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Topic: Just Reflections ... those thoughts and feelings from favorite passages of the Master

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Date: Feb 13, 2014
Just Reflections ... those thoughts and feelings from favorite passages of the Master

I am suggesting this thread as a place for us to express what we think and feel after reading a particular piece of Tolkien's writing.

There is no right or wrong ... just reflection ... and ALL ARE WELCOME ...

An Unexpected Party ~ (from The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, Chapter I ~ "An Unexpected Party")

  It has been a late night. From the well worn copy of a much read book I have just read the description of a hobbit and a hobbit-hole. My mustache still has crumbs from cookies and milk. There is just a swallow left.
  I am as content as a very well-to-do hobbit in his well made hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
My imagination is filled with visions of smoke-rings and cider and the image of a furry footed hobbit bowing in chaos to a fat little dwarf.  Somehow I hear a voice of an old grey covered man who looks at me with a wink and says without words that it will all be OK.
  I am up late.  I have filled most of my evening with the often sad work of my profession.  But now as my body calls me towards sleep I revel in child-like joy as through my mind wanders the comic yet heroic figures of Thorin, Balin, and fat old Bombur. In that place in my mind where imaginary music plays I hear "Chip the glasses and crack the plates ..." to imaginary instruments with unfamiliar tones to a steady rhythm of rough deep voices.
  I roll slightly to my right and flick off the lights.
  In the darkness, behind lightly closed eye lids, dwarves and a wizard seem to conspire ... and the little boy part of my character begins to long for adventure ... hopefully in my dreams it will come ...
And that is the gift from Tolkien and "An Unexpected Party" ...

 



-- Edited by Bear on Thursday 13th of February 2014 08:21:54 AM

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Date: Jun 30, 2014

I have had to let someone go there own way today.  It wasn't pleasant. In fact it hurt a great deal.  I love this person very much ... they had other priorities and it was the right thing to let them fly away ...
I found some solace and comfort in these few paragraphs of the master ... I think my friends here would enjoy them ... Tolkien, the master, seems to know the human heart ... and hobbits hearts too ... 


"Yes,' said Gandalf; 'for it will be better to ride back three together than one alone. Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-earth. Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.'

Then Frodo kissed Merry and Pippin, and last of all Sam, and went aboard; and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew, and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth; and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore glimmered and was lost. And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed on into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.

But to Sam the evening deepened to darkness as he stood at the Haven; and as he looked at the grey sea he saw only a shadow on the waters that was soon lost in the West. There still he stood far into the night, hearing only the sigh and murmur of the waves on the shores of Middle-earth, and the sound of them sank deep into his heart. Beside him stood Merry and Pippin, and they were silent.

At last the three companions turned away, and never again looking back they rode slowly homewards; and they spoke no word to one another until they came back to the Shire. but each had great comfort in his friends on the long grey road."

And that is the gift from Tolkien and"The Grey Havens"

 



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Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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I like this thread you started Bear.

There are many lines in the books that have caused me to reflect (the hallmark of a classic, I feel) and I will place some of these down here, soon.

Nice work.

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Haldir of Lorien - Rank 6
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Me too, Bear. I always tear up when I read that section you quoted. Even when we know it's for the best it still stinks saying good-bye.

Perhaps, I'll take some time to post some of my favorite, ones most dear to me, lines.

Hope things will turn out for the best, Bear.

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Haldir of Lorien - Rank 6
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Date: Jul 3, 2014

Last night I wound up listening to a section that has always appealed to me on many levels. I won't quote the whole thing, but it's the passage in Chapter of ROTK Passing of the Grey Company. The discussion between Aragorn and Eowyn about duty and what one really wants to do speaks to me. 

"Too often I have heard of duty," she cried... "...may I not now spend my life as I will?"

"Few may do that with honor," he answered...

"Shall I always be chosen?" she said bitterly. "Shall I always be left behind..." 

And she answered: "All your words are but to say: you are a woman, and your part is in the house... and I do not fear either pain nor death."

"What do you fear, lady?" he asked.

"A cage," she said. "To stay behind bars..."

Most of my life I had an ongoing battle with my grandmother about what a woman's place was and how a girl should behave. Although she believed in equal rights for women and that there was no reason for women not to work, when it came to decorum and duties in the house, she was all for traditional roles. I rebelled every time she corrected me. According to my mother this started from the day I was born. 

