Chapter of the Week LOTR Bk2 Ch2 The Council of Elrond (PART 3 - Characters)

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Christopher Kreuzer

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Apr 19, 2004, 7:12:09 PM4/19/04
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Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
Book 2, Chapter 2: The Council of Elrond (PART 3 of 3)

To read the previous Chapter of the Week discussions, or to sign up to
introduce a future chapter, go to http://parasha.maoltuile.org

Due to the length and complexity of this chapter, I have divided the
material into three separate posts, of which this is the third. The
three separate posts are:

PART 1 - Introduction: an overall summary and general points.
PART 2 - The Reports: details of the reports and the response.
PART 3 - The Characters: discussion of characterisation.

I have tried to make each of the three posts self-contained, but it is
still best to read all three first. Also, the posts are still very long,
so please remember to quote only the bits to which you reply.

PART 3 - THE CHARACTERS
=======================

Despite a large amount of exposition (supplying the reader with plot and
background information), 'The Council of Elrond' is not just a history
lesson or a series of tales, it is also a debate. Tolkien manages to
expertly use this chapter to develop existing characters and introduce
new ones. It is fascinating to see the interactions between the
characters and their response to the reports, to the debates, and of
course to each other.

The main characters in this chapter are Elrond, Gandalf, Saruman,
Aragorn, Boromir and Frodo. Elrond and Gandalf are the authority figures
at the Council, presenting most of the reports and leading the
discussions. We meet Boromir and Saruman for the first time, and see
them in conflict with their peers (Aragorn and Gandalf). We also learn
some of the history of the realms of the Numenoreans: failed Arnor
(Aragorn) and declining Gondor (Boromir). We also see the different
relationships between the Elves and Gondor, and the Elves and the
Rangers of Eriador (the remnants of Arnor). All this is seen through the
eyes of Frodo, a hobbit bearing the Ring of Power. Frodo says very
little, but the climax of the chapter focuses on him and his emotions
and responses as he becomes the Ringbearer.

(i) ELROND - GANDALF

Elrond and Gandalf have been shown to be lords of great power in the
previous chapter 'Many Meetings'. At the Council we learn more about
their roles in this story. Elrond is the host, the Lord of Rivendell,
and effectively the chair of the Council. But he later names Gandalf as
chief in these matters, deferring to his greater authority.

Elrond introduces the Council and presents the history, while Gandalf
presents his research linking the history to the present day, reaching a
devastating conclusion. Both of them present extremely long reports:
"the sun rode up the sky, and the morning was passing ere [Elrond]
ceased", and Gandalf says "now I have lengthened my tale over long".

Elrond's primary role as "greatest of loremasters" is to present the
history of Middle-earth. He doesn't just do this through his tales
though, but also manages to express this through his character. For
example, Elrond reminisces about his journeys in what is now the Old
Forest, and at the end, Elrond's tribute to Frodo mentions Hador, Hurin,
Turin and Beren, heroes of the First Age!

One of my favourite parts though, is Elrond's nostalgic reminiscences of
the First Age, and Frodo's stammered interruption. This is a wonderful
way to develop Elrond's and Frodo's characters and to provide an amazing
concentration of those throwaway references to the earlier histories
that are so tantalising. Glimpses of a huge woven tapestry and great
unplumbed depths of story! Names like Beleriand, Thangorodrim, Gondolin,
Luthien, Doriath. I personally love the way this chapter gives us
glimpses and views of the broad canvas and imagined history that Tolkien
was drawing on. Especially the reference to the War of Wrath in the
First Age.

Gandalf is presented as more human and fallible in this chapter. As well
as being trapped by Saruman, we also learn that he was fooled by
Saruman's lies. Elrond sympathizes with Gandalf and reassures him when
Gandalf agonizes over his mistake in believing the words of Saruman
concerning the fate of the Ring. In a similar vein, Frodo's interrupts
Gandalf's tale of Saruman, to tell of his dream, and this leaves Gandalf
almost speechless with astonishment.

Elrond is not presented as totally infallible though, as Erestor
expresses some doubt (during the discussion about the Fate of the Ring)
when he practically accuses Elrond of folly and despair!

Finally, concerning Gandalf's hidden power, we hear that the Nazgul felt
the coming of Gandalf's anger and withdrew from Weathertop. Then, when
they attacked after nightfall, Gandalf is able to fight all the Nine
together! Remember the flashes of light that Aragorn and Frodo see on
Weathertop before they reach it? That was Gandalf in battle with the
Nazgul. An impressive display of power.

(ii) BOROMIR - ARAGORN

Early on in the chapter we get our first look at Boromir, and are given
a detailed description of his clothing: rich garments stained by long
travel, and "a collar of silver in which a single white stone was set."
Aragorn has returned to travel-stained clothes (Strider). Compare this
with Aragorn in elven-mail in 'Many Meetings' (Elessar).

Both Boromir and Aragorn are offset from the rest of the council, which
is seated around Elrond. Boromir is seated apart and Aragorn is sitting
in a corner, both more spectators than participants. Elrond does not
properly introduce Boromir, who only arrived that morning.

Boromir gives a proud speech describing the heroic exploits of Gondor in
keeping the Enemy at bay. Boromir also reports a dream that came often
to his brother and once to him. A voice from the West cried aloud a
verse containing references to a broken sword, Imladris, Isildur's Bane
and a Halfling.

The response could hardly be more dramatic! The guy in the corner gets
up and in answer to the riddle throws a broken sword on the table!! He
claims that they are the shards of Narsil, and Elrond declares him to be
the Heir of Isildur!!!

There is also the extra impact of Frodo revealing Isildur's Bane.

Imagine Boromir's reaction! Both Aragorn and Boromir use courteous
language, but there is an undercurrent of tension.

Aragorn cautiously asks if his return is desirable: "Do you wish for the
House of Elendil to return to the Land of Gondor?" Boromir twice
expresses his doubt: "if such a thing could indeed return out of the
shadows of the past"; and (after his suggestion to use the Ring has been
shouted down): "if the hand that wields it has inherited not an heirloom
only, but the sinews of the Kings of Men". But Boromir also acknowledges
that Gondor needs and will accept help: "the Sword of Elendil would be a
help beyond our hope"; and "though I do not ask for aid, we need it".
Such ambivalence could be due to genuine uncertainty and surprise, but
also due to not knowing Aragorn's true intentions yet: will he claim the
throne of Gondor?

Aragorn responds to Boromir's doubt with a brief tale of his life and
the role of the Rangers of Eriador in battling the Enemy. He concludes
in dramatic fashion, using the finding of Isildur's Bane to declare:
"...the sword shall be reforged. I shall come to Minas Tirith." Boromir
does not seem entirely convinced, and asks for further proofs that the
Ring is indeed Isildur's Bane. What do you think Aragorn's (unspoken)
reaction was to this?

There is another brief conversation between Boromir and Aragorn
concerning Rohan, during Gandalf's tale. We learn several other things
about Boromir and Aragorn in this chapter, including the fact that
Aragorn is supported by both Elrond and Gandalf, the two most powerful
people present. Oh, and that hobbit who recited that silly verse as
well!

We also learn a lot about Boromir's opinions at this counsel. There is
the obvious contrast between what he would do with the Ring and what the
Elves say should be done. There is also the contrast between the
attitudes towards Gollum. Boromir would have executed Gollum. Aragorn
would imprison him. Gandalf still hopes for a cure.

(iii) SARUMAN - GANDALF

We meet Saruman for the first time, and though we know he is one of the
bad guys, the initial description is still distinctive: "in his eyes
there seemed to be a white light, as if a cold laughter was in his
heart." A great sentence that immediately tells us what we need to know
of Saruman.

Gandalf takes a noticeably subservient role, and Saruman proceeds to
declaim at great length his philosophies. He declares himself to be
Ringmaker and Saruman of Many Colours! In a long and charismatic speech,
Saruman reveals his lust for Power, supposedly to do Good, and says that
he now believes that the end justifies the means.

This turns out to be a test, hoping to bring Gandalf to his side, but
then Saruman reveals his true desire. He wants the One Ring to obtain
the Power that he desires, and demands that Gandalf tells him what he
knows of it. When Gandalf rejects Saruman again, Saruman imprisons
Gandalf on top of Orthanc.

(iv) FRODO - THE RING

The Ring only appears once and briefly, despite dominating the chapter.
We do hear several references to its effects on others: when Frodo
reveals the Ring we are told that Boromir's eyes glinted; and later we
hear that lust shone in Saruman's eyes for the Ring. Isildur's scroll
reveals that he will risk no hurt to the Ring and will not place it in a
fire. He calls it precious. Is this Isildur already being ensnared by
the Ring?

Although Frodo says very little, we are told of his emotions throughout
this chapter, and this is contrasted with the beautiful scenery of
Rivendell. Frodo will face an agonising choice between the peace and
quiet of Rivendell and the terrible burden of the Ring. Remember that
Frodo said in 'Many Meetings': "now we are safe". This is followed by a
succession of positive descriptions at the start of the chapter: Frodo
was "refreshed and well"; "I feel ready for anything"; "a wholesome
peace lay on the land". But then Frodo reveals the Ring and darker
emotions come to the surface: "shame"; "fear"; "reluctance"; "loathing";
a "trembling hand". And Frodo is not at all happy to have to recount the
terrors of his journey to Rivendell.

