LOTRO Players News Episode 84: The Best Aragorn

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This week we have Arathaert on to talk about the news and then debate about depictions of Aragorn in this week’s skirmish.

Game News

Update 15.2 Released

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LOTRO Players News

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LOTRO Video Highlights: Payback

LOTRO Players Adventures Episode 49

The Family Line Part 30

Brax’s pick(s) of the week: An Unexpected Knife in the Dark by Leilani st Just Lei

New Player Question

“I’m a new player – how do I play my class better?” – Arathaert

News Beyond LOTRO

The Kings of Gondor – Part 3

Skirmish of the Week

Topic: Which is the best depiction of Aragorn?

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Featured Comments

Barnabras left a comment on last week’s show:

“I have a few comments to make about the Skirmish segment. Previously I had thought that the books could never lose because they influenced both the movies and game. But after some consideration I think there is more of an argument. For instance I started to think about when I closed my eyes and thought of the subject, what version of ME did I envision. The Shire was a no brainer for the books because Tolkien wrote so much description. But Bree is trickier, Tolkien wrote more about the social aspects of the village but not allot of description. The movies didn’t highlight it very much, they didn’t even have Bill Ferny! I think the game really fills out the town. Now an area like Edoras is a no brainer to me as well. Again Tolkien doesn’t devote allot to the description of the city, and the game missed in my mind. But when I think of Edoras, and Rohan in general, I think of the movies. I think they really nailed the feel of Rohan. A fantastic area to look at would be Moria. All three spend a significant amount of time in the area. So to recap, Skirmish segment, not as easy as I thought.”

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12 comments

  1. Andang /

    I apologize to everyone for the audio quality this week. I spent 10+ hours editing, doing as much as I could but we had major Skype issues throughout the whole show so there are still some spots that are not great.
    That being said, everything should still make sense so at least there is that.

    Thanks for watching, listening and supporting LOTRO Players News!

  2. Peggy Basinger /

    I first found Andang searching youtube for videos on how to play quests instanced battles. These were consistently helpful and very fun to watch as he “acts” out his role and reads the game’s inserted instructions and comments in character. Although I have been playing since September 2008 I still have issues soloing more intense quests and his tutorials have been especially helpful.

    So imagine my delight when I discovered Andang to have a primary role in LOTRO Players. I already trusted him so tried to read this blog regularly and finally following it so as not to miss important features. Now I feel as if I know you all in real life having come across you here as well as fun with Frelorn on Thursday Twitch broadcasts. Because Aratheart was so kind to me there in chat, I checked out his Twitch broadcast and follow him. I congratulate his streaming abilities and whoever said today in LOTRO Players that watching and chatting on livestream is tantamount to dropping into the game when you can’t play yourself, nailed it. Now I want to watch other streams too as Aratheart just made it so enjoyable.

    I also have played Guild Wars 2 so am intrigued that you do what seems to be this same format for that game. I find GW2 much more difficult to play than LOTRO but have managed to level a ranger and an environmentalist to 80 at which time I found that the end game was not as compelling for my play style so only pop in occasionally these days.

    The one additional comment I would like to add regards today’s debate over Aragorn. I came to Tolkien from the books and still read them regularly. The movies have brought them to impactful life and disseminated Tolkien’s vision to millions who would never have come across it otherwise and done so with quality. I admit I have critiqued the movies with the perspective of “that is NOT lore!” But lately have come to see them with more of a “folk process” view. I studied folk guitar in my youth and always worried that when playing my previous lesson for my teacher that I never really knew the tunes to sing along as I had never come across them before so the tunes never really were what he had sung. But he, I think wisely, consoled me with an admonishment not to worry as that was the “folk process”. I only wish Christopher Tolkien felt that to be a valid perspective for his father’s world and allowed more of it to be shared in movies and games if done with responsible creativity as LOTRO has. Therefore I feel all the sides of the debate today were valid. No one view is “right” because once the words leave the pen of the author they become partly owned by the intended audience. And therefore open to interpretation.

    Thank you all for a most enjoyable broadcast today!

    Peggy aka Hendambar

  3. Lewis / Berenthalion /

    I wonder if I could put a question to Trish for the next episode? I really enjoy Tolkien, I have several of the Middle earth based books and want more. The way he has developed the cultures, languages and characters of so many individuals and races in this way is second to none. The imagination and creativity is staggering. However I’d like to ask Trish about a critique I have. Tolkien has stated that he doesn’t wish for his works to be seen as allegory, but so often comparisons can be drawn between the Valar or Ainu and christian religious constructs eg. seraphim and cherubim /angels. Himself Tolkien was very critical of allegory, do you think this is the one failing of his otherwise impressive imaginarium that is middle earth?

    It would seem a main theme throughout the texts to myself, not just the one true god, Eru, his angels the Valar and Melkor and sauron as the devil. But even extended to men or the faithful ones(edain and later Dunedain).

    My only gripe with Tolkien would be I find his lack of secularism disturbing, Gandalf even criticises one of the line of kings in Gondor for astronomy, even Gandalf….Sigh.

    • Why would a lack of secularism be disturbing? Would a lack of Judeo-Christian representation in another work (say, Harry Potter just for example) be similarly disturbing?

    • Barnabras /

      Tolkien was a extremely devote Catholic. His mother was very sick with two young kids(her husband having already died) and her family offered to take her in if she rejected her beliefs. She refused and when Tolkien was 12 she died and he was left in the care of his priest until he was 18. Tolkien has said that he intentionally did not include religion in ME (no priests, temples, etc) but the work itself is heavy influenced and has said that it is in essence a Catholic work. I don’t view this a positive or negative, that is just what it is. And it is awesome!

