Discussion:
Chapter of the Week: LOTR Bk 2 Ch 6: The King of the Golden Hall
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Belba Grubb from Stock
2004-08-09 20:03:10 UTC
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Chapter of the Week: The Lord of the Rings, Book 2
Chapter 6 - The King of the Golden Hall

To check out the other Chapters of the Week or to sign up to do a
chapter of your own, go to http://parasha.maoltuile.org.
_____________________________________________________

"Men need many words before deeds," says Gimli, but it takes more
than words to heal Theoden so he and Rohan can rise to the biggest
challenge they have faced in many years. Few words indeed pass
between Eowyn and Aragorn, yet both their hearts are troubled. And of
what use are words to the one who rides at the head of a host of
warriors to do great deeds; what comfort can any words bring to the
one left behind, standing at the doors of an empty house?
______________________________________________________

SUMMARY:

After a long ride with only a few hours' rest, Gandalf, Aragorn,
Legolas and Gimli come within sight of Edoras and Meduseld at dawn.
Gandalf counsels them all to "draw no weapon, speak no haughty word"
until they come before Theoden, for war is abroad in the land and the
Rohirrim are watchful.

The travellers ride on toward Edoras and at the foot of its walled
hill pass many grass and flower covered mounds - seven on the left and
nine on the right - where the Kings of Rohan are buried. Aragorn
chants the Hymn of Eorl as they pass by the silent mounds.

At the gates of Edoras they are challenged by many armed men and learn
that Theoden's counselor Wormtongue two nights ago ordered that no
stranger should pass the gate. Gandalf manages to get them admitted
to the city, and Hama, the Doorward of Theoden, makes a judgment call
and allows Gandalf to keep his staff as the travellers enter Meduseld
and come before King Theoden, who is seated on his throne in Meduseld
and accompanied by his counselor Grima Wormtongue and a woman clad in
white. Theoden challenges them and asks "Gandalf Stormcrow" why he
should be welcomed. Grima takes it from there and after "bandy[ing]
crooked words with a serving-man" for a while Gandalf makes the
lightning fall, knocking Wormtongue out and challenging Theoden to
listen to what he has to say. Theoden gets up, and with the help of
the woman, who is his niece Eowyn, paces through the hall and goes
outside with Gandalf, leaving his former counselor sprawled out on the
floor. Once outside Theoden sends Eowyn away, but not before she and
Aragorn have become aware of each other.

Gandalf heals Theoden and asks him to release Eomer from prison,
telling the king the news as they wait for Eomer to be brought before
Theoden. Eomer appears and offers Theoden his sword, who at Gandalf's
urging takes it and is inspired to shout a call to arms. Now healed,
Theoden asks Gandalf for advice and is told to trust Eomer and to "do
the deed at hand," which is to head west with an army and destroy the
threat of Saruman while sending the women and children of Rohan up
into the mountains for refuge while the warriors are gone. Theoden
agrees and orders an immediate muster of all the men living nearby.

Grima is brought out and revealed by Gandalf as a spy of Saruman.
Theoden offers Grima Wormtongue a horse and a choice: to ride with
them to war and prove himself in battle or to leave under penalty of
Theoden's wrath, if they ever meet again. Grima takes the horse and
leaves. While the Rohirrim who live nearby gather, Theoden feeds his
guests, arrays the Three Hunters in such gear of war as they need, and
at Hama's request puts Eowyn in charge of the Eorlingas while he and
Eomer are gone. When the muster is complete and more than a thousand
men are at the gate, armed and mounted, ready to go, Theoden proclaims
Gandalf a chieftain of the Eorlingas and officially gives him
Shadowfax. Gandalf is revealed to all as the White Reader and the
assembled warriors give a great shout:

'Our King and the White Rider!' they shouted. 'Forth
Eorlingas!'

The trumpets sounded. The horses reared and neighed.
Spear clashed on shield. Then the king raised his hand,
and with a rush like the sudden onset of a great wind the
last host of Rohan rode thundering into the West

Far over the plain Eowyn saw the glitter of their spears, as
she stood still, alone before the doors of the silent house.

DISCUSSION POINTS:

1. What is the significance of the seven mounds being on the left
(east) and the nine on the right (west)?

2. If this hasn't already been addressed in other threads, did Grima
order no strangers to be admitted before or after Eomer arrived at
Edoras? It seems that Eomer couldn't have gotten there by the night of
the 30th when the order was issued. If that's the case, then why did
Grima issue the order (how had he learned of the presence of these
strangers)?

3. Just a comment: I enjoyed Aragorn's hesitancy to leave his newly
reforged sword at the door, and only just now appreciated that he did
so only after Gandalf had set down there the sword that had once been
Turgon's. And then Aragorn assists Gandalf in getting admitted to
Meduseld with his staff in hand. Teamwork. There's a lot of
undercurrent here, as elsewhere at various points, part of what makes
this writing so enjoyable.

4. Comments on Meduseld, the great hall and its furnishings? It
reminds me a little of the hall of Beorn with the fire burning on the
long hearth in the middle of the hall, but it is so richly furnished
and ornately carved. The Rohirrim certainly are artisans and
craftsmen as well as free spirits and ready warriors.

5. Speaking of staffs, is there any "magical" significance in
Theoden's staff, other than its role as a prop to convince him he was
old and weak? It's worth noting, given the remarkable description of
the man "so bent with age he seemed almost a dwarf," that Theoden is
only 71. Aragorn, in comparison, is 88. Did JRRT make an effective
choice not to reveal Theoden's actual age within the story, saving it
for the appendices?

6. Just how, exactly, does Gandalf heal Theoden?

7. Was that the best way to handle Grima? (Of note is Gandalf's pity
or mercy, though he doesn't use the word.) I'm afraid I would have
shouted "off with his head!" and so eventually would have saved
Saruman's life (and Lotho's, too?).

8. Now, what does Gandalf tell Theoden in secret there as they look
East. I assumed it was of Frodo and the Ring, but then while they are
eating Gandalf speaks of a secret hope which he can't speak of even to
Theoden. This has always confused me.

9. Comment: I would refer anyone (nobody on this list, of course) who
use the words "Tolkien" and "sexist" in the same breath to this scene
where Theoden says Eomer is the last of the line of Eorl and is
corrected by Hama, who along with the rest of the Eorlingas loves
Eowyn and wishes her to lead them while the warriors are gone. And
Eowyn is such a strong character - in this chapter we first meet her,
and she really plays a very small role, but that last vision of her is
strong enough to last and allow the reader to accept her as a major
character when the action moves to Dunharrow and beyond. I haven't
figured out quite how JRRT does it, but it is very effective!

And your comments, thoughts and ….?
Taemon
2004-08-09 20:55:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
9. Comment: I would refer anyone (nobody on this list,
of course) who use the words "Tolkien" and "sexist" in
the same breath to this scene where Theoden says Eomer is
the last of the line of Eorl and is corrected by Hama,
who along with the rest of the Eorlingas loves Eowyn and
wishes her to lead them while the warriors are gone.
And that wouldn't be sexist? ;-)

T.
Joe
2004-08-09 23:16:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
1. What is the significance of the seven mounds being on the left
(east) and the nine on the right (west)?
The appendices point out an end to one direct line of descent, I believe
during the great plauge out of the East.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
2. If this hasn't already been addressed in other threads, did Grima
order no strangers to be admitted before or after Eomer arrived at
Edoras? It seems that Eomer couldn't have gotten there by the night of
the 30th when the order was issued. If that's the case, then why did
Grima issue the order (how had he learned of the presence of these
strangers)?
Perhaps he picked up a certain elation from Eomer.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
3. Just a comment: I enjoyed Aragorn's hesitancy to leave his newly
reforged sword at the door, and only just now appreciated that he did
so only after Gandalf had set down there the sword that had once been
Turgon's. And then Aragorn assists Gandalf in getting admitted to
Meduseld with his staff in hand. Teamwork. There's a lot of
undercurrent here, as elsewhere at various points, part of what makes
this writing so enjoyable.
And the Film's alteration of this scene, the whole physical custody of
Andûril etc. etc.especially grating. Tolkien leaves us wishing for certain
things to happen, and the filmmakers oblige us in some instances (Eagle
pounding the crap out of Nazgul and steed), but others like this reveal a
staggering lack of vision.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
4. Comments on Meduseld, the great hall and its furnishings? It
reminds me a little of the hall of Beorn with the fire burning on the
long hearth in the middle of the hall, but it is so richly furnished
and ornately carved. The Rohirrim certainly are artisans and
craftsmen as well as free spirits and ready warriors.
Viking longhouse, I suppose.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
5. Speaking of staffs, is there any "magical" significance in
Theoden's staff, other than its role as a prop to convince him he was
old and weak? It's worth noting, given the remarkable description of
the man "so bent with age he seemed almost a dwarf," that Theoden is
only 71. Aragorn, in comparison, is 88. Did JRRT make an effective
choice not to reveal Theoden's actual age within the story, saving it
for the appendices?
Yes, but it's unclear to me. I didn't mind looking up things like ages in
the Tale of Years.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
6. Just how, exactly, does Gandalf heal Theoden?
I think by simple persuasion, nothing more.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
7. Was that the best way to handle Grima? (Of note is Gandalf's pity
or mercy, though he doesn't use the word.) I'm afraid I would have
shouted "off with his head!" and so eventually would have saved
Saruman's life (and Lotho's, too?).
Gandalf practiced what he preached, never took a life out of revenge. "we
cannot see all ends", but maybe he does?
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
8. Now, what does Gandalf tell Theoden in secret there as they look
East. I assumed it was of Frodo and the Ring, but then while they are
eating Gandalf speaks of a secret hope which he can't speak of even to
Theoden. This has always confused me.
Perhaps the Paths of the Dead? Theoden was better off not expecting a
rescue from Aragorn.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
9. Comment: I would refer anyone (nobody on this list, of course) who
use the words "Tolkien" and "sexist" in the same breath to this scene
where Theoden says Eomer is the last of the line of Eorl and is
corrected by Hama, who along with the rest of the Eorlingas loves
Eowyn and wishes her to lead them while the warriors are gone. And
Eowyn is such a strong character - in this chapter we first meet her,
and she really plays a very small role, but that last vision of her is
strong enough to last and allow the reader to accept her as a major
character when the action moves to Dunharrow and beyond. I haven't
figured out quite how JRRT does it, but it is very effective!
And your comments, thoughts and ..?
There's little evidence of sexist leanings in his writings.
Matthew Bladen
2004-08-09 23:39:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
1. What is the significance of the seven mounds being on the left
(east) and the nine on the right (west)?
The appendices point out an end to one direct line of descent, I believe
during the great plauge out of the East.
Rather, the attack on Rohan by the Dunlendings during which Helm and his
two sons perished. Frealaf, his sister-son, who retook Edoras and slew
the usurper Wulf, established the second line. (Eomer, as Theoden's
sister-son, stood at the head of a third line)
--
Matthew
Belba Grubb from Stock
2004-08-15 21:47:06 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 9 Aug 2004 23:39:02 +0000 (UTC), Matthew Bladen
Post by Matthew Bladen
Post by Joe
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
1. What is the significance of the seven mounds being on the left
(east) and the nine on the right (west)?
The appendices point out an end to one direct line of descent, I believe
during the great plauge out of the East.
Rather, the attack on Rohan by the Dunlendings during which Helm and his
two sons perished. Frealaf, his sister-son, who retook Edoras and slew
the usurper Wulf, established the second line. (Eomer, as Theoden's
sister-son, stood at the head of a third line)
Well, it was really the east-west significance that puzzled me. Was
there a significance to Frealaf's mound and subsequent ones of the
Second Line kings being placed to the east of those of the First Line?
I don't see the connection with the Great Plague.

Barb
"What do you know?"

"Well, that is hard to tell," replied Jack. "For although
I feel that I know a tremendous lot, I am not yet aware
how much there is in the world to find out about. It will
take me a little time to discover whether I am very wise
or very foolish."
-- Jack Punkinhead, "The Wonderful Land of Oz"
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-08-15 22:01:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
1. What is the significance of the seven mounds being on the left
(east) and the nine on the right (west)?
Well, it was really the east-west significance that puzzled me.
There was no more room on the west side? They wanted to maintain the
symmetry? They wanted to reflect the northward looking aspect of
Meduseld with the north-south axis of the mounds? Tolkien wanted to use
the words east and west _yet_ _again_ ? I think the latter, no probably
no real significance.

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Belba Grubb from Stock
2004-08-19 14:07:38 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 15 Aug 2004 22:01:18 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
1. What is the significance of the seven mounds being on the left
(east) and the nine on the right (west)?
Well, it was really the east-west significance that puzzled me.
There was no more room on the west side? They wanted to maintain the
symmetry? They wanted to reflect the northward looking aspect of
Meduseld with the north-south axis of the mounds? Tolkien wanted to use
the words east and west _yet_ _again_ ? I think the latter, no probably
no real significance.
:-)

Yes, I think you're probably right. On thinking about it, while he
uses the terms "east" and "west" often as freighted items, it's
usually in terms of the greater struggle. Even though Rohan has its
Eastemnet and Westemnet, it may be that in this country of simpler
people, east and west are exactly that, nothing more.

Barb
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-08-10 20:08:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
8. Now, what does Gandalf tell Theoden in secret there as they look
East. I assumed it was of Frodo and the Ring, but then while they
are eating Gandalf speaks of a secret hope which he can't speak of
even to Theoden. This has always confused me.
Perhaps the Paths of the Dead? Theoden was better off not expecting a
rescue from Aragorn.
No. Gandalf refers to Merry and Pippin as "sharers of this secret hope",
so that rules out the Paths of the Dead. Gandalf means Frodo and the
Ring.

The first secret that Gandalf whispers to Theoden as they look east does
appear to be the mission of Frodo and Sam, which is still strange as I'd
have thought Gandalf is being indiscreet to tell even someone like
Theoden.

The second secret, that Gandalf keeps hidden, seems to be referring to
what Merry and Pippin might have told Saruman under torture. Which is
the fact that Sam and Frodo are abroad bearing the Ring.

It seems plain that Gandalf is referring to the same secret that he has
previously revealed to Theoden, but note his words:

"even to you, lord, I cannot yet speak openly"

Which implies to me that he has spoken secretly or cryptically to
Theoden, as we saw in the scene where he whispers to Theoden and then
says aloud:

"Verily, that way [East] lies our hope..."

I just get the impression that Gandalf is being cryptic while trying to
give hope, and not doing a very good job of it. He is being too cryptic
to inspire much hope, and revealing too much to any potential spies.

Note that Gandalf cannot be talking about Aragorn as the "secret hope",
as Aragorn has already revealed himself to Eomer as Elendil's Heir. Or
Isildur's Heir. Hmm. Let's not start that Elendil/Isildur thing again!

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Belba Grubb from Stock
2004-08-15 21:37:31 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 10 Aug 2004 20:08:19 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Joe
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
8. Now, what does Gandalf tell Theoden in secret there as they look
East. I assumed it was of Frodo and the Ring, but then while they
are eating Gandalf speaks of a secret hope which he can't speak of
even to Theoden. This has always confused me.
Perhaps the Paths of the Dead? Theoden was better off not expecting a
rescue from Aragorn.
No. Gandalf refers to Merry and Pippin as "sharers of this secret hope",
so that rules out the Paths of the Dead. Gandalf means Frodo and the
Ring.
The first secret that Gandalf whispers to Theoden as they look east does
appear to be the mission of Frodo and Sam, which is still strange as I'd
have thought Gandalf is being indiscreet to tell even someone like
Theoden.
The second secret, that Gandalf keeps hidden, seems to be referring to
what Merry and Pippin might have told Saruman under torture. Which is
the fact that Sam and Frodo are abroad bearing the Ring.
It seems plain that Gandalf is referring to the same secret that he has
"even to you, lord, I cannot yet speak openly"
Which implies to me that he has spoken secretly or cryptically to
Theoden, as we saw in the scene where he whispers to Theoden and then
"Verily, that way [East] lies our hope..."
Yes, that makes sense. Thanks!

Barb

"What do you know?"

"Well, that is hard to tell," replied Jack. "For although
I feel that I know a tremendous lot, I am not yet aware
how much there is in the world to find out about. It will
take me a little time to discover whether I am very wise
or very foolish."
-- Jack Punkinhead, "The Wonderful Land of Oz"
Michelle J. Haines
2004-08-10 01:55:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
1. What is the significance of the seven mounds being on the left
(east) and the nine on the right (west)?
That's where the line of kings was broken, and the succession passed
to a nephew (I think?) instead of a son. That's why, later,
Theoden's mound is the last in that line, and Eomer's death starts
another row.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
3. Just a comment: I enjoyed Aragorn's hesitancy to leave his newly
reforged sword at the door, and only just now appreciated that he did
so only after Gandalf had set down there the sword that had once been
Turgon's.
I always found this glimpse of arrogance on his part a bit off-
putting, myself.

Michelle
Flutist
--
Drift on a river, That flows through my arms
Drift as I'm singing to you
I see you smiling, So peaceful and calm
And holding you, I'm smiling, too
Here in my arms, Safe from all harm
Holding you, I'm smiling, too
-- For Xander [9/22/98 - 2/23/99]
Shanahan
2004-08-11 01:41:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michelle J. Haines
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
3. Just a comment: I enjoyed Aragorn's hesitancy to leave his
newly reforged sword at the door, and only just now appreciated
that he did so only after Gandalf had set down there the sword
that had once been Turgon's.
I always found this glimpse of arrogance on his part a bit off-
putting, myself.
I think it's another one of the *many* Beowulf echoes in the
Rohirric parts of the story (following is from the scene at the
entrance to Hrothgar's meadhall Heorot):
'To you I am commanded to say by my valorous lord,
the leader of the East Danes, that he knows your noble
history,
and you are to him, over sea-swells,
--bold in thought-- welcome hither;
now you may enter in your war-gear,
under visored-helmets, to see Hrothgar;
let battle-boards here await,
and wooden slaughter-shafts, the result of words.'
Then the mighty one arose, about him many warriors,
the glorious troop of thanes; some waited there,
guarding the gear of war as the hardy leader bade;

In other words, they can wear their helmets and mail inside, but
can't bring their weapons in. Beowulf, of course, yields, because
he says he doesn't need a weapon against Grendel anyway! He'll
fight him barehanded! Sheesh.
Frankly, I prefer Aragorn's respect for his sword ("And I would do
as the master of the house bade, were this any sword but Andúril"),
to Beowulf's attitude.

