Wormtongue and Eowyn

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Kristanyann 16/Sep/2006 at 08:14 PM
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  Do you believe Grima Wormtongue could be in love with Eowyn? Or was it her nobility and strength- her status in the kingdom of Rohan- that he was in love with? Was it just lust for the most eligible maiden in the kingdom? Or, corrupted by Sauruman, is Grima even capable of love? What do you think?
Nefertiti007 16/Sep/2006 at 08:37 PM
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Well, I actually think that Grima did indeed love Eowyn, but was so corrupt he didn’t know how to show it.  I think he is capable of love, definitely.  I mean, in ROTK or the Two Towers(can’t remember which), he actually shed a tear as he looked at the Army of Morder.

Granted, there is also quite a bit of controversy over whether that tear meant things like: He felt for the people of Middle-Earth, or stuff like that.  I personally feel, that Grima was only working with Saruman because he was the most powerful, and he was doing what was necessary for survival in his own mind.  I think the tear was because everything, other than evil, that he knew an loved was going to be destroyed. 

Hope that helps a bit.  If not, I’m sorry.  I’m trying to be helpful.  And that is just my opinion, so if anything there is anything politically incorrect, I’m sorry.

Aragonia Dunami 16/Sep/2006 at 11:19 PM
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I do think Grima possibly loved Eowyn. She was beautifil and not evil, whereas he was not beautiful and he was influerced by the evil of Saruman. For those reasons I think he saw in Eowyn (and loved) something he could never be, something he may have wanted to be in his heart. 
KingODuckingham 16/Sep/2006 at 11:32 PM
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Nefertiti: You are referencing the movie, not the books, when you say that Wormtongue shed a tear as he looked upon the army of Isengard (not Mordor).

As to the question at hand, I believe Wormtongue was capable of love (as is everyone) but he had (as so many people do) converted to only loving self. His desire for Eowyn is simply that-desire-lust. He wants her for himself, for self-gratification. All that is good in her he sees as more reward to his own reputation if he could own her. For a similar reason he worked for Saruman:advancement of his own personal power and pleasure.
Tindomelin 17/Sep/2006 at 12:18 AM
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There seem to be no reason for Grima to be unable to have an affection toward somebody (sorry, so many "to" in one phrase ), but I don’t think it should necesserily be love in that romantic sense which people see between Arwen and Aragorn, for example. Not so clean and exalted, is it?
Or maybe it’s just difficult for people to assume that Grima could have such feelings because he’s a kind of negative character, and not handsome...
Endril 17/Sep/2006 at 03:03 AM
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Very good question.  I don’t know what benefits he could have from lovin eowin. Still Eomer was the king of Rohan and Grima would not have any advantage because he loved her. Also Eomer hated Grima. He probably was loving her but he couldn’t show her that. Also she didn’t liked him because he was evil and worked against Rohan.
Nefertiti007 17/Sep/2006 at 08:08 AM
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King- Whoops, sorry...I didn’t know I had referred to the books...And even though I said Morder, I meant Isengard, sorry about that...I am just not really with lately...Sorry for the crappy input, just exclude my post or something...
Daywalker 17/Sep/2006 at 08:16 AM
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I think that Grima was in love to Eowyn. Or atleast wanted to have her and maybe force her to love him also. There’s one quote which shows that Grima was plotting to have her.

Nay, Éomer, you do not fully understand the mind of Master Wormtongue,’ said Gandalf, turning his piercing glance upon him. ’He is bold and cunning. Even now he plays a game with peril and wins a throw. Hours of my precious time he has wasted already. ’Down snake!’ he said suddenly in a terrible voice. ’Down on your belly! How long is it since Saruman bought you? What was the promised price? When all the men were dead, you were to pick your share of the treasure, and take the woman you desire? Too long have you watched her under your eyelids and haunted her steps.’ LotR

Grima wanted Eowyn, he desired her and that does mean that he felt love but i cant tell if that was ’love’ as others know it but maybe something of price to hid under the term of love.

Koranti 17/Sep/2006 at 01:37 PM
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I believe that everyone has a capability to love, no matter what the situation.

Anyway, concerning Grima loving Eowyn, I think he had more of an infatuation with her. But Grima probably knew that he never had any chance with Eowyn, especially witn Eomer around. Eowyn also seemed to think Grima was just a creep, and would never have felt anything towards him.
Aganaphel 17/Sep/2006 at 02:40 PM
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I think Grima definitely was in love. He was a man of Rohan himself, Grima son of Galmond, he probably served Theoden faithfully for a long time before he turned to Saruman. Likely he had fallen in love with her even before he was recruited by the White Wizard. Eowyn was 24 in 3019, as far as I remember, he might have loved her for 10 years at least.

I figure his love for Eowyn and impossibility to get her probably were the main reasons he became a traitor. Saruman promised him Eowyn, that we know, but we are not told if he were promised something else (high position, riches etc.). Perhaps it was all he wanted.
KingODuckingham 17/Sep/2006 at 07:21 PM
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What exactly do we mean by love? Base lust? Enjoyment of beauty and character? Enjoyment of her company? Love is shown, is proved in how you act toward someone, and Grima certainly is not showing any sort of love in betraying her cousin, brother, uncle, and countrymen to be slain by orcs. What Grima feels is not love. He feels desire, attraction, and has decided he could not live without it.
Daywalker 18/Sep/2006 at 01:40 AM
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Aganaphel - There was also riches involved as well as there was a Eowyn. If you look at that quoe in my last post you’ll see that Gandalf says that.
How long is it since Saruman bought you? What was the promised price? When all the men were dead, you were to pick your share of the treasure, and take the woman you desire? Too long have you watched her under your eyelids and haunted her steps.’ LotR

Now it can also be that Gandalf is suspecting this and does not know exatly but we all do know that Gandalf was very good seeing/guessing things so i have no reason to believe why this wouldn’t be true.

Koranti - ’But Grima probably knew that he never had any chance with Eowyn, especially witn Eomer around’
Exatly and thats why he started to plot against Eomer and made Theoden to trust him more than to Eomer. But when White Rider (Gandalf) came back to Meduseld, Theoden saw Grima’s true intensions.
Arvellas 21/Sep/2006 at 07:20 PM
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Deep down, Grima--I’ve just noticed that his name bears resemblance to the word "grime," not that that pertains to the topic very much--might have been in love with Eowyn, but I think it would be more accurate to say that he lusted after her, perhaps because of and her beauty and her status.  Perhaps he was jealous, and so had a hand in making her feel so opressed and worthless.
WESTERN WARG 22/Sep/2006 at 10:31 AM
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i think grima was trying to corrupt eowyn like he did wih king theoden

Aganaphel 22/Sep/2006 at 10:41 AM
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Lycan, I have always thought that in the quote "When all the men were dead, you were to pick your share of the treasure, and take the woman you desire?" Eowyn was meant to be precisely Grima’s " share of the treasure".
Hmm... now I am not so sure... perhaps you are right and he was to get some treasure plus Eowyn.

Also, in LOTR it is made clear that Grima had been stealing treasures all along:
At that moment Háma came again from the hall. Behind him cringing between two other men, came Gríma the Wormtongue. His face was very white. His eyes blinked in the sunlight. Háma knelt and presented to Théoden a long sword in a scabbard clasped with gold and set with green gems. ’Here, lord, is Herugrim, your ancient blade,’ he said. ’It was found in his chest. Loath was he to render up the keys. Many other things are there which men have missed.’

So, no doubt Grima was a greedy fellow. But it is also probable that Grima was stealing mostly to enlarge Saruman’s own hoard described in UT (Disaster of the Gladden Fields).
Arvellas 22/Sep/2006 at 03:23 PM
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Western Warg-Welcome to the Plaza and to the Lore Fora!  Would you mind elaborating a bit on your opinion and telling us why you think that?  The more input, the better!

Aganaphel-In keeping with your statement that Grima was greedy and was after treasure, I thought that he might view Eowyn as a sort of slave--or concubine.*shudders*  She was someone that he could oppress and boss around through all the corruption he was causing, someone, or better yet, something that he could "own."

Aganaphel 22/Sep/2006 at 05:05 PM
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Arvellas, we can never be sure about Grima’s original motivations that made him turn to Saruman. I somehow prefer to think that he was in love (why couldn’t he be?)- it makes him more human somehow. But sure, it may be that greed was his primary motivation.

As for the nature of his love (if he had it), it may also have changed. From pure romantic love to almost love-hate and desire to punish her for her coldness.
Miriame Sárince 22/Sep/2006 at 08:08 PM
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I think many of you are over-romanticizing Grima. He wanted Eowyn, certainly. She was beautiful and the daughter-like niece of the king. But want isn’t love and there is no evidence that Grima understood Eowyn, or put her needs above his, or tried to make sure that she had the best life she could have. In fact, his betrayal of her uncle, if it was fulfilled, would have resulted in the destruction and death of everything she loved. Sadly, stalking ("haunted her steps") and desire aren’t the same as love. If he had won, he would have taken her against her will (or tried to). And how is that love?
lúrëa ranya 22/Sep/2006 at 09:30 PM
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He wanted her and that’s all, he didn’t love her and he didn’t care for her.
all there was to it is that she was beautiful and powerful, and a niece of the king. What’s not to like? Or should I say want?

Aganaphel 23/Sep/2006 at 03:38 AM
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Why I prefer my interpretation is that it gives a motive for Grima to turn to Saruman. After all, he was unique. No other Man of Rohan became a traitor, as far as we know. Why such a bad sheep in the flock? Thinking he was wholly evil from the start makes his character flatter. And then Tolkien said that nobody was evil from the start, even Sauron.
mighty ent man 23/Sep/2006 at 09:16 AM
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No in my view he certainly did not love Eowyn. He wanted her, he desired her. He found her attractive, but he did not know her enough to truly be in love with her. He thought he could aquire her so he tried to get her for himself. It was not love.

Of course he is capable of love. I believe that everyone is. He was not an evil person. He was corrupted and ensnared by Saruman, but he was once a Man of Rohan and thus capable of love. This is show when he redeems himself at the end of the tail by killing Saruman and if the hobbits had not shot him I am sure he would have turned out fine in the end.

Nerfeti - he actually shed a tear as he looked at the Army of Morder. - I have a feeling that this might have been an invention of the movies. I would like the quote from you to back this up. I know it is in the films, and I am unsure as to whether it is in the books too. Also this tear, what does it show? If indeed it is in the books. It shows emotion. But which one? Awe? Sadness? Realisation?

I would like to say to people to really think about what love actually is before they say that Grima loved Eowyn. Ask yourself what is love? I think it is lust he has, not love. Love requires you to really know someone. I do not believe in love at first sight and all of that. You grow to love someone. I do not think Grima loved her. Just like Eowyn did not love Aragorn.

Lycan - The quote you provide shows the opposite to what you say it shows! It does not show love, but the actions of a stalker!! This is a lust. Yes he has a desire to have her, but why so you say this means he loves her??

duckingham - Love is shown, is proved in how you act toward someone,  - You say that love is proofed in how you act. Well then surely the love could still be there but just not be proofed to exist or be present. I am nto saying he did have a love for her, merely pointing out the flaw of your logic. He may have had the love just not know how to show it in his actions. I however of course do not think this.

Miriame Sárince 23/Sep/2006 at 06:26 PM
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Fine in the end? I think not likely. Even his killing of Saruman wasn’t with noble intent, he didn’t kill Saruman to protect the Shire from him. He killed him because Saruman had accused him (rightly or wrongly) of cannibalism and had kicked him. It was an act or rage and vengeance but not one that indicated redemption.

I would bet that Grima saw Eowyn just like he saw the other wealth of Rohan, something to posses and, by possessing, to treat as one more proof of his betrayal of Rohan. She was no more real to him than was the sword he took from Theoden or any other precious things found in his trunk. She was booty of war, nothing more.
Earendin 24/Sep/2006 at 02:39 AM
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I think that Wormtogue wanted Eowyn for the power she would gain after Theodens death and that he actually I think that he actually loved her a bit despite his hunger for power which was his crucial factor of wanting to have a good relationship with her or,if he could,marry her.
mighty ent man 24/Sep/2006 at 06:11 AM
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Miriame - It was an act or rage and vengeance but not one that indicated redemption. - Upon this point I think we disagree. You see I have the view that Frodo has. He quite blatantly pities Grima as does Gandalf I think. As do many, many show him mercy and pity. He killed Saruman because he had had enough of this ill treatment. I believe that had the hobbits not shot him he would have realised that he was now free of his cruel master. Just like Gollum nearly redeemed himself but Sam got in the way and spoiled it. This is almost an identical situation.

You see for his time in LOTR he was always under the influence and almost control of Saruman. He must have suffered so much after he threw the Palantir out of the window. Saruman had run him down, just like the Ring ran Gollum down into the creature we see him as. This is why I think that had he lived on he would have not turned to any more malicious ways as he would realise he had freedom. He would not have Saruman stadning over him making him be mean.

The act of killing Saruman on its own of course was one of simple rage, he had had enough. But after this I believe some kind of realisation would dawn on him.

Laielinwen 24/Sep/2006 at 10:03 AM
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I believe that Wormtongue saw Eowyn as an item to be possessed and not as a woman he loved. I don’t think that he looked at her and saw the person she was inside and loved that about her at all. They had not had opportunities to get to know each other that way nor would she be interested and open up to him if they could have. He definitely was attracted to her and wanted her probably in various ways but none of those qualify as love.
KingODuckingham 24/Sep/2006 at 10:26 AM
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Mighty Ent Man: to finally get back to you on my point--Love, I would argue is inseparable from the action.  One cannot say that one loves another until one is showing it.  To argue love as some sort of "feeling", existing abstractly in one’s heart is, I think, absurd.  Love is not just shown in one’s actions, it is those actions.  And thus, to judge from Grima’s actions, he is in the business of lusting, not loving.

mighty ent man 24/Sep/2006 at 11:33 AM
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I agree with you Laie. He wanted her for himself, but not in the way a man traditionally loves a woman. It was not love. He might have thought he loved her, but I do not think he did at all.

duckingham - I disagree completely. You can love someone without showing it. When I fight with my girlfriend it of course does not look like I love her, but I of course do.

Love can be there, just not shown. I am not saying it is completely separate from the actions, it is not. But to say that love cannot exist if there is no evidence of it is of course absurd too!

Actions can be full of love I agree, I know. But I also know you can love someone but not show it enough, or at all.

KingODuckingham 24/Sep/2006 at 12:19 PM
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Mighty Ent Man: you present a good argument. When I fight with my girlfriend it of course does not look like I love her, but I of course do. Indeed. But you do not love her perfectly. Insofar as your actions toward her are not loving, you are not loving her. Thus I agree with your comment of loving someone not enough. Very much so. But not at all? Where then is love? How can you say love is there if it is not in the actions? Existing somewhere in the mind, as you tell yourself over and over "I do love this person, I do, I do!"? What sort of love is that?
Arvellas 24/Sep/2006 at 01:45 PM
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Laielinwen-Very well put.

I don’t think Grima had the power to really see Eowyn for who she was; if he had the ability to really know anyone, I think he must have lost it when he became wicked, serving only himself and Saruman, and forgetting others’ feelings and what was really right and wrong.  Everything was about owning and possessing, nd how much he could silently steal from Theoden--even steal his mind--so why not steal his niece?  I think the only person to really see Eowyn for who she was (except maybe for Eomer, though I don’t know for sure) was Aragorn, which I think was why Eowyn was so drawn to him at first.

Miriame Sárince 24/Sep/2006 at 08:14 PM
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Mighty Ent Man, I hear your point about the pity and mercy that Galdalf and Frodo showed both Grima and Gollum. In many ways I think the counsel of Galdalf (and it’s eventual acceptance by Frodo) to have pity on those who have committed evil and to not be quick to judge is at the core of the "morality" of LOTR. Certainly, for me, it keeps reminding me to not be too quick to deal out judgment. I’m not as wise as Galdalf, and he judged himself not wise enough to order punishment for others.

Nevertheless, I don’t think that mercy must contradict our understanding of someone’s character. Galdalf pitied Gollum, but that didn’t mean that he trusted him. We can pity what Grima has become, and hope that the Hobbits take mercy on him, without holding out much hope for his redemption, or ascribing more noble motives to his behavior than are probably warranted. If he had lived, would he have come back to what he was once Saruman’s influence waned? Maybe, but I fear probably not. I think that for both Grima and Gollum there was a core of corruption there before they encountered the Ring or Saruman. If they hadn’t had those encounters, they may have been less given to evil, but I don’t think either ever would have been a person of virtue or decency.
mighty ent man 25/Sep/2006 at 04:17 AM
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duckingham - Insofar as your actions toward her are not loving, you are not loving her - Then with this line of reasoning love is something that can be turned on and off?!?!? This makes no sense at all. Love is not something which turns on and off depending on your actions, it is a feeling or power which is always there. It alters moods and shows itslef in different ways. My point was, when we argue, I do love her, which is what keeps us together through our arguments because we know we both love each other and that the mean things we might say mean nothing because of the love underneath.

What you speak of in the last few lines of your post is forced love, not real or true love. It is perhaps what Grima had, where he told himself that he loved her, but of course he does not.

Arvellas - No the person who truly knew Eowyn was Faramir, when they met his insightful comments into the nature of her personality and emotions were right on the mark!  

Miriame - without holding out much hope for his redemption, - I have great hope of his redemption, had he lived of course! I think he certainly would have redeemed himself, or gone as far as he could to live a good life. This is where we disagree.

If they hadn’t had those encounters, they may have been less given to evil, but I don’t think either ever would have been a person of virtue or decency. - This is a very good point and one I have considered before. Gollum was of course a bad person before he came into contact with the Ring. But he was not evil and had a lot of good. Grima was a Man of Rohan, I know little of his past. It would be very helpful if someone could reference some quotes as to what he wass like before Saruman. I think he would have been a good man, but with some tricksy elements to himself.

I fully believe that upon killing Saruman Grima would have entered into a moment of redemption just like Gollum did.

 

elendil elessar 25/Sep/2006 at 04:45 AM
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Grima should be able to feel love as an emotion, but I doubt it is what he feels toward Eowyn. To me it looks more like the desire of ownership than the sharing emotion that love is. To "love" he first would have to change his state of mind and redeem himself. I believe that his desire to posess Eowyn was one of the reason why he was so much in the power of Saruman.
Kaulargorn 25/Sep/2006 at 04:17 PM
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Well, Grima was a man after all so he was attracted by such a beautiful lady as Eowyn.About love,I think that first of all he wanted to be loved, something he was always derived of.So he chose her and in my opinion the reasons were a lot more than just that attraction,but his move should hid a feeling for her.He was not a machine and although he was that kind of man he would like to have a chance at love,even if he tried to love himself.I’d like to see him when learning of her marriage
Arvellas 25/Sep/2006 at 07:47 PM
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mem-I must admit that you are right, there.  However, Aragorn did come closer to understanding Eowyn than a lot of others did; he actually noticed her as a human being and not just some servant to taken for granted, which is more than can be said of most.

