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Old 07-11-2015, 02:06 PM   #41
Firefoot
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Ivriniel, the word you use repeatedly that really stands out to me is "creepy." Frankly, I'm just not following this one. I hope this isn't terribly offensive to suggest, but how much of your early readings of LotR do you think was influenced by the movies? Because I could see how one might get "creepy" from Elijah Wood's Frodo, always falling down with his eyes rolling back in his head. (Honestly, this is one thing I have always thought the movies got terribly wrong, in making Frodo get far too weak and corrupted far too quickly - he's not terribly admirable even in the beginning of the movies, while I think book-Frodo is far more noble and courageous.)

If I'm totally off base here, let me know - are there other particular scenes than with Bilbo in Rivendell that you got the creepy vibe from early on?

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THEY ALL KNEW--Frodo was creepi-fying.
I mean, of course the Ring is going to have gotten some hold on Frodo by now - he's had it for 17 years already, plus gone up against the Black Riders. On the whole, though, he's really still doing a pretty excellent job of resisting the Ring's hold on him. I'd say it doesn't truly get bad until he reaches Mordor. I think the real question is, who would have been better to send? I think it's pretty well established that Hobbits exhibit a remarkable resilience to evil/the Ring. The obvious counterpoint to Frodo is Boromir, who doesn't even bear the Ring but becomes corrupted by desire for it in a matter of months.

Seeing as Frodo literally does as well as it was possible to do and gets as far as anyone can get, I hardly think that you can say covetousness for the Ring is his motivation.
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Old 07-11-2015, 07:11 PM   #42
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The goal here is to encourage participation and discussion. Any aspersions cast upon a member, rather than discussion of the topic. is simply inappropriate.
My intent was not to cast aspersions on anyone, though I and others have purposely, and I think justly, cast aspersions on Ivrinel’s reasoning, or possibly lack thereof.

My intent was to withdraw from the discussion, not to indicate that Ivriniel was a troll or wasn’t. I think your statement, “Any aspersions cast upon a member, rather than discussion of the topic. is simply inappropriate.” If this was your understanding of my statement, “Is Ivriniel merely a poor arguer, or is Ivriniel a troll?”, then I apologize for posting something that could be so easily misunderstood without giving me the benefit of the doubt. Assume incompetence on my part, not malice.

Note that my final statement was, “It doesn’t matter to me as I am going to cease to feed Ivriniel.” The implied reference to the common internet advice, “DON’T FEED THE TROLLS!” was intentional but, with hindsight, unfortunate.

Perhaps I should have posted instead, “It doesn’t matter to me because enough has been posted by others than myself all of which I agree with that I do not regret leaving.”

So, unexpectedly, I find myself back here again, I think, for the last time.
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Old 07-12-2015, 07:23 AM   #43
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P.S. Come back, Ivriniel! Your devil's advocacy stirred my sluggish posting fingers. (It helps that talking about Frodo is one of my absolute favourite things to do).
Absolutely seconding that. As a hypothesis for the community to consider, discuss and confirm or disprove your subjective reading is engaging and stimulating. Got to admit though that your rhapsodic and associative style of posting can make your arguments hard to follow at times.
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Seeing as Frodo literally does as well as it was possible to do and gets as far as anyone can get, I hardly think that you can say covetousness for the Ring is his motivation.
I think what Ivriniel is driving at is a distinction between Frodo's conscious motives, which I have no doubt were noble and honourable, and the Ring working on him on an unconscious level, eroding and subverting him. When Boromir demanded the Ring I'm sure he wouldn't have thought of himself as covetous, he was convinced he was doing what was best for Gondor and the Free Peoples at large. Only after he stumbled and came to his senses he realized the madness that had come over him.

(I absolutely agree, by the way, about Frodolijah being way more creepy than the genuine article.)

One thing I've got to object to, Ivriniel, is your use of the word "foot-stomping" in describing the moment at the Council of Elrond when Frodo volunteers to take the Ring (at least I suppose that's what you're referring to); I can see nothing at all in the text that would warrant this. Rather, Frodo seems like a mouthpiece for "some other will" there - and this could be the Ring's, but it also makes me think of Sam with his tongue being loosed and praying to Elbereth "in a language which he did not know" (LotR Book IV, The Choices of Master Samwise).
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Old 07-14-2015, 06:36 AM   #44
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While I don't believe that Frodo had any bad intentions when he committed himself to be the ring-bearer, I find the circumstances of his decision rather interesting. We do get a hint that his choice wasn't a rational decision based on a conscious mental process in which he came to the conclusion that (e.g.) it was his duty to take the ring, or something alike.

