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Topic: LOTR Book Discussion Club - Book I, starting from Chapter 2

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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LOTR Book Discussion Club - all chapters starting from Chapter 2

Page 2 Post #1

 

Yet one more comment... When Pippin says 'Good heavens', what is he referring to? Or is it another 'express train' thing?..



-- Edited by Lorelline on Sunday 8th of June 2014 07:50:13 PM

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Lórellinë

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Well, heavens in this sense, I think, is referring to the sky, not an actual paradise. So I don't think he's talking about the "heaven" that we think of.



-- Edited by Teralectus on Sunday 1st of June 2014 03:14:35 PM

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"And Morgoth came."

Slaves of udun
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Was there anyone else wanting to take the next chapter? If not I could take this one as well.



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"And Morgoth came."

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Go ahead Teralectus..I won't stop you....I'll get Chapter 6......:)


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Sorry for the delay everyone. Here begins the discussion of Chapter 5: A Conspiracy Unmasked. Feel free to pose any of your own questions as well.

1. Right from the beginning, Tolkien throws out a myriad of names (in the first two pages) that are not alluded to for the rest of the chapter: Marish, Bucklebury, Brandy Hall, Stock, Rushey, Haysend, the Withywindle. I found this also cumbersome and did not take the time to look up what and where everything was. Do you feel this particular background information on the hobbits' whereabouts is necessary?

2. Do Nazgul have an aversion to water?

3. In this chapter it is revealed the Frodo actually does have a pretty good sense that he is in a lot of danger. On ~pg. 115 Frodo says, "I am not safe here [Crickhollow] or anywhere." Does he really mean anywhere? Not even Rivendell, for example? It is true, with the Ring, he is indeed not safe anywhere, but does he actually know that yet or does he just feel that way?

4. "This is not a treasure hunt, no there-and-back again journey" - Frodo says to his companions on ~pg. 117. He speaks as if he already knows he is going to Mt. Doom and will die in the end. Why does he think there is no "back again"?

5. "I am flying from peril into peril" - Frodo on the same page. I assume his is flying from the Dark Riders; what peril does he think he is flying into?

6. On ~pg. 118 Merry claims to know a good deal about the Ring, yet earlier in that same chapter he mentions that he has never heard of the Black Riders and only for the first time sees a glimpse of them. Does he really, then, know that much about the Ring?

7. "'But that can only mean going into the Old Foresst!' said Fredegar horiffied. 'You can't be thinking of doing that. It is quite as dangerous as the Black Riders.'

      'Not quite,' said Merry."

 - Again, Merry knows nothing of the Black Riders and only glimpsed one once - how can see say that they're more dangerous than the Old Forest which actually has a wide-known reputation for being ominous and treacherous? And for the matter, how does Fatty Bolger know either?

8. The chapter concludes with Frodo's dream. Do you put any stock into dreams in Tolkien's books, or are they merely just dreams?

 

 



-- Edited by Teralectus on Sunday 8th of June 2014 07:20:49 PM



-- Edited by Teralectus on Sunday 8th of June 2014 07:21:18 PM



-- Edited by Teralectus on Sunday 8th of June 2014 07:24:10 PM

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"And Morgoth came."

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Teralectus wrote:



1. Right from the beginning, Tolkien throws out a myriad of names (in the first two pages) that are not alluded to for the rest of the chapter: Marish, Bucklebury, Brandy Hall, Stock, Rushey, Haysend, the Withywindle. I found this also cumbersome and did not take the time to look up what and where everything was. Do you feel this particular background information on the hobbits' whereabouts is necessary?

I don't mind so much, but I love maps. I feel that it goes with Hobbits love of family history which includes where things are. That may be way off.

2. Do Nazgul have an aversion to water?

Quite often I have wondered the same. I mean horses can swim, so why didn't they just swim to the other side? Maybe they'll melt in water?

3. In this chapter it is revealed the Frodo actually does have a pretty good sense that he is in a lot of danger. On ~pg. 115 Frodo says, "I am not safe here [Crickhollow] or anywhere." Does he really mean anywhere? Not even Rivendell, for example? It is true, with the Ring, he is indeed not safe anywhere, but does he actually know that yet or does he just feel that way?

I had always he meant anywhere in the Shire.

4. "This is not a treasure hunt, no there-and-back again journey" - Frodo says to his companions on ~pg. 117. He speaks as if he already knows he is going to Mt. Doom and will die in the end. Why does he think there is no "back again"?

Sometimes it seems Frodo viewed Bilbo's journey as more of a holiday, or a fun adventure, forgetting how much Bilbo was actually in danger. But, Frodo knew he was going to have a tough time, I just don't think he really knew how tough; more I think he was comparing what he was doing to what he THOUGHT Bilbo did.

5. "I am flying from peril into peril" - Frodo on the same page. I assume his is flying from the Dark Riders; what peril does he think he is flying into?

Here I think he's talking about being hunted for in his homeland and they flying into the outside world chased by the bad guys with no one around they can trust.

6. On ~pg. 118 Merry claims to know a good deal about the Ring, yet earlier in that same chapter he mentions that he has never heard of the Black Riders and only for the first time sees a glimpse of them. Does he really, then, know that much about the Ring?

Doesn't he just know what he's seen with Bilbo? For him, that might have been a lot compared to everyone else who knew nothing at all.

8. The chapter concludes with Frodo's dream. Do you put any stock into dreams in Tolkien's books, or are they merely just dreams?

 Yes, I do put stock into them. Frodo was a ring-bearer and didn't that give him some "powers" if you will. Or maybe an ability to "see" or feel things more than non-ring-bearers? In chapters to come were more interesting dreams.

 



-- Edited by Teralectus on Sunday 8th of June 2014 07:20:49 PM



-- Edited by Teralectus on Sunday 8th of June 2014 07:21:18 PM



-- Edited by Teralectus on Sunday 8th of June 2014 07:24:10 PM


 



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1. To me, these geographical names add more substance to the background and make the story so much more 'real'. And they are pretty nicely sounding names too - not cumbersome in the least.

2. Do Nazgul have an aversion to water? I know we were told not to bring up out-of-LOTR material here, relevant or not, which I personally find very unfortunate because quite a few sources outside LOTR are specifically clarifying the issues left vague in LOTR. Should I then just mention that another book gives the full account on this Nazgul-and-water point exactly... But I would be happy to elaborate if there is interest.

3. Frodo probably just feels he is not safe anywhere in the surroundings he can imagine. He has only a vague idea about Rivendell, and even less about its safety.

6. On Merry's knowledge about the Ring. Well, even Gandalf didn't know that much about the Ring until quite late. And Frodo is only guessing that the Black Riders are after the Ring. I might point out that the pagination in different editions is different, although mine seems close to yours, Teralectus; I, however, could not find the statement that Merry knows 'a good deal' about the Ring (I could have overlooked it), but he does say he knows of the 'existence of the Ring for years'. And he knows of the invisibility effect, but it doesn't seem he knows much beyond that... How could he?

7. Dangers of Old Forest versus the Black Riders.
To me it looks like neither Merry nor Fredegar know much concerning the danger of the Black Riders, but their opinions on the Old Forest differ. Merry has been there several times (in daylight), and even Frodo once, and apparently both were okay; Fatty on the other hand states that he is 'more afraid of the Old Forest than of anything [he knows] about'. He is still to experience the horror of the Nazgul - 'they little thought how dangerous [Fatty's] part might prove'. Which part was to keep up the pretence that Frodo was still living at Crickhollow.

