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Old 06-07-2006, 01:26 PM   #1
Anguirel
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Sam the Ghastly Arriviste

People of the Barrow-Downs. It is time to make a stand.

Of late I have heard much nauseating drivel about how Sam is so courageous and loyal and cute and so on. I would like to raise a little discussed point.

Okay, sure, during the Quest Sam might have been quite a good valet. But look at the little devil once he gets back.

The burlesque figure of comedy, the decent Comrade Sam, becomes a blimming pillar of the upwardly mobile bourgeoisie of the Shire, outclassing the Sackville-Bagginses by miles.

Seriously. Look at Frodo's chivalrous, melancholy, Quixotic, spiritually enhanced nobility. He understands what's going on and what's been lost. He realises that the honours of the Shire and petty and ludicrous and yearns for higher things.

Sam takes advantage of these feelings! The fella nabs the Mayorship, blast it all, he even gets Bag End! A Gamgee in Bag End! Thank goodness poor Lobelia didn't live to see it.

But it gets worse still. Look at his family tree. Does he bring up his thirteen children to be proud of their lowly origins and decent, peasant virtue? No! He makes himself and them ridiculous by aping the aristocracy. He marries them into the noble, but, I imagine, quite poor, what with Merry and Pippin's poker debts, clans of Took and Brandybuck. (Politically exploiting Elanor's sex appeal, by the way.) The upper classes gain money from prostrating themselves before Samwise the Nouveau-Riche!

They even renounce their surnames and become Gardners! Such typical arriviste insecurity.

And yet despite all this pursuit of material success-and, what's worse, attainment of that success-Sam gets a bleeding ticket to Valinor.

Seriously, is no one else depressed by the spectacle of Halfwit Gamgee, Banana President of the Republic of the Shire, who cannot begin to comprehend the sacrifices and transformations Frodo has gone through, who never thought of sympathising with Gollum-ever-winning the jackpot? Nineteen times Mayor, father of a massive tribe with dynastic pretensions, usurper of Baggins property, and he gets to sail to Heaven on Earth, thereby invalidating the price Frodo had to pay for his passage-the scourging of his ghastly Hobbit-Middle-Englishness...

It's like the ending of Animal Farm or The Sword of Honour. Grim.
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Old 06-07-2006, 02:00 PM   #2
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Anguirel, you snob! First against teh wall when the revolution comes

As you can see in this post in "Master Samwise can read" , I don't exactly agree.


Sam invigorates the degenerate aristocratic lines with good yeoman blood. He is a bright boy who gets himself an education in the face of parental opposition.

Social mobility is good - I have to say that, without it I woud not be here.....
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Old 06-07-2006, 03:15 PM   #3
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Mith-it's a reaction to the Sam lovers. This has been stewing for a very long time. The thing about Sam is that in the last book his deeds are heroic in an obvious, blokey, easily identifiable way which tends to eclipse poor Frodo, who people quite unreasonably claim "failed".

I did prefer the earlier, Gil-Galad singing Sam. Sam has a strange aura of being morally lessened, not developed like the others, by the journey, for all the Mallornery. He ends up with power and with bliss-earthly and heavenly. It seems rather unfair.

obloquy, I quite disagree. The existence of the Mirth forum should not condemn the Books forum to solely Puritanical and platitudinal discussions of how wonderful the characters are. A controversy is nice occasionally. Consider the cat bepigeoned.
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Old 06-07-2006, 03:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anguirel
People of the Barrow-Downs. It is time to make a stand.
Seriously, is no one else depressed by the spectacle of Halfwit Gamgee, Banana President of the Republic of the Shire, who cannot begin to comprehend the sacrifices and transformations Frodo has gone through, who never thought of sympathising with Gollum-ever-winning the jackpot?
Did Aragorn sympathize with Gollum? Did Gandalf? Did Elrond? Of course not; none of them had carried the Ring, and none could understand how its sheer weight could drive a person mad. Sam carried it for only a short time, and it didn't really affect him.

And he's not a halfwit by any means. As Mithalwen stated in her linked post, he reasoned through Frodo's actions at Parth Galen where Aragorn could not, and was able to save Frodo at Cirith Ungol. He may not have as much book-learning as Frodo, but he has a good heart and is loyal and courageous-- and aren't the latter traits held in higher esteem by the hobbits than the former?

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Old 06-07-2006, 05:39 PM   #5
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Question

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Look at Frodo's chivalrous, melancholy, Quixotic, spiritually enhanced nobility
Since when is Quixotery considered to be a virtue?
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Old 06-07-2006, 05:56 PM   #6
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First obloquy is correct as your post seems more Mirth in nature as your arguements are a bit specious. However Sam is a hero of Middle-earth is he not? It is well documented that Frodo did indeed fail. Sam however, accomplished his task which was to help Frodo. He accomplished that and it cannot be denied that he did more than his part in the fullfillment of his task.

