Book 1, Chap. 9: At the Sign of the Prancing Pony

The Hall of Fire's extended chapter by chapter discussion of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Yes, he does say that (in response to Ms. Martsch comment that she didn't know that there was a different English English meaning to the word).

I'm still wondering whether anyone has anything to say about the Man in the Moon issue I raised.
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Post by solicitr »

However, they later remind us that two pages later, in a footnote, Tolkien states that "Elves (and Hobbits) always refer to the Sun as She" and that Tolkien represents the Sun and Moon as female and male (the reverse of Greek and Roman mythology). Doesn't this seem like it is a contradiction? If the Hobbits follow the Elves lead in referring to the Sun as She (and the Moon as he), doesn't that imply that they have learned something from the Elves of the "real state of affairs in Arda"?
Not necessarily. Lots of linguistic artifacts pass down through osmosis and tradition without particular understanding- this is especially true of gender-associations in languages which have them, even when the classification as m, f or n is often arbitrary or silly. I see no reason why the Westron-speaking hobbits would not have just adopted from Men an ancient convention of gender-pronouns without worrying about or being aware of its ultimate origin, any more than most English-speakers concern themselves with the etymologies of the words they use. 90-some percent of us don't know why a cow produces beef or a sheep mutton, and don't care.
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Post by Alatar »

Sorry, not buying it. CT refers to Slit eyes, not slanted. JRRT never mentioned slit eyes in this entire section. JRRT specifically mentions "sly, slanting eyes". Combined with the "squint" reference I think any other connotation is stretching to find an alternative when the clear and uncluttered truth is before you. Why look for an alternative, if the author specifically and categorically makes it clear?

Yes V, I read the RC version, but I think it agrees with me in the final analysis.
In Book I, Chapter 11 the Southerner is described as having "slanting eyes" and looking "more than half like a goblin", suggesting that Tolkien envisioned Orcs as having slanting eyes, but probably not slit-eyes.
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Post by Lalaith »

I feel bad that I have nothing to contribute; I read ahead to this chapter a long time ago, with the idea that I'd reread it when we got here in the discussion. Unfortunately, I never did find time to do so! But I have read everything in this thread with great interest.

:cheers:


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Post by Elentári »

Definitely an orcish feature, Al:

http://www.tolkientrail.com/entmoot/arc ... -9317.html

TTT - Flotsam and Jetsam
'But there were others that were horrible: man-high, but with goblin-faces, sallow, leering, squint-eyed. Do you know, they reminded me at once of that Southerner at Bree, only he was not so obviously orc-like as most of these were.'
'I thought of him too,' said Aragorn. 'We had many of these half-orcs to deal with at Helm's Deep.'
RotK - The Scouring of the Shire
...they were disturbed to see half a dozen large ill-favored Men lounging against the inn-wall; they were squint-eyed and sallow-faced.
'Like that friend of Bill Ferny's at Bree,' said Sam.
'Like many that I saw at Isengard,' muttered Merry
RotK - The Scouring of the Shire
Merry himself slew the leader, a great squint-eyed brute like a huge orc.
Unfinished Tales - The Hunt for the Ring
Some while ago one of Saruman's most trusted servants (yet a ruffianly fellow, an outlaw driven from Dunland, where many said that he had Orc-blood) had returned from the borders of the Shire, where he had been negotiating for the purpose of "leaf" and other supplies............This Dunlending was overtaken by seceral of the Black Riders as they approached the Tharbad crossing...........The Witch-king had now a clearer understanding of the matter........Seeing that his Master suspected some move between the Shire and Bree (the position of which he knew) would be an important point, at least for information. He put therefore the Shadow of fear on the Dunlending, and sent him on to Bree as an agent. He was the squint-eyed southerner at the Inn. *C.T. note: See The Fellowship of the Ring. When Strider and the Hobbits left Bree Frodo caught a glimpse of the Dunlending ("a swallow face with sly, slanting eyes") in Bill Ferny's house on the outskirts of Bree, and thought: "He looks more than half like a goblin."*


Morgoth's Ring - Myths Transformed
There is no doubt that long afterwards, in the Third Age, Saruman rediscovered this, or learned of it in lore, and in his lust for mastery committed this, his wickedest deed: the interbreeding of Orcs and Men, producing both Men-orcs large and cunning, and Orc-men treacherous and vile.

The sotherner at Bree must have been a Man-orc and the brute that Merry killed must have been a Orc-man.
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

So what's stopping you from rereading it now, and jumping in with your thoughts? Eh?
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Post by Alatar »

Thanks for the cross references El. That pretty much confirms it for me.
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

I don't think anyone was trying to say that the Southerner was not Orcish; certainly I was not, and I don't think Christopher was in the letter that I was quoting. I was simply pointing out that the term squint-eyed has a different meaning in English English, and that there was more to Tolkien's use of the phrase than that which meets my (American) eyes.
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Post by Lalaith »

Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:So what's stopping you from rereading it now, and jumping in with your thoughts? Eh?
Honestly, I'd feel a bit like a child trying to say something while the grownups are talking. :D (The talk has moved beyond, "I liked this" and "I didn't like that.")


