Chapter of the Week; LotR Book 1, Chapter 5: "A Conspiracy Unmasked"

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Troels Forchhammer

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Feb 16, 2004, 8:45:36 AM2/16/04
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Chapter of the Week LOTR Bk1 Ch5: "A Conspiracy Unmasked"

To host a chapter discussion, for more information, or to check the
previous chapter discussions go to: <http://parasha.maoltuile.org/>


Synopsis:

Having taken their leave of Farmer Maggot, the four Hobbits cross the
Brandywine on the Bucklebury Ferry with Sam as the only passenger who
hasn't been to Buckland yet[1] seeing the crossing as not only physical,
but also metaphorical[2].

Once they've crossed the river Sam, looking back, "as if to take farewell
of the Shire" discovers something on the far stage. This turns out to be a
Black Rider (to stay in the terminology of this chapter), which scares all
the Hobbits, including Merry who hasn't seen these before[3].

The Hobbits quickly retire to Frodo's new house at Crickhollow, where they
are met by Fredegar Bolger. Fatty (as Fredegar is called) and Merry has
arranged Frodo's things very nicely - almost as if he hadn't moved at all.
In their new setting the things reminds Frodo "sharply" of Bilbo[4], and
he wishes that he really was coming there to retire quietly.

Merry's organisational talent and attention to detail shows itself[5] as
he has arranged for three separate bathtubs for the wanderers to use while
Merry and Fatty prepare a second supper. While bathing Pippin also begin
to assert his more carefree character - in this case by splashing water
all over the place as an accompaniment to his bathing song[6].

After the supper, at which the mushrooms from Mrs. Maggot play a prominent
part, it is finally time to get down to business. Merry opens the
discussions with questions about the Black Rider and Farmer Maggot's fear
(which surprised him). Merry and Pippin use this discussion, in an act
that almost looks studied, to carry the discussion to the point where
Frodo has to reveal his real plans.

When Frodo finds it difficult to break the 'news' to his friends, Merry
helps him by starting the explanation for him[7] - much to Frodo's
surprise and initial dismay. Merry explains that Frodo has, to his friends
who know him well, been quite obvious - taking leave of his favourite
spots since spring etc.

When Frodo protests that he has to go, Merry tells him that they don't
intend to stop him, but to go with him; that they "know the Ring is no
laughing-matter, but [they are] going to do [their] best to help [Frodo]
against the Enemy."[8] Merry then disclose that he has seen a glimpse of
the Ring and that he has read, briefly, in Bilbo's book.

In the end he produces their "chief investigator" - Sam. Merrys says about
Sam, "Here's our collector of information! And he collected a lot, I can
tell you, before he was finally caught. After which, I may say, he seemed
to regard himself as on parole, and dried up."[9]

After some initial chagrin (at his own blindness, perhaps, though he
blames Sam's implication) Frodo happily (or as happily as the situation
allows) accepts the company of Merry and Pippin, and the discussion turns
to the immediate course of action. The four Hobbits resolve to enter the
Old Forest the following morning in the hope of fooling their pursuers by
not taking to the road. Fredegar is upset about their decision, which he
thinks more dangerous than the Black Riders (whom he hasn't seen), but, as
he says, "my vote hardly counts, as I am not going on the journey."

The Hobbits go to bed, and towards morning Frodo starts dreaming. He
"seemed to be looking out of a high window over a dark sea of tangled
trees. Down below among the roots there was the sound of creatures
crawling and snuffling. He felt sure they would smell him out sooner or
later."[10]

"Then he heard a noise in the distance. At first he thought it was a great
wind coming over the leaves of the forest. Then he knew that it was not
leaves, but the sound of the Sea far-off; a sound he had never heard in
waking life, though it had often troubled his dreams. Suddenly he found he
was out in the open. There were no trees after all. He was on a dark
heath, and there was a strange salt smell in the air. Looking up he saw
before him a tall white tower, standing alone on a high ridge. A great
desire came over him to climb the tower and see the Sea. He started to
struggle up the ridge towards the tower: but suddenly a light came in the
sky, and there was a noise of thunder."[11]


[1] Buckland is here described as a kind of colony from the Shire. Most of
the Hobbits in the Shire proper apparently view the Bucklanders with
scepticism, but the people in the Marish (or part of it, at least)
still acknowledge the authority of the Master. Is there anything new
to learn about Hobbits and the Shire from the description of Buckland
in this chapter, or does it just confirm the known stuff?

[2] I've got something for Sam in these chapters ;-)
Here we see him cross into the unknown - a bit wistfully, perhaps, and
with an eye back to the Shire he knows, but resolved and willing to go
on. This is, IMO, repeated several times later - most clearly in
Rivendell and in Lórien, where the idea that he has something to do
reappear.

[3] In UT, 3, IV 'The Hunt for the Ring' Tolkien wrote:
"All except the Witch-king were apt to stray when alone by
daylight; and all, again save the Witch-king, feared water,
and were unwilling, except in dire need, to enter it or to
cross streams unless dryshod by a bridge.{3}"
[...]
"{3} At the Ford of Bruinen only the Witch-king and two others, with
the lure of the Ring straight before them, had dared to enter the
river; the others were driven into it by Glorfindel and Aragorn.
[Author's note.]"
And at the end of the text Christopher has added:
" My father nowhere explained the Ringwraiths' fear of water.
In the account just cited it is made a chief motive in Sauron's
assault on Osgiliath, and it reappears in detailed notes on the
movements of the Black Riders in the Shire: thus of the Rider
(who was in fact Khamûl of Dol Guldur) seen on the far side of
Bucklebury Ferry just after the Hobbits had crossed (FotR I 5)
it is said that "he was well aware that the Ring had crossed
the river; but the river was a barrier to his sense of its
movement," and that the Nazgûl would not touch the "Elvish"
waters of Baranduin. But it is not made clear how they crossed
other rivers that lay in their path, such as the Greyflood, where
there was only "a dangerous ford formed by the ruins of the
bridge." My father did indeed note that the idea was difficult
to sustain."
Now - the greatest advantage, as I see it, of this idea is that it not
only explains why the Black Riders didn't turn up in Crickhollow long
before they did, but also because it explains their hesitation at the
Ford of Bruinen.

[4] What is this doing here? Emphasis of Frodo missing Bilbo? Emphasis of
his, at this point, primary motivation for leaving the Shire (i.e. to
follow Bilbo)?

[5] This is the first chapter in which we see more of Merry, and he use
the opportunity to assert himself as quite mature of his age, and
certainly more thoughtful (and provident) than Pippin.

[6] I'm awfully sorry, but I've got to mention the rendition of the
Bathing Song by the Tolkien Ensemble ;-) It's on /At Dawn in
Rivendell/ - the latest album by the ensemble.
<www.tolkienensemble.dk>

[7] What did Merry know - when and how? He's definitely a resorceful
Hobbit and I'm quite impressed by the knowledge he discloses here.

[8] In this passage Merry consequently refers the Ring and the Enemy with
capitalized words, which, to me, implies that he knows exactly what
ring and what enemy they are dealing with - The Master-ring and
Sauron. E.g. in I 2 where Frodo tells Gandalf that "last night you
began to tell me strange things about my ring," the word isn't
capitalized then (and neither is in in the descriptive text), but
once Frodo realizes and accepts what he has, it starts getting
referred to as "the Ring" in both dialogue and narrative text.
I suggest that Merry knew exactly what he was speaking of.

[9] If Sam really did "dry up" at that point, how then did Merry know
about the Ring[7]? It has been discussed before, but I think this
point is important - not because I disagree that Sam must have told
the others (apparently he only felt bound to keep silent what he
discovered /after/ he was caught). The important (to me) thing is what
it might tell us about Sam, if we accept that it was really he who
told the others. It appears that his loyalty to (perhaps we shouldn't
be too afraid to call it his love of) Frodo is far stronger than such
bounds as is put on him. He did what he thought was best for
protecting and helping Frodo instead of unquestioningly following
Gandalf's instructions

[10] Is this merely a combination of the Old Forest and the Black Riders
coming back to haunt Frodo in his dream, or is there more behind this
start of the dream?

[11] The Sea - in his dream Frodo longs for the sea. The white tower - one
of the towers at Tower hills? Are there other elements of this dream
that can be linked to the adventures Frodo is expecting (the black
heath, the struggle up the ridge, the light in the sky, the noise of
thunder?) When was this dream added, and has it stayed constant
throughout (a question for those with access to the pertinent HoMe
volume)?


Characterisation:

I've already pointed out some of the, IMO, more important bits of
characterization in this chapter [2][4][5][7][8][9]. The four Hobbits who
later join the Fellowship have, by now, had their basic character
established - including their relationship and their roles. What comes in
the following chapters (all of book I, IMO) is, IMO, expansion upon what
we've learned now.

So how are the four Hobbits and their relations characterized at this
point - what are the emerging personalities of the four, and how will that
affect the quest?


Story development:

We are still in the chapters which were once projected (and initially
written) as a continuation of the Hobbit not only in plot, but also in
style and themes. The Hobbits have not yet left the Shire, but can it be
detected at this point that the story will develop into the full epic tale
we know, and if so, in what details do you see this foreshadowing?

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail address is t.forch(a)mail.dk

"He deserves death."
"Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some
that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to
deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends."
- Tolkien in The Fellowship of the Ring

Kristian Damm Jensen

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Feb 16, 2004, 9:38:16 AM2/16/04
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Troels Forchhammer wrote:

<snip excellent resume>

> [9] If Sam really did "dry up" at that point, how then did Merry know
> about the Ring[7]? It has been discussed before, but I think this
> point is important - not because I disagree that Sam must have
> told the others (apparently he only felt bound to keep silent
> what he discovered /after/ he was caught). The important (to me)
> thing is what it might tell us about Sam, if we accept that it
> was really he who told the others. It appears that his loyalty to
> (perhaps we shouldn't be too afraid to call it his love of) Frodo
> is far stronger than such bounds as is put on him. He did what he
> thought was best for protecting and helping Frodo instead of
> unquestioningly following Gandalf's instructions

Funny thing. I have always believed that Sam took a vow, but if he did so,
it isn't explicitly mentioned.

