Chapter of the Week LOTR Bk 3 Ch 11 The Palantir

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Christopher Kreuzer

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Sep 13, 2004, 7:00:25 PM9/13/04
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Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir

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

Despite the confrontation with Saruman, and the ending of one threat,
this chapter allows little respite from the onrushing events of the War
of the Ring. The briefly reunited companions are soon separated once
more. We learn of the link between Isengard and the Dark Tower, and in a
moment of great peril and sheer horror, Pippin comes face-to-face with
the Dark Lord himself. The return of his fearsome servants, the Nazgul,
prompts Gandalf to ride to Minas Tirith before the seas of war surround
it. He takes with him the dainty that Sauron desires: one small hobbit,
Peregrin son of Paladin.

Chapter Summary
=============

Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Merry and Pippin ride at a leisurely
pace with Theoden and his men as they leave Isengard at sunset. They
pass the pillar of the White Hand and see that the graven hand has been
cast down and broken. As they ride onwards, Gandalf tells Merry that
Saruman was aware of Merry and Pippin, and that their presence is likely
to have greatly troubled him. Gandalf also says that the plan is to ride
back to Edoras in as much secrecy as possible, avoiding the open plains
and the gaze of Sauron. Instead, Theoden will return to Helm's Deep and
lead many men from there to Dunharrow (the mountain fastness behind
Edoras), riding in the foothills of the White Mountains.

The company camp for the night in a dale on the slopes of Dol Baran, the
last hill of the northern ranges. Pippin finds it hard to get to sleep,
and is curiously restless. He and Merry talk about the confrontation
between Gandalf and Saruman, and Pippin talks about the glass ball that
he picked up and gave to Gandalf. Pippin wonders what it was, and says
in a low voice, as if he is talking to himself: "It felt so very heavy."
Merry realises what is bothering Pippin, and warns him not to meddle in
the affairs of Wizards.

Pippin refuses to listen to Merry, saying that he wants to look at the
ball. Merry tells Pippin he must wait until morning, and then goes to
sleep. Pippin remains awake, unable to get to sleep with the thought of
the dark globe and its mysterious red depths growing stronger in his
mind. Finally, Pippin gets up, and driven by some impulse he does not
understand he walks over to where Gandalf is lying on the ground,
clasping the bundle containing the glass ball. Pippin stealthily removes
the bundle, replaces it with a stone, and moves away, preparing to
satisfy his curiosity.

Holding the smooth globe of crystal between his knees, he bends over it
and gazes at the dark surface, black as jet. A faint glow and stir
within it holds his eyes, and soon all the inside seems on fire.
Suddenly the light within goes out, and Pippin is caught, frozen rigid,
clasping the ball with both hands. His lips move soundlessly and then,
with a piercing but strangled cry, he falls to the ground.

[1]

The camp is roused by the cry. Gandalf finds Pippin's body with its
unseeing eyes gazing at the sky. Gandalf fears both for Pippin and for
their own peril from this devilry. He manages to rouse Pippin who cries
out in a toneless, shrill voice:

"It is not for you, Saruman! I will send for it at once. Do you
understand? Say just that!"

[2]

Gandalf calms Pippin who then begins to beg Gandalf for forgiveness.
Gandalf asks Pippin what happened, gently at first and then more sternly
as it is clear that Pippin is not telling the whole story. Pippin is
still extremely frightened, but as his fear lessens he begins to tell
those gathered around him what he saw. He describes a dark sky, tall
battlements, stars, a feeling of great distance and of long ago. Nine
bat-like objects are flying around a tower and one flies towards Pippin
and disappears. Then an unnamed presence appears and interrogates Pippin
by thought alone, without words. Pippin tries to keep quiet, but is
tortured and, in pain, reveals that he is a hobbit. The presence
instructs Pippin what to say to Saruman and begins to gloat. Then Pippin
remembers no more.

[3]

Gandalf studies Pippin carefully, and declares that Pippin is unhurt by
his experience. Gandalf then explains much of what has just happened. We
learn that Pippin was interrogated by Sauron and told to tell Saruman to
prepare to hand Pippin over for questioning in the Dark Tower. Good
fortune meant that Pippin was not questioned straightaway for what he
knew. Gandalf then names the glass ball the Orthanc-stone. Aragorn
confirms that it must be the palantir of Orthanc from the treasury of
Elendil, and claims it for his own. Gandalf surprises the others as he
bows and presents it to Aragorn: "Receive it, lord! In earnest of other
things that shall be given back."

[4-6]

Gandalf then says that he now realises that the palantir was a link
between Mordor and Isengard, between Sauron and Saruman. He had intended
to probe the palantir himself, but Pippin has saved him from a
disastrous confrontation with Sauron. Nevertheless, they must now move
with all speed to the cover of the hills, to evade Sauron's servants and
to take advantage of the Enemy's confusion.

At that moment, a shadow falls on the camp as a winged shape passes over
the Moon. Terror strikes them as the mounted Nazgul flies past, faster
than the wind. Gandalf reacts with alarm, telling everyone to ride now
and not to wait for the dawn. He grabs Pippin and rides off on
Shadowfax. Merry is left alone with Aragorn and the others as they
prepare to ride also.

Shadowfax gallops over the plains, bearing Gandalf and Pippin at great
speed, fast enough for them to see the mountains drawing nearer. They
pass the Fords of Isen and the Mound of the Riders. As they ride, Pippin
and Gandalf talk and Pippin is delighted to learn many things. Gandalf
murmurs a rhyme of old lore that mentions seven stones, revealing that
the stone into which Pippin looked was one of the palantiri of the Kings
of Old, brought over the sea from Westernesse, but coming originally
from Eldamar, made by the Noldor long, long ago. Gandalf explains that
the palantiri were used by the Men of Gondor and Arnor to govern their
realms, to: "see far off, and to converse in thought with one another."
We learn where the palantiri were placed, and how Gandalf thinks Saruman
was ensnared by Sauron. Gandalf says how he also is drawn to the
palantir:

"'Have I not felt it? Even now my heart desires to test my will upon it,
to see if I could not wrench it from him and turn it where I would - to
look across the wide seas of water and of time to Tirion the Fair, and
perceive the unimaginable hand and mind of Fëanor at their work, while
both the White Tree and the Golden were in flower!' He sighed and fell
silent."

[7]

Pippin later asks Gandalf about the winged Nazgul that flew over them
towards Isengard, and we learn what Gandalf thinks might happen at
Isengard and what Sauron may learn from Saruman about the hobbits,
Gandalf and Aragorn. The conversation then turns to the geography of the
land around them. They are approaching the turning-off point to Helm's
Deep, but they will ride on under cover of night to Edoras, and then for
a further two nights to reach Minas Tirith. Gandalf cries aloud to
Shadowfax and tells him run as he has never run before. Shadowfax neighs
and leaps forward. Pippin drifts off to sleep with a strange feeling:

"he and Gandalf were still as stone, seated upon the statue of a running
horse, while the world rolled away beneath his feet with a great noise
of wind."

[8]

Comments and thoughts
=================

A) Comments referenced to summary text

[1] Pippin's use of the palantir: a quite horrific moment, at least as
scary as the encounter with the Barrow-wight. Did anyone think Pippin
might be dead at this point?

[2] Even though Pippin appears to be alive, there is the new horror of
this changed voice. Thankfully Gandalf is here and all is soon put
right! Are there any other moments in the story where someone's voice ch
anges beyond recognition?

[3] As Pippin recounts his vision in the palantir, why is there this
feeling of long ago? Are the effects of time altered in Barad-dur, like
in Lorien; an effect of building the foundations of Barad-dur with the
One Ring? Or is this just an effect of the palantir?

[4] How likely is it that Gandalf would really not recognise the
palantir for what it was? This seems similar to Gandalf not knowing what
the One Ring was. It seems that he had some idea, but was still thinking
his way around the problem. Gandalf does explain later that the White
Council had not thought about the palantiri of Gondor, but that also
seems a bit strange!

[5] Sauron having the chance to question Pippin was indeed a moment of
great peril. If Sauron had questioned Pippin there and then, he would
have learned of the quest to destroy the Ring and the last known
location of Frodo and Sam. Gandalf (I think) said that the barrow-wight
was a dangerous moment, but I think that this is more dangerous still.

[6] Gandalf hands the palantir to Aragorn. This is an interesting
development in Aragorn's character. Gandalf is acknowledging him as lord
and rightful owner of the palantir. Was the claim by Aragorn
spontaneous, or did he judge that the time was right? He says: "Now my
hour draws near". Was this a sudden realisation, or something that
slowly dawned on him over the preceding days?

[7] Here we learn more about the history of the palantir. The Noldor are
mentioned for the only time in this story, and the name of Feanor is
used for only the second time. References to older and deeper things,
names with stories to be found in 'The Silmarillion'. A golden tree is
mentioned, the same one that Galadriel sings of in Lothlorien, but again
this is only a hint at the deeper backstory, but so meaningful once you
have read that backstory.

[8] I don't think we ever find out about what happened when the Nazgul
reached Isengard. What do you think happened? Can we speculate what
Sauron learns from Saruman? Is what Sauron sees in the palantir (a
hobbit and later Aragorn) all that he ever learns?

B) General comments

We get some nice insights into the characters here. Primarily Pippin and
Gandalf, but also a short but pivotal moment for Aragorn. There are also
some nice touches of humour: Merry's persistence in asking Gandalf how
far they are riding tonight; and Pippin asking Gandalf for the names of
all the stars and more besides!

Pippin has a terrifying experience, and luckily seems to come through it
unharmed. Has the experience changed him, or does that come later in the
story?

We also see some of the strategy laid out in these chapters, mostly
through the words of Gandalf. It seems that there is a lot of planning
going on in Gandalf's head. He has talked with Theoden and Aragorn,
probably advising Theoden to bring his army to Dunharrow. He also warns
Aragorn about premature use of the palantir. Finally, Gandalf is
uncertain how the events between Sauron and Saruman will unfold, but is
making sure that Sauron learns as little as possible.

Gandalf also opens up emotionally, and, in my favourite part of the
chapter, reveals that he too feels the lure of the palantir, desiring to
look back in time and return to the days of the Two Trees. Is it
possible that Gandalf is removing not only Pippin, but himself, from the
lure of the palantir? We know the terrible consequences when Saruman
fell into the temptation of using the palantir. Would such a fate await
Gandalf as well?

Christopher

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

Pippin telling Gandalf what more he wants to know:

'The names of all the stars, and of all living things, and the whole
history of Middle-earth and Over-heaven and of the Sundering Seas'
laughed Pippin. 'Of course! What less? But I am not in a hurry tonight.'


aelfwina

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Sep 13, 2004, 8:54:29 PM9/13/04
to

"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
news:dEp1d.94$nc3.1...@news-text.cableinet.net...

> Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
> Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir
>
> To read previous Chapter of the Week discussions, or to sign up to
> introduce a future chapter, go to http://parasha.maoltuile.org
>
> Despite the confrontation with Saruman, and the ending of one threat,
> this chapter allows little respite from the onrushing events of the War
> of the Ring. The briefly reunited companions are soon separated once
> more. We learn of the link between Isengard and the Dark Tower, and in a
> moment of great peril and sheer horror, Pippin comes face-to-face with
> the Dark Lord himself. The return of his fearsome servants, the Nazgul,
> prompts Gandalf to ride to Minas Tirith before the seas of war surround
> it. He takes with him the dainty that Sauron desires: one small hobbit,
> Peregrin son of Paladin.
>
> Chapter Summary
> =============
(snip of beautiful summary!)

