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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 4:03 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 8:57 pm 
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Interesting interpretations. It seems many posters here feel that bachelorhood and presumed celibacy make Bilbo and Frodo special. To me it seems that it makes them expendable to the community.

Note that while Bilbo's been itching to leave for a while he doesn't do so until Frodo comes of age and therefore Bilbo is free of his duty to his ward. Note, too, that at the end Frodo doesn't travel West until Sam is well and truly rooted in his duties as a father and a mayor. The explanation he gives is not that Sam is not permitted to go West - it's that he owes his first duty to his family, children and community. Once Rosie is gone and his children grown, Sam, too, is free to go West.

Bilbo and Frodo break no ties, renege on no obligations, owe no one care and protection. Except the Shire. The whole story is about the Shire. As I've said elsewhere, Frodo's only concern is to save his Shire, and if he has to save the rest of the world to do so, well, the world got lucky this time.

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‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 9:03 pm 
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As I've said elsewhere, Frodo's only concern is to save his Shire, and if he has to save the rest of the world to do so, well, the world got lucky this time


I think it starts and ends with the Shire for Frodo, but that ultimately it's not enough--think about the conversation in Mordor with Sam, when he can't even remember the Shire. And yet he keeps moving.

I agree with all the notions concerning Bilbo and Frodo as bachelors, BTW. They are at once set apart, unfettered AND expendable. :D

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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 9:26 pm 
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axordil wrote:
I think it starts and ends with the Shire for Frodo, but that ultimately it's not enough--think about the conversation in Mordor with Sam, when he can't even remember the Shire. And yet he keeps moving.


It's true that the sensory memory of the Shire is lost to Frodo for a while, but he still thinks about the Shire. He doesn't forget the existence of the Shire, or it's importance.

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‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum


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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 9:33 pm 
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I think he does forget, ultimately, because I think that, along with all that is really him, is stripped away from him by the time he reaches the Sammath Naur.

One could make an argument, though, that part of the reason he ultimately succumbs is because the Shire, at that moment, no longer matters to him. Nothing does.

But we get ahead of ourselves. ;)

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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 9:54 pm 
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We do! :D And you make an interesting point, which I can't address without re-reading the relevant text.

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‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum


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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 10:00 pm 
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Last edited by Jnyusa on Sat Sep 06, 2008 3:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 3:28 pm 
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Frelga wrote:
I wonder if it's the same one I read! It was gorgeous, gorgeous translation that really did Tolkien justice. Even after reading the original many times over, there are some passages I still recall in Russian.

Yes, it must be the one! And vow - you read in Russian. :) While I'm glad I can now appreciate Tolkien in English, I'm still very grateful for that translation. And yes, some of the passages were genious.

Teremia - Ring as a Mega-Mathom is great metaphore! And Bilbo did try to get rid of it like he would get rid of a mathom - by giving it away on his birthday. I.e. he was trying to use his hobbit habits to steel himself, how moving. :)

Re: Frodo and Bilbo chastity, detachment and expendability. Knights comparison is an interesting one, but also let's not forget that the most moving stories in Arthuriana are of those who failed in their chasitity and did form attachments.
There is a little detail of Frodo getting the courage to go on the Quest also in hope to meet Bilbo. It speaks volumes about his attachment to Bilbo - how he wouldn't let himself to expect or demand anything from Bilbo but would still yearn for this connection. And then there's of course an attachment to Sam he forms on the Quest. But all those attachments are within their circle of Ringbearers, so to speak. They all go when they are free to go, in the end - Bilbo, Frodo, Sam. Still, even if they go, they still have this attachment to each other when they are free from everything else. It makes their stories that much more moving.


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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 1:28 pm 
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Incidentally, every member of the Fellowship is a bachelor. In fact all the active principals (Faramir, Éomer, Éowyn) are. The only exception I can think of is the very bit-part Imrahil.


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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 2:21 pm 
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Some of that may have been the kind of thinking we've been applying to Frodo and Bilbo; some of it was plot-related so the characters could be rewarded with marriage at the end; but some of it was probably just not wanting to bother. Women clutter things up so! :P

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 2:23 pm 
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Yeah, and all that oxygen will kill you in time too. :)

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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 2:31 pm 
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Feet off the doilies, Ax.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 2:41 pm 
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Sorry, thought they were fancy table rugs.

What, you don't have table rugs? :scratch:

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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 3:10 pm 
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Mens! :roll:

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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 3:22 pm 
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You should talk, you're rumpling the antimacassars.

I actually have sort of a point in going on like this—the fact that adventure stories of LotR's era also typically have a "boys' club" vibe, in which women are seen as fussy interlopers who get in the way of all the fun. :P

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 4:49 pm 
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Not Tolkien's women. Not Éowyn. There was a great bait and switch as Aragorn treats her as a typical fussy female, when it turns out she is to save the day. Not Arwen, who guided and inspired Aragorn. Not Galadriel, one of the most powerful creatures in ME. Not even Rosie.

True, only boys go adventuring, but honestly, is that unreasonable?

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‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum


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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 4:57 pm 
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No, Tolkien's women are definitely better than that. But he was still part of a storytelling tradition that he did not break from entirely, and the culture in which he lived and worked was imbued with it. His portrayal of Éowyn is astonishing for just that reason; I don't think it would have crossed, say, C. S. Lewis's mind for a moment to imagine that a woman, especially one of royal blood who lived in the equivalent of a palace, could possibly feel trapped in her role, or that she might long for the freedom men had.

And, I certainly believe that it is unreasonable for only boys to go adventuring. But this is a different century, I suppose. :P

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 6:27 pm 
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In the time portrayed, it was the boys who did the adventuring by convention. Most of the time the girls allowed themselves to be talked out of it. Most of the time. Éowyn was an anomaly.

Then again, so was Galadriel in her day. And Lúthien in her time. And Haleth. And from the dribbles Voronwë has allowed us here and there before his book comes out, it sounds like Tolkien intended many more of his female characters to have stronger roles than they ended up with. That said, none of his women were weaklings. Thrust into the shadows maybe, but not weak.

In general terms though, I see no reason why the boys should get to have all the adventures. Women seek adventures too. We always have, always will. It's a human thing.


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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 6:43 pm 
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I agree entirely about adventures. What I should have said was that is not unreasonable in the contexts of ME, contemporary literature AND real world that males are the ones chosen as part of elite squad sent on covert military mission.

Quote:
His portrayal of Éowyn is astonishing for just that reason; I don't think it would have crossed, say, C. S. Lewis's mind for a moment to imagine that a woman, especially one of royal blood who lived in the equivalent of a palace, could possibly feel trapped in her role, or that she might long for the freedom men had.



Prim, I agree. It amazes me how well Tolkien "got" Éowyn.

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‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum


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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 9:32 pm 
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Last edited by Jnyusa on Sat Sep 06, 2008 3:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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