Kaulagorn-The thought of Grima wanting to be loved back it interesting, though personally, if he did want to be loved, I think he may have forgotten it as he was losing human compassion.  Perhaps it remained as a vague, subconscious thing; we’ll have to look into that a little more.

mighty ent man 26/Sep/2006 at 07:42 AM
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Arvellas - I am not disputing the fact that Aragorn knows Eowyn a great deal. He looked right down into the core of her soul, but I think Faramir looked deeper than he did. Aragorn understood her well, but he never had the time to get to know her more, which Faramir did, he had that time in the Houses of Healing.
Brennaisolde 26/Sep/2006 at 10:21 AM
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I believe the first thing "most" people notice is physical appearance. I feel like Grima may have eventually fallen in love with Eowyn, but it was at first a mere lust. Also, I can’t help but take into account the old addage, "you always want what you can’t have". Surely Grima must have known such a maiden of Rohan would never concede to being his. Unless of course you whisper poisoned sweet nothings in her ear... to sway her.
KingODuckingham 27/Sep/2006 at 10:05 AM
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My point was, when we argue, I do love her, which is what keeps us together through our arguments because we know we both love each other and that the mean things we might say mean nothing because of the love underneath.--MEM When you argue, you are failing to love her. This does not mean the love is turned off as in you threw a switch. The mean things you say mean nothing because both know that the real way each would wish to act toward the other is in a loving way, not an argumentative or angry way. But if an outside observer only ever saw you when you fought, how could he conceive of love between the two of you? And since all we see from Grima is base treachery and lust, how can we conceive of love for Eowyn?
I think this is the cause of many a divorce these days; the idea that love is some sort of feeling one has for another, and when that feeling dies off, puppy love style, there is nothing left. C.S. Lewis proposed that when such feeling dies, the love that will bind these people together will be their continued behavior and actions toward one another. Acts of love. They are inseparable.
mighty ent man 28/Sep/2006 at 06:46 AM
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duckingham - Ah I see where you are getting mixed up now. You say that when I argue with her that I am failing to love her. I am not, I am failing to show the love I have for her inside because she has been rude to me or annoyed me. You should know that no perfect idealistic love exists in this world. No couple I are all love and no arguments. I am failing to show the love, but of course I love her!!! There is a key difference between the wording of those sentences. We might even be arguing because I love her, as I care about her. You see you are getting these two fundamental things mixed up here.

But if an outside observer only ever saw you when you fought, how could he conceive of love between the two of you? And since all we see from Grima is base treachery and lust, how can we conceive of love for Eowyn? - Very good point. If an outside person always saw us arguing and deduced that we did not love each other then I think that would make little sense, for why would we be together?

I see what you mean, but this case with Grima is not as simple as that. We are given a much greater insight into his character and thus can make further and more accurate deductions from this. We are not simply watching him, we are given lines into this mind and behaviour.

I see your last point, and I do know that when you have been going out nearly 2 years as I have the intial first dreamy love dies away, it is not the idealistic thing you envisaged. But there is a deeper love that keeps you together, and it is not just actions.

As for Grima I think he had none of these feelings for Eowyn.

Mirima 28/Sep/2006 at 09:19 AM
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As can be seen throughout the books, Grima is not a person of strong character.  He was persuaded to turn against his king, and even when given the chance on multiple occassions would not leave Saurman.  Finally, after being offered an escape yet again, he simply turns on Saruman and meets his own end at the hands of the hobbits.  This shows that he really didn’t care about anybody besides himself.  He forsook Theoden since it seemed more in his favor to work for the more powerful Saruman, then eventually turns on Saruman when the odds are no longer in his favor.  It is highly unlikely that he truly loved Eowyn.  He probably thought he would like to have a pretty, powerful woman as his wife, thinking nothing of her feelings towards him.  Grima was simply looking out for Grima.
NineFingered 28/Sep/2006 at 08:22 PM
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I would say that Grima certainly admired Eowyn for being everything that he was not: proud, beautiful, loyal and brave. I highly doubt that there was any tru elove in the matter, for he didn’t think of her happines, but probably as a "treasure". Then again, maybe he say her unhappy and tried to comfort her and himself at the same time. Treasure can indicate a greedy soul or an admiring soul, however. But Since he is a corrupted person I really suspect his claims of "loving" Eowyn with a noble intention. I also think that Saruman would be quite happy if he knew that the king’s niece is the lover of his trusted serpent. Maybe Saruman knew about the affair and urged Grima on, to make Rohan’s humiliation complete. Who knows?

KingODuckingham 29/Sep/2006 at 06:24 AM
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MEM...the love you have for her inside. Surely not literally. And if not, what is this abstract feeling you carry around in your head? How can you explain this to someone who had never heard of love? "Well, I have this feeling inside me for her." ’What?’ he asks confusedly, feeling his belly and his head. ’I don’t understand.’ "Think of it like an emotion," you say, "like anger." What will his next reaction be? ’Show me." he’ll say. Because that is when this "feeling" you have deep down inside is actually realized--made real.

A thought just hit me. See if you like this. I think this might be the answer. Love--It’s like the difference between potential and kinetic energy. Anyone has the potential to love. But it’s not until they start showing it that they actually convert to kinetic energy--actually loving. And when they stop acting like it, that energy is once again just potential. Not that it’s gone or turned off, but not actively in use.

I agree that there is no perfect idealistic love. This fits in perfectly with my argument. Nobody loves perfectly, because nobody acts perfectly lovingly to each other all the time. Again, I agree, this does not exclude the idea of having arguments, because you may have to convince her she is doing wrong--very sensible. But not contrary to my position.

As for Grima...I don’t think we have any arguments there.
Weldvar 01/Oct/2006 at 01:35 AM
Messenger of Imladris Points: 90 Posts: 10 Joined: 10/Sep/2006

I think Wormtongue would have been in love with Eowyn cuz                                                                                  

1 reason is she’s supposed to be sexy in a way because Faramir ends up with her & he is steward of Gondor

& another is that if worm tongue manageds to marry her he will be able to claim  the throne of gondor since theodens son is dead & Eome being Banished

Anyway wat so ever Ithe two of them wont match

cuz he’ll atleast need 2 benches on top of each other to reach her head!!!!!

Arvellas 01/Oct/2006 at 05:28 PM
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Ah, so the age-old mysteries of the universe are being discussed here!  Love is both a noun and a verb.  Love can be a feeling, and it can also be an action.  You can have both at the same time, or you can have one at a time.  Whether you consider one to be real love and the other not to be is all a matter of how you look at the world.
KingODuckingham 01/Oct/2006 at 07:50 PM
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If it was all just a matter of how we looked at the world, what would be the point in debating? We would all just state our modest opinions and go our separate ways...but there is such a thing as right and wrong, and thus we argue. That said, there are many senses of the word love, and depending on how you use it, it can be both a feeling and an action. Hopefully MEM and I were not getting mixed up over that (I think we weren’t)
lalla 02/Oct/2006 at 07:38 AM
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I think Grima Wormtongue was indeed in love with Eowyn. As it was said, she’s a beautiful young woman, she’s all alone, she’s the easier access to the throne. Wormtongue loves her in his sick, evil way, but he does. And yes, he’s capable of feelings, but spending days after days with evil words and evil thoughts has made him incapable of showing them in the right way.
mighty ent man 04/Oct/2006 at 08:41 AM
Ent Elder of Fangorn Points: 6964 Posts: 6236 Joined: 04/Nov/2003

duckingham - Of course the feeling of love can never be totally separated from the actions you give, BUT it can exist independantly of the person that you love. Say for example my girlfriend goes away for a year and I do not see her, my love will remain, but I might not have any actions to show it. Love is a feeling fact. It is something that can exist even if you are not showing it. It does not dissapear.

Have you seen the film Scarface? The gangster in this film loves his sister in the way any person would love their family member. However he does not show it at all. If he does indeed show it, it is through him being overprotective of her and hitting her. But I the viewer of this film am in no doubt that he does actually love her. He just does not show it in the traditional manner that we expect.

I like your theory, though I would not use the word potential. That word is not right. I have love inside me for my girlfriend, when we fight it is shown, just in a different way.

You say there are such things as right an wrong, BUT not in this debate. Everyone has their own view on LOVE. So we cannot say that one is right or wrong. I can only say how I feel and you yours. No one is going to ’win’ this debate. It is simply a discussion which does relate directly to Grima and his feelings for Eowyn.

Jinniver Thynne 04/Oct/2006 at 02:22 PM
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I’m not so sure Grima can have ’loved’ Eowyn, but he may well have put on a great pretence of doing so. She is (so long as primogeniture is not used in Rohan) third in line to the throne, and Grima has been working to ensure Theodred’s death and Eomer’s imprisonment. Grima also is Theoden’s closest adviser. I can see that he was working his way around Theoden to win Eowyn’s hand, and as I’ve said in the other Grima thread, I cannot imagine him simply accepting the role of consort ot a Queen Eowyn. The big joke on Grima, had he achieved all this, would have been that Saruman would have been the one really in control.
lalla 05/Oct/2006 at 06:27 AM
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Of course Grima Wormtongue is working his way around Theoden to win Eowyn’s hand. Perhaps he doesn’t really love her - love is so difficult to describe and to define - but he’s definitely attracted to this young beautiful lady. I think Grima has some feelings inside him, but his effort to get the power is slowly destroying them.
mighty ent man 06/Oct/2006 at 04:37 PM
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Grima has strong feelings for Eowyn. It is what those feelings are that we are trying to establish. Personally I do not think it is love that he feels. He wants her as a posssession. He admires her beauty and desires to have her. When he realises that he can actually have her her then tries to get her. Saruman promised him her, which was I think a big turning point in his actions towards her.

Though who are we to determine whether what he felt inside was love?

KingODuckingham 06/Oct/2006 at 08:31 PM
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Well, MEM, we aren’t anyone to determine what he felt inside. Unless you take my view, and agree that thoughts result in actions, which is the true measure of love, in which case we can determine that he did not love because of his slimy betrayal and general despicableness.
mighty ent man 07/Oct/2006 at 04:00 AM
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duckingham - Thoughts do NOT always result in the action associated with that certain thought. I am sorry but I think you are wrong here. But each to his own view! We cannot measure love like you say. The only way an outsider can ever understand the love two people feel for one another is to truly talk to them, or be in love themselves and feel what they might be feeling.

On this matter we are using Grima’s actions to judge his feelings, BUT we are also using other things that we know of him and the circumstances and his mind.

great earendil 07/Oct/2006 at 06:31 AM
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Wormtongue wanted to get two apples with one throw. It seems that while he did desire EOWYN, whether it was genuine love or lust is debatable, it is also clear that wormtongue had another ulterior motive, the throne of rohan.
SInce, theoden had no living heirs, the throne of gondor would come to EOMER and then Eowyn.
               Wormtongue had already Eomer out of his way, by exiling him at tha hands of King theoden.....he only neede Eowyn now.
Arvellas 11/Oct/2006 at 05:30 PM
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great earendil-You make a fair point, but I do not think that that is likely to be the exact reason why Wormtongue was not exactly "prince charming" towards Eowyn.  The problem with that theory is that Eowyn is a girl, and therefore, I do ont know whather the crown would be passed to her.  In Gondor, a Queen could recieve the scepter, but that’s Gondor, and not Rohan, and I don’t know if Eowyn could rule Rohan.  In Gondorian history, there were several Ruling Queens, but such was not the case in Rohan.  In any instances where the King’s line was cut short, rule passed to his nephew, not a female relative.
KingODuckingham 11/Oct/2006 at 06:32 PM
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But if Wormtongue had married her, she could have become Queen as nearest in line to the throne, which would make him de facto king. Perhaps...I’m no expert on the inheritance laws of Rohan. However, remember that Eowyn was deputized to lead the people to Dunharrow, because the Rohirrim would only trust in the House of Eorl. If Wormtongue used Eowyn as a puppet, he could control the kingdom (assuming it wasn’t first overrun by Saruman/Sauron).

MEM: If thoughts do not result in the action, either the person has other conflicting, more powerful thoughts (i.e. a man hates someone enough to kill him, but also thinks of the consequences), or he is incapable of acting on his thoughts, or he is practicing self-deception, which is not too uncommon. In Grima’s situation, none of these is the case, therefore we can judge by his actions that he does not love Eowyn, and we can use this reasoning inductively in other cases (though why we would I’m sure I don’t know)
Falvlun 12/Oct/2006 at 03:04 PM
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 If thoughts do not result in the action, either the person has other conflicting, more powerful thoughts

duckingham, you are only thinking of thoughts which result in action. You then use these "thoughts-turned-to-action" to prove that all thoughts result in action.  It is a circular argument, since you use the conclusion as one of your "proofs".

I can contemplate death, thereby making death a thought, and not act out, or act upon, this thought in anyway. There is nothing stopping me from acting upon this thought; the reason I do not act upon it is because that was not the purpose of the thought in the first place.

Enter love. You likewise may have thoughts of love without actually acting upon them. The purpose of these thoughts of love are directed inward and not outward.

Next step. Perhaps I think about death in the context of another person. I can imagine him dead, or how he may die, or what will happen to him after death. These thoughts also require no action for them to be valid.

Enter love. Love is oftentimes defined in the context of another person. (There are loves which do not necessarily involve any entity outside of self). You may think about love with the other person much the same way you can think about death with the other person. You may think "Oh, I love her so much!" And this thought is perfectly complete. Again, love exists within the thoughts, but require no action.

Third step. Now we progress to action thoughts. These are thoughts which help you decide what to do. And they follow much like you describe. They are, quite obviously, not the only type of thought, which is your fallacy. So, again using death, do I kill the guy or no? How should I bring about his death? These would be action thoughts.

How do I express my love? I can kiss her, I can buy her presents, I can smile in that special way. Action thoughts. So we see love-expressed is necessarily through action thoughts. But love-existence can be found in non-action thoughts.

Using only thought-based material this explains why love can exist without action.

There is another important factor overlooked amid all this "thought". Emotion. Feeling. Loving another person often entails certain feelings, which are just as real as any somatic touch. The exact nature of emotion can be debated, but their existence can not. We have all felt feelings.

There is no reason why this feeling can not exist without action-expression. Earlier, you used anger as an example to prove that emotion must be expressed to exist. However, again, there is a fallacy in your example. The fallacy is in proving the emotion to the outside person. The other guy has no say in what you feel, so why should he have a say in the existence of what you feel?  In other words, emotions do not have to be proven to exist in order for them to exist.

Why?

Simply because each and every person feels these emotions themselves.

Thus,  you know anger is inside of you because you can feel it. Bob down the street knows anger is inside of you because you blew up his mailbox. Both measures-- the feeling and the action-- are equally valid and separate proofs into anger’s existence.

You may love a girl and lavish her with kisses. You also may love a girl, and never even say hello. But because the feeling and the action are separte proofs of the same thing, love exists in both cases.

KingODuckingham 12/Oct/2006 at 03:14 PM
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Falvlun: I enjoy your method of thinking--it makes your posts easy and fun to read even if they are lengthy, not something I can say for everyone on this plaza (possibly myself included).

I have no contention with anything you say up until the paragraph saying "enter love." You talked of imagining death in the previous paragraph--and said that actions are not required to make these valid. True, but there is no death. Similarly, if one only has thoughts of love, they may be valid...but only as imaginings. At best they are self-deception. The love does not become real until you act on it, the same way that person you are imagining dead will not die unless you act on that thought and kill him.

With regard to emotions...that is a touchy subject. I would say that the feeling and the action there are not "equally valid and separate proofs of anger’s existence." If you are angry, but nobody knows, so what? What gives validity to its existence? The only response I can think of is...well they’ll find out when I lash out at them later--but then it has been converted to action. The emotion does nothing, is nothing, until you act on it. Thus ’loving’ a girl without ever even saying so much as hello is absurd.
Arvellas 12/Oct/2006 at 07:16 PM
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kingoduckingham-Here’s a question, just out of pure curiosity: If everyone in the world were gifted with mental telepathy, and could therefore delve into other people’s minds and feel what they were feeling, then would you consider the raw emotion, unacted upon, to be valid because other people had been let in on it, even though it had not really been translated into an action?
KingODuckingham 12/Oct/2006 at 07:39 PM
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Arvellas: That’s a gigantic what-if...there are so many variables. Are we talking of conscious feelings, or unconscious feelings? If someone doesn’t understand their own mind, how can they be expected to comprehend others’? However, for the sake of discussion: My guess would be that much of the so-called ’love’ in the world, and by that I mean all those foolish fantasies not supported by actions would be shown up mentally for what it is: mere desire, lust, ’puppy love’, friendship mistaken for love, dreams, fantasies, self-deception, etc.

It hardly matters, however, because that is an alternate ’what-if’ universe that has no bearing on our own. We do not live in a vacuum--we cannot confine our emotions to our head and still pretend they mean something. We are defined by our relation to other people, and how we act towards them, and this holds true for all feelings and emotions, including love.
Thefourfingers 12/Oct/2006 at 07:52 PM
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I think that Grima did indeed love Eowyn.  In TTT it is implied that Grima was, in a sence, promised Eowyn in return for becoming the spy of Saruman.  Grima might have seen Saruman as the only person who could make his desires a reality.  I think that it was his love for Eowyn that drove Grima to betray Rohan.
great earendil 13/Oct/2006 at 05:03 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by Thefourfingers on Thursday, October 12, 2006
I think that Grima did indeed love Eowyn. In TTT it is implied that Grima was, in a sence, promised Eowyn in return for becoming the spy of Saruman. Grima might have seen Saruman as the only person who could make his desires a reality. I think that it was his love for Eowyn that drove Grima to betray Rohan.


thefourfingers, doesn’t that mean that it was more of a passionate lust and not love, for if grima had loved eowyn, wouldn’t he have hated to weaken theoden, whom eowyn so loved and to send eomer - "eowyn’s dear brother" away..in any case that passionate lust couldn’t be characterized as love(not true love), depending on your definition of love. As for me, i don’t think grima truly loved eowyn.
Thefourfingers 13/Oct/2006 at 08:17 AM
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great earendil, Do Grima’s desires fit the profile of ideal love?  The answer is of coarse no, but unfortunately love is not always pure or as you said "true".  Many lovers are selfish, and many relationships are abusive and yet they would still say they are in love.  Grima’s care for Eowyn may manifest in unhealthy or destructive patterns but it is love none the less.
Arvellas 15/Oct/2006 at 05:42 PM
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kingoduckingham-I know that’s a huge what-if.  I suppose I could narrow it down to a feeling that a person was aware of and understood, but which they had not acted upon and therefore they would not have "shown" the feeling to anyone, even if it existed in their mind.  The point was, it would be a way of knowing a feeling that someone else had, which would be proof that the feeling existed, without that feeling having to be translated into an action.  That is, unless you count understanding and thinking about something as actions.
mighty ent man 16/Oct/2006 at 03:22 AM
Ent Elder of Fangorn Points: 6964 Posts: 6236 Joined: 04/Nov/2003

Falvlun -  What an excellent post. You have said what I was trying to get over to duckingham, that love can exist indepedant of the action.

duckingham - The love does not become real until you act on it, the same way that person you are imagining - Why is a thought of love not classed as ’real’ by you? What is real love anyway? How can you place a definition on what love is real and which is not?! I would argue that when you feel love for someone it is real love. You might simply be too shy to act on these feelings and thus love someone from afar, so to speak. I think what you are saying has some serious fundamental flaws to it. Say a guy and girl are friends, and he loves her but it too shy to say it, thus he keeps his feelings quiet, but he loves her none the less. I would say that when you show your feelings of love you are realising them, not making them real as you say.