> Comments and thoughts
> =================
>
> A) Comments referenced to summary text
>
> [1] Pippin's use of the palantir: a quite horrific moment, at least as
> scary as the encounter with the Barrow-wight. Did anyone think Pippin
> might be dead at this point?

I did wonder just briefly, the first time I read it. It is a horrifying
encounter! I think JRRTs description is far scarier than what happens in
the film, although I'm not sure how PJ could have depicted that.

>
> [2] Even though Pippin appears to be alive, there is the new horror of
> this changed voice. Thankfully Gandalf is here and all is soon put
> right! Are there any other moments in the story where someone's voice ch
> anges beyond recognition?

I don't know about a voice changing beyond recognition, but we have several
examples of people crying out in unfamiliar languages, and there is Merry's
strange statement about the "men of Carn Dum" after the barrow-wight
encounter.

>
> [3] As Pippin recounts his vision in the palantir, why is there this
> feeling of long ago? Are the effects of time altered in Barad-dur, like
> in Lorien; an effect of building the foundations of Barad-dur with the
> One Ring? Or is this just an effect of the palantir?
>
> [4] How likely is it that Gandalf would really not recognise the
> palantir for what it was? This seems similar to Gandalf not knowing what
> the One Ring was. It seems that he had some idea, but was still thinking
> his way around the problem. Gandalf does explain later that the White
> Council had not thought about the palantiri of Gondor, but that also
> seems a bit strange!

Time for a bit of wild speculation: as a trusted member of the White
Council, Saruman was in a position to perhaps "suggest" that certain things
were beneath consideration? If he could, he would have kept the other
council members ignorant of his possession of a palantir. After all, how
long had he convinced them that the Ring must be in the depths of the sea?


>
> [5] Sauron having the chance to question Pippin was indeed a moment of
> great peril. If Sauron had questioned Pippin there and then, he would
> have learned of the quest to destroy the Ring and the last known
> location of Frodo and Sam. Gandalf (I think) said that the barrow-wight
> was a dangerous moment, but I think that this is more dangerous still.

Absolutely. And another example of the toughness of hobbits!


>
> [6] Gandalf hands the palantir to Aragorn. This is an interesting
> development in Aragorn's character. Gandalf is acknowledging him as lord
> and rightful owner of the palantir. Was the claim by Aragorn
> spontaneous, or did he judge that the time was right? He says: "Now my
> hour draws near". Was this a sudden realisation, or something that
> slowly dawned on him over the preceding days?

I think it is something he realized from the time he declared himself to
Eomer in their first encounter. But this is another significant step.


>
> [7] Here we learn more about the history of the palantir. The Noldor are
> mentioned for the only time in this story, and the name of Feanor is
> used for only the second time. References to older and deeper things,
> names with stories to be found in 'The Silmarillion'. A golden tree is
> mentioned, the same one that Galadriel sings of in Lothlorien, but again
> this is only a hint at the deeper backstory, but so meaningful once you
> have read that backstory.

Another example of how much depth JRRT imbued Middle--earth with.


>
> [8] I don't think we ever find out about what happened when the Nazgul
> reached Isengard. What do you think happened? Can we speculate what
> Sauron learns from Saruman? Is what Sauron sees in the palantir (a
> hobbit and later Aragorn) all that he ever learns?

I wonder. I would be surprised if Saruman even spoke to the Nazgul after
his failure to even hold on to Orthanc. He would not be keen to face it. My
guess is that the Nazgul took one overhead look at the ruin of Isengard and
hightailed it back to his Master to tell him his pet wizard had failed.


>
> B) General comments
>
> We get some nice insights into the characters here. Primarily Pippin and
> Gandalf, but also a short but pivotal moment for Aragorn. There are also
> some nice touches of humour: Merry's persistence in asking Gandalf how
> far they are riding tonight; and Pippin asking Gandalf for the names of
> all the stars and more besides!

Yes, there is some very nice characterization here. I love Pippin's saucy
answer to the question what does he want to know--this so soon after his
terrifying experience just goes to show the unquenchableness of hobbits,
this little Took in particular!

>
> Pippin has a terrifying experience, and luckily seems to come through it
> unharmed. Has the experience changed him, or does that come later in the
> story?

I'm sure it did change him in some ways, as did all his horrid experiences.
He was still an untried adolescent when they left the Shire. But I do think
his most pivotal change came not from looking in the palantir, but in being
whisked away from Merry by Gandalf. My personal opinion is that the
separation of the two youngest hobbits was perhaps the most traumatic event
as well as the event holding the most potential for personal growth and
change.


>
> We also see some of the strategy laid out in these chapters, mostly
> through the words of Gandalf. It seems that there is a lot of planning
> going on in Gandalf's head. He has talked with Theoden and Aragorn,
> probably advising Theoden to bring his army to Dunharrow. He also warns
> Aragorn about premature use of the palantir. Finally, Gandalf is
> uncertain how the events between Sauron and Saruman will unfold, but is
> making sure that Sauron learns as little as possible.

Yes, he's a bit more open now than he has been in the last three chapters.


>
> Gandalf also opens up emotionally, and, in my favourite part of the
> chapter, reveals that he too feels the lure of the palantir, desiring to
> look back in time and return to the days of the Two Trees. Is it
> possible that Gandalf is removing not only Pippin, but himself, from the
> lure of the palantir? We know the terrible consequences when Saruman
> fell into the temptation of using the palantir. Would such a fate await
> Gandalf as well?

I don't think Gandalf *would* have given in to the temptation, but perhaps
he felt it was best he not be given that trial.

I think one of the more intriguing passages in the chapter is this one:
"They all stared at him in silence, except Merry who turned away." Why did
Merry turn away at this particular time, when his younger cousin had
obviously had a terrifying experience?

A very interesting chapter, and good discussion points. Thank you!
Barbara

Dan Leach

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Sep 14, 2004, 6:42:04 AM9/14/04
to
""'Have I not felt it? Even now my heart desires to test my will upon it,
to see if I could not wrench it from him and turn it where I would - to
look across the wide seas of water and of time to Tirion the Fair, and
perceive the unimaginable hand and mind of Fëanor at their work, while
both the White Tree and the Golden were in flower!' He sighed and fell
silent.""


Ive always wondered about this..... surely gandalf (olorin) WAS around at
the time of feanor. Did they just never meet or does gandalf just wish to
re-visit his past?
dan


TeaLady (Mari C.)

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Sep 14, 2004, 1:10:45 PM9/14/04
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"aelfwina" <aelf...@cableone.net> wrote in
news:10kcgai...@corp.supernews.com:

> I think one of the more intriguing passages in the chapter
> is this one: "They all stared at him in silence, except
> Merry who turned away." Why did Merry turn away at this
> particular time, when his younger cousin had obviously had a
> terrifying experience?
>

Turning away could be a form of denial, of "making it all go
away", or distancing himself from blame and or shame by
association, putting his connection with Pippin "behind him".

Merry had warned Pippin to not touch the Palantir, to not
meddle, and there Pippin went, head-first, right into the
middle of a far greater danger than encountered thus far, far
greater for not only them, but Middle-earth. He must have
felt that he didn't do enough to prevent this, that he should
have told someone, told Gandalf, to keep an eye out, and may
have thought the others would feel that way too. So shame in
his lack of action may have a part in his turning away, too.

Or fear - fear of what changes he would see in Merry, that his
beloved cousin would be damaged and no longer the same old
Pippin, but instead a shell of the old hobbit, with someone or
something foreign, and maybe evil, looking out at him.

When I first read this, I thought of my sister and how such a
thing would play out between us - and considered that a small
touch of jealousy may have been involved as well, something
like "I wish I had more nerve and less sense, even though it
is better to have more sense." I would have been the one to
sneak a peek, as she was always better at being good, and
sensible, than I was. (And am, I'm afraid.)

--
TeaLady (mari)

"Indeed, literary analysis will be a serious undertaking only
when it adopts the mindset of quantum physics and regards the
observer as part of the experiment."
Flame of the West on litcrit

Jens Kilian

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Sep 14, 2004, 1:35:09 PM9/14/04
to
"TeaLady (Mari C.)" <spres...@yahoo.com> writes:
> Turning away could be a form of denial, of "making it all go
> away", or distancing himself from blame and or shame by
> association, putting his connection with Pippin "behind him".

It could be pity - Pippin must be very uncomfortable being the focus
of attention at that moment (not to mention ashamed of his folly), and Merry
(closest to him of all the company) may want to spare him at least one pair
of eyes.

If I were in Pippin's place at that moment, I would prefer to be left alone
for a while...

Bye,
Jens.

Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message

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Sep 14, 2004, 5:03:15 PM9/14/04
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Christopher Kreuzer

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Sep 14, 2004, 5:05:37 PM9/14/04
to
Dan Leach <danl...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:
> ""'Have I not felt it? Even now my heart desires to test my will upon
> it, to see if I could not wrench it from him and turn it where I
> would - to look across the wide seas of water and of time to Tirion
> the Fair, and perceive the unimaginable hand and mind of Feanor at

> their work, while both the White Tree and the Golden were in flower!'
> He sighed and fell silent.""
>
> Ive always wondered about this..... surely gandalf (olorin) WAS
> around at the time of feanor. Did they just never meet or does
> gandalf just wish to re-visit his past?

I think it is mostly nostalgia on Gandalf's part. He was around at the
time when Feanor was in Aman, though it is not clear whether they meet.
There is something in UT that says that Olorin went in secret among the
Eldar. I also think that all the Valar and Maiar yearn for a return to
the days of Bliss, the days when the Two Trees were in flower at the
noontide of the realm of Valinor. But, like the Elves, they have to
learn that nothing is forever, and all things must wear to an end under
the Sun.

There is also the issue of how much Gandalf remembers of the West. He
has mentioned Feanor before (the Star of Feanor on the Doors of Moria),
but would you expect Gandalf to remember what he does here?

I am also forcibly struck by how the Noldor and Feanor are depicted here
as legendary beings. Is this awestruck feeling really justified from
what we read in 'The Silmarillion'?

Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message

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Sep 14, 2004, 5:12:42 PM9/14/04
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Nice summary -- thank you! I am now re-reading LOTR from
beginning to end for the first time in several years, and I have
just caught up to COTW.

In rec.arts.books.tolkien Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

> [4] How likely is it that Gandalf would really not recognise the
> palantir for what it was? This seems similar to Gandalf not knowing what
> the One Ring was. It seems that he had some idea, but was still thinking
> his way around the problem. Gandalf does explain later that the White
> Council had not thought about the palantiri of Gondor, but that also
> seems a bit strange!

I got the impression that he pretty much knew what it was
as soon as he saw it. This is from his comment that he didn't
think it was something that Saruman would have thrown away,
confirmed by Saruman's strangled scream when he realizes what
Wormtongue has done.

However, although Gandalf knew what it was, he didn't
realize that Sauron also had one. In his talk with Pippin, he
guesses that Sauron's stone was the Ithil-stone, found when
Minas Ithil was Morgulized. When Gandalf realizes this, he
knows that it must have been the link between Sauron and Saruman.

BTW the word "palantir" means basically the same thing as
the word "television"... I wonder if the burgeoning TV
technology at the time JRRT was writing LOTR had any influence
on him.

--Jamie. (a Dover edition designed for years of use!)
andrews .uwo } Merge these two lines to obtain my e-mail address.
@csd .ca } (Unsolicited "bulk" e-mail costs everyone.)