8. Dreams are quite important in Tolkien's books - not just in LOTR actually, and some dreams are put as very long (and important) stories.

And also, there are a few more references to 'Good heavens' - and Merry at describing Bilbo's disappearance in view of S.-B.s uses the word 'presto' - I wonder what foreign language was meant there, represented by this Italian word?



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Lórellinë

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Teralectus wrote:

1. Right from the beginning, Tolkien throws out a myriad of names (in the first two pages) that are not alluded to for the rest of the chapter: Marish, Bucklebury, Brandy Hall, Stock, Rushey, Haysend, the Withywindle. I found this also cumbersome and did not take the time to look up what and where everything was. Do you feel this particular background information on the hobbits' whereabouts is necessary?

To me, citing the names of these places gave me a sense that this world of ME is more tangible and well-established. Also gives me the sense of Hobbit nomenclature. To name things that sound more docile and rustic is indicative of Hobbit lifestyle and fits rather well. Although upon first read, I did manage to set those names aside just thinking them things we will never see or hear about in the story. But when some of these names come up again I was immediately reminded of the Shire.

2. Do Nazgul have an aversion to water?

I have read about this in UT, where Tolkien touches on the subject but in a small way. If there is more about this I'd like to know....do we open another thread? I suppose it would be safe to cite the source of the Nazgul/water situation here as long as we don't "Go down the Rabbit-hole" about it. Or PM me Lorelline....I'd still like to know.



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I found one more thing pretty curious. Merry tells Frodo: "We can usually guess what you are thinking". In the previous chapter Farmer Maggot says to him: "Then I will tell you what to think". I guess it all is rather uncomfortable to Frodo! Just minor compared to the overall dangerous situation...

And JD7, I will communicate with you through osanwe. The most effective way of communication, in my opinion.



-- Edited by Lorelline on Saturday 21st of June 2014 03:13:36 PM

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Lórellinë

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You're point about when you first read it make sense, Jaido. The first time I read it the names meant nothing and i really didn't pay attention to them at all. But, after a few more (I wonder how many?!) readings, I really pay attention and sometimes even like to have a map next to me while i read. 



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I do too Laurelin.  The map not only helps me visualize the terrain but it also gives you a breath of the hobbit soul ... what is significant to them. As Jaido wrote; "To name things that sound more docile and rustic is indicative of Hobbit lifestyle and fits rather well." This whole chapter paints what is important to hobbits and really helps us see the character of hobbits ... from Sam's watchful eye, Farmer Maggots generosity and courage, The unflagging friendship of Merry, Pippin,Sam, and Fatty ...and even some of the character defects such as Frodo's greed with the mushrooms ...  to songs sung in the bathtub ...
It seems to me that the first chapter and this chapter are where Tolkien paints his picture in depth of the hobbits psyche.



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Chapter 6:

The Old Forest

 

In this chapter we have the Hobbits, especially Frodo, finally leaving much of their comfort and safety of home and hearth and stepping into a wild world.  In this chapter they also learn just how subtle danger can be.  We on the other hand get to realize what kind of story we might be in for as normal mundane things are given life and we also get a general sense of the magic that is in Middle-Earth.

 

1.  The journey into the woods--In Chapter 5 we are given the powerful suggestion that the Trees of the forest have a life of their own and that there was a battle between the trees and Hobbits in times past.  Early on in Chapter 6 we are given a taste of the oppressing feeling of the forest and the watchfulness of the trees.  When the Hobbits are given a reprieve from the Forest and spy the "bald hill" in the distance and Frodo begins to sing his song and this happens: 

   Oh! Wanderers in the shadowed land

despair not!  For though dark they stand,

all woods there must end at last,

and see the open sun go past:

the setting sun, the rising sun, the day's end, or the day begun,

For east or west all woods mus fail...

Fail- even as he said the word his voice faded into silence.  The air seemed heavy and the making of words wearisome.  Just behind them a large branch fell from an old overhanging tree with a crash into the path. 

At this point in the narrative do you suppose that legends had made this otherwise natural occurrence (branches falling) more significant?  Or do you suppose that the trees of the woods, at this point had just as much life in them as the Hobbits after their own fashion?  Were the trees sentient? 

 

2.  Misleadings-  Here in Chapter 6 we also find that Tolkien has a way of funneling his characters toward danger.  The Hobbits are granted an overview of the lands all around them from this "bald hill"  where they spy the Withywindle winding its way through the forest and they are slightly emboldened by the sight and are assured of their direction in the enchanted woods.  But almost as soon as they leave the "hill" they are hemmed in by unsavory conditions.  Things like: 

 

"Then deep folds in the ground were discovered unexpectedly, like the ruts of great giant-wheels or wide moats and sunken roads long disused and chocked with brambles."  "...which was troublesome and difficult with their ponies."  Tolkien goes on to write:  "Each time they climbed down they found the hollow filled with thick bushes and matted undergrowth, which somehow would not yield to the left, but only gave way when they turned to the right; and they had to go some distance along the bottom before they could find a way up the further bank."  Then later:  "...and they were forced to the right and downwards."  Then:  "After an hour or two they had lost all clear sense of direction."

 

Here is implied a sense of helplessness of such situations and just how easy it is to become lost even when the path seems clearest, giving the reader a deeper sense that even a short journey could be wrought with uncertainty.  I have no real questions about this topic...it was merely an observation.  Do you agree?

 

3.  Tolkien's love of Trees and Tom--The soothing song of Old Man Willow seems to reach the Hobbits sooner than the sight of him.  "He (Frodo) lifted his heavy eyes and saw  leaning over him a huge willow-tree, old and hoary.  Enormous it looked, its sprawling branches going up like reaching arms with many long-fingered hands, its knotted and twisted trucnk gaping in the wide fissure that creaked faintly as the boughs moved.  The leaves fluttering against the bright sky dazzled him, and he toppled over, lying where he fell upon the grass."  

Do you think that Tolkien felt that the gentle creaking of the Willow-tree and the fluttering of leaves was indeed the Song of the Willow?

 

4.  Somebody gimme a beat!  (Boom Chicka Boom Chicka Boom) Hey!  Ho!  Derry.....Dol!  

Taller than a Hobbit, bearded, red-faced and a snappy dresser.  Red-faced like Tulkas, Dwarvish in the vein of Aule, Master of trees and woods--Yavannah-like with the fashion sense of a Hobbit?  I know many of you Tolkienites have more info and more of an opinion on our old friend Tom Bombadil and this is your moment.  I have little to say about the silly little guy and have more questions about who he actually was in the world at large than his contribution in this tale.  Mostly fodder for the Spec Thread.  Have at it. 

 

This is a good start for now. 



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First off, I have to admit that this is my least favorite chapter out of all the JRRT books I've read. There's been many a time I skipped over it. It's just so slow. And I think I get annoyed at the Hobbits for taking that route, though it was the safest way to avoid the Riders. I just feels like they were invading the trees territory and getting mad a the trees for "defending" themselves. So, to Jaido's questions...

1. At this point in the narrative do you suppose that legends had made this otherwise natural occurrence (branches falling) more significant?  Or do you suppose that the trees of the woods, at this point had just as much life in them as the Hobbits after their own fashion?  Were the trees sentient?

Yes, I definitely feel that they are sentient. In some other thread I think I asked if they weren't Huorns or relatives of the Ents or something. How else did the paths get made and unmade? Also, see my mini-rant above. 

