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Thread: Middle Earth and Tolkien Questions (The books)

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    Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo What Exit?'s avatar
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    Default Middle Earth and Tolkien Questions (The books)

    If you have a question on the books, I will try to answer it for you.

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    Radagast
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    Who did Radagast work for?

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    Quote Originally posted by Radagast View post
    Who did Radagast work for?
    Radagast was one of the 5 Wizards who were sent by the Valar (a high order of Angelic beings) to aid those fighting Sauron in Middle-Earth.

    In Valinor he was known as Aiwendil. He was one of the Maia (a lesser order of Angelic beings) that was among the people of Yavanna. Yavanna was the Valar of nature.

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    So, what was the cause of the bad blood between dwarves and elves in the 3rd Age? I know about the whole mess with the Simaril-necklace in Beleriand, but the two races were clearly pretty buddy-buddy when the doors to Khazad-Dum were carved. What happened after that to make the cranky again by the time of The Hobbit and LOTR?

    I have read the books a few times, and I just can't find/remember it.

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    Quote Originally posted by Orual View post
    So, what was the cause of the bad blood between dwarves and elves in the 3rd Age? I know about the whole mess with the Simaril-necklace in Beleriand, but the two races were clearly pretty buddy-buddy when the doors to Khazad-Dum were carved. What happened after that to make the cranky again by the time of The Hobbit and LOTR?

    I have read the books a few times, and I just can't find/remember it.
    Well both Elves and Dwarves have long memories. The blood feud dating back to the Simarils was part of it. The fact that their were some early memories of Elves hunting Dwarves or at least false rumors from Melkor of said. The fact that those Dwarves not of Durin's folk occasionally sided with Melkor or Sauron. Finally for most elves outside of Hollin, they never were friends or trusting of the Dwarves, only the Noldo understood the Dwarves and the Sindar and Silven never actually did.

    Take King Thranduil for example, he is believed to have probably been an Elf of Beleriand or at least the son of an Elf of Beleriand and so would never forgot the betrayal of the Dwarves. Celeborn blamed the Khazad of Moria for disturbing the Balrog and he also had a memory of the earlier Dwarven betrayals. Elrond on the other hand knew the Dwarves of both Moria and Ered Luin better and did not have the ancient hatred or mistrust as most of the other Elves did. Many of his people were refugees of Hollin and knew the honor and ways of the Dwarves.

    But mainly it was just ancient grudges and stubbornness.

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    Quote Originally posted by What Exit? View post
    Noldo understood the Dwarves and the Sindar and Silven never actually did.
    It's Noldor, not Noldo (Noldo is, in the final version, a name for the tengwa "19"). The "proper" name for SilvAn "elves" is Avari.

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    Quote Originally posted by Unregistered View post
    It's Noldor, not Noldo (Noldo is, in the final version, a name for the tengwa "19"). The "proper" name for SilvAn "elves" is Avari.
    Not a question, but you are absolutely correct about Noldo. A Noldo is a single Noldor Elf. Silven and Silvan should be interchangeable in this case. Avari is the more proper name of course as you mentioned.

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    Elephant Feirefiz's avatar
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    I was under the impression that Silvan was typically used for Elves of Nandorin origin, distinct from the Avari who don't appear much at all.

    Do I have to revise my Elven taxonomy?

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    Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo What Exit?'s avatar
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    OK, this calls for more detail than I going into in my answer to Orual as it was not important for that question.

    The Avari were those that never started the journey West at the call of the Valar.

    The Silvan were technically a group of Teleri that gave up the journey while still east of the Misty Mountains and settled in the woods on either side of the Anduin. This would include the Wood Elves of Mirkwood and the original inhabitants of Lórien.

    The Nandor was a group of those Teleri that chose to head south down the Anduin. Some ventured north west and made it to Beleriand and were known as the Laiquendi or Green Elves.

    The Sindar or Grey Elves were the Teleri that stays behind to find their lost lord Elwë better known as Thingol and those Ossë persuaded to remain behind. The latter group mostly ended up under the rule of Círdan the Shipwright.

    Those that made it Aman were known as the Falmari and were known for their great ships.

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    Oliphaunt
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    I had a question about the Elves that used to live in the area known as Hollin. I don't have the books in front of me so I'm going on memory here.

