Book 1, Chapter 10: Strider

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

Well both Strider and Hawkeye are great huntsmen and warriors. Both are associated with a particular weapon. Both have zillions of other/nick names: one of Hawkeye's is La Longue Carabine, also Deerslayer, Pathfinder and the trapper. Strider is known as Longshanks and.... well, you know the rest.... :)

Both are brought up within different cultures: Natty Bumppo (they did well to rename him in the film version :)) was a white man brought up by Native Americans, while Aragorn was brought up by the Elves.

These similarities may be superficial, but then neither character is psychologically analysed by his creator. :)
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Voronwë the Faithful
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Cool!
"Among the tales of sorrow there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death light that endures."
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Time to move on out of Bree, yes?
"Among the tales of sorrow there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death light that endures."
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Primula Baggins
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Post by Primula Baggins »

I vote yes. This is when the story really takes to the air for me.
“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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Voronwë the Faithful
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Before we move on, I really think that some discussion of Merry's encounter with the Black Riders is in order.

I really like Merry's response to Strider's comment about him having a stout heart, but being foolish.

'I don't know', said Merry. 'Neither brave nor silly, I think. I could hardly help myself. I seemed to be drawn somehow.'

The whole discussion of this scene really gives us the first real sense of the true nature of the Black Riders, and the power that they have over the minds and psyches of mortals. And we get our first introduction to the "Black Breath" which plays such an important role many, many chapters later.

At the end of the chapter, we have a nice set-up for the following chapter, with Nob setting up the bolsters in the beds that the hobbits were supposed to be in. Strider claims that the Black Riders would not attack the Inn themselves, but might induce Ferny, Harry, and the strangers (including, presumably the squint-eyed Southerner) to some evil work. We should postpone until the next chapter the potentially interesting discussion as to whether he was correct in that assessment.

I like the interaction between Strider and Merry at the end of the chapter, with Merry saying how ridiculous Frodo was, but that he was sorry that he missed it, and that the "worthies of Bree will be discussing it a hundred years hence." Strider simple statement in response "I hope so" says worlds about his personality. Then the Hobbits fall asleep one by one. I like how Tolkien subtly implies that Strider does not go to sleep, without having to actually come out and say it. Tolkien is very good at these kind of subtleties.
"Among the tales of sorrow there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death light that endures."
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ArathornJax
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Post by ArathornJax »

One of the things with the Black Riders is the nature of their power. It isn't in weapons or the use of them, but in the very nature of fear. The Black Breath emits fear to the core of the person. Their reputation is that of fear and their power comes from the fear they emit and receive from those around them. It is the nature of fear that gives them power I feel over the minds and psyches of mortals.
1. " . . . (we are ) too engrossed in thinking of everything as a preparation or training or making one fit -- for what? At any minute it is what we are and are doing, not what we plan to be and do that counts."

J.R.R. Tolkien in his 6 October 1940 letter to his son Michael Tolkien.

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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Post by Ophelia »

Just a point - I don't think there's really a connection between Merry being the one who follows the Rider in Bree (he just happened to be the one out taking a stroll) and him being the one who finally helped kill the Witch-King (not that anyone has suggested that there is).

Merry's hurried return to the inn forms the ending of one of the BBC Radio chapters: "I have seen them, Frodo! I have seen them, here in the village! The Black Riders!" (Cue Stephen Oliver's strings). It isn't that natural an ending, and not the best one in the series - but just thought I'd mention in.

I want to start talking about "A Knife In The Dark!"
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Nice to see you, Ophelia! I'd never even considered whether there was a connection between Merry being followed by the Rider in Bree and his role in the demise of the Witch-King.

I'll get a new thread up on A Knife in the Dark soon, unless someone else beats me to it. I look forward to seeing you there.
"Among the tales of sorrow there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death light that endures."
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