Christopher Kreuzer

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Sep 14, 2004, 5:39:39 PM9/14/04
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aelfwina <aelf...@cableone.net> wrote:
> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote

> Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir

<snip>

>> [8] I don't think we ever find out about what happened when the
>> Nazgul reached Isengard. What do you think happened? Can we
>> speculate what Sauron learns from Saruman? Is what Sauron sees in
>> the palantir (a hobbit and later Aragorn) all that he ever learns?
>
> I wonder. I would be surprised if Saruman even spoke to the Nazgul
> after his failure to even hold on to Orthanc. He would not be keen to
> face it. My guess is that the Nazgul took one overhead look at the
> ruin of Isengard and hightailed it back to his Master to tell him his
> pet wizard had failed.

That's pretty much what I thought as well.

<snip>

>> Pippin has a terrifying experience, and luckily seems to come
>> through it unharmed. Has the experience changed him, or does that
>> come later in the story?
>
> I'm sure it did change him in some ways, as did all his horrid
> experiences. He was still an untried adolescent when they left the
> Shire. But I do think his most pivotal change came not from looking
> in the palantir, but in being whisked away from Merry by Gandalf. My
> personal opinion is that the separation of the two youngest hobbits
> was perhaps the most traumatic event as well as the event holding the
> most potential for personal growth and change.

That makes sense. Being together they had each other's support. Imagine
Merry and Pippin riding together to Pelennor, or Merry and Pippin being
together in Minas Tirith. Totally different dynamic.

Pippin has the horror of helping a seriously ill Merry (though the
reason is not clear) through the streets of Minas Tirith. I always feel
for his anguish at that point. Plus the moment in battle before the
Black Gate.

<snip>

>> We know the terrible
>> consequences when Saruman fell into the temptation of using the
>> palantir. Would such a fate await Gandalf as well?
>
> I don't think Gandalf *would* have given in to the temptation, but
> perhaps he felt it was best he not be given that trial.

Hmm. I'm not sure he would have been able to resist. He was pretty quick
to give it to Aragorn. Wanted to get rid of it one might say...

> I think one of the more intriguing passages in the chapter is this
> one: "They all stared at him in silence, except Merry who turned
> away." Why did Merry turn away at this particular time, when his
> younger cousin had obviously had a terrifying experience?

For a bit of wild speculation: maybe it was Merry remembering his
experience being 'killed' by the men of Carn Dum when they were in the
barrow-mound? Or Merry's encounter with the Black Breath of the Nazgul
in Bree?

On a more reasonable level: it is very difficult to be sure what
emotions Merry is responding to here (several possibilities have been
mentioned in the thread). It is possible to read a wide range of
emotions into that gesture. I think it is Merry showing Pippin that he
is on his own here, preventing him from making eye contact with Merry
and saying something like "don't let them (particularly Gandalf) hurt
me". Merry is saying that Pippin must trust in Gandalf and face the
consequences of his actions. He might also be expressing disappointment
in Pippin, plus a bit of being unable to face Pippin because he feels
guilty for not doing more to stop him earlier.

But probably a bit of all the above. This must have been a shocking and
horrible experience for Merry as well. Tolkien might merely be making
Merry do something, anything, just to distinguish his reaction from that
of the others. We actually get very little reaction from Merry, though
there might have been a private conversation and period of Merry
comforting Pippin (or berating him) while Gandalf confers with Aragorn
and the others about what has happened (Merry and Pippin are returned to
their beds like naughty children).

I find it strange that the first words we hear from Merry after the
palantir incident (as Pippin rides away with Gandalf), are an expression
of envy towards Pippin! The real reaction of Merry to the separation
comes in the second chapter of Book 5.

> A very interesting chapter, and good discussion points. Thank you!

A real pleasure!

Öjevind Lång

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Sep 14, 2004, 7:16:03 PM9/14/04
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> skrev i meddelandet
news:dEp1d.94$nc3.1...@news-text.cableinet.net...

> Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
> Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir

[snip]

>They
> pass the Fords of Isen and the Mound of the Riders. As they ride, Pippin
> and Gandalf talk and Pippin is delighted to learn many things. Gandalf
> murmurs a rhyme of old lore that mentions seven stones, revealing that
> the stone into which Pippin looked was one of the palantiri of the Kings
> of Old, brought over the sea from Westernesse, but coming originally
> from Eldamar, made by the Noldor long, long ago. Gandalf explains that
> the palantiri were used by the Men of Gondor and Arnor to govern their
> realms, to: "see far off, and to converse in thought with one another."
> We learn where the palantiri were placed, and how Gandalf thinks Saruman
> was ensnared by Sauron. Gandalf says how he also is drawn to the
> palantir:

This brings up a point I have never considered before. With the exception
oft he stone that was set at the Tower Hills and looked back to Elvenhome,
we are not told about any great difference between the stones. Why would the
Lords of Anduniė need seven scrying-stone before they went into exile?

Öjevind


Öjevind Lång

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Sep 14, 2004, 7:21:24 PM9/14/04
to
"aelfwina" <aelf...@cableone.net> skrev i meddelandet
news:10kcgai...@corp.supernews.com...

> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
> news:dEp1d.94$nc3.1...@news-text.cableinet.net...
> > Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
> > Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir

[snip]

[snip]

> > [8] I don't think we ever find out about what happened when the Nazgul
> > reached Isengard. What do you think happened? Can we speculate what
> > Sauron learns from Saruman? Is what Sauron sees in the palantir (a
> > hobbit and later Aragorn) all that he ever learns?
>
> I wonder. I would be surprised if Saruman even spoke to the Nazgul after
> his failure to even hold on to Orthanc. He would not be keen to face it.
My
> guess is that the Nazgul took one overhead look at the ruin of Isengard
and
> hightailed it back to his Master to tell him his pet wizard had failed.

You mean that his renegaded minion had failed, don't you? (I agree that
Saruman was unlikely to have talked to the Nazgúl.)

Öjevind


Christopher Kreuzer

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Sep 14, 2004, 7:42:40 PM9/14/04
to
Öjevind Lång <dnivej...@swipnet.se> wrote:

> This brings up a point I have never considered before. With the

> exception of the stone that was set at the Tower Hills and looked


> back to Elvenhome, we are not told about any great difference between

> the stones. Why would the Lords of Andunië need seven scrying-stones


> before they went into exile?

The Eldamar Palantiri Broadcasting Company (EPBC) had 7 channels?

One for skygazing (courtesy of Varda), one for sports (Learn wrestling
with Tulkas), one for weather (Ulmo giving shipping forecasts), one for
music (continuous loop of some annoying Illuvatar bloke), one for news
(a bit of doomsaying from Namo/Mandos), a gardening makeover channel
(presented by Irmo/Lorien), and a wildlife channel (jointly hosted by
Yavanna and Orome).

There are also channels by Manwe (religious services), Aule (shopping
channel for gems and precious stones) and Nienna (counselling services),
but those weren't included in the 7 for the price of 5 deal with EPBC.


Kristian Damm Jensen

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Sep 15, 2004, 2:42:05 AM9/15/04
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message news:<dEp1d.94$nc3.1...@news-text.cableinet.net>...

<snip>

> Pippin has a terrifying experience, and luckily seems to come through it
> unharmed. Has the experience changed him, or does that come later in the
> story?

I think it was the turning point of a long development.

After this experience, Pippin no longer acts foolish. We are told of
three times when Pippin's foolishness endangers the party: In Bree,
where he is about to recount the story of Bilbo's disapperance, in
Moria, where he throws a stone into a well, which prompts Gandalf to
say: "Fool of a Took! ... Throw yourself in next time" - which Pippin
then in a sense proceeds to do when he looks into the Palantir. This -
and the prior trek with the Uruk-hai - turns him from a foolish,
adolecent hobbit into a more serious, adult hobbit. While he is still
able to laugh, he now recognice the dangers of the worlds *and takes
responsibility in confronting them*.

Later events help, but I think this is the turning point, that makes
Pippin a hobbit capable of confronting a man twice his size with the
words: "You are a ruffian and a fool. Down on your knees in the road
and ask pardon, or I will set this troll's bane in you!"

<snip>

Regards,
Kristian

Jim Deutch

unread,
Sep 15, 2004, 12:02:15 PM9/15/04
to
On Mon, 13 Sep 2004 19:54:29 -0500, "aelfwina" <aelf...@cableone.net>
wrote:

>
>I think one of the more intriguing passages in the chapter is this one:
>"They all stared at him in silence, except Merry who turned away." Why did
>Merry turn away at this particular time, when his younger cousin had
>obviously had a terrifying experience?

He'd also ignored Merry's good advice and put himself into that very
experience unnecessarily. I think Merry was embarrassed for him. But
mostly, I think Merry was afraid for him, and perhaps saw the
situation well enough already at that point to be afraid for Frodo.

It was not yet clear that Pippin had not been corrupted: that he had
not spilled the beans entirely and given away the Quest to the Enemy.
Imagine: Sauron discovers the truth, closes his borders, gets the
Ring, all the Free Peoples are enslaved, and all because a silly
Hobbit looked into a crystal ball: O, the embarrassment!

Jim Deutch (Jimbo the Cat)
--
We have met the enemy, and he is us. -- Pogo

AC

unread,
Sep 15, 2004, 1:21:31 PM9/15/04
to
On Mon, 13 Sep 2004 23:00:25 GMT,
Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>
> [6] Gandalf hands the palantir to Aragorn. This is an interesting
> development in Aragorn's character. Gandalf is acknowledging him as lord
> and rightful owner of the palantir. Was the claim by Aragorn
> spontaneous, or did he judge that the time was right? He says: "Now my
> hour draws near". Was this a sudden realisation, or something that
> slowly dawned on him over the preceding days?

I think a bit of both. I don't think anyone really expected to have a
Palantir bouncing down the steps of Orthanc, but Aragorn clearly realizes
that this is his moment.

>
> [8] I don't think we ever find out about what happened when the Nazgul
> reached Isengard. What do you think happened? Can we speculate what
> Sauron learns from Saruman? Is what Sauron sees in the palantir (a
> hobbit and later Aragorn) all that he ever learns?

Gandalf says he thinks Saruman has enough power to withstand the Nazgul
while in Orthanc, and I think that's precisely what happens.


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

"My illness is due to my doctor's insistence that I drink milk, a whitish
fluid they force down helpless babies." - WC Fields

John Jones

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Sep 15, 2004, 3:45:36 PM9/15/04
to
"Kristian Damm Jensen" <da...@ofir.dk> wrote in message
news:2c9e2992.04091...@posting.google.com...
Up to this point, Pippin doesn't actually *do* anything, except the sort of
silly blundering which you describe above. He doesn't fight against the
orcs, either in Moria or Parth Galen. I think that he seems to behave more
like a tourist than anything else. From this point on, though, he becomes
personally involved in the action, giving his allegiance to Denethor and
Gondor, and finally killing the troll at the Morannon. After all that,
Sharkey's ruffians are no big deal!

John Jones

unread,
Sep 15, 2004, 3:50:01 PM9/15/04
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
news:dEp1d.94$nc3.1...@news-text.cableinet.net...
> Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
> Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir
>
> Pippin is
> still extremely frightened, but as his fear lessens he begins to tell
> those gathered around him what he saw. He describes a dark sky, tall
> battlements, stars, a feeling of great distance and of long ago. Nine
> bat-like objects are flying around a tower and one flies towards Pippin
> and disappears.

Interestingly, this sequence is very much the same as an episode in H G
Wells' short story "The Crystal Egg". The winged creatures in Wells' story
are actually Martians (as in "The War of the Worlds"), but the crystal
egg/palantir are very much the same. I wonder if Tolkien had read "The
Crystal Egg"?


Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Sep 15, 2004, 4:20:01 PM9/15/04
to
John Jones <jo...@jones5011.fsnet.co.uk> wrote:
> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote

>> Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)


>> Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir

[...]

