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Old 11-25-2006, 11:15 AM   #1
Aaron
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Most Tragic Moment?

What in your mind is the most tragic part in the books?
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Old 11-25-2006, 11:22 AM   #2
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White Tree

Boromir's death. He had so much potential for good and yet he was cut short before his time.
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Old 11-25-2006, 11:24 AM   #3
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That always was quite an emotional moment but for my money it was the final meeting with Treebeard. He had no future, there was nothing to look forward to, his life had lost all meaning because the Entwives were lost. It's hard to imagine a bleaker situation.
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Old 11-25-2006, 11:33 AM   #4
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The departing of Aragorn; all in all, Arwen must have had the most tragic fate of all elves - she experienced the inherent sadness of the elves, the poisoning and departure of her mother, the final separation from her family and race and, finnaly, the departing (premature some might say) of Aragorn. This last tragic moment in her life must have topped them all - here is the man for whom she foresook everything, and he just couldn't stay around more. I know, I know, he is supposed to embody the great virtues Men should have displayed in their unmarred state, including willful departure, but I can't help thinking he was a wee bit egoistic.
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Old 11-25-2006, 12:12 PM   #5
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Egotistic? Well, he was certainly no saint but if he lived on he would become a shadow of his former self and in the long run that would be crueller on Arwen.
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Old 11-25-2006, 12:35 PM   #6
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Frodo's departure from the Grey Havens, definitely. That or when Sam thought that Frodo was dead after Shelob attacked him and Sam was trying to figure out what he should do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Kohran
Boromir's death. He had so much potential for good and yet he was cut short before his time.
I think his death is sad, too, but consider it a mercy that the professor killed him when he did and with orcs. Have you ever read the HoME book The Treason of Isengard? In it there is a sort of time line, or lay out of the book, that Tolkien wrote and he was going to have Boromir go on and get worse and worse and eventually get killed by Aragorn... That would have been tragic.

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Old 11-25-2006, 01:19 PM   #7
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Leaf

I think it was when the COmpany departed their seperate ways. I had always hoped that they would stay together and not part often.
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Old 11-25-2006, 01:37 PM   #8
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This is a good question that can be answered by newcomers as well as long-time Tolkien readers. Because it involves opinions, not actual book discussion, I'm going to move it to the Novices and Newcomers forum. Please continue to read and post there - thanks!
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Old 11-25-2006, 02:33 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Laleena
I think it was when the COmpany departed their seperate ways. I had always hoped that they would stay together and not part often.
I know exactly what you mean. Gimli's words about how they will never all be together again really saddened me. A sadness worsened when I read the timeline of what happened at the close of the War of The Ring.
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Old 11-25-2006, 02:48 PM   #10
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Well, to me one of the saddest moments was when Gandalf fell in the mines of Moria. I read The Hobbit first, and then LoTR so I had a soft spot for the old greybeard already.... and it was so sad (and tragic) that he fell to protect the ones he cared about.

Of course when we find out he wasn't dead after all, I was really happy.

Another really tense moment for me was when the orcs take Frodo away. Perhaps it was not tragic in the same way Aragorn's passing away may have been, but I remember finishing The Two Towers and wanting to run to the bookstore to get The Return of The King... even though it was a weekday, close to 10 PM
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Old 11-25-2006, 03:47 PM   #11
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Haha! You remember that well, do you, Farael? I was lucky - we own the entire trillogy, so I'm not one of those many people who didn't know that they desperately need to have the RotK directly after the TT. Not that it helps anyway, because it goes to Pippin at the beginning of the RotK instead of telling what happens to Frodo.

But, yes, I think that practically the entire Choices of Master Samwise is the one of the saddest parts, and when Frodo's being taken away by the orcs is part of that. *sniff*

My sister thought that the Breaking of the Fellowship was one of the most tragic parts, but she's not here to say so, so I'll say it for her.