The actual text is:
"I shall have to go. But" - and here he looked hard at Sam - "if you really
care about me, you will keep that dead secret. See? If you don't, if you
even breathe a word of what you've heard here, then I hope Gandalf will
turn you into a spotted toad and fill the garden full of grass-snakes."
Sam fell on his knees, trembling. "Get up, Sam!' said Gandalf. I have
thought of something better than that. Something to shut your mouth, and
punish you properly for listening. You shall go away with Mr. Frodo!"
-- LotR, The Shadow of the Past

Sam doesn't utter one word during all this. And what Frodo says is "I shall
have to go. .. you will keep that dead secret". Sure he did. but a lot
other things he didn't keep quite so dead.

<snip>

--
Kristian Damm Jensen damm (at) ofir (dot) dk
Universities are truly storehouses of knowledge: Students arrive from
school confident that they know very nearly everything, and they leave
years later certain that they know practically nothing. Where did the
knowledge go in the meantime? Into the university, of course, where it
is carefully dried and stored. -- Terry Prachett, Ian Steward & Jack
Cohen

Simon J. Rowe

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Feb 16, 2004, 9:51:05 AM2/16/04
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Troels Forchhammer wrote:

> When was this dream added, and has it stayed constant
> throughout (a question for those with access to the pertinent HoMe
> volume)?

It's not present in the original 'Chapter III' in 'Return of the Shadow'

At last he fell asleep into a vague dream, in which he seemed to be lying
under a window that looked out into a sea of tangles trees: outside there
was a snuffling.

The last fragment was later expanded to

Down below among the the roots there was a sound of something crawling and
sniffling.

It is first mentioned in the Time Scheme for Gandalf's Movements ('Gandalf's
Delay' in 'Treason of Isengard')

In C is is said that Frodo dreamt of the Tower when 'with the Elves near
Woodhall', but against this my father wrote: 'No - at Crickhollow'

Elwë Singollo

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Feb 16, 2004, 4:53:18 PM2/16/04
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"Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> a écrit dans le message de
news: 4Q3Yb.9318$k4.2...@news1.nokia.com...

> Chapter of the Week LOTR Bk1 Ch5: "A Conspiracy Unmasked"
>
> To host a chapter discussion, for more information, or to check the
> previous chapter discussions go to: <http://parasha.maoltuile.org/>
>
>
> Synopsis:
>
<snip> (excellent summary, thanks!)


> [7] What did Merry know - when and how? He's definitely a resorceful
> Hobbit and I'm quite impressed by the knowledge he discloses here.

Sam might be the chief investigator, but Merry is the chief conspirator for
sure! At this point, it is interesting to note that before Merry explains
what he knows, Frodo is in fact the conspirator: He organized his departure
in secret (or so he thinks), and he is trying to find the way to explain his
plans to his friends, when another conspiracy is "unmasked", in which Merry
plays an important part.
I think that Merry is a very curious and sharp hobbit, and since he has
learnt what Bilbo's ring can do, he probably tried to keep watch of it. He
tells Frodo that he had a glance at Bilbo's book; probably to learn more
about the ring. So no surprise he knows so much things he is not supposed to
know...

>
> [8] In this passage Merry consequently refers the Ring and the Enemy with
> capitalized words, which, to me, implies that he knows exactly what
> ring and what enemy they are dealing with - The Master-ring and
> Sauron. E.g. in I 2 where Frodo tells Gandalf that "last night you
> began to tell me strange things about my ring," the word isn't
> capitalized then (and neither is in in the descriptive text), but
> once Frodo realizes and accepts what he has, it starts getting
> referred to as "the Ring" in both dialogue and narrative text.
> I suggest that Merry knew exactly what he was speaking of.

I think that Sam told him what he heard from the conversation between
Gandalf and Frodo. This should not be seen as a treason from Sam. Samwise's
love for his master is so strong that he would do anything to help him and
protect him, even if it means doing something Frodo and Gandalf said not to
do. Talking to Merry and Pippin about what the Ring really is, was Sam's
manner to get advice. All he wants to know is how he can help Frodo with his
burden, and he has understood that he won't be able to do that alone.

Even though he knew that telling his friends was what he had to do, Sam
knows he was not supposed to do it. His remorses were strong enough to keep
him from gathering more information for Merry.

>
> [9] If Sam really did "dry up" at that point, how then did Merry know
> about the Ring[7]? It has been discussed before, but I think this
> point is important - not because I disagree that Sam must have told
> the others (apparently he only felt bound to keep silent what he
> discovered /after/ he was caught). The important (to me) thing is what
> it might tell us about Sam, if we accept that it was really he who
> told the others. It appears that his loyalty to (perhaps we shouldn't
> be too afraid to call it his love of) Frodo is far stronger than such
> bounds as is put on him. He did what he thought was best for
> protecting and helping Frodo instead of unquestioningly following
> Gandalf's instructions

I think that it is how Sam's behaviour should be understood.
>

Elwë


Count Menelvagor

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Feb 16, 2004, 8:18:30 PM2/16/04
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"Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in message news:<4Q3Yb.9318$k4.2...@news1.nokia.com>...

> Chapter of the Week LOTR Bk1 Ch5: "A Conspiracy Unmasked"
<snip>

This was really quite good!! What I particularly like is the way you
treat LOTR as a *literary* work (discussing issues like
characterization, etc.), rather than a potpourri of trivia.


> Characterisation:
>
> I've already pointed out some of the, IMO, more important bits of
> characterization in this chapter [2][4][5][7][8][9]. The four Hobbits who
> later join the Fellowship have, by now, had their basic character
> established - including their relationship and their roles. What comes in
> the following chapters (all of book I, IMO) is, IMO, expansion upon what
> we've learned now.
>
> So how are the four Hobbits and their relations characterized at this
> point - what are the emerging personalities of the four, and how will that
> affect the quest?

You partly answer this question yourself above (in the bits I
snipped), especially where you remark on the distinctions between
Merry and Pippin (it annoys me appallingly when people lump the two
together).

Merry is already established as a bit of an intellectual in the
Prologue, where his works on the history of pipe-tobacco and on
Shire-words are noted. Pippin takes a more passive role towards
learning stuff, and IMO doesn't really begin to grow as a character
until Book V (though there's a bit of character development in Book
III).

Sam is established both as loyal, and as having extremely limited
horizons (this also comes across in the Farmer Maggot chapter).

Frodo stands apart from the others; he's far more thoughtful and
melancholy. You can sort of see where Bored of the Rings got the
notion of his ponderings on truth and beauty and cogito ergo boggum.
He also has, as noted before prophetic dreams. He's clearly being
primed as the Hobbit of Destiny. (Sam, at THIS stage, still plays a
supporting role in relation to Frodo; for the most part, as I recall,
events are still mostly viewed from Frodo's perspective.)

> Story development:
>
> We are still in the chapters which were once projected (and initially
> written) as a continuation of the Hobbit not only in plot, but also in
> style and themes. The Hobbits have not yet left the Shire, but can it be
> detected at this point that the story will develop into the full epic tale
> we know, and if so, in what details do you see this foreshadowing?

The epic foreboding begins rather earlier, in The Shadow of the Past
(one of my favorite parts of the book, by the way; Tolkien's writing
there is absolutely brilliant). In this chapter, IIRC, there's less
of it, and it's filtred through the distorting glass of hobbitry, and
none of the hobbits (even Frodo) really has a clue yet what they're in
for.

AC

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Feb 16, 2004, 10:21:56 PM2/16/04
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On Mon, 16 Feb 2004 13:45:36 GMT,
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
> Chapter of the Week LOTR Bk1 Ch5: "A Conspiracy Unmasked"

<snip>

> [1] Buckland is here described as a kind of colony from the Shire. Most of
> the Hobbits in the Shire proper apparently view the Bucklanders with
> scepticism, but the people in the Marish (or part of it, at least)
> still acknowledge the authority of the Master. Is there anything new
> to learn about Hobbits and the Shire from the description of Buckland
> in this chapter, or does it just confirm the known stuff?

It confirms my feeling that the Hobbits, despite many trappings of more
cultured society, are still very much a tribal people. I gathered this a
lot when writing up on the Prologue. I suspect whether it is the Master of
Buckland, or the head of the Took clan, this clannish aspect is what leads
to a lot of the peace and well-being in the Shire. The chieftains appear to
have pretty much cut up the Shire into areas of influence, and have
maintained this by assuring that there is little meaningful centralization
save in times of trouble.

Thus the Marish is part of the Buckland tribal area.

--
Aaron Clausen

tao_of_cow/\alberni.net (replace /\ with @)

TeaLady (Mari C.)

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Feb 16, 2004, 10:51:34 PM2/16/04
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"Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in
news:4Q3Yb.9318$k4.2...@news1.nokia.com:

> The Hobbits go to bed, and towards morning Frodo starts
> dreaming. He "seemed to be looking out of a high window over
> a dark sea of tangled trees. Down below among the roots
> there was the sound of creatures crawling and snuffling. He
> felt sure they would smell him out sooner or later."[10]
>

>10] Is this merely a combination of the Old Forest and the

>Black Riders coming back to haunt Frodo in his dream, or is
>there more behind this start of the dream?