>> Pippin is
>> still extremely frightened, but as his fear lessens he begins to tell
>> those gathered around him what he saw. He describes a dark sky, tall
>> battlements, stars, a feeling of great distance and of long ago. Nine
>> bat-like objects are flying around a tower and one flies towards
>> Pippin and disappears.
>
> Interestingly, this sequence is very much the same as an episode in H
> G Wells' short story "The Crystal Egg". The winged creatures in
> Wells' story are actually Martians (as in "The War of the Worlds"),
> but the crystal egg/palantir are very much the same. I wonder if
> Tolkien had read "The Crystal Egg"?

Do you know the publication date and subsequent history? How widely
available were Wells' books?

I recently read a paper that found a possible literary source for the
Nazgul: The Wendigo (1910). This is a short story by Algernon Blackwood
where the Wendigo is a horror that flies across the skies bring terror
to those below. There is more to it than this, and the comparison is
quite striking. Full details are in the paper by Dale J. Nelson in
Tolkien Studies (volume 1).

Öjevind Lång

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Sep 15, 2004, 6:28:03 PM9/15/04
to
"TeaLady (Mari C.)" <spres...@yahoo.com> skrev i meddelandet
news:Xns9564860...@130.133.1.4...

> "aelfwina" <aelf...@cableone.net> wrote in
> news:10kcgai...@corp.supernews.com:
>
> > I think one of the more intriguing passages in the chapter
> > is this one: "They all stared at him in silence, except
> > Merry who turned away." Why did Merry turn away at this
> > particular time, when his younger cousin had obviously had a
> > terrifying experience?
>
> Turning away could be a form of denial, of "making it all go
> away", or distancing himself from blame and or shame by
> association, putting his connection with Pippin "behind him".

I have seen this and other explanations of it before, but my opinion is that
Merry turned away to hide his grief. Pippin had done something bad, and
something evil had happened to him as a result, and Merry was unable to face
it at once.
The silliest explanation I have ever read was by some Professor of
Literature who thought Merry turned away to hide his envy at all the
attention being paid to Pippin...

Öjevind


Öjevind Lång

unread,
Sep 15, 2004, 6:31:09 PM9/15/04
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> skrev i meddelandet
news:QlL1d.747$gn6.8...@news-text.cableinet.net...

Wouldn't Aulë demand some prime time for a DIY programme?

Öjevind


Öjevind Lång

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Sep 15, 2004, 6:32:57 PM9/15/04
to
"Kristian Damm Jensen" <da...@ofir.dk> skrev i meddelandet
news:2c9e2992.04091...@posting.google.com...

[snip]

> Later events help, but I think this is the turning point, that makes
> Pippin a hobbit capable of confronting a man twice his size with the
> words: "You are a ruffian and a fool. Down on your knees in the road
> and ask pardon, or I will set this troll's bane in you!"

And the sign of his maturity is that he does not do this to look good
himself but because he can't bear hearing this two-bit scoundrel insult
Frodo of the Nine Fingers, who was honoured by the Armies of the west at the
Field of Cormallen.

Öjevind


Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Sep 15, 2004, 6:55:23 PM9/15/04
to
Öjevind Lång <dnivej...@swipnet.se> wrote:
>> "aelfwina" <aelf...@cableone.net> wrote:

>>> I think one of the more intriguing passages in the chapter
>>> is this one: "They all stared at him in silence, except
>>> Merry who turned away." Why did Merry turn away at this
>>> particular time, when his younger cousin had obviously had a
>>> terrifying experience?

<snip>

> The silliest explanation I have ever read was by some Professor of
> Literature who thought Merry turned away to hide his envy at all the
> attention being paid to Pippin...

What about the first words we hear from Merry after he "turned away". It
is sometime later, but he says (talking to Aragorn as Pippin rides away
with Gandalf):

"A beautiful, restful night! Some folk have wonderful luck. He did not
want to sleep, and he wanted to ride with Gandalf - and there he goes!
Instead of being turned to a stone himself to stand here for ever as a
warning."

So while I agree with you that the Professor of Literature is wrong, I
can see where people might see envy in Merry's remarks. Remember that
Pippin shows something like envy earlier in the chapter when he asks
Merry what he and Gandalf were talking about. Merry says that Pippin can
ride with Gandalf tomorrow. That did happen, but not quite as they
expected!

Christopher Kreuzer

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Sep 15, 2004, 7:02:37 PM9/15/04
to
Öjevind Lång <dnivej...@swipnet.se> wrote:
> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> skrev

>> The Eldamar Palantiri Broadcasting Company (EPBC)...

<snip>

> Wouldn't Aulë demand some prime time for a DIY programme?

What? Programmes like: "How to Build Your Own Island", or rather, how to
REbuild an island? How to build in the classical style (Minas Tirith) or
how to build in the retro style (Orthanc)? And why not enter this week's
competition to win bookend-style models of the Argonath together with
some circular disc-shaped things to play on your palantir?


AC

unread,
Sep 16, 2004, 12:58:41 AM9/16/04
to

He may certainly have been in Aman, but I doubt Feanor did his work as
any sort of public spectacle.

Kristian Damm Jensen

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Sep 16, 2004, 2:07:00 AM9/16/04
to
"John Jones" <jo...@jones5011.fsnet.co.uk> wrote in message news:<cia6jv$n82$1...@newsg2.svr.pol.co.uk>...

You are forgetting his accomplishments while captured by the orcs:
Seizing the opportunity to free his hands, concealing the fact that
they are free, running away and dropping his brooch and finally
goading Ugluk into believing he had the ring. All in all, *he* alone
accomplished their escape (with some good luck to help).

Regards,
Kristian

Öjevind Lång

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Sep 16, 2004, 7:35:57 AM9/16/04
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> skrev i meddelandet
news:vL32d.1302$wZ.15...@news-text.cableinet.net...
> Öjevind Lång <dnivej...@swipnet.se> wrote:

[snip]

> > The silliest explanation I have ever read was by some Professor of
> > Literature who thought Merry turned away to hide his envy at all the
> > attention being paid to Pippin...
>
> What about the first words we hear from Merry after he "turned away". It
> is sometime later, but he says (talking to Aragorn as Pippin rides away
> with Gandalf):
>
> "A beautiful, restful night! Some folk have wonderful luck. He did not
> want to sleep, and he wanted to ride with Gandalf - and there he goes!
> Instead of being turned to a stone himself to stand here for ever as a
> warning."
>
> So while I agree with you that the Professor of Literature is wrong, I
> can see where people might see envy in Merry's remarks. Remember that
> Pippin shows something like envy earlier in the chapter when he asks
> Merry what he and Gandalf were talking about. Merry says that Pippin can
> ride with Gandalf tomorrow. That did happen, but not quite as they
> expected!

Merry does seem to be a bit resentful at the way Pippin gets his way despite
having behaved disgracefully; though of course, as Aragorn points out to
Merry, Merry "doesn't know what he is talking about" when he thinks Pippin
is having luck when being taken stright into the eye of the storm.

Öjevind


Öjevind Lång

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Sep 16, 2004, 7:37:35 AM9/16/04
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"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> skrev i meddelandet
news:hS32d.1306$tz1.15...@news-text.cableinet.net...

Sure! Or "How to build a model city" and "How to give a Palantír the final
polish"?

Öjevind


TT Arvind

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Sep 16, 2004, 2:30:33 PM9/16/04
to
Wes ðu Öjevind Lång hal!

> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> skrev i meddelandet
> news:vL32d.1302$wZ.15...@news-text.cableinet.net...
> > Öjevind Lång <dnivej...@swipnet.se> wrote:
>
> [snip]
> > > my opinion is that Merry turned away to hide his grief.

> > > Pippin had done something bad, and something evil had happened
> > > to him as a result, and Merry was unable to face it at once.

I like your explanation. I think it could also have something to do with
the fact that everyone was "staring" at Pippin which, under the
circumstances, is not likely to have made him feel very comfortable. In
a sense, by looking away, Merry is also dissociating himself from these
others.

[snip disagreement with the Professor's interpretation of Merry's actions
as reflecting 'envy']

> > What about the first words we hear from Merry after he "turned away". It
> > is sometime later, but he says (talking to Aragorn as Pippin rides away
> > with Gandalf):
> >
> > "A beautiful, restful night! Some folk have wonderful luck. He did not
> > want to sleep, and he wanted to ride with Gandalf - and there he goes!
> > Instead of being turned to a stone himself to stand here for ever as a
> > warning."

This sounds to me very much like an indirect expression of relief that
nothing worse happened to Pippin, a way of saying, "That idiot has been
really lucky, thank God."

--
Meneldil

Les grandes personnes sont décidément bien bizarres, se dit le petit
prince.
- Antoine de Saint Exupéry, Le Petit Prince

Richard Williams

unread,
Sep 16, 2004, 2:36:30 PM9/16/04
to
In article <MPG.1bb3ec216...@news.individual.net>,

"But it is the way of my people to use light words at such times and say
less than they mean. We fear to say too much. It robs us of the right
words when a jest is out of place."

(Merry to Aragorn in the Houses of Healing).

Richard.

Michael Ikeda

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Sep 16, 2004, 5:52:05 PM9/16/04
to
da...@ofir.dk (Kristian Damm Jensen) wrote in
news:2c9e2992.04091...@posting.google.com:

> "John Jones" <jo...@jones5011.fsnet.co.uk> wrote in message
> news:<cia6jv$n82$1...@newsg2.svr.pol.co.uk>...

(snipped)

>> >
>> Up to this point, Pippin doesn't actually *do* anything, except
>> the sort of silly blundering which you describe above. He
>> doesn't fight against the orcs, either in Moria or Parth Galen.
>> I think that he seems to behave more like a tourist than
>> anything else. From this point on, though, he becomes
>> personally involved in the action, giving his allegiance to
>> Denethor and Gondor, and finally killing the troll at the
>> Morannon. After all that, Sharkey's ruffians are no big deal!
>
> You are forgetting his accomplishments while captured by the
> orcs: Seizing the opportunity to free his hands, concealing the
> fact that they are free, running away and dropping his brooch
> and finally goading Ugluk into believing he had the ring. All in
> all, *he* alone accomplished their escape (with some good luck
> to help).
>

Minor correction. It was Grishnakh who thought Pippin (or at least
one of the hobbits) had the Ring. How Grishakh even learned about
the Ring is another question.

--
Michael Ikeda mmi...@erols.com
"Telling a statistician not to use sampling is like telling an
astronomer they can't say there is a moon and stars"
Lynne Billard, past president American Statistical Association

Shanahan

unread,
Sep 17, 2004, 2:36:54 AM9/17/04
to
Öjevind Lång <dnivej...@swipnet.se> creatively typed:

> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> skrev i
>> Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
>> Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir
>
> [snip]
>
>> They
>> pass the Fords of Isen and the Mound of the Riders. As they
>> ride, Pippin and Gandalf talk and Pippin is delighted to learn
>> many things. Gandalf murmurs a rhyme of old lore that mentions
>> seven stones, revealing that the stone into which Pippin looked
>> was one of the palantiri of the Kings of Old, brought over the
>> sea from Westernesse, but coming originally from Eldamar, made
>> by the Noldor long, long ago. Gandalf explains that the
>> palantiri were used by the Men of Gondor and Arnor to govern
>> their realms, to: "see far off, and to converse in thought with
>> one another." We learn where the palantiri were placed, and how
>> Gandalf thinks Saruman was ensnared by Sauron. Gandalf says how
>> he also is drawn to the palantir:
>
> This brings up a point I have never considered before. With the
> exception oft he stone that was set at the Tower Hills and
> looked back to Elvenhome, we are not told about any great
> difference between the stones. Why would the Lords of Andunië

> need seven scrying-stone before they went into exile?