2. Here is implied a sense of helplessness of such situations and just how easy it is to become lost even when the path seems clearest, giving the reader a deeper sense that even a short journey could be wrought with uncertainty.  I have no real questions about this topic...it was merely an observation.  Do you agree?

Yes, for sure. Isn't that reminiscent of life?

 

3. Do you think that Tolkien felt that the gentle creaking of the Willow-tree and the fluttering of leaves was indeed the Song of the Willow?

I thought his song was his whisperings. But, now that you say that it makes me reconsider. I mean what else could be so nice as hearing trees swaying in the breeze after trudging through a miserable forest? Who wouldn't want to go laze under it and sit by a stream? Makes sense.



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I am less than thrilled about this chapter, but for a different reason entirely. The evil trees are quite interesting but the rescue of the hobbits by Tom Bombadil looks like a convenience measure...

1. About the Old Forest, there is some mention of it quite a lot later, in TTT, chapter Treebeard. There Treebeard explains that while some Ents are 'growing sleepy, going tree-ish', some trees are 'half-awake. Some are quite wide awake, and a few are... getting Entish'. And then he goes on about such trees that turn out to have bad hearts, noting that 'that sort of thing seems to spread' and that 'There used to be some very dangerous parts in this country'. Merry guesses at the Old Forest right away.
It is not all exactly clear, but the process looks like a two-way one. I got an impression (Merry's impression that is, from Flotsam and Jetsam chapter yet further ahead) that Huorns are the Ents going tree-ish, while the trees from the Old Forest are the trees going Entish, and with bad hearts. Seemingly not Huorns (by origin, if Merry is right) if indeed there is a difference - Huorns too are said to have become queer and wild and dangerous.

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About "sentient" trees and ents in general - It is said that the Elves woke the tress, long past (if I remember correctly). Any speculation on why the trees of the Old Forest and Fangorn were awakened but not those in Greenwood/Mirkwood, where Elves are still residing? I don't ever remember reading about "living trees" in Mirkwood.

If there is an answer to this is another book or source, feel free to post the name of that source :)



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"And Morgoth came."

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Maybe they were suppressed by the Evil when Sauron was living there. I think when they were called Greenwood the Great, there may have been Ents there. After all, they were to take care of the woods.

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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!

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Concerning the trees in Mirkwood, in TTT, The Riders of Rohan, when Aragorn asks Legolas about 'fables of the forest', Legolas says: 'I have heard nothing of this in my own land, save only songs that tell how the Onodrim, that Men call Ents, dwelt there long ago; for Fangorn is old...' He actually says nothing of Mirkwood's trees but it seems a perfect place to say something if there is anything of note! Which makes one think that at least on Legolas's memory the presence of Ents wasn't apparent there. 

The Hobbit adds little information on this.



-- Edited by Lorelline on Wednesday 9th of July 2014 07:44:54 PM

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Lórellinë

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Are we ready for Chapter 7?

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Chapter 7

In the House of Tom Bombadil

 

Summary

 

The hobbits arrive at Tom's house and are delighted at the sight of Goldberry - A nice uplifting supper - Frodo, Pippin and Merry (but not Sam) see disturbing dreams - Cloudy morning of the Goldberry's washing day, nice breakfast and Goldberry's rain-song - Tom tells the hobbits stories about the Old Forest and Old Man Willow, Barrow-downs and Barrow-wights, ancient times with 'straight seas' - Frodo losing track of time - Frodo asks Tom who he is - End of rain, and a supper better than before - Tom questions the hobbits about their journey - Tom  puts on the Ring but stays visible - Tom gives the hobbits an advice how best to get to the East Road and how to call for him if they fall into a danger.

 

Questions:

 

1. It could be just me, but I cannot get rid of the feeling that Tom and Goldberry don't fit together. Tom, although 'the Master of wood, water, and hill', is in his appearance an old man singing silly songs. Goldberry, on the other hand, is likened to a 'fair young elf-queen' (although apparently she is no Elf). Tom does sing about their first encounter - he 'found the River-daughter' by a certain pool... Almost like, found and took her to wife, and of course took care of her ever since - and she respects him and yes they act in a great harmony but still her feelings are not transparent while Tom's are too obvious. I guess I would find it way more natural had they both been described as a happy old man and a happy old lady, or alternatively Tom would be more of a match to Goldberry. I wonder if anybody ever felt anything similar. 

 

2. I think the question of who Tom Bombadil was, and who Goldberry was, has been discussed previously, but there might be new thoughts, so I will post it here. To me, it seems quite interesting that Goldberry is a 'River-daughter'. 'Daughter' figuratively speaking? Also it was interesting that a candle flame came through Goldberry's hand like 'sunlight through a white shell'. There is more on Tom (and Goldberry) in the Extension thread.

 

3. Although Goldberry is a River-daughter, she says (as cited above) that Tom is 'the Master of wood, water, and hill' - why isn't she the Master of water? Or is she just saying it? 

 

4. Hobbits don't wear shoes, so why are the company given slippers? Tom knows a lot about this particular journey and is in a close contact with Farmer Maggot. Does he not know hobbits' habits in general?

 

5. I would say that we all probably know what Frodo saw in his dream. I am just wondering if Pippin's and Merry's dreams were any 'prophetic', of their later contact with Treebeard and drowning of Isengard for example?

 

6. The way Tom describes the Old Forest , it turns out that 'nearly all trees of the Forest' were under the dominion of the Great Willow. Tom seems to be content with this state of affairs and one wonders why.

 

7. Do others think that the mention of 'the seas [that] flowed strait to the western Shore' implies that the world originally was flat? 

 

8. Why doesn't Tom become invisible, how is it that Frodo willingly gives Tom The ring, how does Tom make The ring invisible and why can he can see Frodo while the latter is wearing The ring (for example, Gandalf didn't see Bilbo when Bilbo wore The ring)?

 

 

9. Does anybody feel that Tom, Goldberry, and their safe haven-house are used as an expedience, to magically save the hobbits from trouble (as opposed to the hobbits being left to their own devices), as they don't appear any more in the story? Or are they of a greater significance than that, for example in showing that there is much good (and mysterious) still left in Middle-earth?

 









-- Edited by Lorelline on Wednesday 16th of July 2014 09:52:28 PM

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Lórellinë

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Wow, that's a lot to think about. Good questions!

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I'll try and answer a few of the questions posed:

"1. It could be just me, but I cannot get rid of the feeling that Tom and Goldberry don't fit together. Tom, although 'the Master of wood, water, and hill', is in his appearance an old man singing silly songs. Goldberry, on the other hand, is likened to a 'fair young elf-queen' (although apparently she is no Elf). Tom does sing about their first encounter - he 'found the River-daughter' by a certain pool... Almost like, found and took her to wife, and of course took care of her ever since - and she respects him and yes they act in a great harmony but still her feelings are not transparent while Tom's are too obvious. I guess I would find it way more natural had they both been described as a happy old man and a happy old lady, or alternatively Tom would be more of a match to Goldberry. I wonder if anybody ever felt anything similar."


I think the whole purpose to Bombadil, Goldberry and the Old Forest is to be mysterious, enigmatic and almost contradictory. It's meant to be a departure from normality and typical logic and rules into a mini fairy-tale within a larger fantasy. It's also perhaps meant to be somewhat simplistic and idealistic; Tom found a beautiful woman by the river and took her as his wife and they both lived happily ever after. I don't think there is meant to be anymore to it than that: simple and sweet.