Anyway, I think this is why I've always had a soft spot for Eowyn. One could argue that Aragorn was right and that she should have done her duty. But, if she had, who'd have killed the head Nazgul? 



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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Eowyn followed her heart ... when I read this to my daughter when she was little ... she asked if she could have a sword ... She has one.

I think this is a great passage to share!
Great choice Laurelin!
Thank you!



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Tom Bombadil
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And I have a sword, too. A rapier. I even took some training with the SCA until I fell down the stairs and got a tailbone injury, which took years to heal. I still cannot go back to train, but my sword has a honored place on my book case near the Tolkien Books.



-- Edited by ArwenLegolas on Monday 7th of July 2014 03:13:25 AM

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Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo!
Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal the willow!
Tom Bom, Jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo!

Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Date: Jul 17, 2014

    All that I love in Tolkien is not always a simple fantasy.  Often it is much deeper.  It reflects the confrontations and conundrums of ones life.
    We live our lives with darkness and light all around us.
    Which we choose is not simple.

    "You are wise and fearless and fair, Lady Galadriel,' said Frodo. `I will give you the One Ring, if you ask for it. It is too great a matter for me.'
    Galadriel laughed with a sudden clear laugh. `Wise the Lady Galadriel may be,' she said, `yet here she has met her match in courtesy. Gently are you revenged for my testing of your heart at our first meeting. You begin to see with a keen eye. I do not deny that my heart has greatly desired to ask what you offer. For many long years I had pondered what I might do, should the Great Ring come into my hands, and behold! it was brought within my grasp. The evil that was devised long ago works on in many ways, whether Sauron himself stands or falls. Would not that have been a noble deed to set to the credit of his Ring, if I had taken it by force or fear from my guest?
    `And now at last it comes. You will give me the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair! '
    She lifted up her hand and from the ring that she wore there issued a great light that illuminated her alone and left all else dark. She stood before Frodo seeming now tall beyond measurement, and beautiful beyond enduring, terrible and worshipful. Then she let her hand fall, and the light faded, and suddenly she laughed again, and lo! she was shrunken: a slender elf-woman, clad in simple white, whose gentle voice was soft and sad.
    'I pass the test,' she said. `I will diminish, and go into the West and remain Galadriel."
(The Lord Of The Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter VII ~ "The Mirror of Galadriel", pgs 365-366)

It happens so often that by virtues of education, position, and occupation we find we have influence, or even power, over our fellow man. Sometimes as representatives of authority we can strip someone of their children, freedom, or even their life. It can be as subtle as the One Ring itself.  Those who have it find ways to justify these actions with the rational that is for the best for all concerned.
Children are sent to "protective services", a man or woman are sent to "treatment", or incarceration.
Such power destroys families, condemns lives to darkness and despair, and often  there is no path to recovery, restitution, or reformation ...
Rationalization becomes the vehicle of those who wield this power ... whether it is just or cruel is a matter of perspective.

For me, as a clinical therapist, my reports carry weight.  Many who suffer from the destructive effects of addiction, or psychosis, or  the horrible twists of post traumatic stress disorder are dangerous to themselves and others.  There are those who rationalize that these souls must be separated from those they love and from society. Those with this One Ring like power can be so easily corrupted to throw these wounded souls into institutions where there is slim hope of recovery.
Recovery is possible ... but requires efforts to heal psychologically, physically, and spiritually.  It takes time, resources, and the virtues of patience, compassion, humility, and well honed skills of  intuition,  empathy, and expert knowledge.

It means that daily I challenge myself to reject the power of the One Ring.
It means to say and mean with solid conviction that I will diminish and pass the test to remain loving,  nurturing, and committed to being a healer not a judge.

And that is the gift from Tolkien and  "The Mirror of Galadriel"

Thank you Tolkien.



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Haldir of Lorien - Rank 6
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Well said, Bear. 