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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Honestly, your contributions would be greatly valued. Including "I liked this" and "I didn't like that." You'd be surprised at how much interesting discussion comments like that can spark.

It is, of course, up to you, but I don't want anyone to feel discouraged from participating in these discussions. Everyone here has something to offer.
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Post by Lalaith »

:hug: Oh, I know. It has nothing whatsoever to do with you all; it's just me.


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Post by BrianIsSmilingAtYou »

With regard to the Sun and Moon comments, there are two things to consider:

1) Why a feminine sun and masculine moon
2) What this means for the Hobbits' knowledge

The reference to a feminine sun and masculine moon harkens back to older traditions that are still present in a vestigial form in English. In the West, a feminine sun appears in German tradition and other traditions of the north, such as Scandinavia and Iceland.

Following this lead, Tolkien adopted the notion of a feminine sun and a masculine moon for Middle-earth, following the Germanic tradition.

The notion of the feminine sun and masculine moon subverts current conventions in English that bury the old tradition, (though the English word "Sun" actually comes from a feminine origin).
In Germany, popular tradition still refers to Frau Sonne. The very word “Sun” comes from the name of the Scandinavian Sun-Goddess Sunna or Sunnu. Sunday, of course, is Her day. Just as Friday is a contraction of Freya’s day, Sunday is a contraction of Sunna’s Day.
See http://aristasia.wordpress.com/2007/06/ ... inine-sun/ for a fuller discussion.

Wiki has some info on this as well: Sól (Sun) - Goddess

Máni (Moon) - Moon God

With regard to the question of what this means for Hobbits' knowledge of the true state of affairs in Middle-earth, I am not certain.

However, I would not be surprised to hear that linguistic conventions like this could be adopted and persist without a deeper knowledge of the "true affairs".

How many here knew that the English word "Sun" actually had a feminine derivation, and the "Moon" a masculine derivation?

To me, the whole affair, including the footnote, is just another philological in-joke by Tolkien, since the whole poem itself represents a proto- or ur- version of the familiar nursery rhyme.

In this respect, the poem is a microcosm of what he was trying to achieve with his mythology as a whole. The whole of the mythology attempts to be a kind of representation of all of the common themes of gods, elves, dwarves, men and other strange creatures on the boundaries of faërie (properly conceived), and that we now only perceive in fragments.

This is why Middle-earth feels so real to so many. In the same way, one can look at the Man in the Moon poem and imagine that if it was largely forgotten, that the snippets that we have in "nursery rhyme" form would be all that was left.

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Post by Elentári »

Brian wrote:
To me, the whole affair, including the footnote, is just another philological in-joke by Tolkien, since the whole poem itself represents a proto- or ur- version of the familiar nursery rhyme.


I agree, but I think he was influenced by an older source:
There is a tradition that the Man in the Moon enjoyed drinking, especially claret. An old ballad runs (original spelling):[6]

"Our man in the moon drinks clarret,
With powder-beef, turnep, and carret.
If he doth so, why should not you
Drink until the sky looks blew?"

[6] ^ The Man in the Moon drinks Claret, as it was sung at the Court in Holy-well. Bagford Ballads, Folio Collection in the British Museum, vol. ii. No. 119.
Also, regarding the Scandinavian link:
In Norse mythology, Máni is the man who pulls the Moon across the sky. He is continually pursued by the Great Wolf Hati who catches them both at Ragnarok. The name Máni simply means "Moon", but sounds very similar to the Old Norse for "human" mannligr.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_in_the_Moon
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Post by rwhen »

I am going to be brave and also jump in the discussion, even though you are already up to chapter 9, considering LotR...fairly young in the big picture. Also I haven't read all the articles and letters and such to the point that I can quote them or find reference to them. But I enjoy reading them when you post the links.

I don't know that I have much to add at this point. I post from work and just today remembered to bring my LotR's books to work with me so that I could review the chapter.

After I read the *intro* of Strider, the first time I read the books, I thought he was a shifty character, I did not trust him right off. I think that is because we know that this is a dangerous mission that Frodo and Co. are on and so I was always looking for some mischief to happen. When at the Prancing Pony and I first read of Strider...in my mind I saw him as a lanky, long-legged, unkempt, scraggling hair, ragged clothing sort of person....and the squint-eyes, well that put me in mind that he was not a person that was there to help Frodo.

That is what my mind recorded at the time, what was actually written was:

"Suddenly Frodo noticed that a strange-looking weather-beaten man, sitting in the shadows near the wall, was also listening intently to the hobbit-talk. He had a tall tankard in front of him and was smoking a long-stemmed pipe curiously carved. His legs were stretched out before him, showing high boots of supple leather that fitted him well, but had seen much wear and were now caked with mud. A travel-stained cloak of heavy dark-green cloth was drawn close about him, and in spite of the heat of the room he wore a hood that overshadowed his face; but the gleam of his eyes could be seen as he watched the hobbits."