    When the Fellowship passes through Hollin Legolas mentions that the Elves that used to live there were strangers to he and his kin that lived East of the mountains.

    Yet I have heard it suggested (stated?) that some refugees from Hollin ended up in Rivendell, and that presumably among them were the smiths who forged Narsil into Anduril. Legolas has just come from Rivendell, knowing how much Elves liked to talk and sing I would think he would at least know if some of the population of Rivendell used to live in the land they were passing through. Heck, Gandalf and even Aragorn should know as well.

    What do you think?

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    Quote Originally posted by Laughing Lagomorph View post
    I had a question about the Elves that used to live in the area known as Hollin. I don't have the books in front of me so I'm going on memory here.

    When the Fellowship passes through Hollin Legolas mentions that the Elves that used to live there were strangers to he and his kin that lived East of the mountains.

    Yet I have heard it suggested (stated?) that some refugees from Hollin ended up in Rivendell, and that presumably among them were the smiths who forged Narsil into Anduril. Legolas has just come from Rivendell, knowing how much Elves liked to talk and sing I would think he would at least know if some of the population of Rivendell used to live in the land they were passing through. Heck, Gandalf and even Aragorn should know as well.

    What do you think?
    I remember that passage fairly well and had a slightly different reading of it. Legolas was aware that is was Noldorians that use to live in it. Gandalf did know it and even mentioned:
    We have reached the borders of the country that Men call Hollin; many Elves lived here in happier days, when Eregion was its
    name.
    I feel Legolas just meant that the Elves of Hollin were not his folk.
    But the Elves of this land were of a race strange to us of the silvan folk, and the trees and the grass do not now remember them
    Of course while the Elves of Mirkwood were Silvan, Legolas himself was at least half Sindarin. Thranduil and his father were not born in Mirkwood.

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    So then I guess my question would be were there still former residents of Hollin (Noldorian or whatever) living in Rivendell at the time the Fellowship left?

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    Quote Originally posted by Laughing Lagomorph View post
    So then I guess my question would be were there still former residents of Hollin (Noldorian or whatever) living in Rivendell at the time the Fellowship left?
    I would very much think so but it is never really said. I would suspect many of the Elves of Rivendell once dwelt in Hollin.

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    Wanna cuddle? RabbitMage's avatar
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    What Exit? I'm a terrible nerd. I fully intend to actually read these books someday, but beyond what was in the movies I know nothing about my namesake Samwise. What can you tell me?

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    Samwise was the one common man. He was the simplest and most humblest major character in the books. He was a gardener, his father was a gardener and his entire family was fairly simple, poorly educated lower class Hobbits. He was book learned thanks to Bilbo and Frodo but nothing indicated he was anything extraordinary unless it be his love for stories of Elves and his desire to meet them.

    Save for Aragorn, his was also the greatest rise. He went from a humble and poor servant to Mayor and founder of one of the most important Hobbit families. Samwise was a bit older than Merry and Pippin but younger than Frodo. He was 38 when they left the Shire. Merry was 36 and Pippin was only 28. Meriadoc was the Eldest son of the leader of the Master of Buckland and Pippin was the Eldest son of the Thain, the nominal head of the Shire though in practice the Shire was lead by the Mayor.

    Samwise was true and loyal and never wavered. The Ring failed to seduce him and he willingly gave it up. He was a most remarkable Hobbit. He rescued Frodo from the great Guard Tower of Cirith Ungol and gave Shelob a wound like she had never experienced, though Shelob largely did that herself. He had a passion for old stories and could recite several on demand and sang with a fair voice. He enjoyed his pints of Ale when he could get them and was more typically Hobbit stout when they set out from the Shire.

    Tolkien used Samwise to show peasant common sense, determination and wonder.

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    I knew I picked the right Hobbit. Thanks!

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    Quote Originally posted by What Exit? View post
    ...He was the simplest and most humblest major character in the books. He was a gardener, his father was a gardener and his entire family was fairly simple, poorly educated lower class Hobbits....
    The fact that Sam was from the working class while Frodo, Pippin, and Merry were from the upper class eluded me when I read the books as a kid. It seems obvious to me now but not as a 13 year old. Didn't read enough Dickens I guess.

