The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum


Visit The *EVEN NEWER* Barrow-Downs Photo Page

Go Back   The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum > Middle-Earth Discussions > The Books > Chapter-by-Chapter
User Name
Password
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-01-2005, 02:17 PM   #1
Estelyn Telcontar
Princess of Skwerlz
 
Estelyn Telcontar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: where the Sea is eastwards (WtR: 6060 miles)
Posts: 7,532
Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Silmaril LotR -- Book 4 - Chapter 09 - Shelob’s Lair

One of the things I noticed right from the start in this chapter is the role that darkness plays - that, and the constant presence of the characteristic smell. Both elements are described several times, showing the increasing proximity of danger for Frodo and Sam. However, even had they known the nature of the danger, they had no choice but to go on. Gollum’s absence leaves them without any orientation, but their strength and heroism are shown, all the more impressive because of the bleakness of their situation.

They find help in the objects they carry with them – Galadriel’s phial, the sword Sting, and the staff given by Faramir. It is used rather differently than intended here, and Sam’s staff at least ends up breaking, but it also saves his life. Having been more aware of it and its function through our discussion this time, I have resolved to keep my eyes open for any mention of Frodo's staff in the coming chapters. Did anyone else notice that Galadriel’s name seems to daunt Shelob more than Eärendil’s does? And Sting is definitely more effective, shown by the cutting of the web, than Sam’s “normal” sword.

Shelob is described and her history told – what do you find most interesting or scary about her?

Gollum’s treachery is shown by his separation of the two hobbits through his attack on Sam. He has succeeded in finding a way to keep the letter of his promise in letting Shelob kill Frodo, while he takes care of Sam.

This is definitely one of the most exciting chapters of the book, full of action, and those who found the Frodo and Sam plotline boring earlier are sure to have rejoined us by now. Tell us what you think of the descriptions, characters, and happenings!
__________________
'Mercy!' cried Gandalf. 'If the giving of information is to be the cure of your inquisitiveness, I shall spend all the rest of my days in answering you. What more do you want to know?' 'The whole history of Middle-earth...'
Estelyn Telcontar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2005, 02:50 PM   #2
littlemanpoet
Itinerant Songster
 
littlemanpoet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Posts: 7,049
littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
In Esty's considered opinion,
Shelob and all her minions
are daunted the more
by the Lady of yore
than the brightest star in the heavens!

Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Anyway, one thing that really stood out to me was how Sam praised Frodo for his heroic act of chasing Shelob away, saying that it would go down in song. Little did he know that his own actions in the following moments would completely overshadow those of Master Frodo!
littlemanpoet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2005, 04:42 PM   #3
Feanor of the Peredhil
La Belle Dame sans Merci
 
Feanor of the Peredhil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: perpetual uncertainty
Posts: 5,956
Feanor of the Peredhil is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Feanor of the Peredhil is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Feanor of the Peredhil is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.
Send a message via MSN to Feanor of the Peredhil
To be dead honest, I was terrified going into this chapter (although, bad me, I haven't read it in some two years or so). I've always loved Tolkien's chapter titles, but this one creeped me out. Given that I'd read The Hobbit a very short time before first reading the LotR, I remembered Bilbo calling the Mirkwood spiders "lazy lobs". That was my first hint as to the contents. Given Gollum's mentions of "she", I took an educated guess. And my arachnophobic brother's dire warnings of "you're going to absolutely hate this chapter" started to clue me in that I was right.

Did anybody else know what this chapter was about before ever reading it?
__________________
peace
Feanor of the Peredhil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2005, 05:32 PM   #4
Shelob
Shade of Carn Dűm
 
Shelob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: At the abysmal Abyss Mall.
Posts: 308
Shelob has just left Hobbiton.
The First time I remember hearing this chapter I had some susspicion what I was getting into, and like your arachnophobic brother said, Feanor, I wasn't going to like it.
The First time my father read The Lord of the Rings to me we got as far as this chapter before I was to scared for him to continue reading it (keep in mind I was about 6yrs old at the time). Three years later when he read it to my brother and I again one of the three things I remember was that there was a HUGE-AND-TERRIFYING-SPIDER. To my 9yr old self though Shelob wasn't as bad as I remembered, and while Shelob still creeps me out (I really do hate spiders) this chapter has since become one of my favorites.

