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Old 06-09-2002, 01:58 PM   #41
eloin
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a post script to my previous post...
Nar: very good explanation of the "time perspective", only may i modify your explanation slightly. Catholics do not exactly believe that
Quote:
The church does its best to make people feel at the service that the events of the New Testament are happening again, both then and now.
It's more like the event that took place at a particular point in time is made present to us in this time...it doesn't happen again, it happens once and for ever, and is made present, not repeated. Splitting hairs, perhaps, but to me at least, it is significant enough. It does color your whole view of time...everything that was,in a way, still exists. It's just not present to us.

And on the subject of suffering being necessary for growth (at least certain types of growth)...and analogy comes to mind.
Iron ore in its raw form is basically useless. But torture the ore with fire and beat it with hammers, and it becomes Narsil, or Anduril. Without the fire and hammer, it would have remained only potential, and stayed useless.
 
Old 06-09-2002, 07:21 PM   #42
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Hail and Well Met, Eloin.

* bows a greeting *

As for your question, why did Frodo have to suffer?

Because suffering is the nature of sacrificial love.

As Frodo points out to Sam:

Quote:
It must often be so ... when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them.
As for the other point you make clarifying that Frodo did not remain permanently in the West to live where he'd been taken, but in fact died ... there is a thread called "Tol Eressea and Aman" where you might wish to repost this clarification, as many people there will find it helpful.

Thank you for joining the discussion, Eloin, and helping to pinpoint its nature with your question. Please feel free to wade in any time. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

At your Service,

Gandalf the Grey

[ June 09, 2002: Message edited by: Gandalf_theGrey ]
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Old 06-09-2002, 08:37 PM   #43
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I never really saw Frodo's choice to sail from the gray havens as a sacrifice... more like a privelege! Frodo's sacrifice was to go on the mission in the first place, and his reward or rather sense of comfort after it was over was leaving the place that had scarred him so permanently. I'm sure you like life just as much as I do, but wouldn't it be nice to just sail away to heaven?
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Old 06-10-2002, 07:14 PM   #44
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*curtsies to all on this thread*

It was this thoughtful, insightful thread which drew me out of lurking at the Barrow-Downs into posting, even as I felt I had nothing to move the ideas on. The ways in which the discussion takes up ideas from previous posters and develops them or extends is a true testament to the quality of ideas at this site and to how posters listen to each other respectfully.

I have found something which might be of some bearing to the topic. I cannot claim responsibility for it, for I have not yet read the letters; I found this posted on another site and cannot vouch for its accuracy or completeness. I do not think this quotation lessens any of the positions here, but instead makes them more meaningful.

Quote:
'Michael Tolkien had been judged unfit for further military service as a result of 'severe shock to nervous system due to prolonged exposure to enemy action.' Letter #74 - 29 June 1944
*hums a solemn ode*
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Old 06-13-2002, 01:45 AM   #45
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Bethberry -- This is a very interesting point. I checked out the Letter and the footnote to the letter clearly states what you have quoted.

It would be interesting to look at the Letters and the relevent chapters of HoMe to see exactly what sections of the trilogy he was dealing with when he heard the news about his son. Certainly, it is clear evidence that Tolkien would know what shell shock meant in a personal sense. It could also have been a factor in deepening his mood of despair which we previously touched upon.

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Old 06-13-2002, 07:37 AM   #46
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Silmaril

All,

Golly, it's nice to see the deepening courtesy extended in some of these discussions. Gandalf, thanks for adding in the bows. It's nice. It takes a little getting used to. I'm often tempted to bow back-- but I can never decide whether to bow or curtsey-- depends on what I'm wearing, and whether I'm going to sign this "Helen" or "mark12_30"-- drat, it used to be much easier when I was just plain, old, bearded Elijah. No choices.

Ehh--Ahh-- let's try it.

**bows** Thanks, Gandalf.

--now how do I sign this thing?

Whups. Oh, yeah, about Frodo.

I mentioned somewhere else that I'm in the middle of writing a fanfic. It deals mostly with a hobbit that nobody here knows (trust me) and Frodo, just after the time he steps down as Deputy Mayor. And this thread has had a huge impact on that. So... thanks to all who've participated in it. You've made me think a lot of things through that I wouldn't have otherwise.

Ehh-- ummmm-- **curtseys**.

Thanks.

