Discussion:
Chapter of the Week LOTR Bk 3 Ch 11 The Palantir
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Christopher Kreuzer
2004-09-13 23:00:25 UTC
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Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir

To read previous Chapter of the Week discussions, or to sign up to
introduce a future chapter, go to http://parasha.maoltuile.org

Despite the confrontation with Saruman, and the ending of one threat,
this chapter allows little respite from the onrushing events of the War
of the Ring. The briefly reunited companions are soon separated once
more. We learn of the link between Isengard and the Dark Tower, and in a
moment of great peril and sheer horror, Pippin comes face-to-face with
the Dark Lord himself. The return of his fearsome servants, the Nazgul,
prompts Gandalf to ride to Minas Tirith before the seas of war surround
it. He takes with him the dainty that Sauron desires: one small hobbit,
Peregrin son of Paladin.

Chapter Summary
=============

Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Merry and Pippin ride at a leisurely
pace with Theoden and his men as they leave Isengard at sunset. They
pass the pillar of the White Hand and see that the graven hand has been
cast down and broken. As they ride onwards, Gandalf tells Merry that
Saruman was aware of Merry and Pippin, and that their presence is likely
to have greatly troubled him. Gandalf also says that the plan is to ride
back to Edoras in as much secrecy as possible, avoiding the open plains
and the gaze of Sauron. Instead, Theoden will return to Helm's Deep and
lead many men from there to Dunharrow (the mountain fastness behind
Edoras), riding in the foothills of the White Mountains.

The company camp for the night in a dale on the slopes of Dol Baran, the
last hill of the northern ranges. Pippin finds it hard to get to sleep,
and is curiously restless. He and Merry talk about the confrontation
between Gandalf and Saruman, and Pippin talks about the glass ball that
he picked up and gave to Gandalf. Pippin wonders what it was, and says
in a low voice, as if he is talking to himself: "It felt so very heavy."
Merry realises what is bothering Pippin, and warns him not to meddle in
the affairs of Wizards.

Pippin refuses to listen to Merry, saying that he wants to look at the
ball. Merry tells Pippin he must wait until morning, and then goes to
sleep. Pippin remains awake, unable to get to sleep with the thought of
the dark globe and its mysterious red depths growing stronger in his
mind. Finally, Pippin gets up, and driven by some impulse he does not
understand he walks over to where Gandalf is lying on the ground,
clasping the bundle containing the glass ball. Pippin stealthily removes
the bundle, replaces it with a stone, and moves away, preparing to
satisfy his curiosity.

Holding the smooth globe of crystal between his knees, he bends over it
and gazes at the dark surface, black as jet. A faint glow and stir
within it holds his eyes, and soon all the inside seems on fire.
Suddenly the light within goes out, and Pippin is caught, frozen rigid,
clasping the ball with both hands. His lips move soundlessly and then,
with a piercing but strangled cry, he falls to the ground.

[1]

The camp is roused by the cry. Gandalf finds Pippin's body with its
unseeing eyes gazing at the sky. Gandalf fears both for Pippin and for
their own peril from this devilry. He manages to rouse Pippin who cries
out in a toneless, shrill voice:

"It is not for you, Saruman! I will send for it at once. Do you
understand? Say just that!"

[2]

Gandalf calms Pippin who then begins to beg Gandalf for forgiveness.
Gandalf asks Pippin what happened, gently at first and then more sternly
as it is clear that Pippin is not telling the whole story. Pippin is
still extremely frightened, but as his fear lessens he begins to tell
those gathered around him what he saw. He describes a dark sky, tall
battlements, stars, a feeling of great distance and of long ago. Nine
bat-like objects are flying around a tower and one flies towards Pippin
and disappears. Then an unnamed presence appears and interrogates Pippin
by thought alone, without words. Pippin tries to keep quiet, but is
tortured and, in pain, reveals that he is a hobbit. The presence
instructs Pippin what to say to Saruman and begins to gloat. Then Pippin
remembers no more.

[3]

Gandalf studies Pippin carefully, and declares that Pippin is unhurt by
his experience. Gandalf then explains much of what has just happened. We
learn that Pippin was interrogated by Sauron and told to tell Saruman to
prepare to hand Pippin over for questioning in the Dark Tower. Good
fortune meant that Pippin was not questioned straightaway for what he
knew. Gandalf then names the glass ball the Orthanc-stone. Aragorn
confirms that it must be the palantir of Orthanc from the treasury of
Elendil, and claims it for his own. Gandalf surprises the others as he
bows and presents it to Aragorn: "Receive it, lord! In earnest of other
things that shall be given back."

[4-6]

Gandalf then says that he now realises that the palantir was a link
between Mordor and Isengard, between Sauron and Saruman. He had intended
to probe the palantir himself, but Pippin has saved him from a
disastrous confrontation with Sauron. Nevertheless, they must now move
with all speed to the cover of the hills, to evade Sauron's servants and
to take advantage of the Enemy's confusion.

At that moment, a shadow falls on the camp as a winged shape passes over
the Moon. Terror strikes them as the mounted Nazgul flies past, faster
than the wind. Gandalf reacts with alarm, telling everyone to ride now
and not to wait for the dawn. He grabs Pippin and rides off on
Shadowfax. Merry is left alone with Aragorn and the others as they
prepare to ride also.

Shadowfax gallops over the plains, bearing Gandalf and Pippin at great
speed, fast enough for them to see the mountains drawing nearer. They
pass the Fords of Isen and the Mound of the Riders. As they ride, Pippin
and Gandalf talk and Pippin is delighted to learn many things. Gandalf
murmurs a rhyme of old lore that mentions seven stones, revealing that
the stone into which Pippin looked was one of the palantiri of the Kings
of Old, brought over the sea from Westernesse, but coming originally
from Eldamar, made by the Noldor long, long ago. Gandalf explains that
the palantiri were used by the Men of Gondor and Arnor to govern their
realms, to: "see far off, and to converse in thought with one another."
We learn where the palantiri were placed, and how Gandalf thinks Saruman
was ensnared by Sauron. Gandalf says how he also is drawn to the
palantir:

"'Have I not felt it? Even now my heart desires to test my will upon it,
to see if I could not wrench it from him and turn it where I would - to
look across the wide seas of water and of time to Tirion the Fair, and
perceive the unimaginable hand and mind of Fëanor at their work, while
both the White Tree and the Golden were in flower!' He sighed and fell
silent."

[7]

Pippin later asks Gandalf about the winged Nazgul that flew over them
towards Isengard, and we learn what Gandalf thinks might happen at
Isengard and what Sauron may learn from Saruman about the hobbits,
Gandalf and Aragorn. The conversation then turns to the geography of the
land around them. They are approaching the turning-off point to Helm's
Deep, but they will ride on under cover of night to Edoras, and then for
a further two nights to reach Minas Tirith. Gandalf cries aloud to
Shadowfax and tells him run as he has never run before. Shadowfax neighs
and leaps forward. Pippin drifts off to sleep with a strange feeling:

"he and Gandalf were still as stone, seated upon the statue of a running
horse, while the world rolled away beneath his feet with a great noise
of wind."

[8]

Comments and thoughts
=================

A) Comments referenced to summary text

[1] Pippin's use of the palantir: a quite horrific moment, at least as
scary as the encounter with the Barrow-wight. Did anyone think Pippin
might be dead at this point?

[2] Even though Pippin appears to be alive, there is the new horror of
this changed voice. Thankfully Gandalf is here and all is soon put
right! Are there any other moments in the story where someone's voice ch
anges beyond recognition?

[3] As Pippin recounts his vision in the palantir, why is there this
feeling of long ago? Are the effects of time altered in Barad-dur, like
in Lorien; an effect of building the foundations of Barad-dur with the
One Ring? Or is this just an effect of the palantir?

[4] How likely is it that Gandalf would really not recognise the
palantir for what it was? This seems similar to Gandalf not knowing what
the One Ring was. It seems that he had some idea, but was still thinking
his way around the problem. Gandalf does explain later that the White
Council had not thought about the palantiri of Gondor, but that also
seems a bit strange!

[5] Sauron having the chance to question Pippin was indeed a moment of
great peril. If Sauron had questioned Pippin there and then, he would
have learned of the quest to destroy the Ring and the last known
location of Frodo and Sam. Gandalf (I think) said that the barrow-wight
was a dangerous moment, but I think that this is more dangerous still.

[6] Gandalf hands the palantir to Aragorn. This is an interesting
development in Aragorn's character. Gandalf is acknowledging him as lord
and rightful owner of the palantir. Was the claim by Aragorn
spontaneous, or did he judge that the time was right? He says: "Now my
hour draws near". Was this a sudden realisation, or something that
slowly dawned on him over the preceding days?

[7] Here we learn more about the history of the palantir. The Noldor are
mentioned for the only time in this story, and the name of Feanor is
used for only the second time. References to older and deeper things,
names with stories to be found in 'The Silmarillion'. A golden tree is
mentioned, the same one that Galadriel sings of in Lothlorien, but again
this is only a hint at the deeper backstory, but so meaningful once you
have read that backstory.

[8] I don't think we ever find out about what happened when the Nazgul
reached Isengard. What do you think happened? Can we speculate what
Sauron learns from Saruman? Is what Sauron sees in the palantir (a
hobbit and later Aragorn) all that he ever learns?

B) General comments

We get some nice insights into the characters here. Primarily Pippin and
Gandalf, but also a short but pivotal moment for Aragorn. There are also
some nice touches of humour: Merry's persistence in asking Gandalf how
far they are riding tonight; and Pippin asking Gandalf for the names of
all the stars and more besides!

Pippin has a terrifying experience, and luckily seems to come through it
unharmed. Has the experience changed him, or does that come later in the
story?

We also see some of the strategy laid out in these chapters, mostly
through the words of Gandalf. It seems that there is a lot of planning
going on in Gandalf's head. He has talked with Theoden and Aragorn,
probably advising Theoden to bring his army to Dunharrow. He also warns
Aragorn about premature use of the palantir. Finally, Gandalf is
uncertain how the events between Sauron and Saruman will unfold, but is
making sure that Sauron learns as little as possible.

Gandalf also opens up emotionally, and, in my favourite part of the
chapter, reveals that he too feels the lure of the palantir, desiring to
look back in time and return to the days of the Two Trees. Is it
possible that Gandalf is removing not only Pippin, but himself, from the
lure of the palantir? We know the terrible consequences when Saruman
fell into the temptation of using the palantir. Would such a fate await
Gandalf as well?

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard

Pippin telling Gandalf what more he wants to know:

'The names of all the stars, and of all living things, and the whole
history of Middle-earth and Over-heaven and of the Sundering Seas'
laughed Pippin. 'Of course! What less? But I am not in a hurry tonight.'
aelfwina
2004-09-14 00:54:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir
To read previous Chapter of the Week discussions, or to sign up to
introduce a future chapter, go to http://parasha.maoltuile.org
Despite the confrontation with Saruman, and the ending of one threat,
this chapter allows little respite from the onrushing events of the War
of the Ring. The briefly reunited companions are soon separated once
more. We learn of the link between Isengard and the Dark Tower, and in a
moment of great peril and sheer horror, Pippin comes face-to-face with
the Dark Lord himself. The return of his fearsome servants, the Nazgul,
prompts Gandalf to ride to Minas Tirith before the seas of war surround
it. He takes with him the dainty that Sauron desires: one small hobbit,
Peregrin son of Paladin.
Chapter Summary
=============
(snip of beautiful summary!)
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Comments and thoughts
=================
A) Comments referenced to summary text
[1] Pippin's use of the palantir: a quite horrific moment, at least as
scary as the encounter with the Barrow-wight. Did anyone think Pippin
might be dead at this point?
I did wonder just briefly, the first time I read it. It is a horrifying
encounter! I think JRRTs description is far scarier than what happens in
the film, although I'm not sure how PJ could have depicted that.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[2] Even though Pippin appears to be alive, there is the new horror of
this changed voice. Thankfully Gandalf is here and all is soon put
right! Are there any other moments in the story where someone's voice ch
anges beyond recognition?
I don't know about a voice changing beyond recognition, but we have several
examples of people crying out in unfamiliar languages, and there is Merry's
strange statement about the "men of Carn Dum" after the barrow-wight
encounter.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[3] As Pippin recounts his vision in the palantir, why is there this
feeling of long ago? Are the effects of time altered in Barad-dur, like
in Lorien; an effect of building the foundations of Barad-dur with the
One Ring? Or is this just an effect of the palantir?
[4] How likely is it that Gandalf would really not recognise the
palantir for what it was? This seems similar to Gandalf not knowing what
the One Ring was. It seems that he had some idea, but was still thinking
his way around the problem. Gandalf does explain later that the White
Council had not thought about the palantiri of Gondor, but that also
seems a bit strange!
Time for a bit of wild speculation: as a trusted member of the White
Council, Saruman was in a position to perhaps "suggest" that certain things
were beneath consideration? If he could, he would have kept the other
council members ignorant of his possession of a palantir. After all, how
long had he convinced them that the Ring must be in the depths of the sea?
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[5] Sauron having the chance to question Pippin was indeed a moment of
great peril. If Sauron had questioned Pippin there and then, he would
have learned of the quest to destroy the Ring and the last known
location of Frodo and Sam. Gandalf (I think) said that the barrow-wight
was a dangerous moment, but I think that this is more dangerous still.
Absolutely. And another example of the toughness of hobbits!
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[6] Gandalf hands the palantir to Aragorn. This is an interesting
development in Aragorn's character. Gandalf is acknowledging him as lord
and rightful owner of the palantir. Was the claim by Aragorn
spontaneous, or did he judge that the time was right? He says: "Now my
hour draws near". Was this a sudden realisation, or something that
slowly dawned on him over the preceding days?
I think it is something he realized from the time he declared himself to
Eomer in their first encounter. But this is another significant step.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[7] Here we learn more about the history of the palantir. The Noldor are
mentioned for the only time in this story, and the name of Feanor is
used for only the second time. References to older and deeper things,
names with stories to be found in 'The Silmarillion'. A golden tree is
mentioned, the same one that Galadriel sings of in Lothlorien, but again
this is only a hint at the deeper backstory, but so meaningful once you
have read that backstory.
Another example of how much depth JRRT imbued Middle--earth with.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[8] I don't think we ever find out about what happened when the Nazgul
reached Isengard. What do you think happened? Can we speculate what
Sauron learns from Saruman? Is what Sauron sees in the palantir (a
hobbit and later Aragorn) all that he ever learns?
I wonder. I would be surprised if Saruman even spoke to the Nazgul after
his failure to even hold on to Orthanc. He would not be keen to face it. My
guess is that the Nazgul took one overhead look at the ruin of Isengard and
hightailed it back to his Master to tell him his pet wizard had failed.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
B) General comments
We get some nice insights into the characters here. Primarily Pippin and
Gandalf, but also a short but pivotal moment for Aragorn. There are also
some nice touches of humour: Merry's persistence in asking Gandalf how
far they are riding tonight; and Pippin asking Gandalf for the names of
all the stars and more besides!
Yes, there is some very nice characterization here. I love Pippin's saucy
answer to the question what does he want to know--this so soon after his
terrifying experience just goes to show the unquenchableness of hobbits,
this little Took in particular!
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Pippin has a terrifying experience, and luckily seems to come through it
unharmed. Has the experience changed him, or does that come later in the
story?
I'm sure it did change him in some ways, as did all his horrid experiences.
He was still an untried adolescent when they left the Shire. But I do think
his most pivotal change came not from looking in the palantir, but in being
whisked away from Merry by Gandalf. My personal opinion is that the
separation of the two youngest hobbits was perhaps the most traumatic event
as well as the event holding the most potential for personal growth and
change.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
We also see some of the strategy laid out in these chapters, mostly
through the words of Gandalf. It seems that there is a lot of planning
going on in Gandalf's head. He has talked with Theoden and Aragorn,
probably advising Theoden to bring his army to Dunharrow. He also warns
Aragorn about premature use of the palantir. Finally, Gandalf is
uncertain how the events between Sauron and Saruman will unfold, but is
making sure that Sauron learns as little as possible.
Yes, he's a bit more open now than he has been in the last three chapters.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Gandalf also opens up emotionally, and, in my favourite part of the
chapter, reveals that he too feels the lure of the palantir, desiring to
look back in time and return to the days of the Two Trees. Is it
possible that Gandalf is removing not only Pippin, but himself, from the
lure of the palantir? We know the terrible consequences when Saruman
fell into the temptation of using the palantir. Would such a fate await
Gandalf as well?
I don't think Gandalf *would* have given in to the temptation, but perhaps
he felt it was best he not be given that trial.

I think one of the more intriguing passages in the chapter is this one:
"They all stared at him in silence, except Merry who turned away." Why did
Merry turn away at this particular time, when his younger cousin had
obviously had a terrifying experience?

A very interesting chapter, and good discussion points. Thank you!
Barbara
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
'The names of all the stars, and of all living things, and the whole
history of Middle-earth and Over-heaven and of the Sundering Seas'
laughed Pippin. 'Of course! What less? But I am not in a hurry tonight.'
TeaLady (Mari C.)
2004-09-14 17:10:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by aelfwina
I think one of the more intriguing passages in the chapter
is this one: "They all stared at him in silence, except
Merry who turned away." Why did Merry turn away at this
particular time, when his younger cousin had obviously had a
terrifying experience?
Turning away could be a form of denial, of "making it all go
away", or distancing himself from blame and or shame by
association, putting his connection with Pippin "behind him".

Merry had warned Pippin to not touch the Palantir, to not
meddle, and there Pippin went, head-first, right into the
middle of a far greater danger than encountered thus far, far
greater for not only them, but Middle-earth. He must have
felt that he didn't do enough to prevent this, that he should
have told someone, told Gandalf, to keep an eye out, and may
have thought the others would feel that way too. So shame in
his lack of action may have a part in his turning away, too.

Or fear - fear of what changes he would see in Merry, that his
beloved cousin would be damaged and no longer the same old
Pippin, but instead a shell of the old hobbit, with someone or
something foreign, and maybe evil, looking out at him.

When I first read this, I thought of my sister and how such a
thing would play out between us - and considered that a small
touch of jealousy may have been involved as well, something
like "I wish I had more nerve and less sense, even though it
is better to have more sense." I would have been the one to
sneak a peek, as she was always better at being good, and
sensible, than I was. (And am, I'm afraid.)
--
TeaLady (mari)

"Indeed, literary analysis will be a serious undertaking only
when it adopts the mindset of quantum physics and regards the
observer as part of the experiment."
Flame of the West on litcrit
Jens Kilian
2004-09-14 17:35:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by TeaLady (Mari C.)
Turning away could be a form of denial, of "making it all go
away", or distancing himself from blame and or shame by
association, putting his connection with Pippin "behind him".
It could be pity - Pippin must be very uncomfortable being the focus
of attention at that moment (not to mention ashamed of his folly), and Merry
(closest to him of all the company) may want to spare him at least one pair
of eyes.

If I were in Pippin's place at that moment, I would prefer to be left alone
for a while...

Bye,
Jens.
Öjevind Lång
2004-09-15 22:28:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by TeaLady (Mari C.)
Post by aelfwina
I think one of the more intriguing passages in the chapter
is this one: "They all stared at him in silence, except
Merry who turned away." Why did Merry turn away at this
particular time, when his younger cousin had obviously had a
terrifying experience?
Turning away could be a form of denial, of "making it all go
away", or distancing himself from blame and or shame by
association, putting his connection with Pippin "behind him".
I have seen this and other explanations of it before, but my opinion is that
Merry turned away to hide his grief. Pippin had done something bad, and
something evil had happened to him as a result, and Merry was unable to face
it at once.
The silliest explanation I have ever read was by some Professor of
Literature who thought Merry turned away to hide his envy at all the
attention being paid to Pippin...

