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Old 10-02-2002, 10:22 PM   #1
Diamond18
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Tolkien Thinking ahead and/or being fooled

First I should start with a disclaimer: I'm not altogether positive this is the right place to put this thread. But I considered the Novice section and decided no, because I want replies from veterens too and you might not venture in there. I considered Mayhem briefly, but figured that this isn't necessarily funny, just nostalgic. But if Estelyn thinks I'm wrong, hey, I won't protest (as if it would matter, but I wouldn't anyway).

All right. I want you to cast your minds back to the first time you read LotR, and my question is this: In what parts of the book did Tolkien fool you (like when someone is presumed dead, etc.) and/or did you correctly guess how a certain conflict would be resolved, or miss the mark? If you were wrong, did you prefer your idea, or were you relieved that Tolkien wrote something different?

I love to conjecture as to what the author is going to write next.

If you would like an example of what I am babbling on about: I didn't realize Dernhelm was Éowyn until Merry heard her laugh at the Nazgûl. (I know, I know, but I was so eager to see what was happening with Frodo and Sam that I read the intervening chapters in a frenzy). Plus, when Frodo put on the Ring for the last time, I thought for one awful nanosecond that Sam would be faced with the choice of letting Frodo go mad or *gasp* pushing him over the edge.

I love re-reading LotR, but there is a certain magic in not knowing what is going to happen next, isn't there? [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 10-02-2002, 10:41 PM   #2
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Thinking back, (way back!) Diamond, I can't recall that Tolkien ever really "fooled" me. I pretty much figured that Gandalf didn't really die when the Balrog pulled him down, that Frodo wasn't really dead from Shelob's bite, and yes, I did figure out quite quickly that Dernhelm was actually Eowyn. It was even in the back of my mind that it would be Gollum that would actually destroy the Ring.

The joy for me was in reading on to see how Tolkien would pull everything off. Oh, and even Boromir's death didn't surprise me that much. He had "Red Shirt" written all over him. (Sorry, that's a lame "Star Trek" joke [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] )

The only real surprise I had was Frodo's ultimate fate. The fact that he was banished from the very homeland he fought to save, due to the effects of the Ring and his other injuries, just blew me away. I still get sad whenever I think of that.
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Old 10-02-2002, 10:54 PM   #3
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1420!

I was fairly young (ten) when I first read LOTR and had read nothing even remotely like it before - lots of mythology, but no fantasy - so quite frankly, almost every official "twist" surprised me; with the exception of Dernhelm turning out to be Eowyn - she had been so upset about being left behind that I was hoping she would sneak along, and the face being "strangely familiar" to Merry was enough for me. The one that I thought was most amusing was the twist of having the trolls they come across in the glade turning out to be the same trolls Bilbo had encountered sixty years or so before. Especially when Strider mentioned that they obviously weren't a threat anyway, since what troll goes out in daylight - it was definitely one of those SMACK! "Oh, why didn't I remember that?" moments, especially since I'd read "The Hobbit" just before.
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Old 10-03-2002, 04:29 AM   #4
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Well, I wasn´t exactly fooled, just was a bit surprise before starting to think... [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
I instantly knew that Dernhelm was Éowyn, and said "but..he can´t die can he?" when Frodo got bitten by Shelob.
Also when Gollum seemed changed, I never thought he WAS changed (I am a very suspicious person), but oh so I hoped he would be. Though, it surprised me a lot when Frodo claimed the Ring in the Crack of Doom, and that Gollum was actually the one to destroy the Ring. Didn´t see that coming...
I just knew that Gandalf would come back after fighting the balrog, something told me that.

I have to go with Birdland here, my only big surprise was Frodo´s fate. I get extremely sad everytime I read it, and hoped and prayed he would be able to stay in the Shire, that his pain would go away, eventually. Poor guy. [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img]

Anyway, I think that´s about it, been babbling long enough now...

EDIT: One big thing, I was completely fooled in the end of book 1, TTT, I really thought Pippin was dead. Oh so I cried. [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img]

[ October 04, 2002: Message edited by: Eärendil ]
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Old 10-03-2002, 07:07 AM   #5
Estelyn Telcontar
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Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!
Silmaril

[Diamond, I understand your reasons for posting this topic on this forum - it's a very interesting question - and am quite content to leave it there. I'm not really on ogre, you know! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] *looks at her avatar* Well, at least not during the daytime! [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] ]

It's been many, many years since my first reading, but I do remember crying over Gandalf's death and not expecting his resurrection. I was shocked over Frodo's 'death', but don't remember if I thought he was still alive. And I did recognize Éowyn as Dernhelm - those clues I caught early on. What really shocked me was the 'sudden' ending of the story - I had expected it to go on, not realizing that there were so many pages of Appendices at the end of RotK! The pillage (and subsequent scouring) of the Shire and the bittersweet ending took some getting used to, before I realized that they were absolutely essential to the story.