--Helen

[ June 13, 2002: Message edited by: mark12_30 ]
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Old 06-13-2002, 08:40 AM   #47
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Child, please describe for me how Owen Barfield's philosophy affects Tolkien's primary images of Light and Splintered Light. I read Tom Shippey's book by that title (splintered light) years ago and found it very enlightening.

It occurs to me that the Elves' eastwardness as opposed to the Westwardness of some Men has certain harmonies with the Nephilim of Genesis 6 and other such passages (usually referring in the Torah, etc., to Giants - maybe like Goliath? -) I'm aware that the books of Enoch speak in very strident terms as to the ultimate destiny of these 'gods' who reject the rule of The Name by coming to earth to mate with and rule over humans. The tone is completely different between Enoch and the Silm, but I can't help noticing the similarities - take Curufin and Celegorm as examples of the worst Elves who have seen the West. What think you?

I have little else to add to this deep, thought provoking and enlightening discussion on Frodo. I've thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
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Old 06-13-2002, 08:43 AM   #48
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Tolkien

<font color="sky blue">Well, all I can say is WOW!! I popped in this thread to see what it was about and it seemed like one of those really smart threads where people know a lot more than me about Tolkien. So, I wasn't planning on posting. Then I came around to that picture. I was struck there in awe. I'm still trying to get over it as I write. It is so beautiful. And it makes me somewhat start to cry seeing Frodo and Sam in the front talking. Oh, it just takes me back to the end of the books where he leaves. [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img] That part is so sad and the picture really brings the story to life even more than the books did by themselves. Omg. I have got to stop writing now. I just cannot get over that picture. Wow. Thank you, akhtene. That was a real eye-opener. (As what Sam would say. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
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Old 06-13-2002, 02:20 PM   #49
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Mae govannen !

I love that beautiful picture of the Grey havens too (In fact I took it for a background on my pc screen..) I keep wondering who the artist is -could it be Ted Nasmith, by any chance? Anyway, thank you, Akhtene!
I also forgot to thank Gandalf for sharing the music by Glass Hammer (Its new for me and I like it, although I prefer Enya, she really sounds elvish (no wonder, being celtic...)

Sorry for straying from the topic !

Atenio, Guinevere
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Old 06-13-2002, 09:04 PM   #50
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Littlemanpoet- - I was confused about one thing in your post. Are you sure T.A. Shippey did a book on splintered light? I know he wrote The Road to Middle-earth and then J.R.R. Tolkien, Author of the Century. Perhaps you are taking about an article I've not read, or perhaps it was a typo on your part.

The book I am familiar with is by Verlyn Flieger, Splintered Light, Logos and Language in Tolkien's World. This author also wrote Time, J.R.R. Tolkien's Road to Fairy, but I haven't read that yet.

Splintered Light is the one that discusses Barfield's ideas. I'll get back to you on that later. My kids are racing around the house tonight making a real racket and I can't think now!

sharon, the 7th age hobbit

[ June 13, 2002: Message edited by: Child of the 7th Age ]
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Old 06-13-2002, 09:42 PM   #51
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Hullo Helen:

Deepening courtesy is indeed something to be hoped and striven for among the kindreds of Middle Earth, where even the smallest account for a great deal. Gazing into a palantir is dangerous for the very reason that this cold hard orb threatens to swallow up the very personhood of those who communicate through it. It's my feeling that we should do all in our power to combat the unfeelingness of the seeing stone by making what extra effort we can to recognize the individuality of those we speak with, in a personable way. Especially when dealing with like minds and kindred spirits, in the hopes of getting to know each other better! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

And one day soon you'll let us also get to know this very secretive Hobbit of yours currently hiding in that fanfic, who is patterned after Frodo? That would indeed be a tribute to the value of this discussion. * bows *

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Old 06-13-2002, 10:12 PM   #52
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Hullo Guinevere:

Well met. You're quite welcome regarding the music performed by the Glass Hammer minstrels, I'm glad you liked it. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] Is there a song by Enya which you would compare to "The Last Ship" ? If so, what is the name of the Enya song and why does the song remind you of the Grey Havens?

Inquisitively At your Service,

Gandalf the Grey

[ June 14, 2002: Message edited by: Gandalf_theGrey ]
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Old 06-14-2002, 07:59 AM   #53
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My mistake on the author, Child. I thought it was Shippey, but I must be wrong. It's been years.
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Old 06-14-2002, 02:02 PM   #54
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Gandalf,

As soon as I decide that the Shire section of my fanfic is almost-publishable and needs a critical, Frodo-knowledgeable eye, I'll let you know. I'd love to get your feedback. And I'm hoping that Sharon (please?) and Maril (Please?) would also not mind taking a look? That is, when I resolve a few more dilemmas, and finish the final several chapters. Right now it needs more thought and more work; but I liked Gilthalion's suggestion of getting good critical reviews and constructive criticism, and I hope to do so.

