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Old 08-18-2003, 10:37 AM   #1
Estelyn Telcontar
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Silmaril The Symbolic Significance of Weather

One of the literary devices Tolkien uses to great effect in the LotR is the description of weather changes in connection with dramatic plot events. This topic may have been touched upon in passing, but there has been no discussion devoted to it so far. I’d like to share a few examples that occurred to me, then open up for more from all of you.

In “The Ride of the Rohirrim”, Ghân-buri-Ghân says:
Drive away bad air and darkness with bright iron!
He places the weather in direct conjunction with the enemy, assuming that it can be changed by defeating Sauron. Then we read
…suddenly he stood looking up like some startled woodland animal snuffling a strange air. A light came in his eyes.

‘Wind is changing!’ he cried…
Later Wídfara says:
…to me also the air brings messages. Already the wind is turning. There comes a breath out of the South; there is a sea-tang in it, faint though it be. The morning will bring new things.
I can’t help but wonder, did the sea-breeze that heralded good things to the enemies of Sauron indicate help from the Valar? Manwë is surnamed Súlimo, “Lord of the Breath of Arda”. The warriors drew hope and courage from the change, even though it did not directly affect the battle.

The other occurrence that stands out in my mind is told in “The Steward and the King”. Éowyn and Faramir are standing upon the city walls, awaiting the outcome of the far-off battle.
…it seemed to them as they stood upon the wall that the wind had died, and the light failed, and the Sun was bleared, and all sounds in the City or in the lands about were hushed: neither wind, nor voice, nor bird-call, nor rustle of leaf, nor their own breath could be heard; the very beating of their hearts was stilled. Time halted.
…a great wind rose and blew… And the Shadow departed, and the Sun was unveiled, and light leaped forth… …and in all the houses of the City men sang for the joy that welled up in their hearts from what source they could not tell.
After that the Eagles brought news of the defeat of Sauron, but the weather actually plays a prophetic role in this passage!

As far as I can see, any mentions of the weather after the War of the Ring refer to good, sunny weather – with one exception!

When the hobbits approach Bree, it begins to rain. Granted, it’s late October, so that is quite appropriate to the season, but it is also symbolic of the bleak circumstances ahead of them. We read of the Shire:
…the sky was grey. The land looked rather sad and forlorn…
After the Scouring, we hear that
1420 in the Shire was a marvellous year. Not only was there wonderful sunshine and delicious rain, in due times and perfect measure, but there seemed something more: an air of richness and growth, and a gleam of a beauty beyond that of mortal summers…
Various weather elements that show up in LotR are light and darkness, cold and heat, sun, rain, wind, snow, fog and storm. Where have you found other examples of their connection with the story?
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Old 08-18-2003, 10:44 AM   #2
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interesting, it does make sense! I will look for other frases where the weather is playing such a role
well, that's that then
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Old 08-18-2003, 02:14 PM   #3
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Excellent thread, Estelyn! I also noticed that Tolkien often used the description of nature and weather in a symbolic way and just recently talked about this with my son, with whom I have been reading LotR.

One other example that struck me is in "The King of the Golden Hall"
He raised his staff. There was a roll of thunder. The sunlight was blotted out from the eastern windows; the whole hall became suddenly dark as night.
"Now Théoden, son of Thengel, will you hearken to me?" said Gandalf. "Do you ask for help?" He lifted his staff and pointed to a high window. There the darkness seemed to clear, and through the opening could be seen, high and far, a patch of shining sky. "Not all is dark. Take courage, Lord of the Mark; for better help you will not find."
The doors rolled back and a keen air came whistling in. A wind was blowing on the hill.
And when Théoden has come outside with Gandalf
...they could see beyond the stream the green fields of Rohan fading into distant grey. Curtains of wind-blown rain were slanting down. The sky above and to the west was still dark with thunder, and lightning far away flickered among the tops of hidden hills. But the wind had shifted to the north , and already the storm that had come out of the East was receding, rolling away southward to the sea. Suddenly through a rent in the clouds behind them a shaft of sun stabbed down. The falling showers gleamed like silver, and far away the river glittered like a shimmering glass. "It is not so dark here" said Théoden.
(This scene is soooo much better than the "Exorcism" in the movie!!)

Another example is the unnatural darkness that flows from Mordor on the Dawnless Day. It is of volcanic origin, but also willed by Sauron. Also the whole behaviour of Mount Doom seems an accurate description of nature, but reflects at the same time Saurons activity.