Ciaran S.
--
We are the origins of war. Not history’s forces
nor the times nor justice nor the lack of it
nor causes nor religions nor ideas nor kinds
of government nor any other thing.
We are the killers; we breed war.
We carry it, like syphilis, inside.
Dead bodies rot in field and stream because
the living ones are rotten. For the love of God,
can’t we love one another just a little?
That’s how peace begins. We have so much to
love each other for. We have such possibilities,
my children; we could change the world.”
- Eleanor, _Lion in Winter_
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-08-11 00:37:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Shanahan
I think it's another one of the *many* Beowulf echoes in the
Rohirric parts of the story (following is from the scene at the
<snip>

Thanks for the Beowulf quote. Do you have the description of Heorot
handy, to compare to the description of Meduseld. I'm actually reading
Beowulf (Heany translation) at the moment...

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Shanahan
2004-08-12 04:03:13 UTC
Permalink
Christopher Kreuzer <***@blueyonder.co.uk> declared:
<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Thanks for the Beowulf quote. Do you have the description of
Heorot handy, to compare to the description of Meduseld. I'm
actually reading Beowulf (Heany translation) at the moment...
Unfort, I haven't been able to find any really complete
descriptions of Heorot. Here's some bits and pieces:

a grand mead-hall, [to] be built by men
which the sons of men should hear of forever,
and there within share out all
to young and old, such as God gave him,
except the common land and the lives of men;
Then, I heard, widely was the work commissioned
from many peoples throughout this middle-earth,
to furnish this hall of the folk. For him in time it came to
pass,
early, through the men, that it was fully finished,
the best of royal halls; he named it Heorot,
he whose words weight had everywhere;
he did not lie when he boasted; rings he dealt out,
riches at his feasts. The hall towered,
high and horn-gabled;

he dwelt in Heorot, the richly-adorned hall

[This one's pretty humorous:]
The noble hall broke into a din; the Danes all were,
--the citadel-dwellers-- each of the bold,
earls in the flood of bitter drink; enraged were both
fierce hall-wards; the hall resounded.
Then it was a great wonder that the wine-hall
withstood the war-fighters, that it did not fall to the
ground,
the fair mansion but it so firm was
inside and out with iron-bands
skilfully smithed; there from the floor broke away
many mead-benches, I heard,
adorned with gold, where the enemies struggled;
it was not thought before, by the sages of the Scyldings,
that it ever by means any men
splendid and bone-adorned, could break it up,
cleverly cleave asunder, not unless fire's embrace
swallowed it in inferno.

Then the order was promptly given the interior of Heorot
to furnish by hands; many there were,
of men and women, who the wine-hall,
the guest-hall prepared; gold-glittering shone
woven tapestries along the walls, many wondrous sights
for each of the men, who on such stared;
that bright building was badly broken up
all inside secure with iron-bands,
hinges sprung open; the roof alone remained
entirely sound

The best site I've been able to find on the web about Beowulf is
www.heorot.dk. Great site, lots of nifty stuff, parallel
translation, sound bytes of bits being read aloud, cool artwork...

Ciaran S.
--
"...the desperate assumption that somebody--
or at least some _force_--is tending
that Light at the end of the tunnel."
-h.s. thompson
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-08-12 19:56:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Thanks for the Beowulf quote. Do you have the description of
Heorot handy, to compare to the description of Meduseld. I'm
actually reading Beowulf (Heany translation) at the moment...
Unfort, I haven't been able to find any really complete
<snip>

Thanks. Maybe I was misremembering.
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
The best site I've been able to find on the web about Beowulf is
www.heorot.dk. Great site, lots of nifty stuff, parallel
translation, sound bytes of bits being read aloud, cool artwork...
And thanks for that as well.

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
the softrat
2004-08-12 20:55:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Thanks for the Beowulf quote. Do you have the description of
Heorot handy, to compare to the description of Meduseld. I'm
actually reading Beowulf (Heany translation) at the moment...
Uh .....

.... 'Reading the Heany translation' is rather like coming to Tolkien
through the movies. Heanywulf is not so much a translation as a
'poetic retelling'. Try Roy Liuzza's translation or even Francis B.
Gummere's.


the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:***@pobox.com
--
Don't hate yourself in the morning -- sleep till noon.
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-08-12 20:57:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by the softrat
Uh .....
.... 'Reading the Heany translation' is rather like coming to Tolkien
through the movies. Heanywulf is not so much a translation as a
'poetic retelling'. Try Roy Liuzza's translation or even Francis B.
Gummere's
Ooh. Thanks! I've only read the first few verses, so it looks like you
caught me just in time!

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-08-23 19:21:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by the softrat
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
<snip>
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Thanks for the Beowulf quote. Do you have the description of
Heorot handy, to compare to the description of Meduseld. I'm
actually reading Beowulf (Heany translation) at the moment...
Uh .....
.... 'Reading the Heany translation' is rather like coming to Tolkien
through the movies. Heanywulf is not so much a translation as a
'poetic retelling'. Try Roy Liuzza's translation or even Francis B.
Gummere's.
Don't worry! I took someone else's advice and watched 13th Warrior
instead. Is that an acceptable way to be introduced to Beowulf?? :-)

(Seriously, I don't know how much of Beowulf is in 13th Warrior, though
I gathered that Beliwylf died a bit early in this film...)

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Igenlode Wordsmith
2004-08-21 00:52:33 UTC
Permalink
[repost]
[snip]
Post by Michelle J. Haines
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
3. Just a comment: I enjoyed Aragorn's hesitancy to leave his newly
reforged sword at the door, and only just now appreciated that he did
so only after Gandalf had set down there the sword that had once been
Turgon's.
I always found this glimpse of arrogance on his part a bit off-
putting, myself.
What I always liked was what I saw as Tolkien's sly humour at pointing
out that Gandalf - who has been the soul of reasonability and
conflict-defusion where Aragorn's prejudices are concerned - promptly
exhibits exactly the same reaction where his own self-defining
possessions are concerned. He doesn't care tuppence about leaving his
sword behind, but is he prepared to sacrifice his wizard's staff in the
name of civilised behaviour? No!

How important *is* the staff, I wonder? Wormtongue obviously attributes
all Gandalf's power to it, assuming that he will be impotent if only it
can be taken away; but this concept seems rather un-Tolkien-like. There
is no real indication anywhere else that the staff is anything special,
as opposed to the great importance set on Rings and swords, or even any
indication that Gandalf is using the *same* staff throughout, from 'The
Hobbit' to the Grey Havens. (In fact, I should think he almost
certainly gets a new one from Galadriel at Lorien, when he gets his new
white clothes, in which case the stick in this chapter is of no
antiquity whatsoever!)

On the other hand, he clearly does use it as a focus for certain kinds
of magic. Presumably it's easier to make the end of the staff glow then
to create a ball of light floating around in the air, and I'd guess
that bringing the staff down sharply to break the bridge is probably
the mental equivalent of the various sharp cries of effort expelled by
practitioners of martial arts. And without a staff of some kind (with
or without a knob on the end) a wizard is clearly no wizard at all.
"Your staff is broken" equates to expulsion from the Order.

I'd assume that the possession and/or breaking of the staff are a
largely ceremonial matter, akin to the breaking of an officer's sword
when he is cashiered - it's not, after all, that the soldier can't
obtain another blade as a replacement, just as good for fighting with,
it's the fact that the breaking symbolises in public that the power of
his position has been withdrawn from him.

But *can* Gandalf do magic without a staff? Can he do it with any old
staff, or does he require a specific magically-prepared tool? Could he
have recalled Theoden to hope if Hama had insisted on sticking to the
letter of the law and forbidden the wizard's staff to pass the door?
--
Igenlode <***@nym.alias.net> Bookwraith unabashed

its: belonging to it - it's: "it is" (contraction )
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-08-22 18:16:40 UTC
Permalink
Igenlode Wordsmith <Use-Author-Supplied-Address-Header@[127.1]> wrote:

[about Gandalf's staff]
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
How important *is* the staff, I wonder?
<snip>
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
(In fact, I should think he almost certainly gets a new one from
Galadriel at Lorien, when he gets his new white clothes, in which
case the stick in this chapter is of no antiquity whatsoever!)
But he managed to keep his sword, so why not his staff?
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
On the other hand, he clearly does use it as a focus for certain kinds
of magic.
Yes.
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
Presumably it's easier to make the end of the staff glow
then to create a ball of light floating around in the air
Only if you can explain why one would be easier than the other, and I
don't think we can within Tolkien's world.

<snip>
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
I'd assume that the possession and/or breaking of the staff are a
largely ceremonial matter, akin to the breaking of an officer's sword
when he is cashiered - it's not, after all, that the soldier can't
obtain another blade as a replacement, just as good for fighting with,
it's the fact that the breaking symbolises in public that the power of
his position has been withdrawn from him.
Maybe. Or maybe there is something mysterious happening here...
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
But *can* Gandalf do magic without a staff? Can he do it with any old
staff, or does he require a specific magically-prepared tool? Could he
have recalled Theoden to hope if Hama had insisted on sticking to the
letter of the law and forbidden the wizard's staff to pass the door?
Gandalf uses his staff to help burn wood on Caradhras. He also knocks on
the door of Moria, creates a light to guide the Fellowhip, breaks the
bridge of Khazad-dum, and waves it around in Meduseld when subduing
Wormtongue. It seems hard to be sure whether the staff is needed or not.
When he attacks the Nazgul outside Minas Tirith, the shaft of white
light is described as coming from his hand.

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Conrad Dunkerson
2004-08-22 18:27:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
But he managed to keep his sword, so why not his staff?
Because the staff had specifically been destroyed back on the bridge.
Chris Kern
2004-08-22 23:05:33 UTC
Permalink
On Sat, 21 Aug 2004 01:52:33 BST, Igenlode Wordsmith
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
How important *is* the staff, I wonder?
This is another one of those long-running debates with You Know Who --
YKW arguing that the staff absolutely has no power whatsoever, and
others arguing the possibility that it may enhance his powers in some
manner or help "focus" the spells or the like.

-Chris
Shanahan
2004-08-23 21:24:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Kern
On Sat, 21 Aug 2004 01:52:33 BST, Igenlode Wordsmith
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
How important *is* the staff, I wonder?
This is another one of those long-running debates with You Know
Who -- YKW arguing that the staff absolutely has no power
whatsoever, and others arguing the possibility that it may
enhance his powers in some manner or help "focus" the spells or
the like.
Perhaps looking into the literary antecedents of Gandalf/wizards
would help. The ones Tolkien used, specifically, I mean. Which
would probably mean the Kalevala. Does anyone hear know if the
wizards of northern legends used staffs? As far as I recall, the
ones in the Kalevala used song to focus their power, but I don't
know if they had staffs as well.

Ciaran S.
--
Though all to ruin fell the world
and were dissolved and backward hurled
unmade into the old abyss,
yet were its making good, for this--
the dusk, the dawn, the earth, the sea--
that Lúthien for a time should be.
Conrad Dunkerson
2004-08-23 22:15:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Shanahan
Perhaps looking into the literary antecedents of
Gandalf/wizards would help. The ones Tolkien used,
specifically, I mean. Which would probably mean the
Kalevala.
Gandalf was actually originally based on a German nature spirit,
probably Rubezahl, on a postcard labeled 'Der Berggeist' ('the Mountain
Spirit').

Tolkien also called Gandalf as 'an Odinic wanderer' referring to the
tradition where Odin would wander the world in the guise of an old man
in rags leaning on a staff (actually his spear Gugnir).

Both characters would travel about and meet other people and either help
or harm them... Odin usually based on how they treated the apparent 'old
man' he was and Rubezahl somewhat capriciously.

The staff appears in both conceptions (though not in the postcard), but
not in the sense of a 'wizard staff' as we now think of them.

The actual name 'Gandalf' is Norse and means 'elf of the wand' and
Tolkien took it to imply a 'magic staff'.
Post by Shanahan
Does anyone hear know if the wizards of northern
legends used staffs? As far as I recall, the ones
in the Kalevala used song to focus their power,
but I don't know if they had staffs as well.
I can't think of anything staff wise in Finnish legend.

Merlin is an obvious wizard of similar style, but stories where much is
made of his staff all seem to post-date Gandalf (Le Morte D'Arthur
doesn't even mention him having one).

All that said, there are indications in the HoME that Gandalf's staff
contained power. In an earlier conception it was destroyed in the
confrontation at the door and Gandalf says that 'all the power of my
staff was expended in a flash'... but then Tolkien changed it so that
Gandalf would still have the staff for the fight on the bridge, where
much the same thing happens.
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-08-23 22:30:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Conrad Dunkerson
The actual name 'Gandalf' is Norse and means 'elf of the wand' and
Tolkien took it to imply a 'magic staff'.
Was Tolkien correct to do that? Are there other ways of interpreting
'elf of the wand'? And what is the difference between a 'wand' and a
'staff'?
Kristian Damm Jensen
2004-08-10 10:58:11 UTC
Permalink
Belba Grubb from Stock <***@dbtech.net> wrote in message news:<***@4ax.com>...

<snip>
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
1. What is the significance of the seven mounds being on the left
(east) and the nine on the right (west)?
Seven and nine are, of course, traditional, even magical, numbers.
Further it means that when ended the first and second line will both
contain nine mounds.

<snip>
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
2. If this hasn't already been addressed in other threads, did Grima
order no strangers to be admitted before or after Eomer arrived at
Edoras? It seems that Eomer couldn't have gotten there by the night of
the 30th when the order was issued. If that's the case, then why did
Grima issue the order (how had he learned of the presence of these
strangers)?
Let's see:
27. Éomer ... sets out from Eastfold about midnight to pursue the
Orcs.
28. Éomer overtakes the Orcs just outside Fangorn Forest.

And we know this to just before nightfall. In other words: from
Eastfold to Fangorn approximately 18 hours.

29. The Rohirrim attack at sunrise and destroy the Orcs.
30. Éomer returning to Edoras meets Aragorn.
.. and this at a point from where it takes Aragorn the rest of the day
to reach Fangorn. They may not have moved as fast as the Rohirrim,
though.

Assumption: The return from Fangorn was in less haste than the ride
out. The return ride may have been shorter, since they returned to
Edoras, and we don't know the starting point. (But it couldn't have
been far from Edoras, since Eomer knew Theodon opinion of this
venture.)

No, I don't think the return ride could have been accomplished in one
day. But maybe a scout could have ridden before the eored, telling of
the news.

<snip>
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
5. Speaking of staffs, is there any "magical" significance in
Theoden's staff, other than its role as a prop to convince him he was
old and weak?
None, I think.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
It's worth noting, given the remarkable description of
the man "so bent with age he seemed almost a dwarf," that Theoden is
only 71. Aragorn, in comparison, is 88. Did JRRT make an effective
choice not to reveal Theoden's actual age within the story, saving it
for the appendices?
Ages aren't referred to very often in the story at all. (Apart from
the hobbits'.) Rather the significance is in the appearence, you are
only as old as you feel.

To compare with Aragorn is meaningless; his lineage gives him a far
larger expected livespan.

<snip>
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
7. Was that the best way to handle Grima? (Of note is Gandalf's pity
or mercy, though he doesn't use the word.) I'm afraid I would have
shouted "off with his head!" and so eventually would have saved
Saruman's life (and Lotho's, too?).
Never one to miss an opportunity to let a sinner redeem himself, is
he? The offer to and his Grimas rejection is a nice foreshadowing of
the later exchange with Saruman.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
8. Now, what does Gandalf tell Theoden in secret there as they look
East. I assumed it was of Frodo and the Ring, but then while they are
eating Gandalf speaks of a secret hope which he can't speak of even to
Theoden. This has always confused me.
Me too.

<snip>

Regards,
Kristian
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-08-10 19:55:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
<snip>
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
1. What is the significance of the seven mounds being on the left
(east) and the nine on the right (west)?
Seven and nine are, of course, traditional, even magical, numbers.
Further it means that when ended the first and second line will both
contain nine mounds.
Really? Theoden will be the eighth mound on the left, as is shown in his
funeral scene. We are not told where Theodred is buried, but I would
assume that being told that there are eight mounds on the east-side
after Theoden is buried, means that lines ends with eight mounds, not
nine. and as others have said, Eomer will start a new line.

<snip>

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Shanahan
2004-08-11 01:44:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
<snip>
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
1. What is the significance of the seven mounds being on the
left (east) and the nine on the right (west)?
Seven and nine are, of course, traditional, even magical,
numbers. Further it means that when ended the first and second
line will both contain nine mounds.
Really? Theoden will be the eighth mound on the left, as is
shown in his funeral scene. We are not told where Theodred is
buried, but I would assume that being told that there are eight
mounds on the east-side after Theoden is buried, means that
lines ends with eight mounds, not nine. and as others have said,
Eomer will start a new line.
Would Theoden be buried in these particular mounds? He was never a
ruling king, only the heir to the throne. I get no impression from
the text that heirs are buried in these mounds.