When Elrond announces that they must send the Ring to the Fire, Frodo
"even in that fair house... felt a dead darkness in his heart." Later,
at the climactic moment to the chapter, the noon-bell rings and no one
breaks the silence:

"Frodo glanced at all the faces, but they were not turned to him... A
great dread fell on him, as if he was awaiting the pronouncement of some
doom that he had long foreseen and vainly hoped might after all never be
spoken. An overwhelming longing to rest and remain at peace by Bilbo's
side in Rivendell filled all his heart. At last with an effort he spoke,
and wondered to hear his own words, as if some other will was using his
small voice.

'I will take the Ring,' he said, 'though I do not know the way.'

Elrond raised his eyes and looked at him, and Frodo felt his heart
pierced by the sudden keenness of the glance."


Comments and thoughts [PART 3 ONLY]
=====================

1) What did you learn about the characters when reading this chapter?
What did you think about Boromir and Saruman, who we meet for the first
time?

2) Elrond presents Frodo to the council. In an aside, he explains
Boromir's presence to Gandalf who is unaware of Boromir because Boromir
only arrived that morning. As well as showing Elrond's acknowledgement
of Gandalf's authority, it appears that Elrond is *alerting* Gandalf to
the presence of this "man from the South", a key development which will
impact greatly on the debates of the council. You can imagine an earlier
scene where Elrond alerted Aragorn in a similarly cryptic way.

Similarly, Elrond does not introduce Aragorn. Is this not strange? He
introduces Frodo to those assembled there, but it is not stated whether
Elrond formally introduces Boromir as being from Gondor, or whether
Boromir has himself revealed who he is. Are Elrond, Gandalf and Aragorn
aware of who Boromir is?

3) Aragorn reveals himself as Isildur's Heir. Was the way in which
Aragorn revealed himself planned, or spontaneous?

4) What does 'counsels ... stronger than Morgul spells' mean? Was this
dream an example of divine intervention?

5) It is a recurring theme that the characters are tested directly or
indirectly by the possibility of obtaining the Ring. Frodo OFFERS the
Ring to Aragorn. What impact would that have had on Boromir?

6) Boromir's interruption of Elrond's report reveals something of the
interaction, or lack of, between Men and Elves after the Last Alliance.
Also,
Boromir interrupts Gandalf to emphasize again the different histories
told in the North and the South of the events immediately after the
defeat of Sauron by the Last Alliance. Gandalf smoothly parries this
with a withering comment about Isildur's scroll: "and that is not
remembered in Gondor, it would seem."

Contrast these two episodes with the lore of the Dunedain of the North.
The prophecies and the close relationship with Elrond and Rivendell.

7) Saruman's treachery. One question that is immediately obvious is why
did Saruman leave Gandalf in a place where escape (though seemingly
unlikely) was possible? There is a nice quote that illustrates the
seriousness and uniqueness of the situation: "...such a thing has not
happened before, that Gandalf broke tryst and did not come when he
promised."

8) Discuss Saruman's self-given titles of Ringmaker and Many Colours.
Also, his philosophy that power has be used to do good and that the
means can justify the ends. Is Saruman's despair over Sauron a Catholic
sin? Compare with Gandalf's thoughts on despair and Sauron's blindness
to those who don't desire power and would destroy the Ring.

9) Is Saruman's character flawed, or is his fall a response to pressure
from Sauron? Would he have fallen without pressure (militarily or by
'shadow of disquiet') from Sauron?

10) Did Saruman believe Gandalf would join him, or was he trying to
convince himself that he was right?

11) Bilbo offers to take the Ring. Is this brave or naive? Maybe Bilbo
still desires the Ring? After his (apparent) rejection of it in 'Many
Meetings', would he be a good Ringbearer (if younger), or does this
episode actually count against him? Would he recognise that he is too
weak? Maybe so, as Bilbo also says of the Ring: "It has grown, and I
have not."

12) Frodo knows of the horrors of the Nazgul. Despite this, he says he
will take the Ring. Frodo wonders to hear his voice "as if some other
will" was using it.

But then maybe there is some sort of intervention going on here. I would
propose two possibilities: either Frodo is being provided with 'grace'
from Eru to take on this burden, or the Ring itself is influencing
matters. I find this latter suggestion very interesting and perfectly
logical.

To my mind, Frodo is either incredibly brave to take the Ring, or he,
even now, subconsciously desires the Ring and does not want to give it
up. Frodo reports that he wanted to give up the Ring, but would this
have even been possible? Was Frodo already doomed even before he made
the choice to carry on being the Ringbearer?

13) Frodo thought his job was done and that the Elves could deal with
the Ring now. At what point did he realise that he might have to carry
on (regardless of whether he was swayed by desire for the Ring)?

14) The varying speech styles and vocabularies are noticeable, and aid
characterisations. The best example is Boromir's introduction of
himself: "...for verily from the land of Gondor I am come." Contrast
this with Aragorn's speaking style and the styles of Elrond, Gandalf,
Gloin and especially Isildur.

15) It would be interesting to write about the council from the POVs of
each of the main participants (Elrond, Gandalf, Boromir, Aragorn and
Frodo). What would their thoughts be?

16) Overall, the debate is much more orderly than certain discussion
forums! For example, Aragorn and Boromir start a mini-debate about
Rohan, but Gandalf adroitly seizes his chance and manages to restart his
tale! It is rare to have such long group discussions in a book. In some
ways, Tolkien handles it very well, showing us an intriguing group
dynamic and skilfully developing and introducing characters.

17) We meet Gollum again in this chapter. Together with 'The Shadow of
the Past', a picture is building up in our minds. Does anyone have any
doubt that we will meet Gollum later in the book?

18) Faramir is never mentioned by name. All that is mentioned is
Boromir's 'brother'. Does this relate to the fact that Faramir's
appearance in Ithilien was as much of a surprise to Tolkien as to the
reader?

19) Bilbo is very at ease at the Council, being old (so probably wise)
and among friends, he eschews diplomacy and says what he thinks!

20) What was Bilbo's reaction to Frodo being Ringbearer?

Please add any other questions or points you wish to raise. I have had
to be brief in places and these posts are only meant to provide a
framework for the discussion, so please feel free to pick an episode
from this chapter and discuss it in more detail.

And don't forget to read the other two posts about this chapter!

Christopher

--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard

Elrond on Frodo's decision:

"This is the hour of the Shire-folk, when they arise from their quiet
fields to shake the towers and counsels of the Great ... and though all
the mighty elf-friends of old, Hador, and Hurin, and Turin, and Beren
himself were assembled together, your seat should be among them."


AC

unread,
Apr 20, 2004, 2:09:20 PM4/20/04
to
On Mon, 19 Apr 2004 23:12:09 GMT,
Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>
> 8) Discuss Saruman's self-given titles of Ringmaker and Many Colours.
> Also, his philosophy that power has be used to do good and that the
> means can justify the ends. Is Saruman's despair over Sauron a Catholic
> sin? Compare with Gandalf's thoughts on despair and Sauron's blindness
> to those who don't desire power and would destroy the Ring.

Quite frankly I think a good deal of Saruman's speech ("long rehearsed" as I
recall) was little more than self-justification and rationalization. He
knew just as well as Gandalf, if not better, that the Ring would corrupt
whoever used it. At this point I don't think Saruman was even concerned
with means and ends in the context of his original duty given to him by the
Valar. As Treebeard says much later, Saruman wanted to become a Power.

This is confirmed in the foreword, where Tolkien suggests that if the War of
the Ring had followed WWII, Saruman would have obtained the knowledge he
needed to forge his own ring.

>
> 9) Is Saruman's character flawed, or is his fall a response to pressure
> from Sauron? Would he have fallen without pressure (militarily or by
> 'shadow of disquiet') from Sauron?

We don't see this in the chapter, but from other writings we can gather that
Saruman was always proud, and that the roots of his fall may have occured
very early on. He harbored a jealousy against Gandalf which, as with so
many jealous people, took the form of open disdain. I think by the time he
dared to turn the Palantir towards Mordor, he had already gone very far down
that path.

> 12) Frodo knows of the horrors of the Nazgul. Despite this, he says he
> will take the Ring. Frodo wonders to hear his voice "as if some other
> will" was using it.
>
> But then maybe there is some sort of intervention going on here. I would
> propose two possibilities: either Frodo is being provided with 'grace'
> from Eru to take on this burden, or the Ring itself is influencing
> matters. I find this latter suggestion very interesting and perfectly
> logical.
>
> To my mind, Frodo is either incredibly brave to take the Ring, or he,
> even now, subconsciously desires the Ring and does not want to give it
> up. Frodo reports that he wanted to give up the Ring, but would this
> have even been possible? Was Frodo already doomed even before he made
> the choice to carry on being the Ringbearer?

I think there is something of destiny, but I think we're also seeing
something of that Hobbit indomitability. I don't think he was doomed to
carry the Ring to Sammath Naur.

>
> 13) Frodo thought his job was done and that the Elves could deal with
> the Ring now. At what point did he realise that he might have to carry
> on (regardless of whether he was swayed by desire for the Ring)?

I think when he learns that even the Great would have no better shot at
destroying the Ring, and that for them the risks were even higher than for
him.