Thus ’loving’ a girl without ever even saying so much as hello is absurd. - No it is not. It is nothing of the sort. Are you saying that as soon as you realise you love someone you have to go and tell her or show her? That is stupid and silly and makes no sense in this real world. You can love someone but not let them know, and the love you feel is in now way lessened in status simply because she does not know!

I think you are falling into the trap of thinking that the one true ideal view of love is the love where a man expresses it to a woman. But there are in fact more than one type of love and many ways to express it.

 

Brandywine74 16/Oct/2006 at 04:51 AM
Foolhardy Ent of Fangorn Points: 1291 Posts: 562 Joined: 20/Apr/2006

I don’t think Grima truly loved Eowyn. I believe if you love someone you are interested in that person’s happiness and you do all you can to make them happy, content etc. Grima was interested only in himself and was quite ruthless in furthering his own ends. Eowyn was just part of his reward. No doubt he lusted after her but I believe he saw her as an object for himself like a jewel.

I’ve always found it somewhat odd that this is the only part of the story with any sexual/lustful overtones (that I know of). I often wonder what made Tolkien put it in here.

Thefourfingers 16/Oct/2006 at 10:42 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by Brandywine74 on Monday, October 16, 2006

I’ve always found it somewhat odd that this is the only part of the story with any sexual/lustful overtones (that I know of). I often wonder what made Tolkien put it in here.


Well maybe not all sexual but there are certainly many lustful overtones.  Feanor, Melkor, Thingol and many many others over the silmarils.  Dwares lust for mithril and other precious items.  There is even a case where an elf lusts for his cousin.  I cannot remember their names and I do not have the Sil nearby.  I think the female elf was the daughter of the king of Gondolin.  Does someone else on the forum remember who they are?
NineFingered 16/Oct/2006 at 01:35 PM
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Hi, brother Finger!  I believe you are referring to Eol the Dark Elf, who sort of kidnapped Aredhel, the sister.of Turgon of Gondolin. There was probably some lust involved there too. Sorry, I’m mistaken! You are referring to Eol’s son, Maeglin, who lusted after his cousin, Idril Celebrindal, Turgon’s daughter. And Brandywine, I agree with FourFInger here that lust is usually an element present in LOTR. Did you ever notice that all those who lust for anything: jewels, riches, people, etc. end up badly. Examples: Thingol of Doriath was OK until he lusted after the Silmaril, which led to his downfall. Isildur lusts for the Ring, as Sauron and many others. To say nothing of Feanor and sons. Morgoth lusted after Luthien indeed, when he saw her in Thangorodrim, but he is outsmarted by her and Beren. The dwarves lust for mithril made them dig too deep in Moria and awaken the Balrog. Ungoliant devoured herself because she could not satisfy her hunger, her lust for anything that would go into her mouth. Etc. etc. etc. I hope you get my point.
Arvellas 16/Oct/2006 at 03:39 PM
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Brandywine-I’ll have to agree with your statement that whatever "love" Grima could might have had for Eowyn was probably really only lust.  Whether he ever had the ability to love, who knows?  But by the time we see him in LOTR, he has pretty much lost all sense of compassion and is focused on possessing things.
KingODuckingham 16/Oct/2006 at 08:48 PM
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Mem, Mem, Mem: Look at the very word you are using in your post! I would say that when you show your feelings of love you are realising them. Exactly. Realizing them. The etymology of the word being "to make real". The love actually coming into existence when you act upon the feeling, not at the conception of the feeling.

Will you at least concede that if you love someone, you will act differently towards them than if you were simply indifferent towards them? Surely if one has decided they love a person it will make some difference in the way they treat the person, even if the actions are not to go up and profess their love directly and give them a kiss, or whatever. Love is not merely shown in the actions of sexual affections or passion. It is simple, everyday actions that show you care. And when even the least of these are lacking, I would say that person, no matter what he claims goes on inside his head, has no love for this person.

If none of that was in the least convincing, I will ask my question once again. What, if not actions, gives any sort of validity or concrete proof of love? How can it be justified?
Thefourfingers 16/Oct/2006 at 09:27 PM
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 kingoduckingham,  love is an emotion, a feeling and therefore there is no need to justify or prove it.  If someone feels love, then they are ipso facto in love.  While one persons definition of love may not fit with somebody elses, you cannot deny that persons inner emotions.  Just because Grima does not display his affection in a manner that seems suitible does not mean that this negates his emotions.

KingODuckingham 16/Oct/2006 at 10:00 PM
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TFF: If you had read ALL the posts in this thread, you would see (I hope) the fact that I do not deny that love involves emotions, merely that we cannot call these feelings alone ’love’. Similarly I would agree with you that if they feel love, then they are in love, but I would add that they are also ipso facto acting on it. I also do not deny that Grima’s unsuitable actions negate his emotions, merely that they reflect them.

If you ask for proof of any of my above statements, I refer you to my many previous arguments. I would ask you for some proof or yours, rather than just blithe altruistisms.
Thefourfingers 16/Oct/2006 at 10:33 PM
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 kingoduckingham, I have read all the posts in the thread and I was responding to your question:
"What, if not actions, gives any sort of validity or concrete proof of love? How can it be justified?"
I shall try to make my opinion clearer or as you said provide some proof, if indeed anyone can actually prove an opinion. 

I do not think that Grima’s actions reflect his emotions.  I think they reflect how Grima deals with his love for Eowyn.  Grima may think that the only way he could ever be with Eowyn is through Saruman.   The fact that his actions may actually hurt Eowyn may not have entered into his thought.  His inability to show love in a construtive way does not indicated that he is not in love but that he is confused as to what to do about it.

As to what can give "validity or concrete proof of love":  I do not think that love needs to be proved to anyone other that the person in love for the love to be valid.  As I said before the fact that they feel love in the first place is proof enough that love exists.

The same goes for "How can it be justified".  I do not think love needs to be justified to any outside party to be deemed real.

I hope this satisfies your request for proof.

mighty ent man 17/Oct/2006 at 02:24 AM
Ent Elder of Fangorn Points: 6964 Posts: 6236 Joined: 04/Nov/2003

duckingham - Ok so maybe I used the wrong word, I however did not intend the use of the word ’realised’ to mean that it came into being real. I fully believe that feelings or emotions of love can and do exist, before any action to show them has been made. You know that they exist, the other person might not. You see I think that there are two types of love. The first is loving someone, like you love your pet cat or a member of your family. The second in being IN love with a person, like your wife or lover. These are quite different feelings.

Now I believe that you can be IN love with someone and not show them it. For it might not be possible for you to do so, or not wise for you to do so. To say that the love does not exist is foolish and rediculous!

Why do we need to prove that we love a person to someone? Why is proof needed? Of course if you have a gf you love them and you show them that you do, as this is what being in a relationship is all about. But I remember earlier on in this thread that you said to me that when I argue with my gf and we shout at each other in anger that the love I feel for her does not exist! This is pure fantasy thinking from you.

If I was at school and there was a girl who I began to fall in love with, but I had never talked to her before. That love would to me be real, and to say it is not would offend me greatly. And yet I have not shown her I love her? So what. The love is to me as real as any other feeling that I would have for any other person. The feeling can be transformed into actions of course but does this alter the basic feeling that was present before the action? No it does not.

I have a great many problems with the way you word your posts and the things you seek for. I mean justifying love and proof?!! What is all this about!!?!? I am seeking to explore what love is all about, not to prove something or justify it, or even to get you to concede!! As you so want me to do. There is no need for either of us to concede!

I used to think that you could not love someone until you actually got to know them properly but since then things have happened to me that have changed my outlook on that issue. I believe you can fall in love with a person having never met them before and not really known them for long.

 

KingODuckingham 17/Oct/2006 at 08:28 AM
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*stands awed before Mighty Ent Man’s mighty entish outburst*

Ok, so you aren’t the only one who used words in their posts they did not mean to use. When I say justify or prove, I didn’t mean to imply the judge must bang the gavel before one can say the love exists. What I mean to bring out from those questions is a sort of ’so what?’ in that if nobody knows (and there is no way to know, because of the lack of action) about this feeling, what good is it? It makes absolutely no difference in the world. The feeling might as well not exist. You say this would make you offended. But how can you argue? If you aren’t going to do anything different based on your feeling, who cares?

I believe that love involves emotions and feelings. I believe also that these feelings can come before any actions are involved. I believe one can be in love without really getting to know the person. But I do not believe we can call these feelings love until they are realized in the form of actions. Love is not just a feeling, nor just actions (for there is such a thing as false flattery), but both together: a state of being, as it were.

I hope that clears things up. Sorry for sounding like a prosecutor.
Ollyorin Dagda 17/Oct/2006 at 12:17 PM
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I think he loved Eowyn also. He may have also thought that he had a chance with her, the poor deluded soul. Perhaps it was because she was special that he loved her. Because she was different from the other women. The fact she was the niece of the King, is also a factor. He spent a lot of time with Theodren, so did Eowyn, so he was always around her.
Thefourfingers 17/Oct/2006 at 03:07 PM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 825 Posts: 93 Joined: 10/Oct/2006
Quote: Originally posted by kingoduckingham on Tuesday, October 17, 2006
What I mean to bring out from those questions is a sort of ’so what?’ in that if nobody knows (and there is no way to know, because of the lack of action) about this feeling, what good is it? It makes absolutely no difference in the world. The feeling might as well not exist. You say this would make you offended. But how can you argue? If you aren’t going to do anything different based on your feeling, who cares?

 kingoduckingham,  In my opinion, our actions define us to other people and our feelings define us to ourselves.  So what I have gathered (If I got your point confused again, I appologize) from your above statement is that you believe that it is more meaningful for people to define themselves to others through actions than it is for them to define themselves with their own feelings.  You go even so far as to say that if a person does not act on their feelings then those feelings are worthless to the world.

I would now like to consider the other side of the coin.  First of all I agree that if a person does not act on their emotions then their emotions will have no effect on the people around them and may as well be non-existant to those people.  But people’s emotions do affect themselves.  The way someone feels about the people and the world around them is what defines their identity.  It is who they are.  The way I feel is important to me and I am the only one who can decide whether my emotions are meaningful.  Who cares if nobody else is aware of my feelings.  The importance of ones emotions is not dependent on how many people know about them.

Now lets say that someone is in love.  And suppose that person shared their feelings with someone else, and by doing so, felt that their emotions were now more meaningful.  On the surface it would seem that actions had made feelings more significant but this is not the case.  The only reason that person’s emotions carry more weight after they are shared is because that person feels that they do.  The act of sharing ones feelings is meaningless until it is given meaning.  And as I said before, the only person capable of giving meaning to these feelings is the owner of the emotions.

KingODuckingham 17/Oct/2006 at 09:24 PM
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TFF: I like the way you put it. You are correct, as far as I can see. Actions define us to other people and feeling to ourselves. However the two are not discrete and distinct spheres, but overlapping. Our actions also define us to ourselves, for we too interpret our actions, perhaps differently than others do. That and the fact that actions affect our feelings and vice versa.

I guess my question for you would be, if your emotions are meaningful to you, what are you going to do about it? Nothing? Then how do you give it meaning? I mean, honestly. If you were going to tell an objective third-party (ah heck, even trying to tell yourself, really), trying to explain to them what your feeling meant to you, what would you tell them? I have this really strong feeling for this person and it really means alot to me! Umm...and that affects you how? Obviously it doesn’t affect anybody else...how does it change you? Without actions of SOME sort, I don’t see a difference.

By the way, you are quite right in saying the only person capable of giving meaning to the feelings is the owner...but how do they do it?
Thefourfingers 17/Oct/2006 at 10:59 PM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 825 Posts: 93 Joined: 10/Oct/2006

 kingoduckingham,  A very good question.  I shall try to answer it with a personal example and then relate my answer to Grima. 

I am French Canadian (or Quebequois) and I am very proud of that.  I enjoy learning about my ancestors and Quebequois culture in the form of traditional dance, folk songs, poems, stories, and traditional cuisine among many other things.  The way I feel about being Quebequois defines who I am and gives me a sense of indentity.  This affects the way I view and think about the world.  That is how these feelings change me.

Now I will relate all this back to the case of Grima and Eowyn.  Grima feels love for Eowyn but also probably feels unworthy or undeserving of her love.  The way Grima feels affects the way he might view the situation.  In feeling unworthy or undeserving, Grima could lead himself to the thought that the only chance he has to be with Eowyn lays in the hands of Saruman.  But if Grima instead felt confident and secure this would change the way he looked at his world.  With self-confidence Grima might think that the posibility of being with Eowyn was acheivable via his own devices.  This shows that emotion or feeling can change the perspective one has of the world around them.

So, since an emotion can change your view of things before you take an action of any kind, that emotion has meaning and an effect that is independent of action.

mighty ent man 18/Oct/2006 at 02:22 AM
Ent Elder of Fangorn Points: 6964 Posts: 6236 Joined: 04/Nov/2003

duckingham - I am glad you were in awe, but it was not really an outburst. I merely got into what I was saying and had a lot of strong points that I wanted to get over to you!

 about this feeling, what good is it? It makes absolutely no difference in the world. The feeling might as well not exist.  - You are really amazing me with the kind of stuff that you are coming out with. Each post you seem to say another silly thing! Love does not have to make a difference in the world! That is not the point of it, if indeed there is any point to love. Love is a feeling that you yourself have, for you, when you chose to share it with another person then it becomes a feeling connected to another being. But before you decide to make that connection that Love is there inside you and guess what?! That love might as well exist, because it makes you happy!!

Your last paragraph does make sense and it much improved.

thefourfingers - You go even so far as to say that if a person does not act on their feelings then those feelings are worthless to the world. - I agree with you! This is a good statement to make on duckinghams post.

 Excellent post there! I agree with all that you said. It is wrong for duckingham to say that those feelings mean nothing and should not exist.

So, since an emotion can change your view of things before you take an action of any kind, that emotion has meaning and an effect that is independent of action. -

KingODuckingham 18/Oct/2006 at 01:59 PM
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MEM: Believe me, the amazement with the kind of stuff that you are coming out with is mutual.

At the end of your large paragraph, you say love might as well exist, because it makes you happy. A rather pathetic form of love, it seems to me, if it is only to make the one loving happy. It does absolutely nothing for the object of the love, but as long as you feel happy, hey, call it love!

And even granting that, wouldn’t being happy, particularly as happy as being in love (a strong emotion, wouldn’t you agree?) change SOMEthing about the way you conduct your day to day life? Anything? Walking around with a smile on your face, at the very least? I find it easier to be nice to people when I’m happy...do you? Or do you keep your happiness well contained, Stoic style, and manage to keep your happiness completely hidden without letting anyone know? You wouldn’t have to tell anyone. You wouldn’t even have to talk to the object of the ’love’. But surely someway, somehow, you act differently because of your emotion. As I said before, life is not a vacuum. Emotions and actions do not exist independently of one another (unless you are living a total lie, perhaps?), but are inter-related! They go together. Not necessarily directly. Not necessarily in ways that others can see. But an emotion, a feeling, that had absolutely NO effect WHATSOEVER on either anyone else’s lifestyle or your own...I fail to even comprehend that, much less define it as love.
mighty ent man 20/Oct/2006 at 10:30 AM
Ent Elder of Fangorn Points: 6964 Posts: 6236 Joined: 04/Nov/2003

duckingham - I am sorry to say but I feel that what you have been saying is far more against the boundaries of logic than what I have said. Love is not something that can be generalised. It affects people in different ways. Not everyone will let it change the way that they behave. As you seem to believe. Thus I find this generalising very strange.

Love in any form is not pathetic as you say. If love makes you happy why is it pathetic? Tell me this please, I am desperate to hear why you think this. And what is the object of love that you speak of?

If someone falls in love with a girl he would probably have it affect his general behaviour in day to day life. But like I said before we cannot generalise in the subject of love. It is complex and thus does not have to affect a person who is in love.

KingODuckingham 20/Oct/2006 at 12:34 PM
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MEM: I feel that what you have been saying is far more against the boundaries of logic than what I have said. Again, the feeling is mutual.

I did not mean to say that because love makes you happy that it is pathetic. Heck, I did not mean to say that love was pathetic. What I was calling pathetic was what you call ’love’--something that has no other effect besides making one happy. I do not call that love, but I was using your terms for the sake of argument.   The object of love that I speak of is the one you are loving--if it is a wife, she would be the object of your love, if a girlfriend, she would be the object, etc. I understand love to involve two people, because it is a relationship defined by actions (AND feelings), not just an emotion or a thought inside one person’s head. Thus there is the lover and the beloved, the beloved being the object. Clear?

It is complex and thus does not have to affect a person who is in love. I assume the ’it’ you refer to here is love? I.e., love is complex? But then this statement says "Love is complex and thus does not have to affect a person who is in love." Love does not affect those who are in it? That seems to me to be FAR beyond the bounds of logic.
mighty ent man 21/Oct/2006 at 04:33 AM
Ent Elder of Fangorn Points: 6964 Posts: 6236 Joined: 04/Nov/2003

duckingham - No no, it does not have one effect. I did not mean to say that the love you feel is only making you happy and nothing else. It is for that time, but it would in time blossom and bloom into a more conventional love, the one you speak of. But I still disagree that it is in no way pathetic at all. Falling in love with a person is not pathetic. Love is not judged on what it produces.