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Old 11-25-2006, 04:43 PM   #12
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The deaths of Thorin, Fili and Kili. And the tomb of Balin in Moria. The Hobbit being one of the first not-so-children-story-books that was read to me. I really got attached to the dwarves and the book being rather friendly to them (if you get what I mean) before the very end...
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Old 11-26-2006, 05:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raynor
The departing of Aragorn; all in all, Arwen must have had the most tragic fate of all elves - she experienced the inherent sadness of the elves, the poisoning and departure of her mother, the final separation from her family and race and, finnaly, the departing (premature some might say) of Aragorn. This last tragic moment in her life must have topped them all - here is the man for whom she foresook everything, and he just couldn't stay around more. I know, I know, he is supposed to embody the great virtues Men should have displayed in their unmarred state, including willful departure, but I can't help thinking he was a wee bit egoistic.
This might be tragic, but it is in keeping with his fundamentally mortal nature, which he recognizes and accepts. Aragorn was a heroic throwback to the Kings of Numenor, before they became unwilling to lay down their lives of their own free will. Aragorn might have lasted a few more years, but not without descending into senility or some other such infirmity. The key here is to lay down one's life willingly, not to time one's descent into senility and infirmity exactly. So I think Aragorn did as he should have in this case, and in fact, really did not have another meaningful choice.

Perhaps the tragic part was that he convinced Arwen to join with him and become mortal herself. Once she did this, the die were cast, as they say... So if Aragorn is a wee bit egotistical, then it is in joining with Arwen in the first place, rather than letting her go into the West (perhaps this is what you meant).

Anyway, I agree there is a tragic element here, I just don't think it can be attributed to Aragorn's early departure--the tragic part is that Arwen laid down her immortality and only fully realized what this meant at the very end.
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Old 11-26-2006, 05:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSteefel
Anyway, I agree there is a tragic element here, I just don't think it can be attributed to Aragorn's early departure--the tragic part is that Arwen laid down her immortality and only fully realized what this meant at the very end.
But is it so tragic? By making her choice, Arwen sundered herself permanently from her (birth) family, which must have caused her great sadness. But she did so to spend the remainder of her (now) mortal days with the one that she loved. And beyond that? No one knows. But the hope is that she will spend the rest of eternity with him (and their mortal descendants) beyond the circles of the world.
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Old 11-26-2006, 08:47 PM   #15
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But is it so tragic? By making her choice, Arwen sundered herself permanently from her (birth) family, which must have caused her great sadness. But she did so to spend the remainder of her (now) mortal days with the one that she loved. And beyond that? No one knows. But the hope is that she will spend the rest of eternity with him (and their mortal descendants) beyond the circles of the world.
What you say is true. Living forever in a fleshly form and body as the elves did would become wearisome, especially if you left someone you who loved enough to marry. It would haunt you forever. I think her choice is beautiful, even if it is somewhat sad.

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Old 11-26-2006, 09:08 PM   #16
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I cannot help but think it is an emblem of most women's lives, given in sacrifice to others and then completely forgotten. Almost beyond what I would expect of Tolkien, but not quite.
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Old 11-26-2006, 09:42 PM   #17
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What you say, Bethberry, reminds me of the part in the book when Pippin first sees Eowyn dressed as a man and when she looks up with the look in her eye of one searching for death. . .don't know why it reminds me of that part, but that was rather tragic.

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Old 11-27-2006, 12:11 AM   #18
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If we're talking about LOTR, then I think that Frodo's failure to find healing on his return to the Shire is tragic:
Quote:
On the thirteenth of that month Farmer Cotton found Frodo lying on his bed; he was clutching a white gem that hung on a chain about his neck and he seemed half in a dream. "It is gone for ever," he said, "and now all is dark and empty."
But the most tragic IMHO is the fall of Saruman from wise and noble head of the White Council to a beggar in the wilderness, without home or means to survive. Of course, his later deeds in the Shire make me feel less pity for him!

If we're talking about all of Tolkien's books, then The Silmarillion is tragerama! Page after page of sorrow and loss! Most tragic in all the books, I would say, is Fingolfin's vain attempt to take Morgoth down in single combat.
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Then Fingolfin beheld (as it seemed to him) the utter ruin of the Noldor, and the defeat beyond redress of all their houses; and filled with wrath and despair he mounted upon Rochallor his great horse and rode forth alone, and none might restrain him.
Although, if anyone were to argue that Túrin's life story were more tragic, I could not say much in way of argument.
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Old 11-27-2006, 02:45 AM   #19
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Definitely the few last phrases of Quenta Silmarillion. *sniff*
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Old 11-27-2006, 04:25 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Folwren
What you say, Bethberry, reminds me of the part in the book when Pippin first sees Eowyn dressed as a man and when she looks up with the look in her eye of one searching for death. . .don't know why it reminds me of that part, but that was rather tragic.