I believe there are several contradictory statements by Tolkien
about the Seeing Stones. One statement has the Master-Stone
abiding eternally in Eressëa; one has the Master-Stone in the Dome
of the Stars in Osgiliath; and then there is the statement you
mention above. Seems that it was an unresolved issue.

I think the seven stones were just indicated as such, because
Tolkien had had this verse running around in his head for years,
and when he invented the palantiri, he realized that that was what
the verse was about. So he got rid of the meme by passing it into
his book:
"I knew nothing of the Palantiri, though the moment the
Orthanc-stone was cast from the window, I recognized it, and knew
the meaning of the 'rhyme of lore' that had been running in my
mind: seven stars and seven stones and one white tree. These rhymes
and names will crop up; but they do not always explain themselves."
(Letter 165 to W.H. Auden)

Ciaran S.
--
"Technically, a cat locked in a box may be alive or it may be dead.
You never know until you look. In fact, the mere act of opening the
box will determine the state of the cat, although in this case
there were three determinate states the cat could be in: these
being Alive, Dead, and Bloody Furious."
- t. pratchett, _Lords and Ladies_


Shanahan

unread,
Sep 17, 2004, 2:20:26 AM9/17/04
to
AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> creatively typed:

> Dan Leach wrote:
>> ""'Have I not felt it? Even now my heart desires to test my
>> will upon it, to see if I could not wrench it from him and turn
>> it where I would - to look across the wide seas of water and of
>> time to Tirion the Fair, and perceive the unimaginable hand and
>> mind of Fëanor at their work, while both the White Tree and the
>> Golden were in flower!' He sighed and fell silent.""
>>
>> Ive always wondered about this..... surely gandalf (olorin) WAS
>> around at the time of feanor. Did they just never meet or does
>> gandalf just wish to re-visit his past?
>
> He may certainly have been in Aman, but I doubt Feanor did his
> work as any sort of public spectacle.

I agree. Fëanor kept his workings secret, which is an
foreshadowing of the possessiveness which overcomes him in regard
to the things he made. This is especially true after Melkor is
freed, but it was a part of Fëanor's nature even before that.

OTOH, Gandalf does use the phrase "the unimaginable hand and mind
of Fëanor at their work", so I think we can assign some of the awe
in this comment to the possibility that it's a holdover from the
time when Tolkien was not yet concerned with integrating LotR and
his older legends in a close point-by-point manner.

Either way, it's a great comment, in a conversation that manages to
be both grand and hobbitlike at the same time. One of my faves!

Ciaran S.
--
"To sum up: your father, whom you love, dies;
you are his heir, you come back to find that
hardly was the corpse cold before his younger brother
popped onto his throne and into his sheets,
thereby offending both legal and natural practice.
Now *why exactly* are you behaving in this extraordinary manner?"
- t.stoppard, "R&G are Dead"


Shanahan

unread,
Sep 17, 2004, 3:34:26 AM9/17/04
to
Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> creatively typed:

The Wendigo is actually a legendary ice/winter monster from
Ojibwe/Ashinabe mythology. It is a death figure. I don't recall
that it flies in the Ojibwe legends, however. No doubt Blackwood
borrowed this figure from his travels in Canada.

Ciaran S.
--
And suddenly they knew that the mystery of the hills,
and the deep enchantment of evening,
had found a voice and would speak with them.
-dunsany, _The Blessing of Pan_

Dirk Thierbach

unread,
Sep 17, 2004, 2:52:10 AM9/17/04
to
John Jones <jo...@jones5011.fsnet.co.uk> wrote:

> Interestingly, this sequence is very much the same as an episode in H G
> Wells' short story "The Crystal Egg". The winged creatures in Wells' story
> are actually Martians (as in "The War of the Worlds"), but the crystal
> egg/palantir are very much the same. I wonder if Tolkien had read "The
> Crystal Egg"?

I noticed the similarity, too, but I think the image "tower surrounded
by flying creatures" appears often enough elsewhere. So there need not
be any connection, though Tolkien said he reads Science Fiction a lot,
so it is quite possible.

- DIrk

TT Arvind

unread,
Sep 17, 2004, 1:16:29 PM9/17/04
to
Wes šu Richard Williams hal!

>
> "But it is the way of my people to use light words at such times and say
> less than they mean. We fear to say too much. It robs us of the right
> words when a jest is out of place."

Thank you - that is exactly what I was trying to say.

John Jones

unread,
Sep 16, 2004, 2:22:02 PM9/16/04
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
news:Rt12d.1192$y6.14...@news-text.cableinet.net...

> John Jones <jo...@jones5011.fsnet.co.uk> wrote:
> > "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote
>
> >> Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
> >> Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir
>
> [...]
>
> >> Pippin is
> >> still extremely frightened, but as his fear lessens he begins to tell
> >> those gathered around him what he saw. He describes a dark sky, tall
> >> battlements, stars, a feeling of great distance and of long ago. Nine
> >> bat-like objects are flying around a tower and one flies towards
> >> Pippin and disappears.
> >
> > Interestingly, this sequence is very much the same as an episode in H
> > G Wells' short story "The Crystal Egg". The winged creatures in
> > Wells' story are actually Martians (as in "The War of the Worlds"),
> > but the crystal egg/palantir are very much the same. I wonder if
> > Tolkien had read "The Crystal Egg"?
>
> Do you know the publication date and subsequent history? How widely
> available were Wells' books?
>

Written probably at the end of the nineteenth century or beginning of the
20th; I don't know for sure. Wells died in 1945. Certainly I first read the
story about 1960!

Wells' books are all still in print, are classics, are very well known. You
must have heard of War of the Worlds? Invisible Man? Mr. Polly? and all of
the rest.

John Jones

unread,
Sep 16, 2004, 2:29:26 PM9/16/04
to

True; so perhaps there was no one 'turning point', but Pippin changed
gradually through the story, although the palantir episode must have been a
considerable shock.
It was Merry, IIRC, who actually meditated on how he had changed from being
'..a hobbit, a light-hearted wanderer ...'

Richard Williams

unread,
Sep 17, 2004, 1:53:38 PM9/17/04
to
In article <cidlt...@enews4.newsguy.com>,

Shanahan <pog...@bluefrog.com> wrote:
>Öjevind Lång <dnivej...@swipnet.se> creatively typed:
>> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> skrev i

>> This brings up a point I have never considered before. With the


>> exception oft he stone that was set at the Tower Hills and
>> looked back to Elvenhome, we are not told about any great
>> difference between the stones. Why would the Lords of Andunië
>> need seven scrying-stone before they went into exile?

I suppose a story-internal explanation might be that multiple stones could
be very useful to what was effectively a Resistance movement if they were
distributed amongst key members of the Faithful - e.g. secret 'meetings'
could be held without attracting the attention of Sauron or the King's
Men. The statement "These stones were gifts of the Eldar to Amandil,
father of Elendil, for the comfort of the Faithful of Numenor in their
dark days, when the Elves might come no longer to that land under the
shadow of Sauron" perhaps suggests that part of their role was
communication with the Elves, but covert shorter range communication
within Numenor (or even with Faithful ships at sea) would have been very
useful, as would remote viewing of the Enemy's activities.

>I believe there are several contradictory statements by Tolkien
>about the Seeing Stones. One statement has the Master-Stone
>abiding eternally in Eressëa; one has the Master-Stone in the Dome
>of the Stars in Osgiliath; and then there is the statement you
>mention above. Seems that it was an unresolved issue.

Perhaps the Osgiliath stone was only the chief of those in Middle Earth
(or even Gondor), whereas the Eressea stone was master of the whole
'network'? (maybe even of a larger network including additional stones
retained by the elves??).

Random questions/speculation:

Did Aragorn ever consult Elendil's stone in Elostirion? Might this have
given him some degree of 'training' for his subsequent use of the Orthanc
stone? Why did he later allow this stone to be returned to Eressea in the
ringbearers' ship?

Richard.

Richard Williams

unread,
Sep 17, 2004, 2:04:53 PM9/17/04
to
In article <cif7rq$rvq$3...@newsg3.svr.pol.co.uk>,

John Jones <jo...@jones5011.fsnet.co.uk> wrote:
>"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
>news:Rt12d.1192$y6.14...@news-text.cableinet.net...
>> John Jones <jo...@jones5011.fsnet.co.uk> wrote:
>> > "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote

>> > Interestingly, this sequence is very much the same as an episode in H


>> > G Wells' short story "The Crystal Egg". The winged creatures in
>> > Wells' story are actually Martians (as in "The War of the Worlds"),
>> > but the crystal egg/palantir are very much the same. I wonder if
>> > Tolkien had read "The Crystal Egg"?
>>
>> Do you know the publication date and subsequent history? How widely
>> available were Wells' books?
>>
>
>Written probably at the end of the nineteenth century or beginning of the
>20th; I don't know for sure. Wells died in 1945. Certainly I first read the
>story about 1960!

Spot on - it was apparently first published in 1897:

http://www.hycyber.com/SF/complete_wells.html

and was later available in, e.g., the (very popular) _Complete Short
Stories_ of 1927:

http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/~susan/sf/books/w/hgwells.htm#9788

(a later edition of this collection was where I read it).

Richard.

Öjevind Lång

unread,
Sep 17, 2004, 5:20:14 PM9/17/04
to
"TT Arvind" <ttar...@hotmail.com> skrev i meddelandet
news:MPG.1bb52c4db...@news.individual.net...

And I agree completely with it.

Öjevind


Öjevind Lång

unread,
Sep 18, 2004, 2:13:13 PM9/18/04
to
"John Jones" <jo...@jones5011.fsnet.co.uk> skrev i meddelandet
news:cia6k0$n82$2...@newsg2.svr.pol.co.uk...

[snip]

> > Pippin is
> > still extremely frightened, but as his fear lessens he begins to tell
> > those gathered around him what he saw. He describes a dark sky, tall
> > battlements, stars, a feeling of great distance and of long ago. Nine
> > bat-like objects are flying around a tower and one flies towards Pippin
> > and disappears.
>
> Interestingly, this sequence is very much the same as an episode in H G
> Wells' short story "The Crystal Egg". The winged creatures in Wells'
story
> are actually Martians (as in "The War of the Worlds"), but the crystal
> egg/palantir are very much the same. I wonder if Tolkien had read "The
> Crystal Egg"?

I think it quite possible he did; in "On Fairy-stories", he discusses "The
Time Machine", which he had clearly read. (He enjoyed it, apart from "the
ridiculous time machine" istelf; he did think the fable of the Eloi and the
Morlocks was wonderful.)
The funny thing is that when I read Christopher's summary I also thought
of Wells' story, though I had never before thought Tolkien might have been
influenced by it here. Now I find it very likely that he was.

Öjevind


Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Sep 19, 2004, 4:43:45 PM9/19/04
to
In message <news:10kcgai...@corp.supernews.com>
"aelfwina" <aelf...@cableone.net> enriched us with:
>
> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
> news:dEp1d.94$nc3.1...@news-text.cableinet.net...

>>
>> Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
>> Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir

<snip>

> (snip of beautiful summary!)

Seconded!

<snip>

>> Are there any other moments in the story where someone's
>> voice changes beyond recognition?
>
> I don't know about a voice changing beyond recognition,

In the book or do the films count >:->

> but we have several examples of people crying out in unfamiliar
> languages, and there is Merry's strange statement about the "men
> of Carn Dum" after the barrow-wight encounter.

And Théoden's strangely 'amplified' voice at the beginning of the
Battle of the Pelennor ("more clear than any there had ever heard a
mortal man achieve before.")

