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Old 08-21-2004, 07:43 PM   #1
Fordim Hedgethistle
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Pipe Paired characters in LotR

A while back I started a thread on monsters and the nature of evil in The Lord of the Rings. The discussion quickly turned to how the novel is organised around different patterns of monsters and baddies – I won’t recap the conversation here since it’s not really my point (hence my beginning a new thread). But that discussion did get me thinking about how consistently LotR works in terms of patterns that it sets up between characters, rather than just focusing on individual characters.

For example: Sam and Frodo are not just friends, but two ‘halves’ of a necessary whole. Frodo is the self-sacrificing, wiser of the two, but he gives in to despair; whereas Sam is more insular in his thinking, but never loses hope. This pair is reflected to some extent in the pairing of Merry and Pippin. I really think that Merry is to Pippin as Frodo is to Sam, and vice versa. Like Frodo with Sam, Merry is wiser, and more experienced than Pippin, and he is overcome by the despair of the Black Breath. And like Sam with Frodo, Pippin is younger and narrower in his view, but his spirits never fail, and his faith and hope is what saves Faramir.

Frodo and Sam are the ‘moral’ pairing, in that their struggle is, well, a moral one in which they must make good choices (in the sense of morally good, not just strategically correct choices). Merry and Pippin are the more ‘historical’ pairing, in that their struggles are, well, historical, in that they must make good strategic choices (that are still morally good). I’m not suggesting that there is some absolute split between Frodo/Sam and Merry/Pippin but that the two pairs, when put side-by-side, have a lot to say to and about each other. These two pairs of hobbits give us a full picture of hobbity virtue.

These kinds of patterns go on and on (and on). There’s the connections between Aragorn and Arwen to Tom Bombadil and Goldberry. Neither pair is complete without both halves – the masculine and the feminine. Whereas Aragorn and Arwen are the historical figures, however, Tom and Goldberry are folkloric and timeless. (This particular connection was made for me in the Chapter by Chapter discussion where it was pointed out that the first hint of Aragorn comes in the novel from Tom).

So I suppose that this thread addresses a number of questions. What other paired-pairings are there in the book? What do they tell us about the characters involved. Most significantly, what does this pattern suggest? That no one character alone is truly heroic? That only in the relations between characters can full heroic virtue be expressed?

Why so many paired characters?

And what about the significance of gender in these pairings? Are all the male-female pairs somehow the same? What about those characters (like Frodo) who are unpaired with females?

Finally, I have one particular pairing that I find very, very interesting: Boromir-Faramir and Faramir-Eowyn. I’ve long thought that Boromir and Eowyn were a lot alike, and the way in which Eowyn takes Boromir’s ‘place’ in Faramir’s affections re-enforces this. I think that it’s entirely possible to see Boromir and Eowyn as a natural pair that speaks volumes to other aspects of the book.
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Old 08-21-2004, 10:11 PM   #2
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1420! Good topic

This is an interesting topic you have Fordhim. Your point about Boromir-Faramir, Faramir-Eowyn...etc is a good observation and I would like to expand on it.

With Faramir and Boromir, they are basically complete opposites, well not total opposites but they have opposite characteristics. Boromir is the strong, broad fighter, Faramir is more like his father, wiser, uses cunning, more brains then bronze. Faramir is a comprable fighter but not one of Boromir's stature. Put them together they make a whole.

A little in depth on how Boromir effected Faramir, was with the "ring." Faramir has the ring within his grasps? Right? Yet he did the noble thing and declined it, in fact flat out rejected it. Now, this has been debated many times, but why did Faramir reject the ring? Some say he had more numenorean blood, others say he was wiser then Boromir, since I mean as Denethor puts it was "Gandalf's pupil." My theory is Faramir learned from Boromir's mistake. Faramir held Boromir above anyone in Gondor, thought he was the greatest. When he discovered Boromir had fallen to the ring and died because of it, he most likely in all that time of "thinking" he did, said well if the ring kill such a man as Boromir, I can only imagine what it would do to me, I don't even want to see it. But, anyway that's my theory on things.

I think you're right the whole Eowyn sort of steps into Faramir's life and fills that "Boromir" spot, and fills it more then a brother would, I will say, lol. She has many of the same qualities as Boromir, great fighter, has to be to be able to slay the Witch-King (although wouldn't have done it without Merry) and of course she loves fighting.

I don't really know if this is off topic but I'm going to say it anyway. There's this deep bond between Aragorn and Eomer (that the movie doesn't show well and I wish it had).

When they first meet, Aragorn is on what I would think the "brink of insanity." Boromir just died, Merry and Pippin were captured (and very well could have been dead), Frodo and Sam just sort of left, so Aragorn was really doubting his decisions and wish he hadn't of taken command, was actually wishing that Gandalf hadn't of "died." Eomer at this time, is probably knowingly, about to be thrown in the slammer. Yet you see these two SOON TO BE KINGS create a bond, Eomer says he will let Aragorn look for his friends, and take the horses, if he promises to bring the "sword" to Rohan. Which Aragorn does. I think this bond sets the stage for the strong, future, friendship between Rohan and Gondor. Eventhough, they are about to be named King (Eomer unknowingly) they had a lot of "learning" to do, and benefitted from eachother. In the end you see that friendship, and that leadership, between the two. After Theoden's death Eomer rallies the Rohirrim, Aragorn comes with 50 ships of men following him, and when they meet on Pelennor, my favorite line of the book...

Eomer: Let this be the hour when we draw swords together.

That is the point when I believe their true "kingship" quality shows. I would believe without one of them, the other wouldn't have succeeded.
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Old 08-22-2004, 11:21 AM   #3
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I hope this won't distort Fordim's intention but some of the pairings that interest me are the positive/negative ones Gollum and Frodo/Bilbo, Gandalf/Saruman Denethor/Imrahil ..... Imrahil takes the role that Denethor should have taken had he not succumbed to despair ...... leading his people in the face of overwhelming odds and ensuring a smooth takeover for the king... but these maybe belong in the other thread ...

More in the spirit of this one how about pairing Galadriel and Eowyn? Both are women whose spirit and ambition go beyond the normal scope of their gender (one of Galadriel'soriginal names was Nerwen - Man-maiden) ... noble women alone in families of powerful men, physically strong and fearless. They are similar in appearance, the two white ladies - tall, blonde, slender, and are described in similar terms; there is that blend of aloofness and vulnerability about both ... and both make significant choices to renounce what they once desired and choose what is, in the end, the right thing for them.....
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Old 08-22-2004, 11:38 AM   #4
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And how about this one: Yavanna and Aule. Talk about opposites attracting! ...

---

Yavanna: Now let thy children beware! For there shall walk a power in the forests whose wrath they will arouse at their peril."

Aulë: Nonetheless, they will have need of wood.