Unfortunately I haven't read this chapter recently enough to really discuss it, but I'm now interested in this 'Galadriel's v. Eärendil’s' name thing that Estelyn mentions so don't be surprised if I reread and come back to speak further.
__________________
A signature always reveals a man's character - and sometimes even his name ~Evan Esar.
Pan for Everyone!
Shelob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2005, 08:49 PM   #5
Lathriel
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Lathriel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Wandering through Middle-Earth (Sadly in Alberta and not ME)
Posts: 612
Lathriel has just left Hobbiton.
This chapter freaked me out as well. I have re-read it so often and yet...Each time I come to this chapter I take a few precautions. First of all I try not to read it by night. Second of all I try to read it when I am NOT Home alone. Third of all, I make sure I have some re-assuring music at hand.

On thing that makes this chapter creepy apart from the description of Shelob is the way the tension builds. Also when Sam and Frodo make it through Shelob's lair you think they are safe. But no, Shelob catches them outside. That fact always catches me offguard and I don't like it.
__________________
Back again
Lathriel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2005, 12:54 PM   #6
Lalwendë
A Mere Boggart
 
Lalwendë's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: under the bed
Posts: 4,804
Lalwendë is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Lalwendë is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
I've never been scared of spiders, and I've been close to some very hairy tarantulas and large tropical jumping spiders, but when I first read the books I found this a truly frightening chapter. I think there is definitely something of the horror film conveyed here; the overly large, human eating bug is a well used motif in horror and sci-fi. I think it resonates with our basic fears that in general spiders and insects are not wholly safe creatures, and are to be avoided. Even if we don't have that fear, the idea of a huge, ravenous, murderous creature who only desires to kill us is one that will give us a thrill of fear.

Quote:
Monstrous and abominable eyes they were, bestial and yet filled with purpose and with hideous delight, gloating over their prey trapped beyond all hope of escape.
Shelob appears to be a real spider - the other week I was looking at a dead spider through a magnifying glass and could see its many faceted eyes. But she is also an evil spider, one with purpose and intent, which adds to the scary image of her; all spiders are fairly ruthless predators, but cannot be said to be evil as it is their nature. To have a sentient, hungry, giant spider is surely one of the ultimate nightmares?

Quote:
she served none but herself, drinking the blood of Elves and Men, bloated and grown fat with endless brooding on her feasts, weaving webs of shadow; for all living things were her food, and her vomit darkness. Far and wide her lesser broods, bastards of the miserable mates, her own offspring, that she slew, spread from glen to glen, from the Ephel Duath to the eastern hills, to Dol Guldur and the fastnesses of Mirkwood.
And what is worse, she has offspring...
__________________
Gordon's alive!
Lalwendë is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2005, 03:55 PM   #7
davem
Illustrious Ulair
 
davem's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: In the home of lost causes, and forsaken beliefs, and unpopular names,and impossible loyalties
Posts: 4,256
davem is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.davem is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
‘This thing all things devours...’

I suppose Shelob & what she symbolises has been discussed so often that the subject is almost redundant. She is the ‘last child of Ungoliant to trouble the unhappy world’. In fact, in the early drafts Shelob was called ‘Ungoliant’. Like Ungoliant she consumes light itself & vomits out darkness. In fact, it seems it is not only light, but time, sound & memory that she eats.

Quote:
"Well," said Frodo, 'Orcs or no, if it's the only way, we must take it." Drawing a deep breath they passed inside, in a few steps they were in utter and impenetrable dark. Not since the lightless passages of Moria had Frodo or Sam known such darkness, and if possible here it was deeper and denser. There, there were airs moving, and echoes, and a sense of space. Here the air was still, stagnant, heavy, and sound fell dead. They walked as it were in a black vapour wrought of veritable darkness itself that, as it was breathed, brought blindness not only to the eyes but to the mind, so that even the memory of colours and of forms and of any light faded out of thought. Night always had been, and always would be, and night was all.
It seems she is like some kind of Black Hole, moving through her tunnels & taking into herself all living things, all light, all meaning, all hope. Yet she is conscious & filled with desire. She welcomes, apparently, Gollum’s ‘worship’ of her:

Quote:
Already, years before, Gollum had beheld her, Smeagol who pried into all dark holes, and in past days he had bowed and worshipped her, and the darkness of her evil will walked through all the ways of his weariness beside him, cutting him off from light and from regret. And he had promised to bring her food. But her lust was not his lust. Little she knew of or cared for towers, or rings, or anything devised by mind or hand, who only desired death for all others, mind and body, and for herself a glut of life, alone, swollen till the mountains could no longer hold her up and the darkness could not contain her.
One difference between Shelob & Ungoliant though is that Shelob fears the Light of the Silmaril which blazes from the Star Glass, whereas her infamous ancestor sought it greedily.