    .... Meriadoc was the Eldest son of the leader of the Master of Buckland and Pippin was the Eldest son of the Thain, the nominal head of the Shire ....
    These two tidbits (which I also didn't get the first couple of times I read the books) help explain why almost all the hobbits were ready to follow these two plus Frodo and Sam during the Scouring of the Shire chapter.

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    I think Tolkien intended Frodo and Sam to have a relationship like an army officer and his batman.

    So Frodo takes the Ring because he is expected to show leadership and Sam takes it out of loyalty.
    My motto is "Never apologise, never explain."

    Sorry, I should say that I got that from Colin Hoult...

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    Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo What Exit?'s avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by glee View post
    I think Tolkien intended Frodo and Sam to have a relationship like an army officer and his batman.

    So Frodo takes the Ring because he is expected to show leadership and Sam takes it out of loyalty.
    That is an excellent point Glee. Most scholars feel the relationship was heavily influenced by Tolkien's WWI experience.

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    I had a know-it-all friend who always liked to pontificate on the books and "educate" those around him. He claimed that each race in the Lord of the Rings signified a country in WWII. He claimed the elves were the Americans, whom Tolkien greatly admired.

    This sounds like a bunch of BS to me, but was there any truth to that?

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    Quote Originally posted by Unregistered View post
    I had a know-it-all friend who always liked to pontificate on the books and "educate" those around him. He claimed that each race in the Lord of the Rings signified a country in WWII. He claimed the elves were the Americans, whom Tolkien greatly admired.

    This sounds like a bunch of BS to me, but was there any truth to that?
    Actually it is complete untrue. It has no basis in reality and Tolkien was barely influenced by WWII but was influenced by WWI.

    The Dwarves were somewhat Jewish stereotype; actually they were an odd Jewish/Norse mix of influence.

    The Elves were inspired by many sources but largely Norse and Celtic and Medieval sources of inspiration with a strong dash of Finnish folklore.

    The Hobbits were just appealing little men for a children's audience. They invaded his larger myths if you will and were not originally part of it. You even see this in the statements that History did not record the doing of the Hobbits until they arrived in Bree.

    The Orcs/Goblins and trolls were fairly generic bogeymen of legends and faerie stories.

    The Dúnedain were to some degree supposed to be the best of men that made up the backbone of the brave English People but nothing too specific.

    The Woses were inspired by some obscure tales (woodwoses) and many think perhaps the descriptions of the Neanderthals. Tolkien never said enough on this that I have found.

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    Oliphaunt The Original An Gadaí's avatar
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    Very general question from someone who just ain't a fan.
    What do you think accounts for the immense and continuing success of these books over the years? There are various other popular books but there are very few that garner the amount of devotion that Tolkien's have, especially amongst heavy internet users.

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    Quote Originally posted by An Gadaí View post
    Very general question from someone who just ain't a fan.
    What do you think accounts for the immense and continuing success of these books over the years? There are various other popular books but there are very few that garner the amount of devotion that Tolkien's have, especially amongst heavy internet users.
    Well this is strictly opinion and this will only be partial.

    Modern Fantasy's popularity is all derived from Tolkien and the huge popularity it achieved in the 60s and even the way it inspired D&D which inspired most of the popular computer fantasy games which all inspired yet more fantasy.

    The reason it has not been relegated to the status of Frankenstein, War of the Worlds or Dracula is that the story is much deeper and the world created is still the world with the most depth. You get not only the epic tale but also the back history and creation of the world. You get detailed maps. You get the archetypes of so much that is fantasy.

    It offers something for nearly anyone that loves fantasy.

    Gandalf along with Merlin are the standards for Wizards and Mentors.

    Frodo is both the brave hero that seems overwhelmed but also the hero that actually fails which is rare in fantasy. It was only his mercy that won the war in a strange and unexpected way and a way that was not Deus Ex Machina (though Tolkien has plenty of that too, just not for the victory.)

    Aragorn was the standard hero and the seemingly lowly one that was really the heir to being the One True King. Again something that is a core of the fantasy genre. He also had the ancient relic of a sword with a great name and story. Aragorn was also wise and skilled and not just a Conan type. His knowledge was great and he was a healer. All rangers are based on him. Many Kings in exiles are too.