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She's the embodiment of Nature, and he's the more industrial type... yet this seems to be more than your average marital tiff! They seem to be happily wed, though, so who knows?
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Old 08-22-2004, 12:01 PM   #5
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They are perhaps complementary rather than antagonistic...... but it sounds like a classic Cancer/Capricorn pairing to me... lol - I was looking at a horoscope book yesterdayand one paragraph said that that Cancer /Cappy was likely to conflict ....and two paragraphs later it gave Cappy as Cancer's best shot for marriage!!!!!! hmmmm
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Old 08-22-2004, 12:03 PM   #6
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The Frodo-Sam pairing is interesting - Frodo is ultimately on a spiritual journey towards (or through) death to a spiritual life in the West. Sam's journey on the other hand will end in marriage & family. If there is this 'pairing' of the two, does it represent in some sense a 'single being' torn in two - one part towards the spiritual life, one to 'hearth & home'? Of course, in a sense we could see a 'distorted' pairing of Frodo & Boromir - both obsessed with doing something with the Ring, & both single mindedly rejecting the possibility of family life in pursuiit of their quest. So, does the renunciation (Frodo) or rejection (Boromir) of family ultimately & inevitably lead to loss of life?

Tolkien's ideal seems to be marriage & family, its his happy ending - for those that have them. A happy ending = marriage & children. Yet marriage always seems to be seen as the reward for struggle - Sam may start out as Frodo's 'partner', yet he ends as Rosie's, while Frodo ends up partnerless. So partnership always seems to begin as a same sex thing, where sex barely comes into it (sexual partnership always comes as a reward for struggle, & only seems to enter some character's minds once the struggle has been achieved & they are able to rest - I won;t pursue this as its off topic, but there's a fascinating article in the latest Mallorn, 'Warm beds are good:sex & libido in Tolkien's writing' by Ty Rosenthal, who points out 'Its telling that Sam Gamgee needs to be called to join Frodo at his departure from Bag End not because he has his hand down rosie's blouse, but because he is saying good-bye to the beer barrel'

Of course, the negative pairings abound - Gandalf/Saruman, Aragorn/Boromir, Boromir/Faramir, Denethor/Theoden, Denethor/Eowyn (in the sense that both face apparently ultimate depair, & one gives in & kills himself while the other stands &fights on the field - effectively Eowyn will do what Denethor will not). We could even find a pairing of Tom & Goldberry with Galadriel & Celeborn (or more significantly perhaps with the Ents & the Entwives).

So we have two kinds of pairings, it seems to me - the starting out pairings, which are usually same sex ones, where the partners seem to be reflections/aspects of one being, & the final, mature pairings of marriage partners, which is the ideal - unless one considers (& Tolkien may have done) the ideal to be the spiritual journey to 'God'.
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Old 08-22-2004, 12:58 PM   #7
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A pairing that struck me from the first time I read the Silmarillion (and UT) is, perhaps not too surprisingly, Turin and Tuor. Very similar in backgrounds but, even exclusive of the debatable (in various threads) effect of Morgoth's curse, one was suffused with a surfeit of pride and touchiness while the other, despite an arguably even more troubled early years, did not get too full of himself. Of course, Turin was more "extreme" in many ways, including the strong affection and committment to him he evoked in men and elves, and as a warrior.
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Old 08-22-2004, 04:13 PM   #8
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A very nice point about Aragorn/Eomer, Boromir88. But we can go further with this. Aragorn and Eomer are the returning/triumphant Kings and they are meeting in the midst of a conflict between their chief adversaries (Saruman and Sauron. It’s Gandalf, isn’t it, who says that their two foes conspired to bring Merry and Pippin to Fangorn?). So how does this sound: Aragorn is to Eomer, as Sauron is to Saruman? Obviously, the relationships involved are completely opposite in nature insofar as Aragorn and Eomer meet and begin with distrust but look forward to a time when they will fight together, whereas Saruman and Sauron are pretending to be allies while each plots the downfall of the other. But while we thus have the good rulers on the one hand and the evil on the other, it does point to some kind of interconnectedness I think: Aragorn is unquestionably good to Sauron’s evil, but he is clearly more powerful and noble than Eomer. In fact, now that I think about it, Aragorn presents Eomer with pretty much the same kind of choice that Sauron presents Saruman with: “help me or hinder me. Choose swiftly!” Just like with Sauron, there’s really only two choices with Aragorn: either you are with him or against him, and upon your choice depends your fate – good or evil. In this sense, I think that the Sauron/Aragorn pairing might be one of the most important in the book, in that this pairing represents in starkest (purest?) terms the choice and difference between good and evil??

Davem: as always, count on you to take a thread topic and make it even better! I very much like the idea of an evolution from masculine partnerships to domestic marriages, but as is usual with ‘tidy’ patterns, I think this one might be a bit too limiting. As your own list of negative pairings demonstrates, there are lots of ways for two men to be bound to one another that is bad (Gandalf/Saruman – what about slinker/stinker?). What’s more, there is at least one unholy and monstrous ‘marriage’ between Shelob and Sauron. That is, I realise, a perversion of the ideal expressed best by Aragorn/Arwen and Sam/Rosie, but it still is a union of masculine and feminine, but of a much darker and evil nature. So while I’m not attempting to refute or reject your point, I think there’s probably more to say.

On the topic of Eowyn and Galadriel, raised by Mithalwen, there’s another neat indication of their paired relationships that actually furthers the pairing of Merry and Frodo I spoke about earlier. Galadriel is the one who defends, and even in a sense accompanies, Frodo in his contest with Shelob; Eowyn does the same for Merry against the Witch King. The more I think about it, the more I like this Frodo/Merry pairing – and this Eowyn/Galadriel pairing.

Fascinating tidbit Encaitare: it really does show how this dependence upon pairing, particularly between genders, goes to the very heart and root (to mix metaphors) of Middle-Earth!

But to address a question I posed in the initial post: why so many pairs? I still don’t have much of an answer, but could it have something to do with the fact that evil is so consistently organised around and identified with singularity?:

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.


And is this perhaps the mistake that Boromir, Denethor, Eowyn and Gollum all make? To think that they can and should be alone in their lives’ journeys? That they only need rely on themselves? If I’m getting this right, then Eowyn’s ability to recover from this mistake when the others do not bears attention…
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Old 08-23-2004, 01:51 AM   #9
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First of all, anyone who wants to read the essay I mentioned:Warm beds are good can download it as a PDF here:http://www.ansereg.com/warm_beds_are_good.htm

I wonder about the 'marriage' of Sauron & Shelob - it is ultimately dead - it cannot produce offspring. Though Shelob, we have to remember, is not (as the movie presents her) simply a giant spider, but 'an evil thing in spider form' (don't think Tolkien was promoting bestiality there!). True marriage for Tolkien must produce children - which is why the other pairings - ie Frodo/Sam are not ideals, but stages in the process. They are 'reflections' of different aspects of a hypothetical 'single' being, showing alternative responses to external situatuations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fordim
If I’m getting this right, then Eowyn’s ability to recover from this mistake when the others do not bears attention…
I suppose the 'pairing' in this case is of two different responses to the same thing. The Witch King is a 'Shadow of despair' - Eowyn faces it & slays it, Denethor faces it & succumbs, & is ultimately swallowed up by it. Eowyn, as Denethor, faces the loss of the one person she trully loves, but is not destroyed by despair - yet she is not one in whom the blood of Numenor runs almost true - she is one of the 'middle' people - we could also perhaps pair up Denethor/Frodo & Eowyn/Sam here - the 'upper class', higher beings cannot return from the mythic to the everyday world & are swallowed up in despair, & depart from the world alone, while the 'middle people' are able to live on in the everday world in peace & happiness. It all makes wonder how much Frodo ever really was an ordinary hobbit, & whether he wasn't really an 'outsider', like Galahad, sent into the world to perform his supernatural task & then depart. Though if he symbolises Sam's own spiritual side, then that begs a number of questions.

