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Old 06-29-2005, 04:01 PM   #41
Lalwendë
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The only thing that springs to mind is that the Palantiri were not simply a means of seeing what was happening in the present moment, but also, in some way, retained images of the past - things that had been seen in them. Maybe the Stone of Erech would have shown the original meeting of Isildur & the men of the Mountain, kind of duplicating the moment of their swearing of service to Isildur & his heir - pure speculation for novelty value.
I don't think you need to speculate. I noticed Gandalf's words in the final chapter of Book 3:

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And how it draws one to itself! Have I not felt it? Even now my heart desires to test my will upon it, to see if I could not wrench it from him and turn it where I would--to look across the wide seas of water and of time to Tirion the Fair, and perceive the unimaginable hand and mind of Feanor at their work, while both the White Tree and the Golden were in flower!" He sighed and fell silent.
Gandalf, in wistful fashion, is relating yet another secret which the palantiri hold, that they retain visions of the past.
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Old 06-29-2005, 07:25 PM   #42
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Actually, I was under the impression that she was chasing death at the time.
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I'm not quite sure here either. First, Eowyn was dismayed that Aragorn would choose the Paths of the Dead because she was convinced that he would not survive it. Then she offers, nay begs him, to take her with him. Did she mean to die together with him? If he would have ridden to battle with Théoden and Eomer, would she still have wanted to accompany him?
You're probably right about her wanting to die with him. When Aragorn would not allow her, that's when the thoughts of desperation began to appear. That we have seen as she knelt before Aragorn, begging. Had he chosen to wait for Theoden and Eomer, I believe she still would have slipped into her disguise - but this time with two people in mind: her uncle, and Aragorn. (Now a scenario like that would be hard to imagine.)

But what mostly gave me that idea is the statement she will make three times in the next chapter: He is gone.
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Old 10-29-2005, 08:05 AM   #43
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Baldor the Hapless

Lalwende recently came across this reference to Baldor's fate in Tolkien's essay 'The Rivers & Beacon Hills of Gondor'. It was published in Vinyar Tengwar, but I've just found it on-line
http://216.239.59.104/search?q=cache...rvo/t/vt42.doc
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Note 6: The Men of Darkness built temples, some of great size, usually surrounded by dark trees, often in caverns (natural or delved) in secret valleys of mountain-regions; such as the dreadful halls and passages under the Haunted Mountain beyond the Dark Door (Gate of the Dead) in Dunharrow. The special horror of the closed door before which the skeleton of Baldor was found was probably due to the fact that the door was the entrance to an evil temple hall to which Baldor had come, probably without opposition up to that point. But the door was shut in his face, and enemies that had followed him silently came up and broke his legs and left him to die in the darkness, unable to find any way out.
Not sure who these 'enemies' were - men of Rohan, Dunlendings, Wild Men or 'Men of Darkness'. Certainly its a creepy story.
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Old 10-29-2005, 11:43 AM   #44
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I liked this (even though it is one of the nastiest, most frightening things I've read by Tolkien). I keep finding these 'hints' about worship of Dark forces in Middle-earth, seemingly most of them are about Men worshipping Sauron. It provides extra depth to the struggle to oust Sauron; it demonstrates yet more how he has managed to corrupt Men to his ways. I wondered if the Men supposedly worshipping in this "evil temple hall" were alive or dead when they did this to Baldor?
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Old 02-21-2007, 04:48 PM   #45
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Late Addendum

Just been reading some of Kipling's short stories, & came across one called The Lost Legion. This concerns a British Army regiment of Indian troops who join the Indian Mutiny ('betraying' their oath of service) & are killed by Afghan rebels. Many years later a British contingent are sent to capture an Afghan warlord. The contingent is ordered to go in at night & capture the warlord & his men without using violence. They approach the camp, making a deal of noise, but the Afghan guards in the watchtowers fail to raise any alarm, & the British cannot understand why no warning is given to those in the camp. It turned out that the watchers were terrified to raise any alarm because of the ghosts of the slain Indian troops were marching around the watchtowers, hence saving the British troops & allowing them to achieve their mission.

Now, one can argue with the 'politics' of the story, but one wonders if Tolkien had read it - we know he had read & enjoyed some of Kipling's other work - like Puck of Pook's Hill. Given Kipling's incredible popularity in Tolkien's youth its entirely possible that this went into the 'leaf mould of the mind'...
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Old 02-10-2019, 08:24 PM   #46
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As horror stories go, I don't think the unspecified fate of Baldor the hapless can easily be beat. For that matter, the entire journey through the Paths of the Dead, though brief in number of pages, always feels much longer, reading through it over Gimli's shoulder. It's enough in one chapter to make me reject my younger claim of being disappointed that we only get Aragorn's ebcounter with Sauron offscreen, so to speak.

But it *is* a major moment in the War of the Ring, as large as Sauron's encounter with Pippin, larger the Ride of the Rohirrim--at least in Sauron's eyes--larger than the death of the Witch-king. And it is passed over somewhat quickly.

This is actually the chronologically earliest chapter in The Return of the King, beginning just after Gandalf dashes with Pippin. It's typical of how Tolkien structures his interweaving plots to go back and restart things from an earlier point and it makes sense to me that Book V opens with a focus on Minas Tirith, which will be the centre of the book's gravity: all action will flow there.

I have a tendency to forget that this chapter has the Aragorn/Eowyn dialogues, but they're always a pleasure to rediscover. It's some of Tolkien's most dramatically layered dialogue. Both characters have far more going on behind them than they speak, and hakf the drama comes from knowing those layers and reading them through what isn't said.
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Old 02-10-2019, 09:39 PM   #47
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As horror stories go, I don't think the unspecified fate of Baldor the hapless can easily be beat. For that matter, the entire journey through the Paths of the Dead, though brief in number of pages, always feels much longer, reading through it over Gimli's shoulder. It's enough in one chapter to make me reject my younger claim of being disappointed that we only get Aragorn's ebcounter with Sauron offscreen, so to speak.
Gimli's perspective is very important here too as a measure of a "mere mortal" among the Dunedain and the Elves. It shows both the magnitude of the task and the tremendous strength that was needed for it. I don't think they would be appreciated as much if we'd seen this from an Elven or Dunedain POV.

I have to admit it took me many reads to match the identity of the corpse to Eomer's story about Baldor. Tolkien is usually fairly explicit about his hisory, but this little puzzle for the grey cells is a nice solvable mystery touch. Ever since making the connection I kept wondering if Baldor died by that door trying to get in or to get out, and I can think of several arguments for both cases. I suppose that as Aragorn said we'll never know what he sought there.
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