Öjevind
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-09-15 22:55:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Öjevind Lång
Post by aelfwina
I think one of the more intriguing passages in the chapter
is this one: "They all stared at him in silence, except
Merry who turned away." Why did Merry turn away at this
particular time, when his younger cousin had obviously had a
terrifying experience?
<snip>
Post by Öjevind Lång
The silliest explanation I have ever read was by some Professor of
Literature who thought Merry turned away to hide his envy at all the
attention being paid to Pippin...
What about the first words we hear from Merry after he "turned away". It
is sometime later, but he says (talking to Aragorn as Pippin rides away
with Gandalf):

"A beautiful, restful night! Some folk have wonderful luck. He did not
want to sleep, and he wanted to ride with Gandalf - and there he goes!
Instead of being turned to a stone himself to stand here for ever as a
warning."

So while I agree with you that the Professor of Literature is wrong, I
can see where people might see envy in Merry's remarks. Remember that
Pippin shows something like envy earlier in the chapter when he asks
Merry what he and Gandalf were talking about. Merry says that Pippin can
ride with Gandalf tomorrow. That did happen, but not quite as they
expected!

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Öjevind Lång
2004-09-16 11:35:57 UTC
Permalink
[snip]
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Öjevind Lång
The silliest explanation I have ever read was by some Professor of
Literature who thought Merry turned away to hide his envy at all the
attention being paid to Pippin...
What about the first words we hear from Merry after he "turned away". It
is sometime later, but he says (talking to Aragorn as Pippin rides away
"A beautiful, restful night! Some folk have wonderful luck. He did not
want to sleep, and he wanted to ride with Gandalf - and there he goes!
Instead of being turned to a stone himself to stand here for ever as a
warning."
So while I agree with you that the Professor of Literature is wrong, I
can see where people might see envy in Merry's remarks. Remember that
Pippin shows something like envy earlier in the chapter when he asks
Merry what he and Gandalf were talking about. Merry says that Pippin can
ride with Gandalf tomorrow. That did happen, but not quite as they
expected!
Merry does seem to be a bit resentful at the way Pippin gets his way despite
having behaved disgracefully; though of course, as Aragorn points out to
Merry, Merry "doesn't know what he is talking about" when he thinks Pippin
is having luck when being taken stright into the eye of the storm.

Öjevind
TT Arvind
2004-09-16 18:30:33 UTC
Permalink
Wes ðu Öjevind Lång hal!
Post by Öjevind Lång
[snip]
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
my opinion is that Merry turned away to hide his grief.
Pippin had done something bad, and something evil had happened
to him as a result, and Merry was unable to face it at once.
I like your explanation. I think it could also have something to do with
the fact that everyone was "staring" at Pippin which, under the
circumstances, is not likely to have made him feel very comfortable. In
a sense, by looking away, Merry is also dissociating himself from these
others.

[snip disagreement with the Professor's interpretation of Merry's actions
as reflecting 'envy']
Post by Öjevind Lång
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
What about the first words we hear from Merry after he "turned away". It
is sometime later, but he says (talking to Aragorn as Pippin rides away
"A beautiful, restful night! Some folk have wonderful luck. He did not
want to sleep, and he wanted to ride with Gandalf - and there he goes!
Instead of being turned to a stone himself to stand here for ever as a
warning."
This sounds to me very much like an indirect expression of relief that
nothing worse happened to Pippin, a way of saying, "That idiot has been
really lucky, thank God."
--
Meneldil

Les grandes personnes sont décidément bien bizarres, se dit le petit
prince.
- Antoine de Saint Exupéry, Le Petit Prince
Richard Williams
2004-09-16 18:36:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by TT Arvind
Wes ðu Öjevind Lång hal!
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
What about the first words we hear from Merry after he "turned away". It
is sometime later, but he says (talking to Aragorn as Pippin rides away
"A beautiful, restful night! Some folk have wonderful luck. He did not
want to sleep, and he wanted to ride with Gandalf - and there he goes!
Instead of being turned to a stone himself to stand here for ever as a
warning."
This sounds to me very much like an indirect expression of relief that
nothing worse happened to Pippin, a way of saying, "That idiot has been
really lucky, thank God."
"But it is the way of my people to use light words at such times and say
less than they mean. We fear to say too much. It robs us of the right
words when a jest is out of place."

(Merry to Aragorn in the Houses of Healing).

Richard.
TT Arvind
2004-09-17 17:16:29 UTC
Permalink
Wes ðu Richard Williams hal!
Post by Richard Williams
"But it is the way of my people to use light words at such times and say
less than they mean. We fear to say too much. It robs us of the right
words when a jest is out of place."
Thank you - that is exactly what I was trying to say.
Öjevind Lång
2004-09-17 21:20:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by TT Arvind
Wes ðu Richard Williams hal!
Post by Richard Williams
"But it is the way of my people to use light words at such times and say
less than they mean. We fear to say too much. It robs us of the right
words when a jest is out of place."
Thank you - that is exactly what I was trying to say.
And I agree completely with it.

Öjevind
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-09-14 21:39:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir
<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[8] I don't think we ever find out about what happened when the
Nazgul reached Isengard. What do you think happened? Can we
speculate what Sauron learns from Saruman? Is what Sauron sees in
the palantir (a hobbit and later Aragorn) all that he ever learns?
I wonder. I would be surprised if Saruman even spoke to the Nazgul
after his failure to even hold on to Orthanc. He would not be keen to
face it. My guess is that the Nazgul took one overhead look at the
ruin of Isengard and hightailed it back to his Master to tell him his
pet wizard had failed.
That's pretty much what I thought as well.

<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Pippin has a terrifying experience, and luckily seems to come
through it unharmed. Has the experience changed him, or does that
come later in the story?
I'm sure it did change him in some ways, as did all his horrid
experiences. He was still an untried adolescent when they left the
Shire. But I do think his most pivotal change came not from looking
in the palantir, but in being whisked away from Merry by Gandalf. My
personal opinion is that the separation of the two youngest hobbits
was perhaps the most traumatic event as well as the event holding the
most potential for personal growth and change.
That makes sense. Being together they had each other's support. Imagine
Merry and Pippin riding together to Pelennor, or Merry and Pippin being
together in Minas Tirith. Totally different dynamic.

Pippin has the horror of helping a seriously ill Merry (though the
reason is not clear) through the streets of Minas Tirith. I always feel
for his anguish at that point. Plus the moment in battle before the
Black Gate.

<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
We know the terrible
consequences when Saruman fell into the temptation of using the
palantir. Would such a fate await Gandalf as well?
I don't think Gandalf *would* have given in to the temptation, but
perhaps he felt it was best he not be given that trial.
Hmm. I'm not sure he would have been able to resist. He was pretty quick
to give it to Aragorn. Wanted to get rid of it one might say...
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
I think one of the more intriguing passages in the chapter is this
one: "They all stared at him in silence, except Merry who turned
away." Why did Merry turn away at this particular time, when his
younger cousin had obviously had a terrifying experience?
For a bit of wild speculation: maybe it was Merry remembering his
experience being 'killed' by the men of Carn Dum when they were in the
barrow-mound? Or Merry's encounter with the Black Breath of the Nazgul
in Bree?

On a more reasonable level: it is very difficult to be sure what
emotions Merry is responding to here (several possibilities have been
mentioned in the thread). It is possible to read a wide range of
emotions into that gesture. I think it is Merry showing Pippin that he
is on his own here, preventing him from making eye contact with Merry
and saying something like "don't let them (particularly Gandalf) hurt
me". Merry is saying that Pippin must trust in Gandalf and face the
consequences of his actions. He might also be expressing disappointment
in Pippin, plus a bit of being unable to face Pippin because he feels
guilty for not doing more to stop him earlier.

But probably a bit of all the above. This must have been a shocking and
horrible experience for Merry as well. Tolkien might merely be making
Merry do something, anything, just to distinguish his reaction from that
of the others. We actually get very little reaction from Merry, though
there might have been a private conversation and period of Merry
comforting Pippin (or berating him) while Gandalf confers with Aragorn
and the others about what has happened (Merry and Pippin are returned to
their beds like naughty children).

I find it strange that the first words we hear from Merry after the
palantir incident (as Pippin rides away with Gandalf), are an expression
of envy towards Pippin! The real reaction of Merry to the separation
comes in the second chapter of Book 5.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
A very interesting chapter, and good discussion points. Thank you!
A real pleasure!

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Öjevind Lång
2004-09-14 23:21:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by aelfwina
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir
[snip]

[snip]
Post by aelfwina
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[8] I don't think we ever find out about what happened when the Nazgul
reached Isengard. What do you think happened? Can we speculate what
Sauron learns from Saruman? Is what Sauron sees in the palantir (a
hobbit and later Aragorn) all that he ever learns?
I wonder. I would be surprised if Saruman even spoke to the Nazgul after
his failure to even hold on to Orthanc. He would not be keen to face it.
My
Post by aelfwina
guess is that the Nazgul took one overhead look at the ruin of Isengard and
hightailed it back to his Master to tell him his pet wizard had failed.
You mean that his renegaded minion had failed, don't you? (I agree that
Saruman was unlikely to have talked to the Nazgúl.)

Öjevind
Jim Deutch
2004-09-15 16:02:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by aelfwina
"They all stared at him in silence, except Merry who turned away." Why did
Merry turn away at this particular time, when his younger cousin had
obviously had a terrifying experience?
He'd also ignored Merry's good advice and put himself into that very
experience unnecessarily. I think Merry was embarrassed for him. But
mostly, I think Merry was afraid for him, and perhaps saw the
situation well enough already at that point to be afraid for Frodo.

It was not yet clear that Pippin had not been corrupted: that he had
not spilled the beans entirely and given away the Quest to the Enemy.
Imagine: Sauron discovers the truth, closes his borders, gets the
Ring, all the Free Peoples are enslaved, and all because a silly
Hobbit looked into a crystal ball: O, the embarrassment!

Jim Deutch (Jimbo the Cat)
--
We have met the enemy, and he is us. -- Pogo
Troels Forchhammer
2004-09-19 20:43:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by aelfwina
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir
<snip>
Post by aelfwina
(snip of beautiful summary!)
Seconded!

<snip>
Post by aelfwina
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Are there any other moments in the story where someone's
voice changes beyond recognition?
I don't know about a voice changing beyond recognition,
In the book or do the films count >:->
Post by aelfwina
but we have several examples of people crying out in unfamiliar
languages, and there is Merry's strange statement about the "men
of Carn Dum" after the barrow-wight encounter.
And Théoden's strangely 'amplified' voice at the beginning of the
Battle of the Pelennor ("more clear than any there had ever heard a
mortal man achieve before.")

<snip>
Post by aelfwina
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[4] How likely is it that Gandalf would really not recognise the
palantir for what it was?
[...]
Post by aelfwina
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
the White Council had not thought about the palantiri of Gondor,
but that also seems a bit strange!
Time for a bit of wild speculation: as a trusted member of the
White Council, Saruman was in a position to perhaps "suggest" that
certain things were beneath consideration?
[...]

The Palantíri would, IMO, fall under Saruman's sphere of knowledge (he
was, after all, one of Aulë's people like Sauron, and the Noldor were
particularly close to Aulë as well: Saruman might even, for that
matter, have been in the vicinity when the Palantíri were created).

I agree that Saruman most likely kept the White Council discusssions
from touching on subjects he didn't want them to consider too deeply
(like the Palantíri or the possibility that the One Ring might be
found). Gandalf obviously knew what they were in general terms: I think
his knowledge came from scattered sources; passages he had come across
while researching something else, and had not yet begun to piece
together. Only while riding with Pippin does he start to piece together
all these small pieces of information. Given the focus of his labours
in Middle-earth I don't find it particularly unbelievable if he didn't
instantly recognise the Palantír for what it was.

<snip>
Post by aelfwina
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[8] I don't think we ever find out about what happened when the
Nazgul reached Isengard. What do you think happened?
[...]
Post by aelfwina
I wonder. I would be surprised if Saruman even spoke to the
Nazgul after his failure to even hold on to Orthanc.
I agree. Gandalf does say that "He has power still, I think, while in
Orthanc, to resist the Nine Riders. He may try to do so." In general
I'd put my trust in Gandalf's guesses any day ;-)

<snip>
--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid mail is <t.forch(a)email.dk>

For animals, the entire universe has been neatly divided into things to
(a) mate with, (b) eat, (c) run away from, and (d) rocks.
- (Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites)
Richard Williams
2004-09-20 20:12:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by aelfwina
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[4] How likely is it that Gandalf would really not recognise the
palantir for what it was?
[...]
Post by aelfwina
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
the White Council had not thought about the palantiri of Gondor,
but that also seems a bit strange!
Time for a bit of wild speculation: as a trusted member of the
White Council, Saruman was in a position to perhaps "suggest" that
certain things were beneath consideration?
[...]
The Palantíri would, IMO, fall under Saruman's sphere of knowledge (he
was, after all, one of Aulë's people like Sauron, and the Noldor were
particularly close to Aulë as well: Saruman might even, for that
matter, have been in the vicinity when the Palantíri were created).
I agree that Saruman most likely kept the White Council discusssions
from touching on subjects he didn't want them to consider too deeply
(like the Palantíri or the possibility that the One Ring might be
found).
A section of the chapter on the palantiri in UT covers some of this
ground:

"He [Saruman] acquired the keys of Orthanc in 2759, nominally as warden of
the tower and lieutenant of the Stewards of Gondor. At that time the
matter of the Orthanc-stone would hardly concern the White Council. Only
Saruman, having gained the favour of the Stewards, had yet made sufficient
study of the records of Gondor to perceive the interest of the palantiri
and the possible uses of those that survived; but of this he said nothing
to his colleagues...The Council in general must independently have known
of the Stones and their ancient dispositions, but they did not regard them
as of much present importance: they were things that belonged to the
history of the Kingdoms of the Dunedain, marvellous and admirable, but
mostly now lost or rendered of little use...It is evident that at the time
of the War of the Ring the Council had not long become aware of the doubt
concerning the fate of the Ithil-stone, and failed...to appreciate its
significance, to consider what might be the result if Sauron became
possessed of one of the Stones, and anyone else should then make use of
another."

Richard.
Dan Leach
2004-09-14 10:42:04 UTC
Permalink
""'Have I not felt it? Even now my heart desires to test my will upon it,
to see if I could not wrench it from him and turn it where I would - to
look across the wide seas of water and of time to Tirion the Fair, and
perceive the unimaginable hand and mind of Fëanor at their work, while
both the White Tree and the Golden were in flower!' He sighed and fell
silent.""


Ive always wondered about this..... surely gandalf (olorin) WAS around at
the time of feanor. Did they just never meet or does gandalf just wish to
re-visit his past?
dan
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-09-14 21:05:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dan Leach
""'Have I not felt it? Even now my heart desires to test my will upon
it, to see if I could not wrench it from him and turn it where I
would - to look across the wide seas of water and of time to Tirion
the Fair, and perceive the unimaginable hand and mind of Feanor at
their work, while both the White Tree and the Golden were in flower!'
He sighed and fell silent.""
Ive always wondered about this..... surely gandalf (olorin) WAS
around at the time of feanor. Did they just never meet or does
gandalf just wish to re-visit his past?
I think it is mostly nostalgia on Gandalf's part. He was around at the
time when Feanor was in Aman, though it is not clear whether they meet.
There is something in UT that says that Olorin went in secret among the
Eldar. I also think that all the Valar and Maiar yearn for a return to
the days of Bliss, the days when the Two Trees were in flower at the
noontide of the realm of Valinor. But, like the Elves, they have to
learn that nothing is forever, and all things must wear to an end under
the Sun.

There is also the issue of how much Gandalf remembers of the West. He
has mentioned Feanor before (the Star of Feanor on the Doors of Moria),
but would you expect Gandalf to remember what he does here?

I am also forcibly struck by how the Noldor and Feanor are depicted here
as legendary beings. Is this awestruck feeling really justified from
what we read in 'The Silmarillion'?

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
AC
2004-09-16 04:58:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dan Leach
""'Have I not felt it? Even now my heart desires to test my will upon it,
to see if I could not wrench it from him and turn it where I would - to
look across the wide seas of water and of time to Tirion the Fair, and
perceive the unimaginable hand and mind of Fëanor at their work, while
both the White Tree and the Golden were in flower!' He sighed and fell
silent.""
Ive always wondered about this..... surely gandalf (olorin) WAS around at
the time of feanor. Did they just never meet or does gandalf just wish to
re-visit his past?
He may certainly have been in Aman, but I doubt Feanor did his work as
any sort of public spectacle.
--
Aaron Clausen
***@hotmail.com

"My illness is due to my doctor's insistence that I drink milk, a whitish
fluid they force down helpless babies." - WC Fields
Shanahan
2004-09-17 06:20:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by AC
Post by Dan Leach
""'Have I not felt it? Even now my heart desires to test my
will upon it, to see if I could not wrench it from him and turn
it where I would - to look across the wide seas of water and of
time to Tirion the Fair, and perceive the unimaginable hand and
mind of Fëanor at their work, while both the White Tree and the
Golden were in flower!' He sighed and fell silent.""
Ive always wondered about this..... surely gandalf (olorin) WAS
around at the time of feanor. Did they just never meet or does
gandalf just wish to re-visit his past?
He may certainly have been in Aman, but I doubt Feanor did his
work as any sort of public spectacle.
I agree. Fëanor kept his workings secret, which is an
foreshadowing of the possessiveness which overcomes him in regard
to the things he made. This is especially true after Melkor is
freed, but it was a part of Fëanor's nature even before that.

OTOH, Gandalf does use the phrase "the unimaginable hand and mind
of Fëanor at their work", so I think we can assign some of the awe
in this comment to the possibility that it's a holdover from the
time when Tolkien was not yet concerned with integrating LotR and
his older legends in a close point-by-point manner.

Either way, it's a great comment, in a conversation that manages to
be both grand and hobbitlike at the same time. One of my faves!