Tolkien seems to be saying that however overwhelming an eneny or a situation may seem there is always a choice, & he takes us down the two roads which those choices open up - & as you say, Gollum takes both those roads himself. So does Sam for a while, & ultimately chooses Rosie over Frodo, so we have the Frodo/Sam pairing & the Sam/Rosie pairing both co-existing in Sam from the begining - the spiritual path symbolised by his Frodo side, & the homely, hobbit path symbolised by Rosie - he takes the spiritual path as far as he can (or wishes to) & then, in the end, chooses to remain a hobbit. We could take the end of LotR as symbolising the two choices of this 'archetypal' Sam - the spiritual part goes into the West, 'dies', as does the world of magic & myth, & the hobbit side goes home to his family. The 'magic' goes away in the end, & leaves us with the everyday, & Tolkien seems to be saying that, for all the loss of wonder, that's actually for the best.
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Old 08-23-2004, 11:19 AM   #10
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It seems that there's a couple of ways of 'dividing' the few pairs we've looked at so far: by gender (men and women); into 'spiritual' or 'moral' and 'physical' or 'simple'; in terms of fulfilment and sacrifice(?).

Is there overlap? It seems as though the characters who are on spiritual journeys (as pointed out by davem) end up with sacrifice and no female, while those on more physical journeys/quests ens up with the fulfilling female.

But even as I write this it seems not to work. Aragorn's journey ends with the fulfilment of marriage and children, but his journey is as morally implicated as is Frodo's and there's no way we can call him a simple person like Sam! What's more, this pattern would seem to relegate women to the rather limited role of domestic "fulfillers" (to coin a new phrase). The purpose of the women is to be paired up with the appropriate male hero at the conclusion of the journey? I don't think there's anyone here who'd be terribly comfortable with this idea (or is there?).
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Old 08-23-2004, 11:33 AM   #11
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Yes but from what I remember of the History of LOTR volumes of HoME, Arwen was such a late development in the story that she does seem to have been created specifically for Aragorn to marry and so to mirror the Beren/Luthien relationship. Although she is so passive compared to Luthien....


and where do that most interesting and really the only three dimensional m/f couple in LOTR fit in (Faramir and Eowyn if you really were in any doubt about who I meant!) ?.... They are not as major characters as Frodo and Aragorn, but they have their physical and emotional journey, their tough choices and find their reward... and their beautifully complex courtship was reduced to a smug smile on celluloid...... aargh
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Old 08-23-2004, 11:54 AM   #12
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1420! One we haven't mentioned yet.

This to me is a suprise how no one has mentioned the Denthor-Boromir, Denethor-Faramir, Faramir-Gandalf, relationships.

I mean Denethor has many of the same qualities as Faramir, wise, cunning, Denethor was very good in the defense of Minas Tirith. Faramir thought a lot and both are comprable swordsmen, but being two "positives" they repel. Where Boromir is the total opposite of Denethor, he doesn't care about strategy all his strategy is, go into the enemy and hack them to pieces, "opposites" attract.

Then you have Faramir-Gandalf, where as Denethor put it, Faramir was "gandalf's pupil." Gandalf is sort of like that father figure to Faramir, that he never had, because Denethor favored Boromir. When Faramir does decide to listen to his father, which was the failed attempt to retake Osgiliath (probably the one mistake Denethor made), Faramir comes close to death.
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Old 08-23-2004, 12:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fordim
What's more, this pattern would seem to relegate women to the rather limited role of domestic "fulfillers" (to coin a new phrase). The purpose of the women is to be paired up with the appropriate male hero at the conclusion of the journey? I don't think there's anyone here who'd be terribly comfortable with this idea (or is there?).
I think this could only be applied to Rosie, & even then I'm not too sure it works. The partnerships 'complete' both partners in every case. And if Tolkien's 'ideal' is a settled family life with children, then what goes before - even in the case of Aragorn - is a preliminary to the ultimate goal, which seems to be the establishing of a maturity in the individual which will make possible the true goal. Eowyn's achievement is not slaying the Witch King, it is finding love with Faramir & ceasing to be a shieldmaiden. Both she & Faramir have to grow through their experiences, till they can find their true purpose, symbolised in that moment, standing on Minas Tirith, their hair streaming out & mingling together as they kiss, not caring who saw them (one of Tolkien's most symbolically 'erotic' moments - as pointed out in the essay).

Yes, the women 'complete' the men, but that's as it should be, Tolkien would have said, because the men would be incomplete without them. The heroic journey is, as I said, prelude to the real, valuable thing.

The culmination is not simply being in love, which Sam was with Rosie, & Aragorn with Arwen before they began their heroic escapades, it is a fullfilled sexual relationship within a marriage, which produces children.

The true pairings are man/woman ones, the others are comparisons rather than pairings - yet for Tolkien as a Catholic these pairings result in the two becoming one flesh - which is what Tolkien gets into in Laws & Customs among the Eldar, & is the reason for the Valar's debate about whether it is possible for the eldar to 'divorce'.
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Old 08-23-2004, 08:49 PM   #14
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1420! Notes on Round and Flat...

I think also with the relationship/pairing of Eowyn and Faramir, what makes them even more "opposite" would be their flatness/roundness.

Eowyn is a very flat character, we know what she's going to do, she's going to want to fight, even if she's told to stay back, not to go to war, she's going. Her one priority is like Boromir, fighting plain and simple. Where Faramir is more of a flat character, we don't know what to expect from him. He has this oppurtunity to claim the ring for himself and in doing so would probably save Gondor (or course another dark lord would rise to power), but instead he does something totally opposite of what people expect, he flat out rejects the ring. We know men are easy to corruption, especially when dealing with the one ring, but Faramir isn't like most men, he has the strength to reject the ring, making him "rounder" then the other men we have seen fall to the ring.

I think an obvious pairing would be the fellowship and the nazgul. Elrond comes right out and says there shall be 9 fellowshippers to combat the 9 nazgul. It's not like the nazgul and Fellowship members are totally different either. Just like the nazgul, the fellowship was very vulnurable to corruption, we saw it with Boromir. But Boromir was only the first to fall to the ring, others would have followed if Frodo hadn't of left the fellowship.

