View Single Post
Old 08-18-2002, 06:45 PM   #25
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 228
Nar has just left Hobbiton.

Kuruharan, you make an interesting point which I had completely forgotten about:
...the forces of Good were not really able to assure their victory until Beorn came and killed Blog. So maybe the Eagles coming was not such a eucatastrophe after all. Maybe the arrival of Beorn from hundreds and hundreds of miles away, just in time to smash and slash goblins and kill Blog, was the real eucatastrophe.
Regardless of the eagles' pre-existing relationship with Manwe, in The Hobbit they don't function any differently from Beorn-- they both appear as wild, intelligent and powerful beings whose help may be available to decent folk if they please and are pleased (by adroit storytelling and Gandalf's wiles or a previous debt to Gandalf). The eagles take on greater significance in retrospect, but I can't find that in The Hobbit itself-- they're Gandalf's friends and Gandalf's a good wizard, but I think that's it within the book. They appear within The Hobbit as much more embodied forces of nature than representatives of justice from some of the higher aspects of creation.

On balance, I still think that the arrival of both (now that you've reminded me of Beorn) is a eucatastrophe. Once the feuding two-leggers sort out their alliance, it is confirmed by the arrival of allies from the air and earth.

However, I find this, as well as Tom Bombadil's rescue of the hobbits, to be happy reverses of a more earthbound type-- we could argue if they qualify as eucatastrophes by Tolkien's definition. If they do, I think it's in a more of a mythic or folktale way: do the right thing, sing the right song, make the right gesture, and the forces of creation will save you, banish your enemies, retrieve all your errors. Magical thinking is a nice fantasy and refuge for the beleagured, but any true code of morals and faith cannot remain there. The eucatastrophe at the end of RotK is much more mature-- get it all done at the price required, and the lords of the air will shift the resulting pattern so that the price is slightly less terrible -- some sacrifice required, but lacking that last bitter taste of irony.
Nar is offline