As to the Star-glass itself, I was struck by a few things: In the darkness of Shelob’s Lair Sam first thinks of the Barrow & Tom Bombadil, & wishes Tom was nearby. It is at this point that he recalls Galadriel’s Gift to Frodo. I wonder if Tom played some part in this remembrance of the Golden Wood. Its odd that Sam ‘invokes’ Tom & then suddenly remembers the one thing that can aid himself & his Master - the Star-glass. This makes me wonder about the ‘relationship’ of Tom & Galadriel. Is it simply a matter of Sam thinking of one supernatural helper & being reminded of another, or is there something more going on?

Another couple of passages that got me thinking:

Quote:
Slowly his hand went to his bosom, and slowly he held aloft the Phial of Galadriel. For a moment it glimmered, faint as a rising star struggling in heavy earthward mists, and then as its power waxed, and hope grew in Frodo's mind, it began to burn, and kindled to a silver flame, a minute heart of dazzling light, as though Earendil had himself come down from the high sunset paths with the last Silmaril upon his brow.
&

Quote:
From sun and moon and star they had been safe underground, but now a star had descended into the very earth.
I’m not sure why, but this image, of a star descending into the earth, seems very symbolic. The Light of Earendel is a ‘Holy’’ Light, & its difficult not to think if the ‘Harrowing of Hell’ at this point, & some interesting lines from ‘Piers Ploughman’ spring to mind:

Quote:
I will bear witness
That tho this bairn was ybore ,there blazed a star
That all the wise of this world in O wit accorded-
That such a bairn was ybore in Bethlehem the Citee
That man’s soul should save & sin destroy.
And all the elements ...hereof bearen witness.
That he was God that all wrought the wolkne (heavens) first showed
Though that were in Heaven token Stella Comata
And tended her as a torch to reverence his birth;
The Light followed the Lord into the low earth
(Spelling modernised by Matthews in her essay ‘The Rosicrucian Vault as Sepulchre & Wedding Chamber’ in Stewart: The UnderWorld Initiation). Without following Ms Matthews into the realms of Rosicrucianism & Alchemy it is clear that there is an ancient tradition of a heavenly light shining in the depths of the earth - a ‘Light shining in the Darkness - one account of the Holy Grail depicts it as a stone which fell from Heaven & embeded itself in the heart of the earth.

This ‘Light’ is powerfully symbolic - the Light itself is of ‘Heavenly’ or Divine origin, but it has been given physical form by a woman & I can’t help wondering if this is one of those ‘consciously so in the revision’ moments Tolkien mentioned in his letter.
davem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2005, 07:38 PM   #8
littlemanpoet
Itinerant Songster
 
littlemanpoet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Posts: 7,049
littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Quote:
As to the Star-glass itself, I was struck by a few things: In the darkness of Shelob’s Lair Sam first thinks of the Barrow & Tom Bombadil, & wishes Tom was nearby. It is at this point that he recalls Galadriel’s Gift to Frodo. I wonder if Tom played some part in this remembrance of the Golden Wood. Its odd that Sam ‘invokes’ Tom & then suddenly remembers the one thing that can aid himself & his Master - the Star-glass. This makes me wonder about the ‘relationship’ of Tom & Galadriel. Is it simply a matter of Sam thinking of one supernatural helper & being reminded of another, or is there something more going on?
I was struck by this too, davem, and in the same way. When I reread this chapter just a few days ago, I was struck by how Sam's thought of Tom seemed to lead to his thought of the light of Galadriel. But rereading it again, now, I see contrast rather than similarity. At the risk of reading the text too closely, the sentence after Sam's wish is begun with a recapitulation of the darkness around him, and the blackness of the despair and anger inside him. Only then does it switch to his seeing what seems like a light, which grows in clarity and diversity until it's revealed as Galadriel giving gifts.

So it seems to me that it's not wishing for Tom, so much as wishing. Tom would have no power in Shelob's Lair; his land is far away. But Galadriel's gift of the light of the star of Earendil, that does have power in Shelob's Lair.