Ciaran S.
--
"To sum up: your father, whom you love, dies;
you are his heir, you come back to find that
hardly was the corpse cold before his younger brother
popped onto his throne and into his sheets,
thereby offending both legal and natural practice.
Now *why exactly* are you behaving in this extraordinary manner?"
- t.stoppard, "R&G are Dead"
Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message
2004-09-14 21:03:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir
To read previous Chapter of the Week discussions, or to sign up to
introduce a future chapter, go to http://parasha.maoltuile.org
Despite the confrontation with Saruman, and the ending of one threat,
this chapter allows little respite from the onrushing events of the War
of the Ring. The briefly reunited companions are soon separated once
more. We learn of the link between Isengard and the Dark Tower, and in a
moment of great peril and sheer horror, Pippin comes face-to-face with
the Dark Lord himself. The return of his fearsome servants, the Nazgul,
prompts Gandalf to ride to Minas Tirith before the seas of war surround
it. He takes with him the dainty that Sauron desires: one small hobbit,
Peregrin son of Paladin.
Chapter Summary
=============
Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Merry and Pippin ride at a leisurely
pace with Theoden and his men as they leave Isengard at sunset. They
pass the pillar of the White Hand and see that the graven hand has been
cast down and broken. As they ride onwards, Gandalf tells Merry that
Saruman was aware of Merry and Pippin, and that their presence is likely
to have greatly troubled him. Gandalf also says that the plan is to ride
back to Edoras in as much secrecy as possible, avoiding the open plains
and the gaze of Sauron. Instead, Theoden will return to Helm's Deep and
lead many men from there to Dunharrow (the mountain fastness behind
Edoras), riding in the foothills of the White Mountains.
The company camp for the night in a dale on the slopes of Dol Baran, the
last hill of the northern ranges. Pippin finds it hard to get to sleep,
and is curiously restless. He and Merry talk about the confrontation
between Gandalf and Saruman, and Pippin talks about the glass ball that
he picked up and gave to Gandalf. Pippin wonders what it was, and says
in a low voice, as if he is talking to himself: "It felt so very heavy."
Merry realises what is bothering Pippin, and warns him not to meddle in
the affairs of Wizards.
Pippin refuses to listen to Merry, saying that he wants to look at the
ball. Merry tells Pippin he must wait until morning, and then goes to
sleep. Pippin remains awake, unable to get to sleep with the thought of
the dark globe and its mysterious red depths growing stronger in his
mind. Finally, Pippin gets up, and driven by some impulse he does not
understand he walks over to where Gandalf is lying on the ground,
clasping the bundle containing the glass ball. Pippin stealthily removes
the bundle, replaces it with a stone, and moves away, preparing to
satisfy his curiosity.
Holding the smooth globe of crystal between his knees, he bends over it
and gazes at the dark surface, black as jet. A faint glow and stir
within it holds his eyes, and soon all the inside seems on fire.
Suddenly the light within goes out, and Pippin is caught, frozen rigid,
clasping the ball with both hands. His lips move soundlessly and then,
with a piercing but strangled cry, he falls to the ground.
[1]
The camp is roused by the cry. Gandalf finds Pippin's body with its
unseeing eyes gazing at the sky. Gandalf fears both for Pippin and for
their own peril from this devilry. He manages to rouse Pippin who cries
"It is not for you, Saruman! I will send for it at once. Do you
understand? Say just that!"
[2]
Gandalf calms Pippin who then begins to beg Gandalf for forgiveness.
Gandalf asks Pippin what happened, gently at first and then more sternly
as it is clear that Pippin is not telling the whole story. Pippin is
still extremely frightened, but as his fear lessens he begins to tell
those gathered around him what he saw. He describes a dark sky, tall
battlements, stars, a feeling of great distance and of long ago. Nine
bat-like objects are flying around a tower and one flies towards Pippin
and disappears. Then an unnamed presence appears and interrogates Pippin
by thought alone, without words. Pippin tries to keep quiet, but is
tortured and, in pain, reveals that he is a hobbit. The presence
instructs Pippin what to say to Saruman and begins to gloat. Then Pippin
remembers no more.
[3]
Gandalf studies Pippin carefully, and declares that Pippin is unhurt by
his experience. Gandalf then explains much of what has just happened. We
learn that Pippin was interrogated by Sauron and told to tell Saruman to
prepare to hand Pippin over for questioning in the Dark Tower. Good
fortune meant that Pippin was not questioned straightaway for what he
knew. Gandalf then names the glass ball the Orthanc-stone. Aragorn
confirms that it must be the palantir of Orthanc from the treasury of
Elendil, and claims it for his own. Gandalf surprises the others as he
bows and presents it to Aragorn: "Receive it, lord! In earnest of other
things that shall be given back."
[4-6]
Gandalf then says that he now realises that the palantir was a link
between Mordor and Isengard, between Sauron and Saruman. He had intended
to probe the palantir himself, but Pippin has saved him from a
disastrous confrontation with Sauron. Nevertheless, they must now move
with all speed to the cover of the hills, to evade Sauron's servants and
to take advantage of the Enemy's confusion.
At that moment, a shadow falls on the camp as a winged shape passes over
the Moon. Terror strikes them as the mounted Nazgul flies past, faster
than the wind. Gandalf reacts with alarm, telling everyone to ride now
and not to wait for the dawn. He grabs Pippin and rides off on
Shadowfax. Merry is left alone with Aragorn and the others as they
prepare to ride also.
Shadowfax gallops over the plains, bearing Gandalf and Pippin at great
speed, fast enough for them to see the mountains drawing nearer. They
pass the Fords of Isen and the Mound of the Riders. As they ride, Pippin
and Gandalf talk and Pippin is delighted to learn many things. Gandalf
murmurs a rhyme of old lore that mentions seven stones, revealing that
the stone into which Pippin looked was one of the palantiri of the Kings
of Old, brought over the sea from Westernesse, but coming originally
from Eldamar, made by the Noldor long, long ago. Gandalf explains that
the palantiri were used by the Men of Gondor and Arnor to govern their
realms, to: "see far off, and to converse in thought with one another."
We learn where the palantiri were placed, and how Gandalf thinks Saruman
was ensnared by Sauron. Gandalf says how he also is drawn to the
"'Have I not felt it? Even now my heart desires to test my will upon it,
to see if I could not wrench it from him and turn it where I would - to
look across the wide seas of water and of time to Tirion the Fair, and
perceive the unimaginable hand and mind of Fëanor at their work, while
both the White Tree and the Golden were in flower!' He sighed and fell
silent."
[7]
Pippin later asks Gandalf about the winged Nazgul that flew over them
towards Isengard, and we learn what Gandalf thinks might happen at
Isengard and what Sauron may learn from Saruman about the hobbits,
Gandalf and Aragorn. The conversation then turns to the geography of the
land around them. They are approaching the turning-off point to Helm's
Deep, but they will ride on under cover of night to Edoras, and then for
a further two nights to reach Minas Tirith. Gandalf cries aloud to
Shadowfax and tells him run as he has never run before. Shadowfax neighs
"he and Gandalf were still as stone, seated upon the statue of a running
horse, while the world rolled away beneath his feet with a great noise
of wind."
[8]
Comments and thoughts
=================
A) Comments referenced to summary text
[1] Pippin's use of the palantir: a quite horrific moment, at least as
scary as the encounter with the Barrow-wight. Did anyone think Pippin
might be dead at this point?
[2] Even though Pippin appears to be alive, there is the new horror of
this changed voice. Thankfully Gandalf is here and all is soon put
right! Are there any other moments in the story where someone's voice ch
anges beyond recognition?
[3] As Pippin recounts his vision in the palantir, why is there this
feeling of long ago? Are the effects of time altered in Barad-dur, like
in Lorien; an effect of building the foundations of Barad-dur with the
One Ring? Or is this just an effect of the palantir?
[4] How likely is it that Gandalf would really not recognise the
palantir for what it was? This seems similar to Gandalf not knowing what
the One Ring was. It seems that he had some idea, but was still thinking
his way around the problem. Gandalf does explain later that the White
Council had not thought about the palantiri of Gondor, but that also
seems a bit strange!
[5] Sauron having the chance to question Pippin was indeed a moment of
great peril. If Sauron had questioned Pippin there and then, he would
have learned of the quest to destroy the Ring and the last known
location of Frodo and Sam. Gandalf (I think) said that the barrow-wight
was a dangerous moment, but I think that this is more dangerous still.
[6] Gandalf hands the palantir to Aragorn. This is an interesting
development in Aragorn's character. Gandalf is acknowledging him as lord
and rightful owner of the palantir. Was the claim by Aragorn
spontaneous, or did he judge that the time was right? He says: "Now my
hour draws near". Was this a sudden realisation, or something that
slowly dawned on him over the preceding days?
[7] Here we learn more about the history of the palantir. The Noldor are
mentioned for the only time in this story, and the name of Feanor is
used for only the second time. References to older and deeper things,
names with stories to be found in 'The Silmarillion'. A golden tree is
mentioned, the same one that Galadriel sings of in Lothlorien, but again
this is only a hint at the deeper backstory, but so meaningful once you
have read that backstory.
[8] I don't think we ever find out about what happened when the Nazgul
reached Isengard. What do you think happened? Can we speculate what
Sauron learns from Saruman? Is what Sauron sees in the palantir (a
hobbit and later Aragorn) all that he ever learns?
B) General comments
We get some nice insights into the characters here. Primarily Pippin and
Gandalf, but also a short but pivotal moment for Aragorn. There are also
some nice touches of humour: Merry's persistence in asking Gandalf how
far they are riding tonight; and Pippin asking Gandalf for the names of
all the stars and more besides!
Pippin has a terrifying experience, and luckily seems to come through it
unharmed. Has the experience changed him, or does that come later in the
story?
We also see some of the strategy laid out in these chapters, mostly
through the words of Gandalf. It seems that there is a lot of planning
going on in Gandalf's head. He has talked with Theoden and Aragorn,
probably advising Theoden to bring his army to Dunharrow. He also warns
Aragorn about premature use of the palantir. Finally, Gandalf is
uncertain how the events between Sauron and Saruman will unfold, but is
making sure that Sauron learns as little as possible.
Gandalf also opens up emotionally, and, in my favourite part of the
chapter, reveals that he too feels the lure of the palantir, desiring to
look back in time and return to the days of the Two Trees. Is it
possible that Gandalf is removing not only Pippin, but himself, from the
lure of the palantir? We know the terrible consequences when Saruman
fell into the temptation of using the palantir. Would such a fate await
Gandalf as well?
Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
'The names of all the stars, and of all living things, and the whole
history of Middle-earth and Over-heaven and of the Sundering Seas'
laughed Pippin. 'Of course! What less? But I am not in a hurry tonight.'
Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message
2004-09-14 21:12:42 UTC
Permalink
Nice summary -- thank you! I am now re-reading LOTR from
beginning to end for the first time in several years, and I have
just caught up to COTW.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[4] How likely is it that Gandalf would really not recognise the
palantir for what it was? This seems similar to Gandalf not knowing what
the One Ring was. It seems that he had some idea, but was still thinking
his way around the problem. Gandalf does explain later that the White
Council had not thought about the palantiri of Gondor, but that also
seems a bit strange!
I got the impression that he pretty much knew what it was
as soon as he saw it. This is from his comment that he didn't
think it was something that Saruman would have thrown away,
confirmed by Saruman's strangled scream when he realizes what
Wormtongue has done.

However, although Gandalf knew what it was, he didn't
realize that Sauron also had one. In his talk with Pippin, he
guesses that Sauron's stone was the Ithil-stone, found when
Minas Ithil was Morgulized. When Gandalf realizes this, he
knows that it must have been the link between Sauron and Saruman.

BTW the word "palantir" means basically the same thing as
the word "television"... I wonder if the burgeoning TV
technology at the time JRRT was writing LOTR had any influence
on him.

--Jamie. (a Dover edition designed for years of use!)
andrews .uwo } Merge these two lines to obtain my e-mail address.
@csd .ca } (Unsolicited "bulk" e-mail costs everyone.)
Öjevind Lång
2004-09-14 23:16:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir
[snip]
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
They
pass the Fords of Isen and the Mound of the Riders. As they ride, Pippin
and Gandalf talk and Pippin is delighted to learn many things. Gandalf
murmurs a rhyme of old lore that mentions seven stones, revealing that
the stone into which Pippin looked was one of the palantiri of the Kings
of Old, brought over the sea from Westernesse, but coming originally
from Eldamar, made by the Noldor long, long ago. Gandalf explains that
the palantiri were used by the Men of Gondor and Arnor to govern their
realms, to: "see far off, and to converse in thought with one another."
We learn where the palantiri were placed, and how Gandalf thinks Saruman
was ensnared by Sauron. Gandalf says how he also is drawn to the
This brings up a point I have never considered before. With the exception
oft he stone that was set at the Tower Hills and looked back to Elvenhome,
we are not told about any great difference between the stones. Why would the
Lords of Andunië need seven scrying-stone before they went into exile?

Öjevind
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-09-14 23:42:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Öjevind Lång
This brings up a point I have never considered before. With the
exception of the stone that was set at the Tower Hills and looked
back to Elvenhome, we are not told about any great difference between
the stones. Why would the Lords of Andunië need seven scrying-stones
before they went into exile?
The Eldamar Palantiri Broadcasting Company (EPBC) had 7 channels?

One for skygazing (courtesy of Varda), one for sports (Learn wrestling
with Tulkas), one for weather (Ulmo giving shipping forecasts), one for
music (continuous loop of some annoying Illuvatar bloke), one for news
(a bit of doomsaying from Namo/Mandos), a gardening makeover channel
(presented by Irmo/Lorien), and a wildlife channel (jointly hosted by
Yavanna and Orome).

There are also channels by Manwe (religious services), Aule (shopping
channel for gems and precious stones) and Nienna (counselling services),
but those weren't included in the 7 for the price of 5 deal with EPBC.
Öjevind Lång
2004-09-15 22:31:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Öjevind Lång
This brings up a point I have never considered before. With the
exception of the stone that was set at the Tower Hills and looked
back to Elvenhome, we are not told about any great difference between
the stones. Why would the Lords of Andunië need seven scrying-stones
before they went into exile?
The Eldamar Palantiri Broadcasting Company (EPBC) had 7 channels?
One for skygazing (courtesy of Varda), one for sports (Learn wrestling
with Tulkas), one for weather (Ulmo giving shipping forecasts), one for
music (continuous loop of some annoying Illuvatar bloke), one for news
(a bit of doomsaying from Namo/Mandos), a gardening makeover channel
(presented by Irmo/Lorien), and a wildlife channel (jointly hosted by
Yavanna and Orome).
There are also channels by Manwe (religious services), Aule (shopping
channel for gems and precious stones) and Nienna (counselling services),
but those weren't included in the 7 for the price of 5 deal with EPBC.
Wouldn't Aulë demand some prime time for a DIY programme?

Öjevind
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-09-15 23:02:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Öjevind Lång
The Eldamar Palantiri Broadcasting Company (EPBC)...
<snip>
Post by Öjevind Lång
Wouldn't Aulë demand some prime time for a DIY programme?
What? Programmes like: "How to Build Your Own Island", or rather, how to
REbuild an island? How to build in the classical style (Minas Tirith) or
how to build in the retro style (Orthanc)? And why not enter this week's
competition to win bookend-style models of the Argonath together with
some circular disc-shaped things to play on your palantir?
Öjevind Lång
2004-09-16 11:37:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Öjevind Lång
The Eldamar Palantiri Broadcasting Company (EPBC)...
<snip>
Post by Öjevind Lång
Wouldn't Aulë demand some prime time for a DIY programme?
What? Programmes like: "How to Build Your Own Island", or rather, how to
REbuild an island? How to build in the classical style (Minas Tirith) or
how to build in the retro style (Orthanc)? And why not enter this week's
competition to win bookend-style models of the Argonath together with
some circular disc-shaped things to play on your palantir?
Sure! Or "How to build a model city" and "How to give a Palantír the final
polish"?

Öjevind
Shanahan
2004-09-17 06:36:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Öjevind Lång
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir
[snip]
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
They
pass the Fords of Isen and the Mound of the Riders. As they
ride, Pippin and Gandalf talk and Pippin is delighted to learn
many things. Gandalf murmurs a rhyme of old lore that mentions
seven stones, revealing that the stone into which Pippin looked
was one of the palantiri of the Kings of Old, brought over the
sea from Westernesse, but coming originally from Eldamar, made
by the Noldor long, long ago. Gandalf explains that the
palantiri were used by the Men of Gondor and Arnor to govern
their realms, to: "see far off, and to converse in thought with
one another." We learn where the palantiri were placed, and how
Gandalf thinks Saruman was ensnared by Sauron. Gandalf says how
This brings up a point I have never considered before. With the
exception oft he stone that was set at the Tower Hills and
looked back to Elvenhome, we are not told about any great
difference between the stones. Why would the Lords of Andunië
need seven scrying-stone before they went into exile?
I believe there are several contradictory statements by Tolkien
about the Seeing Stones. One statement has the Master-Stone
abiding eternally in Eressëa; one has the Master-Stone in the Dome
of the Stars in Osgiliath; and then there is the statement you
mention above. Seems that it was an unresolved issue.

I think the seven stones were just indicated as such, because
Tolkien had had this verse running around in his head for years,
and when he invented the palantiri, he realized that that was what
the verse was about. So he got rid of the meme by passing it into
his book:
"I knew nothing of the Palantiri, though the moment the
Orthanc-stone was cast from the window, I recognized it, and knew
the meaning of the 'rhyme of lore' that had been running in my
mind: seven stars and seven stones and one white tree. These rhymes
and names will crop up; but they do not always explain themselves."
(Letter 165 to W.H. Auden)

Ciaran S.
--
"Technically, a cat locked in a box may be alive or it may be dead.
You never know until you look. In fact, the mere act of opening the
box will determine the state of the cat, although in this case
there were three determinate states the cat could be in: these
being Alive, Dead, and Bloody Furious."
- t. pratchett, _Lords and Ladies_
Richard Williams
2004-09-17 17:53:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Shanahan
Post by Öjevind Lång
This brings up a point I have never considered before. With the
exception oft he stone that was set at the Tower Hills and
looked back to Elvenhome, we are not told about any great
difference between the stones. Why would the Lords of Andunië
need seven scrying-stone before they went into exile?
I suppose a story-internal explanation might be that multiple stones could
be very useful to what was effectively a Resistance movement if they were
distributed amongst key members of the Faithful - e.g. secret 'meetings'
could be held without attracting the attention of Sauron or the King's
Men. The statement "These stones were gifts of the Eldar to Amandil,
father of Elendil, for the comfort of the Faithful of Numenor in their
dark days, when the Elves might come no longer to that land under the
shadow of Sauron" perhaps suggests that part of their role was
communication with the Elves, but covert shorter range communication
within Numenor (or even with Faithful ships at sea) would have been very
useful, as would remote viewing of the Enemy's activities.
Post by Shanahan
I believe there are several contradictory statements by Tolkien
about the Seeing Stones. One statement has the Master-Stone
abiding eternally in Eressëa; one has the Master-Stone in the Dome
of the Stars in Osgiliath; and then there is the statement you
mention above. Seems that it was an unresolved issue.
Perhaps the Osgiliath stone was only the chief of those in Middle Earth
(or even Gondor), whereas the Eressea stone was master of the whole
'network'? (maybe even of a larger network including additional stones
retained by the elves??).

Random questions/speculation:

Did Aragorn ever consult Elendil's stone in Elostirion? Might this have
given him some degree of 'training' for his subsequent use of the Orthanc
stone? Why did he later allow this stone to be returned to Eressea in the
ringbearers' ship?

