Thursday, January 28, 2016

Tolkien and Spiders

It has been speculated over the years as to why Professor Tolkien included spiders such as Shelob and Ungoliant as one of his many forms of evil.
animal, silhouette, bokeh
Some have pointed to a childhood event in which he was bitten by a tarantula while living in South Africa.  However, Tolkien pointed out that he has no great fear of spiders and he would "remove them from the bath if I saw one" (Letters).

His son however, had an intense fear of the bugs and I think it is most likely that--since he was writing his stories for his children in the first place--he put them in there to frighten his children (good-naturedly, of course) and as his children grew, so did his stories.

There is another thing about spiders I find intriguing.  First off, they are subcreators.  They spin their webs thereby making their own craft.  One thing about most evil in Tolkien is that it often starts off with these subcreative desires but they want to make things for themselves so that they can rule over them.  Think of Feanor who was originally a good subcreator but who became overprideful and refused the sight of the Silmarils to anyone, or think about Morgoth who--while not exactly a subcreator--perverted the good into things he could rule over.  These spiders being naturally subcreators is very interesting.

Something to note about Ungoliant's passing is that she "spun her own web" so to speak.  She ended up consuming all the light around her to "belch forth darkness" and in consuming it all, was starved.  Eventually she consumed herself.  This just goes to show you that evil is naturally self-destructive.

Okay, another note.  I was able to post this before I embarked on my vacation travels, so this doesn't mean for sure I will be able to post this weekend.   We shall see.  Have a great day!

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