> 18) Faramir is never mentioned by name. All that is mentioned is
> Boromir's 'brother'. Does this relate to the fact that Faramir's
> appearance in Ithilien was as much of a surprise to Tolkien as to the
> reader?

Yes. As I recall, Faramir certainly did not exist when this chapter was
first composed.

--
Aaron Clausen
mightym...@hotmail.com

Glenn Holliday

unread,
Apr 20, 2004, 7:51:05 PM4/20/04
to
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
>
> 5) It is a recurring theme that the characters are tested directly or
> indirectly by the possibility of obtaining the Ring. Frodo OFFERS the
> Ring to Aragorn. What impact would that have had on Boromir?

At this point, I'm not sure the importance of the Ring and that
choice has sunk in for Boromir. I imagine the incident weighed
on him more as the journey got underway and Boromir came to
understand better what was going on.

> 9) Is Saruman's character flawed, or is his fall a response to pressure
> from Sauron? Would he have fallen without pressure (militarily or by
> 'shadow of disquiet') from Sauron?

Sure, Saruman was flawed. For Tolkien, no created being
is perfect. The Valar make a number of mistakes, though
only Melkor turns fully evil. So Saruman had the capacity
to choose one way or the other from the beginning. There
is a hint that Saruman's fall began with his jealousy
of Gandalf, before Sauron had any influence on him.

> 10) Did Saruman believe Gandalf would join him, or was he trying to
> convince himself that he was right?

I think Saurman thought he had a chance of converting Gandalf,
just as Gandalf thought he had a chance of converting Saruman
after the Ents took Isengard. After all, Saruman's unique
charism was his ability to persuade others. I'm sure he
thought the advantage of Gandalf as ally made it worth
a try.

> 13) Frodo thought his job was done and that the Elves could deal with
> the Ring now. At what point did he realise that he might have to carry
> on (regardless of whether he was swayed by desire for the Ring)?

I expect he recognized that somebody would have to carry on
when the Council began to consider what to do with the Ring.
About that time, he probably had the sinking thought in the
back of his mind "Is it me?" That thought probably became
stronger when Bilbo offered to bear it.

> 20) What was Bilbo's reaction to Frodo being Ringbearer?

Twofold. Bilbo had only recently gained a full appreciation
that the Ring was a burden and an evil. So he would feel
apprehensive for Frodo, and wish it didn't have to be him.
But since his own offer had been refused, Bilbo also felt
an excitement and pride that Frodo was embarking on an
adventure bigger than his own.

--
Glenn Holliday holl...@acm.org

Taemon

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Apr 21, 2004, 6:03:05 AM4/21/04
to
Glenn Holliday wrote:

> > 20) What was Bilbo's reaction to Frodo being Ringbearer?
> Twofold. Bilbo had only recently gained a full
> appreciation that the Ring was a burden and an evil. So
> he would feel apprehensive for Frodo, and wish it didn't
> have to be him.
> But since his own offer had been refused, Bilbo also felt
> an excitement and pride that Frodo was embarking on an
> adventure bigger than his own.

He was, of course, also stinking jealous.

T.


Troels Forchhammer

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Apr 21, 2004, 6:31:55 PM4/21/04
to
In message <news:d1Zgc.3329$mT4.31...@news-text.cableinet.net>
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:
>
> Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
> Book 2, Chapter 2: The Council of Elrond (PART 3 of 3)

What a great job you did - in both senses ;-)

> Although Frodo says very little,

Little? He said enough to fill several chapters; and according to my
impression of the story-internal 'history' of the book, we have just
spent about three months going over Frodo's story ...

> Remember that Frodo said in 'Many Meetings': "now we are safe".

Never trust such statements - including "it's over" ;-)
There's far more credibility in Sam's simple "I'm home"

> 3) Aragorn reveals himself as Isildur's Heir. Was the way in which
> Aragorn revealed himself planned, or spontaneous?

He says at some point that he thought that the dream sent to Faramir
and Boromir was a summons to himself. It is, IMO, likely that he
realised this at once, and reacted accordingly: he had been summoned
and he therefore hastened to answer.



> 4) What does 'counsels ... stronger than Morgul spells' mean? Was
> this dream an example of divine intervention?

I have no doubt that the dream was sent deliberately by some "divine"
agency (though I'm not sure it was Eru - probably a Vala, I suppose).



> Contrast these two episodes with the lore of the Dunedain of the
> North. The prophecies and the close relationship with Elrond and
> Rivendell.

That brings to mind a footnote to letter #131, which also bears on your
comments elsewhere on Rivendell as an interlude at a change of
direction:

"Elrond symbolises throughout the ancient wisdom, and his
House represents Lore - the preservation in reverent memory
of all tradition concerning the good, wise, and beautiful.
It is not a scene of action but of reflection. Thus it is a
place visited on the way to all deeds, or 'adventures'. It
may prove to be on the direct road (as in The Hobbit); but
it may be necessary to go from there in a totally unexpected
course. So necessarily in The Lord of the Rings, having
escaped to Elrond from the imminent pursuit of present evil,
the hero departs in a wholly new direction: to go and face
it at its source."

> 7) Saruman's treachery. One question that is immediately obvious
> is why did Saruman leave Gandalf in a place where escape (though
> seemingly unlikely) was possible?

As with Sauron and the destruction of the Ring, the idea probably never
occurred to him that escape was possible at all.

> 8) Discuss Saruman's self-given titles of Ringmaker

To late to discuss, but: probably a magic ring, but not a Ring of
Power.

> and Many Colours.

Story-internally: vanity, perhaps. An outward symbol of his own belief
that the white was too limiting?

Externally, and in conjunction with Gandalf's comment that "he that
breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." (I
always felt that comment to be a little harsh on modern science <g>), I
think it is comment on the absoluteness(?) of "Good"

> Also, his philosophy that power has be used to do good and that
> the means can justify the ends.

I find myself more in agreement with the council here: some kinds of
power are too horrible to be justified by any end - the use of such
powers is inherently bad (not to say evil).

> 9) Is Saruman's character flawed, or is his fall a response to
> pressure from Sauron?

I think Tolkien is quite clear on that in UT - Saruman was indeed more
flawed than Gandalf. Starting with his jealousy of Gandalf, but
including giving in to his Ring-lust and ultimately Sauron, all are
indeed errors (and probably sins).

<snipping the rest - I hope to get back to it another day, but it's too
late now>

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

"What're quantum mechanics?"
"I don't know. People who repair quantums, I suppose."
- (Terry Pratchett, Eric)

Henriette

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Apr 22, 2004, 6:47:20 AM4/22/04
to
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in message news:<Xns94D366E581...@62.243.74.163>...

> In message <news:d1Zgc.3329$mT4.31...@news-text.cableinet.net>
> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:
> >
> > 7) Saruman's treachery. One question that is immediately obvious
> > is why did Saruman leave Gandalf in a place where escape (though
> > seemingly unlikely) was possible?
>
> As with Sauron and the destruction of the Ring, the idea probably never
> occurred to him that escape was possible at all.
>
Yes, seconded.

> > 8) Discuss Saruman's self-given titles of Ringmaker (snip)and Many Colours.


>
> Story-internally: vanity, perhaps. An outward symbol of his own belief
> that the white was too limiting?
>

It's a nice speculation. I have always thought it a bit strange that
JRRT, who obviously liked colourful clothes (Hobbits, Dwarves, Tom
Bombadil and Goldberry)
implies that "of Many Colours" is a bad thing.

> Externally, and in conjunction with Gandalf's comment that "he that
> breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." (I

> always felt that comment to be a little harsh on modern science <g>)(snip)

And quite rightly so. This very quote is my favorite one from this
chapter!

Henriette

Henriette

unread,
Apr 22, 2004, 7:18:16 AM4/22/04
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message news:<d1Zgc.3329$mT4.31...@news-text.cableinet.net>...

>
> 1) What did you learn about the characters when reading this chapter?
> What did you think about Boromir and Saruman, who we meet for the first
> time?
>
Coming from a region where Pride is considered a very unpractical
trait (if I may make this politically incorrect wild generalisation),
I immediately admired Boromir's exotic pride and virility.

> 11) Bilbo offers to take the Ring. Is this brave or naive? Maybe Bilbo

> still desires the Ring?(snip)

Brave, naive, maybe some desire, but also, I think, for a large part
his somewhat protective love for Frodo

> 14) The varying speech styles and vocabularies are noticeable, and aid
> characterisations. The best example is Boromir's introduction of
> himself: "...for verily from the land of Gondor I am come." Contrast
> this with Aragorn's speaking style and the styles of Elrond, Gandalf,
> Gloin and especially Isildur.
>

Yes, wonderful! Because of style and contents, I'm always delighted by
the conversation between Dáin and a messenger from Mordor, as told by
Glóin.

"As a small token only of your friendship Sauron asks this," he said:
"that you should find this thief," such was his word, "and get from
him, willing or no, a little ring, the leasts of rings, that once he
stole. It is but a trifle that Sauron fancies, and an earnest of your
good will. (...) Refuse, and things will not seem so well. Do you
refuse?"
'At that his breath came like a hiss of snakes, and all who stood by
shuddered, but Dáin said: "I say neither yea nor nay. I must consider
this message and what it means under its fair colak".
'"Çonsider well, but not too long," said he.
'" The time of my thought is my own to spend", answered Dáin.
'"For the present," said he, and rode into the darkness.

