean streak than that image allows.

View attachment 26196
I kinda think of The Inklings as the 'first Beatles', except the reverse is true, everyone prefers them when they all went solo, heh heh :grin:
 
Last edited:

Nobby-W

No, I have not got an onlyfans site.
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
4,595
Reaction score
7,945
My favourite thing about Oxbridge is that some of the professors there are virtually as if they had been lifted from a Merchant Ivory film.
I have a sort of strange relationship with Cambridge in that my mother turned down a PhD scholarship there in order to have me. Having said this, at the time she already had a lecturing position at the local university on the strength of her MSc. Apparently one of her examiners said that had she submitted it as a doctorate she would have gotten it.
 

Voros

Doomed Investigator
Joined
Sep 23, 2017
Messages
9,660
Reaction score
15,923
There is a sort of Oxbridge attitude. They're elite schools and to get in you have to either be connected or pass some fairly stiff entrance exams. There are a few firms in the city that have a thing for Oxbridge grads, and somebody I worked with (talking about a major insurer) once commented about their hiring profile "There just aren't enough 28 year old Oxford grads to go around." I've met a few other folks comment on the attitude in different contexts as well.

It's not always justified, though. Once place I worked had a COO who proudly announced that he had been captain of the rowing team on his Linkedin profile. He was pretty lightweight intellectually and a sucker for narcissistic supply and just turned a blind eye to a fabulously toxic empire builder. However, he projected self-confidence well and looked good in a suit, which is what really mattered.

 
Last edited:

David Johansen

Legendary Member
Joined
May 4, 2017
Messages
3,039
Reaction score
4,601
I'm afraid my ultimate conclusion is that I would only run another Middle Earth game for a group of friends who were as big of fans as I am, which seems like an unlikely event to ever take place. I just can't handle again dealing with a group treating the setting like D&D.
So not Peter Jackson and DelToro's group?
 

TristramEvans

The Right Hand of Doom
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
20,390
Reaction score
49,072
So not Peter Jackson and DelToro's group?

Del Toro maybe. He has no connection to what Peter Jackson did.


Actually, I have no real issue with Peter Jackson. As I described it in one of my Tolkien groups, I think what it comes down to is simply a clash of worldviews. Tolkien's story was deeply hopeful about humanity and imbued with faith. Jackson, Walsh and Co.'s interpretation was born from cynicism, a lack of faith in humanity, and some lack of understanding in regards to the worldviews of characters that don't live in the modern world.

But overall, despite my niggles, I like the Jackson films. The LOTR ones that is.

I think it's a shame we never got to see Del Toro's take on the Hobbit. He's an incredibly intelligent man who does ridiculous amounts of research into the subjects he makes movies about. I think he might very well have made a masterpiece if the studio had left him alone and just let him make some films.
 
Last edited:

David Johansen

Legendary Member
Joined
May 4, 2017
Messages
3,039
Reaction score
4,601
Is Tom supposed to be Tolkien’s version of Gaea?
MY own conclusion is that Tom is an avatar of Eru, who else is oldest? He is that part of the creator who dwells in Arda for the joy and beauty and love of it and in this way he is also the avatar of Tolkien himself. Mind you, I'm also solidly convinced that the hobbits are the descendants of the entwives and Gandalf and Treebeard both suspect this.
 

Séadna

Legendary Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2018
Messages
5,394
Reaction score
10,199
MY own conclusion is that Tom is an avatar of Eru, who else is oldest? He is that part of the creator who dwells in Arda for the joy and beauty and love of it and in this way he is also the avatar of Tolkien himself
It's a common idea. My opinion is that since Eru is the Christian God Tolkien would be unlikely to directly depict him in the manner of Tom and would not have a character function as both God and a representation of himself. My guess would be that Tolkien, having a deep Catholic faith, would have viewed the latter as blasphemous.

My own take is that Tom is one of the Ainur that is not the Maia and Valar, but we know little after that. Possibly he's one of the ones summoned latter by Yavanna. Of course Tolkien is on record as saying Tom is purposefully ambiguous so I'm just chatting as such.
 
Last edited:

Simon Hogwood

Puritan Bearbearian
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Messages
777
Reaction score
1,494
It's a common idea. My opinion is that since Eru is the Christian God Tolkien would be unlikely to directly depict him in the manner of Tom and would not have a character function as both God and a representation of himself. My guess would be that Tolkien, having a deep Catholic faith, would have viewed the latter as blasphemous.
I don't know about blasphemous, but I'm pretty sure that Eru Illuvitar is the one answer to Tom's "real" identity that Tolkien explicitly debunked.

