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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 2:35 pm 
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I'm going to wait another day or two, and if the discussion remains flat I'll move on to the next chapter. I know there is at least one person who has expressed an interest in weighing in on this chapter and I'd like wait for her contribution, but it's not fair to everyone else to delay indefinitely. Of course, even if we move on to the next chapter in a new thread, there is no reason why people can't continue to contribute to this thread.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:56 pm 
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"... advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and all courses may run ill."

It struck me that wisdom is of use when one plan is foreseeably better than another, but how often it is true that all courses may run ill, and do run ill. And those who advised are the ones who are blamed for it, however careful their warnings may have been.


When there is not clear plan, it is even more important to have good people involved. That's why it's so important to have Frodo be the ringbearer --- that was the best plan of all. And also to have Aragorn waiting at the inn later. And Tom Bombadil, but this is not even remotely part of any plan. So much of it must be done on the fly.

As for the future of this thread, I fear there is not much else to say after the Thains have so brilliantly spoken. ;)


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:02 am 
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Thanks, Faramond. Praise from the praiseworthy!

At this point, I will invite anyone who feels moved to do so to open a new thread for the next chapter (which we will then sticky). Remember it's not necessary to do a whole summary of the chapter to begin the thread; this is a very open discussion. If no one else does it before I have the time and inspiriation to do it, I will. But I am still hoping that anyone who has more to say about this chapter will speak up (particularly one person in particular). And if the discussion picks back up here before the new thread starts, we can always wait a little longer. But I don't think it is fair to wait indefinitely.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 4:16 am 
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Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:
Yes, the real question is why did he leave the fox in? It seems to difficult to believe that it was simply an oversight.


So I was thinking about the fox...

It is clear that the animals do communicate with humans in LOTR. Eagles speak, of course. So do wargs in The Hobbit (which is, too, canon :P ) So do Mirkwood spiders. Shelob doesn't talk to Frodo, but then I don't talk to my plums either. Gollum communicates with her, apparently. Shadowfax seems to understand Gandalf, although that might be a product of his wizardhood. Radagast passes messages to birds.

Why not a fox? :spin:

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‘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.’
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 4:53 am 
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Shadowfax may have somehow inherited the trait from Eorl's horse, Felarof, who 'could understand the speech of Men.' (which language? ;) )

Do the wolves in The Hobbit actually speak? Although, in LR, Gandalf certainly addresses the alpha Warg as if it could understand him.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 5:40 am 
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Looked it up. The wargs speak their own language, which Gandalf understands but Bilbo doesn't. They also communicate with the goblins.

Oh, and I forgot the thrush and the raven. That's all The Hobbit, but Saruman uses crows in LOTR (or is it just the movie? Rabbi from Dublin! =:) ). Anyway, I remember Gandalf saying that some birds and animals are enemy agents.

I'm leaving Beorn's animals out of this, they creep me out. :D

In short, sentient animals are not that rare in Middle-earth.

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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: Fri Jul 18, 2008 5:43 am 
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[Note: This is one of several threads from which Jnyusa removed some or all of her posts. We regret that the integrity of these discussions has been disrupted in this way. While we support the right of our members to edit their posts if they have second thoughts about them, we believe this type of wholesale removal of posts goes beyond that, and is damaging to the community.

Voronwë_the_Faithful, Primula Baggins, Whistler, nerdanel]


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 6:02 am 
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Or Oliphaunts that carry pooper scoopers for their partner walking in front of them.

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2. We have many ways using technology to be in touch, yet the larger question is are we really connected or are we simply more in touch? There is a difference.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 6:24 am 
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According to Tolkien's time-schemes, Sauron learned of events in Moria by way of bird-messengers. Although I suppose they could carry written messages like carrier pigeons- assuming Orcs can write!

But that wouldn't be the case with Saruman's crebain. I guess we'll have to assume that sentience of some sort is not uncommon, but actual communication is confined to certain 'special' persons: Maiar, the Heir of Girion, Beren, perhaps some Elves.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 7:07 am 
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Jn, :rofl:

Soli, I think it is not so much a "special" person, than that animals have their own languages and only those who studied them can communicate.