Ciaran S.
--
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
There is no doubt that in real life, the zombies of
Dawn2 would be scarier and deadlier.
"It's sentences like this that make Usenet worthwhile."
-Kevin Cogliano
Shanahan
2004-08-11 02:26:05 UTC
Permalink
Shanahan <***@bluefrog.com> declared:
<snip>
Post by Shanahan
Would Theoden be buried in these particular mounds? He was never
a ruling king, only the heir to the throne. I get no impression
from the text that heirs are buried in these mounds.
Um, oops, make that "Theodred".

Ciaran S.
--
"I'm too old for this. I should be at home,
playing canasta with Radagast."
- mst3k
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-08-11 00:35:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
<snip>
Post by Shanahan
Would Theoden be buried in these particular mounds? He was never
a ruling king, only the heir to the throne. I get no impression
from the text that heirs are buried in these mounds.
Um, oops, make that "Theodred".
Maybe he is buried in the same mound as Theoden? Or another mound
somewhere else. I'm being influenced by the film of course....

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Kristian Damm Jensen
2004-08-11 18:51:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
<snip>
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
1. What is the significance of the seven mounds being on the left
(east) and the nine on the right (west)?
Seven and nine are, of course, traditional, even magical, numbers.
Further it means that when ended the first and second line will both
contain nine mounds.
Really? Theoden will be the eighth mound on the left, as is shown in his
funeral scene. We are not told where Theodred is buried, but I would
assume that being told that there are eight mounds on the east-side
after Theoden is buried, means that lines ends with eight mounds, not
nine. and as others have said, Eomer will start a new line.
I should check better before posting. You correctly assumed that I was
assuming to more mounds, for Theoden and Theodred respectively.

It is pointed out that after Theodens burial there are eight mounds.
Since I can't reasonably argue that they hadn't burried Theodred at
that time, I must concede that he was probably not awarded a mound in
the noble lines.

Futhermore, in "The Road to Isengard" we read:

And they saw that in the midst of the eyot a mound was piled, ringed
with stones, and set about with many spears.
"Here lie all the Men of the Mark that fell near this place," said
Gandalf.
"Here let them rest!" said Éomer. "And when their spears have rotted
and rusted, long still may their mound stand and guard the Fords of
Isen!"

Theodred could very well be among them.

Regards,
Kristian
Shanahan
2004-08-12 03:29:54 UTC
Permalink
Kristian Damm Jensen <***@ofir.dk> declared:

<snip>
Since I can't reasonably argue that they hadn't buried Theodred
at that time, I must concede that he was probably not awarded a
mound in the noble lines.
Only because he didn't live to inherit the throne, not because he
wasn't noble! ;)
And they saw that in the midst of the eyot a mound was piled,
ringed with stones, and set about with many spears.
"Here lie all the Men of the Mark that fell near this place,"
said Gandalf.
"Here let them rest!" said Éomer. "And when their spears have
rotted and rusted, long still may their mound stand and guard the
Fords
of Isen!"
Theodred could very well be among them.
I would agree. Unless his body was destroyed by the Orcs who took
the garrison at the Fords during the Second Battle of the Fords of
Isen, that is probably where he would lie. His last words were
"Let me lie here - to keep the Fords till Éomer comes!" (to Elfhelm
and Grimbold, UT, 'Battle of the Fords of Isen').

Ciaran S.
--
It's a grand life, if you don't tire.
- gaelic proverb
Stan Brown
2004-08-10 23:44:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
1. What is the significance of the seven mounds being on the left
(east) and the nine on the right (west)?
Seven and nine are, of course, traditional, even magical, numbers.
Further it means that when ended the first and second line will both
contain nine mounds.
THE KINGS OF THE MARK in App. A says that Théoden is the 8th and
last of the second line, and Éomer starts the third line.
--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com
Tolkien FAQs: http://Tolkien.slimy.com (Steuard Jensen's site)
Tolkien letters FAQ:
http://users.telerama.com/~taliesen/tolkien/lettersfaq.html
FAQ of the Rings: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/ringfaq.htm
Encyclopedia of Arda: http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.htm
more FAQs: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/faqget.htm
Troels Forchhammer
2004-08-11 11:19:09 UTC
Permalink
<snip>
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
27. Éomer ... sets out from Eastfold about midnight to pursue the
Orcs.
28. Éomer overtakes the Orcs just outside Fangorn Forest.
And we know this to just before nightfall. In other words: from
Eastfold to Fangorn approximately 18 hours.
As Éomer must (in particular if he took off at that time, since this was
after the news of Théodred's death had reached Edoras) have taken off
from Aldburg, which was in Folde, this would mean that he and his éored
travelled longer than Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli in about the
same amount of time, despite Gandalf's assertion that the path found by
Shadowfax would be faster. I can't imagine how that could possibly be.

I am now completely convinced that Éomer set out just after midnight on
the 27th (midnight 26th/27th), a few hours after learning about the
descent of the Orcs from Emyn Muil, instead of waiting more than a day
and setting out just before midnight (the 27th/28th).
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
29. The Rohirrim attack at sunrise and destroy the Orcs.
As Emma has pointed out they stayed the night after felling the trees, so
they must have set out towards Edoras on the morning of the 30th -- a
journey that must have taken them longer than the approximately 18 hours
that Gandalf's party use.

<snip>
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
Assumption: The return from Fangorn was in less haste than the ride
out. The return ride may have been shorter, since they returned to
Edoras, and we don't know the starting point.
We do know that Éomer's éored were quartered at his home in Aldburg in
Folde, and it seems a fair assumption that this would be where he learned
about the Orcs.
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
(But it couldn't have been far from Edoras, since Eomer knew Theodon
opinion of this venture.)
Does he say other than "I went without the king's leave"? That, IMO,
means that he had not asked for leave (probably guessing the answer would
come from Wormtongue) or had at least not received any answer for his
request (one of Wormtongue's schemes? Discussing the matter with the king
and promising to send a negative answer along with the message of
Théodred's death?).

Éomer probably knew that his ride wouldn't be well receieved (his troops
were at least close enough to Edoras to help the defence of that town),
but it doesn't appear to me that he had been prohibited to go.
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
No, I don't think the return ride could have been accomplished in one
day. But maybe a scout could have ridden before the eored, telling of
the news.
Or, IMO more likely, Éomer had sent a message to Edoras explaining things
before (or when) he rode north. Saruman was aware of the Company of the
Ring travelling south, and he may have told Wormtongue to make sure that
no strangers got refuge in Edoras. Wormtongue might have made the
connection between the Orcs and Saruman's request and then spent a couple
of days persuading Théoden into abandoning the traditional rules of
hospitality (quite a drastic step).

<snip>
--
Troels Forchhammer

A good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read.
- (Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!)
Troels Forchhammer
2004-08-11 12:06:16 UTC
Permalink
<snip>
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
(But it couldn't have been far from Edoras, since Eomer knew Theodon
opinion of this venture.)
Does he say other than "I went without the king's leave"?
Found it myself in the Tale of Years: "Éomer against Théoden's orders
sets out from Eastfold about midnight to pursue the Orcs."

Given Éomer's comments at the time I think it likely that it was against
Théoden's standing orders, and that he had not been prohibited this
expedition explicitly.

<snip>
--
Troels Forchhammer

And he that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of
wisdom.
- Gandalf, 'LotR' (J.R.R. Tolkien)
Kristian Damm Jensen
2004-08-12 07:36:24 UTC
Permalink
<snip>
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
(But it couldn't have been far from Edoras, since Eomer knew Theodon
opinion of this venture.)
Does he say other than "I went without the king's leave"? That, IMO,
means that he had not asked for leave (probably guessing the answer would
come from Wormtongue) or had at least not received any answer for his
request (one of Wormtongue's schemes? Discussing the matter with the king
and promising to send a negative answer along with the message of
Théodred's death?).
Éomer probably knew that his ride wouldn't be well receieved (his troops
were at least close enough to Edoras to help the defence of that town),
but it doesn't appear to me that he had been prohibited to go.
More than that. When later Gandalf discuss the events with Theoden he
says og Wormtoungue "He persuaded you to forbid Éomer to pursue the
raiding Orcs." This is never contradicted.

If this is true then Eomer did indeed discuss the matter with the king
and he did disobey a direct order.

<snip>

Regards,
Kristian
Troels Forchhammer
2004-08-12 08:52:45 UTC
Permalink
in <***@posting.google.com>,
Kristian Damm Jensen <***@ofir.dk> enriched us with:
<snip>
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
More than that. When later Gandalf discuss the events with Theoden he
says og Wormtoungue "He persuaded you to forbid Éomer to pursue the
raiding Orcs." This is never contradicted.
Yes, I found that as well after posting about the entry in the Tale of
Years. Don't know where I had put my recollection there ;-)

I still wonder whether Éomer hadn't received the negative answer when he
rode out (I do believe he did so a few hours after receiving the message
about the Orcs' descent, so his message to the king might well have been
something along the line of "I'm going after these Orcs -- see you when
I'm back").
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
If this is true then Eomer did indeed discuss the matter with the king
Or at least inform him, and Wormtongue discussed it with the king.
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
and he did disobey a direct order.
Given the situation in Rohan I suppose that even riding out against the
Orcs without the express permission from Théoden would be disobeying a
direct (standing) order.
--
Troels Forchhammer

+++ Divide By Cucumber Error. Please Reinstall Universe And Reboot +++
- (Terry Pratchett, Hogfather)
Stan Brown
2004-08-12 12:20:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
When later Gandalf discuss the events with Theoden he
says og Wormtoungue "He persuaded you to forbid Éomer to pursue the
raiding Orcs." This is never contradicted.
If this is true then Eomer did indeed discuss the matter with the king
and he did disobey a direct order.
True, but in the next sentence Gandalf justifies it, in one of those
little turns of phrase that are so characteristic of Tolkien:

"He persuaded you to forbid Éomer to pursue the raiding Orcs. If
Éomer had not defied Wormtongue's voice speaking with your mouth,
..."
--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com
Tolkien FAQs: http://Tolkien.slimy.com (Steuard Jensen's site)
Tolkien letters FAQ:
http://users.telerama.com/~taliesen/tolkien/lettersfaq.html
FAQ of the Rings: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/ringfaq.htm
Encyclopedia of Arda: http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.htm
more FAQs: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/faqget.htm
Kristian Damm Jensen
2004-08-15 19:22:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stan Brown
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
When later Gandalf discuss the events with Theoden he
says og Wormtoungue "He persuaded you to forbid Éomer to pursue the
raiding Orcs." This is never contradicted.
If this is true then Eomer did indeed discuss the matter with the king
and he did disobey a direct order.
True, but in the next sentence Gandalf justifies it, in one of those
"He persuaded you to forbid Éomer to pursue the raiding Orcs. If
Éomer had not defied Wormtongue's voice speaking with your mouth,
..."
Agreed, but that was not the point. The point was wether or not Eomer
had received an order from the King before riding out.

It seems clear to me, that he had.

Regards,
Kristian
Stan Brown
2004-08-16 03:33:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stan Brown
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
If this is true then Eomer did indeed discuss the matter with the king
and he did disobey a direct order.
"He persuaded you to forbid Éomer to pursue the raiding Orcs. If
Éomer had not defied Wormtongue's voice speaking with your mouth,
..."
Agreed, but that was not the point. The point was whether or not Eomer
had received an order from the King before riding out.
It seems clear to me, that he had.
Sure, but the point is that it wasn't actually Théoden's order.

An order given by an insane lord (e.g. Denethor in his final
madness) is no order. Théoden's wasn't insane in the same way as
Denethor, but his mental faculties were nonetheless impaired.

Éomer took a great risk: he put the good of his country above the
words of his lord. If things had worked out another way he would
have been executed as a deserter or even as a traitor.
--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com
Tolkien FAQs: http://Tolkien.slimy.com (Steuard Jensen's site)
Tolkien letters FAQ:
http://users.telerama.com/~taliesen/tolkien/lettersfaq.html
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Dirk Thierbach
2004-08-16 08:33:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stan Brown
Éomer took a great risk: he put the good of his country above the
words of his lord. If things had worked out another way he would
have been executed as a deserter or even as a traitor.
And it's interesting to compare this with the "I just followed orders"
mentality of some recent (and some not so recent) events.

- Dirk
Richard Williams
2004-08-22 12:03:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dirk Thierbach
Post by Stan Brown
Éomer took a great risk: he put the good of his country above the
words of his lord. If things had worked out another way he would
have been executed as a deserter or even as a traitor.
And it's interesting to compare this with the "I just followed orders"
mentality of some recent (and some not so recent) events.
It might also be worth mentioning that Hama is another character in this
chapter who exercises his own judgement in defiance of the guards' orders
('any weapon that you bear; be it only a staff, you must leave on the
threshold'):

'The staff in the hand of a wizard may be more than a prop for age' said
Hama. He looked hard at the ash-staff on which Gandalf leaned. 'Yet in
doubt a man of worth will trust to his own wisdom. I believe you are
friends and folk worthy of honour, who have no evil purpose. You may go
in.'

Hama is clearly suspicious that Gandalf's staff is not just a stick, but
must also realise that the prohibition really comes from Wormtongue
rather than Theoden ('Did I not counsel you, lord, to forbid his staff?
That fool, Hama, has betrayed us!').

Richard.
Troels Forchhammer
2004-08-18 08:47:24 UTC
Permalink
in <***@posting.google.com>,
Kristian Damm Jensen <***@ofir.dk> enriched us with:
<snip>
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
Agreed, but that was not the point. The point was wether or not Eomer
had received an order from the King before riding out.
It seems clear to me, that he had.
It seems that I have to agree to that.

Did he know, as Stan suggests, that the order came not from the king as
such, but from Wormtongue, or does he merely downplay the situation in
front of Aragorn (and his men)?
--
Troels Forchhammer

You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it
turns out that God hates all the same people you do.
- Anne Lamott
aelfwina
2004-08-18 09:23:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
<snip>
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
Agreed, but that was not the point. The point was wether or not Eomer
had received an order from the King before riding out.
It seems clear to me, that he had.
It seems that I have to agree to that.
Did he know, as Stan suggests, that the order came not from the king as
such, but from Wormtongue, or does he merely downplay the situation in
front of Aragorn (and his men)?
I think it probable by this time that Eomer, and perhaps most other
intimates of Theoden's court, were aware that just about all orders were now
coming basically from Wormtongue. It seems to have been an open
secret--which is to say, no secret at all.
Barbara
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
--
Troels Forchhammer
You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it
turns out that God hates all the same people you do.
- Anne Lamott
Stan Brown
2004-08-18 11:52:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by aelfwina
Did [Eomer] know, as Stan suggests, that the order came not from the king as
such, but from Wormtongue, or does he merely downplay the situation in
front of Aragorn (and his men)?
I think it probable by this time that Eomer, and perhaps most other
intimates of Theoden's court, were aware that just about all orders were now
coming basically from Wormtongue. It seems to have been an open
secret--which is to say, no secret at all.
I agree -- known to those with access to the king, but not spoken
of. I think Eomer would _not_ have thought it proper to say to
outsiders, "Our king is a dotard, just the mouthpiece of his
'counsellor'".
--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com
Tolkien FAQs: http://Tolkien.slimy.com (Steuard Jensen's site)
Tolkien letters FAQ:
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Prai Jei
2004-08-10 20:12:00 UTC
Permalink
Belba Grubb from Stock (or somebody else of the same name) wrote thusly in
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
2. If this hasn't already been addressed in other threads, did Grima
order no strangers to be admitted before or after Eomer arrived at
Edoras? It seems that Eomer couldn't have gotten there by the night of
the 30th when the order was issued. If that's the case, then why did
Grima issue the order (how had he learned of the presence of these
strangers)?
Eomer was not be a stranger so would not be affected by Grima's ban.
Possibly the ban was a general precaution, though more likely other lesser
spies had informed him of the imminent approach of Gandalf and the others.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Theoden gets up, and with the help of
the woman, who is his niece Eowyn,
[snip]
9.  Comment: I would refer anyone (nobody on this list, of course) who
use the words "Tolkien" and "sexist" in the same breath to this scene
where Theoden says Eomer is the last of the line of Eorl and is
corrected by Hama, who along with the rest of the Eorlingas loves
Eowyn and wishes her to lead them while the warriors are gone.  And
Eowyn is such a strong character
The relationship ibetween Theoden and Eowyn is described in the text as
"sister-daughter", similarly "sister-son" elsewhere. Modern English
"nephew" and "niece" are not used. We are to understand that in Rohan
society paternity is not recognised, so these relationships are the closest
we officially have to a man's descendants. Part of the Welsh epic
Mabinogion turns upon the same point, with paternity recognised in Gwynedd
(NW Wales) but not in Dyfed (SW Wales).
As for Eomer being the last of the line, presumably Salic law has not yet
been superceded in Rohan by the Stanley Doctrine, sorry, by the
Tar-Ancalimë law. which would allow Eowyn to succeed.
--
Paul Townsend
I put it down there, and when I went back to it, there it was GONE!

Interchange the alphabetic elements to reply
Shanahan
2004-08-11 01:52:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Prai Jei
The relationship ibetween Theoden and Eowyn is described in the
text as "sister-daughter", similarly "sister-son" elsewhere.
Modern English "nephew" and "niece" are not used. We are to
understand that in Rohan society paternity is not recognised, so
I would word this differently. In Rhohirric society, paternity is
recognised; it is merely reckoned differently than we do. The
sister-son is the natural heir if there are no direct male
descendants. There are many societies where sister-sons are the
heir, period.
Post by Prai Jei
these relationships are the closest we officially have to a
man's descendants. Part of the Welsh epic Mabinogion turns upon
the same point, with paternity recognised in Gwynedd (NW Wales)
but not in Dyfed (SW Wales).
As for Eomer being the last of the line, presumably Salic law
has not yet been superceded in Rohan by the Stanley Doctrine,
sorry, by the Tar-Ancalimë law, which would allow Eowyn to
succeed.
I'm remarkably uninformed about the Salic Law, being an American.
<g> Could you explicate? Maybe we are saying the same thing after
all.