For myself, I like the theory that Tom and Goldberry are some kind of lesser spirits of particular aspects of the natural world - Goldberry of the WIthywindle, Tom of the Old Forest (or possibly all of Arda). Some versions of this theory try to bring in other anomalous figures in the legendarium - for example, classifying the giants in The Hobbit as manifestations of the various mountain peaks.
 

Voros

Doomed Investigator
Joined
Sep 23, 2017
Messages
9,660
Reaction score
15,923
It's a common idea. My opinion is that since Eru is the Christian God Tolkien would be unlikely to directly depict him in the manner of Tom and would not have a character function as both God and a representation of himself. My guess would be that Tolkien, having a deep Catholic faith, would have viewed the latter as blasphemous.

My own take is that Tom is one of the Ainur that is not the Maia and Valar, but we know little after that. Possibly he's one of the ones summoned latter by Yavanna. Of course Tolkien is on record as saying Tom is purposefully ambiguous so I'm just chatting as such.

Well the Bible does depict God in a few select scenes in the early Jewish books so I don't think it would be considered blasphemous by Catholic doctrine but more a matter of Tolkien's distaste for the kind of heavy-handedness you see in the Narnia books (the last book is amazingly tasteless and crude).

But I agree that Tom, a character I find annoying personally, is a bad fit for such an appearance. If Tolkien ever went there I think he would have approached it with the ambiguity one sees in Genesis.

More likely though looking at his approach in LotR I suspect Tolkien was influenced by the theological idea that in the Bible God starts as an active participant in the world but even by the end of Genesis and definitely by the end of Exodus he had gradually retreated from the world. This very much plays into the theme of what the Fantasy Encylopedia calls 'Thining' in LotR as well. Which is hardly unique to LotR of course.
 
Last edited:

TristramEvans

The Right Hand of Doom
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
20,390
Reaction score
49,072
Tolkien has stated Tom is most certainly not Eru, who has no physical presence in Middle Earth.

I think the desire to fit Tom into the Middle Earth cosmology is faulty. He predates the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, it's more of a crossover than anything. Tolkien stated he inserted him originally just for the Hobbits to have some small adventure/encounter before entering the world of Men, and afterwards he simply decided to leave him unexplained, because the world is always going to be full of unexplained things.
 

Séadna

Legendary Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2018
Messages
5,394
Reaction score
10,199
Well the Bible does depict God in a few select scenes, in the early Jewish books so I don't think it would be considered blasphemous
My thinking regarding blasphemy related to the latter, i.e. the representation of God being also a representation of himself is something that wouldn't be okay to him, rather than depiction alone. But it's only a guess of course.

The Bible's physical depictions of God are interesting because the surrounding text always has specific grammatical and lexical features, so it's from some specific "school" or tradition. Just something I found cool.
 

Voros

Doomed Investigator
Joined
Sep 23, 2017
Messages
9,660
Reaction score
15,923
My thinking regarding blasphemy related to the latter, i.e. the representation of God being also a representation of himself is something that wouldn't be okay to him, rather than depiction alone. But it's only a guess of course.

The Bible's physical depictions of God are interesting because the surrounding text always has specific grammatical and lexical features, so it's from some specific "school" or tradition. Just something I found cool.

Yeah I find those scenes fascinating for the way they are handled in terms of the language. Robert Alter's translations and notes from the Hebrew are interesting for some background on it.
 

Lofgeornost

Vulpine Again!
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
755
Reaction score
1,821
The Bible's physical depictions of God are interesting because the surrounding text always has specific grammatical and lexical features, so it's from some specific "school" or tradition. Just something I found cool.

I heard an intriguing paper some years ago about a Hebrew mystical text of the Late Antique period that describes God's physical body in considerable detail, focusing a good deal on his virile member. Which has nothing to do with Tolkien or Tom Bombadil, now that I think about it.
 

Séadna

Legendary Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2018
Messages
5,394
Reaction score
10,199
Yeah I find those scenes fascinating for the way they are handled in terms of the language. Robert Alter's translations and notes from the Hebrew are interesting for some background on it.
Wow! Those look detailed thanks! I see he starts with:
"When God began to create Heaven and Earth and the earth then was water and waste and darkness"
like the Jewish Study Bible. It seems this is how most people with a strong knowledge of Hebrew translate it. You probably already know this, but the Jewish Study Bible has an interesting note about this:
This clause describes things just before the process of creation began. To modern people, the opposite of the created order is "nothing," that is, a vacuum. To the ancients, the opposite of the created order was something much worse than "nothing." It was an active, malevolent force we can best term "chaos." In this verse, chaos is envisioned as a dark, undifferentiated mass of water
So it's like God created the world by taming Chaos. Quite cool.