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Old 08-18-2003, 05:45 PM   #4
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Not meaning to be sour, but it seems that weather has a connection in all books. It sets the mood, somehow...Take, for example, the typical horror passage: It was a dark and stormy night, etc.

Of course, those are very interesting passages that you noted, but I think that weather and connections with stories are very prevalent in most fantasy books. I'm sorry if this is slightly off topic.
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Old 08-18-2003, 10:18 PM   #5
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Darn, I wish I had my books with me...

Before I go on, I'd just like to say that Tolkien (as well as his friend, Lewis) is absolutley brilliant in creating milieu. His choice of weather, setting, and so on manipulate the emotion and overall "feel" of the scene.

Imladris: Of course it applies to all books (and maybe even other forms of litereature, and films, for that matter), but Estelyn is asking about what we have particularly observed with Tolkien. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

Would the description of the atmosphere in Mordor be considered as weather? The darkness-and-flame ambience around Oroduin suggest terror and hopelessness, and create a mood of suspense for the readers. The lack of clarity in the atmosphere emphasized the tension and anxiety (Forgive me, I don't have my text with me, so I have nothing to quote).
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Old 08-19-2003, 07:41 AM   #6
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My apologies...I wasn't in the greatest mood when I wrote that. I'm sorry Estelyn.

Okay, here's something I found:

The change in he wizard's voice was astounding [when he spoke the Mordor tongue in the Council of Rivendell]...a shadow seemed to pass over the high sun, and the porch for a moment grew dark.
Whether that could be considered as weather, technically, I don't know.

The weather was also rather bleak when they set out from Rivendell and for many days after that. Whether that foretold the hard journey I don't know, or if it was like that only because it was winter.

My apologies again.

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Old 08-19-2003, 11:41 AM   #7
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Sometimes the weather is rainy and cold
Sometimes it's sunny and hot.
Whatever the weather we'll weather the weather
Weather we like it or not.

<grins, ducks, and runs for his life>
The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.
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Old 08-19-2003, 04:25 PM   #8
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Frodo departed the Shire in a thick fog which sets a rather depressing tone.
...finding a path that cannot be found, walking a road that cannot be seen, climbing a ladder that was never placed, or reading a paragraph that has no...
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Old 08-19-2003, 07:06 PM   #9
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Well, it may be an obvious one (which is perhaps why no one had mentioned it yet), but one of the most striking uses of weather to mirror events occurs as the chapter Helm's Deep unfolds.

The brooding atmosphere is set in the opening paragraphs, as Theoden's company rides towards the fortress:

There were no clouds overhead yet, but a heaviness was in the air: it was hot for the season of the year. The rising sun was hazy, and behind it, following it slowly up the sky, there was a growing darkness, as of a great storm moving out od the East. And away in the North-West there seemed to be another darkness brooding about the feet of the Misty Mountains, a shadow that crept down slowly from the Wizard's Vale.
The clouds are not yet overhead, but darkness is gathering over Mordor and, more pertinently for the purposes of the battle about to unfold, over Isengard. Slowly, the clouds approach:

As the second day of their riding drew on, the heaviness in the air increased. In the afternoon the dark clouds began to overtake them: a sombre canopy with great billowing edges flecked with dazzling light.
There was neither star nor moon when the Riders came to the breach in the Dike ...
And then the storm breaks as the battle commences:

It was now past midnight. The sky was utterly dark, and the stillness of the heavy air foreboded storm. Suddenly the clouds were seared by a blinding flash. Branched lightning smote down upon the eastward hills. For a staring moment the watchers on the walls saw all the space between them and the Dyke lit with white light: it was boiling and crawling with black shapes ... The dark tide flowed up to the walls from cliff to cliff. Thunder rolled in the valley. Rain came lashing down.
The weather here parallels events in a number of ways. The dark clouds gathering at Isengard and approaching Helm's Deep mirror the gathering and approach of Saruman's army. The still, heavy air tells of a coming storm, as the defenders grimly await the coming battle. Thunder and lightning signify the arrival of the Saruman's army, and the lightning is used to illuminate the dreadful force as it approaches. And the rain starts lashing the fortifications just as the Orcs start to assault the fortress. Indeed, their arrows are described as being "thick as rain" as they whistle over the battlements.