Ciaran S.
--
Could you vague that up a little for me?
Emma Pease
2004-08-11 00:02:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Shanahan
Post by Prai Jei
The relationship ibetween Theoden and Eowyn is described in the
text as "sister-daughter", similarly "sister-son" elsewhere.
Modern English "nephew" and "niece" are not used. We are to
understand that in Rohan society paternity is not recognised, so
I would word this differently. In Rhohirric society, paternity is
recognised; it is merely reckoned differently than we do. The
sister-son is the natural heir if there are no direct male
descendants. There are many societies where sister-sons are the
heir, period.
In Rohan, I suspect that a brother or a brother's son might be next
but that probably does not break the line. I also don't recall cases
where this happens in Rohan's history. A sister-son is a new line and
is probably next if there is no brother's son.

I do wonder how much Eomer inherited because he was the sister son of
Theoden or how much because Theoden named him heir.
Post by Shanahan
Post by Prai Jei
these relationships are the closest we officially have to a
man's descendants. Part of the Welsh epic Mabinogion turns upon
the same point, with paternity recognised in Gwynedd (NW Wales)
but not in Dyfed (SW Wales).
As for Eomer being the last of the line, presumably Salic law
has not yet been superceded in Rohan by the Stanley Doctrine,
sorry, by the Tar-Ancalimë law, which would allow Eowyn to
succeed.
I'm remarkably uninformed about the Salic Law, being an American.
<g> Could you explicate? Maybe we are saying the same thing after
all.
Salic law is usually short hand for a rule that states that no woman
can inherit nor can inheritance go through the female line. If Rohan
had Salic law, Eomer would not have inherited.[1]

Emma

[1] Edward III of England challenged this definition of Salic law
which is one reason the Kings of England also called themselves Kings
of France until the late 1700s. Edward III claimed the French throne
through his mother who was a French princess (and quite notorious).
--
\----
|\* | Emma Pease Net Spinster
|_\/ Die Luft der Freiheit weht
Prai Jei
2004-08-11 18:36:03 UTC
Permalink
Emma Pease (or somebody else of the same name) wrote thusly in message
Post by Emma Pease
Post by Shanahan
Post by Prai Jei
As for Eomer being the last of the line, presumably Salic law
has not yet been superceded in Rohan by the Stanley Doctrine,
sorry, by the Tar-Ancalimë law, which would allow Eowyn to
succeed.
I'm remarkably uninformed about the Salic Law, being an American.
<g> Could you explicate? Maybe we are saying the same thing after
all.
Salic law is usually short hand for a rule that states that no woman
can inherit nor can inheritance go through the female line. If Rohan
had Salic law, Eomer would not have inherited.[1]
It's most recent invocation in the UK was in 1837 when Victoria came to the
British throne but could not also inherit the electorship of Hanover since
that was governed by Salic law and thereby restricted to male heirs.

By contrast, the Stanley Doctrine (from Doc Smith's "d'Alembert" series) and
the Tar-Ancalimë law both specify that the eldest child, whether male or
female, shall be heir. ISTR this applies in Sweden.
--
Paul Townsend
I put it down there, and when I went back to it, there it was GONE!

Interchange the alphabetic elements to reply
Stan Brown
2004-08-12 00:48:45 UTC
Permalink
"Prai Jei" <***@zyx-abc.fsnet.co.uk> wrote in
rec.arts.books.tolkien:
(salic law)
Post by Prai Jei
It's most recent invocation in the UK was in 1837 when Victoria came to the
British throne but could not also inherit the electorship of Hanover since
that was governed by Salic law and thereby restricted to male heirs.
I don't believe there _was_ an electorship of Hanover for anyone to
inherit. Hanover had been erected into a kingdom at the close of the
Napoleonic Wars. And that's a good thing, because the Holy Roman
Empire had been terminated in 1806. Thirty-one years later, there
couldn't very well be an elector of a defunct empire.
--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com
Tolkien FAQs: http://Tolkien.slimy.com (Steuard Jensen's site)
Tolkien letters FAQ:
http://users.telerama.com/~taliesen/tolkien/lettersfaq.html
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Encyclopedia of Arda: http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.htm
more FAQs: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/faqget.htm
Prai Jei
2004-08-15 20:59:57 UTC
Permalink
Stan Brown (or somebody else of the same name) wrote thusly in message
Post by Stan Brown
(salic law)
Post by Prai Jei
It's most recent invocation in the UK was in 1837 when Victoria came to
the British throne but could not also inherit the electorship of Hanover
since that was governed by Salic law and thereby restricted to male heirs.
I don't believe there _was_ an electorship of Hanover for anyone to
inherit. Hanover had been erected into a kingdom at the close of the
Napoleonic Wars. And that's a good thing, because the Holy Roman
Empire had been terminated in 1806. Thirty-one years later, there
couldn't very well be an elector of a defunct empire.
The only practical effect was that the arms of Hanover, which had been part
of the Royal Arms since George I came over, had to be dropped at Victoria's
accession.
--
Paul Townsend
I put it down there, and when I went back to it, there it was GONE!

Interchange the alphabetic elements to reply
Shanahan
2004-08-12 03:33:28 UTC
Permalink
[snip stuff on Salic Law and Rohan]
Post by Emma Pease
[1] Edward III of England challenged this definition of Salic law
which is one reason the Kings of England also called themselves
Kings of France until the late 1700s. Edward III claimed the
French throne through his mother who was a French princess (and
quite notorious).
Thanks for the info, Emma.
Would that be the Demon Countess of Anjou, by any chance?

Ciaran S.
--
Dalai Lama at his birthday party:
"Oh wow, nothing! Just what I always wanted!"
Emma Pease
2004-08-13 00:43:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Shanahan
[snip stuff on Salic Law and Rohan]
Post by Emma Pease
[1] Edward III of England challenged this definition of Salic law
which is one reason the Kings of England also called themselves
Kings of France until the late 1700s. Edward III claimed the
French throne through his mother who was a French princess (and
quite notorious).
Thanks for the info, Emma.
Would that be the Demon Countess of Anjou, by any chance?
Isabella or Isabelle, daughter of Philip IV of France and sister of
Louis X, Philip V, and Charles IV. None of her brothers had surviving
children so her son, Edward III, claimed the French throne after
Charles IV's death. She is sometimes known as the she-wolf of France.

She deposed her husband, Edward II of England, and possibly connived
at his murder. She and her lover Roger de Mortimer ruled England
until her son, Edward III, overthrew them.

Emma

ps. I'm not sure who the Demon Countess of Anjou is. Would it
possibly be the mythical Melusine.
--
\----
|\* | Emma Pease Net Spinster
|_\/ Die Luft der Freiheit weht
John Jones
2004-08-12 20:02:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Shanahan
[snip stuff on Salic Law and Rohan]
Post by Emma Pease
[1] Edward III of England challenged this definition of Salic law
which is one reason the Kings of England also called themselves
Kings of France until the late 1700s. Edward III claimed the
French throne through his mother who was a French princess (and
quite notorious).
Thanks for the info, Emma.
Would that be the Demon Countess of Anjou, by any chance?
No - she was called the She-Wolf of France.
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-08-10 20:13:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Chapter of the Week: The Lord of the Rings, Book 2
Chapter 6 - The King of the Golden Hall
<snip most of nice summary>
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
When the muster is complete and more than a thousand
men are at the gate, armed and mounted, ready to go, Theoden proclaims
Gandalf a chieftain of the Eorlingas and officially gives him
Shadowfax. Gandalf is revealed to all as the White Reader and the
I hadn't noticed before that Gandalf was proclaimed as a chieftain of
the Eorlingas. I also note with interest that he picked up a new title:

Gandalf the White Reader?

Seems curiously appropriate though! :-)
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
'Our King and the White Rider!' they shouted. 'Forth
Eorlingas!'
White Rider sounds so much less interesting...
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
The trumpets sounded. The horses reared and neighed.
Spear clashed on shield. Then the king raised his hand,
and with a rush like the sudden onset of a great wind the
last host of Rohan rode thundering into the West
Far over the plain Eowyn saw the glitter of their spears, as
she stood still, alone before the doors of the silent house.
Powerful imagery.
<snip>
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
4. Comments on Meduseld, the great hall and its furnishings? It
reminds me a little of the hall of Beorn with the fire burning on the
long hearth in the middle of the hall, but it is so richly furnished
and ornately carved. The Rohirrim certainly are artisans and
craftsmen as well as free spirits and ready warriors.
Meduseld should also remind you of Hrothgar's hall in Beowulf, or the
other way around, depending on which you read first.

<snip>

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

"This tale grew in the telling, until it became a history of the Great
War of the Ring..." - J.R.R. Tolkien (Foreward to LotR)
Belba Grubb from Stock
2004-08-15 21:37:25 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 10 Aug 2004 20:13:52 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Gandalf the White Reader?
Seems curiously appropriate though! :-)
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
'Our King and the White Rider!' they shouted. 'Forth
Eorlingas!'
White Rider sounds so much less interesting...
No, not really (BG). What a goof! I only spotted it today, believe
it or not (yes, I am far behind on reading posts). There is a typo
jinx on this chapter, I suspect.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
The trumpets sounded. The horses reared and neighed.
Spear clashed on shield. Then the king raised his hand,
and with a rush like the sudden onset of a great wind the
last host of Rohan rode thundering into the West
Far over the plain Eowyn saw the glitter of their spears, as
she stood still, alone before the doors of the silent house.
Powerful imagery.
With a purpose. It is surprising and daring, really, for JRRT to
introduce this new character, who is really secondary for most of this
chapter and who is actually dismissed by both Gandalf and Theoden, and
to then bring the reader through the battle of Helm's Deep, the
reunion between the two hobbits and the three hunters, the destruction
of Isengard, Gandalf's confrontation with Sauron, Pippin's encounter
with Sauron via the Palantir, the entire matter of Book IV and the
first chapter of Book V before bringing that character forward again,
successfully convincing the reader that she is a major character of
the story from here on. From a writing point of view that is
incredibly difficult, bordering on the impossible. And JRRT does it
with so much ease and skill, you don't even notice it. How does he do
it, I wonder? The way he weaves Eowyn into the story is one of the
most remarkable features of "The Lord of the Rings," IMHO.

He does something similar, though to a lesser degree, with Thorin
toward the end of "The Hobbit." We see Thorin basically making an ass
of himself at the wall with Bilbo; the dwarf is presented as really
despicable and greedy and ugly. The very next time we see Thorin, he
"gleam[s] like gold in a dying fire" and Bard cannot restrain many of
the Lake-men from answering Thorin's battle call, as do many of the
Elves. JRRT's way with characters is really amazing. Could he be at
all compared to Dickens in this respect?
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
4. Comments on Meduseld, the great hall and its furnishings? It
reminds me a little of the hall of Beorn with the fire burning on the
long hearth in the middle of the hall, but it is so richly furnished
and ornately carved. The Rohirrim certainly are artisans and
craftsmen as well as free spirits and ready warriors.
Meduseld should also remind you of Hrothgar's hall in Beowulf, or the
other way around, depending on which you read first.
For me, it will be the other way around, but thanks for the reference.

Barb

"What do you know?"

"Well, that is hard to tell," replied Jack. "For although
I feel that I know a tremendous lot, I am not yet aware
how much there is in the world to find out about. It will
take me a little time to discover whether I am very wise
or very foolish."
-- Jack Punkinhead, "The Wonderful Land of Oz"
Stan Brown
2004-08-10 23:41:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
1. What is the significance of the seven mounds being on the left
(east) and the nine on the right (west)?
Thanks for getting us started!

I can't recall whether this is later discussed in the novel proper,
but your answer is in Appendix A:

"Then Fréaláf, son of Hild, Helm's sister, ...

"Helm was brought from the Hornburg and laid in the ninth mound. ...
When Fréaláf died a new line of mounds was begun."

In other words, the Rohirrim considered it a new dynasty when a
nephew ("sister-son") succeeded an uncle. Or, if not actually a new
dynasty (since Théoden was still "of the House of Eorl"), at least a
glitch in the succession.

Éomer when he dies would have been laid in the first of a new set of
mounds since he was Théoden's sororal nephew and not his son. "17.
Théoden. ... He fell before the gates of Mundburg. For a while he
rested in the land of his birth, among the dead Kings of Gondor, but
was brought back and laid in the eighth mound of his line at Edoras.
Then [i.e. with Éomer, the next king] a new line was begun."
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
6. Just how, exactly, does Gandalf heal Theoden?
I believe he did it with his own innate power, aided by both his
staff and the Red Ring. Circa told Gandalf that the Red Ring could
"rekindle hearts in a world that grows chill." I believe that
Gandalf was not imposing_ healing on Théoden, but _unlocking_
Théoden's own internal desire to be well and free of Wormtongue's
domination and his own apparent dotage.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
7. Was that the best way to handle Grima? (Of note is Gandalf's pity
or mercy, though he doesn't use the word.) I'm afraid I would have
shouted "off with his head!" and so eventually would have saved
Saruman's life (and Lotho's, too?).
"Even the Wise cannot see all ends." If you go around killing people
who have misbehaved, you become no better than the Dark Lord. Exile
has always seemed a fitting punishment for Grima IMHO, particularly
as they first gave him a chance to reform and work honestly for
Théoden again.
--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com
Tolkien FAQs: http://Tolkien.slimy.com (Steuard Jensen's site)
Tolkien letters FAQ:
http://users.telerama.com/~taliesen/tolkien/lettersfaq.html
FAQ of the Rings: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/ringfaq.htm
Encyclopedia of Arda: http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.htm
more FAQs: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/faqget.htm
Matthew Bladen
2004-08-11 01:03:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stan Brown
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
1. What is the significance of the seven mounds being on the left
(east) and the nine on the right (west)?
Thanks for getting us started!
I can't recall whether this is later discussed in the novel proper,
"Then Fréaláf, son of Hild, Helm's sister, ...
"Helm was brought from the Hornburg and laid in the ninth mound. ...
When Fréaláf died a new line of mounds was begun."
I think it might be mentioned in LOTR VI.6 'Many Partings' when Theoden
is interred. There's definitely a king-list in the narrative as well as
in Appendix A, but I'm away from my books at present and can't check.

It sticks in my mind because for years the only version of LOTR I was
familiar with was the one-volume paperback that only had 'Aragorn and
Arwen' and none of the other appendices, so there were lots of items in
the book that I wanted to know more about (like the Chieftains of the
Dunedain mentioned in 'Aragorn and Arwen'). The House of Eorl was one
subject that the book *did* cover in some detail.
--
Matthew
Troels Forchhammer
2004-08-11 11:39:52 UTC
Permalink
<snip>
Post by Stan Brown
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
6. Just how, exactly, does Gandalf heal Theoden?
I believe he did it with his own innate power, aided by both his
staff and the Red Ring. Circa told Gandalf that the Red Ring could
"rekindle hearts in a world that grows chill."
Circa? ;-)
Post by Stan Brown
I believe that Gandalf was not imposing_ healing on Théoden, but
_unlocking_ Théoden's own internal desire to be well and free of
Wormtongue's domination and his own apparent dotage.
That is my impression as well.

Gandalf's mission is, IMO, best described in UT 4,II 'The Istari':
"[...] their emissaries were forbidden to reveal themselves in
forms of majesty, or to seek to rule the wills of Men and
Elves by open display of power, but coming in shapes weak and
humble were bidden to advise and persuade Men and Elves to
good, and to seek to unite in love and understanding all those
whom Sauron, should he come again, would endeavour to dominate
and corrupt."

"... bidden to advise and persuade ... unite in love and understanding
..." This seems to me the key, and we are elsewhere told that Gandalf did
stay faithful to his mission. However, Tolkien also says that "When he
speaks he commands attention; the old Gandalf could not have dealt so
with Théoden, nor with Saruman." As I read this it implies that his
dealing with Théoden is not as much a matter of working magic upon
Théoden, but of "commanding attention" -- the 'new' Gandalf (the White)
is capable of making, by his presence alone, Théoden listen where he
would have ignored Gandalf the Grey.

I don't think that Gandalf had to exorcise some evil possession of
Théoden as he does in the film (though I can appreciate the reason for
this scene seeing how "The Voice of Saruman" is reduced). It was, IMO,
rather a question of breaking Gríma's influence over Théoden and his
habitual self-image as weak, old and frightened. Kindling his heart.

