Saturday, February 2, 2008

Heroes?

Why does Tolkien hide the true abilities of the two main heroes we have seen so far in the book? With Strider/Aragorn it seems as if he has this humble outward appearance and he is weary from travel as a ranger, but in reality he is a king. Same with Gandalf, I think it was Strider who says the wizard is more clever than he appears.
-Matt Stapay

10 comments:

amber lotz said...

I think he hides who they are so we can have a better understanding of them without any association to titles and abilities. He leaves us hanging until the moment these powers are used that way they have more effect.

Thomas said...

I think the true identities and abilities of Aragorn and Gandalf are withheld because we are reading from the point of view of the hobbits, who didn't know any more at that moment.

Hobbits don't know (or really care) about the Maiar and aren't concerned with Gondor and the lost line of Kings. To hobbits, Gandalf is only a simple wizard and Aragorn is nothing more than a wandering ranger.

Also, if we knew everything up front, future events becoming less entertaining/surprising.

Emily said...

I too think that he doesn't come out immediately and say they are kings because it has more of an effect when you find out. Also, I think it shows just how wise they are as well. Aragorn doens't tell who he is because he knows that people will immediately assume things about him, whereas if he proves himself to be smart he builds a trust with the hobbits.

David Le said...

yes, and to tell anybody you are the true heir to the throne of Gondor is basically just asking someone to please assasinate you. I believe he didn't want to the strings attached with being a king and he wanted to go on to his own journey like the way Leonidas did on his adventures as a boy who came home back a man. I believed he wanted to see the world in his own point of view and not as a king as he wouldv'e have been shielded from most of the pain and sufferings of people not of his class. Being a ranger and looking like a hobo, he gets to feel the treatment of common people and not of royalty.

Mstapay said...

a great book about king leonidas and the 300 spartans is a book called Gates of Fire, I think by Stephen Pressfield. I had to read it for the Army actually.

mmannin said...

I think by not showing aragorn to be a king, Tolkien further displays the danger of power, just as how the ring is feared because of the power that it has.

Steve Backhus said...

I think one reason that Aragorn did not reveal himself earlier has to do with Tolkien's idea of what a hero is. This consists of a couple of facts. A true hero does not "advertise" the fact that he is a hero, no matter what his pedegrie is. Also the desire for power corrupts as surely as having power does.

In other words actions count for more that birthrights. Although birthrights are important in the LOTR.

Heidi Harshman said...

I agree with all of you- I also feel that if the identity of each of these characters were revealed earlier, there would be less suspense and some situations would seem less dangerous.

for example, if Aragorn explained who he was to begin with, the hobbits would have not questioned trusting him, and their travels with him would not have been as 'frightful' I guess as they seemed to be

T Mathis said...

Strider/Aragorn knows he's king but Tolkien makes him somewhat humble in his first apperances in the book. It shows the true honor the man and when it is revealed he is the king I think it just makes his character greater.

becky said...

I agree that this adds to their hero character. Also, the "witholding of information" for a bit is more real life- we don't really know everyone's background instantly. Some people don't want to reveal all of their past to everyone. Pertanent information is given- we can relate to the way hobbits learn about their friends.