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Old 02-23-2008, 08:35 AM   #81
davem
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Sam the dog...

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Sam fell on his knees, trembling. 'Get up, Sam!' said Gandalf. 'I have thought of something better than that. Something to shut your mouth, and punish you properly for listening. You shall go away with Mr. Frodo!'
'Me, sir!' cried Sam, springing up like a dog invited for a walk. 'Me go and see Elves and all! Hooray!' he shouted, and then burst into tears.
From Njal's Saga:

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Then Gunnar rode from the Thing west to the Dales, till he came to Hjardarholt, and Olaf the Peacock gave him a hearty welcome. There he sat half a month, and rode far and wide about the Dales, and all welcomed him with joyful hands. But at their parting Olaf said, "I will give thee three things of price, a gold ring, and a cloak which Moorkjartan the Erse king owned, and a hound that was given me in Ireland; he is big, and no worse follower than a sturdy man. Besides, it is part of his nature that he has man's wit, and he will bay at every man whom he knows is thy foe, but never at thy friends; he can see, too, in any man's face, whether he means thee well or ill, and he will lay down his life to be true to thee. This hound's name is Sam."

After that he spoke to the hound, "Now shalt thou follow Gunnar, and do him all the service thou canst."

The hound went at once to Gunnar and laid himself down at his feet.
Well, it made me think.....
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Old 01-29-2012, 10:55 AM   #82
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Samr of Brennu-Njal's Saga makes me think of Sam of LOTR too. Although I suppose Sam doesn't immediately see that Strider is not an enemy and means them harm, not good, and he can have a bit of a blind-spot when it comes to Gollum, too. It's partly the jealous/possessive side of Sam's love, the pride and possessiveness which Tolkien saw as inevitable in someone who provided such service as Sam did. But it's also Sam's long habit of caution and innate common-sense, of course.
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Old 09-23-2016, 02:05 PM   #83
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So, Legate and I are sitting on our sofa, reading this chapter and discussing Gandalf. He's a major presence in this chapter - probably half of the narration is actually his monologue. I love his voice and he's a great character but never tell me Gandalf is a boring goody two shoes mentor character. He's a horrible besserwisser, very arrogant (despite being humbler than say Saruman) and quite ruthless.

Every time I read this chapter I find his treatment of Gollum a little more off-putting, basically everything from the torture to the loathing way he talks about him. He implies Gollum deserves Frodo's pity, yet he has very little pity for Gollum himself. Also, Gandalf isn't exactly known for "the end justifies the means" attitude - that's more Saruman's cup of tea - but when I think of him and Gollum, I think maybe he should be.

Another thing I was paying attention to - okay this will probably take us a bit off topic and would probably merit a thread of its own - was the difference between Bilbo and Frodo as Ringbearers, and how important it is that Bilbo gave the Ring away freely - even Frodo, the steadfast pacifist martyr could not do it. (Well, he went through a lot worse things than Bilbo ever did and was under an entirely different strain, but this is still thematically and symbolically important.) Gandalf also stresses that the Ring had so little power over Bilbo because his first deed as a Ringbearer stemmed of pity.

Now this made me think, what was Frodo's first significant deed wearing the Ring? I think of Weathertop and stabbing the Witch-King. Is that why Frodo had such a difficult relationship with the Ring? But Frodo act courageously and in self-defense, in Elbereth's name and against the Dark Powers. It's hard to think of that as a bad thing.

Lastly, a small thing. Did Gollum really eat human babies?!
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Old 09-23-2016, 02:28 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by Thinlómien View Post
Every time I read this chapter I find his treatment of Gollum a little more off-putting, basically everything from the torture to the loathing way he talks about him. He implies Gollum deserves Frodo's pity, yet he has very little pity for Gollum himself. Also, Gandalf isn't exactly known for "the end justifies the means" attitude - that's more Saruman's cup of tea - but when I think of him and Gollum, I think maybe he should be.
It certainly sounds quite scary there, what he does to Gollum. What does "I put the fear of fire on him" mean, anyway? Gandalf is being awfully vague, that is most certainly not a normal expression and I would like to know what he means there. Somehow I don't think it just means picking up a torch and waving it menacingly. It feels like something... deeper.