Yes, although I feel it is mostly fear of the Riders and
knowledge of their searching for him. And perhaps a
foreshadowing of Gollum. Gandalf has already told Frodo about
Gollum, in "The Shadow of the Past" :
"He was interested in roots and beginnings; he dived into deep
pools; he burrowed under trees and growing plants; he
tunnelled into green mounds; and he ceased to look up at the
hilltops, or the leaves on trees, or the flowers opening in
the air; his head and his eyes were downward."

Gollum is certainly still looking for the Ring; Frodo may be
picking up on his searching as well as the Black Riders'. The
"Down below among the roots..." may be as much a description
of the Riders and their "smelling" for the Ring (or Frodo) as
it is of Gollum's ages-old habit of seeking amongst the roots
of things.


--
mc

Henriette

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Feb 17, 2004, 11:29:41 AM2/17/04
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"Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in message news:<4Q3Yb.9318$k4.2...@news1.nokia.com>...

> Chapter of the Week LOTR Bk1 Ch5: "A Conspiracy Unmasked"
>
> To host a chapter discussion, for more information, or to check the
> previous chapter discussions go to: <http://parasha.maoltuile.org/>
>
>
> Synopsis:
>
> Having taken their leave of Farmer Maggot, the four Hobbits cross the
> Brandywine on the Bucklebury Ferry with Sam as the only passenger who
> hasn't been to Buckland yet[1] seeing the crossing as not only physical,
> but also metaphorical[2].
>
(Snip brilliant synopsis and - points in a very professional lay-out).

Bravo, feed the Troels!

Henriette

aelfwina

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Feb 17, 2004, 1:10:41 PM2/17/04
to

"Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in message
news:4Q3Yb.9318$k4.2...@news1.nokia.com...
> Chapter of the Week LOTR Bk1 Ch5: "A Conspiracy Unmasked"
>
> To host a chapter discussion, for more information, or to check the
> previous chapter discussions go to: <http://parasha.maoltuile.org/>
>
>
> Synopsis:
>
Really good synopsis of one of my favorite chapters snipped.

> [1] Buckland is here described as a kind of colony from the Shire. Most of
> the Hobbits in the Shire proper apparently view the Bucklanders with
> scepticism, but the people in the Marish (or part of it, at least)
> still acknowledge the authority of the Master. Is there anything new
> to learn about Hobbits and the Shire from the description of Buckland
> in this chapter, or does it just confirm the known stuff?

That "all politics is local"? 8-) I think it shows the clannishness of
Hobbits. Their family ties are extremely important to them; witness their
obsessions with geneology and family lines--collateral ties seeming to be as
important to them as direct descent. Frodo, Merry and Pippin's
"cousin-ness" is so close, despite the age differences, as well, think of
how closely Bilbo felt toward Frodo, again in spite of age differences.
This attitude I think would translate into geographical terms--Brandybucks
and their connections in Buckland, Tooks in Tuckborough, Baggins in
Hobbiton/Bywater, etc. Of course there is mingling of these as well.


>
> [2] I've got something for Sam in these chapters ;-)
> Here we see him cross into the unknown - a bit wistfully, perhaps, and
> with an eye back to the Shire he knows, but resolved and willing to go
> on. This is, IMO, repeated several times later - most clearly in
> Rivendell and in Lórien, where the idea that he has something to do
> reappear.

I think Sam is gradually beginning to realize that this journey is going to
be longer and harder than he had initially realized--this is only going to
make his determination fiercer, and increase his protectiveness of his
master, as they move from the known to the unknown.

I think that the hesitancy over crossing water is absolutely essential to
the plot. There could be no other explanation for their failure otherwise,
although I also wonder about the phrase "apt to stray". I do not think that
this means they would stray from obedience to Sauron, but perhaps the Nine
Rings have so sapped their own will, that they find it difficult to "stay on
task" out of their *own* initiative. This could also explain some of their
other failures.

>
> [4] What is this doing here? Emphasis of Frodo missing Bilbo? Emphasis of
> his, at this point, primary motivation for leaving the Shire (i.e. to
> follow Bilbo)?

I think emphasis on the idea that he really misses Bilbo, and probably also
is missing Bag End, and regretting having to leave. I love the little house
at Crickhollow, and wish we could have had a *leetle* bit more of it, in
spite of the exigencies of plot. 8-)

>
> [5] This is the first chapter in which we see more of Merry, and he use
> the opportunity to assert himself as quite mature of his age, and
> certainly more thoughtful (and provident) than Pippin.

Merry is, at this point, the prime mover of the "conspiracy" and obviously
believes in being prepared.

>
> [6] I'm awfully sorry, but I've got to mention the rendition of the
> Bathing Song by the Tolkien Ensemble ;-) It's on /At Dawn in
> Rivendell/ - the latest album by the ensemble.
> <www.tolkienensemble.dk>

Thank you for this! I've bookmarked it for later perusal.

>
> [7] What did Merry know - when and how? He's definitely a resorceful
> Hobbit and I'm quite impressed by the knowledge he discloses here.

Merry knew from the time Bilbo left, that sooner or later, Fodo would take
off, too, and had no intention of being left behind. I would say that in
general terms, he knew Frodo better than Frodo knew himself in some ways.
However, I don't think he had *specific* knowledge until he heard from Sam.


>
> [8] In this passage Merry consequently refers the Ring and the Enemy with
> capitalized words, which, to me, implies that he knows exactly what
> ring and what enemy they are dealing with - The Master-ring and
> Sauron. E.g. in I 2 where Frodo tells Gandalf that "last night you
> began to tell me strange things about my ring," the word isn't
> capitalized then (and neither is in in the descriptive text), but
> once Frodo realizes and accepts what he has, it starts getting
> referred to as "the Ring" in both dialogue and narrative text.
> I suggest that Merry knew exactly what he was speaking of.

I agree.


>
> [9] If Sam really did "dry up" at that point, how then did Merry know
> about the Ring[7]? It has been discussed before, but I think this
> point is important - not because I disagree that Sam must have told
> the others (apparently he only felt bound to keep silent what he
> discovered /after/ he was caught). The important (to me) thing is what
> it might tell us about Sam, if we accept that it was really he who
> told the others. It appears that his loyalty to (perhaps we shouldn't
> be too afraid to call it his love of) Frodo is far stronger than such
> bounds as is put on him. He did what he thought was best for
> protecting and helping Frodo instead of unquestioningly following
> Gandalf's instructions

I agree with your estimate of Sam's motives. When it would come to Frodo's
welfare, he'd be willing to risk Gandalf's wrath.I think that it was one of
two ways: either Sam decided to bring Merry up to date *one last time* after
he got caught, with which information Merry could easily figure everything
else out, once Frodo began his transparent "my money's running out" excuse
*or* he allowed himself to be "pumped", and to drop enough hints without
saying anything specific. My own inclination is to the first.


>
> [10] Is this merely a combination of the Old Forest and the Black Riders
> coming back to haunt Frodo in his dream, or is there more behind this
> start of the dream?
>
> [11] The Sea - in his dream Frodo longs for the sea. The white tower - one
> of the towers at Tower hills? Are there other elements of this dream
> that can be linked to the adventures Frodo is expecting (the black
> heath, the struggle up the ridge, the light in the sky, the noise of
> thunder?) When was this dream added, and has it stayed constant
> throughout (a question for those with access to the pertinent HoMe
> volume)?
>
>
> Characterisation:
>
> I've already pointed out some of the, IMO, more important bits of
> characterization in this chapter [2][4][5][7][8][9]. The four Hobbits who
> later join the Fellowship have, by now, had their basic character
> established - including their relationship and their roles. What comes in
> the following chapters (all of book I, IMO) is, IMO, expansion upon what
> we've learned now.
>
> So how are the four Hobbits and their relations characterized at this
> point - what are the emerging personalities of the four, and how will that
> affect the quest?

One word characterizations that seem to be emphasised here:
Frodo: Determination
Merry: Practical
Sam: Loyalty
Pippin: Devotion

>
>
> Story development:
>
> We are still in the chapters which were once projected (and initially
> written) as a continuation of the Hobbit not only in plot, but also in
> style and themes. The Hobbits have not yet left the Shire, but can it be
> detected at this point that the story will develop into the full epic tale
> we know, and if so, in what details do you see this foreshadowing?

"You speak of danger, but you do not understand. This is no treasure-hunt,
no there-and-back journey. I am flying from deadly peril into deadly peril."
(Frodo)

Also in speaking of Fatty Bolger's role as decoy, the narrative tells us
"They little thought how dangerous that part might prove." ( Which leads me
to wonder if Tolkien had at some point meant to tell us more of what Fatty
did during the time the others were gone, but then changed his mind.)

Belba Grubb from Stock

unread,
Feb 17, 2004, 4:17:16 PM2/17/04
to
On Mon, 16 Feb 2004 13:45:36 GMT, "Troels Forchhammer"
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

(snip most of excellent summary)

>[1] Buckland is here described as a kind of colony from the Shire. Most of
> the Hobbits in the Shire proper apparently view the Bucklanders with
> scepticism, but the people in the Marish (or part of it, at least)
> still acknowledge the authority of the Master. Is there anything new
> to learn about Hobbits and the Shire from the description of Buckland
> in this chapter, or does it just confirm the known stuff?

It does conform to much of what we know, although we have seen the
Brandybucks through other hobbits' eyes (Lobelia, for instance) as
being pretty weird. Now we see that they're "just folks" who also
know how to swim (though Primula Brandybuck didn't, unfortunately) and
who keep their doors locked at night.

>[2] I've got something for Sam in these chapters ;-)
> Here we see him cross into the unknown - a bit wistfully, perhaps, and
> with an eye back to the Shire he knows, but resolved and willing to go
> on. This is, IMO, repeated several times later - most clearly in
> Rivendell and in Lórien, where the idea that he has something to do
> reappear.

I hadn't really noticed how much Sam develops in these early chapters
until these discussions -- thanks! And in this chapter the departure,
in a sense, begins for him earlier than for the others, as they are
returning to home or to friends' home, but he is leaving his behind on
the other shore.