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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 Jul 20, 2008 11:18 pm 
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Well, I quite like the fox. :) But its inclusion, I think, adds to the perception that in the first chapters of LOTR we're just biding our time, treading water if you will, before hitting the rapids of this great river of a tale.

There are many, it seems, who love LOTR with great passion and who will read it times beyond count, and yet they will skip the opening chapters of the book – some entering into the tale at the House of Bombadil (although others recoil at the very thought of that place ;) ), some at the moment Strider’s gaze falls upon Frodo at the Prancing Pony, some even at Elrond convening the great council at Rivendell. For them, there is a certain point that marks when the story “really gets going” and that is where they now begin. For years and years, it was just so for me. After two “beginning to end” reads (my very first, followed immediately after Sam’s return to Bag End by a second, more leisurely savouring of the tale), I too forsook the first chapters and would instead begin at the moment the hobbits realize that a dark, long-shanked stranger has followed them into their room at the inn. Strider, after all, was just so……well…..kewl 8) . But then, something changed. I don’t exactly know why, but something began to feel “not quite right” about neglecting what is, after all, a substantial portion of the tale.

I’m so glad I quite literally forced myself to begin at the beginning again (something I have done ever since that quiet epiphany some years ago). Doing so has helped me better appreciate how well Tolkien crafted his story – how careful and precise he was at building its foundations, how masterful he was at weaving the complex, interlacing designs that make up the fabric of the tale right from the very start. The chapter’s title, “Three is Company”, seems like a rather light-hearted tag, but if in the previous chapter we heard about ominous shadows leaning towards Frodo and the Shire from out of the past, it is in this chapter that we actually begin to see those shadows take shape. From now on, the juxtaposition of shadow and light will be an important and recurring motif.

Shadows. They are ever-present in this chapter, but in the beginning, it’s a little difficult to “see” them, except perhaps, from out of the corner of our eye. In part, that’s because the easy-going camaraderie of the hobbits is such an important layer that Tolkien establishes here – an absolutely essential element of the greater tale. We’ve never actually seen any real interaction between hobbits, save for the “overheard” pub conversations that serve more as setting and back story devices, but now we begin to see how their relationships work, and the personalities of Frodo, Sam, and Pippin start to take on real form and function. These relationships, after all, will remain a kind of “safe haven” for us throughout the entire story. We are on the threshold of being swept up in the vast workings of the most powerful forces of Middle-earth, both the high and noble, and the low and corrupt, but the hobbits will always remain our point of reference, and will reflect our own wonder and fear, delight and repulsion at the events we will witness at their side. It’s imperative, of course, that we establish some roots before we leave the Shire, but Tolkien, I think, is also doing more here. The normalcy of Sam indulging in one last gulp of beer, of Pippin poking fun at Frodo’s state of fitness, of Frodo leaving the “washing up” to Lobelia as his last parting shot (that line actually makes me smile, Voronwë!) may seem altogether trivial compared to what we know is coming, but it is precisely this normality which helps highlight the subtle edge of tension that Tolkien quietly begins to build through the question that is continually poking and prodding away at Frodo……where is Gandalf?

Tolkien handles this mystery deftly, interspersing light-hearted banter and the mundane preparations of moving with the uneasy thoughts that weigh on Frodo’s mind. We’ve all been in a similar situation, I’d venture. Waiting for the familiar sound of a car pulling into the driveway, of a door opening, of a voice calling out a greeting, all the while carrying out our regular routines - outwardly showing little sign of anxiety, but inwardly becoming more and more concerned. Waiting, wondering, worrying; trying to allay shadows of doubt that are vague and formless, yet increasingly unnerving. Where is Gandalf? It’s in this chapter that Tolkien throws this puzzle into a scattering of pieces that can be found here and there all the way to Rivendell, finally to be reassembled for us by Gandalf himself.

I love the purposeful déjà vu of Frodo’s departure from Bag End. Like Bilbo, he leaves under a canopy of stars, and the lines that describe his path are like an echo from the past:

He jumped over a low place in the hedge at the bottom, and took to the meadows, passing into the night like a rustle of wind in the grass.

They jumped over the low place in the hedge at the bottom and took to the fields, passing into the darkness like a rustle in the grasses.