Henriette

Glenn Holliday

unread,
Apr 22, 2004, 7:21:28 AM4/22/04
to
Henriette wrote:
>
> It's a nice speculation. I have always thought it a bit strange that
> JRRT, who obviously liked colourful clothes (Hobbits, Dwarves, Tom
> Bombadil and Goldberry)
> implies that "of Many Colours" is a bad thing.

White symbolizes purity and perfection. For Saruman to stop
being Saruman the White and turn to any other color is a sign
of his fall. "Many Colours" indicates that Saruman was trying
to encompass all things. It suggests to me the many-colored
costumes of court fools.

It would not carry the same symbolic weight for a Hobbit :-)

--
Glenn Holliday holl...@acm.org

Taemon

unread,
Apr 22, 2004, 1:48:55 PM4/22/04
to
Henriette wrote:

> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote

> > 11) Bilbo offers to take the Ring. Is this brave or
> > naive? Maybe Bilbo still desires the Ring?(snip)
> Brave, naive, maybe some desire, but also, I think, for a
> large part his somewhat protective love for Frodo

One wonders - did he really expect there was a possibility
someone would hold him to that offer?

T.


Stan Brown

unread,
Apr 22, 2004, 8:31:43 PM4/22/04
to
"Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote in rec.arts.books.tolkien:

>> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote
>> > 11) Bilbo offers to take the Ring. Is this brave or
>> > naive?
>
>One wonders - did he really expect there was a possibility
>someone would hold him to that offer?

Gandalf evidently thought Bilbo was sincere: "'Of course, my dear
Bilbo,' said Gandalf. ... we do not doubt that under jest you are
making a valiant offer.'"

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Cortland County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com
Tolkien FAQs: http://Tolkien.slimy.com (Steuard Jensen's site)
Tolkien letters FAQ:
http://users.telerama.com/~taliesen/tolkien/lettersfaq.html
FAQ of the Rings: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/ringfaq.htm
Encyclopedia of Arda: http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.htm
more FAQs: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/faqget.htm

boggit

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Apr 22, 2004, 9:32:12 PM4/22/04
to

"Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in message
news:Xns94D366E581...@62.243.74.163...
> In message <news:d1Zgc.3329$mT4.31...@news-text.cableinet.net>
> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:
> >
> > Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
> > Book 2, Chapter 2: The Council of Elrond (PART 3 of 3)
>
<snip>>

> > 7) Saruman's treachery. One question that is immediately obvious
> > is why did Saruman leave Gandalf in a place where escape (though
> > seemingly unlikely) was possible?
>

Maybe Saruman was attempting to drive Gandalf into despair by continually
showing him the greatness of his fortress and new army? Therefore believing
that Gandalf would be easier to sway?


Jim Deutch

unread,
Apr 23, 2004, 4:46:44 PM4/23/04
to
On Mon, 19 Apr 2004 23:12:09 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

>11) Bilbo offers to take the Ring. Is this brave or naive? Maybe Bilbo

I always considered it to be calculated (by Bilbo) to prod Frodo into
doing the obvious and volunteering himself.

>20) What was Bilbo's reaction to Frodo being Ringbearer?

"It sure took an awfully long time to get around to that. We could
have been at lunch an hour ago!"

Jim Deutch (Jimbo the Cat)
--
"Power corrupts, but we all need electricity"

the softrat

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Apr 23, 2004, 6:14:51 PM4/23/04
to
On Fri, 23 Apr 2004 20:46:44 GMT, in alt.fan.tolkien
10313...@compuserve.com (Jim Deutch) wrote:

>On Mon, 19 Apr 2004 23:12:09 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
><spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>
>>11) Bilbo offers to take the Ring. Is this brave or naive? Maybe Bilbo
>
>I always considered it to be calculated (by Bilbo) to prod Frodo into
>doing the obvious and volunteering himself.
>

Cynic! I believe in the essential goodness and innocence of Bilbo.
Bilbo was prepared to finish personally what he had started (in his
eyes), no matter what the cost to himself. I believe that both Elrond
and Gandalf knew that. Bilbo was bailed out of it by Gandalf and
Elrond because they sincerely believed that he was incapable of
carrying the matter to a successful conclusion.

the softrat
"I feel like I'm beating my head against a dead horse."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--
"I woke up one morning and all of my stuff had been stolen...and
replaced by exact duplicates." -- Steven Wright

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Apr 23, 2004, 7:13:06 PM4/23/04
to
In message <news:4087AAB6...@acm.org>
Glenn Holliday <holl...@acm.org> enriched us with:

>
> White symbolizes purity and perfection. For Saruman to stop
> being Saruman the White and turn to any other color is a sign
> of his fall.

Yes.

> "Many Colours" indicates that Saruman was trying to encompass all
> things.

And/or all powers?
The colours of all wizards and all Rings ...

> It suggests to me the many-colored costumes of court fools.

;-)

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

Elan síla lúmenn' omentielvo

BaronjosefR

unread,
Apr 23, 2004, 8:35:55 PM4/23/04
to
><spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>
>>11) Bilbo offers to take the Ring. Is this brave or naive? Maybe Bilbo
>
>I always considered it to be calculated (by Bilbo) to prod Frodo into
>doing the obvious and volunteering himself.

Well, as Bilbo was deeply influenced by the ring, offering to take it seems to
be an excuse to get his hands on it again

BaronjosefR

unread,
Apr 23, 2004, 8:38:02 PM4/23/04
to
>>
>> White symbolizes purity and perfection. For Saruman to stop
>> being Saruman the White and turn to any other color is a sign
>> of his fall.
>
>Yes.
>
>> "Many Colours" indicates that Saruman was trying to encompass all
>> things.
>
>And/or all powers?
>The colours of all wizards and all Rings ...
>
>> It suggests to me the many-colored costumes of court fools.
>
>;-)
>

I see that passage as Saruman not being able to see himself for what he was.
Being "all colors" does not make him as a rainbow, it makes him "black", as
that is the color created when all other colors are mixed together. I always
thought Tolkien created Saruman as an object lesson of what you turn into when
you aren't true to yourself and try to be things that you are not.

Count Menelvagor

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Apr 23, 2004, 11:03:16 PM4/23/04
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message news:<d1Zgc.3329$mT4.31...@news-text.cableinet.net>...
> Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
> Book 2, Chapter 2: The Council of Elrond (PART 3 of 3)

> Despite a large amount of exposition (supplying the reader with plot and


> background information), 'The Council of Elrond' is not just a history
> lesson or a series of tales, it is also a debate. Tolkien manages to
> expertly use this chapter to develop existing characters and introduce
> new ones. It is fascinating to see the interactions between the
> characters and their response to the reports, to the debates, and of
> course to each other.

The interesting thing about the chapter is the way Tolkien structures
it *dynamically* so that the presentation of "facts" and the
characterization are inseparable.

To clarify: the original versions of the chapter were fairly bland:
Elrond called on someone, the person called on spoke his piece, and
then Elrond called on someone else. In the published version, by
contrast, characters interrupt and react to each other: Boromir reacts
to Elrond, to be interrupted in turn by Aragorn; Legolas's report is a
reaction to Gandalf (and Aragorn), etc. The truth emerges as much by
conflict and debate as by the moral authority and wisdom of Gandalf
and Elrond.

Henriette

unread,
Apr 24, 2004, 2:39:38 AM4/24/04
to
Glenn Holliday <holl...@acm.org> wrote in message news:<4087AAB6...@acm.org>...

> White symbolizes purity and perfection. For Saruman to stop
> being Saruman the White and turn to any other color is a sign
> of his fall. "Many Colours" indicates that Saruman was trying
> to encompass all things. It suggests to me the many-colored
> costumes of court fools.
>
> It would not carry the same symbolic weight for a Hobbit :-)

Yes. I think I must keep the symbolic meaning of colours in mind and
not what I like best:-)

Henriette

Henriette

unread,
Apr 24, 2004, 2:48:44 AM4/24/04
to
the softrat <sof...@pobox.com> wrote in message news:<ca5j80tcehq8e6k24...@4ax.com>...

> On Fri, 23 Apr 2004 20:46:44 GMT, in alt.fan.tolkien
> 10313...@compuserve.com (Jim Deutch) wrote:
>
> >I always considered it to be calculated (by Bilbo) to prod Frodo into
> >doing the obvious and volunteering himself.
> >
> Cynic! I believe in the essential goodness and innocence of Bilbo.
(snip)
LOTR is full of hidden Rorschach tests!

But I agree with you here.

Henriette

Taemon

unread,
Apr 24, 2004, 6:32:47 AM4/24/04
to
Stan Brown wrote:

> "Taemon" Tae...@zonnet.nl
> > > "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk>


> > > > 11) Bilbo offers to take the Ring. Is this brave or
> > > > naive?
> > One wonders - did he really expect there was a
> > possibility someone would hold him to that offer?
> Gandalf evidently thought Bilbo was sincere: "'Of course,
> my dear Bilbo,' said Gandalf. ... we do not doubt that
> under jest you are making a valiant offer.'"