>[4] What is this doing here? Emphasis of Frodo missing Bilbo? Emphasis of
> his, at this point, primary motivation for leaving the Shire (i.e. to
> follow Bilbo)?

The latter. Frodo wasn't ready to grapple with the real Quest and so
focused on following his uncle, perhaps not superficially but closely
enough to the surface so even something as commonplace as furniture in
a new home reminded him "sharply" of Bilbo.

>[10] Is this merely a combination of the Old Forest and the Black Riders
> coming back to haunt Frodo in his dream, or is there more behind this
> start of the dream?
>
>[11] The Sea - in his dream Frodo longs for the sea. The white tower - one
> of the towers at Tower hills? Are there other elements of this dream
> that can be linked to the adventures Frodo is expecting (the black
> heath, the struggle up the ridge, the light in the sky, the noise of
> thunder?) When was this dream added, and has it stayed constant
> throughout (a question for those with access to the pertinent HoMe
> volume)?

Frodo hasn't yet gone into the Old Forest (though he did go in once
when younger and perhaps now he is recalling those memories). But the
imagery of the dream makes me wonder if it's Ring-induced:

1) him looking out of a high window (the hobbit-sized "window of the
ey" perhaps), which could be symbolic of the sense of elevation the
Ring gives him;

2) the dark sea of tangled trees reminds me of Mirkwood, where Sauron
sat long in Dol Guldur and bent forth his thought toward the ring;

3) the depersonalized "creatures" who he feels sure will find him,
perhaps imagery of "thieves" after him and his "precious," as well as
memories of the Black Riders, and as so perceptively noted already, a
definite flavor of fellow ring-bearer Gollum, who also is focusing all
his thoughts on the Ring and who is, I think, at or near Moria right
now on his way to search it out.

With regard to 2) and 3), perhaps Frodo is picking up a little of the
thought of Sauron and Gollum toward the Ring?

But his dream-thoughts of being found out are deflected toward the Sea
almost intrusively, and he changes from being the sought after to
being the searcher (perhaps making him a bit more difficult to find, a
la his eventual close call at the Hill of Sight). The white tower is
possibly one of the Elven Towers, perhaps even Elostirion, in which
still sits a palantir. Frodo, like the Elves, feels drawn to the sea
in this dream, though unlike Legolas he does not know why.

It's been a long time since I read "The Sea Bell," but this latter
part of the dream has that something of the same feeling of an urgent
yet vague and very important call that cannot be responded to by
mortals.

>Characterisation:
>
>I've already pointed out some of the, IMO, more important bits of
>characterization in this chapter [2][4][5][7][8][9]. The four Hobbits who
>later join the Fellowship have, by now, had their basic character
>established - including their relationship and their roles. What comes in
>the following chapters (all of book I, IMO) is, IMO, expansion upon what
>we've learned now.
>
>So how are the four Hobbits and their relations characterized at this
>point - what are the emerging personalities of the four, and how will that
>affect the quest?
>
>
>Story development:
>
>We are still in the chapters which were once projected (and initially
>written) as a continuation of the Hobbit not only in plot, but also in
>style and themes. The Hobbits have not yet left the Shire, but can it be
>detected at this point that the story will develop into the full epic tale
>we know, and if so, in what details do you see this foreshadowing?

These are very big questions (G). Will have to think about that some
more.

Barb

The Sidhekin

unread,
Feb 17, 2004, 6:40:14 PM2/17/04
to
"aelfwina" <aelf...@cableone.net> writes:

> "Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in message
> news:4Q3Yb.9318$k4.2...@news1.nokia.com...

> > [4] What is this doing here? Emphasis of Frodo missing Bilbo? Emphasis of


> > his, at this point, primary motivation for leaving the Shire (i.e. to
> > follow Bilbo)?

I think it emphasises that Frodo, now that he has to leave the
Shire, has come to regret it. He has left behind Hobbiton and the
Shire, and he will be leaving behind his favourite things -- and in a
way, he is leaving Bilbo behind as well. (He does not know he will
find him in Rivendell.)

> I think emphasis on the idea that he really misses Bilbo, and probably also
> is missing Bag End, and regretting having to leave. I love the little house
> at Crickhollow, and wish we could have had a *leetle* bit more of it, in
> spite of the exigencies of plot. 8-)

Ah yes. I never managed to mount any enthusiasm for Tolkien's
natural landscapes, but all the cultural scenery just strikes home
with me. Crickhollow is a good example of this.


> > Characterisation:
> >
> > I've already pointed out some of the, IMO, more important bits of
> > characterization in this chapter [2][4][5][7][8][9]. The four Hobbits who
> > later join the Fellowship have, by now, had their basic character
> > established - including their relationship and their roles. What comes in
> > the following chapters (all of book I, IMO) is, IMO, expansion upon what
> > we've learned now.
> >
> > So how are the four Hobbits and their relations characterized at this
> > point - what are the emerging personalities of the four, and how will that
> > affect the quest?
>
> One word characterizations that seem to be emphasised here:
> Frodo: Determination
> Merry: Practical
> Sam: Loyalty
> Pippin: Devotion

Oh, I like it. But I think I experience a little different emphasis here:

Frodo: Regret
"he found himself wishing that he was really coming here to settle down"

Merry: Reliability
"Trust me to arrange things better than that!"

Sam: Devotion
"But I meant no wrong to you, Mr. Frodo"

Pippin: Tookishness ;-)
"You must go -- and therefore we must, too."


Of course, one word is not enough.


> Also in speaking of Fatty Bolger's role as decoy, the narrative tells us
> "They little thought how dangerous that part might prove." ( Which leads me
> to wonder if Tolkien had at some point meant to tell us more of what Fatty
> did during the time the others were gone, but then changed his mind.)

Oh, but he did:

"As they slept in the house of Tom Bombadil, darkness lay on
Buckland. Mist strayed in the hollow places. The house at
Crickhollow stood silent and lonely: deserted so soon after being made
ready for a new master.
The gate in the hedge opened, and up the path, quietly but in haste,
a grey man came, wrapped in a great cloak. He halted looking at the
dark house. He knocked softly on the door, and waited; and then
passed from window to window, and finally disappeared round the corner
of the house-end. There was silence again. After a long time a sound
of hoofs was heard in the lane approaching swiftly. Horses were
coming. Outside the gate they stopped; and then swiftly up the path
there came three more figures, hooded, swathed in black, and stooping
low towards the ground. One went to the door, one to the corners of
the house-end at either side; and there they stood silent as the
shadows of black yew-trees, while time went slowly on, and the house
and the trees about it seemed to be waiting breathlessly.
Suddenly there was a movement. It was dark, and hardly a star was
shining, but the blade that was drawn gleamed suddenly, as if it
brought with it a chill light, keen and menacing. There was a blow,
soft but heavy, and the door shuddered. 'Open to the servants of the
Lord!' said a voice, thin, cold, and clear. At a second blow the door
yielded and fell back, its lock broken."

And now I really should send you all off to HoME 6 to see how it all
turns out, no? :-)

Oh well. Gandalf (remember the "grey man"?) comes around the
corner, scaring the Riders off with a flash and the horn call of
Buckland. One version even has Gandalf picking up Fredegar after the
Nazgūl attack, and keep playing him as a decoy -- riding even to Bree
pretending he was "Mr. Baggins" before Butterbur:

"And if anyone -- anyone, mind you, however strange -- enquires
after a hobbit called Baggins, tell them Baggins has gone east with
Gandalf."

Though I really prefer the final version -- particularly how they
rescued "Fatty no longer" after the Scouring, this version did have
its charms. As far as it went, that is.


-SK-
--
perl -e 'print "Just another Perl ${\(trickster and hacker)},";'

The Sidhekin *proves* Sidhe did it!

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Feb 18, 2004, 11:14:42 AM2/18/04
to
in <6bfb27a8.04021...@posting.google.com>,
Count Menelvagor <Menel...@mailandnews.com> enriched us with:

>
> "Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in message
> news:<4Q3Yb.9318$k4.2...@news1.nokia.com>...
>> Chapter of the Week LOTR Bk1 Ch5: "A Conspiracy Unmasked"
> <snip>
>
> This was really quite good!!

Thanks :-)

<snip>

> Merry is already established as a bit of an intellectual in the
> Prologue,

I think that the characterisation in this chapter shows him as being also
practical - he demonstrates organisational talent as well as the ability to
process data.

> Pippin takes a more passive role towards learning stuff,

He does, however, demonstrate that Tookish adventurous side we've heard so
much about in /The Hobbit/. I think there's a very clear line between the
frequent references in /The Hobbit/ to Bilbo's Tookish side and the
personality of Pippin. It's one of the continuity bits between the two
books that I find very charming ;-)

> and IMO doesn't really begin to grow as a character until Book V
> (though there's a bit of character development in Book III).

Agreed. Pippin's adventurousness (is that a word?) seems to be somewhat
tempered with a bit of forethought in book III, but it is, IMO, not until
after his misadventure with the Palantír that he begins to think ahead a
bit more ;-)

> Sam is established both as loyal, and as having extremely limited
> horizons (this also comes across in the Farmer Maggot chapter).

Sam's role as "chief investigator" and especially his information to the
other conspirators about the Ring and the Enemy is, IMO, very important
here. They show that he isn't just blindly loyal, but that he is able to
decide act against Frodo's instructions if he thinks that it would benefit
Frodo. He is a loyal servant, but he isn't all that accepting of authority.

> Frodo stands apart from the others; he's far more thoughtful and
> melancholy.

Yes, he is (though that belongs to I,8 ;-) by Bilbo and Gandalf considered
"the best Hobbit in the Shire."

> He also has, as noted before prophetic dreams.