"2. I think the question of who Tom Bombadil was, and who Goldberry was, has been discussed previously, but there might be new thoughts, so I will post it here. To me, it seems quite interesting that Goldberry is a 'River-daughter'. 'Daughter' figuratively speaking? Also it was interesting that a candle flame came through Goldberry's hand like 'sunlight through a white shell'. There is more on Tom (and Goldberry) in the Extension thread."


The exact nature of Tom Bombadil is perhaps the most discussed topic in Middle-earth forums across the web. There is no definitive answer except for the one Tolkien himself gave us: he is meant to be an enigma. Speculations are endless and it's definitely an interesting topic because Tolkien gave us quite a few leads as to possible origins but ultimately none of them lead to anything concrete, just speculations with varying degrees of textual evidence to back them up. Goldberry is even more difficult to speculate on because there is a lot less to go on with her. It is said in The Silmarillion that the Music of the Ainur is most present in water: could Goldberry somehow be a manifestation of some part of the Music of the Ainur through the element of water? Who knows...


"Although Goldberry is a River-daughter, she says (as cited above) that Tom is 'the Master of wood, water, and hill' - why isn't she the Master of water? Or is she just saying it?"


Well, for one she would be called 'Mistress of Water', surely? Secondly they do seem to be of very different origin. Bombadil seems to be a very commanding and powerful entity wrapped up in a comical package. Goldberry seems to be a lot less powerful, though clearly still 'magical'. Tom seems to be 'master of nature' while Goldeberry seems to be a magical 'product' of nature, of water specifically.


"4. Hobbits don't wear shoes, so why are the company given slippers? Tom knows a lot about this particular journey and is in a close contact with Farmer Maggot. Does he not know hobbits' habits in general?"


I don't think this is something to ponder over too much. When the Hobbits entered the Old Forest they were entering the domain of Bombadil. 'When in Rome be a Roman' seems to apply here.


"6. The way Tom describes the Old Forest , it turns out that 'nearly all trees of the Forest' were under the dominion of the Great Willow. Tom seems to be content with this state of affairs and one wonders why."


It seems a good way of controlling the forest to me. If one tree controls almost all the others then all Tom has to do is control that one tree to have sway over most of the forest.


"7. Do others think that the mention of 'the seas [that] flowed strait to the western Shore' implies that the world originally was flat?"


It does more than imply - Tom is indeed referring to the time before the Drowning of Numenor when the world was still flat and the Western sea led directly to the Undying Lands. Tom was around during this time. Indeed, he was around far earlier than this.


"8. Why doesn't Tom become invisible, how is it that Frodo willingly gives Tom The ring, how does Tom make The ring invisible and why can he can see Frodo while the latter is wearing The ring (for example, Gandalf didn't see Bilbo when Bilbo wore The ring)?"


In a nutshell - that's how powerful Bombadil is. Even the One Ring doesn't have power over him, at least not in his own realm. As for why Frodo willingly gave him the ring - firstly I think it's because Frodo wasn't under the sway of the Ring too much at that point, though I haven't read the books for a while so perhaps there is something which contradicts this. Secondly, while the hobbits are in the Old Forest I think the magic and power of the place - which ultimately rests with Bombadil - could perhaps be stronger than any sway the Ring could have.


"9. Does anybody feel that Tom, Goldberry, and their safe haven-house are used as an expedience, to magically save the hobbits from trouble (as opposed to the hobbits being left to their own devices), as they don't appear any more in the story? Or are they of a greater significance than that, for example in showing that there is much good (and mysterious) still left in Middle-earth? "


When the LotR begins it can be viewed in a similar vein as The Hobbit - that is to say, more of a frivolous children's book than an epic adult fantasy. However, as the story goes on things become more dark and serious. I think the Old Forest occasion represents a major shift between childish and serious. Bombadil is mentioned quite extensively in the Council of Elrond so I don't think he was viewed as a 'quick fix' to then be discarded by Tolkien. He's just meant to be a frivolous, enigmatic contribution within the larger tale. Not to be taken too seriously, but not to be discarded wholesale either.

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1. Lorelline states: It could be just me, but I cannot get rid of the feeling that Tom and Goldberry don't fit together. Tom, although 'the Master of wood, water, and hill', is in his appearance an old man singing silly songs. Goldberry, on the other hand, is likened to a 'fair young elf-queen' (although apparently she is no Elf).

My take is that Tom is a Maia. His silly name is given to him largely by the Bucklanders (See side note #1 here) (Or the Original Tom Bombadil Thread here) and as most of you know his name is also Iarwain, Forn, Orald, and once only he went as Miss Phyllis Levine.  But no one can guess rightly if he is a Maia, but as one of the long lived whether Maiar or Valar he is given a different raiment when on Arda.  Who knows what glorious form he had in Valinor if he was ever there at all?  According to some reference material even The Old Wizards had youthful and handsome forms in Valinor (While in Valinor).  Why not Tom?  Perhaps these forms are still apparent to other creatures that were formed in the music of the Ainur.  Goldberry probably saw the light of Valinor in Tom's eyes and fell head over heels.  Besides it was She who initiates the flirting--(See here note #1a).

 

This is just my theory of why Goldberry is with Tom in the first place.  It couldn't be just a case of abduction, could it?

 

3.  Although Goldberry is a River-daughter, she says (as cited above) that Tom is 'the Master of wood, water, and hill' - why isn't she the Master of water?

I think that Goldberry couldn't be the master of water as the River-daughter.  She already had the lesser title for one.   Secondly I'm sure the River-woman was well aware of Ulmo or Osse and the mastery goes to them.  I think Goldberry claims that he is the master of water just to be clear that he pretty much runs the show in the Old Forest.  

4.This may sound silly but is Farmer Maggot one of the big folk? 

6.  Glorfindel says:  "It seems a good way of controlling the forest to me. If one tree controls almost all the others then all Tom has to do is control that one tree to have sway over most of the forest."   I'd have to agree with that.

I am pretty satisfied with the answers that Glorfindel gives for the rest of this Chapter....saves me a lot of work too...lol. 

 

Good coverage on this Chapter everyone!

 

-- Edited by Jaidoprism7 on Friday 18th of July 2014 11:32:22 PM



-- Edited by Jaidoprism7 on Sunday 20th of July 2014 12:43:27 AM



-- Edited by Jaidoprism7 on Sunday 20th of July 2014 12:46:51 AM



-- Edited by Jaidoprism7 on Thursday 24th of July 2014 12:45:53 AM

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Crazy, I wrote all these answers to Lorelline's questions and they didn't get posted. I'll have to try again later.

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Trying to get out of the homework eh? LOL. I'm kidding with you.

That has happened to me....still don't know if it was a glitch or operator error....lol.

Bon Chance




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The posting glitch has happened to me too.
It is so frustrating after putting in the work for it to just plain vanish ...
It has NOT happened with the new Permalink ...



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My take on some of these questions.

3. "Although Goldberry is a River-daughter, she says (as cited above) that Tom is 'the Master of wood, water, and hill' - why isn't she the Master of water? Or is she just saying it?"

Ok why isn't she a 'mistress'? (thanks to Glorfindel for pointing this out) - I agree with JD7 and to me she is no way Tom's equal. One doesn't have to be a full match to one's spouse to be a good couple of course... But here I see no match at all.

6. "The way Tom describes the Old Forest , it turns out that 'nearly all trees of the Forest' were under the dominion of the Great Willow. Tom seems to be content with this state of affairs and one wonders why."