When I read this now, I have been also thinking that the expression reminds me of something else, something creepy someone else does, maybe some Ringwraith later on. Then I realised: it reminded me of what happens to the squint-eyed Southerner in one of the versions of the Hunt for the Ring in the Unfinished Tales. When running an errand for Saruman, he stumbles upon the Nazgul who are riding North, and they question him, learn where the Shire is, learn that Saruman is a double-crosser and afterwards, they "reprogram" this Saruman's agent and send him to Bree where he teams up with Bill Ferny. The phrase I am interested in, however, is:
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Unfinished Tales
[The Witch-King] put therefore the Shadow of Fear on the Dunlending, and sent him on to Bree as an agent.
Super-creepy, right after some awful mind-torture, and just the fact that I am even able to connect this with what Gandalf did to Gollum does not shed very good light on Mr. Scary Wizard. Huh. *shudders*

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lommy
Gandalf also stresses that the Ring had so little power over Bilbo because his first deed as a Ringbearer stemmed of pity.

Now this made me think, what was Frodo's first significant deed wearing the Ring? I think of Weathertop and stabbing the Witch-King. Is that why Frodo had such a difficult relationship with the Ring? But Frodo act courageously and in self-defense, in Elbereth's name and against the Dark Powers. It's hard to think of that as a bad thing.
Tsk-tsk. I can think of at least one earlier one: in the Barrow. His friends are lying there, seemingly dead, he wakes up, and he thinks that he could run away, imagines himself being free and grieving for them, but being alive. Then he decides not to. Actually, now that I said it, it feels much more so like a parallel to Bilbo's "first deed", isn't it? There is a similar moral dilemma present, similar feel. I don't know if that was intentional parallel - it is still quite a well-hidden episode, as we can see for example just from the fact that you forgot about it, and I think you wouldn't be alone (even though PJ and company are surely partly responsible for this)... but in any case, a parallel it is.

And, of course, it points towards Frodo's future choices, and indeed, his whole journey: it is about self-sacrifice, about sticking with his friends (or not - it is also a reversal of his future choice at Amon Hen where he does choose to abandon his friends - in order to protect them. Again).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lommy
Lastly, a small thing. Did Gollum really eat human babies?!
And animal babies. But yes, Frodo's disgust with Gollum after hearing the story is perfectly understandable then - and he voices the disgust repeatedly, I have noticed this time, almost a bit too many times one might think, but under these circumstances, quite appropriately.
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Old 09-23-2016, 02:41 PM   #85
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Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc View Post
Tsk-tsk. I can think of at least one earlier one: in the Barrow. His friends are lying there, seemingly dead, he wakes up, and he thinks that he could run away, imagines himself being free and grieving for them, but being alive. Then he decides not to. Actually, now that I said it, it feels much more so like a parallel to Bilbo's "first deed", isn't it? There is a similar moral dilemma present, similar feel. I don't know if that was intentional parallel - it is still quite a well-hidden episode, as we can see for example just from the fact that you forgot about it, and I think you wouldn't be alone (even though PJ and company are surely partly responsible for this)... but in any case, a parallel it is.

And, of course, it points towards Frodo's future choices, and indeed, his whole journey: it is about self-sacrifice, about sticking with his friends (or not - it is also a reversal of his future choice at Amon Hen where he does choose to abandon his friends - in order to protect them. Again).
Very interesting. I actually originally thought of an even earlier thing: Frodo putting on the Ring to test Tom Bombadil. Not very noble or wise - but surely no a significant deed either?

But I think you might be onto something here. I'm looking forward to that chapter now.
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Old 09-23-2016, 11:22 PM   #86
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There is a lot of things I'm finding I want to comment on in this chapter. Where oh where should I begin?

The previous posts in this thread discussed a lot about Frodo's motivations, and will, for accepting the Ring. Some have even said he's selfish, judgmental and cowardly. I sympathize the most with Frodo's choices in this chapter, if anything it's Gandalf who comes off as a manipulator and not flawless and not the "goody two shoes mentor," as Lommy puts it.

Not only because of his threats to get info out of Gollum, but also he's got a bit of a temper. The previous chapter we are hinted that the wizard isn't as kindly and gentle as he seems:

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That was Gandalf's mark, of course and the old man was Gandalf the Wizard, whose fame in the Shire was due mainly to his skill with fires, smokes, and lights. His real business was far more difficult and dangerous, but the Shire-folk knew nothing about it.
Now in The Shadow of the Past, he basically scares Frodo into leaving The Shire and taking the Ring. When I read it this time, Gandalf is rather rude to Frodo, he doesn't sound understanding of Frodo's frustration and peril that has been forced upon him.