Lastly, the pairing between Gandalf and Denethor. Both bring different qualities to the table when it comes to defending Minas Tirith, and without one of them Minas Tirith might not have succeeded. Denethor sets up the defenses of the city. When Gandalf arrives, walls are built around Minas Tirith, he's got the beacons lit, Hirgon sent out, the armies of the outerlands coming into the city, so he did a very good job in setting up the defenses of the city. Denethor learned a lot from the palantir, in where he was willing to fight Sauron and knew how to defend the city (too bad the palantir also made him crazy). Where Gandalf is more of the pep talker/motivational speaker. It said when Gandalf was around the spirits of the soldiers raised. Now When Denethor shows his sword it shows he still is willing to combat Sauron, but I don't know of many circumstances of him riding to the gates and giving peptalks or morale boosts like Gandalf did (because he didn't). So I think without one of them Minas Tirith would have been doomed, Denethor had the defense read, Gandalf brought his motivational peptalks to the stage.
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Old 08-24-2004, 04:04 AM   #15
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What about Turin and Nienor? They are very much so paired. Both end their life tragically.

Aule and Yavanna, I think, are always in competition with each other, and that's what keep them together. Every day is something new and exciting for them.

And of course Manwe and Varda. He cannot see as far if she is not with him, and she cannot hear as well if he is not with her.
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Old 08-24-2004, 11:53 AM   #16
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I wouldn't call Eowyn flat ..... she is one of the few psychologically complex people .... and has the strength to yield unlike that other complex woman Erendis...

I agree with Davem on the importance of Tolkien's Catholicism with regard to division of journeys to either spiritual or physical/emotional fulfilment . The highest estates in Catholicism are either the priesthood or a marriage of unrestricted fecundity (I wish I wasn't writing this within 48 hrs of watching "The Meaning of Life" lol) and it is not possible to do both. The religious life and family life are separate. The spiritual path is ultimately a lonely one....... and by implication, yielding to the will of the flesh even within the permitted and sanctified confines of marriage, detracts from the spirit. Body and soul are opposed not complementary ..

It seems to me that the Eldar , as portrayed in the Laws and Custom, are just about perfect Catholics, one indissoluble union, the inseparable links between marriage and sex and sex and procreation..... with a few vocab changes it would be more or less interchangeable with "The New Catholic Catechism".......
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Old 08-24-2004, 12:04 PM   #17
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(I wish I wasn't writing this within 48 hrs of watching "The Meaning of Life" lol)
Huzzah for Monty Python! Actually I have yet to see the Meaning of Life, but we must remember to always look on the bright side of life! ::whistles::

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Body and soul are opposed not complementary
I'm not Catholic so please forgive me, but somehow this strikes me as odd. Why shouldn't the body and the soul complement one another? It seems to me that the elvish relationships, while mostly a spiritual union that completes both spouses, are not without a physical aspect. Being immortal elves naturally are looking for a life partner more than anything else, but what I'm saying is that there is certainly sex involved (not in all cases, but in many).
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Old 08-24-2004, 12:15 PM   #18
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I have just read the article and all is said so much better there ........

"The meaning of life" has one sketch errrm.... concerning the Catholic opposition to contraception...

Oh I believe that body and soul should be complementary (and I am not Catholic either!!!! Well not Roman Catholic ...... Anglo-Catholic lapsed into un-belief would be closish...) I meant that from the examples given, you cannot have both Spiritual and Physical fulfilment ...that one type of fulfilment reduces the possibility of the other rather increases it..... And in the Catholic church, unlike Protestant ones, you cannot combine the priesthood with marriage and family .......
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Old 08-28-2004, 12:07 AM   #19
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I've been brooding over this topic for quite a while now, and finally came up with something worthy of posting. Here it is:

Gandalf and Aragorn: The Past and the Future

Near the end of RotK, it was Gandalf who crowned Aragorn, because the crown (which represents rule of Middle-earth) of the Fading Ones (as represented by Gandalf) would be passed to the Followers (as represented by Aragorn).
If taken in this context, then Gandalf "crowned" Aragorn twice: the first one was at the Bridge of Khazad-dûm, when Gandalf gave command of the Company to Aragorn. As I see it, before giving the authority to Men, the Fading Ones must first take care of the ancient Evils - the Balrog, in this case.

Some side comments:
~ Now Frodo was crown-bearer, perhaps because he was the instrument Gandalf used to effect the destruction of the great ancient Evil - Sauron.
~ In the context of the "crowning" of Aragorn in Moria, then the Fellowship must represent Middle-earth.

Boromir and the Hobbits: The Gift of Eru to Men

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[Eru: ] . . . of [Men's] operation everything should be, in form and in deed, completed, and the world fulfilled unto the last and smallest. (Ainulindalë)
Boromir strikes me as the proof of this gift. In laying his life for the hobbits (and for moving Frodo) he saved Minas Tirith from doom. Despite his death, Boromir fulfilled his mission.

The sons of Denethor II and Frodo: Life as Payment

The brothers interfered (yet actualy helped) in Frodo's mission, and paid for it with their lives (not literal for Faramir, of course, although the powerful movie line "Then it is forfeit" sure comes to mind). Once again, their actions saved the one they loved: Minas Tirith.

Pairs: The Next Level

Now taking this pairs idea to the next level, notice that most of the pairs (good/evil, spiritual/temporal, etc.) would not last forever. The one pair that would eventually remain is Eru/Eruhíni and Ainur (in the Second Ainulindalë). The link is comparable to a parent/offspring relation, a further step from marriage. Hey, this almost fits with davem's idea!
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A happy ending = marriage & children. (davem)
I guess that's it.
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Old 09-06-2004, 05:54 PM   #20
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Silmaril And Bilbo ...

So where does all this leave poor dear Bilbo? Surely not paired with no one but that nasssty Sssmeagol ...

I suppose that he might be paired with Frodo, since they both share the same fate. But Bilbo's adventure could hardly described as spiritual (save in the sense of "unearthing" the Ring). Yet he ends up with the "calling to a higher place" scenario instead of the happily married with 2.4 kids one.

As for pairings within the Fellowship, we have Frodo/Sam, Merry/Pippin, Legolas/Gimli and (conceivably) Aragorn/Gandalf, leaving Boromir as the outsider. Which, I suppose, is appropriate since, out of them all, he was the one least comfortable with their mission.
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Old 09-06-2004, 07:16 PM   #21
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So where does all this leave poor dear Bilbo? Surely not paired with no one but that nasssty Sssmeagol ...
Hmm... that actually sounds rather logical to me. The Ring entered both their lives by chance, and then the first way they used it or it affected them was for trickery: in Bilbo's case, he asked a "riddle" that technically was against the rules, and in Smeagol's case, he murdered Deagol for it. Although the effects on Smeagol were obviously more extreme, it could have happened to Bilbo given time. They both used the "precious" title for it and felt a great loss when it left their possesion.