I am not really in agreement with Glorfindel's answer here. Tom seems to be a Master of a place that appears dreadful, basically evil, to hobbits at least. Trees are evil. Animals (as follows from the poems) are unfriendly too! It is sort of interesting that given freedom - as Tom doesn't 'own' any creatures - they all turn to these malicious ways.

Strongly reminds me of what is stated about Morgoth's power disseminated in all matter (the power of which he lost any control, and so it generates evil independent from his original evil). Tom doesn't really care, or at best he is hoping for the self-healing of all this malice (which process too is stated to take place). Meanwhile his scolding appears to have a one-time (expedient) effect, not a lasting one.

7. "Do others think that the mention of 'the seas [that] flowed strait to the western Shore' implies that the world originally was flat?"

I think I should have formulated this clearer - we know that in the published Silmarillion the world is indeed initially flat (not in all versions of the early history; and Sun and Moon too are present from the beginning in some versions). I meant, without reading the Sil, how would one understand the phrase 'Tom was here already, before the seas were bent'?

8. "Why doesn't Tom become invisible, how is it that Frodo willingly gives Tom The ring, how does Tom make The ring invisible and why can he can see Frodo while the latter is wearing The ring (for example, Gandalf didn't see Bilbo when Bilbo wore The ring)?"

It seems to be stated later that there are a Seen and an Unseen worlds; the Nazgul are in the Unseed world thanks to wearing their own rings for a long time in the past. Mortals as it seems live in the Seen world; Elves who have dwelled in Valinor live at once in both worlds and perhaps will not become invisible to mortal eyes when wearing The One Ring had that happened; Sauron was of course visible (e.g. to Numenoreans); Tom by conjecture also is in both worlds and sees what is in both - Frodo with or without The Ring on his finger for example, and he himself stays visible when wearing The Ring as he is not 'transported' to the Unseen world. That Gandalf did not see Bilbo who wore The Ring seems a bit of a contradiction to all this, if indeed he didn't see him. Of course there are plain historical reasons to this contradiction too - The One Ring just wasn't in TH what it has become later in LOTR.

It is more curious that Frodo gives Tom The Ring without reservation. Tom's commanding abilities come to mind. He uses no force other than his words in all instances (other than Goldberry pickup) and he even says that 'his songs are stronger'. We see that with respect to The Old Man Willow, the Badgers, Barrow Wight (the latter, both in the original poem and in the Fog on the Barrow Downs chapter), and creatures from 'Bombadil Goes Boating' . I am not sure if there is much free will on Frodo's part in handing The Ring over to Tom or not. It is said that Frodo did it 'to his own astonishment'.

How Tom makes The Ring disappear is also interesting. Could 'vanished with a flash' pass for an optical illusion? Clearly it disappears from Frodo's sight as Frodo isn't even sure that the ring Tom returns to him is that same Ring.


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In response to some Lorelline's post, I have this:

#3. I think Goldberry was of a water-folk in the realm of Ulmo or Osse. Kind of like mermaids but of Rivers/Lakes instead of the sea. No fins or fishy-type lower body. They live in and around the waterways but they aren't masters of it. Just like we breathe air but cannot wield the winds...kind of thing.

#6. I think Tom probably realizes that the symbiotic nature of the woods is required to maintain life and balance. The Old Man Willow is twisted and wild or evil in a sense. But the tree is old and necessary for the ecology of the forest. Maybe Tom would change his mind if Willow got a hold of his precious Goldberry. Then we'd see a different thing altogether.

Very thorough Chapter discussion. Everyone made good on an otherwise slightly boring chapter...in my opinion..

Who's next for Chapter 8?



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Okay everyone,

I'm going to post Chapter 8 Fog on the Barrow Downs.

Coming soon.



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Chapter 8

The Fog on the Barrow-Downs

 

Cold be hand and heart and bone,

and cold be sleep under stone:

never more to wake on stony bed,

never, till the Sun fails and the Moon is dead.

In the black wind the stars shall die,

and still on gold here let them lie,

til the dark lord lifts his hand

over dead sea and withered land.

 

As seen in the chapter "The Old Forest"  we see Tolkien utilizing his masterful way of making a docile scene into a complete nightmare.  Typically, in more modern tales, our heroes travel toward danger...or find themselves embroiled in deep peril as they journey into these situations.  But Tolkien had a way with making a simple nap on a cheery day after a meal such a frightening affair.  Most heroes seek the quest and find the danger in the process.  In this case the peril finds our heroes.

 

Let's take a look shall we?

 

1.  A brief rest-  "Splendid!" said Frodo.  "If we make as good going this afternoon as we have done this morning, we shall have left the Downs before the Sun sets and be jogging on in search of a camping place."  But even as he spoke he turned his glance eastwards, and he saw that on those hills were crowned with green mounds, and on some were standing stones, pointing upwards like jagged teeth out of green gums.

  Needless to quote, the Hobbits take a lunch break by a standing stone (one just like the ones Frodo did not like the look of).

There they took food and drink, and made as good a noon meal under the open sky as anyone could wish; for the food came from 'down under Hill'.  Tom had provided them with plenty for the comfort of the day.  Their ponies unburdened strayed upon the grass.

    Riding over the hills, and eating their fill, the warm sun and the scent of turf, lying a little too long, stretching out their legs and looking at the sky above their noses: these things are, perhaps, enough to explain what happened.

"...The hobbits sprang to their feet in alarm, and ran to the western rim.  They found that they were upon an island in the fog.  Even as they looked out in dismay towards the setting sun, it sank before their eyes into a white sea, and a cold grey shadow sprang up in the East behind. The fog rolled up to the walls and rose above them, and as it mounted it bent over their heads until it became a roof:  they were shut in a hall of mist whose central pillar was the standing stone.

 

Instant nightmare.  Not only have they lost the sun but they are blinded by fog and completely discom-poop-ulated.  This was just a commentary on a masterfully done scene.  This particular scene was one that I had to re-read once I got to that last bit there.  I had a real, "wait a @#$% minute here.  What just happened?" moment.  I was just as lost and confused as the hobbits as this seemingly benign course of events turns on its head so subtly that I too felt like I had fallen asleep along with the hobbits.  

 

2.  Capture-  Out of the east the biting wind was blowing.  To his right there loomed against the westward stars a dark black shape.  A great barrow stood there.

"Where are you?" he cried again, both angry and afraid. 

"Here! said a voice, deep and cold, that seemed to come out of the ground.  "I am waiting for you!"

"No!" said Frodo; but he did not run away. His knees gave, and he fell on the ground. Nothing happened, and there was no sound.  Trembling he looked up, in time to see a tall dark figure like a shadow against the stars  It leaned over him.  He thought there were two eyes, very cold though lit with a pale light that seemed to come from some remote distance.  Then a grip stronger and colder than iron seized him.  The icy touch froze his bones, and he remembered no more.

Did Frodo faint here?  Or did the Barrow-wight have the "Black Breath" spell like the Ringwraiths had? 

 

3.  Ritual-  Frodo awakens in a Barrow.  As he lay there, thinking and getting a hold of himself, he noticed all at once that the darkness was slowly giving way:  a pale greenish light was growing round him.  It did not a first show him what kind of  a place he was in, for the light seemed to be coming out of himself, and from the floor beside him, and had not yet reached the roof or wall.  he turned, and there in the cold glow he saw lying beside him Sam, Pippin, and Merry.  They were on their backs, and their faces looked deathly pale and there were clad in white.  About them lay many treasures, of gold maybe, though in that light they looked cold and unlovely.  On their heads were circlets, gold chains were about their waists, and on their fingers were many rings.  Swords lay by their sides, and shields were at their feet.  But across their three necks lay on long naked sword.   