What I meant is that love is a very complex emotion. It is not simple. We cannot simply say that love is this and love is that. Love might not affect the person on their outside. It may only affect them inside.

Love, the word, has so many meanings. This debate is interesting as it shows the quite clear differences that two different people can have on love. The two contrasting opinions here represent how love means different things to different people. Thus there is no right or wrong answer.

KingODuckingham 21/Oct/2006 at 05:07 PM
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MEM: It really does come down to a difference in definition. I would agree that there is SOMEthing going on when someone has a feeling (although I still disagree that an emotion could have NO effect on your actions), but that is not my definition of love. However, in such a debate, to each his own.

I would not say there is no right or wrong answer, simply that your answer is wrong for my definition, and mine is wrong for your definition. Thus both can be right and both wrong, in a sense.
mighty ent man 22/Oct/2006 at 06:47 AM
Ent Elder of Fangorn Points: 6964 Posts: 6236 Joined: 04/Nov/2003

duckingham - That is what I mean, both of our views are wrong and right at the same time. There is no right or wrong answer to what love is. As each persons own view is just as valid as anyone elses on this matter of love.

Thanks for such an amazing debate. I have really enjoyed this talking of love. I do love debating so much!!

Just to wrap up this related to little Grima! I do not personally think he was in love with Eowyn. Though I think it is possible that the feeling he had, he thought of it as a love for her. But to me as an outside observer of his behaviour I do not think he was in love with her.

Falvlun 22/Oct/2006 at 10:29 AM
Horse-lord of the Mark Points: 2512 Posts: 3814 Joined: 21/Sep/2004

This seems to have come to a peaceful conclusion.  Glad you like my posting style, King, though what follows may lower that opinion.

Who knows how long I’ve loved you?
You know I love you still
Will I wait a lonely lifetime?
If you want me to, I will

For if I ever saw you
I didn’t catch your name
But it never really mattered
I will always feel the same

Love you forever and forever
Love you with all my heart
Love you whenever we’re together
Love you when we’re apart

And when at last I find you
Your song will fill the air
Sing it loud so I can hear you
Make it easy to be near you
For the things you do endear you to me
Ah, you know I will
I will 
~Beatles

I suppose this song is single best way I can relate how I feel about love: it smooshes duckingham and mighty ent man ideology together. You have the element of love, even in absense of the other, and therefore existing within the person loving, and also actions resulting from that love, which define it, but not necessarily create it to begin with.

I recently watched the TT last night. It made me feel a bit more sympathetic towards Grima. At least from the movie portrayal-- we don’t get so much detail in the book to my knowledge-- it seems that at one point Grima legitimately wanted Eowyn to be happy, offereing himself as that means, yet neglecting to realize that his actions had created much of her unhappiness in the first place.

mighty ent man 23/Oct/2006 at 04:18 AM
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Falvlun -  Yet another excellent post from you there! I love song lyrics about love, especially ones which are quite clever like this one is.

I have sympathy for Grima from the books, the way he is treated poorly. He is driven to killing Saruman. Which must have been horrible for him.

KingODuckingham 23/Oct/2006 at 07:24 AM
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MEM: Grima isn’t always treated poorly, just by Saruman. Gandalf, Aragorn, Theoden, Treebeard, the hobbits....all these try to treat him well, fairly, and take pity on him. If he had been more sensible and less fallen in treachery, perhaps he would have left Saruman and never had to kill him. My point is, in a sense he was driven to killing Saruman, but it was mostly his own fault. He had many opportunities to repent, but he would not.
mighty ent man 24/Oct/2006 at 03:22 AM
Ent Elder of Fangorn Points: 6964 Posts: 6236 Joined: 04/Nov/2003
duckingham - Oh I agree, I do pity Grima but it was his own fault. He had a nasty side to himself which is no one else’s fault. He was offered mercy many times from those that you list and he stupidly refused to give in to his pride. Perhaps some fear of Saruman held him in his service, but we cannot ascribe everything to that. Grima had his own brain and could chose for himself.
Endril 24/Oct/2006 at 08:58 AM
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One of the stunning scenes of the books is the one when Grima kills Saruman. After being the slave of Saruman’s will Grima suddenly wokes up from that spell and kills his ruler, that was like a tirant for him. I think this shows the image of how samll people, even slaves could defeat tirants that took over there lives. This is what I see here. 
Arvellas 24/Oct/2006 at 04:17 PM
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Legolas-Yes, that is  quite a memorable scene in the books, but they original question in this thread was whether or not Grima was capable of love and whether he loved Eowyn.  Would you back up the possiblity that once freed from the oppression of Saruman, Grima could possibly have loved, had the Hobbits not shot him down?
KingODuckingham 24/Oct/2006 at 05:08 PM
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I think it entirely possible, probable, dare I say it? certain! that Grima COULD have loved. The problem was that he wouldn’t, because of his faults which have already been enumerated before. Otherwise we wouldn’t call them faults. Before they can be bad they have to be able to have rejected the good. If all they could do was bad then they don’t have free will and thus their actions are impossible to judge, for it is no longer them doing it.
mighty ent man 25/Oct/2006 at 02:38 AM
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Grima could have loved. He was after all a human, and thus I think deep down the capability for love would be present in him. All he would need is someone to show him love first. Had Eowyn showed him love I am sure he could have been saved and turned good. It is such a shame that he was shot, as I think he would have repented.
Aramon of the North 28/Oct/2006 at 03:06 AM
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Maybe Grima was trying to hold onto something that was still pure and true.  As he himself had become  evil, there may have been a part of him that longed for that which he once had. In that case I think grima may well have loved Eowyn, but not for the reasons that we would normally think of. 

Arvellas 28/Oct/2006 at 08:52 AM
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I agree that Grima almost definitely could have loved, but whether he would have chosen to let himself do so or been given the opportunity is less certain.  It seems that Frodo knew that there was some amount of humanity left in Grima, for he did not want the other Hobbits to slay Grima.  I would guess that this was probably largely due to his experience with Gollum, who was even further gone than Grima, but who still had "one corner of his mind that was still his own."
Endril 28/Oct/2006 at 02:16 PM
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Vella: and that corner of his mind made him kill Saruman at the end of the story. And his mind was probably normal before meeting Saruman, isn’t that right. I would try a question here, Was Grimma under the control of Saruman while being a servant at the court of Denethor?
Drachn’yel 29/Oct/2006 at 06:39 AM
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I could never say for sure whether he was in love - surely he is capable of such emotions.  Lust for Eowyn might be a more accurate phrase - it’s difficult to see where one ends and the other begins.  He’s a red blooded male that clearly has feelings for the young lady.

Aramon - I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that he is evil.....he has made selfish choices for sure but that has been based on his desire for self preservation.  He slays Saruman in the end which is fully justified (Though some may frown).  He was backed into a corner and did what he had to do - who among us wouldn’t do the same?

KingODuckingham 29/Oct/2006 at 07:08 AM
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Legolas: Grima was never at the court of Denethor, so far as we know. He was at the court of Theoden. And yes, we are told that he was in Saruman’s service at that point.

Drach: I wouldn’t jump to conclusions on anything, but it is fairly evident that Grima is evil. Not ENTIRELY evil (people don’t seem to understand the difference between being evil and absolutely evil), but the main story of his life revolves around treachery--it is his fault Theodred was slain--lust, greed, and most importantly, unrepentance. As I said in an earlier post, one of the worst things about Grima is that he is given many opportunities to repent, but he rejects them all. Thus he was not backed into a corner and did what he had to do...rather he backed himself into a corner through his stubborness and pride, and slew Saruman rather than accept Frodo’s pity and mercy. Thus I would say it is HIS death which is fully deserved (though his death is still regrettable, for as Mighty Ent Man said, he could still have repented in the future.)
Arvellas 29/Oct/2006 at 07:40 AM
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I would say that Grima’s decisions were evil and that the part of him that was under the influence of Saruman was evil, but that little scrap of humanity hidden somewhere inside him was not evil--and I am sure that there was a scrap of goodness in him, because he did feel emotion, hence the slaying of Saruman.
Endril 29/Oct/2006 at 07:57 AM
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kingoduckingham: Sorry. Theoden I wanted to say not Denethor. I was thinking at something else at tha moment.

Now a question for everyone: Do you think that if Eowin would have accepted Grima, something very less posible, he would finally become a good character and men or he would be the same villian, that only wanted to cause trouble and serve the evil side?
Falvlun 29/Oct/2006 at 08:22 AM
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 I am sure that there was a scrap of goodness in him, because he did feel emotion, hence the slaying of Saruman. (Arvellas)

So feeling emotion is the mark of goodness? I don’t see how that follows. Emotions are neither good nor bad. They just are. It is how you act upon those emotions that determine goodness or badness, and the example you gave-- killing Saruman-- would be a bad way to act upon an emotion.

Legolas, I don’t think that Grima consciously wanted to serve the evil side. He wanted to further himself and his prospects. He wanted power and he was working his way towards that goal. If Eowyn accepted him, I don’t think this would have ’softened’ him at all. It would probably just inflate his ego. Furthermore, Eowyn wouldn’t accept him unless she too had this power-hungry goal, which means that both of their aspirations would coincide, giving Grima no reason to change his ways.

kingoduckingham,  I just had another thought to present to you. Since you claim that love is not really love unless it results in some action, how do you distinguish an action of love from an action of [insert any emotion here]?

Simple! you say. Love-actions are quite apparent. You buy gifts, you blush, you kiss, your heart beats faster, you hold hands, you tell her you love her, etc.

Not so fast, King!

How do you distinguish a love-kiss from a lust-kiss? You yourself have made a distinction between love and lust. Prove it.

The way two people kiss? No, this wouldn’t show us any distinction.

Ah. The intention behind the kiss. Yes, this would tell us whether it was love or lust. But... but... intention is not an action. tsk tsk. It is a thought. Well, then, the feeling behind the kiss. This would tell us whether it was love or lust. But, no, feeling is something only inside a person, which you deny exists--- or at least, you deny its worth--- unless shown by some action.

Conclusion? It is impossible to distinguish a love-kiss from a lust-kiss without also using some information as to the individual’s intention or emotion. Implying that, yes, the intention/emotion has some sort of intrinsic worth in itself AND an existence in and of itself. If love, then, has existence separate from its action, then:

QED You can love someone without showing it.

You can also make this proof more general by substituting love-action for love-kiss, or by subsitituting love for any other emotion.

Arvellas 29/Oct/2006 at 08:53 AM
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Falvlun-It depends on how you define goodness.  To me, showing emotion is a sign of having a mind that reacts to stimuli by forming a feeling, which I consider a good thing.  To me, the ultimate evil is not reacting to stimuli but being evil simply as a state of existance.  One’s reactions can be evil, but the reaction is a sign of a feeling, which is key to my personal definition of evil.
Falvlun 29/Oct/2006 at 09:09 AM
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Arvellas, Of course it is a ’good thing’ to respond to stimuli and to feel, but does that make a person good? What about autistic children? They have difficulty doing exactly that: responding to stimuli and then forming the appropriate feeling. Are they then to be considered bad?

No, response to stimuli is something innate in humans. You can’t be congratulated for something that happens whether you will it to or not. Should I be considered ’good’ simply because I can see? Sight is a good thing, but it is not a measure of goodness.

By your personal definition of evil, no human being could ever be evil. We know in Tolkien that absolute evil never occurs, because according to Tolkien, that would be a Zero which can not exist. I agree with him that absolute evil can not exist. But evil and absolute evil are two different thing: Tolkien’s characters, as in real life, can be evil.

KingODuckingham 29/Oct/2006 at 11:42 AM
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Falvlun: One could of course look at the larger context of actions; if the person uses the so-called lover only for the kiss, then it is clear that all the proclaimed love actually is is lust for the body. But caring for the person’s welfare, well-being, emotional state, etc. would indicate a fuller love. And by the way, I will quote myself here: Emotions and actions do not exist independently of one another (unless you are living a total lie, perhaps?), but are inter-related! They go together. I do not deny that intentions, thoughts, emotions are unimportant and/or irrelevant. All I was trying to argue against was MEM saying that the actions were unimportant in the existence of love.
Arvellas 30/Oct/2006 at 05:35 PM
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Falvlun: "What about autistic children? They have difficulty doing exactly that: responding to stimuli and then forming the appropriate feeling."

I believe you have missed my point.  Even with autistic children, it is possible for some stimuli to get through and for a reaction to be made--even if it is not what most of us would think of as a normal reaction.  And perhaps I should not call reaction to stimuli "good" so much as I should call it "not entirely bad."  It is a sign that there is at least some humanity there that could just maybe be made good.  Like Tolkien, I do not think it is possible for a human being to be absolutely evil.  They can only be dark shades of grey, and if you call that a lesser form of evil, then you can do so.  My point: there were still some human feelings left in Grima, and so with serious help, he might have turned around, and that was good thing; it is only unfortunate that he was never given the chance to do so.

KingODuckingham 30/Oct/2006 at 07:00 PM
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Arvellas: How is reaction to stimulii either good or bad? Animals do it; should we be passing moral judgements upon how my pet dog or the monkey in the zoo acts?
Arvellas 30/Oct/2006 at 07:40 PM
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kingoduckingham-Are you implying that the monkey in the zoo is the absolute evil?  I don’t know about passing moral judgements on them; what I mean to say has not so much to do with the conventional definitions of "good" and "bad" as it has to with the difference between absolute evil and things that are not absolutely evil.  You could say that my definition of "not absolutely evil" includes the good, the bad, AND and ugly, as opposed to being completely and utterly evil with no hope of ever excercising any goodness.
KingODuckingham 30/Oct/2006 at 09:08 PM
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Arvellas: Ah, I misunderstood the thrust of your post. No, I am not saying monkeys (or any other animal) are absolute evil . Of course nothing is entirely evil (at least in Tolkien’s world) and I would not try to argue the case for it being so, particularly as Tolkien said so himself. Certainly Grima was not absolute evil.
mighty ent man 31/Oct/2006 at 03:32 AM
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Aramon - I like that idea. I like the idea that you raise that maybe he was wanting to have something pure in his life because he himself had lost all purity and grace he once had. He saw this in Eowyn and wanted her to be his reflection.

duckingham - Grima’s actions I believe resulted in people dying. Thus he did deserve to die. However I do not think he should have died, for I think he showed he had repented when he killed Saruman. He paid everyone back in this single action.

I think that had Eowyn chosen to love Grima he would have repented and turned to good. He needed somone to love him in my opinion, someone to care about his life.

Falvlun - Yet again an truly insightful and brilliant post!  

duckingham - MEM saying that the actions were unimportant in the existence of love. - I said no such thing. Actions are of course essential to love, but I objected to you almost saying that the emotion or feeling inside did not have equal importance.

Let me try and show you my views on Evil and Good. Grima has good in him. It was of course wrong to kill Saruman in the sense that morally it is wrong to take another persons life. However I believe this was an act of repentance and thus a Good act. In killing Saruman he showed he was willing to go back on all he did and take away the person who caused people pain. So there was good in Grima. The emotion that resulted in the killing was probably one of anger, which is a Bad emotion, not necessarily an Evil one. To me Evil is deep down inside you, like Sauron, the epitomy of evil.

KingODuckingham 31/Oct/2006 at 06:31 AM
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MEM: I beg your pardon. I stand corrected. I was thinking of your quote from far earlier in the thread, which got my debating juices flowing when you said I disagree completely. You can love someone without showing it. However, you have since qualified this and we have thrashed it out; apologies for misrepresenting you.
I agree with you on your analysis of Grima’s fate (mostly). However, I think repentance would have been more clearly shown in turning and accepting Frodo’s mercy, rather than disobeying his stated wishes and laying hand to Saruman and killing him.

Do you really believe it is morally wrong to take another’s life? In every situation? Is all war wrong? Is it wrong to fight in self-defense? If you had a gun, and another man had a gun ready to kill your wife, siblings, mother or father, would you shoot them to protect your family? Anger is not evil or good (necessarily), but only becomes evil when we allow ourselves to be carried away by it.

nEUroTIc 01/Nov/2006 at 07:20 AM
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grima was after all a person..and i think all this talk about stimuli is just making the topic more confusing by the second..grima was a person,had feelings but he was not good..as was proved time and again. grima did everything for himself..he didnt care a damn about anyone..he like eowyn.i will agree to that..but he liked her in a perverted fashion..had everything turned out right for him i can bet my life that he wouldnt have treated eowyn like a princess , which she really was!!..
iLOTR 01/Nov/2006 at 02:48 PM
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I think Gríma was definitely capable of loving a woman, maybe he wouldn’t have known how to treat Eowyn because he had been so corrupted by Saruman, but he probably wasn’t so corrupted that he couldn’t love anything. I mean if you were talking about an orc, then I would say no, but Gríma is still a person so it seems like he should be capable of love. I mean even Gollum after being so corrupted by the Ring was still able to be nice to Frodo (even if it didn’t last very long). So if Gollum can be nice after around 500 years of being corrupted by the Ring then I think Gríma would be perfectly capable of loving someone after being corrupted by Saruman.
Thefourfingers 01/Nov/2006 at 05:15 PM
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"However I believe [killing Saruman] was an act of repentance and thus a Good act." - MEM

MEM-  Grima killing Saruman was in no way an act of repentance of any kind.  Saruman was manipulative and psychologically abusive to Grima.  This treatment would keep Grima from leaving Saruman but would also create a secret festering hatred for him within Grima. In this way, due to the incredible power of Saruman’s voice, Saruman would have been able to make Grima into his slave.  There would be a fine line between keeping Grima downtrodden and subservient and pushing him to the point that he snaps and rebels. 

The latter is what happens at Bag End.  Saruman lays the blame for Lotho’s murder solely on Grima.  Judging by Grima’s response, it is more likely that Saruman manipulated or forced Grima into killing Lotho.  Saruman’s guilt trip is too much for Grima and he snaps.

In other words, Grima killing Saruman is less of an “I’m going to repent my evil ways by killing this evil person” kind of action and more of a “that’s it you *****” kind of action.

Kingoduckingham-  I agree that anger is not necessarily good or evil.  Angry thoughts can lead to evil actions but this does not make anger in and of its self evil.  

 

As to your moral question:  Murder, defined as the unlawful taking of someone’s life, is wrong. But this does not mean that taking someone’s life is always wrong.  As you pointed out, there are many situations were killing is justifiable.

Arvellas 01/Nov/2006 at 07:04 PM
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iLOTR-Exactly; it seems no matter how corrupted a human (or in Gollum’s case, as Hobbit) gets, they never reach the absolute evil, and after all, Tolkien himself said that he did not think it possible for a human to reach absolute evil.  He may have been bad, but there was still humanity in him, and if that side of him had been brought out again, I think he could have become a nice guy.
KingODuckingham 01/Nov/2006 at 08:17 PM
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TFF: You are right in saying Angry thoughts can lead to evil actions but this does not make anger in and of its self evil. .