I'm not sure. He was already quite old, wasn't he? No one
expected him to succeed, did he himself?

T.


Glenn Holliday

unread,
Apr 24, 2004, 12:44:43 PM4/24/04
to

Perhaps that didn't matter. Duty was another of qualities
with high status in Tolkien's society. Once Frodo understood
what the Ring was doing to him, he didn't expect to succeed
either.

--
Glenn Holliday holl...@acm.org

Igenlode

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Apr 24, 2004, 7:05:57 PM4/24/04
to
[repost]

On 21 Apr 2004 Troels Forchhammer wrote:

> In message <news:d1Zgc.3329$mT4.31...@news-text.cableinet.net>
> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:

[snip]

> > 8) Discuss Saruman's self-given titles of Ringmaker
>

> Too late to discuss, but: probably a magic ring, but not a Ring of
> Power.
>
Yes, I was surprised in passing to observe that. Gandalf makes a point
of saying "He wore a ring on his finger", as if this, in the
acknowledged expert in ring-lore, is an unusual and a notable thing!
From the phrasing, clearly Saruman is only wearing *one* ring (and
Gandalf, presumably, none at all). Yet, having thus emphasised its
existence, Tolkien never again refers to this noteworthy item...

Obviously it's not an invisibility ring. Presumably he has only just
made it (Ring-maker is among his 'new' titles, and Gandalf tells Frodo
earlier that Saruman has long been seeking the lost secrets of the
making of Elven-rings). I wonder what it does do - give him dominion
over Orcs? :-)

[snip]


> "he that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of
> wisdom." (I always felt that comment to be a little harsh on modern
> science <g>)

For me, it always brought to mind my own brother, whose skills at
dismantling things to see how they worked preceded by some years his
skills at putting them back together again :-)
--
Igenlode <Igenl...@nym.alias.net> Bookwraith unabashed

* The Truth Shall Make Ye Fret *

Belba Grubb from Stock

unread,
Apr 25, 2004, 11:07:40 AM4/25/04
to
Great job on a challenging chapter, Christopher! I don't have the
time to do this justice, but did want to make one comment.

I think not -- we know so much now about the stages of the creation
of the story that it's tempting to say that is the case, but really
that minimizes the all-important final run-throughs every author makes
before sending his work to the publisher (and in JRRT's case, there
were likely many such "final" reads). We may be sure that, no matter
when individual parts of the story or individual characters actually
developed and were added in, JRRT set the final format with a view to
the overall tale he wished to tell.

Rather, I think Boromir's casual mention of his brother in the
Council, without even naming him, tells us a lot about the
relationship between Boromir and Faramir. It's very consistent with
what we learn of that relationship in the appendices, and it makes
Faramir's bitter grief later over Boromir's death even more poignant.

It also took me several readings to realize that here in the Council
of Elrond we also hear, for the first time, Denethor's bitter voice,
and thus he and his conflict with Gandalf, which is also intimated
here, come as no surprise when we meet him later on in Minas Tirith.

More later, sometime.

Barb

A Tsar Is Born

unread,
Apr 26, 2004, 9:06:19 PM4/26/04
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message news:<d1Zgc.3329$mT4.31...@news-text.cableinet.net>...
> Similarly, Elrond does not introduce Aragorn. Is this not strange?

Aragorn is well known to everyone in Elrond's household, and to at
least some of the strangers. Boromir is a total stranger. It should be
noted that Boromir has probably never encountered elves before in his
life. (From the conversation of Faramir's men, we may gather that
elves are unknown in Gondor except in old tales.) Indeed, aside from
the rare dwarf -- and there are no dwarf habitations anywhere near
Gondor -- it is likely that Boromir has never before encountered any
sentient non-human races other than orcs and Gandalf. Under the
circumstances, he handles himself quite well.

> He
> introduces Frodo to those assembled there, but it is not stated whether
> Elrond formally introduces Boromir as being from Gondor, or whether
> Boromir has himself revealed who he is. Are Elrond, Gandalf and Aragorn
> aware of who Boromir is?

Gandalf knows him quite well -- a fact Tolkien appears to have
forgotten until Volume 3, when Denethor points out that he's been
closer to Faramir. Aragorn knows who Denethor is -- they're old
sparring partners -- and so knows just what sort of position Boromir
occupies in the world.


> 4) What does 'counsels ... stronger than Morgul spells' mean? Was this
> dream an example of divine intervention?

Morgul spells are Boromir's principal adversaries; this is language he
will understand. Also, "morgul" means evil witchcraft, not the good
kind. Necromancy and so forth.

> 5) It is a recurring theme that the characters are tested directly or
> indirectly by the possibility of obtaining the Ring. Frodo OFFERS the
> Ring to Aragorn. What impact would that have had on Boromir?

It's kind of unimaginable. Aragorn has a hereditary claim to it, as
he's just explained. Boromir has none.



> 6) Boromir's interruption of Elrond's report reveals something of the
> interaction, or lack of, between Men and Elves after the Last Alliance.
> Also,
> Boromir interrupts Gandalf to emphasize again the different histories
> told in the North and the South of the events immediately after the
> defeat of Sauron by the Last Alliance. Gandalf smoothly parries this
> with a withering comment about Isildur's scroll: "and that is not
> remembered in Gondor, it would seem."

Boromir has a chip on his shoulder about non-humans and non-Gondorians
not giving the city enough credit. He has a point. Gwaihir, Gandalf
and Aragorn all suspect the Rohirrim of paying tribute to Mordor, and
Boromir hotly denies it. He's right -- he does know them better than
the others do. He also knows enough of the lore of his city to be
aware that Isildur stuck around in the south for a couple of years --
unlike Peter Jackson and other ignorant authorities.


> 7) Saruman's treachery. One question that is immediately obvious is why
> did Saruman leave Gandalf in a place where escape (though seemingly
> unlikely) was possible?

Well it was just barely possible, like Frodo achieving the quest and
all the other odd coincidences of the tale. He did it because it was
the only way Gandalf could escape by Saruman's own failure to
understand others, which is his (Saruman's) principal weakness
vis-a-vis Gandalf: Gandalf can feel sympathy and understanding, and
Saruman cannot.


> 8) Discuss Saruman's self-given titles of Ringmaker and Many Colours.
> Also, his philosophy that power has be used to do good and that the
> means can justify the ends. Is Saruman's despair over Sauron a Catholic
> sin? Compare with Gandalf's thoughts on despair and Sauron's blindness
> to those who don't desire power and would destroy the Ring.

Ringmaker has been discussed here. We decided it was a false lead to a
theme JRRT never developed. Saruman does not succumb to despair EVER.
He thinks he can manipulate Sauron, failing to understand him just as
he fails to understand Galadriel and Gandalf. Tolkien is attacking,
insofar as it is anything in Catholic doctrine, those who "cut deals"
with the Devil and think they can get the better of him.


> 9) Is Saruman's character flawed, or is his fall a response to pressure
> from Sauron? Would he have fallen without pressure (militarily or by
> 'shadow of disquiet') from Sauron?

Yes. He was tempted by the Ring and uninterested in others except as
tools. He was corrupted by his own ingenuity. Sauron had very little
to do with it. It had started before he left Aman.


> 10) Did Saruman believe Gandalf would join him, or was he trying to
> convince himself that he was right?

He thought he could talk anybody into anything, if he could get them
alone.
He usually could.


> 11) Bilbo offers to take the Ring. Is this brave or naive? Maybe Bilbo
> still desires the Ring? After his (apparent) rejection of it in 'Many
> Meetings', would he be a good Ringbearer (if younger), or does this
> episode actually count against him? Would he recognise that he is too
> weak? Maybe so, as Bilbo also says of the Ring: "It has grown, and I
> have not."

Brave and a little self-important. The Tookishness coming to the
surface one last time. Maybe he feels left out of all these big-name
quarrels.

> 12) Frodo knows of the horrors of the Nazgul. Despite this, he says he
> will take the Ring. Frodo wonders to hear his voice "as if some other
> will" was using it.
>
> But then maybe there is some sort of intervention going on here. I would
> propose two possibilities: either Frodo is being provided with 'grace'
> from Eru to take on this burden, or the Ring itself is influencing
> matters. I find this latter suggestion very interesting and perfectly
> logical.
>
> To my mind, Frodo is either incredibly brave to take the Ring, or he,
> even now, subconsciously desires the Ring and does not want to give it
> up. Frodo reports that he wanted to give up the Ring, but would this
> have even been possible? Was Frodo already doomed even before he made
> the choice to carry on being the Ringbearer?

He takes the Ring because he feels the whole weight of everything that
has been said pointing towards him. He can't face himself if he
declines. And of course he doesn't really understand what it will
require of him. Elrond explicates this quite well. All the signs are:
he's the only one who can get it through.


> 13) Frodo thought his job was done and that the Elves could deal with
> the Ring now. At what point did he realise that he might have to carry
> on (regardless of whether he was swayed by desire for the Ring)?

Probably the moment he said he'd take it. Not earlier in the council.



> 14) The varying speech styles and vocabularies are noticeable, and aid
> characterisations. The best example is Boromir's introduction of
> himself: "...for verily from the land of Gondor I am come." Contrast
> this with Aragorn's speaking style and the styles of Elrond, Gandalf,
> Gloin and especially Isildur.

