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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:37 pm 
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I split this discussion off from the Tolkien Translation Gamethread

Yup (of course). In a letter, Tolkien calls this "perhaps the most tragic moment in the Tale." (Given what a remarkable job Jackson and company did in portraying the moment where Bilbo sees how pitiable Gollum was and shows him mercy in the much-maligned Hobbit films, it is a real shame that they did not include this scene in the LOTR films).

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:41 pm 
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Voronwë the Faithful wrote:
In a letter, Tolkien calls this "perhaps the most tragic moment in the Tale.".


I never quite understood why Tolkien blamed Sam here. Gollum has already betrayed Frodo and Sam to Shelob, so Sam is absolutely correct. Gollum WAS sneaking.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:58 pm 
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As Tolkien says, "Sam fails to note the complete change in Gollum's tone and aspect. 'Nothing, nothing', said Gollum softly. 'Nice master!'." No question Sam was right to suspect Gollum. But Frodo was right on a deeper level to believe that he was capable of redemption. Sam was unable to recognize that because "He is a more representative hobbit than any others that we have to see much of; and he has consequently a stronger ingredient of that quality which even some hobbits found at times hard to bear: a vulgarity — by which I do not mean a mere 'down-to-earthiness' — a mental myopia which is proud of itself, smugness (in varying degrees) and cocksureness, and a readiness to measure and sum up all things from a limited experience."

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:09 am 
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Wow. Is that from Letters? I don't remember that one.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:49 am 
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Yes, it is from Letter 246, a September 1963 letter to a Mrs Eileen Elgar, who had written to Tolkien to ask him about Frodo's "failure".

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 12:27 am 
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I'm just so surprised because it sounds so uncomplimentary to Sam.

Anyway, I suppose I should find a new quote. Don't touch that dial...

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 6:35 am 
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Voronwë the Faithful wrote:
As Tolkien says, "Sam fails to note the complete change in Gollum's tone and aspect. 'Nothing, nothing', said Gollum softly. 'Nice master!'." No question Sam was right to suspect Gollum. But Frodo was right on a deeper level to believe that he was capable of redemption. Sam was unable to recognize that because "He is a more representative hobbit than any others that we have to see much of; and he has consequently a stronger ingredient of that quality which even some hobbits found at times hard to bear: a vulgarity — by which I do not mean a mere 'down-to-earthiness' — a mental myopia which is proud of itself, smugness (in varying degrees) and cocksureness, and a readiness to measure and sum up all things from a limited experience."



STOP BEING MEAN TO MY SAM!!! :bawling: :bawling: :bawling: :bawling: :bawling:

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 2:45 pm 
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I figured you would come here to defend your Sam. :hug:

For the record, here is the full quote with regard to Sam:

Quote:
Sam is meant to be lovable and laughable. Some readers he irritates and even infuriates. I can well understand it. All hobbits at times affect me in the same way, though I remain very fond of them. But Sam can be very 'trying'. He is a more representative hobbit than any others that we have to see much of; and he has consequently a stronger ingredient of that quality which even some hobbits found at times hard to bear: a vulgarity — by which I do not mean a mere 'down-to-earthiness' — a mental myopia which is proud of itself, a smugness (in varying degrees) and cocksureness, and a readiness to measure and sum up all things from a limited experience, largely enshrined in sententious traditional 'wisdom'. We only meet exceptional hobbits in close companionship – those who had a grace or gift: a vision of beauty, and a reverence for things nobler than themselves, at war with their rustic self-satisfaction. Imagine Sam without his education by Bilbo and his fascination with things Elvish! Not difficult. The Cotton family and the Gaffer, when the 'Travellers' return are a sufficient glimpse.
Sam was cocksure, and deep down a little conceited; but his conceit had been transformed by his devotion to Frodo. He did not think of himself as heroic or even brave, or in any way admirable – except in his service and loyalty to his master. That had an ingredient (probably inevitable) of pride and possessiveness: it is difficult to exclude it from the devotion of those who perform such service. In any case it prevented him from fully understanding the master that he loved, and from following him in his gradual education to the nobility of service to the unlovable and of perception of damaged good in the corrupt. He plainly did not fully understand Frodo's motives or his distress in the incident of the Forbidden Pool. If he had understood better what was going on between Frodo and Gollum, things might have turned out differently in the end. For me perhaps the most tragic moment in the Tale comes in II 323 ff. when Sam fails to note the complete change in Gollum's tone and aspect. 'Nothing, nothing', said Gollum softly. 'Nice master!'. His repentance is blighted and all Frodo's pity is (in a sense ) wasted. Shelob's lair became inevitable.
This is due of course to the 'logic of the story'. Sam could hardly have acted differently. (He did reach the point of pity at last (III 221-222)4 but for the good of Gollum too late.)

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 4:32 pm 
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On the other hand, if Gollum had ended up repenting and not betrayed them to Shelob, how would they have gotten into Mordor? Would they turn back and go with Plan A, e.g. The Black Gate?

For that matter, if they had gotten into Mordor, how would they have managed to destroy the Ring when Frodo finally lost his strength?

Wheels within wheels.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 5:24 pm 
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Actually, Tolkien goes on to answer that very question!

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If he had, what could then have happened? The course of the entry into Mordor and the struggle to reach Mount Doom would have been different, and so would the ending. The interest would have shifted to Gollum, I think, and the battle that would have gone on between his repentance and his new love on one side and the Ring. Though the love would have been strengthened daily it could not have wrested the mastery from the Ring. I think that in some queer twisted and pitiable way Gollum would have tried (not maybe with conscious design) to satisfy both. Certainly at some point not long before the end he would have stolen the Ring or taken it by violence (as he does in the actual Tale). But 'possession' satisfied, I think he would then have sacrificed himself for Frodo's sake and have voluntarily cast himself into the fiery abyss.

I think that an effect of his partial regeneration by love would have been a clearer vision when he claimed the Ring. He would have perceived the evil of Sauron, and suddenly realized that he could not use the Ring and had not the strength or stature to keep it in Sauron's despite: the only way to keep it and hurt Sauron was to destroy it and himself together – and in a flash he may have seen that this would also be the greatest service to Frodo.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 5:28 pm 
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Wow. That would have (also) been an amazing way to end the story.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 7:26 pm 
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yovargas wrote:
Wow. That would have (also) been an amazing way to end the story.


End one of the stories/or been one of the endings...

Just loving this discussion...

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 8:04 pm 
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For another perspective (be prepared to wipe a way a tear).

The Humanity of Sam

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 11:35 pm 
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It would be interesting if some enterprising fanfic writer decided to take up that alternate post-Cirith Ungol storyline and run with it. I also sense some great potential for drama and dialogue, if some future film-maker decided to go ultra-revisionist. In fact, he/she could point to that letter and say "No, I'm being purist, but with an alternate version."

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 12:38 am 
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I suspect that in the latter scenario they actually might run into copyright problems since they presumably would not hold the film rights to "The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien."

I also suspect that I will be splitting this discussion out of this thread in the near future. ;)

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 4:20 pm 
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Voronwë the Faithful wrote:
For another perspective (be prepared to wipe a way a tear).

The Humanity of Sam


Or more than one. What a brilliant post, and how generous Sass was to share it with us.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:26 pm 
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That thread...
:cry:

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