Ummm... *bows*. Gandalf, thanks very much for your interest and support.

--Helen
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Old 06-14-2002, 02:46 PM   #55
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Helen --I'd love to see it! When you get to that point, just send me a pm and tell me more. I can give you my e-mail address then if you want to send an attachment.

sharon, the 7th age hobbit
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Old 06-14-2002, 02:53 PM   #56
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Sharon, many thanks!! I will do so when ready. --Helen
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Old 06-14-2002, 03:36 PM   #57
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Hullo Gandalf,
mae govannen!

concerning your question about Enya: I`m in no way an expert. I only got aquainted with her music through the FotR movie (I just love "May it be" and "Aniron"!) I feel that Enya`s beautiful spiritual voice sounds like I imagine the song of elves. The songs I had in mind when thinking of the Grey Haven are "Exile" (=As Baile) and "Evening falls". There is probably no connection, it is just my feeling...In "Exile" there is something about "from this far distant shore" and "my light shall be the moon and my path the ocean, my guide the morning star as I sail home to you"
By the way, I always enjoy reading your postings very much !

At your service,

Suilad, Guinevere
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Old 06-17-2002, 09:13 AM   #58
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i was thinking of the willing of people who want to do sacrifice for a better world, for the ones they love and respect, the distress to loose a burden and to gain an other in replace and being totally careless of it because what was lost is so few than to achieve the world you were dreaming of and preserve the hapiness of the ones you care.
Though it would mean , remaining, still ,a dream for the dreamer.

Somewhere hidden unconcsciouly in the deep of our being, might lurk the desire to filful it like Frodo did and contributing to "save" the world we love or desire to be with all the humilty of our tiny person.

Idealist or delusional ramblings in tired and sleepless mind inspired by frodo's sacrifice , in the distant air, I can hear the Aniron song and on a blanck paper, words are guiding my hand...

Quote:
My heart is flying toward you on wings of fear
I question it but no sensible answer came to me
Just the feeling of something bad is happening
A wave of anguish resonate in my restless soul
Fright, confusion, unshed tears blurred my mind

Mercy! I beg you! I don't want to be rightful
I refuse to see, I refuse to know or to believe
I shall veil my too clear sight, blind my eyes
Whatever I 'm doing, wherever I am being
you became a tangled part of my thoughts

Whatever I have learned, so long ago, I have
Renounced , to explain the bitter sweet pang
of my heart beats for the ones I have no hatred.
Against Fate and Reason I can shatter myself for
Neither of them nor you I ‘m disposed to loose
(Be lenient with a poor insomniac spirit saturated with homeworks( exams times) and found no other way to exult, lol!
may be i need to get some sleep though...)
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Old 06-17-2002, 11:24 AM   #59
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Sting

Dear Stone of Vision,

You wrote:
Quote:
My heart is flying toward you on wings of fear...
It's good, I think. I really admire your ability to write English poetry, being from France???

I have a few questions that I think are just translation-kinds of issues. English grammar. Maybe if you could clarify them for me?

"rightful"-- I'm not sure what you mean by this. Righteous maybe? What is it that the speaker is trying to say there?

I think *of* should be *that*, here, does that sound right?
Just the feeling *of* something bad is happening

Also I think "anguish resonates" would work better... English, again... how does that sound to you?

But hey, ***IT'S GOOD**...

[ June 17, 2002: Message edited by: mark12_30 ]
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Old 06-17-2002, 04:35 PM   #60
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My dear peotry lover, [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
* how could I call you ? mark12_30 or Helen, i like Helen makes me think of "L'Illiade" and Helene of Troye [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]*

Quote:
Mercy! I beg you! I don't want to be truthful
Afterthoughts i think truthful is the right word, the speaker is fearing that the feeling he had will come true as ever and curses his clear sighted vision.