Of course, Bilbo gave up the Ring voluntarily, doing what Smeagol could not. In doing this he avoided becoming like the wretched Smeagol/Gollum.

If we're going to use the original idea of the parts of the whole, it could be said that Bilbo needed Gollum to see what he could become, and Gollum needed Bilbo's pity to retain a bit of his humanity (hobbitity?) which delayed his later betrayal of Frodo. Had Bilbo injured Gollum, he would have borne even more resentment towards hobbits and Bagginses, and had he slain Gollum the quest would not have been fulfilled. Plus, he would have been less likely to give up the Ring, because he would have killed to keep it and thus its influence over him would have been greater.

Just my humble argument; I'd like to see if anyone can come up with another partner for Bilbo.
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Old 09-06-2004, 09:57 PM   #22
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1420! A lot of FOIL characters.

I think the term people are looking for is "foil." There are many "foil" characters in Tolkien, or well foil, as in "opposites." I mean obvious pairings for example, as Fordhim said, Aragorn is to Eomer and Sauron is to Saruman. Others could include as Mithalwen said Denethor/Imrahil, Smeagol/Bilbo, Gandalf/Saruman.
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Old 09-07-2004, 08:23 AM   #23
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I think that Bilbo is indeed an interesting character in this regard -- as he is in so many others.

I think the obvious pairing would be between Bilbo and Frodo, in the ways identified by SpM (welcome back!), but also think that there is a lot of value in Encaitare's suggestion that we can compare Bilbo to Gollum.

I'd like to combine these two, though, and compare the set pairs of Bilbo/Gollum to Bilbo/Frodo. It's not that there's a single set of character-character relations (that is Bilbo=Frodo) but that the relationship betwee Bilbo and Gollum is reflected in the relationship of Frodo and Gollum. Bilbo met and overcame Gollum in the relatively simple monster/adventure story of The Hobbit, and so their relationship is fairly straightforward: good guy defeats bad guy. This is how Frodo's relationship with Gollum begins, but as their relationship develops and grows they both begin to realise that its just not that simple: they are partners with and to one another through the Ring. Their relationship is like the Bilbo/Gollum one but it becomes more complex the more like Gollum Frodo becomes under the influence of the Ring, and the lmore like Frodo Gollum becomes under the influence of Frodo.

In a way, the difference between The Hobbit and LotR is defined by the the difference in these relationships. What's interesting about this comparison is the fact that in TH the relatively 'simple' adversarial relation of Bilbo and Gollum is appropriate to the story of the hero's triumph. In LotR, though, it's this same adversarial, either/or way of thinking that is the problem with and in the relationship of Frodo and Gollum. And what's interesting about this is that this either/or way of thinking the divides Frodo and Gollum is promulgated by the Ring (they both want it, they can't both have it; Frodo is out to destroy it, Gollum wants to preserve it) and by Sam, who perceives Gollum in a Bilbo way, right to the end (almost).

So, the Gollum/Frodo relationship is the more 'grown up' or thematically 'mature' version of the Bilbo/Gollum relationship. It's the culmination of an evolutionary movement from one kind or version of heroism (i.e. the monster is defeated) to an other (i.e. the monster is ot monstrous but a shadowy echo of the hero; the hero forbears victory over the monster who is 'defeated' in the end, by his own success -- Gollum, after all, gets the Ring back).
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Old 09-07-2004, 11:21 AM   #24
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1420! Same Goal.

Fordhim the other think I believe about the Frodo/Gollum relationship is they both desire the same goal. They both desire to keep the ring away from Sauron, Gollum made a pledge he would never let Sauron have the ring again, and he kept that promise. Frodo and Gollum both wanted to keep the ring away from Sauron, but both had different ideas of how to do so. Frodo wanted to destroy it, Gollum wanted to keep it for himself.

I think you are right when you say Frodo/Gollum is a more "mature relationship" then Bilbo/Gollum. I think the reason for that would be because Frodo just spent a lot of time with Gollum. I mean Gollum was their "guide" for a big chunk of the journey, where Bilbo only knew Gollum for a short time, and plus the fact that Gollum and Bilbo wanted to kill eachother didn't really help the cause.

How about a comparison between Galadriel/Gimli. I know this has been discussed a number of times before, but I think it's worth bringing up here too. Galadriel was one of the Elves that showed hospitality to the dwarves (the other being Elrond). Galadriel being Noldor, and from Aule, there is this shared connection between Galadriel and Gimli. I don't know how you would describe it, but it seemed like Gimli had a touch of "unrequited love" and Galadriel was just sort of flattered by it. That's all we hear from Gimli for the rest of the book, gushing about Galadriel, ahh the pretty lady, lol.

Then there's something about Frodo I would like to mention. Frodo's parents had died when Frodo was still very young. So now who steps in as the "father" figure to Frodo, that he never, essentially had. I think first that father figure is Bilbo, but then Bilbo goes off to Rivendell, and Frodo still needs sort of that "father" to depend on. In steps Gandalf for a while, but Gandalf goes away and is trapped on Orthanc. So then, we get to Bree and Aragorn comes in, I don't know if you would say Aragorn was that "father figure" that Gandalf and Bilbo was to Frodo, but definately was a person Frodo looked up to. In the End, Frodo has grown, age wise, and mentally wise, doesn't need that "father" anymore. Now that we got the Father figure out of the way, I don't know if one would consider Galadriel as sort of a mother/grandmother to Frodo, but she did lend him advice, and did help him with his journey. Galadriel being arguably one of the more powerful people on Middle-Earth, she could even be like that "Grandmother" figure to the peoples of Middle-Earth. Eventhough, in the beginning we do see there are these "strange" tales of the Lady in the Wood, and as Eomer shows his strong hate towards it. But, in the end I would think Galadriel became one of the more respected people of Middle-Earth.
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Old 09-07-2004, 12:01 PM   #25
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This is a topic I have thought about a great deal over the last several months, though I forget which thread here inspired it. It may well have been Fordim's Monsters thread. Since the book is called The Lord of the Rings, my focus in thinking about this centered around the Ring itself. The one thing that seemed to catch my attention the most on this topic of pairs (or foils as Boromir88 mentioned) lay in the list of ringbearers, more specifically in how they acquired or lost the ring. So, as a quick review, here are the ringbearers in order:

Sauron
Isildur
Deagol
Smeagol
Bilbo
Frodo
Sam
Frodo
Smeagol

While others may have handled the ring, they never declared possession of it either out loud or in their heart. They were therefore not actual Ringbearers. On this list, there are many pairings, as I said, especially in the acquisition and/or dispensation of the ring.

Two times the ring was acquired through a deliberate act of violence (Smeagol both times)
Two of them found it by some kind of chance (Deagol and Bilbo)
Twice it was given freely to the bearer (Frodo received it both times in this fashion)
and twice it was taken-on more or less 'from scratch' after the previous bearer was dead. (Isildur cut it from Sauron's dead body and Sam took it thinking Frodo was dead).