<snip>
--
Troels Forchhammer

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would
be a merrier world.
- Thorin Oakenshield, 'The Hobbit' (J.R.R. Tolkien)
Stan Brown
2004-08-12 00:39:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by Stan Brown
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
6. Just how, exactly, does Gandalf heal Theoden?
I believe he did it with his own innate power, aided by both his
staff and the Red Ring. Circa told Gandalf that the Red Ring could
"rekindle hearts in a world that grows chill."
Circa? ;-)
Oops -- sorry, I thought I had clicked on "Círdan" in my spell
checker. :-)
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by Stan Brown
I believe that Gandalf was not imposing_ healing on Théoden, but
_unlocking_ Théoden's own internal desire to be well and free of
Wormtongue's domination and his own apparent dotage.
That is my impression as well.
"[...] their emissaries were forbidden to reveal themselves in
forms of majesty, or to seek to rule the wills of Men and
Elves by open display of power, but coming in shapes weak and
humble were bidden to advise and persuade Men and Elves to
good, and to seek to unite in love and understanding all those
whom Sauron, should he come again, would endeavour to dominate
and corrupt."
Right -- I agree that's a good description. As we all know, the
restrictions were loosened a little bit when Eru sent Gandalf the
White back. He engaged in direct military action at the gate of
Minas Tirith, and was de facto ruler of the City during the crucial
battle. But he did it with the willing consent of all Men, and he
didn't try to hold on to that power when the crisis had eased.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
I don't think that Gandalf had to exorcise some evil possession of
Théoden as he does in the film
That disgusted me! It would have taken no longer to show the scene
as Tolkien described it. (I nearly wrote, "as it actually happened."
I've gotta get out more. :-)
--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com
Tolkien FAQs: http://Tolkien.slimy.com (Steuard Jensen's site)
Tolkien letters FAQ:
http://users.telerama.com/~taliesen/tolkien/lettersfaq.html
FAQ of the Rings: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/ringfaq.htm
Encyclopedia of Arda: http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.htm
more FAQs: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/faqget.htm
Belba Grubb from Stock
2004-08-15 21:53:54 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 11 Aug 2004 20:39:31 -0400, Stan Brown
Post by Stan Brown
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by Stan Brown
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
6. Just how, exactly, does Gandalf heal Theoden?
I believe he did it with his own innate power, aided by both his
staff and the Red Ring. Circa told Gandalf that the Red Ring could
"rekindle hearts in a world that grows chill."
Circa? ;-)
Oops -- sorry, I thought I had clicked on "Círdan" in my spell
checker. :-)
Like I said...a typo jinx is at work on this chapter (g). That's the
third one, though, so perhaps it is now finished.
Post by Stan Brown
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by Stan Brown
I believe that Gandalf was not imposing_ healing on Théoden, but
_unlocking_ Théoden's own internal desire to be well and free of
Wormtongue's domination and his own apparent dotage.
Stan, that is the best description I've read of it. Thanks.
Post by Stan Brown
Post by Troels Forchhammer
That is my impression as well.
"[...] their emissaries were forbidden to reveal themselves in
forms of majesty, or to seek to rule the wills of Men and
Elves by open display of power, but coming in shapes weak and
humble were bidden to advise and persuade Men and Elves to
good, and to seek to unite in love and understanding all those
whom Sauron, should he come again, would endeavour to dominate
and corrupt."
Right -- I agree that's a good description. As we all know, the
restrictions were loosened a little bit when Eru sent Gandalf the
White back. He engaged in direct military action at the gate of
Minas Tirith, and was de facto ruler of the City during the crucial
battle. But he did it with the willing consent of all Men, and he
didn't try to hold on to that power when the crisis had eased.
And while Gandalf contributes to the victory there, it is really
mortals who bring it about, in particular, Merry/Eowyn getting rid of
the Witch-king, the Riders of Rohan, and Aragorn. One of the hobbits,
Merry or Pippin, wonders why Gandalf wasn't there on the battlefield,
that there was something the wizard might have done to prevent some of
the tragedies of the day; only now do I begin to see how that fits in
with the restrictions Gandalf was operating under.

Barb
"What do you know?"

"Well, that is hard to tell," replied Jack. "For although
I feel that I know a tremendous lot, I am not yet aware
how much there is in the world to find out about. It will
take me a little time to discover whether I am very wise
or very foolish."
-- Jack Punkinhead, "The Wonderful Land of Oz"
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-08-15 22:09:51 UTC
Permalink
Belba Grubb from Stock <***@dbtech.net> wrote:

[about Gandalf's restrictions or not at Minas Tirith]
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
And while Gandalf contributes to the victory there, it is really
mortals who bring it about, in particular, Merry/Eowyn getting rid of
the Witch-king, the Riders of Rohan, and Aragorn.
That was more fate. Gandalf was distracted by having to go and rescue
Faramir = doing the right thing. Gandalf was quite prepared to go and
battle the Witch-King, and was expecting to do so.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
One of the hobbits,
Merry or Pippin, wonders why Gandalf wasn't there on the battlefield,
that there was something the wizard might have done to prevent some of
the tragedies of the day
I remember Gandalf saying that:

"But he [the WK] has not gone without woe and bitter loss. And that I
might have averted but for the madness of Denethor." (The Pyre of
Denethor)

Not sure if one of the hobbits also says it later.

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Hope
2004-08-12 00:36:41 UTC
Permalink
Subject: Re: Chapter of the Week: LOTR Bk 2 Ch 6: The King of the Golden Hall
Date: 11/08/2004 00:41 GMT Daylight Time
Even the Wise cannot see all ends." If you go around killing people
who have misbehaved, you become no better than the Dark Lord.
Quite right, that path eventually leads to just killing everyone (and probably
invading poland too). Bad people kill, good people avoid killing.

I'm trying to avoid my usual rant on the death penalty here.
AC
2004-08-12 04:43:35 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 10 Aug 2004 19:41:10 -0400,
Post by Stan Brown
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
6. Just how, exactly, does Gandalf heal Theoden?
I believe he did it with his own innate power, aided by both his
staff and the Red Ring. Circa told Gandalf that the Red Ring could
"rekindle hearts in a world that grows chill." I believe that
Gandalf was not imposing_ healing on Théoden, but _unlocking_
Théoden's own internal desire to be well and free of Wormtongue's
domination and his own apparent dotage.
I agree. It was not an act of domination, but an act of reawakening the
fires that Wormtongue had all but put out. I don't think we ever see a
better example of how Gandalf battled Sauron than in the healing of Theoden.
Gandalf urges the Free Peoples with wisdom and hope, against Sauron's use of
fear and hatred upon His servants and slaves.

(It also happens to be one of my favorite scenes in LotR, right up there
with the attack the Ford, the death of Denethor and the battle of Pellenor).
--
Aaron Clausen
***@hotmail.com

WOODY: How's it going Mr. Peterson?
NORM : It's a dog eat dog world out there, Woody, and I'm wearing
milkbone underwear.
Emma Pease
2004-08-11 00:20:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Chapter of the Week: The Lord of the Rings, Book 2
Chapter 6 - The King of the Golden Hall
To check out the other Chapters of the Week or to sign up to do a
chapter of your own, go to http://parasha.maoltuile.org.
_____________________________________________________
"Men need many words before deeds," says Gimli, but it takes more
than words to heal Theoden so he and Rohan can rise to the biggest
challenge they have faced in many years. Few words indeed pass
between Eowyn and Aragorn, yet both their hearts are troubled. And of
what use are words to the one who rides at the head of a host of
warriors to do great deeds; what comfort can any words bring to the
one left behind, standing at the doors of an empty house?
______________________________________________________
2. If this hasn't already been addressed in other threads, did Grima
order no strangers to be admitted before or after Eomer arrived at
Edoras? It seems that Eomer couldn't have gotten there by the night of
the 30th when the order was issued. If that's the case, then why did
Grima issue the order (how had he learned of the presence of these
strangers)?
Time line

Feb 26
- Breaking of the Fellowship

Feb 27
- midnight, Eomer starts pursuing the Orcs (is this midnight of the
26/27 or 27/28?)

Feb 29
- dawn, Eomer attacks and destroys the orcs

Feb 30
- morning, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli meet Eomer returning to Meduseld
given horses
- late afternoon, arrive at Fangorn and start searching the battlefield
- night, horses run off, old man sighted

- Start of the Entmoot. Merry and Pippin meet Bregalad

- Evening, Grima has the gates of Edoras barred

Mar 1
- Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli go into Fangorn. Meet Gandalf
- Noonish, party leaves for Edoras
- Rest a few hours in the night

- sometime this day/evening Eomer comes to Edoras and is imprisoned

- Day 2 of the Entmoot

- Frodo, Sam, and Gollum begin passage of the Dead Marshes

Mar 2
- Early morning, Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli reach Edoras
- mid-afternoon, Theoden heads to the fords of the Isen
- evening, Theoden's forces camp after 5 hrs ride

- Second battle of the Fords of Isen fought and lost

- Afternoon, Entmoot finishes.
- Night, Ents reach Isengard
- Night, last of Saruman's army heads south
- Night, Ents attack Isengard

- Frodo, Sam, and Gollum finish the passage of the Dead Marshes

My guess is that Saruman might have asked Grima to have the gates
barred in hopes of depriving any of the Grey Company that survived the
attack from aid. How much did Saruman know about the raid at Rauros?
How much did Sauron know? My guess is that both knew a raid had
happened and that the orcs were heading back to Fangorn. Saruman,
according to Gandalf, did not know there were any prisoners nor that
his orcs had quarrelled with the orcs of Mordor. Sauron knew both of
these. However, I think that Saruman knew or suspected the Grey
Company had been attacked (either by palantir or by his bird spies)
and would guess that survivors might ask for aid from Rohan. Why wait
till the evening of the 30th? Possibly because that was the fastest
he could get the order to Grima.

Did Saruman know that Aragorn spoke the language of the Mark and had
served a previous king and therefore was not a stranger to Rohan and
not likely to fall under the provisions of the bar?
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
6. Just how, exactly, does Gandalf heal Theoden?
By giving him hope. Gandalf wields the red ring of fire whose power
is to give hope.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
7. Was that the best way to handle Grima? (Of note is Gandalf's pity
or mercy, though he doesn't use the word.) I'm afraid I would have
shouted "off with his head!" and so eventually would have saved
Saruman's life (and Lotho's, too?).
But would have deprived the group of the Palantir. Remember it is
Grima who throws it out of Isengard.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
8. Now, what does Gandalf tell Theoden in secret there as they look
East. I assumed it was of Frodo and the Ring, but then while they are
eating Gandalf speaks of a secret hope which he can't speak of even to
Theoden. This has always confused me.
I don't think he told Theoden outright about the ring but I think he
did state that there was a hope of defeating Sauron.
--
\----
|\* | Emma Pease Net Spinster
|_\/ Die Luft der Freiheit weht
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-08-11 00:43:33 UTC
Permalink
Emma Pease <***@kanpai.stanford.edu> wrote:

<snip>
Post by Emma Pease
My guess is that Saruman might have asked Grima to have the gates
barred in hopes of depriving any of the Grey Company that survived the
attack from aid. How much did Saruman know about the raid at Rauros?
How much did Sauron know? My guess is that both knew a raid had
happened and that the orcs were heading back to Fangorn. Saruman,
according to Gandalf, did not know there were any prisoners nor that
his orcs had quarrelled with the orcs of Mordor.
Where does Gandalf say this? Was it in the White Rider chapter? What
else did Saruman know? Did he know of Gandalf's fall and return?

<snip>
Post by Emma Pease
Did Saruman know that Aragorn spoke the language of the Mark and had
served a previous king and therefore was not a stranger to Rohan and
not likely to fall under the provisions of the bar?
You would have thought so.

<snip>
Post by Emma Pease
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
8. Now, what does Gandalf tell Theoden in secret there as they look
East. I assumed it was of Frodo and the Ring, but then while they
are eating Gandalf speaks of a secret hope which he can't speak of
even to Theoden. This has always confused me.
Not "can't speak of", but "cannot _openly_ speak of".
Post by Emma Pease
I don't think he told Theoden outright about the ring but I think he
did state that there was a hope of defeating Sauron.
That sounds about right. Any spies reporting that back to Sauron would
have re-inforced the impression that a Ringlord was gathering an army to
attack Sauron, diverting Sauron's attention from Mordor. I still think
it was a bit silly of Gandalf to make some of the more open comments he
does about Frodo's quest.

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Troels Forchhammer
2004-08-11 12:02:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Emma Pease
My guess is that Saruman might have asked Grima to have the gates
barred in hopes of depriving any of the Grey Company that survived
the attack from aid. How much did Saruman know about the raid at
Rauros? How much did Sauron know? My guess is that both knew a raid
had happened and that the orcs were heading back to Fangorn.
Saruman, according to Gandalf, did not know there were any prisoners
nor that his orcs had quarrelled with the orcs of Mordor.
Where does Gandalf say this? Was it in the White Rider chapter? What
else did Saruman know? Did he know of Gandalf's fall and return?
Indeed:

"He has no woodcraft. He believes that the horsemen slew and
burned all upon the field of battle; but he does not know
whether the Orcs were bringing any prisoners or not. And he
does not know of the quarrel between his servants and the Orcs
of Mordor; nor does he know of the Winged Messenger."

Saruman, however, might have felt the Three Hunters fighting against the
"unseen barrier" created by his will, and thus deduced that some of the
Company of the Ring were pursuing his Orcs -- he must have known that the
company were travelling south, and that they had reached the Emyn Muil.

If he somehow sensed the pursuit of his Orcs (whether by feeling the
opposition to his will, seeing the Three Hunters in the palantir or
whatever), he would have done so the 27th or 28th -- getting a message to
Wormtongue ordering him to get the gates barred, and then have Wormtongue
to pursuade the king to give the order might easily put it at the evening
of the 30th.

Sauron, on the other hand, by Gandalf's words knew that "the messengers
that he sent to waylay the Company have failed again. They have not found
the Ring. Neither have they brought away any hobbits as hostages."
Grishnákh went off with his company and came back -- presumably he went
to speak to the Nazgûl waiting on the east-bank of the river (and got
orders to go, with new reinforcements, to try to get the prisoners from
Uglúk's company, I would guess).
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Emma Pease
Did Saruman know that Aragorn spoke the language of the Mark and had
served a previous king and therefore was not a stranger to Rohan and
not likely to fall under the provisions of the bar?
You would have thought so.
I am less certain, but it is possible.

<snip>
--
Troels Forchhammer

"He deserves death."
"Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some
that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager
to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all
ends."
- Tolkien in The Fellowship of the Ring
Troels Forchhammer
2004-08-11 12:39:35 UTC
Permalink
<snip>
Post by Emma Pease
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
7. Was that the best way to handle Grima? (Of note is Gandalf's pity
or mercy, though he doesn't use the word.) I'm afraid I would have
shouted "off with his head!" and so eventually would have saved
Saruman's life (and Lotho's, too?).
But would have deprived the group of the Palantir. Remember it is
Grima who throws it out of Isengard.
Good point!

We know of course the value of pity in Tolkien's universe -- it was
discussed at length a few months ago:
http://groups-beta.google.com/group/rec.arts.books.tolkien/browse_frm/thread/117f8ac7c4bc08d4/
http://tinyurl.com/6e2a8

In general, as I read Tolkien's words, mercy and pity are good things in
themselves. Good or bad may come of it, but showing mercy and pity should
be done without regard for whether it is prudent or whether good or evil
is likely to come of it.

"In this case the cause (not the 'hero') was triumphant,
because by the exercise of pity, mercy, and forgiveness of
injury, a situation was produced in which all was redressed
and disaster averted. Gandalf certainly foresaw this. See
Vol. I p. 68-9.[1] Of course, he did not mean to say that
one must be merciful, for it may prove useful later - it
would not then be mercy or pity, which are only truly
present when contrary to prudence. Not ours to plan! But we
are assured that we must be ourselves extravagantly generous,
if we are to hope for the extravagant generosity which the
slightest easing of, or escape from, the consequences of our
own follies and errors represents. And that mercy does
sometimes occur in this life."
(Letters #192, 1956)

Looking at the situation a bit cynically, it was necessary, I think, that
Saruman should die, and by allowing Gríma Wormtongue to live Tolkien
avoided that his Hobbits were tainted by that deed (the same goes for
Lotho -- "there is to be no slaying of hobbits, not even if they have
gone over to they other side" -- Frodo got his wish, but possibly only
because Wormtongue had been so
obliging as to do the dirty work on Lotho).

Another question would be whether Théoden would have been ready to order
his counsellor put to death: was Gandalf's healing strong enough for
that, or did he need to see, by Wormtongue's own choice, who Gríma truly
was?

Recall that Théoden, in the next chapter, on the way to Helm's Deep
admits to missing /both/ Gandalf and Gríma, so I'm not sure he would have
been easy for him to order him killed at once (though he would probably
not have any mercy after hearing that "some say also that Wormtongue was
seen earlier, going northward with a company of Orcs.")
--
Troels Forchhammer

My adversary's argument
is not alone malevolent
but ignorant to boot.
He hasn't even got the sense
to state his so-called evidence
in terms I can refute.
- Piet Hein, /The Untenable Argument/
Stan Brown
2004-08-12 00:45:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Troels Forchhammer
We know of course the value of pity in Tolkien's universe -- it was
http://groups-beta.google.com/group/rec.arts.books.tolkien/browse_frm/thread/117f8ac7c4bc08d4/
http://tinyurl.com/6e2a8
Nice -- both the long URL and a short one. Great for folks who read
these posts in the archives.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
In general, as I read Tolkien's words, mercy and pity are good things in
themselves. Good or bad may come of it, but showing mercy and pity should
be done without regard for whether it is prudent or whether good or evil
is likely to come of it.
I think pity and mercy have value in our universe also, not only to
their objects but to the people who practice pity and mercy. If you
have pity and show mercy, you are a different kind of person from
someone who is ruthless. When Gandalf tells Frodo that Bilbo took
little hurt from the Ring because he began his tenure with an act of
pity, I think he speaks a universal truth.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Another question would be whether Théoden would have been ready to order
his counsellor put to death: was Gandalf's healing strong enough for
that, or did he need to see, by Wormtongue's own choice, who Gríma truly
was?
I think when Grima spat at the King's feet, any last lingering
doubts Théoden _might_ have had were removed. :-) Théoden was a
kindly man, and not "hasty" as Treebeard would have said --
otherwise he would have ordered Wormtongue's execution for that act
alone.
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Recall that Théoden, in the next chapter, on the way to Helm's Deep
admits to missing /both/ Gandalf and Gríma,
I may be wrong, but I've always read that as a mere rhetorical
device by Théoden.. I can't give a good paraphrase, but my
impression was not that he actually missed Wormtongue, simply that
he was finding his powers of decision rusty and remarking on it. Of
course he did rise to the occasion.
--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com
Tolkien FAQs: http://Tolkien.slimy.com (Steuard Jensen's site)
Tolkien letters FAQ:
http://users.telerama.com/~taliesen/tolkien/lettersfaq.html
FAQ of the Rings: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/ringfaq.htm
Encyclopedia of Arda: http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.htm
more FAQs: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/faqget.htm
Troels Forchhammer
2004-08-12 11:51:12 UTC
Permalink
<snip>
Post by Stan Brown
I think pity and mercy have value in our universe also, not only to
their objects but to the people who practice pity and mercy.
Mine was an attempt to keep the discussion at the level where the
positive effects of pity and mercy are demonstrable (because Tolkien's
beliefs influenced the way he made these things work in Middle-earth). I
do agree that these are (positively) valuable in the primary world as
well.
Post by Stan Brown
When Gandalf tells Frodo that Bilbo took little hurt from the Ring
because he began his tenure with an act of pity, I think he speaks
a universal truth.
I agree.
Post by Stan Brown
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Another question would be whether Théoden would have been ready
to order his counsellor put to death: was Gandalf's healing strong
enough for that, or did he need to see, by Wormtongue's own choice,
who Gríma truly was?
I think when Grima spat at the King's feet, any last lingering
doubts Théoden _might_ have had were removed. :-)
You're probably right (this happens after he had been given the choice).
"His hands worked. His eyes glittered. Such malice was in them that men
stepped back from him. He bared his teeth; and then with a hissing breath
he spat before the king's feet, ..." I agree; there can hardly be much
doubt after that.
Post by Stan Brown
Théoden was a kindly man, and not "hasty" as Treebeard would have
said -- otherwise he would have ordered Wormtongue's execution for
that act alone.
He was also honourable: he had promised Wormtongue a horse and a choice,
and couldn't, with honour, back down on that even if Wormtongue had
already made his choice clear.
Post by Stan Brown
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Recall that Théoden, in the next chapter, on the way to Helm's Deep
admits to missing /both/ Gandalf and Gríma,
I may be wrong, but I've always read that as a mere rhetorical
device by Théoden.
I guess that you're right.