And lest anyone get confused, this does not just apply to what are traditionally considered ’negative’ emotions. Consider love (since that’s what this thread revolves around): love is not necessarily good or evil. There is love that leads to good, such as that between Beren and Luthien. There is questionable love, such as Eowyn’s love for Aragorn, which, while not necessarily evil, was not doing her or him any good. And there is love that leads to downright evil, such as Feanor’s love for the Silmarils, which leads to the rebellion against the Valar, the Kin-slaying, and the 500 year war against Morgoth, which caused vast pain and suffering. Now this I do not say to try and prove that Feanor should not have loved his Silmarils. The point is that it is not the emotion, but how you act on it that counts.

As to my moral question, that is of course the answer I was looking for, TFF.

iLOTR: Do you think an orc has NO possibility of becoming good and loving? Does it then have no free will?
Thefourfingers 01/Nov/2006 at 08:17 PM
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I agree with iLOTR that Grima would not be corupted to the extent that he would become unable to love. 

But I also think that Grima’s feelings for Eowyn predate his coruption by Saruman.  My resoning for this is that Saruman would have needed something to bribe Grima with in order to get him to betray Rohan.  If Saruman had used his powers to enlist Grima against his will then Gandalf would have been able to free Grima from Saruman’s influence much in the same way as was done for Theoden.  Since we know that this is not the case, Saruman must have offered Grima something that he wanted badly enough to commit treason.  Power and wealth would certainly have been good motivaters but the book also implies that Eowyn was promised to Grima.  This would indicate to me that Grima loved Eowyn while he was still a good man, before his coruption.

This is why I believe that Grima actually loved Eowyn but just didn’t know how to express or show it.

Qtpie 01/Nov/2006 at 08:31 PM
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I too concur with Thefourfingers that Grima loves Eowyn and was corrupted by Saruman who promised him power, wealth and a wife(Eowyn) like Thefourfingers pointed out above.

"Then all the men were dead, you were to pick your share of the treasure, and take the woman you desire? Too long have you watched her under your eyelids and haunted her steps.’ Eomer grasped his sword. ’That I knew already,’ he muttered. ’For that reason I would have slain him before, forgetting the law of the hall. But there are other reasons.’ He stepped forward, but Gandalf stayed him with his hand. ’Eowyn is safe now,’ he said." The Two Towers: The King of the Golden Hall

This shows that when Saruman has defeated and conquered Rohan then Grima would then take his share of treasure and what he likes(Eowyn). Grima also seems to be stalking Eowyn which has aroused the notice of Eomer who wishes to slay Grima. To conclude I believe that Grima loved Eowyn and plans to take her by force after his Master has conquered Rohan.
Endril 01/Nov/2006 at 09:11 PM
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Tarago: I know Grimma wanted Eowin for himself and you’re right that Saruman bribed him in a way promising him this. But aren’t tose too great words for Grimma. I imagine that if Saruman would rule over Rohan, Grima will remain the same servant, under the great will of the wizard. He would not recive Eowin as his share nore could take her by  force because he just didn’t have the will to do it. I don’t think that Saruman would grant him any kind of gifts or power.
Qtpie 01/Nov/2006 at 09:34 PM
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Legolas Fireblade: I agree with you that Grima would remain under the will of Saruman, because it is unlikely that Saruman would grant Grima any power because he is afraid and wary that one day Grima may try and take the power from Saruman’s hands. Yes, I also agree that Grima can’t take Eowyn by force because Eowyn would most likely put up a fight or kill herself rather than be taken in by Grima. I was merely pointing out what Grima may do.
mighty ent man 02/Nov/2006 at 04:35 AM
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duckingham - However, you have since qualified this and we have thrashed it out; apologies for misrepresenting you. - Do you mean that we have proved it to be untrue? As I do think you can love someone and not show it and I do not think we proved it to be untrue. If however you mean by thrashed that we discussed it and explained our ideas then I agree.

At the very basic level I would have to say that killing someone is wrong, no matter what the circumstances. However many many situations can lead to a killing being justified. This does not make the killing morally right at the basic core, but you as a person were fully justified in defending your own life or that of your wife, for example. I will not go into war and all the examples here.

TFF - What I meant was the as we observe the story from an objective point of view I think we can see that this act of killing Saruman showed him repenting on his allegiance and bad deeds. I agree with you that this was not the concious thought at the time in Grima’s mind. He was taking revenge. BUT from our overall view I believe we can see that below this act, the wider consequences of it are that Grima has had enough of being evil and siding with Saruman. Thus he has repented I think.

I am less sure as to whether Grima loved Eowyn. We have to consider the fine line between love and lust.

 

KingODuckingham 02/Nov/2006 at 07:55 AM
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MEM: By thrashing it out I did mean simply discussing it; I don’t know that our discussion ’proved’ anything (although it was a good one).

TFF and Taragollion: I don’t think Grima was a good man before his ’corruption’ by Saruman. There must have been some strong seeds of evil lurking already under the surface for Saruman to have corrupted him in the first place, especially without alerting the king. I.e. if Grima wasn’t already corrupt he would have warned the king of Saruman’s evil when Saruman first attempted to make him a traitor.

Isn’t the fact that Eomer wants to kill Grima for stalking Eowyn proof enough that it isn’t love Grima feels, but lust?
Thefourfingers 02/Nov/2006 at 09:38 AM
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MEM- repent: 1. to feel sorry for a past action. 2. to feel such remorse for (sin or fault) as to change one’s ways. -Random House Dictionary
As you can see the word repent cannot describe Grima’s concious actions.  You say that Grima was subconciously repenting.  What evidence do you have to support this?  This goes back to the actions vs. feelings debate from earlier in this thread.  Since we can only see Grima acting out of hatred or revenge, how have you come to the conclusion that there was an underlying repentence?

kingoduckingham- "But it was not always as it now is.  Once it was a man, and did you service in its fashion." Gandalf - TTT
This would indicate to me that Grima was not always evil and corrupt.  He may not have been the nicest man but I see no evidence that Grima was evil prior to his corruption.

"Isn’t the fact that Eomer wants to kill Grima for stalking Eowyn proof enough that it isn’t love Grima feels, but lust?"
Not at all.  A brother can be protective of his sister to the point of wanting to kill any potential suiters regardless of the character of the suiter.

KingODuckingham 02/Nov/2006 at 11:48 AM
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TFF:A brother can be protective of his sister to the point of wanting to kill any potential suiters regardless of the character of the suiter. So it is more likely that Eomer is the one that has character faults than Grima? I agree that Grima was not always evil (nobody is, according to Gandalf), but I believe it is still quite evident that whatever Grima feels for Eowyn cannot be described as love, especially if one takes my side on the ’actions speak louder than feelings’ debate.
Thefourfingers 02/Nov/2006 at 12:28 PM
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kingoduckingham-  I agree that Grima is more likely to have character faults than Eomer.  However I still think that Grima loved Eowyn.  For me this is what really explains Grima’s actions throughout the books.  The motivation of wealth and power do not satisfactorily explain his actions to me.
iLOTR 02/Nov/2006 at 03:24 PM
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Kingoduckingham - I suppose an orc become good and learn to love, but they have been corrupted soooo much that it seems VERY unlikely and would probably never happen. And besides the fact that there just a corrupted race, they also have never seen any love and don’t have anyone to teach them about it or to give it to them, so they probably really don’t even know what love. And if they don’t know what love is and have never experienced it from anyone else then they probably aren’t capable of love, unless someone were to introduce them to it.
Arvellas 02/Nov/2006 at 07:52 PM
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iLOTR-I do not think that an Orc could ever be converted to the good side, personally.  If, indeed, they originally started out as Elves or Men, I think they have become something else entirely--or, you could even go with a theory that they arose from the discord in Eru’s music and were what they are from the very beginning of their kind, a mockery of both Elves and Men but not specifically derived from either, and so lacking human/Elven feelings.
KingODuckingham 02/Nov/2006 at 09:01 PM
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So then, orcs really don’t have free will, Arvellas, because they don’t have the option of choosing good? If they were able to be corrupted into evil in the first place, surely they have the opportunity of repenting? Remember, nothing in Tolkien is Absolute Evil; no matter how far deep down, orcs have some twisted remnant of good hidden somewhere. In what form, we don’t know, but they are not completely evil.
mighty ent man 03/Nov/2006 at 05:17 AM
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TFF - to feel such remorse for (sin or fault) as to change one’s ways.

He does change his ways though. This is what I mean, from out perspective we can see that this is a dramatic shift in his behaviour. This shift shows a going back on all he has done in my opinion. I think his actions represents a symbolic repentence in his actions. This is my opinion. I fully feel that had he lived he would have truly repented in the sense that you want him to.

It was not love which he felt. I think had it been love he would have acted in a different way. To me it was lust, he wanted Eowyn, possibly sexually. Love requires more.

 

 

KingODuckingham 03/Nov/2006 at 06:22 AM
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Love requires more. More feeling or more actions?

I think what is happening with Grima there is repentance...of a sort. Just because he repents of becoming slave to Saruman does not mean he repents all the evil he did in Saruman’s service. He could still have struck out and done more harm on his own, since he doesn’t seem to be willing to listen to the voice of pity yet (Frodo). That said, I still think it entirely possible for him to have repented more fully at some point. I just don’t think it happened at the murder scene.
Laielinwen 03/Nov/2006 at 06:38 AM
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kingduckingham: they were able to be corrupted into evil in the first place, surely they have the opportunity of repenting?
Repenting would not  reverse the corruption process. It was more than just a corruption of their behaviors... their whole beings were corrupted as well. Physically, emotionally and mentally. Just how far that corruption went we can’t say for sure, but I don’t see how repenting could change much for them. And they were corrupted not of their own will... so can repenting  of their own will (if they are even capeable of that) actually reverse anything? It seems to me their whole nature was corrupted against their will so they cannot change that of their own will. I doubt they’d desire it.

KingODuckingham 03/Nov/2006 at 06:49 AM
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Repentance would not reverse the corruption process because nobody wants to repent until the corruption process has already begun to reverse, and it is simply another step on the road to recovery. An important step, but not the first, I think.

Whether or not they were corrupted of their own will, if they have their own will at all, which they do, they must have the will to do good at some point, or else we must chalk them down to robots of evil, if you will. Whether or not it is likely, probable, something they would desire, something they would ever do or not, they must have the ability to do so at some level, or some race of Arda does not have free will. And if they do not have free will, are they then to be considered evil, since they can’t really help it?
Laielinwen 03/Nov/2006 at 07:15 AM
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When I think of them and how physically they were corrupted and how they do serve evil in most cases or at least their own selfish basic desires... I know that the physical corruption cannot be reversed. They can never be returned to the once beauty and ’fairness’ of the elves physically... so is it possible for a reversal in terms of their basic desires and motivations? Are they capeable of doing good? I base thier being evil on their actions...

KingODuckingham 03/Nov/2006 at 12:54 PM
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I base thier being evil on their actions... But are their actions their fault if they can’t help doing them? It’s not like they had a choice, if it is impossible for them to do good, right? Or do they have free will after all, and can actually make a choice between good and evil? Maybe they always reject the good option, but don’t they at least have the choice?
Turien Silverleaf 03/Nov/2006 at 05:59 PM
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Quote: Originally posted by Laielinwen on Friday, November 03, 2006

When I think of them and how physically they were corrupted and how they do serve evil in most cases or at least their own selfish basic desires... I know that the physical corruption cannot be reversed. They can never be returned to the once beauty and ’fairness’ of the elves physically... so is it possible for a reversal in terms of their basic desires and motivations? Are they capeable of doing good? I base thier being evil on their actions...


 In addition to this Laie, he was also promised by Sarumon, that if he over threw Rohan, Grima’s prive would be Eowyn.

Thefourfingers 03/Nov/2006 at 07:08 PM
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MEM- Yes Grima did change his ways, but he did not do so out of remorse for his evil deeds.  Since Grima acted out of hatred and not remorse, his change of ways cannot be classified as repentance.

Laielinwen-  "I base thier being evil on their actions..."  But can you blame something that was twisted and corrupted for evil purposes for commiting evil actions?  If I make an automatic free thinking chainsaw (kind of absurd, I know) for the purpose of cutting down trees then can we really be all that surprised when it does just that?

Laielinwen 03/Nov/2006 at 09:31 PM
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Evil actions are evil actions... regardless of the reason or motive behind them. I’m not talking about blame... I’m not speaking with lack of empathy for how they became corrupt. Yet the fact is that they do act in an evil or way.

We discussed in another thread that they are not totally puppets... and this is true. They do have minds and they do demonstrate selfish desires apart from the one they serve. However... does that free will go so far as there being any drop of good inside that they may be capeable of a good  choice rather than an evil/bad one.

The level of corruption and what they are capeable of is fascinating to me. Can anyone think of one orc that was honorable or changed/repented and his actions reflected that of a good person? I can think of times they act apart from their master, but those actions are still evil or self-serving. I can’t think of one time when one turned from that corrupt persona and did a good deed/act.

I don’t blame them per se but I do hold them accountable... but evil acts are what they are and are always wrong regardless... If an orc comes in and kills your mother you don’t say, "Oh well. I’m disappointed but he can’t be blamed because he is corrupted. He didn’t corrupt himself and he can’t be held responsible for his actions."

Thefourfingers I agree totally on your thoughts on Grima and his changing/repenting.  Looking at his motivations shows us that.

Thefourfingers 03/Nov/2006 at 11:43 PM
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Laielinwen-  I guess the orcs could maybe be held a little responsible (I cannot overstate the little part) but it just feels so wrong to blame them.  I mean if you raise a kid to hate candy with every scrap of his being then can we really blame the kid for disliking candy.  Sure the kid has free will and could at any time change his ways but I still don’t think the kid is responsible for his dislike of candy. -And of coarse we all know that a kid disliking candy is the ultimate form of evil.-

Laielinwen 04/Nov/2006 at 01:47 AM
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 Yes... ultimately evil! Un... Natural! hehe
Turien Silverleaf 04/Nov/2006 at 07:07 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by Thefourfingers on Friday, November 03, 2006

Laielinwen-  I guess the orcs could maybe be held a little responsible (I cannot overstate the little part) but it just feels so wrong to blame them.  I mean if you raise a kid to hate candy with every scrap of his being then can we really blame the kid for disliking candy.  Sure the kid has free will and could at any time change his ways but I still don’t think the kid is responsible for his dislike of candy. -And of coarse we all know that a kid disliking candy is the ultimate form of evil.-


 I agree with you Thefourfingers. It was partially to do with Saurmon’s horrible influence over Grima. He was telling him to do all of these bad things that I don’t think Grima wanted to do in the first place. Grima knew that if he didn’t do some of these things, he would probably be killed.

KingODuckingham 04/Nov/2006 at 10:39 AM
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I guess the orcs could maybe be held a little responsible Not unless you are sure that they even know that there is any other way to act and have the ability to choose that option if they wanted to. Again, they wouldn’t want to, no doubt, but if they didn’t even have the option, there really is no reasonable way to blame them for their actions.

You could still kill them of course, just as one would stop a broken lawnmower from ruining your garden, but then you’re hardly going to blame the lawnmower as if you knew better.
Thefourfingers 04/Nov/2006 at 12:00 PM
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kingoduckingham-  "Not unless you are sure that they even know that there is any other way to act and have the ability to choose that option if they wanted to."  Very true.  That is why I said that it feels wrong to blame them.  They do have free will so in that sense they could be held acountable for their actions.  But like you said since I am not sure that orcs "even know that there is any other way to act" then I cannot fully blame them.  That is why I used words like I guess, maybe and a little.  I’m on the fence on this one.
mighty ent man 05/Nov/2006 at 04:42 AM
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duckingham - No I do not think he fully repented in the true sense of the word when he killed Saruman but I think this action sybolised repentance.

When I said love requires more I meant that it to me requires more than what we see Grima doing.

TFF - Well that is where you and I disagree then. I see his deeds as containing an element of repentance in them and you do not. Each to his own.

Hmm and interesting discussion about Orcs. Here is my point of view. There is a passage in LOTR, in the pass of Cirith Ungol bit I think, where Shagrat and Gorbag talk of how they wish of the way being over and they could find somewhere peaceful where they can steal and live without being told what to do. Now this to me shows that there is some form of common emotions inside them. However this in no way shows they are good. Orcs serve Sauron, who is the epitomy of evil. However Orcs themselves are not the epitomy of evil. I do not know whether an Orc could become good again. Maybe they have been twisted too far and there is no hope for them.

 

KingODuckingham 05/Nov/2006 at 10:36 AM
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MEM: to me requires more than what we see Grima doing.--My emphasis. So more actions, then?

And like I said before, killing Saruman only represented repentance in the form of regret of ever having become Saruman’s slave, not really regret for the evil actions he performed while under Saruman. He still would have committed those actions some other way, if he could or needed to, to get what he had wanted.
NightRider17 05/Nov/2006 at 02:32 PM
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I think by Grima killing Saruman, there was no true repentance...yet. He might have eventually redeemed himself. But, i mean he was shot by Legolas so that did kind of prevent him from being redeemed. I think if he had not died he probably would have eventually returned to Theoden and become a loyal servant but instead he decided to just off Saruman and was in turn killed.
mighty ent man 06/Nov/2006 at 03:02 AM
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duckingham - Not this old debate again!

In the form of a book we are given actions of the character and sometimes we are given a direct insight into their own thoughts as the author may describe them for us. Now I know of no quotes that we have to show us what Grima was thinking. We know he wanted Eowyn. Now did he want her out of love or lust? To me that is the key question. We know he stalked her and watched her from afar. I think this started before his corruption by Saruman. So it is possible he loved her. But in the time we see him in LOTR I do not think he does love her. I base this judgement on the limited evidence I have.

I would not say that this therefore means actions are more important that feelings. Just more indicative of the feelings below but not necessarily the only thing or the main thing defining love.

As to your point about Grima comitting those actions another way I am less hasty than you to make that conclusion. You see Grima wanted Eowyn, we know that. He thus us until Saruman contacted him watched her from afar doing nothing bad really. What is to say he would have not continued doing that?

NightRider - You are quoting the films and not the books. In the books Saruman died in the Shire at the hands of Grima as was shot by Hobbits.