This seemed to me like some form of ritual.  But was it a ritual for the purpose of possessing the bodies of the four Hobbits so that the evil spirits of the Barrow Wights might have new husks to inhabit?

This would explain the "white" clothes and the circlets on their heads and the "gold chains" about their waists.

Or was this a ritual meant to slay the four Hobbits making their spirits easier for Sauron or the Witch-king to command?  Which king you ask?  Yes. That king.  Don't let's be silly!

 

4. Here comes the Cavalry.  Mr. Bombadillo to the rescue.  My thought of Old Tom haven't really changed much since the last chapter discussion. And I still feel that he is nothing more than a plot device...but I will say this about this portion of the Chapter:

This is the perfect example of where Dungeons and Dragons creator Gary Gygax got his method of receiving treasure and experience for each encounter!  Tom got a "brooch set with blue stones, many-shaded like flax-flowers or the wings of blue butterflies."  The Hobbits got some well-needed armament finally.  I would say that was a level up! 

The only real question is: What stirred Tom's memory by seeing this ancient brooch?  Any takers on this one?    

 

 

Then the Hobbits went to Bree.  The End.

 

What did you think about this whole thing so far? 

I'd love to hear from ya...

 

Have a great day people...smile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



-- Edited by Jaidoprism7 on Thursday 28th of August 2014 11:32:31 AM

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1. Instant nightmare.  Not only have they lost the sun but they are blinded by fog and completely discom-poop-ulated.  This was just a commentary on a masterfully done scene.  This particular scene was one that I had to re-read once I got to that last bit there.  I had a real, "wait a @#$% minute here.  What just happened?" moment.  I was just as lost and confused as the hobbits as this seemingly benign course of events turns on its head so subtly that I too felt like I had fallen asleep along with the hobbits.  

 

This is a scene that I had to re-read often to fully get it. Actually this whole Barrow section I had to re-read multiple times. Somewhere in this forum I remember I had to ask for an artist rendition so I could picture what was happening. It's odd and unexpected as you say.

 

2. Did Frodo faint here?  Or did the Barrow-wight have the "Black Breath" spell like the Ringwraiths had?

I had always thought it was either the "Black Breath" or the Vulcan grip thing. 

 

3. But was it a ritual for the purpose of possessing the bodies of the four Hobbits so that the evil spirits of the Barrow Wights might have new husks to inhabit? 

This would explain the "white" clothes and the circlets on their heads and the "gold chains" about their waists.

Or was this a ritual meant to slay the four Hobbits making their spirits easier for Sauron or the Witch-king to command?  Which king you ask?  Yes. That king.  Don't let's be silly!

I don't know if I can answer this at all because I never really understood what the Wights did or who they "worked" for. Were they an entity unto themselves or were they under Sauron's control. Before I answer this question, maybe someone can help me here.

 

 

 

 

 

 



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1. "Most heroes seek the quest and find the danger in the process. In this case the peril finds our heroes."

Depends on how one defines a 'hero'. If one assumes a main character as a hero (not necessarily an overtly heroic person), the situations when perils find that hero without any actions or desires on their part are all too common... let alone the real life where that happens all the time.

This not to say that the scene described here is nothing extraordinary. The hobbits are not particularly exhausted yet they fall asleep. Some malice at work? It is said (in UT) that the Witch-king visited the Barrow-downs and 'the Barrow-wights were roused, and all things of evil spirit... were on the watch with malice in the Old Forest and on the Barrow-downs'.

2. "Did Frodo faint here? Or did the Barrow-wight have the "Black Breath" spell like the Ringwraiths had? "

It looks like some sort of spell made Frodo faint... But the part where Frodo finds his courage and rejects the idea of putting on the Ring and sneaking away leaving his friends in the Barrow was most impressive to me.

3. "This seemed to me like some form of ritual. But was it a ritual for the purpose of possessing the bodies of the four Hobbits so that the evil spirits of the Barrow Wights might have new husks to inhabit? ...
Or was this a ritual meant to slay the four Hobbits making their spirits easier for Sauron or the Witch-king to command? "

From the chant it doesn't seem that the Wight wanted to inhabit any of the hobbits' bodies. I wonder what Dark Lord is mentioned in that chant. And what kind of evil spirits the Barrow-wights were is also interesting (they are said to be evil spirits in the Appendix A). Spirits (unless I am mixing things up) cannot be created other than by Eru, but they can be corrupted. Maybe something like a later-mentioned Morgul blade have been used to create the wights out of some evil Men?.. Anyway from the description of the crawling hand that Frodo cuts off it seems that the Barrow-wight was material, but then (also from the description in the Tom's song) he seems to vanish as a spirit (leaving the severed hand still moving!).

I don't know if the Witch-king or Sauron cared about commanding the hobbits's spirits. All they really needed was the Ring, and so just capturing and immobilizing the hobbits would have been sufficient.

4. I recall the brooch's origin has been discussed here relatively recently, to no definite conclusion of course!




-- Edited by Lorelline on Tuesday 2nd of September 2014 12:40:01 AM

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Lorelline says:  "It is said (in UT) that the Witch-king visited the Barrow-downs and 'the Barrow-wights were roused, and all things of evil spirit... were on the watch with malice in the Old Forest and on the Barrow-downs'."

Which makes sense.  Then She goes on to say:  "I wonder what Dark Lord is mentioned in that chant."?  I think you have answered your own question here.

The Witch-king (WK) visited the Barrow Downs.  The WK is an extension of Sauron's Will and is only anywhere in Middle-earth exacting his master's Will.  It makes sense that the Witch-king visited and stirred the creatures in the Barrow Downs.  I don't personally feel that the bodies that lay in their Barrows belonged to particularly "bad men" but the spirits that inhabited them were "bad". 

In the Third Age (1636, according to lotr.wikia.com) "Evil spirits...were sent to the Barrow-downs by the Witch-king of Angmar in order to prevent the restoration of the destroyed Dúnedain kingdom of Cardolan."----(Wikipedia, Barrow-wight)

 

So we can see that WK sent these spirits to the Barrow-downs.  Lorelline also states:  "Spirits (unless I am mixing things up) cannot be created other than by Eru, but they can be corrupted. Maybe something like a later-mentioned Morgul blade have been used to create the wights out of some evil Men?"

Spirits cannot be made but their journey to the Halls of Mandos can be interrupted or diverted by a force that has a degree of power.  Say someone like....I dunno, The Dark Lord himself.  Heck!  I even think that WK had such power (learned or acquired by his master).  Sauron is a harbinger of death and may have even harvested his share of Orc souls to keep and torment.  Perhaps these were lent to the bodies in the Barrows to haunt the hills.

"I don't know if the Witch-king or Sauron cared about commanding the hobbits's spirits. All they really needed was the Ring, and so just capturing and immobilizing the hobbits would have been sufficient."---Lorelline.