Boromir and all the other Gondorians speak a somewhat hifalutin Common
Speech in an old-fashioned style hobbits and dwarves have dispensed
with. Aragorn and Gandalf are au courant with all manners of such
speech -- they have to be. Gondorians do not.

> 15) It would be interesting to write about the council from the POVs of
> each of the main participants (Elrond, Gandalf, Boromir, Aragorn and
> Frodo). What would their thoughts be?

Boromir is plainly uncomfortable with the whole thing, and never fully
accepts what he hears. He doesn't know who these people are, or what
their species are capable of, and he doesn't especially trust them.
Everyone else is in accord: Providence says, it's this or nothing. So
we have to take it.


> 17) We meet Gollum again in this chapter. Together with 'The Shadow of
> the Past', a picture is building up in our minds. Does anyone have any
> doubt that we will meet Gollum later in the book?

When I first read the book (long ages of man ago), I had no idea. I
wasn't even sure it was he in Moria. But Tolkien was sure by this
point.

> 18) Faramir is never mentioned by name. All that is mentioned is
> Boromir's 'brother'. Does this relate to the fact that Faramir's
> appearance in Ithilien was as much of a surprise to Tolkien as to the
> reader?

I'm not sure the brother was in the first draft; he may have been
added later, after the Ithilien chapters were written. But I'm too
lazy to look in The Return of the Shadow.

> 19) Bilbo is very at ease at the Council, being old (so probably wise)
> and among friends, he eschews diplomacy and says what he thinks!

Wise? Not in such company!
But old, and used to elves, and to the courtesy of everyone present.
He's known Aragorn, Frodo and Sam from when they were very young,
after all, and the rest, except for Boromir and Legolas, at least
sixty years.


> 20) What was Bilbo's reaction to Frodo being Ringbearer?

It was his idea, after all.

Tsar Parmathule

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Apr 27, 2004, 4:31:10 PM4/27/04
to
in <d4f8c75b.04042...@posting.google.com>,
A Tsar Is Born <atsar...@hotmail.com> enriched us with:

>
> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
> news:<d1Zgc.3329$mT4.31...@news-text.cableinet.net>...
>>

<snip>

>> Are Elrond, Gandalf and Aragorn aware of who Boromir is?
>

[...]


> Aragorn knows who Denethor is -- they're old sparring partners --
> and so knows just what sort of position Boromir occupies in the
> world.

Aragorn's "great journeys and errantries" during which he "serves in
disguise bith Thengel of Rohan and Ecthelion II of Gondor" occupy the
time from 2957 to 2980, and Boromir is born in 2978. It is at least
possible that Aragorn hadn't left Gondor at that time (it depends upon
how much time he spent between leaving Gondor and arriving in Lórien in
2980). He may well have know about Boromir, though he possibly had to be
reminded of him (is Boromir one of the often recurring names in Gondor?
There's a ruling steward a couple of hundred years before the War of the
Ring).

>> 4) What does 'counsels ... stronger than Morgul spells' mean?
>

> Morgul spells are Boromir's principal adversaries; this is language he
> will understand.

The dream was sent first and often to Faramir and once to Boromir. I
don't think the wording was different for the two brothers, and it would,
I believe, primarily be addressed to Faramir.

Also, I think Boromir's "principal adversaries" were the armed forces of
Mordor - Orcs, Southrons and Easterlings - rather than Morgul spells.

> Also, "morgul" means evil witchcraft, not the good kind. Necromancy and
> so forth.

Counsels with the power to defeat the power of Morgul spells?
That's how I've always read this - a statement that choices made by the
council possibly had the power to defeat Sauron.

>> Was this dream an example of divine intervention?

I'd say yes. The light and the voice in the West (capitalised) suggests
Valinor - i.e. the Valar rather than Eru, IMO.

>> 5) It is a recurring theme that the characters are tested directly or
>> indirectly by the possibility of obtaining the Ring. Frodo OFFERS the
>> Ring to Aragorn.

I like the implicit suggestion that Frodo's offer was a test - not that I
think /Frodo/ tested Aragorn, but it might nonetheless be a test.

<snip>

>> Is Saruman's despair over Sauron a Catholic sin?
>

> Saruman does not succumb to despair EVER.

Well, perhaps when the cold wind out of the West denied his Fëa access
;-)

> He thinks he can manipulate Sauron,

Not sure that 'manipulate' is the word I would use here. He certainly
thinks that he could fool Sauron, playing the loyal servant while at the
same time trying to elevate himself above Sauron, but did he seriously
believe that he would be able to manipulate Sauron if his position became
truly subservient (if Sauron won the war)?

> Tolkien is attacking, insofar as it is anything in Catholic doctrine,

> those ho "cut deals" with the Devil and think they can get the better
> of him.

And pride, I think. One of the deadly sins.

>> 10) Did Saruman believe Gandalf would join him, or was he trying to
>> convince himself that he was right?
>
> He thought he could talk anybody into anything, if he could get them
> alone. He usually could.

Pride again, I think. Saruman's first 'sin', and the cause for his fall,
IMO, was his pride. He "fell from his high errand, and becoming proud and
impatient an enamoured of power sought to have his own will by force" as
is told in UT 4,II.

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

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the
shoulders of giants.
- Isaac Newton

Igenlode

unread,
Apr 27, 2004, 9:01:15 PM4/27/04
to
On 27 Apr 2004 A Tsar Is Born wrote:

[snip Bilbo]


>
> He's known Aragorn, Frodo and Sam from when they were very young,
> after all, and the rest, except for Boromir and Legolas, at least
> sixty years.
>

Known Aragorn from when he was very young?

I suppose he *could* have met him during the dwarves' passage through
Rivendell - but then he could equally well have 'met' Legolas during his
invisible sojourn in the Wood-king's halls :-)


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

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

Michael O'Neill

unread,
Apr 28, 2004, 4:03:58 AM4/28/04
to
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:

<snip>

> The main characters in this chapter
> are Elrond, Gandalf, Saruman,
> Aragorn, Boromir and Frodo.

<snip>

Despite your otherwise excellent work, the inclusion of Saruman as a
character per se is a mistake IMO. It implies he was there in person,
which of course he wasn't.

We are not introduced to Saruman directly but through a third party. In
terms of action in the chapter under review, he plays as much a role as
Sauron's messenger to the Dwarves, or Gollum.

Both of these non-attenders act remotely from those gathered, are
experienced by them as the substance of reports by an attendee or
attendees, and prompt their further action.

Sauron, too, falls into this category and is the prime agent in the
series of books and one who is not presented directly to the reader,
except as symbols of power [the eye, the lightning-crowned dark cloud at
the end].

So, conclude: to not distinguish between those present physically and
those described through third party reports and surmise [Sauron] muddys
the clarity of an otherwise interesting summary: in addition, to omit
Sauron and Gollum from the list of main characters included [even by
proxy] in this chapter appears to lessen the authority of the good work
you've carried out.

FWIW

M.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Apr 28, 2004, 4:03:30 PM4/28/04
to
Michael O'Neill <o...@indigo.ie> wrote:
> Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
>
> <snip>
>
>> The main characters in this chapter
>> are Elrond, Gandalf, Saruman,
>> Aragorn, Boromir and Frodo.
>
> <snip>
>
> Despite your otherwise excellent work, the inclusion of Saruman as a
> character per se is a mistake IMO. It implies he was there in person,
> which of course he wasn't.

You are quite right to say that I should have distinguished between the
characters that were actually there (primary) and those who were
reported by the primary characters (secondhand). Thanks for pointing
this out.

I included Saruman in that list as an afterthought, to draw attention to
the Gandalf-Saruman confrontation and indirectly the Aragorn-Boromir
confrontation. Looking at my notes, I see that I had intended to mention
secondhand characters, but that (along with a lot else) had to be
dropped for space considerations.

But I should have at least made clear that Saruman's character was
presented (and maybe misrepresented?) through Gandalf.

> We are not introduced to Saruman directly but through a third party.
> In terms of action in the chapter under review, he plays as much a
> role as Sauron's messenger to the Dwarves, or Gollum.

Part of the reason I concentrated on Saruman was because Saruman only
gets two other major roles in the book, IIRC. The Voice of Saruman, and
the bits to do with the Scouring of the Shire. Gollum should be
discussed at length in future chapters!

Sauron was indirectly covered in PART 2 (The Reports), as these dealt
largely with Sauron's growing menace and his hunt for the Ring. It would
be interesting though, to discuss his character. How do you think he
comes across in this chapter?

> Both of these non-attenders act remotely from those gathered, are
> experienced by them as the substance of reports by an attendee or
> attendees, and prompt their further action.
>
> Sauron, too, falls into this category and is the prime agent in the
> series of books and one who is not presented directly to the reader,
> except as symbols of power [the eye, the lightning-crowned dark cloud
> at the end].

But we do hear of his black hand and his combat with Gil-galad and
Elendil.

> So, conclude: to not distinguish between those present physically and
> those described through third party reports and surmise [Sauron]
> muddys the clarity of an otherwise interesting summary: in addition,
> to omit Sauron and Gollum from the list of main characters included
> [even by proxy] in this chapter appears to lessen the authority of
> the good work you've carried out.

Er, thank-you. I think.