LotR III,7 'Helm's Deep'
" 'It will go ill with Wormtongue, if Gandalf comes upon him
said Théoden. 'Nonetheless I miss now both my counsellors, the
old and the new. But in this need we have no better choice
than to go on, as Gandalf said, [...]"
Post by Stan Brown
I can't give a good paraphrase, but my impression was not that he
actually missed Wormtongue, simply that he was finding his powers
of decision rusty and remarking on it.
Right -- it was the councelling he missed more than the actual
counsellors. I think you're right (I suppose that wanting him to miss
Gandalf personally, I have interpreted it from that angle).
Post by Stan Brown
Of course he did rise to the occasion.
He did indeed.
--
Troels Forchhammer

Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind.
- (Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man)
Stan Brown
2004-08-12 12:17:04 UTC
Permalink
"Troels Forchhammer" <***@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in
rec.arts.books.tolkien:
(Stan Brown wrote, about Grima Wormtongue's spitting at the King's
feet)
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by Stan Brown
Théoden was a kindly man, and not "hasty" as Treebeard would have
said -- otherwise he would have ordered Wormtongue's execution for
that act alone.
He was also honourable: he had promised Wormtongue a horse and a choice,
and couldn't, with honour, back down on that even if Wormtongue had
already made his choice clear.
True, but the spitting was a new offense, lese majeste.
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=lese+majeste&db=*

I think Théoden would have been very much within his rights to have
W whipped or punished more severely, and that would not have been
backing down on the choice he had offered W.(*)

I'm not saying Théoden _should_ have done that -- showing continued
forbearance as he did was more truly kingly.

When I first read LotR I didn't think much of Théoden. As the years
have passed I now see him as a greater and greater figure -- not one
of the mythic heroes like Beren and Aragorn, but giving every ounce
of what he had and doing his absolute best for hie people and his
own honor. Not just a great king, but a good man.

(*)In our modern-day world, if you're let out of jail on probation
and you commit a crime, you're sent back to jail for that crime and
nobody says that the state went back on its word by revoking your
probation.
--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com
Tolkien FAQs: http://Tolkien.slimy.com (Steuard Jensen's site)
Tolkien letters FAQ:
http://users.telerama.com/~taliesen/tolkien/lettersfaq.html
FAQ of the Rings: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/ringfaq.htm
Encyclopedia of Arda: http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.htm
more FAQs: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/faqget.htm
Richard Williams
2004-08-22 12:31:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by Emma Pease
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
7. Was that the best way to handle Grima? (Of note is Gandalf's pity
or mercy, though he doesn't use the word.) I'm afraid I would have
shouted "off with his head!" and so eventually would have saved
Saruman's life (and Lotho's, too?).
But would have deprived the group of the Palantir. Remember it is
Grima who throws it out of Isengard.
Good point!
In general, as I read Tolkien's words, mercy and pity are good things in
themselves. Good or bad may come of it, but showing mercy and pity should
be done without regard for whether it is prudent or whether good or evil
is likely to come of it.
Sparing Wormtongue could even have been as important as sparing Gollum.
Without the intelligence provided by the Palantir, Minas Tirith might well
have fallen ('A grave peril I saw coming unlooked-for upon Gondor from the
South that will draw off great strength from the defence of Minas Tirith.
If it is not countered swiftly, I deem that the City will be lost ere ten
days be gone.'), and without Aragorn's revelation of himself to Sauron
(and the later diversionary expedition launched from the untaken City), a
less-distracted Eye might have paid more attention to its own backyard
('The Dark Power was deep in thought, and the Eye turned inward, pondering
tidings of doubt and danger: a bright sword, and a stern and kingly face
it saw, and for a while it gave little thought to other things; and all
its great stronghold, gate on gate, and tower on tower, was wrapped in a
brooding gloom.'). Curiously enough, according to one version of _The Hunt
for the Ring_ in UT, the Witch-King also spared Grima's life as 'he saw
that the creature was evil and was likely to do great harm yet to Saruman,
if he lived' (which certainly proved true, but didn't turn out to be in
Sauron's long-term best interests!)

Richard.
Igenlode Wordsmith
2004-08-19 22:51:04 UTC
Permalink
On 11 Aug 2004 Emma Pease wrote:

[snip]
Post by Emma Pease
Did Saruman know that Aragorn spoke the language of the Mark and had
served a previous king and therefore was not a stranger to Rohan and
not likely to fall under the provisions of the bar?
I was wondering more about the Men of Gondor - do they get special
exemption?

First we are told that none may enter "save those who know our tongue
*and* are our friends", then "none are welcome... but our own folk
and those that come from... Gondor". But how would an errand-rider
from Gondor manage when called to account in the tongue of the
Riddermark? ;-)
--
Igenlode <***@nym.alias.net> Bookwraith unabashed

** Sometimes change is improvement. Sometimes it is only change. **
Emma Pease
2004-08-20 00:58:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
[snip]
Post by Emma Pease
Did Saruman know that Aragorn spoke the language of the Mark and had
served a previous king and therefore was not a stranger to Rohan and
not likely to fall under the provisions of the bar?
I was wondering more about the Men of Gondor - do they get special
exemption?
First we are told that none may enter "save those who know our tongue
*and* are our friends", then "none are welcome... but our own folk
and those that come from... Gondor". But how would an errand-rider
from Gondor manage when called to account in the tongue of the
Riddermark? ;-)
Perhaps speaking the language of the Mark was a normal requirement for
the errand riders on that route. I wonder how many of the Rohirrim
(if any) spoke only the language of the Mark and not the common
tongue? If a fair number did, it would make sense for the errand
riders to have to speak the language in case they needed to ask for
help.

In any case it was Grima who gave the order and probably had the
specific wording of "save those who know our tongue" and he wouldn't
have cared if the errand riders had troubled getting past the gates.
--
\----
|\* | Emma Pease Net Spinster
|_\/ Die Luft der Freiheit weht
Dirk Thierbach
2004-08-11 07:57:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
_____________________________________________________
"Men need many words before deeds," says Gimli, but it takes more
than words to heal Theoden so he and Rohan can rise to the biggest
challenge they have faced in many years. Few words indeed pass
between Eowyn and Aragorn, yet both their hearts are troubled. And of
what use are words to the one who rides at the head of a host of
warriors to do great deeds; what comfort can any words bring to the
one left behind, standing at the doors of an empty house?
______________________________________________________
I enjoyed that. Thanks.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
4. Comments on Meduseld, the great hall and its furnishings?
The parallels to Beowulf have already been mentioned. IIRC the word
Meduseld "meat-hall" is also used in Beowulf, and the description
includes the golden roof. The whole scene with Hama is also taken
from Beowulf; Shippey describes that in detail.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
5. Speaking of staffs, is there any "magical" significance in
Theoden's staff, other than its role as a prop to convince him he was
old and weak?
I don't think so.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
6. Just how, exactly, does Gandalf heal Theoden?
Both Theoden and Denethor are "plagued" by Despair. Theoden has been
under the influence of Grima for a long time, and this is the result.
And the cure for Despair is Hope -- which is what Gandalf gives him,
even if it is only hope to die heroically in battle. The "letting in
of light" is symbolic in this respect. Denethor, OTOH, is too proud te
let himself healed in that way.

At least that's how I read it. The "germanic theory of courage" was
very important to Tolkien.

And it's a pity none of this comes across in the films. Both Theoden
and Denethor are reduced to simple parodies.

- Dirk
Belba Grubb from Stock
2004-08-15 22:25:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dirk Thierbach
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
_____________________________________________________
"Men need many words before deeds," says Gimli, but it takes more
than words to heal Theoden so he and Rohan can rise to the biggest
challenge they have faced in many years. Few words indeed pass
between Eowyn and Aragorn, yet both their hearts are troubled. And of
what use are words to the one who rides at the head of a host of
warriors to do great deeds; what comfort can any words bring to the
one left behind, standing at the doors of an empty house?
______________________________________________________
I enjoyed that. Thanks.
Thank you, Dirk. JRRT doesn't seem to have followed Ray Bradbury's
self-described habit of writing a sentence and then letting the story
build itself around that sentence, but it helps me so much in writing
a summary to try to find some sort of a brief representative
statement/header for it. This chapter was remarkably difficult in
that respect -- there are so many "openings of the way" here, for lack
of a better way to describe it.
Post by Dirk Thierbach
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
4. Comments on Meduseld, the great hall and its furnishings?
The parallels to Beowulf have already been mentioned. IIRC the word
Meduseld "meat-hall" is also used in Beowulf, and the description
includes the golden roof. The whole scene with Hama is also taken
from Beowulf; Shippey describes that in detail.
I must read Beowulf.
Post by Dirk Thierbach
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
5. Speaking of staffs, is there any "magical" significance in
Theoden's staff, other than its role as a prop to convince him he was
old and weak?
I don't think so.
Wormtongue was a very powerful "enchanter," then...oddly enough, a
much stronger figure in Rohan than after he rejoined Saruman. But
perhaps that weakening was somehow the result of his choice made in
this chapter.
Post by Dirk Thierbach
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
6. Just how, exactly, does Gandalf heal Theoden?
Both Theoden and Denethor are "plagued" by Despair. Theoden has been
under the influence of Grima for a long time, and this is the result.
And the cure for Despair is Hope -- which is what Gandalf gives him,
even if it is only hope to die heroically in battle. The "letting in
of light" is symbolic in this respect. Denethor, OTOH, is too proud te
let himself healed in that way.
At least that's how I read it. The "germanic theory of courage" was
very important to Tolkien.
Sam's later scolding of himself for losing hope fits in well with
this:

The trouble with you [he tells himself] is that you never
really had any hope.
Post by Dirk Thierbach
And it's a pity none of this comes across in the films. Both Theoden
and Denethor are reduced to simple parodies.
Don't let it bother you. I have finally come to understand how JRRT
could take the film rights to his work so lightly. He understood this
work could never be dramatized well.

It is a misfortune that Drama, an art fundamentally distinct
from Literature, should so commonly be considered
together with it, or as a branch of it...Drama is naturally
hostile to Fantasy. Fantasy, even of the simplest kind, hardly
ever succeeds in Drama, when that is presented as it should
be, visibly and audibly acted. Fantastic forms are not to be
counterfeited....

...A reason, more important, I think, than the inadequacy of
stage-effects, is this: Drama has, of its very nature, already
attempted a kind of bogus, or shall I say at least substitute,
magic: the visible and audible presentation of imaginary men
in a story. That is in itself an attempt to counterfeit the
magician's wand. To introduce, even with mechanical success,
into this quasi-magical secondary world a further fantasy or
magic is to demand, as it were, an inner or tertiary world. It
is a world too much. To make such a thing may not be
impossible. I have never seen it done with success.
-- from "On Fairy-stories"

Goethe also goes into this a bit in "Wilhelm Meister's
Apprenticeship." Why crave silver apples, when you can have Treebeard
and all of Fangorn Forest to yourself for a whole chapter and more?

Barb
____
Very little about trees as trees can be got into a play.
-- JRRT in "On Fairy-stories"
____

"What do you know?"

"Well, that is hard to tell," replied Jack. "For although
I feel that I know a tremendous lot, I am not yet aware
how much there is in the world to find out about. It will
take me a little time to discover whether I am very wise
or very foolish."
-- Jack Punkinhead, "The Wonderful Land of Oz"
Dirk Thierbach
2004-08-16 08:30:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Wormtongue was a very powerful "enchanter," then...
He had a good teacher to learn from. Sarumans "voice" works in a
similarl way. No "overt magic" needed.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Post by Dirk Thierbach
At least that's how I read it. The "germanic theory of courage" was
very important to Tolkien.
Sam's later scolding of himself for losing hope fits in well with
Never thought of this in this context. Thanks.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Don't let it bother you. I have finally come to understand how JRRT
could take the film rights to his work so lightly. He understood this
work could never be dramatized well.
Yeah, I know. But the tantalizing thing is that PJ got so close,
and that the script writers understood most of these things and
deliberatedly "stupidified" it, apperently because they thought it
was necessary for the audience. Missing something closely is much
more annoying than shooting in the wrong direction right from the
start ...

- Dirk
TJ
2004-08-16 12:33:56 UTC
Permalink
Dirk,

Meme si ce n'est pas le bon endroit, juste un petit bonjour pour toi en
passant par là ! Thierry, France.
Post by Dirk Thierbach
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Wormtongue was a very powerful "enchanter," then...
He had a good teacher to learn from. Sarumans "voice" works in a
similarl way. No "overt magic" needed.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Post by Dirk Thierbach
At least that's how I read it. The "germanic theory of courage" was
very important to Tolkien.
Sam's later scolding of himself for losing hope fits in well with
Never thought of this in this context. Thanks.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Don't let it bother you. I have finally come to understand how JRRT
could take the film rights to his work so lightly. He understood this
work could never be dramatized well.
Yeah, I know. But the tantalizing thing is that PJ got so close,
and that the script writers understood most of these things and
deliberatedly "stupidified" it, apperently because they thought it
was necessary for the audience. Missing something closely is much
more annoying than shooting in the wrong direction right from the
start ...
- Dirk
Jim Deutch
2004-08-17 12:45:24 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 15 Aug 2004 17:25:52 -0500, Belba Grubb from Stock
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Don't let it bother you. I have finally come to understand how JRRT
could take the film rights to his work so lightly. He understood this
work could never be dramatized well.
...A reason, more important, I think, than the inadequacy of
stage-effects, is this: Drama has, of its very nature, already
attempted a kind of bogus, or shall I say at least substitute,
magic: the visible and audible presentation of imaginary men
in a story. That is in itself an attempt to counterfeit the
magician's wand. To introduce, even with mechanical success,
into this quasi-magical secondary world a further fantasy or
magic is to demand, as it were, an inner or tertiary world. It
is a world too much. To make such a thing may not be
impossible. I have never seen it done with success.
-- from "On Fairy-stories"
Hmm... What about, say, Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream"? I
think the fantasy elements work pretty well there. And don't forget
the "Wizard of Oz" movie. The transition from the "real world" to the
fantastic one is artfully accomplished by the change from
black-and-white to full color. It works perfectly.

If you allow animated films, there are a plethora of successful
fantasies out there: I think in that case you avoid the tertiary
world, because the secondary one is already sufficiently stylized and
fantastic.

I'm afraid I have to disagree with JRRT on this one.

Jim Deutch (Jimbo the Cat)
--
We have met the enemy, and he is us. -- Pogo
the softrat
2004-08-17 17:09:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jim Deutch
And don't forget
the "Wizard of Oz" movie. The transition from the "real world" to the
fantastic one is artfully accomplished by the change from
black-and-white to full color. It works perfectly.
Interesting. My sister and I have thought that the movie sucked since
we were about seven and eight years old. The 'transition' from 'real
world' to 'fantasy' is clutzy, awkward, and needlessly abrupt. It
should occur slowly throughout the entire 'cyclone', certainly not
just when Dorothy opens the door!

the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:***@pobox.com
--
I'm too busy now to cover you with the abuse that you so richly
deserve ...
The American
2004-08-17 18:15:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by the softrat
Post by Jim Deutch
And don't forget
the "Wizard of Oz" movie. The transition from the "real world" to the
fantastic one is artfully accomplished by the change from
black-and-white to full color. It works perfectly.
Interesting. My sister and I have thought that the movie sucked since
we were about seven and eight years old. The 'transition' from 'real
world' to 'fantasy' is clutzy, awkward, and needlessly abrupt. It
should occur slowly throughout the entire 'cyclone', certainly not
just when Dorothy opens the door!
Did they even have the technology to do it back then the way you describe it
Mister soft-Film Producer-rat?

T.A.
Taemon
2004-08-17 21:28:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by the softrat
Interesting. My sister and I
You have a sister?! Oh, the images...

