Patrick Rothfuss tells tall tale about a classic piece of Fantasy literature.
Please Mr. Rothfuss, don’t erase women from history with modern opinion.
I saw this post from a bookworm on facebook and their own comment added, “THIS MAN SPEAKS THE TRUTH.”
Well, in this instance Rothfuss does not speak the EXACT truth. He may be a great guy. Probably is. This post has been revised because I felt guilty being too harsh and it’s not TRUE just because it shows up on the interweb as a quote. I plan on reading his material and I’ve been told the article I read about what he said may have been spinning to spike book sales. That I get. I say silly s&%t all the time. But, for your evidence concerning women in Tolkien’s world, I present proof below.
Perhaps, the quote was wrong and the man in the picture saw the Peter Jackson fantasy movie based loosely on “The Hobbit?” If so, I understand how he could decide:
“There are no woman in the Hobbit. Who thinks this is f&%^ng creepy?”
I know nothing of Mr. Rothfuss, but I do know a bit about modern day perspectives and how easy it is to forget our past. History is a funny thing, we must be wary of those that write it. It shouldn’t be opinion suited to the changing times. As you read the blog there are pictures of the pages of “The Hobbit.” (Many of these pics are of the first three pages, in fact). I read the link to find out what the man in the picture above meant. The reporting said he expanded that literature has mostly treated women as Disney princesses and that there are NO WOMEN in THE HOBBIT. Now, in all fairness I read The Hobbit thirty years ago. With due respect, Tolkien’s time was before Walt Disney’s Ariel or Jasmine. I had to go look at my copy of “The Hobbit” to be sure, but I recalled strong women matriarchs among Tolkien’s hobbits and elves. I remember the humans trying to protect their women from Smaug. Oh, and the dwarves! Tolkien has mentioned that the dwarfish women are so secretive that they wear beards when interacting with men. I also recalled mention of a hobbit with a fairy wife? Belladonna Took! Heck, When I opened the book to fact check… BILBO’s MOTHER IS MENTIONED ON PAGE 2!
Mr.. Tolkien was born in 1892 in South Africa. His upbringing was a wee bit different than my own (and from Patrick’s, who is said to be claiming “The Hobbit” is creepy). Tolkien learned in school that women weren’t allowed to be actors during the renaissance as the job was taken by men wearing women’s clothing that happened to have voices that could sound feminine. He was taught that, in most places in the world, women have limited freedoms and couldn’t vote or join a military… or be paid as much as men for doing the exact same job. He learned that in some places around the globe women weren’t allowed to speak in public and had to hide their faces and bodies. Truth be told, not much has changed with the way women are represented. How we treat women today isn’t all that different than ever before. Maybe we kid ourselves into thinking it has? Maybe. Probably depends on the person answering the question. IT’S NOT HELPING TO SAY THEY WEREN’T THERE AT ALL. They were. Maybe not where we’d like them to be, but THEY WERE VERY IMPORTANT.
“The Hobbit” wasn’t about Belladonna, though the story mentions there is no shortage of amazing tales about Mrs. Took. This book was a story about a boy that never had an adventure before and ran off with a group of boys to play with swords. It’s a tale as old as time. Little boys don’t save princesses… they kill dragons. Disney has no lack of Prince Charming types, but little boys playing won’t ever be Prince Charming kissing a sleeping beauty if given the choice. They will always hit stuff and each other. Because boys.
Women ARE PEOPLE. G.R.R. Martin knows it and has said so publicly (when commenting on being able to write women ‘so well’), J.R.R. Tolkien knew it too, but this story wasn’t about Belladonna Took or Galadriel or Thuringwethil or Adunaphel or Luthien or Arwen or Celebrian (most of those names are main characters from other Tolkien books). Women have always been people, let’s not choose to cut them out of history because it doesn’t suit our modern Western sensibilities. Camelot didn’t have female knights. There were no female Kings in the Middle Ages. Queens? Yeah, they played a part that was strong of character in the time they existed. Please Mr. Rothfuss, don’t erase women from history with modern opinion. It is what we made it to be and we all have to live with the way the opposite sexes treat one another. On the lighter side, want to know where there is a lack of women in Tolkien fantasy? Villains, because men are dumb and usually up to no good. No famous goblin, orc, or troll women that I recall. Spiders, dragon, and elves are debatable… but they do seem to make babies.