Richard.
Shanahan
2004-09-20 02:20:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Williams
Post by Shanahan
Post by Öjevind Lång
This brings up a point I have never considered before. With the
exception oft he stone that was set at the Tower Hills and
looked back to Elvenhome, we are not told about any great
difference between the stones. Why would the Lords of Andunië
need seven scrying-stone before they went into exile?
I suppose a story-internal explanation might be that multiple
stones could be very useful to what was effectively a Resistance
movement if they were distributed amongst key members of the
Faithful - e.g. secret 'meetings' could be held without
attracting the attention of Sauron or the King's Men. The
statement "These stones were gifts of the Eldar to Amandil,
father of Elendil, for the comfort of the Faithful of Numenor in
their dark days, when the Elves might come no longer to that
land under the shadow of Sauron" perhaps suggests that part of
their role was communication with the Elves, but covert shorter
range communication within Numenor (or even with Faithful ships
at sea) would have been very useful, as would remote viewing of
the Enemy's activities.
Good point. I'm not sure if Tolkien had thought of there being a
'master-stone' at this point, whether with the Faithful or on
Eressêa. This idea goes a long way toward explaining how the
Faithful were able to survive and escape in, apparently, such
numbers. Also the wise leadership and power of Amandil.
Post by Richard Williams
Post by Shanahan
I believe there are several contradictory statements by Tolkien
about the Seeing Stones. One statement has the Master-Stone
abiding eternally in Eressëa; one has the Master-Stone in the
Dome of the Stars in Osgiliath; and then there is the statement
you mention above. Seems that it was an unresolved issue.
Perhaps the Osgiliath stone was only the chief of those in
Middle Earth (or even Gondor), whereas the Eressea stone was
master of the whole 'network'? (maybe even of a larger network
including additional stones retained by the elves??).
I've wondered about this for years (with absolutely no textual
support, just wishful thinking)!
Post by Richard Williams
Did Aragorn ever consult Elendil's stone in Elostirion? Might
this have given him some degree of 'training' for his subsequent
use of the Orthanc stone? Why did he later allow this stone to
be returned to Eressea in the ringbearers' ship?
I don't believe he did, or we are not told so.
Perhaps he thought the palantíri were too great a temptation to the
wrong kind of power.

Ciaran S.
--
The State is the altar of political freedom
and, like the religious altar, it is
maintained for the purpose of human sacrifice.
- e.g.
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-09-20 22:37:59 UTC
Permalink
Richard Williams <***@hgmp.mrc.ac.uk> wrote:

<snip>
Post by Richard Williams
Did Aragorn ever consult Elendil's stone in Elostirion? Might this
have given him some degree of 'training' for his subsequent use of
the Orthanc stone? Why did he later allow this stone to be returned
to Eressea in the ringbearers' ship?
Are you saying Aragorn later allowed the Orthanc palantir to be returned
to Eressea on the Ringbearers' ship? I can only remember this reference
to the Orthanc palantir's later use:

" 'Only one now remains that you could use,' answered Aragorn for you
would not wish to see what the Stone of Minas Tirith would show you. But
the Palantir of Orthanc the King will keep, to see what is passing in
his realm, and what his servants are doing." (Many Meetings)

Maybe you mean the fate of the palantir in Elostirion, though I can't
remember where or what Elostirion is...

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Shanahan
2004-09-21 05:37:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
<snip>
Post by Richard Williams
Did Aragorn ever consult Elendil's stone in Elostirion? Might
this have given him some degree of 'training' for his
subsequent use of the Orthanc stone? Why did he later allow
this stone to be returned to Eressea in the ringbearers' ship?
Are you saying Aragorn later allowed the Orthanc palantir to be
returned to Eressea on the Ringbearers' ship? [...]
Maybe you mean the fate of the palantir in Elostirion, though I
can't remember where or what Elostirion is...
I think the latter is what Richard means. I seem to recall a
reference to that stone traveling back west on the 'Last Ship'.
Elostirion was the tallest of the three towers on the Tower Hills
west of the Shire, the one that held the stone that only looked
back to Eressëa.

Ciaran S.
--
I'm not tense. Just terribly, terribly alert.
Richard Williams
2004-09-21 09:16:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Shanahan
I think the latter is what Richard means. I seem to recall a
reference to that stone traveling back west on the 'Last Ship'.
Elostirion was the tallest of the three towers on the Tower Hills
west of the Shire, the one that held the stone that only looked
back to Eressëa.
Sorry, yes, I should have phrased it better - I meant Elendil's stone in
the Tower Hills. Incidentally, I've just noticed that one of the notes
in the UT chapter on the palantiri states that it's 'not known' whether
Aragorn (or any previous chieftain of the Dunedain) looked in this stone.

Richard.
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-09-21 23:32:45 UTC
Permalink
Shanahan <***@bluefrog.com> wrote:

[about the Elendil-stone of Elostirion]
I seem to recall a reference to that stone traveling back west
on the 'Last Ship'.
And I still can't find such a reference in LotR or UT.
Can you remember where you read this?
Troels Forchhammer
2004-09-22 21:38:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[about the Elendil-stone of Elostirion]
I seem to recall a reference to that stone traveling back west on
the 'Last Ship'.
And I still can't find such a reference in LotR or UT.
Can you remember where you read this?
LotR Appendix A, (iii) 'Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur'

" Yet the counsel of the Lossoth was good, by chance or by
foresight; for the ship had not reached the open sea when a
great storm of wind arose, and came with blinding snow out
of the North; and it drove the ship back upon the ice and
piled ice up against it. Even the mariners of Círdan were
helpless, and in the night the ice crushed the hull, and the
ship foundered. So perished Arvedui Last-king, and with him
the palantíri were buried in the sea.[2] It was long
afterwards that news of the shipwreck of Forochel was learned
from the Snowmen."
[2] "These were the Stones of Annúminas and Amon Sûl. The only
Stone left in the North was the one in the Tower on Emyn
Beraid that looks towards the Gulf of Lune. That was guarded
by the Elves, and though we never knew it, it remained there,
until Círdan put it aboard Elrond's ship when he left (I, 34,
54). But we are told that it was unlike the others and not
in accord with them; it looked only to the Sea. Elendil set
it there so that he could look back with "straight sight" and
see Eressëa in the vanished West; but the bent seas below
covered Númenor for ever."

I knew it was in there somewhere ;-)
--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid mail is <t.forch(a)email.dk>

+++ Divide By Cucumber Error. Please Reinstall Universe And Reboot +++
- (Terry Pratchett, Hogfather)
Shanahan
2004-09-23 04:33:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[about the Elendil-stone of Elostirion]
I seem to recall a reference to that stone traveling back west
on the 'Last Ship'.
And I still can't find such a reference in LotR or UT.
Can you remember where you read this?
LotR Appendix A, (iii) 'Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur'
<snip>
Post by Troels Forchhammer
I knew it was in there somewhere ;-)
THANK YOU!

Ciaran S.
--
Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day
light such a candle, by God's grace, in
England as I trust shall never be put out.
- Bishop Latimer, to his friend Nicholas Ridley,
as they were both about to be burned as heretics
outside Balliol College, Oxford (Oct. 16, 1555)
Troels Forchhammer
2004-09-23 07:52:20 UTC
Permalink
<snip>
Post by Shanahan
Post by Troels Forchhammer
LotR Appendix A, (iii) 'Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur'
<snip> I knew it was in there somewhere ;-)
THANK YOU!
You're very welcome.

I never questioned the claim, having this vague memory that this was
right -- but it took some intensive searching to find it (in the Tale of
Years there is a note to the Shire receiving the land up to the Tower
hills from the king. In that note there is another reference to the note
I quoted -- occasionally finding a bit of information becomes involved
;-)
--
Troels Forchhammer

One who cannot cast away a treasure at need is in fetters.
- Aragorn "Strider", 'LotR' (J.R.R. Tolkien)
Shanahan
2004-09-24 00:54:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by Shanahan
Post by Troels Forchhammer
LotR Appendix A, (iii) 'Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of
Isildur' <snip> I knew it was in there somewhere ;-)
THANK YOU!
You're very welcome.
I never questioned the claim, having this vague memory that this
was right -- but it took some intensive searching to find it (in
the Tale of Years there is a note to the Shire receiving the
land up to the Tower hills from the king. In that note there is
another reference to the note I quoted -- occasionally finding a
bit of information becomes involved ;-)
I was looking in ToY too, but I thought it was in the older
versions in PoME. Re that ceding of more land to The Shire, west
to the Tower Hills: it must not have included the Towers
themselves, since the Fairbairns only built on the eastern slopes
of the hills. Did the Towers belong to the Elves of Mithlond, or
to Gondor? (Gilgalad built Elostirion for Elendil).

Ciaran S.
--
"And what rough beast, its time come 'round at last
slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?
- w.b.yeats
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-09-24 00:44:28 UTC
Permalink
Troels Forchhammer <***@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

[about the palantir of Elostirion]
Post by Troels Forchhammer
I never questioned the claim, having this vague memory that this was
right -- but it took some intensive searching to find it (in the Tale
of Years there is a note to the Shire receiving the land up to the
Tower hills from the king. In that note there is another reference to
the note I quoted -- occasionally finding a bit of information
becomes involved ;-)
Not half! I followed up two references in the quote you provided. They
referred to other mentions of the Elf-towers in LotR, specifically the
bit where Sam says the Elves are sailing West from the harbours "beyond
the White Towers". The other reference is to Frodo's dream at
Crickhollow where he sees a tall white tower and hears the Sea and wants
to climb it to see the Sea. Not sure if this was discussed in CotW, but
this internal footnote reference confirms that Frodo is dreaming of one
of the Elf-towers (not that there was much doubt anyway).

<checks CotW page>

Hey! You did the chapter summary for that chapter (A Conspiracy
Unmasked). You question whether the tower in the dream was one of the
towers of the Tower Hills. Well, it looks like I've answered that
question!

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Troels Forchhammer
2004-09-25 20:59:13 UTC
Permalink
In message <news:M5K4d.419$***@text.news.blueyonder.co.uk>
"Christopher Kreuzer" <***@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:
<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Hey! You did the chapter summary for that chapter (A Conspiracy
Unmasked). You question whether the tower in the dream was one of
the towers of the Tower Hills. Well, it looks like I've answered
that question!
We do seem to be into answering some of the old questions at the moment
;-)

Thanks.
--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid mail is <t.forch(a)email.dk>

I USHERED SOULS INTO THE NEXT WORLD. I WAS THE GRAVE OF ALL HOPE. I WAS
THE ULTIMATE REALITY. I WAS THE ASSASSIN AGAINST WHOM NO LOCK WOULD
HOLD.
"Yes, point taken, but do you have any particular skills?"
- Death consults a job broker (Terry Pratchett, Mort)
Shanahan
2004-09-27 22:22:54 UTC
Permalink
<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Hey! You did the chapter summary for that chapter (A Conspiracy
Unmasked). You question whether the tower in the dream was one
of the towers of the Tower Hills. Well, it looks like I've
answered that question!
<coughs discreetly> Ahem. /Who/ answered that question, and when
(see below)? <g>

From: Shanahan (***@redsuspenders.com)
Subject: Re: Chapter of the Week; LotR Book 1, Chapter 5: "A
Conspiracy Unmasked"
Date: 2004-02-18 18:14:19 PST
On Wed, 18 Feb 2004 16:14:42 GMT, "Troels Forchhammer"
<***@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
<snip>
I have an impression/idea that dreams usually aren't described in
detail
unless they are important in some way, but there's some of the
symbolism in
Frodo's dream in this chapter that escapes me.
The start appears relatively straightforward, pointing both
backwards to
the encounters with the Black Riders during the trek through the
Shire and
forwards to the Old Forest. Of the latter part the foreshadowing
of his
trip to Tol Eressëa, but what is that single tower doing there?
It might be a holdover from earlier versions of this chapter, which
had
Frodo dreaming of Gandalf's imprisonment. Frodo's dream about
Gandalf was
moved to the Bombadil chapter, when Tolkien rewrote this part of
the
story. Tolkien moved this dream around a lot, in terms of
when/where it
occurs, and he rewrote it several times as well.

In the early versions of Gandalf's delay in meeting Frodo, Gandalf
was
driven into a single tower in the west and beseiged there by the
Ringwraiths. This of course was changed to Orthanc and Saruman
rather
than (Elostirion) and Black Riders.

But the single tower remained in Frodo's dream in Crickhollow. Why
only
one tower? I think the tallest of the three elven towers stood
apart from
the others, and would be seen as if standing alone, by a traveler
from the
east to the Grey Havens.
We do seem to be into answering some of the old questions at the
moment ;-)
Thanks.
Ciaran S.
--
Ros.: What are you playing at?
Guild.: Words, words. They're all we have to go on.
- t.stoppard
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-09-27 21:40:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Hey! You did the chapter summary for that chapter (A Conspiracy
Unmasked). You question whether the tower in the dream was one
of the towers of the Tower Hills. Well, it looks like I've
answered that question!
<coughs discreetly> Ahem. /Who/ answered that question, and when
(see below)? <g>
<snip>

You are quite right. You did say that it was Elostirion...

HOWEVER! :-)

You answered the question by looking at earlier drafts in HoME. That
disqualifies your answer (I just made that rule up).

If you like, I'll say that I merely provided a final piece of the jigsaw
puzzle by pointing out that someone who only has LotR (with the
Appendices) can confirm that the tower in Frodo's dream at Crickhollow
is one of the elf towers on Emyn Beraid.

They discover this when they read Appendix A: I (The Numenorean Kings);
(iiii) (Eriador, Arnor and the Heirs of Isildur); The North-kingdom and
the Dunedain - the bit about the shipwreck of Arvedui. Here we find
footnote 23, which talks about "the Tower on Emyn Beraid" and then
refers us back to two pages in volume I (The Fellowship of the Ring).
The second reference is to the dream Frodo has in Crickhollow about a
tall tower. QED.

No need for HoME! :-)

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Shanahan
2004-09-28 03:54:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Hey! You did the chapter summary for that chapter (A
Conspiracy Unmasked). You question whether the tower in the
dream was one of the towers of the Tower Hills. Well, it
looks like I've answered that question!
<coughs discreetly> Ahem. /Who/ answered that question, and
when (see below)? <g>
<snip>
You are quite right. You did say that it was Elostirion...
HOWEVER! :-)
You answered the question by looking at earlier drafts in HoME.
That disqualifies your answer (I just made that rule up).
Actually, I'll accept that as a legitimate disqualification.
Previous versions of chapters can only hint at solutions, not prove
them!
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
If you like, I'll say that I merely provided a final piece of
the jigsaw puzzle by pointing out that someone who only has LotR
(with the Appendices) can confirm that the tower in Frodo's
dream at Crickhollow is one of the elf towers on Emyn Beraid.
<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
No need for HoME! :-)
Cool, too. <g>

Ciaran S.
--
Patriot: the person who can holler loudest
without knowing what he is hollering about.
- mark twain
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-09-24 00:28:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[about the Elendil-stone of Elostirion]
I seem to recall a reference to that stone traveling back west on
the 'Last Ship'.
And I still can't find such a reference in LotR or UT.
Can you remember where you read this?
LotR Appendix A, (iii) 'Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur'
<snip>
Post by Troels Forchhammer
I knew it was in there somewhere ;-)
Buried deep in one of those perennial footnotes!! I turned the page and
immediately found another of those extra details that it is difficult to
find again: the bit about how Anarion died at the siege of Barad-dur. It
was not a total surprise to find *that* in a footnote as well! :-)

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Shanahan
2004-09-23 03:32:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[about the Elendil-stone of Elostirion]
I seem to recall a reference to that stone traveling back west
on the 'Last Ship'.
And I still can't find such a reference in LotR or UT.
Can you remember where you read this?
I thought it was in one of the early versions of the ToY in PoME,
but now I can't find it there, or anywhere else. Must be my
overactive imagination again!

Hey, that's pretty interesting, anyway. If the stone stayed in
Elostirion, that means Aragorn was very careful not to include the
Towers in the 'deed' when he ceded land to the Shire (end of ToY).
Did they belong to the Elves, or was he being canny about not
giving a palantir to the hobbits?

Ciaran S.
--
"And I name before you all Frodo of the Shire
and Samwise his servant....
/Bronwe athan Harthad and Harthad Uluithiad,/
Endurance beyond Hope, and Hope unquenchable."
-gandalf, in draft 'A' of "Many Partings"
Kristian Damm Jensen
2004-09-15 06:42:05 UTC
Permalink
"Christopher Kreuzer" <***@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message news:<dEp1d.94$***@news-text.cableinet.net>...

<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Pippin has a terrifying experience, and luckily seems to come through it
unharmed. Has the experience changed him, or does that come later in the
story?
I think it was the turning point of a long development.

After this experience, Pippin no longer acts foolish. We are told of
three times when Pippin's foolishness endangers the party: In Bree,
where he is about to recount the story of Bilbo's disapperance, in
Moria, where he throws a stone into a well, which prompts Gandalf to
say: "Fool of a Took! ... Throw yourself in next time" - which Pippin
then in a sense proceeds to do when he looks into the Palantir. This -
and the prior trek with the Uruk-hai - turns him from a foolish,
adolecent hobbit into a more serious, adult hobbit. While he is still
able to laugh, he now recognice the dangers of the worlds *and takes
responsibility in confronting them*.

Later events help, but I think this is the turning point, that makes
Pippin a hobbit capable of confronting a man twice his size with the
words: "You are a ruffian and a fool. Down on your knees in the road
and ask pardon, or I will set this troll's bane in you!"

<snip>

Regards,
Kristian
John Jones
2004-09-15 19:45:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Pippin has a terrifying experience, and luckily seems to come through it
unharmed. Has the experience changed him, or does that come later in the
story?
I think it was the turning point of a long development.
After this experience, Pippin no longer acts foolish. We are told of
three times when Pippin's foolishness endangers the party: In Bree,
where he is about to recount the story of Bilbo's disapperance, in
Moria, where he throws a stone into a well, which prompts Gandalf to
say: "Fool of a Took! ... Throw yourself in next time" - which Pippin
then in a sense proceeds to do when he looks into the Palantir. This -
and the prior trek with the Uruk-hai - turns him from a foolish,
adolecent hobbit into a more serious, adult hobbit. While he is still
able to laugh, he now recognice the dangers of the worlds *and takes
responsibility in confronting them*.
Later events help, but I think this is the turning point, that makes
Pippin a hobbit capable of confronting a man twice his size with the
words: "You are a ruffian and a fool. Down on your knees in the road
and ask pardon, or I will set this troll's bane in you!"
Up to this point, Pippin doesn't actually *do* anything, except the sort of
silly blundering which you describe above. He doesn't fight against the
orcs, either in Moria or Parth Galen. I think that he seems to behave more
like a tourist than anything else. From this point on, though, he becomes
personally involved in the action, giving his allegiance to Denethor and
Gondor, and finally killing the troll at the Morannon. After all that,
Sharkey's ruffians are no big deal!
Kristian Damm Jensen
2004-09-16 06:07:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Jones
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Pippin has a terrifying experience, and luckily seems to come through it
unharmed. Has the experience changed him, or does that come later in the
story?
I think it was the turning point of a long development.
After this experience, Pippin no longer acts foolish. We are told of
three times when Pippin's foolishness endangers the party: In Bree,
where he is about to recount the story of Bilbo's disapperance, in
Moria, where he throws a stone into a well, which prompts Gandalf to
say: "Fool of a Took! ... Throw yourself in next time" - which Pippin
then in a sense proceeds to do when he looks into the Palantir. This -
and the prior trek with the Uruk-hai - turns him from a foolish,
adolecent hobbit into a more serious, adult hobbit. While he is still
able to laugh, he now recognice the dangers of the worlds *and takes
responsibility in confronting them*.
Later events help, but I think this is the turning point, that makes
Pippin a hobbit capable of confronting a man twice his size with the
words: "You are a ruffian and a fool. Down on your knees in the road
and ask pardon, or I will set this troll's bane in you!"
Up to this point, Pippin doesn't actually *do* anything, except the sort of
silly blundering which you describe above. He doesn't fight against the
orcs, either in Moria or Parth Galen. I think that he seems to behave more
like a tourist than anything else. From this point on, though, he becomes
personally involved in the action, giving his allegiance to Denethor and
Gondor, and finally killing the troll at the Morannon. After all that,
Sharkey's ruffians are no big deal!
You are forgetting his accomplishments while captured by the orcs:
Seizing the opportunity to free his hands, concealing the fact that
they are free, running away and dropping his brooch and finally
goading Ugluk into believing he had the ring. All in all, *he* alone
accomplished their escape (with some good luck to help).