If they have a living Hobbit, I'm sure fear could subdue him/her for a time.  But one wielding the One Ring is an entirely different affair.  Frodo/Bilbo could command the Nazgul if he had an inkling while in possession of the Ring.  In death the spirit trapped in a hobbit body would be easily commanded to return to Sauron.  WK could command spirits (according to Wiki and his commanding spirits into the dead within the Barrows)

 



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As to the dark lord, I am not totally sure it is Sauron. 'The Sun fails and Moon is dead' sounds like some sort of the end of the world; and as I read it, this will happen when the dark lord lifts his hand and so on - my impression was that Sauron was expected (by his accomplices anyway) to 'lift his hand' sooner than that. So I thought the reference was to Morgoth, not Sauron (in other words the latter is not grand enough). Sauron was much less upset about the Sun and Moon and Arda in general than Morgoth and would have been content to rule it as it was.


The Barrow where the hobbits got trapped was thought to be that of the last prince of Cardolan. But was it his body that became inhabited by the evil spirit? I am not very clear on this, as that Prince should have been a Dunadan (a noble kind of human therefore) and it would seem unsettling if it was his hand described in such a creepy way. It actually appears that it is Merry's body that gets inhabited, if not by the spirit - that wouldn't be possible - but by some memory of the Prince. Interesting.

As Laurelin pointed out, it remains a mystery as to what kind of being the Wight was. It occurs to me that he was visible... The Nazgul as well as those wounded by Morgul-blades remain 'material' but become invisible. (This whole invisibility thing may deserve a separate discussion I think). The Wight has a 'bony head and gleaming eyes' even in his original description in the Adventures of Tom Bombadil, and his looks remain likewise in LOTR.

Bilbo, or Frodo, or for that matter Gollum had no idea of the real power of the Ring - that they for example could command Nazgul with it. Frodo (who was instructed by Gandalf but not really in detail) doesn't even realize who the Black Riders are. Frodo really contemplates using the Ring in the Barrow, but only for the purpose of escape. It remains a question if barrow-wights could be commanded with the Ring. However that might be, what use to Sauron would have been the spirits of the hobbits? And I am not sure I agree that Sauron or the WK could make discarnate mortal spirits stay in Arda. Nazgul still have the bodies. Rings of Power and Morgul-blades seem a means to make mortal spirits stay with the body that far outlasts its natural temporal limits (to the torment of its spirit). Upon death, however, the spirits of mortals are no longer trapped in their bodies.

I still think that Sauron would have given no more thought to hobbits had he got the Ring.


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In WIki and UT they state that WK sent those malignant spirits to Cardolan to hinder the reforming of Cardolan in the earliest years of the Third Age. (That is the same time that Glorfindel makes the prediction that WK will not die by the hand of man). Those spirits at the 3rd age would have no fear of Morgoth, nor would the bodies left behind from the Cardolan prince. Sauron was the chief of all things back then. Dark Lord could only mean Sauron at that point in history, Morgoth was gone gone gone and only Sauron and Elves would remember him. WK sent the spirits therefore he had some command over spirits so obviously Sauron had even more control over spirits.

Lorelline states:
"So I thought the reference was to Morgoth, not Sauron (in other words the latter is not grand enough)."

I feel, at that comment, that perhaps you are interjecting your reverence for an older power here, which is fine.

 

Tom Bombadil saw A wight, not the wight in questions so there are many and the one Tom encounters was only a representative. And in light of the power that WK and Sauron have over spirits makes it obvious the reason why they want to make the Hobbit carrying the Ring a dead Hobbit. The spirit within the body can Will the body to go to Mordor willingly carrying the Ring. "Verily I come..." Remember that whole thing..?

"Why would Sauron wait until Sun fails and Moon dies, to raise his hand?" You ask?

"Sun fails and Moon dies" is just as good as saying: We will be under Sauron's control or in thraldom under Sauron until the end of time. Sauron will lift his had over them when he falls. Of course, to His devotees Sauron might lift his hand in grace and release them on good faith, but we all know He was faithless so the latter would be true.



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"In WIki and UT they state that WK sent those malignant spirits to Cardolan to hinder the reforming of Cardolan in the earliest years of the Third Age. (That is the same time that Glorfindel makes the prediction that WK will not die by the hand of man). Those spirits at the 3rd age would have no fear of Morgoth, nor would the bodies left behind from the Cardolan prince. Sauron was the chief of all things back then. Dark Lord could only mean Sauron at that point in history, Morgoth was gone gone gone and only Sauron and Elves would remember him. "

I really am not sure. I would think that ordinary creatures would be mixing up those two, Melkor/Morgoth and Sauron. As is stated in later writings, Men had a Fall, taking Melkor (who wasn't named Morgoth yet in that setting, where Men awoke a whole lot earlier and where Sun existed from the beginning and not as any fruit) for their Lord and rejecting Eru. Only some repented of that, and Numenoreans were their descendants. Other Men (like people of Angmar) most likely retained a Dark Lord in their legends, and might have thought Sauron to be that same one while having Melkor in mind. Of course Numenoreans were aware of Morgoth also and even worshipped him - the latter wouldn't apply to those that ended up in Middle-earth after the drowning of their island, but the former would, including the people of Cardolan. And as to Barrow-wights -

"WK sent the spirits therefore he had some command over spirits so obviously Sauron had even more control over spirits."

I looked up the meaning of 'wight' and in fact it is not a pure spirit but an incarnate being after all, although the description is somewhat unclear in the book. Incarnates are much easier to command, corrupt, and so on.


"Lorelline states:
'So I thought the reference was to Morgoth, not Sauron (in other words the latter is not grand enough).'

I feel, at that comment, that perhaps you are interjecting your reverence for an older power here, which is fine."

Oh sure, but Morgoth is not just an older power but a much greater power that is said to be 'reclothing itself' for the return in some remote future while Sauron, once finally defeated, was to become powerless...


"Tom Bombadil saw A wight, not the wight in questions so there are many and the one Tom encounters was only a representative. "

Yet that one had a body and others seem to have had bodies as well (just by definition)


"And in light of the power that WK and Sauron have over spirits..."

...which is not obvious as at least the wights are not pure spirits...

"...makes it obvious the reason why they want to make the Hobbit carrying the Ring a dead Hobbit. The spirit within the body can Will the body to go to Mordor willingly carrying the Ring. 'Verily I come...' Remember that whole thing..?"

This sounds to me as if the Ring was too heavy or too disgusting or something for the Nazgul to carry themselves! They really didn't need Frodo in any form. As stated in UT, the Nazgul 'were entirely enslaved to their Nine Rings, which he (Sauron) now himself held; they were quite incapable of acting against his will, and if one of them, even the Witch-king their captain, had seized the One Ring, he would have brought it back to his Master'.

"Why would Sauron wait until Sun fails and Moon dies, to raise his hand?" You ask?

"Sun fails and Moon dies" is just as good as saying: We will be under Sauron's control or in thraldom under Sauron until the end of time. Sauron will lift his had over them when he falls. Of course, to His devotees Sauron might lift his hand in grace and release them on good faith, but we all know He was faithless so the latter would be true."

That's not how I understand it, but it also occurs to me that having just one Dark Lord in a book should be quite enough and less confusing as well. Yet it seems Morgoth doesn't escape mentioning in the book anyway, so I don't know.


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Lórellinë

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Chapter 9

At the sign of The Prancing Pony


Synopsis

A description of Bree - its geography, history, and population - Frodo and company come to the West-gate at night - they are let in after some questioning - Frodo doesn't like the looks of the gatekeeper - a dark figure climbs over the gate into the village - Frodo and company check in to The Prancing Pony and talk to Butterbur - they have a nice supper - Frodo, Sam, and Pippin join the company of other inn guests and Merry goes for a walk - Frodo meets Strider and feels apprehensive - to draw attention from Pippin's account of Bilbo's disappearance, Frodo sings a song - he feels a 'suggestion' to put on The Ring, coming from outside - the Ring slips on his finger while he is falling from the table - two suspicious-looking men slip out of the door - Strider 'scolds' Frodo once the latter 'reappears', and then asks for a meeting - Butterbur listens to conflicting accounts of the event - he too wants to have a word with Frodo later, leaving Frodo downcast.


