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The power of stories

DrZoidberg

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Joseph Campbell dealt with this material decades ago.

Joseph Campbell is hardly the final word on this. He wanted to prove monomyths. Universal human stories. But all he did was to see the world through a Christian/Western/European lens and crowbarred every story he ever came across into that tradition. No matter if it fit or not. Later writers and researchers have obliterated Campbell's monomyth theory. Joseph Campbell today is only interesting as a tool for authors to get inspiration. But his theories should be ignored.

And the article I posted proves Campbell wrong IMHO. Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are pretty much interchangeable as far as moral teachings go. Both are stories of "the anointed one" rising, being perfect, and taking their God given heritage. Like Jesus.

The fact that Harry Potter and LOTR ended up on different sides in the Evangelical hate project, is random, cool and interesting IMHO.
 

Jimmy Higgins

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Complaints about Potter had to do with the magic everyone practiced, the 'black arts' in the real world. The woke-right hate that shit. That wasn't in Lord of the Rings, there were just a few magical people in a fantasy Middle-Earth, so it isn't random.
 

funinspace

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Yeah, that was a weird thing about dissing Harry Potter. I remember that being a big issue, as I was walking away from the inanity of faith in Christianity. It wasn't a 100% across evangelicals, but it was a pissy subject.
https://www.polygon.com/lord-of-the...11-christian-evangelical-protest-harry-potter

Here's a Christian minister talking about the difference between Lord of the rings and Harry Potter.

No, I can't follow the logic either. I think it's a Christian thing.

But it does underline the power of stories. And how we can use them to create meaning and identify friends and enemies

If you follow one of the links in your article, from here:
In a 2001 interview, the right-wing polemicist Richard Abanes claimed that Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings exemplifies so-called biblical values

To here, the interview: I think these 2 points are the main points of their 'logic'. In a sense, it is ironic in that these evangelical Christians essentially also believe in this Harry Potter type of 'magic' and fear its power...aka Satan, their Boogieman will come after their children. Part of their odd issue with Harry Potter is that it is too close to their version of reality.
https://www1.cbn.com/books/harry-potter-harmless-christian-novel-or-doorway-to-the-occult
If you go to The Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings what you see in, story magic and imagination, it is not real. You can’t replicate it. But if you go to something like Harry Potter, you can find references to astrology, clairvoyance, and numerology. It takes seconds to go into a bookstore or library and get books on that and start investigating it, researching it, and doing it. In fact, that’s why real Wiccans, real witches, and real occultists are using the popularity of Harry Potter to lure kids toward real world occultism. They actually have advertisements for their own books that use Harry Potter as their appeal.
<snip>
We also have moral relativism in her books, meaning if it feels good do it, as opposed to a biblical kind of morality that is throughout the Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings. We see issues in those two series such as forgiveness, repentance, sacrifice, and these types of things.
 

ideologyhunter

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Let us not forget 1999, when all 300# of Rev. Falwell got energized on the theme of "Tinky Wink is gay!!" To which a spokesman for Itsy Bitsy Entertainment commented, "He's not gay. He's not straight. He's just a character in a children's series." Those poor Christians, continually confusing fiction with reality.
 

Keith&Co.

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Those poor Christians, continually confusing fiction with reality.
also confused about the reality of stories.
Jack Chick's comic about how horrible Harry Potter's books are includes two witches describing the Tarot cards and Ouija boards they started using because they're in the books.
Except, they're not used in the books.
 

steve_bank

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https://www.polygon.com/lord-of-the...11-christian-evangelical-protest-harry-potter

Here's a Christian minister talking about the difference between Lord of the rings and Harry Potter.

No, I can't follow the logic either. I think it's a Christian thing.

But it does underline the power of stories. And how we can use them to create meaning and identify friends and enemies

Tolkien was converted to Christianity by CS Lewis.

Some think LOTR was partly based on Tokien's experience inhe trenches in WWI, the ghastly barbaric battles in the stories. Hobbits were English peasants and the looming threat across the water was Germany.

From his bio he was steeped in myths and stories of Europe. LOTR was probably a synthesis of many stories.

As to the power of a story, New Zealanders complained about tourists wandering the countryside in costume. If you are wondering how Christianity arose around the gospel narrative just look at LOTR or Star Trek for that matter. People quote lines from both like scripture.

Over here on PBS BBC for some reason British period dramas are very popular. Then there is a fascination with the royals.

When I was a kid in the 50s the supernatural was part of culture. We played with Ouija boards. It was in the movies.

The modern supernatural movie are really remkes in a general sense of 30s-50s movies.

Spiritual and occultism in the USA goes back at least to the 19th century. A little known fact was that Ben Franklin went around debunking it.

As to gullibility I believe Houdini was once charged with witchcraft in Europe because his illusions were so good for the tmes that some bivved it was real magic.

It is not hard to imagine how the supernatural Jesus tale began and took root.
 