Just as the battle seems hopeless, the skies start to clear and the mooon shines brightly. It is said to bring little hope to the Rohirrim as their enemy seems to grow rather than diminish. But, although matters worsen for the defenders, this clearing of the sky does nevertheless preface their ultimate victory.

Gandalf and Erkenbrand arrive just as the sun is rising, and with the battle won, the next chapter opens with:

So it was that in the light of a fair morning King Theoden and Gandalf the White Rider met again upon the green grass beside the Deeping-stream.
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Old 08-19-2003, 08:16 PM   #10
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Thumbs up

From all of tolkien's marvelous works this has to the best...( you don't had to agree but, it's cool... and all)
ok, my favorite....

And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed on into the west, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.

Ok, now The KA is speaking again, now who doesn't just feel capitivated by the wonderful seen? ok, now i'm being just weird... anyway i think it's one of the best seens in the book,(if you're opened-minded) hey? who isn't?... and besides, you need great detail to write such a good book... [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img] [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 08-21-2003, 08:07 PM   #11
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The Eye

...I'd just like to say that Tolkien is absolutley brilliant in creating milieu. His choice of weather, setting, and so on manipulate the emotion and overall "feel" of the scene.
I concur. It gives the scenes so much depth and mood; when reading the books the first time, I could just see the thunderheads following the Rohirrim up to Helm's Deep. It gave me chills. Another bit I noticed was when Frodo and Sam are trying to navigate the Emyn Muil:
The hobbits now stood on the brink of a tall cliff, bare and bleak, its feet wrapped in mist; and behind them rose the broken highlands crowned with drifting cloud. A chill wind blew from the East.
Then, trying to climb down the gully:
The hurrying darkness, now gathering great speed, rushed up from the East and swallowed the sky. There was a dry splitting crack of thunder right overhead. Searing lightning smote down into the hills.
And this, unless I'm much mistaken, is the same storm that makes its way to Helm's Deep later on.

In regard to Imladris' comment earlier, I would like to offer a word of agreement. Weather connections with stories is very prevelent; and an excellent way to inject feeling into a scene. If people read carefully enough, they can catch a whiff of future events in how the author sets the weather of a scene.

For example, there is a scene in a story I'm writing at the moment that illustrates this fact. In the scene, my main character is being healed after a long trial and illness. In most cases, this would call for a hopeful sort of mood, but I chose to present it with a more melancholy feel: the sky is overcast and dreary and the scene ends with rain. This does not neccessarily reflect the external workings of the scene, more the internal effects of what has happened and the repercussions thereof. The character is saved from her primary dilemma, but she is not free (or completed healed) of the effects of it, and it will continue to haunt her. The setting shows this.

Abedithon le,

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Old 08-22-2003, 02:50 AM   #12
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Perhaps nature and place have a relationship to the whole plot and conflict? Or is nature and place one and the same?

And I've got to ask: does the shadow have anyhting to do with the weather as well? Or is it just plain atmosphere and has nothing to do with the weather altogether?
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Old 09-02-2003, 07:58 PM   #13
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after reading Neferchoirwen's post above, I was reading through ROTK and noticed this, When Eowyn (Dernhelm) was in battle with the the Nazgul.
The outstretched neck she clove asunder, and the hewn head fell like a stone. Backward she sprang as the huge shape crashed to ruin, vast wings outspread, crumpled on the earth; and with its fall the shadow passed away. A light fell about her, and her hair shone in the sunrise.
By reading this, it leads me to believe that the "shadow" was a part of the weather, but of course it was only there due to the presence of the enemy (or of Sauron's will). Its hard to say, because the shadow would not be there period if there was no evil. Thats why as soon as the beast was killed by Eowyn's stroke, the sun broke through. Which is another signifigance of the weather in which this thread was originated. I think the weather is really just like the forces of good and evil that strive against each other as do the good and evil of middle earth.
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Old 09-04-2003, 09:42 AM   #14
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Neferchoirwen wrote:

Perhaps nature and place have a relationship to the whole plot and conflict?
I think so, even Aragorn and Legolas think that weather has a special meaning:

Aragorn: There is something strange at work in this land. I distrust the silence. I distrust even the pale Moon. The stars are faint; and I am weary as I have seldom been before, weary as no Ranger should be with a clear trail to follow.'