There are also some interesting pairings in how the bearers lost the ring.

Two of them lost a finger when it was taken from them. (Obviously Sauron and Frodo)
Two of them died (but were not really dead in either case) when it was taken from their body (again Sauron and Frodo)
Two of them were abandoned by the ring itself (Isildur and Smeagol)
Two of them gave the ring away freely (Bilbo and Sam)
Two of them were deliberately killed over of it (Sauron and Deagol)

I realize that some arguments could be made of these kinds of pairings. One might argue that Isildur's death came as an attempt to take the ring, but according to "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields" in Unfinished Tales, the marauding orcs did not attempt to pursue Ohtar when he escaped the battle with the shards of Narsil. If they were deliberately after anything of value, other than simply attacking men for it's own sake, they would certainly have sent a sortie to sieze Ohtar and his companion as they fled, thinking that they may be taking away something of great value.

Be that as it may, what does one learn when seeing this list and the obvious pairings laid out like this, knowing the history and personality of each character that bore the ring?

One of the first things I notice is that Frodo is the only character to receive the ring freely given, and he did so twice. And what's more, he received it from the two people in the world who loved him the most (and the only two people to give up this burden willingly). What similarity lies in the pairing of Bilbo and Sam that each of them would lay this unbearable burden onto someone they loved so dearly? This is to me one of the most obvious Christian references in the entire book.

Another obvious pairing lies in the fact that two of the bearers bore the ring twice; Smeagol and Frodo.

Frodo received the ring twice freely given to him. Smeagol acquired it twice through deliberate acts of violence. Frodo went to an ultimate reward in the West (or perhaps penultimate would be a better word) while Smeagol perished in flame. What does their respective means of acquiring the ring say about their ultimate fate as foils of one another? What do the other Ringbearer pairings on the list have to say about Tolkien's philosophy or theology? Can a similar list be drawn up centered around the demeanor in which each of the bearers kept the Ring? Can other similarities besides what I mentioned be found in the lists I've created above and what would that add to the mix of this discussion on pairings?

I feel as though I'm getting a little long-winded so I will post more on this later, after I see what some of you think.
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Old 09-11-2004, 12:27 AM   #26
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Pipe More pairs

Here's HerenIstarion's idea for a pair (well, not exactly a pair . . . ):

http://forum.barrowdowns.com/showthr...1271#post21271

If you scroll down, you'll see his FSG (Frodo-Sam-Gollum) idea, and then the Aragorn-Arwen pair. Quite a good read. For that matter, read the rest of the topic (though it has nothing to do with pairs!) Perhaps I've said too much . . .
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Old 09-11-2004, 03:55 AM   #27
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That was a really fascinating post, radagastly!
Quote:
Two times the ring was acquired through a deliberate act of violence (Smeagol both times)
Two of them found it by some kind of chance (Deagol and Bilbo)
Twice it was given freely to the bearer (Frodo received it both times in this fashion)
and twice it was taken-on more or less 'from scratch' after the previous bearer was dead. (Isildur cut it from Sauron's dead body and Sam took it thinking Frodo was dead).
I would have included Isildur in the first category, therefore breaking the 'balance'. But I agree that Elrond's account of how the Ring came in Isildur's possesion is ambiguous and could very well prove your point:
Quote:
Sauron himself was overthrown and Isildur cut the Ring from his hand(...)
This does indicate that Isildur cut the Ring after Sauron fell, but it is not clarified if Sauron was overthrown by Isildur, or by someone else, in order to be removed of the Ring.
If you're right, and Isildur falls in the same category as Sam, then this offers and interesting possibility of redemption for Isildur, if only he had released the Ring from his keeping. At one point he is ready to do that:
Quote:
"It needs one greater than I know now myself to be. My pride has fallen. It should go to the Keepers of the Three."
. But it was too late, because the Ring apparently had other plans. Redemption was thus denied to him, maybe because it was not yet the time for it.
Quote:
What similarity lies in the pairing of Bilbo and Sam that each of them would lay this unbearable burden onto someone they loved so dearly? This is to me one of the most obvious Christian references in the entire book.
I agree.
My thoughts on this: They seem to place the fate of many above the fate of a single individual, whom they happen to love very much. And they do it on account of their faith that everything will turn out alright, this faith which seems to many no more than 'a fool's hope'. They do it because they sense there is no other way. It appears to me that they would rather let themselves governed by the flow of events, by fate, if you will, then will things into happening. All the other Ringbearers (except Frodo) willed things into happening, and only harm came of it.
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Old 09-11-2004, 07:50 AM   #28
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1420! The Overthrowing.

Evisse wrote:
Quote:
This does indicate that Isildur cut the Ring after Sauron fell, but it is not clarified if Sauron was overthrown by Isildur, or by someone else, in order to be removed of the Ring.
Here is a quote from The Shadow of the Past, this is what Gandalf said:
Quote:
"But for the moment, since most of all you need to know how this thing came to you, and that will be tale enough, this is all that I will say. It was Gil-Galad, Elven king and Elendil of Westernesse who overthrew Sauron...
So if Gandalf is correct in this (because sometimes the account/stories of people are inaccurate) I think this is what happened...

Quote:
This does indicate that Isildur cut the Ring after Sauron fell
So, if Gandalf's story is accurate, I think Gil-Galad and Elendil overthrew Sauron, then Isildur cut the ring after Gil-Gald, Elendil, and Sauron were all "overthrown." I think I can trust Gandalf's words, especially if it has the backing of Elrond.

Quote:
Sauron himself was overthrown and Isildur cut the Ring from his hand
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Old 09-12-2004, 09:21 AM   #29
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Boromir88--Thanks for those quotes about the overthrow of Sauron. From "The Silmarillion" I would add this:

Quote:
and he wrestled with Gil-galad and Elendil, and they both were slain, and the sword of Elendil broke under him as he fell. But Sauron also was thrown down, and with the hilt-shard of Narsil Isildur cut the Ruling Ring from the hand of Sauron and took it for his own.
This seems to emphasize more clearly that Sauron was already dead.

Evisse the Blue:

Quote:
But it was too late, because the Ring apparently had other plans. Redemption was thus denied to him, maybe because it was not yet the time for it.
I tend to think that his redemption came when he recognized that the Ring was more powerful than he was, and set out to seek council from Elrond in Imladris. He simply didn't get that far. If he had, he might have become the third character to give the Ring away freely (though I doubt he would have succeeded in actually giving it away.) Compare this to Sam, on the edge of Mordor outside the Tower of Cirith Ungol:

Quote:
As Sam stood there, even though the Ring was not on him but hanging by its chain about his neck, he felt himself enlarged, as if he were robed in a huge distorted shadow of himself, a vast and ominous threat halted upon the walls of Mordor. He felt that he had from now on only two choices: to forbear the Ring, though it would torment him; or to claim it, and challenge the Power that sat in its dark hold beyond the valley of shadows. Already the Ring tempted him, gnawing at his will and reason. Wild fantasies arose in his mind; and he saw Samwise the Strong, Hero of the Age, striding with a flaming sword across the darkened land, and armies flocking to his call as he marched to the overthrow of Barad-dur. And then all the clouds rolled away, and the white sun shone, and at his command the vale of Gorgoroth became a garden of flowers and trees and brought forth fruit. He had only to put on the Ring and claim it for his own, and all this could be.