I have an impression/idea that dreams usually aren't described in detail
unless they are important in some way, but there's some of the symbolism in
Frodo's dream in this chapter that escapes me.

The start appears relatively straightforward, pointing both backwards to
the encounters with the Black Riders during the trek through the Shire and
forwards to the Old Forest. Of the latter part the foreshadowing of his
trip to Tol Eressëa, but what is that single tower doing there?

> He's clearly being primed as the Hobbit of Destiny.

Very much.

>> Story development:

<snip>

> The epic foreboding begins rather earlier, in The Shadow of the Past
> (one of my favorite parts of the book, by the way; Tolkien's writing
> there is absolutely brilliant).

I agree - on both counts. It is, I think, interesting how Tolkien, despite
keeping the general feel of the Hobbit in these chapters still manages to
plant omens of the larger story about to unfold.

> In this chapter, IIRC, there's less of it, and it's filtred through
> the distorting glass of hobbitry, and none of the hobbits (even
> Frodo) really has a clue yet what they're in for.

The only real hint of the deeper story in this chapter is, IMO, Frodo's
dream - another reason why I find it so interesting. It even hints at the
ending in Grey Havens (which we won't reach in the weekly chapter
discussions for another year).

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail address is t.forch(a)mail.dk

This isn't right. This isn't even wrong.
- Wolfgang Pauli, on a paper submitted by a physicist colleague
(Thus speaks the quantum physicist)

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Feb 18, 2004, 11:19:21 AM2/18/04
to
in <slrnc3326i.m8....@namibia.tandem>,
AC <mightym...@yahoo.ca> enriched us with:

>
> On Mon, 16 Feb 2004 13:45:36 GMT,
> Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>> Chapter of the Week LOTR Bk1 Ch5: "A Conspiracy Unmasked"

<snip>

>> [1] Buckland
[...]


>> Is there anything new to learn about Hobbits and the Shire from
>> the description of Buckland in this chapter, or does it just
>> confirm the known stuff?
>
> It confirms my feeling that the Hobbits, despite many trappings of
> more cultured society, are still very much a tribal people.

Agreed. I hadn't looked at it in this view, but I do think you're
right.

The clannish aspect of the Hobbits is much stronger in the drafts presented
in PoMe. I wonder if this was cut out due only to considerations of space,
or whether Tolkien thought it a bit too primitive for the Hobbits? I would
like to think it's the former I agree that the clans appear to have been
important in maintaining the peace without a centralized government.

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail address is t.forch(a)mail.dk

Gravity is a habit that is hard to shake off.
- (Terry Pratchett, Small Gods)

AC

unread,
Feb 18, 2004, 12:32:43 PM2/18/04
to
On Wed, 18 Feb 2004 16:19:21 GMT,
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
> in <slrnc3326i.m8....@namibia.tandem>,
> AC <mightym...@yahoo.ca> enriched us with:
>>
>> On Mon, 16 Feb 2004 13:45:36 GMT,
>> Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>>> Chapter of the Week LOTR Bk1 Ch5: "A Conspiracy Unmasked"
>
><snip>
>
>>> [1] Buckland
> [...]
>>> Is there anything new to learn about Hobbits and the Shire from
>>> the description of Buckland in this chapter, or does it just
>>> confirm the known stuff?
>>
>> It confirms my feeling that the Hobbits, despite many trappings of
>> more cultured society, are still very much a tribal people.
>
> Agreed. I hadn't looked at it in this view, but I do think you're
> right.
>
> The clannish aspect of the Hobbits is much stronger in the drafts presented
> in PoMe. I wonder if this was cut out due only to considerations of space,
> or whether Tolkien thought it a bit too primitive for the Hobbits? I would
> like to think it's the former I agree that the clans appear to have been
> important in maintaining the peace without a centralized government.

It may be me, but I actually suspect that's how Hobbits and Men in the North
largely lived. Even the Dunedain in the North had become a tribal people
with a chieftain, though they obviously remembered better days long past.
We have the Northmen roaming in the Wilderland, the woodsmen on the borders
of Mirkwood, all those people beyond Rhovanion. Heck, even the Beornings.
You might have a few centralized centers like Esgaroth and Dale, but I
really suspect that the Shire was just a more peaceful, settled version of
what the people of the North were like.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Feb 18, 2004, 8:36:34 PM2/18/04
to
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

> I have an impression/idea that dreams usually aren't described in
> detail unless they are important in some way, but there's some of the
> symbolism in Frodo's dream in this chapter that escapes me.
>

> what is that single tower doing there?

Have you heard of Freud?


Shanahan

unread,
Feb 18, 2004, 9:15:20 PM2/18/04
to
On Wed, 18 Feb 2004 16:14:42 GMT, "Troels Forchhammer"
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
<snip>

>I have an impression/idea that dreams usually aren't described in detail
>unless they are important in some way, but there's some of the symbolism in
>Frodo's dream in this chapter that escapes me.
>
>The start appears relatively straightforward, pointing both backwards to
>the encounters with the Black Riders during the trek through the Shire and
>forwards to the Old Forest. Of the latter part the foreshadowing of his
>trip to Tol Eressëa, but what is that single tower doing there?
>
It might be a holdover from earlier versions of this chapter, which had
Frodo dreaming of Gandalf's imprisonment. Frodo's dream about Gandalf was
moved to the Bombadil chapter, when Tolkien rewrote this part of the
story. Tolkien moved this dream around a lot, in terms of when/where it
occurs, and he rewrote it several times as well.

In the early versions of Gandalf's delay in meeting Frodo, Gandalf was
driven into a single tower in the west and beseiged there by the
Ringwraiths. This of course was changed to Orthanc and Saruman rather
than (Elostirion?) and Black Riders.

But the single tower remained in Frodo's dream in Crickhollow. Why only
one tower? I think the tallest of the three elven towers stood apart from
the others, and would be seen as if standing alone, by a traveler from the
east to the Grey Havens. I believe that description is in Silm., but I
don't have it in front of me...."Of the Rings of Power" chapter, maybe?


- Ciaran S.
--------------------------------------
"Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place
where the falling angel meets the rising ape...You
need to believe in things that aren't true. Else
how can they *become*?"
- t.pratchett

Shanahan

unread,
Feb 18, 2004, 9:15:52 PM2/18/04
to
On Wed, 18 Feb 2004 16:14:42 GMT, "Troels Forchhammer"
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
<snip>
>I have an impression/idea that dreams usually aren't described in detail
>unless they are important in some way, but there's some of the symbolism in
>Frodo's dream in this chapter that escapes me.
>
>The start appears relatively straightforward, pointing both backwards to
>the encounters with the Black Riders during the trek through the Shire and
>forwards to the Old Forest. Of the latter part the foreshadowing of his
>trip to Tol Eressëa, but what is that single tower doing there?
>

Troels Forchhammer

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Feb 19, 2004, 3:50:06 AM2/19/04
to
In message <news:CqUYb.2526$2b2.23...@news-text.cableinet.net>
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriches us with:

;-)

This is Tolkien we're talking about, though ...
I doubt that this is the explanation.

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid mail is <t.forch(a)mail.dk>

They both savoured the strange warm glow of being much more ignorant than
ordinary people, who were only ignorant of ordinary things.
Discworld scientists at work (Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites)

Troels Forchhammer

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Feb 19, 2004, 3:57:29 AM2/19/04
to
In message <news:mj5830ha9u60cfdvr...@4ax.com>
Shanahan <poq...@redsuspenders.com> enriched us with:

> It might be a holdover from earlier versions of this chapter, which
> had Frodo dreaming of Gandalf's imprisonment.

[...]


> But the single tower remained in Frodo's dream in Crickhollow.

Thanks - that sounds very convincing.

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid mail is <t.forch(a)mail.dk>

For animals, the entire universe has been neatly divided into things to
(a) mate with, (b) eat, (c) run away from, and (d) rocks.
- (Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites)

Troels Forchhammer

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Feb 19, 2004, 3:27:45 PM2/19/04
to
In message <news:1034m9b...@corp.supernews.com>
"aelfwina" <aelf...@cableone.net> enriched us with:
>
> "Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in message
> news:4Q3Yb.9318$k4.2...@news1.nokia.com...
>>
>> Chapter of the Week LOTR Bk1 Ch5: "A Conspiracy Unmasked"

<snip>

>> [1] Buckland is here described as a kind of colony from the Shire.

[...]


>> Is there anything new to learn about Hobbits and the Shire from
>> the description of Buckland in this chapter, or does it just
>> confirm the known stuff?
>
> That "all politics is local"? 8-)

Heh! Heh!

> I think it shows the clannishness of Hobbits.

<snip>

I agree.
And the further points you bring out are, I believe, good points also
towards our understanding of Hobbit society. It does help (at least it
does to me) to have read the descriptions in PoMe, where the
clannishness is brought out more directly, but re-reading LotR with
that in mind has made me see how this clannishness, while not described
directly, does permeate the life of the Hobbits in the Shire.



>> [2] I've got something for Sam in these chapters ;-)
>> Here we see him cross into the unknown - a bit wistfully,
>> perhaps, and with an eye back to the Shire he knows, but
>> resolved and willing to go on.

[...]

>
> I think Sam is gradually beginning to realize that this journey is
> going to be longer and harder than he had initially realized--this
> is only going to make his determination fiercer, and increase his
> protectiveness of his master, as they move from the known to the
> unknown.

I think that the realisation he confesses to in the previous chapter
is crucial - "I know we are going to take a very long road, into
darkness; but I know I can't turn back. [...] - I don't rightly know
what I want: but I have something to do before the end, and it lies
ahead, not in the Shire. I must see it through, sir, ..."

This marks, IMO, the point where Sam has realised that this trip is
going to be long and dangerous - possibly as the first of the
consprirators.