Yes, there's nothing quite like the suspense of reading the story for the very first time!
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Old 10-03-2002, 07:41 AM   #6
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Having been a very young reader, and being the kind who prefers to just get caught up in a story, I got "fooled" by just about everything, with two exceptions. I knew halfway through the trip from Edoras to Minas Tirith that Dernhelm was Eowyn. The other one it the fault of my older brother, who asked me, "have you gotten to the part where Gandalf dies?" Grrrr! "Gandalf dies! He can't die." "Well, you'll see," he replies with that secretive grin of his. So I guessed that Gandalf was both going to die and come back again, before I had ever heard of balrogs. Hrumph.
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Old 10-03-2002, 07:44 AM   #7
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Sting

The first time I read it I was quite surprised about The Conspiracy of Sam, Pippin and Merry. I wondered how Frodo was going to bring it to them, and I thought it a very nice turn in the story. By the Death of Gandalf I wasn't thinking him dead, though with Frodo in Cirith Ungol I doubted. As for the Eowyn-Dernhelm part: no I guessed it from the very first moment.
Bilbo being in Rivendell was a surprise (though not entirely unexpected) as well. And there is one thing that surprised me alot. The death of the Witchking and that it actually had to be Merry dealing the blow (and Eowyn).

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Old 10-03-2002, 10:33 AM   #8
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The Eye

I have to admit that when i first checked the books out of the library long long ago, i took all three of them out at once. At the end of the first book, i was so excited about what was going to happen next that i must admit I peeked at the synopsis at the begining of the third book that sums up the first and second books. I know, I know, but I couldn't help it. I was, however surprised about Frodo's fate and his voyage at the Grey Havens. Even though I sympathise what he was going through, I sometimes feel that he overreacted at times, feeling wiser and sorrier for himself than he really should have. Tell me if you agree, or if I am just being naive.
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Old 10-03-2002, 12:25 PM   #9
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Silmaril

I am a person who was "fooled" by every twist in the story, except Dernhelm's identity. I completely thought Frodo was gone, and it took me a couple of days to get over it. I thought it was Sam's "destiny" to be the ring bearer.
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Old 10-03-2002, 02:51 PM   #10
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Speaking of thinking ahead...I am the idiot who wondered about Gollum. Not even considering the fact that he hay be present at the culmination of the mission, I checked the index and went to that page...yeah, I guess you know the rest. I ruined the ENTIRE ending for myself. *beats head on computer* I am STILL mad abotu that.

But anyway, where Tolkien fooled me. I would have to say that he fooled me on:
the issue of Gandalf being dead
the hobbit conspiracy (Sam was spying!!??!!)
Boromir dying
Merry and Pippin swearing fealty
Eowyn being Dernhelm (for a while - figured it out halfway to Minas Tirith)
(on Frodo's 'death': I knew he did someting heroic, so figured there would be some kind of a miracle...however I did comtemplate the idea of Sam completing the Quest, but wondered then why he wasn't getting any glory. )
Pippin being dead
Merry, Faramir and Eowyn alive or not
And especially the end, Frodo claiming the Ring and all that.
Also the very end, when Frodo had to sail away.

Then I read the Tale of Years, and read about Sam going to Valinor, and Merry and Pippin dying, and cried some more...

So yeah, basically the whole book I was surprised.

Quote:
when Frodo put on the Ring for the last time, I thought for one awful nanosecond that Sam would be faced with the choice of letting Frodo go mad or *gasp* pushing him over the edge.
Oh. My. Gosh. I would have felt so bad for Sam........what would he have done facing that choice, I wonder?
Oh, man, that is deep.
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Old 10-03-2002, 05:01 PM   #11
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Sting

Quote:
I was, however surprised about Frodo's fate and his voyage at the Grey Havens. Even though I sympathise what he was going through, I sometimes feel that he overreacted at times, feeling wiser and sorrier for himself than he really should have. Tell me if you agree, or if I am just being naive.
I agree, Bombadilo. I always thought that if Sam were the main Ring-bearer instead of Frodo, he could have endured and recovered better.

And merlilot, if I were Sam and had to face that choice...I might have pushed Frodo, but I definitely would have thrown myself in, too. [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img] But Sam, he could never kill Frodo, no matter what. Thank goodness for Gollum.

I also was fooled by Pippin being dead, and I almost threw the book across the room!