You know, if I were to find two sentences like that written by most authors, I’d assume it was just a careless slip on their part (not to mention their editors!), but not Tolkien. Instead, the repetition serves to remind me that LOTR often reads like the recorded words of some great and ancient oral saga. There are times when I actually feel as though I’m listening to the tale rather than reading it. Repetitions, alliterations, songs, chants and poetry – even Tolkien’s tendency to write short, clipped sentences in an almost staccato fashion to denote urgency and speed in contrast to his long, meandering passages that feel like the written equivalent of standing still before a sweeping view – all these techniques serve to make the narrative something of a “soundscape” for me, although that particular description doesn’t capture what I really mean. Like so many feelings I have towards Tolkien’s works, it is a reaction that quite simply eludes my ability to define it with real precision. Ah well.

Shadows. If there are any beings in Middle-earth that are shadows personified, they are the Black Riders. Tolkien reveals them to us in glimpses, mindfully building feelings of dread at their presence, like some memory of childhood nightmares, like the darker shade of black that lurked under the bed or waited silently behind the closet door. The crawling, hissing, snuffling creatures introduced in this chapter were deliciously creepy the first time I read the book, and have somehow remained so over the years. They can still send chills of repulsion up my spine, they are that iconic as forces of menace and fear. And once again, Tolkien sparingly, bit by bit, offers us a view into Frodo’s compulsion to put on the Ring, his thoughts twisted into deceptive rationality:

He felt that he had only to slip it on, and then he would be safe. The advice of Gandalf seemed absurd. Bilbo had used the Ring. ‘And I am still in the Shire,’ he thought…

The second appearance of a Black Rider (a nice touch on Tolkien’s part not to let us in on whether or not there’s more than one of these strangely vile creatures haunting the roads of the Shire), is more urgently menacing than the first. The shadow of its presence deepens as it draws closer:

It looked like the black shade of a horse led by a smaller black shadow. The black shadow stood close to the point where they had left the path, and it swayed from side to side. Frodo thought he heard the sound of snuffling. The shadow bent to the ground, and then began to crawl towards him.

And then, suddenly and remarkably, the shadows are shaken off by a song of starlight. Black is replaced by white – “Snow-white”. :love:

Like Sam, this was my very first encounter with the “Fair Folk”. The tra-la-la-ing Elves of “The Hobbit” were unknown to me, and so the approach of Gildor and his company was all the more memorable – and magical.

They passed slowly, and the hobbits could see the starlight glimmering on their hair and in their eyes. They bore no lights, yet as they walked a shimmer, like the light of the moon above the rim of the hills before it rises, seemed to fall about their feet.

It’s interesting to me that this description now conjures similar images to that of Lúthien, luminous under the stars, a “mist of silver” about her feet as she dances in the woods of Neldoreth, but long before I could make that comparison, this lovely yet noticeably vague introduction still resonated with a powerful “other worldliness” that immediately made me sit up and take notice and somehow form an image of these beings. I wonder why. There’s not one word spent on any other physical description of Gildor and his folk, other than a reference to the “tall” Elves on either side of Pippin (which I remember clearly, struck me like a bolt from the blue…… “tall”?…. “tall Elves”? ). I think that likely, it was the moment I saw these mysterious, ethereal beings passing “like shadows and faint lights”, singing of the stars and praising the one who created them, that I just gave myself over to the workings of Middle-earth: it was like I had always anticipated meeting them without even knowing it.

And Elvish! :love: Frodo’s greeting to Gildor would be the first of many passages that I would try to “hear” in my own fumbling attempts at pronunciation. It’s funny, but the words always looked more beautiful to my eye than they sounded to my ear. I pored over “Appendix E”, intent on “getting it right”, and did to a rather limited extent, succeed, but it was the Elvish dialogue in the films that finally allowed me to get a tangible feel for the lovely cadence of the language. Even as Gildor talks to Frodo in the “Westron” one can notice a subtle shift to something more formal and “high” sounding. I have always been in awe of Tolkien’s ability to create such clearly differing voices for his characters, somehow reflecting the variety of cultural and linguistic roots that influence their use of the Common Speech.

