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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:30 pm 
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Frelga, my Eureka! moment from my thread:

The dream is a test applied to both brothers. Not a test relating to the Ring Quest but a test relating to the King Quest.

The first words of the dream are:

Quote:
Seek for the Sword that was broken
In Imladris it dwells


The words are a command to the sons of the Steward to seek their king. It comes "first" and then "oft" to Faramir because he is the most receptive; does he not place the re-establishment of the kingship first when he speaks what I call his "affirmation" to Frodo? He does.

Quote:
"I would see the White Tree in flower again in the courts of the kings, and the Silver Crown return, and Minas Tirith in peace."


Boromir fails the King test then and there in Minas Tirith, even though he doesn't understand it, because - subconsciously - he does not want the king to return. And yet, because of his pride he insists on taking on the mission to Imladris.

This is why so much stress is laid on the length and difficulty of Boromir's journey: "a hundred and ten days I have journeyed all alone", and "long have I wandered by roads forgotten." When he arrives his cloak is "stained with long travel".

Faramir confirms:

Quote:
"I should have been chosen by my father and the elders, but he put himself forward, as being the older and the hardier (both true), and he would not be stayed."


And Gandalf:

Quote:
"Boromir claimed the errand and would not suffer any other to have it. He was a masterful man, and one to take what he desired."


I note that Boromir's first words to Aragorn are questions: like Thomas he does not recognise his King:

Quote:
"And who are you, and what have you to do with Minas Tirith?"



his contrasts with Faramir's immediate, Biblical recognition/affirmation of Aragorn's kingship:

Quote:
"My lord, you called me. I come. What does the king command?"


Just my interpretation. :)

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 11:06 pm 
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Brian, I was SO hoping that you would show up and comment about the poems. :) :)

Queen B, great stuff!

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:51 pm 
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Having established the purpose of the council – “what shall we do with the Ring?" - Elrond begins the next section by narrating the tale of the Ring from its forging to its loss at the time of Isildur’s death. He covers these topics which are pretty much chronological:

The friendship between the Elven-smiths of Eregion and Moria
The forging of the Great Rings and the treachery of Sauron
The coming of the Numenoreans to ME
The Last Alliance and Dagorlad
Isildur’s refusal to destroy the Ring and his taking it as weregild
The heirs of Isildur, and Anduril
The history of the realms in exile
The estrangement of the two kindreds
The withering of the Tree

There are two interruptions during Elrond’s account. First is Frodo, who exclaims aloud at the realization that the speaker is thousands of years old. Which is probably what I would do if I was sitting next to some-one who talked about his memories of, say, the Battle of Actium. It is a reminder to the reader as to what immortality means and how heavily it can weight. But Tolkien gives it further weight by having Elrond say:

Quote:
”Eärendil was my sire”


In the previous chapter we heard Bilbo's song of Eärendil and now it hits us: this character’s father is a star! We are being introduced here to mythic characters, although those who belong to (getting technical) the “mythic narrative mode” - Sauron, Eärendil - remain off stage and are only alluded to.

The second interruption is by Boromir immediately after Elrond has said that Isildur took the Ring “for his own.”. The placing of his interruption speaks for itself as well as his actual words, which betray his impatience, his eagerness.

We might expect him to speak about Gondor - which he does later - and about Númenor and the White Tree - which he doesn’t, but his brother does a few hundred pages later - but it is significant that his first words at the Council are an exclamation about the Ring.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 12:46 am 
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Taking a quick glimpse at the history of the chapter.

The first phase of writing brought the text to what became the previous chapter, "Many Meetings." There was only a few notes to suggest what eventually became the Council, and one isolated page of text, in which Elrond describes the defeat of Sauron by Elendil and Gil-Gilad. Most interesting, perhaps is the fact that already present was the element in which Frodo (at the time, still Bingo, of course) expresses surprise that Elrond remembered those events, and Elrond reveals that he is the son of Earendel. Also notable is the fact that there is a note saying "Glorfindel tells of ancestry in Gondolin"!

The first actual version of the Council does not take place until Tolkien continued the story, after finally settling on Frodo as the main protagonist, after considering making it be Bilbo himself. In addition to Frodo and Sam and Bilbo, the rest of the hobbits were also present at the council: Merry, Folco and Odo. And Trotter was Peregrin Boffin, also known the by the Elvish name Ethelion. Boromir now makes an appearance. Instead of being joined by his own son Gimli, Gloin is joined by the younger Dwarf Burin, son of Balin. Instead of Legolas, we have "as strange elf, a messenger from the king of the Wood-elves. Glorfindel is present, and Erestor, as well as "two other kinsmen of Elrond, of that half-elvish fold whom the Elves named the children of Lúthien." This version only includes rough notes of the content of the Council itself.

In the first completed text of the council, only Bilbo and Frodo (and Sam, uninvite) are present for the Hobbits. Tolkien changes Burin son of Balin to Gimli son of Gloin in the course of writing. The strange elf messenger from Mirkwood is now named Goldor. And Boromir is now described as coming from the land of Ond. After Gandalf tells of the history of the Rings, and Bilbo gives an account of his finding of the Ring, Trotter describes his tracking of Gollum, and how he himself was caught and imprisoned by the Dark Lord. He reveals that that is why he wore shoes, and that he was rescued by Gandalf. Included is the discussion, largely in its final form, about Bombadil, and also Boromir questioning why they can't use the Ring to destroy Sauron, as well as the discussion of the Seven and the Three. Finally, Bilbo offers to take the Ring (again in very close to the final form), and then Frodo does, and the rest of the company of the Ring is chosen (though at this point, Gimil and Legolas/Galdor are not included, and the "other" hobbits are Merry and Faramond).

