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How Would REH Have Written Lord of the Rings


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#1 Orkin

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Posted 08 May 2003 - 04:46 PM

This was asked elsewhere of other authors, Hemingway, Raymond Chandler, et al, but what of Howard?

Surely we have fans astute enough to try a sample of LOTR as REH? :unsure:
? ?When I can not stand alone, it will be time to die,? he mumbled, through mashed lips. ?But I?d like a flagon of wine.?
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#2 Isaacson

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Posted 09 May 2003 - 02:59 PM

... Orkin Wrote :

>How Would Reh Have Written Lotr?

... And ...

>This was asked elsewhere of other authors, Hemingway, Raymond Chandler, et al, but what of Howard?

- Some folks must have a lot of spare time on their hands ???

#3 Orkin

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Posted 10 May 2003 - 09:14 PM

- Some folks must have a lot of spare time on their hands ???

:) So... know anyone who's hiring? ;)
? ?When I can not stand alone, it will be time to die,? he mumbled, through mashed lips. ?But I?d like a flagon of wine.?
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#4 Set

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Posted 11 May 2003 - 04:55 AM

He would have made it better.
Lotr is good but I like REH's stuff better.
It's a shame that when a sword/sorcery author is British that is work is considered literature, but if your just some hick from Cross Plains, Texas your work is only fit for comic books. Is it any wonder REH killed himself?

Another thing that cheeses me is the fact that Sprague and DeCamp dedicated Conan: the bucaneer to JRR Tolkien. Tolkien should have dedicated his **** to REH!
I'll show them why they cower in the dark. They'll learn why they fear the night.

#5 loonatik

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Posted 11 May 2003 - 02:34 PM

I don't think so,set.
Reh and
All fled--all done, so lift me on the pyre--
The Feast is over, and the lamps expire.

Robert E. Howard's last words



Look upon my Works,Ye Mighty,and Despair! - Ozymandias

#6 loonatik

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Posted 11 May 2003 - 02:41 PM

I'm sorry for the incomplete post.
Continuation:
I don't think so,set.Reh and JRR are equally good in their own ways.
Think of it this way: Jrr's work is only considered as literature whereas Conan spawned a Mega Franchise of Novels written by the best fantasy authors including Robert Jordan,Comics with the best talent available in the comics industry and many games.
All fled--all done, so lift me on the pyre--
The Feast is over, and the lamps expire.

Robert E. Howard's last words



Look upon my Works,Ye Mighty,and Despair! - Ozymandias

#7 Amra31

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Posted 31 May 2003 - 06:39 AM

Set
Have you ever read Toilkien? He has only influenced almost every writer in the business and many of their fantasy worlds. If you are a RPG game fan of any kind whether its D&D or ShadowRun or any other. you need to be thanking Mr. Toilkien because he single handledly defined all of the races and behaviors, ect that are used in these games and many writers books and worlds such as elves, dwarves, orcs, hobbits or haflings as they are called everywhere else. Whether it's sci-fi, fantasy, romance, drama, even childrens books Toilkien's creations are the foundation when creating characters of those races.

I think REH's work is the best but not even he did that. He created a character that has been carried foreward by others and that is great. but all he did was create a character that he focused on developing and few have had success imitating(in my opinion none). While Toilkien developed and defined a whole world of characters and races and well over half of the fantasy novels and worlds out there are base or influenced by his creations. That says a lot my friend. They are both great they just went different directions.

Also a hick is usually defined as someone slow and stupid from the country and REH was an extremely intelligent man who like to experience many things as you seem so passionate a fan it kind of makes no sense that you would insult the man. <_<
Honor above all

#8 Ironhand

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Posted 31 May 2003 - 10:22 AM

I don't think Set was trying to insult REH; I think his statement was meant to be ironic, pointing out what he thinks is some of the unfairness with which REH has been treated.
"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
http://www.scrollsof...d.us/index.html or at
http://www.delicious...ic=ConanProject

#9 alex

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Posted 03 June 2003 - 12:08 PM

Think of it this way: Jrr's work is only considered as literature whereas Conan spawned a Mega Franchise of Novels written by the best fantasy authors including Robert Jordan,Comics with the best talent available in the comics industry and many games.

Hi.

Tolkien fans are definitely having their cake and eating it too! The powerful and faithful way of Peter Jackson that the LOTR has received is remarkable. I see tons more Tolkien volumes at Barnes&Noble then any Howard. It's because they were made with sincerety and conviction. No "MO-MO's" in the movies like poor Conan.

I would trade all the superficial Conan spinoffs for one shot at playing Conan stories "straight". Man what I would give. It's a dream.
What do I know of cultured ways, the gilt, the craft and the lie?
I, who was born in a naked land and bred in the open sky.
The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs - I was a man before I was a king.