Quote:
'It is not,' said Frodo. 'Though I am not sure that I understand you. But how have you learned all this about the Ring, and about Gollum? Do you really know it all, or are you just guessing still?'

Gandalf looked at Frodo, and his eyes glinted. 'I knew much and I have learned much,' he answered. 'But I am not going to give an account of all my doings to you. The history of Elendil and Isildur and the One Ring is known to all the Wise. Your ring is shown to be that One Ring by the fire-writing alone, apart from any other evidence.'

'And when did you discover that?' asked Frodo, interrupting.
'Just now in this room, of course,' answered the wizard sharply.
The italics are Tolkien's influence and I really think Gandalf comes off in a bad tone, it's belittling and rude. Reading between the lines it comes off as Gandalf saying "I don't have to explain myself to you (Frodo)" and "I know more than what I'm telling you, but I'm going to tell you only what I think is necessary for you to know." Then he gets cross with Frodo for being scared of taking the only choice that Gandalf pushes Frodo into making. Manipulative much?

Also, this isn't the only time Gandalf casually mentions a threat of fire to get information out of someone:

Quote:
'"Butterbur they call him," thought I. "If this delay was his fault, I will melt all the butter in him. I will roast the old fool over a slow fire." He expected no less, and when he saw my face he fell down flat and began to melt on the spot.'

'What did you do to him?' cried Frodo in alarm. 'He was really very kind to us and did all that he could.'

Gandalf laughed. 'Don't be afraid!' he said. 'I did not bite, and I only barked very little. So overjoyed was I by the news that I got out of him, when he stopped quaking, that I embraced the old fellow...'~The Council of Elrond
Whether Gandalf would ever torture someone to get information he wants, is not the point. It's the fact he has apparently no problems making people think he will roast them if they don't. After Bilbo's 2nd disappearance from the Shire, Gandalf's reputation plummets. He's no longer a kind old wizard who serves as a main party entertainment. He's a "nuisance and a disturber of the peace."

Quote:
"Some people are actually accusing me of spiriting Bilbo away, or worse. If you want to know, there is supposed to be a plot between you and me to get hold of his wealth."~A Long-expected Party
Quote:
But in the meantime, the general opinion in the neighbourhood was that Bilbo, who had always been rather cracked, had at last gone quite mad, and had run off into the Blue. There he had undoubtedly fallen into a pool or a river and come to a tragic, but hardly an untimely, end. The blame was mostly laid on Gandalf.~The Shadow of the Past
I think it's great character building that even though the town gossip is absurd and not what actually happened, there is a grain of truth to every rumor. It's important we see this darker, manipulative Gandalf. Ironically what happens at the end of this chapter is basically what Gandalf was accused of doing at the end of the previous chapter. It goes to show why Gandalf would be a most terrible and frightening Ring-bearer. He has no second-guessing of letting people think he will roast them for information. He all but tells Frodo he has the power to break his mind:

Quote:
Gandalf laughed grimly. 'You see? Already you too, Frodo, cannot easily let it go, nor will to damage it. And I could not "make" you - except by force, which would break your mind...'
It's Gandalf's restraint and rejection of using that power which is his redemption. Although, it's certainly frightening that he uses the threat of his power to intimidate others to get the results and answers he wants. Yep, I definitely sympathize with Frodo in this chapter.
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Old 09-24-2016, 09:11 AM   #87
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Other points I took away from the chapter this time around...

I always noted Frodo's disgust and disbelief when Gandalf tells him that Gollum was not so different from hobbits. Frodo simply can't believe there is any connection to someone so vile and done as many awful deeds as Gollum has done. I know how much this changes when Frodo encounters and spared Gollum's life. They are both so closely tied by the Ring, but I really took notice for the first time that there is a connection between the two that doesn't involve the Ring. In the same way that Bilbo and Gollum were familiar with the same riddles, in this chapter we see Frodo shares Gollum's inquisitive mind to discover new paths:

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Frodo went tramping over the Shire with them; but more often he wandered by himself, and to the amazement of sensible folk he was sometimes seen far from home walking in the hills and woods under the starlight. Merry and Pippin suspected that he visited the Elves at times; as Bilbo had done.
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So it went on, until his forties were running out, and his fiftieth birthday was drawing near: fifty was a number that he felt was somehow significant (or ominous); it was at any rate at that age that adventure had suddenly befallen Bilbo. Frodo began to feel restless, and the old paths seemed too well-trodden. He looked at maps, and wondered what lay beyond their edges: maps made in the Shire showed mostly white spaces beyond its borders. He took to wandering further afield and more often by himself; and Merry and his other friends watched him anxiously. Often he was seen walking and talking with strange wayfarers that began at this time to appear in the Shire.
Frodo's restlessness is described twice as "wandering." He gets no more enjoyment walking the "old paths that seemed to well-trodden," he wanders further from home and mostly on his own. I only recently connected Frodo's "wandering" to a trait similar to Gollum's. Yes, Gollum stayed hidden in his mountain cave, but he had the same wandering spirit to discover secrets and pathways:

Quote:
'All the "great secrets" under the mountains had turned out to be just empty night: there was nothing more to find out, nothing worth doing, only nasty furtive eating and resentful remembering. He was altogether wretched. He hated the dark, and he hated light more: he hated everything, and the Ring most of all.'
Gollum leaves the mountains and continues on wandering, actually tracing Bilbo's paths and then answers the "summons" to Mordor where the are new paths and secrets he discovers in his aimless wandering. Frodo doesn't want to see it yet, but there is more connecting the two than the Ring. Or this wandering that leads to no purpose could be an effect of the Ring as well?

Ted Sandyman is one of the more humorous characters to me. Without a doubt he's obnoxious and annoying, but every time I read Ted's dialogue, I just can't stop picturing the ultimate internet troll. "I didn't see it, so it can't be true! You said Hal saw it? Well he's always saying he saw something."

"Walking trees! No way, what he saw was just an elm tree."
But there are no elm trees in this area
"Then he couldn't have seen an elm tree!"

I just want to yell at Sam to stop feeding the troll.
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Old 07-20-2018, 06:12 PM   #88
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I had nothing to say for "A Long-Awaited Party," and then somehow a whole grocery list of thoughts occurred for "The Shadow of the Past." Skim-reading through the thread (and getting side-tracked here or there), it fascinates me that I had so many thoughts that WEREN'T already touched on in this thread's 14-year history!

1. The narrator is very coy about whether or not Frodo actually meets Elves--we're definitely supposed to think he does, but it's interesting to me that we're never directly told it. And since it's definitely a new experience when Frodo meets Gildor & Co, he's not meeting High Elves. It's kind of a pity we don't see any of these meetings. If they're not High Elves, are they Elves of Eriador or Elves from beyond heading for the Havens? If they're Elves of Eriador, does that mean they're Nandor--or are we talking about Sindar--or is it even right in a post-Lindon, post-Eregion, post-Last Alliance, end-of-the-Third-Age era to make those distinctions?


2. On a similar note, I'd love to know more about the Dwarves streaming towards the Blue Mountains. They're presumably not Longbeards, which would give us the only real post-Nauglamír look at non-Longbeard Dwarves. Where did these Dwarves live before? What roads did they take to Eriador? It seems unlike they came through Gondor or Rohan, given the attitude of Éomer on first encountering Gimli (he lumps him with Legolas a creature out of legend), and there are distinct obstacles in coming through Mirkwood. Could they have lived in the Grey Mountains?

And what if some of them ARE Longbeards? Could there be Dwarves (remember, they're a race characterised as businessmen more than warriors) who see the way the wind is blowing in Erebor and DON'T want to see things hit the fan? If they're non-Longbeards and if they're coming from further East than Erebor, are they going right past Dáin's kingdom and making the hard journey through Mirkwood and over the mountains and what does THAT say?

Both these questions are the kind of RPG fodder that I find fascinating (and would love to see explored).


3. "His [Gandalf's] hair was perhaps whiter than it had been then, and his beard and eyebrows were perhaps longer."

Just how long ARE Gandalf's eyebrows? I think it's The Hobbit that says they stick out below the brim of his hat, but apparently that wasn't long enough--Tolkien says they might even be longer. If you have no concept of hyperbole, this is downright comic.


4. The whole concept of this thread came up--and in short, it's kind of a chicken-and-egg question: which came first, the full poem ("Three Rings for the Elven-kings..."), which Gandalf says is a poem known to the wise, or are the two verses engraved on the Ring older?

If the poem came first, does it fit with Sauron's personality to quote someone else's poetry on his magnum opus. Actually, scratch that: it's not even possible for the poem to have existed pre-the One Ring, because why would a poem exist in which the One Ring is referenced before the One Ring existed.