I think that Tolkien uses the logic of the story here - what would Sam be reminded of? Looking at his sword, he'd be reminded of the similarly black and evil place where the sword came from. Sam being the simple hobbit he is, he'd think of Tom, and being hopeful against all reason, or barring hope, being stubborn in the face of overwhelming adversity, he'd wish for the best good he could think of at the moment. Within the logic of the story, Manwe's eye is always watching, and Varda's ear is always listening, and they know as well as does Elrond that the quest's hope stands upon a knife-edge, and Varda hears Sam's wish for the best good, and supplies to his mind that which would really be the best good right there right then. Of course, very little of that is in the text, but all of it, or something like it, was likely in Tolkien's mind. I could be all wet, but maybe this is how Tolkien got from the dire threat of Shelob and the sword in Sam's hand, to the light of the phial of Galadriel. Just a guess.
littlemanpoet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2005, 03:30 PM   #9
davem
Illustrious Ulair
 
davem's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: In the home of lost causes, and forsaken beliefs, and unpopular names,and impossible loyalties
Posts: 4,256
davem is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.davem is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
An interesting connection just occured to me regarding Frodo's cry as he holds up the Star-glass:

Quote:
Frodo gazed in wonder at this marvellous gift that he had so long carried, not guessing its full worth and potency. Seldom had he remembered it on the road, until they came to Morgul Vale, and never had he used it for fear of its revealing light. Aiya Earendil Elenion Ancalima! he cried, and knew not what he had spoken; for it seemed that another voice spoke through his, clear, untroubled by the foul air of the pit.
But other potencies there are in Middle-earth, powers of night, and they are old and strong. And She that walked in the darkness had heard the Elves cry that cry far back in the deeps of time, and she had not heeded it, and it did not daunt her now.
In Letter 297 Tolkien explains:

Quote:
Before 1914 I wrote a 'poem' on Earendil who launched his ship like a bright spark from the Havens of the Sun. I adopted him into my mythology, in which he became a prime figure as a mariner, & eventually as a herald star, a sign of hope to men. Aiya Earendil Elenion Ancalima 'Hail Earendil brightest of stars' is derived at long remove from Eala Earendel engla beorhtast but the name could not be adopted just like that: it had to be accomodated to the Elvish linguistic situation...
In other words it is the Elvish 'equivalent' of a line from the Anglo-saxon poem that was the 'spark' of the whole Legendarium, the Crist of Cynewulf, that Frodo utters in the darkness of Shelob's Lair! I find this fascinating. Its also interesting that Tolkien tells us that the Elves had cried that cry far back in the deeps of time. So in other words, Tolkien is saying that the origin of those words was not Cynewulf, but the Elves! Those words, it seems, had been passed down through the ages, starting out as an Elvish invocation of Light in the darkness & ending up in a poem about Christ.

Frodo speaks the words that would, millenia later & in another language, inspire Tolkien himself to 'rediscover' England's lost mythology! I don't know if this was another 'consciously so in the revision' moment, but certainly the connection between the 'light' which sprang into being in Tolkien's mind at his discovery of those words & the Light which sprang from the Starglass in Frodo's hand is both interesting &, to me, quite moving.
davem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2005, 11:57 AM   #10
Formendacil
Dead Serious
 
Formendacil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Perched on Thangorodrim's towers.
Posts: 2,948
Formendacil is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Formendacil is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Formendacil is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.
Send a message via AIM to Formendacil Send a message via MSN to Formendacil
I love this chapter! After most of Book IV, it is a chapter of ACTION! Yes, there is lots of movement in the previous chapters, certainly there is drama and danger, but this is the first chapter that had what one can see turned into an action sequence in a movie. This chapter is very immediate and real, I find, as a result. You are a lot closer as Sam and Frodo battle Gollum and Shelob than as they wander through Ithilien.

We get to see Sam at his most heroic in this chapter, fighting Gollum and then rushing- right at the end of the chapter, to aid his master who he has been separated from. We thus end the chapter on a suspenseful, adrenaline-filled note.

I also like the chapter for its greater Elvish overtones. One of the things I love about The Lord of the Rings is the Elvish language. I'm too lazy and non-inclined to learn it, but I love reading it. For the first and only time in Book IV, we get a touch of Elvish: Aiya Earendil Elenion Ancalima! I love that line! We also get a much greater touch the mysterious/magical in this chapter, mainly through the vial, but also through the mythic-like Shelob, who feels like a direct transplant from the Lay of Leithian.