J

KingODuckingham 06/Nov/2006 at 10:11 AM
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MEM: I understand. I was just giving you a hard time

What is to say he would have not continued doing that? Well, since we know that when opportunity came through Saruman he took advantage of it, that shows the desire was there strong enough to commit evil acts in order to get what he wanted. What I am saying is that if he was willing to do it that one way (through Saruman), he would be willing to do it another way if the chance came, whether Saruman had anything to do with it. In other words, Saruman just gave Wormtongue his opportunity, he didn’t make him more evil. Gandalf does not ask how long it was since Saruman corrupted Grima, but how long it had been since he was bought. Grima was dry tinder just waiting for a match to turn to wicked deeds, and Saruman provided that match. If it had come from somewhere else, the result would have been the same.
Thefourfingers 06/Nov/2006 at 05:25 PM
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kingoduckingham-  "Grima was dry tinder just waiting for a match to turn to wicked deeds..."  I don’t think that Grima was as evil as you portray him.  As you say, you are basing your portrayal of Grima on his past action; namely his joining with Saruman.  Now this is not necessarelly a bad practice but we cannot forget that a larger part of the picture is missing.  To base our assessment of the Grima that existed before his corruption solely on the actions of the Grima that existed after, is a little short sighted.

Granted we know very little about Grima before his corruption.  Let me examine what we know.  First, we know that Eomer does not like Grima.  However, this fact is irrelevant because we do not know if this dislike starts before or after Grima enters the service of Saruman.  So our only remaining view of the pre-Saruman Grima comes to us in the words of Gandalf: "But [Grima] was not always as [he] now is.  Once it was a man, and did you service in its fashion."- TTT  Now this does not say that Grima was a good person, but I do think that, based on this, we can conclude with any degree of certainty that Grima was as nasty as you make him out to be.

Also we must consider who it was that corrupted Grima in the first place.  Saruman can be very influential even on those that are strong of will.  You say that Grima "would be willing to do it another way if the chance came, whether Saruman had anything to do with it."  But how can we be certain?  One can have dark and deep desires that they never act upon.  Saruman could have brought these feelings out and convinced Grima to act upon them with the aid of Saruman’s power.  Everyone has deep desires, but ones actions cannot be deemed evil until these desires are acted upon.  The fact that Grima gives in to these thoughts demonstrates the evil of his corruption, but we cannot use the fact that he falls to evil as the only way to measure the man that existed before the corruption.

KingODuckingham 06/Nov/2006 at 07:12 PM
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TFF: I agree when you say One can have dark and deep desires that they never act upon. Saruman could have brought these feelings out and convinced Grima to act upon them with the aid of Saruman’s power. Everyone has deep desires, but ones actions cannot be deemed evil until these desires are acted upon. . Perhaps if Saruman had never been around he never would have been able to act upon his desires and do his evil deeds. However, I still think that regardless the potential was there. In Gandalf’s quote the words in its fashion are significant...the service was probably lousy compared to the loyal servants of Theoden’s household.

I revise my position slightly: Perhaps Grima would never had gotten the chance to commit such evil deeds without Saruman, but I still think he would have done so if given the chance.

I perceive it as a sort of slippery slope--by the time Gandalf got around to him Grima had become much more hardened to evil than before he entered Saruman’s service, but that does not mean he was not a nasty person beforehand. And of course, by the time it reaches his end in the Shire, he has become so far gone he bypasses opportunities to repent.
Thefourfingers 06/Nov/2006 at 08:09 PM
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kingoduckingham-  "Perhaps if Saruman had never been around he never would have been able to act upon his desires and do his evil deeds. However, I still think that regardless the potential was there."  I definitely agree that Grima had the seeds or evil within him long before Saruman was able to make them grow.  I also agree that Grima’s service to Theoden was probably not the best in the world.

"I still think he would have done so if given the chance."  This leads me to an interesting question.  Do you think that Saruman could have not only given Grima the means to achieve his goals but also convinced him to act upon his deep desires in the first place?  What I am trying to say is: Would Grima have acted on his deep desires if someone who did not have the persuasive power of Saruman had offered him the means?

mighty ent man 07/Nov/2006 at 05:01 AM
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duckingham - that shows the desire was there strong enough to commit evil acts in order to get what he wanted - If the desire was that strong then why did it need a strong and very persuasive wizard to make him comitt these evil deeds? You see my point I hope. If Grima, as you claim, had such a strong desire and evil mind then why did it take Saruman to make him be evil. My argument is that he has waited a long long time not doing anything. There is a strong likelihood that had Saruman not come along he would not have done anything. I get the impression that Grima was rather shy, thus he would not have had the courage to do so on his own.

If it had come from somewhere else, the result would have been the same. - I completely disagree on this point. Saruman was a hugely powerful wizard and we know his voice has deep powers, being able to turn most normal men, which Grima was. So I think it a huge blame to be put on Saruman for Grima’s corruption.

TFF -  

You talk of Grima having the seeds of evil in him before Saruman made them grow. But does not everyone have the potential for evil in them? Could not Saruman bring out evil in everyone? This kind of makes this point a bit redundant.

 

 

KingODuckingham 07/Nov/2006 at 11:53 AM
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Do you think that Saruman could have not only given Grima the means to achieve his goals but also convinced him to act upon his deep desires in the first place? What I am trying to say is: Would Grima have acted on his deep desires if someone who did not have the persuasive power of Saruman had offered him the means? A good and fascinating question indeed. I would say yes, if he thought it would actually work. After all, if you had a way to accomplish your deepest desires that was practicable, wouldn’t you jump at the chance?

MEM: I see your point perfectly, but that does not mean I buy it.
It needed a strong and persuasive wizard to convince Grima that his actions actually would fulfill his desires, for without this persuasion, Eowyn would seem far out of reach, being of the royal house. That does not mean he would not try to get her any way he could, but that there simply was no way to act until Saruman came along and bribed him, convincing him his dreams were actually attainable. All he had to do was...
If someone else had offered another route to the same end, I see no reason why Grima would not have done that as well, assuming he could be convinced the plan would work.
Arvellas 07/Nov/2006 at 06:18 PM
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On whether Orcs could ever become "good guys," I still do not think that they could.  I do not think that they were the absolute evil, but neither do I think that they had free will, and so the part deep down inside them that was not evil would never have the chance to come out, which would make it useless, even though it was still there.  Perhaps Orcs are secretly tortured by this, but just can’t show it...who knows?  Even if they were to repent, it doesn’t reverse corruption, as Laie said.
mighty ent man 08/Nov/2006 at 03:15 AM
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duckingham - That does not mean he would not try to get her any way he could,  - Up until we know of Saruman had Grima done anything to try and get her?? Answer this question with a yes or no. Had Grima tried to get Eowyn before Saruman came along? Do we have evidence showing he had?

You see I think no, he had not made any move to get her. Thus where is the evidence showing he would make a move? What are you basing it on? It seems to me he must have been waiting a long time already in silence. Possibly he had accepted and resigned to the fact she was out of reach.

 

 

KingODuckingham 08/Nov/2006 at 02:04 PM
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Up until we know of Saruman had Grima done anything to try and get her?? No. I thought that was clear from the outset. I cheerfully agreed with TFF that without Saruman, Grima might never have done anything to try and get Eowyn, because as far as Grima could tell, there was no way.

Thus where is the evidence showing he would make a move? What are you basing it on? The evidence in The Two Towers. He DID make a move when he was able to, and Saruman provided the way. If there had been another way, I then infer that he would take that way too. If there was no way, though, of course he would not be able to do anything.
Thefourfingers 08/Nov/2006 at 04:23 PM
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MEM-  "You talk of Grima having the seeds of evil in him before Saruman made them grow. But does not everyone have the potential for evil in them?"  Yes everyone has the seeds of evil in them.

"Could not Saruman bring out evil in everyone?"  Yes he would be able to influence almost anyone.  It would depend on their strength of will and whether or not they had any prior knowledge of the perils of Sarumans voice.


kingoduckingham-  "He DID make a move when he was able to, and Saruman provided the way. If there had been another way, I then infer that he would take that way too."  I am not as certain of this as you are.  It all depends on Grima’s character before his corruption by Saruman.  As I pointed out earlier in the thread, we know very little about the pre-Saruman Grima.  Saruman would have been able to corrupt even a good man, so the fact that Grima was corrupted can hardly be used as any concrete indication of his former nature.

If only we had more evidence to examine.  Then maybe we could come up with some hard conclusions instead of guessing.

mighty ent man 09/Nov/2006 at 04:41 AM
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duckingham - So we conclude on the first point that there is no prior evidence of Grima acting to try and take Eowyn. So before Saruman there is no evidence given to us to suggest that he would do so. Thus how can you say that he will take her? If there is no evidence. The variable in this, which cannot be discounted, is Saruman!

You say ’when he was able to’. He has been able to make a move all the time, but he has not. He could easily try and take her whenever he wanted. Maybe force himself on her. But he did not, he was quite happy to watch from afar. It is when Saruman comes along that he changes. You cannot deny this. Thus I say he would not have done anything in the absence of Saruman.

You are looking at it as if Grima is very evil and is simply tipped over by Saruman. I disgaree as I think this underestimates the power of persuasion Saruman has.

KingODuckingham 09/Nov/2006 at 03:26 PM
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He could easily try and take her whenever he wanted. Maybe force himself on her. No he could not, and that is my point. He had no way to get her until Saruman came along. All he could do was look and long. It wasn’t until Saruman helped him and showed him the way that Grima had any chance with Eowyn, so we cannot say that his inaction before Saruman had anything to do with his state of corruption, just a matter of practicality. Thus I can say that Wormtongue still would have wanted to act (otherwise there is no bait for Saruman to dangle in front of Grima in order to lure him to corruption) and would have done so if someone else besides Saruman had been the corruptor. As TFF says, though, If only we had more evidence to examine. Then maybe we could come up with some hard conclusions instead of guessing. Oh well.
Thefourfingers 09/Nov/2006 at 11:36 PM
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kingoduckingham-  "Thus I can say that Wormtongue still would have wanted to act (otherwise there is no bait for Saruman to dangle in front of Grima in order to lure him to corruption) and [would have done so if someone else besides Saruman had been the corruptor]."  Well yes, you can say that, but you have nothing to back it up with.  The reallity is that we cannot make any conclusions as to whether or not Grima would have acted if someone other than Saruman had given him the chance.  Let us examine the two possible cases:

Case #1 - Pre-Saruman Grima was a good man:  A good man may desire things that they know they cannot have but a good man also knows that it would be wrong to act on such desires if they posessed the means.  Thus it would take a persuasive person to convince a good man to give in to his desires.  So, if the pre-Saruman Grima was a good man then someone who lacked Saruman’s persuasive powers would be unable to corrupt him.

Case #2 - Pre-Saruman Grima was an evil man:  An evil man may desire things that they know they cannot have and an evil man also either does not care or does not think that it would be wrong to act on such desires if they posessed the means.  Thus it would not take a persuasive person to convince an evil man to give in to his desires.  So, if the pre-Saruman Grima was an evil man then someone who lacked Saruman’s persuasive powers would be able to corrupt him.

As you can see, unless we know the nature of the pre-Saruman Grima it is very difficult to determine how he might act.  Since, as we have discussed before, we know very little about the Grima that existed before Saruman we cannot make absolute statements as to how he would act in the above situation.

mighty ent man 10/Nov/2006 at 08:03 AM
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duckingham - He had no way to get her until Saruman came along.  - That is a ridiculous suggestion. Of course he did. He was a young man who was presumably stronger than she and he could have tried to kiss her or force himself on her. He could have blackmailed her into keeping silent. To say he had no way of getting her is ridiculous. He had many ways but he chose not to use them, as he was not an evil person.

so we cannot say that his inaction before Saruman had anything to do with his state of corruption, - We can! This inaction is evidence of his personality. The fact that he could have acted on what he thought and chose not to shows he was not as evil as you think he was.

You have an argument there, but as TFF shows it has no evidence. My side does have some evidence which means I have a stronger argument.

 

KingODuckingham 10/Nov/2006 at 10:01 AM
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My side does have some evidence which means I have a stronger argument. On the contrary. We both have the same evidence, which we interpret different ways to come up with our different arguments. This says nothing about the relative strength of the arguments. Anyone that sees the arguments will find the one stronger with which he agrees, or in how he sees the evidence, most likely to be formed by his presuppositions. Those that see Grima as an evil character will agree with me, while those more ’open-minded’ (for lack of a better term) will agree with you.

I think Grima is more cunning and cautious than you give him credit for. He would not do something as ridiculous as try to force himself on Eowyn, a member of a beloved royal house right in the capital under the watchful eyes of her uncle and more importantly, her suspicious brother. Why would Grima expose himself thus? To me that is the ridiculous statement. He would not act unless he was sure of getting away with it, as he is sure he will be with Saruman’s help. Thus my reasoning that his inaction is due to simple prudence, not some moral character.
mighty ent man 11/Nov/2006 at 10:16 AM
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duckingham - When I suggested that he could force himself on her I was merely throwing something out there. I do not think he would do that but to say he has no way of getting Eowyn is a ridiculous suggestion to make when there are plenty of options open to someone as cunning and clever as he was.

Did Saruman come to Grima or Grima go to Saruman? This is a very important piece of information that if we could obtain would be useful. I would have thought Saruman found Grima. Why did not Grima try and find the help of someone?? Because he did not want Eowyn that much? I do not know!

Arvellas 11/Nov/2006 at 01:14 PM
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mem-Perhaps there is a possibility that Grima restricted himself from forcing himself on Eowyn because he was not at the time corrupted and wished to get her through honest means.  If Saruman were to come along and offer to make a deal that would bring Grima great power, he might see this as an opportunity to get the prestige necessary to win Theoden’s approval and ask for Eowyn’s hand.  Of course, this is based on the supposition that he did at least at one time love her and want to abide by the rules.  Just one more theory to consider.

It makes me wonder that if Grima ever loved Eowyn whether his love could crumble into lust as he became corrupted.

mighty ent man 11/Nov/2006 at 01:41 PM
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Arvellas - Yes but are we not told that Grima watched her from afar for a long time? In the manner of stalking her footsteps? Now I know this is not full proof that he was evil, I do not think he was ever an evil man. But this indicates he might not have thought he could get her in a fair way.

Maybe he saw her for the first time and thought that he wanted her. However he was perhaps too shy to ask her? Or knew she would not like him? So did not bother, merely admired her from a distance. And then suddenly Saruman pops up and says to him: " What would you want most in the world? ". And he thinks Eowyn, but of course thinks that no way could he ever get her. And it is Saruman who makes him think he can. Thus it is purely Saruman who makes him try to get her.

Personally I do not think he loved her. But it is possible.

Falvlun 19/Nov/2006 at 08:15 PM
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In Tolkien, it seems that the people who go evil or are persuaded to do evil, have already acted upon this impulse before. Take Smeagol. "The domination of the Ring was much too strong for the mean soul of Smeagol. But he would have never had to endure it if he had not become a mean sort of thief before it crossed his path." (Letter 181) Boromir, though not overtly evil, certainly had power impulses present and pulsing through him. Even the hobbits, namely Lotho, who aided in Saruman’s takeover of the Shire had a greediness associated with him and his family. By this trend, it seems to me that Wormtongue must have certainly been an unsavory character even before Saruman’s corruption and persuasion.
mighty ent man 20/Nov/2006 at 02:53 PM
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Falvlun - I would not use the word unsavory unless I had some stronger evidence that what you appear to possess. Grima to me did not seem to be unsavory from what we are told and see. I would say he was a Man with desires, a desire for Eowyn and a desire for power and renown. Seeing as he was a shy man he would win neither of these on his own, thus Saruman had a way to work on him. I think you are too hasty in saying that he is unsavory.  
KingODuckingham 20/Nov/2006 at 05:37 PM
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Mem: I wonder if you are confusing your own speculation with actual facts.
Grima to me did not seem to be unsavory from what we are told and see. Which is what exactly?
Seeing as he was a shy man he would win neither of these on his own And we are told that he is shy where? I think this was something you assumed to fit your argument. Not to say that you are automatically wrong to assume such a thing, but you can’t back it up from Tolkien.

Here’s a quote from Unfinished Tales, The Hunt for the Ring, the main version:
"The Lord of the Nazgul spared the life of the Wormtongue, not out of pity, but because he deemed that so great a terror was upon him that he would never dare to speak of their encounter (as proved true), and he saw that the creature was evil and was likely to do great harm yet to Saruman, if he lived.
Here Wormtongue, whom it says in this same passage is "inured to treachery" is willing to sell out his master Saruman, making him a triple-crosser.   
Falvlun 20/Nov/2006 at 06:58 PM
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mighty ent man, I challenge you to come up with one example in which a good character goes (willfully) evil. You will find that the main evil characters in Tolkien were evil or prone to evil in the first place. I also agree with kingo here: where are we told that he’s shy?

mighty ent man 21/Nov/2006 at 02:27 AM
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duckingham - We are told that Grima did Theoden service in his fashion. We also see the pity of Theoden, he wants Grima back to how he was. This indicates to me that he was good before. Gandalf also to me seems to know that Grima was not bad before Saruman got a hold of him.

I must apologise that I did indeed infer from what we know that he was a shy man. I say he was shy because of his reluctance to talk to Eowyn and watch her from afar.

Yes in that passage the WK thinks that Grima is evil, this is however after he has been taken by Saruman. So this could all be down to Saruman.

Falvlun - I do not think Grima is evil before or indeed true evil after. He is never an evil person. Grima did not go wilfully into evil, he was ensnared by Saruman.

KingODuckingham 21/Nov/2006 at 08:33 AM
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And here I thought this thread had finally died...

Pity does not indicate that the one being pitied is not evil--Gandalf pities even Sauron’s slaves, evil men and orcs. Yes, nothing is evil in the beginning, not even Sauron. But by that very argument, and your bringing up of the ’service in his fashion’ quote, you cannot say he is not EVER evil. Here is the context, Gandalf speaking:

See, Theoden, here is a snake! With safety you cannot take it with you, nor can you leave it behind. To slay it would be just. But it was not always as it now is. Once it was a man, and did you service in its fashion. Give him a horse and let him go at once, wherever he chooses. By his choice you shall judge him.--TTT, The King of the Golden Hall

A couple of things here. 1st, the interesting way Gandalf says that Wormtongue is a snake, and later, but ONCE...it was a man. As if Grima were sub-human. (metaphorically, no doubt) Again, death is just for such evils as Wormtongue has committed. But Gandalf is willing to give him a chance. Judge him by where he goes, Gandalf says. And where does he go? To Saruman. To evil.

I think you put far too much stress on the "did you service in its fashion" part of the sentence. The words "in its fashion", I think, are key qualifiers. "In its fashion" takes most of the positive connotation out of the sentence, leaving one with the image of something not yet evil, but standing on the precipice, waiting to plunge into treachery. Whatever good it did was little, cheap, barely worth enough to merit a chance at redemption.