Quote:
Just the feeling that something bad is happening
A vague of anguish resonates in my restless soul
mmh, that sounds more " rightly English " to me, thus [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

Thanks for the review, it will fairly help me improve my skills for the Anglo-saxon tongue [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] (so much work to do, héhéhé)

Here's the French version, a completly different poem though.
Oi, so long since I've made alexandrins! hope i didn't miss a few "pieds"

Quote:
Sur les ailes de la peur vers toi mon cœur s’envole
Je l’interroge sans obtenir de réponses sages
Seulement le goût éminent d’un mauvais présage
Sombre l’angoisse comme une vague m’envahit
Larmes retenues, Crainte obscurcissent mon esprit

Merci, je supplie, pour ne pas avoir raison
je refuse le savoir , je nierai mes visions,
voilerai la lumière et aveuglerai mes yeux
Quoique je fasse, où que je sois rien ne t’efface
Tu es une pensée dont jamais je me lasse

Quoique j’apprenne, il y a longtemps et sans peine
J’ai renoncé à fuir la douleur douce-amère
Qui rythme mon cœur pour qui je n’ai pas de haine
Sur Destin et Raison je pourrais me briser
Car aucun d’entre vous, à perdre je ne suis prêt
Thanks again for you interest * pleased smile *
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Old 06-17-2002, 07:22 PM   #61
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Thanks for the explanations! Since your English is superb and my french nonexistant... I have more potentially annoying questions:
Quote:
to explain the bitter sweet pang
of my heart beats for the ones I have no hatred.
Against Fate and Reason I can shatter myself for
Neither of them nor you I‘m disposed to loose
"of my heart beats for the ones I have no hatred"-- it makes sense to my heart, I think, but my head gets confused. Is heartbeats one word? And is he referring to "the ones I have no hatred for" or you could also say-- "for teh ones for whom I have no hatred" but I just killed your rythmic meter! Sorry...?

"Neither of them nor you I'm disposed to lose": does "them" refer to fate and reason, or the ones against whom he has no hatred?

You do good work. I'm not trying to be a pain, I really want to understand what you are getting at. (Now that you've explained the second verse it chokes me up...)
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Old 06-18-2002, 08:25 AM   #62
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Hey, poetry lover,

Quote:
Long time ago I have renounced to explain the sweet/bitter pang i feel when my heart beats for those i don't hate.
(" I don't hate you" "je ne te hais pas" from the Cid / Corneille / Chimene telling Rodrigue she loves him by using a litote "i don't hate you" because she is not allowed to declare openly her love, Rodrigue being her father's murder and she being loyal, oops that's another story, i'm gonna get you more confused there, lol!)

Quote:
I 'm not ready to loose neither of them (the ones i love), you included, even it was written by destiny and Reason would approve it.
Against fate and logic I will rise and fight until nothing of me left like shattering in zillions pieces.
ok, imagine the Fate and Reason as a cage with the walls which are closing down on the speaker and the people he cares, his sacrifice is to destroy
the jail to free the others though it would mean to harm himself or to destroy himself because the loss oft he ones he cherished would be unbearable.
The others are the reasons of his life, his sacrifice is the way to fulfil the meaning of his.

Well yeah, what is funny is poetry is that according to the sentiveness of each us and the different association of words meanings, the interpretation could be totally different and none the less valid from another pov...

Don't be sorry, never thought i would have an "amateur" like you [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
The situation reminded me of my graduation French test , loooong time ago lol!
Btw the poem i chose to comment was one of the beautiful of the French poetry (not my favourite, my favourite are in the signature of Piosenniel [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img])
the" Colchiques" ( meadow safran) by Apollinaire.

Now I 'm wandering in more scientist pathways than Letters but still remains some pleasurable remeniscences. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

Got to go, i can hear the call of Science, hands on her hips, hailing me!
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Old 06-20-2002, 08:13 AM   #63
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Mae Govannen !

I apologize for straying from the topic of this thread, but I need advice which perhaps Sharon - or any other of you learned people - could give to me. Which biography of Tolkien would you recommend me to read - by H.Carpenter or by T.Shippey ? (Those are the ones they had in the English bookstore here in Zürich) So far, I`ve only read a brief one in German, by Michael Nagula.
Thank you in advance for troubling to answer!

Suilad, Guinevere


PS Hi, Stone of vision!
Jàime bien votre poème, quoiqu`il soit assez mystérieux . Elle est si belle, la langue française, mais malheureusement si difficile ! And that`s probably why I prefer English!
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Old 06-20-2002, 10:08 AM   #64
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Hi Guinevere

I've read Carpenter's biography, and I recall Sharon having recommended as preferred to the others, though Shippey's is a good second choice. Carpenter also wrote a biography-type book about the Inklins as a group. Hope that helps.
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Old 06-21-2002, 02:56 PM   #65
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Merci Guinevere for your kind PS [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
Each language has its own beauty, i think and i like English very much too.