    For those that liked Conan or John Carter we have Boromir who did his own Roland like stand. He also came to realize that his own hopes were to be dashed by Aragorn who he respected greatly but also was resentful of. His ambitions and hopes drove a clearly brave man to foolishness and yet in the end he gained redemption.

    Gimli is perhaps the first brave, sturdy, resilient Dwarf in Fantasy. None of the 13 from the Hobbit really had his depth and in the old stories and tales they were rarely good and often evil and devious. Gimli is even more than Gandalf for Wizards the basis of all later Dwarves and yet deeper than most. He grew beyond himself as he traveled. He showed much growth and where Dwarves most often are fairly simple warriors, true, sturdy and greedy, Gimli went beyond these in his Romantic appreciation for beauty. Be it Aglarond (the Glittering Caves) or Galadriel.

    Legolas is perhaps the standard Elven Archer, remote and above it all. A little haughty but with good humor and capable of feats that no human could match. We learn the least about Legolas I believe and he stays largely a mystery. Appropriate for one that was by far the eldest in the party save for Gandalf.

    Samwise is the everyman character, the peasant, the loyal servant and steady in all cases. He too grew and grew a lot as I mentioned above.

    Meriadoc is young but resourceful. He was the mastermind that ensured Frodo's journey was prepared for. He was the one that studied the maps in Rivendell. He was the small brave soul that could overcome the great fear that felled most tall brave warriors and delivered the unexpected blow to the Witch King. He was a good sub for the child hero.

    Pippin, well Pippin was mostly comic relief. Which never hurts.

    The enemies were those that seemed most old in many ways. The spectral figures of the Dark Riders, The Nazgul were things of ancient nightmares. Sauron was the overwhelming but remote evil. The Ring is like many other cursed items in legends, really a mix of many. Saruman was a good foe. A wise fool that betrayed those he should have helped. The orcs of course were prototypical enemy monsters. Enough like humans to shows us ourselves at our darkest. The odd thing is why I say they are prototypical, not much like them actually precede Tolkien. We than had our fill of trolls, truly giant spiders, the thoughts of dragons and so much that ties to our oldest fears and stories.

    The entire story had a lot of depth to it. The maps, the languages, alphabets and runes, the songs of different style, the varying people and even the varying orcs, there was always the presence of history, both recent and ancient. Few books have ever achieved the layers that Tolkien did in the Lord of the Rings.

    Basically in one grand project and in very many drafts and refinements, Tolkien wrote the book that launched Fantasy and at the same time created the benchmark for it that has yet to be truly matched.

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    Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo What Exit?'s avatar
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    Hey, any new questions? I reread my post above and I rather like it.

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    Member Elendil's Heir's avatar
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    Just noticed this thread. I like what you wrote, too. A pretty good overview.

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    I failed to mention that the Professor also quietly took care to ensure his dates worked to precision and when he mentioned the Moon, he always had it timed correctly in its phases. His attention to detail was amazing.

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    Quote Originally posted by What Exit? View post
    Basically in one grand project and in very many drafts and refinements, Tolkien wrote the book that launched Fantasy and at the same time created the benchmark for it that has yet to be truly matched.
    What's interesting to me is that even though they are very different worlds, I can see a similar approach to myth between Tolkien's Middle Earth and C.S. Lewis's Narnia.

    Was this simply because they were friends and so had similar outlooks, or do you know of an influence shared between the two? I never liked Narnia much, but I recognize that it's definitely a step away from the childish fantasy and fairy tales that had been popular before. I always found it interesting that those two friends created worlds that used elements of "fairy stories", but as the backdrop for epics.

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    Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo What Exit?'s avatar
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    I'm not a huge fan of Narnia myself but I do know that C.S. Lewis was influenced in some small ways by his friend. Overall though, I think they both saw no reason why fantasy was only for kids.

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    Quote Originally posted by What Exit? View post
    I failed to mention that the Professor also quietly took care to ensure his dates worked to precision and when he mentioned the Moon, he always had it timed correctly in its phases. His attention to detail was amazing.
    Except for one bad continuity error in The Hobbit. A handful of days after Durin's Day - a new moon - Bard shoots Smaug shortly after moonrise; but in the moon's first quarter it would be rising in full daylight, only a few hours after sunrise. A painting used as cover art in some editions showed Smaug being slain and the full moon in the picture corrected to a crescent along with a marginal comment from the author; but the correction isn't reflected in the text.