T.
the softrat
2004-08-18 02:15:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Taemon
Post by the softrat
Interesting. My sister and I
You have a sister?! Oh, the images...
T.
Yeah. We're orphans now....

the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:***@pobox.com
--
A cement mixer collided with a prison van on the Cajon Pass.
Motorists are asked to be on the lookout for sixteen hardened
criminals.
Öjevind Lång
2004-08-17 21:55:39 UTC
Permalink
"the softrat" <***@pobox.com> skrev i meddelandet news:***@4ax.com...

[snip]
Post by the softrat
Interesting. My sister and I have thought that the movie sucked since
we were about seven and eight years old. The 'transition' from 'real
world' to 'fantasy' is clutzy, awkward, and needlessly abrupt. It
should occur slowly throughout the entire 'cyclone', certainly not
just when Dorothy opens the door!
There is at least one piece of transition during the cyclone: Dorothy sees
the evil neighbour woman bicyckle in the air, and suddenly her bicycle turns
into a broom and she laughs and screeches in a way that shows that she is a
witch.

Öjevind
Belba Grubb from Stock
2004-08-20 13:53:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jim Deutch
On Sun, 15 Aug 2004 17:25:52 -0500, Belba Grubb from Stock
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Don't let it bother you. I have finally come to understand how JRRT
could take the film rights to his work so lightly. He understood this
work could never be dramatized well.
...A reason, more important, I think, than the inadequacy of
stage-effects, is this: Drama has, of its very nature, already
attempted a kind of bogus, or shall I say at least substitute,
magic: the visible and audible presentation of imaginary men
in a story. That is in itself an attempt to counterfeit the
magician's wand. To introduce, even with mechanical success,
into this quasi-magical secondary world a further fantasy or
magic is to demand, as it were, an inner or tertiary world. It
is a world too much. To make such a thing may not be
impossible. I have never seen it done with success.
-- from "On Fairy-stories"
Hmm... What about, say, Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream"?
Unfortunately The Master used "Macbeth" as an example in "On
Fairy-stories," and I don't know if he ever discussed any other
Shakespearean play. Earlier in the speech he did say:

And criticism in a country that has produced so great a Drama,
and possesses the works of William Shakespeare, tends to be
far too dramatic. But Drama is naturally hostile to Fantasy.
Fantasy, even of the simplest kind, hardly ever succeeds in
Drama, when that is presented as it should be, visibly and
audibly acted.

Someone here has said in another thread that JRRT wasn't too crazy
about Shakespeare. However, he does qualify his comments on Willy the
Shake somewhat (emphasis added):

Macbeth is indeed a work by a playwright who ought, *at least
on this occasion,* to have written a story, if he had the
skill or patience for that art

[An aside: Gee, Troels, I'm getting a lot of OFS online in this post]

I don't know and can't say whether he thought of "Midsummer's Night
Dream" was another, exceptional occasion. It didn't really "grab" me,
but it's a very good play.
Post by Jim Deutch
I think the fantasy elements work pretty well there. And don't forget
the "Wizard of Oz" movie. The transition from the "real world" to the
fantastic one is artfully accomplished by the change from
black-and-white to full color. It works perfectly.
JRRT would exclude it not least because it includes the machinery of
dream:

Next, after travellers' tales, I would also exclude, or rule
out of order, any story that uses the machinery of Dream, the
dreaming of actual human sleep, to explain the apparent
occurrence of its marvels. At the least, even if the reported
dream was in other respects in itself a fairy-story [which I
don't think the movie is...BB], I would condemn the whole as
gravely defective: like a good picture in a disfiguring frame.
It is true that Dream is not unconnected with Faërie. In
dreams strange powers of the mind may be unlocked. In some of
them a man may for a space wield the power of Faërie, that
power which, even as it conceives the story, causes it to take
living form and colour before the eyes. A real dream may
indeed sometimes be a fairy-story of almost elvish ease and
skill- while it is being dreamed. But if a waking writer tells
you that his tale is only a thing imagined in his sleep, he
cheats deliberately the primal desire at the heart of Faerie:
the realization, independent of the conceiving mind, of
imagined wonder.

Is it not because of his ability to so well satisfy that 'primal
desire' that we are still all going on about the fairy-tale JRRT told
us? To paraphrase Stan's wry comment in another thread, 'I almost
said that's not the way it actually happened -- I must get out more.'
The movie "Wizard of Oz" does not have that power.

I was quite young when I first watched "Oz" and even so understood
that the color was fake, something that was a part of the movie
itself, and soon realized, by comparison with the real world, that the
gorgeous greenery of Munchkin-Land was plastic. But JRRT speaks of
the fairy-tale glorifying the real world:

Fantasy is made out of the Primary World, but a good craftsman
loves his material, and has a knowledge and feeling for clay,
stone and wood which only the art of making can give. By the
forging of Gram cold iron was revealed; by the making of
Pegasus horses were ennobled; in the Trees of the Sun and Moon
root and stock, flower and fruit are manifested in glory.

Even when I was a child, I saw the separation between what was
presented on the screen and what was seen around me: not so, in true
fantasy. Consider, in comparison, the wood of Lothlorien through
which we have all walked....

I also noted the boards underneath the dirt in the path through the
"Oz" forest. I didn't know the phrase "suspension of disbelief" then,
but knew that I loved that movie for many reasons, but none of them
had to do with the blatantly fake effects (which seemed quite in
keeping with the humbuggedness of the Wizard of Oz, so it wasn't a
jarring clash). I think, if it had to be boiled down into a few
words, I love(d) that movie because it unites adult and child together
in a "wanna believe" experience that all works out in the end...there
are adults in it, pretending they're children or childish characters.
That was what hooked me. But in looking back on it now as an adult, I
see that it falls more into the category of what Chesterton would
describe as adults lecturing children. As JRRT also said in "On
Fairy-stories":

Fantastic forms are not to be counterfeited. Men dressed up as
talking animals may achieve buffoonery or mimicry, but they do
not achieve Fantasy.

This does not, of course, diminish my affection for the Lion, the
Scarecrow and the Tin Man one whit. But the movie seems quite a thing
apart from Baum's story (even excluding the obvious changes in plot
and so forth to accommodate a movie and a musical presentation). Those
three characters (and others) are much more real and believable when
read. I also think seeing the movie distracted me from a full
enjoyment of the story because the characters and events in "The
Wonderful Land of Oz" are even more convincing and very powerful
(interestingly, Baum dedicated that story to some actors who had
brought "The Wizard of Oz" to the stage, so obviously there are
differences of opinion among fantasy writers - g).
Post by Jim Deutch
If you allow animated films, there are a plethora of successful
fantasies out there: I think in that case you avoid the tertiary
world, because the secondary one is already sufficiently stylized and
fantastic.
I'm afraid I have to disagree with JRRT on this one.
Jim Deutch (Jimbo the Cat)
The interesting thing is that JRRT was speaking of plays in "On
Fairy-stories." There was no TV then, although movies were fairly
common and even JRRT felt comfortable with much that Ambrose Bierce, a
few decades earlier would have eschewed:

PHONOGRAPH, n. An irritating toy that restores life to dead
noises.

PHOTOGRAPH, n. A picture painted by the sun without
instruction in art.

How boring.

Yet way back then you could "download" a song or poem -- the same way
Sam Gamgee did -- for free and without fear of some corporate giant
coming after you to accuse you of piracy and you could play it
whenever you felt like it. And we are so absorbed in the electronic
media nowadays (though I must just speak for myself) that I might
never had seen a meaning in JRRT's words back in 1939 if I had not
separated myself from one of that media's major outlets some eight
years ago and gotten over the withdrawal effects. But now we are
heading into the realm of freedom and the machine, and away from
fairy-tales...or are they two separate realms, at least when
considered from a Tolkien discussion point of view?

Barb
Shanahan
2004-08-20 21:58:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Post by Jim Deutch
On Sun, 15 Aug 2004 17:25:52 -0500, Belba Grubb from Stock
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Don't let it bother you. I have finally come to understand
how JRRT could take the film rights to his work so lightly.
He understood this work could never be dramatized well.
...A reason, more important, I think, than the inadequacy of
stage-effects, is this: Drama has, of its very nature, already
attempted a kind of bogus, or shall I say at least substitute,
magic: the visible and audible presentation of imaginary men
in a story. That is in itself an attempt to counterfeit the
magician's wand. To introduce, even with mechanical success,
into this quasi-magical secondary world a further fantasy or
magic is to demand, as it were, an inner or tertiary world. It
is a world too much. To make such a thing may not be
impossible. I have never seen it done with success.
-- from "On Fairy-stories"
Hmm... What about, say, Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's
Dream"?
I don't know how he felt about the play as a whole, but he hated
with a passion the so-called 'fairies' in it. As do I; FWIW, I
think that play is the worst piece of crap Willie ever turned out.
In a footnote to Letter #131, Tolkien says [re Elves]:
"*Intending the word to be understood in its ancient meanings,
which continued as late as Spenser - a murrain on Will Shakespeare
and his damned cobwebs."
(go JRRT!!)
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
JRRT would exclude it not least because it includes the
Very pertinent. I wonder what JRRT made of 'The Tempest.' That
play, to my mind, works as a fantasy tale, and Ariel and Caliban
are infinitely preferable to Puck et al.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Next, after travellers' tales, I would also exclude, or rule
out of order, any story that uses the machinery of Dream, the
dreaming of actual human sleep, to explain the apparent
occurrence of its marvels. At the least, even if the reported
dream was in other respects in itself a fairy-story [which I
don't think the movie is...BB], I would condemn the whole as
gravely defective: like a good picture in a disfiguring frame.
It is true that Dream is not unconnected with Faërie. In
dreams strange powers of the mind may be unlocked. In some of
them a man may for a space wield the power of Faërie, that
power which, even as it conceives the story, causes it to take
living form and colour before the eyes. A real dream may
indeed sometimes be a fairy-story of almost elvish ease and
skill- while it is being dreamed. But if a waking writer tells
you that his tale is only a thing imagined in his sleep, he
the realization, independent of the conceiving mind, of
imagined wonder.
Yes. And then all the magic is gone...

Ciaran S.
--
We were somewhere around Barstow at the edge
of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.
- h.s. thompson
Dirk Thierbach
2004-08-21 17:05:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Shanahan
Very pertinent. I wonder what JRRT made of 'The Tempest.' That
play, to my mind, works as a fantasy tale, and Ariel and Caliban
are infinitely preferable to Puck et al.
It also works as science fiction ("Forbidden Planet").

- Dirk
Shanahan
2004-08-25 20:54:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dirk Thierbach
Post by Shanahan
Very pertinent. I wonder what JRRT made of 'The Tempest.' That
play, to my mind, works as a fantasy tale, and Ariel and Caliban
are infinitely preferable to Puck et al.
It also works as science fiction ("Forbidden Planet").
OK, gonna completely destroy my street cred as an SF (not sci-fi)
fan here, but would you believe I've never seen 'Forbidden
Planet'?! How similar to the plot of 'The Tempest' is it?

Ciaran S.
--
A hundred years, just hanging around, feeling guilty...
it really honed my brooding skills.
- angel

Igenlode Wordsmith
2004-08-22 22:58:34 UTC
Permalink
[2ndrepost]
[snip]
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Post by Dirk Thierbach
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
5. Speaking of staffs, is there any "magical" significance in
Theoden's staff, other than its role as a prop to convince him he was
old and weak?
I don't think so.
Wormtongue was a very powerful "enchanter," then...oddly enough, a
much stronger figure in Rohan than after he rejoined Saruman. But
perhaps that weakening was somehow the result of his choice made in
this chapter.
I don't think he was an enchanter at all; I think he was merely human,
a clever propagandist if you will. We see a quite explicit sample of
his operation at the end of this chapter, as he first insinuates that
Theoden must be feeling tired and should go and have a nice lie-down
and let old Grima deal with all these nasty wizard-folk for him
(needless to say, I paraphrase here!), then tries to persuade the King
to reduce the strength of his army in the name of caution, then tries
every expedient he can think of to ensure that he himself, at least,
will be left behind.

I am not entirely certain that he *is* working with Saruman in mind at
this point - I can't help sharing Eomer's view, that (as Theoden's words
on his 'rusty' sword confirm) Grima has never been much of a warrior,
and is chiefly angling to save his own skin here. I don't suppose he'd
be averse to delaying the evacuation and stalling as far as possible to
make Saruman's clean-up task after the defeat of the Riders easier,
though.

But it's quite possible to poison someone's mind without the use of any
magic at all, simply by selective information, biased insinuation, and
manipulative proposals. Any tabloid newspaper or political spin-doctor
does it all the time, and doubtless Kings' counsellors (especially
those who are taking bribes to push through projects for powerful
courtiers) have always done so throughout history! I can't think of any
cases where a King's favourite has turned actually to be in the pay of
an enemy of the country, though...
--
Igenlode <***@nym.alias.net> Bookwraith unabashed

Those who falter and those who fall must pay the price...
Richard Williams
2004-08-23 19:40:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Igenlode Wordsmith
I don't think he was an enchanter at all; I think he was merely human,
a clever propagandist if you will. We see a quite explicit sample of
his operation at the end of this chapter, as he first insinuates that
Theoden must be feeling tired and should go and have a nice lie-down
and let old Grima deal with all these nasty wizard-folk for him
(needless to say, I paraphrase here!), then tries to persuade the King
to reduce the strength of his army in the name of caution, then tries
every expedient he can think of to ensure that he himself, at least,
will be left behind.
One remaining question might be whether Wormtongue was in some way
also using Saruman's magic to incapacitate the king (using a 'magic
potion' or whatever) as Appendix A hints, albeit in a section written from
a Rohirric perspective ("He is called Theoden Ednew in the lore of Rohan,
for he fell into a decline under the spells of Saruman, but was healed by
Gandalf"). Given the strength of character that Theoden later displays,
it's a little hard to believe that persuasion alone would have sufficed.

Richard.
Troels Forchhammer
2004-08-11 13:25:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Chapter of the Week: The Lord of the Rings, Book 2
Chapter 6 - The King of the Golden Hall
<snip>
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
"Men need many words before deeds," says Gimli, but it takes more
than words to heal Theoden so he and Rohan can rise to the biggest
challenge they have faced in many years. Few words indeed pass
between Eowyn and Aragorn, yet both their hearts are troubled. And of
what use are words to the one who rides at the head of a host of
warriors to do great deeds; what comfort can any words bring to the
one left behind, standing at the doors of an empty house?
"'Do you find it easy to get drunk on words?'
' So easy that, to tell you the truth, I am seldom perfectly
sober.'"
(Sayers, /Gaudy Night/)

Love it ;-)

<snipping summary>

Thanks again for an excellent introduction, Belba.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
3. [...] There's a lot of undercurrent here, as elsewhere at
various points, part of what makes this writing so enjoyable.
Agreed. And it is these undercurrents, whether intended by the author or
not, that keeps us going. Had Tolkien's works only offered what is
obvious at the top level of the text, they would never have seen the
popularity they enjoy, or have offered us the many opportunities for
interesting discussions.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
5. [...] It's worth noting, given the remarkable description of
the man "so bent with age he seemed almost a dwarf," that Theoden is
only 71.
The line of Éorl became 60 (Éorl), 58, 101, 99, 86, 80, 74, 73, 68
(Helm), 72, 90, 71, 60, 73, 83, 75, 71 (Théoden) and 93 (Éomer).

I was about to ask 'only?' and note that the life expectancy was lower
'back then', but apparently this isn't so -- the average age at death of
the kings of the Mark was 77 and a number of them died in battle. It
would appear that Théoden's age was "only 71".

In that case it is indeed noteworthy that Théoden is described as looking
that old -- of the kings that lived shorter than Théoden, only Brego (58)
didn't die violently and he died of grief over Baldor (Folca (60) died of
tusk-wounds from 'the great boar of Everholt' and Éorl (60) 'fell in
battle in the Wold').

Helm still went forth alone among his enemies, "and slay many men with
his hands" at 68 years of age, which serves to contrast Théoden's bent
and aged appearance.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
8. Now, what does Gandalf tell Theoden in secret there as they look
East. I assumed it was of Frodo and the Ring, but then while they are
eating Gandalf speaks of a secret hope which he can't speak of even to
Theoden. This has always confused me.
I'll admit to having been confused as well.

I am sure that Gandalf does tell Théoden about Frodo and their hope
("Verily, that way lies our hope where sits our greatest fear. Doom hangs
still on a thread. [...]"). Later he says about Merry and Pippin "sharers
of a secret hope, of which even to you, lord, I cannot yet speak openly"
but he goes on to imply that Théoden knows something about this hope,
"Dare you think of what they might now be suffering, or what Saruman
might now have learned to our destruction?" I assume that there were
other tables than the kings (at which 'sat Éomer and the four guests' and
Éowyn waited on the king -- other people may have waited on Éomer and the
four, and other tables may have been nearby where other of the Rohirrim
ate, and Gandalf could not speak /openly/ even to the king, but he could
(as he had done before) speak to him in secret.