      • Lewis / Berenthalion /

        See below Barnabras, (replied via my phone which had saved different name) I merely Mis chose my words, and was only questioning his dislike of allegory and the similarities I was noticing in the lore. Rather a criticism of how he’s implemented the mythos of Middle Earth reilgion than his own beliefs.

        Do you think there’s too much similarity? He was so ground breaking in many ways, it just seems to stick out to me.Though I must say, I really enjoy The creation story, really poetic.

  4. It was an exaggeration Brax, no offense intended and Christianity was very much part of his life. But so much of the narrative appears to have a Christian allegory , it’s just seems a bit too much borrowing of ideas over his own vision. Which otherwise he demonstrates so well. I guess the question I wanted to portray was does it have too many similarities ? (or is it all in my mind?)

    • No problem, I think you worded the question much better the 2nd time around. I’m not an expert, but I am a writer (amateur, but writer nonetheless) and one piece of advice I’ve heard about writing is: write what you know. A few things Tolkien knew: language, war, fantasy, and his faith. We see these things emphasized throughout his works because they were familiar concepts to him.

      Yes, he was intensely imaginative, but without being a language expert I’d venture to say that even the creation of his languages probably borrowed extensively from pre-existing words and language structures, possibly even from ancient or dead languages. It’s just that most of us are not familiar enough with other languages to have noticed. I’m also told that he borrowed from Norse mythology, but not being familiar with that I would not have noticed those parallels, either. However, most of us *are* familiar with the basic concepts of a single deity-based religion, so those borrowed elements jump off the page at us.

      In other words, nothing is truly original, as Tolkien himself would admit. He was merely a sub-creator, re-arranging concepts that were already in existence and making something new and beautiful out of them.

      • Lewis / Berenthalion /

        Thanks for the reply Brax, i believe you’re right with the nordic routes to some of the languages, I’ve certainly heard that before. ( in my original post I think I was playing on Darth Vaders words to admiral Motti when he said I find your lack of faith disturbing – and it doesn’t apply terribly well in reverse here anyway).

        And I suppose the religious aspects he introduces were only posthumously printed in the silmarilion and in many parts unfinished and changed/revisted often. It may not have been how he intended the final version – we shall never know I guess even if Christopher did his best.

        Finally Harry Potter although another favourite fantasy novel series of mine, simply doesn’t have the breadth or depth that Tolkiens middle earth has, and as such the lack of any deity for the magical folks can be ignored. However Even if not mentioned in the text, I can definitely Imagine the Dursley’s needing to be at least seen in church for appearances sake! 🙂

      • Brax I think that is the best quick explanation I have heard on this. Also great question and great conversation.

  5. Mary Sexauer /

    Great episode! I’ve been listening for awhile, but had yet to comment. I wanted to put in my .02 on the Aragorn debate. Everyone had great viewpoints and that’s one of the things I love about Lotro players.

    First of all, you always have to respect what Tolkien has written and that really goes without saying.. But, when Aragorn comes to mind or while I re-read the books.. in my mind’s eye is Viggo. He is and always will be Aragorn for me. He was the perfect or as perfect as you could get embodiment of the character. He brought him to life for me, which is incredibly thrilling. Viggo, who was a late-comer to the movies, had to jump right in, learn to handle a sword convincingly, very quickly and did. He was one of the most, if not the most popular actor on set.. He is incredibly gracious and kind.. traits that I think show through in his performance. Just his face on camera, without any dialogue and you can see the pain and depth of emotion in his eyes.. I think you can see the wisdom, the self-doubt, the pride, in him and in his expressions. An incredibly complex character to undertake and I believe you couldn’t have found a better actor/performance than what we have with Viggo.
    One of the stunt women who rode Arwen’s horse fell in love with the stallion while working on the movies.. Viggo, without her knowing, bought the stallion outright and gifted him to her without any monetary recompense!
    A sweet, humble guy that really honored the character with his portrayal.

    I’ll always love these stories and marvel at the fact that this whole saga came from one person’s mind.. and anytime I think of Aragorn, I can’t help but think of Viggo.

  6. Kaleigh Starshine /

    Great show, everyone!

    Regarding Roving Training Dummies… 🙂 They remind me of going to the market intending only to fetch a few things but having to look down every aisle before finding them all.

    One of the greatest crises LOTRO faces currently is motivation. As Andang wrote regarding the decision to not increase the level cap this year, there is (or should be) a very real concern that a significant number of players will decide the new regions are simply not worth their time.

    Given that the resources to create content are at a low point currently, it would seem more important than ever to motivate players to engage in the content that is created,
    to not ‘waste’ resources on something that will not be used.

    This is the case currently with existing traditional group content, as Epic Battles have been incentivized to such a degree that perhaps 95% or more of the content in Lotro is languishing, largely unused.

    The Roving Threats continue this trend, unfortunately. I will not go into all the detail, but when one considers all the Marks, Medallions, Essences, Stars of Merit and so on one can earn from Epic Battles, one hour spent in the Battles is worth about 30 hours spent chasing the Roving Threats if the goal is obtaining a First Age weapon.

    Turbine seriously, seriously, seriously needs to better evaluate rewards and incentivization, with the goal of making the content they are able to produce more attractive.

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