PS, Thanks Estelyn...I never thought you were an ogre, I just wasn't sure how "advanced" this topic was.
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Old 10-03-2002, 06:08 PM   #12
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Sting

I was easily fooled I think. My family found me crying when I thought shelob had killed Frodo. How could Sam go on? I didn't know It was Eowyn until Merry did. I also got really upset when Pippin's "eyes saw no more". The ending when Frodo leaves really suprised me also. it was so sad. I was't too suprised when Borimir died but I hated it.
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Old 10-03-2002, 06:46 PM   #13
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Sting

Hmmm. Well, there were times I was fooled and times I wasn't.

Eowyn=Dernhelm: I suppose I got fooled there. I knew Dernhelm had to be more than just some soldier, but I had no idea that it was Eowyn all along.

Gandalf's death: I was fooled there. I might have been a little suspicious, but I did not expect him to return.

Pippin dying?: Ok, I'll admit that I was a bit worried when that troll fell on him, but deep down I knew that Pippin did not die.

Shelob kill Frodo: I got spoiled before I read the book. I was still reading The Hobbit when my friend was finishing TTT. She had revealed to me that Frodo had died. Though I had not read LOTR yet, I knew the plot of the story. I told her that Frodo was the ringbearer and he could not die and I never believed once that he did. The next day I discovered that I was right all along when my friend told me that Frodo did not die after all. Then I teased her for being so gullible and did the "Ha! In your face!" thing. You may think I'm cruel, but then again, she did spoil the book for me. And at least we didn't take each other harshly!
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Old 10-03-2002, 08:04 PM   #14
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Silmaril

OK, here's what got me...

I was in denile about Frodo being dead, so I didn't let that go. Then I found that he was alive!!! YAY!
I thought that Eowyn died after killing the Nazgul. I also thought that Pippin died at the end of book 5 (that made me really sad).
I wasn't expecting the end at all... I had to go back and re-read before I finally accepted that Gollum bit off Frodo's finger! Ouch! (though I was expecting the Eagles to be the ones to get them out of Mordor - those Eagles always seem to be in the right place at the right time).
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Old 10-04-2002, 02:02 AM   #15
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Sting

Quote:
I was easily fooled I think
So was I! I had no chance of being spoiled, as a lot of people nowadays do (like my boyfriend, who is barely making his way through TTT, and knows at least, that all characters are invulnerable, which IMO is a huge spoiler.

For me at least, Tolkien is one of the few writers who actually gives you a sense of realism, and henceforth, uncertainty (reality is cruel and uncertain, anything can happen to anybody). I truly believed that Gandalf had died, and for a few tantalizing pages,that Frodo had died, too, and felt certain that Sam was going to continue the quest on his own. I also remember believing Pip was dead,( in chapter 'The Black Gate opens', I think) and remebered how Elrond was against his coming.
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Old 10-04-2002, 02:54 PM   #16
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Sting

I was fooled every time! I was only about 10 when I read it for myself.

Gandalf dieing: Just about cryed
Frodo: Tryed to figure out how the story would go on without him. I was very relieved when I found out he was still alive
Pippin: thought he was dead
Ending: Total Surprise.
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Old 10-04-2002, 03:14 PM   #17
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Sting

Quote:
. I also remember believing Pip was dead, and remebered how Elrond was against his coming.
Me too. I was so sad, in fact that...
Quote:
I almost threw the book across the room!
Hehehehehe.
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Old 10-04-2002, 03:28 PM   #18
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Silmaril

I had a lot of things ruined by my best friend and my brother: I knew about Gollum biting off Frodo's finger, and being the one that destroyed the ring; I knew that Gandalf lived; I knew that Frodo was alive after Shelob attacked him, and what happened at the end of the book. I was fooled by the Dernhelm/Eowyn part, though. I also thought Eowyn was dead after she defeated the Witchking. I was also surprised by the the Eagles at the end! I remember thinking: "OK, they've destroyed the ring, but they're still in the middle of Mordor! Aahh, this makes no sense!" I was surprised when Faramir and Eowyn hooked up, too. I didn't suspect that at all.
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Old 10-04-2002, 03:51 PM   #19
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Silmaril

Well, I'm not afraid to admit my gullibility: I thought Gandalf and Frodo were both dead. Then, after the revelation that they weren't, I expected Boromir to come back too!

Tolkien was a genius - he manipulated our emotions so well.
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Old 10-05-2002, 04:06 PM   #20
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Pipe

Okay...I admit it, I believed everything and figured nothing out. The really pathetic part is I only read LOTR last September and I am an adult.

Except that I knew Frodo never died and that Gollum bit his finger and fell into the fiery pit. Because when I heard about some guy making a movie about some book that had good guys, bad guys and a ring, a memory conjured in my mind about a cartoon movie I saw at my bestfriend's house (20 yrs ago). And that scene was the only thing I remembered and didn't even know if this cartoon was the same thing.