This is what made me suspicious of Strider. And to again stress, I thought he was a "person of concern" because I knew that the group were in for trouble and I just figured he was the next thing they would have to deal with.

This may seem simplistic, but hey that was 35 years ago too. I am doing well to remember what I thought at all at the time.

Now, we have all read the books so many times and most of us have seen the movies so many times, that even today when I think of Strider, Viggo Mortensen comes to mind immediately and before the movies came out I did not think he matched my mental picture of Strider, he is too *clean* looking to me.

That said, I don't think that Viggo playing Strider was all that clean or anything, but honestly I had a whole different picture in mind. Someone who could fit in the background, merge with the forest sort of character. Viggo is pretty. Just sayin'

Leaving now. But if it is okay I would like to join you folks and start when you start a new chapter, I think I could add more to the converstion and observations.
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Of course it's okay. It's more than okay. It's great. :)

And I envy you that you can remember that much of your first reading. Mine seems to be lost in the mysts of time.

:hug:
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Post by River »

Just out of curiosity, when did Tolkien realize who/what Strider was?
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Difficult to give a clearcut answer to that question, because he moved around so much, and vacillated between having Trotter/Strider by a Hobbit or a Man (and a one point, a disguised elf). But he wrote drafts of material all the way into Moria with Trotter being a hobbit (with Peregrin Boffin being the most lasting real name). I think one of the things that convinced him that that was no good was having Trotter be one of the weak hobbits threatened by death by the snow at Caradhas. In any event, during the same period that he was drafting this Book II material, he was playing around with different scenerios for revising Book I, and in one of them, he jotted down:
Trotter is a man of Elrond's race descendant of [struck out at once: Túrin] the ancient men of the North, and one of Elrond's house- hold. He was a hunter and wanderer. He became a friend of Bilbo. He knew Gandalf. He was intrigued by Bilbo's story, and found Gollum. When Gandalf went off on the last perilous quest - really to find out about Black Riders and whether the Dark Lord would attack the Shire - he [> Gandalf and Bilbo] arranged with Trotter (real name [other unfinished names struck oat in the act of writing: Bara / Rho / Dam] Aragorn son of Aramir) to go towards the Shire and keep a lookout on the road from East (Gandalf was going South). He gives Aragorn a letter to Frodo. Aragorn pretends he is a Ranger and hangs about Bree. (He also warns Tom Bombadil.)
Reason of wooden shoes - no need in this case because Aragorn is a man. Hence there is no need for Gandalf... The cache of food at Weathertop is Aragorn's. Aragorn steers them to Weathertop as a good lookout.
But how could Trotter miss Gandalf?
What delayed Gandalf? Black Riders or other hunters. Treebeard. Aragorn did not miss Gandalf and arranged tryst on Weathertop.
At the end is written very emphatically and twice underlined: NO
As you can see, when he first came up with the idea, he rejected it. He then goes back to playing around with Trotter being Peregrin Boffin. Finally, in another series of notes, Tolkien writes:
(5) Trotter is not a hobbit but a real ranger who had gone to live in Rivendell after much wandering. Cut out shoes.


From this point on, Trotter is a man (though still called Trotter, not Strider. And when Tolkien yet again rewrote the earlier passages, Trotter bears a letter from Gandalf that says:
This is to certify that the bearer is Aragorn son of Celegorn, of the line of Isildur Elendil's son, known in Bree as Trotter; enemy of the Nine, and friend of Gandalf.
At this point, his identify is pretty clear.
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Post by solicitr »

Well, originally "Trotter" was a "queer-looking brown-faced hobbit"...wearing wooden shoes!

Trotter the Hobbit (experimentally identified as a Baggins cousin, either Folco Took or Peregrin Boffin) lasted until the fall of 1939, through a couple of rewritings. In notes of that time, Tolkien briefly considered him to be a 'disguised Elf', a member of Elrond's household who 'pretends to be a Ranger' (meaning at the time only ragged woods-dwellers of the Breeland)- but then he reverts to Peregrin Boffin, and a sketch of how he ran away with Bilbo. In another note of about the same time our beloved studmuffin finally emerges:
Trotter is a man of Elrond's race descendant of the ancient men of the North [meaning the Edain; the concept of Arnor lay well in the future], and one of Elrond's household. He was a hunter and a wanderer. He became a friend of Bilbo.... Bara > Rho > Dam > Aragorn son of Aramir.
This note preceded one dated Oct 8, 1939, in which Trotter/Aragorn the Man (now a descendant of Elendil) is firmly present.

The name "Trotter" wasn't replaced by "Strider" until the FR was in galley proof.

EDIT: X-post w/ Vor-O.
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Post by River »

Interesting. The story moves along so smoothly you'd think Tolkien planned it that way from the beginning!

I've gotta say, I'm very glad Trotter was replaced with Strider. "Trotter" makes me think of a guy who drinks too much coffee. :help:
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

What's really amazing is how much of the language remained relatively unchanged, even when the significance of what was being said changed mightily.
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