- "The Road of Kings"

#10 Orkin

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 05:06 PM

Recently I went to the bookstore and picked up the only two Howard books in stock (Bran Mac Morn and Cormac Mac Art) and placed them strategically in the Tolkien section. Little by little... :rolleyes:
? ?When I can not stand alone, it will be time to die,? he mumbled, through mashed lips. ?But I?d like a flagon of wine.?
- Rogues in the House

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#11 Kane

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 05:26 PM

Recently I went to the bookstore and picked up the only two Howard books in stock (Bran Mac Morn and Cormac Mac Art) and placed them strategically in the Tolkien section. Little by little... :rolleyes:

Knew there was a reason I liked you. :lol:
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And force upon Mankind the Freedom he fears--
And dead gods I will again defy?"

#12 Ironhand

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 05:35 PM

Recently I went to the bookstore and picked up the only two Howard books in stock (Bran Mac Morn and Cormac Mac Art) and placed them strategically in the Tolkien section. Little by little... :rolleyes:

You are evil. Way to go! ;)
"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
http://www.scrollsof...d.us/index.html or at
http://www.delicious...ic=ConanProject

#13 heartbreakkid19

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 12:33 AM

So Tolkien?s work is considered literature and Howard?s books are considered pulp fiction. Well I find it ironic that its so hard to get through a Tolkein book, I mean some parts you have to trudge through to get to some good stuff. Now this is not to say that its not an incredible work, it is, I love the LOTR trilogy. But I have never read a Howard book that I have wanted to put down.

And by the way Orkin, I like your style with the bookstores. You?re going to see the same things all over bookstores around Houston.

#14 scifiguy

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Posted 20 June 2003 - 07:19 AM

I hope this doesn't turn into a Tolkien/Howard flame war. Both are probably THE outstanding authors in their areas of style/expertise. While both authors dealt with sword & sorcery worlds, REH's Hyborian age stories are more like stepping into a post Roman world, where demons, monsters and sorcerers are occasionaly encounterd. JRRT's world is a fantasy land where humans are only a small part of the equation. In fact, aside from the LOTR books, humans are almost never mentioned in his novels of Middle Earth. With a stretch of the imagination, REH's world COULD have existed, while Tolkien's is a complete flight of fancy. REH's works reflect his times and locale, depression era Texas where it was a rough and hard on a man. Most people worked hard, played hard and lived hard. JRRT was from a softer, quieter, more refined academic backround (a college professor in England) and his works reflect it as well.<br> I read REH's Conan stories (as well as much of his other writting) AND the LOTR/Hobbit novels at about the same time... as a high school kid in the 60's. In fact, reading Tolkien got me hooked on fantasy and that led to my reading the Howard stories. So I guess I owe JRRT a debt of gratitude. If it weren't for him, I probably would have never read REH's works. I shudder to think what I would have been reading instead! :o

#15 heartbreakkid19

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Posted 22 June 2003 - 03:19 AM

I?m reading my last post and I realize I didn?t answer the question asked. I think that if Howard had written LOTR then the story would have focused on a single main character and their struggle rather then the struggles of an entire cast. One person would have done most of the work with some help form supporting figures. The one thing I do find similar in their writings is the human qualities of the hero?s, Conan is tough as hell but he still gets cut, he still bleeds, and is for all rights and purposes vulnerable. Much like the hero?s of LOTR, Aragorn is the classic rouge warrior yet he almost dies. In the end their all hero?s are doing what they must to survive and overcoming obstacles where other men have flattered, that is why we love them and that is why we will continue to discuss and tell their stories for ages to come.

B)

#16 scifiguy

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Posted 22 June 2003 - 08:40 AM

Good point about not answering the original question. REH centered his stories around a single character, who is normally of a dark and brooding nature, with a main antagonist and whatever supporting characters are needed to flesh out the story. He usually followed a single plot line from beginning to end with little deviation from the main character. Most of his stories also tend to be of a dark nature as well.

JRRT's novels, while often dark, have most indiviuals much lighter in character, often comical even, and are ensemble stories. In his novels, there are invariably several different stories going on at once, aside from the main storyline.

I think in looking at the LOTR trilogy, the closest to being Howard in nature is "The two Towers".

#17 CJH

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Posted 24 June 2003 - 08:04 AM

["While both authors dealt with sword & sorcery worlds, REH's Hyborian age stories are more like stepping into a post Roman world, where demons, monsters and sorcerers are occasionaly encounterd. JRRT's world is a fantasy land where humans are only a small part of the equation. In fact, aside from the LOTR books, humans are almost never mentioned in his novels of Middle Earth. With a stretch of the imagination, REH's world COULD have existed, while Tolkien's is a complete flight of fancy."]