Regards,
Kristian
Michael Ikeda
2004-09-16 21:52:05 UTC
Permalink
(snipped)
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
Post by John Jones
Up to this point, Pippin doesn't actually *do* anything, except
the sort of silly blundering which you describe above. He
doesn't fight against the orcs, either in Moria or Parth Galen.
I think that he seems to behave more like a tourist than
anything else. From this point on, though, he becomes
personally involved in the action, giving his allegiance to
Denethor and Gondor, and finally killing the troll at the
Morannon. After all that, Sharkey's ruffians are no big deal!
You are forgetting his accomplishments while captured by the
orcs: Seizing the opportunity to free his hands, concealing the
fact that they are free, running away and dropping his brooch
and finally goading Ugluk into believing he had the ring. All in
all, *he* alone accomplished their escape (with some good luck
to help).
Minor correction. It was Grishnakh who thought Pippin (or at least
one of the hobbits) had the Ring. How Grishakh even learned about
the Ring is another question.
--
Michael Ikeda ***@erols.com
"Telling a statistician not to use sampling is like telling an
astronomer they can't say there is a moon and stars"
Lynne Billard, past president American Statistical Association
John Jones
2004-09-16 18:29:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
Post by John Jones
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Pippin has a terrifying experience, and luckily seems to come through it
unharmed. Has the experience changed him, or does that come later in the
story?
I think it was the turning point of a long development.
After this experience, Pippin no longer acts foolish. We are told of
three times when Pippin's foolishness endangers the party: In Bree,
where he is about to recount the story of Bilbo's disapperance, in
Moria, where he throws a stone into a well, which prompts Gandalf to
say: "Fool of a Took! ... Throw yourself in next time" - which Pippin
then in a sense proceeds to do when he looks into the Palantir. This -
and the prior trek with the Uruk-hai - turns him from a foolish,
adolecent hobbit into a more serious, adult hobbit. While he is still
able to laugh, he now recognice the dangers of the worlds *and takes
responsibility in confronting them*.
Later events help, but I think this is the turning point, that makes
Pippin a hobbit capable of confronting a man twice his size with the
words: "You are a ruffian and a fool. Down on your knees in the road
and ask pardon, or I will set this troll's bane in you!"
Up to this point, Pippin doesn't actually *do* anything, except the sort of
silly blundering which you describe above. He doesn't fight against the
orcs, either in Moria or Parth Galen. I think that he seems to behave more
like a tourist than anything else. From this point on, though, he becomes
personally involved in the action, giving his allegiance to Denethor and
Gondor, and finally killing the troll at the Morannon. After all that,
Sharkey's ruffians are no big deal!
Seizing the opportunity to free his hands, concealing the fact that
they are free, running away and dropping his brooch and finally
goading Ugluk into believing he had the ring. All in all, *he* alone
accomplished their escape (with some good luck to help).
True; so perhaps there was no one 'turning point', but Pippin changed
gradually through the story, although the palantir episode must have been a
considerable shock.
It was Merry, IIRC, who actually meditated on how he had changed from being
'..a hobbit, a light-hearted wanderer ...'
Öjevind Lång
2004-09-15 22:32:57 UTC
Permalink
"Kristian Damm Jensen" <***@ofir.dk> skrev i meddelandet news:***@posting.google.com...

[snip]
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
Later events help, but I think this is the turning point, that makes
Pippin a hobbit capable of confronting a man twice his size with the
words: "You are a ruffian and a fool. Down on your knees in the road
and ask pardon, or I will set this troll's bane in you!"
And the sign of his maturity is that he does not do this to look good
himself but because he can't bear hearing this two-bit scoundrel insult
Frodo of the Nine Fingers, who was honoured by the Armies of the west at the
Field of Cormallen.

Öjevind
AC
2004-09-15 17:21:31 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 13 Sep 2004 23:00:25 GMT,
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[6] Gandalf hands the palantir to Aragorn. This is an interesting
development in Aragorn's character. Gandalf is acknowledging him as lord
and rightful owner of the palantir. Was the claim by Aragorn
spontaneous, or did he judge that the time was right? He says: "Now my
hour draws near". Was this a sudden realisation, or something that
slowly dawned on him over the preceding days?
I think a bit of both. I don't think anyone really expected to have a
Palantir bouncing down the steps of Orthanc, but Aragorn clearly realizes
that this is his moment.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[8] I don't think we ever find out about what happened when the Nazgul
reached Isengard. What do you think happened? Can we speculate what
Sauron learns from Saruman? Is what Sauron sees in the palantir (a
hobbit and later Aragorn) all that he ever learns?
Gandalf says he thinks Saruman has enough power to withstand the Nazgul
while in Orthanc, and I think that's precisely what happens.
--
Aaron Clausen
***@hotmail.com

"My illness is due to my doctor's insistence that I drink milk, a whitish
fluid they force down helpless babies." - WC Fields
Troels Forchhammer
2004-09-19 20:56:22 UTC
Permalink
In message
Post by AC
On Mon, 13 Sep 2004 23:00:25 GMT,
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[6] Gandalf hands the palantir to Aragorn. This is an interesting
development in Aragorn's character. Gandalf is acknowledging him
as lord and rightful owner of the palantir. Was the claim by
Aragorn spontaneous, or did he judge that the time was right? He
says: "Now my hour draws near". Was this a sudden realisation, or
something that slowly dawned on him over the preceding days?
I think a bit of both. I don't think anyone really expected to
have a Palantir bouncing down the steps of Orthanc, but Aragorn
clearly realizes that this is his moment.
There's little to add other than detail ;-)

Aragorn's development (which I still think is primarily in the eyes of
the reader rather than an actual development of the character[*])
begins long before. The first glimpse, IMO, is the reforging of Narsil
and the offer to Boromir to bring Elendil's sword to Gondor.

Then follows him taking responsibility for the Fellowship after
Gandalf's fall in Moria, receiving the stone from Galadriel, Argonath
(there is, by the way, another strange voice), the promise to Boromir
that "Minas Tirith shall not fall", the declaration to Éomer and before
Théoden's doors and the leadership he takes in the battle of Helm's
Deep.

Here we see that his reversal to 'Strider' a couple of chapters ago
didn't mean that this development had stopped, only that it hadn't
really changed anything other than in the eyes of the beholders.

I think he senses now that his time is near, very near, but I don't
think he realises that it is over him until the Rangers arrive from the
North with Elladan and Elrohir bearing Elrond's words. This is what
makes him look in the Palantír (IMO): declaring himself even for Sauron
(but that is for a much later chapter).

[*] Aragorn was a leader of Men and the leader of his people long
before this. I think that his nobility etc. was there all the time, but
he was capable of veiling it while appearing as Strider, chieftain of
the Rangers. Since becoming aware that the One Ring is found, he knows
that his time is growing nearer, and slowly we see this veil becoming
thinner and thinner until the full character is visible. The veil, the
Ranger, doesn't disappear, but we're just allowed to see what is
underneath.
--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid mail is <t.forch(a)email.dk>

Your theory is crazy, but it's not crazy enough to be true.
- Niels Bohr, to a young physicist
John Jones
2004-09-15 19:50:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir
Pippin is
still extremely frightened, but as his fear lessens he begins to tell
those gathered around him what he saw. He describes a dark sky, tall
battlements, stars, a feeling of great distance and of long ago. Nine
bat-like objects are flying around a tower and one flies towards Pippin
and disappears.
Interestingly, this sequence is very much the same as an episode in H G
Wells' short story "The Crystal Egg". The winged creatures in Wells' story
are actually Martians (as in "The War of the Worlds"), but the crystal
egg/palantir are very much the same. I wonder if Tolkien had read "The
Crystal Egg"?
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-09-15 20:20:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Jones
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir
[...]
Post by John Jones
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Pippin is
still extremely frightened, but as his fear lessens he begins to tell
those gathered around him what he saw. He describes a dark sky, tall
battlements, stars, a feeling of great distance and of long ago. Nine
bat-like objects are flying around a tower and one flies towards
Pippin and disappears.
Interestingly, this sequence is very much the same as an episode in H
G Wells' short story "The Crystal Egg". The winged creatures in
Wells' story are actually Martians (as in "The War of the Worlds"),
but the crystal egg/palantir are very much the same. I wonder if
Tolkien had read "The Crystal Egg"?
Do you know the publication date and subsequent history? How widely
available were Wells' books?

I recently read a paper that found a possible literary source for the
Nazgul: The Wendigo (1910). This is a short story by Algernon Blackwood
where the Wendigo is a horror that flies across the skies bring terror
to those below. There is more to it than this, and the comparison is
quite striking. Full details are in the paper by Dale J. Nelson in
Tolkien Studies (volume 1).

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Shanahan
2004-09-17 07:34:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by John Jones
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir
[...]
Post by John Jones
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Pippin is
still extremely frightened, but as his fear lessens he begins
to tell those gathered around him what he saw. He describes a
dark sky, tall battlements, stars, a feeling of great distance
and of long ago. Nine bat-like objects are flying around a
tower and one flies towards Pippin and disappears.
Interestingly, this sequence is very much the same as an
episode in H G Wells' short story "The Crystal Egg". The
winged creatures in Wells' story are actually Martians (as in
"The War of the Worlds"), but the crystal egg/palantir are very
much the same. I wonder if Tolkien had read "The Crystal Egg"?
Do you know the publication date and subsequent history? How
widely available were Wells' books?
I recently read a paper that found a possible literary source
for the Nazgul: The Wendigo (1910). This is a short story by
Algernon Blackwood where the Wendigo is a horror that flies
across the skies bring terror to those below. There is more to
it than this, and the comparison is quite striking. Full details
are in the paper by Dale J. Nelson in Tolkien Studies (volume 1).
The Wendigo is actually a legendary ice/winter monster from
Ojibwe/Ashinabe mythology. It is a death figure. I don't recall
that it flies in the Ojibwe legends, however. No doubt Blackwood
borrowed this figure from his travels in Canada.

Ciaran S.
--
And suddenly they knew that the mystery of the hills,
and the deep enchantment of evening,
had found a voice and would speak with them.
-dunsany, _The Blessing of Pan_
John Jones
2004-09-16 18:22:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by John Jones
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir
[...]
Post by John Jones
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Pippin is
still extremely frightened, but as his fear lessens he begins to tell
those gathered around him what he saw. He describes a dark sky, tall
battlements, stars, a feeling of great distance and of long ago. Nine
bat-like objects are flying around a tower and one flies towards
Pippin and disappears.
Interestingly, this sequence is very much the same as an episode in H
G Wells' short story "The Crystal Egg". The winged creatures in
Wells' story are actually Martians (as in "The War of the Worlds"),
but the crystal egg/palantir are very much the same. I wonder if
Tolkien had read "The Crystal Egg"?
Do you know the publication date and subsequent history? How widely
available were Wells' books?
Written probably at the end of the nineteenth century or beginning of the
20th; I don't know for sure. Wells died in 1945. Certainly I first read the
story about 1960!

Wells' books are all still in print, are classics, are very well known. You
must have heard of War of the Worlds? Invisible Man? Mr. Polly? and all of
the rest.
Richard Williams
2004-09-17 18:04:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Jones
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by John Jones
Interestingly, this sequence is very much the same as an episode in H
G Wells' short story "The Crystal Egg". The winged creatures in
Wells' story are actually Martians (as in "The War of the Worlds"),
but the crystal egg/palantir are very much the same. I wonder if
Tolkien had read "The Crystal Egg"?
Do you know the publication date and subsequent history? How widely
available were Wells' books?
Written probably at the end of the nineteenth century or beginning of the
20th; I don't know for sure. Wells died in 1945. Certainly I first read the
story about 1960!
Spot on - it was apparently first published in 1897:

http://www.hycyber.com/SF/complete_wells.html

and was later available in, e.g., the (very popular) _Complete Short
Stories_ of 1927:

http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/~susan/sf/books/w/hgwells.htm#9788

(a later edition of this collection was where I read it).

Richard.
Dirk Thierbach
2004-09-17 06:52:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Jones
Interestingly, this sequence is very much the same as an episode in H G
Wells' short story "The Crystal Egg". The winged creatures in Wells' story
are actually Martians (as in "The War of the Worlds"), but the crystal
egg/palantir are very much the same. I wonder if Tolkien had read "The
Crystal Egg"?
I noticed the similarity, too, but I think the image "tower surrounded
by flying creatures" appears often enough elsewhere. So there need not
be any connection, though Tolkien said he reads Science Fiction a lot,
so it is quite possible.

- DIrk
Öjevind Lång
2004-09-18 18:13:13 UTC
Permalink
"John Jones" <***@jones5011.fsnet.co.uk> skrev i meddelandet news:cia6k0$n82$***@newsg2.svr.pol.co.uk...

[snip]
Post by John Jones
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Pippin is
still extremely frightened, but as his fear lessens he begins to tell
those gathered around him what he saw. He describes a dark sky, tall
battlements, stars, a feeling of great distance and of long ago. Nine
bat-like objects are flying around a tower and one flies towards Pippin
and disappears.
Interestingly, this sequence is very much the same as an episode in H G
Wells' short story "The Crystal Egg". The winged creatures in Wells' story
are actually Martians (as in "The War of the Worlds"), but the crystal
egg/palantir are very much the same. I wonder if Tolkien had read "The
Crystal Egg"?
I think it quite possible he did; in "On Fairy-stories", he discusses "The
Time Machine", which he had clearly read. (He enjoyed it, apart from "the
ridiculous time machine" istelf; he did think the fable of the Eloi and the
Morlocks was wonderful.)
The funny thing is that when I read Christopher's summary I also thought
of Wells' story, though I had never before thought Tolkien might have been
influenced by it here. Now I find it very likely that he was.

Öjevind
Belba Grubb From Stock
2004-10-04 18:14:26 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 15 Sep 2004 20:50:01 +0100, "John Jones"
Post by John Jones
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Pippin is
still extremely frightened, but as his fear lessens he begins to tell
those gathered around him what he saw. He describes a dark sky, tall
battlements, stars, a feeling of great distance and of long ago. Nine
bat-like objects are flying around a tower and one flies towards Pippin
and disappears.
Interestingly, this sequence is very much the same as an episode in H G
Wells' short story "The Crystal Egg". The winged creatures in Wells' story
are actually Martians (as in "The War of the Worlds"), but the crystal
egg/palantir are very much the same. I wonder if Tolkien had read "The
Crystal Egg"?
To come at it from a slightly different angle, JRRT was certainly
familiar with the works of G.K. Chesterton, referring to them a few
times in "On Fairy-stories." Chesterton and Wells were good friends
and yet constantly getting into arguments, sometimes public ones.
JRRT certainly was also aware of Wells' works for , as Öjevind says,
in OFS he also spoke in positive terms about the Eloi and Morlocks,
though he wasn't crazy about the time machine itself:

Eloi and Morlocks live far away in an abyss of time so deep as
to work an enchantment upon them; and if they are descended
from ourselves, it may be remembered that an ancient English
thinker once derived the ylfe, the very elves, through Cain
from Adam. This enchantment of distance, especially of distant
time, is weakened only by the preposterous and incredible Time
Machine itself. But we see in this example one of the main
reasons why the borders of fairy-story are inevitably dubious.
The magic of Faerie is not an end in itself, its virtue is in
its operations: among these are the satisfaction of certain
primordial human desires. One of these desires is to survey
the depths of space and time. Another is (as will be seen) to\
hold communion with other living things. A story may thus deal
with the satisfaction of these desires, with or without the
operation of either machine or magic, and in proportion as it
succeeds it will approach the quality and have the flavour of
fairy-story.

A great compliment to Wells that JRRT would consider the Eloi and
Morlocks to "have the flavour of fairy-story." I don't think he would
have felt that way about anything that was achieved merely by means of
a machine...or a crystal-egg. Not having read the Wells' story you
refer to, I can't say anything about a possible relationship of the
crystal egg to the palantir -- both might just be derived from the
same image of folklore, much older than either one of them: the
crystal ball.

In the above quote from OFS when JRRT was beginning to work on "The
Lord of the Rings," we have some perspectives, not just of a
connection with Wells, but of what might underlie that feeling of
"great distance and of long ago" in the palantir. Seen this way,
Gandalf's desire to use the Palantir to view other times and places,
including the unimaginable hand of Feanor at work, is really an echo
of what JRRT felt was a primordial human desire - hence Gandalf sighed
and was quiet for a while after mentioning it. Still unsatisfied as
it must always be, at least for the reader (it would of course be
possible at least for a Maia who had not taken on the form of an
Istar).

Barb
Troels Forchhammer
2004-09-19 21:08:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir
There is only very little for me to say that hasn't been said already
;-)

<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
At that moment, a shadow falls on the camp as a winged shape
passes over the Moon. Terror strikes them as the mounted Nazgul
flies past, faster than the wind. Gandalf reacts with alarm,
telling everyone to ride now and not to wait for the dawn.
" 'Nazgûl!' he cried. 'The messenger of Mordor. The storm
is coming. The Nazgûl have crossed the River! Ride, ride!
Wait not for the dawn! Let not the swift wait for the slow!
Ride!'"

(That's six exlamation points in one paragraph <GG>)

I wonder about the advice not to let "the swift wait for the slow" -- I
can't imagine that Gandalf really means that they should abandon all
unity and just flee, each man to himself (and they don't do that
either).

<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[5] Sauron having the chance to question Pippin was indeed a
moment of great peril. If Sauron had questioned Pippin there and
then, he would have learned of the quest to destroy the Ring and
the last known location of Frodo and Sam. Gandalf (I think) said
that the barrow-wight was a dangerous moment, but I think that
this is more dangerous still.
When I first read this I thought Gandalf's comment was about Weathertop
or the Ford, but your recollection is better than mine, it appears ;-)

"But you have some strength in you, my dear hobbit! As you
showed in the Barrow. That was touch and go: perhaps the
most dangerous moment of all. I wish you could have held
out at Weathertop."
(II,1 'Many Meetings')

But I agree: this was even more dangerous.