<snipping the rest - I agree and don't have anything to add>

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid mail is <t.forch(a)mail.dk>

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm
not sure about the former.
- Albert Einstein

Belba Grubb from Stock

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Feb 19, 2004, 5:43:35 PM2/19/04
to
On Mon, 16 Feb 2004 13:45:36 GMT, "Troels Forchhammer"
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

>Story development:
>
>We are still in the chapters which were once projected (and initially
>written) as a continuation of the Hobbit not only in plot, but also in
>style and themes. The Hobbits have not yet left the Shire, but can it be
>detected at this point that the story will develop into the full epic tale
>we know, and if so, in what details do you see this foreshadowing?

After some thought, there are a few details of foreshadowing. For
example, there is Sam's "strange feeling" that "dark adventure lay
ahead."

I don't know if this is foreshadowing, but the way the three hobbits
enter Crickhollow -- "They slipped in quickly and shut themselves and
the light inside" -- is very significant, as is the concern about the
Black Riders and the speculation of the hobbits as to the possibility
of Black Riders reaching Crickhollow that night. It's all very unlike
the relatively carefree feeling in "The Hobbit," though there is still
a hint of that when Merry says that even a Black Rider who asked for
Mr. Baggins might be let into Buckland during the daytime.

There is also the necessity for Frodo to tell his friends that night
that he must leave the Shire, and then the relief when it turns out
they already know and are set to go with him. Here there is the time
pressure -- it's going to happen soon, before daybreak. Get ready,
reader.(g)

The references in this chapter to the Old Forest provide a hint of a
very strange world the hobbits must enter and pass through, and as you
mention, Frodo's strange but very vague dream is perhaps the clearest
sign of dramatic things to come.

As for characterization, someone has already come up with a very nice,
one-word list. Writers try to do that, I think: create characters so
strong that they can be summed up in one word (or by a color or a
musical instrument, as JRRT did with the dwarves in the first chapter
of "The Hobbit"). I would only add to that the flip side, the
character weaknesses (no character is complete without them) that I
could think of:

On Tue, 17 Feb 2004 12:10:41 -0600, "aelfwina" <aelf...@cableone.net>
wrote excellent one-word characterisations:

>Frodo: Determination
>Merry: Practical
>Sam: Loyalty
>Pippin: Devotion

For weaknesses:
Frodo: Inertia.
Merry: ??
Sam: Xenophobia.
Pippin: Giddiness.

Barb

Troels Forchhammer

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Feb 20, 2004, 7:53:42 AM2/20/04
to
in <5a053051i4lbuuajq...@4ax.com>,
Belba Grubb from Stock <ba...@dbtech.net> enriched us with:

>
> On Mon, 16 Feb 2004 13:45:36 GMT, "Troels Forchhammer"
> <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>>

<snip>


[Buckland and Bucklanders]

> Now we see that they're "just folks" who also know how to swim
> (though Primula Brandybuck didn't, unfortunately) and who keep
> their doors locked at night.

Actually the part about them keeping their doors locked at night
has always puzzled me. What were there in Buckland that wasn't in
the rest of the Shire that required them to keep the doors locked?

Is it just an unreasoning fear of 'something' out of the Old Forest,
or do they actually have experiences with theft in Buckland?

I have tended towards the first explanation - or rather that this
was added to emphasize the ominous nature of the Old Forest, but
I'm not so sure any longer - after all they don't seem to display
any fear of the Old Forest as such - they even take kids into it
(Frodo must have been a kid when he was into the forest the first
time).

<snip>


[Frodo's dream]

> Frodo hasn't yet gone into the Old Forest (though he did go in once
> when younger and perhaps now he is recalling those memories).

Combined, perhaps, with his fears due to the pursuit of the Black
Riders through the Shire.

> But the imagery of the dream makes me wonder if it's Ring-induced:

I'm not sure about the imagery as such, but the fears and the sense
of pursuit might very well be. The emotional content at the begining
of the dream rather than the visual, I'd say.

> 1) him looking out of a high window (the hobbit-sized "window of the
> ey" perhaps), which could be symbolic of the sense of elevation the
> Ring gives him;

In this context I've rather seen it as symbolic of his real elevation
relative to the other Hobbits - Elf Friend Gildor named him.

> 2) the dark sea of tangled trees reminds me of Mirkwood, where Sauron
> sat long in Dol Guldur and bent forth his thought toward the ring;

But that was years and years ago - before Frodo was even born.
On the other hand it was also the last time the Ring was anywhere
near its creator -

> 3) the depersonalized "creatures" who he feels sure will find him,
> perhaps imagery of "thieves" after him and his "precious," as well as
> memories of the Black Riders, and as so perceptively noted already, a
> definite flavor of fellow ring-bearer Gollum, who also is focusing all
> his thoughts on the Ring

One problem with the Ring interfering with the dream and these creatures
being the Black Riders is of course that the Ring ought to have made
Frodo long to be with these creatures (though perhaps he isn't domitable
enough yet for that purpose).

I like the Gollum connection - very perceptive (he's also snuffling at
times, isn't he).

> and who is, I think, at or near Moria right now on his way to search
> it out.

Right - he went in in August but once he found his way to the West-gate,
he couldn't get out. I suppose he was lurking about somewhere in the
vicinity of the West-gate at this point.

That raises a very interesting question, BTW, about Gollum's possible
premonitions. What on Arda made him lurk about at the West-gate of
Moria for four months instead of turning back to the East-gate? Did he
have a premonition that his Precious would at one point come that way,
and if so, where did it come from? His connection with the Ring itself?
From the same source that gave Gandalf his feeling that Gollum had a
part to play yet? I hesitate to raise the cry of 'providence' again,
but it doesn't feel entirely 'in character' for Gollum to just sit
around and wait for four months at this point; even if his travels had
been rather slow (he left the mountains in 2944, turned towards Mordor
in 2951, reaches 'the confines of Mordor i 2980 [why did this take him
so long, BTW?] and was released from there in 3017, captured by Aragorn,
imprisoned in Thranduil's realm and escapes on June 20th 3018).

> With regard to 2) and 3), perhaps Frodo is picking up a little of the
> thought of Sauron and Gollum toward the Ring?

Through the Ring, perhaps? The descriptions of Sauron bending all his
thought on the Ring while seeking it and the footnote to the Tale of
Years 2851[6] makes me think that the Ring must have been able to
somehow sense Sauron's thought - if only (as some would say, I believe)
to start an emergency program in the Ring. Might the Ring also be able
to perceive Gollum's thought (Gollum was not its maker, but they were
together for a very long time).

[6] "It afterwards became clear that Saruman had then begun to
desire to possess the One Ring himself, and he hoped that it
might reveal itself, seeking its master, if Sauron were let
be for a time."

> But his dream-thoughts of being found out are deflected toward the Sea
> almost intrusively,

That's a good description - if the Ring is somehow responsible for at
least part of the contents of the beginning of the dream, then the
shift might actually be an intrusion.

This longing towards the sea is, IMO, a key feature of this dream,
and while it does foreshadow the ending, I also see a reflection of
Gildor's announcement of Frodo as an Elf Friend.

> and he changes from being the sought after to being the searcher
> (perhaps making him a bit more difficult to find, a la his eventual
> close call at the Hill of Sight).

I haven't thought of it in these terms before - my immediate reaction
is that on Amon Hen Frodo apparently became easier to find because he
was himself searching while wearing the Ring. I'll need to think it
through a bit more.

> The white tower is possibly one of the Elven Towers, perhaps even
> Elostirion, in which still sits a palantir.

That is indeed my impression as well - and the Elostirion would be the
natural place to go for a look at the sea.

I was interested also in whether anyone would find parallels to Tirion,
Barad Nimras, the white tower built for Elwing, the tower of Avallóne on
Eressëa or some other tower out of legends.

> Frodo, like the Elves, feels drawn to the sea in this dream, though
> unlike Legolas he does not know why.

There is some indications that the longing towards the west is shared
by all people in Middle-earth (west seems to have been the natural
course of just about every migration), but apart from that the Hobbits
seemed to have strong misgivings about the sea - this longing must have
been very alien to Frodo.

> It's been a long time since I read "The Sea Bell," but this latter
> part of the dream has that something of the same feeling of an urgent
> yet vague and very important call that cannot be responded to by
> mortals.

That's a good description there ;-)

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail address is t.forch(a)mail.dk

+++ Divide By Cucumber Error. Please Reinstall Universe And Reboot +++
- (Terry Pratchett, Hogfather)

Öjevind Lång

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Feb 21, 2004, 7:59:09 AM2/21/04
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> skrev i meddelandet
news:CqUYb.2526$2b2.23...@news-text.cableinet.net...

It is probably an expression of Gollum's tooth envy.

Öjevind


Igenlode Wordsmith

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Feb 21, 2004, 5:55:37 PM2/21/04
to
On 16 Feb 2004 Troels Forchhammer wrote:

[snip]


> He was on a dark
> heath, and there was a strange salt smell in the air. Looking up he saw
> before him a tall white tower, standing alone on a high ridge. A great
> desire came over him to climb the tower and see the Sea. He started to
> struggle up the ridge towards the tower: but suddenly a light came in the
> sky, and there was a noise of thunder."
>

Could this be a premonition of Gandalf under attack at Weathertop?


My notes:

The descriptions of the High Hay (not adequate against a serious
external threat, surely, with a perimeter that long? It reminds me of
John Wyndham's anti-triffid fences) and the Bucklanders' tendency to
lock their doors at night are the first signs of wilder country ahead.
So far the danger from the Black Riders has been in stark contrast to
the tranquillity of the Shire itself; but now there comes the first
intimation of external threats.

How on earth did Merry manage to assemble *three* bath-tubs at
Crickhollow? Did he borrow from the neighbours, or was it normal
for hobbit-houses to have multiple baths - to keep extra coal in,
perhaps? ;-) (Incidentally, the modern reader might like to note the
evident absence of taps and running hot water in the Shire...)