<snip>
--
Troels Forchhammer

The idea of being *paid* to govern is terribly middle-class :-)
- Igenlode on AFPH
Belba Grubb from Stock
2004-08-15 22:38:46 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 11 Aug 2004 13:25:06 GMT, "Troels Forchhammer"
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Chapter of the Week: The Lord of the Rings, Book 2
Chapter 6 - The King of the Golden Hall
<snip>
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
"Men need many words before deeds," says Gimli, but it takes more
than words to heal Theoden so he and Rohan can rise to the biggest
challenge they have faced in many years. Few words indeed pass
between Eowyn and Aragorn, yet both their hearts are troubled. And of
what use are words to the one who rides at the head of a host of
warriors to do great deeds; what comfort can any words bring to the
one left behind, standing at the doors of an empty house?
"'Do you find it easy to get drunk on words?'
' So easy that, to tell you the truth, I am seldom perfectly
sober.'"
(Sayers, /Gaudy Night/)
Love it ;-)
And I like that quote -- I am seldom perfectly sober, either, then.
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
<snipping summary>
Thanks again for an excellent introduction, Belba.
You're welcome! Hope you had a nice vacation.
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
3. [...] There's a lot of undercurrent here, as elsewhere at
various points, part of what makes this writing so enjoyable.
Agreed. And it is these undercurrents, whether intended by the author or
not, that keeps us going. Had Tolkien's works only offered what is
obvious at the top level of the text, they would never have seen the
popularity they enjoy, or have offered us the many opportunities for
interesting discussions.
What is especially delicious in this section is the sequence of
events:

-- Aragorn balks at setting Anduril down.

-- Gandalf puts a sword of even greater lineage than Anduril against
the wall, commenting only that "...the Elves made it long ago...Come,
Aragorn!"

-- Aragorn puts Anduril next to Glamdring.

-- Gimli puts into words regarding Anduril what Aragorn is probably
thinking about Glamdring: "Well, if it has Anduril to keep it company
my axe may stay here, too..."

Subtle, and only to be appreciated consciously after a few readings,
perhaps intended by the author or perhaps "simmering under the lid,"
so to speak. But delicious.
Post by Kristian Damm Jensen
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
5. [...] It's worth noting, given the remarkable description of
the man "so bent with age he seemed almost a dwarf," that Theoden is
only 71.
The line of Éorl became 60 (Éorl), 58, 101, 99, 86, 80, 74, 73, 68
(Helm), 72, 90, 71, 60, 73, 83, 75, 71 (Théoden) and 93 (Éomer).
I was about to ask 'only?' and note that the life expectancy was lower
'back then', but apparently this isn't so -- the average age at death of
the kings of the Mark was 77 and a number of them died in battle. It
would appear that Théoden's age was "only 71".
In that case it is indeed noteworthy that Théoden is described as looking
that old -- of the kings that lived shorter than Théoden, only Brego (58)
didn't die violently and he died of grief over Baldor (Folca (60) died of
tusk-wounds from 'the great boar of Everholt' and Éorl (60) 'fell in
battle in the Wold').
Helm still went forth alone among his enemies, "and slay many men with
his hands" at 68 years of age, which serves to contrast Théoden's bent
and aged appearance.
Excellent -- I really hadn't worked it out that far but am glad my
rather thoughtless use of the word "only" bore up under close
examination. Imagine Folca being that old when he went to hunt the
great boar, and Helm 68 when he was instilling terror into his foes
and wreaking havoc among them in the depth of icy winter.

And these were people the Dunedain of the South considered short-lived
and "of the Twilight." By comparison, it really makes you appreciate
what gifts the Numenoreans once had.

Barb
Christopher Kreuzer
2004-08-15 22:54:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
-- Gandalf puts a sword of even greater lineage than Anduril against
the wall, commenting only that "...the Elves made it long ago...Come,
Aragorn!"
Are we sure that Glamdring has a greater lineage than Anduril? I always
thought that they were both equally remote in ancestry (Telchar - a
dwarven smith - for Narsil - from which Anduril was reforged; and a
smith from Gondolin for Glamdring). Both First Age, different smiths.
Can we clearly say that Gondolin (which admittedly approached the glory
of Tuna in Aman) had better smiths than Nogrod/Belegost?

<snip>
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Excellent -- I really hadn't worked it out that far but am glad my
rather thoughtless use of the word "only" bore up under close
examination. Imagine Folca being that old when he went to hunt the
great boar, and Helm 68 when he was instilling terror into his foes
and wreaking havoc among them in the depth of icy winter.
I wouldn't get too excited about Helm being some sort of superhuman. The
depths of that icy winter froze him to death...
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
And these were people the Dunedain of the South considered short-lived
and "of the Twilight." By comparison, it really makes you appreciate
what gifts the Numenoreans once had.
Or maybe how these 'lesser' men were not as much lesser as some would
have us think... :-)

Christopher
--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard
Belba Grubb from Stock
2004-08-19 14:09:43 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 15 Aug 2004 22:54:20 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
-- Gandalf puts a sword of even greater lineage than Anduril against
the wall, commenting only that "...the Elves made it long ago...Come,
Aragorn!"
Are we sure that Glamdring has a greater lineage than Anduril? I always
thought that they were both equally remote in ancestry (Telchar - a
dwarven smith - for Narsil - from which Anduril was reforged; and a
smith from Gondolin for Glamdring). Both First Age, different smiths.
Can we clearly say that Gondolin (which admittedly approached the glory
of Tuna in Aman) had better smiths than Nogrod/Belegost?
An interesting question, but when age is more or less equivalent,
isn't it rather who carried the sword that matters, rather than who
made it?

Anyway, when you're standing before the door to Meduseld and balking
because you're so attached to the family heirloom you've carried for
so long and which has now been spruced up, ready for action that may
lead you to the throne of Gondor, such niceties may not come to mind.
This is a wonderfully human touch JRRT gives Aragorn, especially in
light of his earlier comment about those who cannot give up treasures
being fettered (though of course this is not at all the same situation
as Pippin with his Elven brooch).
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
<snip>
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Excellent -- I really hadn't worked it out that far but am glad my
rather thoughtless use of the word "only" bore up under close
examination. Imagine Folca being that old when he went to hunt the
great boar, and Helm 68 when he was instilling terror into his foes
and wreaking havoc among them in the depth of icy winter.
I wouldn't get too excited about Helm being some sort of superhuman. The
depths of that icy winter froze him to death...
Yes, he was a human, not an Elf. But after the death of his son he
was in some superhuman mode, certainly: few 68-year-olds could handle
the one (extended travel in cold, through deep snow which is
physically demanding to walk through...or had it frozen and developed
a hard crust; I don't have the books in front of me) or the other
(warfare and siege), let alone both, and not too many of any age would
as successfully have brought the war to the enemy as Helm did.
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
And these were people the Dunedain of the South considered short-lived
and "of the Twilight." By comparison, it really makes you appreciate
what gifts the Numenoreans once had.
Or maybe how these 'lesser' men were not as much lesser as some would
have us think... :-)
Yep. :-)

Barb
AC
2004-08-19 17:51:31 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 19 Aug 2004 09:09:43 -0500,
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
On Sun, 15 Aug 2004 22:54:20 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
Post by Christopher Kreuzer
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
-- Gandalf puts a sword of even greater lineage than Anduril against
the wall, commenting only that "...the Elves made it long ago...Come,
Aragorn!"
Are we sure that Glamdring has a greater lineage than Anduril? I always
thought that they were both equally remote in ancestry (Telchar - a
dwarven smith - for Narsil - from which Anduril was reforged; and a
smith from Gondolin for Glamdring). Both First Age, different smiths.
Can we clearly say that Gondolin (which admittedly approached the glory
of Tuna in Aman) had better smiths than Nogrod/Belegost?
An interesting question, but when age is more or less equivalent,
isn't it rather who carried the sword that matters, rather than who
made it?
I don't think so. Aragorn goes out of his way to say that Telchar made it.
Pretty clearly the renown of Telchar was great enough that Aragorn expected
that to produce awe. Anduril was obviously no mere olden blade, though I'm
not too sure how much of whatever enchantment it had came from Telchar or
from Elrond's smiths.

<snip>
--
Aaron Clausen
***@hotmail.com

WOODY: How's it going Mr. Peterson?
NORM : It's a dog eat dog world out there, Woody, and I'm wearing
milkbone underwear.
Troels Forchhammer
2004-08-18 08:47:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
On Wed, 11 Aug 2004 13:25:06 GMT, "Troels Forchhammer"
<snip>
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Post by Troels Forchhammer
"'Do you find it easy to get drunk on words?'
' So easy that, to tell you the truth, I am seldom perfectly
sober.'"
(Sayers, /Gaudy Night/)
Love it ;-)
And I like that quote -- I am seldom perfectly sober, either, then.
I'll subscribe to that as well -- though words are cheap to come by, in
particular on usenet, and not all words have this effect. In RABT,
however, I often find intoxicating words ;-)

<snip>
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
What is especially delicious in this section is the sequence of
[Setting down weapons in front of Meduseld]
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Subtle, and only to be appreciated consciously after a few readings,
perhaps intended by the author or perhaps "simmering under the lid,"
so to speak. But delicious.
I haven't really thought before of comparing the lineages of Andúril and
Glamdring, but I think that I have subconsciously considered Andúril as
having the greatest lineage: probably because Andúril's lineage is
deliberate and elaborated upon while Glamdring's lineage seems more
accidental: a mere throwaway comment by Elrond in the Hobbit; one of
these instances where a name from Tolkien's legendarium entered into the
Hobbit and was allowed to because the two were not intended to be
connected.

But I agree that if we take it on face value, that Glamdring was made in
Gondolin for the war against Morgoth (probably by a Noldo smith, who
would have received instruction from Aulë) and worn by Turgon, it would
have, within the story, the greater lineage, and only Gandalf's humility
(in the context of LotR) prevents this fact from showing: possibly
because, in the Third Age context, Andúril's lineage is more important.


But regardless of this, the passage is a fine piece of writing. Is
Legolas' readiness in submitting his weapons a sign that he, as an Elf,
puts less emphasis on weapons than do the Man and the Dwarf?

<snip>
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Post by Troels Forchhammer
the average age at death of the kings of the Mark was 77 and a
number of them died in battle. It would appear that Théoden's age
was "only 71".
[...]
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Excellent -- I really hadn't worked it out that far but am glad my
rather thoughtless use of the word "only" bore up under close
examination.
;-)

Only glad to be of service.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Imagine Folca being that old when he went to hunt the great boar,
And he killed it, though he died himself from his wounds. Getting close
enough to a 'great boar' to receive tusk-wounds is not the way I'd prefer
to hunt it <g>, and must have required great strength and vigour.
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
and Helm 68 when he was instilling terror into his foes and wreaking
havoc among them in the depth of icy winter.
The description of Helm in the appendix is, I think, a stirring one:
"'If Helm dislikes a crooked staff that is thrust on him, he
breaks it. So!" With that smote Freca such a blow with his fist
that he fell back stunned, and died soon after."

And note that Helm was unarmed when he stalked the camps of the
Dunlendings -- "It was believed that if he bore no weapon no weapon would
bite on him." And the Dunlendings were that afraid of him that they said
"that if he could find no food he ate men".

Though he died in the end, frozen to death in the cold, this was, IMO,
impressive deeds of a 68-year-old man.

<snip>
--
Troels Forchhammer

+++ Divide By Cucumber Error. Please Reinstall Universe And Reboot +++
- (Terry Pratchett, Hogfather)
Yuk Tang
2004-08-18 19:00:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Troels Forchhammer
But regardless of this, the passage is a fine piece of writing. Is
Legolas' readiness in submitting his weapons a sign that he, as an
Elf, puts less emphasis on weapons than do the Man and the Dwarf?
The examples of Eol's knife and the Black Sword (Angrist?) suggest that
the Sindar held some weapons in esteem.
--
Cheers, ymt.
Belba Grubb from Stock
2004-08-19 22:25:22 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 18 Aug 2004 08:47:24 GMT, "Troels Forchhammer"
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
What is especially delicious in this section is the sequence of
[Setting down weapons in front of Meduseld]
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Subtle, and only to be appreciated consciously after a few readings,
perhaps intended by the author or perhaps "simmering under the lid,"
so to speak. But delicious.
I haven't really thought before of comparing the lineages of Andúril and
Glamdring, but I think that I have subconsciously considered Andúril as
having the greatest lineage: probably because Andúril's lineage is
deliberate and elaborated upon while Glamdring's lineage seems more
accidental: a mere throwaway comment by Elrond in the Hobbit; one of
these instances where a name from Tolkien's legendarium entered into the
Hobbit and was allowed to because the two were not intended to be
connected.
But I agree that if we take it on face value, that Glamdring was made in
Gondolin for the war against Morgoth (probably by a Noldo smith, who
would have received instruction from Aulë) and worn by Turgon, it would
have, within the story, the greater lineage, and only Gandalf's humility
(in the context of LotR) prevents this fact from showing: possibly
because, in the Third Age context, Andúril's lineage is more important.
I must check back and see if there has been a thread (very likely
there has been) about how Glamdring traveled from the ruin of the
tower of Gondolin to that troll hole, and then from the chasm of Moria
to that wall at Meduseld - it's a very well traveled sword. Way off
topic for this thread, of course, but would be interesting to try to
figure out (or alternatively to ponder whether JRRT had ever evisaged
such a story behind Glamdring; as you say, it could well have been
accidental and then kept up in "The Lord of the Rings" merely because
Gandalf had to have a sword and it would have been a lot of trouble to
give him any other sword but the one he had borne in "The Hobbit").
Post by Troels Forchhammer
But regardless of this, the passage is a fine piece of writing. Is
Legolas' readiness in submitting his weapons a sign that he, as an Elf,
puts less emphasis on weapons than do the Man and the Dwarf?
A good point. He regards his weapons more as tools than as something
to wrap his ego in, perhaps? It's possible, but I think it more
likely that he understood full well, especially after their meeting
with Eomer, the effect that the mention of the Golden Wood and
Lothlorien would have on the guards (and maybe even had to contain his
mirth at Hama's wariness in handling the knife, quiver and bow). His
weapons, more than any of the others, excepting perhaps Gandalf's
staff had the wizard set it down, were very safe there.

<snip>
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Though he died in the end, frozen to death in the cold, this was, IMO,
impressive deeds of a 68-year-old man.
Helm, more than any other Third Age men that immediately come to mind,
reminds me of some of the heroes among Men during the First Age.

Barb
Shanahan
2004-08-20 04:18:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
On Wed, 18 Aug 2004 08:47:24 GMT, "Troels Forchhammer"
Post by Troels Forchhammer
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
What is especially delicious in this section is the sequence of
[Setting down weapons in front of Meduseld]
<snip>
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Post by Troels Forchhammer
But regardless of this, the passage is a fine piece of writing.
Is Legolas' readiness in submitting his weapons a sign that he,
as an Elf, puts less emphasis on weapons than do the Man and
the Dwarf?
A good point. He regards his weapons more as tools than as
something to wrap his ego in, perhaps? It's possible, but I
think it more likely that he understood full well, especially
after their meeting with Eomer, the effect that the mention of
the Golden Wood and Lothlorien would have on the guards (and
maybe even had to contain his mirth at Hama's wariness in
handling the knife, quiver and bow). His weapons, more than any
of the others, excepting perhaps Gandalf's staff had the wizard
set it down, were very safe there.
I agree. I think Legolas was having some fun at the mortals'
expense, and getting a bit of his own back after what Eomer said
about 'the sorceress of the Golden Wood'. It puts a nice
tongue-in-cheek twist on Leggy's character.

Ciaran S.
--
Dalai Lama at his birthday party:
"Oh wow, nothing! Just what I always wanted!"
Shanahan
2004-08-20 04:14:06 UTC
Permalink
<snip>
Post by Troels Forchhammer
[Setting down weapons in front of Meduseld]
Post by Belba Grubb from Stock
Subtle, and only to be appreciated consciously after a few
readings, perhaps intended by the author or perhaps "simmering
under the lid," so to speak. But delicious.
I haven't really thought before of comparing the lineages of
Andúril and Glamdring, but I think that I have subconsciously
considered Andúril as having the greatest lineage: probably
because Andúril's lineage is deliberate and elaborated upon
while Glamdring's lineage seems more accidental
<snip>
Post by Troels Forchhammer
But I agree that if we take it on face value, that Glamdring was
made in Gondolin for the war against Morgoth (probably by a
Noldo smith, who would have received instruction from Aulë) and
worn by Turgon, it would have, within the story, the greater
lineage <snip>
I've been thinking about this, and wondering. Are you sure the
Noldor would be greater smiths than the dwarves? "In the tempering
of steel alone of all crafts the Dwarves were never outmatched even
by the Noldor." (The Silm., 'Of the Sindar'). Telchar especially
might have been the greatest smith ever. He is the only First Age
smith that Tolkien mentions by name as a smith of renown, for
example. He makes Angrist, which cleaves Morgoth's Iron Crown
("iron it would cleave as if it were green wood"). He makes the
Dragon-Helm of Dor-lomin, which was powerfully enchanted: "A power
was on it that guarded any who wore it from wound or death." And,
of course, he makes Narsil. I'd say Anduril has the greater
lineage.

Ciaran S.
--
Go easy on me -
I'm hippotomonstrosesquippedaliophobic.
Troels Forchhammer
2004-08-20 13:44:43 UTC
Permalink
in <***@enews1.newsguy.com>,
Shanahan <***@bluefrog.com> enriched us with:
['Lineage' of Andúril and Glamdring]
Post by Shanahan
I've been thinking about this, and wondering. Are you sure the
Noldor would be greater smiths than the dwarves?
[...]

You're right -- it is most likely that the Telchar was a greater smith
than the (unnamed, supposedly Noldo) smith who made Glamdring.
Post by Shanahan
I'd say Anduril has the greater lineage.
I've been looking more at owners than smiths when comparing the two
swords' 'lineage' -- I think that the line of owners is implied in the
word rather than the original smiths. Turgon was the High King of the
Noldor in Middle-earth and Glamdring was, at this point, being owned by
an incarnate Maia, both being 'higher' than any owner of Narsil/Andúril
even if it had been borne by Elros Tar Minyatur, IMO.

It's two different ways of looking at the swords' relative 'nobility',
and both are, I believe, valid, though from a practical point of view it
is, obviously, the smith that really counts.
--
Troels Forchhammer

The idea of being *paid* to govern is terribly middle-class :-)
- Igenlode on AFPH
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