<snip>

Excellent job, Christopher -- I don't know if there was too much or too
little to answer to, but I found it difficult to really add something
worthwhile ;-)

<self-irony>
Obviously I'm only fishing for some nice comments about the
introduction I'll be posting tomorrow.
</self-irony>

;-)
--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid mail is <t.forch(a)email.dk>

Men, said the Devil,
are good to their brothers:
they don't want to mend
their own ways, but each other's.
- Piet Hein, /Mankind/
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-09-20 01:27:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir
<snip>
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
At that moment, a shadow falls on the camp as a winged shape
passes over the Moon. Terror strikes them as the mounted Nazgul
flies past, faster than the wind. Gandalf reacts with alarm,
telling everyone to ride now and not to wait for the dawn.
" 'Nazgûl!' he cried. 'The messenger of Mordor. The storm
is coming. The Nazgûl have crossed the River! Ride, ride!
Wait not for the dawn! Let not the swift wait for the slow!
Ride!'"
(That's six exclamation points in one paragraph <GG>)
And later in the chapter, when he tells Shadowfax to "ride", we get four
exclamation marks. Tolkien does seem to use exclamation marks a fair
amount, but without seeming to overuse them (a common trap). That might
be a mark of his skill as a writer.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
I wonder about the advice not to let "the swift wait for the slow" --
I can't imagine that Gandalf really means that they should abandon all
unity and just flee, each man to himself (and they don't do that
either).
He might just be obliquely referring to the fact that he (and Pippin)
will be riding fast (on Shadowfax) and not waiting for the slow (the
rest of them). It is slightly strange though, I agree.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[5] Sauron having the chance to question Pippin was indeed a
moment of great peril. If Sauron had questioned Pippin there and
then, he would have learned of the quest to destroy the Ring and
the last known location of Frodo and Sam. Gandalf (I think) said
that the barrow-wight was a dangerous moment, but I think that
this is more dangerous still.
When I first read this I thought Gandalf's comment was about
Weathertop or the Ford, but your recollection is better than mine, it
appears ;-)
Not really! I thought Gandalf was speaking in Minas Tirith after the War
of the Ring was over - somewhere in the appendices...
Post by Troels Forchhammer
"But you have some strength in you, my dear hobbit! As you
showed in the Barrow. That was touch and go: perhaps the
most dangerous moment of all. I wish you could have held
out at Weathertop."
(II,1 'Many Meetings')
But I agree: this was even more dangerous.
But now that you have located the quote, it can be seen that the
barrow-wight incident is merely possibly the most dangerous moment of
the journey from the Shire to Rivendell (surpassing even the attack of
the Nazgul). Thus the Palantir 'danger moment' can be seen to be very,
very dangerous, and quite possibly more so. Of course (and this is being
deliberately provocative), the 'most dangerous moment' was when Sam came
close to killing Gollum at Mount Doom.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
<snip>
Excellent job, Christopher -- I don't know if there was too much or
too little to answer to, but I found it difficult to really add
something worthwhile ;-)
I found it hard to think of the initial questions to start the
discussion. Maybe Tolkien explained everything too clearly and didn't
leave enough room for us to speculate? Part of the problem might be that
the Palantir bit ties in with a far-distant chapter (The Passing of the
Grey Company), and the continuing development of Pippin's character (and
then Merry's) takes place in Book 5.

In either this chapter discussion, or the next one, it might be an
appropriate point to raise the question of why Tolkien split the
storyline the way he does (as opposed to the more layered interweaving
seen in, for example, the Peter Jackson films).

We don't see Sam or Frodo for much of Book 3 and none of Book 5. We also
have Book 4 dividing the Merry/Pippin storylines into the bits in Books
3 and 5.

In other words, the narrative stream has been fairly straightforward up
until this point in terms of chronology. How acceptable is the sudden
leap back in time to Sam and Frodo? How confusing is this? Why break the
Merry/Pippin storylines at this point? [Maybe this was a suitable
cliffhanger moment with Merry and Pippin being separated].
Post by Troels Forchhammer
<self-irony>
Obviously I'm only fishing for some nice comments about the
introduction I'll be posting tomorrow.
</self-irony>
;-)
Looking forward to it!

[We are now over halfway through the book! :-( ]

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Troels Forchhammer
2004-09-20 21:51:29 UTC
Permalink
<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Troels Forchhammer
(That's six exclamation points in one paragraph <GG>)
And later in the chapter, when he tells Shadowfax to "ride", we get
four exclamation marks.
An average of five, "a sure sign of an insane mind" as Pratchett puts it
(which was the reference I was thinking of).
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Tolkien does seem to use exclamation marks a fair amount, but
without seeming to overuse them (a common trap). That might be a
mark of his skill as a writer.
I quite agree.
(Incidentally I think that Pratchett was thinking of five exclamation
points right after each other.)

<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
In either this chapter discussion, or the next one, it might be an
appropriate point to raise the question of why Tolkien split the
storyline the way he does (as opposed to the more layered interweaving
seen in, for example, the Peter Jackson films).
That's an interesting question. I didn't think of it while writing up my
introduction, so let's continue here.

I think that the longer story-arcs that we get using Tolkien's splitting
works better in a book -- in particular I think that following Sam and
Frodo from Emyn Muil to Ithilien has advantages over interleaving, as we
get, IMO, a better sense of the depressing landscapes north of Mordor
than we would have, had we been switching back to Rohan continuously.

As for making the break at this point, I think it is the best place to do
it. Here the western part of the fellowship has been divided and has been
gathered again, and now we see that they're on their way to split up
again.

The only other place to make the switch would, IMO, be just before this
chapter, where everybody are gathered together and riding away from
having vanquished all the main enemy in the west.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
We don't see Sam or Frodo for much of Book 3 and none of Book 5. We
also have Book 4 dividing the Merry/Pippin storylines into the bits
in Books 3 and 5.
I like the way that he occasionally 'synchronise' the story lines with a
short remark of what is going on elsewhere, as when Sam, in VI,1
speculates aloud in his misery, "I wonder if they think of us at all" and
we're treated to a summary of what is happening on that fourteenth of
March (Shire-reckoning) to the others, and we are told how "amid all
their cares and fear the thoughts of their friends turned constantly to
Frodo and Sam."
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
In other words, the narrative stream has been fairly straightforward
up until this point in terms of chronology.
Except for Frodo and Sam -- we've been getting increasingly behind with
their story (this day they spent in the hollow overlooking the Black
Gate, and as Gandalf takes Pippin with him, they are walking towards
Ithilien).
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
How acceptable is the sudden leap back in time to Sam and Frodo?
It is, IMO, now or never ;-)

I've already said that I feel that at least the first four chapters of
book IV really do belong together -- the oppressive feeling in these
chapters works much better in that way (IMO), and this is probably the
best place to make the transition.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
How confusing is this?
That's difficult to gauge. Unlike some others I can't recall my first
reading, and these days I don't find it particularly confusing (I usually
keep on to the end of the Battle of the Pelennor fields, and only going
back to Frodo and Sam after that).
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Why break the Merry/Pippin storylines at this point? [Maybe this was
a suitable cliffhanger moment with Merry and Pippin being separated].
I think the cliffhanger aspect is important. All the books end with some
kind of cliffhanger: Frodo falling off the horse by the Ford of Bruinen,
Frodo and Sam escaping across the Anduin, Gandalf riding off with Pippin
in the night after the passing of the Nazgûl, Sam knocking himself
unconscious on the lower door of the tower of Cirith Ungol and the hordes
of Mordor attacking the army in front of the Morannon.

This would, IMO, explain why Tolkien chose to split it here instead of
just before this chapter -- there would be no suspense if he had made it
there.
(Imagine reading /The Two Towers/ when it was published and then having
to wait for /The Return of the King/ with *two* suspense-filled
cliff-hangers!)

Waiting a bit longer might have provided an even better cliff-hanger, but
this book is long enough as it is and it would only mean an even longer
backwards skipping when we finally got back to Frodo and Sam.

<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[We are now over halfway through the book! :-( ]
But we've still got /The Silmarillion/ and /Unfinished Tales/. And if the
project is still going strong by the end of those, we could continue with
/Tree and Leaf/, /Letters/ and the entire HoMe series, lots of
interesting discussions in those as well (and doing the HoMe series would
give me a good opportunity to get to buy and read the volumes I'm still
missing <G>).

Now that you do bring it up, I think the chapter of the week project has
been very successful -- we have, in general, had some interesting and
enlightening discussions.
--
Troels Forchhammer

Behold! we are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond
them is more than memory, Farewell!
- Aragorn Son of Arathorn, 'LotR' (J.R.R. Tolkien)
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-09-20 23:34:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
In either this chapter discussion, or the next one, it might be an
appropriate point to raise the question of why Tolkien split the
storyline the way he does (as opposed to the more layered
interweaving seen in, for example, the Peter Jackson films).
That's an interesting question. I didn't think of it while writing up
my introduction, so let's continue here.
I think that the longer story-arcs that we get using Tolkien's
splitting works better in a book
Definitely. Though I find it interesting that he also avoids multiple
interweaving in the Fangorn/Rohan/Gondor storyline, preferring to fill
in the details with flashbacks (Gandalf's battle with the Balrog, Merry
and Pippin relating the fall of Isengard, Legolas and Gimli telling the
story of the Paths of the Dead). I suspect that frequent shifts of
scenes was not a style that Tolkien wanted to use, and he preferred to
jump around in the chronology and tell longer stories.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
As for making the break at this point, I think it is the best place
to do it. Here the western part of the fellowship has been divided
and has been gathered again, and now we see that they're on their way
to split up again.
It does make sense, especially the bit about cliffhangers that you
expanded upon below (now snipped).
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
We don't see Sam or Frodo for much of Book 3 and none of Book
5. We also have Book 4 dividing the Merry/Pippin storylines into
the bits in Books 3 and 5.
I like the way that he occasionally 'synchronise' the story lines
with a short remark of what is going on elsewhere, as when Sam, in
VI,1 speculates aloud in his misery, "I wonder if they think of us at
all" and we're treated to a summary of what is happening on that
fourteenth of March (Shire-reckoning) to the others, and we are told
how "amid all their cares and fear the thoughts of their friends
turned constantly to Frodo and Sam."
I found an example of this that is relevant to the chapter in question!
[OK, it's actually relevant to the preceding chapter, but it still
involves the palantir!]

"Its name was Cirith Ungol, a name of dreadful rumour. Aragorn could
perhaps have told them that name and its significance: Gandalf would
have warned them. But they were alone, and Aragorn was far away, and
Gandalf stood amid the ruin of Isengard and strove with Saruman, delayed
by treason. Yet even as he spoke his last words to Saruman, and the
palantir crashed in fire upon the steps of Orthanc, his thought was ever
upon Frodo and Samwise, over the long leagues his mind sought for them
in hope and pity." (The Black Gate is Closed)

It would be nice to get all those references of interleaving collected
together. The ones I can think of at the moment (including the two
above) are:

1) "He rose and gazed out eastward, shading his eyes, as if he saw
things far away that none of them could see." (III, 5)

2) "But they were alone, and Aragorn was far away, and Gandalf stood
amid the ruin of Isengard and strove with Saruman..." (IV, 3)

3) "He wondered where Frodo was, and if he was already in Mordor, or if
he was dead; and he did not know that Frodo from far away looked on that
same moon as it set beyond Gondor ere the coming of the day." (V, 1)

4) "At last they came out of shadow to the seventh gate, and the warm
sun that shone down beyond the river, as Frodo walked in the glades of
Ithilien, glowed here on the smooth walls and rooted pillars..." (V, 1)

5) "Then suddenly like a cold touch on his heart he thought of Frodo and
Sam. 'I am forgetting them!' he said to himself reproachfully. 'And yet
they are more important than all the rest of us. And I came to help
them..." (V, 3)

6) "It was the sunset-hour, but the great pall had now stretched far
into the West, and only as it sank at last into the Sea did the Sun
escape to send out a brief farewell gleam before the night, even as
Frodo saw it at the Cross-roads touching the head of the fallen king.
But to the fields of the Pelennor, under the shadow of Mindolluin, there
came no gleam: they were brown and drear." (V, 4)

7) "For in their last march the Captains had turned away from the old
road as it bent east, and avoided the peril of the lurking hills, and so
now they were approaching the Morannon from the north-west, even as
Frodo had done." (V, 10)

8) "Out westward in the world it was drawing to noon upon the fourteenth
day of March in the Shire-reckoning." (VI, 1)

9) "It was the morning of the fifteenth of March, and over the Vale of
Anduin the Sun was rising above the eastern shadow, and the south-west
wind was blowing. Theoden lay dying on the Pelennor Fields." (VI, 2)

10) "Of all the slaves of the Dark Lord, only the Nazgul could have
warned him of the peril that crept, small but indomitable, into the very
heart of his guarded realm. But the Nazgul and their black wings were
abroad on another errand: they were gathered far away, shadowing the
march of the Captains of the West, and thither the thought of the Dark
Tower was turned." (VI, 3)

11) "The Eye was not turned to them: it was gazing north to where the
Captains of the West stood at bay" (VI, 3)

<snip>
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
How confusing is this?
That's difficult to gauge. Unlike some others I can't recall my first
reading, and these days I don't find it particularly confusing (I
usually keep on to the end of the Battle of the Pelennor fields, and
only going back to Frodo and Sam after that).
That's what I do as well! An advantage of this type of story structure
is that you can actually choose to do this different reading order. I do
think, though, that the climactic scenes on Mount Doom might have been
even better if they had been interleaved with the Morannon battle. Or
maybe not! I do actually like Gandalf's "Stand Men of the West! Stand
and wait! This is the hour of doom!" bit... :-)

I also vaguely remember someone doing a chronology where you can read
the book in chronological order. I don't think that would work too well,
but there is the idea of reading the Sam and Frodo story first, and then
the other bits of the story.

<snip>
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[We are now over halfway through the book! :-( ]
But we've still got /The Silmarillion/ and /Unfinished Tales/. And if
the project is still going strong by the end of those, we could
continue with /Tree and Leaf/, /Letters/
Discussing Letter 131 would be _interesting_ to say the least!
Post by Troels Forchhammer
and the entire HoMe series,
lots of interesting discussions in those as well (and doing the HoMe
series would give me a good opportunity to get to buy and read the
volumes I'm still missing <G>).
Now that you do bring it up, I think the chapter of the week project
has been very successful -- we have, in general, had some interesting
and enlightening discussions.
Most definitely. I only regret that it seems nearly imposible to keep my
personal level of interest/available time going for the full 15 months
or so! It has fluctuated somewhat over the course of the past nine
months.

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard

"I think, Frodo, that maybe you will not need to come back, unless you
come very soon. For about this time of the year, when the leaves are
gold before they fall, look for Bilbo in the woods of the Shire. I
shall be with him." - Elrond's farewell (Many Partings, RotK)
Shanahan
2004-09-21 05:54:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
In either this chapter discussion, or the next one, it might
be an appropriate point to raise the question of why Tolkien
split the storyline the way he does (as opposed to the more
layered interweaving seen in, for example, the Peter Jackson
films).
<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Troels Forchhammer
I like the way that he occasionally 'synchronise' the story
lines with a short remark of what is going on elsewhere, as
when Sam, in VI,1 speculates aloud in his misery, "I wonder if
they think of us at all" and we're treated to a summary of what
is happening on that fourteenth of March (Shire-reckoning) to
the others, and we are told how "amid all their cares and fear
the thoughts of their friends turned constantly to Frodo and
Sam."
<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
It would be nice to get all those references of interleaving
collected together. The ones I can think of at the moment
Some of the best quotes in the book, IMO. They give me such a
sense of immediacy! And of tension, despite the sometimes
leisurely pace.

Tom Shippey's theory is that this storytelling structure serves to
give a sense of reality: of time passing at it really does, of the
feeling one has in real life of not knowing what the heck is going
on with faraway friends and events. I think that's a good way to
look at it. It is a storytelling technique that has largely been
dropped from the literary toolkit, but here we see an example of
how it works admirably well.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Discussing Letter 131 would be _interesting_ to say the least!
And 246, too. Not that we're not having all those arguments all
the time, anyway. <g>

Ciaran S.
--
"Much human ingenuity has gone into finding the ultimate Before.
The current state of knowledge can be summarized thus:
In the beginning, there was nothing, which exploded.
- t. pratchett
Troels Forchhammer
2004-09-22 14:28:01 UTC
Permalink
<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Troels Forchhammer
I think that the longer story-arcs that we get using Tolkien's
splitting works better in a book
Definitely. Though I find it interesting that he also avoids multiple
interweaving in the Fangorn/Rohan/Gondor storyline, preferring to fill
in the details with flashbacks
[...]

There's the short time from Aragorn and the rangers (plus four) leave
Helm's Deep until they enter the Paths of the Dead where we get four
story lines (Frodo, Pippin, Merry and Aragorn), though those of Pippin
and Merry are very sketchy (it's debatable, I think, whether Merry's
should be considered a mental flashback when he reaches Dunharrow). Apart
from that I don't recall any instance where more than three individual
story lines. There is, I think, a deliberate choice in this: the
complexity of the chronology/syncronising gets increasingly complex with
each additional story-line, and I recall that I had some problems fitting
the ride of Aragorn et Al. with the other story-lines.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
I suspect that frequent shifts of scenes was not a style that Tolkien
wanted to use, and he preferred to jump around in the chronology and
tell longer stories.
Aye. The way we both read the story implies that his choice, for us, at
least, was better than following a strict chronological order, jumping
back and forth between the groups in every chapter (I've seen this done,
and I find it extremely confusing and irritating).

<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Troels Forchhammer
I like the way that he occasionally 'synchronise' the story lines
with a short remark of what is going on elsewhere,
[...]
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
I found an example of this that is relevant to the chapter in
question! [OK, it's actually relevant to the preceding chapter, but
it still involves the palantir!]
"Its name was Cirith Ungol, a name of dreadful rumour.
[...]
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Yet even as he spoke his last words to Saruman,
[...]
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
over the long leagues his mind sought for them in hope and
pity." (The Black Gate is Closed)
And the continuation makes the connection very direct:

" Maybe Frodo felt it, not knowing it, as he had upon Amon Hen,
even though he believed that Gandalf was gone, [...]"

The implication that Gandalf is capable of actually affecting Frodo is, I
think, clear -- not in this case with actual words, but perhaps by
soothing Frodo's mind, allowing him to concentrate on the question at
hand.

And BTW I think this also makes it definite that Gandalf was the 'voice'
Frodo heard upon Amon Hen.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
It would be nice to get all those references of interleaving collected
together. The ones I can think of at the moment (including the two
Great, thanks.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
1) "He rose and gazed out eastward, shading his eyes, as if he saw
things far away that none of them could see." (III, 5)
Is it implied that Gandalf is capable of getting some indication of
Frodo's (or the Ring's) whereabouts, or does the continuation ("it has
gone beyond our reach") imply that they have passed under the shadow
where Gandalf cannot see them?

This isn't so much a synchronising passage, but rather it reminds us that
Frodo and Sam have the important task, and they have gone into the east.

<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
I also vaguely remember someone doing a chronology where you can read
the book in chronological order.
Right -- it's right here:

<http://google.ca/groups?selm=***@chronology.org>
<http://www.chronology.org/tolkien/>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
I don't think that would work too well,
Neither do I, to be honest. The jumping back and forth would not allow me
to savour the pace of the story in the way Tolkien intended. The smallest
section to read without jumping would, IMO, be a full chapter.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
but there is the idea of reading the Sam and Frodo story first,
and then the other bits of the story.
I haven't tried that, and I'm not sure it would work for me.

The break when Sam and Frodo leaves the rest of the Fellowship is a good
place to leave them, IMO. The death of Boromir is much more immediate at
that point than catching up with Sam and Frodo three days later.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Troels Forchhammer
And if the project is still going strong by the end of those, we
could continue with /Tree and Leaf/, /Letters/
Discussing Letter 131 would be _interesting_ to say the least!
Indeed. And several other letters as well (153, 156, 181 and of course
246 just to name a few).

<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Now that you do bring it up, I think the chapter of the week project
has been very successful -- we have, in general, had some interesting
and enlightening discussions.
Most definitely. I only regret that it seems nearly imposible to keep
my personal level of interest/available time going for the full 15
months or so! It has fluctuated somewhat over the course of the past
nine months.
That is, I think, true for most of us, but this also demonstrates one of
the main strengths of this project. It doesn't depend on one or two
posters to be active, but rather involves a lot of people so that even if
two or three fail to find time to post for a month, there will still be
some interesting discussions.

I'm not sure that finishing the entire HoMe series will be possible, but
the Silm and UT should, I believe, be manageable. And if we ever get
that far, it might be possible to find a way to handle at least part of
the letters as well.