Finally, Tolkien returned to the text of the Council of Elrond in fourth phase of writing, and goes through a succession of five different versions to bring it to its final form (or close to it).

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:24 pm 
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Does anyone still want to talk about LOTR? Anything else to be said about the Council, or should we move south with the Ring?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 9:22 pm 
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Gosh, I'm still trying to digest Queen B's excellent post.

I'd never looked at it that way but of course you're right. In fact, although the Ring is mentioned in the verse it's only obliquely, as Isildur's Bane- another reference to the Kingship (and indirectly to the contrast between the brothers and their fates, since ultimately both will be faced with Isildur's Test, and respond differently).

I note also that Boromir immediately leaps to the conclusion "the doom of Minas Tirith," another tell.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:37 pm 
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Didn't "doom" formerly mean just what was ordained to happen, whether good or ill? In any case, it's clear that Boromir is a glass-half-empty kind of man.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:46 pm 
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Tolkien played around a lot with various connotations of "doom." I'm of a couple of minds what he meant here.

In the old Anglo-Saxon sense, you're quite right. Often a pronouncement, verdict, judgment: Doomsday is the Day of Judgment, and Mandos the Judge is 'doomsman of the Valar." Thingol is about to "pronounce [his] doom" on Túrin when Beleg and Nellas appear.

Doom can also have the sense of "fate, destiny," sort of the judgment of Wyrd, if you will. This is clearly what the Prophecy intends by "doom is near at hand," and Gandalf's "This is the hour of doom." Vader could well have said "Luke, it is your doom." Related to that, the word has picked up the connotation of "fundamental, irrevocable transformation." Although everything that ever happens could be said to be "doom", it often has the sense of a particular event, an identifiable hour of Doom such as Sauron's fall rather than all that led up to it.

But then there's the modern colloquial sense of "we're doomed!" - doom means "catastrophe, death, destruction." Ragnarok is frequently translated "downfall of the gods" rather than the more accurate "doom of the gods."

I suspect that that's what Boromir meant here, otherwise Gandalf's (or is it Elrond's?) correction would make little sense. Boromir is no intellectual, and he's an odd mixture of old-fashioned and modern, a combination of his 'politician' father without the subtlety, and a reactionary without understanding what was really admirable about Gondor's past. Boromir is a guy who sees the sword as every problem's solution, and the 'final end' of every situation means that something gets destroyed.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:02 pm 
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Quote:
In the previous chapter we heard Bilbo's song of Eärendil and now it hits us: this character’s father is a star! We are being introduced here to mythic characters, although those who belong to (getting technical) the “mythic narrative mode” - Sauron, Eärendil - remain off stage and are only alluded to.


And it is these remarks which guide us towards the Silmarillion, and give an indication of the depth of Tolkien's world.

Great post on 'doom', solicitr

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:10 pm 
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Yes, thanks, solicitr.

"Doom" is a marvelous word. It marks so many essential turns in the story. "Stand, Men of the West! Stand and wait! This is the hour of doom." Which certainly did not mean catastrophe, unless that word, too, has more than its familiar negative meaning. Or would this be "eucatastrophe"?

But I am getting ahead of the story. :P

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:28 pm 
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I wrote:
Although everything that ever happens could be said to be "doom", it often has the sense of a particular event, an identifiable hour of Doom such as Sauron's fall rather than all that led up to it.


But now that I think about it, I am inclined to think that (and this is very relevant to this chapter), Tolkien did very much intend and believe the distinction- that the fall of Barad-dûr was Doom, but *not* all that led up to it. Tolkien was not a determinist; he steadfastly held to free will, and that I think led him to posit that while certain eventualities were foredoomed, the manner and time by which they were brought about were *not*. Sauron's fall, though inevitable at some point, could have been brought about at another time and in some other way- as early as SA 3441, if Isildur had had more fortitude- or much, much later than TA 3019 had events played out otherwise.

Frodo did not have to say "I will take the Ring." This was to Tolkien a moment of moral choice upon which the world pivoted, akin to Mary's "Thy will be done." He could have kept his mouth shut. And of course there was no guarantee that Frodo's quest would have succeeded: as T pointed out several times, Eru only put His thumb on the scales after Frodo had given every ounce of himself to bring the Quest within reach of fulfillment, even though he failed at the last; a key naturally was his mercy towards Gollum.

I view T's approach to the course of M-E history as akin to a Bach toccata: you know where it's going to end up, but you don't have a clue how it's going to get there or how long it'll take.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:17 pm 
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That's a wonderfully apt analogy, soli.

It's those moments of moral choice that have always struck me most strongly. Frodo does not have to accept the Quest; he's not an Erubot. And, still more moving to me, that's not what Eru wills. People making the right and difficult choice because it is right are shaping the world in the right way. Whether or not Frodo succeeded, he made the right choice at the Council of Elrond.

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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: Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:41 pm 
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You people mystify me. :(

It's odd, how we can speak the same language and yet words mean entirely different things to each person.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:09 pm 
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It would be a dull world if we all saw everything through the same eyes, I think. Or if we hesitated to talk about the differences.

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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: Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:17 pm 
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vison, even if you have no belief in a deity in the primary world, in Tolkien's universe there is one, and must be part of the conversation as much as the Olympians are part of the Iliad.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:23 pm 
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Quite so. That's a very apt analogy.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:07 am 
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Is it time for the Ring to go South?

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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: Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:45 pm 
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Go for it!

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 3:41 pm 
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I'll reread the chapter today and post one tonight. But anyone who cares to start the thread before then is welcome to!

Edit: I didn't get it read yesterday (long story). Will try today.

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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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