Nice to hear from you [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

Ps:May i ask you which language you are speaking in Switzerland, i know some people speak french, german, flamand?
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Old 01-27-2003, 10:32 PM   #66
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mark12_30 referred another poster to this thread (and so I followed because I'm nosy). I spent over an hour reading all of these wonderful posts and then thought what a shame it is that this thread has been banished to the depths of the basement and decided to resurrect it.

As most of you already know, I'm Frodo-obsessed so this was some truly wonderful reading for me. I don't think I've ever had the pleasure of being acquainted with anyone else who has given so much thought to the depths of this character.

I would, however, like to share a more simplistic view with you, one that I've come to embrace more firmly after a recent discussion on the Sea-bell thread...

It seems to me that Frodo's truest sacrifice was in his departure from the Shire and that his words (It must often be so...) are more literal in their meaning. Aragorn points out at the council meeting that he and the rest of the Dunedain have protected the Shire for years without the knowledge of the inhabitants, because if they were aware of their (the Dunedain's) presence, they would then be aware of the dangers from which they were being protected and would thus no longer be the simple folk they'd always been. They would, in essence, lose their innocence.

Frodo (after the Quest) is a constant reminder to the Shire folk of the peril they had been in. Not so much Merry and Pippin because they dealt more with the swash-buckling aspects of the war, the more "earthly" aspects, those things all simple folk are aware of and accept as part of life. Frodo, however, took part in a larger (more other-worldly) aspect of the war, one that - more so than the others - held vast consequences for all of Middle-earth and one that many of the simpler folk of the Shire would not only not understand, but would not want to know about. (My feeling is that this is why he was largely ignored after his return.) Frodo's very presence in the Shire after his return would have been a constant chipping away of the innocence of his people and his leaving would be a way for him to preserve that innocence for as long as possible - to allow them to forget (somewhat) about him and his part. He, therefore, loses the Shire so that others may keep it.

Sam's presence would be a more gentle reminder than Frodo's, allowing the simpler folk to come to terms with it more slowly and more on their own terms. It would allow them to keep the tale in the back of their minds and grow into it more slowly, thus lengthening their innocence and allowing them to continue on with their simpler way of life for as long as possible.
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Old 03-04-2003, 11:13 PM   #67
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Aratlithiel,

Thanks for that observation; I think there's something to it. Food for thought.

I guess so many of us go around and around with the WHY he left, that it's hard to remember he was going to a place that I think he would quite enjoy. If only he didn't have to part from Sam! I think that's what breaks our hearts most of all. But he was going with Bilbo, and Gandalf, and Galadriel and Elrond; I think he would have quite enjoyed being in Tol Eressea with them all. He'd miss Sam and Merry and Pippin, of course, and Sam most of all; but I hope there was plenty to keep him happy there.

I guess I've slowly come around to Sharon's perspective-- that his departure to the West was a blessing and an opportunity, and not (as we tend to think of it) as an exile. I think for many of us, our perspective on Frodo's departure ties immediately back into Sam's saying, "And I can't come." And we lose it there... I know I do, anyway.
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Old 03-05-2003, 05:40 AM   #68
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This is probably stupid, but as I was reading Helen's post, I pictured Frodo and Gandalf and Galadriel leaving the Gray Havens, and was struck with how similar this was in its elegiac feel to the final departure of Arthur, accompanied by the three wise women/Celtic goddesses. Do you suppose Tolkien was consciously re-writing this? We know he re-wrote Shakespeare's "Scottish play" with the Huorns and Ents. Was he rewriting Arthur here?
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Old 03-05-2003, 09:41 AM   #69
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Deliberate or not, I agree with you. The departure of Frodo always reminds me of the departure of Arthur.

H.C.
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Old 03-06-2003, 03:13 AM   #70
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In another sense, Frodo's departure is more like because he's experienced so much of middle earth in terms of pain, the healing he needs is not to be found anywhere in Middle Earth, or in the Shire. The West would provide not just healing, a huge break probably, but it would give him something new. He's had way too much of Middle Earth, I'll say.
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Old 03-06-2003, 08:29 AM   #71
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lmp, I've started readnig David Day's book Tokien's Ring; and in the first chapter, Day states his opinion that Tolkien is agressively rewriting all sorts of stuff. I found it an interesting perspective, and rather intriguing; so although I'm not that familiar with Arthur's departure, you could easily convince me that Tolkien was determined to show "how it should have been done." Kind of like Macbeth, Birnham wood, and the Huorns...