What you fail to understand is that he was a simple fellow, and therein lies his charm. When he wore the ring on the border of Mordor, which would be extremely trying, he passed that test wonderfully and realized that he only wanted a small garden for himself.

As for youf fallicious claim

Quote:
Seriously, is no one else depressed by the spectacle of Halfwit Gamgee, Banana President of the Republic of the Shire, who cannot begin to comprehend the sacrifices and transformations Frodo has gone through, who never thought of sympathising with Gollum-ever-winning the jackpot?
the records states a bit differently

Quote:
Sam's hand wavered. His mind was hot with wrath and the memory of evil. It would be just to slay this treacherous, murderous creature, just and many times deserved; and also it seemed the only safe thing to do. But deep in his heart there was something that restrained him: he could not strike this thing lying in the dust, forlorn, ruinous, utterly wretched. He himself, though only for a little while, had borne the Ring, and now dimly guessed the agony of Gollum's shrivelled mind and body, enslaved to that Ring, unable to find peace or relief ever in life again. But Sam had no words to express what he felt.

--Mount Doom
So you see, in his own way he recognized what both Frodo and Gollum have felt, but nobody who isn't a ring bearer can truly understand now can they?

Also, while I recognize this whole arguement is to incite people as it is drivle itself, I have to say that Sam was elected and used no such treachery to gain the mayorship as you suggest. Also I quote from the book

Quote:
When all was at last ready Frodo said: 'When are you going to move in and join me Sam?'

....

'I see,' said Frodo: 'you want to get married, and yet you want to live with me in Bag End too? But my dear Sam, how easy! Get married as soon as you can, and then move in with Rosie. There's room enough in Bag End for as big a family as you could wish for.'

--The Grey Havens
Some people just don't understand simple folk who are truly great as they know what life is really all about...family. Sam is one of these simple people.
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Old 06-07-2006, 05:56 PM   #7
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White Tree

Even Tolkien felt like Sam was the "chief" hero of the story. Tolkien seems to me actually to be a bigger Sam fan then his precious elves fandom:
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I think the simple 'rustic' love of Sam and his Rosie (nowhere elaborated) is absolutely essential to the study of his (the chief hero's) character...~Letter 131
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Certainly Sam is the most closely drawn character (in The Lord of the Rings), the successor to Bilbo of the first book, the genuine hobbit. Frodo is not so interesting, because he has to be highminded, and has (as it were) a vocation.~A letter to Christopher dated Christmas Eve 1944.
You got to make yourself a mighty stance as Tolkien will be sitting up from his grave right now crossing his arms there Anguirel.

Ok, so more seriously now, I do agree with you I do think Frodo typically gets shafted by a lot of people because he didn't drop in the Ring. And even Tolkien says several times this would be impossible.

So don't be so hard on poor Sam.
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Old 06-07-2006, 07:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boromir88
You got to make yourself a mighty stance as Tolkien will be sitting up from his grave right now crossing his arms there Anguirel.


Anguirel best be crossing himself. If he maddened the Prof. enough to come back from the dead, Tolkien's probably hoping to make Anguirel his first zombified meal.
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Old 06-07-2006, 08:14 PM   #9
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I don't know. Anguirel may have a point. After all, why did Sam attend a secret meeting of VIPs in Rivendell to which he wasn't invited? Elrond assumes he knows the reason but it could just as easily have been that Sam wanted to see how important meetings were conducted in preparation for his political ambitions once he was back in the Shire. And think of the name-dropping he could do, "You're out of order Tom Proudfoot. Elrond taught me how to hold a meeting and we won't be having any of your guff."
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Old 06-12-2006, 06:41 AM   #10
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I must reply to Anguirel's Boris Johnson column.

Samwise could be seen as emblematic of the poor and oppressed in Middle-earth. He would have been totally illiterate were it not for Bilbo's kindness in teaching him. There are no schools in The Shire, and we must assume that working class Hobbits must get what education that they can, if they can even get that. Why are there no schools? We must presume that education was viewed as a dangerous thing for a humble working class Hobbit, that might upset the apple cart. As it is, Sam only receives a cottage education, and Bilbo, though kind enough to teach him to read, fills his head with all srts of impractical nonsense.