The first time I read this chapter, I couldn't wait to move on and see Sam rescue Frodo. Boy was I in for a surprise!
Formendacil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2005, 12:39 PM   #11
Bęthberry
Cryptic Aura
 
Bęthberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 6,038
Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.
Shield A brief message from a sponsor

There will be a slight delay in the opening of the next chapter by chapter discussion thread (for "The Choices of Master Samwise"). Please continue discussing the current chapter, "Shelob's Lair," or review any of the previous chapter discussions.

Thanks for your patience! Estelyn will return shortly with the new thread introduction.

Bęthberry
__________________
I’ll sing his roots off. I’ll sing a wind up and blow leaf and branch away.
Bęthberry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2005, 03:12 PM   #12
Hilde Bracegirdle
Relic of Wandering Days
 
Hilde Bracegirdle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: You'll See Perpetual Change.
Posts: 1,488
Hilde Bracegirdle has just left Hobbiton.
Though we as readers learn not only what it is lurking in those dark tunnels, but some important facts regarding that presence, Frodo and Sam discover the true shape of Shelob only very late in the chapter. And although their horror is tangible, they could not describe accurately what it was that stalked them until the last few pages…it was up until then simply something foul and menacing, something with many eyes.

Having read about Ungoliant fairly recently in the Silm. the similar attributes of a ‘black hole’ sort of darkness and gluttony ascribed to both was striking. But many thanks to davem for pointing out the dissimilarity regarding the two in their reaction to the light of Silmarils. It is something to mull over along with the cries of the Elves and other references to history.

But another curious thing to me was that Tolkien writes that Sméagol/Gollum had bowed down and worshipped Shelob. I understand why Gollum might be mentioned but why is Sméagol named here? Is this a hint about his basic nature?

Quote:
Already, years before, Gollum had beheld her, Smeagol who pried into all dark holes, and in past days he had bowed and worshipped her, and the darkness of her evil will walked through all the ways of his weariness beside him, cutting him off from light and from regret.
These passages seem to say much that hasn’t been mentioned in the story before now, something I don’t remember Gandalf having guessing at. And I am left asking myself if Gollum had been in these tunnels even before he was captured by Sauron.

Another facet that adds to the disturbing mood of the chapter is the “fey mood” Sam feels his master is in, after freeing himself of the tunnel. Sam does seem the only grounded thing in the whole surreal episode, and by the end he also seems so dreadfully alone.

Quote:
Red with his own living blood his hand shone for a moment, and then he thrust the revealing light deep into a pocket near his breast and drew his eleven-cloak about him.
This quote seems to lend a reality and solidness to Sam’s character, and I quite like Tokien’s use of the word’s ‘revealing light’ in this passage.
Hilde Bracegirdle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2005, 03:33 PM   #13
Guinevere
Banshee of Camelot
 
Guinevere's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 5,707
Guinevere is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
This chapter is full of suspense - the description of the tunnel is incredibly creepy and full of foreboding. The utter darkness and the stench are something which of course couldn't be conveyed to the film and I think the scene is much more effectful in the book. It reminds me somehow of a "ghost-train" or "tunnel of horror" at a fun fair, especially the unseen things brushing their heads and hands in the dark.
I note that in the tunnel, Frodo is the one who is more resolute and couragious.
Quote:
Littlemanpoet wrote
Anyway, one thing that really stood out to me was how Sam praised Frodo for his heroic act of chasing Shelob away, saying that it would go down in song. Little did he know that his own actions in the following moments would completely overshadow those of Master Frodo
Several movie-oriented LotR-fans I know don't even remember Frodo's bravery! But I just love this scene: (probably now even more, because it is such a contrast to the helpless movie-Frodo...)
Quote:
Then Frodo's heart flamed within him , and without thinking what he did, wheter it was folly or dispair or courage, he took the Phial in his left hand, and with his right hand drew his sword. Sting flashed out and the sharp elven-blade sparkled in the silver light, but at its edges a blue fire flicked. Then holding the star aloft and the bright sword advanced, Frodo, hobbit of the Shire walked steadily down to meet the eyes.
It strikes me that the Phial by itself didn't scare Shelob, nor even Frodo's call "Aiya Earendil Elenion ancalima!" It is only when Frodo gathers his own courage that it works!
Btw It took me a heck of a time to find out what "ancalima" means! Now I know more, and Davem's post about this is fascinating!
Apparently Sting shines blue also in Shelob's presence - not only that of orcs!
Quote:
Hilde wrote:
Frodo and Sam discover the true shape of Shelob only very late in the chapter.
In fact, Frodo never sees her at all, since she comes at him from behind. Later, in Cirith Ungol, he asks Sam: "Something hit me, didn't it?"
__________________
Yes! "wish-fulfilment dreams" we spin to cheat
our timid hearts, and ugly Fact defeat!