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Hmm, yes. Tolkien's depiction of women was rather tragic, eh?
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Old 11-29-2006, 03:46 PM   #21
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Not really. I never felt an ounce of pity for Eowyn, Arwen meanwhile truly was doomed but it was a doom created by her own ignorance. Surely no intelligent person would give up immortality? That is the problem when one is governed by the heart and not the head.
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Old 11-29-2006, 04:19 PM   #22
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Not really. I never felt an ounce of pity for Eowyn, Arwen meanwhile truly was doomed but it was a doom created by her own ignorance. Surely no intelligent person would give up immortality? That is the problem when one is governed by the heart and not the head.
Oh, you romantic...
And after all, what does one's life mean when he has nothing to live for? Literally, you can preserve immortality, but "dwell in the dimming world...", in the material way, you might be immortal, but actually, you are not alive anymore. Your *real* life is gone, and how do you get it back?

And the most tragic moment? I'd consider before I say "tragic" that there are few really "tragic" moments in Tolkien's work - both LotR and Sil are much rather, as said by d*p up there, "full of sorrow on each page" (well, maybe not each, but mostly) - but this is, in most cases, compensated by joy, happiness, or just a blink of hope, which makes all the sorrowful things seem in some other light even beautiful: beautiful and sad, that is I think the best description for all LotR. Even Fingolfin's death, much like Maedhros' rescue by Fingon, have glimpses of joy in them: in case of Fingolfin, there is his bravery and what he was able to do before he died: he hurt Morgoth seven times. And even then, you see, his body was not left to rot dishonorably in Angband (or worse), but it was taken out by the Eagles. I should mention that I associate Fingolfin's death with one similar moment, which I consider similar weight, but it is not from Silmarillion nor from LotR: it is the death of Thorin Oakenshield, as mentioned by Volo. His last speech to Bilbo is a moment which would make me cry, as much as it did move Bilbo. And Maedhros and Fingon - this is a beautiful example of restoring friendship, and of a friendship stronger than anything, although the picture of the beautiful and gifted Noldo being tortured by tying him up there on Thangorodrim and then having to get his arm cut by his best friend is rather tragic, it is one of the strongest moments of all for me.

Bethberry, you are right about the women - taking not just Arwen, Eowyn, but even Entwives or Elladan,Elrohir&Arwen's mother Celebrían... women had never joyful fate in Tolkien's work. Not mentioning the Old Test.... eh, meaning Silmarillion women Finduilas, Nienor, Melian... Lúthien *ahem* we all know it...

But if I had to say if there were some whose fate was really tragic, REALLY TRAGIC, without any compensation for their suffering, or at least which I consider not to have died by such a heroic death, you know, those who were not celebrated at least in their death, I'd say Túrin Turambar.
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Old 11-30-2006, 02:35 AM   #23
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I second... wait, third... the death of Thorin. It had been a long time since I had last read the Hobbit when I reread it this spring and I did cry while reading his death and last words to Bilbo. It's truly a moving scene.

If tragicness (???) is measured in when do I cry when I read the books, Gollum's glimpse of his old good self in Cirith Ungol and Sam banishing it is one for sure.

Théoden's death is also one of those moments. I don't know if it should be tragic, but sad. After all, he was an old man and his fate was fulfilled and he left the world the way he wanted and when he had no objections to death. I always think "tragic" is something that should not happen, it's not "right" and sad, but "wrong" and sad. Thus, Théoden's death is not a tragic moment, but just a sad moment full of grief.
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Old 11-30-2006, 06:10 AM   #24
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Tolkien frodo's departure

frodo's final parting from middle earth.just when they all thought that their work was done,its time for heartache again!!

also faramir's rememberance of his brother whom he so dearly loved
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Old 11-30-2006, 07:01 AM   #25
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I don't see Frodo being taken by orcs as anything tragic, the same goes for everything happening around that time. For me it worked as a "cliff-hanger" It was exitment not sadnessed I felt.

I must say that I am quite the opposite of Aaron, I never really felt any pitty for Arwen, she made a choise and I am sure it was the right thing for her and that she was happy with that choise.

Eowyn on the other hand I did feel a bit pitty for, her "doom" was not really of her own making.

The most tragic thing I can think of right now, is when Hurin and Morwen meet and realises that their children are dead. It brought a tear to my eye when I re-read the Sil this summer.
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Old 11-30-2006, 07:19 AM   #26
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I think the fate of the elves should be considered too. Especially the waning and sorrow or Galadriel hit me quite hard, at least when I was younger (nowadays I think I see her in a bit more wider perspective and as a more complex character not to jump out from among the others). They had to give up their land and their love; all they had built and cared for, all which they had sacrificed to defend during the millenia... To pass away before a new and less enchanted time.

