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Old 04-06-2004, 02:25 AM   #41
Estelyn Telcontar
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Saucepan, well spoken! I too enjoy the colorful touches given to the story by those characters who show up on the periphery. I'd like to add a tiny scene that is one of my favorites - Tolkien uses Ioreth once more to bring in the feeling of what the populace of Minas Tirith was thinking about their new king. Her kinswoman is a character who is mentioned only in the crowning scene, never named, and not characterized at all herself. But the country cousin shows us that people from afar came to see the king crowned, and Ioreth's comments show that already, legends were being told about the Hobbits. We also see an endearing glimpse into her character - making sure the kinswoman knows of her importance to the story, and that she has spoken with the king. And of course, she only stops talking when the events do not permit her to carry on!

I think it is part of Tolkien's tremendous gift of telling a good story that he is able to give so much information casually, in passing, without slowing the flow of the narrative. And I always love the glimpses of his humor that show up in those brief moments!
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Old 04-09-2004, 10:36 PM   #42
Dininziliel
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Saucepan--

I'm nearing the 3/4 mark in The Letters of . . . and had just gone back earlier this evening and made a note on one that I think will add to your last post. It is Letter #194 and concerns the 1956 BBC radio dramatization. The adapter/producer had written to ask how the characters' "accents" [Tolkien's quotes, not mine] should be portrayed. Tolkien replied:
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. . . it would probably be better to avoid certain, actual or conventional, features of modern 'vulgar' English in representing Orcs, such as the dropping of aitches (these are, I think, not dropped in the text, and that is deliberate). . . I have no doubt that, if this 'history' were real, all users of the C[ommon] Speech would reveal themselves by their accent, differing in place, people, and rank, but that cannot be represented when C.S. is turned into English--and is not (I think) necessary. I paid great attention to such linguistic differentiation as was possible: in diction, idiom, and so on . . . The Rohirrim no doubt (as our ancient English ancestors in a similar state of culture and society) spoke, at least their own tongue, with a slower tempo and more sonorous articulation, than modern "urbans'. But I think it is save to represent them when using C.S., as they practicallyalways do (for obvious reasons) as speaking the best M[inas] T[irith]. Possibly a little too good, as it would be a learned language, somewhat slower and more careful than a native's. But that is a nicety safely neglected, and not always true.
The earlier portion adds to our understanding of how Ioreth & others come across so clearly as, well, who they are--Tolkien took such care with their syntax & expressions. It is, in many cases, so subtle that only a linguist/philologist (or Barrow Downer ) would be able to discern them. Some, like Sam, are much more obvious. I wonder if, given a sampling of speech (not from the book) of Elves, Hobbits, wizards, and Men, we could tell them apart.

Anyway, after reading this letter again, I'd like to add "diction, idiom, and so on" to the list as minor characters that have a big impact.

(The bit about the Rohirrim is included for the sheer effect it may have on one's internal audio while reading Eowyn's dialogue with Aragorn--I know it will enrich my personal soundtrack )

Osse, & Doug-- "Dwarves". . . "miners" . . . "Harf" . . . gosh, but I love this place!
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Old 04-10-2004, 02:04 PM   #43
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Does anyone else have any good examples?
I just remembered two minor characters that nobody else has yet mentioned in this thread.
The two nameless orcs, one a big fighting orc, the other a small "tracker", talking and arguing when Frodo and Sam are walking on the orc-path between the Morgai and the Ephel duath. I always found that conversation fun to read . It even evokes some sympathy with the small "snuffler" orc, who is obviously terrified of the Nazgûl, and would rather go home than work for Sauron.
"You can't even stick to your own folk. Go to your filthy Shriekers and may they freeze the flesh off you!"
They are not important to the plot of the story but, as others said, make it more colourful and realistic. This interlude shows the characteristics of orcs and their behaviour, in contrast to the people on the good side.
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Old 08-20-2004, 03:06 AM   #44
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Guinevere, I just noticed your reply when hunting for this particular thread for a reply in the chapters section.

The scene you mention with the two orcs also shows us another piece of the woven thread of Tolkien's plot. Imagine the scene. Merry/Eoywn do not defeat the Witch King. Let's forget what consequences that has for Minas Tirith. That would be inconsequential compared to the failure of the Quest.

I say this because, no death of the Witch King, no escalation of the argument the orcs were having into a fight and death for one of the orcs. Remember that the orc who survived was a tracker, so therefore without him running off after killing the other orc, Frodo and Sam would no doubt have been tracked and caught. Bye bye Middle-earth as we know it.......
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Old 08-20-2004, 10:40 AM   #45
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Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Imrahil probably saved Eowyn's life as well as Faramir's - or at least gave them a chance to be healed by Aragorn.... all though he is minor and his existence is probably mainly plot driven, he has always been a very clear character to me ..... he is more than a cipher and it can be surmised that many of Faramir's finest qualities may have been a legacy of his mother's side....

Another unsung hero is Gildor ...... it was his messages that alerted Rivendell to Frodo's peril and so Glorfindel et al were sent out..... as well as providing a black rider deterrent......
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Old 08-20-2004, 05:35 PM   #46
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Mithalwen's mention of Imrahil brings another minor character to mind: Furlong "the Fat" who brings some soldiers to Minas Tirith. Remember him? He's got about a paragraph or two to his name, poor guy.

And speaking of Minas Tirith, let's not forget Bergil, who shows Pippin around the city, but not until jokingly threatening to stand Pippin on his head.

I love minor characters.
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Old 08-21-2004, 12:55 PM   #47
Mithalwen
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Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Forlong did get a line in the lament for the fallen of the Pellenor though... It is odd how even very minor characters (minor compared to Imrahil and Glorfindel even) are vivid ... like Derufin and Duilin, the archer brothers slain fighting the Mumakil...a few almost throwaway references only but you remember them....
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Old 08-21-2004, 11:28 PM   #48
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I think almost all the minor characters with some form of importance or another have been listed. But if we are to expand the scope of this thread to include other characters in the expanded LoTR universe, I would say King Brand and Dain ironfoot are two minor characters that played important roles in the War of The Ring. Without their staunch defence of Dale/Erebor, the armies of Sauron could have entered Eriador and caused untold mayhem and destruction. Gandalf said that there could have been "no queen of Gondor", that must have meant that even Rivendell would be threatened.

Dain standing over the body of Brand, defending it from enemy hands until he himself expires, whatta dwarf...
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Old 08-22-2004, 11:01 AM   #49
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Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Mithalwen is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Yes .... I always wondered exactly what he meant by that but now I realise that although the one ring was destroyed there would have still have been a lot of orcs in the Misty Mountains and Rivendell might have been vulnerable - Elrond's power would have been diminished by the failing of Vilya and although mighty warriors dwellt at Imladris, I doubt it could have mustered a large force at that point.
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Old 08-22-2004, 01:10 PM   #50
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And to add to my previous post, I would like to include Théodred, Grimbold and Elfhelm for their exploits during the First Battle of Isen.

Had Théodred not defended the approaches to the Westfold prior to the events in TTT, there would not have been the battle of Helmsdeep and there certainly would not have been the mustering of the Rohirrm and their subsequent relief of Minas Tirith.

Théodred bought time not just for Rohan, but for all the free nations of Middle Earth and ultimately, he sacrificed his life in doing so. Truely a valiant prince...
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