    (Near enough to D&D for one post, I guess.)
    Librarians rule, Oook

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    That's an intriguingly odd mistake, if he was so meticulous elsewhere. I wonder why it wasn't corrected?

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    Quote Originally posted by Malacandra View post
    Quote Originally posted by What Exit? View post
    I failed to mention that the Professor also quietly took care to ensure his dates worked to precision and when he mentioned the Moon, he always had it timed correctly in its phases. His attention to detail was amazing.
    Except for one bad continuity error in The Hobbit. A handful of days after Durin's Day - a new moon - Bard shoots Smaug shortly after moonrise; but in the moon's first quarter it would be rising in full daylight, only a few hours after sunrise. A painting used as cover art in some editions showed Smaug being slain and the full moon in the picture corrected to a crescent along with a marginal comment from the author; but the correction isn't reflected in the text.

    (Near enough to D&D for one post, I guess.)
    Quote Originally posted by Peeta Mellark View post
    That's an intriguingly odd mistake, if he was so meticulous elsewhere. I wonder why it wasn't corrected?
    He did not pay as much attention to detail in the Hobbit. The Hobbit in fact was not originally written as part of his Legends that went on to be the Silmarillion although he borrowed from these legends.

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    Oliphaunt Rube E. Tewesday's avatar
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    I'm reading the book to my son, first time I've re-read it in a long time. And for the first time I'm thinking: Man, why did it take Gandalf decades to figure out the Bilbo had the One Ring? Gandalf always defers to Saruman as the Ring expert, but Gandalf actually was packing a Ring of this own the whole time, unlike Saruman -- he knew something about the subject.

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    Probably Bilbo's own resistance to it fooled even Gandalf for a while. Any man and almost every Elf that came across the One Ring would have fallen to it. Its power was insidious and by all accounts swift. But Sauron did not reckon for Hobbits. Bilbo in particular was an excellent candidate even among Hobbits. He had no real ambitions for the Ring to play on.

    So it probably seemed impossible to Gandalf that this apparently minor ring was the One Ring.

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    Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo What Exit?'s avatar
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    Here is a pic of the very pub that the Inklings met at.

    On Lewis being influenced by Tolkien, I forgot to mention that Lewis rediscovering of his Christianity was credited to Tolkien and Ransom of the Space Trilogy was partially based on the Good Professor.

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    Member Elendil's Heir's avatar
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    There's also a tweedy Oxford linguistics professor in Ken Follett's WW2 spy thriller Eye of the Needle that I always thought might've been loosely based on Tolkien, although I've never read anything elsewhere to suggest it.

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    Lewis had some Ent-Like beings didn't he?

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    Quote Originally posted by What Exit? View post
    Lewis had some Ent-Like beings didn't he?
    I'd forgotten them, but apparently yeah, there were talking trees in Narnia.

    http://www.thetolkienforum.com/archi...p/t-17157.html

    Of course, there was every damn thing in Narnia.

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    Thanks to the most popular books thread, I just learned about a common influence between Tolkien and Lewis, the novel She. It takes place in a "lost world" that's still clearly grown from this one, but the intricate creation of a new myth and history is there. This essay touches on some of the influences on and from it.

    And the essay's list of works cited has reminded me I need to replace my copy of The Tolkien Reader.
    So now they are just dirt-covered English people in fur pelts with credit cards.

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    Oliphaunt The Original An Gadaí's avatar
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    Ah, so you hadn't heard of She either?

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    I think I might have heard some vague references to it before, but honestly with a name like that it would be hard to remember. I was surprised to see it on the list, too.
    So now they are just dirt-covered English people in fur pelts with credit cards.

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    Ursula Andress starred in the movie of "She", did she not?

    Haggard's books are very run of the mill "boys' own " adventure stories.

    And C. S. Lewis is a pious, crashing bore.
    Sophmoric Existentialist

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    Quote Originally posted by vison View post
    Ursula Andress starred in the movie of "She", did she not?

    ...
    She did indeed. That is all I remember about that movie.

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