As a writer, I find that refreshing. Generally speaking, folk frown on "rewriting the classics"; but while he may be quite indebted to them, Tolkien did so many things "better" than so many of his predecessors... such as, again, Birnham wood.

It makes me relax a bit about tapping into old stories myself; something that seemed a bit-- well-- plagiaristic...? I'm still struggling for a foothold there, I guess. What amount of re-use is acceptable, what's not.

Soooo... lmp, are there other sections of Frodo's quest (especially during book 3, and his winding down from the quest) that holler "rewrite" to you? Now I'm intrigued.
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Old 03-15-2003, 09:58 PM   #72
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Quote:
I think for many of us, our perspective on Frodo's departure ties immediately back into Sam's saying, "And I can't come." And we lose it there... I know I do, anyway.
You're right, Helen. Frodo is going to a wonderful place where he can receive healing for his hurts, and live in peace for the rest of his life. But it's hard for me at this point to see past the tears that both Sam & I are shedding. I too lose it there...every single time.

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Old 03-16-2003, 01:32 AM   #73
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Wonderful Topic everyone, well thought out and beautiful.

I never seem to match the wonderful posting of everyone else in the book forum, but I will try this time.


*Story Spoilers* (If you have not been spoiled already)
I never really looked at his leaving as a "sacrifice", at first. I just thought of it as something unfortunate that happened. It was very unexpected for me, because like many during the course of reading the book I expected Frodo to finish the quest, and then go home and enjoy the Shire (much like Sam I would have to say). But then during the last few chapters, especially during the part where he is having nightmares and always getting sick. I realized that all may not turn out good. When I got to the end I remember re-reading it over and over, to make sure that he was going to an OK place, because I was very connected to him, he is my favorite charater. I was like "why did he have to go?", but then I realized he had been through so much pain and anguish. Interesting point about him still longing for the Ring, I never realized that he could be talking about that during the dream. I always felt sorry for poor Frodo, even though he went to the havens with some of his dearest friends. There was probably a part of him that wanted to stay, and another part that wanted to go. But he was going through so much pain, that it was something that he had to do, a choice. The only thing that he was really sacrificing was his life in Middle Earth that he had helped save, but he really had to go in the end.
(Well I don't know if this post makes sense, but I hope you can all figure it out in some way [img]smilies/cool.gif[/img] )
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Old 03-17-2003, 02:48 PM   #74
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I've been reading this thread, and though I'm vastly unqualified to answer, I have a few thoughts on the subject of Frodo's elvish tendencies and his ultimate journey to the West.

Belin made a comment that reflected what I've been thinking while reading the discussion, and I don't think that it got much notice in the thread. He(she?) mentioned that due to the influence of the Ring, Frodo slips out of the foreground of life and almost becomes part of the background. The quote that refers to him being unable to taste and smell and touch the world around him is a poigniant expression of how detatched he had become.

I have to agree with Belin that the exaggerated observer effect that Frodo was feeling late in the quest was due to the influence of the ring, but I think that the tendency to step back from the event and just watch was there in Frodo's character all along. We see him watching Bilbo's birthday party almost more than he participates. He is always more content to sit and listen to storytelling (Bombadil's house, Rivendell) than the other hobbits, he is the often the first to notice people (Strider at the Prancing Pony, Gollum in Moria).

I have this lingering image of Frodo as someone who watched life more than he participated in it. When called upon to take the ring to Mordor he responded, but even on the quest he seems to still observe the world keenly even as he becomes more and more caught up in the ring.

This quality is something that has identified Frodo with the elves when I read LOTR. (I have trouble making it all the way through Return of the King because Frodo's growing despair is too hard to read) The elves also are sharp observers with a sense that Middle Earth is only their home as long as they choose to be there. As the world changes their involvement with it lessens, until their absence is inevitable. I think Frodo's departure was inevitable in the same way, he'd dropped out of the world too far to stay there any longer.

Also, I wanted to comment a bit on the concept of the West. Someone, (mark12_30 perhaps?) mentioned that they didn't think highly enough of the West, that Frodo whould wantto go there. There's an element of truth in that too. Middle Earth is bittersweet and fading, but Valinor wasn't a bright, cheerful, and joyful place either. Half the Valar are tearful, the two trees are dead, and the Halls of Mandos are not underpopulated. Valinor is also a place of great sadness, greater even than that of Middle Earth, maybe. Great Beauty and peace, yes; but great sadness too...
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