But, on the other hand, why would there be a poem "long known in Elven-lore" that has a direct quote from the One Ring? Even granting that the Ring is certainly important enough to have lore about preserved, would the Elves *REALLY* directly quote Sauron? (There's more about the poem in "The Council of Elrond"--or in "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age" about these lines being Sauron's... but no more to clarify why the Elves would preserve his words directly in their lore.) I think the reason this bothers me a little is that the Elves are *so* offended when Gandalf recites the Black Speech in Rivendell--and, granted, the lore isn't preserved in the Black Speech, but it is still Sauron's own words and they're distinctly triumphal. And it's not as if the Elves preserved those words alone--someone, presumably an Elf, took the trouble to build a whole longer poem around them. It's almost like the most edgy kind of musical sampling you can imagine.


5. "I wish it need not have happened in my time" is one of those really identifiable moments, and Gandalf's advice has a LOT of applicability here. Give it enough time and the easily read-in allegory that has always been possible (though disavowed) will turn to some kind of golden prophecy: "Oh, Tolkien was prophecying the events of the 2020s. Frodo's dismay is that of any millennial born in the 1980s and 1990s, who remembered the golden years and Bilbo [i.e. the Greatest Generations] tales of adventures. Gandalf's advice is a prescient comfort to those who would have to face the Digital Takeover and the Fall of Democracy."


6. Ending on a creepy note: "Then why didn't he track Bilbo further," asked Frodo. "Why didn't he come the Shire?"

Gandalf answers that Gollum meant to and got distracted, and while it certainly wasn't GOOD news for Middle-earth that he ended up in Mordor, I still kind of feel that we were spared the horror story of Gollum making his way by pitch blackness down the East Road, propagating the same horrors in Bree and Buckland that he left in the Wilderland and Dale. Can you imagine him creeping up to a quiet Bag-End some dark night and trying to murder Bilbo in his sleep? Gives me the shivers--but I'll admit that if the Amazon Lord of the Rings series turns out to be an anthology of What If? alternative stories and this is one, I'll be all in.
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Old 08-07-2018, 06:19 PM   #89
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Quote:
4. The whole concept of this thread came up--and in short, it's kind of a chicken-and-egg question: which came first, the full poem ("Three Rings for the Elven-kings..."), which Gandalf says is a poem known to the wise, or are the two verses engraved on the Ring older?~Formendacil
Could it be the lines engraved on the One Ring were just a later addition to the poem. The original being:

Three Rings for the Elven-Kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.


Then at some point the "One Ring" verses were just added on later. I don't think it would be unheard of. Bilbo's "The Road goes ever on and on" alters throughout the story.

In A Long-Expected Party Bilbo says: "Pursuing it with eager feet"

In Three is Company Frodo changes "eager feet" to "weary feet".

And finally in Many Partings, Bilbo changes the last couple lines:

"Let them a journey new begin
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet."


Granted Bilbo's road poem is not the same as a poem "long known in Elven-lore." And there is this underlying theme from the Elves that they're simply fighting the "long defeat." Fighting the long defeat is depressing and sad to think about, but the moral being there is always hope, even if it's just a fool's hope. It's why all the good and wise characters are pretty clear they're not prognosticators.

Gandalf advices Frodo that "not even the very wise can see all ends."

Elrond counsels against an oath being placed on anyone in the Fellowship, because who knows what decisions each member of the Fellowship will have to make. Gimli says sworn word will strengthen a quaking heart. Elrond responds "or break it."

Galadriel tells Frodo she's not in the future-telling business. Her Mirror cannot predict the future.

I guess this is me saying in a roundabout way, it might be depressing the Elves would include Sauron's triumph in making the One Ring, but it's also kind of Elven if you think about their "fight the long defeat" theme.
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Old 08-08-2018, 07:48 AM   #90
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I've always assumed that the full Verse of the Rings was written to memorialise the betrayal that was the One. Gandalf says:

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Out of the Black Years come the words that the Smiths of Eregion heard, and knew that they had been betrayed:

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the Darkness bind them.
When did they hear Sauron's words? Did Celebrimbor hear them when Sauron forged or first wore the One (we know he was 'aware of him')? Or did Eregion only find out exactly what the One had been forged for when Sauron's armies were already on their doorstep?

Either way, the full poem feels like a message of warning, letting the Wise keep alive the memory of exactly what the problem is. Yes, Elves still have three of the Rings - but here's where we've figured out Sauron sent the others, and here's what he's planning. If you ever start thinking that maybe he's not so much of a big deal, remember, he forged the One for the explicit purpose of ruling and binding all the others.

hS
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