Middle-earth according to Mordor – Laura Miller – Salon.com

Middle-earth according to Mordor – Laura Miller – Salon.com.

Because Gandalf refers to Mordor as the “Evil Empire” and is accused of crafting a “Final Solution to the Mordorian problem” by rival wizard Saruman, he obviously serves as an avatar for Russia’s 20th-century foes. But the juxtaposition of the willfully feudal and backward “West,” happy with “picking lice in its log ‘castles'” while Mordor cultivates learning and embraces change, also recalls the clash between Europe in the early Middle Ages and the more sophisticated and learned Muslim empires to the east and south. Sauron passes a “universal literacy law,” while the shield maiden Eowyn has been raised illiterate, “like most of Rohan’s elite” — good guys Tolkien based on his beloved Anglo-Saxons.

2 thoughts on “Middle-earth according to Mordor – Laura Miller – Salon.com

  1. Interesting… it makes me think of Wicked. (The Wizard of Oz from the view of the “Wicked” witch of the West). I think these sort of revisiting the classics is happening more and more. Pullman’s books are sort of an anti-Narnia series (although not actually set in the same world). I’ve been noticing similar things in graphic fiction, like “Lex Luthor: Man of Steel”. And in Earth X, it turns out Galactus is good for the Universe. Also some of the Star Wars noels focus on the Sith from their own perspective, more or less independently from the Jedi.
    If you want a real-life reversal, some of the ancient Gnostics thought that the God of Israel was the villain while Jesus (as) and the snake in the garden were both alligned with the Real God above them all.

  2. It’s a really good observation. I think you can make a sustained reading of the LOTR as being anti-industrial, but I prefer to see it as pro-spiritual. I’m looking forward to reading it, but the counter-reading is based on a premise I’m not sure I accept.
    Going to buy Earth X this weekend. 🙂

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