Anyway, here is the list of characters whose speech is reported by those
present at the Council, as opposed to those who actually speak at the
Council, or those who are mentioned but whose speech is not related:

Saruman, a messenger from Mordor, Isildur, Denethor, Sauron, Dain, a
voice from the West, Radagast, Gwaihir, Butterbur and Gaffer Gamgee.

Some final thoughts on characters.

Was I right to imply, by contrasting Frodo and others' reaction to the
Ring, that the Ring is a character? Maybe it would be better to say that
the Ring is a fundamental plot element or theme, a physical object that
takes on the importance of a character and is the whole point (in some
ways) of the book.

In a similar way, you can talk about the landscape and history of
Middle-earth as two aspects of the story that are also developed to the
point where they are as important as the characters and must be
considered in any discussion of the characters. Unlike the Ring, they
are not really themes, but another term is needed to describe this
effect. Anyone?

Christopher

--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard

"...let us not be overthrown at the final test, who of old renounced
the Shadow and the Ring. In sorrow we must go, but not in despair.
Behold! we are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and
beyond them is more than memory, Farewell!" - Aragorn's farewell (The
Tale of Aragorn and Arwen, Appendix A)

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Apr 30, 2004, 2:56:38 AM4/30/04
to
in <m6Ujc.4725$x_.37...@news-text.cableinet.net>,

Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:
>

<snip>

> Was I right to imply, by contrasting Frodo and others' reaction to the


> Ring, that the Ring is a character?

That depends, I'd say, on how you interpret the various passages
expressing some kind of intent on behalf of the Ring.

"A Ring of Power looks after itself, Frodo. /It/ may slip off
threacherously, [...] It was not Gollum, Frodo, but the Ring
itself that decided things. The Ring left /him/."
[...]
"The Ring was trying to get back to its master. It had slipped
from Isildur's hand and betrayed him; then when a chance came
it caught poor Déagol, and he was murdered; and after that
Gollum, and it had devoured him. It could make no further use
of him. [...] So now, when its master was awake once more and
sending out his dark thought from Mirkwood, it abandoned
Gollum."
(from I,2 'The Shadow of the Past')

And others.

If this is accepted as meaning that the Ring possessed its own will and
consciousness, then it is certainly fair to portray the Ring itself as a
character of the book (and an important one at that). But if the Ring is
understood exclusively as an object, carrying out, perhaps, some kind of
program installed in it by its maker, then it is more problematic.

My own position is leaning heavily towards the former interpretation:
that the power Sauron poured into the Ruling Ring also, in some way,
instilled it with a portion of his own will (and, by extension,
consciousness), but even with a more limited interpretation of the Ring's
'intelligence', I think that there are enough examples of characters
interacting in some way with the Ring (and not its bearer or its maker)
to justify the portrayal of it as a character in its own right.

> Maybe it would be better to say that the Ring is a fundamental plot
> element or theme, a physical object that takes on the importance of a
> character and is the whole point (in some ways) of the book.

To my way of thinking, that would be too passive a way to look at the
role of the Ruling Ring in LotR. While we may debate the level of
consciousness or sentience in the Ring, I would think that passages such
as those I have quoted above and Sam's experiences at the top of Cirith
Ungol ("... the Ring's power grew, and it became more fell, untameable
save by some mighty will") would show that the Ring interacts with the
(other) characters and itself (by more than its mere existence)
influences and shapes the plot. What other criteria should we set up for
being a character in a book?

> In a similar way, you can talk about the landscape and history of
> Middle-earth as two aspects of the story that are also developed to
> the point where they are as important as the characters and must be
> considered in any discussion of the characters.

The landscape (which, IMO, sometimes becomes almost a part of the history
of Middle-earth - most obviously in Lórien) and the history are, IMO,
important because they help the reader achieve that secondary belief,
which is so important to the fairy-tale (Tolkien himself stated in /On
Fairy Stories/ that the story itself had failed if the reader could not
sustain that secondary, or literary, belief).

The Ring, on the other hand, is not important in that sense - indeed we
have seen examples of people claiming that the concept of the Ring
/opposes/ that secondary belief, but the Ring does, IMO, become an
actor - by leaving Gollum it becomes a primary mover in the tale by
setting the events in motion that lead to Frodo producing it at the
Council (to take it to the current chapter).

> Unlike the Ring, they are not really themes, but another term is
> needed to describe this effect. Anyone?

"Sub-creational realism-building elements" ;-)
That's extremely cumbersome, isn't it. It does, however, describe well
how I see their role. The details about the landscape (whether wild,
tended or 'created') helps establish a way for us to link Middle-earth to
the primary reality by establishing well-known elements (both landscape
and history) as being integral parts of Middle-earth as well.

I don't think that this is the only role these elements play in the book,
but this is, to me, their most important role.

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail address 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

unread,
May 2, 2004, 6:57:05 AM5/2/04
to
In message <news:k1Ckc.1828$402.16...@news-text.cableinet.net>
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:
>
> Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>>

<snip>

>> the Ring interacts with the (other) characters and itself (by
>> more than its mere existence) influences and shapes the plot.
>> What other criteria should we set up for being a character in a
>> book?
>

> Dare I ask if the Ring can talk? :-)

It was quite on purpose that I left that one out ;-)
(assuming that you're referring to the incident at the slopes of Mount
Doom ...)

I had never thought of the possibility of it being the Ring that spoke
before starting to read RABT and AFT, but while I don't think the
situation is as clear-cut as some would make it out to be, I am not
persuaded that it isn't Frodo speaking.

As it is, I think the point is argued well enough without resorting to
a talking Ring. Speech isn't, IMO, significant with respect to whether
the Ring is conscious/sentient/sapient - if Sauron could instill the
Ring with 'programming' sufficient for what the Ring is being described
as doing, then he should also be able to build in some kind of speech
generation.

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

My adversary's argument
is not alone malevolent
but ignorant to boot.
He hasn't even got the sense
to state his so-called evidence
in terms I can refute.
- Piet Hein, /The Untenable Argument/

Brenda Selwyn

unread,
May 6, 2004, 7:01:51 PM5/6/04
to
>"Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

>in <d4f8c75b.04042...@posting.google.com>,
>A Tsar Is Born <atsar...@hotmail.com> enriched us with:
>>
>> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
>> news:<d1Zgc.3329$mT4.31...@news-text.cableinet.net>...

>The dream was sent first and often to Faramir and once to Boromir. I


>don't think the wording was different for the two brothers, and it would,
>I believe, primarily be addressed to Faramir.
>

>>> Was this dream an example of divine intervention?
>
>I'd say yes. The light and the voice in the West (capitalised) suggests
>Valinor - i.e. the Valar rather than Eru, IMO.

Here we have prophetic dreams again. It has been postulated recently
that rather than these dreams being individually "sent", some people
(Frodo in particular) are born with a prophetic dreaming ability.
Could it be Faramir also has this? Perhaps the gift is more common
than one might think. However, while I can believe Faramir has such a
gift, I find it more difficult to believe it of Boromir.

>>> 5) It is a recurring theme that the characters are tested directly or
>>> indirectly by the possibility of obtaining the Ring. Frodo OFFERS the
>>> Ring to Aragorn.
>
>I like the implicit suggestion that Frodo's offer was a test - not that I
>think /Frodo/ tested Aragorn, but it might nonetheless be a test.

Interesting; I'd never thought of this moment as being a test for
Aragorn, but it does seem such now you mention it. I see it as
important, but more from Frodo's point of view. It seems to me to be
one of very few points in the story at which Frodo could have
willingly given the Ring away, had the person to whom it is offered
been prepared to take it.

Brenda

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

"In haste I quickly checked the time,if I was late
I had to leave, to hear your wonderous stories"

Brenda Selwyn

unread,
May 6, 2004, 7:27:02 PM5/6/04
to
>"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

>Gandalf is presented as more human and fallible in this chapter. As well
>as being trapped by Saruman, we also learn that he was fooled by
>Saruman's lies. Elrond sympathizes with Gandalf and reassures him when
>Gandalf agonizes over his mistake in believing the words of Saruman
>concerning the fate of the Ring.

I think this chapter answers my question of a few weeks ago about
whether (concerns about Bilbo's health aside) it would have been
better if Gandalf had allowed Bilbo to take the Ring to Rivendell.
Given Gandalf's concerns - "treason has ever been our greatest foe" -
he probably thought it was safer in the Shire and he was probably
right. Also Bilbo says in "Many Meetings" that he wandered around a
bit before he ended up at Rivendell, so perhaps even without the Nine
abroad it would have been too risky.

Incidently, Gandalf says "Time passed with many cares". What was he
up to during all those years?

>Contrast these two episodes with the lore of the Dunedain of the North.


>
>8) Discuss Saruman's self-given titles of Ringmaker and Many Colours.

I'm loathe to critisise all the excellent work you've put in, but
there are a couple of places where it reminds me of an Engish
Literature exam <shudder> :-))

>12) Frodo knows of the horrors of the Nazgul. Despite this, he says he
>will take the Ring. Frodo wonders to hear his voice "as if some other
>will" was using it.
>
>But then maybe there is some sort of intervention going on here. I would
>propose two possibilities: either Frodo is being provided with 'grace'
>from Eru to take on this burden, or the Ring itself is influencing
>matters. I find this latter suggestion very interesting and perfectly
>logical.