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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Tolkien's works are filled with archetypal figures of good and evil.  These figures fill his pages with heroic deeds  and acts of malevolence that are classical.  Their creation and our attachment to them has us claiming for ourselves wizards, warrior kings, valiant shield maidens, and Elven queens with mighty, almost spiritual, magic.
   We fill our minds and hearts with the saga of recovery, nobility, compassion, and great (almost supernatural) powers of good. 
  He has created classic heroic yet tragic figures twisted by archetypical powers of evil and darkness.  The loathsome apparitions of corruption are manifest with giant spiders, foul creatures that fly like nightmares across his pages, mighty evil beings subservient to a greater evil power which has enslaved them, devices which seduce and corrupt men, who once were noble, to deeds so malevolent that death is there only hope of salvation. Some of his creatures are so twisted that there is no redemption.
  It is a tale of good verses evil ... with evil being subtle and manipulative, or grand and threatening total destruction.
  Still with his grand heroic and malevolent visions Tolkien leaves room in his pages for the innocent and simple.  Tolkien weaves within his work themes of agrarian harmony and tongue tied romantic intention. His creations delight in fireworks and dancing.  Laughter and a mug of beer with friends after a day of toil draw us into his world of grand birthday parties, loving friendships, second breakfasts, tasty mushrooms, and blowing smoke rings.
  But Tolkien also paints for us  the attempted seduction and corruption of the most innocent, simple, and loyal of all his creatures, Samwise Gamgee.


    "His thought turned to the Ring, but there was no comfort there, only dread and danger. No sooner had he come in sight of Mount Doom, burning far away, than he was aware of a change in his burden. As it drew near the great furnaces where, in the deeps of time, it had been shaped and forged, the Ring's power grew, and it became more fell, untamable save by some mighty will. As Sam stood there, even though the Ring was not on him but hanging by its chain about his neck, he felt himself enlarged, as if he were robed in a huge distorted shadow of himself, a vast and ominous threat halted upon the walls of Mordor. He felt that he had from now on only two choices: to forbear the Ring, though it would torment him; or to claim it, and challenge the Power that sat in its dark hold beyond the valley of shadows. Already the Ring tempted him, gnawing at his will and reason. Wild fantasies arose in his mind; and he saw Samwise the Strong, Hero of the Age, striding with a flaming sword across the darkened land, and armies flocking to his call as he marched to the overthrow of Barad-dûr. And then all the clouds rolled away, and the white sun shone, and at his command the vale of Gorgoroth became a garden of flowers and trees and brought forth fruit. He had only to put on the Ring and claim it for his own, and all this could be.
    In that hour of trial it was the love of his master that helped most to hold him firm; but also deep down in him lived still unconquered his plain hobbit-sense: he knew in the core of his heart that he was not large enough to bear such a burden, even if such visions were not a mere cheat to betray him. The one small garden of a free gardener was all his need and due, not a garden swollen to a realm; his own hands to use, not the hands of others to command.
   'And anyway all these notions are only a trick,' he said to himself. 'He'd spot me and cow me, before I could so much as shout out. He'd spot me, pretty quick, if I put the Ring on now, in Mordor. Well, all I can say is: things look as hopeless as a frost in spring. Just when being invisible would be really useful, I can't use the Ring! And if ever I get any further, it's going to be nothing but a drag and a burden every step. So what's to be done?'
   He was not really in any doubt. He knew that he must go down to the gate and not linger any more. With a shrug of his shoulders, as if to shake off the shadow and dismiss the phantoms, he began slowly to descend. With each step he seemed to diminish."
(The Lord Of The Rings, The Return of the King, Book Six, Chapter I ~ "The Tower of Cirith Ungol", pgs 900-901)