Last edited by Guinevere; 05-21-2005 at 02:26 PM. Reason: found the translation of a word now
Guinevere is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2005, 12:06 PM   #14
Thulorongil
Haunting Spirit
 
Thulorongil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: wherever the road may take me
Posts: 97
Thulorongil has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to Thulorongil
One thing that strikes me is the major shift that occurs during this chapter. It begins with "Gollum in front and the hobbits now side by side," but finishes with Sam running after him having "forgotten everything else but the red hot fury in his brain and the desire to kill Gollum." This simple shift between just these two paragraphs highlights the changes that almost all the separated characters are experiencing in their respective situations. Théoden has talked with Ghan-buri-Ghan and is preparing to ride to the Pelennor, Faramir's troops are retreating, and Aragorn is at Pelargir. The shift in Frodo and Sam's events is brought about by their characteristically distinct, but equally noteworthy, actions, which also ties in to that first paragraph.

It would be interesting to know, from anyone better-versed than me in older and classical literature, if before Tolkien the spider was a common element and symbol of writing for secrecy, evil, and dread. It certainly is now, and my question is if Shelob and Ungoliant helped to spurn the idea.

I also need to say that I love the idea that for most of their journey, Frodo and Sam's greatest fear and danger has been being seen, and here, where it at first seems to them that they will be able to finally be able to creep unnoticed through the dark, the monster appears in the form of "the dreadful stare of those baleful...monstrous and abominable eyes."
__________________
I sit beside the fire and think of people long ago,
And people who will see a world that I shall never know.
Thulorongil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2005, 12:19 PM   #15
The Elf-warrior
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
The Elf-warrior's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Virginia.
Posts: 952
The Elf-warrior is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Send a message via Skype™ to The Elf-warrior
Could someone explain this?

Quote:
And sometimes as a man may cast a dainty to his cat (his cat he calls her, but she owns him not)...
__________________
Fenris Wolf: WW LXXX.
The Elf-warrior is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2005, 12:58 PM   #16
davem
Illustrious Ulair
 
davem's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: In the home of lost causes, and forsaken beliefs, and unpopular names,and impossible loyalties
Posts: 4,256
davem is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.davem is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Quote:
The Elf-warrior Could someone explain this?

Quote:
And sometimes as a man may cast a dainty to his cat (his cat he calls her, but she owns him not)...
I think 'owns' in this context is 'archaic' & means 'owns up to'/acknowleges - ie, he calls her his cat, but she doesn't acknowledge his ownership of her.
davem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-27-2005, 06:29 AM   #17
Lalwendë
A Mere Boggart
 
Lalwendë's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: under the bed
Posts: 4,804
Lalwendë is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Lalwendë is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Quote:
And sometimes as a man may cast a dainty to his cat (his cat he calls her, but she owns him not)...
Quote:
Originally Posted by davem
I think 'owns' in this context is 'archaic' & means 'owns up to'/acknowleges - ie, he calls her his cat, but she doesn't acknowledge his ownership of her.
The play on words could go even further and mean that while he calls her his cat in terms of ownership, not only does he not belong to her, but she also does not even acknowledge his existence. A familiar thing with moggies.
__________________
Gordon's alive!
Lalwendë is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2005, 08:59 PM   #18
Firefoot
Illusionary Holbytla
 
Firefoot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 7,646
Firefoot has been trapped in the Barrow!
Expanding on what Hilde said here:
Quote:
But another curious thing to me was that Tolkien writes that Sméagol/Gollum had bowed down and worshipped Shelob. I understand why Gollum might be mentioned but why is Sméagol named here? Is this a hint about his basic nature?
Quote:
Already, years before, Gollum had beheld her, Smeagol who pried into all dark holes, and in past days he had bowed and worshipped her, and the darkness of her evil will walked through all the ways of his weariness beside him, cutting him off from light and from regret.
It seems to me that what this is saying is that Gollum beheld her and bowed down and worshipped her, whereas Sméagol was the part who rooted around in the dark tunnels and such. The commas would seem to indicate that the "Smeagol...dark holes" part of the sentence is separate. I would take this further and say that this would imply that it is Gollum, not Smeagol per se, who is involved with Shelob, and this would make sense bearing in mind Smeagol's almost-redemption after coming back from Shelob. Also of interest: the use of the name Smeagol here would seem to be important. The only time Tolkien uses Smeagol in the narrative is when it is essential to distinguish between Gollum and Smeagol, such as when they are talking to each other. "Smeagol" is used almost wholly in diaglogue.