It's a nice dream, anyway -- it would mean that we're only at the
beginning of this project ;-)
--
Troels Forchhammer

The errors hardest
to condone
in other people
are one's own.
- Piet Hein, /Our Own Motes/
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-09-24 00:57:45 UTC
Permalink
<snip>
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Troels Forchhammer
I think that the longer story-arcs that we get using Tolkien's
splitting works better in a book
Definitely. Though I find it interesting that he also avoids multiple
interweaving in the Fangorn/Rohan/Gondor storyline, preferring to
fill in the details with flashbacks
[...]
There's the short time from Aragorn and the rangers (plus four) leave
Helm's Deep until they enter the Paths of the Dead where we get four
story lines (Frodo, Pippin, Merry and Aragorn)
??

Can't find any Frodo storyline there...

<snip>
Post by Troels Forchhammer
" Maybe Frodo felt it, not knowing it, as he had upon Amon Hen,
even though he believed that Gandalf was gone, [...]"
The implication that Gandalf is capable of actually affecting Frodo
is, I think, clear -- not in this case with actual words, but perhaps
by soothing Frodo's mind, allowing him to concentrate on the question
at hand.
And BTW I think this also makes it definite that Gandalf was the
'voice' Frodo heard upon Amon Hen.
Good point! Must remember that next time the question is raised.

<snip>

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Troels Forchhammer
2004-09-24 10:40:12 UTC
Permalink
<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Troels Forchhammer
There's the short time from Aragorn and the rangers (plus four) leave
Helm's Deep until they enter the Paths of the Dead where we get four
story lines (Frodo, Pippin, Merry and Aragorn)
Can't find any Frodo storyline there...
It's somewhere in Ithilien.
I was thinking of parallel story-lines in terms of internal chronology --
periods where the stories of groups of characters are told in the
'present' (that is -- not as a flash-back).

Frodo leaves the Morannon on the fifth (March 3019) and is taken to
Henneth Annûn by Faramir on the seventh, and Aragorn parts company with
Merry and the Rohirrim on the sixth.

Pippin's story-line at this point, however, is very sketchy. We leave him
on the night of the fifth only to rejoin briefly night between the
seventh and the eighth (where the ride from Edoras to Anórien is
recounted in a flash-back) and then again when they reach Minas Tirith on
the ninth. It would seem that there are only three parallel story lines
that are told in full at any point.
--
Troels Forchhammer

For animals, the entire universe has been neatly divided into things to
(a) mate with, (b) eat, (c) run away from, and (d) rocks.
- (Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites)
R. Dan Henry
2004-12-14 09:15:36 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 20 Sep 2004 21:51:29 GMT, "Troels Forchhammer"
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
In either this chapter discussion, or the next one, it might be an
appropriate point to raise the question of why Tolkien split the
storyline the way he does (as opposed to the more layered interweaving
seen in, for example, the Peter Jackson films).
That's an interesting question. I didn't think of it while writing up my
introduction, so let's continue here.
I think that the longer story-arcs that we get using Tolkien's splitting
works better in a book -- in particular I think that following Sam and
Frodo from Emyn Muil to Ithilien has advantages over interleaving, as we
get, IMO, a better sense of the depressing landscapes north of Mordor
than we would have, had we been switching back to Rohan continuously.
I certainly think it works well in the books. I don't think the
Frodo/Sam chapters would work as well if they were constantly
interrupted by the Rohan stories, which work at a different pacing and
tone altogether.

I also think Peter Jackson erred in going with a more conventional
rotation-between-protagonists approach to his films. The film version
of TTT in particular suffers from problems caused by this -- the
"need" to add some of the more irritating changes like the trip to
Osgiliath, for example. Interweaving the ent story-line is
understandable -- although even there a simple technique called a
"flashback" could have preserved the book's structure in cinematic
form without too much difficulty. Putting up a bit of text saying
"[However many] Days Ago" isn't beyond the abilities of, e.g., a
humble Star Trek: Enterprise episode. This simple device could have
prevented making decisions based on "balancing" time between
storylines and focused on each in its turn. It couldn't have made the
film worse and could easily led to considerable improvement.

R. Dan Henry
***@inreach.com

Belba Grubb From Stock
2004-10-04 18:14:41 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 20 Sep 2004 01:27:56 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir
<snip>
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
At that moment, a shadow falls on the camp as a winged shape
passes over the Moon. Terror strikes them as the mounted Nazgul
flies past, faster than the wind. Gandalf reacts with alarm,
telling everyone to ride now and not to wait for the dawn.
" 'Nazgûl!' he cried. 'The messenger of Mordor. The storm
is coming. The Nazgûl have crossed the River! Ride, ride!
Wait not for the dawn! Let not the swift wait for the slow!
Ride!'"
(That's six exclamation points in one paragraph <GG>)
And later in the chapter, when he tells Shadowfax to "ride", we get four
exclamation marks. Tolkien does seem to use exclamation marks a fair
amount, but without seeming to overuse them (a common trap). That might
be a mark of his skill as a writer.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
I wonder about the advice not to let "the swift wait for the slow" --
I can't imagine that Gandalf really means that they should abandon all
unity and just flee, each man to himself (and they don't do that
either).
He might just be obliquely referring to the fact that he (and Pippin)
will be riding fast (on Shadowfax) and not waiting for the slow (the
rest of them). It is slightly strange though, I agree.
Is this not also what Aragorn does when he decides to take the Paths
of the Dead, knowing that the muster of Rohan must yet take days?

Barb
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-10-04 20:57:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Belba Grubb From Stock
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Troels Forchhammer
I wonder about the advice not to let "the swift wait for the slow"
-- I can't imagine that Gandalf really means that they should
abandon all unity and just flee, each man to himself (and they
don't do that either).
He might just be obliquely referring to the fact that he (and Pippin)
will be riding fast (on Shadowfax) and not waiting for the slow (the
rest of them). It is slightly strange though, I agree.
Is this not also what Aragorn does when he decides to take the Paths
of the Dead, knowing that the muster of Rohan must yet take days?
After hearing that the muster will only begin in three days, Aragorn
says this to Theoden:

"I must take new counsel for myself and my kindred. We must ride our own
road, and no longer in secret. For me the time of stealth has passed. I
will ride east by the swiftest way, and I will take the Paths of the
Dead."

So I don't really see the connection there, other than Aragorn leaving
and needing to travel more swiftly by a more direct route than the one
that Theoden will take.

Thanks, BTW, for your comments elsewhere in the thread. Nothing really
to add to them, but I liked your speculation about what would have
happened if Pippin had been ensnared by Sauron (though I think that is
unlikely to have happened without the whole game being up - Sauron would
know that Frodo had the Ring); and also the possibility of the hawthorn
and spring-growth descriptions being foreshadowing (is there a specific
significance (royal?) for hawthorns?) - I noticed the nice writing about
the hawthorn, but failed to see the significance, if any; and finally
your 'On Fairy Stories' response to the Wells short story subthread -
nice stuff!

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Belba Grubb From Stock
2004-10-04 22:19:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Belba Grubb From Stock
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Troels Forchhammer
I wonder about the advice not to let "the swift wait for the slow"
-- I can't imagine that Gandalf really means that they should
abandon all unity and just flee, each man to himself (and they
don't do that either).
He might just be obliquely referring to the fact that he (and Pippin)
will be riding fast (on Shadowfax) and not waiting for the slow (the
rest of them). It is slightly strange though, I agree.
Is this not also what Aragorn does when he decides to take the Paths
of the Dead, knowing that the muster of Rohan must yet take days?
After hearing that the muster will only begin in three days, Aragorn
"I must take new counsel for myself and my kindred. We must ride our own
road, and no longer in secret. For me the time of stealth has passed. I
will ride east by the swiftest way, and I will take the Paths of the
Dead."
So I don't really see the connection there, other than Aragorn leaving
and needing to travel more swiftly by a more direct route than the one
that Theoden will take.
I do. The swift are not waiting for the slow. Once again Aragorn takes
Gandalf's advice.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
I liked your speculation about what would have
happened if Pippin had been ensnared by Sauron (though I think that is
unlikely to have happened without the whole game being up - Sauron would
know that Frodo had the Ring);
True, but not immediately. There would have been a little time before
everybody was hunted down and killed or enslaved.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
and also the possibility of the hawthorn
and spring-growth descriptions being foreshadowing (is there a specific
significance (royal?) for hawthorns?)
Hawthorn = hope, at least per
http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/sub/register/wedflowers.htm

I hadn't realized that before. Wow!
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
and finally
your 'On Fairy Stories' response to the Wells short story subthread -
nice stuff!
Do you think that was Gandalf sighed and was quiet for a while?

Barb
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-10-04 23:30:22 UTC
Permalink
<snip>
Post by Belba Grubb From Stock
and finally your 'On Fairy Stories' response to the Wells short
story subthread - nice stuff!
"The magic of Faerie is not an end in itself, its virtue is in its
operations: among these are the satisfaction of certain primordial human
desires. One of these desires is to survey the depths of space and
time." (On Fairy Stories)
Post by Belba Grubb From Stock
Do you think that was Gandalf sighed and was quiet for a while?
I think there is a missing 'why' there...

"'And how it draws one to itself! Have I not felt it? Even now my heart
desires to test my will upon it, to see if I could not wrench it from
him and turn it where I would-to look across the wide seas of water and
of time to Tirion the Fair, and perceive the unimaginable hand and mind
of Feanor at their work, while both the White Tree and the Golden were
in flower!' He sighed and fell silent." (The Palantir)

I think Gandalf's sigh is expressing the desire and temptation that he
feels, and also his reluctant admission that he must resist the
temptation. The falling silent bit shows that he is still thinking about
this and composing himself or maybe losing himself in thought once more:
imagining the scenes, rather than using a palantir.

Story-externally, it might well represent what JRRT was talking about in
'On Fairy Stories'. I can say one thing for sure: parts of LotR
definitely satisfy a desire to survey the depths of space and time!

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Igenlode Wordsmith
2004-09-21 23:12:01 UTC
Permalink
[repost]
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir
Everyone else has put in their major issue comments, so I'll just add a
few minor ones as usual...

[snip]
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Merry and Pippin ride at a leisurely
pace with Theoden and his men as they leave Isengard at sunset. They
pass the pillar of the White Hand and see that the graven hand has been
cast down and broken.
The red-stained nail is now described as "darkening to black" - so it
*is* blood, almost certainly. But whose? when? (clearly fresh...) and
why? (not to mention by whom?) And why has Tolkien included this
gruesome little unexplained detail in the first place?
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
As they ride onwards, Gandalf tells Merry that Saruman was aware of Merry
and Pippin, and that their presence is likely to have greatly troubled
him. Gandalf also says that the plan is to ride back to Edoras in as much
secrecy as possible, avoiding the open plains and the gaze of Sauron.
Why is Gandalf so concerned at this point to avoid the appearance of
assembling in public ("not more than two or three together")?

Is the idea to make Rohan appear a spent force and thus not attract a
possible attack from Mordor? (Surely a weakened Rohan would be a
tempting target on Gondor's flank?)

Could it be to hide the potential reinforcements for Gondor? But
Gandalf does not yet know that Minas Tirith is under attack - indeed, I
believe it *is* not yet under attack.

I don't really understand what Gandalf hopes to achieve by this sudden
access of stealth (very different to his earlier advice) or what he is
afraid of here.


[snip]
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Aragorn confirms that it must be the palantir of Orthanc from the treasury of
Elendil, and claims it for his own.
"Dangerous indeed, but not to all," said Aragorn. "There is one who may
claim it by right... I will take it."

This always struck me as singularly foolish, as well as pompous :-)
Just because the /palantir/ may once have belonged to Aragorn's
ancestors doesn't make it any less dangerous to him - why, the same
thing could be said of the Ring itself! He doesn't say "I judge -
barely - that I have the strength to use it"; he says simplistically
"It's not dangerous to me because the Kings of Gondor once possessed
it".

I suppose, within Tolkien's universe, the meaning is that having the
original ownership of the stone gives him an extra edge when disputing
the mastery of it with Sauron; but this certainly doesn't mean that
looking into the stone is not dangerous. Indeed, Aragorn's presence and
identity, along with Frodo's quest, are the main things of interest
to the Enemy that Pippin might have betrayed... And Gandalf himself
basically warns him: "All right, it's nominally yours - but for heavens'
sake just stick at that and don't attempt actually to use it!"


(And why does Gandalf consider that it would be disastrous for Sauron
to see him, Gandalf, "yet"? What result does he expect - an
overwhelming attack on Rohan to try to wipe out this dangerous enemy?)



[snip]
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
the stone into which Pippin looked was one of the palantiri of the Kings
of Old, brought over the sea from Westernesse, but coming originally
from Eldamar, made by the Noldor long, long ago.
Gandalf describes the /palantir/ as being beyond Saruman's art - "and
beyond Sauron's too". But Feanor was only an Elf - surely an immortal
like Sauron has a greater innate power, even if not the specific craft
needed in this case? (After all, Sauron made the Ring.)


[snip]
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
The conversation then turns to the geography of the land around them.
They are approaching the turning-off point to Helm's Deep,
Where Gandalf refers to "Aglarond *and* the Glittering Caves" -
puzzling me even more, if 'Aglarond' is simply a synonym in Elvish. A
bit like talking about passing "by Imladris and Rivendell", say...

[snip]
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
There are also some nice touches of humour: Merry's persistence in asking
Gandalf how far they are riding tonight; and Pippin asking Gandalf
for the names of all the stars and more besides!
Pippin mentions "the whole history of Middle-earth and Over-heaven" -
that sounds like another literal translation from the Anglo-Saxon. Is
there an 'Over-heaven' in Tolkien's mythology? The Valar dwell in the
West, not up above the sky like Jehovah in the era of the celestial
spheres!
--
Igenlode <***@nym.alias.net> Bookwraith unabashed

-Yes, it hurts. The trick is not *minding* that it hurts.
Richard Williams
2004-09-22 20:42:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
This always struck me as singularly foolish, as well as pompous :-)
Just because the /palantir/ may once have belonged to Aragorn's
ancestors doesn't make it any less dangerous to him - why, the same
thing could be said of the Ring itself! He doesn't say "I judge -
barely - that I have the strength to use it"; he says simplistically
"It's not dangerous to me because the Kings of Gondor once possessed
it".
I suppose, within Tolkien's universe, the meaning is that having the
original ownership of the stone gives him an extra edge when disputing
the mastery of it with Sauron; but this certainly doesn't mean that
looking into the stone is not dangerous.
It was certainly still dangerous (I don't think we should over-interpret
'not to all' - he must surely have realised that challenging Sauron wasn't
going to be a walk in the park, but at the same time believed he had the
strength and authority to do it), but as you suggest, his right to use the
Palantiri seems to have been a very big deal. From UT:

"the Stones were far more amenable to legitimate users: most of all to
true "Heirs of Elendil" (as Aragorn), but also to one with inherited
authority(as Denethor), as compared to Saruman, or Sauron...These Stones
were an inalienable gift to Elendil and his heirs, to whom
alone they belonged by right...any "heir of Elendil" (that is, a
recognized descendant occupying a throne or lordship in the Numenorean
realms by virtue of this descent) had the right to use any of the
palantiri. Aragorn thus claimed the right to take the Orthanc-stone into
his possession, since it was now, for the time being, without owner or
warden; and also because he was de jure the rightful King of both Condor
and Arnor, and could, if he willed, for just cause withdraw all previous
grants to himself."

Aragorn must have known all this, just as he knew (and acknowledged) that
the very different circumstances of Isildur's terrible mistake gave him no
real right to the Ring (and, if anything, a responsibility in helping to
see that it was destroyed).
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
Indeed, Aragorn's presence and
identity, along with Frodo's quest, are the main things of interest
to the Enemy that Pippin might have betrayed...
On the other hand, one of Aragorn's reasons for later using the Palantir
was probably to distract Sauron away from Frodo by deliberately revealing
his own existence. I suppose the biggest danger would have that if Sauron
had proved stronger than Aragorn, he might have read enough of this mind
to find out about Frodo's mission (as could easily have happened to
Pippin).
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
And Gandalf himself
basically warns him: "All right, it's nominally yours - but for heavens'
sake just stick at that and don't attempt actually to use it!"
I think this is one situation where Aragorn made the right call, as
Gandalf later recognises:

"And yet, Pippin, I feel from afar his haste and fear. He has begun sooner
than he would. Something has happened to stir him...Ah! I wonder. Aragorn?
His time draws near. And he is strong and stern underneath, Pippin; bold,
determined, able to take his own counsel and dare great risks at need.
That may be it. He may have used the Stone and shown himself to the Enemy,
challenging him, for this very purpose."
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
Gandalf describes the /palantir/ as being beyond Saruman's art - "and
beyond Sauron's too". But Feanor was only an Elf - surely an immortal
like Sauron has a greater innate power, even if not the specific craft
needed in this case? (After all, Sauron made the Ring.)
Maybe if Sauron hadn't squandered much of his power on making instruments
of domination he would have achieved something worthwhile! But in any case
I don't think Feanor's status as an elf necessarily meant that his 'art'
was inferior to that of one of the Maiar - not even Aule thought of making
the Silmarils...

Richard.
Shanahan
2004-09-23 04:04:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir
<snip>
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
They pass the pillar of the White Hand and see that the graven
hand
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
has been cast down and broken.
The red-stained nail is now described as "darkening to black" -
so it *is* blood, almost certainly. But whose? when? (clearly
fresh...) and
why? (not to mention by whom?) And why has Tolkien included this
gruesome little unexplained detail in the first place?
I think it is meant to indicate the underlying grimness of the
Ents. They are creatures, however old, wise, and amusing, who were
created as a means of evening the scales. Creatures of vengeance,
you might almost say. Of grim justice at least. The blood must be
human, as orc blood is black to begin with, so it must be one of
Saruman's wildmen, or half-orcs perhaps. Apparently the Ents
didn't let *all* the men go.

<snip>
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
"Dangerous indeed, but not to all," said Aragorn. "There is one who may
claim it by right... I will take it."
This always struck me as singularly foolish, as well as pompous :-)
Just because the /palantir/ may once have belonged to Aragorn's
ancestors doesn't make it any less dangerous to him - why, the
same thing could be said of the Ring itself! He doesn't say "I
judge -
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
barely - that I have the strength to use it"; he says
simplistically "It's not dangerous to me because the Kings of
Gondor once possessed it".
Because that's the exact truth. The essay on the Palantiri in UT
states plainly that the stones answered easily to their true owner,
and were a struggle for anyone else to master. "...the Stones were
far more amenable to legitimate users: most of all to true 'Heirs
of Elendil' (as Aragorn)..." Aragorn claimed it as the "de jure
rightful King of both Gondor and Arnor."

Actually, I do agree with you that Aragorn is being rather pompous
here. He admits his mistake later, though, acknowledging that he
barely had the strength to wrest the Stone's focus from Sauron's
control.
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
Indeed, Aragorn's presence and identity, along with Frodo's
quest, are the main things of interest to the Enemy
I don't see any security risk here; someone has to keep the Stone,
anyway, and Aragorn only claims guardianship. I would expect the
idea to really use the Stone doesn't occur to him until after the
Dunedain/Arwen/Elrond prod him a bit.
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
(And why does Gandalf consider that it would be disastrous for
Sauron
to see him, Gandalf, "yet"? What result does he expect - an
overwhelming attack on Rohan to try to wipe out this dangerous
enemy?)
Maybe Sauron could control or even wipe Gandalf's mind once he had
forged the mindlink. I think Gandalf means he would never have
been able to disengage from the palantir at all, had he once looked
in.