Bomb#20

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And the article I posted proves Campbell wrong IMHO. Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are pretty much interchangeable as far as moral teachings go. Both are stories of "the anointed one" rising, being perfect, and taking their God given heritage. Like Jesus.
Frodo was perfect? I don't want to post any spoilers here, but, seriously?
 

Politesse

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I fear no spoilers. Frodo ultimately fails in his quest and is saved purely by happenstance (occasioned but not directly determined by a previous act of mercy on his part). Also, Harry Potter is a whiny jock whose personal failings nearly result in the destruction of the Wizarding World several times, ultimately needing others to save him rather than the other way around, and the story ends with very few of the world's problems actually being solved. Both Rowling and Tolkien wrote fairly pessimistic visions of the world, in which hope can only be found at the very fringes of a sea of darkness but must be seized on despite this to prevent everything good from being lost.
 

DrZoidberg

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And the article I posted proves Campbell wrong IMHO. Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are pretty much interchangeable as far as moral teachings go. Both are stories of "the anointed one" rising, being perfect, and taking their God given heritage. Like Jesus.
Frodo was perfect? I don't want to post any spoilers here, but, seriously?

Yes. Morally perfect. Like Jesus "father, why have you forsaken me".

The Jesus figure in Tolkien is Aragorn
 

steve_bank

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They are just stories.

Lucas said is inspirations for Star Was was the Saturday cowboy serials he grew up with and the VN war.

Little people battling the technical military superior Empire. SW is just a cowboy western set in the future.

Chewbacca is the native sidekick for the cowboy. The morally grey cowboy Solo in the end chooses morality and gets the girl. Bang bang shoot em up with blasters instead of six guns. A stock formulaic plot.

In an interview Rodenberry said ST initialy was about a red blooded male Kirk roaming the galaxy in search of a piece of ass, his words.

The idea that there is a morality beyond simplistic good vs evil in Harry Potter or LOTR is a bit silly.

Strider the reluctant hero who in the end does the right thing and gets the girl, wehre have we seen this before?. LOTR is simple escapist action adventure. Good guys and bad guys clearly marked.

What I took away from Cambel was that all myths and stories are the same human themes in different cultural forms.

Isn't there a saying that in fiction there is only 3 or 4 basic plots?
 

WAB

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https://www.polygon.com/lord-of-the...11-christian-evangelical-protest-harry-potter

Here's a Christian minister talking about the difference between Lord of the rings and Harry Potter.

No, I can't follow the logic either. I think it's a Christian thing.

But it does underline the power of stories. And how we can use them to create meaning and identify friends and enemies

Tolkien was converted to Christianity by CS Lewis...

I believe you have that backwards. It was Tolkien who influenced Lewis's conversion.

(Also, Star Wars wasn't set in the future, but in the distant past... :whisper: (sorry for nitpicking...I know what you meant.)

***

Two more things: I think Sam was the true hero of LOTR. Without Sammy, Frodo would've been toast. And note, besides Aragorn, Sam also gets the girl!

Last: The OP gives me a chance to drop one of my favorite quotes:


“The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.” - the poet Muriel Rukeyser.
 
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Politesse

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And the article I posted proves Campbell wrong IMHO. Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are pretty much interchangeable as far as moral teachings go. Both are stories of "the anointed one" rising, being perfect, and taking their God given heritage. Like Jesus.
Frodo was perfect? I don't want to post any spoilers here, but, seriously?

Yes. Morally perfect. Like Jesus "father, why have you forsaken me".

The Jesus figure in Tolkien is Aragorn

Have you even read the books you're talking about? How is Aragorn a dying and rising king?
 

WAB

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Yes. Morally perfect. Like Jesus "father, why have you forsaken me".

The Jesus figure in Tolkien is Aragorn

Have you even read the books you're talking about? How is Aragorn a dying and rising king?

Right.

Tolkien insisted unto the end that LOTR was NOT an allegory. But naturally, people will look for parallels and connections, and of course there will be some.

I think you summed it up best:

Both Rowling and Tolkien wrote fairly pessimistic visions of the world, in which hope can only be found at the very fringes of a sea of darkness but must be seized on despite this to prevent everything good from being lost.
 

DrZoidberg

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They are just stories.

Lucas said is inspirations for Star Was was the Saturday cowboy serials he grew up with and the VN war.

Little people battling the technical military superior Empire. SW is just a cowboy western set in the future.

Chewbacca is the native sidekick for the cowboy. The morally grey cowboy Solo in the end chooses morality and gets the girl. Bang bang shoot em up with blasters instead of six guns. A stock formulaic plot.

In an interview Rodenberry said ST initialy was about a red blooded male Kirk roaming the galaxy in search of a piece of ass, his words.

The idea that there is a morality beyond simplistic good vs evil in Harry Potter or LOTR is a bit silly.

Strider the reluctant hero who in the end does the right thing and gets the girl, wehre have we seen this before?. LOTR is simple escapist action adventure. Good guys and bad guys clearly marked.

What I took away from Cambel was that all myths and stories are the same human themes in different cultural forms.

Isn't there a saying that in fiction there is only 3 or 4 basic plots?