<snip>

>> [4] How likely is it that Gandalf would really not recognise the
>> palantir for what it was?
[...]
>> the White Council had not thought about the palantiri of Gondor,
>> but that also seems a bit strange!
>
> Time for a bit of wild speculation: as a trusted member of the
> White Council, Saruman was in a position to perhaps "suggest" that
> certain things were beneath consideration?
[...]

The Palantíri would, IMO, fall under Saruman's sphere of knowledge (he
was, after all, one of Aulë's people like Sauron, and the Noldor were
particularly close to Aulë as well: Saruman might even, for that
matter, have been in the vicinity when the Palantíri were created).

I agree that Saruman most likely kept the White Council discusssions
from touching on subjects he didn't want them to consider too deeply
(like the Palantíri or the possibility that the One Ring might be
found). Gandalf obviously knew what they were in general terms: I think
his knowledge came from scattered sources; passages he had come across
while researching something else, and had not yet begun to piece
together. Only while riding with Pippin does he start to piece together
all these small pieces of information. Given the focus of his labours
in Middle-earth I don't find it particularly unbelievable if he didn't
instantly recognise the Palantír for what it was.

<snip>

>> [8] I don't think we ever find out about what happened when the
>> Nazgul reached Isengard. What do you think happened?
[...]
>
> I wonder. I would be surprised if Saruman even spoke to the
> Nazgul after his failure to even hold on to Orthanc.

I agree. Gandalf does say that "He has power still, I think, while in
Orthanc, to resist the Nine Riders. He may try to do so." In general
I'd put my trust in Gandalf's guesses any day ;-)

<snip>

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid mail is <t.forch(a)email.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,
Sep 19, 2004, 4:56:22 PM9/19/04
to
In message
<news:slrnckgugr.2i6....@aaronclausen.alberni.net>
AC <mightym...@hotmail.com> enriched us with:
>
> On Mon, 13 Sep 2004 23:00:25 GMT,
> Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
>>
>> [6] Gandalf hands the palantir to Aragorn. This is an interesting
>> development in Aragorn's character. Gandalf is acknowledging him
>> as lord and rightful owner of the palantir. Was the claim by
>> Aragorn spontaneous, or did he judge that the time was right? He
>> says: "Now my hour draws near". Was this a sudden realisation, or
>> something that slowly dawned on him over the preceding days?
>
> I think a bit of both. I don't think anyone really expected to
> have a Palantir bouncing down the steps of Orthanc, but Aragorn
> clearly realizes that this is his moment.

There's little to add other than detail ;-)

Aragorn's development (which I still think is primarily in the eyes of
the reader rather than an actual development of the character[*])
begins long before. The first glimpse, IMO, is the reforging of Narsil
and the offer to Boromir to bring Elendil's sword to Gondor.

Then follows him taking responsibility for the Fellowship after
Gandalf's fall in Moria, receiving the stone from Galadriel, Argonath
(there is, by the way, another strange voice), the promise to Boromir
that "Minas Tirith shall not fall", the declaration to Éomer and before
Théoden's doors and the leadership he takes in the battle of Helm's
Deep.

Here we see that his reversal to 'Strider' a couple of chapters ago
didn't mean that this development had stopped, only that it hadn't
really changed anything other than in the eyes of the beholders.

I think he senses now that his time is near, very near, but I don't
think he realises that it is over him until the Rangers arrive from the
North with Elladan and Elrohir bearing Elrond's words. This is what
makes him look in the Palantír (IMO): declaring himself even for Sauron
(but that is for a much later chapter).

[*] Aragorn was a leader of Men and the leader of his people long
before this. I think that his nobility etc. was there all the time, but
he was capable of veiling it while appearing as Strider, chieftain of
the Rangers. Since becoming aware that the One Ring is found, he knows
that his time is growing nearer, and slowly we see this veil becoming
thinner and thinner until the full character is visible. The veil, the
Ranger, doesn't disappear, but we're just allowed to see what is
underneath.

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

Your theory is crazy, but it's not crazy enough to be true.
- Niels Bohr, to a young physicist

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Sep 19, 2004, 5:08:43 PM9/19/04
to
In message <news:dEp1d.94$nc3.1...@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 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir

There is only very little for me to say that hasn't been said already
;-)

<snip>

> At that moment, a shadow falls on the camp as a winged shape
> passes over the Moon. Terror strikes them as the mounted Nazgul
> flies past, faster than the wind. Gandalf reacts with alarm,
> telling everyone to ride now and not to wait for the dawn.

" 'Nazgūl!' he cried. 'The messenger of Mordor. The storm
is coming. The Nazgūl have crossed the River! Ride, ride!
Wait not for the dawn! Let not the swift wait for the slow!
Ride!'"

(That's six exlamation points in one paragraph <GG>)

I wonder about the advice not to let "the swift wait for the slow" -- I
can't imagine that Gandalf really means that they should abandon all
unity and just flee, each man to himself (and they don't do that
either).

<snip>

> [5] Sauron having the chance to question Pippin was indeed a
> moment of great peril. If Sauron had questioned Pippin there and
> then, he would have learned of the quest to destroy the Ring and
> the last known location of Frodo and Sam. Gandalf (I think) said
> that the barrow-wight was a dangerous moment, but I think that
> this is more dangerous still.

When I first read this I thought Gandalf's comment was about Weathertop
or the Ford, but your recollection is better than mine, it appears ;-)

"But you have some strength in you, my dear hobbit! As you
showed in the Barrow. That was touch and go: perhaps the
most dangerous moment of all. I wish you could have held
out at Weathertop."
(II,1 'Many Meetings')

But I agree: this was even more dangerous.

<snip>

Excellent job, Christopher -- I don't know if there was too much or too
little to answer to, but I found it difficult to really add something
worthwhile ;-)

<self-irony>
Obviously I'm only fishing for some nice comments about the
introduction I'll be posting tomorrow.
</self-irony>

;-)

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

Men, said the Devil,
are good to their brothers:
they don't want to mend
their own ways, but each other's.
- Piet Hein, /Mankind/

Shanahan

unread,
Sep 19, 2004, 10:20:04 PM9/19/04
to
Richard Williams <rdwi...@hgmp.mrc.ac.uk> creatively typed:

> Shanahan <pog...@bluefrog.com> wrote:
>> Öjevind Lång <dnivej...@swipnet.se> creatively typed:
>>> This brings up a point I have never considered before. With the
>>> exception oft he stone that was set at the Tower Hills and
>>> looked back to Elvenhome, we are not told about any great
>>> difference between the stones. Why would the Lords of Andunië
>>> need seven scrying-stone before they went into exile?
>
> I suppose a story-internal explanation might be that multiple
> stones could be very useful to what was effectively a Resistance
> movement if they were distributed amongst key members of the
> Faithful - e.g. secret 'meetings' could be held without
> attracting the attention of Sauron or the King's Men. The
> statement "These stones were gifts of the Eldar to Amandil,
> father of Elendil, for the comfort of the Faithful of Numenor in
> their dark days, when the Elves might come no longer to that
> land under the shadow of Sauron" perhaps suggests that part of
> their role was communication with the Elves, but covert shorter
> range communication within Numenor (or even with Faithful ships
> at sea) would have been very useful, as would remote viewing of
> the Enemy's activities.

Good point. I'm not sure if Tolkien had thought of there being a
'master-stone' at this point, whether with the Faithful or on
Eressêa. This idea goes a long way toward explaining how the
Faithful were able to survive and escape in, apparently, such
numbers. Also the wise leadership and power of Amandil.

>> I believe there are several contradictory statements by Tolkien
>> about the Seeing Stones. One statement has the Master-Stone
>> abiding eternally in Eressëa; one has the Master-Stone in the
>> Dome of the Stars in Osgiliath; and then there is the statement
>> you mention above. Seems that it was an unresolved issue.
>
> Perhaps the Osgiliath stone was only the chief of those in
> Middle Earth (or even Gondor), whereas the Eressea stone was
> master of the whole 'network'? (maybe even of a larger network
> including additional stones retained by the elves??).

I've wondered about this for years (with absolutely no textual
support, just wishful thinking)!

> Random questions/speculation:
>
> Did Aragorn ever consult Elendil's stone in Elostirion? Might
> this have given him some degree of 'training' for his subsequent
> use of the Orthanc stone? Why did he later allow this stone to
> be returned to Eressea in the ringbearers' ship?

I don't believe he did, or we are not told so.
Perhaps he thought the palantíri were too great a temptation to the
wrong kind of power.

Ciaran S.
--
The State is the altar of political freedom
and, like the religious altar, it is
maintained for the purpose of human sacrifice.
- e.g.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Sep 19, 2004, 9:27:56 PM9/19/04
to
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
> In message <news:dEp1d.94$nc3.1...@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 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir

<snip>

>> At that moment, a shadow falls on the camp as a winged shape
>> passes over the Moon. Terror strikes them as the mounted Nazgul
>> flies past, faster than the wind. Gandalf reacts with alarm,
>> telling everyone to ride now and not to wait for the dawn.
>

> " 'Nazgűl!' he cried. 'The messenger of Mordor. The storm
> is coming. The Nazgűl have crossed the River! Ride, ride!


> Wait not for the dawn! Let not the swift wait for the slow!
> Ride!'"
>

> (That's six exclamation points in one paragraph <GG>)

And later in the chapter, when he tells Shadowfax to "ride", we get four
exclamation marks. Tolkien does seem to use exclamation marks a fair
amount, but without seeming to overuse them (a common trap). That might
be a mark of his skill as a writer.

> I wonder about the advice not to let "the swift wait for the slow" --
> I can't imagine that Gandalf really means that they should abandon all
> unity and just flee, each man to himself (and they don't do that
> either).

He might just be obliquely referring to the fact that he (and Pippin)
will be riding fast (on Shadowfax) and not waiting for the slow (the
rest of them). It is slightly strange though, I agree.

> <snip>
>
>> [5] Sauron having the chance to question Pippin was indeed a
>> moment of great peril. If Sauron had questioned Pippin there and
>> then, he would have learned of the quest to destroy the Ring and
>> the last known location of Frodo and Sam. Gandalf (I think) said
>> that the barrow-wight was a dangerous moment, but I think that
>> this is more dangerous still.
>
> When I first read this I thought Gandalf's comment was about
> Weathertop or the Ford, but your recollection is better than mine, it
> appears ;-)

Not really! I thought Gandalf was speaking in Minas Tirith after the War
of the Ring was over - somewhere in the appendices...

> "But you have some strength in you, my dear hobbit! As you
> showed in the Barrow. That was touch and go: perhaps the
> most dangerous moment of all. I wish you could have held
> out at Weathertop."
> (II,1 'Many Meetings')
>
> But I agree: this was even more dangerous.

But now that you have located the quote, it can be seen that the
barrow-wight incident is merely possibly the most dangerous moment of
the journey from the Shire to Rivendell (surpassing even the attack of
the Nazgul). Thus the Palantir 'danger moment' can be seen to be very,
very dangerous, and quite possibly more so. Of course (and this is being
deliberately provocative), the 'most dangerous moment' was when Sam came
close to killing Gollum at Mount Doom.

> <snip>
>
> Excellent job, Christopher -- I don't know if there was too much or
> too little to answer to, but I found it difficult to really add
> something worthwhile ;-)

I found it hard to think of the initial questions to start the
discussion. Maybe Tolkien explained everything too clearly and didn't
leave enough room for us to speculate? Part of the problem might be that
the Palantir bit ties in with a far-distant chapter (The Passing of the
Grey Company), and the continuing development of Pippin's character (and
then Merry's) takes place in Book 5.