We have our 'news'papers today filled with all sorts of pap about celebrities and non-celebrities (Big Brother contestants, 'stars' of Hollyoaks etc); it could be seen that the media are keeping our heads filled with all this drivel to divert our attention from what is wrong with society. Likewise, Elves were the celebs of Middle-earth, what with their rare appearances, their emaciated bodies and their bling. I can see that Bilbo was just doing the job that the media do today, by diverting Sam from using his new skill in reading to realise that society was keeping him oppressed, by filling his head with nonsense.

Even poor Sam's name is an oppressive millstone imposed by the caste system of the Shire. He is labelled a halfwit for the rest of his life. Far from his eventual change of surname being pretentious, it is actually an act of affirmation when he changes the family name to Gardner. The job implied by the name has been looked down upon by the aristocracy and middle classes of The Shire, but now the Hobbit who has been Mayor reclaims the word and makes it a noble name of repute. This is much like oppressed groups of the late 20th century reclaiming the words that had been used to deride them, and using them with pride.

But how does Sam even end up going on this mission? I would like to know whether Gandalf was exploiting him and using his natural curiosity as an excuse to rope him in as a glorified baggage carrier for Frodo. Did the wizard think it might be useful to have someone along to fetch and carry for the young master? Maybe he thought he could exploit that sense of respect which had been beaten into the Hobbit working classes, that Sam might use that respect to 'take a bullet' for the young Master?

Or was Gandalf the catalyst for change in The Shire? Did he enable Sam to rise from his station and to learn about the world, lessons that Sam would put into practice upon his return and his part in the creation of The New Shire?

I will leave you to think about where I am being tongue in cheek...
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Old 03-26-2007, 10:00 AM   #11
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Pipe Inconstant Gardner

I think you're falling for a typically devious piece of Gamgee propaganda, Lalwendë.

Clearly the established squirearchy of the Shire was a barrier to the attainment of Sam's overriding ambition to become nothing less than president for life, with unlimited authority, a vast publicly funded expense account and several lucrative lecture tours. Subtly he works to insinuate himself into the good graces of the more disreputable elements of the gentry, scraping a classical education where he can along the way so that he can observe closely how they behave and ape them where necessary. But he carefully cultivates his working-class salt-of-the-earth act as well so that he can switch between them depending on his audience.

After winning fame in a rather obvious way largely off the back of Frodo's great sacrifice and using his part in the war to scrape up popular votes, he can take advantage of the exhaustion and extinction of the House of Baggins, and the escapist descent into self-serving decadence of the traumatised Took and Brandybuck clans to establish himself as 'the people's hero'. This enables him to further his interests among the Shire's business community whilst still appearing to be an honest son of the soil. By parroting the empty rhetoric of social justice to remove the traditional checks on his mayoral power and simultaneously ingratiating himself with entrepreneurs like Gimli and celebrities like Aragorn, he can quietly turn the Shire into his own private fiefdom, appointing his cronies to positions of authority, selling titles he has bankrupted to anyone with enough mithril and abusing his position to acquire property he can barely afford. He exploits his not inconsiderable gift for ingenuousness to increase social division and reduce upward mobility whilst being hailed as a champion of social reform. In short, following an ugly career of upper-middle-class opportunism and exploitation and calling it meritocratic.

Eventually, having bled the Shire dry, banned pipeweed and put proper 1420 out of the reach of all but the super-rich, he can retire to his sun-kissed Valinorean tax-haven to avoid his own draconian financial policies, while playing on his connexion with the genuine hero Frodo to infiltrate polite Valinorean society and spread his faux-democratic poison there as well. Never underestimate how far you can go by playing on inverted snobbery.
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Old 03-26-2007, 10:51 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squatter
Eventually, having bled the Shire dry, banned pipeweed and put proper 1420 out of the reach of all but the super-rich, he can retire to his sun-kissed Valinorean tax-haven to avoid his own draconian financial policies, while playing on his connexion with the genuine hero Frodo to infiltrate polite Valinorean society and spread his faux-democratic poison there as well.
Don't forget that, having committed the Shire to supporting Arnor in a controversial and unpopular war on Bree, Sam attempted, prior to his lucrative retirement, to ingratiate himself with his subjects and carve his name out in Middle-earth history by initiating a "legacy tour", in which he attempted (unsuccessfully) to broker peace between Gondor and Khand, but which mainly consisted of appearing at parties, fairs and other light-hearted public gatherings to play the mandolin and tell a few jokes, in a painfully transparent attempt to bolster his reputation as a "Hobbit of the people".

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Old 03-26-2007, 11:41 AM   #13
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And what is even worse, from a Green point of view, is that Sam imported foreign plant seeds into the Shire, which supplanted the indigenous growth and led to the creation of frankenflora.