Unless you say that some sort of direct mind control was being exercised by Saruman over Wormtongue, then you cannot say Grima was never evil, for we are given clear proofs of his baseness.

Falvlun: Since MEM sort of ignored your challenge to give an example of someone willfully becoming evil, here’s one: Sauron. Once a student of Aule, but willfully became evil after listening to Morgoth. Though perhaps MEM would try to argue that Sauron is not evil because he was ensnared by Morgoth? That would indeed be a difficult stance to defend.
mighty ent man 22/Nov/2006 at 05:24 AM
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duckingham - I also thought this thread had died, how wrong could we both have been! I think there is a lot of life left in it. It is a great thread and that is shown by it reaching 4 pages!

Pity does not indicate that the one being pitied is not evil-- - I agree. However in this case we see that Theoden in the books does not want Grima to die. He wants him back and gives him chances to repent and leave Saruman. This to me indicates that Theoden once liked Grima as why would he want him back if he was an unsavoury person before?

Grima was never an evil man. I can say that with confidence. He wanted Eowyn, but never made an evil action against her. He did nothing evil until Saruman found him. Thus I see no reason for him to be evil.

Please do not try and mock me with your words to Falvlun. I know little of Sauron and Morgoth so I would not try to say anything on their situation as I have not the knowledge. I do however have some understanding of Grima and fully believe he was not evil before Saruman. He had something that Saruman could work on, but this does not make him evil! To suggest so it silly.

KingODuckingham 22/Nov/2006 at 11:05 AM
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MEM: Apologies, I was not meaning to sound like a mocker.   I was raising an answer to Falvlun’s question, but then showing that it did not fit your argument. I am sorry if it came off the wrong way.

He did nothing evil until Saruman found him. First of all, you cannot say this with confidence because you do not know what exactly he did before Saruman found him. Maybe he did something evil, maybe he did not. At best we do not know. But there must have been some reason Saruman chose him, and not some other random man of Rohan. I think he saw in Grima more willingness to be evil than in anyone else he espied. And whether or not, after Grima was found by Saruman he was certainly evil. He caused the deaths of many Riders by his keeping of Eomer at home, including the death of Theodred, Eowyn’s cousin. Thus as I said before, unless you advocate mind control of Wormtongue, he can be called evil after his corruption, and even though Saruman may have started it, that does not release Grima from personal responsibility.
mighty ent man 24/Nov/2006 at 10:50 AM
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duckingham - Apology accepted, I also apologise for insinuating that you were mocking me when you were not!

I can say this with a decent level of confidence. It is true that I do not have a list of everything that Grima did before he met Saruman but I also do have some quotes which to me indicate that he was not an evil person beforehand. I am making a judgement on what I have and I feel that the judgement has to be made.

Saruman chose him because he was close to Theoden, he was at a level or some power and held some power over Theoden, as I believe Theoden trusted his word. This to me is why Saruman chose him. Grima was not like other random men of Rohan. He was the King’s advisor! This to me makes it quite clear why he was chosen.

He also probably at the same time saw that Grima was a person who was not strong, not a person who would stand up for themselves and thus someone he could take advantage of. I agree Grima was turned to comit evil deeds after his corruption by Saruman.

KingODuckingham 24/Nov/2006 at 01:20 PM
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MEM: By some quotes, do you mean that one quote referencing his service that Gandalf gives as one reason why Grima should not be slain? I can’t think of any other quotes, but if you do have others, you should add them to the discussion, as evidence seems to be scarce for both your side and mine.

I suppose I can accept your reasoning on why Grima was chosen, though I do not think it excludes my interpretation as well.

Now let me see if I have this straight: you agree that he was evil after he was corrupted by Saruman, but you think it was otherwise beforehand? Again, this would of course come back to the way you define someone as ’evil’ or ’good’. Thoughts?
mighty ent man 25/Nov/2006 at 03:12 AM
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Duckingham - The quotes I refer to are the quotes we have used so far and simply a general picture built up in my mind from reading the whole book and knowing how things often work in Tolkien’s world.

I believe your interpretation, your reason, is a secondary reason to mine. Saruman I believe looked for people closest to the King who he could ensnare. Thus the primary factor in his choosing Grima was because he was close to the King. But he also did look for someone he could corrupt and mould to his purpose.

I do not like using the word evil to describe Grima. I think he got in over his head and wanted to stop but could not. At times he does seem evil, as he seems to enjoy the power he gets around Saruman. But then at others I think he wants to leave him. I do not think deep down at his core Grima was evil. But he did help the spreading of evil.

 

KingODuckingham 25/Nov/2006 at 05:33 AM
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I think he got in over his head and wanted to stop but could not. At times he does seem evil, as he seems to enjoy the power he gets around Saruman. But then at others I think he wants to leave him. You are right, to an extent. He did want to leave Saruman, and he did get in over his head. But I don’t think this means (as I hinted back before when we discussed his death) that he regretted and didn’t want to do evil. It is because Saruman has no more chance of getting power and treats Wormtongue like a dog and slave that Wormtongue regrets his choice of masters and wants to get away.

I do not think deep down at his core Grima was evil. What do you mean by this? That he could do some good still? That he really didn’t ever want to do evil? That he was only part evil? The statement is too vague for me to judge it.
mighty ent man 26/Nov/2006 at 04:39 AM
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Duckingham - I think he did regret what he did. I think he realised that he would never get Eowyn as Saruman promised him. I think he got sick and tired of these evil deeds. He probably got more respect and kindness from Theoden and he probably wanted to go back to this.

Grima was not a fundamentally evil person. Let me take us through what we kind of know. He was born a Man of Rohan. He probably was shy, but this is my own opinion. He somehow became Theodens advisor, and this is where he saw Eowyn. He falls for her beauty. He might be some kind of strange Man but I do think he was. Saruman corrupts him, ensnares him and he starts to help in evil deeds. He helps because he envisages a reward. I do not think Grima is evil. I think he made mistakes, and made up for them by killing Saruman.

Falvlun 26/Nov/2006 at 02:54 PM
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kingoduckingham (I am refusing the capitalization ), In response to your response in response to my challenge : Let me see if I can clarify my thoughts. All of the ainur and maiar that went bad, even Morgoth, began good but ended up evil. In Morgoth, we see this overwhelming desire and tendency towards Power. At root of all evil in Tolkien (I can not think of an exception) is this desire for power. So, therefore, those beings who desire power (which is not rightfully theirs) can be said to be prone to evil. In the Silmarillion it says:

"For of the Maiar many were drawn to his [Morgoth’s] splendour in the days of his greatness, and remained in that allegiance down into his darkness; and others he corrupted afterwards to his service with lies and treacherous gifts." (Valaquenta, Of the Enemies)

From this quote, we see that it is the greatness of Morgoth-- and by extrapolation his power-- which drew the Maiar, including Sauron, into his service. Why do people abandon thier cause and become traitors? For the hope of gain, the wish to be upon the winning side-- for it is the winners which end up in power. What sort of things could Morgoth promise? Rank, position, land, slaves etc-- in a word, Power. From all of this, we can see that those Maiar who joined Morgoth joined so for one reason, and that was their desire for dominion. Since the desire for power (again, unrightfully theirs) is the same as the wish to do evil, we see that all thes Maiar had the tendency toward evil. Thus Sauron, though he willfully became evil, did so because he was already prone to do so.

To bring it back to a less cosmic scale, disregarding Maiar and Ainur, I still can not think of one character who is good that ends up doing something willfully evil. It just does not happen in Tolkien.

To bring it back in relation to this thread, it becomes glaringly apparent that Grima must have been so prone to evil that he was willing to act upon it in order to have become evil. He wanted Power, power which was not rightfully his. We have motive, means, and its execution. There simply is no argument for a "Grima was good" theory. It is only idealistic reasoning.

mightyentman, You claim that from "some quotes" we can see that he was not evil before, you claim that he was shy, you claim that he was not evil even after all of what he did, you claim that he regretted his decision to join Saruman, you claim that he was sick of doing evil deeds, you claim he realized he would never get Eowyn, you claim that his killing Saruman made up for all of that, etc etc!! That is a heck of a lot of claims, and what’s more You have absolutely no basis for any of them.

Your one quote does not prove anything. It merely states that Once it was a man, and did you service in its fashion. Note the It! Whenever this pronoun is used to describe a person in literature its purpose is to emphasis the inhumanity of the person. Note the"its fasion". The service provided by Grima was not in accordance with Theoden’s wishes, but to the abilities and wishes of Grima. The entire way this quote is worded is to put Grima in a bad light, and not a good one.

You have aceeded that your shy point is just an opinion. Very good; stop using it as proof for your theory.

If a person does evil deeds, knowing that they are evil, then that person is evil. There is no two ways about it. Actions define the person. Intentions define the actions. Neither Grima’s intentions or actions were good, pure, or non-evil.

As kingoduckingham has pointed out, the only reasons we are given-- backed by any textual evidence-- that Grima regrets his decision to join Saruman is because he sees that he will not get the power he desired. And this regret is not even seen until the Scouring of the Shire! This regret has nothing to do with feeling bad for the evil deeds he has committed. It is a pity party that his schemes did not produce the desired result.

Nowhere do we see that Grima was "sick of doing evil deeds". You therefore can not use this in your argument. Unless, of course, you provide something textually based.

Nowhere do we see that Grima realized he would never get Eowyn. (The downfall of Saruman probably was the destruction of his dreams-- at which point it doesn’t matter).

The fact that he might have gotten more respect/ kindness from Theoden is irrevelevent. Grima, with Theoden under Saruman’s control, was in all respects in charge of the Golden Hall. Everyone did his bidding. This was the power he craved! What does he care for the kindness of a king that stood in the way of his dreams?

Finally, and most importantly, Grima’s horrible slaying of Saruman did not make up for anything. It was merely another evil deed to add to his long list of beastliness. The value of Pity is one of those themes which run throughout Tolkien. Grima could have accepted pity; he could have in turn pitied Saruman. Murder is not the correct course of action. And how could you have forgotten one of the most valuable of quotes?

Many that live deserve death. And some die that deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends. (FotR)

No, mem, under scrutiny none of your claims bear any weight. They are all speculation and opinion. True, much of what we are debating falls into the realm of speculation. However, many of your opinions are directly in oppostion to other things written. Furthermore, a speculation, to have any merit at all, must have at least some roots within the texts. Where are your roots?

Falvlun 26/Nov/2006 at 02:59 PM
Horse-lord of the Mark Points: 2512 Posts: 3814 Joined: 21/Sep/2004
Oops! Sorry, for a) how long that post was, and b) for not adding the spaces to your name, mighty ent man!
mighty ent man 27/Nov/2006 at 06:41 AM
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Falvlun - A good post but I have several problems with it, quite fundamental gaps if you will.

To bring it back to a less cosmic scale, disregarding Maiar and Ainur, I still can not think of one character who is good that ends up doing something willfully evil. It just does not happen in Tolkien.  - What do you define as ’good’? I do not believe you have given me a good clarified definition of what a ’good’ character is. To me this is key to the point you make in this paragraph.

To bring it back in relation to this thread, it becomes glaringly apparent that Grima must have been so prone to evil that he was willing to act upon it in order to have become evil. He wanted Power, power which was not rightfully his. We have motive, means, and its execution. There simply is no argument for a "Grima was good" theory. It is only idealistic reasoning. - What do you mean that Grima was ’prone to evil’? You use this phrase a great deal and yet it does not seem to have much explanation. You mean simply because he had a desire for power? Yet do not most people desire power in some form? Why cannot Grima be good, and yet want power too?

I do make a lot of claims but they are not simply unfounded claims. They are from me reading of the text and the feeling I get from what I read and what I know of Tolkien and how the tale progresses. I am making judgements.

You have aceeded that your shy point is just an opinion. Very good; stop using it as proof for your theory. - Yes but Grima being shy links into this debate. It is a key point.

If a person does evil deeds, knowing that they are evil, then that person is evil. There is no two ways about it. Actions define the person. Intentions define the actions. Neither Grima’s intentions or actions were good, pure, or non-evil.  - Yet if a person is forced into comitting or helping with evil are they evil? You see Grima did of course know what he was doing was wrong. However I think we assign so much blame upon him and we do not truly focus on how bad Saruman was. How much of a role Saruman played. I think evil is a very strong word to bandy around and to use for Grima.

Nowhere do we see that Grima was "sick of doing evil deeds". You therefore can not use this in your argument. Unless, of course, you provide something textually based. - Does Grima seem like he is taking pleasure in these evil deeds? Does he seem to be happy? Does he seem to be gaining anything from it? The answer to those I would say is No, thus showing he seems to be sick of this evil he has got caught up in.

Where are your roots?  - My roots are as I have explained many many times in the text. Just because I have not given specific quotes that does not mean that these things I think have been plucked out of thin air!

Mirkwoodworker 28/Nov/2006 at 07:16 PM
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Grima had the hots for Eowyn. Morgoth had the hots for Luthien when she danced for him in Angband. There’s no love involved.
mighty ent man 29/Nov/2006 at 04:28 AM
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Mirkwoodworker - That is a very simplistic view to take on the issue. I agree Grima fancied Eowyn, but can we claim with what knowledge we have that there was not one drop of love there? I do not think so. Not yet anyway. I am leaning towards lust instead of love but I would not so simply dismiss the idea like you yourself do. Please elaborate on what you think for us.
KingODuckingham 29/Nov/2006 at 06:33 AM
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That is a very simplistic view to take on the issue It’s not necessarily a simplistic view, it was just stated simply, without any clear support. It would be good for the discussion if you would elaborate more, Mirkwoodwalker.

MEM: Why cannot Grima be good, and yet want power too? Because it is power that he does not deserve, and as Falv has said, this is the root of all evil that ever came into ME because of Melkor’s original pride. To an extent, therefore, Wormtongue is his own mini-Morgoth. Without quite the corruption, without the power or abilities, but he has the same tendencies and desires, evil ones.

I do make a lot of claims but they are not simply unfounded claims. They are not unfounded according to your reasoning method and presuppositions, but they are unfounded as far as textual evidence from the book. Yes, you have your interpretation, but the point is there is no quotes to help your interpretation.

Yet if a person is forced into comitting or helping with evil are they evil? Grima wasn’t forced into committing evil! If he was, we could no longer say it was corruption, but simple slavery, unwilling. Grima did what he did of his own free will and desires--or are you, as I suggested before, promoting some idea of mind-control by Saruman over Grima? One might just as well say (as I also suggested before) that Sauron was not evil because Morgoth corrupted him and was ’forced’ to do evil deeds.

Does Grima seem like he is taking pleasure in these evil deeds? Does he seem to be happy? Does he seem to be gaining anything from it? The answer to those I would say is No, thus showing he seems to be sick of this evil he has got caught up in. The answer only seems to be no after Saruman’s army and fortress is destroyed and both he and Grima are ruined. Of course he regrets his actions then! But that does not mean he repented of the evil, only that he wishes things had not gone wrong. If Saruman had won, he thinks, he could have had Eowyn and he never would have regretted his choice of masters. Just because you aren’t gaining anything from evil doesn’t mean one is not evil. Look at Gollum. What does he gain from lusting after the Ring? Nothing. But he does it nonetheless.

My roots are as I have explained many many times in the text. Just because I have not given specific quotes that does not mean that these things I think have been plucked out of thin air! No, I agree, they aren’t plucked out of thin air, but neither are they in the text.
Mirkwoodworker 30/Nov/2006 at 10:35 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by KingODuckingham on Wednesday, November 29, 2006
That is a very simplistic view to take on the issue It’s not necessarily a simplistic view, it was just stated simply, without any clear support. It would be good for the discussion if you would elaborate more, Mirkwoodwalker.


Clear support? Hmmm. I guess I didn’t want to give Grima the benefit of any doubts I have--although Theoden did at Orthanc and Frodo in Hobbiton. So they must have seen, or hoped to find, remnants of good within him. He served Saruman, but apparently preserved some self-respect. My judgment was a little too hasty. People are making good arguments here for Grima possibly loving and respecting Eowyn.
Falvlun 01/Dec/2006 at 12:36 PM
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Mighty Ent Man, Thanks, and I shall try to fill those fundamental gaps. This is starting to go somewhere, I feel.

What do you define as ’good’? I do not believe you have given me a good clarified definition of what a ’good’ character is. I really don’t see how this is relevant, but I am simply using Good in a general, nonspecific ordinary way-- What most people think when they think of good. I am using a specific definition for evil for two reasons: 1) Tolkien utilizes and describes the specific definition of evil within his mythos. 2) I am the one arguing that Grima is evil.

If you would like a more specific definition of good, then I leave it up to you, as the one arguing for the ’goodness’ of Grima.

What do you mean that Grima was ’prone to evil’? You use this phrase a great deal and yet it does not seem to have much explanation. I described it in my first paragraph: So, therefore, those beings who desire power (which is not rightfully theirs) can be said to be prone to evil. People are prone to evil if they are desiring power which is not rightfully theirs. Power, if it is power that you are supposed to weild, is fine. It is when people want more than their allotted power that they get into trouble. (Think Morgoth, Sauron, Denethor, Saruman, etc) Grima’s desire for power was perverted (he wanted power which was not his, and he was going about it in exactly the wrong way) and thus it was evil.

Here’s a quote about the Elvish Rings: "But they also enhanced the natural powers of a possessor-- thus approaching magic, a motive easily corruptible into evil, a lust for domination." (Letter 131).

I find it relevant to this discussion because it shows the direct correlation between unnatural power and evil.

I do make a lot of claims but they are not simply unfounded claims. They are from me reading of the text and the feeling I get from what I read and what I know of Tolkien and how the tale progresses. I am making judgements. Note that I support my argument with specific quotes from the texts, from Tolkien, and my knowledge of the entire mythology. If you are using these things, then by all means, use them. Show them to us. "Feelings" are not appropriate proofs in a debate. You keep saying that you have all this proof, yet I have never seen this textual support you claim to have.

I believe Kingo has sufficiently covered the rest.

Ohh, by the way, there is a debate in Basic Lore: The Nature of Evil I haven’t posted in there yet, but the original poster agrees with you, Mighty, that Grima should not be considered evil. We could switch this part of the debate to that thread, if you like, since we really aren’t discussing Eowyn and love anymore.