Legolas:'Awake! Awake! he cried. 'It is a red dawn. Strange things awaits us by the eaves of the forest. Good or evil I do not know; but we are called. Awake!'
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But it is said that not until that hour had such cold thoughts ruled Finrod; for indeed she whom he had loved was Amarië of the Vanyar, and she went not with him into exile.
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Old 09-04-2003, 09:59 PM   #15
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This is a good topic! And the significance in many cases stretches beyond symbolism.

For instancein the battle of Pelannor fields, the gloom of Sauron wasnt just weather:It was a weapon, used to destroy the morale of his foes. The wind and rain from the south is not only symbolic of washing away the filth of Mordor, it also physically speeds Aragorn on his way with the fleet.

Such cases are myriad: Tolkien not only uses a bit of good imagery, he developes the story plot and unfolds a parable about good versus evil.
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Old 09-04-2003, 10:30 PM   #16
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hi. i agree with others in the claim that tolkien makes really good use of weather as milieu, almost as a character of its own.

one of my favorite examples of this, which was (admittedly) magnified by its inclusion in the extended 4-disc version of FOTR, was when gandalf speaks in the language of mordor at the council of elrond and the sky becomes dark. way cool!
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Old 09-09-2003, 04:43 PM   #17
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I agree with the Saucpan Man about Helm's Deep. What a classic setting for a horrific battle! Rain, darkness, storm. It perfectly sets the mood.
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Old 04-09-2004, 02:40 AM   #18
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great day to start a quest!

I want to point out one of the less well-known instances when weather creates a mood and makes a point in the story:

At what I consider to be 'the official beginning of the quest', namely when the hobbits start off in 'The Old Forest' chapter, Frodo is woken up with these cheerful words: 'It is half past four and very foggy." Later on, we are given a more detailed description of what looks like a truly depressing autumn morning:
The leaves of the trees were glistening, and every twig was dripping, the grass was grey with cold dew.
It was dark and damp.
The reader is felt compelled to imagine that the four companions' sense of adventure was 'at the lowest ebb', and perhaps they all wished to be in their cosy hole by the fire with the kettle just beginning to sing, like Bilbo so adequately put it.
The fog theme goes on:
They mounted, and soon they were riding off into the mist, which seemed to open reluctantly before them and close forebodingly behind them.
Can't get more obvious than this.

Why did Tolkien choose this particular gloomy atmosphere in which the four hobbits embark on the quest of their lives? Maybe it was a way to foreshadow the hardships they would endure ahead. Maybe it was a way to underline the fact that 'home is behind, the (cruel) world ahead.'
And no one was ill, and everyone was pleased, except those who had to mow the grass.
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Old 04-09-2004, 03:41 AM   #19
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The Fog on the Barrow-Downs. Honestly, people.
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Old 08-13-2004, 03:10 AM   #20
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Tolkien Wither the Weather Tolkien?

Besides fantastic plots, and all-to-real characters, Mother Nature seems to play a major role in Tolkien's Middle Earth. She seems to work tediously, but also being all-too mysterious at the same time behind the curtain of the main story-line. The characters in this fantastic tale seem to have a unique connection with this powerful force. From the light of the sun dispelling negative forces of darkness on the battle fields, to the natural powers fortelling the future in a dream; the weather and its influences on this story are many and wonderful. The weather seems to act in part with many key events during the story. One example of this is made by Faramir and Eowyn while in the houses of healing, wondering of what is next to come in the war of the ring.
And they said no more, and it seemed to them as they stood upon the wall that the wind died, and the light failed, and the sun was bleared...
The characters very emotions and feelings seem to work in harmony with the forces of nature. This (in my opinion, you do not have to agree.) is most definately why Tolkien's work is a Da Vinci among the tales of fantasy. It weaves a perfect blanket between the character and its surroundings, and in harmony , how they cover the reader with awe and enchantment in any part of this wonderful story.

Blessed Be reader,

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Old 08-13-2004, 09:21 PM   #21
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Let's not forget the "Fog on the Barrow-Downs"!

And also the lament that Aragorn and Legolas sing for Boromir in "The Departure of Boromir," Book III. They sing of the North, South, and West Winds, but not of the East. When they are finished with their song....

"You left the East Wind to me," said Gimli, "but I will say naught of it."

"That is as it should be," said Aragorn. In Minas Tirith they endure the East Wind, but they do not ask it for tidings.
Mordor, of course, lies to the east of Minas Tirith, but the fact that even the wind is considered an ill thing is interesting. Plus the fact that they would 'ask the wind for tidings' serves to further the trend of the importance of Nature and weather.
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Old 08-14-2004, 10:35 PM   #22
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In light of the topic of weather, Tolkien seems to use light literally as well as figuratively (no pun intended).