Then there were other reprehensible developments as well which ultimately disrupted the social framework of The Shire.

It was the frankenfora which led to the disappearance of pipeweed and the concomitant loss to the GNP of The Shire as the pipeweed industry collapsed. This economic depression created conditions which allowed the development of the psychotropic mushroom industry, which then created an entire subculture of waistrel, destitute hobbits who became a drag upon the previous thriving culture of industrious and law abiding hobbits.

Furthermore, Sam's banning of the last remnants of the pipeweed industry--an attempt to shore up the frankenfora industry--referenced above by Squatter, led ironically to the development of the hydroponic hempweed crop culture. This nonnative habit had a deleterious affect upon those tweens who had thought that, in avoiding the psychotropic mushrooms in favour of hemp, they were indulging in a harmless socially-approved form of relaxation.

So pervasive was Sam's role in setting up these developments that samaceutical became a slang term for the gro-ops upon which these products depended.

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Old 03-26-2007, 02:58 PM   #14
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The real controversy in The Shire arose some time after Samwise retired from his 49 year glorious reign as mayor (having revolutionised Shire society and turned it into a genuine 'meritocracy', so some political commentators say). His period in office had been contested by various otherwise quite decent candidates drawn from the Squire classes of The Shire, all of whom had failed, and eventually it was time to evaluate their traditional position, which mostly consisted of paying as little as possible to help with regeneration of The Shire and rescinding membership of the Western alliance (much muttering often went on in the gentlehobbits' club, Whine's, about 'ruddy foreigners' and so forth).

So the time came to change direction for the traditional Squirites. They trawled the ranks and settled on one young Faramir Took, child of the landed gentry, yet newly married into the exceedingly wealthy (though a little suspiciously 'nouveaux' - they even used napkin rings at Bag End, a terrible sign of their class pretensions) Gardner family. Still, his marriage was a public sign that he was not such a 'toff' any longer.

Young Faramir, with his trendy eco-horse (it was bred especially not to pass wind and add to the growing methane problem depleting the ozone layer above the Tower Hills), and his nice-boy looks was a winning choice. But all was not as it seemed. Someone leaked pictures of old Delvingian boy Faramir in his days at Tuckborough University, where he was a member of the Winyardon Club, an ancient 'dining club' devoted to dressing up in stuffed shirts and wearing feathers in their caps (these outfits costing the outrageous sum of 300 Groats a piece - the price of a really decent second hand horse! [though not a super-duper eco-horse]). They were renowned for their exploits in which they would smash the windows of local hostelries and then fling fistfuls of Groats at the owner as they left, puking their way down to Frogmorton or wherever, smashing more windows as they went, pinching wenches' bottoms and singing raucous Golfimbul songs with lots of blue language.

This revelation naturally caused outrage, not least as the controversial Squirite Bovis Bolger, editor of The Snifter, high-class, Squirite 'comment' journal, was also a member of the Winyardon Club at the same time.

It then emerged that the dashing young Took was in fact managed behind the scenes by the sinister Grimy Cotton, the shiny-skinned publicity guru spawned by an illicit liaison between one Grima and a Cotton girl, but very much the self-made Hobbit (and uncannily like Samwise's quite sinister 'advisor' Alasdogo Campbaggins). He was fond of going out without his neckerchief as it looked more 'casual', a style which the young Took quickly took up (together with his eco-horse, which, incidentally was always followed by a grass-guzzling 4x4 armoured Shire Horse containing his business breeches and a nicely pressed neckerchief, plus a couple of overly muscular Shirriff minders). And it also turned out that the young Took actually believed in nothing much at all, and took all his cues from Grimy Cotton. Just a couple of years ago he had been saying "let's ban all these Orcs!" and now he was saying "let's be nice to them!".

The funniest moment came however, when after young Faramir Took was filmed delivering an infamous speech at the Squirite Conference in which he said "These Hobbityobs are actually quite fluffy young Hobbits, and they only wear Hooded Cloaks to fit in. Let's Hug A Hobbityob!" A few months down the line Took went down to Scary, a quite deprived area of The Shire, for a bit of a 'picture-opportunity' (as advised by Grimy Cotton). He was walking down the street next to the derelict smials, without a neckerchief, naturally, when one young Hobbityob emerged behind him and pretended to hoist an imaginary sword aloft in a "kill" pose. It gave satirists in the Hobbit newspapers much material for humour for all of two days, until it emerged that said Hobbityob was really not in need of a 'Hug' at all. Waynodo Chavinns, it turned out, was well known for stealing apples from elderly Hobbit ladies and had a conviction for possession of a replica sword.