'At last with an effort he spoke, and wondered to hear his own words, as if some other will was using his small voice.'


It is entirely reasonable to associate this will to the influence of the Ring. At least we should recognize that refusing the task (or not volunteering to take part in it) would mean that Frodo had to part with the Ring. It is debatable how strongly the ring hold Frodo in his grip at this point, but the passage in Rivendell in which he shows the Ring to Bilbo indicates that it did already influence him a great deal. The influence of the Ring is already able to change Frodos (visual) perception of other people. In this case Bilbo turns into a spiteful little creature in Frodos mind (on the contrary to the Movies in which Bilbo really shows his inner Gollum, so to speak ) because Bilbo tried to take the Ring away from him.
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Old 07-14-2015, 07:32 AM   #45
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I've always read this moment as nothing more complex than the "voice of duty" as it were - the part of Frodo, perhaps hidden to his conscious mind, which knew what he had to do even though he deeply did not wish to do it. Who would willingly take on such a terrible burden? Yet he knew deep down that he was the person who ought to do it.

I personally don't find it necessary to seek a supernatural explanation here. I feel like if I read such a thing in another work of literature I would take it for granted, and I take it for granted here as well. Magic rings or not, Professor Tolkien captures that moment in human experience when a person knows they must do something which is completely contrary to their own desires and wishes because it is the right thing to do.

That's how I see it.
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Old 08-11-2015, 08:14 PM   #46
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Sorry if someone already brought this up, but I had a thought: if Frodo had known the exact nature of the sacrifices being a Ring-bearer would entail, would he still have willingly taken on the burden?
Frodo is singular, in that he was the only one to take on the responsibility of bearing the One Ring with at least a partial understanding of its dangers. He took the Ring, as he told Sam, to "save the Shire". He probably thought at that time though that his physical death would be the worst the Ring would bring him. Had he been aware of what it would do to him on the inside, had he, for instance, seen Gollum before setting out on the Quest, would he still have accepted his task?
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Old 08-11-2015, 09:12 PM   #47
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Sorry if someone already brought this up, but I had a thought: if Frodo had known the exact nature of the sacrifices being a Ring-bearer would entail, would he still have willingly taken on the burden?
Frodo is singular, in that he was the only one to take on the responsibility of bearing the One Ring with at least a partial understanding of its dangers. He took the Ring, as he told Sam, to "save the Shire". He probably thought at that time though that his physical death would be the worst the Ring would bring him. Had he been aware of what it would do to him on the inside, had he, for instance, seen Gollum before setting out on the Quest, would he still have accepted his task?
Good question. You know, to open it up further, let's look at why *no one else* volunteers (except for Bilbo, whose motives seem clear). Those with little knowledge of ringlore, or at least more knowledge of battle, are probably more concerned with the physical dangers such as death or capture. The wiser ones (Gandalf and Elrond specifically) fear the Ring for its power to twist people to evil. Yet neither one is the worst consequence for Frodo.

But Gandalf has seen Gollum, and so has Aragorn. But I think that Aragorn was too repulsed with him to even consider a comparison, and Gandalf was counting on the sturdiness of hobbit character. And Gandalf has a point - the quest wouldn't last nearly as long as Gollum had the Ring. Or maybe he foresaw Frodo's unhealing, but with the chance of success so small and its manner so flexible, Frodo's future might have been a future river to cross, or a not even guaranteed price to pay for what must be done.