For instance, let us take Eowyn in the House of Healing. For the longest time Faramir was showing Eowyn his love for her, but she was still in her "winter", because she has not yet let go of her love for Aragorn. But after the downfall of Sauron, Eowyn finally "understood", as the book said. Now, does not the word "enlightened" have a more or less similar meaning? Then we see that as Faramir and Eowyn walk together after this, a light was about them.

I also noticed in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields that after Eomer found out that it was Aragorn and the Grey Company who were in the ships after all, it was mentioned that he threw his sword, which caught light. Or something like that.

It's really hard to explain things without the books in hand. Would anyone please help me by verifying these from the books? Any help would be deeply appreciated.
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Old 08-15-2004, 09:16 PM   #23
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To add to what I said about the wind earlier, I found another quote:

"To me also the air brings messages. Already the wind is turning. There comes a breath out of the South; there is a sea-tang in it, faint thought it be. The morning will bring new things. ABove the reek it will be dawn when you pass the wall."

"If you speak truly, Widfara, then may you live beyond this day in years of blessedness!" said Theoden.
Since the lands across the Sea are where the Valar dwell and the strong men of Numenor came from, a "sea-tang" in the air near a place many miles from the sea would be good tidings, I suppose.
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Old 08-16-2004, 04:59 PM   #24
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The Wind Goes Ever On and On

Ah, a most intriguing topic on the subject of symbolism. If I might insert my uneeded pair of cents, and sense as well, I shall. I find that there is a lot of use of the description of weather by characters, most often in song, that sets a mood, portrays a like or dislike, perhaps a racial/ethnic distinction. Weather is thought of in different terms by different folk, and not necessarily because of their experiences with it. The heat/cold equation is one that varies because of the climate of a certain place. Cruel Redhorn bears a very ominous chill, but most evil things in Tolkien are parallel with 'heat' rather. Mordor, as one would think, is a very hot, red, and sweltering place. The subtle coldness of wind, though, seems to be disliked by the Dwarves in The Hobbit based on their song.

The wind was on the withered heath/But in the forest stirred no leaf:
There shadows lay by night and day/And dark things silent crept beneath.
The wind came down from mountains cold/And like a tide it roared and rolled;
The branches groaned, the forest moaned/And leaves were laid upon the mould.
The wind went on from West to East/All movement in the forest ceased,
But shrill and harsh across the marsh/Its whistling voices were released.
The grasses hissed, their tassles bent/The reeds were rattling -- on it went
O'er shaken pool under the heavens cool/Where racing clouds were torn and rent.
It passed the lonely Mountain bare/And swept above the dragon's lair:
There black and dark lay boulders stark/And flying smoke was in the air.
It left the world and took its flight/Over the wide seas of the night,
The moon set sail upon the gale/And stars were fanned to leaping light.
So, the Dwarves may be a bit adverse to cold in the form of wind. Again, one must assume that the heat of Smaug's breath has also made them wary. Maybe they're just not easily pleased. In the book, I do not believe the temperature in Moria is spoken of, but Gimli sounds like Dwarves who inhabit the place enjoy it. Gondorians, on the other hand, equate wind, and perhaps cold climates differently. Two songs which hinge on this, or perhaps portray it, are as follows. The first is a Song of the Fields of Lebennin, which talks of wind from the sea. Being in close proximity to the sea and the Anduin river, watery weather might be preferred by Gondorians. The second verse is Aragorn's song about Gondor, which also mentions wind and rain. Both verses make wind and the somewhat dreary atmosphere that it provides out to be very glorious and radiant. See if you can tell what I mean here.