The good people of The Shire began to become disillusioned and didn't know who to vote for as next Mayor. The slightly odd Faramir Took and his sinister adviser or some more of the same old same old and vote in another grinning Gardner?

***

More revelations will possibly follow on about former political heavyweights of The Shire - such as Lobelia Thatchering, Johngo "Cones" Majorfoot, Johngo "Two Ponies" Presgins, and maybe even Davbo Blunderbuss and his wandering hands...
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Old 03-26-2007, 05:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalwendë
Young Faramir, with his trendy eco-horse (it was bred especially not to pass wind and add to the growing methane problem depleting the ozone layer above the Tower Hills), and his nice-boy looks was a winning choice.
Lal, you forgot to mention the time that young Faramir "call me Faerie" Took began to eschew his traditional blue waistcoat and trousers for green Elvish garb and established the Party Tree as his symbol in his efforts to establish his "Sylvan" credentials.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalwendë
The good people of The Shire began to become disillusioned and didn't know who to vote for as next Mayor. The slightly odd Faramir Took and his sinister adviser or some more of the same old same old and vote in another grinning Gardner?
The real successor to Samwise was of course one Gordo Brownbanks of North Farthing, to whom much of the credit for the remarkable economy of the Shire during the period of Sam's reign is often attributed. Unfortunately, his dour, craggy-faced demeanour did not play well with the generally cheery Shire folk and it was said by some that Dwarfish blood ran in his veins, citing his great love of gold as evidence. It was even whispered in some hostelries that he had taken up wizardry, since it was said that he was only able to run the Shire's finances by sleight of hand, taking away with one great clunking fist (attributed to his alleged Dwarven heritage) that which he gave with the other. Many complained that Gordo should not automatically inherit the mayorship from Sam and desperately sought an alternative candidate, even though none presented themselves save for the callow youth, Faramir Took (who had the edge over Brownbanks in image, if not in substance).

Quote:
Originally Posted by me
... in which he attempted (unsuccessfully) to broker peace between Gondor and Khand ...
I should perhaps mention, in light of recently unearthed manuscripts, that Sam should perhaps be credited with having a hand in the settlement of long standing hostilities between rival factions in Buckland, imediately prior to his retirement.

Of course, none of this should be taken as being in any way related to events in the real world, as Tolkien's dislike of allegory is well documented.
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Old 03-26-2007, 08:03 PM   #16
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Pipe

Quote:
I did prefer the earlier, Gil-Galad singing Sam. Sam has a strange aura of being morally lessened, not developed like the others, by the journey, for all the Mallornery. He ends up with power and with bliss-earthly and heavenly. It seems rather unfair.
How is that unfair? Sam went through everything Frodo went through. Sure he didn't have the constant temptation of the Ring dragging at him, but he had to see his best-friend suffer through it. I don't know about you, but when I see a best-friend suffering, I feel the same way they do.
Another point: maybe Samwise was tempted. He was always around the Ring. Sure he's loyal, but I'll bet that he had thoughts of taking it every once in a while, same as anyone else. I know how that is. Not wanting to do something bad, but we're human and it is impossible to control all thoughts.
As for his free ticket to Valinor, it is not really known if that is where he went. It's just something people liked to believe after his disappearance. It is something I would like to believe. Why shouldn't he get to go to Valinor? He did a great service to Middle-earth by helping Frodo. Bilbo didn't do anything as spectacular as Sam, so perhaps Bilbo is the one we should be complaining about. Either way, it was approved by Gandalf and the elves, so why not?
You make him sound like an arrogant snob. I guess that's your own oppinion, but even if it was fact, everyone has flaws, right?

Nimmy
(By the way, does anyone know where this silly, blinking smiley came from? ) LOL
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Old 03-27-2007, 01:32 PM   #17
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Saucepan Man
Sam attempted, prior to his lucrative retirement, to ingratiate himself with his subjects and carve his name out in Middle-earth history by initiating a "legacy tour",

I hear that he was accompanied by Rosie (who persisted in using her maiden name when it suited her) and, in addition to her own tedious attempts on the lecture circuit availed herself of every opportunity to grab a freebie.

Apparently the elves definitive departure from Imladris and Lorien was hastened by the annual arrival of the entire Gamgee clan for lengthy breaks,expecting extensive hospitality in return for a bottle of "Old Winyards". Fifteen hobbits get through a lot of vittles.....
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Old 05-12-2008, 06:45 AM   #18
Anguirel
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Ahaha!

I missed all this brilliance. Long live Bovis Bolger...
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Old 05-13-2008, 02:05 PM   #19
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.
Would that be Bovis de Pfeffel Bolger?
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