As for reading, I'm in the moment and don't try to figure things out.
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Old 10-05-2002, 04:14 PM   #21
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Silmaril

I'm with hobbitlass on the 'reading in the moment' thing. I was upset when it appeared that Pippin/Frodo was dead, but I didn't try to guess whether they were dead or who Dernhelm was.
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Old 10-05-2002, 05:28 PM   #22
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Quote:
As for reading, I'm in the moment and don't try to figure things out.
Actually I do that too. When I said earlier that I love to conjecture as to what the author is going to do next (in my orig. post) I meant when I have to be ripped away from the book. Then my consolation is to think about it as I'm working or eating or whatever. I also like to write stories myself, so my mind is in that "how to resolve the conflict?" mode a lot.

If I'd actually stopped to think about Dernhelm long enough I probably would have figured it out, but like I said, I was in a frenzy. I think I read book six in one sitting. Since I read the whole story in six days, I'll bet I did...but I don't remember much about what else I was doing at the time. I was in Mordor and Gondor and that was about it.
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Old 10-05-2002, 10:07 PM   #23
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Silmaril

I, too, try to remain a "naive" reader as long as I can. I was surprised by many things.....the ultimate being the end of Gollum and the One Ring. That caught me totally by surprise....if I remember correctly (it was only last December!), I exclaimed out loud and ran to tell everyone who didn't care that it was a "spoiler."
And I think I was caught unawares by the Eowyn-Dernhelm thing because my first read-through was a very quick, almost skimming read to find out what happened to that darn Ring!!
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Old 10-05-2002, 10:33 PM   #24
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Someone spoiled Dernhelm's identity and Gandalf's death for me! Though,I was 14 when I first read it and I believe I would have figured it out anyway.

I will say it took a long time for me to trust Strider; maybe not as long as it took Sam...

And I was totally shocked that Frodo could not give up the ring. I thought "after all you went through to get it there!"
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Old 10-11-2002, 02:12 PM   #25
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I was fooled by most of them. I don't see how anyone could have been surprised about the Grey havens. I was dreading it from pretty much as soon as I'd found out that Frodo had survived the whole quest and when I found out what the last chapter was called that confirmed my fears.
As for Pippin being dead I started worrying about him when I was looking in an LTR encyclopiedia and mistook the dates of his being Thain for the dates of how long he was alive, as there wasn't anything like this for any of the other Hobbits I felt sure he would die and all the other Hobbits wouldn't. I was sure of this up an till the point in RotK when the book said:

But Pippin rose to his feet (......) And never in AFTER YEARS could he hear a horn blown in the distance without tears starting in his eyes.

And then I knew he wouldn't die. I wonder if this bit was slipped in so that no-one would worry about Pippin when they should be worrying about Frodo and Sam.
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Old 10-11-2002, 04:18 PM   #26
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Sting

This question has brought another question to my mind. Since we have all obviously read an re-read the books over and over again and probably know some parts better than Tolkien himself...
Do you ever wish that you were reading it for the first time again? Like, you are reading, and get an incredible sense of nostalgia about the first time because you were so innocent and were surprised at every turn (well most of us were). I am still mad at myself that I ruined the whole thing over curiousity about Gollum.
I have always been like that...wanting every time to be the first time, becuase you would do something different to make it more perfect. Now, for the purpose of raising an irrelevant question and revealing my youth and naivety, to you adults: is it like that for everything? Did you wish that your second kiss was better than your first? Etc, etc, etc...

[img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 10-11-2002, 06:34 PM   #27
Elven-Maiden
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Unfortunately, you Barrow-Downers spoiled the ending for me. [img]smilies/mad.gif[/img] (no, I'm just kidding, it was my fault to check out LotR websites before I finished the book.... [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img] ) But still, I was totally shocked that Frodo would claim the ring for himself. I figured Gollum would either go mad and lunge into the lava after it, or be the one to destroy it. I was sad that he fell. [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img]
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Old 10-12-2002, 12:24 AM   #28
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I was very young when I first read it. I was fooled by pretty much all of it. Gandalf dead? I believed it, and cried with the rest of the Fellowship and the elves of Lorien. It still makes me cry, though it's because I feel for the characters.
Dernhelm/Eowyn--I was fooled, but not as much as Merry. I figured it out before he did, but not right away. Eowyn dead? I thought so, because it would have been a good way out for Aragorn. Frodo dead? I thought so. It made sense, since it was in the second half of the book (like I said, I was very young.) Pippin dead? I believed that too. It came at the end of the battle. Again, it came so late in the story, he was no longer useful to the plot. I guess Tolkien fooled me at every turn. Reading it still makes me cry, though. It's the same as with Gandalf's death--I feel for the other characters.
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