PS: not to open a huge can of worms here, but just a tiny tangent - why is it that people seemed to have volunteered readily for the quest, just not as Ringbearer? The thing that seemed to bother mpst of the Council was the impossibility of the quest, not the Ring's power. So why go at all? Peer pressure?
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Old 08-12-2015, 08:51 AM   #48
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But most were just fellow travellers in the outset. Boromir was going home and Aragorn was going with him. Gimli and Legolas were also on an indirect route home though there must have been a greater purpose since Gimli presumably let Gloin go home the more direct route via the high pass.. and while Legolas is alone it is possible that he hadn't journeyed alone. Gandalf is already a ringbearer which leave the younger Hobbits who go out of love and loyalty to Frodo.
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Old 08-12-2015, 09:02 AM   #49
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But most were just fellow travellers in the outset. Boromir was going home and Aragorn was going with him. Gimli and Legolas were also on an indirect route home though there must have been a greater purpose since Gimli presumably let Gloin go home the more direct route via the high pass.. and while Legolas is alone it is possible that he hadn't journeyed alone. Gandalf is already a ringbearer which leave the younger Hobbits who go out of love and loyalty to Frodo.
But fellow travelers do not attempt to give formal vows, pledging themselves to the journey. It was made clear at the very start that this is not going to be a pleasant stroll - so there must have been some sense of duty that prompted the Fellowship to, well, become the Fellowship. It's true that Gimli, Legolas, and Boromir were all bachelors with enough strength and few enough other commitments, and they probably thought of it as a "there and back again" trip (or just back again for Boromir). Maybe they felt like they just didn't have excuses not to participate. Still, though, the start of the quest felt more than that; it didn't have the air of "Well, Frodo, we'll just see you off to Mordor and go back home".
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Old 08-12-2015, 11:03 AM   #50
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But they don't give formal vows that I recall. Didn't Elrond discourage it? Gimli specifically, a warning the dwarf only understands as he leaves Lothlorien in part of one of my favourite passages in all Tolkien "“Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back. But I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy. Now I have taken my worst wound in this parting, even if I were to go this night straight to the Dark Lord. Alas for Gimli son of Glóin!” They agreed to go to the passes of the mountains ans maybe beyond. Even Aragorn did not know Gandalf's plan beyond Lorien because it didn't involve him.
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Old 08-12-2015, 11:47 AM   #51
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But they don't give formal vows that I recall. Didn't Elrond discourage it?
Exactly, but Gimli wanted to, and was going to, if Elrond did not stop him.

Anyways, thanks for your input - I think it's a curious little tangent, but I don't want to hijack the thread completely.
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Old 08-16-2015, 04:51 PM   #52
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I don't know. Maybe the Ring is aware of its surroundings and was like "this is my chance" and prompted Frodo to accept the mission.
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Old 08-22-2015, 09:33 AM   #53
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I think we should be leery of overdoing the "sentient ring" business, which PJ stretched way out of proportion. It may have a vague awareness at an insectoid level, but its action menu seems to be limited to "put me on" and "fall off finger."
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Old 08-22-2015, 09:46 AM   #54
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I think we should be leery of overdoing the "sentient ring" business, which PJ stretched way out of proportion. It may have a vague awareness at an insectoid level, but its action menu seems to be limited to "put me on" and "fall off finger."
I agree. I think the Ring's power over wills and its ability to betray its bearer were a result of its evil nature rather than any sentience on its part.

The Ring's evil derived very substantially from the fact that it was designed and existed to dominate the wills of others and deny them their mental freedom, which was something of an Original Sin even before Eä came to be. In my view, it is only natural that such an object is similarly capable of other evils as a fact of its metaphysical makeup.

What I mean by this is that, in my opinion, the Ring, for instance, slipped off Isildur's finger because it was so innately evil that it almost spontaneously did other evil things, without needing any sentience to do so. The existing metaphysical evil of Morgoth, whose spirit was insinuated into all matter but gold especially, as well as the metaphysical evil of Sauron, by design, were present in it. I don't think it needed a mind to do evil: it was infected by evil at a fundamental level. Evil is, I would argue, a "thing in itself" (in ontological terms) in Arda.
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Old 11-07-2015, 08:41 PM   #55
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Ivriniel, the word you use repeatedly that really stands out to me is "creepy." Frankly, I'm just not following this one. I hope this isn't terribly offensive to suggest, but how much of your early readings of LotR do you think was influenced by the movies? Because I could see how one might get "creepy" from Elijah Wood's Frodo, always falling down with his eyes rolling back in his head. (Honestly, this is one thing I have always thought the movies got terribly wrong, in making Frodo get far too weak and corrupted far too quickly - he's not terribly admirable even in the beginning of the movies, while I think book-Frodo is far more noble and courageous.)