Silver flow the streams from Celos to Erui
In the green fields of Lebennin!
Tall grows the grass there. In the wind from the Sea
The white lilies sway,
And the golden bells are shaken of mallos and alfirin
In the green fields of Lebennin,
In the wind from the Sea!
Gondor! Gondor, between the Mountains and the Sea!
West Wind blew there; the light upon the Silver Tree
Fell like bright rain in gardens of the Kings of old.
O proud walls! White towers! O wingéd crown and
throne of gold!
O Gondor, Gondor! Shall Men behold the Silver Tree,
Or West Wind blow again between the Mountains and the Sea?
On the other hand, I go back to the racial weather distinction with another verse. Hobbits, the fair little folk, seem to be people who would enjoy a warm spring or summer or fall, as most beings of light on Middle-Earth would. Of course, most don't seem 'adverse' to the cold, or the winter. On Caradhras, Legolas (the elf, obviously), talks of fetching the sun, but in a jovial fashion, and he, a light-hearted individual, shows nothing near the same dislike of wintry weather as the Halflings. One example is in Bilbo Baggin's quatrain poem in which he equates winter with evil, wild things, talking, albeit briefly, of the fact that the natural beauty which Hobbits relish has been stolen from them.

When winter first begins to bite
and stones crack in the frosty night,
when pools are black and trees are bare,
'tis evil in the Wild to fare.
This leads one to thinking about what these different weather events entail. If you consider different seasons to be 'weather' then there's even more symbolism to be found. There's even more to be found in Tolkien's verses, but I am unable to locate the appropriate sections. I may edit this post or follow-up to it when I do. There is a lot of light and dark-hearted reference to weather symbolism, and plenty to astronomical things, the which I cannot fathom. It would seem that Tolkien has an affinity for flooding and sinking, which was how he disposed of Numenor, Beleriand, and the Ring of Isengard. Water, in the form of wave and rain, seems to be oft used as a weapon, an obstacle, or a representation.
"What mortal feels not awe/Nor trembles at our name,
Hearing our fate-appointed power sublime/Fixed by the eternal law.
For old our office, and our fame,"

-Aeschylus, Song of the Furies

Last edited by Kransha; 08-16-2004 at 05:26 PM.
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Old 08-17-2004, 03:43 AM   #25
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Let us not forget the beautifully crafted passage showing Frodo and Sam at the Cross-roads:
Standing there for a moment filled with dread Frodo became aware that a light was shining; he saw it glowing on Sam's face beside him. Turning towards it, he saw, beyond an arch of boughs, the road to Osgiliath running almost as straight as a stretched ribbon down, down, into the West. There, far away, beyond sad Gondor now overwhelmed in shade, the Sun was sinking, finding at last the hem of the great slow-rolling pall of cloud, and falling in an ominous fire towards the yet unsullied Sea. The brief glow fell upon a huge sitting figure, still and solemn as the great stone kings of Argonath. The years had gnawed it, and violent hands had maimed it. Its head was gone, and in its place was set in mockery a round rough-hewn stone, rudely painted by savage hands in the likeness of a grinning face with one large red eye in the midst of its forehead. Upon its knees and mighty chair, and all about the pedestal, were idle scrawls mixed with the foul symbols that the maggot-folk of Mordor used. Suddenly, caught by the level beams, Frodo saw the old king's head: it was lying rolled away by the roadside. `Look, Sam!' he cried, startled into speech. `Look! The king has got a crown again!'The eyes were hollow and the carven beard was broken, but about the high stern forehead there was a coronal of silver and gold. A trailing plant with flowers like small white stars had bound itself across the brows as if in reverence for the fallen king, and in the crevices of his stony hair yellow stonecrop gleamed.'They cannot conquer for ever!' said Frodo. And then suddenly the brief glimpse was gone. The Sun dipped and vanished, and as if at the shuttering of a lamp, black night fell.
For me this is one of my favourite passages in the book, using the suns rays to show that Sauron's darkness cannot 'conquer forever'. Beautiful.

PS, Evisse pointed out the use of weather at the begining of the Old Forest chapter. I'd like to also point out the use of weather later on in this chapter where the hobbits get lost and grow tired. The description tolkien describes of stifling heat and a heavy atmosphere is almost palpable to me whenever I read this section. Just these few sentences are enough to explain my point:
A golden afternoon of late sunshine lay warm and drowsy upon the hidden land between. In the midst of it there wound lazily a dark river of brown water, bordered with ancient willows, arched over with willows, blocked with fallen willows, and flecked with thousands of faded willow-leaves. The air was thick with them, fluttering yellow from the branches; for there was a warm and gentle breeze blowing softly in the valley, and the reeds were rustling, and the willow-boughs were creaking.
You can see the words Tolkien uses to lull the reader almost into the same state the hobbits will shortly find themselves. Note the words 'lay warm and drowsy', 'wound lasily' etc. You can imagine the willow boughs creaking in the softly blowing breeze. Marvellous stuff.
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