I've never been sure what "as if some other will was using his small
voice" is supposed to mean. Is it really someone or something else
speaking through him directly? I don't see how it can be, as Frodo
must surely make the choice of his own free will. Or is it just one
of those "I can't believe I just said that" moments?

This idea is a bit left-field, and I have to say I don't believe it
myself, but has anyone ever suggested that it might be the Ring
speaking? If the Ring is sentient (which personally I very much
doubt, but YMMV), who from the assembled company would It choose to
bear it to Mordor? Bearing in mind Its choice would have to be
acceptable to the Council (which means Boromir would probably be out).

>To my mind, Frodo is either incredibly brave to take the Ring, or he,
>even now, subconsciously desires the Ring and does not want to give it
>up. Frodo reports that he wanted to give up the Ring, but would this
>have even been possible? Was Frodo already doomed even before he made
>the choice to carry on being the Ringbearer?

>13) Frodo thought his job was done and that the Elves could deal with


>the Ring now. At what point did he realise that he might have to carry
>on (regardless of whether he was swayed by desire for the Ring)?

I find the idea of Frodo's reluctance to give up the Ring as a motive
for volunteering very interesting. Earlier in the Council I think he
_could_ have given It up willingly to Aragorn, but by this point that
moment is long past. Deciding against would have meant deciding to
give up the Ring to another, which would have been difficult. But I
think it's more likely he just came to realise, gradually during the
Council, that it was his fate.

I wonder also whether, despite his stated desire to stay and rest in
Rivendell, there wasn't also a subconcious wish for more adventure.
Gandalf says in the next chapter that Frodo didn't fully understand
what he was letting himself in for. I can sort of imagine an
excitement and a desire for challenge rising as he hears the stories
of the great adventures of others, and overcoming his better
judgement.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
May 6, 2004, 8:12:50 PM5/6/04
to
Brenda Selwyn <bre...@matson.demon.co.uk> wrote:

> Incidently, Gandalf says "Time passed with many cares". What was he
> up to during all those years?

Smoking pipeweed. And marshalling the enemies of Sauron. Saruman was
supposed to be dealing with all the Rings stuff.

>> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>> 8) Discuss Saruman's self-given titles of Ringmaker and Many Colours.
>

> I'm loathe to criticise all the excellent work you've put in, but
> there are a couple of places where it reminds me of an English
> Literature exam <shudder> :-))

:-)

>> 12) Frodo knows of the horrors of the Nazgul. Despite this, he says
>> he will take the Ring. Frodo wonders to hear his voice "as if some
>> other will" was using it.
>>
>> But then maybe there is some sort of intervention going on here. I
>> would propose two possibilities: either Frodo is being provided with
>> 'grace' from Eru to take on this burden, or the Ring itself is
>> influencing matters. I find this latter suggestion very interesting
>> and perfectly logical.
>
> I've never been sure what "as if some other will was using his small
> voice" is supposed to mean. Is it really someone or something else
> speaking through him directly? I don't see how it can be, as Frodo
> must surely make the choice of his own free will. Or is it just one
> of those "I can't believe I just said that" moments?

I think it is precisely a 'faint', 'not quite with it' moment. Plus of
course Tolkien's annoying references to 'grace' in one of his Letters. I
should be a bit more graceful (in a different sense of the word) in
conceding this point to the author! However I would say that the "other
will" is probably only an indirect reference to this 'grace'. Frodo
still makes the decision, he is just given strength to make this
descision. It is a concept I probably misunderstand and don't entirely
agree with anyway. It gets very theological very quickly, and probably
strikes to the heart of Tolkien's Catholicism.

> This idea is a bit left-field, and I have to say I don't believe it
> myself, but has anyone ever suggested that it might be the Ring
> speaking?

Nice idea. I think it has been mentioned, but it is still very original.
I used to like the idea, but I now think that the Ring is not that much
'awake' yet.

<snip>

> I wonder also whether, despite his stated desire to stay and rest in
> Rivendell, there wasn't also a subconcious wish for more adventure.
> Gandalf says in the next chapter that Frodo didn't fully understand
> what he was letting himself in for.

Classic understatement!

> I can sort of imagine an
> excitement and a desire for challenge rising as he hears the stories
> of the great adventures of others, and overcoming his better
> judgement.

Maybe. But the 'dead darkness in his heart' and reactions to the Ring
suggest otherwise. I really think he wants to stay in Rivendell with
Bilbo, but he knows that he is probably the only person who can resist
the Ring. It really feels terribly tragic, and that is something I never
fully appreciated before.

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
May 9, 2004, 10:58:37 AM5/9/04
to
In message <news:hjgl90hq5sqio4vru...@4ax.com>
Brenda Selwyn <bre...@matson.demon.co.uk> enriched us with:
>
> "Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>>

[Faramir and Boromir's dream]

> Here we have prophetic dreams again.

They do seem to pop up regularly ;-)

> It has been postulated recently that rather than these dreams
> being individually "sent", some people (Frodo in particular) are
> born with a prophetic dreaming ability.

Though still, I'd say, as a specific gift - not some kind of random
chance.



> Could it be Faramir also has this? Perhaps the gift is more common
> than one might think.

Elrond also claims to have some kind of prophetic ability ("I can
foresee very little of your road; and how your task is to be achieved I
do not know. ...") but his sounds to me not to be restricted to dreams.
Are the prophetic dreams the only option open to normal mortals?

> However, while I can believe Faramir has such a gift, I find it
> more difficult to believe it of Boromir.

Faramir certainly does seem to have some ability in that direction. He
was also "drawn towards" the boat carrying Boromir's body (and he heard
"as if it were but an echo in the mind" the call of Boromir's horn).

I agree that it is less likely with Boromir, but I suspect that the
riddle dream was sent specifically, whatever abilities Faramir might
otherwise possess.



>> I like the implicit suggestion that Frodo's offer was a test - not
>> that I think /Frodo/ tested Aragorn, but it might nonetheless be a
>> test.
>
> Interesting; I'd never thought of this moment as being a test for
> Aragorn, but it does seem such now you mention it.

It does seem to follow a general trend - most of the very powerful
proponents are in some way offered the Ring (Gandalf in I,2; Elrond has
it set in a chain in II,1 but might have taken it instead; Galadriel;
and Faramir "took the chance" as Sam put it, but also Boromir and,
though not directly, Denethor ["For Boromir ... would have brought me a
mighty gift"]). In all cases the true nobility of the character is
revealed in their reaction to the temptation of the Ring, and it seems
to fit in the pattern if Aragorn was also tempted thus.

> I see it as> important, but more from Frodo's point of view. It
> seems to me to be one of very few points in the story at which
> Frodo could have willingly given the Ring away, had the person to
> whom it is offered been prepared to take it.

Who knows ...
Frodo was not as much under the influence of the Ring as he were later,
but I think there's a trace of anxiety in the way Frodo springs to his
feet "as if he expected the Ring to be demanded at once." I do think
that he at least believed himself willing to hand the Ring over, but I
would also think that he would have found it difficult, and that he was
relieved when it didn't become necessary.

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

"It would seem that you have no useful skill or talent whatsoever," he
said. "Have you thought of going into teaching?"
- (Terry Pratchett, Mort)

Stan Brown

unread,
May 9, 2004, 6:15:47 PM5/9/04
to
"Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in
rec.arts.books.tolkien:

>Elrond also claims to have some kind of prophetic ability ("I can
>foresee very little of your road; and how your task is to be achieved I
>do not know. ...") but his sounds to me not to be restricted to dreams.

I don't think this is necessarily any claim of prophecy. It could be
nothing more than admission of ignorance. In 21st-century language,
he could be saying "Once you leave Rivendell I can telly you only a
little about what conditions to expect. We know so little, and
Sauron's influence is spreading so fast, that what we used to know
will be out of date."

He alluded to this with his comment about sending word to potential
allies but "you yourselves will arrive before any word from me"
(paraphrased).

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
May 11, 2004, 1:15:12 PM5/11/04
to
In message <news:MPG.1b08779fc...@news.odyssey.net>
Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> enriched us with:
>
> "Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in
> rec.arts.books.tolkien:
>>
>> Elrond also claims to have some kind of prophetic ability ("I can
>> foresee very little of your road; [...]")
>
> I don't think this is necessarily any claim of prophecy. It could
> be nothing more than admission of ignorance.

I have always seen it as referring to Elrond's prophetic powers, though
I can see how it might not. That Elrond does have some prophetic
ability is, I believe, well established. In addition to the above,
there is also, from the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen:

"Here is the ring of Barahir," he said, "the token of our
kinship from afar; and here also are the shards of Narsil.
With these you may yet do great deeds; for I foretell that
the span of your life shall be greater than the measure of
Men, unless evil befalls you or you fail at the test. But
the test will be hard and long. The Sceptre of Annúminas I
withhold, for you have yet to earn it."

But also Gandalf's words at Frodo's bed in II,1 alludes to some power
of foretelling in Elrond - even if the specific case is beyond that
power:

`Still that must be expected,' said Gandalf to himself.
`He is not half through yet, and to what he will come in
the end not even Elrond can foretell.

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

The idea of being *paid* to govern is terribly middle-class :-)
- Igenlode on AFH-P

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