When and why did young Frodo go into the Old Forest? (On a dare,
perhaps? Or looking for mushrooms? ;-)

Apparently Sam was eavesdropping during Frodo's conversation with
Gildor, despite having sworn off intelligence-gathering for the
conspiracy. Was he deliberately pretending to be asleep, or was he just
trying to stay awake as long as possible while there were Elves around
- with his eyes closed? :-)

In point of fact, Merry's conspiracy very probably saves Frodo's life -
and the future of Middle-earth. It's only thanks to Merry's prior
organisation that the hobbits are able to leave so early and so
well-equipped. If Frodo had successfully deceived his friends, even
after he had confessed his intentions it would doubtless have taken him
at least another day to assemble the necessary "stores and tackle" -
"It will take a great deal of preparation". And the Black Riders would
have caught them.

Finally, on leaving a message for Gandalf: why does Frodo think that the
Riders might not be able to read? Is it simply because literacy is far
from universal in the Shire? Is it because he isn't sure whether they
are actually of human intelligence or just operating on some kind of
animal instinct? Can ghosts read?
--
Igenlode <Igenl...@nym.alias.net> Bookwraith unabashed

-I never shot anybody before... -This is one hell of a time to tell me!

Belba Grubb from Stock

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Feb 22, 2004, 9:57:27 AM2/22/04
to
On Fri, 20 Feb 2004 12:53:42 GMT, "Troels Forchhammer"
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

>Actually the part about them keeping their doors locked at night
>has always puzzled me. What were there in Buckland that wasn't in
>the rest of the Shire that required them to keep the doors locked?
>
>Is it just an unreasoning fear of 'something' out of the Old Forest,
>or do they actually have experiences with theft in Buckland?
>
>I have tended towards the first explanation - or rather that this
>was added to emphasize the ominous nature of the Old Forest, but
>I'm not so sure any longer - after all they don't seem to display
>any fear of the Old Forest as such - they even take kids into it
>(Frodo must have been a kid when he was into the forest the first
>time).

They go into it "when the fit takes them." An odd, rather dark fit,
it would seem. But given Merry Brandybuck's precocious curiosity and
ability to get a peep at Bilbo's carefully guarded book at a young
age, it's not impossible that young rascal Frodo might have not gone
in with adult approval, or Merry either, later on. That tunnel must
have been very tempting to both at a certain age, and all they had to
do was get the keys to the gate, which would be more likely to by
lying about unguarded during the day while the adults were busy. "Not
too safe, I should say." Merry was speaking from some sort of
experience there; maybe he was even been rubbing it in a bit because
of Frodo's acquired Baggins-ish staid respectability and shock now
decades later from their young adventures.

There may have been some concern about the Old Forest. It did once
attack, apparently -- the trees planting themselves right by the hedge
and leaning over it. A very laid-back attack, compared to what the
Ents of Fangorn later showed themselves capable of. But hostile
intent, anyway, which will stir a desire in the recipient of said ill
will for locked doors, whether they are effective or useless. And
other things that could climb or pass through the Hedge might have
tended to appear unexpectedly from time to time. Some benign: Tom
Bombadil had some sort of dealings with Farmer Maggot, after all.
Some others not so benign perhaps? Remember what Butterbur eventually
tells Gandalf and the travelers about "dark shapes in the woods,
dreadful things that it makes the blood run cold to think of," after
the Dunedain left for the War. The Brandybucks may have been
congratulating themselves on their successful Hedge, when it was
really the Rangers who were keeping the "dark shapes" at bay.

>> Frodo hasn't yet gone into the Old Forest (though he did go in once
>> when younger and perhaps now he is recalling those memories).
>
>Combined, perhaps, with his fears due to the pursuit of the Black
>Riders through the Shire.

Yes.

>> 1) him looking out of a high window (the hobbit-sized "window of the
>> ey" perhaps), which could be symbolic of the sense of elevation the
>> Ring gives him;
>
>In this context I've rather seen it as symbolic of his real elevation
>relative to the other Hobbits - Elf Friend Gildor named him.

I've always associated that with the second half of the dream, the
probably Elvish tower.

>> 2) the dark sea of tangled trees reminds me of Mirkwood, where Sauron
>> sat long in Dol Guldur and bent forth his thought toward the ring;
>
>But that was years and years ago - before Frodo was even born.
>On the other hand it was also the last time the Ring was anywhere
>near its creator -

Yes.

>> 3) the depersonalized "creatures" who he feels sure will find him,
>> perhaps imagery of "thieves" after him and his "precious," as well as
>> memories of the Black Riders, and as so perceptively noted already, a
>> definite flavor of fellow ring-bearer Gollum, who also is focusing all
>> his thoughts on the Ring
>
>One problem with the Ring interfering with the dream and these creatures
>being the Black Riders is of course that the Ring ought to have made
>Frodo long to be with these creatures (though perhaps he isn't domitable
>enough yet for that purpose).

Why? Truly, lust for evil is one of its lures but only one. Fear is
another and so is hatred. Both of these the Black Riders will use to
check Frodo later on at the Ford, when he is more vulnerable because
of having almost succumbed to the Morgul wound; this necessitates
Glorfindel's order directly to Asfaloth to run.

I'm not totally convinced of this, but it could be that this first,
rather dark part of Frodo's first dream is a building block aimed in
that direction of vulnerability.

>> With regard to 2) and 3), perhaps Frodo is picking up a little of the
>> thought of Sauron and Gollum toward the Ring?
>
>Through the Ring, perhaps? The descriptions of Sauron bending all his
>thought on the Ring while seeking it and the footnote to the Tale of
>Years 2851[6] makes me think that the Ring must have been able to
>somehow sense Sauron's thought - if only (as some would say, I believe)
>to start an emergency program in the Ring. Might the Ring also be able
>to perceive Gollum's thought (Gollum was not its maker, but they were
>together for a very long time).

Yes, through the Ring. Later on, Galadriel will say that her ring
can't be hidden from the Ring-bearer (though his having seen the Eye
is also a key factor, which makes one wonder what Pippin would have
done had he been exposed to the One Ring after his experience with the
Palantir), though she warns Frodo not to try to read the thoughts of
the holders of the Three. But it was different for Sauron and Gollum
-- both definitely wanted the Ring and its bearer to "reach out and
touch them," something Frodo was unaware of at the time and wholly
defenseless against.

>This longing towards the sea is, IMO, a key feature of this dream,
>and while it does foreshadow the ending, I also see a reflection of
>Gildor's announcement of Frodo as an Elf Friend.

Yes.

>That is indeed my impression as well - and the Elostirion would be the
>natural place to go for a look at the sea.
>
>I was interested also in whether anyone would find parallels to Tirion,
>Barad Nimras, the white tower built for Elwing, the tower of Avallóne on
>Eressëa or some other tower out of legends.

These and more in the West could be seen in the Palantir, no?

Barb

Kristian Damm Jensen

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Feb 23, 2004, 12:43:56 AM2/23/04
to
Troels Forchhammer wrote:

<snip>

> That raises a very interesting question, BTW, about Gollum's possible
> premonitions. What on Arda made him lurk about at the West-gate of
> Moria for four months instead of turning back to the East-gate?

Well, we actually don't know how long it took hom to *find* the West-gate.
Unlike Gandalf who most likely had visited Moria before et was destroyed,
Gollum had no idea of its layout. For all we know he may have spent 3½
month blundering about.

<snip>

--
Kristian Damm Jensen damm (at) ofir (dot) dk

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. --
John Lennon

Kristian Damm Jensen

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Feb 23, 2004, 12:49:17 AM2/23/04
to
Igenlode Wordsmith wrote:

> How on earth did Merry manage to assemble *three* bath-tubs at
> Crickhollow? Did he borrow from the neighbours, or was it normal
> for hobbit-houses to have multiple baths - to keep extra coal in,
> perhaps? ;-) (Incidentally, the modern reader might like to note the
> evident absence of taps and running hot water in the Shire...)

I doubt if more bathtubs was common in hobbithouse. Even today, an
oldfashioned bathtub is quite expensive. But Merry could just take a trip
to Brandyhall, he could borrow everyting he needed there.

--
Kristian Damm Jensen damm (at) ofir (dot) dk

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head. -- Terry
Pratchett

Igenlode Wordsmith

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Feb 23, 2004, 7:41:27 PM2/23/04
to
On 22 Feb 2004 Belba Grubb from Stock wrote:

[snip]

> There may have been some concern about the Old Forest. It did once
> attack, apparently -- the trees planting themselves right by the hedge
> and leaning over it.

Ah, so *that's* why I was thinking about triffid-fences...


--
Igenlode <Igenl...@nym.alias.net> Bookwraith unabashed

But we must not be hasty; for it is easier to shout 'stop!' than to do it.

Belba Grubb from Stock

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Feb 24, 2004, 5:32:57 PM2/24/04
to
On Tue, 24 Feb 2004 00:41:27 GMT, Igenlode Wordsmith
<Use-Author-Supplied-Address-Header@[127.1]> wrote:

>Ah, so *that's* why I was thinking about triffid-fences...

To keep them out, keep them in (if required by local zoning
ordinances), or do they make good fence material?

Barb

_____
Keep behind me. There's no sense in getting killed by a plant.
-- Tom Goodwin
_____

Jette Goldie

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Feb 25, 2004, 1:51:55 PM2/25/04
to

"Belba Grubb from Stock" <ba...@dbtech.net> wrote in message
news:d2kn30phr5givjusl...@4ax.com...