Also posted by Hilde:
Quote:
Another facet that adds to the disturbing mood of the chapter is the “fey mood” Sam feels his master is in, after freeing himself of the tunnel. Sam does seem the only grounded thing in the whole surreal episode, and by the end he also seems so dreadfully alone.
I found this very odd. Frodo tends to be a clear-headed character, especially as the book progresses. Even when he does 'lose it,' it tends to be more along the lines of panic (cf. The Shadow of the Past). This fey mood seems very out of character for Frodo, and feels very ominous and disturbing - especially after his excellent display of courage in facing Shelob in the tunnel. I suppose this would be the release of the tension of Torech Ungol, but it still feels very disturbing.

The final point I would like to make concerns Gollum's plan. Compare these two quotes, only a paragraph apart from each other:
Quote:
Everything had gone wrong with his beautiful plan, since that horrible light had so unexpectedly appeared in the darkness. And now he was face to face with a furious enemy, little less than his own size. This fight was not for him.
Quote:
...the thought of Frodo and the monster smote upon Sam's mind. He spun round, and rushed wildly up the path, calling and calling his master's name. He was too late. So far Gollum's plot had succeeded.
Now, these would seem to contradict each other: first everything had gone wrong, but suddenly it is succeeding? I think the difference may be in the perspective. As far as Gollum can tell, nothing is going right. He had not accounted for the Phial, and he made the mistake of underestimating Sam. However, if the whole picture is looked at, Gollum's plot really was working, if not in the way he intended. Even if not inside the tunnel, he had managed to keep Frodo separate from Sam (and Frodo from the Phial), allowing Shelob to have her way with Frodo, which was really Gollum's hope, because Frodo had the Ring. He wanted Sam dead, of course, if more for personal reasons, but the Ring was his real goal here. Perhaps also the difference is in the wording: his plan failed, but his plot was succeeding. If all continued as was going, his ultimate goal would be achieved even if it hadn't gone according to his plan.

Oh, yes, and what a lovely note to end the chapter on: "He was too late. So far Gollum's plot had succeeded."
Firefoot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2018, 07:27 PM   #19
Formendacil
Dead Serious
 
Formendacil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Perched on Thangorodrim's towers.
Posts: 2,948
Formendacil is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Formendacil is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Formendacil is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.
Send a message via AIM to Formendacil Send a message via MSN to Formendacil
Rereading this chapter, the thing that struck me that hadn't struck ne before was the fact that the spawn of Ungoliant facing off against a remnant of the Light of the Trees can hardly have been a coincidence, but how much was it planned? This FEELS like the whole purpose of including the Phial in the story, but which story element came first? Memory is fallible and I haven't looked it up, but I want to say the Phial came first.
Formendacil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2018, 07:27 AM   #20
Inziladun
Gruesome Spectre
 
Inziladun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Heaven's doorstep
Posts: 7,448
Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Formendacil View Post
Rereading this chapter, the thing that struck me that hadn't struck ne before was the fact that the spawn of Ungoliant facing off against a remnant of the Light of the Trees can hardly have been a coincidence, but how much was it planned? This FEELS like the whole purpose of including the Phial in the story, but which story element came first? Memory is fallible and I haven't looked it up, but I want to say the Phial came first.
Would this have been due to the foresight of Galadriel?

She was certainly around while the Trees were alive, and I don't think it's implausible that she could have thought the pass of Cirith Ungol was the route Frodo would be obliged to take into Mordor, and also have known about Shelob.
After all, it seems Shelob had once been in Mirkwood, as the book mentions that the Spiders encountered by Bilbo and the Dwarves were her spawn.
A lesser light of the Trees to fight a diminished version of Ungoliant. How apt!
__________________
Music alone proves the existence of God.
Inziladun is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:06 AM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.