Some years ago, when I first read “The Hobbit” (which was aloud, to my daughter), I was immediately struck with the similarities between the elusive “feasting fires” of the Mirkwood Elves and the scene that unfolds above Woodhall.

Then by some shift of airs all the mist was drawn away like a veil, and there leaned up, as he climbed over the rim of the world, the Swordsman of the Sky, Menelvagor with his shining belt. The Elves all burst into song. Suddenly under the trees a fire sprang up with a red light.
‘Come!’ the Elves called to the hobbits. ‘Come! Now is the time for speech and merriment!’


As I’ve read LOTR more analytically in order to participate in these kinds of discussions, I have become increasingly struck by the mysterious, yet potent power of the Elves to conjure tangible images from song, such as Frodo’s visions in the Hall of Fire, or Aragorn’s initial thoughts on first meeting Arwen:

…And suddenly, even as he sang he saw a maiden walking on a greensward among the white stems of the birches; and he halted amazed, thinking that he had strayed into a dream, or else he had received the gift of the Elf-minstrels, who can make the things of which they sing appear before the eyes of those who listen.

But this fire and feast that Gildor’s people create seems something more than “appearing before the eyes”, although that idea by itself is extremely intriguing in its connections of language-memory-space-time (the “Songs of Power” battle between Sauron and Finrod in the Sil definitely comes to mind!). The scene above Woodhall, however, goes beyond “vision” to touch and taste and smell. Surely there is some kind of “magic” at work here - the kind that Tolkien reveals in places like Wellinghall and Lothlórien and the House of Bombadil – but…how does it work? In two of his Letters, while not answering that particular question, Tolkien does make an attempt to explain the idea of ‘magia’ in LOTR

Tolkien in Letter #131 wrote:
I have not used ‘magic’ consistently, and indeed the Elven-queen Galadriel is obliged to remonstrate with the Hobbits on their confused used of the word both for the devices and operations of the Enemy, and for those of the Elves. I have not, because there is not a word for the latter (since all human stories have suffered the same confusion). But the Elves are there (in my tales) to demonstrate the difference. Their ‘magic’ is Art, delivered from many of its human limitations: more effortless, more quick, more complete (product, and vision in unflawed correspondence).



Tolkien in Letter #155 wrote:
The basic motive for magia – quite apart from any philosophic consideration of how it would work – is immediacy: speed, reduction of labour, and reduction also to a minimum (or vanishing point) of the gap between the idea or desire and the result or effect.


I love this idea! The ability to create “the thing” from “the thought” apparently in an instant if so desired. But it's such a big, and ultimately unfathomable idea, like so much of the subcreative lore that Tolkien constructed for the Eldar (and other immortals). I’m actually very glad he didn’t try to explain “how it worked” – he probably would have lost me (and my suspension of disbelief) if he did! As I said long ago in the Bombadil thread, with magic, not knowing how it’s done is what makes it real.

As the chapter draws to a close, the shadows begin to crowd in on us again. Sitting beneath “torches with lights of gold and silver” (so reminiscent of the lights of the Two Trees), Frodo voices his anxiety over Gandalf’s failure to return to the Shire, and Gildor heightens the concern with his dark reaction to the news.

Advice is a dangerous gift”. The older I get, the more I understand the truth in that statement, so I would imagine that Gildor, in his thousands of years of existence, has had more than enough experience with the temptation of advice. There is a kind of reflective quality to this “micro temptation” of influencing/directing the decisions and actions of another with the Ring’s “macro temptation” of influencing/directing the workings of an entire world. There is such a fine, fine line between “I want to help you find a way” and “This is the way you should take”, and when faced with the temptation of “doing good”, of helping and facilitating, it’s easy to confuse the two. If Gildor is “unhelpful”, then so is Gandalf and Elrond and Galadriel and Aragorn and Faramir, because each one of them in their turn, stands aside to ensure that it is Frodo, and Frodo alone, who chooses the direction of his path towards an inevitable end. Individual choice and cosmic predetermination: they are tightly bound together in Tolkien’s world, and the Wise, I think, rightly perceive that the balance between them is both tenuous and precarious and should not be “meddled” with. For me, there is a kind of “chicken and egg” quality to the whole issue of free will and fate in Tolkien’s writings. Does destiny determine the choice or does the choice determine destiny? Or is there, perhaps, a deep and mysterious duality here that just renders those questions meaningless? Later in the book, Galadriel’s words to Frodo always cause me to ponder this issue:

‘...for now we have chosen, and the tides of Fate are flowing.’