Are you thinking about that any story is either "A stranger comes to town" or "a heroes journey".

So basically, every story starts with an equilibrium. Either something external comes and disturbs that peace or the protagonist leaves the peace and the story is about how the peace returns. But when it does it has changed somehow.

Yes, human psychology is in many ways universal. But the critique against Campbell is that he overlaid explicitly Christian themes onto non-Christian stories and tried forcing them into the Christian pattern. The engine of stories are always the search of ideal states. Those ideal states, for any society, are always a bit beyond of what any normal human can achieve. They're fantasies. And as such these can vary a lot between cultures. Being able to rape and pillage your enemies was a virtue in ancient Greece and Egypt. But would horrify later Christians, and our own society. In the Illiad, the hero Odysseus tosses down Hector's infant son (Scamandrius) from a tall tower with little remorse. He does it, seemingly, just for fun or just to be an asshole. This is a man that supposedly encompasses every desirable trait a man can have. He's supposed to be the archetypical hero.
 

Bomb#20

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Isn't there a saying that in fiction there is only 3 or 4 basic plots?
Heinlein said there were three plots:

Boy meets girl.

The brave little tailor.

The man who learned he was wrong.​

(ETA: Luke was a brave little tailor; Han met Leia and learned he was wrong.)
 

Bomb#20

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In the Illiad, the hero Odysseus tosses down Hector's infant son (Scamandrius) from a tall tower with little remorse. He does it, seemingly, just for fun or just to be an asshole. This is a man that supposedly encompasses every desirable trait a man can have. He's supposed to be the archetypical hero.
Odysseus isn't the hero in the Iliad. Achilles is the hero.
 

Keith&Co.

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Isn't there a saying that in fiction there is only 3 or 4 basic plots?
Depending on who you ask, there's 3 to 7 basic plots. Depends on where you draw the line.

Mrs. Burton said 'Man vs. Monster' was one and 'Man vs. Self' was another and i asked about 'Jekyll and Hyde.' Hyde is the Monster, but he's MADE of Self, so would that be both plots or an 8th plot? Which brings up the Star Trek 'evil twin Kirk' episode, where the self is the monster. In fact, half the evil twin plots out there are monster=self conflicts, aren't they? Clones and not-quite-faithful copies and personality splits and Mirror universe switches and...

I don't recall that she ever actually answered the question. Weird.
 

DrZoidberg

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In the Illiad, the hero Odysseus tosses down Hector's infant son (Scamandrius) from a tall tower with little remorse. He does it, seemingly, just for fun or just to be an asshole. This is a man that supposedly encompasses every desirable trait a man can have. He's supposed to be the archetypical hero.
Odysseus isn't the hero in the Iliad. Achilles is the hero.

Yes, he is. Achilles is also a hero. The Illiad has many heroes. In the Illiad, any major character is a larger than life hero, worthy of admiration of all humans. The Illiad is partly an etiology trying to explain why Greece is so awesome. All the fighters in the Trojan war, of both sides, are the founders of, pretty much, all royal houses of Europe. Because they're so damn heroic.

https://uh.edu/~cldue/texts/introductiontohomer.html
 

atrib

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And the article I posted proves Campbell wrong IMHO. Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are pretty much interchangeable as far as moral teachings go. Both are stories of "the anointed one" rising, being perfect, and taking their God given heritage. Like Jesus.
Frodo was perfect? I don't want to post any spoilers here, but, seriously?

Yes. Morally perfect. Like Jesus "father, why have you forsaken me".

The Jesus figure in Tolkien is Aragorn

Aragorn is nothing like Jesus. Have you read the LOTR?
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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https://www.polygon.com/lord-of-the...11-christian-evangelical-protest-harry-potter

Here's a Christian minister talking about the difference between Lord of the rings and Harry Potter.

No, I can't follow the logic either. I think it's a Christian thing.

But it does underline the power of stories. And how we can use them to create meaning and identify friends and enemies

Religion is mostly ritualism seems to me. Telling and retelling stories is just part of the larger ritual. The religion, the larger ritual, is itself a kind of meditation, strengthening and self healing typically done at the group level. We all do those things. What distinguishes most of religion from other rituals is the incorporation of woo. I can take regular walks in my orchard, observe the natural world, marvel at life's variety, etc., and forget the woo entirely. But if I start singing songs and making offerings to the great woo then I'm being religious in the typical sense.

And who really gives a fuck what an evangelical thinks about the differences between Tolkein and Potter in terms of woo value?
 

atrib

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And the article I posted proves Campbell wrong IMHO. Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are pretty much interchangeable as far as moral teachings go. Both are stories of "the anointed one" rising, being perfect, and taking their God given heritage. Like Jesus.

I can't speak for Harry Potter as I have only read the books once several decades ago, but the story of the LOTR is nothing like the Jesus story. Nobody is "anointed", nobody is perfect - they are just regular people upon whom a great responsibility has been cast. And they succeed in the end because they work with one another to get things done.
 
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