If I'm totally off base here, let me know - are there other particular scenes than with Bilbo in Rivendell that you got the creepy vibe from early on?

I mean, of course the Ring is going to have gotten some hold on Frodo by now - he's had it for 17 years already, plus gone up against the Black Riders. On the whole, though, he's really still doing a pretty excellent job of resisting the Ring's hold on him. I'd say it doesn't truly get bad until he reaches Mordor. I think the real question is, who would have been better to send? I think it's pretty well established that Hobbits exhibit a remarkable resilience to evil/the Ring. The obvious counterpoint to Frodo is Boromir, who doesn't even bear the Ring but becomes corrupted by desire for it in a matter of months.

Seeing as Frodo literally does as well as it was possible to do and gets as far as anyone can get, I hardly think that you can say covetousness for the Ring is his motivation.
Hi Firefoot, not it's not offensive, but it's getting there. I appreciate the rest of the post was pitched with some sensitivity.

I first read LotR in 1981, which was the first of over 25 reads. I think I found the Silmarillion a year or two later, which was a tortuous read the first time, but the second and subsequent eight or so reads, have always proven deeply moving. There's always some point at which I usually weep, having focussed on the wonder of another tale. I've read Unfinished Tales, and have the other Tomes, which I try not too hard to immerse myself in. UT is as divergent from the main mythology as I care to wander.

I think most recently, it was really absorbing that Eol forged Beleg from a meteorite, and then discovering, after a good decade in between, how much more empathy I have for Eol (he was -- creepily -- thrown off the cliffs nigh to Turgon's Gondolin, as in a form of vengeance-justice that I had not really absorbed before about the Noldor. I discovered that they were quite -- creepy -- as a race, quite barbaric, in ways.

I do love the Noldor though. A little off colour though they are. After all, Galadriel's voice was "...deeper than a woman's wOnt...." I seem to remember, which conjured.....

images of drag shows - fun as those are - and her possessive, weirdo husband 'Celeborn' who truly throws back to Elwe (who really was a very difficult inlaw, and after all, asking Beren to lose a hand and get a Silmaril as -- dowry -- is further more and more of the same). The Elves, though I still adore them, really had a shadow side, that I submerged in the narrative.

On the other had - Orcs - I've grown more forgiving of. Although, I'm certainly glad I'll never be present at an Orc Shin Dig, where, no doubt, I'd be the main course (although, perhaps a bit stringy at my age, and not tender enough for them. 49, I am, Firefoot).

So - I do - vary my language - away from "Tolkien North" (True North) in enjoyable variations.

So, for example, I'm sure if we washed one of the more sensible, good looking, muscular Orcs, and could manage to keep its breath fresh and manners, somewhat civilised, perhaps I might even consider a mixed-racial marriage.

Enjoy.

I did write the post, after after seeing such retina-burning comments from some of the posters.

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Old 11-08-2015, 02:37 AM   #56
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for example

http://mavrosh.deviantart.com/art/Orcish-Hunk-387062030
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Old 11-08-2015, 07:28 AM   #57
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White-Hand Is he a solo singer or in a particular band?

That was an interesting illustration you linked us to, Ivriniel. My question is this: Is he a solo singer or someone in a particular group or band? It makes sense that the Fellowship didn't see (or make note of seeing) such things, they worrying about fighting to survive.

I thought about Bilbo fighting the giant spiders in The Hobbit. They aren't referred to by gender at all, which makes sense; because Bilbo was trying to fight to survive and rescue his friends, not having the time to spare to wonder if they were boy or girl spiders.
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Old 11-08-2015, 12:28 PM   #58
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That's a fine piece of Orc flesh you linked there, Ivriniel, but I'm afraid the Orcs of Middle-earth didn't follow the Code of Malacath. (Also welcome back!)
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Old 11-08-2015, 03:49 PM   #59
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hahahaha,

@pitchwife, erm, I hope the Orc doesn't know who Lord Foul is, and request a honey moon 'by the romantic light of the Illearth Stone'. Orcs, I hear, enjoy how it warps living things.

@Faramir J: I think he sings in the Symphonic Metal genre -- which was why the courtship was permitted by the family. You know, 'well Ivriniel, at least it's got a touch of the Music of the Ainur - so, okay, we'll allow it. But don't go and think all his friends can come and stay over. What'll the neighbours think?"
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