Do you know any good books about Kabbalistic stuff and related Medieval Jewish stuff?
 

TristramEvans

The Right Hand of Doom
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
20,390
Reaction score
49,072
48771097131_9c37384094_o.jpg
 

Simon Hogwood

Puritan Bearbearian
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Messages
777
Reaction score
1,494
My thinking regarding blasphemy related to the latter, i.e. the representation of God being also a representation of himself is something that wouldn't be okay to him, rather than depiction alone. But it's only a guess of course.

The Bible's physical depictions of God are interesting because the surrounding text always has specific grammatical and lexical features, so it's from some specific "school" or tradition. Just something I found cool.
. . . I feel like I saw this post a day or two ago, and then it disappeared. Was it originally quoting my post about Tom Bombadil?

Anyway, regarding Tolkien and the Old Testament, it is relatively well known that he did some translation work for the Jerusalem Bible, notably the book of Jonah. Apparently one of the lines he translated as something like "cities of the deep", which led to this:

de18329aad56bd4745da5e3940474ecf.jpg

An examination to discover how closely the comic's portrayal of Atlantis hews to the description of Numenor is forthcoming.
 

Séadna

Legendary Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2018
Messages
5,394
Reaction score
10,199
. . . I feel like I saw this post a day or two ago, and then it disappeared. Was it originally quoting my post about Tom Bombadil?
Yeah I just felt the original post didn't really add anything beyond what you had said, so I deleted it.
 

Voros

Doomed Investigator
Joined
Sep 23, 2017
Messages
9,660
Reaction score
15,923
Wow! Those look detailed thanks! I see he starts with:
"When God began to create Heaven and Earth and the earth then was water and waste and darkness"
like the Jewish Study Bible. It seems this is how most people with a strong knowledge of Hebrew translate it. You probably already know this, but the Jewish Study Bible has an interesting note about this:

So it's like God created the world by taming Chaos. Quite cool.

Do you know any good books about Kabbalistic stuff and related Medieval Jewish stuff?

I'm no expert just an interested amateur but I know that the great authority on the Kabbalah is Gershom Sholem, a good friend of Walter Benjamin and his books Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism and Origins of the Kabbala. He was a critic of the Occult distortions of Jewish mysticism that have become so fashionable.

I read those books years ago from the university library though and they are richly detailed so I'd be interested in picking up ebook copies if I could, I see there is a relatively 'new' translation of the book on the Kabbalah The Kabbalah and its Symbolism.
 

AsenRG

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2018
Messages
7,457
Reaction score
7,381
MY own conclusion is that Tom is an avatar of Eru, who else is oldest? He is that part of the creator who dwells in Arda for the joy and beauty and love of it and in this way he is also the avatar of Tolkien himself. Mind you, I'm also solidly convinced that the hobbits are the descendants of the entwives and Gandalf and Treebeard both suspect this.
I don't think this holds water, but it would make for an interesting twist:thumbsup:.
 

Lofgeornost

Vulpine Again!
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
755
Reaction score
1,821
I'm no expert just an interested amateur but I know that the great authority on the Kabbalah is Gershom Sholem, a good friend of Walter Benjamin and his books Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism and Origins of the Kabbala. He was a critic of the Occult distortions of Jewish mysticism that have become so fashionable.

I read those books years ago from the university library though and they are richly detailed so I'd be interested in picking up ebook copies if I could, I see there is a relatively 'new' translation of the book on the Kabbalah The Kabbalah and its Symbolism.

On a more elementary level, there is Joseph Dan's The Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2007). Dan has written a lot on Jewish mysticism in various historical periods, from ancient to modern.
 

Voros

Doomed Investigator
Joined
Sep 23, 2017
Messages
9,660
Reaction score
15,923
On a more elementary level, there is Joseph Dan's The Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2007). Dan has written a lot on Jewish mysticism in various historical periods, from ancient to modern.

The Short Introduction series from Oxford is excellent!
 

Lofgeornost

Vulpine Again!
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
755
Reaction score
1,821
The Short Introduction series from Oxford is excellent!

It is a good series. Some of the volumes are better as the second book you read on a topic, though; Michael Cook's The Koran: A Very Short Introduction, for instance.

Since C.S. Lewis has come up in this thread, I'll just note that I was surprised that one of his Narnia books--The Silver Chair, I think it was--is basically a heroic fantasy novel with little in the way of Christian allegory. His Discarded Image is also a useful book if you're running an rpg set in the Middle Ages or Renaissance, since it provides a guide contemporary ideas about the nature of the cosmos.
 
Cthulhu Mythos - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com
Top