In that hour of trial it was the love of his master that helped most to hold him firm; but also deep down in him lived still unconquered his plain hobbit-sense: he knew in the core of his heart that he was not large enough to bear such a burden, even if such visions were not a mere cheat to betray him. The one small garden of a free gardener was all his need and due, not a garden swollen to a realm; his own hands to use, not the hands of others to command.
Sam's realization of his own weakness compared to the Ring certainly comes about more quickly and is spelled out more plainly than it is with Isildur, but the sentiment is the same. It is just too big and powerful for either of them. I realize this does not quite count as redemption in and of itself, but in both cases, it is a step in the right direction.

The difference, I guess between Sam and Isildur in this case, is that Sam actually succeeds in giving the Ring away:

Quote:
In that hour of trial it was the love of his master that helped most to hold him firm;
I think there lies the faith of which you spoke, Evisse.
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Old 11-04-2004, 02:42 PM   #30
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1420!

I know this is a thread that has long been "passed." But, I have just found this interesting ANALOGY (English class all over again, lol), and I'd hate to make it a thread of it's own, because I don't think it would spark much debate, so basically I'm trying to pop this thread back up here and see how you all think of this "analogy.

Boromir is to the Ring, as Denethor is to the Palantir.

Both the ring and the palantir are each person's, let's say "toys." Or something they greatly "have" or want to "have." It's interesting how Boromir is Denethor's sons, and they both have this "source," this "thing" to bring them to their deaths. Boromir goes for the Ring, and arguably the Palantir drives Denethor mad.
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Old 11-04-2004, 02:48 PM   #31
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I think the key term with Boromir/Ring and Denethor/Palantir is despair. Father and son both despair of the ability of Men -- unaided -- to defeat Sauron. Boromir's despair of his own ability to save his kingdom leads him to the desperate attempt to take the Ring; Denethor's despair drives him mad.

They both sort of get it: "Not by strength of arms alone will this war be won" (or whatever it is that Aragorn/Gandalf? says). This much they realise, but they are unable to see any other hope. If the sword is not sufficient to save them, what is?Boromir gives way to the illusion that the Ring will save them, Denethor gives way to the illusion that nothing can save them.

This all highlights how the motivating factor for the heroes is not faith in themselves, but faith in. . .well. . .the benevolence of the universe. In other words, they cling to hope, despite all evidence to the contrary.
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Old 11-04-2004, 02:56 PM   #32
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This is one of my fuzzier ideas but is there any significance that, Denethor, as legitimate steward of Gondor has the "right" to use the palantir (although his despair overwhelms him and he does not have the strength of Aragorn)? The essay in Unfinished Tales is interesting here, noting the mental strain use of the palantiri had on the user. Boromir if I remember correctly, tries to argue at the council of Elrond that Isildur's ring should return to Gondor but of course Isildur was not the rightful master of the ring as her was of the Palantir.
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Old 11-07-2004, 01:57 AM   #33
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Silmaril

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fordim Hedgethistle
And is this perhaps the mistake that Boromir, Denethor, Eowyn and Gollum all make? To think that they can and should be alone in their lives’ journeys? That they only need rely on themselves? If I’m getting this right, then Eowyn’s ability to recover from this mistake when the others do not bears attention…
I totally agree with this. Boromir, though part of the Fellowship, seems to be having a journey of his own, as pointed out by Boromir88 in this CbC post. All the others have agreed to go with Frodo to Mordor despite their fears or any other hesitations, but Boromir alone wanted to go to Minas Tirith. (Well, Aragorn was pretty undecided then, but we can count him out). And then Denethor, after finding out that his son is in grave danger of dying, succumbs to despair and wished to face the situation alone, leaving Pippin waiting outside the chamber and refusing to seek Gandalf's counsel. Gollum, like Boromir, was traveling with Sam and Frodo, but deep inside he has something else in mind, something he could not share with Sam and Frodo because it involved harming them. Good thing Eowyn has chosen to let Merry ride with her, showing that somehow she has desire for company (although they were barely talking to each other).

One pair I have desired to point out for so long is Denethor and Pippin. They are the complete opposites: Denethor being the serious steward who thinks of nothing but his obligation, and Pippin having the mirthful spirit which was being suppressed due to the circumstance he is in. More obvious is the fact that the steward is tall, not only as others see him (physically) but also as he sees himself--after all, he is the ruling steward of Gondor. Pippin, on the other hand, is small in stature, and has no desire to himself as someone above others, but humbly subjected himself to Denethor's authority. Eventually, as Denethor was being showered with worries to the point of death, Pippin tried to balance this out by suggesting that he consult Gandalf. But Denethor refused and gave in to hopelessness, and so died in the end. Pippin meanwhile survived, for he was confident of the faith he had in Gandalf.

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Old 11-08-2004, 05:24 PM   #34
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Ring Nice topic.

Why are there so many pairs? Well my answer would have to be something simple and short, unlike everyone elses.

If you have 2 people, they can both use their qualities to help each other. Ex. Frodo is strong enough (physically, mentally, and emotionally) to bear the Ring, but anyone would give in to its power sooner or later. So Frodo is the Ringbearer, and must carry the burden, but Sam is there to help him when things go wrong. In my opinion, the Ring could not have been destroyed without Sam. I`m not talking about Gollum, being caught in Shelob`s Lair, and putting on the Ring and attempting to leave instead of destroying it. Yes, Sam helped in all of these (except the latter, but I believe he would have done something about it), but lets say none of this happened. Frodo makes it to Mordor without too much trouble. Just one problem. Sam isn`t with him. If Mordor were empty of everything, except Sauron and Mount Doom, I do not think he would be able to destroy the Ring. If Sam were there he would give Frodo hope, but most of all, he would be company to Frodo. Just being there, I think would make a big difference. Now put it all back together. Sam gives this hope and company, thus helping Frodo with his burden.
I`m having problems wording things today. I hope I made sense.

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Old 01-03-2005, 01:29 AM   #35
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Pipe Something that came to me during the whole "holiday vacation" business.

Rosie and Erendis: The Untameables

At first glance one would see nothing in common with the Númenórean Aldarion and the Hobbit Sam. Look more closely and you’ll see the untameable spirits that reside in them. Aldarion was moved by something he cannot comprehend (perhaps the same hand that put the Númenóreans in Vinyalondë centuries later?); Sam was moved by his fierce devotion to Frodo.