That I find tragic. The inevitable wheel of time crushing the old ways, the coming of the era of men and the machine...

Or is it more like anguishing, heart-breaking, sorrowing, romanticising even rather than tragic?

A most tragic individual fate: Turin Turambar (as someone already noted), surely.
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Old 11-30-2006, 07:29 AM   #27
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If you were to ask me what scene in LotR was most likely to make me personally sad, I would have said the moment of Frodo's departure from the Grey Havens. There is such a hard necessity in that scene. He has been hurt so badly, and there is nothing he or his friends can do to allow him to stay within the Shire, although the Shire was the whole reason he undertook the quest.

But this question is a little different. We're talking about the "most tragic" part of the books as a whole, which I assume includes the whole of Tolkien's subcreation. To me these words sum up the tragedy of Tolkien's world.

Quote:
Men may sail now West, if they will, as far as they may, and come no nearer to Valinor or the Blessed Realm, but return only into the east and so back again; for the world is round and finite, and a circle inescapable---save by death. Only the "immortals", the lingering Elves, may still if they will, wearying of the circle of the world, take ship and find the 'straight way', and come to the ancient or True West, and be at peace.
And it is not just the men of Arda who are pulled into this tragedy. It's us as well. There's that sense of standing on the shore with Sam and watching Frodo's boat disappear over the horison but there is nothing you can do to bridge that gap. Something is gone from the world when you come to the end of LotR. Long before, men had lost the chance to sail to the Blessed Lands and now even the Elves depart from the shores of Middle-earth.

Man's doom is not easy. There's so much we don't know and can only guess at. Even Tolkien with all his faith expresses that in his personal letters. Some readers express that loss in their own lives in terms of religion, while others speak of the withdrawal of faerie. But whatever that sadness signifies for each of us, there is an implacable sense that something is missing. At the end of the book I am not only grieving for Frodo's loss, but also for my own.

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Old 11-30-2006, 07:58 AM   #28
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About Tolkien's women, there are, indeed, many meanings of 'tragic', as Legate has suggested.

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Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc
But if I had to say if there were some whose fate was really tragic, REALLY TRAGIC, without any compensation for their suffering, or at least which I consider not to have died by such a heroic death, you know, those who were not celebrated at least in their death, I'd say Túrin Turambar.
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Originally Posted by Nogrod
A most tragic individual fate: Turin Turambar
Turin surely is Tolkien's classic tragic hero, undeserving of the terrible fate meted out to him.

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Originally Posted by Child
We're talking about the "most tragic" part of the books as a whole, which I assume includes the whole of Tolkien's subcreation. To me these words sum up the tragedy of Tolkien's world.

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Men may sail now West, if they will, as far as they may, and come no nearer to Valinor or the Blessed Realm, but return only into the east and so back again; for the world is round and finite, and a circle inescapable---save by death. Only the "immortals", the lingering Elves, may still if they will, wearying of the circle of the world, take ship and find the 'straight way', and come to the ancient or True West, and be at peace.
And it is not just the men of Arda who are pulled into this tragedy. It's us as well. There's that sense of standing on the shore with Sam and watching Frodo's boat set sail and disappear over the horison but there is nothing you can do to join him. Something is gone from the world, when you come to the end of LotR. Long before, men had lost the chance to sail to the Blessed Lands and now even the Elves depart the shores of Middle-earth. Men are left behind, and there is no way to close that gap.
If we consider the meaning of tragic which pertains to Turin, does this meaning apply to this situation which Child has poignantly described? What is it about Eru's creation that has to fall short of its perfection?

Tolkien seems to have explored many of the word's meanings.
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Old 12-01-2006, 03:36 AM   #29
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I think some of us, me especially, are mixing up the words "tragic" and "moving"...
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Old 12-02-2006, 01:41 PM   #30
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Isn't it odd that although Sams sharp words destroy Gollum's chance of redemption people still beleive him to be "good"?
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Old 12-02-2006, 01:52 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Thinlómien
I think some of us, me especially, are mixing up the words "tragic" and "moving"...
The argument can be made that words mean what the people who use them intend them to mean, Thin, 'cause that's how words change meanings.