In either this chapter discussion, or the next one, it might be an
appropriate point to raise the question of why Tolkien split the
storyline the way he does (as opposed to the more layered interweaving
seen in, for example, the Peter Jackson films).

We don't see Sam or Frodo for much of Book 3 and none of Book 5. We also
have Book 4 dividing the Merry/Pippin storylines into the bits in Books
3 and 5.

In other words, the narrative stream has been fairly straightforward up
until this point in terms of chronology. How acceptable is the sudden
leap back in time to Sam and Frodo? How confusing is this? Why break the
Merry/Pippin storylines at this point? [Maybe this was a suitable
cliffhanger moment with Merry and Pippin being separated].

> <self-irony>
> Obviously I'm only fishing for some nice comments about the
> introduction I'll be posting tomorrow.
> </self-irony>
>
> ;-)

Looking forward to it!

[We are now over halfway through the book! :-( ]

Richard Williams

unread,
Sep 20, 2004, 4:12:28 PM9/20/04
to
In article <Xns9569E8A0...@212.242.40.196>,

Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>In message <news:10kcgai...@corp.supernews.com>
>"aelfwina" <aelf...@cableone.net> enriched us with:
>>
>> "Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
>> news:dEp1d.94$nc3.1...@news-text.cableinet.net...

>>> [4] How likely is it that Gandalf would really not recognise the


>>> palantir for what it was?
>[...]
>>> the White Council had not thought about the palantiri of Gondor,
>>> but that also seems a bit strange!
>>
>> Time for a bit of wild speculation: as a trusted member of the
>> White Council, Saruman was in a position to perhaps "suggest" that
>> certain things were beneath consideration?
>[...]
>
>The Palantíri would, IMO, fall under Saruman's sphere of knowledge (he
>was, after all, one of Aulë's people like Sauron, and the Noldor were
>particularly close to Aulë as well: Saruman might even, for that
>matter, have been in the vicinity when the Palantíri were created).
>
>I agree that Saruman most likely kept the White Council discusssions
>from touching on subjects he didn't want them to consider too deeply
>(like the Palantíri or the possibility that the One Ring might be
>found).

A section of the chapter on the palantiri in UT covers some of this
ground:

"He [Saruman] acquired the keys of Orthanc in 2759, nominally as warden of
the tower and lieutenant of the Stewards of Gondor. At that time the
matter of the Orthanc-stone would hardly concern the White Council. Only
Saruman, having gained the favour of the Stewards, had yet made sufficient
study of the records of Gondor to perceive the interest of the palantiri
and the possible uses of those that survived; but of this he said nothing
to his colleagues...The Council in general must independently have known
of the Stones and their ancient dispositions, but they did not regard them
as of much present importance: they were things that belonged to the
history of the Kingdoms of the Dunedain, marvellous and admirable, but
mostly now lost or rendered of little use...It is evident that at the time
of the War of the Ring the Council had not long become aware of the doubt
concerning the fate of the Ithil-stone, and failed...to appreciate its
significance, to consider what might be the result if Sauron became
possessed of one of the Stones, and anyone else should then make use of
another."

Richard.

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Sep 20, 2004, 5:51:29 PM9/20/04
to
in <wmq3d.579$5g7.5...@news-text.cableinet.net>,

Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:
>
> Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>>

<snip>


>> (That's six exclamation points in one paragraph <GG>)
>
> And later in the chapter, when he tells Shadowfax to "ride", we get
> four exclamation marks.

An average of five, "a sure sign of an insane mind" as Pratchett puts it
(which was the reference I was thinking of).

> Tolkien does seem to use exclamation marks a fair amount, but
> without seeming to overuse them (a common trap). That might be a
> mark of his skill as a writer.

I quite agree.
(Incidentally I think that Pratchett was thinking of five exclamation
points right after each other.)

<snip>

> In either this chapter discussion, or the next one, it might be an
> appropriate point to raise the question of why Tolkien split the
> storyline the way he does (as opposed to the more layered interweaving
> seen in, for example, the Peter Jackson films).

That's an interesting question. I didn't think of it while writing up my
introduction, so let's continue here.

I think that the longer story-arcs that we get using Tolkien's splitting
works better in a book -- in particular I think that following Sam and
Frodo from Emyn Muil to Ithilien has advantages over interleaving, as we
get, IMO, a better sense of the depressing landscapes north of Mordor
than we would have, had we been switching back to Rohan continuously.

As for making the break at this point, I think it is the best place to do
it. Here the western part of the fellowship has been divided and has been
gathered again, and now we see that they're on their way to split up
again.

The only other place to make the switch would, IMO, be just before this
chapter, where everybody are gathered together and riding away from
having vanquished all the main enemy in the west.

> We don't see Sam or Frodo for much of Book 3 and none of Book 5. We
> also have Book 4 dividing the Merry/Pippin storylines into the bits
> in Books 3 and 5.

I like the way that he occasionally 'synchronise' the story lines with a
short remark of what is going on elsewhere, as when Sam, in VI,1
speculates aloud in his misery, "I wonder if they think of us at all" and
we're treated to a summary of what is happening on that fourteenth of
March (Shire-reckoning) to the others, and we are told how "amid all
their cares and fear the thoughts of their friends turned constantly to
Frodo and Sam."

> In other words, the narrative stream has been fairly straightforward
> up until this point in terms of chronology.

Except for Frodo and Sam -- we've been getting increasingly behind with
their story (this day they spent in the hollow overlooking the Black
Gate, and as Gandalf takes Pippin with him, they are walking towards
Ithilien).

> How acceptable is the sudden leap back in time to Sam and Frodo?

It is, IMO, now or never ;-)

I've already said that I feel that at least the first four chapters of
book IV really do belong together -- the oppressive feeling in these
chapters works much better in that way (IMO), and this is probably the
best place to make the transition.

> How confusing is this?

That's difficult to gauge. Unlike some others I can't recall my first
reading, and these days I don't find it particularly confusing (I usually
keep on to the end of the Battle of the Pelennor fields, and only going
back to Frodo and Sam after that).

> Why break the Merry/Pippin storylines at this point? [Maybe this was
> a suitable cliffhanger moment with Merry and Pippin being separated].

I think the cliffhanger aspect is important. All the books end with some
kind of cliffhanger: Frodo falling off the horse by the Ford of Bruinen,
Frodo and Sam escaping across the Anduin, Gandalf riding off with Pippin
in the night after the passing of the Nazgūl, Sam knocking himself
unconscious on the lower door of the tower of Cirith Ungol and the hordes
of Mordor attacking the army in front of the Morannon.

This would, IMO, explain why Tolkien chose to split it here instead of
just before this chapter -- there would be no suspense if he had made it
there.
(Imagine reading /The Two Towers/ when it was published and then having
to wait for /The Return of the King/ with *two* suspense-filled
cliff-hangers!)

Waiting a bit longer might have provided an even better cliff-hanger, but
this book is long enough as it is and it would only mean an even longer
backwards skipping when we finally got back to Frodo and Sam.

<snip>

> [We are now over halfway through the book! :-( ]

But we've still got /The Silmarillion/ and /Unfinished Tales/. And if the
project is still going strong by the end of those, we could continue with
/Tree and Leaf/, /Letters/ and the entire HoMe series, lots of
interesting discussions in those as well (and doing the HoMe series would
give me a good opportunity to get to buy and read the volumes I'm still
missing <G>).

Now that you do bring it up, I think the chapter of the week project has
been very successful -- we have, in general, had some interesting and
enlightening discussions.

--
Troels Forchhammer

Behold! we are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond
them is more than memory, Farewell!
- Aragorn Son of Arathorn, 'LotR' (J.R.R. Tolkien)

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Sep 20, 2004, 6:37:59 PM9/20/04
to
Richard Williams <rdwi...@hgmp.mrc.ac.uk> wrote:

<snip>

> Random questions/speculation:
>
> Did Aragorn ever consult Elendil's stone in Elostirion? Might this
> have given him some degree of 'training' for his subsequent use of
> the Orthanc stone? Why did he later allow this stone to be returned
> to Eressea in the ringbearers' ship?

Are you saying Aragorn later allowed the Orthanc palantir to be returned
to Eressea on the Ringbearers' ship? I can only remember this reference
to the Orthanc palantir's later use:

" 'Only one now remains that you could use,' answered Aragorn for you
would not wish to see what the Stone of Minas Tirith would show you. But
the Palantir of Orthanc the King will keep, to see what is passing in
his realm, and what his servants are doing." (Many Meetings)

Maybe you mean the fate of the palantir in Elostirion, though I can't
remember where or what Elostirion is...

Christopher Kreuzer

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Sep 20, 2004, 7:34:49 PM9/20/04
to
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
> Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us with:

>> In either this chapter discussion, or the next one, it might be an


>> appropriate point to raise the question of why Tolkien split the
>> storyline the way he does (as opposed to the more layered
>> interweaving seen in, for example, the Peter Jackson films).
>
> That's an interesting question. I didn't think of it while writing up
> my introduction, so let's continue here.
>
> I think that the longer story-arcs that we get using Tolkien's
> splitting works better in a book

Definitely. Though I find it interesting that he also avoids multiple
interweaving in the Fangorn/Rohan/Gondor storyline, preferring to fill
in the details with flashbacks (Gandalf's battle with the Balrog, Merry
and Pippin relating the fall of Isengard, Legolas and Gimli telling the
story of the Paths of the Dead). I suspect that frequent shifts of
scenes was not a style that Tolkien wanted to use, and he preferred to
jump around in the chronology and tell longer stories.

> As for making the break at this point, I think it is the best place
> to do it. Here the western part of the fellowship has been divided
> and has been gathered again, and now we see that they're on their way
> to split up again.

It does make sense, especially the bit about cliffhangers that you
expanded upon below (now snipped).

>> We don't see Sam or Frodo for much of Book 3 and none of Book
>> 5. We also have Book 4 dividing the Merry/Pippin storylines into
>> the bits in Books 3 and 5.
>
> I like the way that he occasionally 'synchronise' the story lines
> with a short remark of what is going on elsewhere, as when Sam, in
> VI,1 speculates aloud in his misery, "I wonder if they think of us at
> all" and we're treated to a summary of what is happening on that
> fourteenth of March (Shire-reckoning) to the others, and we are told
> how "amid all their cares and fear the thoughts of their friends
> turned constantly to Frodo and Sam."

I found an example of this that is relevant to the chapter in question!
[OK, it's actually relevant to the preceding chapter, but it still
involves the palantir!]