How did their other halves react to these passions? Let us see:
“Hullo, Sam!” said Rosie. “Where’ve you been? They said you were dead; but I’ve been expecting you since the Spring. You haven’t hurried, have you?”
“Perhaps not,” said Sam abashed. “But I’m hurrying now. . . . ”
“Well, be off with you!” said Rosie. “If you’ve been looking after Mr. Frodo after all this while, what d’you want to leave him for, as soon as things look dangerous?”
This was too much for Sam. It needed a week’s answer, or none at all. He turned away and mounted his horse. But as he started off, Rosie ran down the steps.
“I think you look fine,” she said. “Go on now! But take care of yourself, and come straight back as soon as you have settled the ruffians.”
LR VI 8
~*~
“You come late, my lord.” [Erendis] said. “I had long ceased to expect you. I fear that there is no such welcome prepared for you as I had made when you were due.”
“Mariners are not hard to please,” [Aldarion] said.
“That is well,” she said; and she turned back into the house and left him. . . .
“You leave more promptly than you came, my lord,” she said. “I hope that (being a mariner) you have not found this house of women irksome already to go thus before your business is done. Indeed, what business brought you hither? May I learn it before you leave?”
“I was told in Armenelos that my wife was here, and had removed my daughter hither,” he answered. “As to the wife I am mistaken, it seems, but have I not a daughter?”
“You had one some years ago,” she said. “But my daughter has not yet risen.”
“Let her rise, while I go for my horse,” said Aldarion.
UT II 2
Warmth and Coldness. Acceptance and Rejection. Patience and well . . . Impatience. What more antonyms can I use to show the difference between the two reactions?

But why the different responses? Pride is the first thing that jumps out. Aldarion and Erendis fenced the moment they met and the resulting collision of egos killed any hope of reconciliation. The hobbits had no such pretensions. If Rosie had any hint of pride in her, she would not have eagerly showed herself to Sam when he came suddenly a-knocking.

Another element is a mutual sense of purpose. Rosie knew Sam was needed to do something important (if only she knew how important ), and did not hold Sam back from his responsibilities.

Erendis, because she had no heart beyond Númenor, did not realise Aldarion’s purpose (oh, I don’t know—he may just have planted the seeds of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men), and thus gave him no support. No, worse—she made his job hard for him.

Of course one might argue that the fulfilment of Sam’s purpose was within the lifetime of Rosie, whereas Aldarion’s was not (it had to wait until the time of Ciryatur before the first fruits of his actions were seen). But then Erendis should still have been patient. After all, Sam’s devotion to Frodo did not end at the fulfilment of the Quest. She could still have prevented Aldarion from being torn in two (as Tar-Meneldur had done when he abdicated). But her pride and her inhibited mindset got in the way of that. And thus she failed to tame the untameable.
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Old 09-10-2014, 07:01 PM   #36
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Another episode in the smash hit series "Formendacil Resurrects Vigorous Old Threads" (FR.VOR, in case you're wondering how I'd abbreviate that).

Perhaps it's my recent focus on "The Uruk-Hai" in Book III, but this one caught my attention, since that's the first chapter that is Merry- and Pippin-centric, but there's another pairing in that chapter that seems to have been overlooked in this thread, which is think could use mentioning: Uglúk and Grishnákh, which also brings up that other orkish pair: Shagrat and Gorbag.

Tolkien certainly liked to use two-person sets of characters, but I wonder if this thread doesn't go above-and-beyond in trying to find them. Frodo-Gollum, for example, doesn't feel complete to me--it feels like it ought to be Frodo-Sam-Gollum.

There's a whole pile of brother-pairs in The Silmarillion:
Melkor/Manwë
Námo/Irmo
Elwë/Olwë
Fingolfin/Finarfin
Maedhros/Maglor
Celegorm/Curufin
Amrod/Amras
Angrod/Aegnor
Húrin/Húor
Belegund/Baragund
Elrond/Elros

There are other pairs that could be named, but these stand head-and-shoulders (to my mind anyway) above pairings like Fëanor/Fingolfin or Tuor/Maeglin, because parallels between characters exist in all sorts of fiction, but this list is a collection of characters that are, frequently, mentioned in a breath together. From The Lord of the Rings, these are the pairs that give me the same vibe:

Merry/Pippin
Elladan/Elrohir
Legolas/Gimli

...but Gandalf/Saruman does not. In the case of the wizards, I think the balance of power between the two is always definitely weighted: "There can only be One White Wizard!" so that either Gandalf is Saruman's subordinate or Saruman is no longer a member of the Order.

And this makes me think about characters that really have no pairing. The character par excellence where this is concerned is Sauron--even moreso than Morgoth, because at least Morgoth has Manwë, whereas Sauron has no peer (in the Second and Third Ages, anyway--I could hear an argument that Lúthien is his counterbalance in the Lay of Leithien, but though he has many opponents once he becomes THE Dark Lord, even Gandalf is not, alone, his peer).

Elrond kind of feels like this at times too, though sometimes he gets put together with Gandalf as an originator of the Fellowship and sometimes with Galadriel as an Elven-ruler with a ring. Galadriel--despite being part of a married couple!--also really feels like someone peerless (though I am not thinking in the quasi-Marian sense that Tolkien seems to espouse in his latest writings).

As I said: a vigorous thread, worth the rereading.
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Old 09-13-2014, 06:02 AM   #37
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Tolkien

The Legolas/Gimli relationship sure is an interesting one.

They start off with the traditional spite towards each other, but that evolves in competition.
The competition develops into them enjoying their Uruk kill count.
After realising they are having fun, they start to become friends, until Return of the King, where they are practically inseparable.

Aragorn did have influence, as they both looked up to him as a leader, and he to them as companions.
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Old 09-15-2014, 11:44 AM   #38
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Delving into the Silmarillion, how about Tolkien's favorites, Beren and
Luthien? Not only a couple overcoming adversity but using their various
strengths together to get one of Morgoth's "Crown Jewels".

And of course there's Beren's difficult relationship to Luthien's possessive daddy.
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Old 09-20-2014, 12:51 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithalwen View Post
I have just read the article and all is said so much better there ........

"The meaning of life" has one sketch errrm.... concerning the Catholic opposition to contraception...

Oh I believe that body and soul should be complementary (and I am not Catholic either!!!! Well not Roman Catholic ...... Anglo-Catholic lapsed into un-belief would be closish...) I meant that from the examples given, you cannot have both Spiritual and Physical fulfilment ...that one type of fulfilment reduces the possibility of the other rather increases it..... And in the Catholic church, unlike Protestant ones, you cannot combine the priesthood with marriage and family .......
This belief out there that the priesthood is incompatible with marriage and family is false. The Eastern Rite Catholic Churches does ordain married men and there are married priests who were Protestant ministers who have converted and then ordained in the Latin rite. It is true for both the Eastern rite and Latin rite that priests cannot get married after being ordained but married men can get ordained.

The celibacy requirement in the Latin rite section of the Catholic Church is considered a discipline and not a dogma.

Note: The Eastern rite Catholic Church should not be confused with the Eastern Orthodox Church.
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