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 one verbatim before). I'm sick of the unanimous praise for this story. Here are the reasons why it sucks:
- The misrepresentation of 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 the power is corruptive. This isn't how power works. I know the Ring is supposed to be special case because it causally corrupts you, but that's incoherent because it contradicts free will. While you could argue the ring only simulates this effect by subjecting the wearer to extreme temptation, that's not how the story treats it, and if it were there still should have been a question about resisting it instead of sacrificing millions of lives to win the war the hard way, especially since Frodo puts on the ring at at least one point during the story and his behavior is not noticeably affected.
Power doesn't corrupt you
- The misrepresentation of the nature of evil. All of the forces of evil in LOTR are entities who simply seek destruction for no apparent motive; Sauron doesn't even have any lines. But maybe even more harmful is that evil is portrayed as something *outside* of human society and that wants said society destroyed/enslaved. Real evil comes - it can *only* come - from inside human beings, most of whom seem normal and nice on the outside. Portraying evil this way is harmful because it ingrains in us a deeply false view of the world and human nature.
- Monarchy is glorified. I shouldn't even have to go into Anarchism to convince the average reader that this is messed up.
Why you should be an anarchist
- It's racist against orcs and uruks and goblins and to some extent against dwarves and humans. There are several scenes where the three 'evil' races are shown talking, which presumably means they're sapient, and yet the story portrays these races as inherently evil. Out of an entire race of sapient beings, there would and should be at least some good orcs, uruks, and goblins in the world.
It applies in the opposite direction too: can you name a single bad elf in the story? I can't. Also, it's a major plot point that hobbits are capable of resisting the Ring's corruption in a way humans cannot be. This kind of intrinsic relationship between race and morality is impossible because our moral inclinations have nothing to do with our biology, and ignoring that truth can only cultivate the same feelings of group identity and stereotyping that give rise to real-life bigotry.
Our moral inclinations have nothing to do with our biology
- 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 as characters almost as much by their races and combat abilities as by their personalities.
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