The chapter on the whole is written in a lighter tone and with a lot of humor, with darker hints scattered all across. I always enjoy how hobbits are presented, with their names and their speech and all that - and also what and especially how they eat. Butterbur is quite comical too but business-like at the same time.


Questions have turned out to be somewhat difficult to formulate. I think I have comments rather than questions. Hope others will have more.

1. The Bree-men are said to be the descendants of the first Men that ever wandered into the West of the middle-world. Sounds like they were somehow related to the Edain and by description they resemble Haladin the most...not sure if they were truly related but I thought that interesting.

2. I was wondering if any outside presence was really urging Frodo to put on the Ring. 'Someone or something in the room' ('something' is particularly interesting). We know from previous chapters that Nazgul have such an effect. Is that effect intentional on their part? If yes, why they do that is an interesting question - of course they would see a Ring-wearer clearer than a Ring-bearer (at least this mortal one) (one might wonder if the Ring itself would become visible to them), but they must be sure that Frodo is weak enough and will not even try to enslave them.

Concerning this chapter, why did the desire to put on the Ring come upon Frodo at this moment and not another? Did his desire to 'vanish out of the silly situation' play a major role? I mean, Nazgul were in Bree that evening but if it were they that affected Frodo, how did they choose this timing? And in fact did they know at whom to direct their influence? Or was it their mere nearby presence?

Interesting that the Ring still finds a way to get on Frodo's finger even when he has totally no desire to disappear anymore, but on the contrary much enjoys his singing.

Somehow I think that those nasssty men that helped Nazgul would not be able to manipulate Frodo's will.
So unless the Ring demonstrates self-will as it does sometimes it has to be Nazgul.



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Lórellinë

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I always thought that it was another brilliant technique of Tolkien's to "amp up" the mystery and bring up tension in these little scenes that sometimes get "passed over" in our minds.

Lorelline mentions: "Frodo doesn't like the looks of the gatekeeper - a dark figure climbs over the gate into the village."
Frodo and his group are pursued by the shadowy figures on horseback and have already had a run in with Zombie like Barrow Wights. They had already been pulled 'out of the fire' by Tom Bombadil, and now they travel by night and in haste to the gates of Bree.
The bad feeling that Frodo gets from the gatekeeper, gives one the impression that the Gatekeeper might be an agent for the bad guys and keeping an eye out specifically for Hobbits. And the Dark figure that passes over the gate: Who would need to sneak into a town but these mysterious Black Riders but we also come to find out that it is indeed Aragorn shadowing the Hobbits in secret.
All this mystery adds and fuels the tension and danger...I think it is a brilliant way to make a "mountain out of a mole-hill".

To respond to some of Lorelline's ideas from this Chapter:

#2: The outside or inside influence of the Ring.
In my opinion, this scene where the Ring slips onto Frodo's finger is a perfect example of the danger of the Ring. When it is used it seems to send a signal and the Dark Lord or his agents can sense that it is nearby. Perhaps the Ring sensed the Nazgul's proximity and was calling to them and they to It. And when it finally slips on Frodo's finger then The Nazgul no longer needed to guess if the Hobbits had entered Bree and they came that very night and had a bit of a "stabbing party" on some pillows (thanks to Aragorn). As for internal or external influence...I think that the Ring even in a pocket next to the body can have a strange effect. The mind is always on it and aware of its location. This obsession is a way that a person subconsciously claims something but this unexplainable obsession over an object is actually the Ring possessing the possessor. While Frodo was singing he (this is implied only) was fumbling with it in his pocket and when he fell, his hand went forward (within the pocket) as a reflex to catch himself in such a sudden instance and the Ring slipped on. The reason Frodo was toying with it in his pocket in the first place was the obsession part brought on by the Ring. Just like when Bilbo nearly left with the Ring and he said it was on the Mantle piece while it was still in his pocket...it was a subconscious thing that happened there.

So the not-so-simple answer would be that it was an External thing playing on the Frodo's Internal self.





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#2

Jaido, you said you think it was an external force playing with Frodo's mind, and I agree sort of. Sometimes I feel like it's also partially the person who is wearing it knows that he can disappear out of a nasty situation and, therefore, it is sort of a crutch. This is a poor comparison, but I guess I see it like an addict's drug of choice. They know they shouldn't use it, but it's there if they need it to get them through whatever situation. Now, this is not to say that Sauron/Nazgul didn't also send some vibes to the bearer. Maybe that was part of the malice woven into the ring?



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Laurelin,

Tolkien stipulates that the Ring is a convenient thing.  Much like all magic.  It will help you in pinch. 

 

The draw to "disappear" is heavy on the wearer..or the bearer when an emissary of the Dark Lord is around or abound. I keep going back to the feeling that Frodo had in the Barrows before Tom Bombadil stepped in:

....Frodo wanted to escape and cry in the fields later...over his friends which he abandoned. This isn't Hobbit style.


He would've been shamed for the rest of his life to have left his friends in the barrow. And if he obeyed such an impulse....he might have become quite the different class of Gollum.



-- Edited by Jaidoprism7 on Sunday 26th of October 2014 07:03:32 PM

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I think enough time has elapsed.

 

Here is:                                                                Chapter 10 

                                                     Strider.

The greatest way to introduce a character in the history of writing.  Tolkien chooses to take the slow approach with a character that I consider as tremendous as Batman or Superman.  A renegade, hunted man.  Burdened by care and given strength by his love for Arwen. 

He is a hero written in the 30's.  A time that heroes were needed most.  Noble and aware of his doom.  Wonderful.

"--but I shall want a reward." says Strider (this mysterious rogue).  What Tolkien says of Frodo's mindset is priceless:  "He suspected now that he had fallen in with a rascal, and he thought uncomfortably that he brought only a little money with him.  All of it would hardly satisfy a rogue, and he could not spare any of it." 

Even reading Tolkien's words over mine I feel that I am harsh and raspy while Tolkien's words are soothing and silky. What a craftsman.

I love that quote/line because it shines a light on Hobbit-sense.  They are thrifty; a well known trait of Hobbits.  These little things cement this tale.  There is practicality and diversity in Tolkien's characters.  

 

What I got from this Chapter is that Tolkien builds his King from the ground up.  Little adversities shed light on one's character. 

"I have hunted many wild and wary things and I can usually avoid being seen, if I wish."  Aragorn is cunning and is even more elusive than our Gollum/Smeagol. 

 

It is Great that he has his own chapter.  This is foresight.  Underneath this whole tale is the prophecy of someone who comes to bring peace.  And that is Aragorn/Strider. 
Very Jesus like yes?  A deliverer of peace? 
Like Jesus Aragorn passes through tests.  This is contraversial, I understand that. 

 

He also reveals himself as a master tactician.  This must have been a common practice amongst the Dunedain.  There are only a meager amount of Numenoreans left...and they keep the "old ways".  Thus they are advanced in a world that has regressed into survival mode and only adhere to things that are necessary.  

To my Tolkien Brethren:  Any Thoughts?

 

 

 



-- Edited by Jaidoprism7 on Sunday 26th of October 2014 09:13:26 PM

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