Lord of the Rings is trash
Lots of published novelists make broad claims about the way fiction should be (eg. all villains should have at least one redeeming trait), realize that Lord of the Rings doesn't meet that criterion, and then make up some stupid exception for it (eg. "but that was then, and this is now" - I've seen that verbatim!). I'm sick of the unanimous praise for this story. Here are the reasons why it sucks:
- Misrepresents the nature of power. A big deal is made out of it in the scene where Boromir says, "Give Gondor the weapon of the enemy.", and the story drops an anvil that he's wrong because power is corruptive. This is a false and harmful view of power.
Power doesn't corrupt you
- Misrepresents the nature of evil. All of the forces of evil in LOTR just seek destruction for no apparent motive; Sauron doesn't even have any lines. But more than that, evil is portrayed as something that comes from *outside* of human society. This is a false and harmful view of evil. Real evil comes from inside human beings, most of whom seem normal and nice on the outside.
Why you should be an anarchist
- It's racist because it represents good and evil as races. There are several scenes where the three 'evil' races are shown talking, which presumably means they're sapient, but the story portrays these races as inherently evil. On the other end, elves are portrayed as, as a group, more mature, peaceful, and pure than the other races. Also it's a major plot point that hobbits are capable of resisting the Ring's corruption in a way humans cannot be.
- The magic is a giant black box of Deus Ex Machinas. We have no idea what Gandalf and Saruman can and can't do except for the things we see them do. Everything they do with it hit me as a huge Deus or Diabolus Ex, see: Gandalf's resurrection, the Witch-King's breaking of Gandalf's staff, Gandalf's breaking of Saruman's staff...
- All of the characters are disinteresting, having unremarkable personalities and little or no sympathy factor. Many of them are defined almost as much by their races and combat abilities as by their personalities. Also of course all the important characters are men; the only scene where a woman does something significant is when she kills the Witch King... while screaming "I am no man" 🤦
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