I don't mean to contradict you scifiguy :unsure: , but from the research I've done on the different genres of fantasy, Tolkien's works are considered "High fantasy" due to his stories' setting in, as you put it, "a fantasy land where humans are only a small part of the equation." Howard's works are considered "Low Fantasy" due to the fact that, as you also put it "demons, monsters and sorcerers are occasionaly encounterd" and because "With a stretch of the imagination, REH's world COULD have existed." I have also seen Howard's works classified as "Dark Fantasy" due to their horror elements and also as "Sword and Sorcery."

It is these differences that would have influenced the way that Howard would have written Lord of the Rings. With Howard non-human races are rarely used and if they do appear they are evil characters, which Conan must overcome. So, if Howard had written The Lord of the Rings that we are all familiar with there would be no Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves, Ents...and the Orcs would be the only non-human race remaining. Similar to this is Howard's treatments of sorcerers. If my memeory serves me correctly, the only people who used magic in the Conan stories were evil characters. Therefore, if Howard wrote The Lord of the Rings Saruman could remain, but Gandalf could not.

With the Conan stories Howard's characters were almost entirely black or white. The villians were evil when the reader first learned about them and they were still evil when Conan defeated them. Because of that Howard wouldn't have had characters like Gollum who waivers between good :D and evil :angry: as he struggles with himself and his motivations, or like Saruman who is initially good but turns evil. The Balrog and Sauron are the most Howard-like villians in the Lord of the Rings, in that they are both ancient evils. Which, in the case of the Balrog laid dormant deep in the earth until awoken by the dwarves, or in the case of Sauron is an ancient evil which exists in the story as a formless entity waiting to be resurrected and returned to power.

In the case of Aragorn, Howard would not have allowed him to become king just because he was the heir to the throne. Similar to Howard's treatment of sorcerers, royalty is shown as being corrupt, naive or unfit to rule for one reason or another. When Conan became king of Aquilonia it was because he had earned it through battle and was chosen to rule. Aragorn is similar to Conan when he is living as Strider the Ranger, but the idea of titles and monarchies is too much like civilization to ever appear in a positive light in a Howard story. Lastly, if Howard had written The Lord of the Rings he mave have done it in the Bran Mak Morn mode where defeat at the hands of Sauron was only a matter of time and the heroes only fight on, because they refuse to surrender or to accept defeat.

#18 Ironhand

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Posted 24 June 2003 - 10:33 AM

Thanks, CJH. I've been watching this thread, and didn't have a handle on it until your interesting post. While agreeing with you, I will offer the following differences.

REH depicts three good "wizards" that I know of: a good sorceror in "The Scarlet Citadel", and a good priest and a good witch in "The Hour of the Dragon". So Gandalf would have been possible, but he might be less selfless and more self-serving than in JRRT's LOTR. Or he might be similar to the rural witch in HOTD.

Saruman, with his metamorphosis from good to evil, might have been depicted as a civilized wizard who is too weak to resist the call of evil.

If Conan had been in the story, he might have been the Ring-Bearer as well as the swashbuckling hero, relying on his barbaric willpower to resist the blandishments of the Ring. Finally he reaches Mt. Doom and hews his way through an army of Orcs to cast the Ring into the fires.

Aragorn might be depicted as a Royal Heir who leaves civilized society and spends years in the wilderness cleansing himself of civilized corruption and regaining contact with his "Inner Barbarian" thereby becoming worthy of the throne.

The semi-barbaric Rohirrim might play a larger role in the story.

I couldn't have thought of this by myself. Your ideas sparkle like diamonds and emeralds.
"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
http://www.scrollsof...d.us/index.html or at
http://www.delicious...ic=ConanProject

#19 Fearghus

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Posted 24 June 2003 - 02:01 PM

If REH had written LOTR it would have been grimmer, much more like the Silmarillion. The Dunedain would play a much larger role, being tempered and hardened during their years in exile.
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#20 scifiguy

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Posted 26 June 2003 - 07:42 PM

Actually, CJH, I see no disagreement between your comments and mine and agree with your entirely. I tried to keep mine more general and shorter for the sake of brevity, but the basic comparison is the same. REH kept his stories more "real world", with few non-human characters and set in locations that could be recognized/associated with actual historical locations. Conan, or whichever character was being written about, was the focus of the story with there being very few other "main" individuals besides the primary antagonist. In fact, there are times when the "antagonist" in an REH story isn't an individual but a group or something, such as the weather, putting Conan in some sort of peril. If REH had written LOTR, I think it would have been much darker (though it's pretty grim in many places as it is) and centered mainly on Frodo and his conflict with Saruman over the ring. Most of the side plots would be eliminated and there would have been far fewer supporting characters. Also, most of the non-human races, individuals and creatures would have been either eliminated or written as human. Finally, I think the overall LOTR saga would have been much shorter than the JRRT epoc we have now, mainly due to the elimination of many/most of the current characters and subplots.