Thefourfingers 01/Dec/2006 at 01:49 PM
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Falvun - 

"Your one quote does not prove anything. It merely states that Once it was a man, and did you service in its fashion. Note the It! Whenever this pronoun is used to describe a person in literature its purpose is to emphasis the inhumanity of the person. Note the"its fasion". The service provided by Grima was not in accordance with Theoden’s wishes, but to the abilities and wishes of Grima. The entire way this quote is worded is to put Grima in a bad light, and not a good one. "

Actually you are wrong about the usage of "it" in this case.  Gandalf uses "it" because in the lines prior to that quotation (note that I am paraphrasing because I don’t have my books on hand) he refers to Grima as a snake, and continues to say that this snake is not safe to keep with you and not safe to leave behind. He goes on to say that "it" was not always as it is now.  So in this case the usage of  "it" is just proper grammar on the part of Gandalf, since he refered to Grima as a snake.  The labeling of Grima as a snake portrays him in a bad light far more than the usage of "it".

Falvlun 01/Dec/2006 at 02:02 PM
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Thefourfingers, Thanks for that clarification.
KingODuckingham 01/Dec/2006 at 02:17 PM
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But a snake is still inhuman, is it not? Good clarification, though, it reinforces the point.
As to the Nature of Evil thread, I have posted there already (beat ya to it! ) and it is currently focusing on Gollum, not Wormtongue as the matter of debate. Granted we could change the flow, but I don’t think we have said all there is to say on Gollum quite yet, and our discussion, while not on the original topic, does relate to it fairly directly.
mighty ent man 01/Dec/2006 at 03:14 PM
Ent Elder of Fangorn Points: 6964 Posts: 6236 Joined: 04/Nov/2003

Duckingham - It’s not necessarily a simplistic view, it was just stated simply, - I agree and I apologise to whoever it may concern as it is not a simple view, just stated in a simple fashion as you say.

I do not think that a desire for power is evil, it is the acting on that desire which turns something of a desire into something which could be classed as evil. However is someone to be classed as evil simply based on the actions? Or do we have to look into the core of the person?

I am less sure that you are as to how much enjoyment and involvment Grima had in his time with Saruman before his downfall. I would imagine it worked like this: Saruman gave Grima all the horrible jobs. Grima only remained in Saruman’s service because of the thought of Eowyn being his. Not because he enjoyed the deeds he was doing.

Falvlun I really don’t see how this is relevant, - I do! You use the word good and good person a lot in your post and thus I need to know what you view as a good person. Why is Grima not one? I need to know what Grima has to have to be a good person in your eyes.

Could you please provide the quotes Tolkien gives on Evil and his own definition. I would be grateful to read them and form my own judgements on the text.

I shall have to check out that thread! Thanks!

 

KingODuckingham 01/Dec/2006 at 04:05 PM
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I do not think that a desire for power is evil, it is the acting on that desire which turns something of a desire into something which could be classed as evil. I think my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I read these words. Can you be serious?   Do you agree with this statement then?

I do not think that a desire for someone is love, it is the acting on that desire which turns that desire into something which could be classed as love.

This is taking your sentence structure and returning it to our earlier debate about love. Can it be that you have changed your mind?!
Falvlun 01/Dec/2006 at 07:00 PM
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mighty ent man, I gave you my definition of Good, and placed the ball in your court; if you are unsatisfied with my answer, then go ahead and make something up.  

Ok, evil according to Tolkien:

"In my story I do not deal in Absolute Evil. I do not think there is such a thing, since that is Zero. I do not think that at any rate any ’rational being’ is wholly evil. Satan fell. In my myth Morgoth fell before Creation of the physical world. In my story Sauron represents as near an approach to the wholly evil will as is possible. He had gone the way of all tyrants: beginning well, at least on the level that while desiring to order all things according to his own wisdom he still at first considered the (economic) well-being of other inhabitants of the Earth. But he went further than human tyrants in pride and the lust for domination, being in origin an immortal (angelic) spirit." (Letter 182, my emphasis)

I’m using this passage in its entirety because it is the most comprehensive explanation of Tolkien’s ideas on Evil. Note that Sauron is the closest thing to absolute evil, so therefore, Sauron’s attributes can create clear standards as to what constitues evil. The two major attributes of Sauron we are given is pride and lust for domination. So, pride and lust for domination (desire for power) are evil.

"Sauron desired to be a God-King and was held to be this by his servants...* " Letter 181
* By triple treachery: 1) Because of his admiration of Strength he had become a follower of Morgoth and fell with him down into the depths of of evil... 2) When Morgoth was defeated by the Valar finally he forsook his allegiance; but out of fear only; he did not present himself to the Valar or sue for pardon... 3) ..... By the end of the Second Age he assumed the position of Morgoth’s representative (Footnote to previous statement)

Since Sauron is our standard of evil, here’s more information as to why he was so evil. On a much smaller scale we see this same sort of path followed by Grima. 1) He became a follower of Saruman, and went along with his evil schemes. 2) Grima never repents of his evil deeds, or asks for forgiveness. [I think... I don’t have the LotR books with me, so someone might want to check that for sure] 3) He was basically Saruman’s representative in Theoden’s court.

"The Enemy in successive forms is always ’naturally’ concerned with sheer domination..." (Letter 131)

What is the single binding factor between all of the Bad guys? They desire Power, want Power, aim to get Power. The worst sort of Power is the domination of minds. The evil guys are ’naturally’ concerned with domination, because what is considered evil is domination.

(power is an ominous and sinister word in all these tales, except as applied to the gods.) (Letter 131)

This one’s pretty self-explanatory.

The story is cast in terms of a good side, and a bad side..... moderated freedom with consent, against compulsion that has long lost any object save mere power... (Letter 144)

The good side is freedom. The bad side is domination of will with it’s object as more Power.

etc, etc. There have been much more coherent arguments explaining Tolkien’s ideas connecting Power and Evil; also, I’m sure KingoDuckingham could add a bit more. You can also find examples from within LotR.

mighty ent man 02/Dec/2006 at 02:26 AM
Ent Elder of Fangorn Points: 6964 Posts: 6236 Joined: 04/Nov/2003

Duckingham - So if I sit in my room desiring to become the King of England am I evil? Answer this.

No I have not changed my mind at all. Love is a specific emotion that can be felt but evil is not. Evil is often defined by the action.

Falvlun - but I am simply using Good in a general, nonspecific ordinary way-- What most people think when they think of good. I - You gave me no such definition of love. No clear definition at all there! Please be more specific.

So, pride and lust for domination (desire for power) are evil. - No. Pride and lust for domination are evil in the context of Sauron having them, this does not automatically mean it applies to any such pride or any smal amount of lust. This is making a fairly large assumption on the text here, one which I am not prepared to make until more quotes come to light.

Thanks for those quotes. They are very interesting but they do not seem to prove Grima is evil!

KingODuckingham 02/Dec/2006 at 08:03 AM
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This is making a fairly large assumption on the text here, one which I am not prepared to make until more quotes come to light. First of all, this is not a fairly large assumption, it is homologous reasoning. If the bigger of the two, then the lesser. Sauron’s and Grima’s paths have been shown to take similar directions, and if one is evil (Sauron) then the other is as well. Secondly, even if it was a fairly large assumption, it is not from the text, other than the original Letter from Tolkien himself describing Sauron’s road to evil. There really is no need for further quotes; do you believe Tolkien when he says something, or does it take two or three times? Unless of course you can somehow debunk the reasoning presented by Falv relating Sauron and Wormtongue.

Falv has asked you twice to define what you mean by good, since you are the one proposing that Grima is good. You have not answered. I am surprised, as this is your chance to define your terms. Please respond.

So if I sit in my room desiring to become the King of England am I evil? Of course not. And if you sit in your room desiring someone you are not loving either.
mighty ent man 02/Dec/2006 at 08:42 AM
Ent Elder of Fangorn Points: 6964 Posts: 6236 Joined: 04/Nov/2003

Sauron’s and Grima’s paths have been shown to take similar directions, and if one is evil (Sauron) then the other is as well. - No no no! Sauron went so far to the extreme that he is evil. Grima has gone nowhere near to the extreme that Sauron has. Thus simply directional thinking is not enough to show one being evil!

I do believe Tolkien when he tells us things, however does he say Grima is Evil?

What was the point of making the comment about desiring someone? I know desire for someone is not love. Love is Love!!!

To deinfe Good is difficult. I would say a Good person is someone with some Good qualities still in them, and regrets bad deeds. Someone to be Evil must be wholly bad, no chance of Good in them. There is a chance of Good in Grima I think just like Gollum.

 

 

KingODuckingham 02/Dec/2006 at 09:07 AM
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Someone to be Evil must be wholly bad, no chance of Good in them. There is a chance of Good in Grima I think just like Gollum. Incorrect, good sir. Did you not see the quote from the Letters Falv posted above?

In my story I do not deal in Absolute Evil. I do not think there is such a thing, since that is Zero. I do not think that at any rate any ’rational being’ is wholly evil.~Letter 182. So your definition of evil doesn’t work, because by your definition nobody in Middle Earth is evil, since even Sauron has some tiny spark.

As to the chance of Good in Grima/Gollum, I will find the quote (if I can) in the Letters where Tolkien says that at some point, Gollum is damned. His case is hopeless. After a certain point, whatever good might have been in him was overcome by the Ring and would never be able to return.
KingODuckingham 02/Dec/2006 at 09:04 PM
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Sorry for the double post, but Faldras found the quote for me (in the context of another thread):

Gollum was pitiable, but he ended in persistent wickedness, and the fact that this worked good was no credit to him. His marvellous courage and endurance, as great as Frodo and Sam’s or greater, being devoted to evil was portentous, but not honourable. I am afraid, whatever our beliefs, we have to face the fact that there are persons who yield to temptation, reject their chances of nobility or salvation, and appear to be ’damnable’. Their ’damnability’ is not measurable in the terms of the macrocosm (where it may work good). But we who are all ’in the same boat’ must not usurp the Judge. The domination of the Ring was much too strong for the mean soul of Sméagol. But he would have never had to endure it if he had not become a mean son of thief before it crossed his path.~Letter 181

If Gollum, then why not Grima?
samissupercool 03/Dec/2006 at 03:28 PM
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i can see the analagy but Wormtongue was never exposed to such a power as Gollum was with the Ring
i can understand that Gollum is now wholly evil, but what has happened to Wormtongue to make him absolutely evil, if such a thing is possible?
he may have been in contact with Saruman, but he is not as powerful as the Ring at corrupting people
so therefore i would say that Wormtongue is not evil, as he has not been in the same situation as Gollum and does not seem to have been "damned", which is shown in him pushing Saruman
KingODuckingham 03/Dec/2006 at 03:59 PM
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I would point out once again the difference between wholly evil and just plain evil. The quote I provided does not say that Gollum is wholly evil. In fact Falvlun provided a quote before that states that there is nobody in Tolkien’s world that is wholly evil. However, given that statement and the fact that he still calls Gollum evil, we can say it is the case for others, including Grima who is in a similar situation.

And are you sure you aren’t underestimating the power of Saruman’s corruption?

Suddenly another voice spoke, low and melodious, its very sound an enchantment. Those who listened unwarily to that voice could seldom report the words that they heard; and if they did, they wondered, for little power remained in them. Mostly they remembered only that it was a delight to heaer the voice speaking, and all that it said seemed wise and reasonable, and desire awoke in them by swift agreement to seem wise themselves...for those whom it conquered the spell endured when they were far away, and ever they heard that soft voice whispering and urging them.~The Voice of Saruman, TTT

That sort of power I find rather creepy, actually, and certainly on a level with the Ring’s corruption, and actually very similar. It gives the image of someone like Gollum, struggling with one part of their mind still left open to come back to good, but unable to overcome the powerful corruption that has taken over. The point is, the analogy is actually closer than you think, and the situations very similar.
Tenharien Calmcacil 03/Dec/2006 at 08:49 PM
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Grima, hmm. I believe well from what i can remember anyway, that he was corrupted of course, but i always wondered exactly how much he was corrupted by Sarumon. It seemed to me that Grima was someone who saw something(someone) he wanted and didnt neccesarily have what it took to get that and so he was weakened even further giving into sarumons power. I guess along the way he saw that he was wrong...or somethign lol.
Qtpie 03/Dec/2006 at 10:34 PM
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At least Gandalf suspected that Saruman promised Grima Eowyn and some treasures. This was probably what he saw .

’How long is it since Saruman bought you? What was the promised price? When all the men were dead, you were to pick your share of treasure, and take the woman you desire? The Two Towers: The King of the Golden Hall
mighty ent man 04/Dec/2006 at 04:21 AM
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Dukcingham - Did you not see the quote from the Letters Falv posted above? - I did indeed read the quotes from Tolkien’s letters. I read them with great interest. I saw that Tolkien does not believe in absolute Evil, as in zero amount of good. However I do not have to agree with him, I do not have to believe the same as he does. For me to be Evil you have to have so little good in you there is really not much chance of that good ever coming out, thus you are in essence bad. I understand that this differs from what Tolkien thinks of as evil. And I respect this.

So your definition of evil doesn’t work, because by your definition nobody in Middle Earth is evil, since even Sauron has some tiny spark.- My definition works. So does yours and so does Tolkien’s. You see I think Evil is a personal thing. Something that cannot be set in stone. It is something which the reader themselves can decide upon. We all know Grima was a bad person, but we differ on whether we see him as Evil. As you can see I have re-addressed my definition. Sauron does have good in him, but it is so far gone it will never re-surface.

As to the chance of Good in Grima/Gollum, I will find the quote (if I can) in the Letters where Tolkien says that at some point, Gollum is damned. His case is hopeless. After a certain point, whatever good might have been in him was overcome by the Ring and would never be able to return.- Gollum was about to redeem himself and save himself on the steps up to Mount Doom. However Sam interrupted this and thus made any hope of Gollum’s recovery vanish. Tolkien tells us this many times in the letters. Thus Gollum had a chance of good in him up until this point in the story.

Your point about Gollum to me is a bit moot as we know Gollum was about to show redemption on the slopes of Mount Doom. Thus if Gollum, then why not Grima showing redemption?

That quote you provide Duckingham in relation to Saruman shows to me how normal honest Men can be affected for a long time by his voice. Thus Grima could easily have been corrupted by Saruman. Laying less of he blame at his door.

 

 

Shunshuu 04/Dec/2006 at 10:00 AM
Herald of Imladris Points: 216 Posts: 26 Joined: 25/Nov/2006
Wormtoungue?hmmm...he’s an interesting character,like all the caracthers tolkien made because all are complex.after me he is an evil caracther,even he wasn’t born like this.i don’t think that he became evil after he saw eowin and he definitly didn’t love her.if he loved her he would let her go,i think that he was obsesed by her only because he couldn’t have her,like some other men caracther that tolkien made.he is evil but the argument that u say (saruman corrupted him)is just an excuse.the real reason that corrupt his heart,is desire desire for something that u can have,eowin in his case(in other cases desire of power and long life etc).maeby in the end he regreted but he was to late and i think that this obssesion(of having eowin) made him like gollum,and onestly i was terrifayed to see what desire can make from a human.a word say "the scop is excusing the way u can reace it" but isn’t good in all casez.
KingODuckingham 04/Dec/2006 at 10:21 AM
Grey Counsellor of Isengard Points: 15053 Posts: 15390 Joined: 27/Aug/2006
MEM: However I do not have to agree with him, I do not have to believe the same as he does. Actually, you do, quite frankly. Now in relation to the real world, of course, you don’t have to agree with him. But in relation to the world he created, you do have to accept his word. He says In my story I do not deal in Absolute Evil. Therefore for there to be any evil in his story, it cannot be absolute the way you would like it to be. You must change your views at least so far as to fit the paradigm of the story, if not in reality. Suspend your disbelief when you read LOTR. You are in Tolkien’s world, and you must follow his rules.

We all know Grima was a bad person, but we differ on whether we see him as Evil. What is that supposed to mean? What is your difference between bad and evil?

Your point about Gollum to me is a bit moot as we know Gollum was about to show redemption on the slopes of Mount Doom. Ah, but Tolkien addressed the limited nature of that redemption in his Letters as well. He described what would have happened if Sam had not spoiled the moment and Smeagol had prevailed. Here is the quote:

If [Sam] had [acted differently], what could then have happened? The course of the entry into Mordor and the struggle to reach Mount Doom would have been different, and so would the ending. The interest would have shifted to Gollum, I think, and the battle that would have gone on between his repentance and his new love on one side and the Ring. Though the love would have been strengthened daily it could not have wrested the mastery from the Ring.~Letter 246

Gollum would have been repentant, yes, but he would not have been redeemed. His wickedness had already doomed him. And of course, even if he could have fully repented, it would not change the fact that he was evil before, thus Grima could have repented and still be evil. I suggest you take a look at my thread The Prosecution Speaketh in this same forum for my thoughts on the difference between evil and Absolute Evil in Tolkien’s world.

No matter how persuasive the corruptor, it doesn’t take blame off the individual corrupted. The free will is not abolished, nor is responsibility.

Shunshuu:Welcome to the plaza, and glad to hear your thoughts on the discussion.   I’m glad to see you are mastering English, and you are doing well, I was able to understand you clearly.
KingODuckingham 04/Dec/2006 at 10:22 AM
Grey Counsellor of Isengard Points: 15053 Posts: 15390 Joined: 27/Aug/2006
by the way, the brackets and bolded in my letters quote is my emphasis/additions. The brackets were so I didn’t have to expand the quote to enormous proportions.
mighty ent man 06/Dec/2006 at 02:59 AM
Ent Elder of Fangorn Points: 6964 Posts: 6236 Joined: 04/Nov/2003

Duckingham - You are in Tolkien’s world, and you must follow his rules. - I agree that on many things we must do this. However this debate has taken such a personal turn that it is now simply almost impossbile to take an objective view on this. Tolkien would possibly classify Grima as Evil. I agree. Thus Grima could be Evil in ME as he fits in with Tolkien’s definitions of Evil. I however do not think he is Evil, as I am taking my own personal interpretation of the character and I am judging him myself.

A bad person is not always an Evil person. Bad is simply doing things which are not considered good. However evil as I have said before goes right into the core of your being.

Thus to some extent I feel a conclusion has now been reached.  

KingODuckingham 06/Dec/2006 at 07:02 AM
Grey Counsellor of Isengard Points: 15053 Posts: 15390 Joined: 27/Aug/2006
Thus to some extent I feel a conclusion has now been reached. Agreed. Though I do not feel the way you do about evil, I feel that topic a bit far off the scope of this thread, especially as there is a Basic Lore thread called "The Nature of Evil." Unless Falv or someone else wants to add their thoughts, I believe our work here is done. As always, a pleasure.
mighty ent man 06/Dec/2006 at 09:22 AM
Ent Elder of Fangorn Points: 6964 Posts: 6236 Joined: 04/Nov/2003

And I do not feel the same way as you about Evil, and there is nothing wrong with this. In fact it is perfectly natural for people to differ in their views on life and on the world. I shall have to check out the thread you cite as it seems as though my views might be of some use there.

A pleasure it was indeed debating with you!