"Its name was Cirith Ungol, a name of dreadful rumour. Aragorn could
perhaps have told them that name and its significance: Gandalf would
have warned them. But they were alone, and Aragorn was far away, and
Gandalf stood amid the ruin of Isengard and strove with Saruman, delayed
by treason. Yet even as he spoke his last words to Saruman, and the
palantir crashed in fire upon the steps of Orthanc, his thought was ever
upon Frodo and Samwise, over the long leagues his mind sought for them
in hope and pity." (The Black Gate is Closed)

It would be nice to get all those references of interleaving collected
together. The ones I can think of at the moment (including the two
above) are:

1) "He rose and gazed out eastward, shading his eyes, as if he saw
things far away that none of them could see." (III, 5)

2) "But they were alone, and Aragorn was far away, and Gandalf stood
amid the ruin of Isengard and strove with Saruman..." (IV, 3)

3) "He wondered where Frodo was, and if he was already in Mordor, or if
he was dead; and he did not know that Frodo from far away looked on that
same moon as it set beyond Gondor ere the coming of the day." (V, 1)

4) "At last they came out of shadow to the seventh gate, and the warm
sun that shone down beyond the river, as Frodo walked in the glades of
Ithilien, glowed here on the smooth walls and rooted pillars..." (V, 1)

5) "Then suddenly like a cold touch on his heart he thought of Frodo and
Sam. 'I am forgetting them!' he said to himself reproachfully. 'And yet
they are more important than all the rest of us. And I came to help
them..." (V, 3)

6) "It was the sunset-hour, but the great pall had now stretched far
into the West, and only as it sank at last into the Sea did the Sun
escape to send out a brief farewell gleam before the night, even as
Frodo saw it at the Cross-roads touching the head of the fallen king.
But to the fields of the Pelennor, under the shadow of Mindolluin, there
came no gleam: they were brown and drear." (V, 4)

7) "For in their last march the Captains had turned away from the old
road as it bent east, and avoided the peril of the lurking hills, and so
now they were approaching the Morannon from the north-west, even as
Frodo had done." (V, 10)

8) "Out westward in the world it was drawing to noon upon the fourteenth
day of March in the Shire-reckoning." (VI, 1)

9) "It was the morning of the fifteenth of March, and over the Vale of
Anduin the Sun was rising above the eastern shadow, and the south-west
wind was blowing. Theoden lay dying on the Pelennor Fields." (VI, 2)

10) "Of all the slaves of the Dark Lord, only the Nazgul could have
warned him of the peril that crept, small but indomitable, into the very
heart of his guarded realm. But the Nazgul and their black wings were
abroad on another errand: they were gathered far away, shadowing the
march of the Captains of the West, and thither the thought of the Dark
Tower was turned." (VI, 3)

11) "The Eye was not turned to them: it was gazing north to where the
Captains of the West stood at bay" (VI, 3)

<snip>

>> How confusing is this?
>
> That's difficult to gauge. Unlike some others I can't recall my first
> reading, and these days I don't find it particularly confusing (I
> usually keep on to the end of the Battle of the Pelennor fields, and
> only going back to Frodo and Sam after that).

That's what I do as well! An advantage of this type of story structure
is that you can actually choose to do this different reading order. I do
think, though, that the climactic scenes on Mount Doom might have been
even better if they had been interleaved with the Morannon battle. Or
maybe not! I do actually like Gandalf's "Stand Men of the West! Stand
and wait! This is the hour of doom!" bit... :-)

I also vaguely remember someone doing a chronology where you can read
the book in chronological order. I don't think that would work too well,
but there is the idea of reading the Sam and Frodo story first, and then
the other bits of the story.

<snip>

>> [We are now over halfway through the book! :-( ]
>
> But we've still got /The Silmarillion/ and /Unfinished Tales/. And if
> the project is still going strong by the end of those, we could
> continue with /Tree and Leaf/, /Letters/

Discussing Letter 131 would be _interesting_ to say the least!

> and the entire HoMe series,
> lots of interesting discussions in those as well (and doing the HoMe
> series would give me a good opportunity to get to buy and read the
> volumes I'm still missing <G>).
>
> Now that you do bring it up, I think the chapter of the week project
> has been very successful -- we have, in general, had some interesting
> and enlightening discussions.

Most definitely. I only regret that it seems nearly imposible to keep my
personal level of interest/available time going for the full 15 months
or so! It has fluctuated somewhat over the course of the past nine
months.

Christopher

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

"I think, Frodo, that maybe you will not need to come back, unless you
come very soon. For about this time of the year, when the leaves are
gold before they fall, look for Bilbo in the woods of the Shire. I
shall be with him." - Elrond's farewell (Many Partings, RotK)

Shanahan

unread,
Sep 21, 2004, 1:37:31 AM9/21/04
to
Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> creatively typed:
> Richard Williams <rdwi...@hgmp.mrc.ac.uk> wrote:
>
> <snip>
>
>> Random questions/speculation:
>>
>> Did Aragorn ever consult Elendil's stone in Elostirion? Might
>> this have given him some degree of 'training' for his
>> subsequent use of the Orthanc stone? Why did he later allow
>> this stone to be returned to Eressea in the ringbearers' ship?
>
> Are you saying Aragorn later allowed the Orthanc palantir to be
> returned to Eressea on the Ringbearers' ship? [...]

> Maybe you mean the fate of the palantir in Elostirion, though I
> can't remember where or what Elostirion is...

I think the latter is what Richard means. I seem to recall a
reference to that stone traveling back west on the 'Last Ship'.
Elostirion was the tallest of the three towers on the Tower Hills
west of the Shire, the one that held the stone that only looked
back to Eressëa.

Ciaran S.
--
I'm not tense. Just terribly, terribly alert.


Shanahan

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Sep 21, 2004, 1:54:00 AM9/21/04
to
Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> creatively typed:
> Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
>> Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> enriched us
>> with:
>
>>> In either this chapter discussion, or the next one, it might
>>> be an appropriate point to raise the question of why Tolkien
>>> split the storyline the way he does (as opposed to the more
>>> layered interweaving seen in, for example, the Peter Jackson
>>> films).

<snip>


>> I like the way that he occasionally 'synchronise' the story
>> lines with a short remark of what is going on elsewhere, as
>> when Sam, in VI,1 speculates aloud in his misery, "I wonder if
>> they think of us at all" and we're treated to a summary of what
>> is happening on that fourteenth of March (Shire-reckoning) to
>> the others, and we are told how "amid all their cares and fear
>> the thoughts of their friends turned constantly to Frodo and
>> Sam."

<snip>


> It would be nice to get all those references of interleaving
> collected together. The ones I can think of at the moment
> (including the two above) are:

Some of the best quotes in the book, IMO. They give me such a
sense of immediacy! And of tension, despite the sometimes
leisurely pace.

Tom Shippey's theory is that this storytelling structure serves to
give a sense of reality: of time passing at it really does, of the
feeling one has in real life of not knowing what the heck is going
on with faraway friends and events. I think that's a good way to
look at it. It is a storytelling technique that has largely been
dropped from the literary toolkit, but here we see an example of
how it works admirably well.

> Discussing Letter 131 would be _interesting_ to say the least!

And 246, too. Not that we're not having all those arguments all
the time, anyway. <g>

Ciaran S.
--
"Much human ingenuity has gone into finding the ultimate Before.
The current state of knowledge can be summarized thus:
In the beginning, there was nothing, which exploded.
- t. pratchett


Richard Williams

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Sep 21, 2004, 5:16:06 AM9/21/04
to
In article <cio83...@enews2.newsguy.com>,
Shanahan <pog...@bluefrog.com> wrote:

>I think the latter is what Richard means. I seem to recall a
>reference to that stone traveling back west on the 'Last Ship'.
>Elostirion was the tallest of the three towers on the Tower Hills
>west of the Shire, the one that held the stone that only looked
>back to Eressëa.

Sorry, yes, I should have phrased it better - I meant Elendil's stone in
the Tower Hills. Incidentally, I've just noticed that one of the notes
in the UT chapter on the palantiri states that it's 'not known' whether
Aragorn (or any previous chieftain of the Dunedain) looked in this stone.

Richard.

Christopher Kreuzer

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Sep 21, 2004, 7:32:45 PM9/21/04
to
Shanahan <pog...@bluefrog.com> wrote:

[about the Elendil-stone of Elostirion]

> I seem to recall a reference to that stone traveling back west
> on the 'Last Ship'.

And I still can't find such a reference in LotR or UT.
Can you remember where you read this?

Igenlode Wordsmith

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Sep 21, 2004, 7:12:01 PM9/21/04
to

[repost]
"Christopher Kreuzer" <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message <dEp1d.94$nc3.1...@news-text.cableinet.net>

> Chapter of the Week (CotW) 'The Lord of the Rings' (LotR)
> Book 3, Chapter 11: The Palantir

Everyone else has put in their major issue comments, so I'll just add a
few minor ones as usual...

[snip]

> Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Merry and Pippin ride at a leisurely
> pace with Theoden and his men as they leave Isengard at sunset. They
> pass the pillar of the White Hand and see that the graven hand has been
> cast down and broken.

The red-stained nail is now described as "darkening to black" - so it
*is* blood, almost certainly. But whose? when? (clearly fresh...) and
why? (not to mention by whom?) And why has Tolkien included this
gruesome little unexplained detail in the first place?


> As they ride onwards, Gandalf tells Merry that Saruman was aware of Merry
> and Pippin, and that their presence is likely to have greatly troubled
> him. Gandalf also says that the plan is to ride back to Edoras in as much
> secrecy as possible, avoiding the open plains and the gaze of Sauron.

Why is Gandalf so concerned at this point to avoid the appearance of
assembling in public ("not more than two or three together")?

Is the idea to make Rohan appear a spent force and thus not attract a
possible attack from Mordor? (Surely a weakened Rohan would be a
tempting target on Gondor's flank?)

Could it be to hide the potential reinforcements for Gondor? But
Gandalf does not yet know that Minas Tirith is under attack - indeed, I
believe it *is* not yet under attack.

I don't really understand what Gandalf hopes to achieve by this sudden
access of stealth (very different to his earlier advice) or what he is
afraid of here.


[snip]
> Aragorn confirms that it must be the palantir of Orthanc from the treasury of
> Elendil, and claims it for his own.

"Dangerous indeed, but not to all," said Aragorn. "There is one who may
claim it by right... I will take it."

This always struck me as singularly foolish, as well as pompous :-)
Just because the /palantir/ may once have belonged to Aragorn's
ancestors doesn't make it any less dangerous to him - why, the same
thing could be said of the Ring itself! He doesn't say "I judge -
barely - that I have the strength to use it"; he says simplistically
"It's not dangerous to me because the Kings of Gondor once possessed
it".

I suppose, within Tolkien's universe, the meaning is that having the
original ownership of the stone gives him an extra edge when disputing
the mastery of it with Sauron; but this certainly doesn't mean that
looking into the stone is not dangerous. Indeed, Aragorn's presence and
identity, along with Frodo's quest, are the main things of interest
to the Enemy that Pippin might have betrayed... And Gandalf himself
basically warns him: "All right, it's nominally yours - but for heavens'
sake just stick at that and don't attempt actually to use it!"


(And why does Gandalf consider that it would be disastrous for Sauron
to see him, Gandalf, "yet"? What result does he expect - an
overwhelming attack on Rohan to try to wipe out this dangerous enemy?)

[snip]


>
> the stone into which Pippin looked was one of the palantiri of the Kings
> of Old, brought over the sea from Westernesse, but coming originally
> from Eldamar, made by the Noldor long, long ago.

Gandalf describes the /palantir/ as being beyond Saruman's art - "and
beyond Sauron's too". But Feanor was only an Elf - surely an immortal
like Sauron has a greater innate power, even if not the specific craft
needed in this case? (After all, Sauron made the Ring.)


[snip]
> The conversation then turns to the geography of the land around them.
> They are approaching the turning-off point to Helm's Deep,

Where Gandalf refers to "Aglarond *and* the Glittering Caves" -
puzzling me even more, if 'Aglarond' is simply a synonym in Elvish. A
bit like talking about passing "by Imladris and Rivendell", say...

[snip]


> There are also some nice touches of humour: Merry's persistence in asking
> Gandalf how far they are riding tonight; and Pippin asking Gandalf
> for the names of all the stars and more besides!

Pippin mentions "the whole history of Middle-earth and Over-heaven" -
that sounds like another literal translation from the Anglo-Saxon. Is
there an 'Over-heaven' in Tolkien's mythology? The Valar dwell in the
West, not up above the sky like Jehovah in the era of the celestial
spheres!
--
Igenlode <Igenl...@nym.alias.net> Bookwraith unabashed

-Yes, it hurts. The trick is not *minding* that it hurts.

Troels Forchhammer

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Sep 22, 2004, 10:28:01 AM9/22/04