   From this small passage what is it Tolkien wishes us to see?
What I see in these sparse lines are the true heroic virtues of  love and humility.
Sam remains loyal to Frodo. It is with honest and loving friendship he risks going back for his master.
  Sam overcomes the ring inflected grandiosity.  He does so with humility. Sam's true humility is not thinking less of himself. It is in seeing himself as he truly is. Not the world conquering gardener with slaves working vast tracks of land.  Tolkien calls it "still unconquered his plain hobbit-sense"  The idea of living his life in freedom with simple aspirations of a garden to fill his needs, and perhaps the gift of a little more to help his neighbors, without grand visions of entitlement or enslaving others. But instead as an honest, loving, humble hobbit working with his own hands in "the one small garden of a free gardener was all his need and due."  . 
  Out in the real world we face the same inner struggle that Sam does with One Ring.
   We hold positions of influence and supervision. Often these come with status and perks. Sometimes we experience others trying to ingratiate themselves with us for that status and perks. Sometimes we can get sucked into inter-organizational politics with the outcome being self-aggrandizing and inflationary self deception.
   It seems that our education, status, and intellect put us in a position of fantastical egotistic facades gnawing at our will and reason. Our values become corrupted. We lose our sense of humanity and compassion.  We no longer seek to lift others up.  Indeed we see our mission as a means to hold others back or down.  It could be the hubris of titles with initials trailing behind our names are like the Ring tempting  Sam, "gnawing at his will and reason"  Wild fantasies arise in our mind; and as Sam saw Samwise the Strong, Hero of the Age, we see a grandiose vision of our own.  It could be perks and salary become the values we judge others by.. We get caught in the same trap; egocentric, manipulative, domineering, and corrupt.
  But Tolkien shows us how to avoid these pitfalls with the results being we help others to reach their full potential and in publicly acknowledging their contributions.  We  learn to accept constructive criticism, grow not only in our occupational skills, but in those values that  allow us that " one small garden of a free gardener"  And in that acquisition see that our contributions give us all we need and are due.

It is so simple.
Love and Humility.

And that is what I see as Tolkien's gift of Samwise Gamgee.
And that is the gift I see from Tolkien's "The Tower of Cirith Ungol."

Thank you Tolkien.



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Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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Sometimes in life Integrity is either compromised or forgotten for the sake of "following the crowd" or perhaps to avoid being ostracized as a person who doesn't see things the way others might see them, or holding themselves the way they see fit and not conforming to the status quo or acclimating to the cliquish society that we are embroiled in, in our day to day journeys.

To the few who manage to keep their integrity during these, all too frequent and trying times, a new star shall shine and take up the name of the brilliant person who refuses to compromise their pursuit of 'spiritual growth'. Whether they feel it or not, they are fighting a ceaseless war of oppression.

Many dreams and goals fall flat from drawing too close to the Black Holes that are "The idle" or "malcontent", who only seek to pull a soaring comet of enthusiasm and zeal for life out of its own orbit and away from its intended projection. These cancerous individuals can only be satisfied by taking away the light in a vibrant person and make them feel that they are ridiculous for going the way they had intended. They exist only to pull these would-be wonders into the mire that they detest so much in hopes that they will be able to convince themselves that their rancid pits of ego and self-delusion are the right place to be. And woe be it to the shining being who listens to the affirming voice of this type of insanity, for their light goes out or dims and they are never the same.

 

'...there came the mingling of the lights, when both Trees were shining, and the silent city of Valmar was filled with a radiance of silver and gold.  And in that very hour Melkor and Ungoliant came hastening over the fields of Valinor, as the shadow of a black cloud upon the wind fleets over the sunlit earth; and they came before the green mound Ezellohar.  Then the Unlight of Ungoliant rose up even to the roots of the Trees, and Melkor sprang upon the mound: and with his black spear he smote each Tree to its core, wounded them deep, and their sap poured forth as it were their blood, and was spilled upon the ground.  But Ungoliant sucked it up, and going then from Tree to Tree she set her black beak to their wounds, till they were drained; and the poison of Death that was in her went into their tissues and withered them, root, branch, and leaf; and they died.  And still she thirsted and going to the Wells of Varda she drank them dry; but Ungoliant belched forth black vapours as she drank, and swelled to a shape so vast and hideous that Melkor was afraid.

So the great darkness fell upon Valinor.  Of the deeds of that day much is told in the Aldudenie, that Elemmire of the Vanyar made and is known to all the Eldar.  Yet no song or tale could contain all the grief and terror that then befell.  The Light failed; but the Darkness that followed was more than loss of light.  In that hour was made a Darkness that seemed not lack but a thing with being of its own: for it was indeed made by malice out of Light, and it had power to pierce the eye, and to enter heart and mind, and strangle the very will.'----The Silmarillion, Chapter VIII, The Darkening of Valinor



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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Jaidoprism7,
I just finished reading your posting on this thread.
To read a piece of fiction and draw such conclusions is admirable.

But this is MAGNIFICENT!

To take the authors words and with them create within others a deeper understanding of what is written is more than praise worthy, it is a writers dream.
Thank you so much for the extrapolation and the message that in our lives there are "Trees" which are not only in each of us but are in us collectively; and that we must cherish, nurture, and protect them.

Thank you.

This was so well done!

Bear



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