I am content to consider the meaning of those words; I know that I’ll never really understand them.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:18 am 
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Great post Ath, and I'm glad to see this:

Quote:
I love this idea! The ability to create “the thing” from “the thought” apparently in an instant if so desired. But it's such a big, and ultimately unfathomable idea, like so much of the subcreative lore that Tolkien constructed for the Eldar (and other immortals). I’m actually very glad he didn’t try to explain “how it worked” – he probably would have lost me (and my suspension of disbelief) if he did! As I said long ago in the Bombadil thread, with magic, not knowing how it’s done is what makes it real.


Mainly because now I think you will understand my feelings about Tolkiens drawings of the structure of the Flat Earth concept. Its a bit like Gandalf says "He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of Wisdom"

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 4:03 pm 
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Ath, I really enjoyed reading your post, especially your observations on the similar descriptions of Bilbo's and Frodo's departure, and on the passage introducing the elves. But I'm shocked -- shocked! -- to learn that you used to skip the beginning of the book. :D (Maybe because the early locations are some of my favorites.)

This chapter marks the entrance of my favorite character in the book ... the landscape. It sometimes takes re-readings of the descriptions to get my bearings and picture the physical surroundings of a scene, but I really savor that part of the reading. It's as if one is almost really there, feeling the damp of the morning mist or enjoying the spring of turf underfoot. I can't think of another book in which a sense of the earth and of place is such a vital aspect of my overall enjoyment of the story.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 4:45 pm 
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Cerin, yes, the landscape. The passages are skippable by adventure-seekers, but they are what makes Middle-earth solid. They lend it dimension, they make it hauntingly familiar, and set milestones for the journeys of our heroes.

Athrabeth wrote:
It’s imperative, of course, that we establish some roots before we leave the Shire, but Tolkien, I think, is also doing more here. The normalcy of Sam indulging in one last gulp of beer, of Pippin poking fun at Frodo’s state of fitness, of Frodo leaving the “washing up” to Lobelia as his last parting shot (that line actually makes me smile, Voronwë!) may seem altogether trivial compared to what we know is coming, but it is precisely this normality which helps highlight the subtle edge of tension that Tolkien quietly begins to build through the question that is continually poking and prodding away at Frodo……where is Gandalf?


That's an excellent point, Ath. Still, I think there's even more to it.

Stolid as Shire-folk are, they are in fact faerie people, with their short statures, hairy feet and uncanny stealth and endurance. We'll learn later that they have become a myth to the grim warriors that some readers think of as the "real" Middle-earthians. This idyllic, whimsical faerie of peace, emerald grass and sentient foxes is as integral to Tolkien's Middle-earth as the dark spiky towers.

Those who skip the whimsy for the clang of swords are short-changing themselves and Tolkien, IMO. Shire is the point of the story. Rohan may love the sword for its sharpness, and Gondor may brood on the crumbling glory of centuries, but Shire's value is Shire itself. Unsullied by lust for power, it is the one place in Middle-earth whose inhabitants will give foxes and princes the same tolerant regard.

"So that is the King of Rohan!' said Pippin in an undertone. 'A fine old fellow. Very polite.".

It is the one place that could produce mortals who stood up to the One Ring.

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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: Wed Jul 23, 2008 5:58 pm 
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Alatar wrote:
Great post Ath, and I'm glad to see this:

Quote:
I love this idea! The ability to create “the thing” from “the thought” apparently in an instant if so desired. But it's such a big, and ultimately unfathomable idea, like so much of the subcreative lore that Tolkien constructed for the Eldar (and other immortals). I’m actually very glad he didn’t try to explain “how it worked” – he probably would have lost me (and my suspension of disbelief) if he did! As I said long ago in the Bombadil thread, with magic, not knowing how it’s done is what makes it real.