Besides, I think several of us have been working with different meanings.
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Old 12-02-2006, 02:27 PM   #32
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The argument can be made that words mean what the people who use them intend them to mean, Thin, 'cause that's how words change meanings.
Yet if I decide to mean "up" when I say "down", I can hardly complain when I am misunderstood.

The moment that strikes me as most tragic in Tolkien's writing is when Ungoliant sucks the Trees dry of their light. If we're just talking about LotR, I suppose it would be the moment when Gollum almost repents and is then told off by Sam.

Actually, on second thought, the most tragic thing is the fact that Tolkien never wrote a full Tale of Earendil.
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Old 12-02-2006, 02:29 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Aaron
Isn't it odd that although Sams sharp words destroy Gollum's chance of redemption people still beleive him to be "good"?
That's probably the part I considered the most tragic...
but I don't think it's odd that people consider Sam good. Sam had no idea what he was doing when he said those words, which makes it all the more heartbreaking, I think.
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Old 12-02-2006, 06:09 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bêthberry
The argument can be made that words mean what the people who use them intend them to mean, Thin, 'cause that's how words change meanings.
"The meaning of a word is in the use of it", said a man named Ludwig Wittgenstein. And at least as it comes to this prohibiting any eternal or transcendent "meanings" that might lurk behind the everyday words we use, I think he was right. But there is the head-banger involved in here too. If the words only mean what we intend them to mean, so how can we intend them to mean something in the first place?
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Old 12-02-2006, 06:31 PM   #35
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This post like Wittgenstein belongs in a philosophical discution, don't you think?
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Old 12-02-2006, 08:57 PM   #36
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"The meaning of a word is in the use of it", said a man named Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Sure, an older Wittgenstein who had rather lost his philosophical way. The young Wittgenstein said:

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A name means an object. The object is its meaning.
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Old 12-03-2006, 04:21 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiwendil
Sure, an older Wittgenstein who had rather lost his philosophical way.
Or who had indeed found it after his premature naivete...

But yes, as Rune said:
Quote:
This post like Wittgenstein belongs in a philosophical discution, don't you think?
So I'll leave it be.

But the point I tried to make alongside Bethberry was that we seem to speak about lots of somewhat different things here as we discuss "the most tragic part", but that it does not mean we are "mixing things up". Quite on the contrary it seems most natural to me.

If I try to say what was the most tragic part in the books or if I try to say what is the thing that moved me most deeply or which thing gave me that beautiful anguishing feeling of sadness... I'm not able to see who or what could make decisions concerning the definition of these things if not us language users in our communication trying to understand one another.

The tragicness of Turin's life and death are of a different sort than the anguish we're experiencing from reading about the inevitable waning of the elven race. So can we use the same word tragic to cover both instances? Why not? But it requires that we open up the things we mean by tragicness and share our points thus enriching the conceptual world we live in and share with each other...

---------
Back to the topic. Child added Frodo's departure to the most tragic moments. I do agree with her here somewhat. Frodo's departure does not concern only Sam and the other hobbits, but us readers as well. There is a strong feeling of this world being left to go on with its own (thus combining to the theme of the waning elves) after being guided by powers more enlightened than human minds. But I can see all this also as a challenge and liberation too. From that moment on it's up to us humans what we do and how we do it. So there is the hope and there is the fear. Learning to walk on our own feet... do we stumble or not? But is it tragic then if it carries a hope within it?
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Old 12-03-2006, 01:52 PM   #38
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I think it was when the COmpany departed their seperate ways. I had always hoped that they would stay together and not part often.

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Old 12-04-2006, 03:43 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rune Son of Bjarne
This post like Wittgenstein belongs in a philosophical discution, don't you think?
Indeed. Tsk, tsk, too much work Noggie. The point is to bring BD to RL not RL to BD.

--------------

One more tragic/sad/moving scene that hasn't been mentioned yet is the fate of Finrod Felagund. First his people abandon him (apart from a few faithful ones) and then Sauron kills him while he defends his friend Beren. A sad fate for one of the greatest of the Eldar (or for anyone else, for that matter).

---------------

Maybe I could make a little sub-poll too (since almost everyone mentions this story):
What in your opinion is the most tragic thing that happens Narn-i-hín-Húrin?

It always grieves me the most what happens to Beleg. Also, the scene where Morwen and Húrin meet at their children's grave is really tragic.
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Old 12-04-2006, 06:33 AM   #40
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Well, the most tragic moment...


Frodo's realisation that he has to run for it and has to leave the shire and his friends comes pretty close, I guess.
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