> On Tue, 24 Feb 2004 00:41:27 GMT, Igenlode Wordsmith
> <Use-Author-Supplied-Address-Header@[127.1]> wrote:
>
> >Ah, so *that's* why I was thinking about triffid-fences...
>
> To keep them out, keep them in (if required by local zoning
> ordinances), or do they make good fence material?


No, they don't make good fence material - they tend
to wander too much and don't restrict their attacks
just to your enemies.

Whether you'd plant triffid fences to keep them out or
in depends on how large the infestation is and how
large your estate is! (large estate, small infestation-
fence the b*ggers in. small estate, large infestation,
fence them out to keep your lands safe)


--
Jette
"Work for Peace and remain Fiercely Loving" - Jim Byrnes
je...@blueyonder.co.uk
http://www.jette.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/


put-the-no-mail-...@mail.ru

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Feb 26, 2004, 7:12:28 PM2/26/04
to
Troels Forchhammer wrote:
> in <5a053051i4lbuuajq...@4ax.com>,
> Belba Grubb from Stock <ba...@dbtech.net> enriched us with:
> >
> > On Mon, 16 Feb 2004 13:45:36 GMT, "Troels Forchhammer"
> > <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
[...]

> > The white tower is possibly one of the Elven Towers, perhaps even
> > Elostirion, in which still sits a palantir.
>
> That is indeed my impression as well - and the Elostirion would be the
> natural place to go for a look at the sea.
>
> I was interested also in whether anyone would find parallels to Tirion,
> Barad Nimras, the white tower built for Elwing, the tower of Avallóne on
> Eressëa or some other tower out of legends.
>
I have to say that the white tower is one of the artefacts left from
early versions of the Fellowship (explained by CJRT in the HoME). It is
indeed one of the towers on the Emyn Beraid.

Archie

Igenlode Wordsmith

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Feb 26, 2004, 3:31:33 PM2/26/04
to
[repost]
On 24 Feb 2004 Belba Grubb from Stock wrote:

> On Tue, 24 Feb 2004 00:41:27 GMT, Igenlode Wordsmith wrote:

[unsnip]
> >(Barb wrote)


> > > There may have been some concern about the Old Forest. It did once
> > > attack, apparently -- the trees planting themselves right by the hedge
> > > and leaning over it.
> >

>

> >Ah, so *that's* why I was thinking about triffid-fences...
>
> To keep them out, keep them in (if required by local zoning
> ordinances), or do they make good fence material?
>
> Barb
>
> _____
> Keep behind me. There's no sense in getting killed by a plant.
> -- Tom Goodwin
> _____

Sorry - I can't tell from here if you're serious or not (the sig rather
hints that you do know what a triffid-fence is...)

Just in case:

"The Day of the Triffids" is a famous novel by John Wyndham where
semi-mobile 'triffids', genetically modified plants, are accidentally
released across the world and subsequently become the dominant
life-form after humanity practically wipes itself out. Among the few
chance survivors is the narrator, who ends up living on a farm with a
fence all around it to keep the roaming triffids out. He begins to
suspect they're actually intelligent, since they cluster round the
fence and attempt to break it down by leaning on it - like the trees of
the Old Forest.

(If anyone *hasn't* read the book, I'd recommend it.)


--
Igenlode <Igenl...@nym.alias.net> Bookwraith unabashed

- I don't want to 'fit in' any more... - That makes two of us!

Belba Grubb from Stock

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Feb 27, 2004, 5:44:59 PM2/27/04
to
On Thu, 26 Feb 2004 20:31:33 GMT, Igenlode Wordsmith
<Use-Author-Supplied-Address-Header@[127.1]> wrote:

>Sorry - I can't tell from here if you're serious or not (the sig rather
>hints that you do know what a triffid-fence is...)

Well, I know what triffids are (didn't remember the fence) -- wasn't
serious at all...just in a silly mood. Thanks for the summary,
though: I had just seen the movie. I will read the book.

Barb

Brenda Selwyn

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Mar 8, 2004, 6:47:47 PM3/8/04
to
>"Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

>Actually the part about them keeping their doors locked at night
>has always puzzled me. What were there in Buckland that wasn't in
>the rest of the Shire that required them to keep the doors locked?
>
>Is it just an unreasoning fear of 'something' out of the Old Forest,
>or do they actually have experiences with theft in Buckland?
>
>I have tended towards the first explanation - or rather that this
>was added to emphasize the ominous nature of the Old Forest, but
>I'm not so sure any longer - after all they don't seem to display
>any fear of the Old Forest as such - they even take kids into it
>(Frodo must have been a kid when he was into the forest the first
>time).

I would put it down to an unreasoning fear, but not necessarily of the
Old Forest itself, though that may have been part of it. Buckland is
on the edge of the Shire, and on the edge of the wild. We know the
hobbits were troubled by "strange persons and creatures prowling about
the borders, or over them", hence the need for the Bounders (though
ironically, bounded as it was by the Brandywine and the High Hay,
Buckland was perhaps less vunerable to this than other parts of the
Shire). Also we know some Bucklanders were (or had been) in the habit
of riding out to Bree, and they must have been aware that not all the
Big Folks they came across there appeared trustworthy.

Going back a bit, it was remarked under "Chapter 3 - Three is Company"
that Bilbo and Frodo were also in the habit of locking their front
door:

>tro...@e-mail.dk (Troels) wrote:

> "Frodo shut and locked the round door, and gave the key to Sam."

If this was unusual in the Shire other than in Buckland, did this add
to their reputation for being slightly odd, not to mention the rumours
of huge wealth? And where, and why, did Bilbo pick up the habit?

Brenda

--
*************************************************************************
Brenda Selwyn
"In England's green and pleasant land"

"If we were 'grown up' and 'had a clue' we wouldn't be wasting our time
posting here." - The Softrat

Brenda Selwyn

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Mar 8, 2004, 6:47:48 PM3/8/04
to
>Igenlode Wordsmith <Use-Author-Address-Header@[127.1]> wrote:

>Finally, on leaving a message for Gandalf: why does Frodo think that the
>Riders might not be able to read? Is it simply because literacy is far
>from universal in the Shire? Is it because he isn't sure whether they
>are actually of human intelligence or just operating on some kind of
>animal instinct? Can ghosts read?

I was going to quote "'Are you sure the Riders can see?'", but
unfortunately it comes from a later chapter:-) As far as I can see
there's nothing up to that point to suggest the Hobbits suspect the
Rider's eyesight may be poor, so I'd guess the former.

Brenda Selwyn

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Mar 8, 2004, 6:47:51 PM3/8/04
to
>Belba Grubb from Stock <ba...@dbtech.net> wrote:

> Now we see that they're "just folks" who also
>know how to swim (though Primula Brandybuck didn't, unfortunately)

I don't think we can be sure about this. Even the strongest swimmers
can drown in the right (wrong?) circumstances. Perhaps she was pulled
under whilst trying to save her panicking husband. Also they were
apparently boating at night after a heavy dinner, and most likely
drink had been taken. Not a good time for a moonlight swim, even for
a competent swimmer.

aelfwina

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Mar 8, 2004, 10:01:20 PM3/8/04
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"Brenda Selwyn" <bre...@matson.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:ea1q40dle2b83ruml...@4ax.com...

I would not be surprised if Bilbo picked up the habit after returning home
and having to deal with the Sackville-Baggins. Otho and Lobelia would not
have stuck at just walking in uninvited.
Barbara

Brenda Selwyn

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Mar 9, 2004, 4:07:18 PM3/9/04
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>"aelfwina" <aelf...@cableone.net> wrote:

>I would not be surprised if Bilbo picked up the habit after returning home
>and having to deal with the Sackville-Baggins. Otho and Lobelia would not
>have stuck at just walking in uninvited.
>Barbara

Good reasoning - except that he was already doing it in Chapter 2 of
TH: "...leaving his second breakfast half-finished and quite
unwashed-up, pushing his keys into Gandalf's hands, and running as
fast as his furry feet could carry him down the lane...". It's not
certain he's talking about front door keys here, but it seems likely.

Öjevind Lång

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Mar 10, 2004, 6:44:38 PM3/10/04
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"Brenda Selwyn" <bre...@matson.demon.co.uk> skrev i meddelandet
news:ea1q40dle2b83rum...@4ax.com...

[snip]

> Going back a bit, it was remarked under "Chapter 3 - Three is Company"
> that Bilbo and Frodo were also in the habit of locking their front
> door:
>
> >tro...@e-mail.dk (Troels) wrote:
>
> > "Frodo shut and locked the round door, and gave the key to Sam."
>
> If this was unusual in the Shire other than in Buckland, did this add
> to their reputation for being slightly odd, not to mention the rumours
> of huge wealth? And where, and why, did Bilbo pick up the habit?

I have no doubt that the rumours of Bilbo's great wealth were behind this
habit. Don't forget that after Bilbo had left Bag's End, Frodo had to evict
two young hobbits who were treasure-hunting in the house that was now his.

Öjevind


Count Menelvagor

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Mar 10, 2004, 1:53:29 AM3/10/04
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"Öjevind Lång" <dnivej...@swipnet.se> wrote in message news:<xDs3c.29259$zm5....@nntpserver.swip.net>...

> I have no doubt that the rumours of Bilbo's great wealth were behind this
> habit. Don't forget that after Bilbo had left Bag's End, Frodo had to evict
> two young hobbits who were treasure-hunting in the house that was now his.

That epsiode seems hard to reconcile with the statement in the
Prologue that (paraphrasing) Hobbits didn't need much in the way of
law enforcemnet because they weren't greedy. (And likewise Lobelia
and the spoons.)

Öjevind Lång

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Mar 10, 2004, 7:05:30 PM3/10/04
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"Count Menelvagor" <hath written:

I suppose Bilbo wasn't regarded as a real hobbit any more, what with him
having been trapessing in foreign parts and all. So his treasures would
belong to anyone who found them, just liek those of a troll.

Öjevind