Mainly because now I think you will understand my feelings about Tolkiens drawings of the structure of the Flat Earth concept. Its a bit like Gandalf says "He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of Wisdom"


Thanks for actually getting through that l-o-n-g post, Alatar! :)

I can certainly appreciate how you feel about the Ambarkanta and the accompanying drawing of the "original" world. The willing suspension of disbelief is absolutely essential when one reads Tolkien, and if the "flat earth" concept intrudes on that, then I say disregard it (I certainly have to do that about certain aspects of his works)! :D

Cerin wrote:
But I'm shocked -- shocked! -- to learn that you used to skip the beginning of the book.


:halo:

It took being confined to a hospital bed for nearly two months for me to pick up the book and begin at the beginning. That was seventeen years ago. And it really was like this lovely and surprising rediscovery of the story because I had quite forgotten (and to be honest, had not really appreciated) the precision with which Tolkien built his tale.

Quote:
This chapter marks the entrance of my favorite character in the book ... the landscape. It sometimes takes re-readings of the descriptions to get my bearings and picture the physical surroundings of a scene, but I really savor that part of the reading


Oh my, yes! This is exactly the same for me!

Over the years, I've come to appreciate LOTR on so many levels, but I'd say that there are two main tiers to my deep love of this book. One, of course, is the story itself. The other is the writing. There are passages that I can read over and over again, just for the beauty or precision or power of the language.

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Those who skip the whimsy for the clang of swords are short-changing themselves and Tolkien, IMO. Shire is the point of the story. Rohan may love the sword for its sharpness, and Gondor may brood on the crumbling glory of centuries, but Shire's value is Shire itself. Unsullied by lust for power, it is the one place in Middle-earth whose inhabitants will give foxes and princes the same tolerant regard.

It is the one place that could produce mortals who stood up to the One Ring.


:love: What a wonderful observation, Frelga! Beautifully put, and very true.

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Magnificent post, Athrabeth! :clap:

I was especially fascinated by your take on Gildor. I've never felt comfortable with charges that he 'doesn't care' or 'can't be bothered to help'- a charge which is also levelled against the Valar. But I think you've hit the nail on the head- they know better. "Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will answer both yea and nay." Yes- because through long and bitter experience they are wiser than we.

And you (and Cerin and Frelga) are really onto something in the way Tolkien carefully and gradually immerses the reader in his world, seducing the reader, if you will, by means of its palpable reality into accepting its fantastical aspects. IMO this was a major failing of the movie, opening as it did with a slam-bang prologue on the Epic Scale: without any preparation Middle-earth isn't established as a real place, just a land of Blood and Thunder. Similarly the vague creepiness of the Riders- Tolkien makes them work because they are *not* seen- the scariest monster of all, of course, is the one under the bed or in the closet that you never see, but you know is there.


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I think perhaps it may be clear now who's post I was referring to when I said I wanted to wait for someone else's contribution. ;) I'm going to start thinking about the next chapter and I'll start a new thread in the next day or so. Unless someone beat me to it, of course!

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I have read the story so many times that my initial reactions to the story have mostly been lost unfortunately. What I do remember is reading the first chapter or so with no more than tolerance until that Black Rider appeared. My word I took notice after that.
Notice how the fear is manipulated. An unknown rider passes them that they think should be Gandalf (where is he?). It leaves Frodo uneasy. They relax and joke then he or another appears again and starts to creep towards them. He is frightened off by Elves and the Elves take his appearance as significant and sinister. There is an interlude and we have Gandalf's absence remarked on again and the Rider or Riders are again referred to elliptically as dangerous. Then they cross the marshes and they hear their calls and learn there are more than one. They see one in the distance then learn from Maggot that one is searching for Baggins by name and finally see one at the Ferry as they cross the river. Most of the danger is reported or peripheral or alluded to or seen from a distance but they are never absent.

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Absolutely, Tosh. Far more effective than Jackson's shrieking, galloping, head-lopping, in-your-face demons.

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Quote:
"So that is the King of Rohan!' said Pippin in an undertone. 'A fine old fellow. Very polite.".


It is the one place that could produce mortals who stood up to the One Ring.


Wonderful, Frelga.


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