Ciaran S.
--
God invented whiskey to keep the Irish from conquering the world.
Al MacLeod
2004-09-23 09:59:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
As they ride onwards, Gandalf tells Merry that Saruman was aware of Merry
and Pippin, and that their presence is likely to have greatly troubled
him. Gandalf also says that the plan is to ride back to Edoras in as much
secrecy as possible, avoiding the open plains and the gaze of Sauron.
Why is Gandalf so concerned at this point to avoid the appearance of
assembling in public ("not more than two or three together")?
He doesn't want Sauron to know that Rohan can still muster a fair
army. Far better to keep these things from your enemy for as long as
possible - especially now there are Nazgul flying directly overhead. A
large marching army would draw too much attention.
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
(And why does Gandalf consider that it would be disastrous for Sauron
to see him, Gandalf, "yet"? What result does he expect - an
overwhelming attack on Rohan to try to wipe out this dangerous enemy?)
Remember, this is the "new" Gandalf. Sauron knew Gandalf the Grey, but
if he found he had an adversary with new divine authority and more
power (and new threads too) he might have acted differently.

Again, keep what you can from your enemy! Only let them see what
serves your purpose. Revealing two important cards now (Rohan is still
strong & loyal, Gandalf is harder) would be foolish.
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
Pippin mentions "the whole history of Middle-earth and Over-heaven" -
that sounds like another literal translation from the Anglo-Saxon. Is
there an 'Over-heaven' in Tolkien's mythology?
I can see "middle-earth and over-heaven" as being a typical, rustic,
hobbitty thing to say, regardless of whether it has any technical
basis behind them. Just as we might say "the four corners of the
earth", despite the fact that the world is demonstrably not square.
;-)

I suspect Tolkien (and Pippin) just liked the sound of it.

Al .-.
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-10-04 00:07:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir
Everyone else has put in their major issue comments, so I'll just add
a few minor ones as usual...
[snip]
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Merry and Pippin ride at a
leisurely pace with Theoden and his men as they leave Isengard
at sunset. They pass the pillar of the White Hand and see that the
graven hand has been cast down and broken.
The red-stained nail is now described as "darkening to black" - so it
*is* blood, almost certainly. But whose? when? (clearly fresh...) and
why? (not to mention by whom?) And why has Tolkien included this
gruesome little unexplained detail in the first place?
"They came to the pillar of the White Hand. The pillar was still
standing, but the graven hand had been thrown down and broken into small
pieces. Right in the middle of the road the long forefinger lay, white
in the dusk, its red nail darkening to black." (The Palantir)

I'm not so sure it is blood. Firstly Gandalf's immediate comment that
"the Ents take care of every little detail" refers to the fact that the
Hand has been cast down and broken. And secondly, I think that
"darkening to black" is simply due to dusk falling and the light fading.
It might be meant to evoke thoughts of dried blood, but as to what the
red colour is, you have to return to an earlier chapter:

"Now Gandalf rode to the great pillar of the Hand, and passed it: and as
he did so the Riders saw to their wonder that the Hand appeared no
longer white. It was stained as with dried blood; and looking closer
they perceived that its nails were red. Unheeding Gandalf rode on into
the mist..." (The Road to Isengard)

IMO, this is merely meant to be symbolic of the fact that Saruman has
blood on his hands. I would not claim that it really *is* dried blood,
but look more at the fact that the colour appears to change as Gandalf
rides past! Combined with Gandalf's unheeding attitude, I would say that
this is an example of the change in the dynamic of power between Gandalf
and Saruman. Gandalf is Good and pure white, while Saruman has blood on
his hands and is now about to be cast out of the order of Wizards.
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
As they ride onwards, Gandalf tells Merry that Saruman was aware of
Merry and Pippin, and that their presence is likely to have greatly
troubled him. Gandalf also says that the plan is to ride back to
Edoras in as much secrecy as possible, avoiding the open plains
and the gaze of Sauron.
Why is Gandalf so concerned at this point to avoid the appearance of
assembling in public ("not more than two or three together")?
Gandalf says this:

"The Eye of Barad-dur will be looking impatiently towards the Wizard's
Vale, I think; and towards Rohan. The less it sees the better."

I'm happy with that!
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
Is the idea to make Rohan appear a spent force and thus not attract a
possible attack from Mordor? (Surely a weakened Rohan would be a
tempting target on Gondor's flank?)
Remember that an army is (or soon will be) still unfought in Rohan. This
is Sauron's army that crosses the River (presumably at the Undeeps) and
which the Muster of Rohan later rides past towards Gondor. This army is
later destroyed by the Ents. I think the main advantage (as it turns
out) for a secret muster of Rohan is to encourage Sauron to strike too
soon at Minas Tirith. Even so, it was only the arrival of two unexpected
armies from Rohan and Pelargir that saved Minas Tirith.
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
Could it be to hide the potential reinforcements for Gondor? But
Gandalf does not yet know that Minas Tirith is under attack - indeed,
I believe it *is* not yet under attack.
Probably more like: "we don't really know what to do, so we will just be
as secretive as possible until we know what's happening."
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
I don't really understand what Gandalf hopes to achieve by this sudden
access of stealth (very different to his earlier advice) or what he is
afraid of here.
What earlier advice?

And I'll just repeat:

"The Eye of Barad-dur will be looking impatiently towards the Wizard's
Vale, I think; and towards Rohan. The less it sees the better."

<snip>
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
(And why does Gandalf consider that it would be disastrous for
Sauron to see him, Gandalf, "yet"? What result does he expect
- an overwhelming attack on Rohan to try to wipe out this
dangerous enemy?)
Probably more likely personal danger for Gandalf himself. Another visit
to Eru to ask for another chance!
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
the stone into which Pippin looked was one of the palantiri of the
Kings of Old, brought over the sea from Westernesse, but coming
originally from Eldamar, made by the Noldor long, long ago.
Gandalf describes the /palantir/ as being beyond Saruman's art - "and
beyond Sauron's too". But Feanor was only an Elf - surely an immortal
like Sauron has a greater innate power, even if not the specific craft
needed in this case? (After all, Sauron made the Ring.)
It is an interesting passage, as it does seem to imply that the Maia are
limited to their particular specialities or "arts". It seems like the
palantiri were an example of Feanor's "art" (or craft as you call it). I
don't think innate power comes into it, unless you consider that
Sauron's innate power allowed him to master the palantiri and the wills
of others that used them. But that is very different from making them.

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Igenlode Wordsmith
2004-10-27 23:55:10 UTC
Permalink
[repost]
[snip]
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
The red-stained nail is now described as "darkening to black" - so it
*is* blood, almost certainly. But whose? when? (clearly fresh...) and
why? (not to mention by whom?) And why has Tolkien included this
gruesome little unexplained detail in the first place?
"They came to the pillar of the White Hand. The pillar was still
standing, but the graven hand had been thrown down and broken into small
pieces. Right in the middle of the road the long forefinger lay, white
in the dusk, its red nail darkening to black." (The Palantir)
I'm not so sure it is blood. Firstly Gandalf's immediate comment that
"the Ents take care of every little detail" refers to the fact that the
Hand has been cast down and broken.
Yes; I have to say I don't think he means, as suggested [now many
weeks!] earlier in the thread, that the Ents were responsible for the
'blood' in the first place.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
And secondly, I think that
"darkening to black" is simply due to dusk falling and the light fading.
Perhaps; although none of the other descriptions in the scene (e.g.
"white in the dusk" rather than "white in the falling dusk", or
"dimming white" or even "still white in the dusk") indicate significant
changes in the light.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
It might be meant to evoke thoughts of dried blood, but as to what the
"Now Gandalf rode to the great pillar of the Hand, and passed it: and as
he did so the Riders saw to their wonder that the Hand appeared no
longer white. It was stained as with dried blood; and looking closer
they perceived that its nails were red. Unheeding Gandalf rode on into
the mist..." (The Road to Isengard)
IMO, this is merely meant to be symbolic of the fact that Saruman has
blood on his hands. I would not claim that it really *is* dried blood,
but look more at the fact that the colour appears to change as Gandalf
rides past! Combined with Gandalf's unheeding attitude, I would say that
this is an example of the change in the dynamic of power between Gandalf
and Saruman. Gandalf is Good and pure white, while Saruman has blood on
his hands and is now about to be cast out of the order of Wizards.
It occurred to me some time after posting my original question that the
blood, if blood it was, might have been applied by the last group
previously to pass that way - in other words, by Saruman's attacking
army, out to slaughter the defenders of Helm's Deep. I can see the Orcs
finding that sort of thing entertaining or significant as a pre-battle
ritual, signifying how much blood Saruman was *going to have* on his
hands once they'd finished - from their point of view, obviously, it
would be a laudatory symbol rather than an accusatory one! (Thinking
about the defaced statue at the crossroads...)

On the other hand, your suggestion would answer my "why has Tolkien
included this detail" question rather better, requiring a less
complicated hitherto-unmentioned cultural hypothesis! If Gandalf were
responsible I must say that I would expect him *not* to be unheeding,
but to make some gesture or pass some remark; but it's certainly
plausible that the events are linked and yet not initiated by Gandalf
(Tolkien's confounded omnipotent God again ;-p)
--
Igenlode <***@nym.alias.net> Bookwraith unabashed

** I 'grew up' once. Didn't like it, so I gave it up. **
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-11-12 00:40:53 UTC
Permalink
[belated reply]
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
[repost]
[snip]
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
The red-stained nail is now described as "darkening to black" - so
it *is* blood, almost certainly. But whose? when? (clearly
fresh...) and why? (not to mention by whom?) And why has Tolkien
included this gruesome little unexplained detail in the first place?
"They came to the pillar of the White Hand. The pillar was still
standing, but the graven hand had been thrown down and broken into
small pieces. Right in the middle of the road the long forefinger
lay, white in the dusk, its red nail darkening to black." (The
Palantir)
I'm not so sure it is blood. Firstly Gandalf's immediate comment that
"the Ents take care of every little detail" refers to the fact that
the Hand has been cast down and broken.
Yes; I have to say I don't think he means, as suggested [now many
weeks!] earlier in the thread, that the Ents were responsible for the
'blood' in the first place.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
And secondly, I think that
"darkening to black" is simply due to dusk falling and the light fading.
Perhaps; although none of the other descriptions in the scene (e.g.
"white in the dusk" rather than "white in the falling dusk", or
"dimming white" or even "still white in the dusk") indicate
significant changes in the light.
But white objects _are_ the last to lose their colour (I think). So I
take "white in the dusk" to be like "glimmering pale in the dusk",
though that might just be my imagination. And "red nail darkening to
black" I take to mean that the red colour appears black because of the
dusk. I just find these explanations 'simpler' and 'natural', given the
fact that dusk is falling and we should imagine this scene at twilight.
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
It might be meant to evoke thoughts of dried blood, but as to what
and as he did so the Riders saw to their wonder that the Hand
appeared no longer white. It was stained as with dried blood; and
looking closer they perceived that its nails were red. Unheeding
Gandalf rode on into the mist..." (The Road to Isengard)
I still find this an amazingly powerful piece of writing!
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
IMO, this is merely meant to be symbolic of the fact that Saruman has
blood on his hands. I would not claim that it really *is* dried
blood, but look more at the fact that the colour appears to change
as Gandalf rides past! Combined with Gandalf's unheeding attitude, I
would say that this is an example of the change in the dynamic of
power between Gandalf and Saruman. Gandalf is Good and pure white,
while Saruman has blood on his hands and is now about to be cast out
of the order of Wizards.
Just to refine this a bit further, I would say that the change to a red
colour is more an authorial statement, about as close to a
story-external comment that you can get. I would almost say that this is
a purely author-reader moment of metaphor. There is almost _no_
story-internal explanation for this. If asked, Gandalf would say: "It's
that author bloke again, using these powerful images to drive home his
message." (!!) :-)
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
It occurred to me some time after posting my original question that
the blood, if blood it was, might have been applied by the last group
previously to pass that way - in other words, by Saruman's attacking
army, out to slaughter the defenders of Helm's Deep. I can see the
Orcs finding that sort of thing entertaining or significant as a
pre-battle ritual, signifying how much blood Saruman was *going to
have* on his hands once they'd finished - from their point of view,
obviously, it would be a laudatory symbol rather than an accusatory
one! (Thinking about the defaced statue at the crossroads...)
Interesting idea. But I think you understand from my comments above that
I see this almost as a purely literary metaphorical moment, and that
_any_ story-internal explanation detracts from the aura of the moment.
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
On the other hand, your suggestion would answer my "why has Tolkien
included this detail" question rather better, requiring a less
complicated hitherto-unmentioned cultural hypothesis! If Gandalf were
responsible I must say that I would expect him *not* to be unheeding,
but to make some gesture or pass some remark; but it's certainly
plausible that the events are linked and yet not initiated by Gandalf
(Tolkien's confounded omnipotent God again ;-p)
If I had to postulate a story-internal mechanism, I would say that
Gandalf has caused it, but that it is beneath him to pass comment. That
will come later when he confronts Saruman. Note that Gandalf is only
unheeding. That does not mean that his is unaware of the colour change,
or of the reaction of the Rohirrim. I would say rather that he is fully
aware but feigning indifference and aloofness to maximise the impact.

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Belba Grubb From Stock
2004-10-04 18:12:36 UTC
Permalink
Well, I'm three weeks behind, but going strong....(g)

On Mon, 13 Sep 2004 23:00:25 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
<***@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

(snip excellent summary)
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[1] Pippin's use of the palantir: a quite horrific moment, at least as
scary as the encounter with the Barrow-wight. Did anyone think Pippin
might be dead at this point?
That, or worse (as they had feared with Frodo at the Ford of Bruinen).

It was interesting to watch Pippin's lapse into thievery develop -- it
showed once again how powerful Sauron's evil work was, even at a
distance and on a hobbit.

Regarding Merry's turning away, I had thought I was the only one who
noticed that, but judging from the comments, that drew a lot of
attention from everybody. And, externally speaking, that would be
reason enough to put it in, given that the story is told from the
hobbits' viewpoint. In spite of all the excitement that is soon to
break out, it keeps us focused on the hobbits. From the story
internal perspective, Merry's reasons were probably complex, but
mostly he was aware Pippin had become totally immersed in the affairs
of wizards and he, Merry, was unable to help. Perhaps it was just an
expression of impotence and a fear that Pippin had indeed become evil,
something he couldn't face. He just had to leave Pippin in Gandalf's
hands and hope for the best, and then be there if and when Gandalf let
the young Took go.

Imagine if Pippin had lied or tried to lie to Gandalf and that he had
given them all away. What would Gandalf have done? They wouldn't
have killed him, obviously, but there really weren't very many
choices: they couldn't leave him on the loose and probably would have
tied him up and then locked him in a dungeon once they got to Helm's
Deep. Very, very rough on Merry, and perhaps that was what the young
Brandybuck feared was going to happen and couldn't bring himself to
watch.

I don't think Merry's words about Pippin riding off with Gandalf were
truly envious, though they stirred Aragorn to a bit of a rebuke --
perhaps it was more "stiff upper lip" stuff.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[3] As Pippin recounts his vision in the palantir, why is there this
feeling of long ago? Are the effects of time altered in Barad-dur, like
in Lorien; an effect of building the foundations of Barad-dur with the
One Ring? Or is this just an effect of the palantir?
Story internally, I think it is a reflection of the hobbit viewpoint
-- they are very brief and "now," and don't have the long perspective
of the Maiar and Elves who have been around for so long. It could
also be that Pippin has become more sensitized to that "long view"
through his handling of the palantir, just as Frodo sensed it during
his initial impressions of Lorien (probably because of the effects of
his wound as well as the Ring).

Story externally, see comments in reply to the post about Wells'
"crystal egg" story.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[4] How likely is it that Gandalf would really not recognise the
palantir for what it was? This seems similar to Gandalf not knowing what
the One Ring was. It seems that he had some idea, but was still thinking
his way around the problem. Gandalf does explain later that the White
Council had not thought about the palantiri of Gondor, but that also
seems a bit strange!
This has already been commented on and there is nothing I can add, but
thanks for bringing it up: until now I never noted the discrepancy,
that the Council supposedly thought all the palantiri had been lost in
the ruin of Gondor and yet that they knew there was one in Minas Anor,
which had not ever fallen. I wonder why Gandalf didn't allow for the
Enemy to have brought the stone of Osgiliath up out of Anduin, given
its master properties in this story. It would have been fairly easy
to locate as it wouldn't have fallen far from the tower. But maybe
the age of underwater exploration is blinding or confusing me.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[5] Sauron having the chance to question Pippin was indeed a moment of
great peril. If Sauron had questioned Pippin there and then, he would
have learned of the quest to destroy the Ring and the last known
location of Frodo and Sam. Gandalf (I think) said that the barrow-wight
was a dangerous moment, but I think that this is more dangerous still.
Agreed.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[6] Gandalf hands the palantir to Aragorn. This is an interesting
development in Aragorn's character. Gandalf is acknowledging him as lord
and rightful owner of the palantir. Was the claim by Aragorn
spontaneous, or did he judge that the time was right? He says: "Now my
hour draws near". Was this a sudden realisation, or something that
slowly dawned on him over the preceding days?
Again, I can add nothing to what has already been said, and I
especially like the comment about the ranger aspect thinning so that
we now begin to see the whole character. It was not for nothing that
JRRT had the company camp in an area where "the tight-curled fronds of
spring were just thrusting through the sweet-scented earth." Just to
rub it in, he had them light a fire "down among the roots of a
spreading hawthorn, tall as a tree, writhen with age, but hale in
every limb. Buds were swelling at each twig's tip." Nice and subtle
foreshadowing here.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
[8] I don't think we ever find out about what happened when the Nazgul
reached Isengard. What do you think happened? Can we speculate what
Sauron learns from Saruman? Is what Sauron sees in the palantir (a
hobbit and later Aragorn) all that he ever learns?
I don't think Saruman tried to trap a Nazgul, as Gandalf mentioned.
What point would there be to it? He likely couldn't ride the fell
beasts and so escape from Isengard. I wonder what the Ents would or
could have done, had the two Nazgul had lost their mounts there.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Pippin has a terrifying experience, and luckily seems to come through it
unharmed. Has the experience changed him, or does that come later in the
story?
Most definitely it has changed him, and in a good way, although I
think that Gandalf scoops him up and takes him along primarily to keep
an eye on him, still not quite sure if there have been any lasting ill
effects. This is why the wizard is so voluble at first during the
start of the ride. Also he may want to separate the two hobbits so
that any possible ill effects on the exposure won't spread to Merry.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Is itpossible that Gandalf is removing not only Pippin, but himself, from the
lure of the palantir? We know the terrible consequences when Saruman
fell into the temptation of using the palantir. Would such a fate await
Gandalf as well?
It would be a possibility, but at this point I think Gandalf is
putting forth all his effort to mobilize the West against the coming
blow from Sauron. If he were exposed to the Enemy, then he would no
longer be able to work in secret: Sauron could fine-tune everything to
oppose all of Gandalf's efforts. Imagine how he could have worked on
Denethor, for instance. Saruman didn't recognize the change in
Gandalf; I don't know that Sauron would have noticed that or cared
much about it. There was always the risk, however, that Gandalf would
fall to Sauron, who would then learn about the quest and thus capture
Frodo and regain the One Ring.

Barb
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